Results tagged ‘ Mike Mussina ’

Digging in for the new year

I need to pack up the ornaments and stow the Christmas tree away for another year; space is, as always, at a premium when you live in New York City. This is a long way of saying that I know we’ve got some catching up to do, closing the book on the holidays and trying my best to stop writing 2013 on all of my checks.

Here’s what’s cooking:

Hall Calls

We’ll have new Hall of Famers to celebrate this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, but I wouldn’t expect any of them to be wearing Yankees caps in Cooperstown. Mike Mussina has a strong case and I think that he’ll eventually get in, as voters consider the fact that he won 270 games while pitching in the American League East in a performance-enhanced era of slugging. All that time, his strongest supplements seemed to be either Mountain Dew or something covered in chewy nougat.

There’s plenty of analysis of his pitching career in the link I posted, so let me just share an anecdote here. Remember when Joe Girardi tried to ban sweets from the clubhouse in 2008? No one howled louder, or more often, than the Moose. I remember him sneaking in a few Krispy Kreme doughnuts and devouring them at his Yankee Stadium locker with satisfaction, something that still makes me laugh to this day. I believe the voters will eventually come around on Mussina, but not on the first ballot.

Don Mattingly got a contract extension with the Dodgers, but isn’t expecting a call this afternoon. Roger Clemens has said, quite accurately, that everything from here on is out of his control.

Who’s on third? I don’t know.

No, really. I don’t know. If we time-warped to April right now, I suppose the Yankees would have to go with Kelly Johnson at third base, but that’s a depth chart that still looks very much incomplete. They’d like to find someone to platoon with Johnson, and Mark Reynolds would make a lot of sense for that (Michael Young, I suppose, but less so). That market seems to have been slow-moving. I don’t expect Alex Rodriguez’s suspension to be completely thrown out by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, not with the fireworks of last month, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it be knocked down from 211 games to a lower number. That announcement could come any day now.

Gardner scores a Thurman

Brett Gardner is among those who will be receiving Thurman Munson Awards on Feb. 4 in New York; former Yankees David Cone and Jim Kaat are also on the list. In this awards and dinner season, you’ll also want to consider attending the New York BBWAA dinner on Jan. 25.

Talkin’ Tanaka

In case you missed it, former Yankees pitcher Darrell Rasner spoke to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti this week about his experiences pitching with Masahiro Tanaka. The Q&A is definitely worth your time. You can expect the Tanaka sweepstakes to heat up very soon, though I suspect the bidding might go all the way down to the Jan. 24 deadline.

I never knew I needed to have an 1989 Topps Jake Taylor card, but I do.

And a friendly reminder, as I stare out the window and consider if it’s worth upgrading to a North Face jacket: Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 14.

Happy to be retired, Mussina doesn’t miss playing

Mike Mussina went out on his terms and he hasn’t looked back.

The 270-game winner sat down in the press conference room at Yankee Stadium for about 20 minutes on Thursday with reporters, brought in to make the ceremonial first toss of the season for his former team, and – even as he enters his third season of retirement – Mussina doesn’t hesitate to call it like he sees it.

Mussina was asked if, on any level, he misses the day-to-day life of playing Major League Baseball. It would have been easy for Mussina to simply answer, sure, and I think everyone would have accepted that.

But Mussina offered an answer that provides a better window into what it’s like behind the scenes as a big league player, and it was interesting to hear from that perspective, spoken so truthfully. Asked if he wishes, in any way, that he would have kept going after his 20-win season in 2008, Mussina replied:

“I’ve got to be honest – no, I don’t miss it. I know what these guys have been doing for the last couple of months in Florida, I know what they were doing for the couple of months before they went to Florida in preparation for all this. Today is the first day of a six-month-plus haul that takes you all over the country at all kinds of hours – flights, buses, hotels, rain delays, bad food, whatever you can think of.

“I know what it’s about. To not have to get up and do laundry the first day of a homestand so I can be ready for the last day when I have to pack, to not have to live out of my suitcase half of the six months, you can just slow the pace down. It’s really a welcome change after, shoot, counting going to college, 20 years of doing it the other way. Eventually you just tell yourself it’s time to do something different. I’m really enjoying doing something different.

“Everybody says this and you don’t know how it’s possible – how can you be busier when you’re retired? I’m busier than when I played. There’s so many things that have to get done in a day. I still have kids that are 12 and under, and there’s a lot to do, a lot to take care of. A lot of responsibility and a lot of coaching. It’s great. I don’t have one day where I don’t lay down when the day is over and take the deepest sigh, ‘OK, I made it through another day, let’s go get some rest and do it again tomorrow.’ It’s great.”

3/10 – Yankees vs. Reds

Mike Mussina was in the clubhouse as a visitor here today. He’s in Tampa on vacation with his family and very happily retired. He was wearing an ESPN cap and a Ford Mustang t-shirt, and told CC Sabathia to keep his locker. Too bad the Mussina window has disappeared, replaced by a large circle ‘NY’ logo.

