Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yankees Sign Hideki Okajima to Minor League Deal reported this afternoon that the Yankees have inked a minor league deal with former Red Sox reliever, Hideki Okajima.

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The 36 year-old lefty spent most of last season playing for Boston's Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket where he posted a 2.29 ERA in 34 appearances. He played only seven games in Boston, and pitched to a 4.32 ERA. Okajima's production took a slide starting in 2010, where in 56 games, he pitched to a 4.50 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 56 games; a major drop from his stellar 3.39 ERA, 53 strikeout, 68 game '09 season.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is looking at Okajima becoming a lefty specialist for the team. In his 5 seasons with the Red Sox, he held lefty batters to a .218 average.

"He's somebody that definitely can get left-handers out," said Cashman. "We'll see what it looks like when we get to Spring Training."

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

A-Rod Gets Experimental Knee Treatment

This report was released by Bryan Hoch today on Alex Rodiguez travelled to Germany earlier this month to receive Orthokine treatment on his injured right knee and left shoulder. Apparently, the procedure was recommended to Alex by the Lakers' Kobe Bryant. Here is the article:

NEW YORK -- Following a tip from basketball star Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez traveled to Germany earlier this month for experimental treatments on his troublesome right knee and left shoulder, the Yankees confirmed on Wednesday.

With the club's approval, the Yankees third baseman was seen by Dr. Peter Wehling to undergo an Orthokine procedure during a Dec. 5-9 trip to Dusseldorf, general manager Brian Cashman said during a conference call with reporters.

Rodriguez's treatment was first reported by the New York Post. The three-time American League MVP heard about Wehling from Bryant, who has credited Orthokine with healing his right knee and left ankle to help him stay on the hardcourt for the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Kobe had maintained, according to Alex, that he felt significantly better because of it," Cashman said. "Alex was interested in pursuing it as long as the Yankees' medical staff was comfortable with it and vetted the process. He basically asked us to look into it."

Rodriguez, 36, reached out to the Yankees in November about the process. Team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad headed the research, checking Wehling's background as well as contacting the Lakers' medical staff to learn more about their experience with Bryant.
Major League Baseball was also consulted to avoid the appearance that Rodriguez might be receiving impermissible treatment.

Cashman said that the procedure is considered legal, is in compliance with the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and is currently being practiced in the United States. Wehling's reputation led the Yankees to send Rodriguez overseas.

"Ultimately, Kobe Bryant went with this individual in Germany," Cashman said. "The more our doctor researched on it, the more impressed he was with this guy's credentials and his reputation. Obviously, Alex is our biggest investment, so we agreed to allow him the extra miles to have it done in Germany."

Orthokine involves taking blood from the patient's arm vein and spinning it in a centrifuge to isolate protective proteins. That solution is then injected into the afflicted area once or twice a week; in this case, Rodriguez's knee and shoulder.

"A lot of athletes I've talked to really think this stuff works, but we really don't have a lot of scientific knowledge behind it of exactly what's happening," Dr. Jonathan Glashow, the co-chief of sports medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, told the Post.

It's a great way to reduce inflammation and therefore pain, and that's the essence of it. I think a lot of the athletes who have wear-and-tear on their knees benefit from this. You do it for awhile, and if it doesn't stay good you do it again in a few years."

Cashman characterized Rodriguez's shoulder ailment as minor and something that they decided to take care of while Rodriguez was in Germany to address the knee.

"I think this is more about maintaining health going forward, rather than having any problems at the present time," Cashman said.
Rodriguez is continuing offseason workouts and is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Hitting coach Kevin Long said that he plans to travel to Miami to begin working with Rodriguez next week.

"I think he's 100 percent right now, personally," Cashman said.

Rodriguez battled through what he called his most frustrating season in 2011, batting .276 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs in 99 games.

"Hopefully going forward he'll be healthy for us again, because when he is healthy he's obviously one of the best players in the game," Cashman said. "Maybe this is an avenue that helps maintain his health.

"There's clearly a belief system that this type of treatment is beneficial, and if it is, it was time well spent. If it isn't, nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Rodriguez missed 38 games after being placed on the disabled list on July 14, retroactive to July 8, to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn right meniscus.

