Friday, February 28, 2014

Second Annual Prospects Month Is Now Over

Wow, what a month this has been. Yankees games are right around the corner and so are minor league camps around the league. It is amazing to me to think how far we have come since our first Prospects Month here on the blog. Last year on about January 24th I thought to myself "hey it would be great to make February all about prospects" and the rest is history. I rushed to get together content, write up articles, try and interview players, and bring all the prospects information I could bring. It was hectic, it was hard, my wife hated me for it, but it was done.

This year I have been working on this, granted off and on, since early November and will probably start earlier next season. It's been hectic again, it's been hard, but it's been fun. All the interviews, all the Meet a Prospect posts, the Top 28 Prospects list, all of it has been a blast. I just hope that you guys reading this enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you. Maybe next year we can get a few more of our readers involved and bring more opinions and articles.

Until next year.... now let's get to work with the big league Yankees!

Joba Chamberlain Is Officially A Gangster

First of all I am really liking the beard. Secondly I really, REALLY like the Tommy John surgery scar turned smiley face. Very gangster, two thumbs up.

Harold Reynolds To Replace Tim McCarver On FOX

When I saw "replace Tim McCarver" I jumped up and down for joy, then I saw Harold Reynolds was going to replace him and I sat back down and hung my head for a minute before typing this out. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead reported that both Reynolds and Tom Verducci would join Joe Buck for Saturday afternoon games, All Star games, and the World Series.

No issues with Verducci, he knows the game and has the inside sources to make some interesting fill time in my opinion. Harold Reynolds just seems like he is going to be a disaster, he is on Hot Stove in my opinion. Reynolds has the experience, he was on ESPN's Baseball Tonight before being fired for sexual harassment, spent a few minutes working for, and is currently employed at MLB Network until the season starts, if they haven't already gone their separate ways officially yet.

This is gonna be fun...

Masahiro Tanaka To Pitch 3rd or 4th Game In 2014

According to Yankees manager Joe Girardi the Yankees will push Masahiro Tanaka back until the third or fourth game of the regular season, probably the third. This should come as no surprise as the Yankees will have CC Sabathia starting on Opening Day against the Houston Astros followed by Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees would be wise to let Tanaka get his feet wet against a Houston Astros team in Game 3 with their anemic offense rather then allowing him to pitch the fourth game of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays. It's really a no brainer but it is still worth mentioning, the longer the AL East has to wait to see Tanaka the better in my opinion.

New York Yankees Spring Training News & Notes 2/28

The Yankees won their final game of February and of Prospects Month here on the blog over the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. Brian McCann homered and the pitching was solid but not everybody played in the game. Derek Jeter is on the "Mariano Rivera" schedule where he pretty much will not travel when the team does this spring. Here is the rest of the Yankees news and notes from the day.

Michael Pineda is expected to throw a simulated game on Sunday rather than getting right into Grapefruit League action. Manager Joe Girardi seems to be taking things slow and cautious with Pineda at this point and who could blame him after all Pineda has been through.

Slade Heathcott had some minor knee surgery to clean up some stuff in the offseason and finally started offseason workouts today for the first time since the surgery. He took dry swings and played catch, he did not test out the knee just yet but he is on the field and for February that is good enough.

Jose Ramirez had an MRI on his back and his oblique that gave him so much trouble last season and everything came back clean. Ramirez still feels soreness and pain so he will be shut down for the foreseeable future.

Scott Sizemore has one more obstacle before being cleared to play in games and that is diving to a base in the dirt, something that he will do this Sunday. With Sizemore competing for the final bench spot the sooner he gets on the field the better for him.

David Robertson and Jose Campos both threw batting practice sessions to live hitting this morning before the Tigers game. Scott Sizemore and Brian Roberts were the batters in these live BP sessions.

Yangervis Solarte is making big moves in Yankees camp today with another 2-for-2 day with another home run and three more RBI's. He is a name that almost nobody, including myself, knew before this Yankees camp but may know after all is said and done.

Reggie Jackson arrived at Yankees camp today for anyone who needs their drink stirred.

