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Vocabulary Lesson: Pavano
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
After Pavano's latest injury - he busted some ribs when his seatbelt tightened too much during a minor car crash - I decided its time we reevaluate what Pavano means to the Yankees and what "Pavano" means to us everyday wordsmiths.

Pavano

Perhaps there is a curse upon him?

Pa-va-no [Puh-VAH-no]

Noun.

  1. A chronically injured baseball player: Carl Pavano has been a pavano for most of his time with the Yankees.
  2. A money pit requiring millions of dollars and offering little return: Wow, this old fixer-upper house we bought sure is turning out to be a pavano- we've been working on it for years and it's still not habitable!
  3. An unwanted long-term commitment: I had to sign a lease for my apartment; it’s a total pavano since I can’t move for a year even though I found a cheaper, more attractive place to live.

Verb

  1. To injure oneself in a strange, unconventional manner: I pavanoed when I tripped over a pile of cotton balls, fell into a large trampoline, and catapulted onto the roof of my dog’s house; I broke my left leg, 3 ribs and my right pinky finger.
    Bird flu...T-10 days till Pavano adds this to his injury list
  2. To disappoint people; not live up to expectations: I did not want to pavano, so I showed up to work early on my first day and worked late on a special assignment.
  3. To avoid manual labor at any cost, including inflicting injuries on oneself to disqualify one from performing said labor: Jimmy was sick of his tough job as a carpenter, so he pavanoed by intentionally contracting avian flu.


Add those to your personal Websters.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, August 30, 2006   18 comments
A-Rod: You Need Help, and Jim Fannin Isn’t Cutting It
Monday, August 28, 2006
I am very concerned about A-Rod. Not his athletic ability - I still consider him to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time; he can hit for average and for power, he gets on base at a great clip, can steal bases and is above-average defensively. A couple months of strike-outs and bloopers in the field doesn’t change my opinion of his athletic prowess. I have never booed him and still wouldn’t trade him for any other player in the league.

No, I’m not worried about his baseball skills. I’m worried sick about his mental health.

Last year, A-Rod admitted that he suffers from anxiety, and subsequently enlisted the help of “life coach” Jim Fannin (author of S.C.O.R.E. For Life) to help him deal with the anxiety and focus on baseball during gametime. Fannin (left; aren't you motivated just looking at his picture?) checks in with A-Rod daily to go over the S.C.O.R.E. technique (Self-discipline, Concentration, Optimism, Relaxation, and Enjoyment) and prepare him mentally for the stresses of the game. A-Rod has given Fannin a lot of credit in interviews with papers like the New York Daily News, attributing much of his success to Fannin’s constant support and helpful mantras (“I hit with an accelerated bat head”, for one).

After watching A-Rod deteriorate this weekend, though, it became very clear to me that Mr. Fannin is just not helping. A-Rod is breaking down before our very eyes! After strikeout number 5 on Saturday I wanted to call Cashman and make sure the stadium employees did a sweep for all sharp objects A-Rod might use to harm himself. On Sunday, he looked so close to tears that if he were my child I would have whisked him out of the stadium immediately and told him he never had to go back. He is clearly trying his best, but he cannot block out the noise in his head and focus on the ball. If the Yankees want to win the World Series, it is imperative that A-Rod ditch Fannin as soon as possible in favor of alternate modes of therapy, including (but not limited to) a complete psychiatric evaluation. Mr. Fannin may be a fine “life coach”, but it is time for A-Rod to stop relying on an Appalachian businessman for his serious psychiatric needs.

A-Rod’s problems this season are clearly purely mental. He has not been severely injured or ill all year, and when he is “on” he is just as good as he ever has been. Anxiety is a treatable condition (don’t beat me, Tom Cruise), and Fannin’s cute little axioms are not going to help a man with as much anxiety and stress as A-Rod (right: “I do not hear those boo’s. I do not hear those boo’s. I do not hear those boo’s…”). In fact, I think Fannin’s “help” might even be making the situation worse by allowing A-Rod to believe he doesn’t need further professional help.

Please, A-Rod. Forget Fannin. See a doctor. Dr Phil, even, if you want to continue with the celebrity route. Your talent is undisputed, but your career is at stake if you don't get your mind under control!

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, August 28, 2006   8 comments
Groin Issues, Throat Infections and Some Good News for Matsui
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Ron Villone and Scott Proctor (right, blissfully unaware that 2 years after this picture was taken the Yankees' entire season would basically be laying on his shoulders day after exhausting day...) have undeniably been two of the most important players in the Yankees surge to success, but their pitching arms are getting a bit tired – damn near the point of literally detaching from the shoulder and flopping dead to the ground. They pitched a combined 8,349 innings in the last week alone (that’s a fact), but Torre has found a way to take some of the burden off the two of them for a few days. Groin troubles caused Moose to miss one start, and though the injury isn’t necessarily serious Torre took the opportunity to place him on the 15-day DL so that Brian Bruney could be added to the roster to help out in the bullpen for a few days. The DL trip for Moose will only cause him to miss an extra 3 days (just 1 more start), and with Jeff Karsten’s solid performance against the Mariners on Tuesday Torre can feel relatively confident that another missed start from Moose won’t damage the Yankees’ standings significantly. Bruney, a righty who has played for Arizona and more recently in AAA Columbus, has already had helped the Yankees from the bullpen a couple times. He pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Orioles earlier this month and another 1+ innings against the Red Sox last Friday. Upon hearing the news that Torre had added an arm to the bullpen, Proctor reportedly wept tears of joy at Bruney’s feet before curling up into a ball right in the bullpen and falling into a deep sleep.

