Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

“Fettucini Alfredo” Is Not Doing It For Me

Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Photo: Reuters/John Gress

Photo: Reuters/John Gress

Let me just get that out of the way. He was good for awhile during his first stint with the Yankees and he wasn’t responsible entirely for the loss in Game 2 of today’s doubleheader against the Pirates, but there was a reason he was cut loose by the Red Sox. I don’t think we need him at this point.

As for the series this weekend, there were lots of high points. The offense in yesterday’s game was super fun; I’ve always loved homers so it was my kind of game. Phelps was so-so, but the bullpen blew me away yesterday and today, D-Rob in particular. He’s throwing strikes now – no more Houdini act – and giving us four-out saves the way Mo used to. I’m liking this newer, more mature version of him. A lot. And kudos to Warren and Betances, who formed a terrific bridge to Robertson.

As the Yanks take tomorrow off before the series at Wrigley, the big issue facing them isn’t the offense (although the Beltran thing is worrisome) or the relief pitching but the rotation. How in the world are we supposed to compete for real without CC (I hate to say it, but I honestly don’t think he’ll be back this year) and Nova? Pineda should be OK at some point and Phelps has his moments, but Nuno doesn’t inspire confidence. Get some arms, Cashman. Somehow.



Practically Flat Lining Their Way Out

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013


I was hoping Kuroda and the Yankees would pull themselves together for these last few games, just for the hell of it, but they’re going out with a whimper, apparently. Ugh. A shutout. And bad pitching on top of it.

I’m trying to decide which team I’ll root for in the playoffs, if I even bother to watch. I’ll probably throw my support to my local Dodgers, since Donnie Baseball is the manager and most of my friends here are Dodgers fans, although I think their little swimming escapade in Arizona was pretty bush. My sentimental favorite is the Pirates because, well, nobody expected them to get in. I just don’t know how far they’ll go. There’s no one in the AL I’m willing to root for.

I’m also looking ahead to A-Rod’s war with MLB, especially after today’s NYT article about the world series of legal teams going at it. No telling what the result of that will be, but the headlines are sure to be juicy.


Together Again

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

So Martin went to the Pirates after all. Now what? The Yankees don’t have a catcher. Cervelli is not an option and Romine isn’t ready and the catchers out there, including A.J. Pierzynski and Mike Napoli, are not interesting at all. Maybe when Cashman finishes rappelling he can find someone good.

At least Mo is signed, sealed and delivered.


Poor A.J.’s Eye

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I never thought I’d have to use this photo for AJ as a Pittsburgh Pirate. Sigh.

When I read about his accident yesterday, I felt sorry for him. There he was at the Pirates’ training camp, having said how happy he was to be back in the National League so he could bat again, when he bunts a ball right smack into his eye. And now comes word he’s having surgery. Another sigh.

Burnett to undergo surgery for orbital fracture
The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right orbital bone.

The right-hander injured himself on Wednesday at the team’s spring training facilities in Bradenton, Fla. after a bunt attempt caromed off his face. He flew to Pittsburgh late Wednesday to be further evaluated.

There is no immediate timetable for Burnett’s return.

Not an auspicious start for him.


So Long, A.J.

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Well, he’s a Pirate. Not officially – there’s a physical scheduled for Sunday, I believe – but A. J. won’t be in the Yankees rotation anymore. I wish we’d gotten more out of the deal than a couple of low-level prospects, but whatever.

Now that he’s gone, I’m kind of sad. Who will be the new pie guy? I’d give the job to Swisher, but it really needs to go to a pitcher. Maybe Joba?

By all accounts, the players enjoyed having A.J. has a teammate (Nova, especially), and he did pitch a few spectacular games. I also have a fond memory of his participation in HOPE Week when he stayed up all night to hang out with the kids who can’t be out in the sun/daylight. And I wouldn’t be shocked if he throws a no-hitter as a Pirate; he does have the stuff.

The pressure in the Bronx now falls on the shoulders of Phil Hughes, in my opinion. Will he finally take his spot as the Prospect-Who-Made-Good? I sure hope so.



A Premature But Nevertheless Entertaining Farewell To A.J.

Monday, February 13th, 2012

It’s very possible that a trade with the Pirates will be announced in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so Wally Matthews of ESPNNY was ready with a fond goodbye.

A six-pack to savor: The Best of A.J. Burnett
February, 13, 2012

By Wallace Matthews
In anticipation of the imminent end of the A.J. Burnett Error, humbly offers “A.J.’s Greatest Hits,” the highlights — or is it lowlights — of the three-year Yankees tenure of Allan James Burnett.

