Friday, December 14, 2012

Change That: A Two-Year Deal for Ichiro

So while we were all gasping at the Josh Hamilton to the Angels deal yesterday, a new development in the Yankees-Ichiro signing was announced, and I must say that I have no problem with this. Instead of signing Ichiro to a one-year deal, the two sides are now working on a contract that will keep Ichy in the Bronx for the next two years; this, according to a report from The Associated Press believes that the deal will fall in the range of $12-$13 million.

Why do I like this move? Because Ichiro still has plenty of game left in him; anyone that doesn't believe he can produce, was obviously not paying attention to how he closed the 2012 season, or to how he played in the 2012 postseason. Yes, numbers-wise, Ichiro has been on a steady decline in the past few years in terms of runs and hits, but he maintains his average in doubles, home runs and RBIs. Yes, the hits are the biggest part of his game, but to produce 178 of them at the age of 38 is still pretty damn impressive. And to end a season of transition with a .283 average is nothing to cough at either. Also, Ichiro still has one of the most lethal outfield arms in the game. His defense has not changed much from where it's always been.

And, by the way, the 38-year old played in all 162 games last year between Seattle and New York. He continues to maintain an average of 159 games per season. That's production. For those of you begging to understand why Alex Rodriguez can no longer produce a season of at least 140 games anymore, this should be much appreciated.

We tend to frown upon what we perceive as lengthy contracts for older players. But at the end of the day, greatness is what greatness is. Sometimes you have to look at the overall picture with some players; not every player can simply be deduced to stats. There is some decline, but with Ichiro, you're still getting a productive player with solid numbers who remains a defensive threat. Not to mention his reputation for being a true teammate. Something about playing in the pinstripes tends to bring the best out players, and it's not too late for Ichiro to give us his best and make this impending deal worth while.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fan Poll: What is Your Opinion of the Kevin Youkilis Signing?

Now that Kevin Youkilis will officially be a Yankee, I thought it was time to present Bomber Boulevard's second Fan Poll. I've already heard from several fanatics on Facebook, now I'd like to get a feel for what the masses are really thinking about Youkilis wearing the pinstripes.

Please enter your opinions on the poll at the top right. Poll closes Sunday, December 16 at 11:59 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Youk a Yank

AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast
Okay, so after a glorious night out with friends, I come home to find out that the Yankees and Kevin Youkilis have indeed agreed on a one-year, $12 million deal.

The baseball part of my brain sees Youkilis as a good option to cover third base in Alex Rodriguez' absence. We all know that he's excellent at the hot corner, and while he doesn't hit much for power, he can pop one at the right moment.

The Yankee fanatic part of my brain is not too happy. In my eyes, Youkilis will always be a part of Red Sox Nation, and that boils something awful in me. Sure, there have been many other players that played for the enemy, came to the Bronx and not only did well but were beloved. But something about Youkilis screams "Red Sox for Life" and that, well, irritates me to say the least. It's going to take something phenomenal for me to let my guard down and embrace this guy. Perhaps a walk-off? Yeah, that might do it.

Welcome to the Bronx, Kevin. Let the fan mud slinging begin!

Follow Rasheed Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, December 3, 2012

A-Rod To Have Hip Surgery

AP Photo / Carlos Osorio
Well, this could explain a lot of things and offer a bit of a reprieve for Alex Rodriguez. Or, this could tick off many a Yankee fan: another reason why Alex can't give this team a full, productive season at third base. Whichever side of this you fall on fanatics, the bottom line is, Alex needs surgery...again.

Let's take into account one thing here: 2013 is an odd-numbered season, and with the exception of 2011, Alex excels under odd numbers (superstitious fan, here!). Also, last time he had hip surgery, he came back with a vengeance and pretty much single-handedly led the Yankees to its 27th World Series Championship, And, oh yeah, that was in 2009 (odd number!) I know, people, I'm reaching here. Guess we'll have to wait and see what the baseball Gods have in store for us. Here's the report from Bryan Hoch at

A-Rod needs hip surgery, may be out until June

By Bryan Hoch / | 12/03/12 1:35 PM ET


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Yankees are planning to begin the season without third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is headed for surgery on his left hip and could be sidelined until May or June.


 Rodriguez's injury was first reported on Monday by the New York Post, and it may have been a contributing factor during his difficult postseason. Rodriguez had surgery on his right hip in 2009, costing him the first month of the season. 


Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is traveling to the Winter Meetings, but the club issued a press release on Monday afternoon confirming that Rodriguez will undergo a left hip arthroscopy to repair a torn labrum, bone impingement and the correction of a cyst.


Rodriguez had a checkup during the offseason in Colorado that revealed the tear, and a second opinion with Dr. Bryan Kelly -- who will perform the surgery -- confirmed the diagnosis. The procedure is expected to require four to six months for recovery. 


The surgery will be performed at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York after Rodriguez completes a four- to six-week pre-habilitation regimen, as directed by Dr. Kelly.


According to a source, Rodriguez felt discomfort in his right hip during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers and was sent for an MRI exam, but the examination showed no new injuries. 


Dr. Marc Philippon, a Vail, Colo.-based specialist, repaired Rodriguez's right hip labrum in 2009, removing an impingement in the joint and draining a cyst. 


At the time, it was believed that Rodriguez would have a follow-up procedure after the '09 season, but Philippon was so encouraged by Rodriguez's progress as the Yankees charged to the World Series title that he said the slugger wouldn't need the second operation. 


Rodriguez, who will turn 38 in June, has $114 million remaining on a mega-deal that takes him through 2017 with the Yankees. 


Rodriguez batted .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 122 games for New York last season, but he endured a tough postseason that prompted manager Joe Girardi to repeatedly bench and pinch-hit for the three-time AL Most Valuable Player. 


The news of Rodriguez's injury presents another challenge on the left side of the infield for the Yankees, who are already hoping 38-year-old shortstop Derek Jeter will recover from left ankle surgery in time to be in the Opening Day lineup. 


 A third baseman was not thought to be on the Yankees' shopping list as the Winter Meetings started on Monday, with the club expected to seek a starting catcher and a right fielder.  


In 2009, the Yankees got through the first month of the season with journeyman Cody Ransom holding down third base, and they'll be looking for help again this year with Rodriguez potentially out for a longer period. 


Veteran Eric Chavez is a free agent and could not be counted on for everyday duty this past season. The Yankees may also consider having Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez at third base on a limited basis.  


