Tagged: Nick Swisher

Yankees vs. Rays: 4/13/09 Starting Lineups

yankees.jpgBy Jon Lane
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Nick Swisher 1B
Jorge Posada C
Xavier Nady RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Hideki Matsui DH
Cody Ransom 3B
Melky Cabrera RF

Chien-Ming Wang.P

rays.jpgRAYS (3-3)
B.J. Upton CF
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Pat Burrell DH
Dioner Navarro C
Gabe Gross RF
Akinori Iwamura 2B
Jason Bartlett SS

Scott Kazmir P

Notes and storylines
Mark Teixeira (sore left wrist) remains sidelined and day-to-day, but apparently it’s nothing to be concerned about. Nick Swisher starts again at first base and the way he’s swinging the bat, that’s a good thing. Swisher is 8-for-16 in five starts and batting .471.

Chien-Ming Wang is eager to rebound from a brutal performance last Wednesday in Baltimore, when he was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. With Wang it’s simple: If his sinker is moving, he’ll be on his ‘A’ Game. If not, well ….

Alex Rodriguez (remember him?) worked out today in Tampa, Fla., and is now dedicated to baseball, reports Peter Abraham

B.J. Upton returns to the Rays after rehabbing a shoulder injury, just in time for the defending AL Champions’ home opener.

kalas_150_041309.jpgIt’s a very sad day in baseball. Legendary and beloved Philadelphia Phillies announcer Harry Kalas died this afternoon after collapsing in the broadcast booth while preparing for the Phillies-Nationals game in Washington D.C. I met Kalas at Shea Stadium years ago while working with the Phillies production crew and remember him as a kind, down-to-earth and amazing person with a passion for the game and love for his job. At least he got to see (and call) the Phillies winning one more World Series before leaving us.

David Wells – the David Wells – has joined TBS as a color analyst.

Easter, Yankee baseball and The Masters

By: Joe Auriemma

First and foremost, Happy Easter to everyone out there that celebrates it. I’m a Catholic, so I do celebrate Easter with my family. However, I don’t get how this holiday became celebrating a bunny, coloring and hunting eggs and eating chocolate. I guess there are certain things in this world that I’ll never get. In any event, Happy Holidays to everyone who celebrate Easter and Passover.

Now onto the good stuff. Doesn’t everyone out there just love sports Sundays? There are certain sports holidays for me throughout the year and today happens to be one of them. Isn’t it fitting that we are celebrating this holiday and later on in the day we’ll be holding our breath when the field of golfers comes to Amen Corner. The Masters is truly a wonderful event and what makes it even better these days is watching it in HD. Man, I feel like I’m actually there.

I know that Tiger and Phil Mickleson, as of the time I’m writing this blog entry, are seven behind the leaders. Angel Cabrera and the feel good story 48-year old Kenny Perry are on top of the leader board at -11. I also know that Tiger has never come back from this large a deficit on a Sunday to win a tournament. Wouldn’t it be fitting that today Tiger makes more history and comes all the way back to win? The chances are very slim, but you never know when it comes to Tiger Woods.

What makes this Easter Sunday even better is that I have Yankees Baseball sprinkled into it. Coverage on YES today starts with the Batting Practice Show at 1 P.M. and first pitch is just after 2 P.M.


A couple of stories that should be interesting to watch today. The Yankees have won three in a row in convincing fashion, Nick Swisher is seeing a beach ball size baseball at the plate right now, Joba Chamberlain is making his season debut and Mark Teixeira didn’t play yesterday with a sore left wrist. He is listed as day-to-day, so we’ll know by game time if he’s ready to go. I’m sure that Joe Girardi and his staff are monitoring this closely. Hopefully it’s nothing to worry about. 

Speaking of Mark Teixeira, happy belated 29th birthday. He celbrated this milestone yesterday.

To everyone out there, be safe on this holiday and enjoy your time with your family. Just remember to have the remote in one hand going back and forth between two great sports events today.

Kansas City here they come

rfkbridge_350.jpgBy Jon Lane
The Yankees won yesterday. Crisis averted. They will not go 0-162. They will win more than their fair share of games. But be warned, part of a great season is losing around 65 of them. Even that 1998 Yankees team, the one that won 114 regular season games, LOST 58.

