In their third-straight home game, the Yankees picked up their fourth-straight win, 8-3 over a split-squad Pirates team.
Miguel Cairo SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Gary Sheffield DH
Hideki Matsui LF
Jorge Posada C
Andy Phillips 1B
Mitch Jones RF
Marcos Vechionacci 3B
Kevin Reese CF
Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Felix Escalona 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Wil Nieves C, Kevin Thompson LF, Kevin Howard DH
Pitchers: Jaret Wright, Darrell Rasner, Scott Erickson, Mike Myers, Matt Childers
Big Hits: Doubles by Jorge Posada (1 for 1 with a walk), Andy Phillips (2 for 3, RBI, 2 runs scored, stolen base), Wil Nieves (1 for 2) and a pair by Kevin Reese (2 for 4), triples by Robinson Cano (1 for 4) and Kevin Howard (1 for 1 with a walk). Jorge and Andy smoked their doubles, Andy's bounding over the center field wall for a ground rule jobby, Reese got his first double by hustling on a ball that fell just fair behind third but ricocheted right to the left fielder.
Who Pitched Well: Distressingly, Scott Erickson once again, walking one and striking out three in two hitless innings. Mike Myers and Matt Childers each threw one scoreless inning allowing a hit each, Childers struck out two. Darrell Rasner struck out three and walked none in 2 1/3 innings, but gave up four hits including a monster home run by Ryan Doumit. Jaret Wright retired the first eight men he faced, then gave up two runs on two walks and three hits and was pulled before ever getting another out.
Nice Play: Marcos Vechionacci put on a show at third making nice plays to both his left and right, including a diving stab of a hot shot on the foul line after which he scrambled to his feet and nailed the runner with a strong throw.
Oopsies: There were no errors in the game, but balls were dropping in all over the outfield as if it was hard for the fielders to see. The YES announcers (Kay and Murcer), however, said that the sky was clear and black.
Ouchies: Gary Sheffield (hamstring) returned to action as the DH going 1 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored (though he didn't run all-out when going first to home on Posada's double off the wall), Jason Giambi (calf) sat out again saying he's improving and might play Saturday, Bubba Crosby (finger) took BP but didn't play, Carl Pavano threw 35 pitches in the bullpen.
Roster news: Torre confirmed that the Yankees plan to break camp without Pavano. Much like they did last year, when they left Kevin Brown behind, the Yankees will use a four-man rotation for as long as the schedule will allow and hope that Pavano will be ready once a fifth starter is required. Looking at the schedule, that should give Pavano until April 15 to get in game shape:
4/3 - Randy Johnson @ Oakland
4/4 - Mike Mussina @ Oakland
4/5 - Chien-Ming Wang @ Oakland
4/6 - travel day
4/7 - Shawn Chacon @ Angels
4/8 - Johnson @ Angels
4/9 - Mussina @ Angels
4/10 - travel day
4/11 - Wang v Royals (home opener)
4/12 - Chacon v Royals
4/13 - Johnson v Royals
4/14 - Mussina v Twins
4/15 - fifth starter needed v Twins
In the mean time, I expect they'll fill Pavano's roster spot with an extra position player, again like they did last year when they let Andy Phillips sit on the bench until Brown came back. That extra position player will most likely be someone already on the 40-man roster, Kevin Thompson and Kevin Reese (lot of Kevins in camp this year) being the leading candidates. Torre has clearly been impressed with some of these minor leaguers and, according to Peter Abraham, joked after today's game that the four players who left for the WBC would have to earn their way back into the lineup. If only he meant it regarding Bernie. Speaking of which . . .
WBC: Bernie went 1 for 5 with an RBI leading off for Puerto Rico. In the USA's embarrassing loss to Canana, Jeter went 1 for 3 batting second, Rodriguez went 1 for 2 as a mid-game replacement for Chipper Jones, Johnny Damon walked in a pinch-hit at-bat for Matt Holliday (still wondering why the US lost?) and Al Leiter (there you go!) got beat up in 2/3 of an inning, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.