Getting rid of Yuri

From the AP (via Yahoo!):

Alex Rodriguez has been told by the New York Yankees to keep his cousin away from ballparks.

The message was given to the star third baseman on Thursday, said a person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team did not make an announcement. The message applied both to spring training and the regular season, the person said.

Speaking at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., general manager Brian Cashman said only that matter of Rodriguez being picked up from his spring training opener Wednesday by his cousin “has been handled.”

A day earlier in Dunedin, Rodriguez homered and walked twice, then got into a SUV driven by Yuri Sucart. He’s been identified as the cousin who provided Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs obtained in the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez admitted using them while playing for Texas from 2001-3.

Rodriguez acknowledged to the Yankees that having the cousin meet him at the ballpark in Dunedin was a mistake, the person who told The Associated Press about the situation said.

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New Stadium Alienates Loyal Fans?

Jay Jaffe, one of the authors of the renowned Baseball Prospectus site, wrote this piece yesterday about his experience in attempting to transfer his season tickets package to the new stadium. To put it bluntly, he’s less than thrilled with the administration and overall philosophy that seems to lie behind the new stadium seating and ticketing plans.

We’re all used to the sturm and drang that typically accompanies the skyrocketing ticket prices for athletic events to the point where it becomes difficult to even pay attention, but Jay is not just a typical whining fan that you would normally get on a sports radio talk show. I know that some people wind up calling into these shows and writing comments on blogs as a manifestation of a general agitation with the universe in general or because they just need to vent. It’s difficult to take some of these comments seriously.

But Jay is normally an utterly rationally blogger who is highly logical and well-respected.… Click here to read the rest

Does Brett Gardner Deserve More Credit?

Brett Gardner is a solid major league center field prospect. He has some limited major league experience. He was very, very good at Triple-A. Gardner seems like a pretty person to put your money on if you are the New York Yankees. Cashman only brought one alternative to camp – Melky Cabrera – to keep Gardner honest.

Most of the dialogue surrounding Gardner suggests that he will be a liability if played every day. I think its important to remember that (as with any rookie) there is a considerable range of potential contributions that Gardner can make. His #2 PECOTA comparable is Kenny Lofton, which I didn’t believe too much until I looked at Lofton’s minor league numbers. The similarities?

  • Lofton hit .308/.367/.417 at Triple-A in his age-24 season. Gardner hit .296/.414/.422 in Triple-A in his age-24 season.
  • Lofton hit .331/.407/.395 at High-A in his age-23 season. Garder hit .300/.392/.419 in Double-A in his age-24 season.
  • Lofton hit .203/.253/.216 in his a 20 game cup of coffee in the major leagues at age 24.
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3 Up, 3 Down

I hope to do this for every spring training game, or at least once every couple of days to track the progress of players through camp.

3 UP

1) Brett Gardner- He showed some power, homering in the first at bat of the spring. If he can reach base at a decent clip and hit a few doubles, he will likely win the CF job. He got off to a nice start.

2) Alex Rodriguez- He has an immense amount of pressure on his shoulders, and hitting a home run in the first game was a nice sign that he is just going to just shut everything out and hit.

3) Brett Tomko- 2 innings, 1 hit is a rousing start for a guy who has a slim chance to win the long reliever slot. Dan Giese and Al Aceves are not locks for the roster, and more performances like this by Tomko will at worst put his name into the conversation.… Click here to read the rest

Joba To Open New Stadium?

Yesterday we discussed Joe Girardi’s configuration of his rotation, which has Joba Chamberlain as the fifth starter. Apparently that lines Joba up to start on April 16th against Cleveland, which just happens to be the first game in the new Yankee Stadium. I am glad that Joba is going to get that start, although it may have been a bit more symmetrical for Andy Pettitte to get the ball for that game. Joba is a homegrown Yankee who should be around for a while, and hopefully he will become an indelible part of Yankee history. Getting the ball for this historic game is a good start.… Click here to read the rest