Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-03-05 13:45
by Alex Belth


Jose Contreras gave up three runs in three innings against the Red Sox yesterday in the Yankees 7-4 victory. The big Cuban wasn't sharp, but he was better than he had been in his first outing. Contreras, whose father has been ill, didn't have a live fastball, and relied on a lot of breaking pitches. How good/bad was he? That all depends on what paper you read.

The Daily News , The New York Post and The Boston Herald, were characteristically shrill, while the Times and The Boston Globe were measured and subdued in their coverage.

Boston GM, Theo Epstein told the Times:

"I was interested to watch a pitcher I had never seen before, and he was impressive," Epstein said after the Yankees' 7-4 victory. "He's got five or six different pitches and he throws them for strikes. It looks like they've got a good one.

"We got to him a little bit today, but anyone sitting behind home plate could see he's going to be a very good pitcher."

Johnny Damon was fair in his assessment as well:

''He's going to be a very effective pitcher,'' Damon said. ''He's big, strong, and he's a workhorse. He's going to be good. Whether or not he's going to be a force, that's yet to be seen.''

The most inflammatory remark belonged to Shea Hillenbrand:

"I wasn't impressed. Everybody hypes him up to be this big thing. He threw average. He kept throwing his breaking ball in the zone.

"I don't care how good he is, unless you're Barry Zito or Mike Mussina, you're going to be in trouble if you do that."

Tough-talk like this in spring training is enough to make any fan nuts. Just ask BoSox blogger, Ed Cossette.

Shea, why don't you just concentrate on getting your ass in the lineup everyday, tough tits, and leave the quotations to the pros, like Boomer Wells (who is getting spanked this afternoon by the Braves)?

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