New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui is still recovering from left knee surgery conducted last September. Manager Joe Giradi doesn’t want to rush his healing process, and wishes for him not to take the outfield for at least three months. Until then he will perform as designated hitter, and will also be available for necessary pinch hit situations.
“The earliest we would need him in the outfield would be interleague, and that’s a ways off,” said Giradi. “That’s why we envision him as our everyday DH. We need him.” Matsui will be counted on to hit fourth in the line up, and will drop to the five spot when Alex Rodriguez comes back from right hip surgery. He has already been thrown in the DH spot for their last four spring training games. Matsui feels good about his progress so far, saying “I think the fact that my body and knee are getting used to it is a good sign.” Look for Matsui to be starting at DH opening day with CC Sabathia taking the mound for the Yankees.
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Alex Rodriguez has recently confirmed that he has a hip injury and may be out for up to 10 weeks. He was set to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but is now leaving them to see hip specialist Dr. Marc Philippon in Colorado. Fellow coaches and players say Rodriguez has been bothered by the injury throughout spring training. He had an MRI last Saturday that showed a form of a cyst in his right hip.
The Yankees wish for A-Rod to sit out the Classic and rest, but they believe he might reject their requests knowing his desire to play for his country. This injury is one of the few obstacles he has had to deal with this off-season. Earlier this year he was tested positive for steroids in 2003. A-Rod will look to relax for the next few weeks with the hopes of making it to the later rounds of the WBC.
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After Sports Illustrated released a report accusing Alex Rodriguez of testing positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, Rodriguez owned up to it in an emotional interview with Peter Gammons. “When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day” Rodriguez told Gammons. He admitted to using performance enhancing drugs from 2001 through 2003, his entire tenure with the Texas Rangers, but said he had been clean since 2004.Alex Rodriguez is under contract with the New York Yankees until 2017.
After long negotiations and huge amounts of speculation, the New York Yankees have signed Mark Teixeira to a 8 year $180 million contract. Despite rumors that the Red Sox were frontrunners, and that the Nationals offered the most money, Teixeira opted for pinstripes and a full no-trade clause. Full terms of the deal have not been announced yet.
The Yankees are still rumored to be after Manny Ramirez as well.
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The New York Post and Fox Sports have both reported that CC Sabathia will sign a 7-year $170 million contract with the New York Yankees. This would be the fourth highest contract in baseball history, and would give Sabathia an annual average salary slightly less than Mets ace Johan Santana. The Yankees, badly in need of experienced starting pitching, may still be pursuing AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe.
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Everyone knew the New York Yankees would have money to spend this off-season with Giambi and Pavano coming off the books. We all knew that meant a run at C.C. Sabathia. The Yankees apparently offered Sabathia 6 years at $140 Million on Thursday in the first formal offer after the Brewers offered 5 years at $100 Million to retain Sabathia. Hank Steinbrenner confirmed the offer and stated the team’s intentions to make offers to Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett as well. The Yankees are looking to sure up a rotation that certainly came up short in the 2008 season.
The Yankees’ offer to Sabathia has apparently perturbed Brewers GM Doug Melvin. Melvin can’t understand why the Yankees would offer so much more than the Brewers’ offer when no one else has even jumped in to the bidding war.
The Yankees have not heard back on whether or not C.C. Sabathia will accept their offer.
2009 New York Yankees Schedule & Tickets
The New York Yankees have made their first decisions of the Fall GM meetings. Brian Cashman announced that New York will buy out the final years of Jason Giambi’s and Carl Pavano’s contracts. “Given the circumstances and the money involved, I don’t think they were surprises to anybody,” Cashman told the AP on Tuesday. While there is an outside possibility that both could re-sign with the team, Giambi may be heading back to Oakland, and Pavano’s solid starts late in the season drew interest from many teams.
Andy Pettite is likely to remain a Yankee, although he would likely take a significant pay cut from his $16 million 2008 salary.
What will the Yankees do in October? Since 1995 the answer was simple, play baseball. However 2008 marks the first time since 1995 that the New York Yankees will not be in the playoffs. For Derek Jeter its the first time in his MLB career that he is not playing baseball in October. With the playoff streak broken you can bet the bank that the Yankees will try to reload this off-season.
The first step in preparing for next year is now done. The Yankees signed General Manager Brian Cashman to an extension through 2011. According to ESPN.com Cashman said, “I’ve got a job to finish here”. The Yankees are still a very talented team and will likely benefit from some pitching upgrades. Many speculate that the Yankees will make a play for C.C. Sabathia, the best free agent pitcher on the market for 2009. Other Pitching options could include Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett.
