March 2010

Breaking News: CC Sabathia to Star in Fat Albert Sequel



CC will play Fat Albert!!!

“Hey Hey Hey!” According to a recent press release, New York Yankee ace CC Sabathia has agreed to play Fat Albert in the sequel to the 2004 film of the same name. Sabathia will take over for Keenan Thompson, who played the title character in the first movie.


Filming of Fat Albert 2: When Pudding Attacks is set to begin the day after the 2010 World Series, which the Yankees are expected to win.


“I’m excited about it,” Sabathia said in a recent statement.


“I know I am the ace of the Yankee pitching staff but opportunities like this don’t come around very often. I needed to jump at this chance when it was put in front of me. Right after baseball ends this year, I start a new job. It’ll be great!”


Calling the shots behind the camera is Joel Zwick, who directed the first movie in 2004. Zwick’s past work also includes the direction of My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding as well as several episodes of Full House and Family Matters. The director is ecstatic about Sabathia’s role and he expressed his delight to have a sports star playing the lead.


Zwick feels the movie will be an instant blockbuster smash.


“We had Keenan play Albert in the first movie and we did a 4.0 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database, which was terribly disappointing,” Zwick said.


“But CC brings a certain charisma to the part and I think the second movie will be much better than the first. People will want to come and see this one. I know it.”



Joel Zwick will return to direct the sequel..but Keenan Thompson will not return to star 

Thompson was said to be extremely unhappy with Zwick’s decision to use Sabathia over him, and wanted to return to play Fat Albert for the sequel. The former Nickelodeon star feels his work in the 2004 movie was good enough to reprise his role.


“I can’t believe he called CC instead of me!” Thompson exclaimed.


“I might as well just call my man Kel (Mitchell) and do a reunion of the Keenan and Kel Show on TeenNick. There is nothing good on Nickelodeon anymore as it is, so maybe we can fix that. I’m just mad I can’t play Fat Albert again. It makes me want to order 50 fish tacos and eat them all.”


Sabathia rebuked Thompson and stood by his feelings. The Yankees’ number one man believes he earned the role over Thompson and also feels the sequel will be a huge success.


“Tell Keenan to quit his whining,” Sabathia said.


“He complains more than Kevin Youkilis after facing Joba Chamberlain. He just cannot admit that he was terrible as the lead in the first movie and that I will upstage him (in every way possible) in the sequel. This movie will dance circles around the first one.”


Bill Cosby, creator of the Fat Albert franchise, is happy to have Sabathia portraying the character he made. Cosby cited Sabathia’s fun-loving nature and kind personality as a perfect match for the character.


“CC is great for this,” Cosby said.


“I am very happy Keenan is not going to butcher my work again. CC can certainly revive the character and the whole franchise. This movie will the biggest thing since red Jello!”


Although it is not yet known who will play the junkyard gang, Sabathia already approached Zwick with some suggestions. He entertained the idea of using other Yankee players to act in the movie.



Curtis Granderson to play Mushmouth....??? 

“I told Joel we should get Curtis Granderson to play Mushmouth,” Sabathia said.


“I think he can master the art of Ubbi Dubbi and can really do a great job. Curtis has that funny quality and he would be an awesome addition to the movie. Plus, it would be funny to see him with that hat on!”


Granderson told the Associated Press he would not mind acting in the movie.


“This will be the best film I have ever directed,” Zwick said.


“Just wait until it comes out in the theatres. Every showing will be sold out!”


Fat Albert 2: When Pudding Attacks is set to open in December of 2011.



**If anyone believes this, you are very gullible. Happy April Fool’s Day!!!!


Also seen at Bleacher Report

Yankees vs. Tigers: Thoughts and Notes

With one week and one day left of spring training baseball, the Yankees are starting to get into regular season form. Saturday afternoon the Bronx Bombers beat the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland by a score of 2-1.


Here’s what I made of it…


A.J. Burnett



Dr. Jekyll-Burnett came to play today 

Coming into this game A.J. Burnett was 0-1 this spring, not exactly setting the Yankees on fire. I recently wrote a blog about Burnett, calling out his inconsistency and how everyone compared him to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last season.


Today, he was “Dr. Jekyll-Burnett.”


The Yanks’ number two man tossed 91 pitches over 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He only gave up three hits, struck out two, and issued three walks. Not a bad day at the office for Burnett and it was a good sign, considering the Tigers played most of their regulars.


Manager Joe Girardi liked what he saw from Burnett today too; the skipper said he was “mixing his pitches, using the fastball more effectively, and was demonstrating better control than his last few starts.”


Could not have said it better myself. Burnett was also in a good rhythm with Jorge Posada, who was catching him this afternoon. Many people have made issues about the Burnett-Posada battery in the past, but if they work together as nicely as they did today there won’t be many problems.


Overall, Burnett looked great. A smooth and effortless delivery, a good fastball, a great breaking pitch, and everything was working for him. Let’s just hope he pitches like this for the better part of the upcoming season.


Burnett will have one more start this spring before April 6–his first regular season start in Boston vs. the Red Sox.


Former Teams



Each player who lent a hand in scoring today played for the other team last year 

What was interesting about this game was the scoring. The Yankees scored two runs, both of which were brought on by former Tigers. The Tigers plated one run, which was scored by a former Yankee.


In the top of the first, Curtis Granderson knocked in Posada with a two-out RBI single. Of course Granderson played for the Tigers last season, as did Marcus Thames.


With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, Thames took Tigers’ starter Nate Robertson deep to left for a long solo home run, a blast that gave the Yankees the lead they would not relinquish.


I think Thames needed that home run, considering the abysmal spring he is having. Heading into that at-bat, he was only averaging .114 at the plate. Yikes!


As for the Tigers, former Yank Johnny Damon scored in the bottom of the third on an RBI single off the bat of Magglio Ordonez. After Damon hit a two-out double Ordonez drove him in from second with a base hit to right field. I have to give credit to Randy Winn, who nearly made a spectacular outfield assist.


Damon just beat the throw to home plate, which was right on the money. A solid effort and a great throw by Winn, but the former Yankee was called safe at home.


It was just a strange day in terms of the scoring. Not many runs and a former player on each team lent a hand in each run. Crazy!


Joba Chamberlain


Joba Chamberlain will begin the season in the 'pen 


As announced on Thursday, Joba Chamberlain will begin the season in the bullpen. Phil Hughes won the fifth starting pitcher’s spot, much to the dismay of many people including Chamberlain.


A good friend of mine called me almost immediately after the Yankees made the decision. I answered my phone and he literally went off about how angry he was how Hughes was named the fifth starter over Chamberlain. His argument was that the Yanks wasted time with the “Joba Rules” and how they treated him last year.


Think about it: they put Chamberlain on six days rest and then had him go out and throw 4 1/3 innings in some instances. They put him through all of that just to make him a reliever again? My friend said,


“He may not have been Roy Halladay right off the bat, but Rome was not built in a day.”


