May 20, 2007

No, the Yankees have great luck

Their starter only broke his finger nine pitches into yesterday's game and could miss three months! Roger can't get here fast enough.

- Speaking of him, I just watched his start from Friday night for the class-A Tampa Yanks - he looked good, not great, but good for his first real game of the year. There was no speedometer on the telecast but the announcers said his fastball was sitting 90-91. It should reach 93-94 by his first major league game. One thing that really surprised me was his slurve - a pitch he used sparingly when last I saw him with the 2003 team. I don't know if this is a new pitch or just an improved slider, but it's a real 12-6 strikeout curveball, not the little slider I remember him throwing merely to get ahead early in the count. He used his splitter sparingly, perhaps because he didn't have the feel for it, or he felt the need to work on his other pitches more, or his outing just didn't go long enough to break it out for more than anything but practice. His next scheduled start is on Wednesday for Double-A Trenton (a game I might attend - Philly is about 40 minutes from Trenton).

- It would have made Ty Clippard's life much easier if the Yanks had managed to win one of the last two games, but instead he makes his major league debut tonight trying to avoid the sweep. Outside of his solid k/bb stats (4.2 for his minor league career), his best attribute is his health (scouting report here): he hasn't missed a single start in the minors, spanning 553 innings in 101 games over five seasons. He could be a very solid back end starter for years to come, the best part being his dependability/durability (he's the opposite of Carl Pavano). However, knowing this season, and the plague infecting the Yanks pitching staff, he may very well be knocked off the mound by a gust of wind and break his hand (knock on wood).

- Elsewhere, Jason Giambi's comments may lead to another attempt by the Yanks front office to void his contract. They tried to do so before in early 2005 after he apologized (for what he didn't say) after a miserable 2004 season: 80 games, .208/.342/.379. I understand it because he is overpaid for his production, but who the hell is going to replace his (still powerful) bat? Eric Duncan? No. Shelley Duncan? No. Andy Phillips? He had his shot last year. A trade for Mark Teixeira? Doubtful, especially with so many (major and minor league) players injured. I suppose Melky would become an everyday outfielder, with Matsui, Abreu and Damon taking turns as DH, but Melky will never be the hitter Giambi is. It's risky trying to void his contract, not just to lose his bat, but it could easily generate ill will among other players.

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