March 2009

Homegrown Gardner

Working for YES, and being the guy who gets to go to the minor league teams on a yearly basis is pretty darn cool.  Back in 2005, when we were covering the Staten Island Yankees, a young centerfielder led off the game with a bunt down the third base line and in the blink of an eye he was standing on first and the third baseman hadn’t even fielded the ball yet.  In case you’re wondering it was Brett Gardner.  I was in the SI Yankees dugout and turned to my shooter and said, “Wow!” 
I thought to myself, if this kid could do just a little with his bat he would definitely make the big club at some point…at the very least as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.  Gardner helped lead the SI Yankees to the 2005 New York Penn League Championship. 
As he kept making his way through the system, I followed his progress.  I make it a point to keep an eye on all of these kids that I go down on the farm to interview.
I interviewed him at Double “A” Trenton, and followed him at Triple “A” Scranton.  Its great to see someone like Brett, who has put the work in, and has made his way through the system, get his due.  Gardner will be the opening day centerfielder for Joe Girardi and the Yankees, and even though some “experts” aren’t comfortable with him being there…I am in a lazy boy with the fridge and a case of beer comfortable. 
Note to Yankee fans who need a bazooka to kill an ant at every position…you don’t…see 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.  If the pitching holds up and CC, AJ, Chien-Ming, Andy, and Joba stay healthy…and the bridge to Mo isn’t termites holding hands…October baseball will be in the Yankees future and you’ll see Brett Gardner will play a vital role.  Congratulations Brett.      