1. The Shiner

Every bit as mysterious as the Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick film of a similar title, Burnett showed up with a black eye — the right eye, by the way (as an ex-boxing writer, I tend to notice these things) — before a start at Camden Yards in September of 2010, the source of which has never been revealed. All we were told is that it was not “baseball-related,” meaning none of his teammates took a poke at him, and a call to the local police stations in Baltimore revealed no evidence of an off-field incident involving the Yankees’ right-hander. I even asked Joe Girardi if he had popped Burnett. No,” said the manager, who was not laughing.

2. I have two words for you, Joe Girardi

“What keptcha?”

No, that’s not really what Burnett said when the manager came to collect him in the second inning of a miserable outing in Minneapolis. In fact, you didn’t have to be a lip-reader to know what Burnett threw back at his manager on the way off the mound, although everyone involved denied it afterward and Girardi even had an on-air meltdown when questioned about it by the YES Network’s Jack Curry. Whatever was said, and to whom, was serious enough to warrant Girardi charging down to the clubhouse and demanding that Burnett repeat it, according to Burnett, but the two claimed to be lovey-dovey after the game.

3. Clubhouse doors, beware

After Burnett pitched a shaky but certainly not terrible second inning against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2010, he was abruptly removed from the game after facing two batters in the third. The Yankees offered no explanation for the sudden pitching change until after the game, when Girardi, rather awkwardly, said, “A.J. got a little frustrated, and, er, hurt himself.” Turns out Burnett, after allowing a two-run HR to Reid Brignac in the second, had stormed into the clubhouse and slammed his hands into the doors leading to the back area, slicing the palms of both hands on the Plexiglas frames used to display the lineup cards. Burnett then made it worse, lying to Girardi that he had tripped on the stairs and landed on his hands. The result: the frames were gone by the next time Burnett started and the lineup cards are now taped to the doors.

4. Soupy Who?

In 2009, Burnett endeared himself to Yankee Stadium fans by treating teammates who won games with walkoff hits with a cream pie in the kisser — really nothing more than a blob of shaving cream in a towel — a continuation of a routine he had started while a Toronto Blue Jay. Since the Yankees had 15 walk-off wins in the regular season and two more in the post-season, Burnett threw more pies than Soupy Sales, the old TV comedian for whom pie-throwing was a form of comic aggression. In fact, Sales died during the 2009 season, an event I informed Burnett of in front of his locker. “That sucks,” Burnett said, with real concern on his face. “Who’s he?”

5. ABJ — Anybody but Jorge

No, there was never any problem between Burnett and Jorge Posada. The two got along fine –except on days Burnett was pitching and Posada was catching. And even though both vehemently denied what was clear to anyone paying attention –that Burnett didn’t like throwing to Posada and Posada didn’t like catching him — of the 15 post-season games the Yankees played on the way to the 2009 World Championship, Posada caught 10 of them, light-hitting Jose Molina the other five. The five pitched by Burnett. And as soon as Burnett left the game, so did Molina, for Posada as a pinch-hitter. In 2010, it was a similar arrangement, with Francisco Cervelli assuming the Molina role. Last year, there was no Posada behind the plate for A.J. to kick around, and in fairness, he seemed to find a rapport with Russell Martin.

6. It wasn’t all bad. Really

There was, of course, Game 2 of the 2009 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, both a blessing and a curse for Yankees fans. The blessing was that Burnett pitched seven strong innings, striking out nine, in the Yankees 3-1 win, the victory that evened the Series after Cliff Lee had stifled the Yankees in Game 1. The curse was that this was the game Girardi kept pointing to as his reason for keeping Burnett in the rotation, even when it was approaching two years in the rear-view mirror.

As Matthews notes, it wasn’t all bad, and that was the frustrating part of A.J. Burnett. He was always capable of throwing a no-hitter and he won some big games for the Yanks. But watching him pitch was like watching a trapeze artist fly without a net; you just never knew when he’d lose it and plunge.



This Is Bizarre But Sort Of Hilarious

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

As per

PITTSBURGH — Pirates outfielder Xavier Paul has become caught in the middle of an identity hoax that had officials with the Australian Baseball League expecting Paul’s arrival at the start of their season, which began earlier this month.

Problem was, Paul had never actually agreed to go.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Paul’s participation was promised by another player, determined to be Minor League outfielder Breland Brown, who most recently played in the D-backs’ farm system. According to one source, who described the scheme as so intricate that it was “like a movie,” Brown created fake IDs and misrepresented himself to the ABL and Major League Baseball.

“It was all a hoax by this player trying to get over to the ABL,” said the source.

Posing as an agent, Brown offered the ABL a deal in which Paul would agree to play in Australia this offseason if Brown was also invited. The ABL accepted the agreement. Brown was assigned to play with the Sydney Blue Sox, while Paul was put on the Brisbane Bandits roster.

