Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Duncan Goes Nuts
2008-03-01 11:33
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

In the first official game of spring training the Yankees treated the defending NL East Champions a lot like they treated the University of South Florida the day before, cruising to a 9-3 win.


L - Brett Gardner (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
R - Shelley Duncan (1B)
R - Morgan Ensberg (DH)
R - Jose Molina (C)
L - Greg Porter (LF)
R - Chris Woodward (2B)

Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Darrell Rasner, Billy Traber, Chris Britton, Heath Phillips, Jonathan Albaladejo, Dan Giese, Ross Ohlendorf

Subs: Wilson Betemit (1B-2B), Eric Duncan (1B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Marcos Vechionacci (3B), Jesus Montero (C), Jason Lane (RF-LF), Jose Tabata (RF), Austin Jackson (CF), Bernie Castro (DH)

Opposition: The defending NL East Champion Phillies' starters.

Big Hits: A three-run homer by Shelley Duncan, who also delivered a two-run double. He was 2 for 3 with 5 RBIs. Solo homers by Alex Rodriguez (2 for 3) and Jesus Montero (an opposite-field shot in his only plate appearance), and a two-run dinger by Wilson Betemit (1 for 2) of ex-Yank Tom Gordon.

Who Pitched Well: Almost everyone save for Darrell Rasner. The other seven Yankee pitchers combined for this line: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K, the lone run coming on a home run off Giese by non-roster invitee Greg "Goose" Golson, who was the first batter Giese faced and the only baserunner he allowed. Jon Albaladejo struck out two in a perfect inning. Billy Traber faced three lefties and retired them all. Chien-Ming Wang allowed a booming double by Ryan Howard, but retired the other six men he faced, four on groundouts, one via strikeout. Heath Phillips gave up a single to Howard, but struck out the next two men (a righty and a lefty) and got lefty Greg Dobbs to fly out to strand Howard.

Who Didn't: Rasner pitched in and out of trouble with two outs. Following a single sandwiched between a pair of groundouts, he walked Shane Victorino, and gave up an RBI double to Chase Utley. He then walked Ryan Howard to load the bases (likely somewhat intentionally as it came on four pitches), and got Pat Burrell to fly out to leave 'em loaded. The result was the ugliest line of the day, but he probably impressed his coaches by getting himself out of the jam.

Oopsies: After walking and stealing second, Derek Jeter got picked off second base ahead of Rodriguez's homer (Anthony McCarron reports the steal sign was on yet again). Chris Woodward let a grounder through the wickets at second for the game's only error.

Battles: Traber and Phillips kicked off the battle for the lefty spot in the pen. Traber's ability to get lefties out isn't in question, but he needs to prove he can retire righties in order to make the team, and he knows it. Phillips pitched well overall, but the purpose of having a lefty in the pen is to get the big lefties like Howard out, and that he failed to do. Hitting directly behind Duncan in the order, Morgan Ensberg went 0-for-3 with two strikouts. Jason Lane singled and struck out in two trips. In addition to his six bases and five RBIs in three trips, Duncan got good marks for his fielding today. Chris Woodward played the entire game at second base and went 2 for 3, but also committed that error.

More: Jason McAdams of My Baseball Bias liveblogged the entire game. Wang threw just 24 pitches, but was mixing them well. He struck Pat Burrell out on a curve ball and even worked in three changeups. Don't get too excited about that pitch just yet, however. Remember all the hype about Mariano Rivera throwing a change in spring training last year? Well, according to the new edition of The Bill James Goldmine, Mo threw exactly one (1) changeup during the regular season (though James does list 11 Rivera pitches as "uncharted"). If there was just one, Emma Span caught it. Tyler Kepner reports that Joe Girardi's plan is to have Jason Giambi start at first base every other day this month. Finally, check out Pete Abe's piece about the Yankees' long-term center field picture. Quoth Cashman: "In the end, I think we're going to have a great [homegrown] center fielder. It's just a question of who that is."

Comments (61)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-03-02 01:20:54
1.   berkowit28
A home run by Giese off Goose? Nice.
2008-03-02 03:13:55
2.   Mattpat11
Happy Birthday to me.

21 years. Well, I made it this far, which is a minor shock. I shall be gone all day reveling in my legalness, so you can use this space to heap praise on me in absentia.

