by Glenn Giangrande
By Glenn Giangrande
In the wake of Tuesday night’s reports of Chien-Ming Wang being done for the season, the Yankees need another starting pitcher, especially if they intend to hold firm on Joba Chamberlain’s innings limit.
I’ve championed the idea of acquiring Roy Halladay, but it does not appear that Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi will budge from his lofty asking price. The cost of the Indians’ Cliff Lee may also be prohibitive. If neither of those front-line starters can be obtained, it might be time to go to Plan C: Jarrod Washburn.
If you recall, Washburn was heavily linked to the Yankees at the 2008 trading deadline, but no deal was made between the Yanks and Mariners. Now Washburn is in the final season of a four-year contract. He’s having a fantastic season, posting a 2.64 ERA and a .223 BAA, both dramatically lower than his numbers through July 27, 2008 — a 4.50 ERA and a .289 BAA.
Mechanical adjustments, plus a couple of new pitches, appear to have made a big difference for the soon-to-be 35-year-old lefty. He’s pitched in big games before, having been a key cog in the Angels rotation earlier this decade.
Seattle is in no position to ask for a ransom. The Mariners have fallen onto the fringes of playoff contention and their farm system is still depleted following the Erik Bedard trade prior to last year. Young pitching seems to have vaulted the Rangers past the Mariners in the AL West pecking order. A couple of mid-level Minor Leaguers would have to be viewed as a good haul for Washburn. He’d be the most cost-effective move.
One caveat: As of Tuesday, Washburn ranked fifth among American League pitchers in the number of outs he’s recorded through the air. Some of those balls might turn into homers in Yankee Stadium as opposed to spacious Safeco Field. However, CC Sabathia and the aforementioned Lee are also among the leaders, two pitchers doing just fine, so it’s not the end all, be all; just one of the only downsides to a pitcher who’d be an economical acquisition.
By: Joseph Auriemma
Two-time 19-game winner Chien-Ming Wang, who last pitched on July 4th before coming out of the game feeling shoulder discomfort, recently went to the hospital for special
surgery for analysis and was seen by Dr. Altchek. The Yankees have received an assessment and will now
turn it over to Dr. James Andrews who will make his own evaluation. It seems like Wang does not have to see Dr. Andrews at this time, however the Yankees will not release the official results of the full evaluation until Dr. Andrews full assessment of the situation.
By Glenn Giangrande
Would the Blue Jays ever consider trading Roy Halladay to the Yankees?
Should the Yanks inquire and see what it would take?
Fans of the Yanks often get criticized by others for wanting to play “fantasy baseball” – just bring in as many stars as possible! However, if recent comments made by Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi are to be believed, the right-handed ace could be in play.
“We have to see what’s out there,” Ricciardi said. “I’m not saying we’re going to shop him. But if something makes sense, we at least have to listen. We’re (leaning) more toward listening than we’ve ever been.”
While trading Halladay would send a tough message to Blue Jays fans, it appears to be the right move. Toronto’s pitching staff is chock full of youngsters, and the Jays are playing in a division filled with teams built to win now. Halladay’s big-money contract runs through next season, and he does have a full no-trade clause. Of course, clauses can be waived, money talks…you get the idea.
Prior to last season, the Yankees chose to hold onto a number of young chips while Johan Santana was on the trade market. With Andy Pettitte close to the end of his career, Chien-Ming Wang seemingly out for a long period of time, and Joba Chamberlain regressing in the rotation, Halladay is the kind of pitcher worth emptying the tank to acquire. Every youngster except Phil Hughes should be in play – he’s too valuable to this year’s cause in the bullpen.
Austin Jackson? Sure. Lastings Milledge was once a can’t-miss outfield prospect, remember?
Manuel Banuelos, the 18-year-old strikeout artist turning heads in Charleston? No problem. The Yankees are in the business of winning now. If a player isn’t on the Major League roster and is eligible to be traded, he’s expendable.
It’s not likely that Ricciardi would move Halladay to a divisional rival, and if this situation does indeed develop, a number of teams will put together packages for the ace that may trump what the Yankees could offer.
Still, he’d look so good pitching alongside CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett down the stretch that a phone call must be placed.
By Glenn Giangrande
Me thinks it’s time to proclaim Phil Hughes a reliever for the remainder of the 2009 season.
By Jon Lane
A wrap on the first installment of Subway Series 2009.
First off, above is a great shot from the AP of a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knghts parachute team drifting above Yankee Stadium after jumping from an aircraft before the start of Sunday’s game as part of Military Appreciation Day.
Mets-Yankees to me overdone and it would be better if it took place once a year, three games and alternate the venues each year. But not only does six games make more money, the Subway Series continues to keep the Apple’s heart pumping. I was at Friday’s game and despite a report to the contrary, Yankee Stadium had a pulse which grew as the game progressed and reached a fever pitch with Luis Castillo’s dropped fly ball.
