Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Weekend Wrap-Up
2006-03-05 21:20
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Here's an in-a-box type look at the Yankee action since Friday. Today the Yankees take on the Blue Jays at home at 1:15 with Chien-Ming Wang making his spring debut and Mariano Rivera scheduled to do the same.


Taking to the road (and leaving behind the ouchy Matsui and Sheffield and catcher Jorge Posada), the Yanks rematch with the Phillies, only to lose a high-scoring sea-saw battle in the ninth 11-10.


Kevin Thompson - LF
Robinson Cano - 2B
Andy Phillips - DH
Jason Giambi - 1B
Kelly Stinnett - C
Melky Cabrera - CF
Miguel Cairo - 3B
Bubba Crosby - RF
Felix Escalona - SS

Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Russ Johnson 1B/3B, Kevin Howard 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Wil Nieves C, Chris Prieto RF, Mitch Jones LF, Kevin Reese PH

Pitchers: Jaret Wright, Jorge DePaula, Ron Villone, Scott Erickson, Ramiro Mendoza, Matt Childers, Frank Brooks

Big Hits: Doubles by Cano (1 for 3), Escalona (1 for 2), Cairo (1 for 4), Mitch Jones (2 for 2) and Melky Cabrera (4 for 5). Kevin Thompson went 3 for 3, with a walk, scoring two runs, but was caught stealing for the second time in as many games (though replays showed he was safe in Thursday's game). Jones and Eric Duncan came up with two-out hits in the ninth to cap a two-run rally against Tom Gordon, making his spring debut, to tie the score at 10-10.

Who Pitched Well: Matt Childers pitched 1 2/3 scoreless, one of only two pitchers on both teams, 12 pitchers in total, to escape unscathed (the Phillies Brian Sanches being the other). That's about it.

Oopsies: Robinson Cano misplayed a hard hit grounder up the middle for an error.

Ouchies: After Jaret Wright hit Aaron Rowand in the wrist with a pitch, ex-Yank Jon Lieber plunked Felix Escalona. Escalona was not injured.


Back at home in Tampa, the Yanks stack their line-up, with Matsui making his spring debut, but struggle to score, losing 4-1 to the Reds.


Miguel Cairo - SS
Robinson Cano - 2B
Gary Sheffield - RF
Jason Giambi - 1B
Hideki Matsui - DH
Jorge Posada - C
Kevin Reese - CF
Marcos Vechionacci - 3B
Kevin Thompson - LF

Subs: Andy Phillips 1B, Felix Escalona 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Omir Santos C, Mitch Jones RF, Melky Cabrera LF, Eric Duncan DH, Kevin Howard PH

Pitchers: Randy Johnson, Scott Proctor, Kyle Farnsworth, Darrell Rasner, Dusty Bergman

Big Hits: Doubles by Posada (1 for 2) and Duncan (1 for 1)

Who Pitched Well: Scott Proctor pitched two hitless innings, striking out three and walking two, Darrell Rasner pitched two scoreless innings allowing just a single.

Nice Plays: Mitch Jones gunned down Austin Kearns at home.

Good Sign: Jorge Posada was behind the plate for Randy Johnson's first spring start. Joe Torre said that the two seemed to work well together and that the whole personal catcher thing was "a non-issue."

Bad Sign: A sign at Legends Field apologizes to fans for the absence of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Bernie Williams (though likely not Al Leiter), all of whom are participating in the WBC. The sign reads

We are sorry that certain players will not be present for portions of spring training. The New York Yankess [sic] did not vote to support this event. Any comments you have regarding the World Baseball Classic should be directed to the commissioner of Major League Baseball or the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Ouchies: Hideki Matsui made his spring debut after missing the first two games with a swollen left knee. Gary Sheffield played the field for the first time after being slowed by back spasms. Bubba Crosby was a late scratch after being hit on his left index finger during a bunting drill. Carl Pavano threw 30 pitches off a mound, his first mound work since August. Octavio Dotel threw 30 pitches from half-way up a mound, his first bullpen session since his June Tommy John surgery.


Back on the road, the Yankees again took a limited squad to face the Blue Jays, pulling off their first win of the spring 3-2.


Melky Cabrera - CF
Robinson Cano - 2B
Hideki Matsui - DH
Jorge Posada - C
Andy Phillips - 1B
Mitch Jones - RF
Russ Johnson - 3B
Kevin Thompson - LF
Felix Escalona - SS

Subs: Miguel Cairo 2B, David Parrish C, Eric Duncan DH

Pitchers: Mike Mussina, Philip Hughes, Mike Myers, Jeffrey Karstens, Matt DeSalvo

Big Hits: Doubles by Matsui (3 for 3), Phillips (1 for 5) and Cabrera (3 for 5). Phillips' double plated Matsui in the fifth inning for the decisive run. Phillips' excuse-me opposite field shot in Thursday's game remains the only Yankee homer of the spring. Cabrera was 7 for 11 with a pair of doubles on the weekend. He and Kevin Thompson (7 for 11 overall with two walks) are the leading hitters in camp, though Andy Phillips slips between the two with eight total bases. Phillips, Cabrera and Thompson also boast three of the four top at-bat totals in camp (Robinson Cano being the other), proof that the WBC could be very good for farmhands around the league.

