Friday, August 22, 2008

The Pavano Files

A chronicle of Carl Pavano's Yankee career (courtesy the Hartford Currant):

Pavano's Hard-Luck Yankees Career

August 22, 2008


A look at the Yankees career of Southington's Carl Pavano, who is in the final year of a four-year, $39.95 million deal. He will make his first start since April 9, 2007, on Saturday against the Orioles:


April 5: He makes his Yankees debut with 6 1/3 strong innings against the Red Sox. Leaves with a 3-1 lead but gets a no-decision.

April 10: Baltimore's Melvin Mora hits a liner off Pavano's head, forcing him to leave his second start in the third inning. He makes his next start.

June 30: One day after a bullpen session, Pavano has shoulder discomfort and misses a start July 2.

July 7: He's placed on the 15-day disabled list with what's called shoulder tendinitis.

Aug. 10: After a couple of rehab starts, Pavano is shut down for the season because of rotator cuff tendinitis.

Season numbers: 17 starts, 4-6, 4.77 


Early February: Pavano informs the Yankees his back is giving him problems. The team sends him to a specialist in Los Angeles who recommends stretching and exercise.

March 22: The team says he will start the season on the DL.

March 28: He pitches one inning in an exhibition game against the Phillies. On a fielding play, he falls and sustains a bruised left buttock.

April 2: He is placed on the DL; an early May return is the hope.

May 18: Pavano discloses he has soreness in his right triceps and has another MRI.

May 19: An MRI reveals a bone chip in his elbow. Surgery is needed.

May 26: He undergoes surgery to remove the chip.

Aug. 28: Complaining of a sore right oblique, Pavano has a CAT scan that reveals two broken ribs. In a press conference at Yankee Stadium he admits he was injured in a car accident on Aug. 15 in Florida. He doesn't pitch again.

Season numbers: 0 games, 2 MRIs, 1 CAT scan. 


April 2: In his first start in 21 months, he goes 4 1/3 innings in an Opening Day no-decision against Tampa Bay.

April 9: Gets his first win since May 22, 2005, allowing two runs in seven innings against the Twins. After the game he reports arm stiffness.

April 15: Pavano is placed on the 15-day DL.

April 19: An MRI confirms a strain in his right forearm.

June 5: Has reconstructive ligament surgery and is done for season with an estimated recovery time of 12-18 months.

Season numbers: 2 starts, 1-0, 4.76 ERA 


July 8, 11: Throws 30 pitches to hitters in batting practice, then 45 pitches.

July 29-Aug. 7: Makes three rehab appearances and allows one run in 8 1/3 innings.

Aug. 12: In 4 1/3 innings for Double A Trenton, throws 80 pitches and allows five runs.

Sunday: Throws 85 pitches in six innings, allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts in an 11-7 win over Reading.

Thursday: Called up to the Yankees to start Saturday against Baltimore.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yanks Go For 2nd Straight Series Win

After taking 2 of 3 vs KC the hard way (losing the 1st), the Yanks look to do the same in Toronto tonight.

All we have to do is beat the best pitcher in the AL - Doc Halliday...


Monday, August 18, 2008

I Can't Stop

I'm sorry - I really am. I just can't stop-

Josh Becket 11-9 4.34
Sidney Ponson 7-3 4.19

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Year to Forget

2008 , the final season in Yankee Stadium, has not been a very good one for the Yankees. Let's break down the low lights;

  • Young Pitching Fails - Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes were hit hard and then got hurt. They were supposed to take 2 spots in the Yankee rotation for years to come instead they failed, miserably.
  • First Round Pick Walks - One of the best arms in the draft decides on college over the Yankees. This is a huge blow to the Yanks. I know they get the same pick next in return but Cole had huge upside and will not be around when the Yankees pick in years to come.
  • Injuries - Wang, ARod, Bruney, Posada, Matsui, Hughes, Kennedy, Damon among the wounded.
  • Cano and Melky regress - Cano went from a budding star to a possibly over decent player and Melky became the worst offensive CF in baseball.
  • Jeter begins to age - decrease in steals and power appear to be a sign that Jeter is aging.
  • ARod-Problems in the clutch have returned. He might be the most frustrating player in all of baseball. You know he is the best player in the field but you can almost see him tighten up in the big spot.
  • Prospects disapoint- It hasn't been just Hughes and Kennedy who have had bad years. Others in BA's top ten who have disappointed include Jeff Marquez(4.69 era, 1.45 WHIP in AAA), Alan Horne (Injury filled and horrible 5.63era), and Tabata (Immature and finally given up on).
  • Girardi still growing as a manager - Joe has made a lot of decisions that really make u scratch your head and its clear that he is still growing as a manager.

