Saturday, March 06, 2004

Game Wrap 

Here's today's line-up against the Blue Jays:

Kenny Lofton - CF
Derek Jeter - SS
Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Jason Giambi - Dh
Gary Sheffield - RF
Hideki Matsui - LF
Jorge Posada - C
Travis Lee - 1B
Enrique Wilson - 2B

Subs included Mike Vento (RF), Bubba Crosby (CF), John Rodriguez (LF), Tony Clark (1B), Homer Bush (2B), Felix Escalona (SS), Mike Lamb (3B), Sal Fasano (C), and Jeff Deardorff (DH).

The pitchers were Javier Vazquez, Alex Graman, Ramon Ramirez, Bret Prinz, Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon.

The outfielders on both teams had a lot of trouble with the sun and wind. Ken Singleton made an excellent point about judging outfield play in spring training. As the stands are lower and the stadiums are less enclosed, there is a lot more wind and sun that the outfielders have to contend with. Thus it's rather unfair to judge outfield play in spring training. Gary Sheffield and Frank Catalanatto would surely agree with Kenny on that one.

Alex Rodriguez looked out of place (go figure) at third, making a nice play charging a ball in on the grass, but diving and missing a ball down the line that he should have gloved. (note: the linked article accuses him of failing to glove a pick-off throw from Posada. As per my previous post, the throw tailed into the runner, A-Rod really had no chance on it.) Graig Nettles has A-Rod playing a very deep third base to allow him as much time as possible to react to the ball. According to the YES team, Nettles says you should play as deep as your arm will allow, and Rodriguez has so strong an arm that he can play very deep.

Jorge Posada had a tremendous day, racking up six RBIs on a three-run homer and a three-run double. The sun gave him another double on a ball Frankie the Cat lost in left. Jorge is now 5 for 5 on the spring with two homers. A-Rod was also 3 for 3 today, with his first hits of the spring, including a triple to dead center.

Javier Vazquez got the win (walk, 2K, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 earned in 2IP). He was wild around the zone but showed some great stuff, particularly his fastball and curve. Bruce Chen, whom the Yankees rocked for five runs in 1.1 innings, took the loss. Alex Graman got rocked (5 hits, 3 runs, 0 K in 2IP), no thanks to a couple of hits that scooted past the Yankee infielders (A-Rod and Enrique, I'm lookin' at you). No other Yankee pitcher allowed a run and only Ramon Ramirez allowed a hit. Ramirez pitched well, allowing just the one hit and striking out two in 2IP.

At the same time, those later pitchers faced a AAA line-up.

A couple of other notes:

The YES announcers pointed out that Vazquez was pitching in front of a sold out crowd of 10,000, which was close to, if not more than, the average attendance in Montreal during the regular season last year. The Yankees have sold out all of their home games this spring.

Singleton and Kay also reported that Joe Torre has said that he's going to give Mike Lamb his share of playing time this spring because the Yankees "owe it to him." According to Torre's logic, Lamb came over expecting to compete for the third-base job. Now that that's not a possibility, the Yankees owe it to Lamb to allow him to show what he can do in the hope that he can find a job with another team.

So I guess Mike Lamb won't be making the Yankees 25-man roster. There's that extra roster spot for Scott Proctor to break camp with the team, provided he proves his worth in Tampa. Singleton and Kay speculated that Tony Clark's at-bats are serving a similar purpose, mentioning the Cardinals--who should have signed Travis Lee--as a possible destination. Meanwhile, Homer Bush has been given number 18 (Lamb: 47, Clark: 29, Lee: 38) and the YES men say that Joe Torre would very much like him to make the roster. You know how Torre loves his pinch runners (never mind that a pinch-running outfielder without a history of leg injuries would be far more desirable).

One other interesting note, Ken Singleton's son Justin is an outfielder in camp with the Blue Jays. In the ninth inning today, Kenny called one of his son's at-bats for the first time.

Tomorrow Jose Contreras takes the hill (never mind that false report about Mussina pitching) against Bronson Arroyo and the Boston Red Sox. I won't be doing updates, but I most certainly will be watching, and you can be sure I'll wrap it up for you tomorrow night.

