Results tagged ‘ Joba Chamberlain ’

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)

Joba limit painful, but necessary

arod_250_081309.jpgBy Jon Lane
Life in the penthouse as winners of 20 out of 26 is good, especially when one of the perks is having the luxury of dealing with injuries without succumbing to desperation.

Four major players left for Seattle with barking body parts, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. If the Yankees were close to falling off a cliff, you’d bet on all of them “manning up” and playing tonight, the first of a four-game set at Safeco Field that begins a seven-day excursion out west and a 10-day road trip that concludes next weekend in Boston.

The Yankees own a 5 game lead over the Red Sox, far from safe, but currently a luxury. X-rays on Jeter’s sore foot were negative, but considering the team had to immediately board a plane and fly across the country and further north, I’d be surprised if Jeter is in tonight’s lineup, and near shocked if Posada – he took a foul tip off his right hand and was beaten up chasing A.J. Burnett’s three wild pitches and many others in the dirt – will play. Remember yesterday he played after catching the night before.

Joe Girardi said A-Rod was already getting tonight off, but as luck had it, A-Rod was hit by a Shawn Camp pitch in a most minute spot, the part of his left elbow slightly unprotected by a huge pad.

Rivera’s status was unknown until after the game and anytime you learn about soreness in his pitching shoulder – the one that underwent a procedure to remove calcification from a joint – that’s frightening. Both player and manager insisted Rivera would be ready to go. Rivera, incidentally, did not leave with the team, but that was to attend a personal matter and unrelated to his heath.

These are the advantages of having a nice-sized lead in your division and a deep bench; you have the capability to manage nagging ailments correctly and be smart about resting your starting pitchers. This brings me to the latest obsessive-compulsive debate about Joba Chamberlain. First he belonged in the bullpen. Now he’s coddled and overprotected, which will adversely affect the rest of his career. Chamberlain is 8-2 with a 3.85 ERA and despite annoying inconsistency hasn’t lost a decision since June 18.

joba_250_081309.jpgThis isn’t complicated and it’s a not a big deal. This is the case of a 23-year-old ace in the making that in 2006 dealt with triceps tendinitis and was disabled late last season with rotator cuff tendinitis. It’s fair to debate that not being on a consistent schedule affects one’s rhythm – and Chamberlain is at the top of his game when working at a swift pace. I buy that, but don’t complain based on precedents. Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson are from a different era. Justin Verlander has averaged roughly 189 innings through three full seasons and 2009, but he has no history with injuries, but everybody is different. Just because Verlander and Felix Hernandez have gone unscathed doesn’t mean Chamberlain will survive the strain and stress of a way-too-soon heavy workload.

The Mariners, incidentally, were also careful with King Felix, deciding in 2006 to cap his innings to 205 (he threw 191). They did this by skipping his turns after falling out of contention and lifted the cap the following season. The Yankees aren’t out of contention, but the Red Sox are far from finished and division titles are won in September. News flash: The rivals collide in a three-game series September 25-27 at Yankee Stadium. Something tells me those meetings will decide who captures the AL East flag.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum was shut down in September 2007 after his innings count rose to 177 1/3 between the Minor and Major Leagues. The following season he was ordered not to throw bullpen sessions typical of an offseason routine. Manager Bruce Bochy told The San Francisco Chronicle they were being careful due to studies showing that pitchers who throw 200 innings early in their career were more susceptible to injuries.

Fausto Carmona finished fourth in 2007 AL Cy Young voting after going 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA and 215 innings pitched – and threw 15 more in the playoffs. The following season he plummeted to 8-7, 5.44 in 120.2 IP and this season the Indians demoted him to their Rookie League when he was 2-6 7.42, 41 walks and 36 strikeouts in 60 2/3 IP.

Chamberlain pitched 88 1/3 innings in the Minors before he was called up in August 2007. He entered this season with 124 1/3 Major League innings pitched and will match that total with eight more outs next Wednesday. Because this is New York and Chamberlain’s team is the Yankees – anything less than a World Championship is a failure – many are in an uproar. Girardi told reporters last night, “This is not just about the next two months. This is about years and years to come.”

If this is Kansas City or Pittsburgh, it’s a mere subplot. Here in the Big Apple, this is “ruining” Joba Chamberlain, just like taking him out of the bullpen is traumatizing him and Brian Cashman is paying for his decision to rebuild a program with non-contending seasons.

