Bombers return home to face the O’s, White Sox and then 4 against Boston.
[Picture by Tom Clark]
Following the Y ankess changed for the better when Pete Abraham started the Lo Hud Yankees blog. Fortunately for us, Chad Jennings has maintained Pete’s high standard after Pete left to cover the Red Sox for the Boston Globe.
Meanwhile at SI.com, Jay Jaffe’s got 10 bold predictions for the second half.
Here’s one that doesn’t come as a surprise:
The Yankees will miss the playoffs
They’re 51-44 at this writing, three games back in the wild-card race, but while they’ve hung surprisingly tough without Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira for most of the season, the bet here is that they’ve peaked before the cavalry of returns and deadline acquisitions has arrived. With their offense scoring less than four runs per game, it’s been their pitching that’s kept them afloat, but their run differential is in the red (-2). A closer look shows that at least among their starters, only Hiroki Kuroda and fill-in Ivan Nova have been preventing runs at a better-than-average rate, while CC Sabathia has been maddeningly inconsistent and Andy Pettitte has looked his 41 years. For the first time since 2008, the Yankees will be on the outside looking in come October.
Blogging will be light today what with the holiday and all.
Meanwhile, Chad Jennings has the recap of Derek Jeter’s first press conference of the spring. As well as some notes on Mark Teixeira and the WBC.
[Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel/AP via It's a Long Season]
“I do think that we have a pretty strong pro scouting department. Our scouts know a lot of these players individually, live near them or around them or played with them or what have you. We get pretty good information. There are certain guys currently in this free agent market who I know have no interest in playing in New York because they flat out told our personnel sometime in the summer. Now they probably wish they didn’t, but that’s good information to know.
“When we start going through our pro scouting meetings, we’ll start going through the player and (a scout will say) ‘This guy does not want to play here. He told me this in this city and he says he’d never play there, doesn’t want to play there.’ Ok, let’s move on. We don’t even cover him any further than that.”
As an example, here’s the story Cashman told:
“I won’t tell you the name, but there was a guy that was on vacation, and there happened to be a Yankee fan that we knew that was on vacation with him in Mexico,” he said. “All he did was badmouth this place, but I can’t tell you how many times he called trying to get a job here when things didn’t go well in free agency for him, and he was desperate to come here, (saying) ‘Oh, I want to be a Yankee.’
“And I wouldn’t even take the call. I was like, you’re so full of it. I even told his agent, ‘Look, tell your client, our people were right there with him drinking those pina coladas when he was badmouthing us. He doesn’t want to play here. He just wants our money.”
Jennings had a great year at the Lo-Hud, continuing the fine tradition established by Pete Abraham.
Mariano Rivera reported to camp yesterday and spoke to the press. Chad Jennings has a thorough recap:
Mariano Rivera left home yesterday, doing what Andy Pettitte couldn’t bring himself to do this winter.
“It’s hard,” Rivera said. “One of my kids was, the little one was attached to my hip, crying. It’s hard. A lot of people don’t see that, that part of the game. You have to leave your family. Even though you’re going to see them, being detached from your family is hard.”
It seems Rivera never seriously considered retirement this offseason, but he admitted that leaving home “gets harder and harder,” and now that his oldest son is 17, Rivera realizes he’s “missed a lot of things.”
“Baseball is not everything,” Rivera said. “That’s what we do, yeah, but there’s still life after baseball. There will come a time when you have to make a decision, even though you still have the abilities to play. That comes within yourself. If you don’t feel it in your heart, you don’t feel it in yourself no more, it’s time to say goodbye because, why are you going to do it if you don’t have the desire to do it? That’s why I thank God for Andy, and I respect him because he just didn’t have the desire to do it no more.”
As always, it will be a pleasure to watch the man work.
Nah, it’s not snowing today–though we’re expecting more of the white stuff this week–but we’ve hit a dead-spot in Yankee news. Okay, this has been a slow winter all around.
Still, Chad Jennings offers a few tidbits, Steve Lombardi looks at the Yankees’ first round draft picks since 1990, Larry Koestler takes on some 2011 projections, and our man William writes about the passing of former-Yankee Ryne Duren.
How many days left ’til pitchers and catchers?
[Photo by Navid Baraty]
AJ Burnett isn’t all bad, after all. Dig this from Chad Jennings:
“It would be silly for Hughesy not to start,” said Burnett.
…“Joe’s the best manager I ever played for…He’s done more for me this year probably than any manager has ever done. He cares about me as a person and as a player. I’ll be down in that pen and be ready to get one out or two outs or whatever I’ve got to do for him.”
Andy Pettitte starts Game 2: This isn’t necessarily a bad decision, because if healthy, Pettitte is a terrific, experienced pitcher who any team would like to have on the mound in a tight spot. That said, foregoing the opportunity to let Phil Hughes pitch before Target Field’s wall of wind (“The Air Monster?”) seems like an error.
…Greg Golson makes the postseason roster: This is not a bad call as Golson can play defense, pinch-run, and swing at a southpaw in an emergency. Hopefully, Joe Girardi can remember not to make moves with Golson that he wouldn’t have made during the regular season. Otherwise, Golson will pinch-run for Nick Swisher in the fourth inning of some game and then end up getting three at-bats.
[Picture by Chris Giarrusso]
Over at Lo-Hud, Chad Jennings looks at who could replace Alex Rodriguez at third. Some of the options include:
Brandon Laird: One of the season’s breakout prospects, Laird jumped to Triple-A at the beginning of August. He was in big league camp this spring, and he needs to be added to the 40-man this winter to be protected him from the Rule 5.
Kevin Russo: Already on the 40-man. Left a good reputation in New York. Hitting .284 this month in Triple-A.
Eduardo Nunez: On the 40-man without good Triple-A numbers all year. He’s primarily a shortstop, but the Yankees have given him starts at third base to increase his versatility.
Jorge Vazquez: Has 13 home runs in 57 Triple-A games. He’s also walked just seven times and hasn’t played third base since July 5.
Greg Dobbs: Or any other major league third baseman who’s been designated for assignment. That includes guys like Craig Counsell, Edwin Encarnacion and Geoff Blum. Brian Cashman said he doesn’t expect to make a move – and in this case I believe him — but there are some options out there.