Excellent point. Chamberlain is only 24 years old. If he was 34 years old and not performing at a high level as a starter, then I would say leave him in the bullpen.


I think many people forget what he did in July 25, 2008 against the Red Sox at Fenway. Chamberlain started the game and tossed seven shutout innings against the BoSox, beating the ace of the Red Sox staff, Josh Beckett. Not only did he pick up the win in that game, he only allowed three hits and fanned nine batters.


The capability and talent is there. He just needs a chance to put it to use.


Chamberlain said Hughes did a better job during spring training and earned the spot, but he also said he was disappointed. He has a right to feel that way. Everyone was expecting him to be the fifth guy and I can tell he wanted to be. But I think one thing has to be made clear:


Even though Hughes is starting the year in the rotation, it doesn’t mean Chamberlain won’t be there. If Hughes struggles (the way he has in the past as a starter) Chamberlain could very well be plugged into that spot and get some starts. Nothing is set in stone; it just means Hughes is starting the year in the rotation!


Maybe everything will work out fine. Perhaps Hughes will find his niche in the rotation while Chamberlain finds his in the ‘pen. Just as he has proven to be a dominant starter, Chamberlain can be just as deadly as a reliever.


After all, he did pitch a scoreless ninth inning today and pick up a save.


Other Notes:



Spring Training 

–The Tigers’ spring training field is named “Joker Marchant Stadium.” Detroit officially wins the award for silliest Stadium name. Ever.


–David Robertson took over for Burnett and got out of the sixth inning. The more I watch him, the more I like him. He is great!


–Chad Gaudin was released by the Yankees. He made seven starts for the Bronx Bombers last year and the Yanks were 7-0 in those games. I hope he finds a new team, he can really help a ball club the way he helped the Yankees.  


–Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano did not make the trip over to Lakeland today.


–Nick Johnson played first base this afternoon. I think it’s good he can play the field, but unfortunately he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts at the plate. He did draw a walk though.


–As mentioned before, Randy Winn almost made a great outfield assist. Even though he missed it, he still did a great job in right field. He made some nice catches and even doubled up a runner at first after an awesome snag. I’ll give him a lot of credit–he won some battles with the sun and wind today!


–The Tigers have a minor leaguer named Michael Rockett. Deik Scram, Michael Rockett…Jeesh, the Tigers are chuck full of minor leaguers with funny names!


–Chan Ho Park’s nickname is “Chop.” Cool. Even cooler, he worked his way out of a 1st and 3rd, one-out jam in the eighth inning.


–Joel Zumaya of the Tigers struck out the side in the sixth inning. He whiffed Granderson, Winn, and Ramiro Pena. I am officially scared of him again. He has been practically a non-factor these past two seasons, but his fastball hit 99 mph on the speed gun and his curve ball was NASTY. I am not looking forward to facing him this year.


–During the telecast, Michael Kay and Tino Martinez had a discussion about the pies to the face after a walk-off win. Kay said the dynasty teams were “very conservative” and that Paul O’Neill (at first) did not like the pies after the walk-off wins.


Martinez however liked them and said the team did not look like they were having fun the last five-six years. “The pies loosened them up,” Martinez elegantly stated.

I have to side with favorite player during the dynasty (Martinez) and say he was right.


–Tomorrow afternoon the Yankees take on the Tigers yet again, only this time they will play in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field.   

The Yankees are My Superheroes




The Yanks are Heroes

On an everyday basis during the baseball season, the Yankees make me believe in things. They make me feel strong. Whether it is crushing a 400 foot home run or throwing a 99 mph fastball, it’s almost as if the Bronx Bombers possess powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men.


Simply put, the Yankees are my superheroes.


Then I got to thinking: if the Yankees were superheroes, which ones would they be? I put together a list of Bombers who represent comic book heroes. I tried to match each hero to a Yankee in accordance to their attributes and personality.




Derek Jeter: Superman




Superman Jeter 

When you think of Superman, you think of strength, speed, and power. Derek Jeter has all those tools. He is strong, in a sense that knows how to win. He is fast, in a sense that he can outdo pretty much anyone on the field. And he is powerful in terms of his personality.


Jeter can do just about anything when it comes to baseball the same way Superman can do just about anything when it comes to saving the world. One example of that was July 1, 2004. The Yankees were playing the Red Sox in heated game at Yankee Stadium.


Trot Nixon popped a fly ball down the third baseline. On his horse, Jeter ran as fast as he could and with his arms outstretched like the man of steel, he dove into the stands and caught the ball for an out. It was one of the most spectacular plays of the year and probably in the history of Yankee Stadium.


Drawing another comparison between the two, Superman is the leader of the Justice League. Jeter is the Yankee captain. If Jeter had to be compared to any hero, it would have to be Superman.


Powerful, quick, strong-willed, humble, and mild-mannered: Jeter is the ultimate Yankee Superman. There probably isn’t anyone who would argue that point, either.


Jeter’s middle name is Sanderson, but it should be Superman. Just saying.


Mark Teixeira: Batman



Tex is like Batman 

Ever since he arrived in Gotham City, Batman has dominated. The same can be said of Mark Teixeira. Last season, Teixeira arrived on the Yankee scene and has just captured everyone’s imagination and attention.


It seems there are two sides of Teixeira. There’s the suave, handsome, and debonair man we see conducting interviews and smiling for the camera. Then there’s the aggressive side we see during the games; he gets his game face on, takes the field, and beats down the opposition.


Batman is the same way. First there is Bruce Wayne, the charming, breathtaking billionaire playboy. Then when he puts the costume on he is Batman, a ruthless, rugged individual ready to bring hardened criminals to justice.


Also like Batman, Teixeira has displayed a quick temper. When the Yankees’ first baseman was beaned by Vicente Padilla back in June of 2009, he did not handle it well. Teixeira became infuriated and mouthed off to Padilla.


Batman would have done the same thing in that situation. The dark knight does not take abuse like that and when you try to mess with him, you better watch out. Just ask the Joker, the Penguin, or the Riddler!


Teixeira is a lot like the caped crusader. And putting it into perspective, not only he is the Yankees’ bat-man, but he does it with the leather, too. I guess you can say Teixeira is a “gold glove bat-man.”


He can do it all.


Alex Rodriguez: The Incredible




A-Rod's the Hulk!  


Watching Alex Rodriguez in the 2007 season was one of the most enjoyable times for me as a Yankee fan. It seemed as if the whole world was watching him. They watched, not really to see if he would homer (because he basically hit a homer every game), but to see how far his home runs would go.


Rodriguez’s 2007 MVP season was just an utter display of sheer power.


And when you think of superheroes who just feed off power, the Incredible Hulk comes to mind. In the comic book world, Dr. Bruce Banner was exposed to the blast of a gamma bomb he created. In turn, he created a monster. After the accident, whenever he gets angry he transforms into the Hulk.


Not saying Rodriguez is a green, 300-pound, Frankenstein. But like the Hulk he has an impulsive nature and really can be a monster when it comes to baseball.