Once Gary Sheffield became a Met, Dwight Gooden, his uncle and one of 104 players to suit up for both the Yankees and Mets, told him that experiencing the Subway Series from both sides will be a lifetime memory. The Tampa, Fla., native makes his baseball season home in New Jersey, where for years he’s been hollered at from all directions.
“When I was with the Yankees I used to get a lot of Mets fans yelling at me,” Sheffield said. “Now I have Yankees fans yelling at me. It’s fun because you don’t know who the real Yankees or Mets fan is until they get it out of their mouths.
“Just the New York fans all together, one rooting against the other. That’s always fun, but it’s still New York at the same time.”
I documented some give-and-take between fans in the bleacher section in my diary from Friday.
The Yankees hold a 39-30 record against the Mets since interleague play was established in 1997. This weekend by far was the most eventful of a saga that’s made names of Dave Mlicki, Matt Franco, Mel Rojas, Dae-Sung Koo and Fernando Nieve. The past three days boosted the profiles of Brian Bruney and Francisco Rodriguez, sullied Castillo’s reputation, and have Mets fans on alert and panicking over Johan Santana.
The Yankees smashed Santana for nine runs (the most allowed over his stellar career) in three innings (matching his shortest start), which left many worried over Santana’s decreased velocity and wondering if he’s hurt. Santana shot down any notions about his health after the game, but this is something to monitor. Remember the Yankees took flack over refusing to part with Phil Hughes for Santana. In the interest of building a program, which I’ve explained many times in this space, over the long haul one could make an argument that Brian Cashman was right.
Some more lopsided numbers: Sunday was the Mets’ worst loss since a 16-1 thrashing in San Diego on August 22, 2000. The 15 runs were a season-high for the Yankees and their largest shutout win since blanking the Blue Jays, 15-0, in Game 1 of a doubleheader on September 25, 1977
The Yankees’ off day today comes at exactly the right time – following 16 games in 17 days with no day off since May 28 (a travel day between Texas and Cleveland) and a rainout on June 5. When they resume play tomorrow night they’ll oppose the atrocious Nationals who can’t pitch, but can put runs on the board. Don’t be surprised if the Yankees ring up a couple of 10-spots and do expect a demotion for Chien-Ming Wang if he can’t get it done on Wednesday. That and CC Sabathia starting tomorrow adds some intrigue to series that in comparison to the Mets is like going from Happy Hour to a boardroom.
Off-the-field notes: A.J. Burnett’s conference call regarding the appeal of his six-game suspension for throwing high-and-tight to Texas slugger Nelson Cruz on June 2 was postponed until June 30 … Damaso Marte (left shoulder tendinitis) has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.
From Yankees PR:
? Damaso Marte was seen by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. Andrews concurred with the previous evaluations of Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. David Altchek. Marte will return to Tampa, Fla., to continue his throwing program. Good news there.
? Alex Rodriguez will greet fans in Monument Park from 4:10-4:30 p.m. prior to Tuesday night’s game against Washington. Beforehand at 1 p.m., Robinson Cano will serve as “Principal for a Day” for PS 55 (450 St. Paul’s Place, Bronx, NY).
? The first 18,000 fans in attendance at Tuesday’s game will receive a “Strikeouts for Scholarships” keychain, courtesy of WCBS 880-AM, in support of Yankees media member Ed Lucas’ charitable endeavors with Seton Hall University. Through the “Strikeouts for Scholarships” program, established in 2008, WCBS donates $10 to Seton Hall’s Ed Lucas Scholarship Fund every time a Yankees pitcher strikes out an opposing batter. Ed is a great guy who does occasional interviews for YESNetwork.com. Visit him at EdLucas.org to learn about his inspirational story.
By Jon Lane
A few quick hits to set the table for Game 2 of Yankees vs. Red Sox (YES HD, 7 p.m.):
David Ortiz is having a miserable season, but leave it to the Yankees
to be the antidote for his ills. Ortiz hit one to Cambridge Tuesday
night to bring his average against them to .304 (7-for-23) with a
homer, seven RBIs and four runs scored in the six games between the
rivals. I couldn’t kill A.J. Burnett for Ortiz going yard despite it
being a terrible pitch. After all, he is still Big Papi, but a two-run double to Nick Green in the third
inning that bumped Boston’s lead to 5-0? Absolutely inexcusable. To
think that one reason why Yankees signed Burnett was his success
against the AL East last season, along with the
if-you-can’t-beat-him-sign-him theory. In two starts against the Red
Sox, Burnett has allowed 11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings, a 12.91 ERA.
