Here are the notables from last night’s contest against the Red Sox:
1) Austin Jackson hit a grand slam off of Devern Hansack in the 8th inning, extending the Yankees lead to 7-1 with a shot down the left field line. He is at .333/.385/.667, and is tied for the team lead with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI this spring. Those will be his final totals, being that he was sent to minor league camp after the game, but I am now certain that we will see him before 2009 is through.
2) AJ Burnett was once again awesome, allowing 1 hit over the first 5 innings before tiring a bit in the 6th. He has always pitched well against Boston, and last night’s 1 run over 5.2 innings performance was no exception. Burnett has talked a lot this spring about his recent transition from being a thrower to becoming a pitcher, and the results have been obvious. He works efficiently, and focuses just as much on causing poor contact as he does on striking people out. If he stays healthy, the rest of the AL East better watch out.
3) Jonathan Albaladejo faced one batter, coaxing a groundout from Rocco Baldelli to get out of a bases-loaded jam. The fact that he was used situationally suggests that he still has a legitimate shot to make the roster. He has certainly pitched well enough to be in the conversation. However, more good pitching by Edwar Ramirez could mean that Albie loses out in a numbers crunch. After a poor outing in his last appearance, Edwar struck out 2 in 1.1 innings. Being the incumbent, he probably had a leg up for a bullpen role, and he has done nothing to lose his lead.
4) Derek Jeter went 1-2 with a walk in his return, and Mariano Rivera tossed anoher perfect frame while striking out 2. It is amazing that those two have been on this team since 1995. It seems like just yesterday that they were prospects, just names who could help the big club in the future. Talking about old-timers, Bernie Williams will be signing copies of his new CD, “Moving Forward” at Borders Penn Plaza (33rd St. & 7th Ave.; 212.244.1814) on Tuesday, April 14 at 6pm. You must purchase a copy of the CD at the store to have it signed. If you want to meet Bernie, this seems as good an opportunity as any.
5) Damaso Marte looked rusty once again. With Bruney and Marte having middling springs, people like Veras, Coke, and Ramirez have an opportunity to wrest the 8th inning role from their fumbling hands.
6) Brett Gardner tripled and Melky Cabrera walked. Both have been playing well for a while now, and I am pretty sure that both will make the club, with Brett starting and Melky on the bench.
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