Girardi’s later statement is most telling: It’s “all hands on deck” for the postseason, when The Joba Rules I, II, III, IV, V and so on are tossed away like trash. A fresh Chamberlain gives the Yankees their best chance to win it all this year and in future years, when every April the “This team stinks” and “What have you done for me lately” tsunami of complaints arrive with the Yankees’ first three-game losing streak.

Final CompuBox numbers

By Jon Lane
A wrap on Game 1 with stats compiled by the Yankees while borrowing a boxing phrase:

? The Yankees scored eight runs in the fourth inning, sending 13 batters to the plate (four singles, two doubles, two home runs, and two walks).

? The Yankees plated the most runs in a single inning against Boston since a nine-run eighth on June 19, 2000 at Fenway Park in a 22-1 Yankees win. It was also the Yankees’ largest inning since a nine-run fourth June 14 against the Mets.

? Every Yankees starter had at least one hit.

? Yankees pitchers allowed 12 walks, their highest single-game total since issuing 12 in a 17-4 loss June 18, 2000 against the White Sox. Those 12 walks were the most in a win against any team. Joba Chamberlain improved to 8-2 despite waling a career-high seven. This was a shade of gray on a nice silver lining.

“We walked too many people and we got away from some situations, and we can’t continue to do that against this lineup because they’re going to hurt you,” Girardi said. “It’s frustrating because you can’t give an offense like theirs free passes.”

? Chad Gaudin will join the team on Sunday, reports The Journal News‘ Peter Abraham, who added that Brian Cashman told him that Sergio Mitre will remain in the rotation. Joe Girardi sees Gaudin as someone who can work out of the bullpen or spot start. His last start was Wednesday, when the Braves tagged him for six runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Nick Swisher was Gaudin’s roommate for two years in Oakland. He sent him a text message welcoming him to the club.

“He’s going to fit in here real nice,” Swisher said. “When we were in Oakland he had a good run. He’s a good dude, he’s a competitor and he’s going to go out and give it his all every day.”

Showdown Series: Game 1 diary

By Jon Lane
A sunny day so far here at Yankee Stadium. There was rain in this morning’s forecast, but it looks like it’ll hold up.

A couple of historical quick hits and what to watch for:

Thirty years ago tonight, Bobby Murcer drove in all five runs of the Yankees’ 5-4 win over the Orioles hours after delivering the eulogy at Thurman Munson’s funeral. Murcer’s two-run single off Tippy Martinez in the bottom of the ninth won the game.

Two years ago tomorrow, Joba Chamberlain, tonight’s starter, made his Major League debut at Toronto when he closed out a 9-2 Yankees win by allowing a hit, walking two and striking out two in two scoreless innings. Chamberlain began the campaign at Single-A Tampa before promotions to Double-A Trenton (6/11) and Triple-A Scranton (7/24).

The Yankees will pay tribute to Muhammad Ali before the game and hold a moment of silence for George Murray, who passed away on Tuesday after losing his battle with ALS.

Back with more later with news and notes. Here are tonight’s lineups.

5:57 p.m.
News and notes from both clubhouses:

? Anthony Claggett is still here. Joe Girardi is comfortable with having an extra arm at his disposal at least for the start of this series, but he implied that Ramiro Pena will soon be back with the big club.

? Brett Gardner, out since July 25 with a fractured left thumb, will get his cast off the beginning of next week and have another X-Ray.

“It’s tough to sit back and watch, but at the same time at least I’m not out for longer,” Gardner said. “I don’t know yet how long I’m going to be out for, but the main thing is I didn’t have to have surgery. This thing is going to heal on its own and I should be back in a couple of weeks.”

? David Ortiz and incoming Major League Players Association director Michael Weiner will meet the media on Saturday to discuss last week’s report that Ortiz failed a test in 2003 for performance-enhancing drugs, reports The Boston Globe. Ortiz has one hit in his last 14 at-bats, but Red Sox manager Terry Francona hasn’t noticed any distraction or difference in Big Papi’s demeanor.

“I see him handling things very well,” Francona said. “Because he DHs, he’s not a guy I’ll follow around during a game anyway.”