In terms of his impulsive attitude, remember back to July 24, 2004. Rodriguez was hit on the left elbow with a pitch by Bronson Arroyo. He tossed his bat down and angrily lipped off to the Red Sox pitcher.


Don’t get him angry. You will not like A-Rod when he’s angry.


Of course a melee ensued and Rodriguez went at it with Jason Varitek. I still have the image of Don Mattingly trying to calm Rodriguez in my head. He was absolutely livid. Rodriguez just has the temper that other players don’t want to mess with. He and the Hulk share a lot of the same traits.


Above all of his tools, Rodriguez is known for his power and the same goes for the Hulk.


Mariano Rivera: Thor



Mariano is Thor! 

Many people know Mariano Rivera by one or two names. “The Sandman,” because he puts his opponents to sleep. “Mo,” because it’s just a shorter version of his first name. But another nickname was given to the great Rivera: “the Hammer of God.”  


Thor is a comic book character who wields a hammer.


But it’s not just the hammer that makes Thor comparable to the great Rivera. Among Thor’s powers are superhuman strength, durability, and longevity. Those powers could not possibly come any closer to Rivera’s.


The cutter is probably the strongest and most effective pitch in the game of baseball. Rivera is one of the most durable closers there ever was. And finally, he has been the best closer in the game since he became a closer in 1997, showcasing his brilliant longevity.


Along with his powers, Rivera has stood toe-to-toe with some of the best hitters in the world. Thor has gone up against several mythical foes, like Hercules and Galactus. Both heroes have stood up against some of the deadliest adversaries, making them so alike it’s scary.


There could not be a better hero than Thor to compare Rivera to.


Robinson Cano: The Green Lantern



Cano is like the Green Lantern 

In brightest day or in blackest night, Robinson Cano always comes up big. Whether it’s at the plate or with his glove, this young second baseman has everything going for him.


The Green Lantern is a superhero who wears a jumpsuit and wields a power ring that can pretty much do anything. Like Cano, he is young, abrasive, and does anything he can to help his team win.


One power the ring gives the Green Lantern is flight. He can soar through the air and basically conquer any evil he sees. Cano has that same function; although he technically cannot fly, he glides across the infield making hair-raising grabs and superhuman-like web gems.


Although it is a mighty weapon, Green Lantern’s ring needs to be charged every so often. It runs on a battery and Cano is the same way. Even though he is quite durable on the field, he needs rest in order to stay on top. In 2008 he was forced to start almost every game and his game became sloppy as a result. It probably stemmed from too much playing time and he needed to sit out.


Whatever the case, Cano has a tendency to aid his team in victory without necessarily putting the team on his back. Green Lantern and Cano have a lot in common.


CC Sabathia: Beast


CC the Beast 


I searched long and hard, trying to think up a hero that CC Sabathia reminds me of. When it came down to make a decision, I came across the perfect match: Beast.


A student of Professor X, Beast is a lot like the Yankees’ ace. He is big, beefy, and has amazing stamina. Sabathia, really an avid student of the game of baseball, is big, beefy, and has amazing stamina.


Beast once fought Magneto, the Juggernaut, and the sentinels all at once. He is so powerful; he can fight ridiculously strong villains all by himself. Not only does he fight them, he manhandles them!


I look at what Sabathia did in the 2009 playoffs and compare him to Beast. He went up against some of the strongest players in the game. I’m talking about Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Torii Hunter, and Joe Mauer.


Sabathia did not just beat these players, he demolished most of them.


Any way you look at it, Sabathia is so much like Beast. Not really just his looks, but how he handles himself in battle. They have a lot in common and their powers are pretty much equally matched.


Come to think about it, Alex Rodriguez called Sabathia a “beast” after Game Four of the ALCS…   


Nick Swisher: Michelangelo



Party dudes! 

He may not be a “hero in a half shell,” but Nick Swisher exhibits a lot of qualities that the orange ninja turtle has. He is fun-loving, has an infectious personality, and wants only the best for his team.


Described in the 1987 ninja turtles cartoon, Michelangelo is “a party dude.” There is no better way to sum up Swisher. The Yankees’ right fielder has that mentality of being a “party dude.” He wants to play the game and have fun, which is what it is all about.


Although Michelangelo does not have hair, I cannot really make the comparison to the Swish-hawk. However, recently I noticed Swisher shaved his head. Maybe it was only for spring training and he will grow the hawk back for opening day?


Who knows. But I do know that Swisher is like Mike. Rock on, boys!


Brett Gardner: The Flash


Brett the Flash! 


This one really was a no-brainer.


The Flash is the fastest man alive but Brett Gardner is the fastest man on the Yankees. He might even be the fastest man in Major League Baseball (Yes, I said it Jose Reyes. Faster than you!)


In the comic books, Superman and the Flash once had an argument about who is the fastest man alive. To settle their dispute, they decided to race around the world. In fact, the duo had several races many of which the Flash won because his main power is speed.


Like the Flash, Gardner’s main tool is speed. What he lacks in power and throwing ability he makes up for with his wheels. He can outrun probably anybody on the diamond and do it in convincing fashion.


On May 15, 2009, it took Gardner 14 seconds to run 360 feet around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. No disrespect to the Flash, but I’m not even sure he could pull that off! It was the most amazing show of speed I have ever seen in my life. (I’m glad I was there at Yankee Stadium to see it in-person, too!)  


If there is any hero to compare Gardner to, it’s the Flash. I’d like to see them race around the world to find out who is faster. It would be an interesting race!


Well that’s all. Hope you enjoyed my list!


Also seen at Bleacher Report

Will the Real A.J. Burnett Please Show Up?



A.J. dominated Game Two of the World Series

On Thursday Oct. 29 of last year, the Yankees were in an unfamiliar spot. The night before, they had lost the first game of the World Series in convincing fashion, dropping a 6-1 decision in Game One. For Yankee fans everywhere, it was frightening to be down 0-1 to a team like the Philadelphia Phillies.


Even more frightening was the fact that the Yanks were sending the enigmatic A.J. Burnett to the mound, a mostly inconsistent number two starter with a 13-9 regular season record. For most of the second half of the 2009 season, the Yankees were unsure of which version of Burnett would show up to pitch: the good or the bad.


Many even compared Burnett to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.



Good Burnett? Bad Burnett? 

Burnett answered everyone by going out to the mound in Game Two dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas. He was able to adjust to the home plate umpire’s strike zone and eventually racked up nine strikeouts over seven innings of work. Not to mention the first 11 Phillies Burnett faced saw first-pitch strikes, indicating he was on top of everyone that night. The Yankees beat the Phillies 3-1 in Game Two behind Burnett’s stunning performance.


In Game Two of the World Series, it’s safe to say we saw “Dr. Jekyll-Burnett.”


However in Game Five of the fall classic, Burnett was forced to pitch on three days rest, with manager Joe Girardi “sticking with his horses in the World Series.” In other words, the Yankee skipper only used CC Sabathia, Burnett, and Andy Pettitte to start each game.