2008-03-02 05:13:40
3.   Shaun P
2 Happy birthday, Mattpat! I hope you get the same birthday present from the Yanks that I got the year I turned 21, a World Series championship.
2008-03-02 06:52:12
4.   Bagel Boy
I love that quote from Cashman on the CF situation.

I would only add:

"It's just a question of who that is [and when]".

Melky might have things locked down this year or Brett could push him out by the end of the season, especially if Melky has an OBP of .340 while Brett is around .380 in AAA. So then Brett could keep CF warm for a 2009 and even 2010 while or if AJax comes along.

I got to say I love that player development strategy. Have a few good bets and at worst you have a replacement level player for a few years each but if one of the bets comes in you have a very good player for many years. It seems to be the same thing they're doing at catcher and shortstop, besides of course the pitching staff. If only they had some power OF prospects. Hopefully Tabata shows something in that direction this year.

2008-03-02 08:14:21
5.   mehmattski
I hope Shelley Duncan keeps hitting and never looks back.

2 Happy Birthday. Unfortunately, both LaTroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth are pitching today. Maybe they'll both throw only strikes for you.

4 The good news is, among all positions, power-hitting corner OFs do grow on trees, and so that's the kind of position the Yankees can afford to splurge on, while the rest of the team is made of home-grown, cheaper players.

2008-03-02 08:32:21
6.   Chyll Will
2 Happy Birthday, Mattpat! Wowzers, did I have you slotted wrong; If you multiplied that by dog-years and divided by pi*r-squared and yeah, that's kinda how old I thought you were (with a standard deviation of 12 >;)
2008-03-02 08:35:36
7.   weeping for brunnhilde
Less than two hours!
2008-03-02 08:36:33
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
Happy birthday, Mattpat!

Wow, 21.

A babe in the woods.


2008-03-02 08:40:02
9.   Bagel Boy
5 Very true on corner OFs, but they aren't as likely to reach free agency any more.

Next year, for instance, with RF wide open, here's who could be available:

Bobby Abreu NYY
Moises Alou NYM
Pat Burrell PHI
Adam Dunn CIN
Brian Giles * SD
Ken Griffey Jr. * CIN
Vladimir Guerrero * LAA
Manny Ramirez * BOS

* = team option

Besides Dunn, is there anyone you'd want to sign for three or four years? Even then, Dunn is a below average OF at 27. If only Cash had had his way and gotten Vlad. Then they'd be holding that option.

By the way, how exciting is this year looking? I can't say I've been this excited since before the 1996 season. But then I would have been devastated had they not reached the post-season. Now I feel like this team could go any which way. If everything breaks right they could be the best team in baseball, as Baseball Prospectus predicts. But even if there are growing pains, and worst case they don't make the playoffs, there's still so much to be excited about. It should be a really fun season.

2008-03-02 08:40:51
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
5 I don't know, mehmattski. Obviously I'd love to see it, but I can't see him ever being a real hitter, not with all those holes and all that movement to his swing.

I see him as kind of a Steve Balboni type. Bat him seventh or eighth and he'll probably give you a good 20-25 HR, but with lots and lots of Ks in between.

For a bottom of the order guy, though, I guess I could live with that.

2008-03-02 08:43:26
11.   weeping for brunnhilde
9 So much will depend on Melky. If he really comes into his own and can be a consistent .300 with walks, this team can be great.

Not that he's the only question mark, of course, but he's probably the most notable among regulars (position players).

(Have I mentioned how excited I am that there's to be baseball?)

2008-03-02 08:47:59
12.   Bagel Boy
Oh, and call me hopeful on Farnsworth and Hawkins. Even as I don't think they be lights out, I do think they'll both post sub-4.00 ERAs. They be good enough. I think the whole bullpen will be actually. If anything I worry most about Mo - both injury and periods of ineffectiveness.
2008-03-02 08:49:39
13.   weeping for brunnhilde
12 Fear not, young Bagel Boy, Mo will be fine (so I sincerely hope and more or less believe).

As to that other guy who's name I dare not speak--bah.

