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Checkin In On The Bombers
by Mike from In Mo We Trust.
Never a dull moment in pinstripes.  The Yankees continued the exhibition schedule in Florida this week.  A new face made his spring debut.  Two Bomber vets made their first appearance this year.  Derek Jeter went against his Bomber teammates on the diamond.  Oh, and there was some Alex Rodriguez news.  Let's do a quick review on the past week in Yankee camp.    
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All A-Rod, all the time.  I'm sure Yankee fans and haters are tiring of the seemingly nonstop show that is Alex Rodriguez, but you got to give him one thing -- it's never the same story over and over.  First, there was A-Rod's meeting Sunday with Major League Baseball about his steroids admission.  On Monday, Rodriguez had a very public visit from his ex-wife and two daughters during a practice with the Dominican National team.  A-Rod complimented shortstop Jose Reyes on Tuesday and on Wednesday that turned into a perceived attack on Derek Jeter.  The Yanks announced Tuesday night that A-Rod was flying to Colorado to see a hip specialist after a cyst was discovered on his right hip.  Thursday was a crazy day.  First it was reported that A-Rod needed surgery and would be out 10 weeks.  Then it was announced that A-Rod had a torn labrum, but that the slugger opted for rest and rehabilitation instead of surgery (which would knock out A-Rod for four months).  Whew!  Rodriguez will eventually need hip surgery, but the belief is that he can play through it this season without causing more damage.  A-Rod at 80% is a lot better than what the Yanks can put out at third base, but would it be better for Rodriguez to have the surgery now and come back in four months?  Or does it make sense to have him go out there to start the year, wear down and then have the surgery when the Yanks begin (hopefully) their playoff stretch run?  Right now, A-Rod and the Yanks are going to give it a go.  Personally, I don't think the Yanks can count on Rodriguez at all this season -- whatever happens.  He's not going to be the same player no matter how much rest and rehab he gets before the games start for real and I'm not convinced he can return in four months even if he has the surgery tomorrow, but I'm not a doctor.  Some fans and media thought the Yanks should have dumped A-Rod after his steroid admission (something that wasn't going to happen).  Well, they may get to see the Yanks without A-Rod this season after all.  Stay tuned.  The A-Rod Show is in constant flux.

These colors don't run.  The World Baseball Classic is back and Derek Jeter will be representing the Red, White and Blue at short this year.  But before the world games kicked off Saturday, Jeter led the USA against his Bomber mates in a Tuesday exhibition at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.  Jeter collected two hits and drove in a pair to help lead the US to a 6-5 win over the Yanks.  Traitor!

The Sandman returns.  Mariano Rivera pitched from the mound for the first time this spring, tossing 30 pitches during a Thursday bullpen session.  Rivera had shoulder surgery in October and is expected to make his spring debut around March 17.  "Hopefully my arm will feel as it's been feeling. Every day, it's getting better and better. I feel a little behind from last year, but you have to consider that we have an extra week (of spring training). I would say I'm right on pace," Rivera said.  I sure hope so, buddy.

The debut of CC.
  With A-Rod's injury the talk of the town, CC Sabathia's first start in pinstripes Friday night against the Detroit Tigers wasn't the spectacle it may have been.  Sabathia allowed one unearned run in two innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.  With the uncertainty swirling around A-Rod, the Yanks are going to need the pitching to help pick up the slack.  I'm looking at you CC.

Wild thang.  Speaking of pitching, Joba Chamberlain is having a tough time doing it.  Chamberlain had a rough outing Thursday against team Canada.  The young fireballer couldn't get out of the first inning as he allowed five runs on one hit, four walks and a wild pitch.  In two outings this spring, Joba has given up seven runs and four hits.  Cause for concern?  I don't think so since he said he's feelin' fine.  Still, his numbers are sure ugly.

Godzilla.  Hideki Matsui played Thursday for the first time since having surgery on his left knee in October.  Matsui finished 0 for 2 and reported no pain.  The Yanks don't plan on playing Matsui in the outfield this spring which should help with the knee.  Godzilla could provide a huge lift to the lineup if he can stay healthy this season.

Shoulder's fine.  It wasn't a good sign to see Jorge Posada miss the second game of the spring with soreness in his surgically repaired right shoulder.  Then again, maybe it's nothing to worry about.  Posada went 2 for 3 against Team USA on Tuesday and did some throwing on Saturday.  Jorgie is another wild card in the lineup and on defense.  If he can't catch, it could create a log-jam at DH.

The Melk Man vs. The Speed Man.  I'm still working on a nickname for Brett Gardner (suggestions?), but the two continued their battle for center field.  So far, the nickname is all that Melky Cabrera has on Gardner this spring.  The scorecards show Gardner ahead on points right now.  Gardner is 6 for 15 this spring with three doubles, two homers and five runs scored.  Melky is 3 for 13 with a triple and two runs batted in.  Manager Joe Girardi said the job is still "wide open" and anything can happen in the next few weeks.

That's for sure.

Mike co-writes In Mo We Trust and also covers the New York Jets on his blog Green Pinstripes.

7 Comments | Leave a comment

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