And in Game Five, we saw “Mr. Hyde-Burnett.”



Burnett was eaten alive in Game Five of the fall classic 

The lanky right-hander only pitched two innings and gave up six earned runs on just four hits. He walked four batters and only struck out two. Burnett hit Shane Victorino in the first inning with a pitch that got away, which led to his downfall. Not long after the hit-by-pitch, Chase Utley came up and hammered a long home run to right field, putting the Phils up 3-1 after the first frame.


In the 2009 World Series, both versions of Burnett showed up. Now with the 2010 season right around the corner, which version of Burnett will we see?


If we were to go by his spring Training numbers to this point, we would have to say “Mr. Hyde-Burnett.” So far this spring, the Yanks’ number two man is 0-1 with an ERA of 9.00. He has given up eight earned runs on 14 hits in eight innings of spring training work. Burnett has also walked eight batters in those eight innings while only striking out six.


His spring training numbers are worse than Joe Biden’s mouth.


Yet looking at each game individually, it seems as though Burnett is not necessarily having a bad spring, just simply pitching as inconsistently as last year. On March 16 against Houston, he tossed only 2 1/3 innings and gave up one earned run on just two hits. The walks were a problem for him, as he issued four free passes, but he answered with two strikeouts.


It was not a terrible outing for a spring tune-up. It could have been much worse.


Then the next time out on Monday March 22, Burnett was mauled by the same team that crushed him in Game Five of the World Series. The Phillies touched him up for five earned runs on seven hits over just four innings. Burnett struck out four, but again showing that control is a problem he is facing, he walked three.


Burnett and Jorge Posada will work together this year 


Some might be making an issue out of the fact that Jorge Posada will most likely be catching him this year, since his regular catcher last year, Jose Molina, is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. The battery claims to have no problems despite what everyone makes of the pair.


“I love to catch A.J.,” Posada told the New York Post in February. “We have never had any issues or problems. It happens in baseball, you do not pitch great all the time.”


Burnett stood on the same side as Posada, stating that “He never questioned Jorge and he never will.” He added that he only questions himself.


When the Yankees and Atlanta Braves were rained out in their exhibition on March 11, Burnett and Posada stayed late at George M. Steinbrenner Field and worked out under the stands in the batting cages. Burnett threw 51 pitches, five of which were curveballs. After the session, Burnett said,


“The fact that Jorge stayed with me meant a lot and we worked like it was an actual game. We made it as game-like as we could and we got a lot out of it, so it was a good workout.”


How the two respond in the regular season as constant battery mates remains to be seen, however.


Historically, Burnett has been a “first-half pitcher,” and proved that last season. In his first two starts last April, Burnett quickly picked up two wins and even took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 14. Although Burnett has that kind history in the past of coming out strong, he also proved last season that he can be dominant and shaky throughout.



How will A.J. do this year? 

In July of 2009, Burnett went 4-0 and the Yankees did not lose a game he started. Yet when August came, he quickly became a different pitcher. On Aug. 7, he went head-to-head with Josh Beckett in a classic pitcher’s duel. After that, he did not win a game in almost a month.


When Burnett is on, he can come up big. But when he is off his game, he has a tendency to come down hard. With the way his first year in pinstripes went and with how his second Spring Training as a Yankee is going, it begs the question:


Which Burnett will show up in April?

Yankees vs. Tigers: Thoughts and Notes

In the first game of a split-squad doubleheader, the New York Yankees topped the Detroit Tigers 6-2 on Friday afternoon. 


Overall it was a good win. The team looked about as solid as they can be, coming off the 6-4 win over Tampa Bay last night. The Bombers will play the Rays again tonight in game two of their twin bill.


A few players and plays stood out this afternoon. All I can say is the Yankees are looking better and better as Spring Training continues!


CC Sabathia



CC Sabathia fanned 8 Tigers this afternoon 

The Yankee ace wasn’t having a great spring coming into today’s start. In fact, his numbers were brutal. 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA was the line on Sabathia up until today, indicating a little rust, I suppose. He pitched so much last season and into the playoffs, so he needed that rest in the off-season. But as the old saying goes, “when you rest, you rust.”


Yet Sabathia looked anything but rusty today.


The big man tossed 5 1/3 innings, surrendered four hits, and was charged with two runs this afternoon. He walked only two and struck out eight Tigers, making some of Detroit’s best hitters look as silly as the Joker at a comedy show.


The breaking ball, the fastball, and the changeup were working perfectly for Sabathia today. I will admit I had some doubts in the first inning. He quickly gave up a run and I thought “here we go again.” But he settled in nicely and found a good rhythm with catcher Francisco Cervelli. They looked to be on the same page all afternoon.


After today, I feel a lot better about Sabathia. Not that I ever really felt bad about him, despite the shaky spring. He always finds a way to win and always comes up big when the Yankees need him to.


I said it once and I’ll say it again: I believe in CC Sabathia.


Alex Rodriguez



Alex Rodriguez hit a TITANIC homer today!!! 

In the bottom of the third inning, Alex Rodriguez stepped into the box against Rick Porcello. The three-time MVP smacked a long, and I mean LONG, solo home run over the left-centerfield fence. As a matter of fact, the ball cleared the scoreboard and landed well beyond George M. Steinbrenner Field.


“That…was a BOMB!” It was all I could say.


Rodriguez went 2-for-3 today and he looks to be in top shape for this season. Last year he did not return to the lineup until May 8 because of the hip injury. The Yankees (and more notably Mark Teixeira) struggled in his absence.


2010 might be a different story, though. There are no injuries and he will be starting the season in regular form. I have a feeling he’ll have a typical “A-Rod season.” Look for about 35-40 home runs, over 100 RBIs, a batting average around .300, and probably 100 runs scored.


That is, unless, he stupefies us all like he did in 2007. That’s always appreciated, as well!


All I can say is “wow” to that homer he hit today. He absolutely crushed the ball and got very good wood on it. I shouldn’t even say “crushed.” Obliterated is probably the operative word. He said after the game he “lost track of it, but knew he hit it a long ways.”


That you did, A-Rod. That you did.


Derek Jeter



Derek Jeter was 1-for-3 with two RBIs vs. Detroit 

Last night vs. Tampa Bay, the Yankee captain looked to have tweaked his hand a little bit. He was grimacing as he was taking warm-ups, but stayed in the game. He also said nothing was bothering him (as usual) and he started today.


Not only did he start today, but he had a good game.


Jeter went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk. The captain knocked in both runs on a single in the bottom of the second, which put the Yankees ahead, 3-1. His hitting is exactly what we all expect at this point. Jeter’s been through Spring Training so many times, I’m sure he is used to it by now.


Along with his hitting, his defense looks great, too. Whoever said his range has gone down really needs to get their eyes checked. This spring, Jeter has been moving around just as well as he has his whole career.


It’s just good to know he did not hurt his hand last night and he had a good day today.