2008-03-02 09:02:49
14.   Bagel Boy

Damn, there's no way the Angels don't pick up that option on Vlad - 15 million. Crazy that the Yankee offense could have had him the last four years hitting behind A-Rod. I hope Cash keeps hammering the Steinbrothers on what he could have done had there been no interference.

I also think the Sox pick up Manny's 20M option since there's very little out there.

2008-03-02 09:07:19
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
13 Oh, Christ, whose.

I hate when I do that.

2008-03-02 09:24:20
16.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I'd think that at this point the most likely RF next year is still Abreu, espically if they can keep him on a 2 year deal or something. he's simply a nice fit.

There's a lot of ways they could do this this offseason. but it's a bit early for that, I must say that at least right now, the top priorities (in order) is probably

CC Sabathia -> Mark Teixeira -> and then a huge gap with a ton of possibilities.

it really depends a lot on how Abreu and the first baseman situation pan out. lets say if Shelley / Betemit plays very well they could theorically move the tendom to right next year and sign Teix. those two won't be great out there . but it's probably passable.

And it looks like the Yanks picked up right where they left off. granted that the Phillies didn't throw any real pitchers out there ..... but you gotta love that Betemit HR off Gordon

2008-03-02 10:15:59
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
Here we go, peeps, here we go!
2008-03-02 10:20:00
18.   weeping for brunnhilde
Andy missing way high a lot.
2008-03-02 10:21:13
19.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice play there, Derek.
2008-03-02 10:28:57
20.   weeping for brunnhilde
Abreu swipes a bag!
2008-03-02 10:31:23
21.   weeping for brunnhilde

Man, Jason!

He got all of that one.

Right off the bat.

Nice fucking shot.

2008-03-02 10:35:09
22.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice play by Cano there, but he had more time than he thought. He should have set his feet.
2008-03-02 10:36:53
23.   Bagel Boy
I don't know. I think there's a good chance they don't need either Sabathia or Teixeira with the emergence of the Trio and the 1B Hydra. If one of the pitching kids shows dominant stretches, they might say why spend a ton on an overweight pitcher? And they might put together an above average platoon at 1B between Duncan, Betemit, and Miranda for less than a million or two. How much more would Teixeira add with a pricey contract?

I worry about RF because if Abreu bounces back to .900 OPS, I can see him getting a three or four year deal elsewhere. And if he doesn't, why bother?

2008-03-02 10:38:06
24.   weeping for brunnhilde
Andy still picks 'em off.
2008-03-02 10:39:31
25.   weeping for brunnhilde
Andy's looking sharp.
2008-03-02 10:44:25
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
Melky looks a bit leaner.

Or maybe it's my imagination.

2008-03-02 10:52:08
27.   weeping for brunnhilde
Again, Cano goes up the middle but fails to set his feet.

He didn't have as much time there, but might have tried to set a little more.

2008-03-02 10:56:55
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
Abreu not shying away from the wall,

Nice to see.

2008-03-02 10:58:04
29.   weeping for brunnhilde

Nice play Melky, going backwards.

Didn't look too sure, but he made the play.

2008-03-02 11:04:34
30.   weeping for brunnhilde


He was jammed and still nearly hit the warning track.

2008-03-02 11:06:17
31.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice drive to left-center, Jason!
2008-03-02 11:08:09
32.   weeping for brunnhilde
That ball's really carrying to left today.
2008-03-02 11:11:05
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
Robby swings through the high heat on a full count.
2008-03-02 11:20:02
34.   weeping for brunnhilde
Wow, what a nice play by Alex.

God, he's good.

2008-03-02 11:20:30
35.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ooh, but not that time.

Bad hop ate him up.

2008-03-02 11:28:36
36.   OldYanksFan
Who has the scoop on Scott Paterson?
Gee, Giambi sure looks like toast!
2008-03-02 11:31:59
37.   weeping for brunnhilde
36 Heh heh.

Doesn't he, though?

Line drive to left-center, baby!


2008-03-02 11:33:43
38.   OldYanksFan
It's funny. Giambi may have had a better career if he never did steroids. He doesn't need them.
2008-03-02 11:38:41
39.   seattleyank
36 Here's the scoop on Patterson from Pending Pinstripes: "Trenton's Double-A hero was nothing short of perfect last year. 11 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are no accident. And hell, he allowed only 1 HR in 77 innings. He could be a great reliever at the major league level right now."
2008-03-02 11:49:04
40.   weeping for brunnhilde
Hey, here's our old buddy on the hill!

