Results tagged ‘ Xavier Nady ’

Report: Nady may be out for the season

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

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

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

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

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

Andy Pettitte (4-4)

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

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

Andy Sonnanstine P

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

One more and done

stadium_350_040109.jpgBy Jon Lane
The Yankees bid farewell to their Spring Training base in Tampa, Fla., this afternoon following their game against the Philadelphia Phillies. CC Sabathia is on the hill for his final tune-up before taking the ball Monday in Baltimore for Opening Day. The team flies back to New York later and will work out at the new Yankee Stadium tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. It’s about time too. I wholly agree with my colleagues Joe Auriemma and Jim Kaat that Spring Training is just too darn long.

Thursday morning marks the opening of the Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium with a celebratory guitar smash, not a bad way to kick things off. For the record, the HRC sent me its hours of operation:

Non Game Days
11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Game Days
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (for 1:05 games)
11:00 AM – 12:00 AM (other start times)

Phone Number: 646-977-8888

Beginning with the HRC opening, I’ll be on location keeping a diary of the day’s events as well as Friday night during the new Stadium’s first dry run, the exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs. Word has it Cubs fans are equally stoked to see the new place and it’ll be interesting to hear thoughts from manager Lou Piniella (a popular Yankees star and manager in the 1970s and ’80), and former Yankees Ted Lilly, Alfonso Soriano and Luis Vizcaino.

News and notes
Xavier Nady, hit on the left elbow yesterday in Sarasota, Fla., was a precautionary scratch.

According to Peter Abraham, these players have been added to the roster for the Cubs games on Friday and Saturday:

Doug Bernier
Kevin Cash
Shelley Duncan
Dan Giese
Steven Jackson
Justin Leone
Todd Linden
John Rodriguez

It’s official, Derek Jeter will lead off and Johnny Damon will bat second on Opening Day and beyond.

Former Yankees right-hander Jeff Karstens, traded to Pittsburgh in the deal that brought Nady and Damaso Marte to New York last July, won the final spot in the Pirates’ starting rotation. Good for him. He’s a good guy who though soft-spoken always had something intriguing to say. He’s been vexed by injury, so let’s see what he can do to keep his job secure.

Ross Ohlendorf, another player the Yankees sent to Pittsburgh in the trade, will be the Pirates’ No. 4 starter after a lights-out spring. Ohlendorf posted a sparkling 0.87 ERA and is in position for a breakout season from where I sit.

UPDATE
3:13 p.m.
The Yankees released a statement from Joba Chamberlain, who today pleaded guilty to a Nebraska charge of drunken driving and was given probation.

“I am glad to put the legal aspect of this behind me. I made a mistake and hope over time to turn this into a positive learning experience for me and others.”

Chamberlain will rejoin the team tomorrow for the workouts at Yankee Stadium before returning to Tampa., Fla., to pitch in a Minor League game on Sunday. His first regular season start is April 12 in Kansas City.

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.

Monday musings

By Jon Lane
While I remain in New York dealing with a stubborn Jack Frost, Team Tampa is in Clearwater today covering today’s Yankees-Phillies game. Keep it locked in for a live blog and later, Chris Shearn and Co. will have interviews, news and nuggets as the Yankees take another step towards April 6, Opening Day in Baltimore.

Some quick hits and observations from today and over the weekend:

BREAKING NEWS: Curt Schilling has retired, posting a message on his blog. More on this later.

Xavier Nady would be the starting right fielder if the season started today, said Joe Girardi, but Nick Swisher will play an important role with the team. Swisher’s versatility is well-documented, as is his penchant for keeping things loose in Yankeeland. Shearn interviewed Swisher this morning, which YESNetwork.com will have up later.

Chien-Ming Wang will start the exhibition game against the Cubs on April 3. Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett will split the game on April 4.

As Shearn reported on Saturday, Phil Hughes was optioned to Triple-A Scranton. He was simply a victim of a numbers game and needs to pitch multiple and complete innings rather than sporadic innings. This makes sense to everyone except the Loyal Order of Joba to the Bullpen (LOJB).

In case you care, Alex Rodriguez made the news again for something not related to baseball, but his personal live. The New York Daily News first reported that Kristin Davis (not the actress but the former Manhattan madam who supplied Eliot Spitzer with hookers) dated A-Rod and supplied him with clients.

Draw your own conclusions. If you want to read the story, it’s here. (Racy photo alert!)

In more refreshing news, Yankees senior advisor Ray Negron’s new book, One Last Time: Good-Bye to Yankee Stadium was released last Tuesday and rose to No. 1 on the Amazon’s Best Seller List. Negron’s second book, The Greatest Story Never Told: The Babe and Jackie was No. 4. Negron doesn’t make a dime on the proceeds. They all go to multiple charities, so keep up the support. 

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.

Time to trade Matsui?

matsui_250_030409.jpgBy Glenn Giangrande
Let me start by saying Hideki Matsui has been the consummate professional in pinstripes and I believe he has given the Yankees everything he possibly could during his tenure, which goes far beyond what he’s done solely on the ball field.
 
Now that I’ve said that, I’m saying it’s time to cut the cord with him.
 
Matsui appears to be a major albatross on this roster. It is pretty well known that he will be little more than a DH this season given his knee problems and he’ll turn 35 in June. I’m not going to say his power is officially in decline just yet because he turned in a very solid .285-25-103-100 season the last time he was healthy in ’07, but at his age and with his health problems, Godzilla might be at the tipping point.
 
My main concerns actually have more to do with players around Matsui than Matsui himself. Jorge Posada has already had one setback this spring in his return from shoulder surgery, and given his age\health issue, he will probably need more than a few at-bats as the DH to keep him fresh for his time behind the plate. Johnny Damon will need the occasional day off from left field as well. Joe Girardi is said to be a huge fan of Nick Swisher, so if he happens to lose the right field battle with Xavier Nady, he and his positive clubhouse presence can slot right into the DH position. It just seems like a number of players offer more to the Yankees than Matsui does right now.
 
Baseball is a business though, and maybe the Yankees think that dealing Matsui would hurt their brand in Japan. I say their flag has already been planted firmly enough there. They’d probably have to eat a fair amount of his remaining $13 million salary, maybe half of it. At this time though, dealing Matsui might be addition by subtraction when talking solely about roster makeup, and isn’t that what matters when a World Championship is the main goal? 

Yanks schlep to Fort Myers

kennedy_250_022707.jpgBy Jon Lane
The Yankees left at 8 this morning for the 2 1/2-hour trek to Fort Myers for a game against the Minnesota Twins. Ian Kennedy starts for New York against Scott Baker.

The lineup:
Brett Gardner CF
Cody Ransom 2B
Nick Swisher 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Xavier Nady RF
Melky Cabrera LF
Angel Berroa SS
Justin Leone 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Note that Nady, Swisher, Cabrera and Gardner all made the trip. Each are competing for playing time in the outfield, while Swisher starts at first base to get some at-bats. Normally, veterans like Posada don’t make these types of trips, but 1) yesterday was his first game action since last July 19 and 2) teams are required to send at least one of their big names on the road.

The Cabrera-Gardner competition will get press throughout the spring, but Nady-Swisher is an intriguing storyline. Speculation over whether either will be traded has died down for the moment. The hope here is that both remain on the roster. Both offer depth, and Swisher’s personality has been refreshing and contagious to a group that needs positive vibes given the A-Rod melodrama and the annual World Series or bust expectations.

You can track today’s game here. I’ll be listening to the Twins’ radio feed and will check in with updates from time to time.

1:24 p.m.: Already 2-0 Yankees and kick-started by Brett Gardner, who led off with a single, stole second and scored on Cody Ransom’s single (Ransom came home with the second run on a throwing error). It’s only Game 3, but you think Gardner is hungry to prove a point?

Ian Kennedy then retires the Twins in order.

1:32 p.m. Justin Leone’s one-out homer puts the Yankees ahead 3-0. It would have been four if not for Angel Berroa’s failed attempt to turn a leadoff single into a double.

1:35 p.m. Gardner, your 2009 Opening Day center fielder, is 2-for-2 with a single and a double.

2:01 p.m. The Yankees have eight hits in 2 1/2 innings, but left the bases loaded without scoring a run. Sound familiar?

Cabrera popped up with runners on second and third and one out. Remember that he’s out of options, so if Gardner wins the CF competition, the Yankees will either have to find a place for Cabrera or risk losing him should he not clear waivers.

2:04 p.m. Kennedy’s line: 2 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. He left a runner stranded at third to end the second.

2:17 p.m. Gardner drew a one-out walk, the third time he’s reached base. Minutes later he swiped second base. The Twins announcers said he has a little element of Lenny Dykstra, as in when he plays, you notice him.

2:23 p.m. Swisher flies out to end the threat. Still 3-0, Yankees

2:48 p.m. Cabrera grounded out to end the top of the fifth. He’s 0-for-3. Jorge Posada left the game after going 2-for-3. He is 4-for-5 in two games. 3-1, Yankees.

3:02 p.m. Austin Jackson pinch-hit for Gardner, who is batting .429 (3-for-7) with a homer and two stolen bases in three spring games.

3:20 p.m. Competition report: Cabrera finished hitless in three at-bats and is 0-for-5 in two games. Swisher went 2-for-3 and Nady 1-for-3.

4:17 p.m. Yankees lose 5-4 to fall to 2-1 on the Grapefruit Season. The Twins snuffed a late rally in the ninth.

Figuring out the outfield puzzle

melky_375_021809.jpgBy Jon Lane
Barring a trade, or the Yankees plucking a stop-gap veteran off the scrap heap, Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera will be the team’s starting center fielder.

Many people wanted to pull the plug on Cabrera; he was almost shipped
to Milwaukee for Mike Cameron. Why give up so soon? He’s only 24 and
had one bad season, which made nearly everyone forget his 16 assists
and 73 RBIs the year before, as well as those sparkling catches in
center that had fans enamored with him. Cabrera’s biggest issue is
maturity, so you hope his demotion to Triple-A last August humbled him.

From the looks of his Dominican League numbers (.312-1-12 in 24 games
for Aguilas Cibaenas) the prognosis is encouraging. Also helping
Cabrera’s cause is him pulling out of the World Baseball Classic. It’s
admirable Cabrera wanted to represent his native Dominican Republic,
but he has too much to prove to the Yankees – and to himself.

There is a lot to like about Gardner’s game. He’s a demon on the bases and goes all-out in every area. He just has to hit; a .228 batting average in 42 games isn’t what the Yankees are accustomed to in center field.

Why trade either Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher? Either (likely Nady) will start in right field. Both offer depth and in Swisher’s case, flexibility. Bear in mind that Hideki Matsui will not see any action in the outfield all spring. He’s coming off knee surgery, so he’ll be a DH for the foreseeable future.

I’m expecting a bounce-back season for Swisher (.219-24-69 in ’08), a genial person who needed a fresh start after his fallout with Ozzie Guillen in Chicago. He’s only 28 and two seasons removed from slugging 35 home runs with 95 RBIs.

A friend of mine had this idea the other day: The Yankees sign free agent Garret Anderson. In theory it’s great. At age 36, Anderson batted .293 with 15 home runs and 84 RBIs, second on the club to Vladimir Guerrero’s 91. When the Angels decided to decline picking up their option on Anderson’s contract, Anderson left Southern California as the franchise’ leader in games played, at-bats, hits, total bases, singles, doubles, grand slams, extra-base hits, career RBI, single-game RBI, and consecutive games (12) with an RBI.

In practice it’s unlikely, though you never know. Anderson would have made $14 million in 2009 and the Yankees do not want to add more to their bloated payroll. Nady or Swisher would have to be dealt and Anderson would have to play every day. He turns 37 in June, so how productive would he truly be?

One person who will not be roaming the outfield for the Yankees: Bernie Williams. The fan favorite was with the team in Tampa today, but he’s not on the roster. He’s working out in preparation for Team Puerto Rico in the WBC.