Results tagged ‘ Andy Pettitte ’

Hello Toronto

By Jon Lane
Game 1 of the two-game set is tonight with Andy Pettitte squaring off against Roy Halladay, who makes his first start in T.O. since surviving the trade deadline and remaining a Blue Jay. Red Sox-Yankees may begin on Thursday, but this series also carries plenty of intrigue.

Consider:

? Nice pitching matchup tonight (YES HD, 7 p.m.): Andy Pettitte vs. Roy Halladay. Pettitte may be on his last legs, but so far so good in the second half. He comes off a strong game last Thursday in Chicago, two runs (one earned) on five hits in 6 1/3 innings during a tough-luck no-decision, and owns a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts – and has pitched into at least the seventh inning in all three. Speculation will increase from where I sit on whether this will be Pettitte’s final Major League season, but anything he provides down the stretch is critical. If the Yankees make the postseason, Pettitte will get a Game 3 start – or perhaps Game 2 – based on track record alone.

? Expect a packed house energized that the Yankees are in town and Doc Halladay (11-4, 2.68 ERA) is still a Blue Jay. Halladay is 16-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 34 games – 32 starts – versus the Yankees and 8-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last 10 games against New York at Rogers Centre. The last time the Yankees saw Halladay in Toronto was May 12, when pitched a complete-game five-hitter in a 5-1 victory, but they did tag him for five runs in seven innings (three home runs) during a 6-5 July 4 win in 12 innings.

? We’re seeing Phase I of the Joba plan with the Yankees bumping him an extra two days to start Thursday against the Red Sox (while avoiding throwing Sergio Mitre out there). How the team actually manages this innings limit thing will be unveiled a little each time. If you notice, Phil Hughes has been getting a bit more work with each appearance (except yesterday).

Speaking of Mitre, he and his 7.90 ERA starts Wednesday. Unless Brian Cashman snags a veteran starter that clears waivers this month, he better hop Mitre shows dramatic improvement off a disasterous start Friday night (five runs on seven hits in three innings). Otherwise you’re looking at Kei Igawa (whoa boy) starting potentially key games.

? Heading into Showdown Thursday, the Red Sox play two games against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg before flying into New York City. Both teams will have their hands full the next two days.

Yanks shoot for sixth straight win

By Jon Lane
A beautiful Wednesday morning here at Yankee
Stadium for the finale of the Yankees’ three-game set against the
Orioles. It’s A.J. Burnett on the bump for New York, which took over
sole possession of first place in the AL East last night for the first
time since June 8. Since Alex Rodriguez returned from the disabled list
one month earlier, the Yankees are 43-22, the best record in baseball.

Burnett
is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA over his last four starts. According to STATS
Inc. he’s 8-1 with a 4.83 ERA in 10 career starts against the Orioles.
It was on April 9 in Baltimore when Burnett made his Yankees debut by
allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings to earn an 11-2 win.

I’ll be back later with lineups and assorted team news, along with details of today’s installment of HOPE Week.
Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and Kevin
Long met a couple of inspirational people. Tom Ellenson is a Little
Leaguer with cerebral palsy. His father, Richard, created a device that
allows non-verbal individuals like his son to more easily communicate.
Tom and his friends from his Little League team were treated to lunch
at Out of the Kitchen in Greenwich Village before he and other children
with cerebral palsy participated in a rally and baseball clinic. The
photo below was provided by the Yankees.

hope_275.jpg12:58 p.m.
I
spent some time before the game in the Billy Martin suite covering
today’s HOPE Week event: the powerful story of George Murray, a
terminally ill ALS patient who to their surprise were welcomed by a
large contingent of family and friends – as well as Derek Jeter, Phil
Hughes, Brian Bruney, Hideki Matsui, Phil Coke, Cody Ransom and Mark
Teixeira.

George and his family were just shown on the Diamond
Vision, his 4-year-old son, Trason, sitting on his lap. Coke is on the
field behind home plate greeting George, Trason and Kim. This feature
will run on YESNetwork.com this afternoon.

1:27 p.m.
Some notes from Joe Girardi’s pregame press conference:

?
He’s not schizo like Oliver Perez, but when A.J. Burnett pitches he
either walks the earth or is electric, in other words he’s either feast
or famine. Girardi was asked what impresses him more, when Burnett is
completely dominant or if he has to gut it out.

