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Tuesday's Game
2006-03-14 17:31
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees lost a close, well-pitched game to the Cardinals who, disturbingly, wore their red home caps on the road. Final score 4-3.

Lineup:

Bubba Crosby CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Jason Giambi DH
Gary Sheffield RF
Hideki Matsui LF
Andy Phillips 1B
Kelly Stinnett C
Felix Escalona SS
Miguel Cairo 3B

Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Kevin Howard 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Marcos Vechionacci 3B, Wil Nieves C, Kevin Thompson RF, Kevin Reese CF, Melky Cabrera LF, Mitch Jones DH, Ben Davis PH, Shelley Duncan PH

Pitchers: Randy Johnson, Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, Tanyon Sturtze, Mike Myers

Big Hits: Just a solo homer by Robinson Cano (2 for 4). Cano was the only Yankee with more than one hit.

Who Pitched Well: Mariano Rivera struck out two in a scorless sixth. Randy Johnson allowed just one hit through 4 1/3, retiring eleven in a row and needing just 36 pitches through his first four innings. He then gave up two runs on a walk and four more hits (including a homer by St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan's son Chris) over his final 2/3 inning. He struck out four on the day throwing 73 percent of 67 pitches for strikes. Johnson will make three more starts this spring.

Oopsies: A throwing error by Kelly Stinnett.

Ouchies: Jason Giambi returned to game action going 0 for 2 with a sac fly, but the big news was Johnny Damon's tired throwing shoulder. Damon hurt his left shoulder diving for a ball early last August, but the reoccurence of soreness has been attributed to typical spring training fatigue. However, because Damon is playing in the WBC and no one in Tampa--specifically Torre, Cashman, or any of the Yankee doctors or trainers--has spoken to him, everyone is overreacting to the lack of information. The fact of the matter is that Damon is resting the shoulder by not playing--he last started on Friday and had a single pinch-hit at-bat on Sunday--just as he would if he were in camp with the Yankees, and could be taken off the US roster and returned to the Yankees if the team advances to the semifinals (which it might not). Damon has a dreadful throwing arm to begin with (Steven Goldman recently wrote that the Orioles' Daniel Cabrera could throw a dead octopus through a brick wall. Damon, like Bernie before him, couldn't throw a brick through a dead octopus.) So as long as the bum wing (which could be fine given the rest) doesn't effect his swing, there's not much cause for concern here. Just be thankful that the Yankees have two of the best cuttoff men in the business in Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano. The more things change . . .

Comments (79)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-14 22:17:43
1.   rilkefan
The NYT says: "Felix Escalona made a dazzling play at shortstop on Tuesday, and he is batting .320 for the spring. Manager Joe Torre said he could be an extra infielder on the opening-day roster." I wonder how many "an" suggests.
2006-03-14 22:35:21
2.   YankeeInMA
hey rilkefan

The speculation is - since Pavano is beginning the season on the DL, do the Yankees carry an extra reliever (12 pitchers) or do they carry an extra position player?

The possibles position players:
Wil Nieves (C) - I think he's out of options, so the Yankees would likely lose him
Felix Escalona
Kevin Thompson

Pitchers (betting on relievers):
Jose Veras (R)
Matt Smith (L)

Proctor is being converted to a starter, so I doubt the Yankees want him to languish at the end of the pen for two weeks.

With all the off days, I'd bet on a position player with ML experience -- Escalona or Nieves.

(first post - been reading this great blog for about 5 months)

2006-03-14 22:47:22
3.   rilkefan
Guess I won't overreact to the lack of Damon info and bet on an outfielder, but I thought the tradition was to load up on relievers and let one or more get rusty enough to be brought in and roughed up then allowed to rerust etc.
2006-03-15 00:22:56
4.   joejoejoe
No worries. Jeter will just play as a shallow 4th OF (like beer league softball) and A-Rod will cover the whole left side. Damon can then just hand Jeter the ball when he has to make a throw - kind of like a noodle armed Little Leaguer.

Jeter is Kelly Leach. Damon is Timmy Lupus.

