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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

IMAGES OF YANKEELAND IN TAMPA: PART 4

Here are some more photos of all of our Yankee favorites. People can’t seem to get enough of this, me neither, love watching these guy work out the kinks. Enjoy this batch.

Here’s Dellin Betances pitching his heart out with a hope to get called up this year, or better yet, get a job in April. Only he can make that happen, I am rooting for this kid.

Great action shot of Derek Jeter and Ramiro Pena warming up in the warm sunshine. Yes, pena is still with the Yankees and is a soldier for them, doing whatever the Yankees need. He’s a decent backup but he’ll be competing against other guys like veteran Bill Hall and Eric Chavez. It’s not going to be easy.

Raul Ibanez looks confused, like he just realized he’s platooning with Andruw Jones for the first time or something. Yes Raul, it’s a platoon role with Jones. Just go out there and do what you do best at 39, have a decent system. In all seriousness, I expect Ibanez to hit well in Yankee stadium.

CC Monster throws in front of Yankee great and my childhood hero Ron Guidry. It really doesn’t get much better than this. Whenever you have guys like Guidry, Gossage and Berra at camp, you really start to realize just how special it is to be wearing pinstripes.

Here’s Phil Hughes proving to the world that he truly is the Yankees Golden Boy. No doubt he needs to get his velocity up and get back to 2010 form or we may be seeing Hughes in the Yankees pen or the minors for a bit. I believe in King Phil. Do you?

Nick Swisher is always smiling. If you read that LoHud article HERE, you know this guy just loves what he does for a living and feels blessed. You can’t help but want to root for this guy. I am hoping for a huge year for Swish as he enters the free agent market at the end of the season.

Joba the Hutt is working he way back and hopefully he’ll be in the pen by May. That’s me being hopeful. It’s tough to say, but Joba tweets often about how he’s making progress. Hopefully everything is working for him and he feels good.

More images on the way, Spring Training is getting me excited for the season. Keep checking here at Bleeding Yankee Blue for more and if you haven’t seen them yet, check out:

IMAGES OF YANKEELAND IN TAMPA: PART 1, PART 2 AND PART 3. You’ll have the time of your life.

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WHY WE'LL REVEAL OUR BYB CONTEST WINNER TOMORROW

Just a reminder that our BYB writing contest is now closed. We cannot take anymore entries as part of the contest rules. We wrote the rules when we started the contest in WHY 400,000 IS EPIC! LET'S HAVE A CONTEST.

Tomorrow morning we will reveal the contest winner. We need time to read through everyone's pieces to determine who won. We just need time, thank you for your patience. I hope you all check it out and congratulate the winner, after all, they get the opportunity to be published with Bleeding Yankee Blue as well as some nice prizes and maybe even a future with us. We had many entries, all we're great. Thanks to everyone who participated, you rock!

Look for it tomorrow morning.




--Casey




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WHY HOUDINI WILL BE THE NEXT MARIANO

Although it’s not official, it seems pretty clear that 2012 will be the final season for the great Mariano Rivera, and while we here at Bleeding Yankee Blue don't want to push him out the door, I got to thinking about what happens after Mariano leaves the Bronx. Like it or not, we’re going to have to prepare ourselves with life without Mo as the Yankees’ closer. Because of that, BYB will feature a seven part series that’ll look at all of the possible “replacements” for Rivera, starting with David Robertson.

After his magnificent 2011 season in which he posted a 1.08 ERA, 13.5 K/9, 0.1 HR/9 (one homer allowed in 66.2 innings), 1.12 WHIP, and an incredible 410 ERA+ in 70 games, David Robertson is the clear leader to be the heir to Mo. In fact, Robertson has been very good the last three seasons, his first three full big league seasons, posting a 2.62 ERA, 12.3 K/9 and 0.5 HR/9 rates, while also posting a 170 ERA+.Robertson has also done a fantastic job in stranding runners throughout his career, posting a 79.1% strand rate with an 89.9 % (!!!) strand rate last year. He has held batters to a .220/.325/.313 (AVG/OBP/SLG) slash line in his career in with RISP, a .226/.348/.301 line with 2-out and RISP, and a .167/.333/.217 line with the bases loaded, so you know he can handle pressure situations pretty well, which is critical to being a big league closer.