Thank you to Chad Jennings for the assignments as usual:

Today’s second string: C Austin Romine, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Yangervis Solarte, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Zelous Wheeler, LF Jose Pirela, CF Ramon Flores, RF Antoan Richardson
· Today’s available relievers: Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne, Dan Burawa, Mark Montgomery, Brian Gordon and Fred Lewis (Dellin Betances, Caleb Cotham, Chase Whitley, Bruce Billings, Zach Nuding and Diego Moreno are also making the trip).
· Early bullpen sessions: 
Michael Pineda (to John Ryan Murphy)
Manny Banuelos (to Jose Gil)
Ivan Nova (to Francisco Cervelli)
Matt Daley (to Roman Rodriguez)
· Batting practice groups at Steinbrenner Field:
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki (that’s the cool-guy group)
Group 2: Francisco Cervelli, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira
Group 3: Kelly Johnson, John Ryan Murphy, Scott Sizemore

I've Got Til 5! - Letdown Players

Last week was the debut of this column, in which I count down the top five... whatevers. It started with breakout players. You can click here to read my reasons for including somebody, but here are those players...

5. Brian Roberts
4. Hiroki Kuroda
3. Dean Anna
2. Manny Banuelos
1. Michael Pineda

So naturally, this week, I'm talking about letdown candidates. This isn't about guys I think will stink, this list has to do with players whose effectiveness falls below their expectations. And like how those breakout players could make the difference between the Yankees being part of the postseason or not, so could these letdown players.

So let's get started with #5...

#5 Masahiro Tanaka

Although I've been known to play a video game here or there, I'm certainly not what you'd call a "gamer". I don't think I could have ever been called that. However, back in the days of Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, I regularly enjoyed playing games like Madden football, NHLPA hockey, and Bases Loaded. Unfortunately, I didn't have friends that were into video games, so I would play the computer more often than not.

Anybody that was in the same boat as me can confirm that the computer was not very good. I mean, beating the computer was not something to brag about. It may have been fun to win a the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in NHLPA, but I wasn't going to go to school and brag about it. The worst part was that I wasn't a bad player, I just didn't go up against the best competition.

That's the position that Masahiro Tanaka finds himself in right now. Looking great and impressing your teammates this early in Spring Training is great, but until he faces actual hitters in game situations we just don't know what we're going to get out of him.

Let me go on record as saying I believe, at the very least, Masahiro will be an above average starter. I would put money on him being at the very least a solid #3 starter. But his ability to be an ace in Major League Baseball is still questionable, so let's all chill out so that we're not totally let down.

#4 Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova recently turned 27 years-old, so we're not talking about somebody who's past his prime. So while he could very well keep throwing as effectively as he did last season, we can't ignore these facts...

Last season Nova set career lows in ERA and WHIP, and not by small margins. Through 2012 his career ERA was 4.38, and that number went all the way down to 3.10 in 2013. Ivan's career WHIP through 2012 was 1.406, and that number went down to 1.285. Furthermore, his extra-base hit percentage went down quite a bit from previous seasons too. So Nova's 2013 season, in what I admit is a short career so far, was an outlier.

It all goes back to the how inconsistent Ivan's been. And that inconsistency is why I'm still not comfortable with Nova. When he takes the mound this season I'm not going to expect him to pitch as well as he did last year. I hope I'm proven wrong, and he can be a strong part of the Yankees' rotation for years to come.

#3 Joe Girardi

Okay, Girardi isn't a player, so including him here is kind of cheating. But this is my list, and I'm the co-owner of The Greedy Pinstripes, so deal with it.

One of the positives people will bring up when discussing the Yankees manager is how well he manages the bullpen. Well, in 2014, we're going to see if all those complements are truly warranted. Because up to this point Joe has not only had the greatest reliever of all time, he's also had one of the best set-up men in baseball too. Even in 2012, when Rivera went down with injury, he was lucky enough to have Rafael Soriano step in and take over the closer's role in grand fashion. Heck, Girardi even had another good reliever in the 'pen in Boone Logan, whose ERA in the past four seasons was just 3.38.

Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne, Cesar Cabral, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Vidal Nuno... can two or three of these guys step up and into the spots left by Rivera, Soriano, and Logan? We've heard good things about Betances, Kelley looked pretty good at times last season, the same with Claiborne, and Cabral could turn into a good lefty arm out of the 'pen.

But at this moment those are not certainties, and until we see what they can do then Joe Girardi is one of my letdown candidates for 2014.

#2 Mark Teixeira

We all know that the days of batting near .300 are gone. Between 2010 and 2012 Mark's batting average was a lowly .252. Not only has the batting average gone down, but since he came to New York in 2009, Teixeira's on-base percentage has gone down, down, down, and down.

If it wasn't for his elite defense at first base, along with his ability to hit around 35 home runs a season, then there's a good chance that all the hate people would normally direct towards Alex Rodriguez would now be sent Mark's way. And there's where I see him being a letdown player in 2014.

It's already been said that Teixeira will not be playing in any Grapefruit League games until March, and even then his playing time is going to be limited. In fact, it's been said that the team is only figuring on getting him 50 or so at bats. I'm willing to bet that Tex misses a decent amount of time during the regular season too. And, to be fair, that may be a good thing to make sure he's healthy for 2015 and beyond.