The Yankees do not figure to have a replacement for Rodriguez that they could promote from the Minor Leagues, though they may look at infielders David Adams and Ronnie Mustelier in the spring.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, November 30, 2012

Russell Martin Signs With...Pittsburgh??

AP Photo / Kathy Willens
You read the title right, fanatics.

Yesterday, Russell Martin signed a two-year deal worth $17 million to catch for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It had been reported for a while that the Pirates were "going hard" to get Russie, but I really believed that the Yankees would never let that happen.

As a great a catcher as he's been defensively, it made sense to me, and I'm sure many of you, that he'd be back in pinstripes in 2013. Now, he'll be sporting a bee-themed uniform, catching curveballs from AJ Burnett. Unbelievable.

So it's no guess now what move the Yankees will be looking to make next week during the Winter Meetings. The hunt will be on for a catcher; if the Yankees weren't enamored enough to give Russell the contract he was looking for with his talent, I doubt that they would be willing to start Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli or Austine Romine with their limitations, although, I still believe that given a chance to improve offensively, Cervelli should be given top consideration.

But there is no telling which way Brian Cashman will go here. He's a maverick, and I'm almost inclined to believe that it was never really his intention to re-sign Martin. Keep in mind, Mike Napoli and AJ Pierzynski are still on the market. Pierzynski improved his power numbers in 2012 with 27 homers; making both catchers viable power options. Both are also seasoned vets that have experience catching big-game pitchers on contending teams.

Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mo, Yanks Seal One-Year Deal

Reuters / Ray Stubblebine
What birthday gift do you give to the man who has given you so much throughout the years? A cool 10 mil.

Today, on his 43rd birthday, Mariano Rivera and the Yankees reportedly sealed the deal on a one-year, $10 million contract that will bring Mo back as the closer for 2013. Just one day after the Yankees re-signed Andy Pettitte, Mo officially solidified the team's pitch staff.

Although his 2013 salary is less than the $15 million he was paid for the second year of his 2-year, $30 million contract for 2012, Bryan Hoch reports on  that he will be able to make up the difference with incentives.

Mo missed most of the 2012 season after tearing a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice in May. Before the incident, he somewhat hinted to the media that 2012 would be his last season. After going down with the injury, he vowed to come back in 2013, if healthy.

Last month, WFAN's Mike Francesa said on "The Mike Francesa Show" that sources claimed Mo was actually moving back toward retiring, after having spent so much time in 2012 with his family. That rumor was put to rest when Mo announced in early November that he indeed intended on coming back.

It's way too early to speculate on how effective Mo could be for the team next year. What we can be certain of is that if healthy, he will continue to throw the fastball-cutter that has eluded pretty much every player he's ever pitched against. That, fanatics, should be enough.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Andy, Yanks Make One-Year Deal

So, Andy Pettitte and the Yankees have indeed come to an agreement on a one-year deal that will pay him $12 million for 2013. Below is the report from

Pettitte's one-year deal with Yankees sealed

By Bryan Hoch / | 11/28/12 6:51 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte is confident that his experienced left arm still has plenty of strong big league innings to offer. The Yankees are going to be counting on it.

 Pettitte and the Yanks officially agreed to a one-year contract on Wednesday, as the 40-year-old left-hander quickly set aside any thoughts of retirement in favor of putting the pinstripes back on for another season.

 "It was pretty easy once I started working out, trying to decide if I felt like I had the desire to do the work that needed to be put in," Pettitte said. "It was pretty easy for me to realize that this was something I wanted to try and do again."

Pettitte's decision marks the second major move of New York's offseason, following last week's re-signing of right-handed starter Hiroki Kuroda, and gives the Yankees a pair of battle-tested arms to slot behind staff ace CC Sabathia.

  The game's active wins leader with 245 victories, Pettitte will earn a base salary of $12 million for his services, plus potential awards bonuses. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, New York designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment.

 Though Pettitte was limited to just 12 regular-season starts in 2012 due to a fractured left ankle he sustained in late June, he proved that he still could compete at the highest level, coming out of retirement to go 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 75 1/3 innings.

"I definitely think that if I would have pitched a full season and thrown 200 innings, that I definitely wouldn't feel as fresh and physically feel as good as I do right now," Pettitte said. "Obviously, I feel like that helped lead me to a quick decision."

Because his competitive juices haven't been fully exhausted, Pettitte said he also isn't ready to lock into the idea that 2013 will be his final season.

  "Whenever I shut it down again, that is going to be it," said Pettitte, who retired for the first time after the 2010 season. "It wouldn't be smart for me to just say right now that I would never play next year. I just don't think that would be smart, because I have no idea."

 Pettitte said that he didn't begin seriously preparing for the '13 season until about Nov. 16, when his oldest son, Josh -- a right-handed pitcher -- committed to attend Baylor University.

 "When I got home, it was straight nothing to do about me," Pettitte said. "It was all about trying to figure out Josh, and for the first major decision in his life, I wanted to just be there for him."

The Yankees were sure that Pettitte had something left to offer; in fact, shortly after the postseason ended, Pettitte said that general manager Brian Cashman told him, "I don't know what you're going to do, but as soon as you decide, we want to sign you back."

 "That's obviously huge for a player," said Pettitte, who also heard encouragement from Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. "For Cash to reach out to me and tell me that, you feel like this organization feels pretty good about bringing you back."

After returning from the broken ankle, Pettitte went 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in three September starts and posted a 3.29 ERA in his two postseason starts. Despite not adding to his total in October, he remains the active postseason wins leader with 19.

 "Knowing now that I have the rest of this offseason to train and get ready for a full season, I expect to be healthy," Pettitte said. "I expect to make my 34 starts or however many the Yankees want me to make. I think I can do that. If I didn't, I wouldn't try to do this again."

 The announcement frees the Yanks to begin looking at other areas of importance on their winter shopping list. New York had been focusing on pitching early in the offseason, and the team is still working toward an agreement with all-time saves leader Rivera, who will turn 43 on Thursday and is expected to agree to a one-year contract in the near future.

The Yankees also have interest in retaining catcher Russell Martin, who is said to be drawing serious interest from the Pirates, among other teams, and they could also seek to bring back outfielder Ichiro Suzuki after his strong second half.

 Pettitte expressed confidence that the Yanks will be able to field a World Series contender in 2013, which also played into his quick decision to continue pitching.

