Posted on: July 21, 2008 3:44 am
Edited on: July 21, 2008 3:56 am

McCutchen On The Horizon For The Yanks?

 From Chad Jennings (beat reporter of the SWB Yankees):

Curious upcoming rotation for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees...

Monday: LHP Kei Igawa
Tuesday: RHP Alfredo Aceves
Wednesday: RHP Ross Ohlendorf
Thursday: TBA

You'll notice Dan McCutchen's name doesn't appear. McCutchen said this afternoon that the Yankees want him to skip a start to keep his innings down. He's already topped 120 innings this season after throwing 142 last year. McCutchen said he doesn't expect to be shifted to the bullpen and his understanding is that he's just skipping his next turn in the rotation, but as always with the Yankees pitchers, you never know.

His inning pitched limit for the season, will probably be anywhere between 165 to as much as 190 innings. By the Yankees holding him back to save innings, it suggests one thing and one thing only:

The front office is planning on calling him up this year to help in a possible playoff run.
If they weren't planning on calling him up, he'd have more than enough innings remaining to close out the minor league season. There's really no other way around it other than the above conclusion.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 17, 2008 3:35 am

A Broken Wang, But A Fixed Cox

For those that are interested, here is a quick overview of the situation that the Yankees are in with Wang being shut down.

With the distressing news that Wang will be out until late August / early September, comes some good news regarding J.B. Cox from Chad Jennings:

Just got an email from Nardi Contreras saying J.B. Cox started throwing again Monday. He labeled the injury as a "tired shoulder" and I assume that's to be expected when a guy's coming back from a year off the mound. Throwing this quickly after going on the DL seems to be a good sign. Probably not an injury to be too worried about.

For the meantime, Brian Cashman says that the Yankees are choosing to replace Wang from within. "We look internal first. You keep your ears open at the same time, but really nothing's revealed itself at this moment in time." He also said, that the Yankees are not going after Freddy Garcia. "That's not an immediate choice. I wouldn't track him down for a Wang replacement, if at all."

Tyler Kepner asked Cashman on Hughes's status in the organiztion. I asked Brian Cashman on Monday if anything had changed in the organization’s perception of Hughes, who was untouchable in trade talks last summer (Eric Gagne) and – to Cashman, at least – last winter (Johan Santana). Cashman said that Hughes was valued the same as ever – as a 21-year-old future ace.

“Phil Hughes is sitting and waiting in Tampa,” Cashman said. “He’s waiting for his throwing program to begin, and then you add four weeks. It’ll probably be close to August.”

It seems that, for the time being the Yankees will give over the empty rotation spot to Dan Giese (Saturday?). No word yet on who will get called up to take Wang's roster spot, but I hope that they'll go with David Robertson to piggyback Giese.

Kei Igawa is pitching this afternoon for SWB, and all of Yankeeland is hoping he gets knocked around, to put it mildly.

The real problem is going to pop up next Friday, when the Yankees will need a 6th starter due to a double header with the Mets. Hopefully the likes of McCutchen/Horne will have pitched well in their next few starts and they'll earn the call over Igawa/Karstens.

The skepticism of moving Joba to the rotation voiced by many fans, seems to be a moot point at this stage. It's a good thing he's finished the transition and is cleared for 100+ pitches in his next start.

Here is the pitching matchups for the upcoming series against the Padres:

Tuesday: LHP Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.83) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (6-5, 4.64), 7:05, Channel 9

Wednesday: RHP Jake Peavy (5-3, 2.64) vs. RHP Darrell Rasner (3-4, 3.64), 7:05, YES

Thursday: RHP Josh Banks (2-0, 1.29) vs. RHP Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.48), 1:05, YES

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 16, 2008 3:11 am

"Lisfranc" Key To The Yankees Season?

It's late at night and I'm about to hit the sack, but I figured I'd put this out there for tomorrow morning.

