"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 5/29/09

Today’s news is powered by . . . Cliff’s new bundle of joy!  Off we go!

Jorge Posada is on his way back to the Yankees lineup, playing six innings in an extended spring game on Thursday and then flying to meet the team.

Posada has been sidelined since suffering a strained right hamstring on May 4 in New York. The Yankees have an off-day on Thursday and will open a four-game series at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Friday.

“The hamstring is feeling good,” Posada told The Associated Press in Dunedin, Fla. “I’m happy with everything. The most important thing was just running, seeing some pitches and getting the timing down.”. . .

Additionally, outfielder Melky Cabrera will rejoin the Yankees on Friday. Cabrera was examined by Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad in New York and supported the diagnosis by head trainer Gene Monahan of a bruised right shoulder.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Cabrera — who crashed into a fence chasing a fly ball in the first inning on Tuesday — would be sidelined five to seven days.

Imagine Mark DeRosa as a big hunk of tuna, bait on a hook. One of the looming shadows circling below is that of the New York Yankees, who are weighing options and haven’t decided whether to take a shot at the versatile veteran.

[My take: Another corner outfielder?  Would he supplant Cano at 2B?  Otherwise he’s a pretty expensive (but versatile) bench player.]

Brian Bruney’s visit to Dr. James Andrews went as well as the Yankees could have hoped, as the famed orthopedist found no structural damage in the reliever’s injured right elbow.

Bruney was diagnosed with a right flexor muscle strain, the same injury that landed him on the disabled list from April 25 to May19. Bruney will rejoin the team in Cleveland before tomorrow’s game and will undergo a throwing program.

“We’re happy the diagnosis isn’t a surgical situation,” GM Brian Cashman said. “It’s just how long it will take for him to heal.”

[My take: Give him some truth serum along with that rehab . . .]

He is Phil Coke, who is tied with Veras for the staff lead in appearances, with 21. It is no wonder Coke was chatting before Wednesday’s game with a Texas Rangers reliever, Eddie Guardado, whose nickname is Everyday. Despite Coke’s mixed results — 1-2 with a 4.43 earned run average — Girardi has found him indispensable.

“He has three quality pitches,” Girardi said. “He’s able to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate, he has an equalizer in his changeup to get right-handers, and he’s got a good slider to get left-handers. Really, what he does is he just pitches. He locates, he changes speeds and he works both sides of the plate.”

  • SWB Yanks add a Bush:

It seems the Yankees have signed 29-year-old Paul Bush out of the independent Atlantic League and assigned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Bush is a right-handed pitcher with pretty good numbers — 1.62 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16.2 innings — and logic would dictate that he’s going to fill the hole in the Triple-A rotation.

But Bush is a reliever.

Those 16.2 innings have come in nine games with the Somerset Patriots. Bush spent the previous seven seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization, including 22 games in Triple-A. Of his 175 minor league games, only 29 were starts, and each of those starts came in seasons when the vast majority of his outings came out of the bullpen. Seems to me that the last thing the Yankees need is another Triple-A reliever, but I’m sure they have a plan.

  • Does Cashman have his head in the clouds, and not on the field?:

Remember those wind tests the Yankees were said to be doing on their new stadium? Well, whatever is going on with them, no news has crossed General Manager Brian Cashman’s desk. And since he puts together the roster, he would probably be in the loop.

“I don’t have any answers about wind studies,” Cashman said. When I asked if he still believed the dimensions were the same as before, as some folks have disputed with visual evidence, Cashman said, “I’ve been told they’re the same. I know they’re supposed to be the same.”

Supposed to be the same doesn’t mean “the same.” It’s a bandbox. Take the number of home runs the old Yankee Stadium allowed and double it. That’s basically what has happened. But Cashman insists he doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the dimensions,” he said, explaining that most of the homers he’s seen have been legitimate shots.

[My take: So if its NOT the dimensions, then it must be the wind patterns, right?]

The Yankees usually stay in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cleveland, an elegant establishment befitting their lofty status as America’s most beloved and revered sports franchise.

But the Yankees, who have a large traveling party, were unceremoniously booted out this weekend. A Saudi Arabian princess is in Cleveland to have surgery at the famed Cleveland Clinic and booked up the entire hotel to accommodate her retinue of handlers. She wanted 90 — that’s right, 90 — rooms. And you thought Vincent Chase had an entourage.

The Ritz was able to find space for the Orlando Magic, who are here for the NBA playoffs. But there was no room for the Yankees.

[My take: I would have figured Boss George still had plenty of properties in and around his native city for his team to crash in.]

  • With this year’s amateur draft coming up soon, Kevin Goldstein looks back at how the Yanks did with their draft of ’08:

Top Pick: The Yankees were unable to sign righty Gerrit Cole, who struck out 104 over 85 innings at UCLA while moving into the Friday starter role as a freshman. . . .
Movin’ On Up: Right-hander D.J. Mitchell received a lot of late-spring buzz at Clemson and earned a $500,000 bonus as a tenth-round selection. His sinker/slider combination and outstanding athleticism drew plenty of praise from scouts as he kept his ERA under two at Single-A Charleston before moving on to the High-A Florida State League.
Disappointing: The Yankees gave $850,000 to sixth-rounder Brett Marshall, but he’s been inconsistent in terms of both his mechanics and velocity at Charleston, with an ERA of 4.93 and a disappointingly low strikeout total of 25 in 42 innings.

The other day, Paul (Lukas) noticed that Hughes had “Jr.” written on the right side of his red Memorial Day cap when he beat the Rangers here. Paul wondered why, and here’s the answer.

Hughes said it was a tribute to his father, also named Phil, who spent 16 years in the Navy and served on a Destroyer in Vietnam. Hughes’ father, who is 64, lives in California and watches all his son’s games on TV.

“I really don’t get to see him on Memorial Day or Father’s Day, but I know he watches every game,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he kept the Memorial Day cap and plans to give it to his father as a keepsake.

  • Bizarre, fun fact . . . Brett Tomko’s dad is responsible for naming the Cleveland basketball team the Cavaliers:

Tomko’s father, Jerry, gave the Cavaliers their nickname when he trumped more than 11,000 entries in a write-in contest in the Cleveland Plain Dealer back in 1970. Jerry Tomko’s winning entry read in part, “The name Cleveland Cavaliers represents a group of daring, fearless men whose life’s pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds.”

  • Charlie Hayes turns 44 today.  Hayes was the starting 3B for the ’92 squad, then got drafted by the expansion Rockies in ’93.  He returned as a late-season addition to the ’96 squad, and is perhaps best-known for catching the clinching out of that year’s World Series.
  • On this date in 2000, Oakland Athletics second baseman Randy Velarde turned an unassisted triple play, just the 11th in major league history, on a line drive hit by the Yankees’ Shane Spencer. With runners on first and second bases running with the pitch, Velarde tagged Jorge Posada as he neared second base, then touched the base to retire Tino Martinez. In 1995 spring training, while with the Yankees, Velarde turned an unassisted triple play against the Dodgers.

Back on Monday . . .

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 RIYank   ~  May 29, 2009 11:41 am

Here's a somewhat interesting comparison:

.277 .339 .416 .755
.302 .336 .371 .708

The first is Brett Gardner this year. The second is Jacoby Ellsbury.

2 Rich   ~  May 29, 2009 11:51 am

[1] I was once roundly attacked on BBTF for using their names in the same sentence.

Some more numbers (same order):

SB: 9 CS: 2 (22.2 %)

SB:: 21 CS: 6 (28.5%))

OPS+: 97

OPS+: 80

wOBA: .344

wOBA: .326

UZR: 6.5

UZR: -0.2

3 jonnystrongleg   ~  May 29, 2009 12:30 pm

i think his 120 ft bloop single cum inside the park homerun is a perfect way to look at brett gardner's 2009 season :

thankful for the unexpected contribution, unwise to expect it to be repeatable.

and yes, it's also nice to see that ellsbury is apparently not that good either. too bad he helped them win the friggin world series. he picked a great time to play out of his mind.

4 cult of basebaal   ~  May 29, 2009 12:44 pm

Brett Marshall's May:

2-1 2.54 28.1/23 13/27

last start was his best yet 6/1/0/1/9

Losing Cole still hurts though.

5 williamnyy23   ~  May 29, 2009 1:12 pm

I really wish everyone would stop getting so hung up on the HRs and instead look at the total level of offense. If you pro-rate the runs the Yankees have scored at home so far, it would amount to 454. That would place it below the teams output in 2005-2007, in line with 2004 and above 2008. The OPS level is also inline with 2005 and 2007.

Also, compared to the their 2009 road totals, the Yankees do have a higher OPS, but have actually scored fewer runs per game.

So, if YSIII is not inflating run production, but only HR levels, why is everyone getting so bent out of shape. Are we back to everything revolving around the sanctity of the HR record? Also, can you call YSIII a band box even if run production isn’t boosted significantly?

Instead of trying to come up with conspiracies and wringing our hands, maybe we are seeing the perfect storm of a stadium somewhat more conducive to hitting HRs colliding with a lineup that is a lot more prone to hitting them?

Year Runs OPS
2009 454* 0.858
2008 412 0.789
2007 520 0.854
2006 479 0.805
2005 477 0.846
2004 446 0.816

2009 Runs/G OPS
Home 5.6 0.858
Away 5.7 0.831

6 Bud Wisenheimer   ~  May 29, 2009 1:51 pm

Long time listener, first time caller. Congrats to cliff.

People, they've played like 25 games in the new stadium. The Yankees have good hitters. The Yankees hit far fewer home runs last season than they were projected to. Derek Jeter is hitting much differently this season than last.

The sample is so small and the noise is so abundant, that determining that NYS is a "bandbox and something needs to be done about it!!!" is sloppy, lazy and knee jerk.

7 Bud Wisenheimer   ~  May 29, 2009 1:51 pm

[5] NYS has an offensive park factor of 1.06. hardly coors field east.

8 williamnyy23   ~  May 29, 2009 2:29 pm

One more point on YSIII. Instead of atmospheric conditions causing the short porch in right to play even smaller, could it be that something about the YSII caused it to play bigger? Everyone knows about the Mattingly theory with regard to judging the wind based on the direction of the bat wind vane, not the flags. Maybe the old structure created swirling winds that worked against the ball, while the openness of the new place has canceled that out?

9 monkeypants   ~  May 29, 2009 2:34 pm

[5] It's not simply a matter of run production, at least for me. It's also a matter of aesthetics. If NYS is turning pop flies into HRS but robbing players of doubles and triples (yielding the same overall run production), itl lends itself to a style of play that I personally find unappealing. YS even after it was remodeled and the fences were pulled in played as a (at least) a slight pitchers park with big gaps in the OF. That the new stadium appears to be Fenway Light does not excite.

10 Diane Firstman   ~  May 29, 2009 2:35 pm

Our former Toaster friend Jon Weisman has some interesting notes on Torre's bullpen management this year:


The 2009 Dodger bullpen is averaging 3.38 innings per game. The 2009 major-league average is 3.21 bullpen innings per game. The best team in baseball in this category is Pittsburgh, with 2.76 relief innings per game.

. . . The Dodger bullpen is only two outs per game behind the least-used bullpen in baseball. . . .

Obviously, not all Dodger relievers are used equally, but as readers of this site know, I've been tracking daily pitch counts by the team, and with the possible exception of Cory Wade in April, the relievers all have gotten regular rest after a tough game or after a tough stretch of games. . . .

Broxton, the team's top reliever, has thrown more than 20 pitches in consecutive games twice this year, Each time, he got at least two days' rest afterward. Every time Ramon Troncoso or Ronald Belisario has thrown more than 25 pitches in a game, he has gotten the next day off. No other reliever on the team has thrown more than 18 innings all season.

11 monkeypants   ~  May 29, 2009 2:36 pm

[8] Does it really matter which way you say it: the old park played bigger than it was v. the new park plays smaller than it is? And in any case, there is simply no way at all that the dimensions are "exactly the same" at the two parks. At the very least, they could have replicated the distances to the fences--if the parks still played differently at that point, then what can you do?

12 williamnyy23   ~  May 29, 2009 2:42 pm

[9] But, if run production isn't up (and that's not to say it wont be over the season), then it could still wind up being a slight pitcher's park, except with doubles being exchanged for HRs. I can understand why one would prefer to see more balls in play, but more HRs alone doesn't make for a band box, at least not in terms of overall scoring.

[11] It does matter IF you are trying to figure out why. I would really like to see a definitive measurement of the fences because everything being discussed is still speculation.

13 51cq24   ~  May 29, 2009 2:50 pm

[12] i don't see what the difference is between saying that the wind here causes balls to go out and that the lack of wind at the old stadium caused balls to stay in.
there's a diagram here that i think is accurate. http://tiny.cc/DPfQu
on top of that, remember that there's significantly less foul room behind the plate, which obviously adds to overall offense. if i were in charge, i'd cut the backstop back to where it used to be, thereby eliminating some of the embarrassing seats, cutting down slightly on offense, and restoring one of the nicer looking features of the old stadium (the acute angle).

14 RIYank   ~  May 29, 2009 2:56 pm

What I find most striking about the 'bandbox' controversy is that nothing that anyone has proposed is remotely an explanation for the astounding homer increase this year over last. I mean, it would take a hurricane to suck that many fly balls over the fence, and shorter walls might add two or three homers. So whatever your view, you have to think that either there is some huge unnoticed explanatory factor, or else that a large chunk of the increase really is just random fluctuation.

15 williamnyy23   ~  May 29, 2009 2:59 pm

[13] Again, the difference is in trying to determine why there are so many more HRs (even if the small variations in fence distances are accurate), and subsequently trying to "fix" it, assuming it is viewed as a problem.

Also, while the chart cited may be accurate, it does indicate the some areas of the park are actually deeper. What's more, even though foul territory behind HP is less, there is more down the lines (also, I saw a study suggesting that only a handful of balls caught in the old place in 2008 wouldn't be caught this year).

16 monkeypants   ~  May 29, 2009 3:07 pm

[12] There will never be a definitive study, because it's not in the Yankees' interest to call attention to any differences--especially given the organizations propaganda about the dimensions being "exactly the same." Yet everything I have seen, and these have been pretty good analyses, show that the power alley in RF is a good bit shorter. Maybe when google maps updates, we someone can do a comparison, but even then those images are slightly distorted.

In any case, I am firmly convinced that the dimensions are not "exactly the same", regardless of whether they are deeper of shorter. Just look at the contour of RF: in YS the wall juts out at an angle while in NYS the wall runs basically straight from the corner to deep RCF. They are simply not identical contours and thus not identical dimensions.

Bur Lonn Trost says they are identical, so it must be true. Maybe it has something to do with the architectural shadows or something.

In any case, I'm on limited internet access from Italia. I'll be back in full swing in a few days.

17 Diane Firstman   ~  May 29, 2009 3:33 pm

Rockies fire Hurdle, hire Tracy


18 Shaun P.   ~  May 29, 2009 4:19 pm

[17] I'm not sure our former DT neighbors would consider that progress. OTOH, because its a division rival, I'm sure they are thrilled!

19 The Hawk   ~  May 29, 2009 4:24 pm

[8] "Instead of atmospheric conditions causing the short porch in right to play even smaller, could it be that something about the YSII caused it to play bigger?"

There's something beautifully deranged about this.

20 Bum Rush   ~  May 29, 2009 6:09 pm

I became absolutely convinced it’s mostly the shorter porch when I looked at this homerun tracker.
Look at how many are out where the wall goes straight where it used to be curved.

I count 22 homers just beyond the right field wall that could have easily fallen in last year. Then compare the leftfield porch. There are another 11 that wouldn’t have been out at the last place. That’s the difference between last year and this year! The doubles have become homeruns!

Still doubt me?

Some interesting math:

2009 Yankees:
Home = 43 doubles, 45 homeruns
Away = 56 doubles, 32 homeruns

See that?

Let's simplify:
Home = -13 doubles, +13 homeruns
Away = +13 doubles, -13 homeruns

Case closed. It's all A-Rod's fault!

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