Tagged: Melky Cabrera

Posada on his way

By Jon Lane
The Yankees are about to get a lot stronger. After playing six innings in an extended Spring Training game Thursday, Jorge Posada told The Associated Press he was scheduled to fly to Cleveland to meet his teammates for the start of a four-game series against the Indians Friday night.

Posada has been sidelined since straining his right hamstring May 4 and I don’t need to remind you how valuable he is to the Yankees. Someone will need to be dropped from the roster to make room for Posada. At this point it makes too much sense to DFA Angel Berroa. He hasn’t had an at-bat since May 4, and young defensive whiz Ramiro Pena serves the same purpose. Besides, you want to carry three catchers to cover yourself in case that tricky hamstring acts up again and until Jose Molina returns you’ll want to stash away Kevin Cash, who in a pinch can fill in at third base. Molina (strained left quadriceps) is working out in Tampa, but not ready for game action yet.

Of equal significance is Xavier Nady’s two hits in five at-bats, including an opposite-field homer to right, while serving as the DH. He’ll fill that spot in New York when he returns to help give Hideki Matsui a blow and eventually take over right field. Nick Swisher is a great guy whose positive energy is contagious, but he’s batting .223 (.127 this month). He’s being spared a night or two on the bench with Melky Cabrera out at least a week.

Off day reading material

By Jon Lane
Yesterday produced a 4:57 eyesore, but a dramatic win capped off an eventful day on YESNetwork.com.

Melky Cabrera and Jose Veras each played hero on an afternoon where the new Yankee Stadium again was a launching pad. CC Sabathia, however, is off to another slow start. He admitted to trying to be too fine, but he’s not sweating it. Neither should you.

Kimberly Jones works the clubhouse for TV and us. She shares details about her conversations with Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano. And mark your calendar for Thursday, April 30. The Yankees return home after a six-game road trip and Kim will hold her first live chat.

(Wang is in Tampa, Fla., this morning pitching in an extended spring game. Stay logged on for an update.)

Bob Lorenz had enjoyed a few days off, but is back Blobbin‘ tomorrow night as the Yankees begin their series with the Red Sox.

Welcome Mrs. Singy to the YESNetwork.com blogging network. Suzanne Molino Singleton is an online writer and columnist for Smart Woman. Her stories on life as the wife of our own Ken Singleton are interesting and enjoyable.


Despite uneven play, the Yankees head to Boston 9-6 and on their first three-game winning streak. It’s critical that they continue to build momentum. In prior seasons, they’ve started slow and needed a relentless second-half surge to make the playoffs, where by that time they had nothing left. Here’s a breakdown of their starts the last six seasons.

First 15 games: 12-3
Final record: 101-61

First 15 games: 8-7
Final record: 101-61

First 15 games: 6-9
Rock bottom: 11-19 (May 6)
Final record: 95-67

First 15 games: 7-8
Final record: 97-65

First 15 games: 8-7
Rock bottom: 21-29
Farthest Behind: 14.5 (May 29)
Final record: 94-68

First 15 games: 8-7
Rock bottom: 20-25 (May 20 after a 12-2 loss to Baltimore at Yankee Stadium)
Farthest Behind: 12.5 (Aug 31)
Final record: 89-73 (missed playoffs)

Countdown to the party

stadium_350_041509.jpgBy Jon Lane
T-minus one day until the official home opener. We were on hand for the workouts and the exhibition games, taking you for tour and providing anecdotes from around the Stadium and in the clubhouse. Expect a lot more Thursday afternoon. Fans will be jacked, CC Sabathia will be on the mound and the Yankees will thrilled to enjoy their new spoils for the next seven days. I’ll be keeping a diary and filing a postgame report. Chris Shearn and Co. will be producing exclusive videos, and Friday, Steven Goldman will provide a unique take on the Stadium’s amenities and dining experiences. This will be a lot of fun and knowing the Yankees there will be plenty of surprises. Gates will be open at 10 a.m. and the team is encouraging everyone to be in their seats by noon for the opening ceremonies.