Musings from the WCBS 880AM Radio Booth

No score through an inning and a half…A-J Burnett 22 pitches through his first two innings 14 strikes and eight balls.  Tim Wakefield w
johnsuzyn.jpgas knuckling the Yankees to sleep until Robbie Cano just lined the first Yankees hit back up the middle almost hitting Wakefield directly in the bum. 
Burnett 37 pitches through three innings of work…12 in the first, 10 in the second, 15 in the third.  Still no score.  Jorge Posada with another throw out at second.  After throwing out three of four in a minor league game on Sunday…Posada gunned out Jacoby Ellsbury…the speedy Sox CF.  Wakefield and Burnett are both throwing one hitters.  Chris Carter and Robinson Cano have the hits for the Sox and Yanks respectively.
Suzyn told the radio audience that A.J. Burnett should throw between 75 and 80 pitches tonight and he is out for work in the fourth.  Another quick inning for Burnett.  Derek Jeter leading off the inning.  The Captain making his return to the Yankees after the WBC.  He didn’t have to report until Thursday, but told the media, he has to play.  He has to get some games in at shortstop. 
A.J. Burnett is as cool as a cucumber in the clubhouse and you know what kind of mood he is in for the day just by looking into his locker.  He has a four sided, four faced, Buddah doll.  The right handed fireballer turns it according to what mood he is in on every day. 
Paid attendance tonight including standing room…11,113…a GMS Field Record. 
55 pitches for Burnett through five innings.  Still pitching a one hitter.  Chris Carter’s double in the second is still the only Red Sox hit.
Xavier Nady strides to the plate to Eminem’s Without Me.  Wakefield goes three up three down once again as he gets Nady and Cano on strike outs to end the frame…End of five…the YMCA grounds crew doing there thing. 
Burnett gave up his second hit…a slow rolling swinging bunt down the third base line…Cody Ransom had no play.  We talked to Ransom about taking over for A-Rod at third while he recovers from his hip surgery.  You can see that in our video section.
A.J Burnett just gave up his first run of the game on a ribbie single into right…we also talked to Burnett along with Johnny Damon which you can also find in our video section…Look kids Big Ben…Parliament.
Burnett’s night is done…5 2/3 82 pitches.  Bases loaded for Rocco Baldelli…and he grounds out to SS…Jonathan Albaladejo came in relief and induced the grounder.
You are probably either listening to this on the radio or watching it on TV…but you have to be here to really appreciate the speed of Brett Gardner…I can’t say it enough..Does he have power no…Does an opposing pitcher shudder when he comes to the plate…no…but the corner infield does.  Speed kills…and he just scored on an infield single from third. 
By the way no crazy fans so far screaming charge into the field mic placed just outside the booth by Carlos Silva…John and Suzyn’s producer for the radio call.  The last game they did here…every time the PA would play the cavalry charge…there was a guy right by the mic screaming charge in his best Tarzan voice as Suzyn pointed out.  Plus the beer and cotton candy vendors would pass under the window screaming, “BEER HERE” and “COTTON CANDY!” which prompted John to ask Suzyn if she needed anything…great moment…and we all heard it was last call for alcohol in the seventh and John again asked Suzyn if she wanted a beer before they shut things down.  Tonight though there have been no incidents.  I will let you know if there are. 
Well if I type it they will come apparently…this time it was two fans with beer glasses raised saying hi to John and Suzyn and they were on the air…classic.
Here is Mariano Rivera…getting his work in…Mo has been a beast…coming into this appearance…28 pitches in three innings of work…he retired eight straight until Gerald Laird singled off of him in his outing against the Tigers last week. And Mo works another perfect inning 13 batters up…12 sat down…in four innings of work so far this spring after coming back from shoulder surgery…its like he never left…he struck out his last batter swinging and P.J. Pillitere who has been the Yankees system since 2005 got to catch a living legend…that had to be a thrill for him…Pillitere also caught Roger Clemens in his tune up tour in Trenton with the Thunder.  
Damaso Marte as Suzyn said on the air has great stuff, but doesn’t go after hitters.  He was facing minor leaguers and walked two of them.  If it wasn’t for a fortuitous bounce on a wild pitch, Marte would have uncorked the go ahead run while facing a minor leaguer as well.  Pillitere made a sparking play getting Ellsbury, who was hung up between 3rd and home.  As John just said on the air you can’t fault Ellsbury, he had to think it was an easy run. 
Big error by Chris Carter allows the Yankees to be set up first and third with no one out…Suzyn with great analysis…the ball was pitcher Manny Delcarmen’s to field and Stewart’s momentum even if he fielded it was bringing him toward home and it was going to be a very tough play for him if he fielded it.  Good stuff in the booth…and Angel Berroa continues his great spring doubling in the go ahead run with a high chopper over third…and John followed with the first commandment in baseball…Delcarmen walked the leadoff batter which is when all the trouble started…
AJAX cleans up the base paths…Austin Jackson hit a grand slam right as Suzyn was describing how Reggie Jackson thinks the power will come for the Yankees coveted prospect.  After the home run, on the YES network, who was right there with a smiling A-Jax?  Reggie Jackson.  Another great job by Suzyn. 
John Sterling’s call of the homer was a little off, but in his defense that ball hooked over the fair pole just fair…it was tough to call…being as that the ball was hit like a laser down the line.  Edwar Ramirez finished things up in the ninth.  Yankees win 7-1 after getting six runs, five earned, including the four courtesy of Jackson’s blast…Again thanks to the WCBS team for letting me hang out and experience the game once again.  This trip was better than last year and I can’t wait for next year.  I have one more day here, but its a complete off day for the Yankees, so this will be my last blog.  I hope you enjoyed my time down here as much as I did bringing it to you.  Thanks for reading, and I will catch you back in the studio for the YES Network Sports Sprint next Monday.  This is CMS signing off from GMS field.

The Birds II

Alfred Hitchcock scared audiences with his alarming avian thriller back in 1963. Well today was the sequel here at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The star of the sequal was unaware he was the main attraction until he was on his way into the ballpark today. Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal, and from Rye Brook, NY, was on his way in to cover the Boston Red Sox when he was attacked by what he thought was a bug. He said when it first hit him, he looked over his shoulder and all he could see was something black.  Like a big black bug.  Well this was only the beginning of his ordeal. It turns out it was a disgruntled bird, we couldn’t track him down for his side, but the bird, most likely was a Yankees fan. 

Barbarisi tried shoeing it away off his back, then it went into his hair, and proceeded to, um, use him like a Port-a-john. 

So when he finally gets to the stadium, he has fine feathered fecal matter all over him.  He was about to go into the visitor dugout area for an interview with Terry Francona, when security turned him away because he smelled. That was a direct quote from Dan himself. So he came up to the press box, got into the bathroom, took his soiled shirt off, and washed his hair in the bathroom sink. He had a different shirt in his car, which he said is not as nice as the one he had on before. Let’s face it, I didn’t want to see that one, or smell it for that matter. 

