Vernal Equinox late morning links: 3/20/13

I woke up early this morning, poured myself a cup of coffee and I opened my laptop. My goal was to read some of the better stuff out there and to pass it on to you. Luckily for me, and for you, the internet didn’t disappoint me on this first day of Spring.

First up, a piece by Bob Nightengale of USA Today about MLB’s Biogenesis witch-hunt. Investigators are hellbent on nailing people like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez to the wall. Braun is the bigger target because he was successfully able to win his appeal last year after a positive drug test.

His successful appeal of a positive testosterone test led to major revisions in baseball’s sample collection process last year.

Baseball officials, from the top executives in New York to their field investigators, refuse to let it go.

They want Braun — badly. They have been relentless in their pursuit, trying to make life as miserable as possible for him.

Is it just me or does this bit of information make MLB officials look extremely vindictive and petty?

Wait, no, I was wrong, this next bit of the story makes them look even worse:

Yet in case you think MLB officials will just throw their hands up in exasperation, the league reminded everyone of its power last weekend, suspending Detroit Tigers minor league pitcher Cesar Carrillo for 100 games. Carrillo never tested positive, but his name surfaced in Biogenesis documents.

MLB called him in and told him that if he told the truth, punishment might be minimized. Carrillo talked, MLB didn’t believe him, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the testimony, and whacked him. He received 50 games for appearing in the Biogenesis records and 50 games for being uncooperative.

The players union could only watch, knowing that since Carrillo was not on a 40-man roster it was powerless to help him.

Wow. Read the entire piece. I was flabbergasted.

In case you missed it yesterday, a person named Robbie Knopf wrote a piece about Josh Lueke of the Tampa Bay Rays. You know Lueke, right? The alleged – but who is more than likely – rapist who only served 42 days after a plea deal. Yes, him. Anyway, the piece by Knopf has been taken down, probably because of negative reactions to it, but thanks to the magic of the internet, a cached version of the article is still up. I won’t recap what Knopf said in his piece, mainly because it makes me so mad I want to punch something, but Bill Parker of the Platoon Advantage wrote a great piece in response to Knopf’s.

Bottom line is, yes, a redemption story involving Josh Lueke would be a nice thing but Knopf went about it the wrong way.

And finally, I won’t even spoil this next one. It’s called Grand Theft Baseball by Jonah Keri of Grantland and it’s fantastic.

Just read it. Continue reading Vernal Equinox late morning links: 3/20/13

Oh Hey, Travis Hafner! Didn’t See You Over There. What’s Going On, Buddy?

Hafner ST

When two of the defining storylines of your team’s Spring Training are “lack of power” and “injuries” and Travis Hafner is on your team, it’s more than reasonable to expect that he’s going to factor heavily into those stories.  After all, his calling card at the plate is power and you can pretty much set your watch to him pulling, tearing, or spraining something.  That hasn’t really been the case for the Yankees so far this month, as Hafner hasn’t been a presence in the lineup so much as a name on the lineup card.  To be honest, I kind of forgot he was even in camp with the team, what with the lack of power and the fact that he’s still walking around without limping.

Believe it or not, Hafner is in camp and has actually been playing in games.  He just hasn’t done much in those games.  Hafner is just 4-29 this spring, with a single solitary home run and an even dozen strikeouts.  He’s still somewhat of a presence in the lineup with four walks, but after Teix and C-Grand went down he became a much more critical part of that lineup.  As of this morning he hasn’t given much of an indication that he’s ready to be that critical part of the lineup and that’s a tad unsettling.

Click “View Full Post” to continue. Continue reading Oh Hey, Travis Hafner! Didn’t See You Over There. What’s Going On, Buddy?

Today’s lineups: Red Sox at Yankees

Gardner 7
Nunez 6
Youkilis 5
Rivera 3
Francisco 9
Nix 4
Stewart 2
Neal DH
Mesa 8

Nuno LHP

Holt 4
Nava 3
Bradley Jr. 8
Gomez DH
Carp 7
Ross 2
Sweeney 9
Sutton 5
Iglesias 6

Doubront LHP

Some notes:

  • Derek Jeter is not listed in any activities today, probably to give his swollen ankle a break
  • Via Bryan Hoch’s twitter: Mason Williams has been called to Yankees camp for the day, listed as backup center fielder

Continue reading Today’s lineups: Red Sox at Yankees

Jeter takes tests, passes

We all held our collective breath this afternoon when Derek Jeter was scratched from the Yankees’ spring training game against the Phillies. In light of that, Jeter had precautionary X-Rays and an MRI done by Dr. Daniel Murphy. The X-Rays came back negative, though the MRI showed “mild inflammation” in his injured ankle. He’s now listed at day-to-day, which is a lot better than it could’ve been, but I don’t think anyone’d blame us if we were more than a wee bit concerned about this.
Continue reading Jeter takes tests, passes

Yankees vs Stubhub: Round one goes to the Yankees

Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal reported a short while ago on Twitter that the Yankees have gotten a temporary restraining order against Stubhub which prevents it, for the time being, from opening a storefront near Yankee Stadium.