Read my previous post for a detailed description of today's game.

posted by Cliff at 9:10 PM

Feels Like The First Time 

I'm stoked, today I get my first look at the 2004 Yankees courtesy of their spring training game against the Blue Jays on YES. It's also my first look at today's Yankee starter Javier Vazquez. As a Cablevision customer I haven't had YES during either of the two previous spring trainings (last year I didn't even know I had the network until after Jeter separated his shoulder in Toronto on opening day) so this is a big deal to me.

I'll try to post updates on the game here during commercials.

Update 1:

Vazquez who wore #23 in Montreal will be #33 in New York.

Footage of A-Rod making plays at third yesterday shows him to be a bit uncomfortable with the speed with which the ball reaches him, as Dave Pinto had said in his updates from yesterday.

A high throw to first from A-Rod from the clip package shows a lean #25 making a great stretch to snag the ball. "Who is that guy?" I wondered. Oops. It's Giambi.

Footage of Andy Pettitte during Michael Kay's overblown intro is a painful realization.

Update 2

In a package in which he says all the right things (of course), I notice that A-Rod pronounces his "s"es like Sean Connery (shertainly you can't be sherious).

Tony Clark is listed among the Yankees offseason acquisitions. Mike Lamb is not.

Pat Hentgen is starting for the Jays. The top three MVP vote getters in 2003 are present in A-Rod, Delgado and Posada.

Update 3

Vazquez features a fastball, curve and change. His fastball is a laser. He struck out leadoff hitter Reed Johnson on a nose-to-knees curve. I'm gonna love watching that pitch this year.

Travis Lee is starting at first, Giambi at DH. The Matsui BS continues.

Update 4

Footage of Giambi hiting his grand slam yesterday makes it look like he can handle the high fastball just fine. In his first at-bat today he flies one to the warning track in left. A-Rod got his first hit in a Yankee uniform in the previous at-bat.

Update 5

Vazquez, who's a little wild, walked Hinske on a 3-1 changeup low. Orlando Hudson hit a towering shot to right that Sheffield lost in the sun, slipped and generally misplayed. It dropped at the track for a run-scoring triple. Posada tried to pick Hudson off third but his throw tailed into the runner and went into left. 2-0 Jays.

Update 6

With Bruce Chen in in the second inning, Gary Sheffield gets an infield single deep in the hole at second. Matsui then blasts a pitch of the bottom of the right field wall for an RBI double. Catalanatto then makes Sheff look good by losing a high Posada fly in the sun for a double to make it second and third. Enrique Wilson then blasts a pitch of the bottom of the wall in left to plate Hideki and Jorge. 3-2 Yanks.

Update 7

Lefty Alex Graman in in the third gives up two hard hit balls to right by righty batters, one of them falling in for a single by Reed Johnson. He gets out of the inning courtesy of a 4-6-3 double play.

By the way, the Jay's new caps look like they're dark grey and their uniform numbers are in some awful futuristic font. Early verdict on the new Jays unis: U-G-L-Y.

Update 8

A-Rod creams a Chen pitch off the top of the wall in center. Kay and Singleton say the wind is blowing out. No doubt, that's the third or fourth ball off the wall today and we're in the bottom of the third. Alex stretches it into a triple, but it's close because he watched the ball all the way down to first, then turned it on. In all honestly, he didn't look like he was running that fast even after he turned it on. Just made it at third. Sheffield walks and is pinch run for by Mike Vento. Bob File relieves Chen and Ks Matsui on high heat. Posada, batting lefty, puts the lie to Joe Torre's order by blasting a three-run homer, his second of the spring already, onto the highway behind right field. 6-2 Yankees.

Update 9

The Yankee defense gets Graman in trouble in the top of the fourth. Vernon Wells hits a shot to third that A-Rod reacts poorly to, allowing it to go into left for a double. Delgado then gets one of those "up the middle" singles past Enrique Wilson to drive Wells in. Hinske follows a deep out to left by Greg Myers with a single. Hudson then creams a ground rule double over the wall in center to plate the lead runner. Rookie catcher Guillermo Quiroz follows with an RBI ground-out. 6-5 Yanks.