 "I think we're good enough to go all the way, I really do," Pettitte said. "I'm at the point where if I didn't feel like we had a chance to win it deep down, I wouldn't do this. I feel like we've got a certain group of guys that are still there and that know how to win and know how to get it done, and we can go do that."

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Andy Will Rejoin Yanks in 2013

Patrick McDermott / Getty Images
Woo hoo!!!

So we were all able to breathe a little easier last week when news came that Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees were able to agree on a one-year deal that would bring, arguably the best pitcher for the team in 2012, back to the rotation for 2013. With Kuroda and CC Sabathia in tow, the focus became on just how long the Yankees would have to wait before Andy Pettitte would make any decision on his return to the Bronx. Now fanatics, the wait is over.

According to, Andy will be back with the club for 2013 and a deal will be made sometime this week. According to a source, Andy's salary for next year will be in the range of $10-$12 million. His salary for 2012 was $2.5 million.

So the Yankees now seemingly have their rotation in line, with Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova in the 4 and 5 spots, respectively. Nova had a down year in 2012, going 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA, a marked difference from his 16-4 record and 3.38 ERA in 2011. Hughes had a decent year with 16-13 record and 4.23 ERA.

And it looks to be another wasted season ahead for pitcher Michael Pineda, as the Yankees are not looking for him to make any real contribution to the club next year; this according to Brian Cashman and pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Coming off of the shoulder surgery that kept him out of the rotation in 2012, he's showing no signs of progress. Matter-of-fact, when asked about his status last week after he threw a mound session, Cashman said Pineda had "zip" on his fastball. Unlike elbow surgery, shoulder surgery is a lot less predictable in terms of recovery. The Yankees can only bring Pineda back as his shoulder allows.

What's next? Mariano Rivera is also expected to agree to a one-year deal with the club "soon," according to reports.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, November 8, 2012

No Question: A-Rod Is Here to Stay

Happy Thursday fanatics!! It's been really "down" here at Bomber Boulevard this season, but I promise that things will get going as the Hot Stove heats up. The Yankees have a lot of big decisions to make this offseason, so there will be plenty of news to bring you as the coming months moves along.

So I'll start here. Most of us have already resigned ourselves to the fact that Alex Rodriguez will be back in pinstripes. But for those of you that are still holding out hope that the organization will somehow find a way to force A-Rod out of his iron-clad, no-trade clause, below is an article from Fox Sports that will hopefully quell all the doubt. No better place in my opinion to get Yankees news than straight from the horse's mouth; that mouth being of Brian Cashman. Get it through your heads A-Rod haters and lovers alike: he's not going anywhere! Enjoy.

Cashman: Yanks won't trade A-Rod

John Paul Morosi

Updated Nov 8, 2012 7:59 AM ET
For all those excitedly anticipating a winter of Alex Rodriguez trade rumors, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is here to disappoint you.
“We’re not trading Alex,” Cashman insisted Wednesday on the first day of the general managers meetings. “So, hopefully the Alex stuff has stopped.
“I’m reiterating: We’re not trading Alex Rodriguez. He’s got a full no-trade (clause). I have talked to every team in baseball. I have not offered Alex in any trade. You’ll be able to confirm that with everybody if you want.”
As Rodriguez was benched during the Yankees’ disappointing turn in the American League playoffs, speculation swirled that his hometown Miami Marlins, or perhaps the Los Angeles Angels, could make a play to acquire A-Rod during the offseason. With five years and $114 million left on Rodriguez’s contract, the Yankees would need to eat a substantial amount of money in order to trade him.
Cashman said no team even inquired about Rodriguez’s availability Wednesday as the industry gathered at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa.
“They probably read my comments that we’re not trading him,” Cashman said.
Rodriguez is coming off his worst season since establishing himself in the majors with the Seattle Mariners in 1996, hitting .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI while showing a persistent vulnerability to right-handed pitching. Yet, it appears A-Rod will retain his spot in the Yankees’ lineup. The 37-year-old may spend more time at designated hitter than third base during the coming season.
Despite the perpetual tumult surrounding him, A-Rod told reporters late in the season that he loves being a Yankee. Cashman said he spoke with Rodriguez on the phone after the Yankees’ season ended, but declined to offer specifics of their conversation. “I’m going to leave that in the past and move forward,” the GM said.
Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A-Rod Should Insist on a Trade

Reuters / Ray Stubblebine
So, in the last  hours, the drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees has gone from bad to obscene. The discussion of Alex's struggles are no longer about whether or not he will play and where in the lineup he'll be placed. The conversation has now shifted to this team's most talented player being booted out of the Bronx during the offseason. After being benched for game 4 of this ALCS series, the Yankees biggest game of the year, it has become clear to the media and Yankee fans that the message being sent to A-Rod is that he is no longer needed, nor valued on this team. Couple that with reports of trade talks between Yankees and Florida Marlins ownership for the star and well, the writing may be pretty much on the wall.

I say Alex should demand a trade and get the hell out of town.

While it would sting me tremendously to see one of my favorite players leave my favorite team, a trade to Florida makes sense for Alex. Miami is his home, and he is respected and revered there. Not just for his play on the field, but also for the countless contrinutions he's made to the Miami community. The Marlins are coming off of a failing season where a new stadium, location, name and manager did nothing to improve their standing in the National League. Nor did it improve the number of fans who came out to watch the team play. Alex would single-handedly turn all that around with his presence and the success he's had off of National League pitching.

 Also, being managed by a guy like Ozzie Guillen would be great for Alex. Ozzie is a wild-card that doesn't seem to care about what his players do off the field, as long as they perform on the field. He also does not have the pressure of a "Yankee-style" organization dictating his movements like every manager has to deal with here in New York (although I do believe that Joe Torre had more flexibility in his leadership than any manager was afforded for years prior). Guillen himself has had to battle through being a lightning rod for the media; not being particularly liked by many in baseball; making comments that perhaps were better left unsaid. He could definitely identify with Alex's struggles, and that would bode well for managing a superstar of Alex's caliber.

And let's be real fanatics, Alex was a marked man from the time he put on the pinstripes. No one in 2004 questioned him as a player, but the hatred was there for his strained relationship with Derek Jeter. Seems like no matter what is going on with Alex, Jeter gets thrown into the equation somehow. The truth from my perspective is that Alex has had to succumb to not truly being himself at any time during his tenure in New York because of the backlash of having our revered Captain at odds with him. Any implication of adverse feelings from or toward Jeter makes you a target for hatred in this town. It's not always fair, but if you're a Yankee fan of this generation, you live and die by the Captain.