But what about when does play this year? There's reason to believe that his wrist will sap him of some of that power, and on top of that Mark's defense could take a bit of a hit too. So the two things that make him valuable to the team could take a hit, making 2014 a disappointing season.

#1 David Robertson

To reiterate what I said in the introduction... I'm not putting Robertson on this list because I don't think he'll do a good job. In fact, in my opinion, David will be one of the better closers in Major League Baseball. But this list isn't about players that will stink, it's about players that could very well let fans down. It's not fair to DRob, either.

For 17 years Yankees fans have have had the great fortune to have the greatest short-inning reliever of all time in the bullpen. There's been enough written about Mr. Rivera, so I'm going to leave it at that. And therein lies the problem... nobody can live up to that. But that's not going to keep Yankees fans from getting upset the first time Robertson blows a save. Nor will it stop Yankees fans from getting on Twitter and complaining about David's Houdini-like ways when he allows two or three men on base during a save situation in the 9th inning.

So no matter how good David Robertson is, he's going to let some people down.

So what do you think? Should I have left somebody off of this list, and added another player instead?

As for next week I have a couple of ideas for lists, but feel free to suggest something and I'll either go with that or use it later. Thanks for reading... see you next week.

McCann homers in Yankees win over Tigers

Thanks to two scoreless innings from starter Adam Warren, a solo home run from newcomer Brian McCann, and a two-strikeout ninth inning from reliever Preston Claiborne, the Yankees were able to beat the Tigers pretty easily today in Lakeland, 7-4.  For most of this one, the Yanks led just 2-0, but then their prospects were able to score 5 runs in this one's seventh inning to pretty much put Detroit away. 

Anyway, some notable Pinstripes who played in this contest were Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 0-for-2 with a walk, Eduardo Nunez, who went 0-for-3, Carlos Beltran, who went 0-for-2, and Brendan Ryan, who also went 0-for-2. So yea people, those numbers aren't necessarily awesome, but who cares? The Yankees still won, didn't they?

Final Out In The 2013 EL Championship Game

What better way to unofficially end Prospects Month then with a Yankee affiliate winning a championship, that team is the Trenton Thunder and that championship is the EL Championship. Watch the final out, the call, and the celebration on the field from our boys. Enjoy this and I hope you enjoyed prospects month here on the blog.

New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers 2/28

The Yankees will travel to play the Detroit Tigers for their fourth game of the spring. The Yankees are still looking for their first win against a Major League caliber team after dropping their first two games to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann are expected to make the trip today and are facing off against Max Scherzer for the Tigers. Adam Warren will be on the mound for the Yankees to oppose the reigning Cy Young Award winner.

This game will not be televised but will be on Tiger's Radio if you have access to that.

Meet A Prospect: George Steinbrenner

George Michael Steinbrenner III is the final Meet A Prospect post that we will do for Prospects Month on The Greedy Pinstripes. The Boss was born on July 4, 1930 and passed to hang with the baseball Gods on July 13, 2010. George bought the New York Yankees organization in 1973 and held the ownership for 37 years until his death and subsequent transfer of ownership to his sons Hank and Hal, who we also showcased in our Meet A Prospect series this week. George would see the Yankees win seven World Series championships and 11 American League pennants in his tenure as the Yankees owner, the longest tenure in club history. George was not always the "hands on" owner, fiery figure head, and one to meddle in every day operations, drive up players prices, and investigate free agents before signing them. George was not always the one to hire, fire, and re-hire managers at an alarming rate. Let's meet George Steinbrenner before he was known as "The Boss."

George was born in Bay Village, Ohio as the only son of Rita Haley Steinbrenner and Henry George Steinbrenner II. His mother was an Irish immigrant who had her name changed from O'Haley to Haley and his father was of German descent who eventually made his name in the freight shipping business. George III was named after his paternal grandfather, George Michael Steinbrenner II, and had two younger sisters growing up, Susan and Judy. George spent his college years at the Culver Military Academy starting in 1944 and graduated in 1948 only to go back to college to get his B.A. from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952. George was quite the social butterfly and athlete in school with highlights such as being a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, being a very successful hurdler on the varsity track and field team, played piano in the band, played halfback on the football team his senior year, and served as the field editor for The Williams Record. After college George immediately joined the United States Air Force and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. George would have an honorable discharge in 1954 and would go back to school to complete his masters degree in physical education at Ohio State University.