In other health news, A-Rod skipped last night’s game to nurse a viral throat infection, leaving Nick Green (left, that is not Nick Green the Yankee but rather the coolest Nick Green on Google's image search) to do third-base duty. Perhaps a day or two watching of Green’s strike outs will turn some of those boos into cheers of appreciation when A-Rod comes back to the plate. Oh, wait, I forgot, A-Rod is a horrible player and nothing he does matters unless it is done with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tie game, so I guess A-Rod won’t be missed while he’s out sick. (P.S. you haters make me sick.)


Now, how about some good news from the Matsui (right, choking back tears of pain so as not to dishonor his ancestors) front? It’s been over 3 months since poor wrist break heard ‘round the world, and Matsui has finally made a big step towards a return to duty for the Yanks: hitting off a tee with both hands. It may not sound like much, but the fact that he can swing the bat without any pain is a great sign. He’s still several weeks away from hitting homers for the Yankees, but it seems likely that he’ll be in the lineup in time for the post-season run. I have no news to report on Sheffield, although the FSN announcers seemed to be under the impression that he was more likely to return before the post-season than Matsui. Who knows how credible that is or where they got that information (perhaps Sheffield has them on speed-dial? I know I do), but a return from both of them sure sounds good to me.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, August 24, 2006   9 comments
Boston Beatdown: Take THAT, Injury Gods!
Monday, August 21, 2006
10-1 odds that these 3 amigos misspelled "steroids", "Giambi", "Papi" and "Yankees" on the "Go Sawx!" poster they brought into the stadium.


The city of Boston will never let us Yanks fans forget about the 2004 ALCS debacle, but this weekend'’s 5-game non-stop domination shot the insufferable BoSox fans into quiet-mode for at least a few days. All told, the Yanks outscored the Sox 49-26 during the series and took a 6.5 game lead in the AL East while knocking Boston down to 3rd place in the AL Wild Card race.

With the way the Yankees played this weekend, I almost forgot about all of the problems that have plagued the team since the beginning of the season. Lest you forget, in addition to the loss of Matsui and Sheff, the Yankees were without Cano for over a month, and Jeter, Damon, Giambi and A-Rod have all missed at least 2 games each. All memories of those injuries flew out the window, though, as Torre'’s gang hit double after double and worked Boston'’s pitchers deep into the counts to induce sheer exhaustion in the Sox bullpen.


Until today, when Lidle (yes, I said Lidle) and Boomer participated in some strange bizarro-world pitching duel, the spotlight was shining on the Yanks' offense. Damon and Abreu in particular were on fire: Damon had 10 hits (including 2 homers on Friday!) and 8 RBIs against his former team; Abreu also had 10 hits and walked 7 times. A-Rod even had a couple undeniably clutch hits, though even the Yankees Chick is not optimistic enough to believe that this weekend's performance will do anything to assuage the assault he endures daily from the hecklers at Yankees stadium.

Fun as it is to crush the Red Sox any time, this series was especially impressive. For the first time since Matsui went down with a snapped wrist, the Yankees were playing like a World Champion team. I find it to be an excellent omen that the only other times in the Yanks' history that they were able to complete a 5-game sweep at Fenway (1927 and 1943) were years that they went on to win the World Series - - Mets fans better be sharpening their claws for a Subway Series redux.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, August 21, 2006   7 comments
Octavio Dotel is Activated; Carl Pavano Says “What does ‘Activated’ Mean?”
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
"Yeeeee-haw! My new tendon ROCKS!"

14 months after a surgeon hacked up his right arm to wrap a new tendon around his elbow (Tommy John surgery does not sound nearly as hardcore), Dotel’s pitching arm has finally healed enough to let him throw on a pinstriped jersey and join the Yankees’ active roster. Jose Veras has been sent back to AAA (he’d only been up from Columbus since the beginning of August when Bubba was DFA) to make room for Dotel, so the Yanks still have 12 pitchers available for the immediate future. Cory Lidle, who hasn't been able to get very deep in the game for the Yankees thus far, is set to start the game against the Orioles in just a few minutes, so Dotel could very well be making an appearance within hours! I’m holding out hope that he will impress me much more than did Farnsworth, whose recent improved performance is not fooling me for one second. Come October, the Yanks will be much better off with Dotel (assuming he is fully healed) than with Farnsworth and his accompanying bad attitude.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, August 16, 2006   2 comments
Yankees Look to Japan For Future Ace
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
MLB teams have been scoring big on players hijacked from Japan’s pro baseball leagues. Ichiro, Iguchi, Nomo and Matsui (the Hideki variety, sorry Kazuo) have had great success transitioning from the Japanese leagues to the MLB, and the Yankees are looking to cash in on the Japanese import scheme by locking up 25-year-old pitching phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka (left; nothing says "macho" like a powder-blue uniform) from the Seibu Lions. You may remember him from his stellar performance during the WBC last March, for which he earned the MVP title, and the Lions are now looking to ditch Matsuzaka’s salary by shipping him off to the states. The Mariners and the Yankees, both big fans of Japanese talent, are reportedly competing for the honor of bringing the pitching stud to their team for the 2007 season. Matsuzaka has already had an illustrious career, and could feasibly prove to be an ace for either team.

