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March 16, 2004

by Larry Mahnken

On behalf of myself and the rest of the writers at THT, I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by for making our first day far better than anything we expected, as about 50 bazillion people stopped by. And I'd like to extend a special thanks to everyone who linked to us on their sites, or in a message board. We really appreciate the support.

Pressure's on...

As I was telling people yesterday, this blog ain't going nowhere, especially because a lot of my personality is...unprofessional. Over at THT, I'm speaking for everyone, over here, it's just me. For instance, I can swear here. Fuck!

And, of course, I can just talk about the Yankees here.

The Yanks have been having injury problems this spring, but none of the nature that people were expecting. Bernie Williams had appendicitis, but it's unlikely to be chronic. Gary Sheffield tore a ligament in his hand, but he didn't rupture it, and since he played with the same injury last season (as did Derek Jeter), and he put up INSANE numbers, he'll be fine (phew!). John Flaherty dislocated his thumb, but unfortunately, the Yankees aren't going to use that as an excuse to get a useful backup catcher. And Jon Lieber is out, but surprisingly, with a groin injury, nothing to do with his arm.

According to Will Carroll at Prospectus (see, if we were trying to compete with Prospectus over at THT, we'd have an injury guy), Lieber was actually ready to go last season, and should be 100% this season. Tommy John Surgery ain't what it used to be, and Brandon Claussen's quick recovery last season will probably be the standard in the future.

But Lieber's groin is keeping him out just as much as a sore arm would, and it seems likely he'll miss a regular season start. Fortunately, the schedule works out so that the Yanks probably won't need to use the fill-in for more than one start, and it won't make or break the season. Unfortunately, that's important, because they don't have any rotation depth. Jorge DePaula had a great start against Baltimore last year, but wasn't anything special in AAA, and may not have enough stuff to fool major league hitters. Octogenarian Orlando Hernandez won't be ready to go until mid-season, and Donovan Osbourne hasn't been a viable option since Derek Jeter was a rookie. I'd go with DePaula--better to take the unknown than the certain crap--but I'm inclined to think that Torre will go with the veteran, particularly considering that he was with Torre in St. Louis. Joe seems to have a bit of a blind eye for guys who were with him previously.

The Red Sox, surprisingly, are having more serious injury problems than the Yankees so far this spring. Trot Nixon's back is sore, Byung-Hyun Kim is out with a sore arm, and Johnny Damon seems to have hit puberty or something. All kidding aside, those are the kinds of injuries that could pull the team down more than what's happened with the Yankees so far.