In other words, no need to ever stand on the ledge of the RFK Bridge, panic like you’re running from bulls or arrive at work salty because you watched the Yankees actually lose a ballgame the night before. CC Sabathia’s next loss will not label him a bust. Joba Chamberlain’s next bad start will not be grounds for banishment to the bullpen. And the next time Mark Teixeira makes an out won’t devalue him to minimum wage.

Life in Yankeeland can be a lot WORSE. Imagine the scenario conjured up by WFAN’s Sweeny Murti and you’ll get the idea.


Great first start for Nick Swisher, who tied a career-high with five RBIs. Swisher is behind Xavier Nady on the outfield depth chart, but if he keeps up the pace Joe Girardi will have to think twice about keeping him out of the lineup. For now, Swisher’s ability to play in either left or right allows Girardi to rest Nady, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui and his sore knees. Swisher has been a good soldier, but don’t be fooled. He wants to play every day. Depth, it’s a nice problem to have.


Andy Pettitte makes his 2009 debut tonight, eager to rebound from a down 2008, in what may turn out to be his final season in the Major Leagues. Pettitte is 7-0 in 11 starts against the Royals since August 18, 1999, a favorable trend with the Yankees looking to build off of A.J. Burnett’s fine start. Starters 1 and 1A, CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang, combined to allow 13 runs on 17 hits in back-to-back losses to the Orioles, a team that has posted 11 consecutive losing seasons.


ponson_100_040909.jpgGuess who’s back? It’s Sidney Ponson, who gets yet another chance to revive a career that’s gone south since a 14-6 season with the Orioles in 2003. Ponson went 4-4 with a 5.85 ERA in 16 games last year in New York as the Yankees tried in vain to fill the void created by Wang’s season-ending injury, but he was picked up by the Royals following two solid outings with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. This is the seventh team in seven years for the right-hander, who despite a 0-1, 9.58 spring ERA was handed a rotation spot and will be added to the roster today.

Ponson is 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 28 career games versus the Yankees, whose top three hitters have owned him throughout his career. Derek Jeter has hit .377 (29-for-77) with five homers, Damon .346 (18-for-52) and Teixeira .533 (8-for-15).

During the WBC, the television broadcasters cited a new and matured Ponson thanks to the birth of his child. But in the past, when you think he’s turned it around, Ponson has let you down (on the field only, as he’s put his personal demons behind him). If he can pitch to at least half the standards set by fellow starters Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies — they combined to allow one run in 20 innings with 13 hits, five walks and 21 strikeouts against the White Sox — he’ll stick around. If not, this may be the final opportunity for the 32-year-old native of Aruba.


En route to Kansas City, Pete Caldera posed some pertinent questions.


Yet another former Yankee, Jeff Karstens, makes his first start tonight for the Pirates in Cincinnati. But unlike teammate Ross Ohlendorf, also packaged in the trade for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, Karstens’ spot is already on shaky ground. He comes off a Grapefruit campaign in which he posted a 6.17 ERA.


Enjoy the game. YES’ coverage begins with New York Yankees Pre Game at 3:30 p.m.

When 50 grown men became five years old

stadium3_450.jpgBy Jon Lane
We were let in at 11:55 a.m. For many of us, it was our first eyewitness account of the new Yankees clubhouse. My first glance is best summed up by a radio friend of mine who muttered, “Joe Girardi will need a megaphone to hold team meetings.”

I then turned to my left and saw Nick Swisher; his locker next to the main entrance. I heard a lot about Swisher’s glowing, infectious personality from my YES colleagues and saw it as the perfect time to introduce myself. After a handshake, all I needed to do was move my eyes from right to left. He picked up on what I was about to ask.

“I tell you, this is UN-BE-LEAVE-A-BLE!” Swisher said. “Last night when we got off the bus to come here, 50 grown men became five years old. I didn’t think they could top the last Yankee Stadium. They did that.”


Phil Coke was one of many who passed on an immediate trip home after living in Florida for seven weeks, not wanting to wait any longer for a look at his new home away from home. “We were drooling when we first got here,” he said. “I’m still wiping it off.” Coke’s locker neighbor, Brian Bruney, then cut in with an important question.