Mariano Rivera



Mariano Rivera gave up no runs & threw just 10 pitches Friday 

The Yankees’ closer needed just 10 pitches to retire the Tigers in the seventh inning today. Mariano Rivera’s line for the day: no runs, no hits, no errors, no men left on base…one strikeout.


It never gets old seeing that.


Like the rest of the veterans, Rivera also looks to be in top form. He always is, it’s nothing new for him. I noticed that his velocity was down in the low-mid 80s at first, but he eventually made it up to the 90s toward the end of the inning.


I think velocity is not something that really matters when it comes to Rivera’s pitching. So many hitters have already said, “We all know the cutter is coming–yet no one can ever hit it.” My favorite quote was by Mike Sweeney, who once said,


“People always ask why you can’t hit Mo’s cutter when you know it’s coming. Well, you know what’s going to happen in a horror movie, but it still gets you.”


Best quote about the cutter. Ever.


I think people also need to realize, it’s not an easy pitch to hit. The cutter runs inside on left-handed hitters and tails away from righties. One player once remarked, “At first you think the ball is outside, and then it comes right in toward your hands.” Honestly, it’s probably the nastiest pitch there is.


Last year Rivera had 44 saves in 46 save opportunities with a 1.76 ERA. With the way he’s been pitching for the last 15 years or so, he might duplicate that in 2010. Knowing him, I would not doubt it. He said he will have about five more outings this spring and he is set to pitch again on Sunday.



Other Notes



Spring Training 

–Nick Johnson worked an 11 pitch at-bat in the fourth inning, ending in a walk. I expect more of this from him this year. It’s good to have a patient hitter in the lineup.


–Royce Ring pitched yet another scoreless inning. I think a roster spot could be in his future. I like him!


–In the 6-4 win over Tampa last night, Chan Ho Park tossed his first inning this spring. No runs, no hits, no walks, and a strikeout, along with making a nice bare-handed play for an out. Good stuff, let’s see if he can keep it up!


–In addition to Park’s good outing, Colin Curtis hit another three-run home run in last night’s win. I like this kid. I know he won’t make the team coming right out of the gate, but Curtis may make a case for a call-up this year, even if it’s at the end in September. He has a great left-handed swing, tailor-made for Yankee Stadium. I hope we see more of him, he’s got some pop!


–Joe Girardi stated that he hopes to have a decision on the fifth starting pitcher by March 25 or 26. If you ask me…anyone but Joba Chamberlain at this point. I have no clue who I would choose for that spot at the moment.


–Johnny Damon did not make the trip to GMS Field today. We didn’t see our old friend.


–We did however see Austin Jackson (we barely knew ye) and Phil Coke today. I have to ask…WHAT did Phil Coke do to himself? He looks like a hippie straight out of the 1970s! He has long hair and a mustache and looks…not right. Cut your hair and shave, Cokey!


–Coke did however have a good outing, as he struck Alex Rodriguez out swinging and then proceeded to retire Robinson Cano and Marcus Thames in order.  


–The Tigers played one of their AA minor leaguers by the name of Deik Scram. He is a centerfielder. Nice name! Kind of reminds me of Stubby Clapp.


–Tomorrow the Yankees will play the Houston Astros, Sunday the Tigers again, and then Monday they travel to Clearwater to play Philadelphia Phillies.


Final Thought:


Francisco Cervelli played today. As we all know, he has suffered three concussions and needs to wear a somewhat large, protective helmet. The YES Network made a reference to Gazoo, an imaginary cartoon character who always talked to Fred Flintstone.


I have to admit, Cervelli’s helmet does resemble Gazoo’s…

Hello dum-dum!!

Tribute to Uncle John



A Mets fan dies, goes to Heaven, and is promised a palace to live in. The palace is said to be completely and totally decked out in Mets gear; pennants, posters, and pinups all bearing the orange and blue.


When the man arrived to Heaven, he noticed a castle all decked out in Yankee gear. He walks up to God and asks him about it.


“What is the deal? I thought you promised me a Mets house!”


God replies, “Oh the Yankee palace? That’s my house!”


My Uncle John Lakis told me this joke the day of my eighth grade graduation party.


Sadly, my uncle passed away yesterday afternoon. He was one of the greatest Yankee fans I knew and more importantly one of the nicest people I knew. He had a kind heart, loved his family with all his heart, and had such a wonderful and infectious personality.


I had the pleasure of working for him over the summer of 2005. We shared many conversations about the Bronx Bombers, politics, and my future goals. He always seemed interested in what I had to say and I always enjoyed and cherished his company.


My Uncle John once told me a story about how he would (occasionally) go to school for half a day and leave in the afternoons to go to Yankee Stadium. He and his friends would get to the ballpark and buy cheap bleacher seats. Then they would spend the rest of the afternoon watching the Yanks win from the grand stands.


It’s funny that he told me that story. Just recently, my journalism mentor has been telling me to enjoy myself and not always be so cautious and tense. In his own words he told me, “get in trouble once in awhile.”


It’s good to know that my uncle had the mentality of having fun. I think he was trying to teach me that by sharing that story with me. Ditching school for a Yankee game is something I have done in the past year, so in a way I think he would be proud of me. 


I guess you have to break the rules sometimes. 


His son, my cousin Thomas (who is also a HUGE Yankee fan), won tickets to a Yankees vs. Braves game back in 2006. June 27 was the day of the game. Tommy had won excellent seats; in fact they were in a luxury box in the loge tier. I had never sat in a luxury box at a Yankee game (or any sporting event, for that matter) and I haven’t since.



we sat in the luxury box in 2006 

I remember talking to my Uncle John about how strange it felt to be sitting there. He remarked by saying that “it just didn’t feel like a real game,” since there were HD televisions in the suite. I’ll admit, the TVs made it feel strange, but so did the atmosphere. There were other people in the box–business men–who spoke about their business trips and work lives.


One of them even made a comment, mentioning how when he had gone to Chicago a few weeks prior, he saw Andy Pettitte pitch. I can only assume the White Sox were hosting the Astros in a 2005 World Series rematch.


As for the Yankees, it was not their night. The Braves handed them a 5-2 loss. Really the only notable highlight of the game was a home run in the ninth inning from Melky Cabrera. It’s kind of ironic when I think about it, now that he plays for the Braves.



Melky homered in the loss we saw to the Braves. Where is Melky now? On the Braves. :/ 

But we had a much better day the very next month.


On July 15, 2006, my other cousin Krystina gave me tickets to a game vs. the White Sox. These were excellent seats; right on the third baseline, practically right behind the White Sox’ dugout. I invited my Uncle John, Tommy, and my cousin Gordon. We all had a “boys day” and traveled down to the Bronx for the game.


And it was a GREAT day to be a Yankee fan!


We sat on the third baseline when we saw the Yanks beat Buehrle & the ChiSox


Mike Mussina made the start against the soon-to-be-perfect Mark Buehrle. He may have tossed a no-no the next year in 2007 and a perfecto in ’09, but the Yankees tore Buehrle apart the day we saw him pitch. They hit him very hard, chasing him from the game after just three innings of work.