Who Pitched Well: Just about everyone. Mike Myers made-up for his opening day performance by pitching 1 1/3 hitless innings. Jeff Karstens struck out two and walked none in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Matt DeSalvo pitched two scoreless for the save. Philip Hughes didn't pitch particularly well, allowing a run on two walks and a hit in 1 1/3 innings, but picked up the win.

Ouchies: Sheffield was a last-minute scratch due to a tight hamstring tweaked bursting out of the batters box in Saturday's game, Crosby missed the game with a splint on his index finger, though x-rays were negative. Tanyon Sturtze threw batting practice for the first time this spring. Hideki Matsui DHed due to . . . allergies.

Meanwhile in the WBC:

Korea and Japan have advanced from Pool A with a burgeoning rivalry stoked by Ichiro Suzuki's inflamitory comments about Japan's Asian rivals. Korea--thanks to their superior pitching, snazzy uniforms, and a two-run eighth-inning homer by first baseman Seung-Yeop Lee--made Ichiro eat crow by defeating Japan 3-2 in the Pool A finale, a game that unfortunately aired at 4am EST and was not rerun. China, meanwhile, lost to Chinese Taipei in the loser's finale to finish 0-3.

The other three pools begin tournament play tomorrow, with the US hosting Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix at 4pm on ESPN2.

2006-03-06 02:13:11
1.   mikeplugh
The whole sign thing bugs me a little. It's childish and unprofessional. People may complain about not having the opportunity to see their favorite Yankees in Tampa, and I know Legends Field is as much a profit making machine as it is the Spring Training Home of the New York Yankees, but Selig is absolutely correct when he gets pissed off.

The other teams all voted for the WBC and the Player's Union okayed it, so what's left to say. Nothing in my book. Putting up that sign is a bit like an 8 year old kid storming off to his room and hanging a "I Hate You" sign on the door because mommy and daddy didn't let him go to Chuck-E-Cheese with Jimmy's family even though Ralph's parents thought it was a cool idea.

Get over it Yankees brass. This will be good for the sport in the long run and what the hell is the difference if the guys are playing for Team USA or the Yankees in March? Either way they are going to be playing themselves into shape and toughening up for the season ahead. It may actually benefit these guys to play 5 or 6 games that mean something before the season starts instead of loafing around Legends' Country Club for a month.

2006-03-06 02:31:22
2.   mikeplugh
Interesting that those quotes about Korea were attributed to Ichiro. I somehow doubt he was the one to say those things as he is generally not so outspoken. The WBC homepage and several Japanese outlets over here quoted ace pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka as the originator of the inflammatory Korea rant.

My co-workers, many of whom love Korea to the point that they cook Korean foods, learn Korean language, and watch Korean tv dramas were upset about the big loss. Despite changing attitudes on both sides of the Sea of Japan, losing to the other country is still the equivalent of Red Sox vs. Yankees.

I blogged about the game at Canyon of Heroes and one of the first links will take anyone who is interested to a wikipedia article about Korean/Japanese Relations. Interesting for history or sociology buffs....if there are any around these here parts.

2006-03-06 02:41:03
3.   mikeplugh
Sorry....last post today. I did a little background check on the Ichiro thing and it seems as though more than one source has quoted him. Even ESPN used his name in connection with the quotes.

I get the feeling that the Japanese may be trying to protect their national hero in the wake of a humiliating loss by spinning the comments onto someone less likely to be injured by them.....hmmmm......

2006-03-06 03:26:00
4.   Shaun P
The sign outside Legends Field doesn't surprise me at all. Steinbrenner has never been a big fan of Selig's and, especially in light of the upcoming bargaining over a new CBA, I'm not surprised he's already posturing in this way.

Apparently the Commish wasn't too pleased, and the sign has come down:

The article goes on to say that the sign was the ticket office's idea, and that George had nothing to do with it. I'm sure.

I do think the WBC is probably a worthwhile thing, and the first go through will have its bugs, but I can see where Steinbrenner is coming from too.

2006-03-06 04:53:01
5.   The Mick 536
Georgie could have been responsible, but I doubt it. He apologizes all the time for the inadequacies of his teams, like we don't understand that teams lose. This banner is even too childish and churlish for him.

No problem with hearing names I don't know. Sad I cannot watch them.