In Rodriguez's first game back from the DL on Aug. 21, he suffered a sprained left thumb while fielding a ground ball. He batted just .191 (13-for-68) after returning from the DL and was 2-for-18 (.111) in the AL Division Series loss to the Tigers.

"I've got a lot of work to do personally," Rodriguez said after the ALDS. "I've got to get my health back and I know exactly what I have to do to help this team get back to the top."

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Many Thanks and a Quick Shoutout

Happy Holidays, fanatics! As we approach the New Year, I just want to thank you all for keeping Bomber Boulevard on your radar; I continue to be surprised by the support you all have shown over this past year, and I hope it continues for many years to come.

In 2012, my goal is to get back to posting everyday as I did when I started Bomber Boulevard in 2010. This has been a very busy year for me, as I completed school and have worked on freelance writing projects outside of posting here. I am fully commited to keeping this blog current at the commencement of the holidays, and will do my absolute best to create content that will get us through what has been a very dry offseason for the Yankees. There's always a story to be told in Yankeeland, and I'll get it to you.

But before I continue my holiday vacation from posting, I want to take a moment to shout out to some of the other blogs that I have truly grown to love over the past year. These blogs, in my opinion, are some of the best on the web, and their writers are the truest of the true Yankee fans you'll ever find:

An A-Blog for A-Rod: What makes this blog so great is its sarcastic humor. "The Captain" creates blog posts that are funny, witty, snarky, but analytical and on point. He's not afraid to say whatever's on his mind, curse words and all. And, AB4AR employs the best use of photoshop you'll ever see. Check out this creation of "The Horse" aka Alex Rodriguez.

Bronx Baseball Daily: Truly one of the best. Rob Abruzzese and crew stick to a more traditonal journalistic style of writing here, employing more objectivity in their analysis, yet still enlightening readers on their own take of the goings-on in Yankeeland. You'll get everything here: recaps, analysis, player profiles including minor leaguers and an analysis of every rumor reported anywhere throughout the year.

The Yankee Analysts (TYA) - Just excellent coverage of games, players, moves...everything. And they provide some of the best in-depth stat analysis you'll see anywhere.

And last but not least...Bleeding Yankee Blue!

The Mighty Casey and his staff have provided for one of the best Yankee blogs that continues to grow in its readership by thousands each week. Like Bomber Boulevard, BYB was a novice blog created just a little over a year ago and has morphed into the blog that others should be trying to keep up with. This blog is full of content from posts to segments for BYB Fan of the Week and Bleeding Yankee Babe to exclusive interviews with former Yankee greats (check out the Paul O'Neill interview here). These guys are on top of their game and Casey and Mikey Blue are two of the coolest and nicest people you'll ever come across.

Thank you all again for everything you've done to make Bomber Boulevard a success. I wish you all the very best in 2012!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

(Update) Rangers Win the Yu Darvish Sweepstakes

I reported in my last post that the Yankees were said to have offered $20-$25 million to bid for Darvish; that was apparently incorrect. According to this tweet from ESPNNewYork's Andrew Marchand, the Yankees offered less than $20 million. Just wanted to get that info out to you all.

This is good to know, because I thought the offering I originally reported on was a bit too much.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Rangers Win Yu Darvish Sweepstakes

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With all the talk this week of the Toronto Blue Jays offering up a whopping $40 million to $50 million to bid for the rights to Yu Darvish, it was the Texas Rangers who utilized the stealth tactic to walk away the winner. According to a report by T.R. Sullivan who covers the Rangers for, the team posted a crazy $51.7 million fee to negotiate with Darvish's team in Japan. The Rangers have until 4 pm CT on January 18 to make a deal, otherwise, Darvish remains with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and the Rangers keep their money.

So are the Yankees losers? My opinion is a loud, resounding NO!! Darvish is a star in his own right, but unproven in the MLB. Besides, the price tag set by Toronto was absolutely ridiculous; you had to figure that the Yankees were out of this at that point. the Yankees are said to have placed a bid in the range of $20-$25 million which is still a lot considering the $75 million, 5-year contract Darvish is said to be looking for.