But the bigger picture in all of this is that what's happening to Alex now is unfair. There, I said it. A crucial game 4 and the decision is to bench him? Again? It's as if the Yankees believe that he is just no longer viable in any capacity, period. So Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher--all of whom have now put up worse numbers than Alex has this postseason--can play for a chance to "run into something," but Alex can't? And let me reiterate from my last post that Eric Chavez has done nothing, absolutely nothing in Alex's place, yet he continues to be given an opportunity to also "run into something?" I don't believe that this is still about Alex not doing well against right-handed pitching. This is personal, and my intuition tells me that these decisions are coming directly from Brian Cashman and even higher, and Joe Girardi's hands are tied, although, I don't see him putting up much of a fight in Alex's defense. Regardless of the struggles, you have to keep putting your best players out there and Alex Rodriguez is still one of their best. He's certainly better than the guy they're replacing him with.

So it's time for Alex to go. You can't continue to fight through struggles for an organization that has already billed you as null and void. Not when you're a player of this caliber. My friend Nicholas, who is staying on top of all this drama, informed me yesterday that Kobe Bryant had a conversation with Alex, basically telling him that while it's ok to be a team player, you have to remember who you are. In other words, you can't continue to sit back and be okay with being treated like you no longer matter when you're still the most dangerous player on your team. Listening to Alex's press conference, it was clear that Kobe's words made him realize that he had to get back to being A-Rod.

"I really feel that in my heart, any time I'm in that lineup, the team is a better team, without any question," Alex told reporters yesterday. He gave a fantastic interview overall, clearly shying away from caring about any backlash his words might incite. He made it clear that he is still a dangerous hitter; still capable of turning this series around; still the guy that has done nothing but give his all and compete his entire career. He also made it clear that he's not happy with being benched and that the relationship between him and Girardi has shifted. Jorge Posada, anyone?

With Alex's contract containing a full no-trade clause, only he can detrmine his fate in New York. Only he has the power to approve any deal. At this point, I don't see him wanting to stay here; not with all that's transpired in this ALCS series. Maybe something can happen from here that will turn things around. ESPN's Buster Olney reported on this morning's "Mike and Mike" show that in batting practice this morning, Alex was "absolutely raking." Maybe Joe could change his mind and include him in today's game; give him a chance at redemption. If Alex makes some noise, it would certainly work in his favor today. But if no chance is given, and if today's game is the last game the Yankees play this year, I see no room for repair. No way that Alex will want to stay here.

But I could be wrong about all of this. I'm speculating like every member of the media and every fan following this story. I hope that I am. I hope that this can all be fixed. I hope that when we all go to bed tonight, a game 5 will be necessary. I hope that Alex gets a shot to do something big. I hope that he can reconcile his feelings and want to stay in New York. I hope that this team can pull off a miracle, and that all of the superstars play a part in that. I hope.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ ra_cooper 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Do or Die Time In Yankeeland

AP Photo / Alex Brandon
What's happening in Yankeeland right now seems both unimaginable yet, at the same time, predictable. I don't know how you fanatics felt last night, but I went into the game feeling that a loss was on the horizon. Sorry, but this is where the Yankees have left me, and other fans like me, at this point. With very little hope. And that's what's so unimaginable: that Yankees' fans have literally been left with no hope; something that we've always had. On the flip-side, the predictability of the loss comes because the offense has shown no "substantial" signs of improving from game to game.

Getty Images / Leon Halip
But will I say it is over entirely, folks? No. If any team can build momentum from having their backs pushed all the way to wall, it's the Yankees. But the only way this will happen is for the offense to do what it does. Where are the homeruns?? Where are the stolen bases?? Where are the good at-bats?? What's happened to making pitchers work and running up pitch counts??? These are the fundamentals of what make the Yankees such a deadly team, and it's all been lost somehow. Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson look absolutely dead at the plate; no good pitch recognition, allowing way too many "cookies" to pass their bats in the zone. Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano have lacked the control and patience that allows them to see as many pitches as they do, and get better opportunities for pitches they can hit. At least twice in this series, Ichiro has had an opporunity for a stolen base in a crucial situation, and has passed. And with the exception of Raul Ibanez, no one in the entire lineup has the power stroke. And I won't even bother to question hitting with runners in scoring position, because the Yankees haven't done that all season. But on all other fronts, it's as though everything that makes this team pop has just completely disappeared in the postseason. Definitely the worst time possible.

AP Photo / Kathy Willens
And speaking of A-Rod, with the exception of a close childhood friend of mine that I've been going back-and-forth with on this, I have kept relatively quiet on Girardi's decision to bench him. So I will say this: A-Rod is playing the worst baseball of his career right now. He is a shell of the hero we saw 3 years ago. Girardi's decision to play Eric Chavez was both warranted and necessary, in the beginning. But right now, Girardi can no longer justify sitting A-Rod out. Why? Because Chavez has done absolutely nothing in A-Rod's place. Nothing. Chavy is now 0-for-14 with 6 strikeouts, and he committed a costly error last night. If Chavez' struggles are just as bad as the guy who lead you to a World Series just 3 seasons ago, you must now give that guy the chance to come in and make something happen. If Chavez were hitting, I might not like it personally, but I would be alright with him playing for A-Rod. But that's not the case. Fanatics and Yankee haters who can't stand A-Rod can think whatever they want to think about him personally. But as I've stated to many people before, the Yankees do not win a WS Championship without his bat. He proved this in 2009 and he's proving it by default now. No, it's not all about A-Rod, but it's largely about him and how he can turn any game around at any time. Let's face it, none of the superstars on this team except Mark Teixeira are doing anything. So if Girardi continues to put Cano, Grandy and Swish out there in hopes of something happening, he has to afford the same to Alex. At this point, what do the Yankees have to lose by putting him in? But, I'd be surprised if gets to play tonight. He's 1-for-12 against Tigers' Max Scherzer with 4 strikeouts. Could be that leaving him out of last night's lineup was a missed opportunity for this team. But we'll never know.

But all is not lost, fanatics. We saw some good signs in the game last night. Eduardo Nunez looked damn good defensively showcasing his diving play up the middle, and the homerun off of  Justin Verlander in the ninth inning was a sight for sore eyes.  The bullpen has been lights out this entire postseason really, and last night only allowed one run in 5 innings without the help of David Robertson or Rafael Soriano. And Brett Gardner, although hitless, took some good swings last night. I think he has to continue to play and get at-bats while either Swish or Grandy sit games out.  