The problem with Robertson, though, is that he’s struggled in his career with walking batters. He has a career 4.7 BB/9 rate, thus it increases his pitch total (4.46 P/PA and 18.2 P/IP, third and 17th most, respectively, among 160 relievers in 2011 who threw at least 40 innings) which leads to him possibly not being able to pitch the following day. Who knows if he’ll be able to cut his walks down, as it’s been a problem for him in his career, and we may just have to deal with it. But it could be something that may in fact prevent him from getting the closer role, because in terms of being efficient, he’s not that reliable.I know David Robertson has the inside track to be Mo’s heir apparent, but before we write it in stone, I want to remind you all that we’ve been down this road before. Joba Chamberlain was destined to be the heir to Mo after the 2007 season. Same with Phil Hughes following the 2009 season. And right after the signing of Rafael Soriano prior to last season, he was supposed to be the heir to Mo. I’m not saying that just because all of that happened means Robertson won’t be Rivera’s heir apparent. All I’m saying is that the opinion has changed a number of times and anything can happen. We’ll just have to wait and find out.




--Jesse Schindler, BYB Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter
@SchindlerJesse



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YANKEES SPRING TRAINING GAMES START SATURDAY...EXCITED?

Just a quick note to remind you that Spring Training games start Saturday if you can believe it...I can't! Check out the Schedule HERE, but check out the Yankees pitching below...First off, in the Yankees exhibition game against the University Florida, Adam Warren will start. Then the big boys begin. In the Grapefruit League opener on Saturday at 1:05pm, Ivan Nova will get the ball against the Philadelphia Phillies. This game will take place in Clearwater and will be televised on MLB Network. That will be followed by Sunday's game at home in Tampa and will feature Freddy Garcia as the starter. Again, that's a 1:05pm and this game will be on YES Network as well as MLB Network. On Monday, March 5th will feature Michael Pineda as the starter against the Phillies... this will also be a 1:05pm game. I think it's safe to say everyone will try to see this game, it will be televised on MLB Network.On Tuesday, March 6th, Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia will split that game against the Pirates and will not be televised. On Wednesday, March 7th, Hiroki Kuroda will handle the starting role. That game will be against the Tampa Bay Rays. That's a 1:05pm start and will be broadcast on YES. The MLB Network will also show the game but it will be delayed.

Get ready ladies and gentlemen... baseball and the New York Yankees are back!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WHY VALENTINE IS BASEBALL'S UNCLE RICO

Leave it to Bobby Valentine to comment on a play that happened in 2001. Welcome to the party Bobby, but compliments go a whole lot further. If you don't know what I'm referring too, Bobby Valentine is trying to be relevant, so he criticized the 1 guy that shouldn't have to be criticized, our Captain Derek Jeter. Read ESPN's Gordon Edes interview HERE.

Look, I'll explain the whole thing in a moment, but there's not a lot for me to say about this, because I don't want to waste everyone's time. Bobby V is a spec in my life, and the spec in Horton Hears a Who is more important to me than him. Do I respect Bobby V? I do or should I say I did, but I don't exactly fear him. His problem is he's supposed to be a "brilliant" baseball mind, but for some reason, he's never won a blessed thing in Major League Baseball and always seems to comment on things he really doesn't have a grasp of. The reality is Bobby must have found an old handbook in the Red Sox Spring Training locker room on how to try and tick off Yankee fans, it must have been left behind by Jimy Williams or Joe Kerrigan when they managed the Sox, because what you're about to read is both silly and un-important years later. Bobby said this in reference to Jeter's flip play in 2001:
"We'll never practice that... I think [Jeter] was out of position and the ball gets [Giambi] out if [Jeter] doesn't touch it, personally. That was amazing that (Jeter) was there. I bet it's more amazing that he said he practiced it. I don't believe it.''

