A.J. Burnett was absolutely lights out picking up Chien-Ming Wang once again. Burnett had a 2-0 lead and a no-hitter into the seventh. Then gave up his first hit, the shutout and the lead, all in the Rays’ half of the seventh.
He didn’t crumble after he gave up two runs. Joe Girardi didn’t even get anyone up in the bullpen. Burnett got out of the jam and the Yankees rewarded their starter with a run in their half of the eighth to go back out in front, 3-2. Burnett then worked a perfect eighth inning and his night was over. Eight innings, three hits, two runs, one walk, and nine strike outs. He is now 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA.
Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, so far in Yankeeland 2009, I give you your cure for Janet Jackson Disease: Mr. A.J. Burnett.
Brett Gardner exploded Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., (3-for-5, 2 2B, RBI). I’d like to reiterate my comfort level from my Homegrown Gardner blog from March 30:
“Gardner will be the Opening Day center fielder 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, and comfortable.”
Do they still make the recliners with the refrigerators?
The top two guys in the lineup, Derek Jeter and Gardner, went 6-for-10 with four RBIs. How about Swish at the dish? Nick Swisher was in the four hole and went 2-4 with a solo home run, his fourth of the year. Oh by the way, Swish is hitting .458. He thought it was heady to be hitting in the three hole with Mark Teixeira out of the lineup. I wonder how he felt hitting clean up? I’ll ask him Thursday when I am at the new Yankee Stadium for Opening Day.
Sleep well Yankee fans. See you for the Sprint at 1p.m. ET, then for Yankees Batting Practice today at 3 p.m.
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.
Nick Swisher is making the trip to Port Charlotte today to take on the Rays and will get some time at first base.
Hideki Matsui – his health concerns are not going to go away. He ran three days in a row and Joe is feeling better and better about him every day. He said once you have a knee problem you always have a knee problem. Hideki is off today. Johnny Damon also has the day off. Joe said he gave some guys days off last week and he will do the same this week as well.
As for the Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera centerfield battle, Joe said they are still fighting it out – we still have two weeks – we want to have our lineup situated by the last week so we have another week to play with it and we’ll see where we are then. Joe was asked if both could make it to New York and he said they haven’t made their 25 man roster yet, he couldn’t promise that both would be on the team, but said they CAN carry both.
Damaso Marte will start to work his way back into getting some innings starting tomorrow.
CC Sabathia is great for the clubhouse; he is comfortable in his surroundings and bringing people together. Like any team, the Yankees will have to face some adversity. But he knows that the closer the club is, according to Girardi, the easier it will be for them to get through. Joe was also asked to compare someone to CC on his clubhouse persona and he gave two names, Alfredo Amazega and Tim Raines. Joe also said it is harder in his position as a pitcher as opposed to a position player to hold that kind of a role down. Sweeny Murti from WFAN playfully said to the skipper that CC sounds like he would make a great opening day starter and the manager replied with a laugh and said, “I would say that he is lined up real well for that.”
I asked how Phil Hughes took the news when he was sent down to Scranton yesterday and Girardi said he thought he was pretty good about it … he understood … he said they ran out of innings for him here. He was proud of the way Hughes approached Spring Training. He was looking for improvement and he saw it. I also asked about Phil Coke’s deep left thigh bruise from a liner he took in Kissimmee last Wednesday and he said it was much, much better than it was and should pitch tomorrow in Clearwater against the Phillies.
I talked to Coke after meeting with Girardi and Coke thinks Yankees Trainer Gene Monohan may not let him throw in a game and the bullpen-hopeful lefty will be relegated to a bullpen session here at “The Boss.” Girardi saw the bruise today and said, “That’s nothing catchers get them all the time.”
Joe hopped on the bus after our meeting for the game in Port Charlotte. Pitching coach Dave Eiland and Bench coach Tony Pena will hang back in Tampa to watch Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada do some battery work in a minor league game against the Pirates at the Yankees minor league complex in the shadow of Raymond James Stadium.
Today’s Lineup vs. Tampa