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Make Like A Banana

The Yankees split their final split-squad action of the spring, losing CC Sabathia’s road start against the Braves and winning Sergio Mitre’s home start against the Blue Jays. Also, two more non-roster outfielders were cut, leaving Marcus Thames as the last man standing for the final bench spot.

Braves 9, Yankees 6


L – Brett Gardner (LF)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)
R – Kevin Russo (SS)
R – Brandon Laird (3B)
L – CC Sabathia (P)

Subs: Walter Ibarra (2B), P.J. Pilittere (C), David Winfree (RF), Austin Krum (CF), Ray Kruml (LF)

Pitchers (IP): CC Sabathia (4 2/3), Pat Venditte (1 1/3), Zach Segovia (2)

Big Hits: Home runs by Jorge Posada (2-for-3, BB), who hit a two-run shot off former battery-mate Scott Proctor with two out in the seventh, and Nick Swisher (1-for-4 with a solo shot). Doubles by Robinson Cano (2-for-4) and Juan Miranda (1-for-4).

Who Pitched Well: No one.

Who Didn’t: CC Sabathia gave up five runs on a walk, a wild pitch, and eight hits including a two-run homer by Clint Sammons in the Braves’ three-run fourth inning and four doubles (two by Troy Glaus, one of which hit the top of the outfield wall and was initially ruled a home run, and one each by Chipper Jones and old buddy Melky Cabrera). Zach Segovia, who has been clinging to major league camp like Bernie Williams to the possibility of a comeback, gave up three runs in the eighth allowing three hits and a walk while striking out just one in two total innings of work. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, brought on this road trip at Joe Girardi’s request, gave up a run in the sixth on two singles and a walk in his first taste of the competition above High-A, where he was dominant last year.

For those fascinated by Venditte, here’s how his outing went:

Pitching righty: retired Yunel Escobar for the last out of the fifth, then gave up a single to Matt Diaz to start the sixth. Switch to lefty: Nate McLouth bunted Dias to second. Switch to righty: Walked Clint Sammons. Switch to lefty: gave up a single to Erik Hinske to load the bases and a sac fly to Matt Young that scored Diaz. With switch-hitter Brooks Conrad coming up, had to declare which hand he’d throw with (right) before Conrad got in the opposite box. Conrad grounded out to end the sixth.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3


R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Nick Johnson (1B)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
S – Randy Winn (RF)
S – Ramiro Peña (2B)
L – Jon Weber (DH)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
R – Greg Golson (CF)

Subs: Jorge Vazquez (1B), Reegie Corona (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Ramiro Peña (3B), Austin Romine (C), Colin Curtis (LF)

Pitchers (IP): Sergio Mitre (6), Damaso Marte (1), Mariano Rivera (1), Boone Logan (1)

Big Hits: A triple by Derek Jeter (2-for-3, BB). Doubles by Ramiro Peña, Marcus Thames (both 1-for-4), and Francisco Cervelli (1-for-3). Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a walk.

Who Pitched Well: Sergio Mitre retired the first nine men he faced before giving up a groundball single to the left of second base, a home run to Aaron Hill, and a double to Adam Lind. Those three hits were the only baserunners Mitre allowed as he walked no one against five strikeouts in six innings. Mariano Rivera struck out one in a perfect eighth. Boone Logan worked around a walk for a scoreless ninth.

Who Didn’t: Relatively speaking, Damaso Marte, who gave up an unearned run in the seventh on an error, a single, a walk, and a sac fly. Also, the first out he recorded traveled about 405 feet to straight-away center, but was tracked down by Greg Golson.

Nice Plays: Golson.

Oopsies: Alex Rodriguez cut Derek Jeter off  on a Vernon Wells bounder then dropped the ball when transferring it to his throwing hand to allow Wells to reach with what would ultimately become the Jays’ third run.

Ouchies: Mark Teixeira‘s elbow was sore on Tuesday, but he had no swelling. Alfredo Aceves (back) could play catch on Wednesday. Blue Jays catcher Kyle Phillips hit Ramiro Peña in the helmet with his return throw to the pitcher in the eighth. Peña was more surprised and amused than hurt.

Cuts: Marcus Thames has hit .152 this spring. Jon Weber has hit .483, but it was Weber who got send to minor league camp on Tuesday. The reasons are plentiful. Chief among them, the Yankees want a right-handed outfield bat on their bench and Weber hits lefty. Also the 33-year-old Thames has a .491 career slugging percentage in 1,709 career plate appearances, while the 32-year-old Weber has a .473 career slugging percentage in the minors and has never appeared in a major league game. Weber also failed to walk or homer this spring, while Thames has two of each, though it’s easy and not inappropriate to argue that Weber was too busy getting hits to worry about taking ball four and his four extra-base hits (all doubles) were one more than Thames’ total of three.

Weber has earned a starting job in Scranton and put himself on the short list for outfield call-ups, though he remains hindered by being a non-roster player. That means the Yankees could find themselves with a 32-year-old rookie on the bench at some point this season. It would be a great story if it happened, but one the local media will beat to death and a bad sign for the team.

The actual right-handed batter competing with Thames, David Winfree, was also farmed out on Tuesday. He hit .269 with one walk and one homer (his only extra-base hit) in camp. Winfree, Greg Golson, and Weber will be the starting outfiend in Scranton. Golson is the only one of the three on the 40-man roster.

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Mar 31, 2010 1:06 am

SG at RLYW (http://www.rlyw.net/) has the AL East Projections from 5 different systems. Take a look.

2 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 31, 2010 6:00 am

If the Yankees need one thing, it's a good right handed bat off the bench. The Mariners just outright released Ryan Garko last night. He has a career line of .313/.392/.495 against lefties. Considering he signed a 500K contract with the Mariners, I can't imagine the cost would be high. Hopefully, Cashman is ready to pounce.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 31, 2010 8:36 am

[2] Girardi has said that just because Thames is the last man in camp doesn't mean he's made the team. Garko's a statue in the outfield, but then Thames isn't much out there either.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 31, 2010 8:55 am

The Yanks could also try to get Shelley Duncan's big righty stick back, though the Indians probably plan to bring him back up at some point.

5 Raf   ~  Mar 31, 2010 9:33 am

Elijah Dukes is still available as well.

6 Yankster   ~  Mar 31, 2010 10:20 am

Very fine write up. I'm itching for the season to start.

7 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 31, 2010 10:41 am

[3] I think the Yankees could and should carry an extra right handed bat. If it comes down to Thames versus Garko, I'd go with the bat.

[4] [5] Garko is an excellent hitter against lefties...those guys aren't. I really think this move is a no brainer. Garko would not only provide a good right bat, but nice insurance to cash in when Johnson misses his customary 6 weeks.

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 31, 2010 10:53 am

[8] sold

9 Paul   ~  Mar 31, 2010 11:20 am

I'm down with Garko too. But I don't think Cashman will be. He tends to value the concept of defense more than the reality. Thames is technically an OF. Garko is technically a 1B. Neither are either.

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