For all of his family and friends who are concerned, Dan is fine. He did miss his interview session with Terry Francona, but he is in the press box, computer on, with no scratches or remnants of the attack present anywhere. Where is a video camera when you need it? That’s 10,000 dollars on AFV!  Thanks to Suzyn Waldman for bringing it to my attention…you just can’t make this up!

Batting Practice Observations

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…every time I step on the field I instantly transform into a ten year old kid.  Think, Field of Dreams but the opposite of when Doc has to leave the field to help Kevin Costner’s choking daughter. 
I was on the field when Derek Jeter got in the cage and if this team seemed loose while he was gone, it is even looser now.  The joking and carrying on, I would say doubled.  At one point, Jeter hit a hard line drive and Nick Swisher out in left said, “TEAM USA!”  They also took some infield practice and outfield practice and as the outfielders were making there throws, the hootin and hollerin continued.  One of the most vocal guys was Mark Teixeira.  He is constantly throwing compliments to his teammates who make good throws.  There was a group of Yankees around homeplate as Johnny Damon was throwing home from right field, after he took some turns in left and a lot of atta boys were thrown his way by Joe Girardi, Kevin Long, Jose Molina, Jorge Posada, and first base coach Mick Kelleher. 
Melky Cabrera had a highlight as well, he took a grounder in medium depth in center and fired a pea to Cody Ransom at third, knee high.  Unbelieveable throw. 
Jeter in his second round of swings hit one half way up the video screen out in left center field here at the Boss and that got some oohs and ahhs from his teammates all over the field.  You can really sense from watching him come back onto the field that Jeter is the glue that keeps this team together.  You can sense players are happy to have him back.
We talked to Kevin Long and Michael Kay as well and those interviews will be up shortly…keep checking back for more later.  I will be blogging from the WCBS 880 radio booth during the game tonight.  You can get the play by play there or on YES with Michael Kay and Paul O’Neil, and I will be bringing you some nuggets from inside the booth. 

Dr. Evil is happy because Number 2 is back

Hey everyone!  Deuces are wild today here at the Boss.  I am sitting in Section 211 Row D…Seat 2…The D is for Derek and the 2 is for the number on his back. Derek Jeter is back from the World Baseball Classic and will be in the lineup tonight when the Yankees face the Red Sox at 7:00pm on YES.  Jeter walked into the clubhouse and within seconds he was a morsel of bread tossed to the flock of seagulls of reporters that surrounded his locker.  Picture the scene in Finding Nemo when the seagulls were chasing after the fish in the birds mouth.  Jeter talked to reporters for about 10 mintues about his experiences while away at the WBC.  Including getting up close and personal with guys he has played against and getting to know their personalities. 

Right now I’m just hanging out…no one is in the stadium…its quiet except for the sounds of some birds and the cars on the Dale Mabry…the road that stretches the length of the outfield wall.  There are two guys hosing down the infield and the batting cage is set up.  There is a tarp with the interlocking NY on the pitchers mound…and its about 78 degrees and sunny with some puffy white clouds as far as the eye can see.  Its days like today, that I thank my lucky stars that I am alive and doing the job I always wanted to do.  These are the times I love.  The ballpark is empty with the exception of the YES camera crew setting up.  All I hear now is the nice light breeze whipping through the flags in the outfield and some birds still.  Out in the distance you can see the Buccaneers gigantic Jolly Roger flag blowing in the breeze.  Its right over the right field wall.   

The lineup for tonights game is in the YES Blog.  Jeter is at short and batting second.  Just a reminder I will be in the booth tonight with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman bringing you another blog from above as the Yankees take on the Red Sox.  It wont be an inning by inning…for that you can just tune into YES tonight or WCBS 880 on your AM dial.  More later…TTFN   

Starting Pitching Change

Brett Tomko was supposed to start today for the Yankees…Instead Chien-Ming Wang will go in his place.  We’re almost ready for baseball.  No more rain…yet.  Phillies take the Phield.