AP Photo / Carlos Osorio
So tonight, CC Sabathis gets the start. Bottom line is, CC has to be CC and the offense has to dig deep and score runs. Right now, the Yankees' approach has to be that of a 12-step program: just take each remaining game (because I do believe they will win tonight) one at-bat at a time. If the Yankees can pull it together in the next two in Detroit, we'll be looking at a different series. They still have a chance, but the bats have to come alive.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, September 3, 2012

He's Back!!

Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images
On this Labor Day, while most people will be celebrating having the extra day off, Yankee fans will celebrate the return of Alex Rodriguez. After spending a stint on the disabled list since July 24 with a fractured left hand, Alex will bat cleanup for the Yankees today; a move that will hopefully add some needed offense to a sluggish lineup as of late. It will also hopefully give the team some leverage against the bevy of left-handed pitchers they will face for the next few days against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Alex was plunked by an 88 mph changeup from "King" Felix Hernandez in a 3-game series gainst the Seattle Mariners. While early reports of a "non-displaced" fracture on the hand quelled worries that Alex would be done for the season, the idea of him missing 6-8 weeks, as reported, was disappointing. Today puts him back just under a full six weeks, which is a great sign that he is fully loaded and ready to go.

After two rehab stints with the Yankees A affiliate Tampa Yankees, Alex was excused from a third game yesterday; the team allowing him to participate in a "rigorous" workout. Upon completion, he was deemed okay to return to the lineup.

As reported on, before Alex left for the DL, he was batting .333 going 13-for-39 with seven runs, two home runs and six RBIs in the 10 games prior. Hopefully he will continue where he left off, as the lineup has struggled mightily to provide runs for their starters lately when facing left-handed pitching. In today's game, the Yankees face Rays lefty James Shields.

Besides Alex's return, this is a big series for the Yankees. They lead the AL East by only two games, with the Baltimore Orioles and Rays right behind them. If they can win this series, helped by losses to Baltimore in their road trip to Toronto, the Yankees will have a nice cushion to build on and hopefully maintain as they await the close return of Andy Pettite. CC Sabathia gets the start today. Game time is 1:10 pm ET.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No Structural Damage to Tex's Wrist

Getty Images
So if you're like me, you've been holding your breathe since Mark Teixeira left last night's game with a wrist "injury." At this point, it seems as though a new injury seems to "pop up" within the Yankee roster every week now. If Tex has seriously injured his wrist, what would this mean for an already compromised team that's been making it more of a habit of losing lately than winning? Well, Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez would platoon first base for Tex. On the days that Swish is at first, Ichiro would remain in right field. When Chavez plays first, Jayson Nix and Ramiro Pena would platoon third base. And while Swish and Ichy play first and right, respectively, Andrew Jones and Raul Ibanez would continue to platoon left. Whenever Swish moves back to right and Ichy is placed in left, Ibanez and Jones could take their turns as the DH. Confusing enough for ya?

Well thankfully, we may not have to worry about Joe Girardi re-shuffling the contents of his binder to consider such moves. reported today that an MRI on Tex's hand showed no structural damage, only inflammation. So while he'll most like be out for another game or so, we shouldn't expect to see Tex placed on the DL. Good thing, because another one of our superstars being forced to watch the game from home, would have been more than I could bear. And I'm sure that Girardi is happy to not have to face the "How are you going to manage?," or "How bad is this for the team?" questions by the media once again.

On another note, the Yankees have been on a terrible run since being swept by the Oakland A's two weeks ago (although, they shouldn't feel too bad because Oakland is beating EVERYBODY!). They've lost eight of their last eleven games; the majority of which were decided by a run. Yes, the team remains atop all of baseball, but with the injuries mounting, this no time for our boys to fall backward. I'm expecting a strong start tonight from Ivan Nova, who bodes very well against the Orioles. He goes up against Chris Tillman tonight. Game time is 7:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yanks Take on Boston at Stadium Tonight

Via Alex Rodriguez Page on Facebook
My spirits have been somewhat low since Alex Rodriguez went down with his broken hand on Tuesday. Thankfully, a series against the Boston Red Sox is just what I need to set my mood back in order. The Yankees open up a 3-gamer against Beantown tonight; here is the starting lineup:

1 - Derek Jeter, SS
2 - Curtis Granderson, CF
3 - Robinson Cano, 2B
4 - Mark Teixeira, 1B
5 - Raul Ibanez, LF
6 - Andrew Jones, DH
7 - Eric Chavez, 3B
8 - Ichiro Suzuki, RF
9 - Russell Martin, C

Getty Images
Phil Hughes gets the start against right-hander Aaron Cook, who is 2-3 with a 3.50 in 6 starts. Hughes' last start against the Red Sox resulted in a loss; the Yankees' only loss against Boston this year. Look for a strong outing from him, and look for the stadium crowd to go nuts when Ichiro's name is announced.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hard Knocks Continue for A-Rod

Associated Press
So of course fanatics, my return to blogging--on what I'm hoping will be a regular basis--comes on the heels of another bad injury to a needed Yankee. Michael Pineda never made it out of Spring Training; Mariano Rivera and Brett Gardner are also gone for the year; Andy Pettitte will be out until the end of August/beginning of September. Nick Swisher has also recently gone down "DL Lane." So, as if these imjuries were not enough to "almost" push the Yankees to the brink of injury insanity, Alex Rodriguez was forced to leave last night's loss to Seattle in the eight inning. He was hit on the hand by a pitch from Felix Hernandez; an 88 mph changeup that was later determined to have caused a "non-displaced" fracture on his pinky.

What we don't know yet is how bad the fracture is. Alex will remain with the team for tonight's rubber game in Seattle, and see team physician, Dr. Ahmad tomorrow. Once the severity of the fracture has been diagnosed, we'll all find out just how long the team projects Alex could be gone. Reports speculate that it could be from 6-8 weeks, but with fractures, it could be even longer. That could mean that Alex would come back in late September as the Yankees make their push for the postseason.

What we do know is this injury comes at the worst possible time for our third baseman. Having an average first-half, Alex seemed to be hitting his stride since the All-Star break. In his lastb 10 games he hit to a .333 AVG, going 13-for-39. He also hit 2 monster home runs in that span, so perhaps his power stroke was coming back as well.