In his last start on Friday, Burnett allowed three runs and six hits
with five walks in six innings, starting 15 of 27 batters with balls
and throwing 57 of 104 pitches for strikes. The start prior, Burnett,
walked four gave up seven hits and threw three wild pitches while only
striking out two in a 4-3 in over the Twins. 

“I think it’s more impressive when a guy has to gut his way through,
because sometimes the have to be more creative and they can’t just rely
on their stuff solely to get people out,” Girardi said. “You’re going to
get in some jams and have to figure out a way to get out of them.” 

Burnett
worked swiftly through the first inning, allowing only a one-out hit
while throwing eight pitches and earning the final two outs tossing
just two.

? Through one turn anyway, Joba Chamberlain, Andy
Pettite and Sergio Mitre assuaged concerns over the back end of the
Yankees’ rotation after Burnett and CC Sabathia.

“When everyone is doing their job, it takes a little bit of pressure
off the other starters in the sense of I have to win today,” Girardi
said. “By everyone doing their job, they’re able to concentrate more on
what they have to do that day.”

? Girardi appears a lot more relaxed and settled into his job compared to last year, but he mainains his demeanor is the same.

“I
think I’m pretty much the same guy I think I’ve learned a lot on how to
handle situations better, so I might appear to be a little looser. I’m
an intense guy who’s going to laugh and going to have fun, but there’s
an intensity in there.”

1:32 p.m.
Yankees blast rookie Jason Berken for four runs on six hits in the first, very encouraging considering their track record against pitchers they face for the first time. Berken has lasted past the fifth inning just once in his last five outings, going 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in that span.  

1:36 p.m.
WEEI.com reports the Red Sox have acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pirates for two prospects. Adam’s brother, Andy, was part of last year’s three-team blockbuster that sent Jason Bay to Boston and Manny Ramirez to the L.A. Dodgers.

2:03 p.m.
From goat to hero: Nick Swisher pulls a Luis Castillo to start the third inning and a Willie Mays to end it.

2:47 p.m.
I’m back after filing my feature on George Murray and HOPE Week. Swisher with a leaping catch against the wall in right. When did he turn into Ichiro?

3:07 p.m.
Phil Hughes warming up with two out in the seventh inning of a 5-0 Yankees lead against a bad team. Why not give Mark Melancon some work? He’s probably here for only another week until Damaso Marte returns.

3:11 p.m.
5-2 Yankees. I’d bring him in now.

3:57 p.m.
Just when you think you’re in the clear, Brian Bruney gives up back-to-back jacks to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. So effective early in the season, Bruney has completely lost it since coming off the disabled list for the second time. To protect what’s now a 6-4 lead, Joe Girardi was forced to summon Mariano Rivera, who benefits from any time off he receives.

5:05 p.m.
To cut Bruney some slack, today was his first appearance since July 10. And despite the back-to-back gopher balls Joe Girardi said it was the best stuff he’s seen from the struggling right-hander since he was activated from the DL June 17. Girardi added he’d make it a point to offer those words of encouragement, though Bruney went on to imply that he’s never been one who needs a pat on the back.

Nevertheless, Bruney, like Girardi, looked beyond the numbers. He’s been on the DL twice this season with muscle and elbow strains because he tried gutting it out instead of telling anyone. The layoff may have affected him to a certain extent, but today he felt life in his arm again.

“It feels like a long time since I felt pretty good,” Bruney said. “It’s not an issue of I’ve been healthy or not healthy. It’s just as a pitcher your arm feels a certain way and you can just tell the way your arm feels, and it just hadn’t felt right. I felt like I commanded the ball pretty well minus two pitches.”

Phil Hughes continues to be a revelation out of the bullpen. The right-hander tossed another scoreless inning, has not allowed a run in his last 14 outings and his current 20-inning scoreless stretch, dating back to June 10 at Boston, is the longest by a Yankees reliever since Mariano Rivera in 2005 (23), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. I chatted with Hughes, who owns a 0.81 ERA in 16 appearances, exclusively after the game and will have more on his story tomorrow.