While at Ohio State George would be the coaches assistant in the year the Ohio State Buckeyes would go undefeated and win the Rose Bowl and National Championship in 1954.George would meet his soon to be wife, Elizabeth Joan Zieg, in Columbus, Ohio in 1956 and would marry and have two sons, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. They also had two daughters Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal. In 1957 Steinbrenner would join the Kinsman Marine Transit Company, a company his great grandfather Henry purchased in 1901, and would be rebuilt and revitalized before George would purchase the company a few years later from his family. George would later buy the American Shipbuilding Company and see annual revenue sales soar over $100,000,000. Steinbrenner did not initially use that new found wealth to get into baseball though because his first sports team investment was the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League against the advice of his father. The Pipers would hire the first African American coach in professional basketball in John McClendon and would see an ABL Championship in the 1961-1962 season before the ABL folded in 1962. Steinbrenner paid his debts and took his talents to Broadway briefly in a 1967 play named The Ninety Day Mistress, the 1974 Tony Award nominated Seesaw, and the 1988 Legs Diamond play.

In 1971 George Steinbrenner attempted to buy the Cleveland Indians and failed but would buy the New York Yankees from CBS, with help from investors, in January of 1973. The original sale of the organization was $10,000,000 but the deal included two parking garages that CBS bought back after the deal was final for $1,200,000 making the final total for George and company coming in at $8,800,000. George wasted no time causing controversy and hiring and firing personnel as he went through 20 managers in his first 23 seasons including hiring and firing Billy Martin five times and went through 11 general managers in 30 seasons. George did win two World Series in 1977 and 1978 behind Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson though while the Bronx was Burning. George also ruled with an iron fist creating the policy that all Yankees players, managers, and male executives were forbidden to have any facial hair other than a mustache and Yankees players hair was not allowed to touch the collar of the shirt, which is still the Yankees policy today. George and his policy is the reason that Goose Gossage grew, and still has to this day, the extreme mustache that he has now after George forced Gossage to shave the beard that he was growing in 1983. Don Mattingly was even benched in 1991 after refusing to cut his mullet hair cut that did not fall within Yankees policy which causes a media backlash. Mattingly would not learn from the incident though as he would be back in the Yankees facial hair spotlight as he started to grow a goatee in 1995 and saw Mattingly trim it to just a mustache.

George also caused a ton of talk after handing out Dave Winfield a 10 year contract worth $23,000,000 making him the highest paid player in the game at the time. George bashed Winfield in the 1985 season after a poor September performance calling Winfield "Mr. May" and saying that the Yankees needed a "Mr. September or Mr. November, not a Mr. May." This criticism would cause players like Ken Griffey Jr. to publicly state that he would never play for the New York Yankees because of George Steinbrenner. On July, 30 1990 George was officially banned from the game permanently as far as day to day operations go by MLB commissioner Fay Vincent for paying a gambler to "dig up dirt" on Winfield. Winfield was suing the Yankees because they did not contribute $300,000 to his foundation which was a stipulation of his 10 year contract. These were just some of the reasons that Winfield went into the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Padre and no a member of the New York Yankees. With George out of the game how would baseball, and specifically the Yankees, respond you ask? Keep reading...

George was reinstated back into baseball in time for the 1993 season and it was just in time for the 1994 MLB strike and the beginning of a Yankees dynasty. George was willing to leave the day to day operations to Gene Michael these days and even got behind a Yankees farm system and letting players like Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada to develop rather than be traded for veteran players. George saw this new found patience pay off as the Yankees were in the AL East chase all the way until September before losing the title to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees were also leading the AL East before the 1994 strike wiped all the hard work away, the season, and for the second time ever the World Series. Obviously anyone reading this knows the rest as we saw the Yankees make the playoffs for the first time since 1981 when they were the first Wild Card winner in the 1995 season and saw the Yankees win World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009. The Yankees made the playoffs ever year from 1995 - 2009 except for the 2008 season, Joe Girardi's first season, and saw World Series losses in the 2001 and 2003 Fall Classics.

George would officially retire from being the Yankees principal owner and would transfer the day to day operations to his sons, Hank and Hal, in 2006. From 2006 until his eventual death in 2010 George spent most of his time at his home in Tampa, Florida while rarely showing his face at the stadium or giving interviews and sound bites. George did make a special appearance at the 78th Annual MLB All Star Game which was held in Yankees Stadium in it's final season in 2008 in the Bronx. George was wearing dark sunglasses and walked slowly onto the field with the help of many people helping him walk. George would get one last ring in 2009 and was presented with the ring in person by Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi on April 13, 2010 in his stadium suite leaving, according to reports, Steinbrenner almost speechless. Steinbrenner, if anyone, deserved this private ceremony as he built the Yankees brand to the first sports team to have a net worth over $1,000,000,000 plus having a $1,200,000,000 television network aptly named the Yankees Entertainment and Sports network, or the YES Network.