Look. This happened years ago. After it happened, a humble Derek Jeter tried to take the spotlight off himself making that dynamic play and instead he complimented Yankees training. Anyone listening to Jeter knew he was deflecting because he's about TEAM... at least I did.
But let's get back to the play, and then we'll analyze what Kermit the frog was saying... The "flip" play is in every highlight real in all of baseball to this day. Clearly it's one of the biggest plays ever. If the play was so controversial, where was Bobby when the play actually happened? Why didn't he say anything then?

Look, the reality is, no one really cares what Bobby says about this. He wasn't part of the Athletics team in 2001 and we all know what this is about... Bobby V still has sour grapes that the Yankees beat the Mets in 2000. He was so close to winning anything important in American baseball and the Yankees took it away from him. This managerial job that Bobby has with the Sox now isn't about the Sox at all, it's about revenge and that managerial opening in Boston was the perfect way for him to attempt to get that revenge. My take on this is simple... Whether or not Derek Jeter was supposed to be there or not to flip to Jorge Posada is irrelevant. Suggesting that the throw from Shane Spencer in right field may have went to Posada without Jeter's help is irrelevant. Why? Because we don't know what would have happened and in the end, we have what we have, Jeter appearing to save the day in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. Whether you think Jeter should have been there or shouldn't have does not matter, it happened and one thing that I notice from most ballplayers who respect one another is they comment fondly on highlights. No, Bobby now falls right into place; a miserable Sox manager who's world is crumbling around him with the now departure of Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield and no more beer and chicken in the clubhouse. Why wouldn't Bobby just compliment a fellow ballplayer for a job well done? He can't because this manager job is about sour grapes. The 2000 World Series loss is stuck in his head, like Uncle Rico and 1982 in Napoleon Dynamite except both he and Uncle Rico can't get back to try and fix things. No, you can only try and fix it now and if that means flapping your gums to do it, Bobby will do that. Losing the 2000 World Series hurt Bobby and he'll never got over it. Ironically, it was Derek Jeter who won the World Series MVP that year.

So, is this story about Bobby complaining about something that happened years ago important? Nope, it's just diarrhea of the mouth. Get used to it Yankees fans and don't get too wrapped up in it, because the reality is, Bobby Valentine is my Uncle Rico. He just wants to go back try and change fate and if that means taking shots at baseball greats now to try and be relevant... well... so be it.


By the way, for more fun at Bobby Valentine's expense... check out Bronx Goblin HERE.

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WHY WE CAN EXPECT BIG THINGS FROM JOBA

Chad Jennings of LoHud had this story about Joba the Hutt throwing off full mound today...nice! Read the story HERE, and the quotes are below.“Sixteen pitches, you don’t think that’s much... But when you haven’t been on a mound since June, your legs get a little tired just from warming up, throwing my long-toss, then my flat ground, before I got on the mound. My legs are a little tired, which is a good feeling. Towards about 10, I could start to feel it. And that’s when you rely on your mechanics and trust your motion. I think I did a pretty good job of that. That’s a part of continuing to build up off the full mound, is getting to 25-30 pitches and getting legs under you.”

Here's more for Joba:

“It looks like it’s a long ways away I can tell you that much. But it’s a great feeling. It’s great to just be able to get up there and trust my arm, and trust the work I’ve put in to this point. Just to let it go, it’s free and easy. And there’s really minimal effort to get it over there. It was just nice to be able to get on there and get this new chapter started and start the process from here and move on.”Let's call this what it is, a very good thing. I have always had this feeling that the Yankees "tinkered" with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes all wrong but in the back of my mind I felt like, "What the hell do I know? I'm just a fan." But maybe my instincts were right about it. I guess we'll never know, but it's just really good to see that Joba is working his way back. It's damn exciting. I'm looking forward to him contributing in the pen this season. Hell, maybe his recovery will even be alittle ahead of schedule, wouldn't that be nice?

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WHY FREDDY GARCIA'S EFFORT IS ALL FOR NAUGHT

Joel Sherman of the New York Post is well respected. I like him, but this story I find silly. To put it simply, we've heard all this winter the 5th spot in the rotation will be a competition. It was a safe assessment without anyone telling us that right? After all, the Yankees at one point had AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia all competing, once AJ left, it was pretty obvious Freddy and Phil would then compete as well. It's probably the fairest way to handle the rotation spot right? Last season Freddy Garcia (12-8) was a big surprise for the Yankees and Phil Hughes was DOA with injury. He worked his way back, but it took all season. Fast forward to Sherman's piece which I find to be a tad irresponsible.