Second-half storylines

By Jon Lane
The Yankees are 14 games over .500. They are three behind the Red Sox in the American League East and lead the Wild Card by two-and-a-half over the Rangers. Their 495 runs scored, 132 home runs, 358 on-base percentage and.471 slugging percentage lead the Major Leagues, and their 25 road victories are  tops in the American League.

Life is good in Yankeeland, but not great. Both the Wild Card and division races will be fierce, and in the AL East, you cannot dismiss the Rays. Will the Yankees have the legs to return to October? Here are five storylines for the second half:

Will the Yankees reverse their fortunes against the Red Sox?
This is ugly: The Yankees are 9-19 against the Red Sox, Tigers, Angels and Phillies – all first-place teams – as well as the Rays. They resume the season tomorrow against Detroit at Yankee Stadium and still have to deal with the Angels in Southern California in mid-September. Anthony McCarron presented the brutal truth in today’s New York Daily News. Among the cliff notes, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte are a combined 3-10 with a 5.41 ERA against those elite teams.

This is ghastly: The Yankees are 0-8 against the Red Sox. The last time they saw them was at Fenway Park in June. They arrived to Boston in first place and with the AL’s best record, and hungry for revenge. Instead they were blown out 7-0 and dropped the next two games each by one run. Never mind the dormant offense, something was affecting the Yankees psychologically from where I sat.

The teams play 10 more times starting August 6 at Yankee Stadium. Since the Rays and Rangers won’t go away, how the Yankees perform against their rivals may determine who wins the AL East -and who misses the October party.

Will the Yankees reverse their fortunes against the Red Sox?(online surveys)

Will they pull the trigger for Roy Halladay?
Will Roy Halladay become a Yankee? Probably not. Do the Yankees have to have him? No, but they must explore every angle on what it’ll take to get him. As Bill Madden wrote today, “The teams that seemingly have the biggest need and are the best fits for a premier player coming on the market aren’t necessarily willing to pay the premium price, leaving the trading club no choice but to take the best package available.”

Outside of Sabathia and Burnett, there are growing holes in the Yankees’ rotation. Fans have spoken out against Brian Cashman dipping into his farm system he so painstakingly rebuilt, but as I suggested the other day, I’d offer Chamberlain, Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero only because it’s Roy Halladay. When you make a deal like this, it’s painful, but it’ll be worth a front three of Doc, CC and A.J. – not to mention the reunion of Halladay and Burnett.

Will they pull trigger for Roy Halladay?(poll)

Can Joba Chamberlain turn it around?

Go ahead, members of the Loyal Order of the Joba to the Bullpen Army, gloat. Chamberlain is struggling mightily as a starting pitcher. Alas, barring a complete collapse he’s staying in the rotation because that’s where he’s needed and Phil Hughes isn’t moving anywhere. Since June 1, Chamberlain has reached the seventh inning just once in seven starts and his body language has been terrible. But the Yankees are staying the course. The learning curve is a lot slower for some compared to others, but how much longer can they afford Chamberlain throwing 100-plus pitches in under five innings?

Can Joba Chamberlain turn it around?(trends)

Is this Andy Pettitte’s last ride?

Andy Pettitte has won just one of his last four starts while seeing his ERA balloon from 4.26 to 4.85. His numbers in June: 2-2, 5.06; this month: 1-2, 7.27; in two starts against the Angels: 0-1, 9.90.

His next start will be against the Orioles next week. If he doesn’t pick it up in the second half, you’ll have to wonder if at age 37 his career would be coming to an end. Pettitte is signed for only one year, this after contemplating retirement and the Yankees firm in their stance of offering only a one-year deal to return.

Is this Andy Pettitte’s last ride?(online surveys)

Will Chien-Ming Wang salvage a rough 2009 season?

Sabathia is 1-2 with a 5.59 ERA in three July starts, but remember what he did last year in Milwaukee in the second half (11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and the Brewers were 14-3 in his starts). He is capable of carrying a staff and the way Burnett has performed (two runs or less in five straight starts; 6-2, 2.00 in his last eight), he’ll have help.

Beyond that, there’s Chamberlain, Pettitte and who knows? Sergio Mitre will likely provide a band-aid until (or if) Chien-Ming Wang returns. The Yankees need Wang, and not just in body, but in spirit. At 1-6, Wang has shown little to nothing of the form that won him 46 games over the past three seasons.

