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Posted by: Patrick
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Morgan Ensberg didn't feel comfortable wearing number 21, but LaTroy Hawkins jumped at the chance to wear Paul O'Neill's former number.

"I'm a fan of a lot of the guys who have played the game," Hawkins said. "Clemente stands out because of what he stood for and what he died doing. That was pretty impressive. He died the month I was born, and I was born on Dec. 21." ...

"The feedback from the fans was: 'That's not your number.' It was unbelievable," Ensberg said. "The gist of it was that it was Paulie's number, and I understood." ...

"I'm a pitcher," Hawkins said. "I'm a little different. I was uncomfortable wearing No. 22 a little bit, because [Brian] Bruney talked about me so much, calling me 'Roger' the whole spring. They can call me 'Paulie' now if they want."
Posted by: Patrick
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Bryan Hoch reports that Bob Sheppard will be introducing Derek Jeter, even though he won't be at the stadium. This is because Jeter had Sheppard's introduction of the shortstop recorded.

"It's unfortunate, because one of the first things I looked forward to when I was called up was coming to Yankee Stadium and hearing him say my name," Jeter said on Monday. "I had Bob Sheppard record introducing me. I'll always come to the plate with Bob Sheppard."
Posted by: Seamus
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Just to give an idea of how the weather can be sometimes in this area: Here at my home in Shirley, Long Island, there hasn't been a single drop of rain all day, yet just 50 miles to the west it's apparently raining too hard to play a baseball game. So now we'll add another day to our wait as today's scheduled season opener between the Yankees and Blue Jays has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 7:05 ET.

From a personal standpoint though I guess I could live with it because it gives me an extra day to replace my malfunctioning iO cable box so I can get the games in HD.

OK, now I see a spot of drizzle...I think.
Posted by: James
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Just as FYI, the Yankees has won their last 10 straight home openers, which is the longest active streak in the majors (Baltimore of all teams is second with 7 straight) so let's see if they can't keep the streak going.

Also of note - today is Chien-ming Wang's birthday. He turns 28 today and takes the hill today trying to continue the streak...and looking at his home splits from the last two years (21 wins in 33 starts), he's got a good shot of putting up a strong performance.

Let's Go Yankees!
Posted by: Patrick
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We've finally made it: March 31, 2008. Opening Day. Blue Jays at Yankees. Roy Halladay vs. Chien-Ming Wang. A new season begins. The final season at The Stadium. Seamus will be covering today's game. Welcome to the 2008 season and thank you for visiting YanksBlog.com.
Posted by: Patrick
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I'll be live with Ethan "The Kwass" Kwassman and Steven “Aceman” Ackerman on The Sports Docket tonight at 8:30 PM ET. The show starts at 8:00 PM. We'll be talking... what else... Yankees baseball.
Posted by: James
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Well, I wanted to throw my hat in the ring about the AL East this year as well. Things didn't work out so well last year but I didn't count on Beckett returning to form so quickly. In any case, here's where I think things will stand 6 months from now in the AL East:

New York: 94 - 68
Boston: 92 - 70
Toronto: 84 - 78
Tampa Bay: 76 - 86
Baltimore: 69 - 93
Posted by: Patrick
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Tyler Kepner of the Times has a great article and voice assisted slide show covering some of the secrets of Yankee Stadium - areas of the park that fans generally don't get to see.

Among them, a painting on a beam in the seat repair shop, depicting Yankee captains Derek Jeter, Thurman Munson and Lou Gehrig with Gehrig weeping.

[Yankees adviser, Ray] Negron, who has worked for the Yankees since 1973, said Gehrig’s widow once told him the room was a refuge for her husband when a degenerative nerve disease was ravaging his body. When Gehrig needed privacy, he would retreat to that room. His wife would wait by a side door, just up a ramp beside the old bullpen, and take him home.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham has posted his blog interview with Brian Cashman. I think this is my favorite question and answer:

Chris asked: When you’re dealing with a player agent or a GM, and he tells you that he’s got such-and-such an offer on the table from another team. How do you know that’s the truth? Is there a way to verify it, or do you go on the honor principle?

Brian Cashman: “If you’re dealing with an agent, I can’t verify it until after the fact. Every time I close out a negotiation with somebody with a signing or if that player eventually signs with somebody else, I will talk. What agents will typically do or say is, ‘Hey, I got the following offer from the following club.’ I write everything down and I crosscheck that information after and I keep a list of who tells the truth and who doesn’t tell the truth and here are the examples. I’ll call out the agents on it. I’ll say, ‘I found out you lied to me. I talked to Joe Blow and they said that’s not true and you said it was and I’m just letting you know I take notes to this stuff. Now I know that you’re a bulls***ter.’ Or it builds your credibility. If somebody says they got this and for five years every time I crosscheck the guy’s never been wrong, he’s always told the truth, then he goes up the credibility scale. He’ll be more believable down the line to me when we’re negotiating. General managers have different ways than other clubs when they present things. You have your scouts; we all have our connections in other organizations to tend to find out and verify whether they’re down the tracks with a particular trade. But in terms of potential players or free agents, there’s nothing you can do. You have to fly blind.”
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Derek Jeter bruised his right pinky finger during batting practice on Sunday. Joe Girardi expects that he'll be in the opening day lineup.
Posted by: Patrick
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From George King:

Seeing that Scott Patterson was upset about being sent out, Hawkins headed for Patterson's locker. Hawkins knew Patterson was almost perfect in eight games (one hit, no runs in 71/3 innings) and figured he needed some encouragement.