A.J. Burnett was amazing Tuesday night. Better than his six no-hit innings was how he, locked into a pitchers’ duel with Matt Garza, kept his composure after the Rays tied the game in the seventh. After the Yankees regained the lead off the Rays bullpen, Burnett pitched a clean eighth inning, the Yankees broke it open in the ninth and Brian Bruney struck out the side to finish it off. Through two games, Burnett is proving wrong those skeptics (me included) who thought it was a risk giving him $82.5 million over five years. There are tell-tale signs he’s no longer a thrower, but a mature pitcher. Shearn has more on Burnett and Brett Gardner, who to date is making him look like a genius.


Hold your breath and cross your fingers: Xavier Nady is having an MRI done today to examime his right elbow, injured Tuesday in the seventh when he felt a sharp pain while throwing Carlos Pena’s single back to the infield. It’s the same area where he had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2001.

From the sound of it, Nady is headed for the disabled list. That means Nick Swisher will play every day, mostly in right field. Melky Cabrera will be counted on even more to spell Johnny Damon in left. Shelley Duncan, batting .300 with a homer and five RBIs in four games at Triple-A Scranton, would add pop off the bench. None, however, can replace Nady, a steady veteran and a good fit in the bottom of the lineup. The Yankees are wishing Hideki Matsui can play some outfield right now.


It’s Andy Pettitte against Andy Sonnanstine this afternoon (YES HD, 4 p.m.) as the Yankees finally finish their season-opening nine-game road trip. They’d love to officially open the new Yankee Stadium one game above .500, which considering having to go back on the road after just coming back from six weeks in Florida wouldn’t be too bad. Pettitte is the right guy to have on the mound. He was great in his 2009 debut at Kansas City, yielding one run and three hits over seven innings, and is 15-4 with a 3.63 ERA against the Rays, including 8-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 12 starts at Tropicana Field.

Just like it was silly to go insane over an 0-2 start, it’s completely premature to draw conclusions based on eight games. The best you can do is look at things in stages. Right here, right now, Burnett has been gold and Pettitte is a great bargain.


movingforward.jpgYankees great Bernie Williams’ new CD, “Moving Forward” has been released. You can meet Williams and receive a signed copy of the CD at 6 p.m at Borders – Penn Plaza. Williams played one of his songs on Good Day New York this morning. His first CD, “The Journey Within” is excellent. Expect more of the same with his second helping and tune into YES next month for his live concert at New York’s Nokia Theatre.

Down the stretch they come

stadium_350.jpgBy Jon Lane
T-minus seven days until the start of the Yankees’ 2009 regular season in Baltimore on April 6. However, the team breaks camp on Wednesday and will be in the Bronx Thursday for a workout at their plush new digs. Me and my YESNetwork.com colleagues will be there to document the latest news and initial impressions of the new Yankee Stadium. The next night, the palace receives the first of two dry runs when the Yankees play the Chicago Cubs in an exhibition affair (YES HD, 7 p.m.)

First, the Yankees play another Spring Training game today in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays. This is their lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C
Brett Gardner CF

Pitching: Andy Pettitte, Damaso Marte, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras , Edwar Ramirez.


gardner_150.jpgGardner made news this past weekend when he was formally named the Yankees’ starting center fielder. Joe Girardi made it clear that this will not be a platoon situation between Gardner and Melky Cabrera. Gardner will be playing every day until further notice, thus his chance to follow in the steps of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Murcer, Mickey Rivers and Bernie Williams – at least until Austin Jackson is proclaimed Major League ready.

Gardner’s been a great story. He’s a spunky 5-10 package who was a walk-on at the College of Charleston. His big-league debut was inauspicious: .153 (9-for-59) in 17 games last season before he was demoted. And while he owns a paltry .228 average (29-for-127) in 42 games, he batted .294 (20-for-68) from August 15 until the end of the 2008 season.

This spring, Gardner hit .385 (20-for-52), with two doubles, two triples, three home runs, six RBIs, with a .448 OBP and was 5-for-7 in stolen base attempts. By way of comparison, Cabrera’s line through Sunday was .340 (18-for-53), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 2-for-3 in SB attempts, .417 OBP, but his regression (.249 in 2008, including an August demotion) was virtually impossible to ignore.

Gardner provides elements not seen around the Yankees in recent years and his lefty bat adds balance to the lineup, but don’t count out Cabrera. He’ll make the team as a valuable reserve outfielder who can spell Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady or even Gardner (who could shift to one of the corners) late in games with an arm that can be the difference between winning and losing. He’s also only 24, so whether it’s with the Yankees or elsewhere as midseason trade bait, Cabrera still has a chance to prove that last season was an aberration.


