Results tagged ‘ Hideki Matsui ’

ALDS rotation set

By Jon Lane
Joe Girardi announced his ALDS rotation: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. That lines up Sabathia for Game 4 and Burnett for a deciding Game 5 if they are necessary.

Girardi cited the home and road splits among the factors behind his decision.

Burnett
5-3, 3.51 (home)
8-6, 4.59 (road)

Pettitte
6-4, 4.59 (home)
8-4, 3.71 (road)

“I did not talk to A.J. about that,” Girardi said. “That was a decision I made – as a manager, you have to make some tough decisions and that was a very tough one.”

Regarding Jose Molina catching Burnett, which means Molina swings a bat in a decisive Game 5: “They’re working in a good rhythm and we thought we keep it that way and keep them working together. Georgie is our No. 1 catcher, but in this situation we chose to go with Molina.”

It’s unclear if Posada will DH in Game 2, but Girardi indicated Hideki Matsui will DH most of the time. Basically, it’ll come down to the match-ups.

No ALDS roster yet, which will be finalized after Tigers-Twins, but Sergio Pena, Brian Bruney and Ramiro Pena will head to Tampa to stay in shape. You figure Francisco Cervelli will be the third catcher and Damaso Marte the second left-hander out of the bullpen, and Girardi all but confirmed Joba Chamberlain will be active. He’ll work out of the bullpen and can pitch to as little as two hitters or more than three innings.

As if there was any suspense, the Yankees chose not to wait until the end of the Tigers-Twins game and formally announced they selected the Division Series with the extra off day. Put it in stone: CC Sabathia will throw the first pitch of Game 1 tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium.

The Pulse of New York

Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest
topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your
take on the below issues?

What were you thinking of Andy Pettitte’s performance during the 6th inning of Monday’s game?(opinion)

Would you like to see Andy Pettitte return to the Yankees’ rotation next season?(polls)

What should the Yankees do with Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui in the offseason?(poll)

What do you think of how the Yankees are handling Joba Chamberlain down the stretch?(poll)

What is the biggest issue facing the New York Giants right now?(answers)

Yankees at the break

By Jon Lane
The Good: 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 games over the Rangers. Expectations in this city, for this team, are often ridiculous, which Chris Shearn pointed out this morning, and perceptions change more often than toll collectors during rush hour. For the most part there’s been a vibe about this team we haven’t seen in years, and that includes the later Joe Torre teams that made the playoffs. Furthermore, the Yankees are much better than last season. That is indisputable.

The Yankees have received better-than-expected contributions from Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera. The duo is batting a combined .283 with 11 homers, 53 RBI and 23 stolen bases, lest we forget Gardner’s mad – and inspirational – inside-the-park home run and Cabrera’s .375/2/14 in close-or-late situations (of his 34 RBIs, 12 have either tied or put the Yankees ahead after the seventh inning). The Yankees had a deal in place to send Cabrera to Milwaukee for Mike Cameron and a one-year stop-gap in center, and Cameron is .258/14/42/4. With Gardner, Cabrera and Eric Hinske playing well, the Yankees have outfield depth and absolutely no reason to rush Austin Jackson.

Hinske has three home runs in 12 at-bats with the Yankees, two more than he hit in 106 at-bats with the Pirates before he was acquired in a trade on June 30.

Phil Hughes in relief: 18.1 innings, seven hits, two runs, five walks, 19 Ks. He has solved the Yankees’ eighth-inning problem; a bullpen operates at peak performances when each reliever knows and excels in his given role. Here’s hoping this is a warm-up to many great years as a starting pitcher. And Hughes will be a starter. You don’t groom promising and electric young arms to be eighth-inning or middle relievers their whole careers. Look at Johan Santana.

Playing in likely his final season in New York, Hideki Matsui is 12 of his last 30 with four homers and 12 RBI. He’s .265-14-40 in 234 at-bats (78 games) as a full-time DH. Not bad for a veteran of both Japan and the Major Leagues now playing on shot knees.