George died on July 13, 2010, the same day as the 81st annual All Star Game, at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Tampa due to a heart attack. His death came just nine days after his 80th birthday and just two days after long time Yankees announcer Bob Shepard passed away. The Yankees would wear a patch honoring Steinbrenner and Shepard from July 14th until the end of the 2010 season to commemorate these two Yankees legends. The Steinbrenner family also added a monument in Monument Park to honor their late family member in September of 2010 to honor George. George was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Trinity, Florida. The Boss, Manager George, George Steinbrenner, whatever you call him or known him as you know he will never be forgotten, replaced, or emulated. May George rest in peace now.

We want to take this time to honor and thank George Steinbrenner for everything he did as the owner of the Yankees. If it were not for Steinbrenner the Yankees would not be who they are today, both in class and in championships, and we would not be the site that we are today. The Yankees would not be the financial super power they are today, would not be as respected league wide as they are today, and may have went by the wayside in the 70's and 80's if it were not for the boss. Thank you George and I hope you are reading this from up in Heaven, we love you!

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #31 Gil McDougald

Gil McDougald made his presence felt from the very beginning in New York winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1951. McGougald also had six hits and seven RBI's in the World Series that year en route to a Fall Classic Championship in a win over the Giants. McDougald would go to the World Series seven more time with the Yankees and was also  named to the MLB All Star Game on six different occasions.

31 days until Yankees Opening Day.

Prospects Month: Top 28 Yankees Prospects List #1

Continuing our look at The Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 prospects list as a part of Prospects Month we name our #1 prospect, Gary Sanchez!

Here is the complete up to date list. Here is the official Top 28 Prospects list here on TGP. Agree?

1. Gary Sanchez
2. Rafael DePaula
3. JR Murphy
4. Slade Heathcott
5. Tyler Austin
6. Mason Williams
7. Ian Clarkin
8. Eric Jagielo
9. Greg Bird
10. Manny Banuelos
11. Jose Campos
12. Gosuke Katoh
13. Shane Greene
14. Jose Ramirez
15. Peter O'Brien
16. Aaron Judge
17. Ty Hensley
18. Luis Severino
19. Abiatal Avelino
20. Rob Refsnyder
21. Nik Turley
22. Cito Culver
23. Ramon Flores
24. Mark Montgomery
25. Rookie Davis
26. Jake Cave
27. Ben Gamel
28. Angelo Gumbs

Interview w/ Yankees Shortstop Cito Culver

This interview was actually done by Yankees Fans Unite but since they have merged into us and allowed us to have all their writers and posts I wanted to re-post this in case some of our readers did not see it. It is a tad outdated but it is still an interesting read. Enjoy reading about who was thought to be the eventual replacement for the Yankees captain, Derek Jeter.
Jamie F. and myself had the opportunity to have some questions answered by the New York Yankees 1st-round pick of the 2010 draft Cito Culver.  A native of Rochester, New York, Culver’s a switch-hitter who throws right-handed.  Below is our interview  with our questions in BLUE.  Enjoy.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/12/2012.
1) After 2 seasons in short-season ball, what did you do this Winter to prepare for the grind of your first year in full-season ball?
After playing two season of short season ball I realized the toll it takes on your body. The everyday grind was tough to adjust to. This off-season I felt that I had to come into this year in a lot better shape so I was in the weight room more than ever before I’m trying to get my body ready for this long season.
2) You had much better results hitting right-handed last year (.324 BA) - is that your natural side and which side is more comfortable? How long have you been switch-hitting?
Since I was 3. My dad never let me hit from one side without swinging from the other.  If I tried to hit just one way my dad would stop playing with me.
3) Describe your approach at the plate. Do you like to work the count or jump on the first fastball you see?
I try to keep it as simple as I can.  Get a pitch that I can drive and go from there.  Hitting is hard enough to do. I don’t want to make it any harder.
4) You threw 95 MPH in High School. Was there ever a thought of pitching professionally and do you miss taking the mound?
No. I never wanted to pitch. I was just a hard thrower. I like playing everyday. I’ve always wanted to play shortstop.
5) How has your strength and size improved since you were drafted? Have you added weight?
Yes I have.  I’ve gained 8 pounds this off-season. And I feel better than ever.
6) You and the other H.S. kids drafted in 2010 made up the core of the Staten Island Championship team – do you guys talk about moving up together and eventually to New York?
We had a great group of guys and we have been lucky to have success as a team at a young age and we love playing with each other. We all talk about playing with each other over then next few years and how great that would be. But it’s out of our control.
7) Which of your Staten Island teammates impressed you the most?
That team had a lot of bright spots on it. And a lot of the players had something different to offer. Mason (Williams), Ben G.(Gamel), Tyler A.(Austin), Branden P.(Pinder), Bryan M.(Mitchell), Matt T.(Tracy).   These guys are all great players and I look forward to playing with them again.
8) What are your strengths as a hitter and what do you need to work on?
As a hitter I can put the bat on the ball a lot of the time. I don’t swing and miss often but I have a lot to work on. There is always room for improvement. I want to be as good as I can be and still be a student of the game.
9) Same question about your defense – what are your strengths and what do you need to improve?
My strength is my arm I think. But I love playing defense and there still is a lot more I can get better with. I’m excited to learn more about my position and be the best I can possible be.
10) What are your individual goals for this season?
I try to just play to the best of my ability and win. That is the most important thing to me.
11) Any last thoughts to tell the fans of the Yankees?
Just keep watching and cheering the Yankees we aren’t anything without the fans. Best fans in the world.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/28