It had been rumored weeks ago that the Rangers were seriously looking at Darvish and that this might have come down to them and the Yankees going head-to-head as they did last year for Cliff Lee. But Toronto quashed all that hype last week and was assumed the front-runner. With no other teams seeming to want to go near what the Blue Jays offered, it was easy for Texas to swoop in and win the bid.

So with Darvish off the Yankees Christmas list, what's next? There are still some good starting pitchers available; Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez rank high on my personal faves list, but only if the Yankees can acquire them without giving up too much. The Oakland A's want Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances for Gonzalez; Edwin Jackson's free agent price tag seems to be turning the Yankees away. Hiroki Kuroda is high on the Yankees' radar, but is seeking a 1-year deal similar to what he earned last year which was $12 million. That's a lot of money that the Yankees may not be willing to pay.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Awards Go To...

...David Robertson, Robimson Cano and Derek Jeter!

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Yes fanatics, the awesome threesome were winners of 2011 Greatness In Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards, which aired on MLB Network yesterday. The GIBBYs are awarded in 19 categories and are calculated based on votes from fans who vote at, media, front office personnel and MLB alumni. Each group receives 25% of the vote.

Robertson took home the Set-Up Man of the Year award for his outstanding season as the bridge to Mariano Rivera. Robertson posted a 4-0 record this year with a 1.08 ERA.

Nick Laham/Getty Images
Cano won the Wow Factor of the Year award after another all-star season and solidifying himself as the most feared hitter in the Yankees lineup; I dare say one of the best hitters in baseball, period. Robbie hit his way to a .533 slugging percentage with 28 home runs and 118 RBIs.

Nick Laham/Getty Images
And the Captain was recognized for his historic 3,000th hit day when he became the first Yankee to reach the milestone and the second player behind Wade Boggs to get it via the home run. Jeter also went 5-for-5 that day and drove in the winning run. He walked away with the Performance of the Year award.

Here is a list of some of the other categories awarded and where the Yankees ranked:

Curtis Granderson - Player of the Year (6th)
CC Sabathia - Pitcher of the Year (3rd)
Mariano Rivera - Closer of the Year (4th)
Ivan Nova - Rookie of the Year (4th)
Brett Gardner- Defensive Player of the Year (4th)
Russell Martin - Comeback Player of the Year (5th)
Joe Girardi - Manager of the Year (7th)
Brian Cashman - Executive of the Year (8th)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Yu Darvish Sweepstakes

It's not something that happens often on Brian Cashman's watch, fanatics, but the Yankees have been completely outbid for a big-time "prospect" to a smaller market team.

While there have still been no reports of the actual price the Yankees laid out to get rights to Yu Darvish, what has been reported is that it was "moderate." We know that the Yankees are proceeding with caution in regards to signing talent these days, otherwise, the Angels would have had no chance of signing CJ Wilson to their roster. But the word "moderate" for the Yankees pretty much implies that perhaps rumors of the team's decrease in payroll availability are actually true, even if we don't want to believe it, right? Maybe.

So now, as per The New York Post, the Yankees may be on the verge of losing out on the Yu Darvish Sweerstakes to the Toronto Blue Jays.

According to the report, Toronta laid out somewhere between $40 million to $50 million for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters superstar, and closer to $50 million. Keep in mind, this is just the posting fee. Darvish has been rumored to be seeking somewhere around $75 million on a 5-year deal in an actual contract; you do the math.

Are the Yankees really losing out here? Some scouts contend that Darvish's production on the mound has waned recently. Others just flat out argue that he doesn't quite have the "stuff" for the price tag he's seeking. My thought is that by posting money termed "moderate," the Yankees were probably never really that keen on signing Darvish in the first place. Perhaps it's true that the horrific memories of Kei Igawa, that we all still suffer, have left such a pain in the Yankees' craw, that they are just unwilling to lay out that kind of cash again for another foreign import. When you think that Igawa's total price tag was at $40 million compared to Darvish's possible $125 million, it's not that difficult to understand why the Yankees have essentially passed on this one. That kind of money for a guy that has never pitched in a major league game is too risky anyway.