“How does this computer work?” inquired Mariano Rivera’s primary set-up man. Each locker is affixed with a lap top kiosk with an internet connection and individual message centers used to relay information on team meetings, workouts, batting practice, or if the manager wishes to speak to you. Behind the machine, Coke unveiled a cubby hole that resembled a place to put a hot plate, but better used for vast storage.


For an instant, Bruney wore a glum look on his face. After Saturday, the Yankees won’t be here until April 16 as their first nine games are on the road.

“It’s gonna suck for us to go on the road,” Bruney said, noting his belief that the new Stadium is “the best sports venue in the country.”


The 2009 season will be Andy Pettitte’s 15th in Major League Baseball. You may think he’s seen it all, until you hear about his adventures just getting to the new place. Because he was sitting in traffic, a few people noticed him, which left the left-hander wondering to inquire about the legality of tinted windows.

“That was awkward,” said Pettitte on sitting his car on River Avenue waiting to make a left. For the first time ever, he was right under the No. 4 train. “The subway goes by, rocks are falling on my car. They have all cars parked on the side of the road and all commercial vehicles are delivering stuff in the morning. Literally the only way to get by them is to go into oncoming traffic, and they’re backed up at the red light. People were honking.”

Once he finally made it inside, Pettitte admitted getting used to his new surroundings will take some time. However, he already has his favorite spot staked out.

“I’m a big whirlpool guy,” Pettitte said. “There are unbelievable facilities to help keep the old body loose!”


A couple of pitchers, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte, told Joe Girardi they felt the mound was a bit closer to the fans. Pettite said it felt like they took the old mound from Yankee Stadium and just brought it over and it might feel even closer once those seats are filled up.

“It looks beautiful,” Girardi said. “To hear our pitchers feel they’ve been on the mound already when they haven’t been there is a good sign.”

One reporter compared exploring the new surroundings to the anticipation of the old game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” when contestants would learn what’s hidden behind certain doors. The first door Girardi opened was …

…”the kitchen. That was the first door I opened to get to the clubhouse. I love to eat. It’s my passion in life.”

Girardi will have his chances. The Yankees have employed two chefs to cook and serve Yankees players and coaches.


Derek Jeter was not among the group who visited here last night. In fact, before working out, he hadn’t seen the place, period.

“I walked in, came in the trainers’ room and been sitting here and you guys blocked off the whole view, so I can’t tell you how the clubhouse is,” Jeter said.

This morning, the team bus dropped them off and the players entered the clubhouse through a secret passageway. Freddy Schuman, known to longtime Yankees fans as “Freddy Sez” who carried a pot and teaspoon around the stands of the old Stadium, told me at the Hard Rock that fans won’t be able to see players come in and out of the new Stadium, unlike the old place where a crowd would wait behind a barricade as their favorites entered through a press gate.

Jeter will miss that interaction, but that’s not all. At the old place, his locker was next to Thurman Munson’s, which was left empty after the former captain’s death in 1979.

“You miss it but you appreciate it,” Jeter said. “It was special for me to be next to his locker.”

He’ll also miss Bob Sheppard, who hasn’t officially announced his retirement, yet chances of him appearing in the new building are slim. Jeter, though, will continue to step into the batter’s box to the backdrop of Sheppard’s recorded introduction.

“When I grew up, that was the one voice you always heard,” Jeter said. “That comes along with Yankee Stadium. People talk about tradition. He’s a part of that tradition as any of the players. I wanted to be introduced by him because that’s the only person I’ve ever known. I wanted to have it recorded just in case there was one day he decided to retire. He will always announce it.”

Jeter first heard Sheppard’s voice in person in 1986. A kid from Michigan, Jeter spent his summers in New Jersey and his grandmother took him to his first game. The only thing he remembered was that everything was big, but not as big as when he appeared on the field and worked out with Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, Mike Gallego and Pat Kelly five years later, after completing rookie ball.

“For me growing up watching all these guys play, like Mattingly, and then being on the same field with him, it was kind of weird,” Jeter said. “Dave [Winfield] was the guy I looked up to growing up and when you get to meet him and all of the guys, you really get spoiled.”