Update 10

With Jayson Durocher on the hill for the Jays in the bottom of the fourth, Enrique Wilson reaches on an error by shortstop Chris Gomez and steals second after an fly out by Lofton (he's safe because the Quiroz's throw is to the wrong side of the bag). Jeter walks. A-Rod singles to load the bases. Giambi breaks his bat, but first baseman Shawn Fagan overthrows Quiroz at home allowing two runs to score. Matsui then walks bringing up Jorge with the bases loaded and two outs. Jorge, batting left again, works the count full then blasts a bases-clearing double to right. Talley Haines retires Lee. 11-5 Yankees.

Update 11

Top 5, subs in: Ramon Ramirez on the mound, Sal Fasano behind the plate (turns out he missed last year because of Tommy John surgery), Mike Lamb at third, Felix Escalona at short.

Enrique Wilson makes a great play to start a double play, backhanding a ball on the run up the middle and shoveling it with his glove--still on the run, still backhanded--to Escalona.

I'm gonna slow down the pace of these updates now that it's 11-5 and subs-in.

Update 12

More subs in the 6th: Bubba Crosby in center, John Rodriguez in left, Homer Bush at second, Tony Clark at first.

Ramirez is cruising. Nothing happening.

Update 13

Mike Lamb singles. Jeff Deardorff, batting for Giambi at DH, knocks an RBI single and moves to second on the throw. Mike Vento hits an RBI double. Dustin McGowan in to pitch for Haines. Sal Fasano hits an RBI single just in front of a diving Alexis Rios. 14-5 Yanks.

Bret Prinz now pitching for the Yanks.

Update 14

Paul Quantrill pitched the top of the eighth. He and Prinz both pitched scoreless innings.

correction: Shawn Fagan was the Blue Jay firstbaseman who made the throwing error earlier in the game.

Update 15

Tom Gordon closes it out. Yanks win 14-5.

5 - 7 - 2 Blue Jays
14 - 13 - 1 Yankees

I'll wrap things up a little later.

posted by Cliff at 12:57 PM

Friday, March 05, 2004

Baseball Updates 

David Pinto is providing running updates of the Yankees-Phillies game over on Baseball Musings.

So far it's 6-0 Yanks on a two-run ding by Sierra off Milwood and a Salami by Giambi off Victor Alvarez. Donovan Osborne is in in relief of Kevin Brown, mid 4th inning . . .


The Yanks take it 7-5. Jorge added a solo homer off of Tim Worrell. Felix Heredia and Golden Boy Scott Proctor gave up Philly homers to Mark Smith and Tomas Perez respectively. Osborne got the win, Rivera the save. Gary Sheffield made up for his throwing error yesterday by firing to home to nail Mike Lieberthal (a catcher, granted) to end the second inning. More details when I have them.


Today's starting line-up:

Kenny Lofton - CF
Derek Jeter - SS
Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Jason Giambi - 1B
Gary Sheffield - RF
Hideki Matsui - LF
Jorge Posada - C
Ruben Sierra - DH
Enrique Wilson - 2B

The insanity continues.

Subs included Darren Bragg (CF), Bubba Crosby and Mike Vento (RF), Miguel Cairo (SS), Erick Almonte (3B), Tony Clark (1B), Travis Lee (LF), Joe Girardi (C), Andy Phillips (2B).

Interesting to see Lee in left and Phillips at second. Disappointing that Miguel Cairo has thus far seen his only action at shortstop when he should be the leading candidate for the second base job. Joe Girardi back in pinstripes is the sort of thing that makes spring training fun. Enjoy it while you can, Joe.

The Yankee pitchers were Kevin Brown, Donovan Osborne, Scott Proctor, Felix Heredia and Mariano Rivera. Heredia and Proctor tanked (combined five runs on six hits--including a pair of homers--and three walks in 3.2 IP), everyone else pitched well, walking none. Rivera struck out two in a perfect ninth. Osborne struck out two, allowed one hit and hit a batter in 2.2 IP getting the win. According to Dave Pinto's updates, Brown got his usual billion groundballs and the Yankee defense did their best to put the fear of God into him, allowing four hits but capitalizing on two Philly baserunning mistakes to keep the game scoreless. Work forward from this Baseball Musings post for more of Pinto's observations.