"I told him to go to his room and have some drinks and charge it to my room, 901," Hawkins said.

Patterson didn't run up Hawkins' room service bill but appreciated the support.

"That was awesome, I probably needed that at that point," said Patterson, who will open the season at Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
Posted by: Patrick
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Andy Pettitte will start the season on the DL, but is expected to start against the Devil Rays on Saturday, April 6 - the fifth game of the season.

Peter Abraham has the Yankees opening day roster:

Lineup

LF - Johnny Damon
SS - Derek Jeter
RF - Bobby Abreu
3B - Alex Rodriguez
1B - Jason Giambi
C - Jorge Posada
DH - Hideki Matsui
2B - Robinson Cano
CF - Melky Cabrera

Bench

C - Jose Molina
1B/LF/RF - Shelley Duncan
1B/3B - Morgan Ensberg
1B/2B/3B/SS - Wilson Betemit

Starters

Chien-Ming Wang
Mike Mussina
Phil Hughes
Ian Kennedy

Relievers

Mariano Rivera
Joba Chamberlain
LaTroy Hawkins
Kyle Farnsworth
Billy Traber
Ross Ohlendorf
Brian Bruney
Jon Albaladejo

60-day disabled list

Andrew Brackman
Humberto Sanchez
Carl Pavano

15-day disabled list

Andy Pettitte
Jeff Karstens
Sean Henn
Posted by: Patrick
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Hideki Matsui's wedding yesterday earned Matsui $2,000 in winnings from Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu. You see, the three of them had entered into a bet over who would get married first. Jeter received a one year handicap and Abreu received a six month handicap. Upon arriving at the clubhouse, both Jeter and Abreu were surprised by the news. But, both of them have conceded to Godzilla, saying that they won't be getting married within that time frame.

Humorously, it seems like Hideki may have been betting on what was a sure thing. "Sometimes you should have all the information before you make a bet," Joe Girardi is quoted as saying, by Bryan Hoch. Read more from Kat O'Brien, Peter Abraham, Tyler Kepner and Pete Caldera.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Ed Price:

The Yankees have told people they plan to carry Morgan Ensberg. So assuming a lineup with Johnny Damon in left field, Hideki Matsui as designated hitter and Jason Giambi at first base ("He's going to play a lot of first base," manager Joe Girardi said today), the bench would be Ensberg, backup catcher Jose Molina, infielder Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan. That makes Betemit the only reserve middle infielder.

Via Ben.
Posted by: James
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No baby Godzilla or Mothra jokes! Word comes in from Pete A. that Hideki Matsui is getting married (apparently in the States) to "reportedly a 25-year-old former office worker".
Posted by: James
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Still going through the huge backlog in my RSS reader, I just wanted to point out a few more of the links that are worth your time.

Jason over at My Baseball Bias has posted a handy (and quite dandy) list of the 2008 payroll and I, being a finance nerd, am very grateful. Cot's is a good place to get multi-year and contract detail but having all the 08 numbers in one place is great.

The Baseball Crank posted an AL East preview using EWSL (Established Win Shares Levels) as a starting point.

Here's how it breaks out:

Yankees: 2008 W-L: 101-61
Boston: 2008 W-L: 88-74 (Whoa. The Crank took a lot of heat for this one. People even called him a Yankees fan! Trust me, if you've read Crank's stuff, he's a solid Mets fan... heck, he even titled the first section The Hated Yankees.)
Toronto 2008 W-L: 83-79
Tampa 2008 W-L: 71-91
Baltimore 2008 W-L: 68-94

Sigh. This reminds me of the predictions I made before the season last year... and they didn't turn out so well. Still, I would hit up the link for the analysis, of which this was my favorite part:

2008 is an exciting year for purist Yankee fans who have waited a long, long time to see the team break in a significant amount of young talent (Melky getting an everyday job, two rookie starters and maybe three if Joba slots in for Mussina), but it's also a year of risk. In a sense - and this was reflected in the desultory pursuit of Johan Santana - the Yankees and Red Sox almost seem to have entered into an unspoken detente this season, both deciding simultaneously to take a breather from big-ticket acquisitions, prepare for the decline in earnest of their aging stars, and start working more youth into their rotations and lineups - a Melky for an Ellsbury, a Hughes for a Buchholz, a Kennedy for a Lester, a Mussina for a Schilling, a Giambi for a Manny (both of whose contracts finally end in 2008). If there was a serious threat to their two-superpower system this would be risky, but as of now there still isn't.
Posted by: Patrick
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Andy Pettitte threw 36 pitches as part of a bullpen session and felt fine, according to Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that infielder Chris Woodward has been released.
Posted by: Patrick
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Neil Best reports that Bob Sheppard is aiming for a return this summer. "I don't know when it will be, but it will be," Sheppard said. Jim Hall will helm the PA spot while he is away.