2006-03-15 00:45:32
5.   joejoejoe
I think if you are carrying an extra IF out of Spring Training it has to be someone that plays first base. Jeter and A-Rod play every day and you don't need two guys to spell Cano.

As for IF depth - I think the Yanks should make Pokey Reese a standing offer of a minor league contract for 2006. He's apparently retired due to some awful personal circumstances but he may reconsider as the year goes on. Anyone would be despondent after the run of tragedy in his family. Steinbrenner used to reach out to people with personal problems (Gooden, Straw) who could help the team. Pokey would a great candidate for some NYY love.

2006-03-15 02:54:11
6.   debris
Anybody ever heard of "Spring Training Shoulder" before? According to the Boston Globe, "Damon said yesterday that he's been told to shut down his throwing for up to two weeks, but that he can pinch hit, pinch run, or be the designated hitter."

Makes one wonder if the Yanks gave JD a physical before coughing up the $52 M or if they were so excited about "stealing" him away from the Sox that they overlooked that little detail.

2006-03-15 05:18:41
7.   David
Two questions: If Damon's shoulder prevents him from playing center field on opening day...

1. Who should start in center field, in your opinion?
2. Who would Torre select to start in center field?

My answers: 1. Bubba 2. Bernie

2006-03-15 05:35:47
8.   debris
David,

Personally, I think the value of defense is vastly undervalued. Considering that Bernie is not the offensive player he once was, I'd put Bubba out there.

2006-03-15 05:50:07
9.   Sliced Bread
6Thanks for your concern, debris. It's nice to see Damon's diehard fans from his Boston days are still so interested in him, you know, writing and talking about him every day. He must be a special player to receive such devotion.

Not sure if the Yanks subjected Damon to a physical before he bolted to the Bronx, but even the baseball geniuses on Yawkey Way will tell you they don't check out every player they acquire, which you'll recall almost crushed the Crisp deal.

Did the Red Sox subject Damon to a physical before offering him $40 million dollars over four years? Of course not.

Will Damon be fine? Yes, thanks for asking.

2006-03-15 05:50:52
10.   Levy2020
7 I feel like we're starting to trend toward picking Kevin Thompson.
2006-03-15 05:51:16
11.   Alex Belth
debris! I knew you'd be back before long.

Hey, have you guys heard about this new independent movie written by Don Delillo about Game Six of the '86 Serious? It stars Michael Keaton, an actor I've always liked, but a guy who hasn't made a memorable movie in too long (Keaton is also a big baseball fan--Pirates fan, I think).

http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/03/13/film.keaton.reut/index.html

You know how I generally feel about baseball movies--they are almost always dreadful--but against my better instincts, I'm holding out some hope for this one.

2006-03-15 06:13:15
12.   Sliced Bread
"Game 6" sounds like the anti-"Fever Pitch."
Keaton playing a tortured Red Sox fan (1986 vintage) could be fun to watch in a NY theater, with a $4 bucket of buttery schadenfreude.

My favorite performance of his was in "The Paper."

2006-03-15 06:24:19
13.   debris
Alex,

I've actually been paying very little attention to the grand old game of late as I've been pretty totally consumed by our purchase of a vacation flat in that great baseball city, Montreal, and in "the coolest neighborhood in North America," the Plateau de Montreal. (quote from Wallpaper Magazine.)

The screwing of Montreal is one of the sadder stories in recent baseball history. This team could have thrived in the proposed downtown location; Olympic Stadium was one of the architectural blunders of the 20th century, globally. Quebec is still paying for The Big Owe.

Our flat, by the way, is about six blocks from the site of DeLorimier Downs, the home park of the Montreal Royals, where Jackie played his first "organized" baseball.

On a side note, Larry Ritter's book, Lost Ballparks, has a nice section on this and many other ballparks, and belongs in any serious baseball library. Actually, everything Larry ever wrote on baseball belongs in any serious baseball library.

And his book, East Side-West Side, belongs in the library of anybody interested in the history of sports in NYC.