? BoSox outfielder Rocco Baldelli was placed on the disabled list after fouling a ball off his foot and ankle during batting practice Wednesday night in St. Petersburg. With Baldelli on the DL and Jason Bay out with strained right hamstring/quad muscle, outfielder Josh Reddick was recalled from Triple-A. And in a surprise twist, Kevin Youkilis volunteered to play left field. Youkilis appeared in two games in right last season and 18 career games in left – all in 2006.

“The more I thought about it, it’s a way of getting a lot of good bats in the lineup, and he’s willing to do it, which amazes me,” Francona said. “I told him we’ll do it.”

Francona didn’t completely rule it out, but there is a chance Bay could miss the whole four-game series.

6:50 p.m.
A sign draped from the concourse above the Mohegan Sun sports bar read: “Papi, need a little juice?” Security quickly confiscated it.

6:51 p.m.
Muhammad Ali, who presented Yankee Stadiumwith the “Six Star Diamond Award,” is introduced to the crowd to a nice ovation. While be escorted around the field in a golf cart, Ali is waving and pointing to fans. Derek Jeter went to greet Ali and the whole team joined them for a group photo.

7:11 p.m.
First pitch 7:08, a strike to Jacoby Ellsbury. Two pitches later he grounds out to second base. We’re off an running.

7:17 p.m.
Before the game I thought David Ortiz would be received no worse than usual. Scratch that. The boos are loud and there are faint “steroids” chants. Nice work by Chamberlain to retire Papi on a fly out to right with two on and two out. You figure it’s going to be one of these games in which the tone is set not by dominance, but by escaping crisis situations and delivering in the pinch.

7:45 p.m
Through two innings Chamberlain has showed grit. A double and walk put the first two Red Sox batters on base, but Chamberlain bounced back with three straight outs, the last two on strikeouts that had the Stadium rocking.

8:13 p.m.
Chamberlain has been flirting with disaster all night. Dustin Pedroia opened the third with a solo homer that gave Boston a 1-0 lead. After walking the next two batters, Chamberlain got Ortiz to ground into a double play and J.D. Drew to fly out to center. However, he’s thrown 64 pitches through three innings and the Yankees wasted a golden opportunity in the second when Jorge Posada was thrown out at home plate. His mistake was not sliding on what was a high throw by Pedroia, but why send him when you could have had bases loaded, one out and Smoltz on the ropes?

So far, we’re seeing sample sizes of why the Yankees are 0-8 against the Red Sox.

8:16 p.m
Johnny Damon goes yard to right to tie the game 1-1. It was a carbon copy of Pedroia’s blast that’s been exclusive to this new yard all season. Mark Teixiera just doubled. Business is picking up.

8:27 p.m.
Casey Kotchman homers to – where else? – right field. 3-1, Boston.

8:45 p.m.
The Melk Man
delivers. Three-run bomb to right (this was legit). 5-3 Yankees, the
first time they’ve led the Red Sox in this park.

9:08 p.m.
Jorge Posada’s three-run home bounced off the wall that houses Monument Park. Smoltz lit up for eight runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings and the Red Sox sampled what the Yankees had to endure with Billy Traber last season.

The Yankees have completed an eight-run bottom of the fourth that took 34 minutes. They sent 12 men to the plate and lead 9-3. If they blow this they will go 0-19 against the Red Sox.

9:26 p.m.
This sums up Chamberlain’s evening: He walks the bases loaded and allows a run-scoring single before ending the fifth with strikeouts of Kotchman and Nick Green (starting shortstop Jed Lowrie left the game with an irritated left forearm). That’s it for Joba (5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 7 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 108 pitches/62 strikes), who wasn’t the pitcher he’s been in the second half.

9:33 p.m.
Billy Traber stinks.

9:50 p.m.
It’s Phil Coke vs. David Ortiz with two on and two out in the sixth inning. Alas, it’s 11-4, Yankees.

9:53 p.m.
Ortiz pops out to short. Big Papi is 0-for-4 and one for his last 18.

10:01 p.m.
This release from the Yankees. Your new fifth starter?

The New York Yankees tonight announced they have acquired right-handed pitcher Chad Gaudin from the San Diego Padres in exchange for a player to be named later.