Now, I’m not a legal expert like some of my favorite fellow baseball bloggers who all seem to be former lawyers but one in particular, Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk, had this to say about the TRO:

A TRO is granted without any kind of hearing or evidence beyond the sworn statement of the plaintiff, in this case the Yankees, saying that they will be irreparably harmed if the activity at issue isn’t stopped. A hearing will be held in the next few days, however, as to whether or not StubHub should be enjoined from doing so for a longer period. The TRO, in fact, could have been issued without StubHub even being present in the judges chambers.

Let’s get ready to rumblllllllllllllle! Continue reading Yankees vs Stubhub: Round one goes to the Yankees

Boesch’s Mechanical Changes From 2011 To 2012

Yesterday, I discussed why I felt that Brennan Boesch was a good buy-low move for the Yankees. To quickly summarize, Boesch was a quality hitter from 2009 through 2011, but it all fell apart in 2012. Batted ball rates and batting averages show that the outfielder was far off from his 2011 style. A thumb injury, bad luck, and perhaps a change in his hitting mechanics hurt him. Now with the Yankees, Boesch can overcome his bad luck, he can hit in a much more hitter friendly ballpark, and he has the opportunity to correct his mechanics with one of the best hitting coaches in the business.

Boesch stated that the thumb injury, which led to surgery, subconsciously changed his hitting mechanics and I assume his grip. Finding the mechanics that gave him an .800 OPS in 2011 could mean big things in Yankee Stadium, so there’s no doubt that the left-handed hitter will be working to reclaim his old methods. It’ll be hard to see his grip, but why not take a look and see if anything else changed.


(click on “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Boesch’s Mechanical Changes From 2011 To 2012

Late day notes: Yanks lose and Jeter goes to the doctor

The Yankees dropped their game against the Phillies today, 4-1 in Clearwater but there was good news, Boone Logan pitched and had no issues with his left elbow. Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reported that Logan’s elbow, “…feels good. Period. It really does, though. I promise.”

Hmm, does that mean he had been lying before about his elbow?

As for Derek Jeter, he was a late scratch for today’s game and the Yankees sent him to the doctor. Via the Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog:

Manager Joe Girardi called it a precautionary measure after stiffness in his left ankle forced Jeter to be scratched from today’s lineup.

“We’ve got to find out what we’re dealing with and go from there,” Girardi said.

There were no updates after the game so I’m hoping for the whole “no news is good news” cliche coming true for Jeter, and for us. Girardi also spoke about how well Jeter’s rehab had been going up to this point.

“When you’re dealing with a rehab coming back from injury, you’re going to deal with some ups and downs,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. Very seldom to you ever come back from a rehab where it just goes completely smooth. It’s really went well up until this point. We’ve had a lot of good days. Today happened to be a not-so-good days.”

Girardi said he saw only one indication that Jeter’s ankle was worse than usual; Jeter was flexing his ankle quite a bit during batting practice. Jeter hit but did not take ground balls, and Girardi said the second or third group was hitting — Jeter was in the first group — when trainer Steve Donohue told Girardi about Jeter’s stiff ankle.

So keep your fingers, toes and eyes crossed that this was just your normal, post-surgery type of soreness and that nothing has gone wrong for Jeter. Continue reading Late day notes: Yanks lose and Jeter goes to the doctor

Briefly Discussing Joba’s Value

Over the last few days, there’s been a little bit of trade discussion surrounding Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain. Mike touched on this yesterday and I’d like to expand on his value as a trade piece and to the team.

If the Yankees really could get Mike Olt or someone of his ilk for Joba Chamberlain, then there is absolutely no excuse for not executing the trade. But, that is not likely the case. For the Yankees to fetch someone of that caliber, they’d need to give up a lot more than just Joba. The thing is, that’s just not going to happen. As a reliever entering his contract year, he’s none too desirable, at least not right now. If the Yankees fall far out of contention at some point later in the year, say around the trade deadline, maybe they can flip him to a team that needs that one last guy to get it over the hump. Wouldn’t that be something for Joba? Come up in 2007 and help push the Yankees into the playoffs as a reliever, then do the same for another team in 2013? The chances of that happening, though, seem slim. Despite all their supposed and real flaws, the Yankees still have a good shot at making the playoffs. As such, Joba is more important to the team as a pitcher than he is as a trade piece. Continue reading Briefly Discussing Joba’s Value

Quick Hit: Jeter scratched from the lineup

Derek Jeter was supposed to bat second and play shortstop in this afternoon’s game against the Phillies but he has been scratched from the lineup.

The cause? His ankle is feeling a bit stiff.

It happens. I broke an ankle 17 years ago and it still bothers me from time to time and I’m not a professional athlete and it was not surgically repaired. I really don’t think this is a cause for alarm.

Yet… Continue reading Quick Hit: Jeter scratched from the lineup