Just in case you hadn’t heard the news, the Seattle Mariners will be sending Jesus Montero down to their triple-A affiliate in Tacoma.
The Mariners have just finished up a 2-7 road trip – their two wins came here against the Yankees, of course – and along with sending Montero down, they’re recalling catcher Jesus Sucre to replace him. Yes, there are two Jesuses and they’re both catchers.
Or are they?
It seems the Mariners may be finally realizing that they would be better served with Montero at either DH or even first base because he’s just not cutting it at catcher. Hey, the Yankees could have told them that!
So this is an interesting development. With Michael Pineda on his way back from shoulder surgery and eyeing a June return – barring any setbacks, naturally – and Montero back in the Minors for the Mariners, I wonder who will make it back to the big leagues first.
I also wonder if we will finally know after all this time, who actually won that damn trade?
I was at last night’s game and it was not a fun time. So hopefully tonight will be better for everyone.
Here are your lineups:
Aaron Harang was supposed to start this one for the Mariners but he has a stiff back, or an ERA north of 7.
Yes, Jayson Nix is the number two hitter. You’re not seeing things.
Welcome to tonight’s game thread. Hopefully, Phil Hughes won’t give up more than three home runs tonight. (Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx him.)
Here are the lineups:
It’s a supernova! Get it?! Actually, wait, a supernova is a dying star. I should probably try something else. Are there goodenoughtowinnovas?
Here’s the Yankees lineup that will be facing Brandon McCarthy of the Diamondbacks:
Ivan Nova will be starting for the Yankees and looks to bounce back from a not-so-stellar start on April 5 in Detroit. He surrendered four runs on five hits in 4.2 innings. He walked two and struck out five. In other words, it was what’s become a typical Nova start, completely maddening.
Here’s the Diamondbacks lineup he’ll be facing:
There are some familiar faces in that lineup, namely Chavez who was with the Yankees in 2011 and 2012 and Hinske who was part of the 2009 World Series Championship team.
- Andy Pettitte threw a bullpen and “felt great.” The big test will be how he feels in the morning.
- Derek Jeter has lightened his workout load down in Tampa which isn’t a good sign at all. Looks like his May return could be in jeopardy.
- Blerg. (Okay, that’s not a note. It’s just my reaction to the Jeter news.)
Enjoy the game and go Yankees!
The Yankees played in their third home opener of the year this afternoon, a duel between Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both pitchers came into the game with their own concerns. Last week, Kuroda took a linedrive to his middle finger and was pronounced day-to-day. Meanwhile, Jimenez was coming off a strong outing in Toronto after an awful 2012 season.
The pitching worries were a big part of the first half of today’s game. Jimenez opened up the first inning with an 84 mph fastball, after averaging 96 mph just a few years ago in Colorado. After walking Robinson Cano and allowing a single to Kevin Youkilis, hometown hero Travis Hafner launched a 3-run home run to dead center.
Kuroda lacked control in the first inning, and immediately walked Michael Bourn. What followed was a series of unfortunate events for the right-handed pitcher. There were three ground balls that could have easily been double play balls, but they just happened to bounce off bags and gloves for infield singles. Kuroda’s pitches had the right movement, but defense, bad luck, and wildness helped the Indians tie the game up by the end of the first.
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The prognostications for the Yankees 2013 season have featured a lot of “doom and gloom” by virtue of their aging rosters and the injuries that seem to keep racking up. However, things may not be as bleak as they seem and bear in mind that I am no doctor, although I have told innumerable people that I play one on TV, but from the news that has been coming out in regards to the slew of shelved Bombers it seems that this rag-tag group that will take the field on Opening Day will only have to “hold the fort” until June.
Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, who accounted for a combined 67 homers and 190 RBI’s last season, are slated to return from their respective stints on the DL, in May (Granderson) and June (Teixeira). Even in an absolute worst case scenario where this team finds themselves double-digit games under .500 (which is unlikely), there will still be more-than-ample time for them to find their groove with their sluggers back in the lineup. The best case scenario would be if the former center-piece of the Jesus Montero trade, Michael Pineda is able to work his way back from injury during that same time span in June. Imagine for a second, what these same talking heads will say if Pineda and his power arm join this already-formidable rotation, it will undoubtedly make them front-runners for the AL East once again.
