Tag:Derek Jeter
Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm
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Pepper: Raise a glass


By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)


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Posted on: March 5, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Getting to know the Yankees

By Matt Snyder

TEAM MVP

You could create an argument for Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano or Mariano Rivera. Die-hard fans of the Bronx Bombers might want to make the argument for their beloved Derek Jeter. You could even face the taunts of the general public and say Alex Rodriguez. But with the still-developing Phil Hughes, the ever-fickle A.J. Burnett and two -- yet to be named -- mediocre-at-best pitchers comprising the starting rotation, CC Sabathia is the most important cog on the Yankees this season. In two seasons for the Yanks, the big man has gone 40-15 with a 3.27 ERA and nearly 400 strikeouts, garnering two top-five finishes in Cy Young voting. He's eaten 467 2/3 innings during the regular season and was the workhorse en route to a 2009 World Series championship. Even if everything else goes awry with the staff, the Yankees have a reliable ace every fifth day -- assuming he stays healthy. If he doesn't, God help them.

PLAYER ORACLE - Bath Ruth to Derek Jeter (c'mon, had to be done)

Babe Ruth played with Ben Chapman on the 1930 New York Yankees

Ben Chapman played with Early Wynn on the 1941 Washington Senators

Early Wynn played with Tommy John on the 1963 Cleveland Indians

Tommy John played with Roberto Kelly on the 1988 New York Yankees

Roberto Kelly played with Derek Jeter on the 2000 New York Yankees

POP CULTURE

There is so much to choose from here. You've got "The Pride of the Yankees" to "Damn Yankees" to "The Babe" to "The Scout." And many more. Plus, the Yankees more often than not end up being the antagonistic team in baseball movies ("Major League" and "For Love of the Game" come to mind). And that's only movies. The Yankees have been a pop culture fixture for about a century. In fact, there aren't many -- if any -- teams in pro sports more represented in popular culture.

So it was a tough task to just pick one, but I have a soft spot for "The Babe Ruth Story," which was done decades before John Goodman was suiting up as the Sultan of Swat.

And, of course, there is no more single -- possibly real, but possibly not -- sports story more glorified, repeated and legendary than the "called shot" at Wrigley Field.

So here is the clip -- a cheesefest, mind you -- where the Babe throws back a head of lettuce to the Cubs' heckling dugout, calls his shot, hits a home run and saves a young boy's life. All in the span of two minutes and 45 seconds. Yes, all that. Told you it was a cheesefest.



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Posted on: February 22, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Hank Steinbrenner attempts to clarify comments

Monday, Hank Steinbrenner spouted off about revenue sharing and the embarrassment that was the Yankees' 2010 season. You know, the one where the Bronx Bombers won 95 games and advanced to the ALCS. Amidst the comments was a slam about the team getting too proud of itself and an insult about players being too busy "building mansions," which seemed to point directly at Captain Derek Jeter.

It goes without saying that Steinbrenner spent some of Tuesday clarifying the remarks . First and foremost, his shortstop. That mansion comment was merely a "euphemism" and "just a generalization."
"Sometimes, teams get a little complacent. They celebrate for too long. You see that a lot in sports nowadays. It certainly isn’t Derek. Derek has five rings. You don’t win five rings by being complacent. So it was definitely not Derek I was talking about."
He went on to "explain" his other statements, which serve only to further confuse anyone paying attention.

Steinbrenner earlier referred to the 2010 season as an embarrassment, but later noted that the Rays also failed to make the World Series -- and said sometimes in the AL East, the "best division in American sports," the teams wear each other out before the postseason. So, Hank, did the Yankees lack hunger and get complacent, or were they just a really good team that got worn out in a great division? It can't be both.

There's more lunacy in his extended commentary with the media, but the bottom line is it's become pretty impossible to take anything good ol' Hank says seriously. Just don't ignore him, lest you miss out on some entertaining banter.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: February 22, 2011 11:46 am
 

Pepper: Can Hanley take on leadership role?

Ramirez

MIAMI NEEDS A HERO WITH A FACE: The new-look Marlins are preparing for their final season known as the Florida Marlins. Their team colors and logo are expected to change upon relocation to the new stadium as well as becoming known as the Miami Marlins. The face of the Marlins in this move is Hanley Ramirez, one of the best shortstops in the game (if not the best).

But now that Dan Uggla, Cody Ross and Jorge Cantu are no longer part of the game, Ramirez will be asked to step up and provide leadership in the clubhouse which is littered with young players. Ramirez is no old fogey himself at age 27, but amid questions about his maturity in the past, can HanRam step up to the plate?

"I'm very confident that he's going to be capable of doing that," manager Edwin Rodriguez stated. "We all know what he can do on the field. I think that he's maturing. Let's put it this way: As a player, he's only 27, and we've been very patient with him. He's ready to take this team to the next level."

