Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yankees Notes

It’s the 4th, and by all means I shouldn’t be posting today. As a 24-year-old, I should be out at a barbecue, slugging down a few cold ones and preparing to watch the Germany-Italy match later on. But there have been a few developments in Yankeeland that I figure I should cover.

  • Henn Moving to Bullpen
    Lefty Sean Henn, once regarded as one of the team's top pitching prospects, has been moved from the rotation to relief at Triple-A Columbus.

    Cashman said while Henn still had the potential to be a back-of-the-rotation starter, he could help the Yankees down the stretch as a reliever because of his 93-95 mph fastball.

    A very astute move by Cashman. I’ve been moving for Henn’s conversion to the bullpen since his cups of coffee last year. To this point, Henn’s minor league experience, right down to the elbow surgery, has been similar to that of Mariano Rivera, though I’ll cease making comparisons at this point. When Scott Proctor finally breaks down, Henn could be an adequate step-in.

  • Roberto Hernandez??
    With the Yankees hoping to improve their bullpen by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, one name that figures to come up in conversations is 41-year-old Roberto Hernandez, whom the Pirates are telling people will be shopped around the league.

    The Yankees expressed interest in Hernandez last offseason, but the former Mets righthander shunned them to sign a one-year, $2.75-million deal with the Pirates because he didn't know where he'd fit in the Yankee bullpen. He has a 2.43 ERA in 37 innings.

    He’s a half-year rental, so I don’t have a problem if the price is cheap. No, wait, I do have a problem: HE SIGNED WITH THE PIRATES OVER THE YANKS! This is a guy who was in the midst of a pennant race last season with the Mets, and instead of returning there or signing with the Yankees – both poised for playoff runs – he inked a deal with the Pirates, who were basically guaranteed futility.

    I’m not questioning his ability, as he’s proven to be reliable (he allowed more than one run only thrice last season). I’m questioning his ability to keep it together in the Bronx. Unless Cashman smells desperation, I’d just say no to this one.

  • This is what I like to see from our young arms:

    Pitchers IP H R ER HR BB SO
    Philip Hughes 4.2 2 0 0 0 2 9
    J.B. Cox 2.1 0 0 0 0 0 1

  • Anyone who is even remotely buying into this A-Rod to the Cubs rumor is way too obsessed with the trade deadline. Only an idiot would deal A-Rod to the Cubs without receiving Carlos Zambrano in return, and I somehow doubt Jim Hendry wants to deal his 24-year-old ace. Then again, Zambrano’s name was never mentioned in the rumor. Instead, the compensation package was said to be – get this – Aramis Ramirez.

    Ramirez: .255/.312/.477
    A-Rod: .285/.394/.522

    Yeah, let’s swap them. Grand idea!

    If you are a proponent of this trade, I’ll just assume you’re either 12 years old or don’t watch baseball.

  • I’ve been harping on this subject for some time now, but since I’m posting random notes, I figure I’ll get back to it. Why is Andy Phillips not playing second base in Robinson Cano’s absence? This would allow Carlos Pena to get a shot to prove his worth as well as remove Nick Green and Miguel Cairo from the everyday lineup. With the bench having been an egregious problem in the last few years, you’d think Cashman would be actively seeking guys who can fill in for a few days and come off the bench as a pinch hitter. Something tells me Nick Green and his sub-.100 batting average isn’t going to do the trick. They already blew it with Erubiel Durazo, who was granted his release a few days ago. I pray they don’t make the same non-evaluatory mistake with Pena.

    (Please note that this does not take away from Greeny’s performance Sunday night. That gets all cheers from this end.)

  • I don’t like to get my hopes up with injuries, especially injuries to small muscle/bone groups. With both Sheffield and Matsui out with wrist injuries, it seems the safe bet would be the acquisition of a Craig Wilson-esque outfielder and hoping that you get one of the two back for September. However, the initial reports on the team’s corner outfielders looks favorable.

    George King on Matsui:
    Hideki Matsui's goal of returning from a fractured right wrist by the middle of August took a step in the right direction yesterday.

    Matsui was examined by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, who operated on Matsui on May 12. Rosenwasser told the left fielder the bones were fusing and the injury was progressing well. Rosenwasser told Matsui to continue his daily workouts and wanted more X-rays taken in two weeks.

    The only issue I have with this report is that it came from the always unreliable King. But it appears that he’s reporting facts from Matsui’s doctor, which gives me a bit more faith.

    Sheffield is equally as confident of a return.
    "My doctor told me that once [the cast] comes off, [I'm] not going to realize the injury was there. That's the words I wanted to hear."

    Sheffield, who is in the final year of his deal with the Yankees, wants to play three more years. His eyes are locked on a September return.

    "If I can have a full September, I can go into the playoffs ready to go and I can be myself," Sheffield said. "[The doctor] said, 'When you come back, you're going to be better than ever. You're not even going to notice it.' Anytime you get surgery, that's what you want to hear."

    That’s what you want to hear, indeed, Sheff.