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Thursday's Split Squad Games
2006-03-16 22:43
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees dropped a pair of split-squad games to the Tigers and Astros yesterday.

A-Game

Wednesday the Yankees visited Houston and put the smack down. Yesterday, the Astros returned the favor 10-5.

Lineup:

Miguel Cairo 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Jason Giambi 1B
Gary Sheffield DH
Hideki Matsui LF
Kelly Stinnett C
Kevin Howard 2B
Ramiro Pena SS
Kevin Reese RF

Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Russ Johnson 3B-2B, Hector Made 3B, Wil Nieves C, Bronson Sardinha RF, Rudy Guillen LF, Ben Davis DH

Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, Tanyon Sturtze, Mike Myers, T.J. Beam

Big Hits: Solo homers by Matsui (1 for 2) and Russ Johnson (2 for 2), a pair of doubles by Stinnett (2 for 3) and a triple by Melky Cabrera (2 for 4)

Who Pitched Well: Wang allowed five hits and no walks in four innings and getting ten of his twelve outs on ground balls, but was betrayed by his defense resulting in a pair of unearned runs in the first. Rivera and Myers both walked one in a hitless inning, though Rivera also hit a batter.

Who Didn't: Sturtze and Beam combined to allow seven runs on six hits a pair of walks and a homer (Luke Scott off Beam) in two innings pitched. Sturtze also plunked two Astros. Ugly.

Oopsies: A fielding error by Cano and a throwing error by Ramiro Pena.

Ouchies: Jason Giambi played the field for the first time since before his calf injury. Jorge Posada has a fever, unfortunately an increase in cowbell has not caused the illness to abate. He'll skip the Yankees' two-game roadtrip to Jupiter this weekend.

B-Game

Joe Torre actually joined his B-squad on the road (Mattingly managed the home game) as it enabled him to have dinner with his old Cardinal teammate Bob Gibson and Gibson's even older teammate Stan Musial. How much would you pay to join that trio for a long, story-filled meal? I'm sure dinner was better than the Yankees 4-3 loss to the Tigers, which was so incredibly dull that the subhead of the game wrap on the Yankees' official site reads: "Rolls, Escalona, Vechionacci drive in runs for New York." Wow, thrilling.

Lineup:

Bubba Crosby CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Andy Phillips 1B
Mitch Jones DH
Damian Rolls LF
Felix Escalona SS
Omir Santos C
Marcos Vechionacci 3B
Kevin Thompson RF

Subs: David Parrish C, Jose Tabata RF

Pitchers: Matt DeSalvo, Jeffrey Karstens, Scott Erickson, Sean Henn

Big Hits: None. Not one Yankee had an extra base hit or a multi-hit day.

Who Pitched Well: Really no one, though both Jeff Karstens and Scott Erickson allowed just one baserunner in two innings a piece, both baserunners came on solo homers. Matt DeSalvo allowed just one run on another solo homer in three innings while striking out three, but also walked three and allowed two other hits, and the homer was by Omar Infante.

Who Didn't: No one really stunk up the joint like Sturtze or Beam in the A-Game. Sean Henn got the loss by giving up another run in 1 2/3 innings on two walks and two hits, the second hit being a game-ending RBI single by Nook Logan, though Henn also struck out two.

Oopsies: The Yankees played error-free ball, but the Tigers made four errors behind groundballer Nate Robertson (11 of 15 outs on the ground) and company, giving them a staggering 26 on the spring.

WBC: The USA managed just three hits against Mexico, losing 2-1 and thus losing a tie-breaker to Japan, who will advance to play Korea in the second semi-final on Saturday, the third match-up between the two teams in the tournament and a game I don't plan to miss. That means the Yankees will be back at full force possibly as soon as Sunday's return to Tampa. Bernie Williams is already back in Tampa, where he will work out at the minor league complex while the Yankees are on their two-day road trip. For the record, Derek Jeter went 0 for 4 in last night's game and finished the WBC with a .450/.522/.550 line with a triple and no strikeouts in 23 plate appearances over six games. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 2 with two walks last night finishing with a .333/.391/.381 line with a double and seven strikeouts in the same number of opportunities. Johnny Damon did indeed pinch run last night, but did not come to bat, finishing the tournament 1 for 7 with a triple and two walks. Al Leiter made just one appearance in the tournament giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in just 2/3 of an inning.