Today Sherman writes HERE that "Golden Boy" Hughes has already been "chosen" for the 5th guy in the Yankees rotation and the reason the Yankees mapped it out like it was going to be a competition between both Hughes and Garcia was so the veteran in Freddy won't "be offended. They do not want Hughes, who showed up out of shape last year, to feel he is being handed anything."
Look, bottom line is the Yankees are the Yankees, I didn't need to see their cards. If they have a plan, keep that plan private it's better for everyone, especially for Freddy Garcia. I just don't need to know and guess what, if Freddy proves himself this Spring and they give the 5th spot to Hughes, believe it or not, I have a problem with that. If Hughes wins the "competition" over Garcia because he was better or had the edge, then give it to Hughes, but all this story does for Freddy Garcia's morale is kills him softly. If I'm Freddy Garcia I'm thinking "Why try to climb a hill if you know you can't climb it." Why, in other words, would someone reveal this to Sherman and why would Sherman print it. I found this to be weird and it doesn't help anyone.

Look, may the best man win, that's how I see it. I want a competition and yeah, while in the past Garcia has mentioned he'd even except a long man role in the pen, you need to let him find his way and the same goes for Hughes. These are the New York Yankees we're talking about, people want to compete and get a spot on this team, the competition should be equal, no crowning yet.

Sherman writes that Cashman said of Hughes: “Aside from last year he was viewed, and not just by us, as one of the better young arms in the game; with success to prove it. He was a dominant reliever for us in 2009 and an All-Star as a starter in 2010. Why would I judge him by last year when he was injured? It feels like everyone wants to take him down a peg. I think he is a top-of-the-rotation starter.”

Listen, sure, Cashman makes a point, but let's be honest, we as Yankee fans have heard not a single thing about Phil Hughes velocity this spring except from the New York Daily News who says Hughes shows signs of old form HERE. And if he looks good now, will that change? The point is while Phil Hughes is the Golden Boy, and we all know it, I guess I was hoping for the Yankees to just pull the wool over ALL of our eyes, even Freddy Garcia, for the sake of us looking forward to the "competition" or for the sake of at least getting the best out of Freddy before they break the news to him. I don't know, I just thought maybe, it could have been handled better, from the Yankee brass on down the line to Sherman.

I laugh because 1 week ago I was annoyed by the way Andrew Marchand had it pegged that Hughes was already set to be placed in the Yankees minor leagues, read HERE. Now Phil's already been awarded the 5th spot. I guess it's who you talk to huh?

I'm not looking to root for either man, I like Hughes just as much as I like Garcia, I just felt like the whole mentality of "may the best man win" made more sense than to fight a losing battle... especially if your Freddy Garcia, that's all.

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WHY MATSUI MAY TRULY BE THE SAYONARA KID

There is one thing that Hideki Matsui is...he is a great New York Yankee. I often think about if he didn’t hurt his wrist when he did and I believe that that major injury contributed to his unspoken title of "damaged goods." Sure Matsui dazzled everyone as he exited the Bronx with a 2009 World Series show that was one for the ages. He was a New York Hero and did it in style, almost like he was finally comfortable again after a long road back. It was a message, “I love the New York fans. It appears to be the end. Thank you for the support. Here’s a laser show for you all.”

Matsui went out to Los Angeles and was part of the Angels in a about 140 games and the best thing about Matsui was, he knew how to take a joke. at the beginning of the 2010 season, when they gave out the rings to the World Championship Yankees, the Yanks played a trick on him and planted a fake ring. That got a huge laugh and you have to stop and think about that for a second... Matsui was part of our family for a long time and guys like Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada really got tight with Godzilla. I remember there was some bet between Jeter and Matsui about who would get married first, read HERE, and Matsui came to the clubhouse one day with a picture of his wife...and illustration mind you, but I guess he won. The point is, they seemed like brothers and it didn’t matter that there was a language barrier.

