Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mets Saturday spring training notes

The Mets have John Buck and Travis D’arnaud working together this spring. They are really together though as in hitting drills, catching drills and even signing autographs together. Their lockers are right next to each other and Buck is really mentoring D’arnaud. It is good to see a veteran helping a young guy, I am sure at some point this season they will be on the big league roster together and it will be fascinating to watch how they interact. 
Wally Backman wants to manage in the big leagues but he states he isn’t after Terry Collins job. He did admit it is a tough spot for both of them though. Collins is a lame duck manager this year, if he gets off to a bad start and Backman is doing well in AAA that could be very awkward. Backman has a career 601-564 record in his ten year minor league career.

Jenrry Mejia is being considered as a starting pitcher right now according to Collins. Collins didn’t know whether he could come up before Zach Wheeler if the Mets need an arm, he said a lot of that could depend on how they look this spring.

Collins wants Johan Santana to skip the WBC if it isn’t going to help him get ready for the season. He said he told him if he feels it will help him then he should go ahead and do it. We will find out soon what Santana is going to do.

Yankees Saturday notes as they get ready for position players to report on Sunday

CC Sabathia threw his first bullpen of the spring along with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Sabathia said he did feel a little nervous because it was the first time doing it since his offseason elbow surgery. He said after the first couple of pitches though he felt good. He threw 29 pitches which were all fastballs and changeups. He said he will start throwing breaking balls in the next couple of days off of flat ground and then carry that into the next bullpens. Joe Girardi said today that he will probably miss the first turn through the rotation with games beginning a week from today. Mariano Rivera will probably also miss the first few games and not pitch until March. That is fine though with the extra time in camp. 
The Yankees have no idea who will start the game a week from today but it could be David Phelps or Adam Warren. Joe Girardi said he expects everyone to be in camp tomorrow and he also said so far no one has gotten injured.

Derek Jeter will address the media tomorrow in his annual start of spring training press conference. Rivera said he felt good again today and he has no doubt he will be able to pitch. He said he put a lot of work in during the year and he trusts god first and then himself. He is on a normal spring routine, he may actually be getting work in earlier then usual and he is wearing a brace but he is fine.

Francisco Cervelli said the Yankees told him he could play in the WBC if he wanted. He said he has a job that he can win and that has been his dream and he wants to make sure he is in camp and gives it his all. He said he talked to the manager of Italy back in December and told them he wasn’t going to play.

Spring training will get more lively tomorrow and there will be much more going on. The full squad reports and then in a week the games will begin. It has been pretty quiet the last couple of days but that is all about to change.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mets Friday spring training notes

Marlon Byrd can win an outfield job outright according to manager Terry Collins. I would probably say he is the best outfielder they have so not too surprising here. He said it wouldn’t be a platoon that he could win it outright. He was a very good player that was an All Star only a couple of years ago, he could be their right fielder. Lucas Duda will be the left fielder. 
It has rained in Port St. Lucie the last two days so any work had to be done inside. Terry Collins told reporters yesterday that it is possible the Mets put a C on David Wrights jersey. However in either case, this is his team and he is the face of it. He is the captain Collins said. Does he have to have a C on his jersey Collins was asking rhetorically well number two doesn’t referring to Derek Jeter. I don’t think it matters as he is the leader, the best player on the team and the captain if it is official or not.

The Mets really seem to have a great find in Travis D’arnaud, there are a couple of articles about him today. had one and the New York Times also. Wally Backman wants to be a manger still but said he will stay cool as Terry Collins is in the last year of his deal. Backman will be in Las Vegas managing the AAA team.

Zach Wheeler is entering camp with the same determined attitude that Matt Harvey had last year and he is supposed to be better. I would expect to see him by June or July at the latest. Colin Cowgill has a chance to win a job and he is being compared to Lenny Dykstra. The Mets can only hope he comes anywhere near that, if he does he will probably be their center fielder and they would love that excitement that is brought to the ballpark.