Mussina on the other hand was brilliant tossing a quality start and later registering the win. Moose gave up just three runs on eight hits, issuing one walk and fanning five along the way. Let’s just say Mussina was Mussina that day.


(Of all Yankees) Bubba Crosby and Andy Phillips smacked home runs that day–if you even remember who they are. The youngsters may have gone deep, but Derek Jeter, my Uncle John’s favorite player, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.


The Yankees won in a squadoosh, 14-3. My Uncle John was very happy.


What I also loved about the game we all attended vs. the White Sox was the giveaway. The U.S. Postal Service issued collectible stamps of old-time baseball players. We received four stamps. The first bore the image of Mickey Mantle, the second was Mel Ott, the third Roy Campanella, and finally Hank Greenberg.



These were the stadium giveaway stamps we received.  

In fact, each player was represented at a ceremony behind home plate before first pitch. I can’t remember who represented who, but I do know that Mantle’s sons were there, which was pretty special. Now whenever I look at my stamps, I will always think of my uncle.


This past Christmas was the last time I saw my uncle. He pulled me aside and talked to me about possibly going to Florida this spring to see the Yankees work out in Tampa. I am about to graduate college and everyone’s schedules have been too messy, so we obviously were not able to go. He wanted to take me and his boys.


It was something he had wanted to do for awhile, but we never got to do it.


I am going to miss him very much. He was a great boss, a great teacher, an avid and intelligent Yankee fan, and overall a wonderful person. I will not forget him for everything he did for me and I will always remember the great times I had with him.


Uncle John, I wish you peace. We all love you and we will not forget you.


And I’d like to add that Heaven just received a great Yankee fan and a great man.


“I am the resurrection and the life, says the

Lord. Whoever believes in me, even though they

die, shall live. And whoever lives and believes

in me will never die.”–John 11:25-26

Popping the Question at Sporting Events: Yes or No?

“What were you planning on doing? Asking her to marry you at a Yankee game?” Jack Nicholson mockingly asked Adam Sandler in “Anger Management.”


“Yes, how did you know?” he responded.


“I didn’t. I just thought of the corniest thing I could think of.”



marriage proposals at sporting events have become somewhat routine 

A marriage proposal is probably the hardest question any person can ever ask. Think about it: when you pop the question, you are practically asking that person for their life. And when a man proposes to his lady, it’s supposed to be special.


Maybe it’s a moonlight dinner under the stars on a beautiful night. The man pulls out the ring and pops the question. Very romantic, right?


Perhaps the man wants to play it old school and take his lady out to a fine restaurant. He has the waiter put the ring in the champagne glass before bending down on one knee. And at last, pop goes the question.


But what about asking her in public? And not just in public. At a pro sporting event!


At most games, whether it be the seventh inning stretch or halftime, it seems one of the traditional things to do now is propose to the love of your life. Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy. They are both in love with each other. Boy asks girl to marry him at a game.


It doesn’t sound very romantic, but believe it or not some people love the idea. In fact, some girls have even gone as far as saying their dream is to be proposed to at a sporting event. Men have said they think the idea is cool, even though it is a bit clichéd.



Would you pop the question at a pro sports game? 

Although it may have been done many times before, there are innovative ways to propose at a sporting event. For example, on the day of the couples’ anniversary, the man can play it off like he forgot the special day. He then makes the arrangements to have the question written on the scoreboard and when the time comes…will you marry me?


Talk about a good ploy and overall a sweet idea.


Yet there are others who feel strongly toward the other side. Some women feel the idea is not personal at all. Those who have made the argument state that proposing at a sporting event is a “hoax” and “just a way to draw attention to yourselves.”


After all, marriage proposals are not just questions, they are commitments. When you make that proposal, you want to remember it forever. But if you pop the question at a game, wouldn’t you remember it forever anyway?


In my opinion, it depends on who you are. If my girlfriend is a huge Yankee fan as I am, I think she would be more accepting of the idea. In fact, it might be what she wants depending on what type of personality she has.


Would I ever ask my girlfriend to marry me at a Yankee game? Maybe, maybe not. If she has an easygoing demeanor and she is a type of person who wouldn’t mind, then absolutely yes. But if she is the type of person who wants it to be romantic and done in a more traditional way, then I would not go ahead with it.


What I would like to know is when the trend began. Who was the first person to ever propose at a game? It’s almost impossible to find out when exactly it all began, but nonetheless it still remains a staple of most sporting events.



Marisa Tomei said yes to Adam Sandler at Yankee Stadium in  

And if you’re wondering, it worked for Sandler’s character in “Anger Management.” Marisa Tomei, his girlfriend in the movie, said yes in front a live, capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium.


I can only hope I have the same luck if I ever decide to try it.

Yankees vs. Pirates: Thoughts and Notes

It was not a good day to be a Yankee. In another exhibition from “The Boss” on Tuesday, the Yankees dropped a 12-7 decision to the Pirates.


Yes, you heard right. The Yankees lost to the Pirates. I was surprised, not just because the Yanks started most of their regulars and were beaten, but because just yesterday they had shutout the Bucs at their camp.


My thoughts…



CC Sabathia was roughed up Tuesday afternoon 

·       CC Sabathia


The big man did not have it today.


CC Sabathia tossed 2 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two. It had been noted before the game that Joe Girardi wanted his ace to pitch at least three innings and top out somewhere around 50 pitches. He tossed 53 pitches to be exact, but obviously did not make it out of the third frame.


The worst pitch Sabathia threw today was a fastball, middle-in that Garrett Jones crushed for a three-run homer in the first inning. The first inning–mind you–that Sabathia gave up four straight hits and runs before getting anyone out. In fact, the Pirates sent eight batters to the plate in the first.


Not exactly a banner day for Sabathia, if I may say.


It seemed to me that he had some delivery issues. Everyone is familiar with Sabathia’s windup, hesitation, and release of the ball. He didn’t seem to be hesitating as he usually does and I think that threw him off today. Sabathia even said after the outing that he was “collapsing his back side” which caused some problems in his mechanics.


The delivery problem may have been something that was addressed after the first inning, because after the rough first, Sabathia came out and dazzled in the second inning. He was able to retire the side in order, but in the third ran into more trouble and was pulled.


When it comes to a pitcher of Sabathia’s caliber, I tend not to worry so much. Something tells me he won’t have too many days like today. When Opening Day rolls around, I’m confident he’ll be the same pitcher we saw last year. I just hope he doesn’t start slow, which historically he has.


Either way, he’ll be fine. I believe in CC Sabathia.


Nick Johnson smacked two homers today 


·       Nick Johnson


OK, I know I just wrote about Nick Johnson yesterday (and sort of bashed him) but he shut me up today. The Yanks’ new/old designated hitter had two at-bats this afternoon.


And in both at-bats, he homered.