Last day in February and last day of Prospects Month, let's go out with a bang.

On this day in 2000 Yankees outfielder and DH Darryl Strawberry is suspended for one year after testing positive for cocaine last month. Bud Selig would not allow Strawberry back early from the suspension based on good behavior. This would essentially mark the end of Strawberry's career.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Single Game Trenton Thunder Tickets On Sale Saturday

(TRENTON, NJ) -  Finally, there's a sign that Spring is coming. Single game tickets for the 2014 season of Trenton Thunder baseball will go on sale this Saturday, March 1 at 9:30am. Tickets may be reserved online at, by phone at 609-394-3300 or in person at ARM & HAMMER Park between 9:30am and 2:30pm. 
Fans will once again find affordable pricing at the box office with tickets starting at just $10. Prices for Season Tickets, Pic-A-Plans, Mini Plans, Group tickets, as well as adult 100 and 200 level seats remain the same for the sixth consecutive year.
Full Season Ticket (71 Games): $650
Half Season Ticket (36 Games): $350
Pic-A-Plan: start at 10 games for $100
Mini Plans: start at 5 games for $55
100 Level (lower) Seat: $12
200 Level (upper) Seat: $11
200 Level Jr/Sr Seat: $10
Group Seats (20 or more tickets): $8
The Thunder will begin defense of their 2013 Eastern League Championship on Thursday, April 3 at ARM & HAMMER Park against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto). All five and six game Mini Plans and 10 or more game Pic-A-Plans include a free ticket to Opening Night as well as free food at each game, a free hat and more.
For Trenton Thunder giveaways, promotions, theme nights and post-game fireworks shows, please visit,
Fans should note that the section labels at ARM & HAMMER Park have been changed. The lower "Club" level sections are now numbers in the 100's, the upper "Pavilion" level sections are now numbers in the 200's and luxury suites are numbered from one to 15. The team believes the new system is more instinctual and will make it easier for fans who are unfamiliar with the layout to find their seats. SEATING CHART

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original article can be seen HERE

D'Backs Looking To Trade SS's For Young Catching

The New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks look like absolutely perfect trading partners going forward after the word came down that the D Backs are willing to trade away some of their shortstop depth. The Yankees need a shortstop, especially for next season and beyond. The Diamondbacks are said to be looking for young catching in return for their shortstops. The Yankees have an absolute logjam at catcher right now. Let's make a deal?

The Diamondbacks have Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings in the major leagues already and think that both can be major league capable shortstops. Arizona also have three shortstops in their Top 30 prospects list in Nick Ahmed, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose Munoz waiting in the wings. The Yankees have Gary Sanchez down in Trenton, Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy likely headed to Scranton Wilkes Barre, and Brian McCann and Francisco Cervelli likely headed to the 25 man roster. Would the D Backs give up Gregorius for a package involving Romine, Sanchez, or Murphy?

The Diamondbacks asked for Travis d'Arnaud from the Mets and were turned down and do not see Kevin Plawecki as a suitable option for their shortstops. Plawecki projects to be a .280 hitter with 15 or so home runs per season with an average arm and is solid behind the plate. Plawecki sounds an awful like what Romine is and projects to be so he is likely out. Does Murphy or Sanchez compare to d'Arnaud better? Sure, but I am not entirely sold they will be enough.