Yankees Friday Spring Training Notes

It was a quiet day in Yankees camp today. There wasn’t much going on, Kevin Youkilis became a big story because there wasn’t much else going on. Youkilis clarified comments he made yesterday about always being a Red Sock. I think the whole thing was overblown and it really was much of nothing. He was just trying to say that most of his career is with them and you can’t take that away. The bottom line is performance, if he does well and helps the Yankees win the fans will love him and if not they won’t love him. 
George King of the NY post reports that the Yankees are going to have scouts watch Chien-Ming Wang as he pitches for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic. He has never been the same since hurting himself running the bases in 2008 with the Yankees. Billy Connors is recommending him as extra depth in AAA, Connors is with the Yankees as a spring training instructor.

Michael Pineda threw 25 pitches today, all fastballs. He reported no problems and is still on schedule. He has looked pretty good and had no setbacks. The Yankees could have a big piece coming in June if he keeps this up. He is projected as a number one or two starter and if he is anywhere near that the Yankees are going to have a good pitcher for a long time. Cesar Cabral is overshadowed but he had a chance to make the team last year and then the Yankees discovered a fracture in his elbow. He is on the exact same schedule as Pineda and is obviously overshadowed but he seems to be doing well also.

CC Sabathia is on schedule to throw his first bullpen of the spring on Saturday. He will be the last Yankees pitcher to do so. Francisco Cervelli will not be playing in the World Baseball classic. I think that would have been bad for him if he did, he wants to win the starting catcher job and needs to be in camp.

Jorge Posada will be a guest instructor but the Yankees don’t know when he will be showing up yet. Girardi said they usually make their own schedule and a lot of them wait until the games start. The Yankees first game will be next week so it is coming soon.

Girardi said the Yankees will quickly make up for todays light day with a crazy day on Saturday. He said there are a lot of bullpens and batting practice sessions planned. The full squad reports on Sunday with Monday being the first official full squad workout.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mets spring training notes

Sandy Alderson spoke on WFAN today and the owner Fred Wilpon met with the media in Port St. Lucie. 
Alderson basically said that they want to win but also thinks it is important for players to develop. He is mainly talking about Zach Wheeler, Travis D’arnaud and Matt Harvey. They are clearly the future of the franchise and the Mets want to see them develop and be the main guys in the next couple of years. Alderson said of course they want to win and won’t be happy until they have a winning season. I believe that but I do think right now it may be more important for them to develop the players. They are rebuilding and I think Alderson has done a good job with that but we will see what happens. I would fully expect Wheeler and D’arnaud to be up by the All Star Break or shortly after and the future will be at hand.

The Mets can veto Johan Santana from pitching in the World Baseball Classic, not sure if they will do so though. Jenrry Mejia is late to camp due to visa issues relating to a review of his age and identity. Alderson announced this to the press today. He is being investigated but the Mets think it was just random and it isn’t because of something he did.

Wheeler threw a bullpen and was very impressive according to the reporters who were down there. The Mets have a chance to have a really good pitching staff with him, Harvey, Jon Niese in the future. Bobby Parnell will be the closer if Frank Francisco isn’t healthy. He has an elbow problem and is shutdown until further notice.

The Mets seem pleased with how Daniel Murphy improved at second base. Tim Teufel is working with him and said he looked very good today. The Mets are mostly at the minor league complex working out, it is involuntary as they don’t have to report until Sunday. He said that Murphy looks very good at flipping the ball to second base and his pivots are better. Murphy can really hit so if he can just play adequate defense which I believe he did last year he is very valuable to the team.

The Mets have a good starting staff and good infield. The biggest problem with them is their outfield and right now catching isn’t great but D’arnaud should be the catcher of the future and someone they hope will be there for a long time. The bullpen is also a question mark but it looks like that could be better then last year also.

Yankees first official workout notes

The Yankees started their quest for championship #28 this morning as they held their first workout of the season. There are no players that reported late so all the pitchers and catchers are in camp, position players will report Sunday and then the ballpark will really come alive. Francisco Cervelli met the media today, Mariano Rivera did the same and Andy Pettitte was a big topic about not playing in the World Baseball Classic and possibly playing past this season. 
Cervelli denied the allegations against him. He said that he was recommended to go to the Biogenesis clinic by someone but wouldn’t say who. He said it wasn’t a teammate or his agents. He did say he went there and just listened and didn’t leave with anything. Cervelli also said look at him and his numbers, does it look like he is taking steroids. I guess you have to believe him, there is no reason not too and honestly I don’t think people care that much about him. He isn’t really a story, Cervelli has a chance to be the starting catcher this year and he is a Yankee but he really isn’t a big deal.

