Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Injuries And Auditions: 4 More Days 'Til Opening Day

Good morning, Fackers. Yesterday wasn't a particularly good one for the Yankees, injury-wise. It was announced that Alan Horne, who already endured Tommy John surgery now needs surgery to repair an 80% tear in his rotator cuff. He hasn't been fully healthy since 2007 and considering that he'll be at least 28 by the time he pitches again, this looks like the official end for him as far as being a prospect is concerned.

More germane to the Big League club, word came out that Alfredo Aceves is day-to-day with a sore back, something that has been bothering him since last September. This comes on the heels of a poor outing against the Orioles during which he gave up 6 runs in 2+ IP. It's possible that the issue could keep Aceves off the Opening Day roster and make way for Boone Logan, but as of now it appears Alf will get another tune up this Spring and be ready for Sunday.

Most startlingly, Mark Teixeira was hit in the elbow by Jeremy Guthrie. He was in obvious discomfort and was removed from the game immediately after it happened. While the pitch hit Teix directly on the bone, tests revealed that the result is only a contusion and he should be back in the lineup later this week. He opts not to wear protection on his elbow because he's never felt comfortable with an elbow pad and feels like he stands far enough away from the plate, but this was one of the rare times that decision came back to bite him.

Franciso Cervelli was hit by Guthrie later on in the night but was able to stay in the game. However, that didn't keep Joe Girardi from angrily yelling at Guthrie from the dugout after the incident occurred. He explained later, "If you’re having a hard time commanding the fastball inside, I don’t think this is the time to work on it". Not in his back yard, apparently. BANANA, others might say.

Girardi will have something to take his mind of his ailing squad today, however. Switch pitcher Pat Venditte will make the trip to Big League camp and pitch against the Braves in a split squad game at 1:05 tomorrow. Eat your heart out, Tony LaRussa.

The manager said he's wanted to see the ambidextrous reliever "all spring". It's as if Girardi has looked over his entire kingdom and commanded, "Bring me this Janus-armed freak so I can see him for myself!" The manager also likened this clip of Venditte maneuvering for the platoon advantage with a switch-hitting Mets prospect to a "Laurel and Hardy thing" revealing that he is either A) significantly older than he claims, B) a huge nerd or C) both.

Venditte is considered a fringe prospect at best but has had unquestionable success at every level of the minors he's been asked to pitch in. He's currently slated to begin the season in High A-ball (where he finished 2009) but as Neyer points out, if Girardi likes what he sees, Venditte might find himself climbing through the farm system faster than he would have otherwise.

He throws over-the-top in the low 90's from the right - which is his naturally dominant side - and takes a lower arm angle from the left, topping out in the mid-to-high 80's. There are plenty of guys that have his stuff like that in one arm at a time and being able to pitch both ways doesn't mean anything if you can't get Major League hitters out, but tomorrow could be a turning point in Venditte's career. There's no guarantee that he makes it into the game, but with CC Sabathia being limited to 75 pitches and Joe Girardi's self-proclaimed interest in him, there's a good chance. (The game will be on MLB.tv). Let's hope Venditte faces a few batters, does well and Girardi likes what he sees. If all of those things happen, we might be one step closer to seeing "The Freak" in The Bronx.


  1. I would just love to see this kid pitch well. Doesn't this go against most everything about Girardi and his pitching 'matchups' though?! How do you bring this kid in to face one batter?! I'd love to hear the conversation in the dugout about whether to pull him from a game.

    I do have an interestin question though. I know batters cannot switch sides once a pitch is thrown. Can pitchers? I imagine not, but how awesome would it be to have a guy on the mound throwing pitches from each hand in the same at bat. My tiny baseball head might just pop like a balloon animal.

  2. Wish I could see Venditte pitch today. Hopefully someone posts video of it later tonight.

    I understand that no one really expects him to continue his success, but he should definitely be starting the season in AA.

  3. Joshua - They had to create the "Pat Venditte Rule" after what happened between him and the Mets prospect.


    The batter and pitcher are each allowed to switch once during the AB but the batter ultimately has the upper hand since the pitcher has to choose first. There has to be a pitch thrown before a move takes place which means that he will almost certainly be throwing pitches with different arms in the same AB if guys start moving around on him.

    Eric - Agreed. He's being held back by the scouts (who probably aren't enamored with his "stuff") and not the numbers (which state pretty clearly that he's been fucking awesome).

    I would recommend watching that E:60 segment that I linked the first time his name is mentioned in the post. Cool segment that shows him throwing from both sides and explains how his father pretty much developed his ambidexterity at a very young age.