Trading Sanchez to Arizona does not help them, they need players now in case Miguel Montero's decline continues and it doesn't help us much either. Trading Sanchez does not help the logjam much as we still have two very suitable catchers in Murphy and Romine down in AAA. It looks like it is John Ryan Murphy to the Diamondbacks or bust, and unfortunately I think it will be a bust. I would absolutely trade Murphy for Gregorius though so let's hope for the best.

FOX Releases 2014 Broadcast Schedule & Blackouts

FOX has released their 2014 broadcast schedule that is showing at least 11 Yankees games, three of them on FOX and eight of them on the new FOX Sports 1 network. Some late September dates are still TBA, probably for pennant race purposes, so we could see the Yankees land a few more games on those dates if things are interesting down the stretch.

The best news FOX released today was that they are reducing blackout restrictions with MLB Extra Innings and What this means is fans like myself, who live in Atlanta, Georgia, are now able to watch most of the Yankees Saturday afternoon games if they are not broadcast on the YES Network. Under the old rules fans like myself were stuck watching what FOX thought I should be watching, which was usually the Atlanta Braves or the Boston Red Sox, so this part excites me.

HERE is the complete FOX broadcast list for 2014.

New York Yankees Spring Training News & Notes 2/27

As we all probably know by now the Yankees dropped another game to the Pittsburgh Pirates today in the Grapefruit League. Probably not the way the Yankees wanted to start Derek Jeter's farewell tour, he made his spring debut today, but it's just spring. On to the other news and notes from the day.

Eduardo Nunez ate some bad salmon and blamed that on why he was not feeling well yesterday, Nunez says he is now feeling 100% after his 24 hour stomach bug. Eating some bad fish is better than the flu any day.

The Yankees have added Addison Maruszak to their spring camps and have got him a locker with his name above it. It was thought that Addison was just up for the day after being called up to replace the sick Nunez but he seems to be here to stay, at least for now.

David Herndon threw a simulated game today pitching to Jose Gil and facing Antoan Richardson and Zelous Wheeler.

Chad Jennings once again with the assignments for the day

Today’s bullpen sessions
Brian Gordon (to Francisco Arcia)
Bryan Mitchell (to Roman Rodriguez)
Shane Greene (to Pete O’Brien)
Vidal Nuno (to Jose Gil)
Matt Thornton (to Austin Romine)
· Batting practice groups (starts at 10:15):
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Ichiro Suzuki, Francisco Cervelli
Group 2: Russ Canzler, Brett Gardner, Kelly Johnson, Mason Williams
Group 3: Adonis Garcia, Jose Pirela, Brendan Ryan, Austin Romine
Group 4: Ramon Flores, Corban Joseph, Zelous Wheeler, John Ryan Murphy
Group 5: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano, Brian McCann
Group 6: Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, Mark Teixeira, Pete O’Brien
Group 7: Zoilo Almonte, Dean Anna, Antoan Richardson, Gary Sanchez
Group 8: Yangervis Solarte, Francisco Arcia, Jose Gil, Addison Maruszak
· Today’s second string: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Jose Gil, 2B Corban Joseph, SS Brendan Ryan, 3B Zelous Wheeler, LF Jose Pirela, CF Ramon Flores, RF Adonis Garcia.
· Today’s available relievers: Jim Miller, Chris Leroux, Mark Montgomery, Robert Coello, Yoshinori Tateyama
· Tomorrow’s travel squad for Lakeland
Pitchers: Dellin Betances, Bruce Billings, Dan Burawa, Preston Claiborne, Matt Daley, Brian Gordon, Shawn Kelley, Fred Lewis, Adam Warren, Chase Whitley
Catchers: Francisco Arcia, Jose Gil, Brian McCann, Pete O’Brien, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
Infielders: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Corban Joseph, Eduardo Nunez, Jose Pirela, Brendan Ryan, Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler
Outfielders: Zoilo Almonte, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Antoan Richardson, Mason Williams
From minor league camp: Addison Maruszak, Caleb Cotham, Zach Nuding, Diego Moreno

Phelps solid as Yankees fall to Pirates again

David Phelps gave up 1 run and struck out 4 today as the Yankees lost their first Grapefruit league home game to the Pirates, 8-2. Overall, Phelps was good in this one, retiring 6 of the 8 guys he faced, but still, he did give up a home run and a double, something that's never looked at favorably. 

Anyway, some notable Yankees who played in this one were Derek Jeter, who went 0-for-2, Brian Roberts, who also went 0-for-2, Brett Gardner, who went 1-for-1 with a walk, Kelly Johnson, who went 1-for-2 with an RBI Double, and John Ryan Murphy, who went 1-for-2 with another RBI Double. So yea, like yesterday's game, this contest was a loss, but since it wasn't really the starters' fault I could care less what the scoreboard said at the end.