Via Yahoo!
Posted by: Patrick
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Bryan Hoch reports that Andy Pettitte has been pushed back to the third or fourth game of the season. Mike Mussina will pitch the second game, following Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes will pitch the third game if Pettitte cannot go. Ian Kennedy will be the fifth man.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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John Harper has an interview with A-Rod, where A-Rod talks about the regret he felt when he opted out of his deal with the Yankees and how he compared it to signing the contract with Texas, when he really wanted to play for the Mets.

A-Rod said he was motivated to break free from Boras partly because of his fear that Hank Steinbrenner was serious about closing the door on his possible return to the Bronx, and because he was simply at a different stage of his life compared to when he had signed with the Rangers.

"My wife and daughter both love New York," said A-Rod. "Four days after I opted out (and was living in Miami), my daughter says, 'I really miss my bedroom and my toys in New York.' I wanted to shoot myself. I said to my wife, 'What the --- are we doing?' "

Via Ben.
Posted by: James
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Not really news as everyone knew this was coming, but Deadspin posts today that Jose Canseco has named Roger Clemens, Magglio Ordonez and Alex Rodriguez as users, according to a man named Joe Lavin, who bought a copy accidentally put on sale early and posted about it.

As for Alex Rodriguez, Canseco says he didn't inject Rodriguez, but that he "introduced Alex to a known supplier of steroids." Canseco didn't mention Rodriguez in the first book because he "hated the bastard." He was worried that people would have "questioned [his] motives" had he included Rodriguez.

My favorite part of the Lavin post had to be the revelation at the end though.

By the way, Clemens and Rodriguez aren't the biggest names in the book. The biggest may well be Mike Wallace. Canseco describes a conversation the two had after his 60 Minutes interview:

When the cameras stopped rolling, Wallace asked me if we could talk, off-camera. He kept me there for another hour, clearly curious about steroids. . . . He wondered how the steroids and human growth hormones (HGH) might help him, a man in his eighties, live a longer, healthier life. He wanted to know everything. . . . When Wallace was done interrogating me, I could see I had piqued his interest. Whether I'd made a convert of him, I can't say. Still, I know, I was pretty convincing.

Yes, apparently, Mike Wallace could be juiced. It makes sense. How else to explain how Wallace has stayed on top of his game well into his eighties? No word yet on whether Andy Rooney is juiced too.
Posted by: Patrick
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The New York Post reported:

The Yankees and Mets are in secret talks with the city to buy their old ballparks before the wrecking balls hit - so they can plunder them for lucrative memorabilia to peddle to fans, The Post has learned.

A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg confirmed the negotiations but would not say how the deals might go down - specifically, whether the city would hope to get a lump sum from the teams or a percentage of the profits of any sale or auction of items.

Despite this the Yankees are saying it's not true.

"The New York Yankees are not in discussions to buy the current Yankee Stadium from the City of New York," Levine said in a statement. "We have been in talks with city officials to determine the best way for the city to realize value in the assets of the current Yankee Stadium.

"The goal is to find the best and most efficient way to make memorabilia items available to the public and our fans."

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Chris Britton has been assigned to the minor league camp.
Posted by: Patrick
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Andy missed his start today due to back spasms. Both Girardi and Pettitte feel that he'll be good to go come the regular season.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Anthony Rieber:

The 120-foot Louisville Slugger outside Gate 4 -- actually a boiler stack fitted to look like a bat, complete with a knob at the top, tape at the handle and Babe Ruth's signature on the barrel -- seems to have been overlooked as the Yankees prepare to make the move across the street to a new Yankee Stadium in 2009.

"We do not have knowledge of what will happen to 'The Bat,'" Yankees spokesman Michael Margolis said.

The mayor's office wouldn't get into specifics except for mentioning that they are working with the Yanks and the Mets in an effort to sell memorabilia from the stadiums.

Imagine The Bat at your house? Meet me at The Bat? lol. That'd be classic.
Posted by: Patrick
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George King reports that Graig Nettles was diagnosed with prostate cancer the day before Thanksgiving. Nettles' brother, Jim, had been diagnosed and called him to say he should get checked.

Doctors had wanted to do the surgery in January, but Nettles wanted to go to spring training, which they said was fine, since it is slow moving. He'll have the operation on April 8. Our thoughts are with him and those close to him.
Posted by: Patrick
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Just one surprising story after another these days. Carl Pavano has been placed on the 60 day DL! This was done to make room on the 40 man roster for Morgan Ensberg, who has made the team. He told Peter Abraham, "I can’t wear Paul O’Neill’s number," so he'll be changing from 21 to something else (he's apparently interested in 14).
Posted by: Patrick
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Requiring about the same level of surprise as Joba starting in the pen, Bryan Hoch reports that Wang will start opening day for the Yanks.
Posted by: James
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Chad Jennings checks in with a photo series from Jason Farmer that shows Shelley Duncan's unique sliding technique. I thoroughly enjoyed the last comment "I think home plate should know better than to stand in the way of a sliding head first Shelley Duncan." HA!
Posted by: Patrick
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Men's Health has an interview with Derek Jeter.

"So what do you think about the Mitchell Report?" I ask.

Jeter doesn't hesitate. "It just sheds a terrible light on the sport. Now everything in baseball is steroid-related. Now everything is speculation. You hear people saying, 'Well, that guy must be doing it, too, and that guy.' That's unfair. I'm not talking about any particular player, but people are having to defend themselves against speculation. I think that's only going to become worse."

"Baseball is trying to clean itself up, which is good," he says. "But you're always going to have people saying it's not enough. You could say if a guy tests positive once, he's kicked out of the game for 2 years, and someone out there will say it should be 3 years. You're never going to please everyone." Then I ask, "So, to you, is using steroids or human growth hormone cheating?"

Again, Jeter does not pause. "First and foremost, you're cheating yourself. You're making a deal with the devil. You're affecting your health. I'm not a doctor, so I can't tell you, 'If you do this, 10 years from now this is going to happen.' But you really have to pay attention to what you do to your body." He taps his chest with his finger. "This is what I use for a living. Like I said before, you're only going to play this sport, or any sport, for a small portion of your life -- and I think you're cheating yourself."

Via The Bronx Stop.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Melky and Shelly will not have their appeals heard before opening day, making them eligible to participate.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the official site:

Mike Gardner was returned to the Yankees organization on Wednesday after spending three months as a Rule 5 Draft selection of the Padres.
Posted by: Patrick
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The foregone conclusion is now official: Joba will start the season in the pen. As far as Joba becoming a starter later in the season, Joe Girardi wouldn't commit one way or another, outside of saying that he'll be a starter at some point in the future. There won't be any Joba Rules.
Posted by: Patrick
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hokiesports.com has a nice photo gallery from the Virginia Tech/Yankees game.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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The Yankees did a great thing today. The Yankees as a team did a great thing - every member of the team and the organization that participated and supported this did a great thing.

So, I don't want to make this a George Steinbrenner thing. But, the Yankees are, in a way, a reflection of the man. For all his bluster and all of the negative things that will be a part of his legacy, his charitable nature should rank up there with any of them, when the time comes where people analyze and scrutinize what he did. He helps people and you hear stories about it, but something tells me that he's helped countless people who we never hear about.

On most days, you can be proud to be a Yankees fan. Today, you can be just a little prouder.

03/18: Catching Up

Posted by: James
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Jeez, what a brutal last couple of weeks it has been. Not to bore anyone with my drudgery, but work has been consuming most of my time...hence the lack of posts on my part. It doesn't help that there was a ton of Yankee and baseball related goodness out there that I am now wading through. So far, here are a few things that I came across that I found particularly interesting.

There was a great article out on ESPN a while back referencing Nomar and his curmudgeon ways and it really made me think about those ballplayers that do take the time to brighten someone's day and realize how big of an impact their presence can have. Here's a great paragraph:

I wanted to tell him about George Bell and Ben Oglivie and Kevin McReynolds and Richie Zisk -- long-since-retired men with similar career numbers who nowadays can walk through most any spring training facility and go unnoticed. I wanted to tell him that fame is fleeting, and the ability to make someone's day -- to make a memory -- is a gift few of us possess. I wanted to tell him to wake up, take off his damn sunglasses and look these people in the eye. I wanted to tell him to treat fans like human beings; to remember that, when one gets right down to it, a major league baseball uniform is -- from a fashion standpoint -- a half-step removed from my 4-year-old daughter's Hello Kitty pajamas.

I wanted to tell him all of this and then some. But I was quite certain Nomar Garciaparra wouldn't listen. So I just stood there. And watched.

After this article and in light of what the Yankees organization has done for VT, today is a day when you puff out that chest a little more when you say you're a Yankees fan.

Also, speaking of human interest stories, I don't know how many people caught it but Karen Krouse reported that Daryl Strawberry has actually been at the Met's camp. The Mets hired Strawberry as a a special instructor in spring training among other things. Some people might scoff that Daryl is being given another chance to make good but hey, if you're looking for someone to teach people about what addiction can do to a man in the spotlight, Straw's not a bad choice.

“I’m going to give these young kids the same advice I give to my own boys about focus, choices, decisions,” Strawberry, a father of five, said, adding, “What it’s like to excel at a high level and really take care of yourself more than anything. What they have to deal with – the pressures and temptations of life.”
...
His long battle with drugs played out in public, giving Strawberry empathy for the players implicated in baseball’s steroids era who are now squirming in the spotlight. Asked what advice he might have for them based on his experience, Strawberry said, “Don’t quit under the pressure. Don’t give up. There’s going to be a lot of things said and a lot of people question who you are and what you are. We all make mistakes. It’s part of life. It’s not a perfect journey.”