Will Chien-Ming Wang salvage a rough 2009 season?(survey)

Phil Huge

By Glenn Giangrande
Me thinks it’s time to proclaim Phil Hughes a reliever for the remainder of the 2009 season.

A few days ago while driving to the New York Islanders Draft Party at Nassau Coliseum, a.k.a The John Tavares Spectacular, Joe Girardi was on WFAN talking about how the Yankees will, in a few weeks, lose the ability to stretch Hughes out as a starter down at Triple-A. There’s no doubt that his Major League future lies in starting. He was the top prospect in all of baseball just a few years ago. He should help the Yankees’ rotation for a long time to come.
 
As far as the here and now is concerned, his performance out of the ‘pen should speak for itself.
 
By throwing 1.2 scoreless innings against the Mets on Sunday night, Hughes lowered his ERA as a reliever to 1.50 in 12.0 IP. He’s pitched in seven games, allowing runs in just one of them – a pair of them at Fenway Park on June 10th, when he threw 3.2 IP in relief of an ineffective Chien-Ming Wang. His fastball is humming in the mid-90s. He’s been close to unhittable. Given the other options the Yanks have for the rotation, Hughes’ power arm in the ‘pen is a major asset.
 
Let’s assume the Yankees make it to October. They’ll only need four starters, with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte the locks. Joba Chamberlain has made big strides in the rotation in recent outings, and Wang appears to be making his own steps in the right direction. Why mess with a good thing?  If Brian Bruney can stay healthy for the remainder of the year, he and Hughes would be a formidable 1-2 late inning punch in front of Mariano Rivera. Then Alfredo Aceves can stay in his “swing” role of being able to set-up or settle things down early. If David Robertson and his 2.60 ERA are able to handle some high leverage innings, the Yanks will have cobbled together a pretty solid bridge to Mo.
 
There’s no reason Hughes shouldn’t be a part of it, if only for this year.

Kansas City here they come

rfkbridge_350.jpgBy Jon Lane
The Yankees won yesterday. Crisis averted. They will not go 0-162. They will win more than their fair share of games. But be warned, part of a great season is losing around 65 of them. Even that 1998 Yankees team, the one that won 114 regular season games, LOST 58.

In other words, no need to ever stand on the ledge of the RFK Bridge, panic like you’re running from bulls or arrive at work salty because you watched the Yankees actually lose a ballgame the night before. CC Sabathia’s next loss will not label him a bust. Joba Chamberlain’s next bad start will not be grounds for banishment to the bullpen. And the next time Mark Teixeira makes an out won’t devalue him to minimum wage.

Life in Yankeeland can be a lot WORSE. Imagine the scenario conjured up by WFAN’s Sweeny Murti and you’ll get the idea.

_______________________

Great first start for Nick Swisher, who tied a career-high with five RBIs. Swisher is behind Xavier Nady on the outfield depth chart, but if he keeps up the pace Joe Girardi will have to think twice about keeping him out of the lineup. For now, Swisher’s ability to play in either left or right allows Girardi to rest Nady, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui and his sore knees. Swisher has been a good soldier, but don’t be fooled. He wants to play every day. Depth, it’s a nice problem to have.

_______________________

Andy Pettitte makes his 2009 debut tonight, eager to rebound from a down 2008, in what may turn out to be his final season in the Major Leagues. Pettitte is 7-0 in 11 starts against the Royals since August 18, 1999, a favorable trend with the Yankees looking to build off of A.J. Burnett’s fine start. Starters 1 and 1A, CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang, combined to allow 13 runs on 17 hits in back-to-back losses to the Orioles, a team that has posted 11 consecutive losing seasons.

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ponson_100_040909.jpgGuess who’s back? It’s Sidney Ponson, who gets yet another chance to revive a career that’s gone south since a 14-6 season with the Orioles in 2003. Ponson went 4-4 with a 5.85 ERA in 16 games last year in New York as the Yankees tried in vain to fill the void created by Wang’s season-ending injury, but he was picked up by the Royals following two solid outings with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. This is the seventh team in seven years for the right-hander, who despite a 0-1, 9.58 spring ERA was handed a rotation spot and will be added to the roster today.

