Players to Watch, AL Central

With the start of the regular season less than one week away, I’m starting to wrap up my series on players to watch outside of Yankee-land. Today, we’ll swing into the NL Central:

At Target Field, it’s time to put up or shut up for Delmon Young. After lot’s of minor league hype and a respectable showing in 131 ABs in ’06 (.343 wOBA, 4.4 UZR), Young’s fallen off a bit. His wOBAs from ’07-’09 were .315, .324, and .312. This is not what Minnesota expected when they traded Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to the (Devil) Rays for Young. His batting averages have been good–.288, .290, .284–but his awful walk rates–3.8, 5.6, 2.9–and anemic bat–IsoPs of .119, .114, and .142–has held him back. If Young doesn’t get some patience and power (and improve on the field…back to back UZR marks of -16.8), he’ll be considered a big time bust.

For the Tigers, we’ll all have to keep an eye on a familiar face: Austin Jackson.… Click here to read the rest

Game 159: Royals @ Yankees

From… Sam Borden (LoHud):

YANKEES (102-56)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF

Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (9-6, 4.72)

ROYALS (64-94)
Maier LF
Hulett 2B
Butler 1B
Pena DH
Callaspo 3B
Teahen RF
Buck C
Betancourt SS
Anderson CF

Pitching: RHP Robinson Tejeda (4-2, 3.41)

TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.

Tejeda, like Joba, can be filthy if everything clicks. Let’s hope that’s not the case tonight as the Yankees seek victory number 103.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Bits: Roster Decisions

Here are a few quick news items on the day:

  • The Yankee coaches, along with assorted staff members, will meet today in order to construct their respective roster for the ALDS.
  • Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano will have the night off against Kansas City and Anthony Lerew. Most of the other regulars—Tex, Damon, Jeter, Swisher, A-Rod—are expected to return to the lineup after receiving a day-off against Luke Hochevar.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. will take live batting practice today after being sidelined with tendinitis in his left wrist. Hairston received a cortisone shot a few days ago—his second of the month—in order to help alleviate the issue.
  • Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will be honored for their historic accomplishments this season, prior to tonight’s ballgame. As we all know, this year, Jeter passed Lou Gehrig on the Yankees’ all-time hits list and Mariano collected the 500th save of his career. It should make for a nice moment, so if you’re going to tonight’s game, be sure to get there early.
Click here to read the rest

Game 157: Royals @ Yankees

Here are the lineups, via Pete Abraham (LoHud):

YANKEES (100-56)
Gardner CF
Cabrera RF LF
Damon LF
Posada DH
Cano 2B
Hinske 3B
Duncan RF
Miranda 1B
Cervelli C
Pena SS

Pitching: RHP Chad Gaudin (1-0, 3.71).

ROYALS (64-92)
Maier LF
Betancourt SS
Butler 1B
Jacobs DH
Callaspo 2B
Teahen RF
Olivo C
Gordon 3B
Anderson CF

Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (7-11, 5.98).

TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.

Obviously, after clinching both the division and the best record in the American League, the Yankees are prepared to give some of their regulars a day off. Despite the missing star power, it’ll be fun to watch this lineup work against Luke Hochevar (who has good stuff).

We’re likely in for a long night as a rain delay seems inevitable. I’ll keep you posted, though.

UPDATE – Johnny Damon has been scratched due to the rain. Shelley Duncan gets a chance in RF and Melky moves to LF. Lineups are amended (sorry, PA).… Click here to read the rest

Six more starts for Joba?

Well, I guess it’s 5 starts after today’s game against Texas.

From George King III (NY Post):

Joba Chamberlain isn’t wild about the innings limit on his right arm and how it has led to long stretches of inactivity in the second half. But he admits his arm is in very good shape.

“I feel great,” said Chamberlain, who starts tomorrow night against the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. “I feel a lot better at the beginning of the year. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Chamberlain last worked Aug. 16 at Seattle and will be going on eight days rest tomorrow. Chamberlain says he will get six more starts this year and if he averages the 5 2/3innings per start he has in 23 games so far that will get him to 160 2/3 innings for the season. That’s more than the 140-innings set in spring training but a total the Yankees wouldn’t be uncomfortable with.

If the Yankees truly cement their AL East lead as the regular season comes to a close, maybe Joba’s final few starts can be given to someone else so that the team can limit his innings total as much as possible, prior to the playoffs.… Click here to read the rest

Hal strikes again?

The Yankees contacted the Royals about Brian Bannister—who has taken steps in the right direction this year—however, according to Jayson Stark and Buster Olney (ESPN), the talks didn’t progress because the Yankees asked the Royals to pay the remaining $650,000 that’s left on Bannister’s contract. Strange development, huh? The Royals were probably insulted by that offer. This is how the Yankees may operate from now on, though, especially with Hal Steinbrenner behind the wheel.… Click here to read the rest