2006-03-15 06:43:27
14.   Rob Gee
Hey debris,

With the impact that Lowell is having, what's the over/under before they run him out of town? April? May?

Sure Crisp is looking good - but I bet Marte would look even better at 3B this season.

2006-03-15 06:47:05
15.   Sliced Bread
According to the Bergen Record:

Within 11 days last September, Damon received two cortisone shots and underwent an MRI on the left shoulder. No structural damage was detected.

Damon, 32, passed a Yankees physical before signing a four-year, $52 million deal this winter. If there was any issue about his shoulder, Torre said the Yankees would not have allowed their new center fielder to play in the WBC.

2006-03-15 06:47:17
16.   unpopster
joejoejoe,

word coming from Pokey's "camp" (e.g., his agent) is that Pokey has "lost the passion for the game".

Didn't a similar thing happen to Bubba Trammel a couple of seasons ago?

2006-03-15 06:49:11
17.   Rob Gee
With seeing our old friend Andy this afternoon, would any one else like to see him return to the ballclub next year if the price is right? Or has that ship forever sailed yonder?
2006-03-15 06:50:25
18.   debris
Rob,

I pay very little attention to Spring Training stats. As far as I'm concerned, the most important thing is to get out of camp healthy.

I'm no more concerned with Lowell's weak showing than I am ecstatic over the monster springs being put up by Crisp and Loretta. I'm no more excited by the way Schilling, Hansen, and Clement look than I am concerned by Arroyo's regular bombings.

2006-03-15 07:02:46
19.   Dimelo
Debris - Are you inviting us to your vacation flat so we can all watch the Yanks smoke your beloved Sawx? I love Canada, those French Canadian chicks are wacky....not to mention the strip clubs....mama mia...I'll be going to Mount Tremblant in a few weeks and I can't wait, the only bad thing is that I'll be leaving on the 4th so I'll only catch the first Yankee regular season game but those Canadian chicks will make it all worth it. YIPPIE...I got a flat in Montreal. When do we all get our own key for the flat? I promise to respect your Sawx memorabilia: Buckner's glove, Schilling's jock strap, pictures of Mo Vaughn at the Foxy Lady, your wall of pictures of the '67 team.
2006-03-15 07:06:36
20.   Dimelo
I agree, spring training stats mean absolutely nothing. Last year Jaret Wright was our best pitcher in spring training, how quickly the mighty have fallen.
2006-03-15 07:18:13
21.   debris
I went to Montreal to see the Sox about five years back. The advance sale was their typical 3,000. The walkup was about 40,000. The beer, dogs, and smoked meat were gone by the 4th inning.

Back in 1998, I saw the Expos hang a 7 spot on Pettitte, Stanton, and Nelson to overcome a five run deficit. Pavano pitched but didn't hang around for the win.

2006-03-15 07:36:57
22.   Sliced Bread
17 Rob, I think Pettitte has gone home for good.

Of course, if Andy would be willing to leave Texas for a year or two, the Yanks would give him $eriou$ con$ideration, but I don't see that happening.

Anyway, should be fun to watch him vs Moose today.

2006-03-15 07:43:11
23.   pistolpete
Still worth the money, IMO, to help break up that Sox lineup somewhat.
2006-03-15 07:58:31
24.   KJC
// Sure Crisp is looking good - but I bet Marte would look even better at 3B this season. //
Yeah, but then you got Lowell in center... ;)

// Still worth the money, IMO, to help break up that Sox lineup somewhat. //
If that's the Yanks' thinking, they should've picked Manny up off waivers last year.

2006-03-15 08:07:15
25.   Rob Gee
See, this is why I hate March - and y'all are right - the stats and the games mean nothing.

That said, is there any doubt that Lowell will be run out of town? Is there any doubt that around that same time, Boone will be put on waivers and a certain Marte will make his first of many official appearances?

Now the fun part - the "Nation" gnashing its teeth for a week trying to decide whether they can swallow Aaron-freakin' at 3rd or Snow full-time at 1st.

Good times are ahead! Is it Opening Day yet?

