Hey, as you all know I am the new Yankees correspondent. I just got back from the game a few minutes ago, and thanks to some eavesdropping, I was able to extract some information from a "high up" of the Richmond Braves. The most important thing he spoke about was that the organization is very nervous about overworking Wickman, Gonzalez and Soriano, and may be looking to either call up a reliever or investigate a signing/trade situation. Peter Moylan seems to be the logical choice, but that’s enough about the Braves.
Raul Chavez caught the game tonight. I remember many baseball forums bashing the signing, but there may be more behind it than his .212 career batting average. Chavez was the primary backup catcher for the Houston Astros from 2004-2005, and caught a combined 97 games during that time. He also worked with both Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. Perhaps Brian Cashman signed Chavez with this in mind. Perhaps it may make Clemens even more enticed to sign with the Yankees
Chris Basak looked really good tonight at 3B. He made several difficult plays at the hot corner and displayed a somewhat strong arm. After seeing his hustle, and defensive ability, I really think the Yankees should have chosen him instead of Cairo for the utility spot. I’m sure if Cairo gets hurt he will be the first called up. Alberto Gonzalez looked decent as well, but his bat needs to catch up with his glove before he becomes a major leaguer.
Shelley Duncan, brother of Cardinal’s outfielder Chris Duncan, hit a tremendous home run to the opposite field tonight. The guy did not look that great in the outfield, but he has some major power. If the Mientkiewicz/Phelps platoon falls apart, Duncan could be a player in that. He’s not much of a fielder, but he does have some upside offensively. Eric Duncan looked very good as well. He put together some nice at bats and played the field well. The organization seems to really like him, as do the other journalists in the press box.
I spoke to Ron Villone, Andy Phillips, and manager Dave Miley after the game. Villone is apparently really happy where he is right now, and chose to return to the Yankees because he loves the organization (he is a NJ native) and feels that he can work his way up again and be on a contending club. He is much bigger in person, and very intimidating. Either way, it’s a good way to show that he can still pitch. Miley felt the same way about Villone, and also mentioned that he liked having his veteran presence on the team.
Andy Phillips is a really nice guy in person. We talked about his time with the fellowship of Christian Athletes, and his current hobbies of golf and singing. I was not aware that he sings in a Christian music group during the off-season. His mother is doing very well, and I asked him about any other teams he would like to play for, and he replied that he grew up a Braves fan and would love to play for them.
On the Major League Yankees side of things:
After five lousy starts for the Yankees rotation and one critical Joel Sherman article, Carl Pavano and Andy Pettitte strung together two quality starts in a row. The big story is Alex Rodriguez’s home run, the 6th. As Chad Jennings, Scranton Times-Tribune sportswriter said to me, A-Rod now has as many home runs in one week than Jason Tyner has over his entire career.
Let’s hope Rodriguez does not get greedy after his monster 2007 season and opt out of his contract with the intention of making even more money. I don’t think he will, especially since the fans are going to adore him if he keeps up his torrid pace.