Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Tigers 9, Yankees 5
2007-03-25 17:52
by Cliff Corcoran

Paging Darrell Rasner . . .


L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
R - Todd Pratt (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
S - Melky Cabrera (RF)
L - Doug Mientkiewicz (DH)

Pitchers: Jeff Karstens, Sean Henn, Mike Martinez, Chris Britton, Scott Proctor, Luis Vizcaino, Eric Wordekemper

Subs: Andy Phillips (PR/1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Chris Basak (SS), Marcos Vechionacci (3B), Wil Nieves (C), Austin Jackson (RF), Kevin Reese (CF), Kevin Thompson (LF), Josh Phelps (DH)

Opposition: The Tigers' starting nine.

Big Hits: Doubles by Todd Pratt (1 for 3), Jason Giambi (2 for 2, BB), Alex Rodriguez (1 for 3), Doug Mientkiewicz (1 for 3), and minor leaguer Austin Jackson (1 for 2). Pratt's and Rodriguez's were ground-rule doubles, both touched by fans down the left field line.

Who Pitched Well?: Scott Proctor pitched a perfect sixth. Luis Vizcaino pitched a perfect seventh. Minor league reliever Mike Martinez (who is not 7'2" as his Baseball Cube page claims; He may not even be his official height of 6'2"), got Omar Infante to pop out to strand the three runners he inherited from Henn in the fourth. Chris Britton pitched around a pair of singles for a scoreless fifth inning.

Who Didn't?: Jeffrey Karstens had his second straight poor outing, putting his grip on the fifth starter's in question. Karstens lasted just two innings due to elbow stiffness, allowing six runs on six hits and two walks, the big shot being a three-run homer by Gary Sheffield which put the score at 4-0 after just four Tiger batters. In his last two starts, Karstens has allowed ten runs on twelve hits in 6 1/3 innings. Sean Henn's scoreless spring came to an end when he gave up three runs on five hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings while striking out no one. Henn's line would have been worse had Martinez not come in to get the final out of the fourth after Henn had walked a man to load the bases.

Oopsies: Henn threw two wild pitches, both fastballs in the dirt that Pratt was unable to stop. Alex Rodriguez muffed a humpback liner in the third, tipping it into foul territory, but was not charged with an error. Rodriguez also nearly threw away an inning-ending 5-4 fielder's choice in the second, but was saved by a nice stretch by Robinson Cano. He then made up for his third-inning muff in the fourth by making a great diving stop to his right to turn a would-be double into a 5-3 groundout.

Ouchies: Jeff Karstens left yesterday's game after just two rough innings and 46 pitches because of stiffness in his pitching elbow. Andy Pettitte will throw a bullpen today with the hope of throwing a lighter session on Wednesday and starting Friday's game. Chien-Ming Wang tossed a ball with Ron Guidry for ten minutes yesterday. According to Peter Abraham: "He made 70 throws, most from a distance of 120 feet. And he was throwing from a semi windup and putting some zip on the ball." Abraham quotes Wang as saying "I don't feel anything. Yesterday I felt it when I walked. Today, nothing." (Incidentally, Abraham refers to Wang's injury as a "tear" when it's actually just a strain). Despite these encouraging signs, the Yankees are not adjusting Wang's timetable, instead saying that he's just keeping his arm in shape while his hamstring heals. Jorge Posada missed his second straight game with an illness characterized by a sore throat.

Battles: Sean Henn gave Ron Villone a reprieve and Jeff Karstens opened the door for Darrell Rasner. Chris Britton didn't really look all that sharp and his scoreless inning was likely too little, too late. Andy Phillips and Josh Phelps combined to go 0 for 3 with three fly outs, none of them particularly deep. Todd Pratt went 1 for 3 with a double. Wil Nieves went 1 for 2. Pratt's double is the only extra base hit between the two catching candidates. Pratt also has the pair's only walk this spring.

Notes: During the YES broadcast, John Flaherty recalled an embarrassing incident in 2005 when he was facing Tigers' lefty Wil Ledezma and he struck out on a pitch that actually hit him in the back shoulder. Flaherty said that the incident was proof of how out of whack he was at the plate, and perhaps the first indication he had that he was on the verge of retirement. Michael Kay asked if his teammates made fun of him for striking out on a pitch that hit him. Flaherty said that they did indeed, singling out Jeter as a prime offender. The YES camera's then showed Jeter in the dugout and Flaherty said, with more than a little bitterness in his voice: "Derek Jeter knows how to give teammates a hard time when things don't go well." Ouch.

2007-03-26 00:37:53
1.   rabid stan
I remember last June when Jeter was out a few days after taking a pitch off his hands, and the YES cameras caught him throwing seeds from the dugout at Bernie in the on-deck circle. Flaherty's story made me think of that.

A pattern of giving his teammates a hard time, eh?

2007-03-26 03:41:56
2.   Shaun P
1 Be careful, or the International Derek Jeter Admiration Society may hunt you down! I will say nothing further for fear of offending the Society.