2006-03-15 09:10:36
26.   brockdc
Did anyone else see the Mattingly dugout interview during the Yanks-Cards game last night? When asked to compare any current Yankee player's hitting approach to himself in his playing days, Mattingly mentioned Cano, then added something to the effect of, "I hope I had as good a swing as Cano." Great, Donnie.

First of all, no freaking way. Second of all, Way to pump up the kid's ego even MORE.

If I had to make a comparison, I'd say that Matsui is probably the most similar to Mattingly, in terms of approach (hitting the ball hard to all fields (doubles galore), short, compact, left-handed stroke, utilizing the short porch in right, etc.)
If I had to pick one guy to compare to

2006-03-15 09:21:05
27.   Alex Belth
My pal Jose sent a link with more about the Michael Keaton movie...word is that it is full of itself:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/game_six/

2006-03-15 09:27:07
28.   Dimelo
Screw Mattingly, how dare he praise a young ball player and swell the kid's noggin even more. Mattingly should be fired for such an offense. I hope Big Stein caught wind of that and is sending Randy Levine to fire his ass. BTW, didn't Cano have an opposite field homerun yesterday? Mattingly is smoking crack for thinking this guy hits the ball to all fields. That opposite field homerun is a fluke. The opposite field double Cano got off Colon in the ALDS last year was an aberration, too.
2006-03-15 09:30:04
29.   Nick from Washington Heights
brockdc,I hear what your saying about not pumping up the kid's ego, but I gotta agree with Donny Baseball here: Cano's swing is beautiful. I know it's all kinds of irrational, but that stroke is what gives me hope for him developing into a very good player in the future. The only other player on the Yanks I can think of that has smooth a swing is A-Rod.

My favorite swings in baseball:
Mattingly
Will Clark
Olerud
Bonds

Those lefties just look better hitting, don't they.

2006-03-15 09:30:14
30.   Levy2020
16 The guy I'd like to hear about is Zach Greinke. One of the few Royals prospects since the "never was" Dye, Beltran, Damon outfield that seemed like he was any good.
2006-03-15 09:31:30
31.   Nick from Washington Heights
here's a righty with a great swing I just remembered: Edgar Martinez
2006-03-15 09:35:59
32.   rbj
I'd also throw in Sheff's swing. It's such a vicious swing.
2006-03-15 09:41:27
33.   Nick from Washington Heights
Yeah, rbj, Sheff's swing is definitely noteworthy. And of course it's amazingly effective. The guy hardly strikes out; it one the most amazing things about him considering how hard he swings.
2006-03-15 09:58:46
34.   Dimelo
The swing I loved the most was Tony Womack's.
2006-03-15 10:01:23
35.   debris
The sweetest swings I ever saw: George Brett and Stan the Man Musial.
2006-03-15 10:02:58
36.   debris
Musial, by the way, hit out of an awkward crouch very similar to Mattingly's. I suppose it's just coincidence as Mattingly was two years old when Stan the Man retired.
2006-03-15 10:31:35
37.   YankeeInMichigan
Sweetest swing: Darryl Strawberry.
Right up until his last day, the effortlessness of his home run swing was a marvel. When he connected, you would say to yourself, "That's why George won't give up on him."
2006-03-15 10:40:58
38.   Knuckles
My top swings:
- Will Clark had the greatest swing I've ever seen, hands down. His old college buddy Palmeiro had a similar swing to a lesser degree, but he also loses aesthetic points for the needle poking out of his ass.
- Strawberry, as mentioned above.
- Griffey (pre 1997) all uppercut and the only question was how deep into the RF seats will it land?
- Mattingly

I think Cano has the sweetest swing of any current Yankee, by far.

Also high on my appreciation list is Steve Sax, who was suh a great opp field hitter with that inside out swing that Jeter has also mastered.

2006-03-15 10:48:10
39.   tocho
this is wierd. i'm watching the yanks game and cano just hit an opposite-field double on a very difficult pitch... he looks really good thus far.
2006-03-15 10:50:33
40.   tocho
oh and the double was off Andy Pettite.
2006-03-15 10:52:33
41.   Shaun P
Thanks for the update, tocho! How does Moose look so far?
2006-03-15 10:56:32
42.   unpopster
You know, cockiness, mediocre defense and all, I can't help but really like Robbie Cano.

