Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 AB4AR Season Preview: The Bench


I was planning on using a picture of a bare cupboard, but I'm making an effort to be a little more positive so I thought the carousel was a better choice.  In the end, even the carousel represents the depressing feeling surrounding this year's Yankee bench just as well as the empty cupboard would have.  There's more than likely going to be a lot of people getting rotated through the open bench positions as the season progresses.  The Yankees have loaded up on cheap, downside-of-their-careers veterans to try to squeeze the last few drops of value out of them before kicking them to the curb and going to somebody else.  Eventually it might get down to the crop of young kids in Triple-A who are knocking on the big league door, and I'm sure they'll enjoy themselves when they get their turn on the carousel.  At the end of the day, though, this group probably isn't going anywhere.

Juan Rivera Released, Roster Picture Becoming Clearer

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have released Juan Rivera just a few hours after he started today's game at first base.  Today was the day that they needed to decide on adding him to the 40-man roster, and after picking up Lyle Overbay it looks like they are going to go with him at first base.

For what it's worth, Rivera told reporters that both Overbay and Ben Francisco are going to make the Opening Day roster, but I haven't seen this confirmed by anybody yet.

Also, Bryan Hoch is reporting that Ronnier Mustelier has a bone bruise in his knee and will stay in Tampa to rehab, removing him from consideration for a bench role.

P.S.- I pretty much called this Rivera situation in my morning post over at IIATMS/TYA today.  If anybody is interested, I'm willing to offer my 2013 season predictions for 20 bucks a pop.

Getting The Most Out Of Eduardo

(Nope.  No throwing mechanics under there.  Courtesy of Reuters)

After some positive early signs that Derek Jeter was going to be able to recover from his ankle surgery and be ready to play, we now know that Eduardo Nunez is going to be the Yankees' Opening Day shortstop.  We also know that he's going to be the starting shortstop for at least the next handful of games after that and we can safely assume that he'll be getting regular work at the position all season long.  That's a frightening thought for any Yankee fan based on what we've seen to date from Nunez, but it's a reality that we're going to have to accept and live with.  That being the case, let's investigate just how the Yankees can maximize Nunez's potential value and not have another spot in the lineup and position on the field turn into a black hole.

Spring Training Game 32 Wrap-Up: NYY 11 BAL 8

(What up, new guy?  Courtesy of the AP)

Things are winding down in camp.  Guys are making their final pushes for roster spots, spots in the batting order, and pitchers are making their final appearances to get ready for the start of the regular season.  Tuesday night it was CC Sabathia, and last night it was David Phelps who took his turn on the mound for his final ST start.  With Phil Hughes officially set to begin the season on the DL, Phelps will be making the start on April 6th and if last night was any indication, he should be just fine.

Game Notes:

- A pair of Baltimore errors got things started for the Yanks in the top of the 2nd and a pair of 2-out, run-scoring singles by Eduardo Nunez and Lyle Overbay finished it.  Bobby Wilson also chipped in with a ribbie double and when all was said and done the Yanks led 3-0.

- Speaking of Overbay, the newest Yankee was a major factor in last night's game.  He played all 9 innings at first base and went 2-5 with 2 singles at the plate.  Probably safe to say he's going to be on the Opening Day roster.

- That lead held up until the 5th, when Phelps got a little off track and gave up 3 runs of his own.  They were the only runs he allowed on the night, however, and he did strike out 9 batters.  His stuff and command both seem to be right where they were last season.

- 2-run homer for Brennan Boesch in his return to the lineup after missing a few games with a strained rib cage, and a solo shot for Ben Francisco, his third as a Yankee.  Not sure how Francisco fits into New York's plans now, but he has played well since they acquired him.

- Ditto for Thomas Neal, who went 1-3 with a pair of walks, pair of runs scored, and another SB.  He'll be good depth to have in Triple-A.

- Branden Pinder got smacked around in the bottom of the 7th, but Nick Goody and Preston Claiborne each pitched scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th to secure the win.  It was Goody's first ST game after hurting his ankle early, and Claiborne continues to impress.