With Alex on the DL, the Yankees called up Ramiro Pena from Triple-A. You can guess that the plan for now is to platoon him at third with Eric Chavez. Chavez, whose had a good season thus far, is of course more than up for the task of playing third base. But there's still the case of his own injuries; injuries that have plagued him for some time now. Fanatics may expect Chavy to simply take over third base, but he requires much rest in order to be a back-up for Alex. A long stint of A-Rod on the disabled list, was not what Chavez or the team had in mind.

And as to be expected, fans are calling for Hernandez' head on a platter. I'd be lying if I said I didn't share those sentiments at all; watching Alex go down in that kind of pain was enough to make my blood boil. But, reality kicks in, and you realize that there was no intent by Hernandez. Alex was just the third of the Yankee players on Hernandez' bulls-eye, having hit Ichiro and Derek Jeter prior. We know that the best way to get these guys out are to pitch them inside, and Hernandez had poor control trying to do just that. But I'd also be lying if I said that perhaps having a guy like, I don't know, maybe Jesus Montero get up close and personal with a 90+ mph fast ball wouldn't seem fair. I know, it's not what the Yankees do, and I'm proud of them for that. Best way to settle this score is for the team to go out this afternoon and give Seattle a serious beating on the field.

As for Alex, this is a terrible blow. Seemed like he would have the number of games played he wanted this season, and maybe he still can, but there's no way to know right now. The best we can hope for is to see him back and in good health for the playoffs. The Yankees have been able to weather the injuury storm thus far, and I'm sure that Joe Girardi will piece together a plan that works in the meantime.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, May 14, 2012

Andy Still Good In Return

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Andy Pettitte made his return to baseball yesterday and although the results don't say so, he had a damn good outing. In their finale against the Seattle Mariners, the Yankees would lose 6-2; four of the six runs Andy was responsible for, as he gave up two 2-run home runs.  But the two shots were really the only black marks on his outing. Overall, I think it's safe to say that Andy is back!

On a day where there was much speculation that perhaps Andy might begin the game so hyped over his return he might over-pitch, he was actually his same old self--throwing his cutter and curveballs in the mid to upper 80's and inducing ground balls. He managed to get through the first three innings without giving up a hit  and wasn't hurt by the walks to Ichiro in the first and Alex Liddi in the second. But in the fourth the walk to Jesus Montero set up a the first two-run shot by Justin Smoak, and Andy faltered a bit from there. In the next 2 1/3 innings, he would give up six more hits, one being the second two-run homer by Casper Wells.

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So again, the two homers were really the only mistakes Andy made in his return. he worked economical innings and threw 94 pitches into the seventh. Not bad for the 39-year old who returned after an entire year away from the game. Andy is most likely replacing David Phelps in the lineup, as Phil Hughes pitched to his best outing on Saturday in the Yankees 6-2 win. In my opinion, Phelps was a long-shot to beat Hughes for a roster spot, but it was nice to see this kid get his shot in the majors after staying atop the Yankees prospect list for the past few years. Any kinks in the rotation's armor during the season, and we could see him return.

Quite disappointing yesterday was the offense. The Yankees only two runs were both made on bases loaded walks, which was all they could muster because they could not hit Seattle's Kevin Millwood, who pretty much threw fastballs and sliders around 90 mph his entire outing. In the 5th with bases loaded, Derek Jeter hit into a double-play; in the eighth with bases loaded, Mark Teixeira swung and missed for the final out. Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano failed to hit again, but Eric Chavez went 2-4 as the DH, and has had a hot bat since returning from "concussion-like symptoms" on May 11.

Next up, the Yankees take on the Orioles at Camden Yards. Hopefully the offense will get itself back in order. Ivan Nova gets the start against Jason Hammel.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, May 4, 2012

Is This A Joke???

The Associated Press
Before last night's Yankee game against the Royals, Mariano Rivera, shagging flyballs in the outfield, appeared to have tripped on the warning track and hurt his knee. While the sight of seeing Mo buckle to the ground wincing in pain--and Alex Rodriguez scream, "Oh my God, oh my God"--was scary and unsettling at first, the "unofficial" reports that he sprained his knee, didn't seem so bad. If you're like me, you were thinking, "Okay, he'll be out for a bit. No problem."

But reports from every news outlet this morning, are far worse. Apparently, Mo has a torn ACL and meniscus in the injured knee; two problems which mean he's probably out for the season.

It's a cruel world, folks. Freak accidents happen all the time, especially in sports, where the rigor of games and workouts make the possiblity of accidents much more likely. The problem here is, this accident happened to Mariano Rivera.

Is this some sort of sick joke? How could this be the thing to end the career of not only the greatest closer of all time, but one of the greatest Yankees of all time? Again, if you're like me, you had to have the mistaken belief that Mo would walk away from the game on his own terms. If age didn't stop him, what would? An injury? Never. In no time during his career has Mo ever suffered any injury that has caused him to take significant time away from the game. No way would the baseball Gods allow him to injure himself like this during what has already been speculated at being his last year playing baseball. It would be the equivalent of being tackled for the win in a football game at the one yard line.

But this has happened. Mo has suffered the worst injury of his career, at the most inopertune time. And now he, the Yankee fans who love him and the baseball world as a whole, are faced with the fact that April 30 may have been the last time he would ever closed a baseball game.

Now for those of you questioning what he was doing shagging flyballs in the first place, stop!! This is something that he has been doing for pretty much his entire career and without incident. It was part of his routine--and we know how having a routine plays with athletes, particularly baseball players. This was also what he did to exercise before games, and as good and healthy as he's been, no one should argue that this would have eventually been to his detriment.

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So while the question remains who will be his replacement, I think the bigger question is, what will baseball do without him? He is probably the most revered player in Major League Baseball, definitely the most respected. Not just for his accomplishments--all-time saves record with 608; most seasons with at least 30 saves:14; most seasons with a sub 2.00 ERA: 11; lowest post-season career ERA: 0.70; most career post-season saves: 42; lowest ERA in Divison Series history: 0.32--but also for the class of which he has always possessed. With all his success, he could have been the most arrogant, self-serving and narcissistic player ever. But that's not Mo. He is humble, appreciative and extremely aware of all his blessings. How many times have we heard him thank God for all his achievements? For the success and hard work of his teammates? For being able to play the game of baseball? For his fans? That's who Mo is and that's why this is so unfair.

But getting down to the business of closing, who should replace Mo? The question may not be as simple to answer as you may think. My personal choice, without a second thought, would be David Robertson. To date this season, he's pitched to a 0.00 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 11 innings, making this the best start of his career thus far. This continues his All-Star season from last year, where he posted a 1.08 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 66.2 innings, the best in the majors. He's certainly in the right position to take over closing duties for Mo. But what about Rafael Soriano?