Both shots were quite impressive, too. The first of Johnson’s two home runs came in the first inning. He took a fastball deep to right-center field for a solo job. In the third inning he one-upped himself with a moon shot over the right field wall, another solo blast.


Johnson would have had three at-bats today, but Girardi pinch-hit for him in the fourth. The Yankee skipper said that Johnson is going to play tomorrow and he wants to keep him healthy, so he took him out of the game.


Again, it all goes back to Johnson staying healthy and the question of whether or not he can. He has already sustained a minor injury this spring. He has a history of injuries. Every analyst in the baseball world questions him every year. We’ll have to wait until the season begins and moves to really find out if he can stay healthy, that’s really the bottom line.


I’ll tell you one thing, however; those two homers today looked awfully nice. If he does stay healthy and he swings like he did today, it will mean only good things for the Bronx Bombers.


Randy Winn must prove he is worthy of the pinstripes 


·       Randy Winn


Yesterday Marcus Thames started in left field and did not impress anyone. He was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Talk about a bad day!


Well Randy Winn started in left today and wasn’t much better.


In two at-bats today, Winn was 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. He did score a run, but he also left three runners on base. His defense was not stellar either, as he missed a fly ball in left field sliding and missing the catch.


So far none of the left fielders have impressed me.


Winn hasn’t gotten much playing time this spring. I think today was really his day to showcase his stuff and he did not do it, which is unfortunate for him. He didn’t have the best numbers last year, hitting only two homers and averaging .262 at the plate.


Maybe the Yankees signed him in hopes of a bounce-back type year, but he looks so out of place. I feel for him because it was mentioned today that he had a rough time off the field last year. Winn’s father-in-law died and apparently that hit him hard (as it would anybody) so he did not have the best year in ’09.


I can only hope at this point that he comes back strong. It was only one game, but he has to earn that spot in left field. Same goes for Thames and Jamie Hoffman, who are vying for that position.


Brett Gardner would be the logical choice (and probably will be) the Opening Day left fielder. Yet that final roster spot has to be filled and one of these players must show off what they can do. And collectively, they all need to do better. They looked very sloppy the last two games.




Spring Training 

·       Other Notes


–Francisco Cervelli will play again Friday. It turns out he has sustained three concussions in his young career. He needs to be careful. Concussions are nothing to take lightly. They have ended many young players’ careers in almost every sport.


–Royce Ring looked great in the fifth inning, setting the side down in order while recording a strikeout in the frame. He might not make the Opening Day roster, but if anything were to happen to one of the relievers, he would make a good case to fill in.


–Curtis Granderson continued to struggle up until his final at-bat today. He struck out looking and grounded out before wrapping a leadoff triple in the fifth. Hope we see more of this.


–Romulo Sanchez tossed a perfect sixth inning, lighting up the speed gun at 96 mph. It was nice to see one of the Yankee prospects throwing so hard.


–Hector Noesi pitched today. When he came on in relief the other day I thought he was Edwar Ramirez! They look like the same guy.


–Speaking of Ramirez, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for cash today. We’ll all miss “Flaco.” (If you didn’t know, “flaco” means “skinny” or “thin” in Spanish. This was Ramirez’s nickname in the Yankee clubhouse)


–Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira did not start today. Both had the day off.


–Nick Swisher had an RBI single and a walk today. He is hitting very well so far!


–Jorge Posada was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. That’s a good sign.


–Grapefruit League play resumes Wednesday, as the Yankees will travel to the Detroit Tigers’ camp for an exhibition tomorrow afternoon. Thursday night the Yankees come back home to host the Atlanta Braves. It’ll be nice to see Melky Cabrera again.

Yankees vs. Phillies: Thoughts and Notes

The Yankees had lost four straight games going into today’s spring training match-up, but were finally able to break out of it. The Bronx Bombers beat their 2009 World Series opponents, the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-5 in an exhibition game.


Here’s what I made of today’s win:



Javier Vazquez gave up a homer, but struck out four in his spring debut 

  • Javier Vazquez


The first pitch Javier Vazquez tossed this spring was a meatball. Jimmy Rollins launched Vazquez’s offering over the right field wall for a leadoff home run. It makes sense to me, because the last pitch I remember him throwing in a Yankee uniform was a grand slam in the ALCS. So the first pitch Vazquez threw back in pinstripes had to be a homer.


I guess it was only fitting.


But after the long ball, Vazquez settled down very nicely. He pitched two innings and only gave up one run on two hits. He did not walk a batter and he struck out four of the eight Phillies he faced.


Mixing pitches and pounding the zone, Vazquez looked very good. I think the best-looking pitch he threw today was a changeup that he fooled Chase Utley on for a strikeout. He was able to change speeds effectively as well, bringing the fastball up to the mid 90s before dropping down to the low 80s.


If he can match what he did today during the regular season, Vazquez can win a good amount of games.


Overall, I liked what I saw from him today. Aside from the homer, he was outstanding. And I feel it was important that he bounced back from the leadoff home run as nicely as he did. Vazquez showcased his nerves today and that he can get into some early trouble but rebound in a solid way.



Robinson Cano is having a good spring thus far 

·       Robinson Cano


The young second baseman was brilliant as usual this afternoon.


Robinson Cano boasted some of his defense today, making a brilliant diving catch in the first inning. That play stood out to me because he really showed great lateral range, but the story today was really about Cano’s bat.


In his first at-bat, Cano smacked a double inside the third baseline. He drew a walk in his second at-bat, and finally crushed a go-ahead, two-run single before calling it a day.


Right now Cano is showing that he knows how to play ball in the MLB. Even if he is without his buddy Melky Cabrera.


I love what I am seeing from Cano so far. I’m sure he will keep up the excellent work.


Nick Swisher had a good day, a rebound from his forgettable Friday   


·       Nick Swisher


Let’s just say Nick Swisher’s day was a lot better than the last time I wrote of him.


The right fielder knocked in three runs on the day, all with two outs in the inning. In the fourth, Swisher cracked a two-run double and then followed it up with an RBI ground rule double in the fifth.


Swisher’s hitting was great today. I just hope he can be a little more consistent defensively this season. He isn’t exactly the most athletic player on the field, but he certainly has a lot of athleticism. He’s proven that in the past.


On a Swisher side note, he looks to have shaved his head. Will the “swish-hawk” make a return this year? Or have we seen the last of it?


We’ll see. He will need to grow the hair out again, though. I don’t like the shaved head look for him. Not saying it doesn’t work for some other players, but Swisher…


Come on, Dude!!!



Nick Johnson was 0-for-3 with a walk today 


·       Nick Johnson


Playing in his first game since going down with a stiff back, Nick Johnson laced up his spikes and played today. The Yankees’ designated hitter had three at-bats and did not record a hit.


Johnson popped out twice and walked.


I just don’t have a great feeling about him. Johnson was second in the National League in terms of on-base percentage (with .462). The only other hitter in the N.L. with a higher OPB was Albert Pujols. So obviously Johnson knows how to get on base.