Ramirez, for his part, is saying all the right things. He has said he has no problems with ex-manager Fredi Gonzalez who benched him in a well-publicized spat for lack of hustle. He believes that Mike Stanton, expected to hit cleanup behind Ramirez, needs to show everyone what he's capable of. And most of all, Ramirez wants to play in the postseason, something he has yet to experience.

"I like the challenge that I've got to take the team to the playoffs," Ramirez noted. "That's my challenge this year. That's my goal. I'm going to put them on my back and go all the way until the end, hard every day."

These platitudes are all well and good, and while the hope certainly is that Ramirez takes the next step forward, actions speak louder than words. Let's see what happens before anointing Ramirez a leader. (MLB.com)

FEED ME POPCORN ANYTIME: By now, everyone has seen and heard of Alex Rodriguez being fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz on live TV at the Super Bowl. A-Rod was reportedly furious, demanding he not be shown for the remainder of the game, but on Tuesday, made some jokes about it. "No popcorn endorsements yet, but our lines are open. Who would be upset about getting fed popcorn?" (page/TB">Rays)">Tampa Tribune)

DUDE, WHERE'S MY TRUCK?: Everett Teaford has a shot to win a job with the Royals as a 26-year-old. He languished in the minors before developing a cut-fastball that suddenly vaulted him into legitimate-prospect status. Except now he'll have to try to win a job without a truck after it was stolen Sunday night while Teaford was at dinner. 

More importantly is how pitching coach Bob McClure views Teaford. "Teaford looks like Jamie Moyer did when Moyer threw a little harder, and Teaf might throw harder than Moyer ever threw."

Sounds like quite a ringing endorsement. (Kansas City Star)

AGE IS NOT LIKE A FINE WINE, AT LEAST IN BASEBALL: Joe Posnanski comes your way with sprawling thoughts on how aging athletes always believe they can turn back the clock. All it takes is a tweak here and there and don't worry, they'll be right as rain.

Except they're often not. Citing Derek Jeter as a prime example with his work on changing his swing, Poz believes at some point, age is the determining factor in a player's decline. And history supports him. (SI.com)

JETER LAUGHS OFF STEINBRENNER COMMENTS: "I'm not upset," Derek Jeter says of Hank Steinbrenner's thinly veiled shot at Jeter amid comments the Yankees were not "hungry" enough in 2010. "It doesn't bother me," he adds, laughing it off. Probably the right move, but still dumb on Steinbrenner's part. (New Jersey Star-Ledger)

WHO NEEDS PERFECT EYESIGHT?: Corey Hart had a season to remember in 2010, cranking 31 home runs in 614 plate appearances and earning a three-year contract extension. But he started the year on the verge of being released, became a bench player, fought his way into part-time play then finally, back to becoming a full-time starter with a $26.5 million contract in tow. 

The right-fielder did all this despite being slightly near-sighted which some felt may have been responsible for his poor 2009 season. In spring training last year, Hart tried several solutions to alleviate the problem but had a brutal spring -- which could have led to his release -- and ditched his contacts before the start of the year. He may not have Ted Williams' 20/10 eyesight, but he's doing just fine. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

ROLLER-COASTER RIDE: Charlie Zink has bounced around the last several years after finally achieving his dream of pitching in the major leagues. Back in 2008, Zink made his Red Sox debut at age 28. The knuckleballer pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief in a 19-17 beatdown over the Rangers (that game was positively exhausting to attend in person) but gave up eight runs in the process.

 Since then, Zink has battled injuries while traversing between the Cardinals and Twins for 2010 -- but had surgery to remove a bone chip in May. This bone chip had been lingering since 2008, causing Zink to drop his arm slot and flattening his knuckeball out. Expected to return in August, Zink headed to Universal Studios while on rehab in Florida with his wife and promptly injured himself on one of the rides, feeling it on the new Harry Potter ride. So Zink can say he was injured while riding a roller-coaster. Nice.

Zink has signed a deal to pitch for Butch Hobson's Lancaster Barnstormers, an independent-ball league. Zink says his knuckleball is as good as it was in 2008 and is hoping to get back into MLB's system. (MLBlogs.com)

JUST AN ORDINARY MAN: Ichiro Suzuki conducted a wide-ranging interview in Japan, talking mostly baseball but touching on other aspects such as love. (When you propose, do it in midday as that is when most people are rational. Nighttime gives way to romantic darkness and "other persuasions.")

Ichiro was surprisingly honest, saying that he was hoping and praying to be walked in the 10th inning of the 2009 World Baseball Classic championship game. He had never had such thinking before in his life, but he got over it as soon as the catcher readied for the pitch. As is legend in Japan, Ichiro stroked a two-run single that would prove to be the game-winning hit.

