Let’s Play Catch (up)

Jeez…I’m trying to get my new blog off the ground here, and it’s been a week since I posted anything in it. That’s not exactly a good way to build readership!

OK, to catch up on stuff from the past week……….

YANKEES STUFF:

1) A-Rod had hip surgery and will miss 6-9 weeks, per this Bryan Hoch/mlb.com article.

I’m not fond of A-Rod, but I’m glad his surgery went well. I hope he has a quick and complete recovery. I know that Brian Cashman claims the Yankees probably won’t be trading for a third baseman, so Cody Ransom will supposedly play 3rd until A-Rod returns. But Cashman’s been known to pull a rabbit out of a hat before, so we’ll see.

2) After not pitching well in his first two spring training starts, Joba Chamberlain finally pitched well in start #3. Apparently, he had some issues with his mechanics that he worked on with pitching coach Dave Eiland, and the extra work seemed to pay off. That’s definitely good news. I still believe that Joba should remain in the pen and not be a starter, but hey, I guess the Yankees know what they’re doing by making him a starter. I hope they do, anyway.

3) It was a less-than-stellar effort from CC Sabathia in his second spring training start, who didn’t last through the second inning. Giving up five runs in the inning will do that to you. Better he should get such games out of his system in spring training rather than during the regular season.

“I can’t worry about it,” Sabathia said. “Last year, I had a spring where I pitched great and then started the first half

terrible. So hopefully, if I have a so-so spring, then I’ll start the first half on fire.”

LINK

4) And then there’s this:

03/10/09 4:48 PM ET

Moose pays Yankees a visit
Recently retired righty has no regrets over calling it a career
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. — Mike Mussina made the familiar drive to George M. Steinbrenner Field, and the security guards waved him right into Derek Jeter’s parking space. 270 wins do a lot to open the gates.

The recently retired right-hander was a special guest visitor at Yankees camp on Tuesday, escaping the Pennsylvania cold for a vacation and some fun in the sun. He has no regrets about his decision to walk away from the game.

“I’m doing nothing,” Mussina said, grinning. “And when I walked through the weight room, I knew why I’m doing nothing. I feel good being retired.”

As he would later reveal, Mussina knew last spring that 2008 would be his final season. There was no point during the offseason that he thought about changing his mind, he said, and even when pitchers and catchers began reporting to Spring Training camps, Mussina found himself content.

“It just seemed like a longer winter,” he said. “It didn’t seem any different. When the weather gets better, it’ll be different. I’ll see them playing on TV more often, and it’ll be different. But I’m good.”

Standing in the hallway outside manager Joe Girardi’s office, Mussina appeared relaxed, wearing an ESPN cap, a Ford Mustang T-shirt, shorts and sandals. Girardi embraced Mussina and asked if he wanted to change into uniform for the day.

“No, I’m not getting dressed, and I’m not throwing out the first pitch,” Mussina said.

“Why not?” Girardi replied. “Bernie [Williams] did it.”

Mussina’s former corner locker is now occupied by CC Sabathia, and Mussina greeted his replacement, calling him “Mr. Sabathia” and telling him to keep the space.

Unfortunately, the physical presence Mussina constructed in the Yankees’ clubhouse last spring — a false window overlooking a poster of a lake, complete with a shelf upon which he placed knick-knacks — is no more, replaced by a large blue “NY” logo.

“I think that was a 20-win window,” Mussina said. “Maybe the Steiner Sports guys took it.”

Mussina asked reporters about the progress of the new Yankee Stadium and the demolition of the old park, which he helped close. He said that he would probably be seen in the Bronx at some point this year.

“We’ll probably try to get to some [games] in the summer — one or two, maybe,” he said. “If I get invited to the Old-Timers Game, maybe I’ll pitch in that. Maybe I’ll wait a year.”

A sweaty Andy Pettitte embraced Mussina, who asked, “Where have you been, working out on Field 4?”

Rookie Phil Coke stopped by to shake Mussina’s hand, and Mussina thanked him for the outs he recorded in relief for Mussina’s 19th and 20th victories. Coke got one out against the Blue Jays on Sept. 23 and three against the Red Sox on Sept. 28.

“I remember these things. I’ve got to live in those moments for a while,” Mussina said.

LINK

His comments about the weight room and the Steiner Sports guys are vintage Moose! LOL I hope he’s enjoying his vacation with his family.