Playing in the second of a 10-year, $275-million contract, Alex Rodriguez is 22 of his last 59 (.373) with eight homers, 22 RBI and 17 runs scored and batting.256. Not bad for someone whose game is back in form after missing the season’s first month recovering from hip surgery and with a second one awaiting him this winter.

The not-so-good: The Yankees’ 51-37 record is impressive. The fact that they’re 2-9 against the Red Sox and Angels is alarming. Any visions of a 27th World Championship will go through Anaheim and Boston. If the season ended today, the Yankees would play the Angels in a five-game series with at most three in Southern California.

Since 2004, the Yankees are 18-33 against the Angels overall and 7-18 at Angels Stadium. And guess what? They play the Red Sox and Angels 13 more times between now and the end of the season, including a return trip to Anaheim September 21-23, and after an off day, a three-game set at Yankee Stadium September 25-27 that may decide the AL East – and if the Rays have any say, possibly the playoff fate of either the Yankees or Red Sox.

Andy Pettitte is 8-5 with a 4.85 ERA, yet in his last four starts is 1-2 with a 10.38 ERA. He’s shown flashes of the old Pettitte, but you wonder more and more how much he has left.

Joba Chamberlain is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA, but he’s had a no-decision in 11 of 17 starts and is off three straight  in which he’s allowed nine hits or more. He’s pitched into the seventh inning once since June 7 and a combined eight over his last two. For the past couple of weeks the back-end of the Yankees rotation has been unreliable while Chien-Ming Wang’s potentially lost season leaves a gaping hole. Will the Yankees be compelled to go all-in for Roy Halladay?

In between: CC Sabathia is 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .218 batting average since May and A-Rod’s return. Overall, though, he’s 8-6, 3.86. With a great seven-inning effort at Minnesota in between, here are Sabathia’s two other pitching lines this month:

July 2 vs. Seattle: 5 2/3 IP, 10 H, six R, three BB, eight K, one HR (loss)
July 12 at L.A. Angels: 6 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 BB, six K (loss)

“So, so,” Sabathia said of his first 19 starts after Sunday’s game. “I was in a pretty good slot for a while, but I need to do better.”

Sabathia’s been a strong second-half pitcher his whole career (3.39 ERA/1.21 WHIP/.243 BAA compared to 3.89/1.26/.249). It’s one reason the Yankees spent big money to get him and they’ll be hoping for another yeoman effort, especially if not even a serviceable fifth starter can be had at the trade deadline.

Musings from Dodgertown

torre_250_070909.jpgBy Jon Lane
I spent yesterday afternoon at Citi Field working on a feature running tomorrow here on YESNetwork.com about how, from a certain point of view, the Los Angeles Dodgers have become Yankees West. You have, of course, Joe Torre as manager and a coaching staff that includes Yankees alumni Don Mattingly (hitting coach), Larry Bowa (third base coach), Mariano Duncan (first base coach) and Mike Borzello (bullpen catcher, also Torre’s godson). Also in Dodgertown are former Yankees players Jeff Weaver (active pitcher), Doug Mientkiewicz (on the 60-day DL with a dislocated shoulder) and 2000 World Series Game 1 hero Jose Vizcaino (special assistant).

By the time Torre took over as Yankees manager in 1996, the rebuilding plan constructed by Gene Michael and Bob Watson had bore fruit. The Yankees contended late in the ’93 season, were in first place before the strike of ’94 and earned their first postseason berth in 14 years the following year.

Four seasons ago, the Dodgers finished 71-91, fourth in the NL West, plummeting from a 93-win season the year before, and have been rebuilt into a contender through homegrown players (Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, James Loney, Russell Martin), stealing Andre Ethier from the A’s (for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez) and dealing for some fruitcake with long dreadlocks who carried the Dodgers back to the postseason, yet also one whose reputation as being one of the game’s greatest pure hitters is tarnished. Torre’s first Yankees team had more experience, but like the young Dodgers also learned by losing in the playoffs. The 1995 Yankees dropped a heartbreaker to the Mariners in the Division Series, the Dodgers fell in five games to the eventual champion Phillies in the NLCS.

