Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2008-06-25 05:47
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Johnny Damon is hurting. According to the Post, he could be headed to the DL. Pete Abe says Hideki Matsui won't be playing the outfield anytime soon.

2008-06-25 06:24:00
1.   monkeypants
So, if one or both of them go on the DL, do they call up Gardner? Or when (if???) they stop carrying 3 catchers, do they call up Gardner?
2008-06-25 07:19:33
2.   Shaun P
My gut says Lane comes up if its Matsui who's out, Gardner if its Damon.

To call up either requires a spot on the 40-man. The easiest way to do that is to DFA the 3rd catcher . . . or move Hughes to the 60-day DL, postponing this 3-catcher crap just a bit longer.

Doing both would open 2 spots, making it possible to bring both up. Hopefully it doesn't reach that point.

2008-06-25 07:30:03
3.   monkeypants
2 Along these lines, I wonder when (if ???) the Hawkins experiment is ended and he is DFA'd. Of course, if they DFA Hawkins, he will probably just be replaced with another pitcher. As it is, with Traber down for Christian, there are "only" 11 pitchers on the roster, and we all know that the shadow of Ponson looms large on the horizon.
2008-06-25 07:36:48
4.   Shaun P
3 My hope is that Hawkins' ultimate replacement - before its too late - is Melancon. And that he takes over the 8th.
2008-06-25 07:38:03
5.   Raf
Give Matsui a few days, he'll probably be fine. If Pete Abe's to be believed, Damon'll probably avoid the DL as well.

I suspect Hawkins will be gone as soon as one of the guys from SWB is ready. Of course, complicating matters is Rasner not pitching as well as he should, so I don't know how much more time he has left.

2008-06-25 07:48:30
6.   monkeypants
5 The problem with the "few day" strategy is that with the Yankees, those one- and two-day injuries sure seem to linger. Plus, if Damn/Matsui were not even available to hit yesterday, the team was playing with a very, very weak bench. The three-headed catcher is a real problem, obviously. But I would also like to se injured players put on the DL.

Of course, we went through this discussion earlier this season, so I will refrain from propping up that old dead horse.

2008-06-25 08:13:03
7.   Raf
6 There's a difference between an injured player, and one that just needs a few days off.

"Damn," was that a freudian slip? :)

2008-06-25 08:30:10
8.   monkeypants
7 Yes, yes, I know...this has been discussed here before many times, especially early in the season. I understand that it is (in theory) better to rest a player for a day or three than put him on the DL for 15 days.

But, the Yankees have been, in my opinion, reckless in this regard. Over the last few years they have downplayed injuries and tried to milk players along rather than DLing them. They seem to have a fixation with playing short-handed.

Let's take Matsui's case. His knee is bad enough that it needed to be drained, and he is now incapable of playing in the field at all. He missed two games against SD, including the first game of the series on June 17; there was also an off day on the 16th. He played the three games against CIN, but now will probably miss the entire PIT series. If he has to miss a couple more days and starts again on, say, Saturday June 28, he will have played three games in 12 days. How is that much better than simply putting the man and his balky knee on the DL on June 16, draining it then, and letting him rest it? In the meanwhile, call up Christian or Gardner. At least they can run and play in the field, which might come in handy during this stretch of IL games.

Instead, the Yankees go with "plan" that, cumulatively, results in three catchers on the roster and Molina PH. Bizarre.

2008-06-25 08:38:57
9.   williamnyy23
8 I agree with your premise, but not necessarily your course of action. If Matsui/Damon are going to miss more than a few games, I don't you can either DL them or play shorthanded. Instead, the Yankees need to be more creative...maybe that means using the Scranton shuttle to fill out the last man in the bullpen (for example, demote the last man in the pen, bring up another hitter, and then when Matsui/Damon is healthy call up a different pitcher until the first is eligible to return), or taking a 10-day hiatus from the 3-catcher rule.

Speaking of 3 catchers, Girardi's use of Molina as a PH was a horrible decision. That situation represented a chance for the Yankees to get back in the game and called for using the team's best pinch hitter, not Molina.