Take a moment and try to look at the laundry list of key injuries as a blessing in disguise because it may actually force this team to figure out a way to score runs outside of the “long ball.” God forbid the vaunted Yankees ever try to manufacture a run and win a game 3-2 as opposed to 8-5. In the absence of their sluggers, the Yankees will be forced to adapt and will look a lot more like the Oakland A’s than the Yankees, especially having acquired high OBP guys over the off-season like Travis Hafner and the renowned “Greek God of Walks,” Kevin Youkilis.
The Yankees being forced to adapt the way in which they score runs comes at a convenient time, as realignment (for better-or-worse) has made Inter-league play a daily occurrence. Basically what I’m trying to say is start getting used to a lot more base-stealing and bunting in order to move runners over, essentially some more National League style baseball. The prospect is also a little scary if you think about it, especially with the age of the pitching staff, the likelihood of a Starter getting injured is increased exponentially by having to pick up a bat, just ask Chien-Ming Wang.
From a spoiled Yankee fan’s perspective, a little adversity should make things more fun ala the latter Torre years where early season swoons eventually gave way to late-season rallies and playoff berths. Regardless, fans should saddle up for a bumpy ride over the first few months of this season and think about warmer weather and hopefully a healthier roster.
Whereas its sister division went down to the wire, the 2012 National League West wrapped up with fairly little drama. The Giants won the division comfortably, holding onto first place from August 20 through the end of the season and wrapping things up with an eight game lead on the second place Dodgers. At times, the Dodgers did seem poised to strike, as folks swore up and down that things would eventually click for new acquisitions Beckett and Gonzalez … but that time never really came. To wit, it seems as if much of what little drama existed was a product of renewed expectations for the Dodgers, as opposed to what was actually happening on the field for the last five or six weeks of the season.
Entering the 2012 season, the NL West had the look of a division that was readily up for grabs, with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Giants all having very real shots at the crown. Slow and steady won the race, and yet the story remains more focused on the bad luck of the Diamondbacks and the newly minted West Coast branch of the Evil Empire than the Giants consistency and balance. In many ways, analysts were explaining why the Diamondbacks and Dodgers failed to make the playoffs, rather than praising the Giants for outlasting the somewhat sexier picks.
In 2013, I am fairly confident that it will be much more cut and dry, regardless of what others may say to the contrary.
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In 2012, the American League West may well have been the most exciting division in Major League Baseball – from wire to wire, at that. The Rangers made a splash to sign Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, who lived up to some very lofty expectations (tied for fifth in the Majors in fWAR). Not to be outdone, the Athletics swooped in to bring Yoenis Cespedes on-board, and were rewarded with the best rookie season this side of Mike Trout, as the star of ‘The Showcase’ batted .292/.356/.505 (136 wRC+) with 23 HR and 16 SB. The Mariners even made a bit of a splash, acquiring Jesus Montero from the Yankees for Michael Pineda. And, of course, the Angels sought to capture some of the Yankees 2009 mojo, signing (arguably) the top hitting and pitching free agents of the off-season, in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
Of course, much of this became an afterthought as the Rangers, Athletics, and Angels battled for the divisional crown throughout the season, with all three remaining in the race through the final month of the season. On the last day of the season, the Athletics won the division, relegating the Rangers (playing the role of early season juggernauts before the dog days of Summer rolled around) to the Wild Card play-in game. Unsurprisingly, the drama was left a bit to the wayside at times, as Mike Trout put together one of the greatest all-around seasons in in … well … ever.
What does 2013 have in store as an encore? Let’s try to figure it out.
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There was quite a bit of excitement in Charleston when the 2012 season got underway, as the RiverDogs’ Opening Day roster boasted some of the Yankees’ most exciting prospects. With Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, Dante Bichette, Jr. and others, it looked like the RiverDogs would be the team to beat in the South Atlantic League. Unfortunately for Charleston, Austin, Williams and Sanchez moved up to Tampa part way through the season, while Cito Culver and Bichette struggled to make up for the lost production and the RiverDogs ended the season 73-63, just short of a SAL playoff berth.
As always, there will be plenty of changes in Charleston this season, and I am not just talking about the newest addition to their heralded concessions - the beer milkshake. These changes will start in the dugout, as Al Pedrique will take over managing duties for the RiverDogs for Carlos Mendoza, the new roving defense coach for the Yankees minor league system. Pedrique served as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ interim manager in 2004 and was the bench coach for the Houston Astros the last couple years.
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