Monday, March 16, 2009

The Week That Was In The Yankees Universe

I spent a good portion of my vacation last week in Toronto for the WBC. I didn't get much of a chance to follow the Yankees at all. I did my best but Toronto isn't exactly a haven for Yankee news. I picked up some info on XM Radio, but the radio is so old that the battery dies pretty quickly. I spent the last few days catching up on the week that just went by. I had all of last week off from work and I spent what free time I had with the fam so I'm just not getting to it. I'm a little under the gun for time tonight but I wanted to get this out. So here are a few quickies about last week's happenings:

  • As I was driving to Toronto on Saturday the news broke about A-Rod's surgery. As they explained it, the Yankees and A-Rod are taking a "hybrid" approach of surgery and rehab. This approach should get Alex back in the lineup in about 9 weeks, which will put him back on the field sometime around in mid-May, about 40 games into the season, give or take. So Alex is gone for a quarter of the season. It could have been much worse. I think Cody Ransom is the way to go. The Yanks should be able to get by with Cody. The only way I'd go after a 3rd baseman via trade is if they can deal Melky Cabrera, which brings me to point #2.
  • I think Brett Gardner is going to be the Yankees Opening Day CF. Coming into today's game, Gardner is hitting .375, 116 points higher than Melky Cabrera at .259. Gardner has hitting the cover off the ball also, slugging a team high 3 HRs. Melky just isn't measuring up. Melky is also out of options so his only hope is that the Yankees keep him on as a 5th OF behind Damon, Swisher, Nady, and Gardner. Melky is the perfect candidate to be dealt. Maybe package Melky and a SP for somebody. Not sure who is out there. Haeven't looked. Any suggestions?
  • On the injury front, Robbie Cano and Damaso Marte came back from the WBC with minor injuries. Cano was diagnosed with right shoulder bursitis. Marte was diagnosed with left shoulder inflammation. Neither are expected to miss much time. Cano should be back in the lineup on Friday. Marte is slated to throw a bullpen tomorrow and according to Pete Abraham, he needs 2 off those before he'll be game ready. Both will be ready in plenty of time for Opening Day. No harm no foul. I know a lot of people out there think participating in the WBC is to blame, but that's ridiculous. These injuries would have likely happened had they skipped the WBC. I don't buy into that whole school of thought that the WBC is bad because guys can get hurt playing in a meaningless exhibition. Same thing can happen in regular old spring training. I like the WBC and really wish more of the bigger names would have participated.
  • Mark Melancon was sent to the minor league camp which all but assures he won't be on the Opening Day roster, which is what I predicted at the end of February. A lot of people are high on Melancon, myself included. He's definitely going to be an important part of the Yankees' future. I do think he needs a little more seasoning.
  • Mariano Rivera is scheduled to make his spring training debut tomorrow. He's already thrown 2 bullpens (I think) and so far all seems well with the greatest closer of all-time. Mo typically needs about 10 innings or so of work in spring training so there's plenty of time for him to be ready to hit the ground running come Opening Day.
  • Jorge Posada made his first appearance behind the plate the other day. According to Pete Abe's blog, Posada said his shoulder felt strong. That's good news. Jorge is an extremely important part of the Yankee lineup. If the lineup is going to be as strong as it can be, Jorge needs to be behind the plate, allowing Matsui to DH. I'm very encouraged by where Jorge is at this point in the spring.
  • I haven't seen/heard any of the games since CC, A.J., Wang, Andy, and the Wanger started pitching, so I don't have any first-hand knowledge of how they've done. I see in looking at the spring stats and box scores that they've all been doing fairly well. Joba has settled down nicely in his last 2 starts. Wang looks like he's keeping the ball up, giving up 3 HRs in his 3 starts. I'm not sure what he's working on but giving up so many longballs is very un-Wang-like. Andy's numbers look good. CC's pitching line looks pretty bad. Hopefully, that's a by-product of it being early. A.J. Burnett is the most impressive of the bunch, pitching 6 innings and only allowing 1 hit. I really hope A.J. stays healthy. The Yankees rotation for my money is one of the best in the league. I'll go to battle with those guys any day.

I'm sure I'm missing something. I tend to do that after long periods away from the Yanks, which doesn't happen often. It's been a little more than a week since I've seen them play and I'm jonesing to see some action. Thankfully tomorrow night they're on TV against the Pirates. It'll be my first look at CC Sabathia. Can't wait!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,