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New York Yankees’ Early Spring Training Tidbits: Joba Is Swollen

Pitchers and catchers have officially arrived at camp to begin workouts. Position players are arriving as well.

It’s that time of year when everyone makes a big deal out of little issues. That keeps spring training fun for us fans and media.

The toughest job this season falls in the hands of new pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He has the burden of putting together a staff, particularly a starting rotation that currently consists of a slimmed down CC Sabathia, a still young Phil Hughes and an incredibly inconsistent A.J. Burnett.

Following those three are two open spots that will be open for the taking by a group of pitchers like Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, Bartolo Colon, Sergio Mitre and more.

Another pitcher that has been some what-if head scratcher is Joba Chamberlain. Sure, the Yankees had added to the Joba drama by switching him between the bullpen and rotation to many times while also putting “Joba Rules” on him.

However, Chamberlain hasn’t exactly been the model for consistency so far in his young career.

Chamberlain arrived at camp heavier than a year ago. The debate seems to be just how much heavier and why. Did he raid Sabathia’s fridge? Or is the extra weight from muscle added after he put a gym in his home?


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New York Yankees: Plenty of Opportunities As the Team Opens Spring Training

Spring Training in Tampa, Florida will be very interesting to follow this year.

The New York Yankees are coming in after a disappointing ending to 2010 and a somewhat odd offseason.

Veterans and youngsters will all have opportunities to impress the Yankees staff and earn roster spots for the upcoming 2011 season. Up and down the roster, there are holes that can need filling, jobs that can be won.

A handful of pitchers enter the Spring with hope of making the Opening Day roster. The starting rotation alone has two spots yet to be filled. Behind CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett, the Yankees will need to fill the final two rotation spots.

Youngsters Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will battle veterans Sergio Mitre, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia for those two open spots.

Of course, the Yankees will be linked to available free agents like Kevin Millwood and potential trade targets Francisco Liriano all season.

The bullpen, which could be one of the best in the league, does have some maneuvering to be done.

With newly signed Rafael Soriano handling the eighth inning ahead of closer Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Pedro Feliciano will likely handle the sixth and seventh innings.

Other pitchers like Mark Prior, Luis Ayala, Brian Anderson and Warner Madrigal will be looking to earn roster spots.


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Andy Pettitte Retires: New York Yankees’ Core 4 Becomes 3

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada are no longer the New York Yankees’ “Core Four.”  After a 16-year career, Pettitte announced his retirement today. 

In an official press conference in New York, the left-handed starter acknowledged thoughts of retiring after last season, but said he felt obligated to return after the Yankees were unable to snare free agent starter Cliff Lee.

Pettitte realized his heart was just “not where it needs to be” after starting workouts.  Instead, the veteran will stay home and spend time with his family.

Pettitte is the first of the four to call it quits. However, while Jeter and Rivera have new contracts that go beyond 2011, Posada is entering the final year of his current deal.

Early indications show that this will also be the backstop’s last year in pinstripes, regardless of whether he retires or not following the season.

The Yankees had held out hope that Pettitte would return. Now, New York has a big hole in their starting rotation as Spring Training approaches.

CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and A.J. Burnett will have the three top rotation spots. After that, the window is foggy.

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New York Yankees Are All Set: Team Signs Rivera’s Replacement, Rafael Soriano

The 8th and 9th innings are once again in good hands at Yankee Stadium. While the starting rotation may still be a question mark, the bullpen is taking shape.

New York has agreed to sign reliever Rafael Soriano to a three year deal worth $35 million. Soriano was the best relief pitcher on the market this offseason. Last year, the 31-year-old righty led the American League with 45 saves. He finished the year with a 1.73 ERA and .802 WHIP. Soriano struck out 57 batters in 62 1/3 innings as the closer for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Soriano will set-up for current Yankees closer, legend Mariano Rivera. Rivera enters this year with a new contract. With Trevor Hoffman now retired, Rivera will be chasing the All-Time record for saves. Hoffman has 601 while Rivera enters the year with 559.

New York is likely hoping Soriano has enough success with the team that he can eventually take over the closer role when Rivera does retire.

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New York Yankees Finally Get a Pitcher: Agree To Terms With Pedro Feliciano

Sure, the New York Yankees had already signed a pitcher in Mark Prior, however let’s not count that. The Prior deal is a minor league contract. After losing out on Cliff Lee, the Yankees appeared as though they would focus on improving their bullpen.

Signing Pedro Feliciano is a step in the right direction. Left-handed batters hit just .211 against the left-handed pitcher last season when Feliciano was a member of the New York Mets bullpen.

The 34 year old did not allow a home run in 139 matchups against left-handed batters. The Yankees needed a reliever that could come out of the bullpen and get a tough lefty out. With the Boston Red Sox having lefties David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in their lineup, Feliciano should be very important for New York.

Feliciano led the National League in appearances the past three seasons, all with the Mets. The durable pitcher finished the 2010 season with a 3.30 ERA in 62 2/3 innings.

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New York Yankees Winter Meetings Rumors: Lee, Jeter, Wood, Harden

Never a dull moment in the land of the New York Yankees, and this offseason is no different.

The early talk was Cliff Lee and Derek Jeter. Now that Jeter is signed, all the attention is focused on the big name lefty, Lee.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman was apparently frustrated and somewhat annoyed with the pace of the Lee negotiations.