Final line:

5 - 11 - 0 Phillies
7 - 7 - 0 Yankees

posted by Cliff at 2:25 PM

Scouting around 

The chances of the Yankees picking up one of the Orioles' redundant second basemen dropped considerably yesterday when Jerry Hairston fractured his right ring finger on a head-first slide into third. Hairston, who missed more than three months in 2003 with a broken foot, is expected to be out four to six weeks. That would make Brian Roberts, who missed last week's workouts with back spasms, the Orioles' opening day second baseman. Considering the fragility of Hairston, and the low salaries of each player, the O's might be well advised to keep both players throughout the season. Mark McLemore is their third option at second.

Meanwhile, paints Scott Proctor as the Yankees top option to fill a potential injury hole in the bullpen, or even to make the opening day roster as the team's eleventh pitcher with Steve Karsay on the DL. In order for that to happen, Proctor would have to beat out Mike Lamb or Tony Clark for the roster spot. According to the article, "Proctor features a blazing fastball, a solid sinker, a changeup and a slider." His fastball hit 100 in the minors last year (though it's usually mid-90s). John Flaherty sings his praises having caught him this spring and adds that he's working on a cutter that is "really good." Joe Torre sez, "he's got dynamite stuff." The 27-year-old's AAA stats from last year: 2.32 ERA, 8.96 K/9, 2.43 BB/9. He's got my attention.

Interesting note: Proctor, who was acquired from L.A. in the Ventura trade, and Randy Choate, who went to Montreal in the package for Javier Vazquez, were college buddies and appeared in one another's wedding parties.

posted by Cliff at 10:47 AM

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Not so much 

The Phillies beat the Yankees today:

1 - 3 - 3 Yankees
5 - 10 - 0 Phillies

Jorge DePaula, the Yankee starter, took the loss. Vincente Padilla won it for the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins homered off of Gabe White. Jim Thome went deep of Paul Quantrill.

I'll update this with more details once they are available.


Today's starting line-up:

Kenny Lofton - CF
Homer Bush - 2B
Jason Giambi - 1B
Gary Sheffield - RF
Hideki Matsui - LF
Mike Lamb - 3B
Miguel Cairo - SS
John Flaherty - C
Jorge DePaula - P

Subs included Bubba Crosby and Darren Bragg (RF), Travis Lee (1B), Mike Vento (LF), Erick Almonte (2B), John Rodriguez and Jeff Deardorff (PH), and pitchers Gabe White, Paul Quantrill, Jim Mann, and Tom Gordon.

A-Rod, Jeter and Posada skipped today's game.

The three errors were made by Lamb, Crosby and Sheffield (who overthrew third).

Tom Gordon was the only pitcher to avoid giving up a run. He walked one and struck out two in the ninth. No Yankee pitcher pitched more than two innings.

Padilla, who only pitched on inning, and Eric Milton, who pitched three, were perfect through four. Hideki Matsui broke that up with a walk and scored on Mike Lamb's double for the only Yankee run of the game.

In other news, Mike Mussina, who was scratched as today's starter because of the death of his father-in-law, is now expected to start Sunday against the Red Sox. Jose Contreras had been pegged for Sunday, but will be given an extra day or two to rest his back, which responded well after throwing yesterday.

posted by Cliff at 3:35 PM

Gettin' Ready 

The Yankees spring training schedule kicks off . . . any minute now!

In the spirit of seeing live baseball again, check out this delightful running diary of yesterday's Mets-Dodgers match-up from Aaron Gleeman.

In Yankee news, both Lieber and Contreras threw yesterday with no pain, and Bernie Williams is not ruling out starting the season with the team in Japan.

Meanwhile, St. Joe has given the go-ahead on negotiations for a contract extension. Expect him to sign for two more years.

posted by Cliff at 12:53 PM

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The Gang's All Here 

The Yankees played their first intrasquad scrimmage yesterday in preparation for their first official game of the spring tomorrow against the Phillies.