Finally, when I saw that Horatio Ramirez was released a while back, I remembered his league avg seasons with the Braves and thought, hmmm, maybe he wouldn't be a bad longman/lefty reliever. Then I remembered how bad he was last year. How bad you ask? Well, check this out. His line allowed last year: .337/.400/.512 over 459 PA. Wow...and it gets better. He pitched in the pitchers haven that is Safeco so his home numbers are worse than you think. .315/.377/.445. He made every batter he faced into Derek Jeter (he of the 122 OPS+). On the road...and these numbers boggle the mind because of how many total innings they allowed him to pitch....358/.422/.575. He made all the batters he faced into Albert Pujols...with a better average. That's even worse than Kei was last year!
Posted by: Patrick
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The other night, the Yankees Bloggers League had it's draft. We had 14 teams and 21 rounds, making for a total of 294 players drafted. I drew the 4th pick overall and selected David Wright, after A-Rod, Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Howard had been taken off the board. Over the next four rounds, I selected Derek Jeter at 25, Robinson Cano at 32, Dan Hared at 53 and Bobby Abreu at 60.

Here are my hitters:

C - Jorge Posada (7, 88)
1B - Adrian Gonzalez (9, 116)
2B - Robinson Cano (3, 32)
3B - David Wright (1, 4)
SS - Derek Jeter (2, 25)
OF - Bobby Abreu (5, 60)
OF - Kosuke Fukudome (13, 172)
OF - Aaron Rowand (15, 200)
UTIL - Jose Guillen (OF) (16, 221)
OF - Michael Bourn
1B/2B/3B - Ty Wigginton
1B/3B - Aubrey Huff

With Fukudome in the 13th, I was looking at my team and with over half the draft done, I only had one outfielder (Abreu). You can fit what I know about Kosuke on a quarter of a sticky note, but I did some quick research and decided to give him a try. In the final two rounds, I saw that I already had 9 pitchers and only one bench player - and no bench infielders - so I looked for players with multi-position eligability. I ended up drafting Wigginton and Huff.

The pitchers:

SP - Dan Haren (4, 53)
SP - Fausto Carmona (6, 81)
SP - Chad Billingsley (10, 137)
SP - Chien-Ming Wang (11, 144)
SP - Andy Pettitte (14, 193)
SP - Kyle Kendrick (19, 256)
RP - Mariano Rivera (8, 109)
RP - Jason Isringhausen (12, 165)
RP - Brandon Lyon (17, 228)

I was a little surprised to see Mariano hang around as long as he did. Yahoo! shows that he is drafted, on average, at 90.8 in their leagues. In a league of Yankees bloggers, he falls to 109. I was glad to pick him up, of course, as my first closer. I'm pretty happy with my team. Though, that always tends to be the case before the season. We'll see what happens after it gets started.
Posted by: Patrick
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Men's Vogue has a profile of A-Rod, focusing mostly on his timewith the Yankees, the events of his offseason and how he is perceived.

The accusations that Rodriguez didn't care about winning and that he was ruining baseball ate at the sensitive superstar, especially since Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter didn't face any such criticism when he signed his own $189-million deal to stay in New York for another 10 years. Ever since they broke into baseball, the press had tied Jeter and Rodriguez together — they were the golden boys, destined to define the game for years to come. The fact that they were close friends who spoke on the phone a couple of times a week only cemented the connection.

But that December, during an interview with Esquire's Scott Raab, A-Rod finally snapped. Why was it, he asked rhetorically, that reporters lionized Jeter? "He's never had to lead... You go into New York...you never say, 'Don't let Derek beat you.'" Those sentences wrecked the two stars' friendship and solidified Rodriguez's reputation as a prima donna. What was ignored at the time — and has been all but forgotten since — is that Boras, who was present at the interview, had egged A-Rod on by reminding him of how many more home runs he'd had than either Jeter or Boston's Nomar Garciaparra, the third shortstop in what was then a kind of holy trinity.

Rodriguez was devastated by the article, but he never made any excuses, never claimed that he had been misquoted, never protested that he had lauded Jeter countless times during that same interview. And Boras, who'd made $12.6 million off of A-Rod's contract, never stepped in to take any of the heat.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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Last night, we held the draft for the 2008 edition of the Yankees Bloggers fantasy baseball league. We had a great turnout with 11 or 12 of the 14 managers attending the draft (at various points in time) and a lot of fun. Our lineup of bloggers is Steven from The Yankees: Minors to Majors, Dan from Pinstripes, Pa, Greg from Sliding Into Home, Emma from Eephus Pitch, Joseph, Ben and Mike from River Ave. Blues, Brent from The Bronx Block, Andrew from Scott Proctor's Arm, Dave and Aziz from Pride of the Yankees, Jason from My Baseball Bias and, finally, James and myself. So, 14 bloggers from 10 different blogs.

The draft was 21 rounds long and took about two and a half hours to complete. The draft order was (with first round pick in parentheses): Mike (Alex Rodriguez), Aziz (Hanley Ramirez), Jason (Ryan Howard), Patrick (David Wright), Emma (Miguel Cabrera), Ben (Chase Utley), Brent (Jose Reyes), James (Matt Holliday), Dan (Jimmy Rollins), Greg (Albert Pujols), Steven (Prince Fielder), Dave (Johan Santana), Andrew (Alfonso Soriano) and Joseph (C.C. Sabathia).

The Yankees (and, for fun, Red Sox) taken in the draft were as follows:

Steven: Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester.
Dan: Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes.
Greg: Julio Lugo.
Emma: Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew and Ian Kennedy.
Joseph: Manny Ramirez and Joba Chamberlain.
Ben: Jason Giambi, Kevin Youkilis and Shelley Duncan.
Brent: David Ortiz and Curt Schilling.
James: None.
Andrew: Jason Varitek and Hideki Matsui.
Mike: Alex Rodriguez and Mike Mussina.
Dave: Hideki Okajima and Clay Buchholz.
Aziz: Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon.
Jason: Johnny Damon.
Patrick: Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Mariano Rivera, Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte.

The final round of the draft saw the following players taken: Pat Neshek (Mike), Carlos Gomez (Aziz), Brian Fuentes (Jason), Aubrey Huff (Patrick), Luis Castillo (Emma), Adam Jones (Ben), Chris Carpenter (Brent), Shaun Marcum (James), Yadier Molina (Dan), Daric Barton (Greg), Chase Headley (Steven), Hideki Okajima (Dave), Paul Lo Duca (Andrew) and Manny Parra (Joseph). Interestingly, Paul Lo Duca was also taken in the final round of last year's draft, but by Seamus.

I'm sure that I'll find a moment to write a bit about my team and maybe James will, too. We'll be talking about the league throughout the season, just as we did last year. Good luck to everyone!

Edit: Mike has an entry on the draft, too.
Posted by: Patrick
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Tyler Kepner reports that Shelley Duncan plans to appeal his three game suspension.
Posted by: Patrick
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From George King:

Major League Baseball has ordered Reggie Jackson out of uniform for the remainder of spring training games after the Hall of Famer was on the field during this past Wednesday's altercation.

Jackson, who was on the field dressed in gray baseball pants, windbreaker and New York Yankees hat, was fined $250 by MLB. Jackson, a special advisor during the season, also doubles as a spring training instructor.

Edited: Changed the title to be a little more clear.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that lefty reliever Billy Traber has been added to the 40 man roster with Andrew Brackman being placed on the DL.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Melky Cabrera claims he is innocent and plans to talk with his agent about appealing the three game suspension that he was handed.
Posted by: Patrick
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In response to Hank Steinbrenner's comments about Red Sox Nation, Jonathan Papelbon had said, ""I don't know if he's trying to stir things up or not. I sure as hell don't care, because he sure as hell hasn't stepped on a baseball field. He needs to just stick to pencil-pushing, I guess."

In response, Hank likened being insulted by Papelbon to being "attacked by a mouse".

"John Henry and I traded a couple of jabs good-naturedly. So now, all of a sudden, this player, this 20-something kid who really doesn't know his way in the world, comes out with a personal insult. There's no excuse for that," he told The Post.
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Pete Caldera and Peter Abraham report on LaTroy Hawkins and Billy Crystal's exchange of pranks.

Reportedly, Hawkins led a two day prankfest on Crystal, meaning a lot of snapped shoelaces and cut socks. But, Crystal took the last shot:

Billy Crystal gave a parting shot to LaTroy Hawkins, who found his brand new running shoes screwed into the top of his locker. When he walked into the clubhouse this morning, Hawkins laughed at the sight. "That's good.'' Players also alerted Hawkins to Mike Mussina's eraser board, where Crystal had signed his name below a message: "Don't (mess) with me!!!''

"I don't know if he did it or not. But I'm going to take it out on (rookie pitcher Andrew) Brackman," Hawkins said.

Via Cliff.
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From Jon Heyman:

George Steinbrenner is being inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame March 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Reggie Jackson will make the presentation to Steinbrenner. Also being inducted are Roberto Alomar, Goose Gossage and Andre Dawson. Alomar said, "My one regret was not playing for George Steinbrenner.'' Steinbrenner has been seen rarely this year around Steinbrenner Field, but people around the team say he seems to be doing better than last spring.

Congrats to the Boss.

Via Steve.
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Bryan Hoch reports that Shelley Duncan and Melky Cabrera have received three game suspensions. These suspensions would be served once the season starts. Melky apparently threw a punch. Jonny Gomes received a two game suspension. Joe Girardi, Bobby Meacham and Kevin Long were fined, but not suspended.
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Peter Abraham reports that Andy Pettitte "felt great, really great" in a 50 toss bullpen session. Pettitte had been scratched from his last start and is expected to give it another go against Boston on Monday.
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From Mark Feinsand:

For the first time in 13 years, the Yankees might be managed by someone not named Joe on Opening Day.

According to a baseball source, there is a possibility that both Joe Girardi and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon could face suspensions for their teams' part in Wednesday's bench-clearing melee between the Yankees and Rays.

Via Ben.
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Tyler Kepner has a profile (with family photos) of Shelley Duncan. He also has a bit extra on his blog with Shelley's feelings about Mark McGwire.

Generations of hitters know the coach Charley Lau for his theories on arm extension through the strike zone. Duncan remembers how much Lau loved cookies. When Lau was in the hospital fighting cancer, he shared his cookies with the Duncan boys. Shelley was 4 when Lau died.

That was during the White Sox years, when Duncan toddled around on Family Day and marveled at the fireworks over old Comiskey Park. He was 6 when La Russa and his father were fired, and he was so distraught that his father took him along for the drive home to Tucson. Chris and their mother, Jeanine, flew ahead.

“Shelley was really upset about it, and I wanted to kind of calm him down,” Dave Duncan said. “We were about halfway there and we’re listening to the radio, and a report comes on that says the manager in Oakland was fired. Shelley said: ‘Dad, we’ve got to call those people! That’d be perfect!’ ”
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In this edition, we have a great interview with Bryan Hoch of Bombers Beat.

When you aren't doing something related to or depending on the Yankees, what are you up to?

It's not often, but I enjoy kicking back at home, going out with friends - the usual. I'm making an effort to see at least one interesting museum or place in every city the Yankees travel to this season. Rock concerts are also a huge plus. I was hoping to see Van Halen during Spring Training but had to miss the concert due to Andy Pettitte's press conference.

How long have you been blogging about the Yankees?

This will be the second season. I took over Mark Feinsand's old blog at Yankees.com.

What's the best and worst part of blogging?

The best part is definitely the interaction with the readers. It's also important to be able to get news up quickly. Worst part? I'm not sure there is one, but I'd say that sometimes after we write six or seven articles on a particularly busy day, it's a grind to realize you have one more thing on your agenda before you can go get some dinner.

» Read More

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From Bryan Hoch:

Patrolling left field six batters into his first stint in the field after undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery in November, Hideki Matsui had to race into the corner to flag down a fly ball. No better time than the present.

Matsui passed his first defensive test with flying colors, recording the final out of the second inning on Thursday and retiring Ryan Doumit. He also may have put to rest any concerns about his repaired knee, which slowed his progress this spring.
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Bryan Hoch reports that former Yankees manager Stump Merrill is swollen, but alright after being hit by a thrown ball during batting practice on Wednesday. He laid motionless before being taken to the hospital where he had an emergency root canal after he lost a tooth.
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Apparently there was still some bad blood over the collision at the plate the other day that left Francisco Cervelli's wrist broken, and a brawl escalated in today's rematch as Shelley Duncan barreled into second basemen Akinori Iwamura in an apparent retaliation. A brawl ensued and among the three Yankees ejected were Duncan, Kevin Long, and third base coach Bobby Meachem.

The game was not on T.V. today so I didn't see it, but God have mercy on Iwamura's soul. Hurts me just to think about it.

EDIT: It appears it all started when a spikes-up slide by Duncan (not really barrelling by my sense of the word, but unnecessary nonetheless) into Iwamura provoked Jonny Gomez to charge in and tackle Duncan from RF. Newsday has photos of the incident here.
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I just wanted to mention, one last time, that we're having a Yankees bloggers fantasy baseball league for the second year running. If you blog at a Yankees focused blog, please e-mail me if you'd like an invite. Thanks.
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During the broadcast of today's spring training game on YES, it was announced the biopsy done on Bobby Murcer revealed what was in fact scar tissue due to radiation from his chemotherapy and not a tumor. Murcer plans on being in the broadcast booth for opening day.

Great news, I'll be watching.
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As a white person named Patrick O'Keefe (i.e. some of my ancestors came into this country from Ireland through Worcester, MA), I am appalled at this story.

A group of men — some with Irish accents — beat up a 23-year-old Cambridge man and sent him to the hospital after they spotted him sporting a Yankees baseball cap. ...

The attackers are described as four white men. One of the men was last seen wearing a blue and white striped shirt.

According to the victim's girlfriend, the couple went into Cantab Lounge in Cambridge and a "large group" of people came up to her boyfriend and started arguing with him because he was wearing a Yankees hat. The couple left the establishment, but they were followed and, alledgely, threw the Yankee fan to the group and kicked him. He was taken to the hospital.

On a serious note, we wish him a speedy recovery.

On a lighter note, Travis G. left a noteworth comment on Steve's entry about this: "Were the bullies wearing catcher's masks?"
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From OurSports Central:

Just days after signing a contract to join the [Frontier League's Florence] Freedom for the upcoming season, former University of Cincinnati baseball star Neall French agreed to a minor league deal with the New York Yankees. ...

"We're in the player development business so we're very excited when one of our players gets a chance to further his career," said Freedom manager Jamie Keefe, who's entering his fourth season in Florence. "We were very excited about the prospect of adding a bat like Neall's to our lineup this season so we can certainly understand why the Yankees are making this move. Neall has been a part of winning teams throughout his career, and I have no doubt he'll do well for the Yankees' organization."

Via The Bronx Stop.

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This really is one of those things where you know it's going to happen - it's only a question of when. But, Hank Steinbrenner had this to say:

Hank Steinbrenner said there’s not an official plan yet, but former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams will be honored by the team. “Obviously, Bernie is special to us,” Steinbrenner said.

Via Steve.
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The New York Post and boston.com report on Hank Steinbrenner's response to John Henry's induction of him into Red Sox Nation. Here's what Henry had said:

"I'm a big Hank fan. Just to ensure he knows how cool Red Sox Nation is, [Saturday] we officially inducted him as a member of Red Sox Nation and we are sending him his membership card giving him access to an array of options including our newsletter, bumper stickers, pins, Green Monster seats and a hat personally autographed by David Ortiz."

Steinbrenner's response:

"I am not joining Red Sox Nation, honorary or not. I'll respond to that later. Trust me, I am not joining Red Sox Nation."

He also went on to say:

"John used to be an owner of the Yankees and he's a great guy. My dad always loved the guy. I love him. Hal loves him. And he's done a tremendous job with the Red Sox. My only point was simple and that is that the Yankees brand is the biggest in the country. And everybody knows that. Obviously it's Yankees Nation. That's not meant as a cut to the Red Sox. In truth. I'm just not saying that to be nice - but John Henry has done an unbelievable job with the Red Sox brand. ...

Every Red Sox fan is and Yankee fan is. I can tell you this, we've got a lot in common, too. The Yankees ownership and Red Sox ownership have a lot in common and have a lot of common interests. God, I hate to scare Red Sox or Yankee fans, but you never know we might end up being partners in the future outside of baseball. We have a lot in common. We have a lot in common. In baseball and outside of baseball. Even though the rivalry will always be the greatest rivalry in American sports, you can say that the Yankees and Red sox ownerships are definitely friends. No question."

Friends? Errrr.... you've gone too far!
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Tyler Kepner talks about how Robinson Cano was involved, in one way or another, in at least three big trade proposals back in 2004. The first one being the A-Rod deal where he was offered alongside Alfonso Soriano. The Rangers opted for Joaquín Árias.

Later, during the season, the Yankees offered him and Dioner Navarro to the Royals for center fielder Carlos Beltran. But, the Royals sent him to the Astros, netting Mark Teahen, John Buck and Mike Wood.

And, after that, the Yankees were trying to trade for Randy Johnson and were ready to trade any prospect that the Diamondbacks were interested in. Kepner says that a D-Backs scount recommended Cano, but the team ended up holding onto the big lefty for the rest of the season.

A deal not related to Cano, from 1997, is also discussed. Apparently, the Yankees offered Jorge Posada and Mike Lowell to the Expos for Pedro Martinez. But, as we all know, he went to the Sox for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr.

Via jscape2000.
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Peter Abraham reports that four players have been sent from the major league camp to the minor league camp. They are catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, first baseman Eric Duncan and infielder Eduardo Nunez.
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The Post reports that Yankees outfield prospect Austin Krum was arrested last night when he refused to leave Tia's Tex Mex in Tampa.

Reportedly, two cops asked him to leave a number of times. Instead, he went to the back of the bar and the cops had to physical remove him from the establishment. He was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.

03/01: The Captain

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Bryan Hoch has an article on the three team captains in the game: Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko and Jason Varitek.

"It's an important role and it's an honor," Jeter said. "I know, in this organization, it's not something that's thrown around lightly. It's something that I cherish." ...

"There are a lot of responsibilities," Jeter said. "You're accountable to your team, your teammates, the organization, the media. You understand that it's not just an honorary thing."

The article notes that, of the three, Varitek is the only one to wear a C on his jersey.

I've heard some rumblings, which are natural, that Jeter isn't the best choice for captain and that someone else, perhaps Jorge Posada would be better. I think part of this is based on public perception of things. Just because Posada speaks out more on issues, like trading for Santana or leaving Joba in the pen, doesn't make him more suited to be captain. The captain's role is private as much as anything. i.e. what he does when the press isn't looking. You can find plenty of quotes from teammates, current and former, testifying to Jeter's prowess as captain, in the things he's done with his teammates, when the press isn't necessarily around.

If I have to pick one from my outside perspective, it's Jeter. I love that he's the captain. In Jeter, we're witnessing a Yankee legend of a historical caliber. 70 years from now, they'll talk about Jeter like they talk about Gehrig now. He handles himself professionally on and off the field. He's the consummate team player and an example of a guy who plays the game the right way and has the proper respect for the game and those that came before him. (No,I don't think him not running away from the shortstop position when A-Rod came takes away from him nor his relative no comment during A-Rod's struggles. He's still a human being like everyone else).

Some of the things I say for Jeter, I can also say for Jorge. You can also find plenty of articles talking about Posada's leadership. I think he's a terrific leader and would make a fine captain. I don't see why we need to pigeonhole the team into only having one leader. The captain is important, but you need multiple leaders and character guys to make great teams. Derek Jeter is a great leader. Jorge Posada is a great leader. Mariano Rivera is a great leader. They all lead in different ways, but it doesn't mean that any of them isn't a good leader. Other guys are leaders and can manage leadership roles just fine. Like A-Rod or Moose with the young pitchers this spring. At the end of the day, we should be less concerned with switching around captains and more glad that we actually have players of this quality when it comes to leadership.
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Peter Abraham has this quote from Reggie Jackson on Yankees prosect Austin Jackson:

“The best athlete in the organization is Austin Jackson. He moves better than LaDainian Tomlinson.”