The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Tampa, FL– Spring Training 2013 is underway and there are a lot of stories already coming out of Yankees camp. For starters Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch against Toronto and suffered a broken forearm which will sideline him for the next 10 weeks causing him to start the season on the DL Also the starting rotation for the Yankees is in question, Sabathia and Petitte are the only starters right now who pretty much have a rotation spot locked up. The other starters fighting for those other spots are Kuroda, Nova, Hughes and Pineda. Now to get to some of the good news, SS Derek Jeter and P Mariano Rivera are recovering from their season ending injuries quite well and both are slated to be ready for Opening Day.

A look at one of the spring’s early hot topics:

Finding Granderson’s Replacement

Zoilo Almonte

Zoilo Almonte

With Yankees OF Curtis Granderson starting the season on the DL the debate opens up to who should be his opening day roster replacement. The obvious choice is minor league prospect Zoilo Almonte who has definitley wowed Yankees brass putting up impressive numbers in the minor leagues. Almonte is not alone in the competition for the starting left field job he has company in the form of Matt Diaz, Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier and Juan Rivera have been said to get looks from manager Joe Girardi. This will likely be a hot topic in Tampa has there is a little over a month left until opening day.
 

Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano all don the number 42

Bronx, NYC– 66 years ago Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers took a chance with Negro-League standout Jackie Robinson as he signed him to the Dodgers because he thought that Jackie Robinson could withstand the inevitable racial abuse that would be directed at him. In a famous three-hour exchange on August 28, 1945, Rickey asked Robinson if he could face the racial animus without taking the bait and reacting angrily – a concern given Robinson’s prior arguments with law enforcement officials at PJC and in the military. Robinson was aghast: “Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” Rickey replied that he needed a Negro player “with guts enough not to fight back.”  After obtaining a commitment from Robinson to “turn the other cheek” to racial antagonism, Rickey agreed to sign him to a contract for $600 a month, equal to $7,322 today. Six days before the start of the 1947 season, the Dodgers called Robinson up to the major leagues. Most fans are unaware that Jackie Robinson played his initial major league season as a first baseman, not second base.  On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his major league debut at Ebbets Field before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, including more than 14,000 black patrons. Jackie Robinson was the first african-american player in major leagues  as he broke the color barrier in baseball. The Georgia native died in 1972 at the age of 53, 25 years after his retirement from the game he changed forever. Robinson changed the game and he opened the door for every single african-american player in the league today, we remember the great Jackie Robinson on this April 15th and we look back at what he means to the sport.

Jackie Robinson stealing home in the World Series against the New York Yankees, until this day Yogi Berra says Robinson was out!

Granderson was 1-3 with a HR in yesterday's opener

Bronx, NY– It’s finally that time of year again! Another season has begun for the 27 Time World Champion New York Yankees in the Bronx. The Bombers did not disappoint the many fans who attended the 1:00 game despite the rain. The fans in attendance were certainly treated to a real show. Fans may not have been texting during the game but Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira most certainly was as he sent his first “Teix Message” into the right field seats yesterday to plate Russell Martin and Derek Jeter. The Grandy Man also did not disappoint as he sent “something sort of grandish” into the right field seats as well for his first round tripper of the 2011 campaign. Of course the big man, CC Sabathia got the start but he did not pick up the W. Joba Chamberlain picked up the win and Mariano Rivera keeps defying father time as he picked up yet another save. Former Yankee Phil Coke took the loss for the Detroit Tigers.

Is the Captain second in command?

 

The Captain batted second in the season opener, behind LF Brett Gardner

Yankee Captain Derek Jeter who is usually the lead off man for New York played second fiddle in the home opener against Detroit as he batted behind Brett Gardner. Last season that 2 hole was mostly filled by RF Nick Swisher but Manager Joe Girardi switched things up and Yankee fans can’t be too upset because they did indeed pull out the win. With all the off season talks about Jeter, whether it be his contract drama or his possible future move to the outfield, will the Yankees sever their ties from Jeter like they did with former manager Joe Torre? Are the Captain’s days of steering the Yankee Ship numbered? Hitting coach Kevin Long worked with Jeter in the off season to make adjustments to his stance, hopefully this results in better results than what we saw out of the short stop in 2010.

 

 

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

 

Bronx, NY– The ball was grounded to third, Michael Young tagged the bag for one out and threw offline to Moreland at first but pulled him way off the bag. Mark Teixeira slid into the bag but no one seemed to know why until he grabbed his right hamstring. The Yankees’ faithful held their collective breath hoping for the best but the news is that Teixeira has a grade 2 strain of his right hamstring, he has been removed from the playoff roster and has been replaced by Eduardo Nunez. Teixeira will also not be eligible to play in the World Series when the Yankees advance. The Yankees do have some options at first base to replace Teixeira, they have Nick Swisher who can play right and first and they also have Lance Berkman who can DH and play first. Both Berkman and Swisher are switch hitters. The Yankees are on the brink of elimination after another atrocious game last night. They have their ace CC Sabathia going in Game 5 tonight needing to pull out the win to push a game 6 in Arlington. The Rangers have only won one playoff game in Texas in their franchise’s existence. This bears repeating, THE CHASE FOR 28 CONTINUES…

