Quote of the Day: Roger Clemens on Mike Piazza

I thought this was highly amusing and had to share it with everyone in case you missed it.

Roger Clemens was asked about Mike Piazza‘s claim in his upcoming book that he took karate lessons in order to exact revenge on Clemens – I guess Piazza did it in case Clemens were to ever plunk him again. Clemens, to his credit, had a few funny quips in his statement, even one where he mentioned that Piazza would have had to have gotten in line behind at least three of his Yankee teammates at the time, who also wanted to slug him. I wonder who they were. Hmmm.

Anyway, I thought the most amusing line of the whole Clemens statement was this one:

“He chased some dude around the spring training site one time, didn’t he, or something?”

Do you guys remember when Guillermo Mota hit Piazza with a pitch in Spring Training and Piazza went after him? It happened ten years ago this Spring but to this day, it is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. (Not the actual plunking but the way Mota reacted to it.) Here’s video of the incident which happened 3/13/03.

After getting plunked up by his head, Piazza chased Mota around the field, as did some of his teammates, including Jeromy Burnitz. Mota, whose Dodgers were up 10-1 at the time he nailed Piazza with the pitch, threw his glove at the slugger before running away from him. Piazza had such a crazed look in his eyes, like he was going to kill Mota with his bare hands and at one point he had to be held back by at least four teammates so the fact that Clemens remembered the incident really struck me funny. This wasn’t the first incident between them. A year earlier, Mota pulled the same nonsense and Piazza actually waited for him outside the clubhouse, asking people, “Where’s Mota?” because he wanted to confront him.

Honestly, I don’t blame Piazza. I was there the night Clemens hit him in the head at Yankee Stadium in July 2000. It was pretty frightening to witness and I can see why he’d be sensitive to headhunters like Mota. And back to the other stuff Clemens said, I really wonder who the three teammates were.

Do you guys have any guesses as to who they could be? Leave them in the comments. Continue reading Quote of the Day: Roger Clemens on Mike Piazza

Derek Jeter meets with the media

ESPN just showed a snippet of Derek Jeter‘s press conference. Here are some highlights:

  • He was asked about his rehab and stated that he’s “only been running on a treadmill to this point.” He added that he expects to be running on the field, “within the next few days.”
  • On playing on Opening Day: “Why wouldn’t it be realistic?” and added, “Opening Day was the goal all along.”
  • Jeter made a joke that he’s going to be “on Mo’s schedule this Spring.” In case you don’t get that reference, Mariano Rivera doesn’t really throw that much during Spring Training, usually under 10 innings.
  • He said won’t be playing when the Yankees start playing next week and said “You can write that down.” He also said he believes you don’t need all of Spring Training to get ready. He mentioned past years when he’s played in the WBC as examples of that.

And now for some tweets/quotes from the beat writers assembled in Tampa:

  • From Bryan Hoch of MLB.com: “Derek Jeter said he’s not concerned with reinjuring his ankle; also reveals that he has plates and screws in his ankle now.” And from Jack Curry of YES: “Jeter said he now has a plate and screws in his ankle, which will remain there. Joked that his ankle isn’t going to “fall off.”
  • More Curry: “Jeter on expectations for 2013 Yankees: “Same as always: to win.”
  • Curry again: “Jeter said he had a “terrible” off-season because he was stuck on couch for 5-6 wks, waiting 2 heal. Said he used scooter to get around.” (insert your “the Yankees are so old they need hoveround” jokes here.)
  • And yet more Curry: “Jeter, who had a bone bruise before fracturing the ankle, acknowledged that he probably shouldn’t have played on it.”
  • You guessed it, Curry: “Jeter on Youkilis: “He plays hard. He plays to win. He’s got a lot of intensity.” Jeter said Youkilis doesn’t have to try and replace ARod”

We’ll update as the day goes on. Continue reading Derek Jeter meets with the media

Position players have reported to Yankees camp

Things are getting real and the end of winter is finally near. You know why? Because the position players have reported to camp! (I’ll give you all a moment to celebrate. Personally, I prefer to fist pump and dance in my seat but feel free to do whatever you like to do. Okay, ready?)

Derek Jeter will be speaking to the media this morning and will no doubt be answering about 150,000 questions. More than likely the questions will be about his surgically repaired ankle, how his rehab is going, if he’ll be ready for Opening Day and I’m sure some questions will be about that guy Alex Rodriguez.

Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog reported via Twitter that Ichiro Suzuki arrived to camp in a glitter NY cap. In Jennings’ words, “Ichiro has arrived wearing a glitter NY hat. It’s sort of amazing.” Guys, you can’t tease us like that. You can’t describe something as amazing and then not provide a picture! I’m hoping somehow that one will surface before the morning is over. (Hint, hint guys.)

In other news, Ivan Nova and Joba Chamberlain are scheduled to face live batters.

