I’ll be the first to admit that I had my doubts about the Yankees’ lineup this April. Especially against left-handed pitchers, this Yankees team, on paper, was one of the weakest hitting clubs we’ve seen in sometime. With all the scrutiny on the offense, many forgot that the front office re-signed a number of important pitchers. Yes, we knew of a new new strategy geared at saving runs, rather than scoring them, but it was hard to imagine that the Bronx Bombers could be anything other than home run hitters.
They didn’t necessarily prove anyone wrong in April, in fact the Yankees are second to just the Braves in most home runs as of today. A few unexpected things helped the team get back to their old slugging ways, and the organization deserves credit for a hell of a job scouting and finding Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells. Part of this was luck, as Wells was meant to be a platoon player, but new stances for Hafner and Wells have thus far brought two quality power hitters into the 2013 roster.
Obviously there were other contributions. Francisco Cervelli carried the team through certain games, both with his bat and his glove. Chris Stewart, Jayson Nix, and Kevin Youkilis had their clutch hits. Robinson Cano was as good as expected. The offense just happened to click at the right time, and thanks to this, the Yankees finished the month of April with a 16-10 record.
As was the case with most of the non-Hafner players the Yankees added late in spring camp, the feelings about Lyle Overbay were filled more with trepidation and worry than confidence and hope. Overbay had been cut by Boston following a light-hitting Spring Training of his own, and he hadn’t really hit with any kind of authority since 2009. He was brought in almost solely because of his defensive skills, skills which he has showed off in his first month in pinstripes. All defensive metrics rate him positively so far this season, and his .995 fielding percentage at first base has been right on par with what Mark Teixeira would have provided had he been healthy.
What Overbay was not expected to do was replicate Teix’s offensive production, and it’s what he’s managed to do with the bat thus far that’s made him another surprisingly smart and positive pick up by the Yanks. That has a lot to do with the fact that Teix sucks in April, but if we’re being honest here I think we can agree that, for at least the month of April, the Yankees really haven’t lost much going from Teix to Overbay.
Thank you for all the love everybody. Words can’t describe it.
Some people figured Mark Montgomery may be getting the call. He along with Claiborne and Sam Demel were mentioned as possibilities. While Claiborne isn’t as recognizable a name as Montgomery, he does have some experience in Triple A. He made 20 appearances last year with Scranton. So far this season, Claiborne has 10 strikeouts and one walk through 10.1 innings. Continue reading Quick hit: Claiborne gets the call→
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Gwinnett 4-1:
The Braves threatened a couple times early in the game, but the RailRiders escaped both times and the game headed into the top of the seventh with no score. Melky Mesa started off with a single to left. Zoilo Almonte followed with a single, but Dan Johnson hit into a double play. Ronnier Mustelier drew a walk and Addison Maruszak flew a double to left, plating two runs. Luke Murton lined a single to left, plating Maruszak for a 3-0 lead. In the eighth, Mesa scored David Adams on a triple. Gwinnett got the run back in the bottom of the inning, but that was it, as the RailRiders took the 4-1 win.
Mesa went 2-4 with a run scored, a triple and a RBI, striking out twice. Mustelier didn’t manage a hit in his first game of 2013, going 0-3 with a walk and a run scored. Almonte went 1-4 and Adams was 0-4 with a run scored. Brett Marshall had a strong start, throwing seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits and three walks, while striking out two. Josh Spence went 0.2 innings, allowing the Braves lone run on two hits. Cody Eppley finished the game with three Ks in his four outs of work, not allowing a hit or a walk.
I’m making an open thread. Feel free to post about whatever you want.
I thought that Joba Chamberlain vs. Wally Matthews war on Twitter was fun to watch. In case you missed it, Wally made a fat joke about Joba and Joba didn’t appreciate it. You can see Joba’s reaction in his timeline. His Twitter name is @Joba_62. And just so you know, I’m on Team Joba, all the way.
UPDATE: I had to post this pic, seen in my office elevator. I was psyched for a moment. Damn Captivate gave the credit to B/R. Not B/R’s fault, but still, DAMN. –jnr
Now, there is actually good injury news. Alex Rodriguez has been cleared for baseball activities and will start working out in Tampa on May 6 (This coming Monday). He will be joining Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson as they both make their way back to the team as well.
In more good news, Michael Pineda, who is also working his way back from injury is hitting 93-95 mph on the gun which is extremely positive. Part of the issue with him last year was the scrutiny he was under when he first came to the Yankees and I think – though I have no proof of this – that it played a part in his injury last season.