There have been some real positive like Joba's emergence as a starter and the live young arms in the pen and with all this the Yankees still have an outside chance of making the playoffs and with the possibility of adding CC and Texiera in the offseason things could take a completely different turn in the new park. But anyway you look at it 2008 has been anything but a good far.

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Boris Games?

By now you've probably heard that the Yanks' top pick from this year's draft, Garrett Cole, is threatening to go to UCLA instead of sign with his favorite childhood team.

While right handed starters are not exactly absent in the Yanks' farm system, losing Cole would hurt. He's a 17 year old who thows 98 and has a ++ power slider. He would crack the Yanks' top 20 prospects off the bat and has tremendous upside.

Let's hope that this is just Boris being Boris and that it's just a game to get Cole a few more million in his signing bonus.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Have you seen this new promotion by America's largest addiction mongers?

They cause more addiction that all of the tobacco companies combined; more than all of the pushers on all of the street corners in all of the world.

Thet are the purveyors enslaving America's population without regard to race, religion or financial standing...

It's Starbucks.

Now, when you buy your morning hit, they give you a receipt that allows you an additional fix anytime after 2pm.

It's bad enough that I can no longer drink just any cup of joe in the I find myself watching the clock counting down the minutes until I can run down and get my caramel frappuccino (no whip, of course).
Please Rep. Waxman! Turn your attention away from baseball and the high price of oil and start investigating this blatant attempt to further enslave America to the dangerous drug that is Starbucks. 'Cuz I, and 3/4 of the rest of the world, NEED HELP!

There must be some budget pork available for Starbux detox centers. There must be Federal grants out there for caffeine replacement therapy. There must be room in DARE and MAD and all of those acronym intensive programs to start educating adults on the dangers of the grande caramel macciato. I'm counting on you!

Until then, gimme that receipt you cute 20 year old barista; I'll see you at 2!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yankee Fans HAVE to Root for Rays

The injuries to Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford, coupled with a young, over achieving pitching staff and a brutal September schedule have me convinced that the Rays are about to start a period of prolonged poor play. In their last 40 games I could see a 17-23 mark pretty easily.

But wait...what would that mean for us?

We are currently 9 behind TB, and 5 behind the Dread Sox. If Tampa does go into a long-ish losing streak as I anticipate, that would give Boston a chance to catch them for the division. If Boston catches Tampa for the division, then we have to catch Tampa for wild card.

We have 6 games left vs Boston, so making up 5 games, while difficult, is not impossible. Making up 9 games in roughly 40, though, is another story.

Our best chance, then is for me to be wrong and see the Rays play good ball from here in and win the division. That way we can catch Boston and knock them completely out of the playoffs.

Yeah, that sounds better...GO RAYS!!

Be Ready

I'm warning 2009 Carl Pavano will sign a 1 year deal with someone like the Giants or the Dodgers and win 15 games with an ERA of about 3.50.

Be ready for it so you don't climb the nearest clock tower!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Good morning, again, from the 7:41 express to Grand Central Station. It seems the 40 minute train ride is about the extent of my available blogging time lately.

If not for the olympics, the level of frustration with our team would probably have caused me to blow a blood vessel. I'm sure you feel it too. The frustration on my end comes not from the fact that we are losing, but how we are losing.

We should have been expecting this swoon from the Yanks. A 'ro that includes Ponson, Geise and Rasner is not winning many series let alone winning a playoff spot. The frustrating thing is, though, that it's not the starting pitching that's causing the losing.

The starters have actually done pretty well. Ponson has probably earned himself a multi year deal from someone (not us), Geise has been very good, and Rasner...well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

The offense, however, looks more akin to a team playing for a spot in the Little League World Series then the real one. Our 1000 run bombers will be lucky to crack 800 for the year!