In yesterday's scrimmage the Yankee starters played the first three innings for the home team managed by Ron Guidry against a team skippered by Reggie Jackson. Joe Torre assembled Gator's starting nine, which looked like this:

Kenny Lofton - CF
Derek Jeter - SS
Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Jason Giambi - 1B
Gary Sheffield - RF
Hideki Matsui - LF
Jorge Posada - C
Ruben Sierra - DH
Enrique Wilson - 2B

As meaningless as yesterday's game may have been, the above order is clearly Joe Torre's first impulse as to how to use his available players. With Bernie Williams unavailable less than a week after his appendectomy I'll forgive Lofton leading off. And, while I honestly believe that Miguel Cairo would be an improvement at second base, I'll let Torre have his little Enrique Wilson experiment for now. But batting Hideki Matsui ahead of Jorge Posada, thus pushing Posada to seventh in the order?!?!?! Unforgivable! Matsui posted a OBP of .353 and a SLG of .435 last year. Jorge hasn't posted numbers that low in either category since 1999, when he was still splitting time with Joe Girardi. You would think that St. Joe, who has a tendency to stick with "his guys," would naturally favor Ringo over Godzilla, or that Jorgy's showing in last year's MVP voting (third place, with 5 first-place votes to winner A-Rod's 6) would have finally convinced him that he's a middle-of-the-order hitter. Sadly, that doesn't appear to be the case.

What concerns me just as much as this inexcusable preference for Matsui, is the fact that if Torre gets comfortable with Lofton in the lead-off slot (bad enough news in and of itself), he could wind up slotting Bernie in sixth and push Jorge all the way to eighth! Or, worse yet, bat Matsui ahead of both Williams and Posada! Nooooooo!

I've said this before, here and elsewhere: The Yankees have six plus hitters. Hideki Matsui is not one of them (nor is Kenny Lofton). Those six should fill the top six spots in the order in order to maximize their plate appearances. Joe Torre should have this tattooed on his forehead backwards.

Okay. Moving on.

In those three innings, not one batted ball found A-Rod at third, though he did express his discomfort at third:

"It's a new challenge, a new place. I was so used to the perspective at shortstop, where you have such a favorable angle. You see everything there, from pitches being called to a lot of action up the middle. At third, you have different plays to worry about.

"It's all a new experience. You tinker with it, you don't know where to stand. I use the base as a gauge of how deep to play, but it's all new to me. I've heard different numbers, from 100 games, a half-season. It may take me a couple of years to feel very comfortable. I just got comfortable at short maybe three or four years ago. It's going to take some time." (from this article)

Uhm. Aren't the coaches supposed to help him out with stuff like where to freaking stand! Hoo boy.

As for the game, well it's almost less than meaningless what actually happened. It was a slugfest (new hitting coach Don Mattingly cracked that the catchers were telling the hitters what was coming). Both Travis Lee and Dioner Navarro hit homers for Reggie's team. Sierra, Wilson, Tony Clark and Erick Almonte each drove in a pair of runs for Gator's. And Ferdin Tejada sprained his left ankle and is listed as day-to-day.

What's that? Who is Ferdin Tejada? Ah, yes, well, let's have a quick rundown of who's in camp, shall we?


1B: Jason Giambi, Travis Lee, Tony Clark
2B: Miguel Cairo, Enrique Wilson, Homer Bush*, Andy Phillips, Felix Escalona*
SS: Derek Jeter, Ferdin Tejada
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Mike Lamb, Jeff Deardorff*
C: Jorge Posada, John Flaherty, Dioner Navarro*, Jon-Mark Sprowl*, Joe Girardi*, Steve Torrealba*, Sal Fasano*, Omar Fuentes*

Bernie Williams, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Kenny Lofton, Ruben Sierra, Darren Bragg*, Bubba Crosby, Mike Vento, John Rodriguez*

Starting Pitchers:

Mike Mussina, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Jose Contreras, Jon Lieber, Jorge DePaula, Donovan Osborne*, Alex Graman, Danny Borrell, Ramon Ramirez, Chien-Ming Wang, Sean Henn

Relief Pitchers:

Mariano Rivera, Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill, Gabe White, Felix Heredia, Steve Karsay, Bret Prinz, Scott Proctor, Eduardo Sierra, Sam Marsonek, Jim Mann*, David Shepard*

The 16 players with asterisks are the Yankees non-roster invitees, whom I introduced here.