Third Cut: After pitching in the B-game, Matt DeSalvo and Jeffrey Karstens were optioned to Columbus (a.k.a. minor league camp). With that, the Yankees have relocated all of the starters who aren't either going to make the 40-man roster or be considered for work out of the bullpen, which is to say that I believe that the Yankees are currently trying to figure out what Sean Henn might be able to offer in a relief roll. DeSalvo has thus far fulfilled expectations by departing camp as the pitcher most likely to pull a Chien-Ming Wang this season. His final spring line: 8 IP, 4H, 1 R, 1 HR, 6 BB, 5 K, 1-0, 1.13.

Comments
2006-03-17 02:24:54
1.   joejoejoe
ESPN Insider has a rumor about Andy Pettite possibly returning to the Bronx or retiring. Does anyone have the full scoop? I can only read the tease not being a paid subscriber.

See - http://tinyurl.com/dey4k

2006-03-17 02:37:39
2.   debris
joe,

filler. "As he enters the final year of his contract with the Astros, Andy Pettitte indicated Wednesday that he may decide to retire at the end of the season if he's unable to stay healthy in 2006.

The lefty throwing Pettitte could also possibly wind up back with the Yankees, a team with which he won four World Series titles, this season if the Astros fall of the playoff race in the National League."

I suppose he might also wind up pitching in a over-35 league in Poughkeepsie, but that's just speculation.

2006-03-17 04:54:05
3.   bp1
Cowbell. Nice. :-) Get well, Jorge.

Cliff, did you see any of the game? I missed it. That Sturtze outing is a little worrisome, but hopefully it's just Spring Training rust.

I watched the WBC last night, but was not stomping around the room after the loss. It'll be nice to have the guys back in camp this week. I wonder if the other guys will gather around for a trip report, or just pat them on the backside and say "Hey - welcome back" and leave it at that.

The season is almost here. I can almost smell the Nathans.

BP

2006-03-17 04:56:32
4.   bp1
Oh - one more thing.

What's the over/under on when Sen. Al will announce his retirement? Today? This weekend? I'm sure he's letting Rocket have his time in the spotlight, but it'll be soon I'm sure.

BP

2006-03-17 05:21:10
5.   singledd
Is anyone else reading: "Inside the New York Yankees"...
http://www.inside-the-new-york-yankees.com/index.html

While I enjoy the content, this guy seems a little bit to pro-Yankees. I love reading good things about my guys, but It has more weight when it comes as un-biased info, and not as 'The Yanks are the best' point-of-view.

The author: Mark Gallagher, seems to have an impressive resume. Alex, Cliff... you know who this guy is?

2006-03-17 05:22:43
6.   Ben
I've never been so comforted by a loss as with last night's USA Team. Not because it means Jeter, Arod and Johnny D will be joining the yanks again, but because it's reassuring to see baseball back in all its humbling, ignorant grace.

Here's hoping the Yanks develop that certain something that makes this year a meaningful one.

2006-03-17 05:25:51
7.   Ben
Oh also, I read Stepping Up, the Curt Flood Bio by our co-Host AB. Blood runs thicker than release dates, so I got an early copy. I can't sing its praises loud or sweet enough. Mazel Tov Alex! Good luck with whatever project you tackle next.

-Benny Eggs

2006-03-17 05:27:43
8.   Dimelo
I'm rooting for the Dominican team, but I soooooooo wanted to see the Americans advance and go to the championship round. Simply because of the media attention, I was quietly rooting for the Cubans to advance too. I wanted to see the Cubanos play against the Americans. All the drama leading up to that game had me salivating. For me that game would be my own 'miracle on ice' - I was too young to remember the real one and also don't like hockey. I know, I know…I might be reaching a little a bit but having the very rich American players go against the poor communists from Cuba. I could already see the stadium going wild. With chants of "Que viva la revolucion!" from the Cuban faithful (not the Miami Cubans) and the Americans chanting "Libertad" or "Freedom". To me that game would have been hyped so much and it would have been great if it lived up to its billing. Oh to dream….damn American team ruined my fun.
2006-03-17 05:35:04
9.   Sliced Bread
This is a test of the WBC Significance system. This is only a test.

