Tagged: John Flaherty

Wrapping up the week

By Jon Lane
Our friends at River Avenue Blues had their weekly live chat this afternoon. Among the highlights:

The Yankees made the right move by not offering Chien-Ming Wang a long-term deal. Wang’s miserable beginning to 2009 is 20-10 hindsight, but RAB notes they could afford to go year to year and pay big arbitration raises as warranted. Count on this, though: Wang will right himself and when he’s back – at 100 percent and nothing less – you’ll see what you’ve seen out of the talented right-hander since 2005.

Let’s defend A.J. Burnett’s start Thursday night. Okay, four runs and eight hits in seven innings isn’t pretty, but winning ugly is a beautiful thing. Burnett gave the Yankees seven innings and kept them in the game until they broke through in the eighth. John Flaherty made a great point during the telecast when he cited how Roger Clemens enjoyed pitching a lot more when he had to grind it out. You’re not going to have your best stuff every outing. Burnett didn’t but he found a way to survive and finished with a nine-pitch seventh.  

Who will be the odd man out once Brian Bruney returns? RAB speculates it’ll be David Robertson, but Jose Veras and Jonathan Albaladejo better be on alert. Albaladejo has options and he’s given up seven runs in his last inning of work covering two appearances. That three-year deal given to Damaso Marte is more and more of an albatross.

Interesting poll question: Who will be the Yankees’ closer in 2011? (Mariano Rivera’s current  contract expires after next season.)
Mark Melancon
Joba Chamberlain
Mariano Rivera

Who do you think? Vote here and have your say.

It’s Angels vs. Yankees tonight on YES (weather permitting). Kimberly Jones is there off a successful debut chat. Enjoy the game and the weekend.

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.

Spring Training is way too long

spring_450.jpgBy Joe Auriemma
Years ago, once the baseball season
ended, the players would shut down completely in the offseason. Most of
these Major Leaguers had jobs to make extra income. I know most people
can’t even fathom the thought that Hall of Famers, Yogi Berra and Phil
Rizzuto used to work at a men’s shop in Newark, just to try and support
their family, but it’s true. This was a time in which players needed a
lot of Spring Training action to get back in shape and ready for the
marathon that is the baseball season.

Nowadays, most players
don’t have to worry about a second job and treat baseball as a year-round profession. By the time most of them report to camp in February,
they are already in shape. To be fair, a lot of these player do shut
down for at least a month after the season is over to rest, but even
the pitchers now throw in the offseason to keep up their arm strength.

This spring season was longer because of the World Baseball Classic games, and when it’s all
said and done the Yankees are going to play 37 exhibition games. That
is literally almost a quarter of a 162-game schedule. That’s also not
including the time in which they report to camp just to work out the
first week-and-a-half.

I spoke with John Flaherty and Jim Kaat
about the Spring Training season down in Tampa, Fla., and both agreed that the
Grapefruit/Cactus campaign is way too long. Flaherty told me that most position players are
ready to go by March 15. If that’s the case, there is almost three more
weeks until the regular season actually starts after the time frame in
which Flaherty told me position players are fully ready for the season.

tried to get the pitcher’s perspective on the spring season when I spoke
with Kaat. He told me that even though pitchers need more time
to strengthen out their arms and stretch out their innings, he
concluded that the spring schedule is ridiculous. One thought that he
had was make the Spring schedule only 15-17 games in the month of March
and just have the pitchers report maybe a week earlier than the
position players. Most of these pitchers take the time to stretch out
their innings over at the team’s Minor League complexes anyway in
extended Spring Training games.

As for getting a good look at
potential fringe players that managers have to put on their final
rosters, I think teams can see them in the
shortened spring schedule, simulated games, Minor League games and at
practice during the month of March.

I, like most fans, are just
ready to get this baseball season going now. I’ve been ready for the
last two weeks and I think from the reaction of a lot of the players,
they have been more than ready too.