Exclusive Interview With Mike Ashmore

Okay so you remember last week when I said that the Mitch Hilligoss interview was the last of our Throwback Thursday posts? Well apparently I am a dirty rotten liar because I ran across this interview with now former Trenton Thunder beat writer Mike Ashmore and wanted to share it again with the readers. Enjoy and wish Mike a farewell as he will not be covering the Trenton Thunder anymore this season. 

The Greedy Pinstripes: Where did you get your start in writing and journalism?

Mike Ashmore:
I always wanted to do this, I just never really knew how to get into
it.  Always liked sports, always felt like I was a good writer...just
never knew how to put the two together.  Anyway, I was taking some
journalism classes at Raritan Valley Community College with the
Somerset Patriots beat writer for the Hunterdon County Democrat at the
time, Scott Stanchak.  I happened to be looking at some photos I'd
taken at a Patriots game, and he asked me if I'd be willing to help
him out during the I got my start doing photos for the
original, and branched out into features late
during my first season in 2003. 

TGP: Did you always want to be a journalist/blogger?

Kind of addressed this in the first one, but yes.  And I hate the term
blogger.  There are people with blogs who can write circles around me,
no doubt...but there's a difference -- to me, anyway -- between a beat
writer with a blog and someone who is unfortunately not granted the
same access.  Doesn't make their opinion any less (or more) valid, but
"blogger" has always felt like a derogatory term to me. 

TGP: You're name is everywhere now. I think I even heard it on ESPN one time. How awesome is that?

It doesn't suck.  But the reality of it is, it's cool for a little
while but doesn't do a hell of a lot for your career.  It's something
neat to add to my resume and have my friends bust my balls about, but
it ends there.  I'm exceptionally grateful to be in a position to
where things like that can happen to me, of course...and maybe it's
because I'm a little later on in my career, but it's not a super big

TGP: How long have you been doing this? By my count you are in your 14th year of covering sports and 11th as a Trenton Thunder beat writer.

While I do joke about being an old man frequently, I'm thankfully not
that far into things.  I started when I was 20 in 2003...this is my
tenth year overall and my ninth of doing the Thunder.  It's my seventh
year as the beat writer for the Democrat, my fifth doing the Thunder
Thoughts blog and my third backing up Josh Norris with The Trentonian. 

TGP: How excited are you about the possibility of Mason Williams, Angelo Gumbs, Dante Bichette Jr, Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, etc all being on the same Trenton Thunder team?

I honestly don't look that far ahead.  Of course, having a
prospect-laden team will be fun.  But there's also a lot that's been
made about the current squad being essentially devoid of top guys for
most of the year, and this may be the most fun team I've been around
in Trenton in a while.  And pitching excites me more than anything
else...none of those guys you mentioned will be on the bump. 

TGP: I know you have to be unbiased, or at least appear that way, but be honest do you ever find yourself favoring certain prospects over others?

I always try to write in a way so that nobody would ever know what my
favorite teams and so on were if you didn't know already.  I've always
admitted that I was a Red Sox fan for a while -- long story...the
Thunder were affiliated with Boston during the years I went as a
fan...but at the same time, you do this for long enough, and the fan
and the fun both get sucked right out of you -- but I don't think you
could ever tell that was the case while it was the case.  I can't
exactly pinpoint the time where I kind of stopped being a fan...but I
can tell you that I barely even watched the second World Series win
because I didn't really care.  So it was a little bit before then.  So
as far as I go, there aren't any real team biases...even in my NHL
Playoff stuff...I'm still a big Rangers fan, but I took a lot of pride
in the fact that you'd never be able to guess that if you read my
coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

To answer your original question...I root for a few things...quick
games, my story and good people.  But I don't favor one guy over
another in my coverage.  If anything, I base who I focus more on based
on who the fans are more interested in. 

TGP: Most famous person in your cell phone?

There's a good amount of big leaguers in there, but nothing too crazy... 

TGP: Most embarrassing song/artist in your ipod?

I'd think the Mashmore98 Twitter handle -- at least the "98" part --
should be a real good indication of that.  Pleeeeeenty of bad 80's
stuff and boy bands, etc. 

I've been reading your blog for almost 4 years now and I appreciate all the hard work and videos and such that you put into it. Seeing a guy like you get to where you are at, and where you could go in the future, makes me want to do this and succeed so much more. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview for us and our readers and we wish you nothing but the best in the future in all aspects of your life. Keep growing that red playoff beard buddy!

I Just Love This Picture, LOL!!

Follow Mike on twitter @mashmore98