A big part of the problem has been the Yankee O perpetually failing with RISP. They know it, Gen Joe knows it, and we know it- which is a bad thing. Team-wide offensive frustration is a syndrome- failure breeds frustration, frustration breeds pressure, pressure breeds failure. And round and round it goes.

Frustrating as well is that the 'pen, our biggest strength through the first 100 games, has fallen apart.

I could understand the losing if we were getting beat 8-6 every night. 4-0 against a mediocre (at best) pitcher is just unacceptable.

Any way you slice it, unless we get out act together quick and go on a 22-4 tear, we'll be watching the first round only to root for whoever plays the Dread Sox.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It Is High at their best

Click here


The countdown on the Yankee season has not only begun, but is running out of numbers. Now 8.5 out of the division, the wild card is looking like our only hope, and while only 4 back of Boston doesn't seems do bad when you look at it, the way we're playing it might as well be 14.

Sending IPK down is, I believe, a clue to his long term standing with the team. The Yanks know that when at AAA his numbers are gonna be gaudy. He's already shown he can dominate at that level. The only reason we'd send him back there is to let him put up gaudy numbers to increase his trade value for this off season. Bye bye Ian, it's been...frustrating.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pat Venditte

Click here for a nice read on Pat Venditte; the only ambidextrous pitcher in professional baseball.

More Moose in '09? Tough Call

Who would have guessed in April that our best pitcher, our most consistent starter, our top Cy Young vote getter, our best shot at a 20 win starter would be Moose?

I read somewhere this morning that in his last 20 starts Moose's era is like 2.85 (I'm writing this on the train on my Blackberry). That's not good, it's a #1 kinda starter number!

So assuming the transformation continues and Moose wins 20 for the 1st time with an era for the season under 4; do we re-sign him?

The Yanks WILL get CC Sabathia. So that would put the following in line for a starting spot come spring-


7 viable, potentially front of the 'ro starters. This season has gone a long way toward yet again proving the adage that you can't have too much pitching. 7 starters might seem nuts, but how nice would it have been this year to have a couple of capable arms at the ready?

Even if he is lights out the rest of this year, IPK could be stashed at SWB as insurance. That would leave 6 starters. None of those 6 belong anywhere near the 'pen, either. It's not like we can stash Andy or Wang or Moose as a long man until we need him!

What Ikky does for the rest of the season will have a major impact on whether the Yanks look to re-sign Moose. 

While I am very appreciative of Moose's Yankee career, 2008 should probably be his last in pinstripes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Doctor is IN

Joba is on the shelf with rotator cuff tendonitis. First let's say WHEW!! Of all of the things that could be wrong with the shoulder, tendonitis is easily the best case scenario.

What is rotator cuff tendonitis?

First, tendons are bands of connective tissue that attach muscle to bone. Thinking of them as taught rubber bands is a good visual. Tendonitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of a tendon. 

The rotator cuff is the collection of tendons that hold the humerus (the large bone between the shoulder and elbow) together with the scapula (the shoulder blade) and move the arm up and forward. 

The common causes of tendonitis are overuse and age-related issues (tendons become less elastic and more prone to inflammation and irritation as we age). Sometimes, when the tendon fails to have a clear or smooth path upon which to glide, tendonitis in strong, young tendons can occur. 

In my (layman's) opinion, there are 2 possible sources of Joba's tendonitis:

1. It's possible that the switch from reliever to starter could have resulted in this tendonitis. Having potentially grown accustom to throwing between 30 and 60 pitches (including warm-ups) as a reliever and then changing to 100-140 pitches (again, including all pre-game and pre-inning warm up throws), the tendon could have become over-worked and inflamed.

2. Something such as a bone spur on the ball of the humerus could be irritating the tendon. I imagine that this was one reason that Joba saw Dr J Andrews (the other being confirmation of no tear in the rotator cuff). If a bone spur had formed on the ball of the humerus the tendon would continue to rub against it and get inflamed over and over.

What does all this mean to us, the fan?

We will probably not see Joba again this year. I say this not because the injury itself is particularly serious, but each occurrence brings a higher potential for additional recurrences going forward. Given the Yankee's bent for treating youngster's injuries extremely carefully, I think he'll be out till '09.

