Let there be news - Volume 13by Brad Johnson
March 19, 2012
The Yankees sign Andy Pettitte
The biggest transactional news of the week comes from the Big Apple. The Yankees signed maybe-Hall-of-Famer Andy Pettitte out of retirement for $2.5 million. He's on a minor-league contract, which will give him time to get up to game speed before contributing to the pinstripes.
Pettitte retired prior to the 2011. He was banged up in 2010, and many analysts wonder how many starts he can provide after a year away from the game. The Yankees have good depth in the rotation—Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia are vying for the final two spots in the rotation—which means the Yankees don't need a full complement of starts from Pettitte. He will add to their depth once up to game speed.
Some analysts have speculated that Pettitte's presence means Garcia could join Joe Blanton and John Lannan on the trade market. It seems more likely at this stage that the Yankees will hoard their depth, especially since Hughes and Garcia can't be considered reliable.
The move also looks puzzling considering the Yankees' depth of high-ceiling minor leaguers like Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. Considering how the last batch of high-ceiling pitchers worked out for the Yankees (Hughes and Joba Chamberlain), it makes sense to block the prospects until their performance demands a promotion.
Replay will not expand in 2012
Bud Selig was able to squeeze expanded playoffs into the 2012 season, but expanded replay did not make the cut. That's not surprising since Selig has never been enthusiastic about expanded replay.
The proposal to expand replay included potentially trapped outfield flies, fair-or-foul calls, and fan interference. Umpires already use replay to analyze contentious home runs.
Expanded replay is expected to be added prior to the 2013 season now, but it would not be surprising if it was further delayed. Owners, umpires, and the players' union are all required to agree with any replay changes before they can be implemented.
The Phillies have released Dontrelle Willis. He was expected to be the second lefty out of the pen after signing a $1 million deal this offseason. Willis was having a rough spring from a control perspective. Phillies prospect Jacob Diekman will likely fill the second lefty role. Diekman has a delivery that is reminiscent of Randy Johnson and has killed left-handed hitters over the past few seasons.
The Royals have signed Alcides Escobar to a four-year, $10.5 million contract with two option years that could bring the deal to $21.75 million. Escobar is an above-average defender whom the Royals hope can improve at the plate. In 1288 major league plate appearances, Escobar has hit a miserable .252/.294/.343.
The Nationals have signed Xavier Nady to a minor league deal. He will serve as depth at the Triple-A level.
The Red Sox have released Carlos Silva. Aaron Cook, Ross Ohlendorf, Vicente Padilla, Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Felix Doubront, and Andrew Miller remain in the battle for a rotation spot.
Notable Injury News
49-year-old Jamie Moyer missed a start on Friday due to leg stiffness but threw a pain-free bullpen on Saturday. Considering he will be AARP eligible in half a year, the occasional bout of stiffness is not surprising. Moyer is battling about a dozen young whippersnappers for a rotation spot.
Casey Blake has been sidelined with an injured neck for the past week. The Rockies may opt to cut bait if the injury lingers.
Tigers' prospect Jacob Turner has a sore shoulder. He was considered a contender for a rotation spot but will now almost certainly begin the season in the minors. Scouts noticed some troubling signs with Turner late in the 2011 season, so this may be a non-trivial issue.
Salvador Perez of the Royals had surgery to repair his torn meniscus. Recovery is expected to take 12 to 14 weeks.
Kendrys Morales played in two games over Friday and Saturday and reported no pain. The Angels will have some interesting obstacles getting Morales up to game speed since the roster is crammed with DH types and he has two years of rust to shake off.
Giancarlo Stanton is expected to miss another week. He's been held out for a week after being hit on the wrist but also appears to be dealing with some knee soreness.
Logan Morrison has swelling in his knee. There is no timetable on his return. He had the knee scoped back in December, and it swelled up after he DH'ed last Tuesday. His status for Opening Day is questionable.
Twins starter Scott Baker is struggling with a sore elbow and could open the season on the disabled list. Baker notes that it's not unusual for him to feel elbow pain during spring training.
David Wright has an abdominal tear rather than a rib cage strain. He might get back to game action by the end of the week.
Placido Polanco jammed his ring finger while sliding,but x-rays were negative. He is day-to-day.
Ryan Howard's time table has been updated. He is expected to return from his Achilles injury around June 1.
Offseason trade acquisition Carlos Quentin will miss four to six weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery. Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks, Chris Denorfia, and Will Venable are candidates to fill in.
Skip Schumaker suffered a substantial oblique injury on Friday. He is scheduled for an MRI on Monday but is expected to be out for awhile. Schumaker was battling Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene for time at second base.
Josh Hamilton jammed his heel last Wednesday. The injury is not considered serious, but Hamilton has been fragile in recent years, so any little injury is worrisome.
Blue Jays' prospect Brett Lawrie has a groin strain, but it is considered minor.
The Diamondbacks' Stephen Drew is expected to remain sidelined until May with a pre-existing ankle injury.
Chien-Ming Wang has a left hamstring strain that will put his Opening Day status in jeopardy. He already had to battle John Lannan for a spot, so he might find himself in a long-relief role when he returns to action.
Follow Brad on Twitter @baseballAteam. Email him at pitchin432 AT Yahoo.com
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