Obviously, I'm referring to the Chien-Ming Wang injury which he suffered in the series finale in Houston. From all indications, it seemed like he stubbed his foot as he rounded the 3rd base bag on his way home on a Derek Jeter 2 run single.

The one good thing to come out of the bits of information the Yankees released, is the fact that it the injury is not to his achilles. We all know that an achilles injury most probably would mean his season would be over.

But a lot of the media, including the beat writers are beginning to speculate that the injury may be to his Lisfranc joint. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, "Lisfranc joint injuries are rare, complex and often misdiagnosed. Typical signs and symptoms include pain, swelling and the inability to bear weight. Clinically, these injuries vary from mild sprains to fracture-dislocations. On physical examination, swelling is found primarily over the midfoot region."

Wang clearly showed his "inability to bear weight", but that does not necessarily mean it's a Lisfranc injury. Part of the reason that the media jumped to the Lisfranc issue, is because that is the injury that Brian Bruney suffered earlier in the season. I highly doubt that most reporters knew what that injury was before the season began, and I believe that it's from the lack of information that is causing them to jump to conclusions.

Then again, they may be correct, but it doesn't seem like they're coming from a source of knowledge. Rather, they seem to be coming from a lack of hard facts.

Here's a portion of what Tyler Kepner of the NY Times writes on his blog. "The Yankees called the injury a sprained right foot, and they will hope for the best until Wang has a magnetic resonance imaging test in New York on Monday. But the early signs are grim.

The injury is to the top of Wang’s foot, the same general area that reliever Brian Bruney injured when he tripped while covering first base in April. Bruney was found to have a Lisfranc injury and is expected to miss a minimum of three months.

Wang has symptoms of the same injury, including swelling and the inability to bear weight on the foot; he left Minute Maid Park on crutches, in a soft cast. Bruney’s injury was in the middle of the foot, and Wang’s is believed to be in the webbing of his toes, between his big toe and second toe.

“I feel sore,” Wang said in a statement to the Yankees’ media relations director, Jason Zillo. “The doctor says I have to go to get an M.R.I. tomorrow. Of course I’m disappointed.”

Wang was examined by an Astros team doctor, John Duggan, but he did not have X-rays. Girardi said he would be shocked if Wang made his next start.

“You’re going to go through injuries, and you’ve got to find a way to get it done,” Girardi said. “But it’s not easy to replace 19 wins.”

If he is indeed done for the season, the Yankees will have to decide what to do strategically. The options are to stick it out with what he have here and in the minors, or to make a trade for a different top pitcher. The C.C. Sabathia rumors will begin to fly whatever the outcome of the MRI is, but I hope that if the Yankees choose to trade, it'll be from a position of strength. I sure hope that it isn't more than some kind of sprain, but it's best to wait until the MRI results come in before we decide what course of action to take.

Here are some of the options the Yankees can take, as per Peter Abraham:

Count on Chien-Ming Wang going on the disabled list. He left Minute Maid Park today on crutches and his foot was too swollen to put a shoe on.

The question is for how long? It could be three weeks, three months or the rest of the season if there’s a serious fracture or torn ligaments. We won’t know until Monday, that is assuming the Yankees make some sort of announcement.

Only then can Brian Cashman decide on a course of action. Here are the possibilities:

Dan Giese:
He was Scranton’s best starter before coming up to caddy for Joba Chamberlain. Now that Joba can go 100 pitches, Giese can return to starting. He has allowed only one run in 6.1 innings since getting called up.

Ian Kennedy: He’s throwing off the mound and his strained lat is said to be fully healed. But he likely needs at least one rehab start before being ready for big-league duty.

Dan McCutchen: He pitched a terrific game on Saturday. But he has thrown only 32.1 innings in AAA. The last thing the Yankees want to do is rush him to the majors before he is ready.

Jeff Karstens: He hasn’t pitched much this season because of a groin strain, but he’s healthy now and has experience in the majors.

Kei Igawa: He has a 3.73 ERA at Scranton, giving up only 67 hits in 79.2 innings while striking out 69. Are they just supposed to give up on him? Clearly Igawa should never have been signed in the first place. But he was and he’s available.

C.C. Sabathia (Indians):
He knows how to pitch in the AL, he’s a lefty (always a plus at the Stadium) and you’ll have a few months to try and sign him. But if the Yankees are desperate, Mark Shapiro will seek the world for his ace, especially if he’s going to an AL team. Start with Robinson Cano.

Freddy Garcia (free agent): He has been throwing off a mound and claims his shoulder is sound. He could be ready sometime in July. All he would cost is money.

Rich Harden (Athletics): The oft-injured Oakland right-hander has been terrific of late. But other than Danny Haren, what Oakland pitcher has done well since leaving that organization? (Tim Hudson, as somebody pointed out to me. My point is that Beane tends to sell high.) Plus you know Billy Beane will wring every last drop of talent out of the deal.

Randy Wolf (Padres): Left-handed, solid numbers but has never pitched in the American League. Cashman and Kevin Towers probably have spoken twice in the time you have read this post. They are very tight.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 3, 2008 12:45 am

Hank's 10 Year Plan

From Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record:

Hank Steinbrenner phoned back after the game, and he didn't call to vent about the frustrating loss here in Minneapolis.

I'd left a message earlier to speak with him about Joba Chamberlain finally moving into the rotation, and in a very direct, but calm voice, he talked about the long-term direction of the Yankees - and how Chamberlain is one of the cornerstones of that view.

"This is about what Joba can do for us over the next 10 years. That's what we're going to look at in a lot of way, with the new dynasty, hopefully, we can build.''

And he's buying into tonight's hype. "I know the media live day by day,'' Steinbrenner said of events such as these. "That's not my problem and that's not Brian's (Cashman) problem. That's your guys (media's) problem.

"We just have to build what the Yankees should be for now...and also for the future,'' Hank said. "I really think we'll still go on a tear.''

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 1, 2008 2:57 am
Edited on: June 1, 2008 3:20 am

Yanks In Need Of A Long Reliever

So far this season, the Yankees have gone for the most part without a legitimate long reliever. Other than Ohlendorf, the Yankees don't have anyone in the bullpen who is capable of eating up innings. Of late, Ohelndorf has not been good and may even get sent down to AAA to iron things out. His stuff is excellent, but his control suffers at times and he's been getting hit hard.

Now with the news of Joba starting Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays, the Yankees are going to have to call someone up who can eat innings. Joba has a pitch count of 65-70 pitches, which may be just 3+ innings. Who will take over when he's lifted?

Among the options, are:

1)Dan Giese, AAA. 4-2, 2.02 ERA, 58 IP, 50 K's, 14 BB, 0.98 WHIP

2)He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (a certain lefty of Japanese origin). I won't list his stats because we all know too much about him.

3)Jeff Karstens, AAA. 7.82 ERA since returning from his injury.


Options 2 and 3 are already on the 40 man roster, but Karstens was pulled in Saturday's game which originally led people to believe that he would get the call, but later turned out to be because of a groin pull. Here's what Chad Jennings, the SWB beat reporter had to say: 

When Jeff Karstens was pulled from tonight's game after four innings, it seemed a no-brainer that he would be the long reliever called to New York on Tuesday. When I talked to Karstens and Dave Miley after the game, though, that scenario changed.

Karstens felt his groin tighten during the fourth and was pulled for what Miley called, precautionary reasons. Karstens said he wanted to go back out for the fifth, especially with a thin bullpen, but the coaching staff didn't want him to risk a return to the DL.

So, the job is still up for grabs. I told Miley that I assumed Karstens was the guy going up on Tuesday and he just kind of laughed at me. Obviously he won't tell me who it is, but tonight's move was based on the injury not the call-up. Wait and see what happens tomorrow.