If Joba endeavors on a program to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff and there is no structural abnormality (i.e.-bone spur) causing it, a tendonitis repeat can probably be avoided. While this isn't what we hoped would happen, given the circumstances it might be the case best scenario.

Just to Send Yankee Fans Panicking through the streets......

Will Carroll is the blogsphere guru when it comes to baseball injuries and in today's under the knife column he offers up the following on Joba;

"The Yankees are sending Chamberlain and his test results to Pensacola to be reviewed by Dr. Jim Andrews. I keep having to explain to people that this isn't necessarily bad; that if the Yankees were sure he needed surgery, it's more likely that they would have kept him in New York with Dave Altchek. We'll know more after the visit, but indications are that Chamberlain has some damage, but that surgery is not an immediate indication. So far the Yankees are only willing to say that Chamberlain will miss his next start, but they're also giving off signs that Chamberlain will need to go onto the DL. The biggest worry is the location of the pain: while the team is insisting that the center of the shoulder is good, that's still one location where referred pain shows up for the labrum."

How bad is a torn Labrum? From Will Carroll in 2004

"Of the 36 major-league hurlers diagnosed with labrum tears in the last five years, only midlevel reliever Rocky Biddle has returned to his previous level. Think about that when your favorite pitcher comes down with labrum trouble: He has a 3 percent chance of becoming Rocky Biddle. More likely, he'll turn into Mike Harkey, Robert Person, or Jim Parque, pitchers who lost stamina and velocity—"

The good news is that maybe the Yankees didn't really see anything on the MRI but are being extremely cautious because of the location of the reported pain and the severity of labrum injuries. The bottom line is- we gotta hope the news from Alabama doesn't include the word labrum....

What To Do?

Let's assume the worst for a moment. Let's assume Jobe is done for 2008 (I cant even get myself to think about anything beyond that). The logical question is, ok...what then?

Unfortunately, I don't see much wriggle romm with answering the question. We sit 6.5 behind the AL East leader, and 3.5 behind the Wild Card; not a great position, but certainly not bone jarring numbers either. The problem, however, is making those games up with only 2 dependable starters.

Moose has been great, and recent struggles aside, I'd go to war with Andy Pettitte any day. Where do the other 3 starters come from?

The obvious answer is The Kids. Phil is close to returning, and according to Cash, IPK will start Saturday in Joba's spot. That leaves 1 final spot to deal with.

While shuffling the usual suspects in and seeing who performs would typically be the answer, the Yanks don't have time to allow someone to fail. Maybe revisiting the Washburn situation is a good idea. Maybe Freddie Garcia will help right away. Maybe Al Aceves or Dan Geise will step in and pitch to a sub 4.50 ERA. All possibilities, but certainly not foregone conclusions.

As it seems whatever Cash does the result will be simillar, I see no need to swap any youth in a trade. Aceves/Geise/Washburn - they all seem pretty much the same to me.

So back to the question- what do we do? Unfortunately the answer won't make many people south of UConn very happy- cross your fingers for 2008 and start looking toward a great 2009.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pitcher Hell

If given the chance, a big league pitcher would rather go anywhere, I mean ANYWHERE else.

It's where pitchers go to die.

It's the place that has turned more prospects into 'cudda beens' than anywhere else on the planet.

And now our beloved Joba, our BEAST, our 22 year old Ace for the next decade is headed there.




That's right, our Joba is headed to see the renowned velocity and stuff killer, the infamous rebuilder of broken arms, Dr. James Andrews.

This is REALLY not good. Trips to Birmingham just about NEVER work out well.

If Joba's problem was an elbow it would probably mean 18 months off and see ya in 2011. Since his issue is in the shoulder it's truely possible that under a worst case scenario, 98 becomes 91 and our Ace becomes a middling #3.

I am, of course being a bit dramatic. It is possible that DJA doesn't find a torn labrum or a rotator cuff issue. It's possible that the Yanks are just being ULTRA conservative with Joba and want to make sure there is no structural damage.

When you combine the 'pop' Joba said he felt with a trip to Birmingham, however, I am not confident.