But there is still hope. The Nippon team has until next Tuesday to reject or accept any deal made for Darvish. Perhaps the Yankees' offering is enough to send the hurler to the Bronx and grace us all with another bonafide superstar from Japan. Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Captain Is In Full Swing

Ha, ha, ha! I missed this one yesterday:

Jeter’s booty hauls

Autograph swag for one-night stands

By Emily Smith and Tara Palmeri of The New York Post

Not so classy, captain!

Yankees star Derek Jeter, one of New York’s most eligible hunks since his split with longtime gal pal Minka Kelly, is bedding a bevy of beauties in his Trump World Tower bachelor pad — and then coldly sending them home alone with gift baskets of autographed memorabilia.

The Yankees captain’s wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kiss-offs came to light when he mistakenly pulled the stunt twice on the same woman — forgetting she had been an earlier conquest, a pal told The Post.

“Derek has girls stay with him at his apartment in New York, and then he gets them a car to take them home the next day. Waiting in his car is a gift basket containing signed Jeter memorabilia, usually a signed baseball,” the friend dished.

“This summer, he ended up hooking up with a girl who he had hooked up with once before, but Jeter seemed to have forgotten about the first time and gave her the same identical parting gift, a gift basket with a signed Derek Jeter baseball,” the pal said.

“He basically gave her the same gift twice because he’d forgotten hooking up with her the first time!”

Jeter, who fiercely guards his privacy to protect his All-American image and multimillion-dollar marketability, split with the gorgeous actress Kelly this summer and has been playing the field ever since.

The veteran shortstop usually shies away from the limelight, preferring stay-at-home parties with a tight circle of trusted friends.

“He normally doesn’t go out with girls. He will have them come to his house. He’ll have cocktail parties. His friends invite girls they think he’ll be interested in. He’s very shy,” another friend explained.

“He’ll occasionally take girls to a restaurant. He has a couple of restaurants that he goes to that aren’t trendy,” the friend said.

“He goes to Nino’s in New York. He used to go to Mustang Grill on the Upper East Side. I know he’s been dating multiple girls. He likes a hole in the wall, or he likes a place that his friends own. He’s very cautious. He’ll only go out on off-nights,” the friend said.

Afterward, Jeter sneaks the beauties home for some heavy hitting.

“The girls go through the back-door entrance in the Trump World Tower to avoid the paparazzi,” the pal said. “He broke up with Minka in the summer and is definitely over her. He is playing the field.”

And while the parting gift may seem cold, signed Jeter memorabilia sell like hotcakes on the Internet, with an autographed baseball fetching hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Neither the Yankees nor Jeter’s reps immediately returned messages for comment.

Okay, fanatics, this isn't the nicest article we could read about our illustrious captain, but is this really news? It's been apparent for years that Jeter really enjoys being in the company of women; many women. Sure, his time with Minka Kelly made many believe that perhaps Jeter was growing up and choosing to settle down, and that would have been nice. But then again, the 3-year relationship was the longest he's ever been in, and before Kelly, Jeter kept company pretty often. Think about that.

 I guess after the split, it was just a matter of time before reports surfaced of Jeter's extracurricular activities. I have no problem with his excapades, actually. He's young, gorgeous, filthy rich and probably the most powerful man in New York City, really. He can do whatever he wants. And the alleged gift baskets are a nice touch. But that's our captain; forever the team player.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on  twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yankees Tender Contracts to Eligible Players

Today, the Yankees tendered contracts to all eligible players on their roster, including notables who were up for arbitration.

David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Russell Martin, Brett Gradner, Boone Logan and Phil Hughes, all arbitration eligible, were retained by the Yankees almost a week before next Monday's midnight deadline according to a report on No word yet on the amounts, which are most likely still being worked out.

