Friday, March 16, 2012

Tidbits: Cano, A-Rod, Betances, DH and Pineda

Fanatics! It's been a while, and I'm sure many were wondering where the hell have I been for the past two weeks. Well, I was sick for a "minute," and needed to step back a bit from doing anything, literally. Then computer issues, which are always a bummer, hampered my "ability" to post. Don't know why, but Blogger, which is the web host for Bomber Boulevard, is extremely sensitive, and if there are any "bugs" on my computer, it simply will not cooperate. Other programs might slow down, but Blogger just shuts!

But anyhoo, I'm back and looking forward to getting my baseball brain back into the game. I won't go over everything that has happened with the Yankees in the two weeks that I've been away; I'll just recap some of the more interesting stories that I've been paying close attention to thus far this Spring:

"Silent Spring" for Cano - Robinson Cano is having a very slow offensive start to Spring Training thus far, and I only bring this up because he's Robinson Cano. Nothing to really worry about here; we're constantly told that ST games are just "practice" games for players to prepare for the season, although, I believe thay take it more seriously than that. I'm sure Robbie is not too thrilled with his output nonetheless: .167 AVG on 3-for-18 hitting, .200 OBP, .167 SLG and .367 OPS. Robbie also has yet to connect on a home run. Again, nothing to really worry about here, as this is reminiscent of his ST start last year. Robbie is one of those players that knows how to "turn it on" once the season begins.

A-Rod Having Another Good Spring - While his offense has slowed a bit in the past week, Alex Rodriguez is putting together another fantastic ST campaign. A .333 AVG on 6-for-18 hitting, Alex has knocked in 4 runs in 7 games and is slugging at a .611 clip. This is a very good sign of Alex's health being on the right track. I have noticed, however, that he is a bit slow on the basepaths; perhaps there is still more work to be done in regards to his left knee. It was revealed recently that he not only sought advice from Kobe Bryant on the orthokine treatment, but also from Phoenix Suns star Grant Hill. Hill recommended that Alex work with Dr. Mike Clark, a physician who believes in strengthening the entire body rather than focusing on specific areas.

More Improvements for Pineda - Michael Pineda is having an impressive ST thus far, and is continuing to make more improvements by revamping his changeup. Great idea. But Pineda's fastball numbers are what need improving, and he'll need to get some speed back on his pitch if he wants to be successful against the arsenal of slugging in the AL East. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News wrote a piece yesterday on Pineda's fb "issue," which doesn't seem to be of much concern to him or the team. But it is still worth noting that he has yet to reach the mid-high 90's this Spring; radar numbers that made him such a threat with Seattle last season.

The Non-factor Is Branyan - So much for the potential "high reward" that would have come from Russell Branyan's "low risk" minor league contract. Branyan has been sidelined with his recurring back injury this Spring, and it's safe to say at this point, he will not be making the team out of ST. It was probably a done deal for Branyan once the Raul Ibanez signing was made official, but it would have been nice to see what he still had left with his bat.

Short, But Sweet for Betances - Dellin Betances has not seen much time on the mound thus far, but has still been very good. In his 4 innings pitched, he's struck out 2 batters and has yet to have a run recorded against him. He has in that short period also allowed 3 hits and 2 walks, but overall his growth continues to look good. I'm rooting for Betances to make at least one visit to the majors this season.

 The DH Edition: Ibanez and Jones - Neither of the Yankees Dh options are making a good case for themselves this Spring. Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones are hitting to a .094 AVG, combined! I reiterate, ST is for "practice," and now is the time for players to get all the kinks out and get into a groove. Let's hope that once the season begins, these two will find their stroke and solidify the middle of the lineup.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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