Mexico eliminates U-S, 2-1

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

This is a test of the WBC Significance system. The New York Yankees, in involuntary cooperation with Major League Baseball authorities, have developed this system to keep you informed in the event of a baseball emergency, for example, a cut on the chin sustained by Johnny Damon while shaving.
If this had been a meaningful baseball game, the attention signal you just heard would have been followed by a recap of highlights, a boxscore, and perhaps an interview with Roger Clemens. This system serves the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut metropolitan area, and wherever else New York Yankees fans reside.
This concludes this test of the WBC Significance system. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Bernie Williams now, finally rejoin Yankees Spring Training, already in progress.

2006-03-17 05:38:30
10.   Sliced Bread
Oh yeah, Damon's back too.
2006-03-17 06:27:44
11.   wsporter
Dimelo 8, I take it, in a supreme ironic twist, that you see Team USA in the role of the Russians and Cuba as the US Hockey Team? The analogy might have worked except for the fact that in 1980 the Russians were by far the best team and Team USA is, well ...... you know. Besides, I just can't seem to work up those warm cuddly feelings where the Cuban National Baseball Team is concerned. They're good but are they really and truly loveable? I mean that in a manly, hetero, at a distance and completely appropriate sense of course.
2006-03-17 06:38:20
12.   Dimelo
I wasn't developing warm cuddly feelings for the Cuban team. Sorry if you got that impression. I would have wanted the US to beat their ass.

I just wanted to watch all the drama unfold and hearing the pre-game hate-speak from Fidel himself. Maybe he might recruit Bin Laden to stand next to him and yell how the Cubans will beat the American infidels. I love chaos and craziness...I try to embrace it as much as possible - whenever I see it about to happen.

I don't feel that way about the Yanks. I like a tight run ship, no drama, no talking...'just win baby'.

2006-03-17 07:10:51
13.   murphy
does anyone know anything about melky cabrera's OF defense this spring?
2006-03-17 07:16:13
14.   Rob Gee
9 Nice one Sliced!
2006-03-17 07:24:12
15.   Shaun P
Now, someone better make sure that Jeter, A-Rod, and Damon don't get hurt in the remaining Spring Training games.

And bp 4 - the only correct answer is, he can't do it quickly enough to make me happy. For the '09 WBC, Team USA better not have overly-patriotic players who are also overly-craptistic, like Senator Al. And I think its safe to say Buck Martinez has managed his last game involving big leaguers, no?

Congrats to your boys, tocho - shame they couldn't advance themselves with the win.

2006-03-17 07:27:07
16.   Levy2020
Now, I love A-Rod, but he did draw a walk as the winning run at the plate and put a lot of pressure on Vernon Wells last night. Yes, there was only one pitch to swing at, but. . . .

That said, it was much weirder to see Damon pinch run for A-Rod in the 9th. I always thought A-Rod was a 20-20/40-40 guy with pretty decent speed. Esp. as a Shortstop. And even then, behind Chipper Jones does adding speed make a difference?

2006-03-17 07:51:05
17.   bp1
16 A-Rod is generally recognized an excellent baserunner, with both good speed and good instincts. I can see no reason to ever pinch run for him, unless he is hurt, which was not the case. That move left me shaking my head. "This would never happen in a real game" was what I kept thinking, and it is exactly that sort of thing that soured me on the WBC games.

A-Rod got pulled for pinch runners twice. Weird. It's not like he's a sloth on the bases on Giambi or Ortiz. There's no rational explanation, other than they wanted to get Damon in the game, or were afraid A-Rod would hurt himself. In either case, that's exhibition baseball mentality, not "we have to win the game" mentality.

I've beat this drum enough now.

BP

2006-03-17 07:52:34
18.   Shaun P
Further proof 16 that Buck Martinez has no clue what he's doing. If the US ties the game and goes into extra innings, why would Martinez ever want A-Rod on the bench and unavailable to hit? So he could give Matt Holiday or Brian Schnieder more ABs?

I'm pretty unhappy with Buck Martinez right now.

