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The Yankees lost again today.

Is that a big deal or what? Probably not, but there were some concerns that came out of the 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Jorge Posada reported soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder, thus his removal from the line-up. Whether this is a minor issue or a red-flag concern, we will find out soon.

Joba Chamberlain also did not pitch well in his only inning of work. He was throwing high in the zone and as a result the Twins were able to get three hits and two runs off him. Dan Giese was not much better either, allowing four runs on four hits, including a home run.

The Yankees’ offense sputtered for the second straight day as only one hit was for extra bases — Mark Teixeira’s double, and Derek Jeter, Robbie Cano, Shelley Duncan (two), Melky Cabrera and Jesus Montero all got hits. Jeter, Tex, and Duncan all got runs.

The good news was that the Yankees were able to get runs off Franciso Liriano in the first inning.

The Yankees play at Cincinnati tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. New York will start right-hander Alfredo Aceves, while Cincinnati sends right-hander Aaron Harang to the hill. The contest will be the final game for Rodriguez, Jeter and Cano until after the World Baseball Classic.

Being a history major, I’m always on the lookout for statistics and actual research to justify my arguments. I probably couldn’t explain VORP or other acronym-laced (pun intended) baseball statistic. I’ll leave the math numbers to my brother.

What I can explain is basic things like ERA, W-L, OBP, OPS+, K/9, and stuff. This is a good measure of the abilities of a player. This is why Boston has had success the last several years. They’ve relied on the success of GM Epstein and his team of people who invest heavily into Sabermetrics and statistics to get players they needed (i.e. Alan Embree, David Ortiz) that could possibly measure into someone successful as Embree and Ortiz have produced in their years with Boston.

In The Yankee Years, Tom Verducci (more likely than Torre) had statistics spanning the years of 2001-2007 and how much the starting pitchers invested into the rotation. What’s missing is the years of 1996 t0 2000.

That’s where Jason from Heartland Pinstripes comes into the picture.

Jason wrote this excellent piece (he’s a history buff like me) on his blog yesterday analyzing the statistics of the Yankee pitchers in 1996-2000 and 2008.

I’ll mention a few things here, but I do encourage you to check out Jason’s post.

The Yankees obviously had success with their rotation between 1997 and 1999, even with fill-in starters. What’s more, the rotation of these years did not have workhorses, but effective starters. Jason writes that the Yankees had an effective fill-in starter in Ramon Mendoza (and in my opinion, none since, except for Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small in 2004).

The Yankees faltered in 2008, as we all know. The W-L and innings pitched for 2008 starters was dismal compared to 1996-2007 but the ERA was similar to what we saw from 2003 to 2007. It just happened that the Yankees were not able to get as much innings out of their real rotation compared to their fill-in starters, and while coming up with 89 wins and the fourth best record in the AL was no easy feat…2009 looks promising.

With the addition of two strong strikeout arms and a durable, proven workhorse, the Yankees are in prime position to repeat the pitching performance of 1997-1999 — proven everyone stays healthy and the Yankees can get durable fill-in starts from people like Phil Hughes, Al Aceves, Ian Kennedy.

Again, go read Jason’s post here!

I’ve always liked the G-Man, and I will. I praised his decision to return to his roots, per-se, in Oakland. He is a good player who was caught up in all the hoopla involving steroids and while he never directly admitted steroids, he confessed something.

Two days ago, Bob Klapisch wrote a piece about how Giambi will be forever grateful to Derek Jeter for the support he gave him.

“I’ll thank Derek until the day I die,” Giambi was saying Thursday. “What he did for me, after what I’d been through, made it possible for me to keep playing in New York. The fans forgave me because of Derek. I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life.”

I guess Giambi is alluding to the fact that Jeter has been on his side ever since the admission and pretty much told the front office not to let Giambi go. That’s a good mark of a leader.

However, there is this other part of the Klapisch article that I vehemently do not like.

Unlike A-Rod, who’s had two chances to come clean (and still hasn’t), Giambi called a news conference before the start of spring training in 2005 and confessed. His words were measured — he never used the term “steroids” — but at least there was no blame assigned to a mysterious third party.

While I generally think that Klapisch illustrated an accurate picture of Giambi’s tenure with the Yankees, I don’t like how he compared the situation to A-Rod’s. This is an attack that serves no purpose and is grounded in nothing more than unhealthy skepticism. And the way Klapisch writes, skepticm in that A-Rod did not tell the entire truth. In reality, A-Rod confessed to more details than Giambi did, and he gets more scrutiny.

Now the Yankees can breathe a sigh of relief. They do not need to go through spring training undefeated. The Twins rallied to beat the Yankees, 5-4 yesterday. Ian Kennedy started for the Yankees and pitched decently. In two innings he did not allow a run, gave up one hit, struck out three, and walked one.

Besides Kennedy and Anthony Clagget, who also threw two scoreless, there wasn’t much to say about the Yankees pitching corps.

Eric Hacker, Andrew Brackman, and George Kontos each gave up a run, and Wilkins De La Rosa gave up two. De La Rosa picked up the loss. These runs came in the 6th 7th and 8th innings.

For this, I’m not too worried because we have a good bullpen set up. Like many people who passionately follow the Yankees, we know spring training has little meaning. It’s more geared towards getting the younger players playing time and evaluating talent.

Brett Gardner had another good game. He went two-for-two with a double, a steal, and a run scored. For those of you keeping tabs, Melky Cabrera went 0-3 and stranded runners on base. Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada had two hits apiece. Xavier Nady, Justin Leone, and Cody Ransom each drove in a run.

The Yanks will face the Twins again on Saturday, this time at GMS Field. Joba Chamberlain will start for the Yanks, with Francisco Lirano going for the Twins. Game time is 1:15 p.m. and the game can be seen on YES/WCBS.

This isn’t Yankees news, but nonetheless, interesting news:

Manny Ramirez has rejected the Los Angeles Dodgers’ most recent contractual offer of $45 million for 2 seasons.

Here’s the press release from the Dodgers:

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers today received a letter from Scott Boras, the agent for Manny Ramirez, rejecting the offer that the club made yesterday. This rejection is the fourth by the agent in the club’s attempts to sign Manny.

“We love Manny Ramirez,” said Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt, “And we want Manny back, but we feel we are negotiating against ourselves. When his agent finds those ‘serious offers’ from other clubs, we’ll be happy to re-start the negotiations.

“Even with an economy that has substantially eroded since last November, out of respect for Manny and his talents, we actually improved our offer.

“So now, we start from scratch.”

I don’t know what Boras and Manny are smoking. I honestly think Boras has got it in Manny’s head that he is worth a 4 year contract. Unfortunately, since November, no one has wanted to give Manny a 4 year contract. The most he has gotten was a 3 year contract, and from the same team that he just rejected.

$45 for two years is more than what he left Boston for.

He’s being spoiled and selfish. Karma will get to him.

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