Still, there are a few parallels which you’ll read about tomorrow. And while loving life in L.A., a piece of Torre’s heart remains in New York. Speaking before yesterday’s game against the Mets, Torre addressed various topics with the media, starting with Hideki Matsui’s contract status. It was just like old times.

On Matsui playing in final year of contract and what lies ahead:
“The one thing about the Yankees is that they have to make a lot of tough decisions when these high-profile people run out. (Johnny Damon’s pact is also in its final season.) It’s not always a popular decision they make, but they have to do what’s best for the organization. He’s been a special player and it’s not affecting his play, so he’s not worrying about it now.”

On Matsui’s early struggles (Matsui is batting .455 with three homers and 11 RBIs in July. His average has climbed 20 points since June 30.): “You’d never know it by being around him. He’s a pro. I respect him a great deal and I miss a lot of those guys, there’s no question.”

On the time Matsui took him out for sushi: “I told him if I’m going to try it, you’re taking me. I wish I really enjoyed the sushi part; my daughter does and my wife does. I ate everything they put in front of me and [Matsui] was kind enough to order a couple of bottles of champagne, which helped the medicine go down. It was an enjoyable evening.”
 
On whether he’ll visit the old Yankee Stadium before it’s torn down. He’s been asked by the Yankees if there’s anything he wants from the old place. He told them he made arrangements for a couple of seats, which will add to his collection from his other stops in Flushing (Shea Stadium), Atlanta (Fulton County Stadium) and St. Louis (Busch Stadium): “When I left there I knew it was going to be my last time. I took everything in. I had so many great memories there and really sadness. Everything that went on there was enough for me, it really was. It was a very special place when I used to go in there playing in the Mayor’s Trophy Game as a player and a manager. You always knew you were someplace special.”

Torre won’t be seeing the new Yankee anytime soon – the Dodgers are playing the Yankees next season, but at Dodger Stadium – that it unless special circumstances dictate otherwise:

“I wouldn’t mind seeing it in October,” Torre said. “To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing any ballpark in October. I remember people saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if this team and this team …’ I said, ‘Let’s just pull for the one side, that’s all.'”

Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation also raised $450,000 (before expenses) at its sixth annual golf classic on Monday.

Mets vs. Yankees: 6/12/09 Diary

firstpitch.jpgBy Jon Lane
First pitch: 7:09 p.m.
Off and running here at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will take a win, but if Joba can dominate it’ll be the ultimate shot in the arm coming off another disastrous Boston series. And yes, the sun is out and the sky is a crystal-clear blue.

A great start for Joba to retire the Mets in order on 14pitches. His first-inning troubles have been well-documented. Coming in he allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in the first (an 8.44 ERA).

7:27 p.m.
A mixed reception, though mostly boos, for Gary Sheffield. Sheff spoke at length before the game. No matter what you’ve read about him, my experiences covering him while he played with the Yankees was always positive. If you talked about baseball or boxing (one of his passions), or anything except steroid accusations, he was friendly, affable and quick with a smile. The veteran is enduring a miserable June (.107 coming in), but he’s been looked to for leadership and had high praise for Jerry Manuel even before Ken Rosenthal’s column was brought up.

Sheff’s struggles continue as Chamberlain caught him looking for Strike 3.

7:41 p.m.
Robinson Cano goes yard (what else?) to right field (where else?) to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead, home run 106 hit in this new building. According to various reports, speculation has centered on whether there is a wind tunnel in right field caused by either the open concourses or the slope of the stands, which is less steep that the original Yankee Stadium.

The next batter, Jorge Posada, missed a home run to dead center by about three or so feet. 

bleachers.jpg8:36 p.m.
I spent the third inning watching from Section 202, the bleachers, visiting a friend, which turned out to be a long visit. Chamberlain threw 43 pitches while walking and hitting a batter with the bases loaded to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. By the time I was leaving, Mark Teixeira homered to right center (really?) to put the Yankees back on top.

Some funny stories from the always-entertaining and fully loaded bleachers, so much so even the wine-and-cheese crowd can’t resist. A guard told me that many times suite ticket holders would venture down hoping to sit there.