Matsuzaka’s career highlights:

World Baseball Classic, 2006: 3-0, 2.81 ERA, 13.0 IP, 10 SO, 3 BB, 0.85 WHIP

2005 Season: 14-13, 2.30 ERA, 215.0 IP, 226 SO

65 Career complete games

During the incredibly popular National High School Championships (much more popular than any non-pro baseball competition you will ever see in the U.S.): Matsuzaka pitched a 3-day whirlwind of amazement:

Day 1 — Pitched all 17 innings (250 pitches) in a 17-inning victory.

Day 2 — Played eight innings in the outfield with a towel wrapped around his pitching arm, then pitched the ninth inning for a save.

Day 3 — Pitched a nine-inning no-hitter.



I like my pitchers in cartoon form

This wunderkind clearly has the potential to compete with the greats. Bringing a star like this to New York would be one of the smartest moves Big Stein could make: he’s young (don’t forget, the Unit is still under contract for yet another year), hasn’t had a history of injuries (are buttocks injuries contagious? I’m looking at you, Carl Pavano), and is on his way to record-breaking ERA and strike-out numbers.

posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, August 15, 2006   4 comments
Yankees Update: Injury Reports and Roster Moves!
Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Yanks may have been shut down by the Orioles yesterday, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve won 8 of their last 10 games and subsequently took over 1st place in the AL East. With the Yanks playing the best ball they’ve played all season and some of the DL crew poised to return to the roster within the month Torre is faced with the task of making sure his pitching rotation and lineup are set to maximize the hot streak. They’ll have a day off tomorrow before embarking on a 21-games-in-20-days marathon that will include a double-header with 2nd place Boston (doesn’t that sound nice?) on the 18th, and with the way they have been playing the Yanks have the opportunity to blow the gap between them and the Bosox wide open. Here’s a quick rundown on the latest Yankees roster news:


Buh-Bye, Bubba: Matsui and Sheff may not be back yet, but after trading for Abreu the Yanks found themselves in an outfielder-overload situation. Bubba (left, holding onto Sheffield and his MLB career for dear life) has been sent down to AAA in favor of relief pitcher Jose Veras, whose presence gives the Yankees a healthy 12 pitchers on the roster. The bullpen has been incredible overworked this year—Proctor, Farnsworth, Rivera and Villone take up 4 of the top 5 spots on the “most appearances by a reliever in the AL” list—and adding Veras to the pen will give Torre the ability to rest those guys every once in a blue moon.

Cano is Back, Cairo Is out! Cano’s been out with a hamstring wound for over a month now and though the Yanks have been doing well without him his .325 batting average has certainly been missed. He has been rehabbing with AA Trenton and went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a walk on Friday. Coincedentally, Miguel Cairo is going to do some time on the DL with the same injury that landed Cano there; he'll go to the DL on Tuesday when Cano is put back on the active roster. Tuesday’s game against the White Sox will feature Mr. Cano back at his post at 2nd base, and Nick Green (AKA “that dude that hit a home run against the Mets that one time) will likely be sent back to Columbus once Cairo's hamstring is healed.

Matsui’s Wrist Worries Over? His surgery was successful and X-Rays taken last week confirmed that the bones have healed well, but he is still feeling a bit of pain and tenderness. Torre expects him to return to the lineup in about a month, just in time to add an offensive boost to the final stretch of the season.

Pavano’s Plentiful Plagues Prohibit Prolonged Practicing; Pitiful Pitching Predicament Persists: Carl “I broke my buttocks…again” Pavano (right, faking dismay over his injuries - we all know he is secretly more than happy to sit on his millions without having to do any actual work) hasn’t thrown a pitch for the Yankees since June of 2005, and don’t get your hopes up for a 2006 return. He managed to throw 50 pitches to Nick Green and Andy Phillips this weekend, the biggest effort we’ve seen from him this year, but Torre sounded considerably less than optimistic when asked about a possible September return for Pavano. I personally do not anticipate him to serve any role for the Yanks this year other than his continued function of professional money pit, a job he has mastered to a degree unrivaled by any human save for perhaps Paris Hilton or Kevin Federline.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, August 06, 2006   5 comments
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