The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Hey, New England!

I missed the heavy damage the depleted Yankees inflicted on Josh Beckett and the Red Sox last night, forced to follow the game via ESPN GameCast and then the radio while I finished this week's Hit List and endured my wife and her friend watching the series finale of "Everwood." By the time I made my way to a bar to escape the teen drama treacle, the Yanks were silently putting across the last of their 13 runs, and it wasn't until the postgame show where I got to see and hear about the big blows.

Speaking of which, it was most gratifying to see the two Yankee rookies I highlighted in this week's Hit List continuing to contribute; the Yanks have now won 10 of their last 13 at a time when players are dropping like flies. First, the increasingly lovable Melky Cabrera (hitting a downright useful .295/.380/.364 since being recalled) scored the game's first run on a play straight out of Little League. In the first inning, the Jason Giambi shift was on with Cabrera on first following a fielder's choice. Beckett threw a wild pitch which Sox catcher Jason Varitek hurriedly threw into right centerfield. Cabrera hauled ass for third base, and when he realized Varitek was covering the bag in the absence of any other soul on that side of the diamond, beat him home in a footrace to give the Yanks the early lead.

In the second inning, Andy Phillips blasted a three-run homer to put the Yanks ahead 4-2 and start off their seven-run frame. Phillips hit .462/.448/.731 last week and has now racked up 14 hits in the last seven games, including homers in three of the last four. In the face of the likely end of Gary Sheffield's Yankee career, his productivity enables the Yanks to keep the DH slot open for Jason Giambi while shunting Bernie Williams to rightfield, where for the short term he's at least preferable to the execrable Terrence Long.

Here's what Will Carroll had to say about Shef in yesterday's "Under the Knife":
The injury to Gary Sheffield is devastating. I dug and dug to get the information on what was actually going on with Sheffield, knowing that while the Yankees were not lying about the injury, they weren’t giving anyone the whole story. Just as I was putting the pieces together, having two of my best advisors pointing me in what was the correct direction, Sheffield’s wrist made my work moot. Sheffield’s injury was not a bruise or a fracture, but a soft tissue injury. The torn ligament and translocated tendon have only an outside chance of repairing themselves without surgical intervention, but the chance that they could -- along with the timetable of surgery -- means it makes sense to wait. If Sheffield had surgery now, he wouldn’t be back in time for the playoffs and waiting a month just pushes it a bit further into the off-season. Yes, you’ll note that if he waits that will possibly affect him next season, but that’s not really the Yankees' concern given his contract situation--or is there some handshake agreement that helped Sheffield stay patient on the chance he gets better? We don't know. Sheffield has a small chance of avoiding surgery, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Ugh. The Yanks simply won't be the same without the Bad Mofo in the #3 slot, threatening to kill Larry Bowa with every swing of the bat.

A quick note to those of you who can get the New England Sports Network. Via my Baseball Prospectus connection, I'll be on the Sports Plus pregame show for Wednesday evening's Red Sox-Yankees game (I think it airs at 5:30 and then again at 11:30, if I'm looking in the right spot on the website and you may even be able to see it through the miracle of the Internet). Rumors that I'll be reading my epic poem "1,918 reasons I Hate Curt Schilling" while scratching myself like an ape are totally unfounded; I've been asked to prepare some talking points regarding starting pitchers the Sox might trade for to prop up their shaky rotation. I've prepped my list of about a dozen, including the big names like Barry Zito, Greg Maddux and Dontrelle Willis, but I'm interested to see if you readers might toss me a name I hadn't considered, so please feel free to brainstorm in the comments section.

I'm taping the show in the early afternoon, then hauling ass back to New York because I've got a ticket to the Wednesday night game. Barring a rain delay I won't make first pitch, but I'll be in the House That Ruth Built to cap a whirlwind day. Should be exhausting, but a ton of fun!

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