Think that the WBC should be stopped in its bud. MLB should not participate if the goal is to promote baseball. Baseball is a team sport. The game comes alive when played over the course of a season. It is not the DAVIS Cup.

2006-03-06 05:38:32
6.   Alex Belth
Sgin of the Times...way to use the spellchick guys.
2006-03-06 07:03:45
7.   Cliff Corcoran
Mike, I should have checked your blog for your game wrap. Good job, it's now linked in the above post. One thing I realized reading your summary was that Korea has allowed just three runs total in their three WBC games. Superior pitching indeed. Among the hurlers with MLB experience on the Korean roster: Byung-Hyun Kim, Jae Weong Seo, Chan Ho Park, Sun-Woo Kim, Dae-Sung Koo, and Jung Bong.
2006-03-06 07:26:59
8.   murphy
hehe... bong... heheh

oh wait!! this isn't 7th grade?!?!?

2006-03-06 07:35:55
9.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Any chance that either Cabrera or Kevin Thompson can play their way onto the opening day roster? Perhaps at Crosby's expense? Thompson's looked more comfortable in the field, and seems to have a stronger arm, so perhaps he is to be preferred. But his baserunning . . .
2006-03-06 08:01:28
10.   Shawn Clap
I don't get Al Leiter. If he's trying to win a spot on the Yank's roster, what's he doing fooling around with this WBC?

Did Torre tell him he's got a spot?

2006-03-06 08:24:12
11.   Jen
Re: Leiter, my theory is that he doesn't expect to be in pinstripes this year, so this WBC thing is his swan song.
2006-03-06 08:25:45
12.   vockins
I making the odds of The Red Seat hawking a "Yankess" T-shirt by opening day at 7:6.
2006-03-06 08:42:04
13.   Dimelo
Yank in Chi' town - that's a great question. Melky and Thompson have been tearing the cover off the ball and Thompson sure looks like a better option than Crosby right now. I hope that position is up for grabs. I love Crosby but I don't see him helping the Yanks more than the other two. I hope to see Thompson on the opening day roster.
2006-03-06 09:11:19
14.   Cliff Corcoran
Wow you guys are fickle. What happened to all that jazz about Bubba being the next big thing? Now you've got him not even making the team?! I'm not complaining, you had poor Bubba in way over his head, and there should be a legitimate competition between him and Thompson this spring (Cabrera needs more time in the minors), but Cabrera and Thompson have turned that beat around based on 11 spring training at-bats each? Wow.

And for what it's worth, I think Jen 11 has it right on Leiter. Recall my diary of Thursday's game, Torre didn't mention Sen. Al when discussing the bullpen.

2006-03-06 09:42:39
15.   brockdc
I'm not sure that the WBC will have any effect - positive or negative - on the growth of baseball, generally speaking. Baseball is already a worldwide sport, ardently embraced by disparate cultures. How will the WBC have any greater impact on the expansion of the game than, say, the Olympics?

I know this is warmed over sentiment, but the WBC is an exhibition, pure and simple. And I don't appreciate Bud Selig's dissembling about how it's for the "good of the game." No, it's so kids in Seoul will purchase more A-Rod jerseys.

Also, I fail to find the logic in the belief that eschewing spring training in favor of playing in an intensive international tournament has no detrimental physical impact on a player. Then why have spring training to begin with?

If I were Stein, I'd be irritated as well (though I'm not too sure about the sign). He's shelling out millions to his players to play for the Yankees, not in some bogus international tourney - where the likelihood of injury is at least as high as during a regular season MLB game.

2006-03-06 09:45:38
16.   Start Spreading the News
On another note (not that the Bubba controversy isn't ...ahem... exciting), but I got to work late today because I was watching the YES replay of the home opener of the 1996 Yanks game against the Royals. Fortunately for my employment status, I didn't watch the whole game because they had Guiliani on during the game and he was prattling on about how desperately NYC needs to have a Yankee stadium on the West Side and how it wouldn't cost the taxpayers anything. The announcers couldn't stop gushing over him.

But the real reason why I tuned in was the Yankees opening day lineup in 1996: Boggs, Girardi, O'Neill, Leyritz, Martinez, B. Williams, Mariano Duncan, Gerald Williams, Jeter.

That was the opening day lineup? Girardi (OPS .667 year before) batting 2nd? Leyritz cleanup (OPS .768 w/7 HR year before) instead of Tino?

That year, the Yanks best pitcher was Pettitte with 21 wins. The next best starter won 12 games!!!

It is amazing to see how that team won the World Series.

And how nuts would our saber crowd go over that lineup construction?