Ponson is 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 28 career games versus the Yankees, whose top three hitters have owned him throughout his career. Derek Jeter has hit .377 (29-for-77) with five homers, Damon .346 (18-for-52) and Teixeira .533 (8-for-15).

During the WBC, the television broadcasters cited a new and matured Ponson thanks to the birth of his child. But in the past, when you think he’s turned it around, Ponson has let you down (on the field only, as he’s put his personal demons behind him). If he can pitch to at least half the standards set by fellow starters Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies — they combined to allow one run in 20 innings with 13 hits, five walks and 21 strikeouts against the White Sox — he’ll stick around. If not, this may be the final opportunity for the 32-year-old native of Aruba.

_______________________

En route to Kansas City, Pete Caldera posed some pertinent questions.

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Yet another former Yankee, Jeff Karstens, makes his first start tonight for the Pirates in Cincinnati. But unlike teammate Ross Ohlendorf, also packaged in the trade for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, Karstens’ spot is already on shaky ground. He comes off a Grapefruit campaign in which he posted a 6.17 ERA.

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Enjoy the game. YES’ coverage begins with New York Yankees Pre Game at 3:30 p.m.

When 50 grown men became five years old

stadium3_450.jpgBy Jon Lane
We were let in at 11:55 a.m. For many of us, it was our first eyewitness account of the new Yankees clubhouse. My first glance is best summed up by a radio friend of mine who muttered, “Joe Girardi will need a megaphone to hold team meetings.”

I then turned to my left and saw Nick Swisher; his locker next to the main entrance. I heard a lot about Swisher’s glowing, infectious personality from my YES colleagues and saw it as the perfect time to introduce myself. After a handshake, all I needed to do was move my eyes from right to left. He picked up on what I was about to ask.

“I tell you, this is UN-BE-LEAVE-A-BLE!” Swisher said. “Last night when we got off the bus to come here, 50 grown men became five years old. I didn’t think they could top the last Yankee Stadium. They did that.”

_______________________

Phil Coke was one of many who passed on an immediate trip home after living in Florida for seven weeks, not wanting to wait any longer for a look at his new home away from home. “We were drooling when we first got here,” he said. “I’m still wiping it off.” Coke’s locker neighbor, Brian Bruney, then cut in with an important question.

“How does this computer work?” inquired Mariano Rivera’s primary set-up man. Each locker is affixed with a lap top kiosk with an internet connection and individual message centers used to relay information on team meetings, workouts, batting practice, or if the manager wishes to speak to you. Behind the machine, Coke unveiled a cubby hole that resembled a place to put a hot plate, but better used for vast storage.

_______________________

For an instant, Bruney wore a glum look on his face. After Saturday, the Yankees won’t be here until April 16 as their first nine games are on the road.

“It’s gonna suck for us to go on the road,” Bruney said, noting his belief that the new Stadium is “the best sports venue in the country.”

_______________________

The 2009 season will be Andy Pettitte’s 15th in Major League Baseball. You may think he’s seen it all, until you hear about his adventures just getting to the new place. Because he was sitting in traffic, a few people noticed him, which left the left-hander wondering to inquire about the legality of tinted windows.

“That was awkward,” said Pettitte on sitting his car on River Avenue waiting to make a left. For the first time ever, he was right under the No. 4 train. “The subway goes by, rocks are falling on my car. They have all cars parked on the side of the road and all commercial vehicles are delivering stuff in the morning. Literally the only way to get by them is to go into oncoming traffic, and they’re backed up at the red light. People were honking.”

Once he finally made it inside, Pettitte admitted getting used to his new surroundings will take some time. However, he already has his favorite spot staked out.

“I’m a big whirlpool guy,” Pettitte said. “There are unbelievable facilities to help keep the old body loose!”

_______________________

A couple of pitchers, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte, told Joe Girardi they felt the mound was a bit closer to the fans. Pettite said it felt like they took the old mound from Yankee Stadium and just brought it over and it might feel even closer once those seats are filled up.

“It looks beautiful,” Girardi said. “To hear our pitchers feel they’ve been on the mound already when they haven’t been there is a good sign.”