Inning by inning – Yankees vs. Phillies in Clearwater

Gametime scheduled for 1:45 after a brief rain delay.  Keep hitting your refresh button…I am going batter by batter today…

Top 1st: 

Jorge Posada led off and grounded out to third.  Johnny Damon followed with a rocket line drive back up the middle for a base hit.  Mark Texeira popped out to first, Ryan Howard made the squeeze.  One on two out for Xavier Nady.  First pitch Damon stole second Ronny Paulino’s throw went into left center allowing Damon to go to third…Xavier Nady worked a walk…Robinson Cano now up with runners on the corners…and almost took one on his front shoulder on an inside pitch…on the 2-2 pitch Cano sliced one into left field…it looked like trouble but Raul Ibanez tracked it down for the final out of the inning.  End of a half inning…
Yankees 0 Phillies coming to bat…

JORGE POSADA CATCHING TODAY AFTER HIS STINT IN A MINOR LEAGUE GAME YESTERDAY WHERE HE THREW OUT THREE OF THE FOUR BASE STEALERS THAT TRIED TO SWIPE SECOND.  LOOKS LIKE HIS SHOULDER IS BACK.  JOSE MOLINA WAS SCHED. TO START…

Bottom 1st

Wang’s first pitch was a strike to Eric Bruntlett and he got him to ground out softly to Mark Teixeira at first…he took it himself…one down…Jayson Werth now up…and he flew out to Johnny Damon in left….now its Chase Utley’s turn… and Utley flies out to Johnny Damon in shallow left center field.  Inning over…three up three down for Wang…very economical with his pitch count…End of 1…Yankees 0 Phillies 0

Top 2nd:

Cody Ransom led off the inning and struck out swining on three pitches.  Melky Cabrera still in a battle with Brett Gardner for the centerfield job singled into right field from the right side of the plate.  Joe Girardi told the media earlier in the week, it IS possible for both Cabrera and Gardner to make the trip north.  Ramiro Pena popped out in the infield for the second out…and now Chien-Ming Wang is up…standing on the fringe of the batters box as far out as you can be…basically standing there with the bat on his shoulder…saw six pitches and didn’t swing and struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch.  Yankees 0 Phillies 0

Bottom 2nd:

Ryan Howard leading off for the defending World Champions and the big fella was down 1-2 and worked out a walk…Raul Ibanez the former Mariner singled into right on a baltimore chop over the head of Mark Teixeira at first…Ryan Howard moved over to third…and now former Blue Jay Matt Stairs stands in…3-1 now the count to Stairs and he grounds into the 4-6-3 DP…Cano to Pena to Teixeira.  Ryan Howard scores…no ribbie for the not so fleet of foot Stairs…now rookie Jason Donald 6’1″ 190 out of Clovis, CA…playing short with Jimmy Rollins on his way back from the WBC…both of these teams are without their star SS’s because of the Classic.  Donald drew a walk and the theme to “The Greatest American Hero” blared over the PA as he made his way down to first, “Believe it or not, I’m walkin on air.”  Donald stole second, on an 0-1 count to catcher Ronny Paulino – Posada’s throw was a little high and Donald slid in safe…but Paulino struck out swinging.  End of the 2nd.  Yankees 0 Phillies 1

Top 3rd:

Jorge Posada to lead things off as the Yankees order flips over…Posada leading off today…he grounded out to third his last time up against J.A. Happ batting from the right side…this time Posada worked a walk bringing Johnny Damon to the plate who singled in his first at bat…and Damon keeps his perfect day in tact working a four pitch walk…Mark Teixeira now at the dish…and the rain is starting to come down again…1-2 count on Tex…and he grounds into a 5-4-3 DP with Posada making his way over to third.  Xavier Nady hit a hard ground ball to third…it ate up Eric Bruntlett andn Nady beat the throw to first…Posada scores…we’re tied at one…Robinson Cano ended the inning on a FC 4-6.  Yankees 1 Phillies 1

Bottom 3rd:

Wang and Posada are still the battery….
Leading off for the Phillies J.A. Happ the starting pitcher…and he strikes out swinging…next batter, the third baseman Eric Bruntlett and he singles into right center…one out one on for Jayson Werth, Werth flew out to left…this time he grounds into the 5-4-3 DP to end the inning…started by Cody Ransom…Wang throwing some ground balls and Joe Girardi has to like that.  We head to the 4th…Yankees 1 Phillies 1

Top 4th:

Cody Ransom struck out in his last at bat…this time he flies out to medium LF for out number one…Melky Cabrera was next and first ball swinging he grounded out to third…Bruntlett to Howard…Melky 1-2 on the day with a single.  Ramiro Pena getting the start at shortstop today and singles on a looping liner over the second baseman’s head into right…one on two out…again Happ having some issues as Wang is standing basically in the Phillies 3rd base side dugout…he is so far to the left in the right hand batters box…and once again the at bat is six pitches long…it went from 3-0 to a backwards K this time.  It looks like Wang is under orders not to swing because the bat is not coming far off his shoulder. Yankees 1 Phillies 1

Bottom 4th:

Chase Utley led off and grounded out weakly to Teixeira at first…Ryan Howard walked his last time up…in the box once again…Howard is looking very slimmed down this spring training…he is still a big guy…but looks to be in terrific shape…with a Jason Giambi like shift on…Cody Ransom playing short instead of third made a TREMENDOUS leaping snow cone grab on a hard hit liner that was on its way into left for a base hit…two outs and now Raul Ibanez up he singled in his last at bat…and this time he paints the left field line with a ground ball and has himself a two out double…Matt Stairs grounded one high towards the mound…Wang got up grabbed the ball and threw out Stairs at first…End of 4…Yankees 1 Phillies 1

Top 5th:  HAPP STILL PITCHING

Jorge Posada still in and leads off the inning…Posada grounded out to third in his first at bat…walked and scored the only run in his second…and grounded out to short here to lead off the 5th…one out…and now Johnny Damon is up 2-2 count…3-2 count now and Damon hits a fly ball that almost brought the rain back into RF…Matt Stairs camped under it and made the catch…Mark Teixeira now up…he popped out in his first at bat…and grounded into a 5-4-3 DP with runners on 1st and 2nd in his second at bat…but this time doubles on a line drive down the left field line and he is promptly brought in by Xavier Nady as he singles on a liner into left…Robinson Cano flew out to left and the inning is over…but the Yankees pick up a run to take the lead…Yankees 2 Phillies 1

Bottom 5th: WANG STILL CHUCKIN

Jason Donald flew out to right…a lazy fly ball that Melky Cabrera easily put away…Ronny Paulino followed with a worm burner back to Wang who made a nice play to throw him out…at first…two away and now pinch hitting for the pitcher J.A. Happ Geoff Jenkins and he flies out to Johnny Damon in left…one, two, three for Wang…We head to the 6th…Yankees 2 Phillies 1 

Happ’s Line 5IP 5H 2R 1ER 3BB 3K’s –  Clay Condrey starts the 6th and will face Cody Ransom, Melky Cabrera, and Ramiro Pena

Top 6th:

Ransom grounded out to Chase Utley as well as Melky Cabrera.  Now Pena comes in, a switch hitter batting left…he is 1-2 today with a single…make that 2-3 with another single on a looping liner over the shortstops head…Chien-Ming Wang only saw three pitches this time…good morning, good afternoon, and good night…Wang with the hat trick…in hockey good…in baseball bad…and he will head out for his sixth inning of work…Yankees 2 Phillies 1