2006-03-06 09:46:34
17.   brockdc
If Torre were willing to carry one less pitcher, couldn't we have both (Thompson AND Bubba)?
2006-03-06 09:57:13
18.   Cliff Corcoran
Amen, Brockdc, but, as I wrote in my Campers post, the Yankees are contstructing their pitching staff based on salary, not performance, they've got eleven million-dollar pitchers and Chien-Ming isn't one of them. The only hope is the DL, but what kind of hope is that?
2006-03-06 09:58:30
19.   BobbyBaseBall
Speaking of YES replays, I just happened to catch the replay of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS yesterday. Tuned in top of the 7th, and I didn't move until Boone belted the pitch into the seats. Quite possibly the best baseball game I've ever watched.
2006-03-06 10:22:25
20.   brockdc
BobbyB -

Better than the Jeter-into-the-stands-head-first Yanks/Sox game of the same season? I'm just sayin'...

2006-03-06 10:28:32
21.   Count Zero
Couldn't agree more. Never seen a more blatant attempt to milk a dollar in all my life...And I have no desire to watch any of it.

I'll go out on a limb and predict there might be one or two more of these before it bites the dust or re-emerges in a completely different form.

2006-03-06 10:35:24
22.   Marcus
Jeter-into-the-stands was 2004, no? Remember sour-puss Nomar sitting on the bench for that game, just a few weeks before he was traded?
2006-03-06 11:10:33
23.   Rob Gee
While we're on the "YES games we watched this weekend" bandwagon:

I caught Game 1 1996 ALCS. Yes that was the Jeff M. game. It's crazy that's what it's known as, because I had forgotten:

1) Mo pitched two shut-out innings with 3 K(10 & 11), after Wettland had departed, getting the W.

2) Bernie hit a walk-off in the bottom of the 11th to win it.

Good times!

2006-03-06 11:12:40
24.   rbj
Anyone watching/listening to/liveblogging today's game? (3/6) Looks like Wang's getting a bit roughed up - 2 HRs in two innings. Yanks are up 8-3 though. Not even a gamechannel link. Grrr.
2006-03-06 11:19:48
25.   Cliff Corcoran
You forgot about Bernie's walk-off against Randy Myers?! Wow.

I caught part of that one. It was interesting to see Jeter hit what is remembered as a home run, but was really a fly out to right, then in the next half inning waive off Tim Raines on a Brady Anderson blooper to shallow left only to let the ball fall for a double, puting the go-ahead run in scoring position with one out in the ninth. One tends to wonder if Jeter's career turned a corner when fate smiled on him in two consecutive half innings (Anderson didn't score). Certainly the Raines gaffe is one he'd not make now (though it's notable just how far into left he ranged after that ball--sigh, what could have been in centerfield . . .).

2006-03-06 11:51:37
26.   BobbyBaseBall

For me, the Game 7 was it. Not to mention playoff baseball, extra innings and vs. the Sox, but I had just turned 21 and was watching the game in a packed bar with a Phillie-phan phriend (therefore an anti-NY'er)in Scranton PA. It was a mixed crowd of Yankee supporters and haters, and just a galvanizing baseball experience. Not to take away anything from the games you, Cliff or Rob mentioned.

2006-03-06 12:29:18
27.   cms
Bubba is out of minor league he either makes the team or they release him, no?

I don't think it makes that much sense to bring up Thompson and/or Cabrera so they can sit on the bench. They would be better off at Columbus where they will get more experience and playing time.

2006-03-06 12:51:01
28.   Rob Gee
Cliff -

You know, I don't remember much from those three weeks - I think I was enjoying myself too dman to remember anything.

The kicker: Stood in line for 23 hours to get 1996 Serious tix (got 6 and 7). After we lost the first two at the stadium, I had dreams all week we come back and win. I took my dad to Game 6 and the only thing I remember: pop-out to Charlie Hayes seals the deal. Last October I watched the replay for the first time and even then had trouble remembering the game. No alcohol or drugs involved, I was just high on life and in the moment. I remember more about standing in line (rampant drug use, people having sex, riots, fights, fires) than the actual game - un-freakin' believable.

Lesgo YANK-ees!

2006-03-06 13:27:45
29.   Cliff Corcoran
CMS, I do believe Bubba is out of options, but isn't the idea to chose the best 25 players out of camp? I'm not saying Thompson is necessarily a better major leaguer than Bubba right now, but if he is, should Bubba's lack of options be allowed to make the difference? Isn't that the same philosophy I complain about in 18 with regards to the pitching staff? Bubba's not here for the future, he'll be 30 in August, it's now or never. If he's not the best option now, losing him isn't going to matter.
2006-03-06 15:19:45
30.   brockdc
Again, this is why I was none too thrilled about the Bernie re-signing. It limits roster flexibility AND blocks development for guys like Cabrerra and Thompson. Also, this idea of inserting Bernie into RF is ludicrous. He would immediately become one of the worst defensive rightfielders in baseball.
2006-03-06 18:51:35
31.   Levy2020
30, so GOB makes Sheff that much better, right?

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