Mariano Rivera reported on time this year, he said he feels like a 9 out of 10 but will be a 10 when the season starts. He said he has made a decision on his future but isn’t going to announce it just yet. He did say he will let everyone know in the near future though. It sure sounds like he is going to retire and we should find out soon enough. He said he expects to be how he always is and that he is feeling great and excited to be back.

Andy Pettitte wanted to play in the World Baseball Classic especially with his old manager Joe Torre managing team USA. He said that Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman had concerns though and basically talked him out of it. He said they said we will support you if you do it but we would prefer if you didn’t. He said ultimately it was his final decision but he felt although he would of loved to pitch for his country he had to be loyal to the Yankees. Pettitte also said he isn’t sure if he will continue past this season but won’t make any decisions until the season is completed. He sounded the opposite of Rivera, that he may play again next season.

Phil Hughes threw 40 pitches today in his bullpen and Clay Rapada threw 35. A lot of the pitchers seem ahead of the normal schedule. Hughes said it was his sixth bullpen already. The first workout was smooth, no problems reported.

David Adams who missed most of the last two seasons with an ankle injury will be sidelined now with a back injury. He will be in camp but won’t be cleared for full activity when the first full squad workouts begin.

The Yankees made a trade tonight. They have acquired reliever Shawn Kelley from the Seattle Mariners for Abe Almonte. Almonte was a minor league outfielder who really had no where to go with the Yankees. Kelley is 28 and went 2-4 last season with a 3.25 ERA. He made 47 appearances with the Mariners last season during three different stints with the big club. He averaged more then a strikeout per inning and he also made 14 appearances in AAA where he was 2-0 with six saves and a 0.90 ERA. Alex Rodriguez was placed on the 60 day disabled list to clear room on the 40 man roster and the Yankees 40 man roster now stands at 40.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The New York Rangers blow a lead but defeat the Boston Bruins in a shootout

The New York Rangers held a 3-0 lead in the third period but let that slip away. The Rangers played a really good game and then with a 3-1 lead and about 1:30 left in the game they gave up two goals with the Bruins pulling their goalie. It was kind of a couple of lucky bounces that went Boston way. The Rangers though were able to regroup get the game through overtime to a shootout and win it from there. They are very good in shootouts because of their all world goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Ryan Callahan scored the game winning goal to give them the 4-3 win. 
The Rangers scored their first goal on a great play by Rick Nash who got the puck to Carl Hagelin while on the ice. Hagelin now has four goals in the last three games. Derek Stepan scored the second goal and Antron Stralman scored his first goal in over a year in the third to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. Rick Nash scored on a great move in the shootout and Callahan scored the winner in round four.

Lundqvist came away with the Broadway hat as he made 37 saves. Stepan and Hagelin played good games as the Rangers continue to get balanced scoring and playing four solid lines.

The one negative is the power play which was 0-4 and didn’t score on a 5 on 3 advantage. They are now 4-44 on the season which is just terrible. The penalty kill has become very good in the last few games and that is a big reason why they have won three games in a row.

The Rangers will now play their next three games at home against the New York Islanders, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens. They should win at least two and have a good shot at winning all three and having a nice six game winning streak as they head on the road. They now are two games over 500 and have 14 points on the season. They are moving themselves up in the conference and really starting to gain confidence. They are a really good team that has a chance to do special things this year and they are starting to show it now. It may have taken them some time to get used to each other and the system that the Rangers play but now with each game that goes by they are getting better and better and growing more confident in themselves.

New York Mets as their spring camp opens

Frank Francisco their closer still has an inflamed elbow and will not be throwing as of yet. Bobby Parnell will be the closer for now. I would expect that to stay that way, why not if you are rebuilding you have to go with the young guy and give him a full chance. 
Terry Collins discussed the outfield today. He told Mike Francessa on WFAN that Lucas Duda will be the left fielder every day. He said the other two outfield positions are up for grabs. Jordany Valdespin is a candidate. Collins said he mostly played outfield in winter ball and he gives the team a lot of options. He also said Justin Turner and Zach Lutz will see time in the outfield this spring. Collins thinks Lutz and Andrew Brown are legitimate candidates for a bench spot but he believes Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill have the best ability to cover ground in the outfield.

