Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankees 5, Braves 3 (10 innings)
2007-03-08 18:32
by Cliff Corcoran

The Yankees played their second ten-inning game in as many days yesterday, this time coming out ahead thanks to some more clutch hitting from Josh Phelps.


L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
L - Bronson Sardinha (RF)
R - Angel Chavez (3B)
L - Kevin Reese (LF)
R - Wil Nieves (C)
R - Mike Mussina (P)

Pitchers: Mike Mussina, Scott Proctor, Matt DeSalvo, Colter Bean, Chris Britton, Ron Villone

Subs: Josh Phelps (1B), Andy Cannizaro (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Chris Basak (PR/SS/3B), Raul Chavez (C), Jose Tabata (LF), Doug Mientkiewicz (PH), Kevin Thompson (PH), Eric Duncan (PH), Ben Davis (PH)

Opposition: All but one of the fallen Braves' starters.

Big Hits: An opposite-field home run to lead off the second by Jason Giambi (1 for 3). With the game tied 2-2, Chris Basak (2 for 2) led off the eighth and doubled (though left fielder Matt Diaz booted the ball eliminating what otherwise might have been a close play at second). Josh Phelps (1 for 1) delivered the game-winning RBI single with two-outs in the tenth after having delivered a tie-breaking sac fly in the eighth in his previous at-bat.

Who Pitched Well: Colter Bean slung two perfect innings, striking out two. Bean has allowed just one baserunner in four spring innings, striking out four. Scott Proctor and Ron Villone pitched around singles for a pair of scoreless innings, Villone benefiting from a double-play and earning the save. Matt DeSalvo pitched two scoreless innings, though he did allow four baserunners (a single, a Kelly Johnson double, and two walks).

Who Didn't: Mike Mussina retired the last five men he faced, but he was pounded before that, allowing a pair of runs on four hits in his first inning and a third, including a fielder-assisted Jeff Francoeur homer and a pair of doubles. Even those early outs were hit hard. Chris Britton blew a one-run lead in the ninth on a walk and a triple, vulturing the win from Bean.

Oopsies: Attempting a leaping catch at the wall of a drive to deep right by Jeff Francoeur, Bronson Sardinha tipped the ball over the wall for a home run as the ball bounced out of the webbing of his glove. In the bottom of the ninth, after Scott Thorman drew a one-out walk off Chris Britton with the Braves down by a run, Willie Harris pinch-ran and Raul Chavez overthrew second on Harris's steal attempt, which allowed Harris to reach third before eventually scoring the tying run (though to be fair, Harris was plated by a triple and thus could have scored from first).

Ouchies: Bobby Abreu didn't feel any pain while swinging his broomstick, Humberto Sanchez is soft-tossing on flat ground, and Andy Phillips has returned to camp. Phillips will have to work his way into game shape over the next few days. His 53-year-old mother, Linda, whose car was t-boned by a tractor trailer, has undergone successful surgeries on her shattered hip and pelvis as well as another to alleviate some clotting. She's been off her respirator since Wednesday and, though she's still not fully lucid, she's responsive and stable enough for Andy to return to the team.

Battles: Chris Britton blew the save in the ninth when he allowed a ringing two-out triple of the bat of Tony Peña Jr. Wil Nieves (0 for 2) grounded into a double play to kill a rally in the second, then failed to execute a sac bunt in the fifth. Asked to do the same in the tenth following Jose Tabata's leadoff single, Ben Davis (a famous bunter of sorts), bunted right back to the mound, but benefited from a throwing error by pitcher Steve Colyer which put runners on second and third with none out. Raul Chavez also went hitless in two at-bats and committed a throwing error on a stolen base attempt. Josh Phelps twice came to the plate with the game tied and the go-ahead run on base, and both times drove that run home. With the go-ahead run on third and one out in the eighth, Phelps delivered a sac fly to deep right to put the Yankees up 3-2. With the game tied 3-3 in the tenth, men on first and second, and two outs, Phelps creamed an opposite field single off the wall in right to push the score to 4-3 Yankees. Phelps also had a good day in the field, saving yet another Alberto Gonzalez error with a nice scoop at first base, though he did run into an out trying to go first-to-third on Bronson Sardinha's RBI single to end the rally in the tenth. Thus far Phelps has raked at the plate (.600/.615/1.000), looked perfectly viable in the field, but has proven to be a dreadfully slow baserunner.