My colleagues Jerome Preisler and Steven Goldman aptly sum up where
Burnett stands at this point.
It’s bad enough the Yankees are 0-6 against the Red Sox; any prayer they have of capturing the AL East, this has to improve – immediately. Tonight it’s hold your breath with Chien-Ming Wang taking the hill. Even during his peak performance, Wang is 3-3, 5.11 in seven career starts at Fenway Park, while Ortiz owns a .444 (16-for-36) lifetime average with two homers and four doubles against the right-hander. Keep your expectations in check, says John Flaherty, but Wang needs to perform. If not, Phil Hughes must be summoned at the first sign of trouble.
Amazing, the Yankees are winners of 19 of 26 and are tied for first place, but this has the settings of another panic attack if Wang can’t get it done. He may be limited to 85-90 pitches, but that sinker needs to be biting. At the very least Wang has to keep the Yankees in the game; Hughes, Alfredo Aceves and Mariano Rivera will be ready and rested. Of course it’ll help if the offense can muster more than two hits off Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield.
By Jon Lane
Not since 1974 have the Red Sox won six straight
games against the Yankees in one season, when they ran off seven
consecutive victories over their rivals. At that time the rivalry was
simmering before exploding later that decade. Dating back to 2003, this
has been at another level, and another chapter will be written starting
tonight. You can catch the game on My9, and tune into YES for complete
pre and postgame coverage starting with Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m.
Here’s where the teams stand:
Yankees are in the AL East penthouse, one game ahead of the Red Sox,
and are a much different team than the one that dropped five straight
to them in the early going. Alex Rodriguez has since returned to the
lineup and New York has been on a 21-8 run. A-Rod may be batting .248,
but has eight home runs in 29 at-bats. More important is that his mere
presence alone has had a major impact Mark Teixeira, who is is batting
.364 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs hitting ahead of A-Rod in the lineup.
Teixeira, incidentally, now leads AL first baseman in All-Star voting.
starters are 12-2 in their last 24 games while limiting opponents to
three earned runs or fewer in 18 of 25 starts. Leading the way is CC
Sabathia, who has pitched at least eight innings in six of his last
eight starts (4-1, two no-decisions). The burly lefty starts Thursday
night against Brad Penny.
- Big start tonight for A.J. Burnett,
4-2 with a 4.69 ERA and seeking his third straight win after going
winless since April 14. Burnett leads the Yankees with 65 strikeouts
and is seeking redemption both team-oriented and personal. His last
time pitching at Fenway Park, Burnett blew a 6-0 lead on April 25,
allowing eight runs on eight hits in five innings of a 16-11 loss.
“We owe them a couple,” Burnett said.
start for Chien-Ming Wang Wednesday night. Everyone is well aware of
Wang’s early-season troubles and terrible track record at Fenway (3-3,
5.11 ERA in seven starts). Wang returned to the rotation last week and
while he was far from great, it was something to build on
considering what he’s had to endure. However, you’d think his leash
will be short. Many are speculating (including me) that Phil Hughes
will be summoned almost immediately if Wang digs himself a hole.
you also know, David Ortiz is in the throes of an awful season. Big
Papi, who’s made his living killing the Yankees and rivaling Tom Brady
and Adam Vinatieri as Boston’s greatest clutch performer, is batting
.197 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games. He visited an eye doctor
on Monday and his vision checked out well, which has left the Back Bay
mystified as to what has happened to him. Leave to Red Sox Nation to
panic. A few callers phoned into WEEI-AM saying he “stinks” and needs
to be relegated to part-time duty. Good line from Dale & Holley
though in response to Joe Girardi’s complaint about the Yankees playing
nine straight games in National League cities: The Red Sox played 50
games without a DH, the Yankees can play nine.” Ouch.
By Jon Lane
We’re live from Yankee Stadium on a gray Thursday morning, where later today Chien-Ming Wang will attempt to erase a dreadful beginning to his 2009 season when makes his first start in nearly seven weeks. Since he was activated from the disabled list (hip), which also was a chance for him to hit the reset button, Wang allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings covering three relief appearances while showing the form that made him a two-time 19-game winner.
One start good or bad won’t define the rest of the season for the right-hander, but you know Wang and the Yankees are hoping for the best even though he’s on a limited pitch count (around 75). It’s going to be very interesting to see how this unfolds.
Back later with much more, including today’s lineups and the status of Mark Teixeira, who sat out last night with a bruised right ankle.
Here are the lineups. It’s just a day off for Derek Jeter with a stretch of 17 games in a row. And Teixeira told Joe Girardi this morning, “I’m good to go,” and later explained that his collision with Elvis Andrus was bone on bone, which is what left him sore for a day.
MLB has suspended A.J. Burnett six games for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Nelson Cruz Monday night. It is expected he will appeal.