There had been conflicting reports to whether or not the Yankees had made an offer for the free agent pitcher. It now appears they have, and many other teams have as well.

Cashman spoke with Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker last night and continues to check in with him throughout the day today. YES Network’s Jack Curry spotted Braunecker last night and asked if the Yankees had made an offer. Braunecker declined comment but did smile.

Some rumors have teams going seven years for Lee. The Yankees are not one of them, and from the sounds of it, they will not go that long.

Here are some other rumors surrounding the Yankees:

– The team would like to bring back pitcher Alfredo Aceves but only on a minor league deal.

– Platoon player Matt Diaz was a possibility for the Yankees, but that is now gone since he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Diaz could have been a nice fit, as he has a career batting average of .335 against left-handed pitchers.

– Cashman has met with representatives for relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano.

– Starter/reliever Dustin Moseley has become a free agent.

See the rest of the latest rumors surrounding the Yankees as you continue this article at Double G Sports.

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New York Mets Hot Stove Update: Beltran Trade, Maine Gone?

The New York Mets‘ quiet offseason is finally picking up. Other than all the movement in the front office, the Mets had not been heard from about any potential offseason moving and dealing. The past few days have been a different story and we have the latest rumblings from the Major League Baseball winter meetings.

– The Mets have spoken with the Boston Red Sox about possibly trading Carlos Beltran. New Mets GM Sandy Alderson is willing to pay some salary in order to send off Beltran. An interesting idea was brought out in one of the local newspapers that Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has a similar contract.

– The Mets and pitcher D.J. Carrasco have agreed to a two-year contract worth $2.5 million. Carrasco pitched 78 1/3 innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. He finished the year with a 3.68 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 0.57 HR/9 ratio. He had a 47.5 percent ground ball rate, as well.

– Catcher Ronny Paulino agreed to sign a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Mets. Paulino will provide catching depth. The deal also includes incentives and is pending a physical. In 316 plate appearances for Florida last season, Paulino batted .259. He still has eight games remaining on a suspension for PEDs last season.

– The Mets’ front office has talked with representatives for pitcher Freddy Garcia.

Chad Qualls has the interest of the Mets. The 32-year-old relief pitcher split time with the Diamondbacks and Rays last year. In 59 innings, Qualls had a 7.32 ERA and 7.5 K/9 ratio.

Sean Green, Chris Carter and John Maine were non-tendered and have become free agents, likely ending their time with the Mets.

Read more of the latest rumors surrounding the New York Mets, as this article continues on Double G Sports.

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New York Yankees Hot Stove: The Latest on Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera

Other than the back and forth bickering about Derek Jeter through media outlets, the New York Yankees had been fairly quiet this offseason. Sure, they have been talking with free agent right-hander Cliff Lee, but we all expected that.

Outside of those topics, the Yankees remained quiet, until now. The hot stove is official heating up in New York.

According to reports, Jeter and the Yankees have met once again and are finally moving closer to a deal. Jeter and his agent have lowered their asking price while the Yankees have increased their offer. The team now awaits the shortstop’s response to their latest offer. The Yankees still appear reluctant to guarantee a fourth year in the contract however.

Another Yankee legend, closer Mariano Rivera, is apparently close to re-signing with the team. All reports sound as if Rivera and the Yankees are ready to sign a two-year contract worth $30 million. Rivera is still the best closer in baseball and the has been the anchor of the Yankees bullpen for years.

While it was never a question whether Rivera would return, the Red Sox and Angels both showed interest in the veteran closer.

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Andy Pettitte Could Put Yankees in a Bind

Andy Pettitte is a free agent once again. It’s retirement or another year on the mound for the veteran lefty. The Yankees need him to play one more year.

Currently, the Yankees have three pitchers penciled into their five-man starting rotation for next season: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.

Cliff Lee is the biggest name on this year’s free agent market and the Yankees will go after him hard. After Lee, there are no other ace-type starters available. Pettitte is the next best. The Yankees would love to have Pettitte return while also landing Lee.

The reality is that Pettitte very well may call it a career. In fact, it sounds as if right now, he is leaning toward retirement.

“I’m just going to wait and see what my heart wants me to do,” Pettitte said. “Right now, I can tell you my heart’s right here in Deer Park (Texas). If something happens and I play one more year, that would be it. It would be one more year and that would be it.”

If Pettitte does not return and the Yankees are unable to convince Lee to sign with them, GM Brian Cashman may need to work some magic. According to reports, the Yankees are interested in Jorge De La Rosa. The question is, just how much will De La Rosa cost?

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MLB Rumors: Early Thoughts for Yankees and Mets As Free Agency Begins

Major League Baseball free agency officially began on Sunday. The Yankees and Mets could both be players in this year’s market. The Yankees normally are out to get the biggest names, and this year is no different. Across town, the Mets are more likely to look at filling some pieces, rather than chasing the big names.

You never know however. Anything can happen during the free agency period.

The Yankees are clearly going after Cliff Lee, but how soon will they make an offer? Will they upgrade their outfield by pursuing Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth?

Will the Mets make any big additions? New GM Sandy Alderson has the task of piecing together the roster. Is pitching the main priority?

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