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Saturday's Game
2006-03-11 11:12
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Chien-Ming Wang did indeed make up for his rocky first outing as the Yankees beat a split-squad Braves B-team 7-3.

Lineup:

Miguel Cairo SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Gary Sheffield RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Jorge Posada C
Andy Phillips 1B
Mitch Jones LF
Melky Cabrera CF
Marcos Vechionacci 3B

Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Felix Escalona 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Wil Nieves C, Bubba Crosby RF, Kevin Thompson DH

Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Aaron Small, Matt Smith, Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, Ron Villone

Big Hits: A three-run homer by Jorge Posada, doubles by Mitch Jones, Robinson Cano and Bubba Crosby.

Who Pitched Well: Wang was razor sharp in his three innings, allowing just one baserunner, a single in the third which he erased on a 3-6-1 double play. The exact opposite of his first start, Wang kept the ball down with impressive velocity, making many (admittedly minor league) batters swing and miss and striking out four. Mariano Rivera and Ron Villone each pitched 1-2-3 innings. Kyle Farnsworth pitched around a hit for a scoreless eighth.

Ouchies: Bubba Crosby played in his first game since getting hit on the index finger during bunting practice a week ago. Jason Giambi (calf) sat out again. Scott Proctor is away from camp due to the birth of his second child.

Second Cut: Philip Hughes, Chris Prieto and Jason Brown were reassigned to minor league camp before the game. According to Peter Abraham, Hughes was on Mike Mussina's schudule and with Mussina scheduled to go five innings in his next start there are simply no innings left for Hughes in big league camp. Hughes didn't pitch particularly well this spring (3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K), but that's of little concern. Rather, it's impressive that, having never pitched above the Sally League, he got to pitch as much as he did. Jason Brown, meanwhile, got into just one game with a split-squad B-team. A 31-year-old double-A lifer, Brown should have been given the opportunity to play in an A-game, merely as a reward for having stuck around so long. Odds are the only major leaguers he'll share the field with in the future will be on injury rehab assignments. Prieto never should have been in camp in the first place.

Comments (84)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-11 16:07:04
1.   mikeplugh
How does the Vechionacci kid look? By all accounts he seems to be regarded as a good prospect. I've heard: slick fielder, needs to get more consistent with the bat.

Does he look like a player?

2006-03-11 17:11:36
2.   brockdc
Mike -

I've read recently (perhaps from you, Cliff?) that Torre's taken notice of him. For a young player on the verge of making the show, Torre's approval cannot be overestimated

2006-03-11 17:15:20
3.   brockdc
Just re-read my post. It's pure speculation on my part, as I have little knowledge of what actually goes on inside Torre's head. Still, Torre's style isn't usually conducive to unproven young players getting much playing time. So if Torre's interested in the kid, I guess that says a lot about him.
2006-03-11 23:34:49
4.   mikeplugh
Over at "In George We Trust", Mike A. has a profile on Vechionacci, and admits he's his favorite non-pitching prospect in the organization.

Sounds like a player. Hope to see him at some point.

http://tinyurl.com/qup4j

2006-03-12 03:56:22
5.   Marcus
Ok, forgive me if I venture into pointless speculation, but this quote by every Yankees fan's favorite villain got me thinking:

//Schilling has been working on pitching inside this spring -- he also hit Red Sox minor-leaguer Jeff Natali in the head in his previous outing -- but felt Duffy could have avoided the pitch.

"The bottom line is that ball should not have hit him," Schilling said. "You've got to be able to get out of the way of that pitch.//

Did any one else see the pitch in question? The pitch seemed to zero in directly on Duffy's head. I don't think for one second that Schilling aimed for the guy's head; it definitely wasn't intentional. However, if Schilling admittedly is trying to pitch inside more this season, is it so hard to believe that Schilling got a little too antsy and pitched a little too inside? How hard is it too admit that and shut up for a second? Instead the guy tries to rationalize the mistake that caused a mild concussion. Oh wait, but it's the batter's fault that he doesn't get out of the way of a ball thrown 95 mph in the general direction of his head.

Schilling might as well be a little more direct and say "Hey A-Rod, you better wear a thicker helmet this season."

2006-03-12 05:55:40
6.   unpopster
Marcus,

yeah, I saw that too. And like you, I just wish Schilling would have just admitted his mistake. But ofcourse, Curt doesn't make mistakes and it was the batters fault, right?

I also saw that Pirates managers Jim Tracy stood up for his player and said that, contrary to Schilling's claim, Chris Duffy was not in the wrong.

Y'know, sometimes I wish that players would give up the politically correct talk and say what's on their minds. I just wish Tracy had said: "Hey Curt, shut the fuck up and take responsibility, douche bag!!!"