2008-06-25 08:41:45
10.   williamnyy23
9 Also, expounding on that decision, if you insisted on PHing with a catcher, Moeller would have been a much better choice. For one thing, Moeller has been decent this year (both have a career OPS+ of 62), albeit in a small sample. Secondly, if you do need to replace Posada later in the game, Molina offers much greater defensive value, so it you'd much rather have him there as an option.
2008-06-25 08:44:48
11.   monkeypants
9 I agree with your Scranton Shuttle idea. The only downside is that it may, at times, create 40-man rosetr problems, but that risk can be managed with some creativity.
2008-06-25 09:00:18
12.   Shaun P
9 11 I like the idea, but who of the hitters who shuttle up and down? You need two guys to pull it off. Lane isn't an option; to send him down, he has to pass through waivers. Gardner is one option, but the only other guy is Shelley*. I love Shelley, but I don't know if that's worth it. X + 0 still gives you X, and right now, Shelley seems to be a 0.

*obviously I'm leaving Christian out of the equation

2008-06-25 09:02:02
13.   williamnyy23
12 I guess that's the next problem...the Yankees don't really have many options beyond Gardner and Duncan. As bad as the latter has been this year, I know I'd still rather have had him come to the plate than Molina.
2008-06-25 09:05:22
14.   Raf
9 ,11 I agree with the scranton shuttle, I also agree that the roster should be managed with a bit more creativity.

8 They seem to have a fixation with playing short-handed.

It's not so much playing shorthanded as listening to the players. If they think they can go, or don't require a stint on the DL, why not listen to them? Not everyone's going to be like Pavano. In Matsui's case, we're learning about the knee after the fact that he has tried playing on it; had the Yanks known it would be this much of a problem, maybe they do put him on the DL.

2008-06-25 09:16:37
15.   Raf
12 If Lane gets claimed, then get someone else. While he may not have been the answer, the Mets were able to pick up Trot Nixon. I don't think it's that difficult to pick up a spare part.
2008-06-25 09:20:25
16.   monkeypants
14 Fair point, but why does it seem like the Yankees are always finding out a week or two too late that a player has been really hurt? Maybe they need to approach injuries differently. And, every time Girardi says a player is going to be out a day, I feel like he's simply lying.
2008-06-25 12:55:21
17.   horace-clarke-era
I think a lot of this 'the Yankees seem to make more mistakes' has to do with overfocus on one team. I doubt many of us (any of us) track the injury moves of Oakland or Chicago all that carefully.

I gather Matsui's problem is sleeping wrong and messing up his neck, in addition to the existing knee problem, which he said did not bother him when hitting. He is, essentially a DH by preference now, anyhow. Damon, as Pete Abe notes, is the anti-Jeter in this regard, goes all gloom and doom when he gets hurt, in his case the doctors seem more optimistic. In general I'd say it is perfectly legit with an injury to trust a veteran to assess his body and pain ... I'm not sure of what other approach make sense. Treat them as idiot kids? 'Put me IN there coach! I wanna PLAY!'

Add that once an OF replacement came up we are talking mainly about a pinch hit situation for 2-3 games until the injury situations become clear. This CAN matter, but it is not the lifeblood of the team or a game. Same with the 5-7 day choice of which AAA player gets called up for OF. Agreed, the accumulation of small choices can mean a few games and that can mean the playoffs or not, but I don't operate on the assumption that Cashman and Girardi and co. are idiots. In fact, I tend to assume (very diffident of me, I know) they know a bit more about their talent than I do, and they see the issues even more clearly than I do.

Me, I'm a lot more concerned about the imploding Edwar, the useless Hawk ... what kind of world is it where Farns might actually be MISSED? I want Cash to continue to forget about mortgaging for CC, and to chase a good set-up man, pronto. I may phone him!

2008-06-25 13:39:54
18.   monkeypants
17 I don't claim the Yankees make more mistakes regarding injuries, just that they handle them poorly. Maybe this is a systemic problem league-wide.

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