Last year with the Athletics, he played alittle outfield again and had some decent moments and had some bad moments too, but he still did OK at the plate. In 2011, he batted .251 with 12 home runs and 72 RBIs.

Now, these days in the free agent market where most teams are sitting back and not spending on older ballplayers, Hideki Matsui is alone. He’s a great man and an still a good ballplayer at the age of 37, but he has no home. Read HERE. The plan? Sit and wait according to Matsui… it’s all he can do. Sure, Matsui can retire and if you think about it, it would make sense; he was part of the Yomiuri Giants for years in Japan before even stepping foot in Yankee Stadium. He’s a hero back in Japan and if he returned now to finish out his days, maybe coach with the Giants, he’d be remembered and honored as the next great baseball player coming out of Japan since Ichiro and Sadaharu Oh.

But Matsui doesn’t appear to be done yet and it’s got to be killing him that teams haven’t really engaged him yet. But don’t feel sorry for Matsui, applaude him. One thing Matsui has always done is work hard and never given up. That starts with his days with the Giants, to his first homer in America, a Grand slam at Yankee Stadium, to his Godzilla like pounce on home plate, to his amazing 2009 World Series Game 6. Hideki Matsui may be down right now, but he’s not out. Maybe one day real soon, he finds a home, be it in the states or back home in Japan. To me, the choice is simple… either is a win, win.

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WHY MOTIVATION IS THE KEY TO YANKEE CHAMPIONSHIPS

I was reading that Joe Girardi uses the 2009 World Series celebration as motivation for this year’s New York Yankees. It’s a way to get pumped and to show the team what the goal is. Sure, it’s easy to know the goal, but it’s a different thing when you see it. Visual stimulation like that gives you motivation and gets you pumped. Sure, guys like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera know the feeling many times over, but other guys have never experienced it and want that feeling. I found this video on line and it's not the professional broadcast, it's an amateur video from the fans perspective and I love it. Check it out:

Girardi was quoted HERE in Bryan Hoch's piece talking about it. Here are some quotes from Joe:

"I talked to them about why we're here, our goals and the importance of keeping your goals in mind when you're going through your work... Spring Training, as we know, can get long at times."

I tell you what, there was something extra special about 2009 for me personally. Sure, 1996 was amazing and I make no apology for taping that game and celebration on my VCR way back in 1996 and watching the celebration over and over again into the wee small hours of the morning crying like a bitch, because, it was very very special to me. But 2009 was just as cool to me. While this time I DVR’ed it, I still get chills watching the celebrations and I get equally pumped. I can only imagine what the guys that play 162 games and then a playoff run feel like. It’s a mighty long season.

In the end, I applaud Girardi... great motivator, I hope it sticks all season long.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

WHY PETTITTE RETURNED TO THE YANKEES

You read that title and you just crapped yourself. I apologize. Andy Pettitte is back but as an instructor with the Yankees during Spring training and today Bryan Hoch says the big lefty is ultra impressed with another big lefty, Manny Banuelos. I love when you hear about veteran guys that are blown away by 21 year old kids. Pettitte is and I dig it. Read Hoch’s story HERE and here are some quotes from Pettitte below:

"That's the first time I've seen him throw. He looks great, man...The ball just explodes coming out of his hand."

"He's just got a live arm, and from what I hear, he's got a chance to do some good things. I haven't even had a chance to meet him yet, but I'll try to introduce myself to him and talk to him. If I can do anything to help him, I would love to be able to do that, that's for sure."

I have always agreed with Cashman on this; I believe that we should never give up Banuelos. In fact, we should give him some time and see what he has on the major league level. There is no way of knowing when he’d be officially ready. I believe the Yankees can have him up in 2013 and by 2014 permanently, but let’s not forget that in 2011, Banuelos was called up in the fall, just so he could get a feel for being with the club on the pro level. He never threw a pitch and that was never the point…it was for the experience of being with the big boys, nothing else.