I know some people don’t really care about Spring Training and want real baseball to begin but with the position players reporting and pitchers throwing to actual people, it means real baseball is just around the corner and that makes me giddy. April 1 will be here before we know it. Continue reading Position players have reported to Yankees camp

Notes from Yankees camp: News on Cervelli, CC and Joba’s mustache

A few quick notes for you from Yankees camp:

  • According to numerous tweets from the beat writers dispatched in Tampa, Florida, Francisco Cervelli will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic. He wants to stay in camp to try and win the starting catching job. Yeah, good luck, buddy. (I kid, I kid.)
  • CC Sabathia had his first bullpen session and said his surgically repaired elbow felt fine. He threw 29 pitches and his arm didn’t fall off. That sounds like a good morning to me!
  • Joba Chamberlain is growing a mustache. (In case you missed what it looked like, here’s a link to some video of him.) I’m not sure if Joba is doing this because he lost a bet or because he thought it would be funny or just because he felt like it. Whichever reason it is, I hope someone talks him out of it. Or that the itching from it growing in gets to be too much for him to bear and he shaves it off.

And one final quick note, here is a very cool shot of Mariano Rivera watching Andy Pettitte throw his bullpen session this morning. The picture is courtesy of Eric Boland of Newsday.

Happy Saturday, everyone! Continue reading Notes from Yankees camp: News on Cervelli, CC and Joba’s mustache

At What Point Would The Yankees Consider Trading Robinson Cano?

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) Picture this.  It’s sometime around the All Star Break, and the Yankees are floundering.  Andy is on the DL again; CC has had issues with his surgically-repaired elbow and spent a 15-day stint on the shelf as well; Hirok has regressed after his heavy 2012 workload; Phil and Nova are pitching about the same as they did last season.  Jeter’s return from his ankle injury has been tough and he’s still having to take days off to stay healthy enough to play; Youkilis is underperforming and on the DL with Andy; C-Grand is still Continue reading At What Point Would The Yankees Consider Trading Robinson Cano?

Yankees take a look at Wang

George King of the New York Post wrote earlier today that the Yankees have taken a look at former ace Chien-Ming Wang.

TAMPA — Free-agent right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw off a mound at Billy Connors’ Tampa area home recently and impressed the spring training pitching instructor.

According to Connors, Wang, who will pitch for Taiwan in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, is looking for a major league contract.

GM Brian Cashman said he hasn’t had contact with Wang’s representatives. However, the club will have scouts watching Wang during the WBC, despite having six candidates for five starting spots.

Wang, whose Yankees career ended in 2009 after a shoulder problem, pitched for the Nationals last season and was 2-3 with a 6.68 ERA. In seven big-league seasons, the 32-year-old right-hander is 61-32. As a Yankee, he was 55-26. In 2006 and 2007, Wang went a combined 38-13.

I always had a soft spot for Wang and I enjoyed his time with the Yankees but I’m not sure the team, which has more than enough pitchers, especially if Michael Pineda returns mid-season, have room for him.

Hmm, can they turn him into a catcher? Or maybe a right-handed hitting outfielder? Continue reading Yankees take a look at Wang

Girardi: Nova has to compete for a spot

Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger wrote about the Ivan Nova/David Phelps battle for the fifth starter role. Yankees manager Joe Girardi stated that Nova “has to go out and prove himself” in order to win the spot.

For his part, Nova understands why it’s going to be a battle for the position and he spoke about his struggles last season by succinctly saying, “I got hit.”

Why yes, he did.

Nova admitted he also began to press while in the midst of his struggles last season which made things worse:

“I’m not going to lie: Sometimes,” he said. “Sometimes. Because you’re trying to do your job, and you can’t. Because I was still working. I was working hard during the year. I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.”

Ivan Nova is one of those pitchers who when he’s on, he can be really good but when he’s off, he falls off a cliff. Actually, there was one start in particular that encapsulated Nova’s career thus far: May 19 against the Cincinnati Reds. He gave up five earned runs in six innings, earning the loss but also struck out 12 batters. It was such a frustrating game to watch.

Hmm, this sounds an awful like his former best friend A.J. Burnett‘s days in pinstripes, doesn’t it? (For the record, I am not blaming Burnett for anything. I just thought the comparison would be amusing.)

In 2012, Nova not only struggled to pitch well but he struggled to stay healthy as well – he had an inflamed rotator cuff which kept him out for two weeks. His ERA overall was pretty bad (5.03) but it was putrid after June (6.38). He also gave up a lot of homers and doubles (28 and 52 respectively) with multiple doubles in half of his 28 starts. He even had five starts in which he allowed at least four doubles. As McCullough said in his piece, “That’s a lot of doubles.”

So for Nova, this Spring is extremely important. He has to earn the right to be in the starting rotation and the trust of Girardi and the coaching staff, otherwise he’ll be watching David Phelps take the ball every fifth day. Continue reading Girardi: Nova has to compete for a spot

Who Is Shawn Kelley?

In a surprising turn of events, the Yankees acquired a major league player on Wednesday. Shawn Kelley was hardly a piece the organization needed, but he’s a luxury that the team found affordable. In 2012, Kelley produced a 3.25 ERA and a 3.55 FIP in 44.1 innings with the Mariners. The reliever has refined himself as a strikeout/flyball pitcher with his four-seam fastball and slider combination. Despite his success last season, Kelley will most likely be optioned down to Triple-A to start the season, thanks to a loaded major league bullpen. With Mariano Rivera, David Aardsma, and Joba Chamberlain still Continue reading Who Is Shawn Kelley?