“Let me see your ticket,” the guard would say.

“I’ve got better seats,” the person would reply.

“So why aren’t you sitting in them?” the guard would retort.

Later, while Chamberlain was walking the earth, a Yankees fans demanded that the guard give Mets fans the old heave-ho. The guard turned to me, rolled his eyes, and said, “I’m used to this. It’s a lot worse when Boston or Philly is here.”

In my friend’s row sat a line of Yankees fans with one poor Mets fan in the middle. She told me the Yankee boosters were taking bets on when this guy would get his rear-end kicked.

Not everything is perfect out there – far from it. That obstructed view everyone complains about? Whoa boy. From my vantage point in right center, the Mohegan Sun sports bar blocked off virtually all of left field from center field on. Still, it’s the place to be. Even if you don’t have bleacher tickets – again, the guards are strict about this, just ask the pampered ones – hanging out in the standing section above the sports bar, the food court, is a sense of community.

8:43 p.m.
Chamberlain allowed one hit in four innings, but walked five, hit two batters and threw 100 pitches. Another reason why the Yankees are fortunate to have CC Sabathia. The bullpen is somewhat rested, but Andy Pettitte is going tomorrow and the left-hander has thrown 104 pitches his last two starts, five and six innings, respectively. This creates a potentially precarious situation through the weekend.

Brett Tomko’s in. His job is to eat innings and keep the Mets off the scoreboard.

8:59 p.m.
A double, stolen base, walk and two-run double. 4-3 Mets. And at a blink of an eye, Gary Sheffield crushed a two-run bomb to left, strolling out of the batter’s box to admire career homer No. 505, 6-3 Mets. So much for Tomko doing his job. A reporter next to me quipped he’s a single and triple away from the cycle. Alas, Girardi spared fans the pain when he removed Tomko after his 37th pitch, a walk to Luis Castillo.

Interestingly, Joe Girardi changed his tune about Brian Bruney. The plan at first was for him to make a rehab start tomorrow at Double-A Trenton. Now it’s something the manager said had to be talked about and that he’d have an answer after the game. Reading between the lines, and evaluating everyone in the bullpen not named Mariano Rivera, Bruney could be activated tomorrow. Could Tomko be the one cut loose? It’s either that or DFA Angel Berroa and carry 13 pitchers.

jeterscoreboard.jpg9:11 p.m.
Shortly after I snapped this, the Captain went yard to – guess? – right field. The fourth homer of the game cuts the Mets lead to 6-4. Thanks to bullpen follies from both teams, expect us to be here awhile longer.

9:48 p.m.
Yet another home run, this a blast King Kong would be proud of. Hideki Matsui smoked one into the second deck in right field to put the Yankees back on top 7-6. Incidentally, today is Matsui’s 35th birthday, the second straight year he’s homered on his date of birth. I ran into his interpreter, Roger Kahlon, outside the Mets’ clubhouse before the game. He told me while this season’s been a struggle for Matsui, not playing every day reduces stress on his surgically-repaired knees. He came in batting .260 (.240 in June), but has gutted it out and delivered when the team needed it.

Alas, Sheffield led off the seventh with a double. Phil Coke is in for his team-leading 28th appearance and second in two nights.

9:53 p.m.
Coke gets Fernando Tatis, pinch-hitting for Brian Schneider, to hit into a double play, but Sheffield scored to tie the game at seven. This bullpen situation remains ridiculous and has to be addressed by July. No, Joba Chamberlain is not going there. In fact, Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today Huston Street, among others, is on the Yankees’ radar.

10:10 p.m.

Two on and one out in the seventh and the Yankees come away with nothing; Alex Rodriguez flailed at Strike 3 for the second out. They’re 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, a common theme during this current three-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, something rarely seen in Boston: Defense. Derek Jeter made like Billy Martin to catch a pop up between the mound and first base.