The following twenty-five players are the odds-on favorites to break camp with the team. You should know who these guys are already: Giambi, Lee, Clark, Cairo, Wilson, Jeter, Rodriguez, Lamb, Posada, Flaherty, Williams, Sheffield, Matsui, Lofton, Ruben Sierra, Mussina, Vazquez, Brown, Contreras, Lieber, Rivera, Gordon, Quantrill, White, and Heredia. Same with Steve Karsay, who will probably start the season on the DL.

That leaves 14 members of the Yankees 40-man roster that you may or may not be familiar with, but whose names are likely to pop up for one reason or another over the next month or so. Let's take a quick look at them:

Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor came over from the Dodgers system in the Robin Ventura trade. Crosby is a 27-year-old lefty hitting outfielder who got one hit in 12 at-bats with the Dodgers in his only major league action last year. He tore up the Pacific Coast League in 277 at-bats last year before being shifted to Columbus after the trade. Of course the PCL, especially the Dodgers AAA park in Las Vegas, tends to inflate offense. Crosby has shown power and speed, but has reached his peak without any significant major league experience. Proctor is a 27-year-old righty pitcher who started in 2001 and 2002 but pitched exclusively in relief in 2003, posting 8.96 K/9 and 2.43 BB/9 with a 2.32 ERA. If he was a lefty he'd be in the major leagues already.

Mike Vento was drafted by the Yankees in 1997. He's a soon-to-be 26-year-old righty-hitting outfielder and has steadily moved up through the Yankee system over the past three seasons from Tampa in 2001 through Norwich in 2002 to Trenton and eventually Columbus in 2003, where he hit .304/.363/.473 in 184 AB, nearly identical numbers to those he posted in 314 at-bats in Trenton.

Andy Phillips is a soon-to-be 27-year-old righty-hitting second baseman. He came to the Yankee system out of the University of Alabama in 1999. He was selected as the Yankees Minor League Player of the Year in 2002 after tearing up Norwich to the tune of .305/.381/.618 with 19 homers in 272 at-bats, earning him a promotion to Columbus. Last year he played in just 17 games as the result of a right elbow strain and tendonitis that he suffered the previous autumn in the Arizona Fall League.

Ferdin Tejada, he of the sprained ankle, is a 21-year-old shortstop and right-handed hitter who started in the Yankee system in 2001 and has yet to make it out of A-ball.

Alex Graman is a 26-year-old lefty starter who was drafted by the Yankees in 1999 out of Indiana State University. In his two seasons in Columbus, Graman has posted a 4.56 ERA with 7.02 K/9 and 3.37 BB/9 in 266.2 IP over 46 starts. Graman is currently considered one of the Yankees emergency starters along with Jorge DePaula and Donovan Osborne.

Speaking of whom, Jorge DePaula made his major league debut with the Yankees in September 2003 appearing in four games and making one start in which he carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and no-hitter into the seventh. In Columbus last year, the 25-year-old righty starter was less impressive, posting a 4.35 ERA, 6.71 K/9 and 3.06 BB/9.

Danny Borrell is the Yankees best pitching prospect in the high minors now that Brandon Claussen is in Cincinnati. Drafted by the Yankees out of Wake Forest in the second round of the 2000 draft, the 25-year-old lefty started the 2003 season in Columbus, but made only ten starts before tearing a ligament in his pitching shoulder, requiring season-ending surgery. Over the past two season in Tampa, Norwich and Columbus Borrell has never posted an ERA over 2.93 and has posted respectable strikeout rates (in the area of 7 K/9), though his walk rate ballooned in 2003 from a respectable 2.64 in 2002, perhaps due to his injury.

22-year-old righty starter Ramon Ramirez came to the Yankee system last year after a year in the Japanese Central League in 2002. He pitched at all three levels in 2003 posting a 4.43 ERA with 8.50 K/9 and 2.57 BB/9.

Soon-to-be 24-year-old righty starter Chien-Ming Wang is a native of Taiwan who came to the Yankee system in 2000. In Trenton last year he posted a 4.65 ERA with 6.20 K/9 and 2.36 BB/9.