As of today, the Yankees spring training record is 5-7. Ugh…good thing it’s just spring training.

NATIONALS STUFF:

1) Looks like I’ll have to deal with lots of extra security at the Nats home opener.

Obama to throw Nats’ first pitch
Saturday, March 7, 2009 — Washington TImes

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. | The Washington Nationals should draw a healthy crowd to their home opener with the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies in town. But just in case that’s not enough, the Nationals have an even bigger guest lined up.

Provided his schedule doesn’t change because of world events, President Obama is planning to throw the first pitch at the team’s home opener April 13, according to a club source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not yet announced Obama’s appearance.

The Nationals invited Obama to throw the first pitch earlier this spring, and team president Stan Kasten said Obama has a standing invitation to throw out the first pitch as long as there is a baseball team in Washington….

LINK

Pretty cool! I’m sure this won’t change his status as a White Sox fan, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. (He attended a Washington Wizards game vs. the Chicago Bulls at the Verizon Center in DC a few weeks ago and rooted for his Bulls. The Wizards actually won that game…the President was not pleased. LOL)

2) More soreness in Shawn Hill’s right forearm! GAAH!! Is this guy going to be another John Patterson…lots of potential but unable to stay healthy?! Apparently, there was some inflammation in the forearm, but not structural damage, and anti-inflammatory medication has supposedly helped.

Hill admitted he is tired of answering questions about his forearm and right elbow. He has had persistent problems with both dating back to the 2004 season.

LINK

OK, Shawn, I understand that you get tired of answering questions about your arm, but fans and the media get tired of your many issues with arm pain! You’re supposed to be one of the anchors of the Nats’ starting rotation…it would be nice if you could stay healthy.

The Nats dumped John Patterson last year because he couldn’t stay healthy. Maybe it’s time to consider doing the same with Shawn Hill.

3) From a nice article about Ronnie Belliard:

On Friday, for example, Belliard was working out at Space Coast Stadium when he noticed that teammate Anderson Hernandez wasn’t turning the double play the right way. Belliard gave some tips and started working out again.

The scene was telling because Belliard and Anderson are battling to be the Nationals’ starting second baseman. Entering Monday’s action, Hernandez has the inside track to get the job because of his hot hitting late last season and special glove at the position.

“Look at that guy,” special instructor Jose Cardenal said about Belliard. “He is secure. He is not worried about his job. He is willing to help out.”

When asked about helping players, Belliard said, “If a player has any questions that I know I can answer, I will help them.”

Very cool. Most players are all about themselves…it’s nice to see that team players really do still exist.

That article also says Belliard (a) cut off his cornrows and (b) lost about 10 pounds. The cornrows were cool…I’ll miss them.

belly.jpgI hope the weight loss helps to increase his range.

4) Jordan Zimmermann continues to shine, while Ross Detwiler struggles. In his first three spring training starts, Zimmermann has pitched 8 1/3 innings without giving up a run, and has struck out 10 and walked 2. He’s definitely living up to all expectations of him so far. On the other hand, Detwiler gave up 5 runs and walked 7 batters in just 6 innings, and he was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday. Nine other players were sent to the minors as well: Bobby Brownlie, Justin Jones, Preston Larrison, J.D. Martin, Javier Herrera, Chris Marrero, Matt Whitney, Destin Hood, and Mike O’Connor.

5) One of the nice perks of being a Nationals season ticket holder this season is that we get a complimentary subscription to MLB.com Gameday Audio. I know the yearly Gameday subscription fee isn’t much (maybe $15 or thereabouts?), but it’s nice to get something for free. And considering how dreadful the Nationals were last season, this is the least the team can do to thank those of us who chose to renew our season tickets.

6) Speaking of season tickets, mine are on the way! I got an email yesterday (which I didn’t see until this morning) that my season ticket booklet has been shipped via UPS. In fact, the first attempt at delivery will probably be today. Looks like I’ll have to take some time off work tomorrow to sit home and wait for them to be redelivered, since a signature is required for delivery. Baseball really feels like it’s just around the corner when I have my tickets in hand!

As of right now (before today’s game), the Nationals spring training record is 6-5. That’s better than the record of some of last year’s best teams, including the World Series champion Phillies! Of course, many of those teams are missing several top players because they’re participating in the WBC, but I’m not going to let that rain on my spring training parade!

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