Check out that 'do!

2008-03-02 11:50:04
41.   weeping for brunnhilde
Second pitch from our old buddy!


Ha ha ah hah aha a ha!!!!

Nice straight fastball, middle in.

2008-03-02 11:54:01
42.   bhsportsguy
Hello there, a DodgerThoughter dropping by, can one of you seasoned Torre watchers drop by DT sometime and tell us if Torre uses the same relievers over and over more than usual.

I mean, its pretty obvious you would use your closer at the appropriate time but what about the middle guys and set up guys.

Thanks ahead for the explanation.

2008-03-02 11:58:16
43.   weeping for brunnhilde
42 Ha ha ha hah ah ahh a !!!

Ha ha haa ha ha!!!

Good luck, buddy!

I love Joe and I'll miss him, but God I'm glad this is your problem now!

2008-03-02 12:07:36
44.   weeping for brunnhilde
42 Oh, but it's not just pitchers, you should know.

It's hitters, too.

The most egregious case I can recall was back in 2002 postseason when he insisted on trotting out David Justice when it was abundantly clear to anyone with eyes to see that he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a paddle.

Meanwhile, Shane Spencer road the pine when he was a perfectly reasonable Plan B.

In short, he really really likes to use "his guys" and is loth to improvise and adjust when things aren't going well.

2008-03-02 12:08:46
45.   3rd gen yankee fan

Sorry, bhsportsguy. Really. Kind of, anyway.

2008-03-02 12:16:54
46.   OldYanksFan
42 Don't worry dude. It's only a guy named EDSP (every day Scott Proctor).
Oh.... that's right.... sorry.
2008-03-02 12:23:44
47.   sabernar
What's going on with the game?
2008-03-02 12:26:15
48.   weeping for brunnhilde
47 I've lost focus, as most of the regulars have been pulled, but last I checked we were up 6-5. I think we're going into the 8th?
2008-03-02 12:29:04
49.   williamnyy23
Bruney looks to be in great shape...unfortunately, he still isn't throwing strikes.
2008-03-02 12:32:18
50.   weeping for brunnhilde
What the hell, man?

They're talking about how players resent being made to do running drills.


Is it me, or is it bizarre to hear about athletes whining because they're required to be physically fit?

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-03-02 12:43:14
51.   weeping for brunnhilde

What a catch by the centerfielder!

That was sooo pretty.

God, it's nice to be watching baseball again.

2008-03-02 12:45:14
52.   sabernar
Which centerfielder?!?!
2008-03-02 12:47:05
53.   weeping for brunnhilde
52 Theirs. Didn't catch his name.

Sprinted toward the gap in leftcenter, dived with outstretched glove, ball landed in webbing.

Looked effortless. Really balletic.

2008-03-02 13:21:12
54.   tommyl
42 I think you may also want to acquaint yourself with your starting 3B, Nomar. He has more experience after all. In fact, I think Torre said something like that last week, didn't he?
2008-03-02 13:29:53
55.   tommyl
44 Cough, cough...benching of Kenny Lofton, 2004...cough, cough.

And 42 don't worry, its not like you have any of Torre's favorites, like Proctor and Sturtze on your team or anything ;).

Although look at the bright side, Jeff Weaver isn't on your team (yet).

2008-03-02 13:32:07
56.   weeping for brunnhilde
42 Take Kyle Farnsworth--please!
2008-03-02 13:34:11
57.   tommyl
56 Is Paul Quantrill available?
2008-03-02 14:03:49
58.   ms october
54 ah, but what's in his belly?
2008-03-02 14:12:37
59.   tommyl
58 Guts, Ms. A veritable bellyfull of them.

I think as a public service, we here at BB should have a memorial EDSP innings count, all year. What do others think?

2008-03-02 15:42:21
60.   Shaun P
59 Why not? I'd like to see who gets more work, EDSP or Broxton. I'd say "who gets injured first" but, for the sake of our friends over at DT, I hope that doesn't happen.
2008-03-02 16:30:59
61.   Raf
50 Running has traditionally been viewed as punishment, so I'm not surprised that players would gripe about it.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.