That being said, I suspect this year Manny Banuelos would get a shot just like Dellin Betances before him. There is no doubt Banuelos is special, but as Pettitte said in the Hoch piece “You never know what anybody’s going to do until they get to the big league level and they go out there and they are kind of battle-tested.” Look, Pettitte knows that better than anyone and I know the Yankees are probably anxious. They’re probably nervous too and don’t want to damage the kid. So, ultimately it’s a slow progression but there is no doubt in my mind Banuelos gets a taste this fall if he handles himself well in the minor leagues this year...maybe sooner.

It was good seeing and hearing from Andy Pettitte today, but there’s no doubt I’m wondering… is Jorge Posada gonna visit next? We shall see.

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IMAGES OF YANKEELAND IN TAMPA: PART 3

Another great collection of photographs of our boys of summer. I cannot get enough of this and the feedback has been so positive, it appears that you love it just as much as me. The picture above ironically reminds me of the opening scene Resevoir Dogs.

Bad asses walking out on a mission... Phil Hughes shows focus. You have to love seeing shots like that. Whenever I see pictures of CC Sabathia he's always thin at the beginning of the season and then he gains it back. Look, I am not criticizing, I love CC Monster, I just get a kick out of it, that's all. He still dominates and this year should be no different.Rafael Soriano doing his best impersonation of Mariano Rivera, except Mariano looks cool as shit and Soriano looks constipated and out of place. Look, it happens, not everyone can be the greatest closer of all time.

Ladies, calm down... Derek Jeter's just stretching, don't get all gushy about it. No doubt he's a stud, I get it... Oh and look who showed up the Spring Training... Alex Rodriguez. Great to see you, now go warm up!There's something very special about George Steinbrenner field. This was actually taken by my bud Jimmy who was down there before Pitchers & Catchers even began. He said it was "something special"... and he's a Red Sox fan. Wow.This picture just brings out the kid in every pro ballplayer. Clearly looking at this photograph, baseball is a game and you have to laugh once in a while. Love this! Michael Pineda looks happier than everyone and I'm not exactly sure what David Robertson is doing, but I'm not afraid to say it... he looks adorable. Ha... don't judge me... clearly that's the best description for him.
I laughed when I saw this picture... is that face of Hiroki Kuroda the face of a guy that thinks he made a mistake signing with the Yankees or is he just stretching it out? Whatever the case... he's here and we should be pleased, right?

More will come if you are enjoying this, just comment and let me know you want to keep it coming.

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WHY THE INNINGS LOAD FOR PINEDA & NOVA WORRIES ME

You need to think about this… will the innings load from Pineda and Nova from last year affect them this year? Tom Verducci is pretty good when it comes to this stuff and he's the one who came up with the the Verducci effect, and I started to wonder how it pertains to Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova . How will they respond this season, after 2011 showed us all a clear increase of innings compared to the previous season? It’s a tough call and everyone is different, but there is no denying, an increase of work load affects everyone. You have to believe it’s going to sneak into the equation when Pineda and Nova take the mound. The best thing we can do is just take baby steps and don’t push their young arms too much this spring.

Look, in the past Verducci’s been right, look at someone like Phil Hughes, right? This is a guy that was a reliable relief pitcher in 2009 pitching 86 innings all season. That followed with a terrific 2010 where the innings pitched rose dramatically to 176.1 innings then in 2011, there were dead arm issues and it was a long road back. Yankees weren’t too pleased about the way he was gaining weight either which is why he went through an entire new conditioning program this winter to get ready. It’s true, we haven’t heard much about Phil Hughes and his velocity but one Girardi's safe wording is "I expect Phil to bounce back." We all do Joe. The hope is he is back to his old 2010 form and hopefully there won’t be complications. But Verducci hit the nail on the head, and it's so obvious that I can’t believe it never crossed my mind before he came up with his theory.

Michael Pineda is 23 years old... think about that for a second. He pitched his first year in the majors last season. He pitched 171 innings. Before that, in AA West Tenn and in AAA Tacoma combined, he pitched 139.1 innings and had an 11-4 record with a 3.36 ERA. Don’t forget that Pineda came out of the gate as a powerful pitcher but by the All-Star break, he stalled and just hit a wall. After the All-star break his record was 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA. Many, including me suggested, the fatigue is normal for a kid this age, after all, over time he will gain strength, age and last longer in the season, but there is no question it is a concern jumping from the minors and pitching 139 innings to the majors going 171 innings.