Inevitably, the dismantling of the old Yankee Stadium will begin, first with the removal of the seats before the city takes apart the venerable building piece by piece. Like the rest of us, that’s something Jeter will never be able to let go.

“That will definitely be tough, especially when you think about all the things that’s happened there,” Jeter said. “It’s one thing to get adjusted to a new Stadium, but when you see the old one getting torn down, I’m sure it will be … what can you do? This is the good and that’s part of the bad, seeing that Stadium go.”

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.  

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.

Tuesday tidings

stadium_450.jpgBy Jon Lane
It’s a wonderful spring day here in the Big Apple. Walking down Eighth Avenue I was greeted with a lovely wind chill that made the real-feel temperature a wholesome 21 degrees. This is the time of year when Mother Nature experiences a few too many Happy Hours.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who joined in on both Chris Shearn’s and Team Tampa’s live commentaries from sunny Florida. The crew has produced a plethora of exclusive interviews and features for your viewing pleasure as everyone gets geared up for the 2009 season. In fact, individual game tickets went on sale on line this morning and will be available and the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office and all Ticketmaster locations starting tomorrow. From what I hear, the new Yankee Stadium is a phenomenal facility, so be sure to be a part of it. Next week, I’ll be getting my first look around and I can’t wait!

Some other random thoughts for a Tuesday:

It’s Red Sox vs. Yankees airing on the YES Network tonight at 7. Afterwords, stay tuned for the premiere of “Yankees 2009: Pride, Power & Pinstripes,” featuring Michael Kay’s exclusive interview with Alex Rodriguez. The New York Daily News grabbed excerpts of the conversation, taped prior to his hip surgery, where A-Rod said he doesn’t want the names of the other 103 players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs released.

“Well this is really about my mistake,” Rodriguez said. “You know, many nights I fell asleep thinking about who I can blame, and this guy, or that guy. And when I woke up I kept coming back to the same person – it’s me. I mean, there’s no one to blame. I hope those 103 names never come out.”

Kay also asked A-Rod if he’s worried that people may not like him:

“Well, I’ve given up on that!” Rodriguez said. “I’ve given up on that; it’s just the way it is. I mean, look, I feel like right now, that not too many people like me, so I’ve given up on that. As long as my teammates like me, and they respect me, and my two daughters love their daddy, I’m going to go out and do the very best I can. Look, I really screwed up, and for that I’m sorry. I’m just happy to be playing baseball again.”

I’ve written and said this over and over: If A-Rod does what he’s done his entire career, that’s all people will care about. Play the game — and play the game to win.

Because Brian Bruney’s spring ERA is 7.42, Joe Girardi said the Yankees need to find a way to get him going. Don’t get this confused with the manager putting Bruney on notice. He’s still going into the regular season as the eighth-inning man, so please don’t start with the Joba to the bullpen stuff. The operative word in my first sentence is “spring.”

swishnady_250.jpgXavier Nady was named the Yankees’ starting right fielder. This was the featured story in the papers yesterday because quite simply it was the news of the day. In actuality it’s much ado about nothing.

Nick Swisher will get his share of playing time and will thrive when called upon. Yes he was upset and disappointed, but who wouldn’t be? I wouldn’t know what to do with a player who accepts the fact that he won’t play every day. Swisher has a new lease on his professional life and Mark Texieria’s signing failed to dim his bright outgoing personality. He’ll handle this too.

Funny observation from Pete Caldera: “Shelley Duncan to Xavier Nady, upon seeing a bunch of writers speaking to Nady this afternoon: ‘Are you on the same list as Alex?'”

Brett Gardner could grow into the Yankees’ version of Dustin Pedroia, writes Mike Lupica. It’s highly unlikely Gardner will become the AL’s Most Valuable Player, but like Pedroia, Gardner’s small package is saturated with grit, heart and desire. Said Girardi in the story: “There’s no size chart in baseball.”

Derek Jeter looked his age during the World Baseball Classic, writes Jack Curry. Jeter batted an uneventful .276 with no homers, RBIs or stolen bases in eight games for Team USA and faced more questions about his defensive shortcomings. I’m choosing not to worry about it until 2011, but Jeter is 34 years old and if his range is determined to be shot, it’s the outfield, a part-time role or (gasp) farewell to an icon.

Robin Yount was 29 years old when shoulder surgery ended his career as a short stop. He moved to center field to reduce the pressure on his throwing arm and proceeded to bat above .300 four straight years and win an MVP in 1989. The difference here though is Jeter’s arm is fine, so will this perception about his range suddenly improve or disappear when he’s in the outfield? Let’s get there first.

Live from Clearwater

autograph_250.jpgFor the first time this Spring, YESNetwork.com is heading into “enemy” territory as we go to Clearwater, Fla., to cover today’s Yankees game against the Phillies. Keep checking back here for a diary of today’s events.

9:30 a.m.
The Phillies’ Spring Training complex is truly amazing. This place is top notch, as are the Phillies staff. Very accommodating.

10 a.m.
Phillies batting practice originally appeared just like every other MLB BP. Then Ryan Howard stepped to the dish. With the batting donut still on his stick, he managed to whack the ball to all fields. Very impressive.

10:30 a.m.
The Yankees make their way out of the clubhouse for the first time. Fans nearly trample themselves in an attempt to secure autographs. Looks like we might get some rain.

bruney_150.jpg10:35 a.m.
Chris Shearn just interviewed Nick Swisher. It was a fun piece that talked about loosening up the clubhouse. Brian Bruney messed with Swisher during the Q&A session. Look for the video later today.

10:52 a.m.

YesNetwork.com’s Jim Kaat
makes his way onto the field to watch Phillies BP. Having Kaat here
clearly surprised Joe Girardi, who made a beeline to see his old buddy.
The two men are currently having a conversation with Philadelphia
manager Charlie Manuel.

10:55 a.m.
The oft-comical Nick Swisher joked with hitting coach Kevin Long: “Hey, Long is here. [Derek] Jeter must be coming back.” Both men shared a healthy chuckle over the funny comment.

Today’s lineup
Melky Cabrera CF
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Xavier Nady RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C
Ramiro Pena SS

Pitching rotation: Brett Tomko, Dave Robertson, Jon Albaladejo, Dan Giese and Brian Bruney.

11:20 p.m.
Jim Kaat just agreed to do a live chat on YESNetwork.com during the first game at the new Yankee Stadium. He will be fielding your questions while the Cubs and Yankees christen the new home in the Bronx on April 3.




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

11:45 a.m.
Yankees continue to take BP as the rain starts to come down pretty hard.

12:06 p.m.
1206.jpgThe Yankees bolt off the field as the grounds crew put the tarp on the field. Looks like we might not get any baseball today.

12:28 p.m.
The sun looks like it wants to come out, but the clouds appear to be winning this war. We’ll keep you updated.

gcrew.jpg1:08 p.m.
The crowd erupts as the grounds crew takes the tarp off the field. Projected game time: 1:45 p.m.

1:29 p.m.
For those who care, it looks like the Phillies use Hooters girls as their ball girls down the lines … gives the gentlemen something to look at in between innings. We’ll try to get a photo of them in action once the game starts.

1:46 p.m.
First pitch. Game time temp: a chilly 66 degrees. Chris Shearn will have inning-by-inning analysis of the game. Check it out here. But also stay here on YES Blog for additional analysis from Bright House Field.

2:01 p.m.
Turns out Hooters is a major sponsor of this stadium. In addition to having their famed owl logo all over the place, there is a special Hooters dining area, hosted by the girls in orange, Adrienne, Ashley and Liz. (game analysis)

2:22 p.m.
A mild “hip, hip, Jorge” chant gets going from the Yankees faithful that made their way to the Phillies complex. It’s amazing how many Yankees fans made the trip. Although, the Yankees Spring Training complex is only about 25 minutes away. (game analysis)

2:26 p.m.
Rain drops.

2:40 p.m.
As was the case with his first at bat, Chien-Ming Wang is as far away from the plate as possible, with zero intention of swinging the bat. Very amusing. (game analysis)

lmdeal.jpg2:43 p.m.
Similar to minor league games, the Phillies have some entertainment in between innings. One lucky fan just chose “box No. 3” during a Let’s Make a Deal game. She won a Chase Utley autographed baseball and a Phillies hat. Pretty cool.

3:09 p.m.
Wang goes down looking again. Watching him not swing in the box is simply hilarious … he’s obviously being told not to swing. The Yanks don’t want him on the basepaths in a Spring Training game. (game analysis)

3:16 p.m.
Wang leaves the game to a nice ovation. Brian Bruney in. We interviewed Bruney earlier today, he said he’s excited to have his own personal clown in the clubhouse (Nick Swisher). (game analysis)

3:19 p.m.
More rain. Fans are starting to make their way to drier ground.

3:25 p.m.
The rain is clearly impacting the batters. Raul Ibanez had his bat slip out of his hands twice in an at bat. The first time it happened, Mark Teixeira ran like he never ran before in an attempt to get out of the way. Luckily, he did. The bat ended up in shallow right field.

stands.jpg3:46 p.m.
Typical Florida – the rain has ceased (almost). But most of the fans have already made their way to the exit. The once-packed Bright House Field is emptying quickly here in the bottom of the 7th. Phillies lead 8-2. (game analysis)

4:02 p.m.
The Phillies announce that today’s game is a sellout of 9,394 fans.

4:15 p.m.
Brett Gardner flies to left to end the game. Phillies win 8-3. Thanks for reading. And a special thank you goes out to the Phillies for their amazing hospitality. Finally, sorry no Hooters photos. They weren’t in their usual Hooters garb anyway, due to the poor weather.

The 411 from Steinbrenner Field

By Joe Auriemma

Joe Girardi spoke to the media and talked openly about the center-field job and who has the edge on winning it — Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera. Girardi seems to feel that both Gardner and Cabrera could split time at the position when the season begins. He likes how both players are very good defensively, and with the bolstered rotation, these two players would add a spark to the team.

It’s just been announced that Nick Swisher is day-to-day with a bruised lower left calf.

I’ll be blogging again in a little bit.

CC looking to deal aces at Joker Marchant

By Jon Lane
It’s the Big C on the mound today against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. CC Sabathia pitched two scoreless innings in his Spring Training debut last Friday and is right on track for Opening Day April 6 in Baltimore.

From where I sit, Sabathia is already earning his big bucks by establishing himself as an ace with his work ethic and attitude. He’s gone out of his way to integrate himself with his new teammates and has been completely relaxed throughout camp. Yeah, Alex Rodriguez’s tribulations have had Sabathia flying under the radar, but the heat will intensify and Sabathia has shown throughout his career he can handle it.

If the Yankees do not skip Joba Chamberlain’s turn in the rotation, Sabathia will also start the home opener April 16 against his old friends from Cleveland.

Today’s lineup
Melky Cabrera CF
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Nick Swisher RF
Cody Ransom 3B
Angel Berroa 2B
Ramiro Pena SS
Kevin Cash C

Storylines: Alfredo Aceves, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Mark Melancon and Steven Jackson will follow Sabathia … Joe Girardi said on Tuesday that Veras, Edwar Ramirez and Phil Coke have the inside track for bullpen spots based on their performances last season. Ramirez threw batting practice this morning after shut down for two weeks with bursitis in his pitching shoulder. Preceding Ramirez was Mariano Rivera, who told reporters he will throw BP again on Saturday and then should be ready for a game … The Brett Gardner hit parade continued Tuesday night. The spark plug went 2-for-3 with an RBI and is batting .417 (10-for-24). Melky Cabrera, meanwhile, is batting .278 and needs to string together a few good games just to keep pace … Neither Xavier Nady (.211) nor Nick Swisher (.133) are distinguishing themselves in the battle for right field, but being that they’re veterans they’re afforded more slack … The Dominican Republic’s shocking elimination from the World Baseball Classic means Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte are expected back by Friday.

2:15 p.m. Rough day at the office for Sabathia, who was lifted with two out in the second. The Tigers bombed the left-hander for five runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings, including a two-run shot from Gary Sheffield.

3:48 p.m. Melky Cabrera went 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average to .238. It’s March 11 and there are a lot of spring games left to be played, but Brett Gardner is running away with the job of starting center fielder.