10:23 p.m.
Not fooling around, Girardi brings in Mariano Rivera with two out in the eighth. The best laid plans of mice and men … Rivera walks Carlos Beltran and David Wright doubles to right center to give the Mets an 8-7 lead. Let the speculation on whether Rivera is on the decline resume. This season, appearing in tie games, Rivera has allowed 6 ER in 6 2/3 IP.

10:39 p.m.
Here’s what the Yankees are facing in Francisco Rodriguez: 16-for-16 in save opportunities; league leader in saves with 210 since 2005; 2.35
ERA, 14 saves in 26 appearances against them.

10:53 p.m.
A-Rod vs. K-Rod. Yet another big spot for A-Rod, this time with the tying run on second and the winning run on first.

10:57 p.m.
Unbelievable. A-Rod pops up to second base … Luis Castillo dropped the ball. Jeter and Teixeira came home to score and some clown tossed a beer bottle into the press box. Yankees win 9-7.

11:31 p.m.
Turns out Bruney will pitch in Trenton on Saturday, while Damaso Marte will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll have a full wrap on tonight’s wild events and this installment of the Subway Series on Monday.

Stuff to think about

burnett_250_051309.jpgBy Jon Lane
There’s nothing anyone could have done about Tuesday’s loss in Toronto. Roy Halladay is one of the top five pitchers in the game and was so dominant neither the 1927 nor the 1961 Yankees were hitting him. Doc also continued his ownership of the Yankees. He’s 13-2 over his last 19 starts and 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA lifetime.

Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett is 0-1, 6.47 and has allowed five home runs in his last five starts. It’s May 13 and already it’s desperate times for the Yankees. Almost half the team is on the shelf or flirting with the disabled list, CC Sabathia is hoping to finally gain traction off Friday’s nine-inning whitewash of the Orioles and Chien-Ming Wang will need one more Minor League start before he returns. Burnett has had his chances to show he can carry a team in need and hasn’t done it.

Wang, meanwhile, threw six shutout innings for Triple-A Scranton Tuesday night, giving up three hits walking three and striking out six. It’s still impossible to believe a two-time 19-game winner is 0-3 with a 34.50 ERA. The Yankees are praying that was due to the weakness in his hip abductor muscle and not anything mechanically or emotionally.

It’s gotten ridiculous with these injuries. Derek Jeter sat out Tuesday with a strained rib-cage muscle and hopes to play tonight. Hideki Matsui, already playing on creaky knees, now has a tight right hamstring. Matsui says it’s only a cramp, but I’d be surprised to see Matsui for the rest of this series given the Rogers Centre turf.

Normally, when in times of crisis, Andy Pettitte is the one you’d want on the mound. However, the veteran left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.62 ERA in his last three starts. This is a team that was pegged not only for greatness, but to do something special. Keep the faith that things can turn around quickly in this game, but at this rate the Yankees are looking like the 1992 Mets (minus the dysfunction). That team signed free agents Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Bret Saberhagen and had visions of a World Championship. They finished 72-90.

A bit over the top? Maybe so. But the Yankees Version 2009 are laden with big names who are also aging veterans. There’s no need to worry about Sabathia, but Burnett is not doing what he did last year and any defense of Mark Teixeira and his history of slow starts no longer carry merit. Teixeira went hitless in four at-bats on Tuesday and has been stuck below the Mendoza line the past week.

This team needs to get healthy and get it going – quickly. The days of the AL East being a two-team race are long over, which means the Yankees are vulnerable to getting buried sooner than you think.

4:57 p.m. Jeter and Matsui are both out of tonight’s lineup. Reports out of Toronto say the captain is hoping to return tomorrow.

You are what your record says you are

damon_250_050609.jpg

By Joe Auriemma
The Yankees are 27 games into the season and under .500. They already have two four-game losing streaks and are playing exactly like their record states. This team has problems and it’s the type of problems that won’t just disappear with the return of Alex Rodriguez into the middle of the order.

As was the case with last season, the Yankees already have had major injury issues. The loss of A-Rod was just the tip of the iceberg when they lost two of their big money relievers in Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte. Now Marte had not been good before he was injured, but he is an experienced pitcher. Bruney has not had a full season with the Yankees since his 58-game performance in 2007. He has been lights out every time he’s been in there and he seems to be what’s missing from what has been a subpar bullpen this season. There are many inexperienced arms out there that give up the big hit at the worst possible moment.