"Despite the levels of success he's attained," interviewer Shigesato Itoi explained, "he has retained the sensibilities of ordinary people far more, actually, than I would have imagined. Through this experience with him, I came to appreciate how he's actually made an effort not to embrace the ordinariness that we all have. When you achieve success like he has, that's something you only retain if you make a conscious effort to retain it." (Seattle Times)

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Derek Jeter altering swing

JeterWhen Derek Jeter gets his 3,000th hit, he will do so without his trademark stride.

Jeter, who struggled to a career-worst .270 batting average last season, began retooling his swing last September with hitting coach Kevin Long. The idea was to eliminate his stride and keep his hips and feet square, which would allow him to get around on inside pitches easier.

"It puts you into position to hit earlier," Jeter told the New York Post of the alteration. Last year my stride foot got down late and I tied myself up. I got some good pitches and hit them into the ground. This frees me up a little bit more. I just got into bad habits last year."

The Yankee captain has already seen improvement with his stance even as he struggles to get completely comfortable. Long said Jeter was hitting more balls to left and left-center field Sunday than he usually does.

Once Jeter works out the kinks in his new stance, he will turn his eyes toward 3,000 hits of which he is only 74 away. And this time, Jeter plans to soak in the adoration as he begins what could be his final contract with the Yankees, signing a four-year deal in the offseason after acrimonious negotiations.

"I always try and shy away from anything personal," Jeter said. "I couldn't wait for [passing Gehrig] to be over with. I really didn't like the focus to be on me. Now, I think it will be more like enjoying it every day."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 20, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Jeter speaks at spring training

Yankees' shortstop, Derek Jeter, spoke with the media Sunday regarding the expectations coming into this season as well as the rival Red Sox.

As an added bonus, here's Joe Girardi on the Yanks:

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 14, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
 

Camp notes: Sabathia opting out?

CC Sabathia With spring training getting into full swing today, here's a look at notes from around baseball.

* CC Sabathia has always said in the past that he was absolutely, positively not going to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract after this season. Given the chance to rule it out again Monday morning, he "did some dancing around the issue and, for the first time, opened the door that he might deploy the opt-out," according to the New York Post.

Sabathia also came in noticeably lighter, saying he lost 25 pounds in the offseason because he wants to pitch another eight to 10 years. If he stays on his current deal, which runs through 2015, he'll be looking for a new contract at 36. If he opts out, he'll be trying to cash in on a long-term deal at 31. If nothing else, he can use the opt-out as leverage to get the Yankees to extend him past 2015.

* Jayson Werth showed up to Nationals camp sporting the mega-beard he had shaved off last year. The Washington Post noted that Ian Desmond told Werth, "Your beard is strong." Werth's response: "Strong to quite strong, actually."

* Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka tells WEEI.com he feels so good he thinks he can pitch more innings than his first season in 2007. Considering he threw 204 2/3 that year, that's saying something.

* Joe Girardi told reporters Derek Jeter will still lead off.

* The Pirates start camp one man down, as pitcher Jose Ascanio is having trouble getting out of Venezuela due to visa problems. Can't he just use his Amex?

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: February 3, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 9:23 pm
 

Yankees talk Pettitte

Andy Pettitte The Yankees have released quotes from Yankees past and present regarding the impending retirement of Andy Pettitte, and while most of them read like Pettitte died instead of retiring, they're very nice. Strangely, Roger Clemens seems to have been unavailable to comment. Here's a sampling.

Derek Jeter: "It's been a pleasure to play with Andy for all these years, and the Yankees have been fortunate to have him representing the organization both on and off the field. More importantly it's been an honor to get to know him as a person, and I consider him family. I wish for nothing but happiness for him and his family, as I know how important they are to him."

Jorge Posada: "I'm really sad that Andy is going to retire. He was so much more than a teammate to me -- he was one of my closest friends. I admire everything that he has accomplished as a Yankee, but Andy was someone who always put the team first. I'm going to miss him deeply."

Andy Pettitte Tino Martinez: "Since I've been retired, I'm always asked, 'Who would you have pitch a World Series Game 7?' And I always say, 'Andy Pettitte.' When people ask why, I tell them it was because he was so prepared for every start. When the time comes for a big game, you want a guy who's going to give you seven strong innings. And that's what he did time and time again. Andy was one of my favorite teammates in my entire career."

Joe Torre: "What's really unusual about him is that a lot of times pitchers are more consumed with themselves. Andy was probably the consummate team player, especially for a pitcher. He was so concerned not only about the day he pitched but he always had his arm around a young guy in between starts. He's been a huge favorite of mine because he's such a stand up guy, and he hasn't changed from day one. He's a great teammate, and I think that's why he won so many games. The guys that play behind him understand how intense he is, and it becomes contagious."

Ron Guidry: "To me, the way he carried himself was head and shoulders above the great majority of other players. You knew he was going to represent the team with a certain type of class. If he made a mistake, he owned up to it. That's the mark of a true pro. Athletes admire other athletes who have that quality"

-- David Andriesen

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