The New York Yankees will also benefit greatly if they can stay healthy. Injuries to Wang, Posada and Chamberlain definitely contributed to New York’s woes this season. They should expect a better year at the new Yankee Stadium in 2009. Only time will tell though.
2009 New York Yankees tickets will be available in December of 2008.
The last MLB game played at the old Yankee Stadium happened last night on 9/21/2008 against the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees will finish up their 2008 season on the road and will not make a playoff appearance this year. Sadly that means the old stadium is basically finished. The Yankees went out in style at home though, with a great pre-game ceremony featuring some great Yankees from the past including Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson. They also managed to close out the Stadium with a 7-3 win over the Orioles. At the conclusion of the game, captain Derek Jeter addressed the crowd and led the Yankees in a walk around the Stadium to honor the fans.
The soon to be famous “Lasts” at Yankee Stadium:
Last Game Played at Yankee Stadium: 9/21/08 Yankees beat Orioles 7-3.
Last Homerun at Yankee Stadium: Jose Molina 2 run homer in 4th inning on 9/21.
Last Strikeout at Yankee Stadium: Recorded by Phil Coke of the NYY against Aubrey Huff, 7th inning.
Last Out Made at Yankee Stadium: M. Rivera pitching, Brian Roberts grounded out to first base.
Last Run Scored at Yankee Stadium: Sac fly by Robinson Cano in 7th inning, B. Gardner Scores.
Other Notes: Andy Pettite recorded his 2,000th Strikout in the game. The Yankees are technically not eliminated from the playoffs with their win last night.
The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will live on after the 2008 season, however, Yankee Stadium will not. Over the next month, the ‘House that Ruth Built’ will be seeing its final stretch of games before the doors close for good, highlighted by the three game series with the Red Sox which begins tonight. Over the history of the ballpark, the Red Sox and Yankees have met 770 times in New York during the regular season with the Yankees owning an impressive 483-283 advantage with four ties mixed in over the years.
“Because of the media and the fans, there’s more energy or electricity in the ballpark, but you can’t bring in a pitcher an inning earlier. They don’t give you two wins when you beat the Yankees, so you can’t do it differently,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said ahead of the three-game series.
Heading into tonight’s matchup, the Sox hold a five game lead over the Yankees in the wild-card race but with a total of six remaining meetings between the two teams, it is far too early to count the Bronx Bombers out of the race. Last year, it appeared the Yankees streak of 12 consecutive seasons of qualifying for the playoffs was in jeopardy but they played amazing baseball over the final six weeks to squeak in with the wild card berth. If the Yanks can not win this series against Boston, their streak of 13 consecutive playoff bids will certainly be at risk once again.
“If we put on a run here, there’s no question we can make it,” Hank Steinbrenner, a Yankees’ co-chairman, said Monday night at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. “There’s no question with the number of games we have left, it’s possible.”
One Sox player who is really excited about the series is newcomer Jason Bay. The recently acquired left-fielder has never experienced a rivalry with such magnitude as he’s about to, but he’s ready for it.
“I’m looking forward to it. That’s what you play baseball for is that type of atmosphere, those type of games,” said Bay, acquired by Boston from Pittsburgh last month in the Manny Ramirez trade.
Tonight, the Yankees will send veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte (13-9, 4.17 ERA) to the mound to face the Sox veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (7-8, 3.67 ERA). The start will be Wakefield’s first since returning from the DL with stiffness in his lower back and right shoulder tenderness, causing him to miss two weeks of action.
Tomorrow’s matchup features two pitchers who have also been around the league for quite some time. The Yankees will let Sidney Ponson (7-4, 4.67 ERA) take the ball while Boston will hand it to Paul Byrd (8-11, 4.61 ERA). Ponson’s career began in 1998 while Byrd first pitched in the big leagues in 1995. The two have both logged over 1600 career innings pitched.
In the series finale, Mike Mussina (16-7, 3.45 ERA), will toss against Jon Lester (12-5, 3.49 ERA) in the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium between the two storied franchises. Lester is 2-0 in his young career against New York while Mussina boasts a lifetime record of 20-17 against Boston in 55 starts.
The series could make or break the last month for the Yankees but as far as the history of the stadium goes, Terry Francona just wants to focus on these three games and try to ignore the hype about everything else.
“I guess I felt more of that during the All-Star game because it was an All-Star game and you had time to maybe think about things,” he said. “When we’re playing the team, we’re just trying to beat them. That’s really what I care about. I don’t get too caught up in the other stuff.”
Tonight’s first pitch is at 7:05pm EST.