Each of these players have been a huge part of the Yankees success in the past few years, and that is expected to continue for some time to come. There were rumors earlier this year of the Yankees considering trading Chamberlain in a package deal for a starting pitcher; that never happened as no starters were available for a trade, and Joba ended up missing most of the season following Tommy John surgery. Also, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon came up big for the Yankees in their starting rotation, so a trade really wasn't necessary. Word is that Joba has recovered from surgery expeditiously and could possibly be ready for opening day. If the surgery was a success, Joba should be back to hurling fastballs at 95 mph.

Of all the players mentioned here, I'm expecting nice raises for Robertson, Gardner and Martin. Robertson has solidified himself as the heir-apparent to Mariano Rivera, who may be retiring after this season. Gardy finally worked out his issues at the plate and came up big in key situations this season, although his batting average, RBIs and runs were slightly down from last year. Martin was a huge offensive threat in the beginning of the season and started to wind down around May, but his defense behind the plate was stellar; he ranked 6th amongst all catchers with a caught stealing average at 30%.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Meetings Recap

The 2011 Winter Meetings officially ended last Friday, and, it was a very quiet 4 days for the Yankees to say the least. The team made no really big moves during the meetings, same as last year, but without the scathing disappointment of losing out on the biggest free agent on the entire market like they did with "The Assassin" Cliff Lee. Sure, the big talk off the entire offseason thus far was that the Yankees would likely acquire former Ranger CJ Wilson, but I doubt that losing him to the Angels packs as much of a punch as losing Lee to the Phillies.

And how about those Angels? I'd say that they were the definitive winners of the free agent market signing sweepstakes this offseason, no question. They signed Albert Pujols!! Albert Pujols, fanatics, whose still considered the best player in baseball right now. Any team that got Albie would be the definitive winner no matter who else they signed.

Now of course, as a Yankee fan, I feel cause for concern; the Yankees have never had to face Pujols as often as they will beginning next year, with him playing in the National League with the Cardinal. The guy is a monster at the plate and a defensive threat at first base. But I'm actually looking forward to this because, I've been dreaming for several years now of an all-out slugfest of home runs going down between him and Alex Rodriguez, Let's be clear folks, A-Rod still has the goods to rake at the plate, and its always fun to see a match-up between the former king and his heir-apparent.

And aren't the circumstances surrounding the Pujols signing somewhat similar to that of A-Rod signing with the Yankees? The Angels were solid at first base before Kendry Morales' unfortunate celebration of a home run broke his ankle and seems to have possibly ended his career. The Angels never really recovered from the loss of Morales' defense, or his offense, but are sure to get it back with Albie on deck. And had it not been for Aaron Boone shredding his knee playing basketball during the 2003 offseason, the Yankees would have had no need to sign A-Rod in 2004. Not that any of this adds up to a hill of beans; the parallelity of their careers just struck me as the Pujols signing unfolded.

But anyhoo, the Yankees did make some "quiet" moves last week. They won the posting rights to shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Japanese Pacific League's Seibu Lions. A star in Japan, Nakajima will have a significantly reduced role with the Yankees if they can sign him, most likely as a platoon infielder and/or relief for The Captain, which begs the question of what the Yankees plan to do with Eduardo Nunez. My belief is that with the strong 2011 season Nunez posted, he's possibly on the line as a trade chip for pitching, otherwise signing Nakajima would be a waste of the $2 million the Yankees paid to post him. Also, the Yankees signed two minor league pitchers via the Rule 5 draft, but neither are likely to see much action if any for the team next year. And, a minor league deal was finalized with DeWayne Wise, the hero of the Mark Buerhle perfect game. Again, I doubt if Wise sees much action in the Bronx next year, as he's a center fielder and Curtis Granderson needs no replacement. Freddy Garcia's new 1-year, $4 million deal was and signed, sealed and delivered on Friday; Greg Golson and Colin Curtis were both released to make room on the 40-man roster for the two new minor-league pitchers.

So it's been a very mundane offseason for the Yankees, but the deadline for Yu Darvish, the  phenom pitcher from Osaka, Japan to post for bidding rights is this coming Wednesday, so things may heat up. The Yankees are the front-runners to bid for Darvish's services, although the Texas Rangers are in the mix as well. Should be fun stuff, fanatics.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper