Sunday, May 13, 2007
Get your tickets now.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Rock Cats reliever J.P. Martinez, who threw high and inside to Thunder backup catcher Jason Brown to begin the ninth inning, was suspended three games and fined $300. So was Brown, who promptly charged the mound after the buzzing.
Thunder reliever Edwar Ramirez and New Britain infielder Luke Hughes also got three-game suspensions and $300 fines. Sunday's incident began at the end of the 8th inning, when Hughes struck out swinging at a Ramirez changeup. Hughes complained about Ramirez throwing him changeups, and the two got into it, albeit without punches being thrown.
Also given the same penalties were infielders Aarom Baldiris (Thunder) and Brock Peterson (Rock Cats). Every player who got involved, which basically means every player except those who were in the stands charting pitches, were fined $100.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
The Yankees aren't committing to anything more than that at this point. If they decide he is ready to pitch in an actual game after that bullpen session, the rest of his schedule could unfold like this (and please remember that this is just an educated guess):
May 17, 18, or 19: Start for High-A Tampa at Legends Field
May 22, 23, or 24: Start for the Double-A Thunder at Waterfront Park vs. Portland (the game on the 24th is at 11:05 a.m., so don't count on that one)
May 27, 28, or 29: Start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at PNC Field
June 1, 2, or 3: Return to the major leagues at Fenway Park (as if the Yankees just being in town wasn't enough to get Red Sox nation riled up)
So it looks like it will come down to that bullpen session on Tuesday. If he's ready to go in a game after that, the Thunder can start to make their plans for a Rocket Landing.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
The Yankees just announced that they have brought back Roger Clemens. And they made the announcement in style too: during the seventh inning stretch, they posted the announcement on the jumbotron in center field and Clemens addressed the crowd.
Like he did during his re-launch with the Astros last year, Clemens will make several tune-up starts in the minors (possibly including with the Thunder, but obviously no word yet). Clemens said on YES that he'd like to make his first major league start by the beginning of June.
Two thoughts on this:
1. How the heck were the Yankees able to keep this a secret from the press? There are a lot of damn good, well-connected reporters on that beat, and while many predicted this would happen, no one had reported it as fact.
2. Clemens will no doubt help the Yankees rotation a great deal, and he can be a good mentor for Hughes and their other young guys. But don't expect Clemens to put up the gaudy ERA numbers he had with the Astros the last couple of seasons. The American League, in particular the AL East, is far tougher to pitch against than the National League.
UPDATE: GM Brian Cashman just said that a plan, including when and where he'll make his tune-up starts, will be worked out in the coming days. He'll begin his tune-up work at the Yankees complex in Tampa.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
As fortune would have it, the Yankees sent OF Jamal Strong down from Triple-A Scranton before last night's game to take the roster spot held by the promoted Chase Wright. Gardner's spot on the roster was filled by RHP Rob Zimmerman, a free agent signee. From everything I've looked at, Zimmerman last pitched at the end of last season for Double-A Arkansas in the Angels' organization.
I've been told that Zimmerman will be a reliever, as he has been for much of his pro career. The Thunder will still need a starting pitcher for Tuesday's doubleheader at Portland. Since the Yankees need to clear a spot in the Tampa rotation for Joba Chamberlain to come off the DL, logic had suggested that 2006 top draft pick Ian Kennedy, or possibly Elvys Quezada, would be promoted to make that start. Now who knows what is going to happen.
UPDATE: I learned this morning from a source in Tampa that Zimmerman has been at extended spring training, and hasn't been particularly impressive. Also, Scott Patterson is slated, as of right now, to start the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader. So it looks like no Ian Kennedy for now.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
While he hasn't gone deep into games, DeSalvo has put up great numbers at Triple-A so far: 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in five starts. During spring training, I wrote about DeSalvo's hellish 2006 season, which began with him nearly making the major leagues out of spring training and ended with him losing his spot on the Yankees' 40-man roster. I'm happy to see that he got himself straightened out.
As for Wright, he was scheduled to start for the Thunder tomorrow night at New Britain. My guess is that Jeff Marquez will now make that start (on normal rest), someone will get called up from High-A Tampa to fill in the gap. If it's Ian Kennedy, the Yankees' top 2006 draft pick, he last pitched yesterday, so he won't be able to go again until Monday.
UPDATE: Scott Patterson will make another spot start (his second of the season) tonight at New Britain, with Marquez staying on his previously scheduled day on Saturday. My guess is Kennedy gets promoted, with the transaction, as per the Yankees' habit post-Masse, not being completed until the last moment.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
As great a story as a no-hitter would have been, the best part for the Yankees was that they finally were having a starter go deep into the game and give the bullpen a breather.
Hughes is now the sixth Yankee (along with Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Bobby Abreu) to be sidelined with a muscle strain since spring training began. Think those new performance enhancement coaches GM Brian Cashman hired are feeling the heat right now?
UPDATE: Just learned, courtesy of Peter Abraham of the Journal News, that the Yankees have fired "Director of Performance Enhancement" Marty Miller. He was one of the two new strength and conditioning gurus that Cashman hired before this season. Amazingly, he was hired with no prior experience in major league baseball, and several Yankees reportedly weren't enamored with his methods.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
He'll be wearing a different uniform, and he'll be working out of the visitors' dugout and clubhouse. But Bill Masse will be back at Waterfront Park tonight when the Thunder open a three-game set with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.While Masse said in spring training that he's happy in New Hampshire and happy with the Toronto Blue Jays (the Fisher Cats' major league affiliate), he's still bitter over being fired by the Yankees for reasons that weren't true.
It's no secret that his personality didn't mesh with some at the top of the Yankees' player development hierarchy, in particular minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras. Masse has even admitted that much. Heck, he reportedly wasn't even their top choice to manage the Thunder when they first promoted him to Double-A before the 2005 season. But he said the Yankees claimed he put winning over player development, specifically top prospect Phil Hughes' development, an accusation he vehemently denies.
Anyhow, that story has been beaten to a pulp. Of more immediate importance, the Fisher Cats are in second place in the Eastern League Northern Division at 12-7, five games behind the 17-2 Thunder. While both team's strengths and weaknesses (good pitching, weak offense) are similar, their compositions are very different -- Trenton is laden with young prospects (especially pitching-wise), while New Hampshire is loaded with veterans (three Fisher Cats spent all of last year in Triple-A!).