One reporter compared exploring the new surroundings to the anticipation of the old game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” when contestants would learn what’s hidden behind certain doors. The first door Girardi opened was …

…”the kitchen. That was the first door I opened to get to the clubhouse. I love to eat. It’s my passion in life.”

Girardi will have his chances. The Yankees have employed two chefs to cook and serve Yankees players and coaches.

_______________________

Derek Jeter was not among the group who visited here last night. In fact, before working out, he hadn’t seen the place, period.

“I walked in, came in the trainers’ room and been sitting here and you guys blocked off the whole view, so I can’t tell you how the clubhouse is,” Jeter said.

This morning, the team bus dropped them off and the players entered the clubhouse through a secret passageway. Freddy Schuman, known to longtime Yankees fans as “Freddy Sez” who carried a pot and teaspoon around the stands of the old Stadium, told me at the Hard Rock that fans won’t be able to see players come in and out of the new Stadium, unlike the old place where a crowd would wait behind a barricade as their favorites entered through a press gate.

Jeter will miss that interaction, but that’s not all. At the old place, his locker was next to Thurman Munson’s, which was left empty after the former captain’s death in 1979.

“You miss it but you appreciate it,” Jeter said. “It was special for me to be next to his locker.”

He’ll also miss Bob Sheppard, who hasn’t officially announced his retirement, yet chances of him appearing in the new building are slim. Jeter, though, will continue to step into the batter’s box to the backdrop of Sheppard’s recorded introduction.

“When I grew up, that was the one voice you always heard,” Jeter said. “That comes along with Yankee Stadium. People talk about tradition. He’s a part of that tradition as any of the players. I wanted to be introduced by him because that’s the only person I’ve ever known. I wanted to have it recorded just in case there was one day he decided to retire. He will always announce it.”

Jeter first heard Sheppard’s voice in person in 1986. A kid from Michigan, Jeter spent his summers in New Jersey and his grandmother took him to his first game. The only thing he remembered was that everything was big, but not as big as when he appeared on the field and worked out with Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, Mike Gallego and Pat Kelly five years later, after completing rookie ball.

“For me growing up watching all these guys play, like Mattingly, and then being on the same field with him, it was kind of weird,” Jeter said. “Dave [Winfield] was the guy I looked up to growing up and when you get to meet him and all of the guys, you really get spoiled.”

Inevitably, the dismantling of the old Yankee Stadium will begin, first with the removal of the seats before the city takes apart the venerable building piece by piece. Like the rest of us, that’s something Jeter will never be able to let go.

“That will definitely be tough, especially when you think about all the things that’s happened there,” Jeter said. “It’s one thing to get adjusted to a new Stadium, but when you see the old one getting torn down, I’m sure it will be … what can you do? This is the good and that’s part of the bad, seeing that Stadium go.”

Photos: Welcome to the new Yankee Stadium

Joe Auriemma is at the new Yankee Stadium today conducting interviews for YES’ parent site (YESNetwork.com). While there, he is also snapping photos of what he sees for your enjoyment. Keep coming back for more photos.

Andy Pettitte takes the field for his first-ever workout at the new stadium
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Russ Salzberg interviews Yankees starting CF Brett Gardner

russ.jpg

Brett Gardner signs autographs for the fans
gardner.jpg

The field is ready for its first-ever batting practice
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A look at the stadium’s new HD screen
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(more…)

Meanwhile, in Dunedin ….

jeter_250.jpgBy Jon Lane
It’s 1-0 Yankees in the top of fifth thanks to a Mark Teixeira single. Andy Pettitte has whiffed five and as of this writing retired seven straight batters. Apparently, the veteran left-hander is already in midseason form. He won’t pull a Mike Mussina, winning 20 games coming off a down season, but he’ll be much better than last year as a No. 4 starter.

You’ll get to see Pettitte in person, or on the tube, when he splits Saturday’s exhibition game with A.J. Burnett. The YES Network will air it live at 1 p.m.

The photo to your left isn’t Pettitte, but it’s a cool shot of Derek Jeter. His range is supposedly diminished, but can anyone duplicate his patented leaping snap throw to first base? I think not.

3:07 p.m. Think Mark Teixeira is ready for the season? His RBI double put the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the seventh and he’s accounted for both of the Yankees’ runs so far.