Gaudin (pronounced Go-DAN), 26, was 4-10 with a 5.13 ERA (105.1IP, 60ER), 105 strikeouts and 56 walks in 20 games (19 starts) with the San Diego Padres this season.  He held his opponents to three earned runs or less in 12 of his 19 starts, including five straight from July 8-31, and earned National League “co-Player of the Week” honors (with Florida’s Hanley Ramirez) for the period ending 6/28, after going 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and striking out 20 batters in 15.0 innings pitched.

He owns a 32-35 career record with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 205 games (69 starts) over parts of seven seasons with Tampa Bay (2003-04), Toronto (2005), Oakland (2006-08), Chicago-NL (2008) and San Diego (2009).  In 69 career starts, Gaudin is 20-28 with a 4.85 ERA, striking out 306 batters in 378.2 innings pitched with a .276 opponent’s batting average.  He is 12-7 with a 4.00 ERA in 136 relief appearances, striking out 125 batters in 175.2 innings pitched with a .260 opponent’s average.

In addition, Gaudin made three scoreless relief appearances for the Athletics in the 2006 American League Championship Series against Detroit (3.1IP, 2H, 3BB, 1K).

Born in New Orleans, La., he was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the 34th round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

10:14 p.m.
A nugget on Gaudin: He one-hit the Yankees for seven innings in a 7-0 win on June 30, 2007 pitching for the A’s.

10:22 p.m.
Mark Teixeira goes yard off poor Billy Traber. It’s 12-4, Yankees, yet they’ve employed four pitchers tonight compared to Boston’s two. I’m just sayin’.

10:33 p.m.
It’s a 12-4 game and there’s still drama. Dustin Pedroia didn’t take too kindly to being hit in the shoulder by Mark Melancon. Jorge Posada had to calm him down en route to first base.

Showdown Series: Game 1 preview

ali_250_080609.jpgBy Jon Lane
Yes it’s August 6 and this series will not decide the season, but whenever the Yankees and Red Sox hook up, it means something. So much so that Muhammad Ali will be in the house tonight. The Yankees will pay tribute to the three-time World Heavyweight Champion during a pregame ceremony when Ali and Joseph Cinque, President of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, will present Yankee Stadium and Hal Steinbrenner with the academy’s “Six Star Diamond Award,” for excellence in hospitality.

The hype machine has been churning all morning talking about the teams’ first meeting since June 11. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by 2 games and barring a collapse on either side, this will go down to the wire (and don’t write off the Rays either).

In the event you’re visiting from Neptune, the Red Sox are 8-0 against the Yankees this season. Yankees fans are tired of hearing it and so are the players. Back in June, they flew to Fenway 8-3 in their last 11 games after taking a rain-shortened series from the Rays confident that the results would be different. The Red Sox took Game 1, 7-0, and won the next two each by one run. Most disturbing about the last loss was the Yankees’ inability to hit Brad Penny.

If you disagree with the theory that the Red Sox own a psychological advantage, consider that they’re 2-13 at Tropicana Field — and played like it the past two nights. This team is beaten up. Jason Bay re-aggravated his hamstring, which means you could be looking at an outfield of J.D. Drew, Rocco Baldelli and Jacoby Ellsbury — and the rotation is so tattered the Red Sox signed Paul Byrd out of semi-retirement to a Minor League contract.

After Sunday, the Red Sox will be anywhere from 1 1/2 games up to 6 1/2 games back. One fan who called into WEEI-AM took a pessimistic stance: “We have lots of holes. We acted hastily on [cutting Julio] Logo. We’re gonna get slaughtered.

Tonight’s result will be telling. A Red Sox win and Yankees fans will panic. A Yankees win and they’ll be 3 games in front, and 1-8 won’t look so bad. I’ll be on location with Jerome Preisler later today for full coverage from both sides. In the interim, a few more storylines to get you ready:

ortiz_200_080609.jpg? How will Yankees fans react to Big Papi? Tonight is David Ortiz’s first game at Yankee Stadium since the revelation that he was one of the infamous 104. The big guy has yet to discuss it in great detail. Will he speak tonight or the next three days or hide from the phalanx of cameras, microphones and notepads? Chris Shearn pleaded with Yankees fans to not sink to Red Sox Nation’s level and its treatment of Alex Rodriguez. Will they comply? And will Ortiz kill the Yankees again in a big spot? Despite his shoddy overall numbers (.225-15-61), he’s .321-2-8 against New York this season with a .679 slugging percentage. There’s something about seeing him at-bat with runners on base, the game on the line and facing Mariano Rivera. How Phil Coke and/or Phil Hughes (unavailable tonight) or Alfredo Aceves fares in this situation will be their toughest challenge this season.