2006-03-17 08:09:44
19.   Shaun P
The worst part of Team USA being out of the WBC is the crappy stories about how this wouldn't have happened if only the team had some 'scrappy role players' instead of so many All-Stars. Because the scrappy role players care more, of course, and caring is what wins baseball games.

I've yet to see a story that doesn't also include the obligatory "A-Rod isn't clutch in big games" bs. Sigh.

2006-03-17 08:14:51
20.   Shaun P
Leaving the WBC behind, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has a 'video blog'(?) of Legends Field. It was kinda cool, though short (3 minutes):

http://tinyurl.com/ku3jg

2006-03-17 08:25:17
21.   Rob Gee
Stark is a putz. That video had more quips about Big Stein than anything else. Plus, those left me simply staring at the screen when he was clearly aiming for laughter - at least he can write better than 100 trained monkeys.

At least now I know that to get autographs at Legends Field you have to pass your gear through the fence. Great insight!

2006-03-17 08:53:55
22.   Sliced Bread
14 Thanks, Gee. Only a fellow WBC naysayer would find any humor in that one.
2006-03-17 08:54:56
23.   Cliff Corcoran
Stark has the worst sense of humor of any writer I've come across. And I don't mean worst as in corny, I mean worst as in just flat out not funny. It's made all the worse by the fact that he's adopted a tone that makes it clear that he thinks his stuff (and the quips of the "resident humorists" he quotes) is quite funny.
2006-03-17 09:16:43
24.   Zack
Cliff, love the cowbell reference, it just doesn't get old...

The problem with the DeSalvo thing is that he has that major obstacle in his way, Scott Erikson. Is there any doubt he willbe the first one called up? The YES guys are already talking about him that way, and it just makes me sick to my stomach to think, rather, know that Torre would always go for Erikson than DeSalvo. And that he would actually give Erikson a season long chance, and DeSalvo a game or two. Sigh...

2006-03-17 09:27:19
25.   tocho
thanks shaun, even though they were eliminated from the tournament, it was a great day for Mexican baseball fans.

The pitchers did a tremendous job of preserving that small lead, and for many of the batters (especially the ones that don't play at MLB level) it was the thrill of their lives to bat v. Clemens.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's games.

2006-03-17 09:38:29
26.   Cliff Corcoran
Zack 24, Torre doesn't seem to be stretching Erickson out much, I think he's looking at him as more of a righty Donovan Osbourne type (that is, five years past his sell-by date) long reliever. Yes, he could be a swing man too, but odds are his starts will be ugly and that experiment won't last if there's a long-term opening in the rotation. Maybe I'm being an optimist. Then again, how upbeat can I be when I'm actually pulling for Mendoza to make this team because it would keep Erickson off?

Either way, we're only half way through the spring, so there's time yet for Erickson to remember that he doesn't have it anymore.

2006-03-17 09:39:58
27.   Simone
Now that I've calmed down somewhat. Congrats to Mexico and tocho! It was a very well played game. The Mexican players showed lots of heart.

So many of Buck Martinez' moves were perplexing that I can only shake my head. It seems to me that he never took the U.S.'s competition seriously until things started to go very badly. The U.S. had the easiest path to finals and still couldn't get the job done. Oh well.

Korea/Japan and DR/Cuba will be thrilling games. I can't wait.

2006-03-17 09:44:20
28.   Count Zero
9 ROFL

12 I think you overestimate the importance of Cuba in today's political scene. That embargo will be lifted before 2010 because it's stifling a huge opportunity for American business. The only reason it's still there is because of a small vocal minority in Florida -- a state that the Republicans need very badly in Presidential elections. Most Americans couldn't give a rat's ass about Fidel.

18 Buck Martinez is a freakin' moron. Pinch run for A-Rod?!? I could see maybe...MAYBE...if he's the lead runner and stealing a base could lead to tying the game. I wouldn't do it myself, but you might convince me it's a valid move. But as the trailing runner?!? Buck is a crackhead.