Girardi said he’s thinking of eschewing a long reliever in favor of Jonathan Albaladejo. Why? Nothing against Albaladejo, who’s had a fine spring, but even elite starters get shelled early and there’s that innings limit on Joba Chamberlain. The rest of the bullpen will be feeling the heat, literally and figuratively, once the weather warms up. Brett Tomko, Dan Giese or Alfredo Aceves are better suited to eating innings and keeping the Yankees in the game should they face an early deficit.


pena_250.jpgDon’t look now, but Ramiro Pena has a realistic shot of making the team as the utility infielder who helps hold the fort until Alex Rodriguez returns. Pena’s glove has been world class since Day 1, but his bat showed tremendous improvement this spring. His chief competition, veteran Angel Berroa, is batting .358, compared to Pena’s .321, but you cannot underestimate the value of a slick glove, especially at shortstop. And giving a homegrown prospect a taste of the Majors bodes will for his future, too.

Bill Madden cites Pena’s progress and Derek Jeter’s declining range to his left. Also, I covered Pena and fellow prospect Jesus Montero at last summer’s Futures Game, when Pena showed off his defensive skills and discussed overcoming a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

According to Peter Abraham, Girardi said no decisions on these roster spots have been made yet and this could carry into the Cubs series.

Friday night fun

By Jon Lane
It’s Reds vs. Yankees tonight at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. For the play-by-play, dial into WCBS 880-AM.

For more YESNetwork.com exclusives, Joe Auriemma and his crew are down there and will wrap up their Spring Training coverage this weekend. The Yankees, though, have another five days left in Florida before they head home for a workout next Thursday at the new Yankee Stadium followed by exhibition games Friday night and Saturday afternoon against the Cubs (both games will air on YES). Then it all begins April 6 in Baltimore when CC Sabathia makes the Yankees’ first start of the 2009 season.

Speaking of the new Stadium, those who believe hitting the road is their best route to the Bronx, you’ll interested in this: BaseballParking.com has information on a parking garage that offers spaces that can be reserved for up to the entire home season. The daily charge will be $19.

Tonight’s lineups
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Cody Ransom 3B
Brett Gardner CF

Pitching: CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and Jon Albaladejo.

This is in all likelihood the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup … is Rivera human? He’s retired 12 of the 13 hitters he’s faced this spring while throwing 30 of 43 pitches for strikes.

Darnell McDonald CF
Jerry Hairston Jr SS
Brandon Phillips 2B
Laynce Nix RF
Jonny Gomes DH
Adam Rosales 3B
Jacque Jones 1B
Ramon Hernandez C
Norris Hopper LF

Pitching: Aaron Harang, Daniel Ray Herrera, Mike Lincoln, Josh Roenicke and Pedro Viola.

I like this Reds team. Yeah, it comes off a 74-88 2008, but a program is being built around young players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez (he came to Cincinnati in the Josh Hamilton trade), Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto … Harang experienced a severe decline last season, falling from winning 16 games two straight years to 6-17 with a 4.78 ERA … last week, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty refuted an ESPN report that Harang was on the block … should Harang be named Opening Day starter April 6 against the Mets, he’ll be the first Reds hurler to start four consecutive Opening Day games since Jose Rijo from 1992-95. Don’t count on it. Volquez (17-6, 3.21) is their horse.

Thoughts from Phillies-Yankees in Clearwater

By Joe Auriemma

The press box is packed here at Bright House Field, so I decided to go to an empty radio room to do my work today. While sitting there alone and editing my videos, in walks a man with a very familiar voice and he asks if I would mind if he sat next to me. It’s Harry Kalas, the Hall of Fame Phillies Broadcaster. All I keep thinking in my mind is him saying, “The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!,” in his patented voice. I’m sure most of you have heard the familiar voice if you don’t know the name. The funny thing is that his voice is the same as if he was announcing the game. What a thrill!