Oh well, a boy can dream, can't he?

As for Schilling's plan to pitch inside more, I really want to see Schilling hit Arod or Shef and see what comes from it. My guess is that he runs and let's Varitek stand up for him.

Also, boy did I like what I saw in Farnsworth yesterday. And supposedly the guy's a brawler. He and his 6'4" 240lb. frame might just be our Enforcer this year.

2006-03-12 07:06:35
7.   yankz
unpopster, I think you mean Schilling will let Varitek keep his mask and glove on, and then stand up for him.
2006-03-12 07:34:22
8.   Rob Gee
Tyler's got a good piece on Bowa this morning:

http://tinyurl.com/hn36n

That coincides with me catching my first game this weekend. The first thing I noticed - Man, Bowa's got a lot of energy in the 3rd base box.

Good stuff too about how he's working with Cano and his role as coach allows him to stay on players without fear of wreaking the clubhouse (i.e., his supposed crime in Philly). Good stuff!

2006-03-12 08:30:25
9.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
What kind of schedule do the Yankees have Hughes' on?

Am I right in thinking he'll start the season at Trenton?

If so, and he performs well, would a September call-up be out of the question?

2006-03-12 10:11:16
10.   Simone
The second round of the WBC begins. MLB was slick making sure the U.S. ended up in the weaker pool, but there is no way they would be making it past the stronger Latino teams in the other pool.
2006-03-12 10:59:35
11.   Zack
I keep seeing these reports from Torre about the rotation, and now today at lohud, he quotes Torre saying that Chacon (who has been really lucky today) will get a spot in the rotation, and starting out with a 4 man rotation, the other spot will go to either Wang or Wright (and yes, he made the joke, so I won't bother). Am I missing something here? Is there any reason whatsoever to give Wright a rotation spot, let alone a spot instead of Wang?

Joe, on the tiny chance you read this, it doesn't matter if Wright is a warrior, or is making a lot of money, there is no reason to consider him for our rotation...

2006-03-12 11:18:11
12.   Cliff Corcoran
Hughes and Vechionacci are the two least advanced Yankees campers at least in terms of the level's they've reached in the minors. Both finished last year in the Sally League. From what I've seen this spring, Vechionacci is an excellent defensive third baseman (indeed he was listed as the best defensive infielder in the Yankees organization by Baseball America), and has excellent strikezone judgement (5 walks against 2 Ks in 21 PAs this spring), but as a hitter, he's nowhere near ready. He's hitting .188 this spring with no extra base hits and he hit just .252/.314/.348 in the Sally League last year. The good news is he has plenty of time to work on his hitting.

As I wrote in my Campers piece, Vechionacci will be just 24 when Alex Rodriguez's contract is up. The inverse of that is that he's blocked by the combination of Rodriguez and Jeter until then. I wouldn't be in any rush to get Marcos to the majors. Let him take his time and get his hitting in major league shape and hope the Yankees don't wind up dealing him before he has a chance to win the 2011 Rookie of the Year.

As for Hughes, he's has some duribility problems, landing on the DL in both of his minor league seasons. That's not the kind of player you want to rush. I do expect both of them to start the year in Trenton, and wouldn't mind seeing Hughes advance during the year as the Yankees could use him at any time, but he too is just 19 (he'll be 20 in June). Don't expect him this year. Though, no I don't think a September stint on the bench is out of the question.

2006-03-12 12:05:50
13.   singledd
Catch-22:
" Soriano -- who is a good guy, albeit a stubborn guy -- has been telling anyone who has asked the last four years that the only team for which he would move to the outfield would be the Yankees."

Wow.......
Do you think the Nats would trade Sori for Damon +4mil/yr? I know many people are down on Sori, but as a CF'er, would you really rather have Damon? And Sori is still youngish (compared to Damon). This might be the last year JD has any trade value.

Put Jete's back at lead-off, and have Sori bat 2nd. WOW!!