2006-03-17 10:16:45
29.   Knuckles
This is apropos of pretty much nothing, but I hope A-rod comes into the 2006 season fcking pissed off and ready to kill. I swear to the Babe, you can't turn on or read any mainstream media these days without hearing some jock sniffer or another start ranking on Rodriguez. He's already the the forefront of the WBC punchlines, when in reality the whole team (and the whole concept of the tournament) sucked. I'd love a May brawl against that assclown Schilling, and a 50+ HR season. Quit pussyfooting around, Yanks- get angry, stay angry, and beat the piss out of the American League.
2006-03-17 10:16:47
30.   The Mick 536
My cup runneth over after the loss, the contents hitting the floor unlike Buck who kept spitting on himself. Two bad calls by Davidson would have made them wounded champs, assuming they would have concentrated long enough. Lacklustre.

Buck should learn how to expectorate with class as A-Rod and others do. Jete, my Man, just blow de bubbles. Short spits landed on his shirt. Then he would wipe it or look for it. Disgusting.

Buck kept acting like he had the game in control. Not that he could hit for them, but tell them to be patient, please.

2006-03-17 10:23:55
31.   tocho
thanks Simone, I know the game must have sucked for you.

The fact that Mexican players were celebrating like they had just won the WBC despite being eliminated just shows you how much it meant for them.

the silver lining for all is that Jeter and the boys are back where they belong, with their pinstripes and all.

2006-03-17 10:51:51
32.   Shaun P
28 - Good thought - Buck Martinez won't be managing Team USA in 2009.

(Potentially) bad thought - what high-profile manager with multiple rings for his fingers will likely be retired by 2009, and probably only too happy to manage Team USA? Joe Torre!

If Torre brought Zim along as bench coach, it wouldn't be so bad.

2006-03-17 10:53:18
33.   bp1
29

Amen.

BP

2006-03-17 11:49:11
34.   Dimelo
Knuckles, I love that kind of talk....let's go on f'en rampage.

Leave the women and children the Yankees are in town and they are ready to beat the piss out of your hometown team.

I agree, it's getting old the way the mainstream media is treating ARod. I read somewhere that the reason Buck took out ARod and had Damon pinch run was because Buck thought ARod might choke and not run. I found that comment a little funny, but it is how people think about the guy.

I hope the Yanks come out angry...

2006-03-17 12:11:36
35.   Rob Gee
29

Me too!

I'm so damn sick of this corpoarate bull. I'm looking for ghetto shit this year - running people over, rolling tackles into 2b - enough of the PUSSYcat-style of play. f'en rampage indeed 34.

2006-03-17 13:04:34
36.   Dimelo
I'm of the ilk that I like to see the other team beaten into submission. Total disregard for their feelings - that's why that beating the Indians gave the Yanks two years ago really stung. One of the greatest feelings, when watching a game, is that no matter who the opposing manager brings in to pitch; the Yanks still hit anything he's throwing.

I don't feel sorry for the opposition, I don't feel sorry for jack shit about the other team...winning is the ultimate goal. I'm one of the few people who thinks like Big Stein - winning should come before breathing. I so want them to come out hungry this year. Not fall into a rut like they did last year.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with was last year's ALDS loss. When the Yanks lost to the Sawx in 2004, when the series started I knew in my heart that the Sawx were the better team. Then the Yanks go up 3 - 0, only to lose...it was tough because it was the Sawx and we Yankee fans had to deal with all the crap afterwards but I gave the Sawx their due credit. They won, we didn't...life goes on. They were truly the better team and I accepted that quickly. Then came last year's ALDS. I am still miffed at how the Yanks lost. They did everything right going into the ALDS. They were jelling at the right time, they overcame adversity and they lost to a team that was NOT better than them. I can deal with a loss, but nothing burns a hole in your stomach more than when your team loses to a team ('03 Marlins, '05 Angels) that wasn't as good as yours. Along with beating the piss out of the Sawx, I hope the Yanks have some sweet revenge for the Angels too. Those pesky Angels are a little too cocky in my book. It's time the Yanks humble those mother f'ers. And the teams the Yanks have dominated...then keep dominating them some more. Watch out White Sox - let's see how well Contreras, Javy, Garland, and Bueherle do this year.

I'm all fired up right now....

BTW, why would a school be named 'Oral Roberts'? That sounds like beauty school for dumb blond chicks. "Hey, I went to Oral Roberts and I've specialized in giving Happy Endings". GREAT, why don't you start right now?

2006-03-17 15:03:59
37.   Rob
100 trained monkeys? I thought we were thru talking about Jim Caple here!

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