Back to the game, Joe Girardi did something that I really think is a good move for this lineup. Derek Jeter is today’s leadoff hitter . Jeter has led off 448 games in his career with a .315 average, 359 runs scored and a .389 on-base percentage. Now I know most of you would say that Jeter is getting a little bit older, and might not have the average or on-base percentage he has had in previous seasons, but I really think that a move like this in the lineup, might get him to see more pitches and give him an opportunity to come to the plate more often. I also think that Jeter, who did hit .300 last season, is going to have a more Jeterian year in 2009.

Hideki Matsui, showing why the Yankees are opting to use him as their cleanup hitter most of the time until A-Rod comes back, hit a two run dinger to right. Matsui is another one of those players that was and is a question mark coming into 2009 after an injury-riddled 2008. Right now it looks as if his pop is back and he’s ready to drive in some runs this season.

Joba Chamberlain gave up back-to-back jacks to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard that may have given him whiplash with how quickly each left the park. The two pitches he gave up the home runs on were very flat. As the game has progressed, he has regained his command and is starting to look sharp.

Cody Ransom hit a solo home run in the top of the 4th inning to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Joe Girardi told me in our Q&A the other day that Ransom has been great this spring. In fact here is the exact quote:

Great spring. Very athletic player. He’s swung
the bat really well and we’ve still moved him around because Alex is
eventually going to be back. I feel comfortable putting him anywhere
and he brings a little thunder in his bat as well.”

I’ll be back with more from Clearwater. I might go bug Ken Singleton and Bob Lorenz for a half an inning and report back on how they are doing.

2:38 PM

I’m back from the booth after bothering Bob (the
official YES blobber) and Ken Singleton. I was in there while they were
talking to Joe Girardi. While talking to Girardi, Joba was pulled from
the game. His final line, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. Not
really his best showing, but he has had a decent spring.

Coke came into the game. Coke, who Chris Shearn interviewed earlier
this week, is back in the game after a very bad left thigh contusion.
This is his first appearance since taking that line drive off of his
leg. Coke looked good. He faced the terrific lefty second baseman Chase
Utley. It was a battle and the count got to 3-2, when Joe Girardi told
Bob Lorenz and Ken Singleton that he would call an offspeed pitch in
the 3-2 situation and wouldn’t you know it, Phil Coke struck out Utley
on the 3-2 offspeed pitch. Great stuff from the booth.

3:05 PM

Brian Bruney now in the game here in the Top of the 7th inning. Bruney needs to have a good outing. Coming into this game he has 8.1 innings pitched this spring with a 7.56 ERA, (7 earned runs). He’s also allowed eight hits, struck out 10 while walking six and has given up three home runs. This is a pitcher that they have slotted in as a possible 8th inning bridge to Mariano Rivera. The Yankees have put a lot of stock in Bruney being a big time reliever for them.

He just allowed a lead off double to Matt Stairs.

3:14 PM

Bruney, after giving up that leadoff double, got out of the jam. This is a good sign for the Yankees. Like I said before, the Yankees need this guy to be good this season.

3:17 PM

Nick Swisher just went yard. Chris Shearn had an interview with him on Monday and he is the clubhouse clown according to his teammates. I know there was a lot of talk about possibly moving this guy in the offseason and there is still rumblings that he may be moved. I think that would be a big mistake. From what I’ve seen down here, Swisher adds some fun and life into the clubhouse. In fact, he even said in his interview with Chris that the clubhouse was, “A little stuffy,” when he got here.

Not only does he add a little pop to the lineup, but he does get on-base a lot. Our own Steven Goldman thinks he should be the everyday right fielder over Xavier Nady, now while I don’t agree with him there, I definitely think he is a terrific piece to this 2009 team.

3:52 PM

The Yankees win this one 10-2 over the Phillies from Clearwater. Some final thoughts from the game.

  • The Jeter move to the leadoff spot was a very favorable move in its trial period today.

  • Chamberlain didn’t have his best outing. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Once again, and something that’s been a knock of Joba’s starting career up to this point is that he runs up his pitch count very quickly. Today he only threw 4.1 Innings, but still managed to earn the victory.

  • Phil Coke and Brian Bruney stepped up and pitched well today in key situations. Finally, with rumblings of Melky Cabrera or Nick Swisher possibly being traded, both smacked a home run today.

  • That’s it from the ballpark. Be sure to catch all of the video interviews from today and another edition of The Diamond Daily.  

