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Yanks pitching looks in midseason form


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TAMPA, Fla. -- Here in the non-Daisuke Matsuzaka portion of Florida's Gulf Coast, you are reminded that the New York Yankees also have some starting pitchers of significant stature.

The first three Yankees pitchers of the Grapefruit League schedule have faced 19 batters and recorded 18 outs, leaving little room for either improvement or second-guessing.

 

Whatever questions there are regarding the Yankees' pitching, one through three in the rotation, in whatever order you want -- Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina -- are not among them.

 

Wang, a 19-game winner last season, and Pettitte, whose work requires no introduction in these precincts, were both perfect in their two innings of work.

 

Mussina, working against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, actually gave up two hits, one of them a home run to Brad Eldred. The other one was a ground ball by Andrew McCutchen off the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter. It might have been an error, but this was Spring Training and this was Jeter, so, fine, a single. McCutchen subsequently was erased attempting to steal second.

 

Mussina has been a rotation stalwart for 15 seasons. Although he has never had a 20-victory season, his 239 career victories, fifth among active pitchers, point toward the quality and durability of his work. He is one of only 12 pitchers in the history of the game to win 10 or more games in 15 consecutive seasons.

 

But every time is a new time when Spring Training appears. So it was on Saturday, Mussina's first start.

 

"It felt strange, it was the first time," he said. "But you want to at least get the ball over the plate, and I did that, for the most part. That's all you're trying to do, just get used to it again."

 

With a repertoire as large as Mussina's, you wonder which pitches require the most work at this time of the year.

 

"Sometimes, command of the baseball takes the most time," he said. "It depends on what isn't working that particular year. I felt pretty decent with my curveball today, and I had decent location, but it felt like it was going about 81 mph out of my hand. But that's just stuff you've got to work on. It's just pitching again, just getting out there and pitching again, that's all.

 

"I'm sure it's changed from when I was 25. When you're 25, you expect to got out there and have it the first day you go out there. Now, I don't expect it to be great the first day, I just expect to find a feel for it and work up from wherever the starting point is."

 

Asked about how his slider was working, Mussina smiled.

 

"The same pitch that got called for a ball on the first pitch to [Eldred]," he said. "This time he hit it out of the park. That's all right. Midseason form on the homer, because that was a pretty good one."

 

All of the available evidence suggests that Mussina will once again be part of the solution for the Yankees. The same could be said of Wang and Pettitte, although sooner or later they will start allowing baserunners.

 

The questions are further down in the rotation. Carl Pavano's array of injuries over the past two years open up a whole new line of questioning, about not only his potential fitness, but his desire to pitch. Lefty Kei Igawa, the Yankees' own Japanese pitching import, has a track record of success, winning 75 games over the past five seasons. Americans have learned by now not to dismiss the achievements of players in Japanese baseball. For all of that, Igawa is a rookie in Major League Baseball, and the natural questions flowing from that status will linger until he establishes himself in this hemisphere.

 

Typically, at this early stage of Spring Training, expectations are minimal for starters. The most important components of their early work are regaining the feel for their craft and simply remaining healthy.

 

"That's the thing when you watch these guys pitch, especially early in Spring Training," manager Joe Torre said. "It's just that they get through it, they feel fine; there are no physical issues.

 

"The other part, they've been around long enough that they know what works. I think Mike threw a lot of fastballs today, which is good. That's why he started out last season so well, because he used his fastball in the spring and built up his arm strength."

 

But given the particular circumstances, there will be an unusually high level of interest in Pavano's first start of the spring, which is scheduled to occur Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

"I'm looking forward to it, and I think he's looking forward to it," Torre said. "He seems like he's ready to do this. Basically, it's step one, get him on the mound. He's in this the first time around, there's no special covenant here, he's up with everybody else."

 

The questions about the Yankees rotation center not on quality, but on depth. The quality in the first three spots is indisputable. The worst you can say about Mussina, Wang and Pettitte is that they will be very difficult acts to follow. If the rest of the rotation could approach their level, the Yankees would be what they always hope to be.

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Well, it doesn't really mean that much right now considering how far behind hitters are and how early it is but it is always good to see your guys throwing free and easily, but most importantly, well. Half of me wants to see your rotation falter while the other half wants our two rotations to duke it out through the season as the tops in the bigs. Either way, we're off to a good start, and for about month more, I won't hate you guys as much as I would during the season.

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Psst, he was traded.

 

Are you saying he didn't want to be? :unsure:

 

Besides, I didn't say he wasn't traded. I said he left. Is he still here?? No, he's gone, therefore, he left.

 

I'm pretty sure he also had to sign an official document stating that he was now under contract to pitch for Arizona upon arrival.

 

Nice try, but your trying to one up me using technicalities is a flawed tactic, because technically, I am right. :P

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Are you saying he didn't want to be? :unsure:

 

Besides, I didn't say he wasn't traded. I said he left. Is he still here?? No, he's gone, therefore, he left.

 

I'm pretty sure he also had to sign an official document stating that he was now under contract to pitch for Arizona upon arrival.

 

Nice try, but your trying to one up me using technicalities is a flawed tactic, because technically, I am right. :P

Sure that's what you meant. Your post says he left. So by saying he left because his feelings were hurt, and that gives the impression he left on his own terms, which everyone knows, he didn't'. I called you on it, now take your medicine sonny.

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Sure that's what you meant. Your post says he left. So by saying he left because his feelings were hurt, and that gives the impression he left on his own terms, which everyone knows, he didn't'. I called you on it, now take your medicine sonny.

 

 

He waived a no trade clause. He wanted out. Nice try.... Keep fishin'

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Are you saying he didn't want to be? :unsure:

 

Besides, I didn't say he wasn't traded. I said he left. Is he still here?? No, he's gone, therefore, he left.

 

I'm pretty sure he also had to sign an official document stating that he was now under contract to pitch for Arizona upon arrival.

 

Nice try, but your trying to one up me using technicalities is a flawed tactic, because technically, I am right. :P

you worry about the yankees too much.

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it makes you look insecure about your own team. the mets front office finally realized this, you should as well.

 

It's a message board.

 

Jesus, will you people lighten up already?

 

I guess everyone else who made a joke about Pavano in this thread is also insecure?

 

I obviously used an icon ( :P ) in my response to Dub for a reason. Now tell me, what does that icon mean?

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It's a message board.

 

Jesus, will you people lighten up already?

 

I guess everyone else who made a joke about Pavano in this thread is also insecure?

 

I obviously used an icon ( :P ) in my response to Dub for a reason. Now tell me, what does that icon mean?

the first step in the 12 step program is admitting you have a problem. :cheers:

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I know, my poor dog is all bloody because I lumped him a few times due to your mean postings.

BTW, wheres the ticker you had in your sig? :LMAO:

 

Can you comprehend what you read? I said they were JOKES.

 

 

I took the ticker out because retards like you can't take a joke. I don't want to be labelled as a troll because one moron (YOU) took it seriously.

 

 

BTW...stop worrying about me so much, before other people start realizing that too.

 

Weirdo.

 

Good night. I will pray that Carl Pavano doesn't have a nightmare, bang his head on his pillow and sit out the next 2 weeks with a concussion.

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