What has been forgotten about last year's ALDS against the Angels was that, had the Yanks won the series, Cano would have been considered the ALDS MVP (even if they don't technically award it).

2006-03-15 11:05:50
43.   sam2175
Looks like Rafael Palmeiro is truly a forgotten man. People are discussing swings, and not one mention of him? That has to be one of the most effortless, fluid swing ever.
2006-03-15 11:13:12
44.   rbj
OK, so who is this Mitch Jones kid?
2006-03-15 11:16:48
45.   Dimelo
Palmeiro had a lot of "fluid" in his swing.
2006-03-15 11:19:28
46.   tocho
moose looks very good, his breaking stuff is great, his fastball though has only hit around 85 to 88 (probably normal for this time of spring).

OTOH, I like the outfielders today, Thompson, Crosby and Jones (great defense in arm and range, and some pop from the corners). Of course none of them will play everyday (and they shouldn't), but I think that together with Reese, the Yanks have a pretty good depth should something happen with our all-stars (Matsui, Damon & Sheff). Bubba should be very nervous.

2006-03-15 11:27:36
47.   Shaun P
I think you're right on the OF depth, tocho, as long as none of the all-stars are hurt for a long period of time - and as long as Bernie isn't the first man in to fill the gap. Which he probably will be.

Is Moose still in? He seems to have gotten through the 4th with no problems, which I'll take as a good sign.

2006-03-15 11:28:02
48.   Ben
Lefties definetly have sweeter swings, don't know why. Straw and Griffey are the most amazing swings I've ever seen, but my favorite when you include the stance is Olerud. Guy just stands there, Ferdinand the bull and puts the knob through the ball. In the past few years watching him, I'd say to my wife, watch this, bloop single to the opposite field. Doink.
2006-03-15 11:36:25
49.   Cliff Corcoran
Knuckles, 38, nice call on Sax's inside-out Jeter swing, I had almost forgotten.

RBJ, 44, are you serious? Because we just went over Jones, who is 28 by the way, the other day. Power + strikeouts + great arm + no range. See the Campers post.

2006-03-15 11:39:11
50.   joejoejoe
ESPN has today's Yanks-Astros games. A few highlights...

1) John Kruk loves Robinson Cano. He has him batting 3rd for 10 years for the Yanks on his way to several batting titles. Cano is 3 for 3 so far with some sweet swings. Let's home Kruk is right.

2) Mussina looks great. Do you think having a smaller, lighter power pitcher like Guidry as his coach will help him more than a big guy like Mel as the season goes on? That little hop that Guidry did is kind of a mirror image of Mussina at release.

3) Mitch Jones hit a bomb off a AA knuckleball pitcher with a 15.00 ERA that Phil Garner is looking at for a 5th starter. Good Luck with that, Scrap Iron.

4) Harold Reynolds did a dugout interview with Andy Pettite and he seemed happy and easy going as I've ever seen him. I wish he was still in pinstripes.

5-1 Yanks in the middle innings and they look good (except for the blue beer league jersey tops).

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-15 11:51:23
51.   Alex Belth
debris, great call on Musial and Mattingly. It reminds me of something Tom Boswell once wrote. From his book "Heart of the Order" (Penguin, 1989):

"For historical reference, the Musial analogy works [with Mattingly]. Left-handed hitter. Eccentric closed and coiled stance. Sprays the ball. Tons of doubles. Not too many walks. Hard to strike out.

'He doesn't look like Musial, but he hits like him,' says Orioles manager Earl Weaver. 'Musial was the best at adjusting once the ball left the pitcher's hand. He'd hit the pitcher's pitch. Williams was the best at making them throw his pitch. He didn't believe in adjusting. If it wasn't what he wanted, he knew enough to walk to first base. That's why he hit .406. Once every coupla games, a Musial or Mattingly is going to adjust and put that tough pitch in play instead of walking and you're going to get some extra outs. But he's also going to drive you crazy by popping a perfect fastball on the fists down the left-field line for a double.'"