Back in Clearwater

brighthouse_350.jpgBy Jon Lane
Down the home stretch of their Grapefruit League schedule, the Yankees are back in Clearwater, Fla., for another game against the Phillies (YES HD, 1 p.m.). Joe Auriemma and Chris Shearn are at Bright House Field, where bright and early, Auriemma sat down for exclusive interviews with Brad Lidge, Miguel Cairo and Ryan Howard. You’ll find these conversations with members of the reigning World Champions, as well as a chat with YES’ own Ken Singleton and a lot more, on YESNetwork.com later this afternoon.

Yankees Lineup
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C
Melky Cabrera CF

Pitching: Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez and Jon Albaladejo.

After a brutal beginning to Spring Training, Chamberlain (2-0, 3.48 ERA) is in a groove. The last time he faced the Phillies he held them to two hits over three scoreless innings in a 12-0 Yankees victory on March 16.

Cabrera has picked up his game too and is batting .295, but Brett Gardner (.409) is riding an eight-game hitting streak (8-for-18). All indications are that Gardner will be in center field Opening Day, but you never know.

This feature on Mark Teixeria, written by Howard Bryant, is a must-read. As Bryant writes, Teixeira is “the latest to try to climb the baseball equivalent of Mount Everest: playing in New York as the top-dollar free agent and coming through on the other side.” It’s a mission where many others, including Alex Rodriguez, have failed.

9:42 a.m. Joe Girardi made the inevitable official when he named CC Sabathia the Yankees’ starter for Opening Day April 6 in Baltimore. Sabathia will also christen the new Yankee Stadium when he takes the mound for the building’s first regular season game on April 16.

Chamberlain will start the sixth game of the season April 12 in Kansas City. 

Meanwhile, Girardi will be tinkering with the idea of Derek Jeter leading off and Johnny Damon batting second, an idea Damon endorsed.

1:28 p.m. With one swing, Hideki Matsui staked Chamberlain to a 2-0 lead. With two swings, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard each went yard of the right-hander to tie the game at two. Let the Joba back-to-the-pen cries resume.

1:36 p.m. Great point by play-by-play man Bob Lorenz. Unless the Yankees are blown away, it’s not a wise idea to trade Melky Cabrera yet. Should Brett Gardner lose his hitting stroke, or Johnny Damon be felled by injury, you never know when you may need him. If Cabrera isn’t on the Major League roster, there’s a strong chance the Yankees will lose him because he’s out of options, so why not keep him in reserve and see where his value lies come July?

The Blob, incidentally, is a unique read.

2:09 p.m. Cody Ransom goes yard in the fourth to put the Yankees back on top 3-2. Peter Abraham offered a suggestion to John Sterling for a home run call: “Pay the Ransom!” Here’s one from me: “Handsome Cody Ransom!”

How nasty is Chamberlain’s breaking ball, BTW? Ryan Howard, who homered off him earlier, was left fooled.

2:24 p.m. Through 4 1/2 innings here’s how the revamped top of the order is doing:

Jeter: 2-for-3, two runs scored
Damon: 1-for-3 with with an RBI single that pushed the Yankees’ lead to 4-2.

My colleague, Joe Auriemma, has more on why this can work. Jeter has hit from the top spot before and has enjoyed success.

2:30 p.m. Chamberlain was pulled with one out in the fifth after putting two runners on and with his pitch count in the high 70s. This has been his biggest bugaboo. The Yankees want to see him working quicker innings and there’s a way to go about it. Throughout the spring, Chamberlain has picked the brain of A.J. Burnett, who while in Toronto learned how to pitch effectively and economically from a pretty good source, Roy Halladay.

2:45 p.m. Bad news courtesy of Newsday: Longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard is not expected to work Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium. Sheppard, in his late 90s and the Yankees’ P.A. since 1951, missed the entire 2008 season recovering from a bronchial infection. His wife, Mary, tells Neil Best that warmer weather hopefully may ease her husband’s return.

2:49 p.m. Cabrera works his way back from an 0-2 count to poke an RBI single to right field. Girardi wants to make a decision on who will start in center field by the weekend. While it’s expected to be Gardner, Cabrera is looking like he’ll earn a role on this team.