In 2010, Nova came up and pitched 42 innings, his record was 1-2, 4.50 ERA. In 2011, he increased to 165.1 Innings. One would hope this 25 year old kid wont have Phil Hughes type issues, but let’s face facts, we just don’'t know until we get these kids out there. No doubt they'll monitor velocity and arm strength this spring, but word on the street is, his arm strain that hit him the last game of the Yankees playoffs is 100% healed. Read HERE.

Yes, the innings increase concerns me a lot. One has to wonder if it can be overcome… we’ll have to see, Spring Training is here! Yeah!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

WHY CAN'T ALL ATHLETES BE LIKE NICK SWISHER?

How can you NOT like Nick Swisher. He's not only a fan favorite in the Bronx, but when asked about what he thinks about being a free agent at the end of the 2012 season, he answers in a way that you just want to reach out and give him a hug. The Associated Press has his quote HERE:

“I’m not thinking about that. I don’t care. I’ve got a great job. I make good money. My wife makes good money. Money’s not a big thing for us. I do what I love, and that’s coming here to the ballpark and playing ball every day. Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. I wish I could write in a book and script it out. I’d be here for the rest of my career.”
Think about that for a second... We're fans, but most likely we've never wandered and rooted like a die-hard for any other team other than the New York Yankees. We love our team and for a guy like Nick Swisher who's only been in New York since 2009 to sit there and say he'd want to be in the Bronx for the rest of his career means one thing, it's the fans that make him love it here...he can feel it. Sure, you can play well for a team, but he's done that already... in Oakland. But now in New York he's playing well for a team again, but this time, he has all of us hypnotized with his fun and energetic nature, plus, he knows how to get a pie in the face. We, the best fans in the world embraced this lively guy to the point of no return. We love Nick Swisher in New York and there is no reason why he shouldn't stick around in New York after 2012. The question is, will the Yankees want him too because lord knows many of the fans do.

But there is something else about what Nick told the AP today which really stuck with me... the money thing. Look, this is my take on athletes and money. Athletes with big egos don't talk about the money, they prey on it. They'll usually talk about how they'll "look at all options on the table and do what's best for them and their family." How many times have you heard that before? Then, they go out and sign the biggest contract they can find. Nick's different in my mind. Nick Swisher clearly isn't about ego. He plays baseball because he loves what he does for a living...he loves the game! What other athlete have you ever heard say "Money's not a big thing for us." Not too many. Folks, remember that quote at the end of 2012.The love for Nick is enormous in New York and those quotes from Swisher stem from us ladies and gentlemen. He feels the love and wants to deliver for us every time. You have to respect that. After reading that, I'd let Swish cling to the Yankees as long as he wants. There is a mutual affection and I just hope Swish kicks ass this season and when the time comes at the end of 2012, he sticks by what he believes and ego doesn't creep in. Hopefully come contract time, he goes with his heart and not with his wallet. That my friends will prove that Nick Swisher is the real deal... that's my take anyway.

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REPORT: DICKERSON OUTRIGHTED OFF 40-MAN ROSTER

Don't panic. This is just a quick note for everyone who loves Chris Dickerson. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch has the report HERE. that says the Yankees' Chris Dickerson has cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster to AAA but will stay with the pro camp. It could be worse I guess.

No doubt it's going to be tight, there is a lot of talent and not a lot of room on the Yankees club. The Journal News had a nice piece on it, read HERE and basically maps out whether or not guys like Bill Hall and Russell Branyan can do damage to stay in the Bronx this spring and beyond. Ironically, Chris Dickerson was also mentioned.

Girardi has a nice quote and it makes sense about the whole thing: “They’re going to get a fair shake to try and make this club, I don’t see why someone couldn’t play their way on. Do you have to make some moves if that’s to happen? Yeah, but I don’t see why they couldn’t.”

OK then...may the best man win.

Please comment, we have DISQUS, it's easier than ever. Let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and look for the hashtag #BYB. Also, join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.