I never like to blame injuries, but it has ravaged the bullpen, the lineup and the bench. The Yankees lost A-Rod, then his replacement Cody Ransom went down, Xavier Nady has been out and then they lost their leading RBI man in Jorge Posada. To make matters worse, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui have been playing hurt and let’s not forget about Chien-Ming Wang, who was just putrid in three starts this season. Every team has injuries, but the Yankees’ situation is pretty bad.

Could the injury bug for the second straight season be blamed on age? Yes, I think the advanced age of these players has a lot to do with the injuries. The Red Sox and Rays have a pretty young core of players and they don’t seem to be going through this same problem over the last two seasons.

After the injuries and the bullpen issues, the Yankees have had a tough year defensively. That seems to be the difference between a lot of the upper echelon teams to how they are playing right now.

This team also is not manufacturing runs. They don’t move runners over and when they do, they don’t drive them in.

With all of this being said, the Yankees can still snap out of this with the talent that they have and win their share of ballgames. However, when you combine everything that’s going on with the team right now, it really is true, “You are what your record says you are.”

Report: Nady gets a reprieve

nady_350_042109.jpgBy Jon Lane
SI.com’s Jon Heyman is reporting that Xavier Nady has been diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and will avoid surgery. What began as fear that Nady would be gone for the season has turned into a timetable that could last for 4-6 weeks.

Heyman added Nady could return in a DH role. As I wrote earlier today, the Yankees are very concerned about Hideki Matsui’s knees. Matsui is in tonight’s lineup and batting seventh.

12:39 p.m.
Plenty of time to kill before the Yankees and A’s try it again tonight (My9 HD, 7 p.m.). Skies are overcast but more rain may invade the area later today into tonight.

Yesterday’s rainout allowed me to pay full attention to Game 3 of the Rangers’ first-round matchup with the Washington Capitals. Rather than step on the favored Caps’ throats to the brink of extinction, the Blueshirts decided to form a Conga line to the penalty box. They were outplayed by Washington’s snipers and a 20-year-old goaltender named Simeon Varlamov in dropping a 4-0 decision at Madison Square Garden, where they went 26-11-14 during the regular season. On the road they were 17-19-5 and won the first two games of this series in Washington DC. Go figure.

Back to baseball and the ongoing Xavier Nady watch. While the Yankees are holding out hope their right-fielder will not need surgery on his injured right elbow, the prognosis remains bleak. To date, Nady has undergone at least five tests in which doctors are trying to differentiate between this and injury he suffered in 2001, which required Tommy John surgery. Dr. Lewis Yocum, the surgeon who performed the procedure on Nady’s elbow in ’01, was expected to get the MRI pictures today. Supposedly there were to be sent via e-mail yesterday, but Dr. Yocum isn’t up on 21st century technology, so the Yankees FedExed him the information.

You obviously hope for the best in a situation that is flat-out terrible timing. Nady batted .305 with the Pirates and Yankees last season and becomes a free agent after this season. It makes you wonder how teams will view a veteran who turns 31 in November and whose body of work will be two RBIs in 28 at-bats in seven games. Speaking to a couple of Yankees, they made it clear Nady is appreciated and will be missed. The day after Nady injured his elbow, Nick Swisher painted a big ‘X’ on his arm to let him know his teammates won’t forget him. At the beginning of Spring Training, the two were competing for playing time in right field. The rivalry evolved into a tight friendship.

“Anytime somebody has to go through that it’s tough,” Swisher said. “We all want him to know we’re going to be there for him. Anything we can do to help, we’re all going to do that. You’re talking about losing a tremendous player – not just a tremendous player but an awesome guy.”