Some quick rehab reports:
Jorge Posada is healthy and is also getting the day off. Girardi thought about starting him this afternoon, but when Posada told him he was OK, Girardi replied, “Let’s keep it OK.”
“I just thought it was better to give him a day,” Girardi said. “It’s a quick turnaround.”
Brian Bruney threw from 90 feet Tuesday and felt fine … Xavier Nady had the day off … Jose Molina was expected to return to New York today to receive treatment and will be held off from baseball activity for the next week or two.
About 10 minutes before Wang makes his first pitch. Girardi reiterated this morning how Wang’s sinker over his last few outings has worked like it’s supposed to, going down and not side to side. The bottom line is he deserved a shot at redemption and today will not be a case of one bad start and you’re done.
“He had three really tough starts,” Girardi said. “He won 46 games in 2 ½ years. I’m not sure how many guys can boast that. This is not just a guy we’re trying out. This is a guy we believe in.”
I spoke to a respected member of the Taiwanese media who noted a swagger that’s been missing from Wang since Spring Training. Imagine being in limbo and having to rehab in Tampa while your wife is weeks away from giving birth to your first child? You’d be pretty upset and the vibe is that Wang will channel those energies in a positive way.
Nice start for Wang retiring the Rangers in order on 13 pitches (nine for strikes), including freezing Ian Kinsler on a perfectly located 3-2 pitch. Remember that Wang’s pitch limit is around 75, but Girardi cited the Rangers’ penchant for swinging the bat, which made him hope Wang can work five-six innings anyway.
Mark Teixeira reached on an error when David Murphy dropped a fly ball he initially caught one-handed. Rangers manager Ron Washington argued that the ball was lost on the transfer from glove to throwing hand, but replays indicated Murphy did not secure the ball first.
I was inserting a moral of the story message to Mets rookie Fernando Martinez about the importance of running to first base no matter what, which Teixeira did, until Teixeira got caught between first and second trying to advance on Alex Rodriguez’s fly ball to right. Shortstop Elvis Andrus cut off Nelson Cruz’s throw, chased Teixeira back to first and tagged him out a split second before getting back to the bag.
1-0 Yankees after one on a leadoff home run by Johnny Damon.
Wang’s laboring here in the third. The Rangers took a 2-1 lead on a wild pitch and Hank Blaock’s RBI single.
Chris Davis led off the third with a ground-rule double and Wang nearly esacaped a runner on third, one-out jam before he threw ball four – and a wild pitch – that allowed Davis to score the tying run. Wang had to work – he caught a bad break with Michael Young’s infield hit – his location wasn’t as sharp as the first two innings. He threw 22 pitches, which gives him 45 after three. His last pitch, though, froze Nelson Cruz for strike three.
Wang’s time in this game is rapidly running short. A single and two straight doubles have given the Rangers a 4-1 lead, the last of which drew boos from an impatient crowd. Alfredo Aceves warming up.
He recovers to record three quick outs without further damage. At 60 pitches, expect the fifth inning to be his last.
A-Rod, incidentally, is 2-for-13 in this series and drew loud boos with his groundout to short after Teixeira led off the fourth with a double.
Wang retired the first two Rangers on the fifth on ground balls, throwing only six pitches. He was on his way to a nice finish before Nelson Cruz crushed his worst pitch of the day into the Rangers bullpen (he had not allowed a home run to a right-handed batter in his prior 21 starts.
His final line: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 WP. Great? No. But Wang isn’t yet fully stretched out to throw 90-100 pitches. It’s a work in progress and not an audition, so you’ll be seeing him in the rotation for some time.
In a blink of an eye, Wang is off the hook. The Yankees load the bases, Nick Swisher draws a run-scoring walk and Mark Teixeira doubles home three to tie the game at five. The number of ways Teixeira is valuable to this team seems to double every game.
Now the fans love A-Rod. He pokes an opposite-field single to plate Teixeira and put the Yankees ahead, 6-5. Lots of layers to this contest, but the most important is Wang laying the foundation to again be an important part of the Yankees’ rotation sooner rather than later.
Ian Kinsler homers off the foul pole to tie the game 6-6. Aceves has definitely looked better in other outings.
Still 6-6 as we enter the eighth. The bullpens have settled things down while Nick Swisher (2-for-3, BB, RBI) is out of the game for defensive purposes. Brett Gardner is in center while Melky Cabrera shifts over to right.
Phil Coke: 1 1/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a snatch catch of a line drive. It’s the best he’s looked in awhile. But I like Girardi calling on David Robertson to face the right-handed Elvis Andrus. Robertson needs to be tested in big spots and he did his job, retiring Andrus on a fly ball to left.
Melky … again. Not a walk-off, but he hands a two-run lead to Mariano Rivera in the ninth.