Yes, Soriano has been "okay" as a Yankee so far. But he was "lights out" as a closer in Tampa Bay, which is why the Yankees acquired him in the first place. In 2010 with the Rays, he saved 45 of 48 games (which was the best for all closers that year), had a 1.73 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP and had only allowed 12 runs the entire season. Those are excellent numbers, fanatics. So if Soriano is given the opportunity to close, and shines again, maybe his less-than-stellar showing with the Yankees was just the mental effect of losing his duties as a closer. It would also ease some of Brian Cashman's tension, as he would finally be paying Soriano "closer money" for closing games.

Either way, this is the biggest disappointment that the Yankee organization and its fans have had to deal with in a very long time. Is it just me, or is this worse than losing a World Series? Maybe it feels that way because, we've been through our team losing the Series before but we've never dealt with losing Mo. And if the Yankees were to win it all this year, without Mo, wouldn't the win feel bittersweet? If we're honest with ourselves, we know that he's been the main force behind all of the last five WS wins; how would another one feel with him watching from home, unable to have had any part of it due to some freak injury? Not too gravy.

The Associated Press
I have to believe in my gut that at some point, Mo will be back. He would never leave the game or his fans this way. Maybe this will work in our favor; if he does sit out the remainder of the season, it might make him want to come back next year. It would certainly give him something to prove: that, at his age, he could come back from a season-ending injury and remain a force on the mound. It would also allow him to walk away from the game with a proper good-bye.

So, until everything is decided, I will be praying for Mo to make a speedy recovery. We get caught up in what he means to us as baseball fans, but a knee injury can be life-altering for anyone, and it's more important that he gets well for himself. He should be able to enjoy life in good physical health, even if it's away from the game. I'll also pray for all the Yankee fans out there; this is big, and I hope that you all keep cool and stay positive until the final word on this has been said.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Yankees Win; I Lose

The Associated Press
Good afternoon fanatics! I'm sure that you are all feeling pretty good today, going back to work and bragging to anyone who will listen about how the Yankees just completely embarrassed the Red Sox this weekend. I'm sure that you are all gloating over what must have been every Red Sox fan's worst nightmare. Well, good for you; I wish that I could join in on the bragging and gloating, but I'm still too upset about the fact that I missed Saturday's game.

Yes, I was not at home when Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira went on an absolute tear in late innings to bring the Yankees back from being down 7-0, to winning 15-9. On Saturday, I took a trip with family and friends to Atlantic City. So I, completely forgetting that the game would be broadcast on FOX, did not employ the use of my DVR; I thought I could watch the encore on the YES Network. Bummer.

And to be completely honest, I wasn't going to watch the encore, as I caught a short part of the early innings via a sports bar in the Bally's Wild, Wild West Casino. At that time, the Yankees were down 6-0, and I was convinced that they had given that one away. You can imagine my shock when, on the bus coming back home, my cousin Hector--an even bigger Yankee fan than I am--screamed from his seat behind me, "Oh s*** Rasheeda, the Yankees came back and won that game. They beat Boston 15-9!" He was catching updates from the game on his cell phone.

So, I'm not going to go over what happened, or give you guys stats. I could easily go to and get all that info, but I don't feel like doing that. Sorry, but I'm selfish that way. I'm mad as hell at myself for not paying better attention to the programming schedule. This could end up being the biggest game for the Yankees this year; a turning point that inspires a lot of winning, and the best I could get out of it were a couple of highlights on ESPN. I promise you fanatics, this will never happen again.

The Associated Press
But I would like to say a few words about Swish and Tex. Both of these guys are stepping up big time and, while it's exciting for us Yankee fans, it's also somewhat bittersweet. There is a huge possibility that this could be Swish's last hoorah with the Yankees. He's in a contract year, and the Yankees will make cuts in order to keep both Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson on the payroll, while keeping it to $189 million or less. ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out last night that the Yankees have some promising outfielders in their farm system and are a team that likes to bring up their young talent. So Swish could very well be on his way out at the end of the season. If the Yankees are considering letting him go, what could only help his case to stay would be to have a fantastic post-season, assuming the Yankees make it in. Swish is batting .283 with 4 home runs and is leading the team with a whopping 20 RBIs.

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And it is refreshing to finally see Tex have a great April. It was slow goings for him during the first week of the season, but he's managed to turn that all around. I said in Yankees 2012 Season: Five Areas for Success that in order for this team to win the AL East, one thing that had to happen was getting more production from Tex. So far, he's batting .288 with three home runs, and is third on the team in RBIs with 11. Hopefully, he keeps this going and can find a way to extend his production into the postseason also.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Grand Finale

I know it's still very early, but in my opinion, last night's game was a must win for the Yankees. I say that because the pitching and offense have been somewhat sluggish thus far this season, and to have the Minnesota Twins, a team that the Yankees knock around like cats do mice take a four-game series, could have induced some mental doubt; something that may have affected them going into tonight's series against the Red Sox.
Granderson inset - AP photo

So, the Yankees did what they needed to do. The "Big Bats" went to work and simply out-slugged the Twins for the win. Curtis Granderson put on his own version of the "Laser Show" with three home runs last night--two solos and a two-run shot for four RBIs. He would go 5-for-5, adding in two singles. None of Minnesota's pitches were safe from Grandy. His first two homers came off of 93 and 90 mph fastballs from Anthony Swarzak. The third home run pitch was an 88 mph changeup from Jeff Gray. The singles came on an 84 mph slider and 96 mph four-seamer from Alex Burnett and Glen Perkins, respectively. Grandy now leads the team with 6 homers and 14 runs. He's second behind Derek Jeter in RBIs with 10.

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez had a good night as well. Tex went 2-for-4 with a two-run shot in the first which put the Yankees one run behind the Twins, who had already scored four runs. A-Rod hit singles in the first and second innings and Ibanez added singles in the third and seventh. Speaking of Alex, he seems to be slowly making his way out of the slump he's been in; hopefully home runs will ensue. He seemed a little less antsy at the plate last night and more focused on putting balls in play instead of trying to drive them for home runs. And Ibanez has looked excellent of late, going 7-for-16 in his last 4 games.