Teixeira is 2-for-3 and is batting .408. Pettitte pitched 6.2 strong innings, allowing five hits, one run (earned), no walks, seven strikeouts and one wild pitch while throwing 92 pitches.

3:15 p.m. Angel Berroa doubled home a run to provide the Yankees some insurance, but was gunned down as third base attempt to stretch it into a triple. Still, he continues to make his case that he and not Ramiro Pena, should head north.

3:35 p.m. That’s a wrap from Dunedin. Edwar Ramirez froze Jose Bautista for strike three to secure a 3-1 Yankees win. One step closer to coming home.

Pettitte starts Minor League game against Clearwater

pettitte_250.jpgBy Joe Auriemma
The Yankees may have had an off day today, but Andy Pettitte needed to get his work in.

Pettitte and Jose Molina played in a Minor League game with the Class-A Tampa Yankees against the Clearwater Phillies. Pettitte had a solid outing, but the real key was getting his work in and stretching him out. His final line for the game; 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 2 WP, 83 pitches – 63 strikes.

That doesn’t sound like the most glamorous final line, but he did pitch well with a lot of errors behind him. In the second inning when he gave up all five runs, there were three errors in the field and he finished the inning by throwing only 17 pitches, 16 for strikes.

“I felt good with everything,” Pettitte said. “Obviously you always wish you could have better command. I did leave some cutters in the middle of the plate. You know they’d get hit pretty hard at the big-league level. All in all, it was good, I got through it. It stretched me out. I got up six times. I felt good.”

When Pettitte was asked about his strength he said, “I feel like I’m getting there. I felt great at 65 (pitches) and I was gassed when I was done, so it’s amazing how that works. You throw 15 to 20 extra pitches and get a little tired. The next one we’ll try and get right at 100 (pitches).”

When Pettitte was asked about the passing of Yankees legendary executive Arthur Richman, he said he was sad to hear about the news. He was a regular guy and got to spend a lot of time with him at the ball park.

Musings from Brian Cashman
Brian Cashman met the media before Pettitte’s start and discussed Jorge Posada’s comeback. He said that it was a pretty significant surgery Posada had and so far, so good. Cashman went on to say that he has worked hard to get to this point.

Posada has looked good up until this point, meaning that the Yankees will probably not have to carry three catchers as an insurance policy, leaving another spot open to create a deeper bench. His arm has looked good since my arrival here in Tampa and from looks of it, they are going to have Posada back behind the plate for many games this season.

After Pettitte’s start and after the FoxSports.com story broke about Melky Cabrera being shopped around, Cashman didn’t discuss the rumors at all. He told the media it was still an open competition and that there were going to be discussions before camp broke to see about the roster spots and who has won the job.

Cashman also followed suit and talked about Richman saying, “It’s a sad day here. A friend is gone. He loved baseball.”

Report: Yankees shopping Cabrera

By Jon Lane
FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Yankees are open to moving outfielder Melky Cabrera, who he writes would be a perfect fit for the White Sox. A trade of Cabrera, 24 and out of options, would create opportunities to give more at-bats to Nick Swisher, who is behind Xavier Nady on the depth chart but can play all three outfield positions as well as first base.

Joe Auriemma is in Tampa, Fla., covering Andy Pettitte’s Minor League start, where he and reporters are hoping to get a word with general manager Brian Cashman. Stay logged on for Joe’s full report and a Diamond Daily recap of the day’s events.

3:12 p.m.
From Joe Auriemma down in Tampa:

Cashman was non-committal about the Cabrera report, stating there were no talks going on. He’ll be meeting with team brass to discuss whether to bring either Cabrera or Gardner — or both — up north. What wasn’t mentioned was the fact that Cabrera is out of options. If the Yankees try to demote him to Triple-A, he’ll be a free agent and available for a team, like the White Sox, to sign him.

When asked about the battle for center field, Cashman replied with a smile, “It’s a very nice competition.”

Andy Pettitte’s pitching line: 5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 2 WP, 83 pitches (63 strikes). Errors were his downfall in the second inning, when 16 of his 17 pitches were strikes. The veteran left-hander admitted to feeling gassed but is shooting to throw 100 pitches in his next start.

More from Joe later.