 

 

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

 

Bronx, NYC– Domination. That is the only word to describe what Cliff Lee was doing to the Yankee hitters last night in game 3 of the ALCS. Pitch number 120 was just as good as number 1. He had command of every single one of his pitches all night and he had the velocity to back it up. Some say this was Lee’s “try out” for his Yankee contract and I think that is certainly a possibility. If the Yankees were looking at last night as a “try out” for Lee than hands down they have to offer him a contract close to what their ace CC Sabathia is making. If Andy Pettitte does in fact retire this season Lee would be replacing him and being that second big lefty in the Yankee rotation. If the Yankees can get A.J. Burnett on track next season along with Phil Hughes, the Yankees would just need Lee and another starter to round out the 5 man rotation. Sabathia, Hughes, Lee, & Burnett is some rotation, that is a rotation with some serious depth and just about anybody can fill that 5 spot for the Yankees but I think they need another option that isn’t Javier Vazquez, Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre or Dustin Moseley. We need someone that has proven themselves in the Major Leagues and someone who has gotten results in high pressure situations similar to the Bronx. Let’s focus on this postseason before we start worrying about next season though. Tonight in game 4 of the American League Championship Series it will be Tommy Hunter for the Texas Rangers and A.J. Burnett for the reigning World Champion New York Yankees. Burnett has had a rocky second half of the season and he never got his act together going down the stretch. Yankee manager Joe Girardi hopes to boost Burnett’s confidence by giving him the ball in a crucial postseason series. Players such as Damaso Marte have done what Burnett is looking to do and that is to turn your bad season around with a great postseason. One good postseason start for A.J. Burnett could erase an entire season of disappointing starts in the minds of the Yankees’ faithful. Hunter is a rookie right hander who will face a very tough Yankee lineup tonight. Hunter will face hitters such as Teixeira and Swisher who are switch hitters that are much better from the left side as well as natural lefty and possible MVP Robinson Cano. Hunter obviously does not have  the kind of stuff that Lee had last night and the Yankees will have a much better chance at putting some runs on the board against the rookie. If Burnett could pull out a quality start the series would once again be tied with one more game in New York before going back to Texas for 1 or a possible 2 games with Sabathia, Hughes, and Andy Pettitte if necessary. It is crucial for Burnett to have a good start tonight so the Yankees have the best possible chance to win this series in Game 6 rather than 7. Some have said the Rangers have been outplaying the Yankees and I disagree with that 110%. Nobody outplays the New York Yankees ever. Even the reigning World Champions are allowed to have a few bad games but now it is crunch time and this is what the Yankees do best win postseason games. THE CHASE FOR 28 CONTINUES….

Michael Kay of the YES Network and 1050 ESPN Radio has made an accusation against Rangers’ ace Cliff Lee. Kay accused Lee of loading up the ball using the resin that is on his hat. Along with Lee’s sweat the resin could become sticky giving him a better grip on the baseball. Kay has said, “I would think that’s illegal”, referencing Lee’s hat. What Michael Kay is basically trying to say is Cliff Lee is cheating. If Joe Girardi decides to make an issue of Lee’s hat during the ALCS does it affect his decision to sign with the Yankees in 2011? Here are some pictures of Lee’s “dirty” hat both from last post season with the Phillies and this season with the Rangers: Cliff Lee with the Philadelphia Phillies during the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium

Cliff Lee with the Rangers during the ALDS in St. Petersburg

So, do you think Cliff Lee is cheating?

Yes or No?

After tonight’s game the teams for the 2010 ALCS are finally set. It will be the Yankees and Rangers in Arlington starting on Friday night. It will be C.J. Wilson and CC Sabathia going in Game 1 for their respective teams. The Yankees have been sitting idle since Saturday when they completed the 3 game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in the Bronx. The Rays who won 2 games in Arlington to push the series to a decisive Game 5 in Tampa Bay. The Rays had their ace back on the hill but so did the Texas Rangers. Once again Cliff Lee straight out out pitched Price and mowed down the Rays much like he did in Game 1. Tonight though Lee pitched a complete game to send the Rangers to their first American League Championship Series in franchise history. In the American League Championship Series the Yankees will go with a 4 man rotation with A.J. Burnett going in game 4, Burnett did not pitch at all in the ALDS. This looks to be a very interesting series and as it starts to shape up it is worth it to keep an eye on the NLCS to see who the Yankees or Rangers will be facing in the Fall Classic. As a reminder it is the Giants and Phillies in the NLCS, the probable starters look to be another aces duel with Lincecum and Halladay who threw a no hitter in his postseason debut pitching for their respective teams. The Yankees who were originally cast as the underdog will face off against the Rangers who are rolling into this series hot but strangers to the postseason. I reiterate that they have NEVER made it to the ALCS as either the Washington Senators or the Texas Rangers. I don’t need to tell you about the postseason experience of the New York Yankees, those 27 World Championships speak for themselves. Friday @ 7:30 pm, Yankees vs. Texas Rangers on TBS.

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