Collins said he heard a lot in the minor leagues about all I want is a chance. He said he is telling these guys now well guess what you got your chance. He said there are a lot of jobs to be taken and the young guys have a real chance to step up and make a name for themselves.

The Mets pitching staff is pretty good. They have Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey and Shaun Marcum. They have added some veterans to the bullpen like LaTroy Hawkins and Brandon Lyon. Parnell will be the closer to start, Josh Edgin looked pretty good last year. They have no real outfielders right now though and catcher is a problem although they have John Buck and Travis D’arnaud will be with the team sooner then later.

Yankees pitchers and catchers report to spring training

The New York Yankees pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on Tuesday morning. They were there for their physicals, some guys played catch in the outfield and the manager met the media today. The first official workout is tomorrow morning. Here are some of the notes from today. 
Alex Rodriguez will rehab in New York and not join the team in spring training. Girardi said it has nothing to do with distractions but that there is just no reason for him to be in spring training. If you want to believe that it is fine but I am sure they just don’t want him around and deal with anything more with him.

Girardi said that for now he wants to keep Brett Gardner in left and Curtis Granderson in center but that they will continue to discuss it and won’t completely rule out a change. It seems to me that Girardi wants to keep it how it is. I think Gardner is probably a better center fielder but he was the best or one of the best left fielders so why mess with that. Girardi said the lineup is a work in progress, he gave no indication of his ideas for that. I would think that you can go Ichiro, Jeter, Cano, Tex, Granderson, Youkilis, Hafner, Stewart/Cervelli, Gardner. I like that lineup but I realize you could also go with Gardner at the top or Jeter, Granderson could bat second. Nunez could get a lot of play and that could change things a little. I think the lineup will be a lot different but that they will have the ability to score runs in different ways.

Girardi did say that Austin Romine might not be exactly on equal footing with Stewart or Cervelli but that he does have a real chance to win the job. I think they will send him to AAA and go with the other two guys in a platoon type situation. I think Romine could eventually come up and take the job though before the season is over. I would love to see Romine take the job because the Yankees need youth and more home grown players.

CC Sabathia spoke a little today and said he didn’t think he was as hurt as he was last season. He said now that he feels great and he knows the difference because he is healthy now. He said he just wants to concentrate on staying healthy now. He said he lost about 10 pounds and is down to 290 which is about the same as last spring. He said he gained the ten during the season which he is ok with because it just happens but right now he feels good and is at the ideal weight.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New York Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1

The New York Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by the score of 5-1 on Sunday night. It was their second straight victory and fifth in their last seven games. The Rangers have won 4-1 and 5-1 in their last two games. They seem to be putting it together with more of the Rangers style we saw last year and some balanced goal scoring. 
Carl Hagelin had a big game with two goals and an assist. He was the number one star, Rich Nash had a goal and an assist and was the number two start and Lundqvist was very good again especially in the first half of the first period when the Rangers defense had some breakdowns. The Rangers used all four lines tonight and Arron Asham had his first goal as a Ranger.

Hagelin scored the first goal 31 seconds into the game and was assisted by Nash and Dan Girardi who returned from injury and played a good game. Ryan Callahan scored at the 15:13 mark of the first period to make it 2-0 Rangers.

Hagelin scored at the 9:58 mark of the second period to make it 3-0. He was assisted my Marc Staal. The Rangers had a bad breakdown that gave the Lightning their only goal. It came at the 14:42 mark of the second period and Vincent Lecavalier scored with Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman assisting.

Asham scored at the 12:22 mark of the third period with an assist from Ryan McDonagh and Nash finished off the scoring at the 19:51 mark of the third with assists by Hagelin and Girardi.

The Rangers had the advantage in shots with 32 to Tampa Bays 20. Lundqvist was 19-20 in saves and the Lightning used two goalies. The Rangers were 0-3 on the power play and killed off both power plays by the Lightning. The Rangers are now over 500 for the first time this season and will head to Boston to take on the Bruins Tuesday night.

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