2007-03-09 00:59:14
1.   joejoejoe
Cliff - Do you have any thoughts on who would be the first person called up from the minors at each position in the case of injury? Not necessarily who the best prospect is in the minors but who the team thinks is the best short term fill-in with the big club.
2007-03-09 05:24:09
2.   williamnyy23
If anything, what this Spring Training has shown is the Yankees have more than a few capable 5th outfielder types in their system. At the beginning of February, my feeling was that the Yanks would be better off with Bernie over a 12th pitcher. Now, I have transitioned to thinking that they'd be smart to go north with 5 outfielders instead of another bullpen arm. A 5th OF'er would not only give Torre more pinch running and defensive replacement options, but it would also provide more coverage in case Giambi plays more 1B and one of the outfielders DH's. In those types of games, Melky would presumably be in the field, leaving only Cairo as a viable defensive replacement in a pinch. It would be silly to allow that to happen.
2007-03-09 05:48:28
3.   monkeypants
You see, Phelps just doesn't get it--he's falling right into Minky's trap. Phelps keeps hitting (do all of his singles bounce off the outfield wall?), but that only confirms Torre's, et al, speculation that he is just a "hitter' and not a 'good fielder.' Minky, that crafty veteran, knows that the team is fascinated by getting a 'good fielder' at 1B. So, he's sandbagging, saving all of his hits for the regular season, and all the while confirming his reputation as a 'good fielder'. Yep, every hit Philps gets this spring is just another nail in his own coffin. Wily Minky.
2007-03-09 05:49:31
4.   ny2ca2dc
I'd like to see Phelps make the team as the starting 1B, with MKZ & Phillips competing as the no-hit LIDR... too bad MKZ's deal isnt a minor league one & Phillips doesn't have options...

Then again, Sexon would fix all dat..

2007-03-09 06:12:43
5.   Knuckles
I think they should give every chance to Phelps to win that job- his upside is way higher than Minky's.

If ST ended today, I'd give him that 1B spot, and tell him it's his, as long as he sticks like glue to Mattingly, for both hitting and fielding work.

2007-03-09 06:57:09
6.   Shaun P
Torre has been impressed in the spring before, so maybe his love of Phillips plus Phelps's great spring hitting will leave Mientkiewicz the odd 1B out. His contract is only $1.5M, and IIRC, the Yanks have eaten such a contract before (Henry Rodrigeuz in 2001).

With H-Rod, he got hurt 2 days before the season started. He was put on the 15 day DL, then sent to extended spring training, then finally called up in late May. He was on the team for 2 weeks, went 0 for 8 over 5 games, was designated for assignment, and released 10 days later.

I don't see this happening to Mientkiewicz, but maybe Cashman could flip him to another team looking for a LIDR at 1B?

2007-03-09 07:19:28
7.   wsporter
The best news there is Andy's mom.

6 MFD, my sense is, unless Andy is kidnapped by the litte people, Phellps is auditioning for the O's.

2007-03-09 07:23:34
8.   Jim Dean
2 I thnk the best case scenario is exactly that with only one extra 1B. The bench is significantly better with another OF (Thompson or Sardinha). Worrying about defense at 1B is quite silly and no reason to carry an extra player whose sole role is defense at 1B (i.e., no bat and no glove otherwise).

6 Sorry, mate, but not only does Minky have no value in a trade (The Royals didn't want him) but it would be very silly to keep both Andy and Phelps, unless it was at the expense of Cairo. And we know that's not happening.

Meanwhile, I wish it were possible for a strong Spring from Basak to bump Cairo. He's only going on year 28 and if he hit to his mL averages he be a better offenive option than Cairo. Too bad that's a pipe dream from me.

2007-03-09 08:20:19
9.   Rich
The odds are fairly high that Mientkiewicz could become this year's Todd Zeile. That is, Torre will play him no matter how bad he is as a result of his veteraness.