2006-03-12 13:12:58
14.   Simone
Ugh ... Peavy gives up a home run to Ichiro. Not a good start. Nice DP by Jeter. Let's go, U.S.
2006-03-12 13:18:36
15.   Dimelo
Great bunt and hustle by Captain Crunch.
2006-03-12 13:20:18
16.   mikeplugh
Coffee's a brewin' here in Japan. Jeter's on base. Just like it should be.
2006-03-12 13:22:33
17.   mikeplugh
And A-Rod sours the milk.
2006-03-12 13:29:00
18.   Simone
After that great bunt single, A-Rod kills the inning. They are killing me. Why are they doing this to me? Okay, it is only the 1st. I'm terrified that they are not going to make the next round.
2006-03-12 13:29:43
19.   Simone
There was the price of Jeter's lack of range though I have to say that Peavy doesn't look sharp.
2006-03-12 13:30:12
20.   mikeplugh
No worries. These guys are tough, but over the long haul, we'll score a bunch of runs.
2006-03-12 13:34:40
21.   mikeplugh
They have something to prove and small ball is paying off for them. An American won the Japane Series title this year (Bobby V.) and now they want to show that their style is equal to the world stage.
2006-03-12 13:36:16
22.   Simone
Nice. What is up with Peavy?
2006-03-12 13:40:47
23.   Dimelo
Did anyone else find it ironic that the game is in Anaheim, and ARod bats into a 5-4-3 DP? That's the same way his last AB in Anaheim went.
2006-03-12 13:42:15
24.   Simone
Yeah, home run Chipper. There's the Captain. Looking gorgeous as ever, I must add.
2006-03-12 13:43:35
25.   mikeplugh
Uehara is shaky, but he'll paint the corners on you. He tried to sneak a fastball by Chipper and learned a lesson. He'll fail if he keeps that up, but he can baffle hitter with his offspeed stuff in and out.
2006-03-12 13:44:56
26.   Simone
Damn, what a snare.
2006-03-12 13:47:27
27.   mikeplugh
There's no English language sub-channel on this morning's game so I'm forced to listen to the Japanese announcers, who are so pumped up about this game that every ground out by the US is greeted by an Earth-rattling string of shouting and cheering.

Imagine that a toddler is walking out into traffic and a Mack truck is bearing down on them. That's the urgency and volume that these guys are using to call the game.

Kind of like John Sterling on "The Cream".

2006-03-12 13:48:04
28.   Simone
mikeplugh, you are cracking me up.
2006-03-12 13:51:36
29.   mikeplugh
I have to go to work in a little over an hour and should the US be losing, I'm going to be the subject of a lot of remarks.

I am the only paleface at the job, and they know how much I love baseball. Ugh.

2006-03-12 13:52:40
30.   mikeplugh
Peavy's not sharp.
2006-03-12 13:53:46
31.   mikeplugh
Phew. The 2004 Triple Crown winner is retired. I didn't think I'd be this nervous.
2006-03-12 13:55:14
32.   mikeplugh
Let's get to work. Go Captain.
2006-03-12 14:01:13
33.   Simone
Griffey on fire.
2006-03-12 14:01:58
34.   Simone
Yeah, A-Rod. Let's keep the line moving, guys.
2006-03-12 14:04:28
35.   mikeplugh
My wife woke up and she's already giving me shit.
2006-03-12 14:05:16
36.   mikeplugh
So this is what a Red Sox/Yankees marriage is like. Interesting.
2006-03-12 14:15:24
37.   Simone
Schneider hasn't gotten a hit in the WBC. Why was he picked? To torture me?
2006-03-12 14:20:00
38.   Simone
Hang in there, mikeplugh. The game isn't over.
2006-03-12 14:29:33
39.   Simone
What catch by that Japanese player! What that the 2nd baseman?
2006-03-12 14:44:11
40.   mikeplugh
Gotta go to work in 15 minutes. This sucks.
2006-03-12 14:46:59
41.   mikeplugh
That doesn't suck. Derek Lee.
2006-03-12 14:53:16
42.   Zack
Impressive play by play you to, only problem is that I have no idea what is actually going on from your posts!
2006-03-12 14:57:59
43.   Simone
Zack, didn't know anyone was actually paying attention to my ramblings. Tied! 3-3, top of 7th. HR by Lee.
2006-03-12 15:00:15
44.   Simone
Todd Jones is actually pitching decently. How often does that happen?
2006-03-12 15:02:27
45.   Simone
Shut up, Buck. Your dumbass managing got us blown out by Canada.
2006-03-12 15:11:15
46.   Simone
Okay, something happening here in the bottom of the 7th. Young is on. Jeter bunted him over to 2nd and it out.
2006-03-12 15:12:09
47.   Simone
Anyone seen the "History of Violence?" I highly recommend it. Didn't get a lot of pub, but it is a great movie.
2006-03-12 15:18:04
48.   Simone
Damn, I thought Griffey hit that out. At least, Young is on 3rd.
2006-03-12 15:21:28
49.   brockdc
I've always liked Soriano, despite the fact that he's never been much of an OBP guy. With that said, at this point in their careers, Damon is more valuable as an outfielder. He can hit and play decent defense, his arm notwithstanding. I don't know that Soriano has ever even played a game in the outfield (perhaps in the low minors?).