A sweaty Andy Pettitte hugged Mussina, and Joe Girardi asked Mussina if he’d get dressed or throw out the first pitch. Mussina said no to both. Phil Coke dropped by and Moose thanked him for the outs he recorded in wins No. 19 and No. 20 last year. 

“You guys can keeping moving,” Mussina said. “I’ve got to live in this moment for a while.”

Chris Dickerson CF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Jay Bruce RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Kevin Barker 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Lance Nix LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Wes Bankston DH

Nick Masset RHP

Brett Gardner CF
Johnny Damon LF
Xavier Nady RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C
Juan Miranda 1B
Angel Berroa SS
Ramiro Pena 2B

Joba Chamberlain RHP

UPDATE 6:24 p.m.: Yes, it’s early, but the Yankees are watching Chamberlain closely in this start. Girardi said that the fifth starter’s job is Joba’s to lose, but they need to see improvement over his first two starts – especially the aborted five-batter outing against Team Canada. Chamberlain has been working on his mechanics, including one exercise where he threw a ‘dry’ bullpen with a towel.

UPDATE 6:40 p.m.: Brian Cashman said earlier that he is “not optimistic” about trading for a third baseman to fill in for A-Rod. Until further notice, Cody Ransom, it’s yours to lose.

“I’m not going to be proactive in trying to do something,” Cashman said. “If something presents itself that makes sense, which is not realistic, then maybe it will be somebody different. I think our answer is here in camp.” 

What goes up must come down…

Not much to write home about in the Yankees’ last two games — just goes to show you how important starting pitching is, with both Sidney Ponson and Mike Mussina putting the Bombers in early holes. They’re down big to the O’s at the Stadium tonight and this looks like it’ll be it for the home winning streak.

You could have predicted the big news story of the day, with Jorge Posada electing to have season-ending surgery. It was curious that Posada took BP before the game, but maybe he just wanted to get a few last strokes in on the playing field at Yankee Stadium. By the time Posada is available to play in a regular season game for the Yankees, the current facility will be history and Posada’s uniform will be hanging across 161st Street.

“After speaking with Brian (Cashman) and Joe (Girardi), we thought it was best for me —
and the team — to have the surgery now,” Posada said in a statement.
“I’ve always taken pride in being there for my team and playing every
day with them. With Xavier (Nady) here, there isn’t as much pressure on me to
return. As difficult as it is, I can focus on coming back 100 percent for next season instead of coming back at less than that now.”

Pitching matchups for the Twins series

Nick Blackburn, RHP (7-5, 3.65) @ Sidney Ponson, RHP (5-1, 3.96)

Scouting Report:
Yankees: Ponson, who signed with New York on June 18, will be making
his fourth start in a Yankees uniform this season. During his last
outing he surrendered one earned run over six innings while recording
two strikeouts against Tampa Bay. Ponson owns a 10-2 record with a 2.42
ERA in 15 career appearances against Minnesota.

Twins: A stellar first half has Blackburn being mentioned as a Rookie of the Year candidate. The sinkerballer has started to become more consistent, delivering quality starts in five of his last six outings. He’s started to eliminate his problems with the big inning and could be a factor for the Twins in the second half. He’ll make his second start against the Yankees. In the first, he left having pitched just 4 1/3 innings after he was struck in the face by a Bobby Abreu line drive.

Kevin Slowey, RHP (6-6, 4.26) @ Darrell Rasner, RHP (5-7, 4.97)

Scouting Report:
Yankees: Rasner battled through five innings en route to his fifth
victory during his last outing against the Blue Jays. The
27-year-old allowed four runs in the first inning but
settled in and managed to get through five innings on 108 pitches. He
finished his outing with six strikeouts for his first victory since
June 18. After starting the season with three straight victories,
Rasner is now 2-7 with a 6.19 ERA over his past nine outings. He is 1-1
with a 3.97 ERA in two career starts against the Twins.

Twins: An infected fingernail on Slowey’s right middle finger pushed him back in the rotation.  After a string of good starts, Slowey has found some trouble recently. He’s given up at least five earned runs in each of his last two starts. The Twins need Slowey to make quicker adjustments on the mound and keep the ball down in the zone. He’ll try when he faces the Yankees for the first time this season.

Glen Perkins, LHP (7-2, 3.84) @   Mike Mussina, RHP (12-6, 3.49)

Scouting Report:
Yankees: Mussina surpassed his win total from the entire 2007 season
when he picked up his 12th win Friday night against the A’s. He threw
six innings of one-run ball and scattered nine hits to quiet the
Oakland offense. Mussina struck out six — four looking — and did not
record a walk for the second straight game. He is now 11-3 with a 3.00
ERA in his last 16 starts.

Twins: The rookie left-hander continues to impress the Twins in a starting role. Perkins held a hot-hitting Rangers lineup scoreless for six innings, allowing three hits and walking three. He’s 3-0 in his last three starts and has not lost since May 30, going 5-0 with a 3.81 ERA over that span. That last loss came against the Yankees. Perkins gave up five earned runs on 10 hits over just four innings in that first outing at the Metrodome.

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