For what it's worth, I've always loved lefties with the long, king kong swings--Cliff Floyd, Hard Hittin Mark Whiten come to mind. I'm too young to really remember Willie McCovey, but I imagine him to be in this category too--sledgehammers, but sweet.

2006-03-15 11:59:36
52.   Shaun P
For everyone dying to know the state of Johnny Damon's shoulder . . . check out the LoHud Yanks Blog linked on the right.

Short story - seems OK. I'm really enjoying that LoHud blog. I hope it keeps up the pace during the regular season, when things aren't as laid back as they are during spring training.

2006-03-15 12:18:01
53.   Rob Gee
52

Let's not start sucking each other's...let's not get too excited -

Tendinitis is exactly what Bernie has dealt with these past few years. If Damon is feeling it this soon in the Spring - heck I'll be happy if we make it through year two of that contract before he really does become Knoblauch - a leading off DH.

2006-03-15 12:24:57
54.   Sliced Bread
re: swingers. Growing up in the 70's/80's as an average-sized player who batted left/threw right, I tried to do everything at the plate like Rod Carew. I can't think of a hitter who made better use of his feet, hands, shoulders, eyes, etc. (learned how to field my position, and many of the fine points of the game watching Willie Randolph).

My favorite swing of the recent era belonged to Bernie Williams: smooth, powerful, seemingly effortless (think Tiger Woods with a Louisville Slugger). His 1998 batting title campaign was as beautiful as it was joyful to behold.

2006-03-15 12:31:47
55.   joejoejoe
I always liked Paul Molitor's swing. Somebody explained to me as kid you could swing a bat like a broom or swing it like an axe. Molitor swung it like an axe.
2006-03-15 12:33:45
56.   Ben
Sliced

That's true, I forgot about Bernie. Another guy that swings down on the ball, very compact. I heard a quote from him one time, called himself a Punch-and-Judy hitter with some pop. It was right on.

Never really liked Bernie's stance though. My favorite Bernie move is that pop and spin thing he does after sliding safely into home. It's like he gets all his ya-ya's out doing that.

In terms of that too, another player who is very composed is Jeter. The only real sign of enthusiasm you'll see from him is the way he flings the bat a million miles an hour towards the third base dugout when he's just missed hitting one out.

I love March, and can't wait for April...

2006-03-15 12:38:03
57.   Shaun P
Rob 53 - even before this diagnosis, did you really expect anything else from Damon? I did not.

I also believe that Bernie's tendonitis was (is?) in his elbow, not his shoulder. Is there a doctor (or Will Carroll) in the house who could tell us if it matters where the tendonitis is?

2006-03-15 12:40:39
58.   sam2175
So Eric Duncan and Mitch Jones are enjoying themselves in ST. Good for the Yankees, hopefully.
2006-03-15 12:57:01
59.   brockdc
Dimelo -

That's lots and lots of sarcasm!

My point is that some people can take compliments well and some can't. Judging from Cano's tendency to big-time it, I would (in my opinion) conclude that Cano would be more inclined to let praise from an all-time Yankee great like Mattingly get to his head. Hopefully, though, he's matured beyond that.

2006-03-15 13:06:09
60.   Sliced Bread
Ben,
Great descriptions of Bernie's 'pop & spin,' and Jeter's fling.

Bernie's stance? Not much to it. Very still, Zen, relaxed, intuitive, as if letting the game come to him. I've always thought his wide stance (legs somewhat far apart) cost him some power. I thought if he started his swing with his legs closer together, he'd get more drive off of his back leg, and thrust from the lead leg. Clearly, his preferred approach made him a better contact hitter, than powerballer.

2006-03-15 13:10:00
61.   Rob Gee
57 Shaun -

Oh no, I didn't expect anything else. The sad part is we haven't even started the season yet and we're dealing with it - too soon. At least MIL-ton's not on our team.

But Bernie was always tendinitis in the shoulder, I think first his right then both. Ugh...