Bottom 6th: Jose Molina now catching…

Eric Bruntlett leads off…he is 1-2 with a single…make that 2-3…he hit a grounder right over the third base bag…for a lead off double…after a brief meeting between Molina and Wang…we are set for Jayson Werth 0-2 today…he singles into center field on a line drive…the ball was bobbled by Melky Cabrera and Bruntlett scored…Bruntlett would have scored anyway…single and an RBI for Werth and we are tied at two…and that ends the day for Wang…Brian Bruney will make his way in from the pen…
Wang’s Numbers as the rain begins to come down in buckets again…
5IP 5H 1BB 2K’s
Bruney got Utley swinging…and Ryan Howard now up 2-2 count…the rain is REALLY coming down now…and Howard gets punched out on a check swing by home plate umpire DJ Reyburn…he didn’t like it…but its March…he didn’t really put up too much of a fight..Ibanez with his bat soaking wet took a swing on a 2-1 pitch…lost the bat and it flew out to first base…Teixeira had to run to get out of the way…with a smile on his face…no harm no foul…Ibanez back in the box…2-2 count and Ibanez loses the bat again on a swing it settles right at the lip by first base and the ball found some grass down the right field line for an RBI double…Phillies go on top 3-2…Matt Stairs just crushed a 1-2 Bruney offering just to the left of dead center field next to the batters eye…for two more Phillies runs…Donald flew out to left though to end the inning…Phillies four runs on four hits…Yankees 2 Phillies 5

Top 7th: BRAD LIDGE PITCHING

Molina strikes out swinging in the lead off spot for probably the last time this season…Jorge Posada led off the game for the Yankees and Molina replaced him…Brett Gardner was next subbing for Damon and Gardner hit a slow roller to third and beat it out for an infield hit…what else is new…Gardner lightning in a bottle to first…even on a muddy track…he’s a mudder…
now Nick Swisher stands in…he hits a hard liner to second…its caught by former Yankee Miguel Cairo who took over for Chase Utley…and he doubles off Brett Gardner at first…inning over…Yankees 2 Phillies 5

Bottom 7th: CHANGES: DAN GIESE PITCHING/JUAN MIRANDA AT FIRST/EDUARDO NUNEZ AT SS/AUSTIN JACKSON LF/DOUG BERNIER AT SECOND/ANGEL BERROA AT THIRD

Giese started the inning by striking out Ronny Paulino – Paulino 0-3 with 2 K’s – next batter – pinch hitter Jason Ellison singled on a hot shot that ate up Angel Berroa at third – it was ruled a base hit…then Eric Bruntlett split Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher in center and right for a ribbie double…6-2 Phillies…now Rich Thompson who took over for Jayson Werth in CF is up 2-2 count…and Giese got him with a nasty curve ball swining for strike three…Miguel Cairo followed and the former Yankees utility man hit a blast up near the Tiki bar in left here at bright house field…a two run dinger…8-2 Phillies…Marcus Giles lined a double over the head of Nick Swisher in right as the Phillies hit parade continues…as the rain continues to steadily fall…its been heavy at times during the game here today…but its a light drizzle at the present time…Carlos Ruiz is now up and he is hitting for Raul Ibanez…Ibanez was perfect today with a single and two doubles…Ruiz struck out looking on an outside breaking pitch and the inning is mercifully over…after taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth…the Phillies have scored seven unanswered…Yankees 2 Phillies 8

Top 8th:  SCOTT EYRE PITCHING FOR THE PHILLIES

Angel Berroa made the first out of the inning in his first at bat of the day…Juan Miranda now in…he absolutely destroyed a home run in the Yankees win Thursday against the Blue Jays…full count on Miranda and he skied one to the first base side…a tough play…and Bruntlett makes it on the run sliding on the grass to make the catch…Now Austin Jackson who took over in LF stands in…Jackson was in Trenton last year and is one of the best prospects in the minor league system…Jackson caught looking on a knee buckling breaking pitch…Eyre goes three up three down…Yankees 2 Phillies 8 

Bottom 8th:  BRETT TOMKO NOW PITCHING FOR THE YANKEES

First batter up is Matt Stairs he hit a mammouth blast in his last at bat just to the left of dead center field…this time he hits a looping liner and Nunez puts it away for the first out…Donald was next…and he picked up his first hit of the day grounding a single into center…Ronny Paulino made the second out…and Jason Ellison flew out to left to end the frame…good inning of work for Tomko…first time in three innings the Yankees left the field without giving up a run…Yankees 2 Phillies 8

Top 9th:

Eduardo Nunez leads it off against new Phillies pitcher Mike Koplove…works a lead off walk…to start the ninth…now  Doug Bernier he took over at second base for Robinson Cano…this is Bernier’s first at bat…and he hits a seeing eye single into left between short and third…first and second…no one out for pinch hitter John Rodriguez…Rodriguez hitting for Brett Tomko…and he singles into center…Nunez scores…and the yankees with no one out…runners on first and second…and now trail by five..Jose Molina though grounds into a 5-3 double play…now two down…and Gardner up with a runner on second…and Gardner flew out to left field for the final out of the game…