Sean Henn is a soon-to-be 23-year-old righty starter who posted a 3.61 ERA and 6.56 K/9 and an ugly 4.60 BB/9 in 16 starts in Trenton in 2003.

26-year-old Bret Prinz came over the Yankees in the Raul Mondesi trade. He pitched 46 games in relief with a 2.63 ERA for the 2001 Diamondbacks, but did not appear in the post season. In 20 games with the D'backs in 2002 he racked up a dreadful 9.45 ERA. He appeared in just three major league games last year, including two outings as a Yankee in which he was roughed up pretty good by the Royals. Prinz posted an 8.03 ERA in ten relief outings with Columbus in 2003.

25-year-old righty Sam Marsonek was drafted out of high school by the Texas Rangers with the 24th overall pick in 1996 and came over to the Yankee system in the Chad Curtis trade following the 1999 season. With the Clippers last year, Marsonek posted a 4.84 ERA in 54 games and two starts, racking up 18 saves, 6.13 K/9 and 3.33 BB/9.

And finally, soon-to-be 22-year-old righty Eduardo Sierra came over from the A's system in the Chris Hammond trade this winter. With the A's A-ball club last year, Sierra racked up 17 saves in 51 relief appearances, posting a 2.09 ERA, 7.76 K/9 and 3.58 BB/9.

(for full minor league stats on the above players, check out the Baseball Cube via the link to the left)

In other news: Bernie is back in camp and expected to see a doctor today to get approval to restart his conditioning. Jon Lieber is expected to throw off a mound today. Jose Contreras's back has been deemed a spring training tweak, he's still expected to start against the Red Sox on Sunday.

Speaking of Yankees v. Sox, the first game between the two this season is going to be broadcast nationally by Fox in Friday night prime time. Dave Pinto explains what a great sign this is for baseball (though one of his readers points out that just about anything would boost Fox's Friday night ratings).

posted by Cliff at 12:45 PM

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Good Stuff 

I've been away for the past couple of days and had to hit the road before I was able to point you all toward this wonderful article on baseball bloggers that appeared in The Journal News (which serves Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties in New York). It was written by Mets beat reporter Peter Abraham and ran in Sunday's sports section. The article focuses on Yankee and Met bloggers and, appropriately, uses Grandmaster Alex Belth as a framing device. Other participants include Jay Jaffe, Yankee Crank Larry Mahnken and Vinny from Yankees, Mets and the Rest (the print version has a photo of him with his better half Scott, though I've not seen it yet). There's even a quote in there from your humble narrator and an extensive blog roll at the end. Of course, the blog roll leaves out a few worthy Yankee blogs (The Midnight Hour and The Greatest Game come immediately to mind), but you sort of had to expect that. Many thanks to Peter for recognizing us and for doing a terrific job with the article.

Speaking of Gms. Belth, his Yankee Preview Week wrapped up this weekend with two two-part roundtables. If you missed these or any of the previous six articles (by Ben Jacobs, Steven Goldman, Alex with Rich Lederer, Jay Jaffe, Chris DeRosa and myself), be sure to check them out. Kudos and thanks to Alex for organizing this fantastic group of writers and providing a forum for some excellent writing.

Since I'm thanking and congratulating and such, I wanted to thank all of you who make this blog a regular part of your day for helping to elevate me the point at which I was able to be involved in each of the afore mentioned items. Traffic at the BRB hit yet another single-month high in February, so thank you very much . . . and keep reading!

As for the Yankees, sure I could jump the gun over today's BALCO bomb. Or I could rant on about the continued lack of insurance for the rotation, or the problematic bench. But why harsh our vibe. The weather's been warming up of late, and the Yankees spring training schedule starts this week. What could be better?!

This Thursday Jorge DePaula will start the first game of the spring against the Phillies in place of Mike Mussina (who's away from camp briefly following the death of his father-in-law) . Kevin Brown will take the hill against the Phils on Friday on ESPN. Saturday will see Javier Vazquez face the Blue Jays and, despite a balky back, Jose Contreras is expected to take the hill against the Red Sox on Sunday. Both weekend games will be broadcast on YES. All games are 1:05 or 1:15 starts.


posted by Cliff at 10:29 AM

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