Spring Training Game 14: Yankees 4, Cardinals 0

The Yankees beat the Cardinals 4-0 today thanks to strong starting pitching by Hiroki Kuroda and a two-run home run by Kevin Youkilis – his first of Spring Training. Kuroda pitched four innings, gave up three hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. Youkilis finished 1-2 with two RBI.

Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, and Shawn Kelley all pitched scoreless innings and Dellin Betances pitched in – pun intended – with two scoreless innings.

Corban Joseph had two hits, Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner each had one and Derek Jeter played again, as DH, and was hitless in two at bats.

And in exciting news, the Yankees did not commit an error and as far as we know, everyone made it out pain free.

Tomorrow, they take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Ivan Nova is scheduled to start against Alex Cobb.

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Quick hit: Francisco is on his way to Tampa

Joel Sherman just reported that the Yankees have signed Ben Francisco and that he is on his way to Florida. Francisco, who will be competing for an outfield spot, was just released by the Cleveland Indians.

Francisco played with Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay last year and batted .234/.282/.402/.684 in 51 games.

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Today’s Yankees news in a nutshell

So this is what’s dominating the baseball world today: The fact that the Yankees are so desperate for players, they’re trying to coax people out of retirement.

I was really hoping Cashman was just trolling the beat writers but it seems he wasn’t and that he was actually being serious. But why stop with Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones? Why not try to get Scott Brosius and Bernie Williams back?

If the Yankees could bring someone back from retirement or, as a goof, bring someone back from the dead, who would you want to see?

Personally I’d want to see Mickey Mantle.

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How long can the Yankees maintain austerity?

There’s an increasing sense among some writers that the Yankees may not make the playoffs this season. For my part, I disagree. Anything is possible, but the Yankees still have excellent pitching and a solid lineup. If postseasons were decided in March the 2011 Red Sox would have won the World Series. Could the Yankees miss the playoffs? Sure. Then again they could also take home the crown. This is why we play the games.

But, imagine for a second that the Yankee austerity budget backfires. Imagine if the Yankees don’t make it to the postseason this year. How long would that be sustainable? The organization has made no secret of its desire to get the team’s payroll under $189 million to gain the 2014 luxury tax benefits. The purpose of this is to make money, lots and lots and lots of money.

It makes sense as a business strategy. The Yankee payroll tax will reset at a lower level.…

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Will Chavez’s death bring baseball “sweatshops” back to Venezuela?


In case you don’t pay even a cursory amount of attention to world news: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died of cancer last week. The controversial (yes, I hate that euphemism too) leader was best known as the most visible figure in the South American socialist movement, largely due to his fondness for loudly and prominently criticizing the United States government in the harshest of terms. His death and political divisions in the country are likely to create quite a bit of turmoil in Venezuela as various factions strive to seize control in the vacuum of power, and Major League Baseball sits among those who will watch with intense interest in the future direction of the nation that boasts more major league players than anyone other than the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

In recent years Chavez, a huge baseball fan, had been attempting to exert some control over MLB franchises’ academy system in Venezuela. In particular, Chavez wanted to levy a 10% tax on MLB for the signing bonuses the players received, and require MLB to pay to educate the players and give them job training outside of simply playing baseball, as noted by Dave Zirin at The Nation just after Chavez’s death:

He told MLB that they would have to institute employee and player benefits and job protections.

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What Kind Of Production Would You Take From Jeter This Year?

Jeter ST

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

After watching player after player go down with injuries this spring, the Yankees finally got to see a few come back from injuries yesterday when Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter played in their first ST games.  Mo struck out two in a scoreless 5th inning and Jeter went 1-2 at the plate as the leadoff DH, and both used their performances to answer the question about whether they’ll be ready in time for the start of the season.  For Mo, that question wasn’t as big a deal.  He’s been throwing bullpen sessions, going through everything he would in a normal spring, just not in an actual game setting.  For Jeter, the question has hung over him all spring as he’s been limited to light fielding drills, light running drills, and batting cage sessions.  He still has to play a few games in the field, which sounds like it might happen this coming week, but if Jeter can at least hit three weeks before the start of the season, that’s a pretty good sign that he’ll be ready.…

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Monday morning Yankees news and notes: 3/11/12

Happy Monday, Yankee fans.

Today’s lineup is already posted:

Gardner 7
Jeter 0
Ichiro 9
Youkilis 3
Nunez 6
Stewart 2
Joseph 4
Mustelier 5
Heathcott 8

Kuroda P

The big news this weekend, aside from Mariano Rivera‘s retirement, was Derek Jeter‘s return to the field on Saturday. He was the DH and had one hit. He’ll be the DH again today against the Cardinals this afternoon.

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger had an interesting read yesterday about something almost happened in the Spring of 1996. Now, this story isn’t a new one but there are some people out there who haven’t heard it. It seems George Steinbrenner was dangerously close to making a trade before the 1996 season that would have sent Rivera to the Seattle Mariners to Felix Fermin. Could you imagine? What a weird universe we’d all be living in right if that trade went down. I get goosebumps – and not the good kind – thinking about it.…

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Quick Hits: Headley, Mayberry, Mustelier

In pursuit if shoring up the current corner infield debacle, the Yankees are looking at a number of different possibilities.

As EJ discussed on Friday, Chase Headley is a good fit for the current and future landscape of the organization, but he won’t come cheap. Although it was rumored that Headley was available on Thursday, those reports were shot down the following day by the Padres’ GM. Now it appears that the Yankees have inquired about Headley. Take all three reports with a grain of salt, but if the Yankees are indeed inquiring, it shows that they recognize the need for another impact bat.

In the same piece, Nick Cafardo discusses the Phillies’ John Mayberry as an option for the Yankees. The former first round pick has experience in both the outfield and first base. Over 848 major league plate appearances, he’s posted a .760 OPS and a 105 wRC+. As a right handed hitter, who can play two positions of need, he would solve a number of problems, but the Phillies don’t seem eager to trade outfielders.…

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Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova may be the secrets to this season

It has been a bumpy right for Yankee fans to start spring training. Already injured, Alex Rodriguez was implemented in another steroid scandal. Curtis Granderson was injured. Shortly after that Mark Teixeira was injured. All of this has drawn attention to an aging, potentially weak Yankee lineup. The potential lack of power in the offense may be true, but it is distracting everyone from the strength of the Yankee pitching staff.

This season the Yankees return as potent a 1-2-3 punch as they’ve had in years in CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. Sure, the latter two are old, but that’s a starting rotation you can count on. Still, it takes more than three starters to get it done in baseball. That’s why, for all the emphasis on the offense, the real secret to the 2013 season may be the performance of Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.

Hughes’ solid 2012 gets overlooked. While he wasn’t as strong as his breakout 2010 season (which was really just a solid first half of the season), Phil did give the Yankees 191.1 innings of 4.35 xFIP baseball and 1.9 fWAR.…

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