Is It Time?

At what point during a season of calamity do you take a step back and say - That's it; we're done?

At what point do the mounting injuries cause us as fans to cry "Uncle?"

Posada, Wang, Hughes, Kennedy and Matsui are currently on the shelf, and Jeter, A-Rod, Damon, Bruney and now maybe Joba have all missed significant time during this season. That's 60% of our opening day rotation, our #5 hitter, our #6 hitter and catcher, our 22 year old flame throwing Ace and the major league leader in wins the past 2 years. Ugh!

Through all of the the Yanks have found a way to stay in the race; patching together the back-end of the 'ro, trading for a productive OF, and getting some good (some not so good) starts from journeymen Ponson and Rasner. 5.5 games out is absolutely doable.

It's only doable, however, if things fall into place for the final 50 games of the season. We need to play .600 ball to have a good shot at making up the 5.5 games. We likely need to play .600 ball to make up yhe 2.5 games in the wild card. If 3/5 of our rotation is Geise, Ponson and Rasner there is no way that happens.

Phil Phranchise is getting close to coming back, Ian Kennedy is no doubt an upgrade to Rasner (I really hope!), and (omg!) a guy named Pavano might avoid the MRI tube long enough to help down the stretch (don't bank on it). For any of these guys to help, however, they need to stay healthy and actually pitch well.

I really think Phil will be successful when he gets back. As the last 20 or so games have shown, however, 3 pitchers does not .600 ball make.

If 2 of the 3 (Phil, Ian, Pavano) come back and make a strong positive contribution we might be able to pull it off.

If one of the 3 comes back and Joba only missed 1 start (doubtfull - the Yanks are gonna rightfully baby Joba) we might be able to pull it off.

Barring those scenarios, however, it might just be time to start looking toward 2009.

Monday, August 4, 2008

G trashed the 'stache

Stating that there are "no more hits left in it", the G-man has shaved his previously slump- busting and now (in)famous moustache.

Hopefully the thong found its way to the trash as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Update on The Messiah

From Pending Pinstripes comes some very good news on Phil Hughes -

Phil Hughes, also rehabbing, outpitched Pavano, giving up just a hit and a walk in 3 2/3 dominant innings, and striking out 5.  He looks ready to move up to high-A or AA, though they Yankees will take it slow with him.  Hughes was apparently throwing very hard, hitting 101 on what must have been a very juiced gun.  More likely, he was hitting 95 or so, which is not too shabby for his 2nd rehab outing of the season.

A dominant performance with velocity that we haven't seen in a while - as Monty Burns would say, excellent.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Welcome Home Willie

Nice job by the Yanks and great job by the fans in attendance in welcoming Willie Randolph back home today.

After the classless way the Muts handled his firing it sure looked like Willie was touched by the warm welcome the fans gave Willie at old timer's day.

Willie's one of my all-time favorites and an all around good guy and class act. He deserves to know that the Yanks are still his home and we still appreciate him as a great Yankee.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Play vs Angels Key to Season

Ugh! The Angels! 

How we play vs them the rest of the year is going to either make or break our season; not a good thing.

We have 9 games left with them the rest of the way; 3 more at home and 6 in LA. 

Our record vs the Angels the past 4 years - 

2007: 3-6
2006: 4-6
2005: 4-6
2004: 4-5
Total: 15-23

You have to go back to 2003 to find the last year the Yanks were over 500 against the Halos (6-3).   

Assuming we play them well the rest of the regular season, they will undoubtedly be waiting for us in the playoffs as well. 

The Pudge pick-up will help a great deal vs the Angels going forward as manager Mike Scioscia loves the running game and demands his players try and wreak havoc on the base paths. 

The real problem we're going to have is pitching matchups. Tonight, for example, Sir Sid is going against Ervin Santana, and Sunday Rasner is facing staff Ace John Lackey. Without superior performances by both of our pitchers a split will be difficult after losing last night. On paper our best bets for wins were last night with Pettitte, and Saturday with Moose facing Jarred Weaver. 

The Angels are a tough club (as evidenced by the sweep in Boston and the thrashing last night). If we are to make the playoffs, and make any noise in the playoffs, we need to find a way, right now to start beating them.

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