2006-03-15 13:34:18
62.   Dimelo
brockdc, I can't help but be sarcastic....I know the point you were trying to make but I felt you were unjustly 'dissing' Cano. Given that this is the start of his 2nd year, the fact remains that there is still a lot we don't know about Robbie. We don't know if he's the type that will work to fix whatever his faults were. The evolution of Cano as a ballplayer has started, but while the process is occurring we can't expect that he shouldn't get praises from his coaches for fear it might swell his head. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt and allow his coaches to treat him like an adult, and hopefully he can appreciate the praise but continue to work hard and become a better player. That's all. I was just a little taken aback with your wording and felt someone needed to come to our 2nd baseman's defense. He (Cano) appointed me as his own personal defender on the banter.

Uh-oh….I see GeeMoney has brought back from the dead the crazy Uncle Milton talk.

2006-03-15 13:43:47
63.   Rob Gee
Yo D 62-

"We don't know if he's the type that will work to fix whatever his faults were."

Actually, that's exactly what he's been doing this year. And Bowa is exactly the guy to doooittt. Just read something about how Bowa was far from talented yet worked his butt off to be a ML'er. Bowa's also been calling it out as he sees it - Cano's not lazy, just easily distracted (don't I know syndrome?). Any case, you don't have to defend Robby by yourself. I will too - I'm hoping he has a big year on both sides (off and def) to offset the inevitable declines we'll see elsewhere. The kid can hit and has the tools to play solid D. Let's hope Larry stays on him.

And you're not going to suck me back in that easily...I was just making the same dead point about other options (and there were others lest we forget) - still can't believe that the majority here were happy with the Damon signing. At this point - we have what we have...

2006-03-15 13:55:54
64.   wsporter
D & Rob, You can count me in on the Cano defense. He executed a perfect hit and run yesterday and looked good again today. I am crazy psyched about his ability to hit to left with authority (See yeaterdays homrun). Bowa seems to be just what the doctor ordered, I'd be scared to be distracted with that guy around. He be sincerely crazy. Cano's going to be ok.
2006-03-15 14:36:31
65.   rilkefan
"I am crazy psyched about his ability to hit to left with authority"

Lack of baseball knowledge question: Is it a good thing in itself to be able to hit to the opposite field with authority, vs plain being able to hit with authority? I see where
it might stretch the outfield slightly to be able to go to all fields and hence a slight advantage, but isn't a double or homer to right as good as one to left and v.v. in all situations? Or is this a proxy for something else?

2006-03-15 15:15:48
66.   Cliff Corcoran
Rilke, being able to hit to the opposite field is good for a number of reasons. The first is that it crosses up the defense which will generally play a batter to pull, particularly a lefty in Yankee Stadium, thus leaving more room in the opposite field. Hitting to the opposite field consistantly will force the defense to play straight away taking away a tactical advantage. What's more hitting to the opposite field is an indication that a hitter can go with the pitch, meaning he doesn't have to find a pitch to pull, but can hit both the inside and outside pitch with authority. I remember that Paul O'Niell would always say that he could tell when he was going to come out of a slump when he started making strong outs to the opposite field, that meant he was making good swings on all pitches, not just the ones in his wheelhouse.

Of course Giambi and Sheffield (and Ted Williams) put the lie to all of that, but they're special cases.

2006-03-15 16:23:16
67.   brockdc
Come on! You guys are treating Cano with kid gloves. All I heard all winter long is criticism of this guy and ominous PECOTA projections. But now that he's ripping the cover off the ball he's everyone's new favorite. First off, it's spring training. Yeah, he's wailing on the ball and showing uncharacteristic patience, but...it's spring training!

Man, oh man! The backlash for critiquing Yankees on this site can be downright reactionary (see also: Williams, Bernie). Why does Cano need a cadre of apologists? I think he'll do just fine, so long as he keeps working hard on his defense, doesn't half-ass it down the first base line, and becomes far more selective at the plate.