The Associated Press
A somewhat disappointing start for Phil Hughes, however, although the offense allowed him to get his first win of the season. He went 5.1 innings, giving up six hits and allowing 2 earned runs. As I mentioned, the Twins knocked in four runs off of him in the first inning, two of which came on an error by Eduardo Nunez. Regardless, Hughes still has not figured out how to put batters away when he's ahead in the count, as he continues to rack up his pitch count in early innings. What has looked great in all of his starts, has been the movement and placement of his changeup.

And just a little note on The Captain, Jeter went 1-for-5 last night, and has hit safely in 10 straight games. He's batting .373. Nice.

In a few, our boys head up to Fenway Park to meet the Red Sox on what is the park's 100th birthday. I could care less about all the ceremonies taking place; I just want the Yankees to put Boston into further misery, as they are 4-8 to start the season. There are reports of dissention in the ranks; Bobby Valentine is not playing nice with some of his superstars. Let's see how long this lasts. Ivan Nova gets the start against Clay Buccholz.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yankees Back On Track; Beat Twins 8-3

Associated Press
Good morning fanatics! I've been asleep at the wheel, having not posted anything on our beloved boys in blue since last Friday. It's been a busy few days for me, and while I love bringing you guys all the news you can use, I know that my fellow Yankee bloggers have given you all plenty to digest until my return. I have a feeling that there will be a post coming soon inviting all you great writers out there to apply to write here at Bomber Boulevard; I simply can't keep daily entries coming by myself. So all you aspiring Yankee bloggers, look out for it.

In just a small recap, the Yankees won their series against the Angels, taking Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Sunday. They started their series against our favorite team to beat--the Minnesota Twins--on Monday, continuing with Game 3 tonight at the stadium. Game 1 was a wash for our boys, as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau went a combined 5-of-9 to lead the Twins to a 7-3 vistory.

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But of course, the Yankees did what they always do to Minnesota: lull them into a false sense of security and give them hope that maybe they've gotten over the Yankee hump. But that's never quite the case, and it wasn't last night in Game 2 as the Yankees had a big comeback, beating Minnesota 8-3. CC Sabathia got the start and struggled in the third inning, but managed to regain his ace-like form for his first win. CC went 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts, four hits, a walk and only three runs. He mixed his fastball and slider for strikes; the FB reaching a speed of 93 mph.

Chris Stewart, who gave Russell Martin a needed day off behind the plate, also came up big for the Yankees, and backed up CC in that shaky third inning. The Twins had just taken a 3-1 lead; the team seeming to respond to the ejections of manager Ron Gardenhire and right-fielder Denard Span, both of whom argued balls and strikes with the umpire. Thankfully the offense was able to stop the Twins' momentum. Following an RBI single from Eduardo Nunez that scored Andruw Jones, Stewart hit a line-drive double to score Nunez and Curtis Granderson. Granderson had been on with a single to right.

The Yankee offense had a great night. The bottom of the lineup--Nunez, Stewart and Brett Gardner--combined for a 6-for-10 night with 5 RBIs; hitters 1thru 6--Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Jones and Granderson--went 7-for-26 with 3 RBIs. The hits total might have fared better had A-Rod not come up empty in last night's game. His stats don't say so, but he is actually hitting very well, connecting on line-drives, but he's hitting directly at the outfielders. Hopefully, he'll start hitting balls in the gap and revert those line-drives to home runs.

Associated Press
And can I just say that The Captain is once again defying the laws of age, and seems on his way to another monster offensive season. Jeter is hitting everything that is coming his way and is tied with Grandy for the club lead in homers at three. He's also leading the team in slugging with a .633 percentage, and hits with 18. As great a hitter as Jeter is, a batting title has eluded him his entire career. Could this be the year? Only time can tell, fanatics. I personally will be adding a request that it does to my prayers.

Tonight, Hiroki Kuroda gets the start against righty jason Marquis.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What A Home Opener Should Be

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A Friday afternoon in the city. Sixty-five degrees under bright, sunny skies. A capacity crowd at the stadium. A beloved member of The Core Four throwing out the first pitch. And the afternoon capped off by a 5-0 shutout of the Angels. The Yankees made my day yesterday. *Curses* to not being at the stadium!

Jorge Posada, returning to the stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, was a great moment. It was odd seeing him run out their in "civilian" clothes, though; just made it even more apparent that he would no longer be out their playing in pinstripes. I loved that he was able to throw the ball to his dad, the man whom he credits for making him such a great baseball player. And it was nice how the team stood behind him while he was on the mound. They'll never forget everything Jorge did for the team, and I'm sure yesterday will rank high on his list of great Yankee memories.

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So I guess all Alex Rodriguez needed was to get a whiff of the air in the Bronx. After a five-game slump, he came out blazing in yesterday's game, going 3-for-4 with two singles and his 630th home run. He also threw in a stolen base for good measure. Alex is now tied with Ken Griffey, Jr. for 5th place on the all-time home run list, and needs 30 more to tie Willie Mays for 4th place. I think he can get that done this year; last season was the first in 14 that he didn't reach the 30 homer mark, and regardless of how bad the season played out for him, I'm not ready to give up hope that A-Rod can still put up big power numbers.

And how about Nick Swisher? He's been coming up with big hits for the Yankees, and today, his three-run, base-clearing double in the first inning proved to be the game winner. Swish has been seeing the ball really well, and is looking good at the plate; he's not swinging at too many pitches out of the zone and is fouling off balls pitched inside. I'm expecting him to have a season comparable to 2010; this is a contract year for Swish and with his name having been bounced around in trade talk for the prior two seasons, it's a no-brainer that he'll have to show the organization why he's more valuable to them than not.

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But today's game was really about Hiroki Kuroda. He pitched 8+ innings of shutout ball, allowing just five hits and  two walks while striking out six. He showed all four of his pitches--fastball, slider, sinker and curveball--mixing speeds anywhere from 78 to 93 mph. He had great command throughout the game, and showed a steady demeanor for a pitcher making his debut at the stadium. It was nice to see him bounce back from his shaky start in Tampa Bay.

And Curtis Granderson hit his second homer of the season; a line drive over the porch in right field that barely looked like a double at the point of contact. Grandy started Opening Week slow, but has picked up the pace rather nicely in the last few games.

Today, Phil Hughes gets his second start and will face CJ Wilson. There are two things I'm hoping will happen: Wilson doesn't make the Yankees regret not signing him in the offseason, and A-Rod and Albert Pujols go toe-to-toe in a match-up of the active home run leader versus his heir apparent. Today's game starts at 1pm on FOX.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper