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2007-04-04 23:26
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

While there's no make-up date scheduled for yesterday's game just yet, there were a few drips of news yesterday. Well, three to be exact. Johnny Damon, who left Monday's game with cramps in his calves now appears to have something closer to a strain, which puts his availability in doubt for the time being. Melky Cabrera was going to start in center field in yesterday's game until it got rained out. Ron Villone, who was officially released at the end of spring training, signed a minor league deal with the Yankees yesterday and will report to triple-A Scranton. He can opt out of the deal if he's not on the 25-man roster by May 1. Finally, Chein-Ming Wang's rehab continues to move swiftly. He's been throwing in the bullpen and might throw a simulated game this weekend.

Comments
2007-04-05 04:17:57
1.   The Mick 536
Can Melky make the move to center? Matsui played CF in Japan. He couldn't play here. He has trouble enough playing left. Melky, according to Morrissey's book, wanted to play right. Need a natural CF for the Stadium. And who leads off in JD's absence?

Damon's muscle problems and weak arm unbalance the team a lot.

2007-04-05 05:04:39
2.   ny2ca2dc
Extra Innings no longer DirectTV exclusive! http://tinyurl.com/2nd2xc

Cable subscribers will once again be able to watch out-of-market Major League Baseball games, ending their fears that the Extra Innings package would become the exclusive domain of DirecTV for the next seven years.

M.L.B. and InDemand — a consortium that is owned by the cable operators Comcast, Time Warner and Cox — agreed last night to restore Extra Innings swiftly to their systems as a free preview through sometime next week, after which it will cost a discounted $159 for a short period.

...

The Dish Network, DirecTV's satellite rival, has not made a deal. "No one is locked out," said Tim Brosnan, an executive vice president of M.L.B. But Dish said in a statement that baseball's terms were too costly and that it was not optimistic that it could reach a fair deal.

The crucial part of the negotiations for baseball was InDemand's agreement to carry the MLB Channel, which is to make its debut in 2009.

2007-04-05 05:17:28
3.   Sliced Bread
1 Pete Abraham reports Cano was going to lead off yesterday. Figure he does tonight.

Melky can handle center just fine. Made a couple nice catches out there last month. I'd say his arm makes him an upgrade over Damon out there.

If Damon goes to the DL Kevin Thompson gets called up, right? I mean Cairo's not the 5th outfielder, right? Cairo's shoes shall not touch turf (by design), right?

2007-04-05 05:26:25
4.   dianagramr
2

I'm all faklempt! :-)

I wasn't aware of this news last night, and just for kicks went to the EI channels on my Time Warner Cable box. Lo and behold, there were all the games!

Ahh .... I can listen to Vin Scully again ...

2007-04-05 05:52:51
5.   williamnyy23
1 I'd have no problem with Melky in CF. Personally, I think Torre needs to give Damon a lot more rest this year anyway, so perhaps an early reminder isn't such a bad thing.

3 Cano is probably the worst choice for lead-off. I'd simply move everyone up a spot and place Melky in the 8 slot.

4 I've been a pretty vocal supporter of MLB's position and think the terms of the agreement justify their hard-line stance. The opportunity to launch the MLB channel to 40 million homes makes it a massively lucrative venture (it will be one of the biggest cable launches in history), one that would have been forfeited had Selig and Co. caved to early public pressure. In the end, it seems as if everyone will benefit...and not at MLB's expense.

2007-04-05 05:53:00
6.   mehmattski
Hey I found a first baseman for the Yanks: James Loney. It would make everyone on Dodger Thoughts go nuts, but the frustrated rookie is blocked by Nomah and wants a trade. Last year he hit .284/.342/.559 in 102 AB with the big club.

Let's put that RHP surplus to work, Cash!

2007-04-05 05:56:48
7.   williamnyy23
6 Too good to be true...but, then again, the Dodgers probably could use some bullpen depth!
2007-04-05 05:59:26
8.   ny2ca2dc
6 What do you think it would take to get Loney? Maybe for something like Sanchez & one of the t-clipp/jackson/whoever class, maybe throw in a kevin/sardinah/even a gardner...
2007-04-05 06:16:54
9.   rsmith51
I would love to see Loney on the Yanks. I doubt it is going to happen. If I were the Dodgers, I would be looking for a market for Nomah.
2007-04-05 06:24:02
10.   Cliff Corcoran
9 RSmith has it right. Loney ain't going nowhere.

3 Sliced has it right on Melky. He was a centerfielder in the minors if I recall correctly and looked good there this spring. And, yes, they'll call up a Kevin (probably Thompson) if Damon hits the DL. Until then (or until Damon's ready to play again), however, Cairo is the back-up OF on a three-man bench.

2007-04-05 06:25:16
11.   RIYank
Impressive. Small n, but he appears to slug like a real 1B.
I'd move Abreu to lead-off, myself, but I suspect it won't matter a huge amount to the overall Yankee run production. (I mean, replacing Damon with Melky will, but after that juggling the order won't matter much.)

Anyone follow the BoSox last night? You'll get the wrong idea if you just look at the box score. Beckett gave up just one run and two hits in five innings, but: he threw more balls than strikes. Okay, small sample so far, but the "top" of the Red Sox' rotation looks to be in trouble. They'd better be praying that Dice-K lives up to his Mike Plugh billing. On the other hand, JD Drew looks like a great get for Boston, so far.

2007-04-05 06:41:52
12.   Yu-Hsing Chen
6 if anything, the Dodgers need more bats than pitching, they have plenty of good arms in AAA (Tsao for example) or AA (Elbert) already or on the DL (Kuo, Brazobon ), what they really need is a true impact bat or 2, and oddly enough they have 2 in their roster that they refuse to play (Loney and Laroche)

I was really hoping that the D-Rays would be dumb enough to trade Elijah Dukes or Johnny Gomes for some less than great pitching prospects from us. that kinda made sense for both sides in terms of excess, but now we have to watch in horror as Dukes turns into a Frank Thomas lite that can play CF eeek

2007-04-05 06:46:43
13.   Sliced Bread
Oy, it's snowing in NY at this moment, albeit very lightly.

In other words, it's Andy Pettitte weather.

Home Opener '96. Snowed all game. Andy wins.

Home Opener '03. No snow, but freezing cold. Andy wins. Thank you, Mr. Matsui. That was grand.

Did the D-Rays pack their mittens?

2007-04-05 06:47:23
14.   williamnyy23
11 I watched the entire game (on EI :), and Beckett couldn't locate both his fastball and his curve, the latter which he threw very few times. While he did have good velocity (consistently in the mid-90s), everything looked straight. There were also 3 or 4 very hard hit outs (including a Fenway HR by LaRue). Beckett wasn't awful, but he didn't do anything to justify the Spring Training hype that he was generating.

Maybe I am mistaken, but didn't the Beckett who dominated the Yankees throw 97-98mph? Considering that he doesn't have great movement on his fastball and often can't command his breaking pitch, it would seem to me as if he NEEDS to hit the high-90s. Instead, over the past season (and last night), his fastball has been more in the 94-95mph range.

2007-04-05 06:59:14
15.   Bama Yankee
2 For those who have been following the negotiations but might have missed it, here's how they settled the hangup over the equity in the baseball channel:

"As part of the agreement, iN Demand and DirecTV each will receive about 16 percent equity in the new network, a person familiar with the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because that detail wasn't announced. Under the original agreement, DirecTV was to be a 20 percent owner."

http://tinyurl.com/373n3t

I'm just glad they worked out a fair deal and it's finally over (however, I still feel bad for those who have Dish Network). For the first time this spring, I am actually looking forward to watching a game (now that I can watch with my family). It's like Christmas morning...

2007-04-05 07:09:59
16.   Shaun P
14 Straight fastball and only a few curves - sounds like Beckett v. 2006. Good news for the Yanks!

Word last year was that the band-aid Beckett wears between starts to prevent blisters is what screwed up his curve. He couldn't throw it well with the band-aid on, so when he went to it in games, it was all over the place. I wonder if the band-aid hurts the movement on his fastball too. I remember him not just throwing 96+, but 96+ with movement.

2007-04-05 07:29:03
17.   Rob Middletown CT
It's hard to judge Beckett's performance, given he was pitching against the Royals. Then again, he was better than Shilling. He was definitely having trouble locating his curve at times, but got it over enough that he was fine. He was blowing that straight fastball right by the Royals hitters, due in no small part I think to the curve he was throwing (to my eye, it looked like he threw quite a few of them).
2007-04-05 07:39:11
18.   Yankee Fan In Boston
if villone doesn't find his command, he can always stay on in scranton in another capacity. i think they might have a job opening up there...

http://tinyurl.com/2wa7q7

2007-04-05 07:54:26
19.   rbj
18 Throw that scum in prison for a long, long time.

Ah, good. Now I get to be a couch potato and watch the Yankee games. Yippee!

2007-04-05 07:59:34
20.   williamnyy23
17 I wouldn't exactly say he was blowing the fastball by the Royals. He did pump in a few nice ones, but as his Strike/Ball ratio shows, his command was definitely lacking. Also, I didn't see many effective curves...unless you are lumping in the slider. As you mentioned, the Royals are hardly a barometer anyway, but the reports out of Spring were that Beckett was ready to be dominant. At least in his first start, that wasn't the case.
2007-04-05 08:00:31
21.   Yankee Fan In Boston
19 people who go to prison for these sorts of things get treated as they deserve, too. creepy. glad they caught him.

figures they take care of the cable deal the day after i sign up to mlb.tv for the full season... oh well... i can watch daisuke at work this afternoon...

2007-04-05 08:02:41
22.   Yankee Fan In Boston
looks like mo won't be the only one wearing the #42 on the anniversary of jackie robinson's ML debut.

http://tinyurl.com/35dt4u

a nice gesture, i think.

2007-04-05 08:15:53
23.   Bama Yankee
21 You might be able to get a refund on the MLB.TV:

MLB.com will honor any refund request for a Seasonal subscription made within 10 days of the purchase and any refund request for a Monthly subscription made within 5 days of the purchase or within 5 days of the last billing. To request a refund please call customer support at 1-866-800-1275 or send an e-mail to customerservice@website.mlb.com

Although you might want to keep it, I have subsribed to both for a couple of years since not all Yankee games are shown on EI (stupid FOX blackout rule). It also allows me to catch games at work (don't tell my boss) and if I am travelling. Plus, the late games on the west coast are easy to watch the next morning with the condensed game feature.

2007-04-05 08:20:40
24.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 y'know. i might keep it. you make excellent points. i know that they've been having some glitches, but as i was checking things out on it this morning, it looks like the video quality is a bit better than last season. i only got the basic econo-subscription, too. knowing that EI gets blacked out, too changes things a bit.

thanks!

2007-04-05 09:01:48
25.   Knuckles
I am now officially torn, having plunked $20 for one month of MLB.tv...

Points for MLB.tv:
-$120 for the year vs $160 for EI
-portability
-avoiding blackouts
-can quit at any time, assuming I move this summer
-condensed games
-my computer is my computer, whereas I have to share the TV that has the cable box with the wife

Points for EI:
-can watch on my TV
-sometimes games in hi def on the HD showcase channels
-can Tivo games and put them on an hour into it and blitz the commercials

Probably gonna call MLB.tv tonight and get it cancelled...

2007-04-05 09:16:10
26.   murphy
whoa whoa whoa!!!

AVOIDING blackouts on mlb.tv?

please explain, 25.

mlb.tv is clearly cable's bitch.

2007-04-05 09:23:42
27.   JL25and3
5 Joe likes stability; it's both a strength and a weakness. Given a choice, he'll find a way to keep those 2-5 hitters in place. Does it really make them feel more comfortable? I don't know, but I actually trust Joe when it comes to managing his personnel with the long season in mind.

I think it's easy to overthink these things. If he were putting Cano in the leadoff spot for a season, or even a month, I'd agree with you. For a few games, I don't think it matters that much.

2007-04-05 09:34:31
28.   OldYanksFan
How is the weather in the Bronx?
Is there going to be a game tonight?
2007-04-05 09:45:24
29.   murphy
well, it's 40 here now,and they're playing in cincy where it's 35 - so i am guessing they play. let's go andy!!
2007-04-05 09:52:16
30.   Start Spreading the News
So Zone Rating has been updated to separate regular plays from outstanding plays. That really has dropped Jeter's ZR:
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/what-is-zone-rating/
2007-04-05 09:52:37
31.   Knuckles
26
Murph, not all blackouts, but I was meant to understand that the Friday night Yanks games that are on Channel 2 at home and subsequently not available on EI are viewable on MLB.tv using the other team's feed.
Saturday afternoons however, belong to Fox irregardless.
2007-04-05 10:05:16
32.   debris
MLB.tv blacks out all games in your home area, by the zip code on your credit card. I had my daughter in DC sign up so as not to lose Sox games in New England. What I didn't realize at the time is that Washington not only blacks out the Nats, but the Orioles as well.

BTW, their Mosaic program seems to have streaming problems. Anybody else finding that?

2007-04-05 10:19:46
33.   Emy
32 Yeah, I've had problems too.

I like the idea of having up 6 games running at once, but unfortunately the quality of Mosaic stinks.

2007-04-05 10:23:45
34.   Max Nomad
I've always really liked the idea of Abreu leading off. Torre doesn't like to move Jeter from the 2 hole unless absolutely necessary. Abreu's a lefty, so Derek can bat second still; he's fast enough to steal a few; about the same pop as Damon, a bit better; and the OBP means he'll always be on base. Of course, A-Rod's gonna get less protection when Giambi bats 3rd.

I was thinking about cool entry songs for players, and maybe A-Rod could endear himself more to the fans with a signature song. Jeter doesn't really have one, either, so I dunno, but look at how "Enter Sandman" makes the fans go nuts when they know Mo is a-comin'.

2007-04-05 10:25:06
35.   Max Nomad
Plus, Cano would be a poor leadoff guy, since besides the low OBP and low speed, he can't bunt either (something Abreu does well, just not often).
2007-04-05 10:26:09
36.   yankz
Sorry to distract from all the mlb.tv business, but a friend asked me an interesting question: Who is your favorite non-Yankee? I'd say Pujols, but that's too easy. I'm leaning towards Chase Utley. Don't know why, probably because he was a stud on my fantasy team last year, but I've always liked him.
2007-04-05 10:42:13
37.   murphy
these posts are coming so damn fast we can't even finish conversations... don't know if i should be excited or aggravated...

26,31,

my mlb.tv account is billed in florida, yet i can not watch ANY yankee games (i live in brooklyn). i assumed i could do the same as you guys, but mlb does not use your billing address, rather it determines where your IP address is physically at.

cable owns the f'in world and i am furious. i don't want two hundred channels!!! i don't want lifetime and mtv3 and espn8 and all the other shit. i just want to watch the got-damn yankee games and no one will let me do it without signing a devil's contract with the cable company.

grr!!!!

2007-04-05 10:59:32
38.   rbj
36
Marcus Thames. First major league hit was as a Yankee, homering off of Randy Johnson. Got to watch him play as a Mud Hen two years ago -- it was a lot like sitting in the box seats down the third base line when Sheff was batting.
2007-04-05 11:24:46
39.   rsmith51
Favorite non-Yankees:

Carlos Beltran (Shoulda been a Yankee)
Grady Sizemore

2007-04-05 11:35:26
40.   ny2ca2dc
36 I like Santana... that was easy. ;P

Anyone else watching Matsuzaka? He seemed to throw a pretty good number of pitches that inning, giving up a hit and a walk (and two double play balls, one executed).

2007-04-05 12:08:35
41.   Sliced Bread
Favorite non-Yankee? Bernie. No question. Bernie.
2007-04-05 12:58:56
42.   Yankee Fan In Boston
36 carl crawford then ryan howard.
2007-04-05 13:05:36
43.   E-Rocker
Dice-K just gave up a homer to DeJesus. The collapse begins:)
2007-04-05 13:25:35
44.   tommyl
He has 10 Ks and 1 BB through 7. That's a damn good ratio. However, the Royals have managed to hit him well the second time around, if not for that stupid idea of always running on a 3-2 count, they could be winning 3-2 or at least tied right now. Better hitting teams might pound him, it'll be interesting to watch.

BTW, Greinke is also pitching a gem. 7 innings, 1 ER against the Sox. He's struck out Ortiz 3 times I think.

2007-04-05 13:56:00
45.   Yankee Fan In Boston
44 i'd like to think that the yankees will pummel the kid. until that happens, nothing will allow me to be too comfortable at the thought of him on the mound in yankee stadium.

[gulp]

2007-04-05 14:09:15
46.   tommyl
25 Be careful with the Tivoing. At least when I had a Comcast DVR, I could not record the EI games. I thought it was a bug, but when I called in, they said it was because of licensing issues. Not sure if TiVo, being a 3rd party gets around that.
2007-04-05 15:40:31
47.   3rd gen yankee fan
43 I WISH! I was out there freezing my buns off... waiting for the rally that never came... must be hard being a Royals fan. Nice people though. Too many Sux fans in attendance.

44 Yes, Greinke did pitch well. Yes he did K Ortiz 3 times. Good kid, that.

And yes I think that a decent lineup will pound him, although it will be interesting to see if he does get settled into the MLB. He looks unshakeable, but he certainly wasn't dominating. I kept thinking MAN I can't WAIT until we see him in the Bronx!!!! How many pitches did he throw in the dirt???

Royals fans seemed quieter & more polite than even Toronto fans, but maybe it was because of the cold. (Game temperature, 36F.) Anyway, they seemed to at least appreciate the cheering of this loud Yankee fan. :-)

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