“It’s a big loss,” said Brett Gardner. “‘X’ is gone hopefully everybody can rally together and pick up the slack. It drives you a little more when you know your team and your coaches are counting on you.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that Hideki Matsui’s surgically repaired left knee needed to be drained last Thursday, creating a major level of concern about an aging veteran restricted to DH duty, and batting.194 (6-for-31) overall and .083 (1-for-12) with runners in scoring position. This makes you wonder if Matt Holliday will be the Yankees’ top target come July.

I hate to bring this up, but it’s true. Ross Ohlendorf – he and Jeff Karstens were shipped to Pittsburgh before last
season’s trade deadline for Nady and the now flammable Damaso Marte – threw seven shutout innings against the Marlins Monday night and would be better than 1-2 if not for a lack of run support. He had gone 0-5 with a 5.88 ERA dating back to last season before silencing a team that scored a combined 16 runs in its previous two games.

Like the signing of Carl Pavano, you may complain about this now, but you weren’t then. At least four teams were fighting over Pavano in 2004; Ohlendorf and Karstens, two pitchers on the outside looking in, were traded as part of a package for two reliable and proven veterans. It was impossible to foresee Nady getting hurt and Marte becoming a time bomb.

Karstens starts tonight and looks to recover from his 2009 debut in which he walked five in four innings. 

Report: Nady may be out for the season

By Jon Lane
Peter Abraham is reporting that although nothing is official yet, the word is that Xavier Nady will need surgery and miss the season.

Update: Nady told reporters at Tropicana Field that he’s seeing the
team doctor tomorrow in New York. While he didn’t want to confirm the
rumor he’ll be out for the season, he added that an MRI given to him this morning showed a tear
and surgery will be needed. He will be placed on the disabled list today.

More as this story develops and on YES, beginning with Yankees Batting Practice Today at 3 p.m. In the meantime, will Shelley Duncan, John Rodriguez or someone else be called up from Scranton to take Nady’s place on the roster? Who do you think? Not sure if this means anything, but River Ave. Blues notes that Austin Jackson and Kevin Russo were pulled from this afternoon’s Triple-A game.

3:21 p.m. Abraham cleared up a few things in his blog post: Nady
will go on the DL and while noting the team doctor will examine him
tomorrow, those MRI results were not good news. Russo, Duncan or Juan
Miranda could get the call-up, but it will not be Jackson. He’s the
Yankees’ future in center field and will be with the big club only when
he’s ready to play every day.

Today’s Lineups
yankees.jpgYANKEES (4-4)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Brett Gardner CF
Ramiro Pena 3B
Jose Molina C

Andy Pettitte (4-4)

Notable absence: Hideki Matsui (.125) is out of the lineup for the second consecutive game.

rays.jpgRAYS (4-4)
B.J. Upton CF
Carl Crawford LF
Pat Burrell DH
Carlos Pena 1B
Willy Aybar 3B
Jason Bartlett SS
Gabe Kapler RF
Michel Hernandez C
Akinori Iwamura 2B

Andy Sonnanstine P

First game impressions

By: Joe Auriemma

It’s the middle of the fifth inning in the first game here at the new Yankee Stadium and I already have some first impressions of the game play at the ball park.

It’s only fitting that Derek Jeter got the first Yankees hit to start things off in the bottom of the first inning.

Robinson Cano, who hit the first home run in the new stadium in the bottom of the second, crushed that ball into the right field bleachers. The bleachers are more set back than in the other stadium, so to hit that ball halfway up in the stands is a big time shot. I told my colleague Chris Shearn that I thought, even thought the ball was a line drive, that it was hanging up in the air more than I remember from the other park.

When Hideki Matsui and Cody Ransom hit their home runs, I felt the same way. The ball is carrying and hanging in the air tonight. I remember that the other stadium it would only really do that when the weather got hot out.

I spoke with YES Network commentator John Flaherty who also made that same observation.

I’m not going to put too much stock into the ball carrying right now until I get more of a sample throughout the season. However, if this trend does continue, this could become a very good hitters park.

Now in the top of the sixth, Mariano Rivera has come into the ballgame for his first ever appearance in the new park. Rivera, who came into his signature song Enter Sandman by Metallica, got a very big ovation from the crowd and with every pitch, flash bulbs continue to light up the stadium.