I agree, however, that Phelps should be given the opportunity to start at 1B.

2007-03-09 08:24:13
10.   JL25and3
3 You're assuming that Mntkwcz actually has some hits to save for the regular season.
2007-03-09 08:26:22
11.   hoppystone
Just for fun: based on what little we've seen so far, if you were to take Sardinha and Tabata, and compare their 'look' to proven players (retired or not), who would they turn out to be?
2007-03-09 08:27:00
12.   markp
Agree X3.

I would give 6-1 on Phelps getting more than half of the starts at 1B.

2007-03-09 08:27:52
13.   monkeypants
10 Like I said, that's one crafty, crafty veteran we're talking about.
2007-03-09 08:38:41
14.   standuptriple
It seems like Tonya Harding will do just about anything for a buck these days. Maybe we should contact her re: MCI.
2007-03-09 08:52:10
15.   Knuckles
Tabata, from what little I've seen of him in person, 'reminds' me of Beltran in size/shape. I almost don't even want to talk or think about him for a few years, because he's SO young. He's entering his age 18 season right now...the last star to break in at a young age that I can recall was Andruw Jones, who got 100 big league at bats in his age 19 season, and only started playing more or less full time at age 20.

To put that in perspective, placing Tabata on the A. Jones (re: aggressive) timetable, schedules him for a September call-up next fall, 18 months from now...

2007-03-09 09:15:05
16.   Bama Yankee
Looks like there is good news/bad news in the latest on the MLB/DirecTV deal.
Good news: Cable is allowed to provide the Extra Innings package.
Bad news: They probably will not.

"Major League Baseball announced its $700 million, seven-year agreement with DirecTV on Thursday and said the deal contains a provision that allows its 'Extra Innings' package of out-of-market games to remain on cable television if the other incumbent providers agree to match the terms.

The president of one of those providers, iN Demand's Robert Jacobson, immediately said those terms were impossible for his company to agree to and called it a 'de facto exclusive deal.'"

2007-03-09 09:50:13
17.   Jim Dean
15 That's exactly it - no one should be talking about him because he is so young. Really what's the point? To sell baseball magazines and books?

That's said, if he has an above league averge season in Tampa, he should get every accolade coming. And yet, he's still a year or two away. As you say, that's very aggressive too. What happens if he merely puts up another .800 OPS in Tampa? Jones put up huge numbers right when he started A+.

Let's see Jose excel in a tough league before annointing him anything in the Bronx (that's directed at the community not you, Knuckles).

2007-03-09 09:50:58
18.   mehmattski
Interestingly, Phelps has knocked the crap out of the ball in two of his last three spring trainings:

2003 TOR 52 AB .308/.350/.577
2004 TOR 69 AB .304/.333/.435
2005 TBD 68 AB .338/.387/.632

So perhaps, this is a trend for Phelps, and he won't carry this production on to the regular season.

2007-03-09 09:59:55
19.   Jim Dean
18 Fastball hitter perhaps? I recall Andy has a way in Spring too.
2007-03-09 10:12:15
20.   Cliff Corcoran
Indeed, Phelps and Phillips are very similar hitters. The key difference being that Phelps is younger and has had success at the big league level in the past. The other key difference being Phillips defensive abilities.
2007-03-09 10:45:54
21.   yankz
All right, the Deadspin Yankee fan It's not even a preview. It's just drivel.
2007-03-09 10:55:09
22.   Shaun P
20 Too bad you couldn't add their best skills together to make a single player . . .
2007-03-09 11:00:13
23.   Chyll Will
22 A Play-Doh version of Tino?
2007-03-09 12:12:11
24.   Jim Dean
I haven't watched many Spring games in my lifetime, but I imagine hitters get a steadier stream of fastballs, no?

So for the hitters it might just come down to timing. Until they start getting the off-speed stuff mixed in more offten? And if Phelps has never been an off-speed guy - in seeing or tracking, then he gets in trouble?

2007-03-09 16:10:06
25.   ny2ca2dc
are you frigin kidding me, am i really hearing on gameday audio that pavano is a late scratch on his start today? for 'personal reasons'? OMFG!

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