? Joba Chamberlain is pitching on seven days rest. He’s been the Yankees’ best starter since the All-Star break (0-3, 0.83 ERA in three starts), but is also on that undisclosed innings limit, a situation that will continue to be scrutinized. If he shuts down Boston tonight and continues this run, can the Yankees continue to consider pulling him from the rotation? Or is asking a 23 year old (24 next month) to tread deep waters risking either injury or a severe drop in production (see Fausto Carmona)? One thing not to worry about is his mettle. Despite an 0-1, 4.09 ledger in two starts this year, Chamberlain has succeeded against the Red Sox before and you know that he can deliver in the clutch.  

? How much does John Smoltz have left? His ERA is 7.12 — 1-2, 9.18 since the break — and has pitched into the sixth inning (but no further) in only three of his seven starts. The Yankees’ potent lineup and Coors Field East may spell early disaster.

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?

Who would you rather have starting games for the Yankees?(survey software)

What should the Yankees do with Joba Chamberlain as he reaches his innings limit?(opinion)

Which AL East team is most likely to miss the playoffs?(polls)

Who were the biggest winners at the trade deadline?(poll)

Who were the biggest losers at the trade deadline?(polls)

Trade winds still blowing

by Glenn Giangrande

I don’t buy it. Not for one second. The Yankees aren’t done dealing.
While the Red Sox added an impact bat in Victor Martinez, the Yankees stood pat, choosing to hold onto all their prospects. Of course, deals can still go down for another month as long as players go through waivers, so this means the Yankees might be choosing to flex their financial muscle and absorb a bad contract held by a starting pitcher.
Make no mistake about it: This team still needs a starter. Joe Girardi has acknowledged that the Yankees are a little thin. Chien-Ming Wang is gone for the year, perhaps for good. Let’s assume the organization will hold strong on Joba Chamberlain’s innings limit. You have to hope that the minor soreness that Alfredo Aceves is dealing with doesn’t develop into something more serious. As well as the Yankees have played since the All-Star Break, they still only hold a slim lead over the Red Sox in the AL East. The Rangers’ young pitching might be for real. The Rays still linger. Detroit added Jarrod Washburn, and Jake Peavy could give the White Sox a late season push. This playoff race is far from finished.
So, who could be on the radar? My colleague, Jon Lane, name checked Bronson Arroyo, who some later, denied reports linked to the Yankees last week. Arroyo will be making $11 million next year with a club option for 2011 that includes a $2 million buyout clause. His teammate Aaron Harang, is also commanding big dollars — $12.5 million next year plus the same club option\buyout for ’11. In today’s economy, a contending team might spring for Harang, one of baseball’s more underrated pitchers in recent years, while Arroyo could probably be had in a much easier fashion. Economically, Arizona’s Doug Davis could be a top target for teams. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the year, and the 33-year-old lefty has pitched better than his 5-10 record, posting a 3.76 ERA heading into his start Friday night against the Mets.
Don’t turn off the trade wires just yet.

Washburn: The most economical choice

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. 

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.

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.
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

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 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.” 

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.

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. 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.

An alternative Halladay proposal

By Jon Lane
Anthony Rieber, Newsday‘s fine and entertaining sports reporter, opines that the Yankees need to bring Roy Halladay to the Bronx. But rather than sell the farm, Rieber suggests the Yankees do the Blue Jays a favor and offer them financial relief by agreeing to take on Vernon Wells’ bloated contract.

Wells, 30, is due nearly $110 million through 2014. That’s insane. But here’s the alternative to dealing Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain or Jesus Montero: The Yankees offer Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera, a couple of lower-level pitching prospects and nothing more, writes Rieber while reminding what little the Mets surrendered to pry Johan Santana from the Twins – without taking on a huge contract. And it’s not like Wells is exactly washed up. He may no longer be an All-Star, but the excitement of a championship chase in New York may energize him.

Either one team will go all-in, or the winner (if any by July 31) of the Halladay sweepstakes will be the one that held out the longest to force Toronto to take what it can get. Rieber’s strategy presents a suitable alternative to those opposed to selling the farm.