Cliff, this surprised me when I learned it while reading a Will Carroll article a few years ago, but a strain is a tear, just a partial tear, as opposed to a complete tear. So Pete A. is right on the money, as he usually is.

2007-03-26 03:55:32
3.   The Mick 536
Sounds like Jete spreads the type of humanity that a Captain should bestow. Not sure if he would climb in an air conditioning vent to reclaim a corked bat, but one would hope he had a sense of humor which he shared with the team. There has to be someone other than Myers and Damon to keep them loose.
2007-03-26 04:32:11
4.   alasky
Shaun P. is 100% correct...a strain/pull is a small tear....
2007-03-26 05:56:59
5.   mehmattski
But when the injury is reported as a "tear," rather than a "strain" or "pull," it is misleading. The time it takes to come back from a hamstring tear is substantially longer (see: Cano, Robinson) than it is to come back from a much less severe injury. While Abraham's "tear" might be technically accurate in a medical sense, it is misleading journalism.

Incidentally, you also tear your muscle every time you weight-lift.

2007-03-26 07:14:37
6.   Shaun P
5 Hold on - did you read what Pete A. actually wrote?

'"I don't feel anything," said Wang, who has a slight tear in his right hamstring. "Yesterday I felt it when I walked. Today, nothing."'

I see nothing misleading there. Wang has a Grade 1 tear in his hamstring. Call it whatever you want, but its a tear. Cano also had a tear, not sure of the Grade, but just because he took 2 months to return means nothing. Everyone heals at a different rate.

2007-03-26 07:37:39
7.   tommyl
6 The grade is key. A Grade 1 is a minimal tear, what most of us would call a pulled muscle. Its the sort of thing that playing in your weekend softball game you'd probably play through with some pain, but for an MLB pitcher you tend to shut them down this early on to avoid screwing up their mechanics. Clemens for example, pitched in the postseason with basically a grade 1 tear.

The list goes all the way up to a Grade 3, which is a complete tear, i.e. the muscle, ligament or tendon is in two separate pieces. That usually requires some form of surgery and a long time to heal. A Grade 2 is somewhere in between and usually requires 3-4 weeks to heal. If memory serves correctly, Cano had a grade 2, which means it'll heal on its own, but take awhile. Remember, these numbers are for a player to resume activities, so a pitcher would still need some bullpen sessions, rehab starts, etc. That's why it took Cano 2 months or so to come back.

2007-03-26 07:38:51
8.   jayd
Now there is also a strear, which is like a strain but might be on a way to a tear...

Now we're coming down to not having a reliable number 1 or 2. All these extra arms, any one of which could step up and give some breathing room, but which one is going to do it? How many starts does someone get before they prove they don't have it or are too erratic? A week ago, the momentum out of spring training looked good. Here's to a dominant start by the Moose.

That ESPN nitwit former Mets GM whose name blessedly escapes me was saying that Pavano might get the opening day start. I figured that was a little stick-it-in-your-ear-Yankee-fans from the s.o.b., but can that be true?

Best to get this all straightened away now rather than later. Witness the sawks major hiccups last year in August, from which they never recovered.

All teams get tested at some point and its whether you allow a Schilling or a Ramiriz to throw in the towel on you. I thought the Jeter story was telling -- you can suck up to a point but you can't suck that bad or I'm going to get on you.

I often wonder if anyone got on boy wonder when he went through that terrible batting slump a couple years back. Flaherty came off as a little too prickly.

I hate the score five runs and lose, reminds me too much of last year...

2007-03-26 08:29:01
9.   YankeeInMichigan
Peter Abraham reported last week that Henn actually has an option remaining, since he spent all of 2004 on the DL. So the stakes in the 2nd-lefty battle are not so high. Unless Henn redeems himself with two lights-out performances this week, Villone goes north.
2007-03-26 08:53:49
10.   hoppystone
Hey Yankee Fans! Let's get behind Carl Pavano as he comes roaring out of the chute to jump-start our quest for #27!
Let's Go Meatless! (clap - clap - clap clap clap!)
Let's Go Minky! (clap - clap - clap clap clap!)
Let's Go Cairo! (clap - clap - clap clap clap!)
2007-03-26 09:13:34
11.   Cliff Corcoran
9 Henn started 27 games for double-A Trenton in 2004. He missed all of 2002 due to TJ surgery, but that was before he was ever on the 40-man. Still, it seems he does have one option left.

I've heard it said that the mark of a true baseball fan is that they understand and can explain the infield fly rule. Those who can fully explain all the loopholes in the option rule are another class altogether.

2007-03-26 11:34:59
12.   rilkefan
1 I'm on the critical-of-Jeter's-leadership side of the spectrum but your anecdote seems more anodyne than otherwise to me.
2007-03-26 13:02:53
13.   yankz
I don't understand how some people can decide whether Jeter is a good leader or not. You have never been inside the Yankees clubhouse. The vast majority of players (Gary "Says what he feels" Sheffield included) say he's a great teammate. There are occasionally stories, like this one, that he's not. Either way, none of us has the experience to be the judge of that.

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