But he only hit eight home runs all of last year even though he did average close to .300 (he hit .291). The home run count has the possibility of climbing, what with Johnson being a left-handed hitter and the short porch at Yankee Stadium.


But we’ll have to wait and see if his power translates from the N.L. back over to A.L. I’m sure it might, if he stays healthy long enough.


I will admit the fact that he had a stiff back so early got underneath my skin. It was not a great first impression. The injury sidelined him for a couple of games, so I’m not really buying into Johnson just yet.


He has to prove to me he can stay healthy. Until then, sorry Nick.  



 ·       Other Notes



Spring Training 


–Ramiro Pena showed some speed and defense today. First he had a bunt single that should have been a routine play, but he beat it out for a hit. Then he made a nice defensive stop at short that he helped turn into a double play.


Nice work, Pena!


–Marcus Thames started in left field. He was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Ouch!


–Francisco Cervelli did not play. He was hit in the head with a fastball on Saturday vs. Toronto and sustained a concussion for it. He did however see a neurologist and Cervelli is cleared to resume activity tomorrow.


If anything extreme were to happen to Cervelli and he would not be able to begin the season, Mike Rivera would be the logical choice to be Jorge Posada’s backup. At press time, Cervelli is slated to be the number two catcher.


–Chan Ho Park was scratched from his bullpen session today with a sore gluteus. I have no comment for this one.


–While one half of the team stayed home and beat Philly, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and the rest of the squad traveled to the Pirates’ camp this afternoon. The captain and A-Rod helped lead the team to a 6-0, one-hit shutout win over the Bucs.


Alfredo Aceves pitched four shutout innings against Pittsburgh. He did not allow a hit and he fanned three, giving the Yankees a little reassurance that he is in good shape.


–The Pirates will travel to Tampa tomorrow afternoon and the Yankees will host them in another exhibition.

Yankees vs. Rays: Thoughts and Notes



Spring Training is designed for tune-upsAs we all know, spring training isn’t really about final scores. It’s about warm-ups, getting in shape, and finding rhythm. Today the Rays handed the Yankees their rear ends for the better part of the day and won 12-7 over the Bronx Bombers.


Instead of getting into all kinds of detail about who scored and when, I’m just going to tell you all my thoughts on what I saw today.



·        Curtis Granderson


Curtis Granderson failed to reach base today and is still without a hit this spring. He flew out twice against two different left-handed pitchers. One of the knocks against him is his inability to consistently hit lefties, so I’m a little concerned for him. But I have a feeling he’ll find his stride.


We’ll give Granderson a little time. I think his bat will come alive soon and he just has to adjust to the new environment. His defense wasn’t bad, but he did however have a fly ball sail over his head. Better to have it happen now than next month.



Phil Hughes gave up a homer today 

·        Phil Hughes


In the first inning he gave up a solo homer to Sean Rodriguez (who had a career day at the plate, missing the cycle by a single) Other than that hiccup, Hughes wasn’t bad.


Rodriguez’s home run was the only hit Hughes allowed over the two innings he pitched. He walked one batter and did not record a strikeout. Other than that, Hughes’s changeup was good and there was a lot of movement on it.


I know he wasn’t happy with his performance. But that’s the idea of spring training–to work the kinks out and get ready for the season. Hughes wants to be a starter but he’ll have to fight for it.


If you’re counting statistics, Hughes registered the loss today.


Getting over the flu, Joba Chamberlain had nothing this afternoon 


·        Joba Chamberlain


I saw nothing today from Joba Chamberlain. He only pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up a total of five earned runs on three hits. He walked three batters and only fanned one.


Chamberlain was extremely flat today; he left everything up in the zone and most of the hitters he faced feasted off him. I would say 85% of the pitches he threw were up and he missed the other 15%.


Not to make excuses for Chamberlain, but he is just getting over the flu. In fact, when the team went out on their “field trip” to the arcade a few days ago, Chamberlain stayed back because of his ailment.    


It’s difficult to do anything when you’re sick, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in that respect. Catcher Francisco Cervelli even noted after the outing that Chamberlain looked “a little bit off” and said it was probably because of his flu.


I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Chamberlain can rebound next time out.



Nick Swisher looked sloppy today 

·        Nick Swisher


Nick Swisher had kind of a rough day.


He was picked off at first on a snap throw in a very sloppy play. He took a secondary lead (although he was so far off the bag, you could’ve called it a tertiary lead) and stumbled trying to get back before he was picked off by Dioner Navarro.


After getting caught napping, Swisher nearly fell into the bullpen trying to run down a fly ball hit by Justin Ruggiano. To me, he looked like a bowling pin out there today. At least he walked in his one at-bat and he looks like he shed some pounds, which is good.


As for the falling and getting picked off–Swisher! Come on, dude!



Kei Igawa looked impressive today 

·        Kei Igawa


Sporting a new number (17) Kei Igawa tossed 1 2/3 innings today. And for the first time, I can safely say he did well! Igawa hasn’t had much to feel good about since signing with the Yankees, but today he proved he might just have it.


The Japanese non-roster invitee was perfect, not allowing a hit in his outing. He recorded two strikeouts on the afternoon, including a whiff of Ben Zobrist with a nasty breaking ball. His pitches looked a lot better than they were two years ago.


Igawa will without a doubt be in the minors this year. But if he continues to progress and pitch as he did today, the majors could be in his future.


I was very impressed with him today.


·        David Robertson


Pitching the sixth inning, David Robertson had a perfect day. No runs, no hits, no walks, one strikeout. I feel good about him and I think he is going to be a valuable part of the bullpen this season. Robertson had such a good postseason last year. I think that sometimes goes overlooked.


Not to mention he and his family teamed up with Tino Martinez and his family last night. Collectively, the Robertsons and the Martinezs attended a Taylor Swift concert in Florida. I thought that was a neat little factoid Martinez mentioned while calling the game today.


And if you ask me, Martinez needs to call more games on the YES Network. He is more fun to listen to than Michael Kay!



Jesus Montero drew a walk this afternoon 

·        Jesus Montero


As a late inning defensive replacement, Montero was brought in to replace Cervelli behind the plate. He only had two at-bats. He walked and struck out looking.


Montero was one of my five players to watch this spring and I really feel we’ll see better things from him this month. I didn’t realize until today how big he is! For a 20 year-old kid, he is a monster.


It’ll be fun to watch his growth and development, so keep an eye on him.



·        Other Notes


–Tomorrow afternoon at GMS Field, A.J. Burnett will start for the Yankees against the Blue Jays. I believe I heard them say Shaun Marcum will make the start for Toronto.


–Nick Johnson did not start today due to a stiff back. He received heat therapy on his back and his activities were limited. His treatment may continue for the rest of the weekend.


The reason his back stiffened up was because of his shoes, believe it or not. According to the YES Network, Johnson wore regular turf shoes instead of spikes while practicing. Somehow that affected him and he hurt himself.


I don’t understand it either, but he has to be more careful.


–The Yankees are now 1-2 in Grapefruit League play.