Final Score

Yankees 3
Phillies 8

Yankee Pitching Lines

Wang   5IP 5H 3R 3ER 2BB 3K
Bruney 1IP 2H 2R 2ER 0 BB 2K – He struck out the first two batters he faced (Howard,Utley)
Giese   1IP 4H 3R 3ER 0BB 3K – Struck out the side – but all the damage was around those
Tomko  1IP 1H 0R 0ER 0BB 0K

Thanks for hanging with me today for the game and braving the rain…It has been a pleasure for me to bring you all the action from Clearwater today…Don’t forget to check out the site later tonight for the interviews we got before the game with Brian Bruney, Nick Swisher, Cody Ransom, Jim Kaat, and Hal Bodley from MLB.com who has been covering baseball since 1958.  He is a senior correspondent for MLB.com and a legend in the business and we appreciated a couple minutes with him today.  Tomorrow its the rivalry renewing itself once again…The Red Sox invade The Boss tomorrow night for a 7:00 game on YES.  I will be back in the radio booth watching the game as John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman provide the call for WCBS 880AM.  Until tomorrow boys and girls.  Have a great night!

Tarp is off the field … Twice

Sitting in the visiting TV booth here at Bright House Field in Clearwater we were watching as the grounds crew was taking the tarp off the field to a standing ovation by the fans here who have braved the weather to this point.  And they took it off the wrong way the first time and they got water on the outfield grass…a pretty good amount of it too…they had to drag it back and take it off the right way.  Like I said there has been a drought here in the area…maybe they forgot how to take it off?  Despite the mistake though, we hear the game should be starting at 1:45.  We are now listening to Jimmy Cliff’s version of, “I Can See Clearly Now the Rain is Gone.”  After being serenaded as previously mentioned by some songs with rain in the title.  Such as:  It’s Raining Men, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, good job by the Phillies people in the booth.

Observations:  The place is packed…there are people beyond the outfield…the grass continues up a hill and people are on blankets getting their first glimpse of the sun…still mostly overcast here in Clearwater, but the sun is fighting its way through the doom and gloom.  There are grounds crew members preparing the infield…Chase Utley and some of his teammates came out to stretch.  Chen-Ming Wang went out to the outfield for long toss…and he will be starting NOT Brett Tomko as earlier reported.  Tomko was on the dry erase board in the media room, but it will indeed be Wang.  More and more Yankees are out of the clubhouse and doing their warmups.  Cano, Teixeira, Ramsom, Cabrera are all getting some running in on the outfield grass…

Coke Update

Phil Coke did not make the trip with the team and Joe Girardi didn’t know if he would throw a bullpen session today.  Coke is still recovering from taking a line drive (or leenya as he called it) off of his left thigh last Wednesday. 

Lineups Today…We Will have Baseball!

Yankees

Melky Cabrera CF
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Xavier Nady RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C (Jorge Posada caught CC Sabathia in a minor league game yesterday see Off the Wall blog from yesterday)
Ramiro Pena SS (Derek Jeter is on his way back from the WBC)
Chien-Ming Wang P

Phillies

Eric Bruntlett 3B
Jayson Werth CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Matt Stairs RF
Jason Donald SS (Last year with Triple-A Reading .307 14 HR  54 RBI)
Ronny Paulino C (Last year with Pirates 40 games .212 2 HR 18 RBI)
J.A. Happ P

Happ is a 26 year old lefty so far this spring in five appearances, two starts, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA.  He was with the big club for eight games (four starts) last season and he posted a 1-0 record with a 3.69 ERA.  He won the Paul Owens Award as the best pitcher in the Phillies minor league system. 

Mother Nature has been repeatedly opening up a can of you know what on Clearwater today…as we continue to listen to every song imaginable with the word rain in it here at Bright House Field.  Other Yankees taking the mound today will be David Robertson, Jonathan Albaladejo, Dan Giese, and Brian Bruney.  More to come…the tarp is still on the field.