Also, though Damon's slightly older, it's debatable as to the rapidity of each player's decline. Judging from Soriano's away splits over the past two years, I would speculate that he is already in decline.

2006-03-12 15:23:12
50.   Simone
Arrrgh, A-Rod struck out! Inning over.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-12 15:29:14
51.   Simone
What a catch by Lee. He was going the wrong way turned back and caught the pop up. A man on 1st and 1 out, top of the 7th. Stolen base.
2006-03-12 15:31:49
52.   Simone
Damn, Nathan hit the Japanese hitter in the foot. That looked seriously painful. Settle down, Nathan.
2006-03-12 15:35:09
53.   Simone
Nathan is killing me, killing me. Bases loaded with that HBP and walk. He can't find the plate. Looks like Lidge is up next.
2006-03-12 15:35:19
54.   Simone
Nathan is killing me, killing me. Bases loaded with that HBP and walk. He can't find the plate. Looks like Lidge is up next.
2006-03-12 15:38:29
55.   Simone
Wow, caught a break. The ump said that the Japanese man at 3rd left early on the sac fly so they took the run off.
2006-03-12 15:39:33
56.   Simone
Oh no, it didn't look like he left early at all to me. International incident.
2006-03-12 15:43:30
57.   Simone
Ugh. The replay shown that he didn't leave early. Disaster. Japan robbed of their go ahead run. The WBC needs instant replay. This kind of thing cannot happen.
2006-03-12 15:55:52
58.   Zack
Simone, you got me to watch the game, and glad for it. Good game, too bad about the call, but then again, thats baseball. I would hate the calssic if it had replay, but it should have international umps...
2006-03-12 15:58:35
59.   Simone
Zack, it was a good tense exciting game until that terrible call. I don't know what the hell the ump was thinking overturning that call. Hopefully, Japan and the U.S. make it out of this round.
2006-03-12 16:07:12
60.   Zack
Still a good tense game, can't figure out who to root for: loyalty obviously to the USA, but I kind of like Japan and their fans, which seems to be true of all the other teams for me...Maybe I just wish the US fans (well, more of them at least) had that passion...
2006-03-12 16:14:10
61.   Simone
It is on you, Griffey.
2006-03-12 16:17:42
62.   Simone
Damn, he got Griffey. You're it, A-Rod. You can do it. Come on!
2006-03-12 16:20:20
63.   wsporter
Yeah-Rod
2006-03-12 16:20:24
64.   Simone
U.S. wins. Nice job, A-Rod. I just can't enjoy the win though. The game should be tied at least. I'll root for Japan to come out of the round as well.
2006-03-12 16:20:41
65.   Zack
Well, at least it was A-Rod,the so called non-clutch hitter, to win it!!

Feel bad for Japan, hope they can make it to the next round for a shot at revenge

2006-03-12 16:23:07
66.   Simone
Shut the hell up, Buck Martinez. You managed like crap as per usual and helped cheat the Japanese out of their run.
2006-03-12 16:26:31
67.   Dimelo
All of a sudden everyone feels "bad" for Japan. Ask yourself this, would you feel bad for the other team if it was the Boston Red Sox that got the call against them and they were playing the Yanks? Would you be rooting for them to go to the next round so they can get revenge on the Yanks? I don't think so.

I agree it was a bad call, an unfortunate call but let's not forget why these games are played so there can be a winner and a loser. I wish the call never would have been reversed, but it was reversed and we have to live with the consequences of the decision. We'll see how bad you all feel when the Yanks get calls reversed against them, or vice-versa. Go USA....Go Dominican Republic...I want to see those two play against each other.

2006-03-12 16:33:51
68.   Simone
Well, it wasn't the Yankees/Red Sox playing. This is supposed to be an international tournament. The Japanese were playing a really good game and were screwed out of a run. I don't want to see the same crap umpiring I see during the MLB season. I just hope that the U.S. gets another shot to kick the Japanese's butts fair and square. I'm not certain how the pools work though.
2006-03-12 16:37:34
69.   Zack
Well, in essence, yes I would feel bad for the Sox, mostly because it was a case of a reversed call...if you are going to reverse a call, it better be on stronger grounds than that...And factored in with the games in the us, with us umps, well, yeah I feel bad for Japan, and I feel bad for the WBC that this will probably be an issue...

And besides, until the US fans start showing they care more, at large, I am more inclined to root based on fans/players than countries...