The guy who has really earned the call up, is Dan Giese. He's a 31 year old career minor league journeyman, who has recently been converted to a starter. He's put up stellar numbers this season in AAA and should be given a shot. The only problem with that, is the Yankees will have to make room for him on the 40 man roster which will either mean they will DFA Morgan Ensberg (which I addressed in my previous blog post), or have to place Phil Hughes or maybe Albaladejo on the 60 day DL. Ensberg probably won't survive once Posada comes back, because the Yankees will want to hold on to Chad Moeller for a little bit, so it's very possible he may get the boot once and for all.

Hopefully Giese will get the call and we won't have to deal with HWMNBN, especially on a day where Joba Chamberlain makes his first ML start. Being that Giese is starting Sunday's game for SWB, we should have an early indication by seeing how long he goes in the game before getting pulled. 

It's also possible that the Yankees may call up someone else from AAA to help out with the 7th and 8th innings. Among the most likely in the near future is, David Robertson (who pitched exceptionally well on Saturday, going 2.1 innings surrendering 2 hits and striking out 6 to earn the win in relief), J.B. Cox (who has yet to surrender a run since making it to AAA, returning from TJ surgery), and Scott Paterson (who had a 6 inning, 1 hit performance in spring training yet still hasn't earned a callup), Mark Melancon (also returning from TJ surgery, but at this point only in AA. The organization looks at him as having the arm best suited for the closer roll).

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 28, 2008 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2008 4:01 pm

Why Is Morgan Ensberg Still With The Team?

I've already let loose with my rant last night regarding LaTrash Hawkins on the MLB boards. I was hoping that when I booted up the computer this morning, I'd be greeted with the news that he was cut loose. Since that wasn't the case, although I'm still going to beg for it, I'll move on to the next order of business for the Yankees.

Morgan Ensberg. Can someone tell me why the hell he's taking up a roster spot which can be used at the very least to get another arm up in the bullpen during this Joba transition stage?

Ensberg has a total of 12 at bats since May 10, and a grand total of 1 hit in those 12 AB's. Since A-Rod has come back, there is no real use for Ensberg on the team. He was originally signed to get at bats against lefties, but over the last week he hasn't started against any of the many lefties, opposing teams have put up against us. The reason he didn't get the starts, are for good reason. He's giving us absolutely no production at the plate, hitting just .203 in 74 at bats. He's actually hitting better against right-handers (.227 avg.) than against lefties (.167 avg.), so why the hell is he still with the team?

The Yankees are beginning to make it a tendency to hold on too long to a once bright star, long dimmed. It's time for the Yankees to get rid of the dead wood on their team and give others a chance at contributing.

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 26, 2008 3:14 am

Memorial Day

Today, Monday the 26th of May, is Memorial Day. Today we commemorate our men and women who have fallen in their service to our country. I would also like to take the time to think about, and say thank-you to, all the men and women who are currently serving in the Armed Forces.

I have finally made all-star level, which allows me to choose my own avatar (instead of that stupid ape!). Over the last few days I was kicking around the thought of either going with Donnie Baseball, or Joe Girardi kicking his cap during last week's tirade. Being that someone beat me to the Girardi avatar, I went with Mattingly in a classic pose in the dugout.

But after seeing a thread made out in honor of all the members of our military, I figured that the least I could do was to show them my support. I instead created the current avatar I'm showing now.

Imagine the daily life of a soldier serving in Afghanistan, a Marine in Iraq, a sailor or airman on a ship in the Persian Gulf or Mediterranean. Think about the hardships they go through, being away from their families, and risking their life on a daily basis.

Why are they doing this? The answer is, for you and me to enjoy the freedom that America offers. The trips to the park with our families, a weekend at the Jersey Shore, a simple picnic or birthday party, or just a vacation in the mountains. All this, they relinquish in favor of preserving our freedom.

There are many posters on these boards who are in the military (Kelvin, who I always meet on the Yankees game threads is in the Navy I think), and I would like to tell them all "THANK-YOU" from the bottom of my heart (even if you're a Red Sox fan!!).

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or