Last week, Paul was tipped off that his identity was being misused when he was alerted to Internet articles that mentioned he would be participating in the ABL. Around that time, Brisbane reached out to Paul to ask him why he had not yet arrived in Australia.

That set off an investigation by the ABL, which quickly discovered the hoax. Brown, who had not yet joined the Sydney team, was immediately taken off the Blue Sox roster. Paul has since been removed from the Brisbane roster as well.

“[We] are pleased to say that despite the initial misinformation, the fraudulent activity was identified in the regular course of events,” said Ben Foster, general manager of the ABL. “We are currently awaiting the outcome of the internal MLB investigation and have contacted all relevant parties to alert them of the situation.”

The matter has been turned over to Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations, which, according to MLB spokesman Michael Teevan, is actively looking into the situation.

“While I cannot go into detail, the Department of Investigations has been communicating with the appropriate people,” Teevan said. “We are aware of the circumstances and the chain of events involved in this matter.”

The ABL maintains that it followed all its regular protocol with regards to international player recruitment this summer. That included contacting the Pirates to get permission for Paul to play after the ABL was led to believe that Paul’s interest was legitimate.

The Pirates confirmed that they did grant that permission, unaware that Paul wasn’t really intending to play. They, too, are looking into the situation.

“We are in the process of gathering information and having the necessary conversations, but are not in a position to comment on the series of events at the present time,” said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.

“I am not sure about legal action as of yet, but we certainly will consider all of Xavier’s rights and remedies and also will consider enforcing those rights vigorously once we have all the facts,” said Joe Longo, president of Paragon Sports International, which represents Paul. “Xavier never spoke to the ABL or ever considered playing down there this winter.”

Brown, 26, played in the Independent League in 2009 before signing a Minor League deal with the Yankees in October 2010. Brown never played in the Yankees’ farm system. His only Minor League stint came with the D-backs’ rookie-level team in Missoula, Mont., last season.

After signing a Minor League contract with Arizona in July, Brown appeared in 11 games with Missoula. He was released in August.

Brown was born in Marrero, La., which is less than an hour away from Paul’s hometown of Slidell, La. It’s unknown whether the two, who were born less than three months apart, know each other. Paul was drafted out of high school, while Brown attended Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Did Brown really think he could get away with this? And couldn’t an MLB Minor Leaguer, even a former rookie-level Minor Leaguer, have been able to play somewhere this winter – without tricking anybody? I’m sure Xavier Paul wasn’t thrilled to be used in Brown’s scheme, but the whole thing is pretty funny. I didn’t even know there was an Australian Baseball League.

P.S. Congrats to Verlander on the Cy Young Award. He did deserve it. (Sorry, CC.)


Losing Game 1

Friday, June 24th, 2011

I don’t have any stats on this – I’m sure someone must – but haven’t the Yankees dropped series openers a lot this year? It certainly feels that way. It’s as if they have to get comfortable with a new team before they do any damage.

Of course I probably jinxed us with last night’s post about Giambi hitting a homer. Groan.

On second thought, it wasn’t my fault. It was AJ’s.

Photo: Andrew Theodorakis/Daily News

You can almost hear him muttering, “I coulda stayed in the game, but now I might have to punch some glass doors.”

He’s such a puzzle. On one hand, he became the first pitcher in Yankees history to strike out four batters in one inning. He also walked five batters in two innings. How can one guy have such a split personality?

He had help with tonight’s loss. Our offense was in sleep mode for the most part.

Not much to say except that there was a little good news: the Red Sox lost to the lowly Pirates. That made me smile.


At Least The Yankees Aren’t For Sale

Sunday, January 30th, 2011


I’ve decided I’m going to stop thinking about the Yankees’ questionable starting rotation. Things could be worse. Much worse. We could be the Dodgers, whose owners are suing each other, or the Mets, whose owners are being sued. A potential buyer who wants to talk to the Wilpons has already emerged, as reported in today’s  New York Times. But who knows if a guy who owns Pirate’s Booty will end up with a 25% stake in the team. Not that I have anything against Pirates Booty. They sell it at my local Trader Joe’s and it’s good stuff.


Actually, shouldn’t the owner of a snack food called Pirate’s Booty buy the Pirates instead? Just asking.

When I look back at the crazy days in Yankeeville, when Steinbrenner was committing all sorts of crookedness and the Tampa contingent didn’t get along with the New York contingent and it seemed as if the organization might implode, it amazes me how stable things have become. Sure, Cashman didn’t agree with Hal/Hank about Rafael Soriano. Big deal. There’s been an orderly transition of power since George left the scene, and we don’t have to worry about the business side of our team. That’s a comfort. Of course, I hope I didn’t just jinx us. For all I know, that Greenberg guy from the Rangers took exception to being called “delusional” by Randy Levine and now Levine is in Witness Protection.

Photo: NY Daily News