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News of the Day – 7/24/09

Today’s news is powered by a very old and very rare baseball board game:

Chien-Ming Wang is concerned that his 2009 season may be over, having sought a second opinion as he continues to feel discomfort in his right shoulder, and now Dr. James Andrews will get his chance to take a look.

Wang visited on Wednesday with Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York after suffering a setback earlier in the week while playing catch, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad on Thursday to discuss Wang’s situation.

After reviewing Altchek’s findings, the Yankees are set to next confer with Andrews before discussing Wang’s status further. But at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, the 29-year-old Wang said that he is worried that surgery may be necessary.

  • If Yanks make a trade, will it be for a starting pitcher?:

The Yankees made a calculated gamble in poaching starting pitchers Alfredo Aceves and Phil Hughes for their bullpen, one that has helped them become a first-place club while also leaving a lack of depth.

It is a situation that general manager Brian Cashman is acutely aware of as the Yankees approach the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. While there are no moves that can be classified as imminent, he acknowledges that there is room for improvement.

“When we made the decisions that we’ve made so far, they were tough decisions with consequences,” Cashman said on Thursday. “We’re better because of those moves, but we’re thinner.” . . .

But the switch made it difficult to fill in earlier this month, when the Yankees lost Chien-Ming Wang from their starting rotation, with no definitive return date for the right-hander.

New York is also watching the innings tick off rapidly for Joba Chamberlain, who will take the mound on Friday having already thrown 95 2/3 frames.

“I still think there is some concern with our depth,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I’m not saying that you necessarily trade for a Major League pitcher, but there is some concern if someone else goes down. There are some innings limitations on Joba, so that is something that is a concern.

  • Tyler Kepner echoes the concern over the depth of the starting pitching.
  • Jesus Montero is one of . . . The Untouchables! (at least per Baseball America):

Scouts who cover the Yankees organization are fond of saying the team over-values its own prospects, but the scouting consensus is that Montero is the real deal. He has premium raw power and pure hitting ability to go with it. If he can catch, he could have a Mike Piazza-esque career. More than likely, he’s New York’s future DH, and the Yankees’ asking price for him is prohibitive.

Poll time!

[poll id=”35″]

  • On this date in 1934, Earle Combs crashes into the wall at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis and suffers a fractured skull. New York calls up George Selkirk, but learns he broke his arm the same day playing for Newark.
  • On this date in 1954, after Casey Stengel pulls Phil Rizzuto in the eighth for a pinch-hitter, he brings in Mickey Mantle again at SS. Mantle plays SS with Willie Miranda at 2B against left-handed hitters. Against righties, Miranda and Mantle switch positions.
  • On this date in 1983, in the memorable “Pine Tar Game” at Yankee Stadium, George Brett hits an apparent 2-run home run off Rich Gossage to give the Kansas City Royals a 5 – 4 lead with two outs in the 9th inning, only to have it taken away when Yankees manager Billy Martin, at the urging of coach Don Zimmer, points out that the pine tar on Brett’s bat handle exceeds the 17 inches allowed in the rules. As a result, Brett is called out for illegally batting the ball, giving New York a 4 – 3 victory. Brett goes ballistic and the Royals immediately protest, and American League President Lee MacPhail overrules his umpires for the first time saying that, while the rules should certainly be rewritten and clarified, the home run will stand and the game will be resumed from that point on August 18th.
  • On this date in 1991, in a game against the Mariners, the Yankees score three runs on a ground ball hit back to the pitcher. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out in the 4th, Pat Kelly hits a comebacker to Erik Hanson. The Seattle hurler traps Kevin Maas in a rundown between 3rd and home, but Maas scores when 3B Edgar Martinez’s throw hits him in the back. The ball rolls up the 1st base line in foul territory where it is recovered by C Dave Cochrane. Cochrane throws home to head off Alvaro Espinoza who is also attempting to score. The throw goes into the Mariners’ dugout allowing Espinoza and Kelly to cross the plate with the 2nd and 3rd runs.
  • On this date in 1992, Commissioner Fay Vincent announces that George Steinbrenner can resume active control of the Yankees on March 1, 1993.
  • On this date in 1999, the Yankees pound the Indians, 21-1. The Bronx Bombers are led by DH Chili Davis, who bangs out five hits, including a double and homer, while driving home six runs.
  • On this date in 2004, a bench-clearing brawl breaks out after Red Sox starter Bronson Arroyo hits Alex Rodriguez, who hit last night’s game-winning home run, with a pitch. As A-Rod stares out at the mound on his way to first, Boston’s catcher Jason Varitek, after a verbal exchange, pushes the All-Star third baseman in the face causing a series of fights with players in both team’s dugouts and bullpens involved.

Back on Monday!

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Rich   ~  Jul 24, 2009 9:35 am

I assume that ML service time is the reason that Hughes isn't on the BA list since Bucholz is currently on the ML roster, but no one can convince me that Bucholz is better than Hughes.

2 bleek420   ~  Jul 24, 2009 9:46 am

i find it very interesting that for all of the joba isnt going deep into ball game talk that they are now concerned with his innings. i know the complaints have been more about the quality of the innings that he has (or hasnt) been pitching, still it all very interesting.

3 monkeypants   ~  Jul 24, 2009 9:48 am


[Girardi:]There are some innings limitations on Joba, so that is something that is a concern.

Indeed. All the more reason that multiple potential starter probably should not have been permanently re-deployed to the bullpen.

4 Rich   ~  Jul 24, 2009 9:50 am

[2] There is an aggregate pitch count issue irrespective of the IP.

5 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 24, 2009 9:50 am

Never went to a game because of a specific giveaway, though I do look for giveaways when scoping out tickets for my family. My boys love the free trinkets.

Cap day used to be my favorite, but the corporate logos (Chevy, Zales, etc.) have spoiled the giveaway for me. I'll wear those caps doing yard work, or keep one in the trunk of my car as a spare, but they're otherwise out of the rotation.

6 monkeypants   ~  Jul 24, 2009 9:51 am

[2] I'm not sure "they" [i.e. the team] has complained as much about Joba's inability to go deep into games as have fans and media types. He was averaging about 5 innings per start, which is near the bottom of the league for qualified starters, but I suspect this is not to far from expectations for a young starter.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 24, 2009 10:05 am

From PeteAbe: The stats for Brackman: 1-11 with a 6.72 ERA in 18 starts in low A ball. He has struck out 79 over 85.2 innings. But he also has walked 64, thrown 22 wild pitches and given up 89 hits.

Another one bites the dusy, I guess.

8 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 24, 2009 10:22 am

[3] Can you remember a 2nd half where Cahman hasn't gone out and got somebody(s) to help? He is a tricky guy. Everything he says is spin. He never tips his hand. My guess is he's looking for a SP but we all know the market is thin.

However, both Phil and Ace are 2 weeks away from being in the rotation if necessary.

Right now Phil is in the BP because it's helping us win. If being in the rotation helps us win more, he will be there.

In Cashman I trust. This guy does not sit on his hands.

9 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 24, 2009 10:26 am

[7] I don't think the Yanks will ever get anything out of Brackman.

That said, pitching prospects do not develop in a nice linear pattern like most hitting prospects do. Especially guys as tall as Brackman is, and with as little experience pitching as Brackman has: 149.3 IP spread across 3 years of college - where he primarily played basketball for NC State - nothing last year because of injury, and just 89 in the minors this year. ((For comparison, Joba pitched 208 innings in just two years at Nebraska, and Kennedy pitched 301.3 innings in three years at USC.) Brackman is very much a work in progress, and despite his advanced age (he turns 24 in December), still way too early to call him a bust. Let's see what the next two years bring.

10 Raf   ~  Jul 24, 2009 10:27 am

[7] I wouldn't give up on Brackman just yet

11 monkeypants   ~  Jul 24, 2009 10:33 am

[8] I never specified Hughes. My point is that if you (the manager) know that Joba is on an innings limit (as Girardi indicates) and you have a starter who is coming off an injury, and is then wildly ineffective and then injured again (Wang)...perhaps it is poor planning to have the #6 and #7 starter stuck in the BP with seemingly no plan to be able to move one into the rotation quickly. If Mitre falters (not an unlikely scenario), the next stop on teh starter train could be Kei Igawa!

12 RIYank   ~  Jul 24, 2009 10:55 am

Monkeypants, to continue from the previous thread:
I know, Ortiz is still in the Sox' line-up, but in effect they've added 200 points of OPS without changing players. The guy was brutal, and now, though certainly not the Papi of Old, he's a good hitter.

On the other hand, we've dumped Veras and Tomko, so that's gotta add six or seven Pythagorean wins.

13 monkeypants   ~  Jul 24, 2009 11:08 am

[12] I get what you're saying. My main point is that pythagorean record can be used as a predictor of future team performance only if circumstances don't change. The Yankees team today is very different from the one fielded earlier in the season, so I am not much concerned that the old version of the team had a smaller run differential. Wang's poor starts in April are not going to affect the run differential and wins and losses in September.

Let's look at it this way: according to MLB.com the Yankees are playing four games above their expected record. Is this because they have been "lucky" or because they gave up some huge losses early in the season? I suspect more the latter. And in any case, even if the team was lucky in the past, those wins are in the books.

Meanwhile, Boston has played one game ahead of their expected record. The only team to worry about is TB, but we knew that all along. And all three expected records are essentially the same.

14 monkeypants   ~  Jul 24, 2009 11:11 am

[12] If the Yankees had a crazy good record in one-run games, I would be more concerned. But at 15-11 it looks like they have only been about two games worth of lucky. Boston has picked up one game (15-13) and TB has lost a game (14-16).

15 51cq24   ~  Jul 24, 2009 12:06 pm

maybe some of us have been so affected by the joba conversation that we forget that a good bullpen really is very important. our bullpen sucked at the beginning of the year, and now it's great, in large part because of hughes and aceves. hughes has been lights out in the pen, and was not very good as a starter. if he were to go back to the rotation, he'd probably be another 5-6 inning guy (at most). what do you do about the bullpen??

[9] speaking of kennedy, has anyone seen any update since his surgery?

16 The Mick536   ~  Jul 24, 2009 12:21 pm

Willie Miranda. I didn't realize they switched positions based on who was hitting.

1934. Gehrig's greatest year. Won the triple crown, something the Babe never did. Great article in the H of F magazine on triple crown winners and players who have led the league in all three, but not the same year. Grove won 26. Yanks finished second. Injuries killed them.

17 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 24, 2009 12:48 pm

The A's are going to be boring to watch at the Stadium when I go tomorrow


The Athletics and Cardinals have completed a trade that sends outfielder Matt Holliday to St. Louis in exchange for third baseman Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

In addition, sources said the Athletics will throw in $1.5 million to the Cardinals.

18 ms october   ~  Jul 24, 2009 12:51 pm

[15] newsday had something on kennedy the other day. the link seems to be messed up - but the gist of it is he is doing pretty well - seemingly ahead of schedule; throwing on flat ground; he might play in the mil this year and it seems they really want him in winter ball again

19 RIYank   ~  Jul 24, 2009 1:08 pm

[17] Yeah, it's just not going to be the same watching Oakland without that $1.5 million.

20 PJ   ~  Jul 24, 2009 1:10 pm

$27K for that 100+ year-old board game? Laughable!

I wouldn't take four times as much for either that or my autographed ball!

: )

21 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 24, 2009 1:41 pm

St Louis needed Holliday, even at his Away numbers. My bet is this opens the tradegates for the next seven days. Oakland may make more deals, too, now this signal's sent.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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