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Playing Pepper With the Yanks
By Mike from In Mo We Trust.
We're almost a month into Spring Training and the Boys of Summer are trying to find their grooves.  Alex Rodriguez decided to go under the knife and will be shelved for six to nine weeks.  Mariano Rivera continues to work toward his first spring appearance and Jorge Posada nears his 2009 debut behind the plate.  And Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte returned from the World Baseball Classic -- complete with injuries.  Let's do a quick recap on the past week in Yankee Land.
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A-Rod gets a hybrid.  It seems like a million years ago that Alex Rodriguez underwent surgery on his right hip, but I haven't written about it so I'll put in my two cents.  Good move.  That was quick.  I'm still not exactly sure how A-Rod will perform when he returns since he'll still have to have the "complete" surgery after the season, but I'm not a doctor.  There's been a lot of talk about the Yankees trying to acquire a replacement for A-Rod, but it looks like they're content with giving Cody Ransom a shot for now.  And honestly, I'm all for that.  Ransom performed well in his limited time with the Yanks last season and is swinging a hot stick so far this spring.  He'll only have to hold the fort for a month or so and anyone can have a good start to the season.  Remember when the Yanks signed shortstop Spike Owen in 1993?  I remember reading an article that actually wondered if Owen could hit .400 after he got off to a fast start with the Bombers that year.  Owen ended up batting .234 that season.  Yep, it's a marathon.

Wounded warriors.  Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte returned to Yankee camp after Team Dominican Republic was unceremoniously booted from the World Baseball Classic.  It's great to have the guys back in Tampa, but they won't be hitting the playing field anytime soon.  Cano is suffering from a stiff right shoulder and Marte has tightness in his left pectoral.  There is a lot of anti-WBC sentiment out there and one of the biggest reasons is fear of injury.  I can understand that since the players aren't ready to go 100% at this time of the year, but injuries can happen at any moment.  Still, Cano felt the stiffness before he left for the WBC and played through it -- something he most likely wouldn't have done if he were playing in Grapefruit League games.  Marte injured himself lifting weights on Tuesday morning, but went out and pitched one inning in the Dominican Republic's loss to the Netherlands that night.  Again, I doubt he would have played if the Yanks were taking on the Houston Astros' split squad.  Hopefully, both these injuries aren't a big deal.

Mo getting ready.  Mariano Rivera pitched batting practice for the second time Saturday and said he's ready to make his first spring appearance on Tuesday.  Rivera threw 40 pitches during the BP session to minor leaguers Colin Curtis and Justin Leone.  The Sandman said his surgically repaired right shoulder felt good and he's pleased with how his cutter is moving.  Take your time, champ.

Jorgie's gearing up.  It's all systems go for Jorge Posada.  Posada is set to catch for the first time Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.  Andy Pettitte is scheduled to start for the Bombers.  It will be a big test for Posada and the Yanks.  It's been said before, but it'll put a real crimp in the Yankee lineup if Posada can't catch regularly this season.

Joba gets back on track.  It's been a tough spring so far for Joba Chamberlain, but the husky right-hander turned in his first solid performance Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds -- giving up one run in three innings.  Chamberlain did some tweaking to his mechanics and said he was relieved with his outing.  The biggest concern the Yanks should have with Joba is his health.  If he's feeling fine, then everything else should work out.

Moose sighting.  Mike Mussina made an appearance in Yankee camp this week.  Mussina dropped by Tuesday to say hello to the fellas.  The Moose said he's comfortable with his decision to walk away after last season.  Good for him.

Cashman on Giambi.  Brian Cashman denied an anecdote about him and Jason Giambi in an upcoming book about Roger Clemens.  In Jeff Pearlman's book, "The Rocket That Fell to Earth," Pearlman said Cashman allegedly screamed during a game in the Yankees' clubhouse for Giambi to get back on whatever he was using in Oakland during the slugger's first season in New York.  Cashman called the story "completely false."  Pearlman said his source was "a Yankee player who was an eyewitness and in whom I have 100 percent confidence."  Who knows?  The one interesting thing about the whole steroids debacle in baseball is the relative slack owners and general managers have received.  If players said they knew guys were on steroids, then it seems reasonable to believe that managers, coaches, general managers and owners also knew.  Still, the story seems a bit too dramatic to me.  I'm sure Cashman knew Giambi was on steroids while he was in Oakland (or at least suspected it), but I don't think he would have screamed it during a game in the Yankees' clubhouse.

Bernie in the news.  Bernie Williams may no longer wear the pinstripes, but he'll always be a Yankee.  That's why I was surprised by the latest news about him.  A woman filed a complaint against Williams saying he allegedly snatched her camera, damaged it and hit her in the face Thursday in a San Juan nightclub.  Williams denied the claims.  "It's unfortunate," Williams said Friday in Miami before a Puerto Rican team workout. "It's a misunderstanding. ... There is a part of me that wants to go out there and say, obviously, my side of the facts. But I think I will let the process take its course. I do want to say this: That there are some reports that are represented in the media that are inaccurate. Hopefully, the matter will be clarified sooner or later, and the truth will come out."

I hope so too, Bernie.

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

14 Comments | Leave a comment

I guess since Bernie is a full-time guitar player/rock star, he feels he has to live the life of one. He'll be busting up hotel rooms and falling asleep in his vomit before you know it.

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