2006-03-15 16:38:38
68.   tocho
Bernie is on fire.

lead-off home run v. Cuba. 1-1 bottom of the 1st., loser goes home. great atmosphere in PR

2006-03-15 17:00:25
69.   rilkefan
So my question I think becomes, are great pull hitters less good than great all-field hitters, or is the point that it's more effective to be an all-field hitter but harder to achieve? Maybe Giambi doesn't have the ability to be excellent going the other way, and would only be a good all-field hitter, but by concentrating on pulling has done especially well - is it clear that Cano wouldn't do better concentrating on pulling only?
2006-03-15 17:11:00
70.   Schteeve
rilke, Giambi only swings at stuff he can pull and uses mind control to convince umps that everything else is a ball. Or something.
2006-03-15 20:52:38
71.   Zack
Wowza, this Japan-Korea game is intense!
2006-03-15 20:57:04
72.   Zack
7th inning, no score...
2006-03-15 21:26:46
73.   Zack
Korea up 2-0 on a great hit by their captain, giving the US hope!
2006-03-15 21:27:19
74.   Zack
clearly I am the only person up, being on the west coast. I guess I must talk to myself
2006-03-15 22:02:26
75.   wsporter
Hey Zack, How you doin, all this global warming is keeping me up late most nights.

Rilke, the answer is I think it depends on the circumstances you outlined. I think it's harder to pitch to a player who uses the entire field than one who relies primarily on pulling the ball. This concept should make some anecdotal sense and I'm sure, on some level, forms the basis of a testable hypothesis. It gives the hitter a greater opportunity to achieve a base hit given the variety and location of pitches he will have to attempt to put in play other than by than simply trying to pull the ball. For example, it's often necessary for a right handed hitter to go the other way to advance a runner. If the hitter can't or won't do it he is by definition less valuable than one who can in that circumstance. Pitching a left handed hitter away is a time honored way of preventing him pulling the ball to advance a base runner or of inducing a double play ball. If however the lefty can work the ball to the shortstop hole it's possible to play hit and run and move the runner that way (so long as the short stop vacates the hole to cover the bag). Again the player who can work the ball the other way may be more valuable than one who can't. Of course someone like Earl Weaver would just say "shut up and hit a three run homerun' so what the hell do I know?

As I think back over 40 plus years of watching and thinking about baseball the truly great hitters have been those who were willing to and have in fact been able to use the entire field. They went with the pitch when the pitch and circumstance called for it and they also could and did turn on an inside pitch and pull it. George Brett and Dave Parker come to mind. I think the analogy extends well beyond baseball to almost any human endeavor; writing, law, medicine, philosophy, mathematics etc. I think it's fair to say that if you can do a variety of things contained within a discipline, and do them well, you're more valuable than those who can't. I guess that's still a fairly subjective view without covering the empirical end of things. But it makes some sense to me.

2006-03-15 22:07:58
76.   Zack
wsporter, good to know I'm not alone out there. I couldn't shut the WBC game off and get my work done, it was just too darn good. Now to hope the Rocket can turn it on again against Mexico, who has the chance to eliminate the US...talk about political undertones!!
2006-03-15 23:34:04
77.   joejoejoe
Rilke - the pull hitters that wsporter is citing are either strong as an ox (Giambi, Sheffield) or had the strongest hands in the game (Williams). It takes additional energy to to extend for an outside pitch and pull it successfully - energy that few players can consistently generate.

Why they devolop the habit of pulling is another story. I imagine it has a lot to do with the positive reinforcement of a successful but less than ideal approach as a young ball player.

2006-03-16 03:10:07
78.   Rob Gee
67 brock -

The reason to treat Cano with kid gloves is because he is a kid. That said, if said problems linger this year (lapses on D, low on-base) without noticeable improvements I'll be right with you.

But...the kid showed up to camp wanting to work on those things and specifically with Bowa. For now, I have no problem giving him the benefit of the doubt. Let's see what the next few months bring.

2006-03-16 12:51:06
79.   brockdc
RobG -

Fair enough. Like I'd said earlier, I really hope he matures and that he lives up to some of the recent hyperbole (namely Kruk) that's being thrown around.

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