2006-03-12 16:43:25
70.   Dimelo
If the umpires would conspire to help the United States, then you'd have to think they have the same biases for their team in the Major Leagues. Again, the call was a bad one but it was made and we have to live with it....I don't think anything happened that wasn't fair-and-square. I reject that notion. It's part of the game, it's the human element and everyone wishes it wouldn't happen in an international tournament but we can't expect the umpires to be robots and get everything right. Just like ball players are rusty, so are the umps....
2006-03-12 16:53:52
71.   Zack
Im not saying that the umpires would do that, just that by not having international umpires, it creates the potential to argue that, the potential for that case to be made...
And its more than them being rusty, they aren't even major league umps, so they are, in essence, an inferior product...

I am all for the human element, I just think that, in the future, they need to contend with the fact that it is an international competition. The Olympics doesn't use just judges from the host country, nor should the WBC. if it truly is impartial, language shoulnd't be an issue, nor should their nationality...

2006-03-12 17:04:27
72.   Simone
The worse part is that there is no way the umpire could have seen the play unfold well enough to overturn it. He clearly either had his mind made up before or immediately after. In any case, he was wrong.
2006-03-12 17:12:41
73.   Simone
We're rooting for Bernie's team, right? Or are we neutral? I'm not sure what I am.
2006-03-12 17:58:17
74.   Dimelo
I'm rooting for the Dominicans. I love Bernie, want him to do well....but the Dominicans are the team I want to win the entire thing.
2006-03-12 18:04:05
75.   Dimelo
Time to give-up on baseball....The Sopranos is about to start
2006-03-12 18:09:06
76.   Simone
Yeah, I'm off to watch the Sopranos also.
2006-03-12 18:59:58
77.   Simone
Damn, Junior shot Tony. Heh, that is what Tony gets for not sending him to assisted care.

Puerto Rico rocking the DR!

2006-03-12 19:01:48
78.   Dimelo
The Sopranos was f'en awesome....what a great first episode.

F'en DR is losing...crazy ass Julian must have allowed the Ricans to take the lead.

2006-03-12 19:10:29
79.   Simone
Wow, the Puerto Ricans have a dance routine on the dugout to celebrate the 7th inning. How cool is that?!
2006-03-12 19:37:09
80.   mikeplugh
Check the recap of this game at Canyon of Heroes.

My coworkers are taking the loss like the dignified Japanese they are, but they won't forget the result of this game.

It's true, what dimelo and others are saying about the human element and how these things happen, but think about this:

It's one more reason for people to suspect the US. It's one more reason to think that we're the country that changes the rules to suit the result we want. Be it politics, or be it sports. Maybe living in the US, it's tough to get a read on this international sentiment, but it is THE most prevailing sentiment about the US around the world and the umpires reinforced it today.

It's not fair to connect the dots that way, but that's exactly what will happen in many peoples minds. The joy of international competition is the friendly rivalries that emerge and the comraderie that exists across cultures, but the tough part is the inability for people around the world to completely separate the things on the field, from the things in life.

2006-03-12 19:42:33
81.   Simone
Bernie!

mikeplugh, if I were the Japanese, I would be furious. I totally blame the ump for making a bad decision. Typical bad MLB umpiring. It has just caught up with them on an international stage. Unfortunately, the Japanese don't know this is the usual during the season and post-season so they can't help, but be suspicious.

2006-03-12 20:11:06
82.   Simone
Yeah, Puerto Rico. Yeah, Bernie!
2006-03-12 20:36:13
83.   mikeplugh
The unfortunate thing is, all of us here know that the situation was created by a bad umpire. Nothing more. To many in other parts of the world it looks like a cheat.

It looks like the American manager consulted with the American umpire in the American ballpark and got a ruling in favor of an American team. Combined with the sense that the US fixes the intellligence around the facts (Downing Street Memos) and ivades Iraq on trumped up evidence (Colin Powell at the UN, this game takes on symbolic meaning that it really doesn't have.

The Japanese so far are pissed, but typically reserved. They accept that life brings them earthquakes, monsoons, typhoons and precious few natural resources so they are practiced at managing their disappointments. The Koreans, on the other hand, love to spew vitriol against both the US and Japan, and have already printed a few recaps of the game which denounce the US as a country of cheaters who time and time again skirt the rules in order to get what they want.

It's bullshit in this case, but there it is. I have to look people in the face over here and know that they're thinking suspiciously of my country. That sucks.

The answer is: foster an international umpires association specifically to govern these games. If the US and Japan are playing, the umpires should be from the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and Australia or something. No one will have cause to suspect anything and the sport will benefit around the world.

2006-03-12 23:31:47
84.   Zack
I am hoping that many of the kinks of this years wbc will be ironed out...is this a 4 year thing or every year thing?

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