3 p.m. Edwar Ramirez and his change-up made mince meat out of the heart of the Phillies’ order. I wrote this earlier this spring: When he’s bad, he’s really bad, but when he’s good, he’s real good.

3:28 p.m. This game is officially in the silly stage. Yankees lead 10-2 thanks to a home run from Cabrera. To his credit, the Melk Man didn’t bury his head in his locker after Gardner’s hot start to the spring.

Pettitte starts Minor League game against Clearwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report: Yankees shopping Cabrera

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Joe later.

Red Sox vs. Yankees: Day Blog

blog_032509.jpgWe’re back at George M. Steinbrenner Field prepping for tonight’s game with the Red Sox. If possible, there is a big-game feel around the park, even though it’s only Spring Training. YES’ cameras are setting up for tonight’s broadcast and there are already people scalping tickets, as the game is sold out.

The big news of the day is that Derek Jeter has rejoined the team after Team USA fell to Korea in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

Here’s tonight’s Yankees lineup:

Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Cody Ransom 3B
Brett Gardner CF

Pitching: A.J. Burnett, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez and Dave Robertson.

Many of the writers in the clubhouse are speculating that this will be the Opening Day lineup, which means Gardner will win the CF job. This obviously remains to be seen, but that’s what people are guessing right now.

2:45 p.m.
jeterarrives.jpgShortly before 2:30, Derek Jeter arrived to the Yankees clubhouse for the first time since leaving for the World Baseball Classic. He greeted A.J. Burnett before heading inside to get changed. Shortly after, nearly every writer in the world converged on Jeter at his locker. The Yankees captain said he feels good physically despite missing much of camp and is excited about getting into the daily routine again.

Editor’s note: Sorry for the paparazzi-style photograph. Jeter was so excited to get into the clubhouse that there wasn’t time to get a “real” camera out.

2:52 p.m.
Jeter tells reporters he was obviously disappointed that Team USA got knocked out, but was happy he got an opportunity to get to know the players he played against for years. When asked what Americans can learn from the Japanese style of play, he joked that he would like to learn how to run down to first before actually hitting the ball.

4:09 p.m.
Joe Auriemma just spoke with Ray Negron about doing a feature with him this Friday. For those who don’t know, Negron is the author of a new book, One Last Time: Good-Bye to Yankee Stadium and asked us to interview Richard Gere about the book as well. Gere will be voicing the audio version of the book. Check back here Friday for the interview.

reggie_150.jpg4:25 p.m.
Reggie Jackson sends his best wishes to Whitey Ford, who will be celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Look for the video on the Yes Network later this season.

pauljeterbp032409.JPG4:35 p.m.
After taking his hacks during BP, Jeter continues to get reacquainted with those in the Yankees organization, including YES’ Paul O’Neill.

Its clear that this season’s squad is much more relaxed than the ’08 team at the same time last spring. Seems like Swisher is the ring leader, joking with each player as they swing. He gives each player “two minutes” for hooking… Hooking their ball foul, that is.


Girardi met with the media in the Yankees dugout. The manager plans on having the CF job ironed out by Sunday or Monday. He thinks both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner had really good springs and that he is happy with both.

Regarding talking to Nick Swisher about Xavier Nady being his right fielder, Girardi said he was pleased to see that Swisher was still the same fun-loving guy after the news broke. The manager compared Swisher’s limited playing time to when he played for the Yankees and shared at-bats with Jorge Posada. According to Girardi, sometimes you have to give up a little to get to your ultimate goal of a World Series championship.

lilyank.jpg6:50 p.m.
As the fans ready themselves for the start of tonight’s game, many enjoy a little carnival-style pitch-speed game. This little Yankee packs a 40 mph heater. He’s a lefty, too. Perhaps we’re looking at a future major leaguer.

7:03 p.m.
We’re moments away from first pitch. Tune in to YES, as Michael Kay and Paul O’Neill bring you all the action. Then keep it tuned to YES after the game for the Spring Training special, featuring the highly-anticipated Alex Rodriguez interview.

7:09 p.m.
National Anthem, followed by a military flyover. We’re told it was quite emotional. We couldn’t see it from the press box, though.

7:47 p.m.
Tonight’s attendance: 11,113. The largest crowd to ever see a game at Steinbrenner Field.