Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves now IS Ramiro Mendoza. This is new this season, and tonight’s 2-inning no-hit performance was a fitting tribute to his predecessor in his first appearance as Mendoza himself. (Yankees 6 @ Red Sox 4) He was dubbed “the latter-day Ramiro Mendoza” last year by WCBS radio’s Yankees broadcaster John Sterling largely because of his ability to pitch effectively at any point in the game, especially in extended middle relief, and to execute a wide repertoire of pitches “that move,” as Sterling’s broadcast partner Suzyn Waldman says, and which emerge from a disconcerting variety of arm angles, much as Mendoza did for the Yanks during the late 1990’s before being unceremoniously cut and left for the Red Sox to pick up. (I should say “pick up the pieces. Mendoza so wanted to stay with his team that he said “I want to die a Yankee.”) I remember then-manager Joe Torre asserting that he had “ice in his veins.” Aceves’ moniker entered the airwaves last season after a conversation among Sterling, Waldman, and NY Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand, during the “Daily News Fifth” inning segment. It soon took on a life of its own, and Waldman seems to find a charming way for Sterling to make the observation afresh each time Aceves comes to the mound, as she did tonight.
I mean Aceves.
OK, now it’s official: Alfredo Aceves is Ramiro Mendoza re-Incarnate.
In today’s “Daily News 5th” segment, columnist Mark Feinsand mentioned that Pettite made the same comparison yesterday. He also said that Posada pointed to similarities between the pitching style of Aceves and a teammate of Mendoza, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who threw off batters with his unpredictability in the face of the count, willing to throw any pitch at any point.
Re: Alfredo Aceves in relief of Joba Chamberlain
NYY@TEX Tues. May 26, 2009 Bottom 5th
John Sterling: Becoming “the most trusted man in the bullpen.”
Mark Feinsand: “Almost a modern-day Ramiro Mendoza.”
Wow. Where’s my Mendoza now?
Last seen in Columbus?
Wow. What a Weekend. Well, at least it’s the Right Sox tonight. A breather, even if they do win, which is how it’s looking right now. Roger the Rocket looked pretty fat at Pinstripes on the Park last Thursday. Hate to but I must tell you that the audience — just like at the Stadium the Saturday prior — was definitely not swayed by his charms or promise. His promises, on the other hand, were inspiring. He said we’d take the Series this weekend, and we did. We could use a cheerleader from Texas. One who’s on OUR payroll.
I hear from Floraine Kay that we might take Runyldys Hernandez off the hands of the Red Sox. We might have saved some money and the risk of a double agent (ala Ramiro Mendoza working for us in in their clubhouse in 2003 — and then back with us in the minors last year — where is he now?) had someone LISTENED TO ME and bought him straight from Kansas City. It’s hardly a secret that I have a soft spot for oversized lefties like David Wells (San Diego — HELLO, anybody LISTENING?), CC Sabathia (Cleveland), and, yes, Runyldys, who definitely needed some guidance while he was with the Royals. It will be interesting to see where he is.
So we need a fielder who doesn’t have to hit, eh? Um, anybody look at our bench? MIGUEL CAIRO? And, does anyone remember that he makes things happen? Why hasn’t he been working? He worked in April during some shortages, then NOTHING. Even a DH needs SOME time on the field, and he is a good fielder when he gets a chance to play.
Besides Miggy, there’s Super Joe McEwing, former Met, beloved by fans in Kansas City, and now somewhere else, I will have to check. I loved watching him field. Like David Dellucci as a Yankee, Super Joe was everywhere before you knew where to look. Then, there’s Jeff Keppinger, another former Met, though he may have found a home, as I know Ty Wigginton has as a Devil Ray. Wiggington is a bat more than a fielder, anyway. I’ll always remember the story Floraine told me about how, when he was playing 3rd base for the Mets, knowing he was prone to errors, he wrote E-5 on the inside of his visor.
More on umpires, especially regarding this last weekend, to come.
BOX SCORE Yankees 8 Marlins 3
Ground outs-fly outs:Wright 3-5, Bergman 1-0, Mendoza 2-0, Myers 0-2, Cox 0-1, Villone 3-0 Batters faced:Wright 15, Bergman, D 5, Mendoza 4, Myers 3, Cox 6, Villone 6
Jaret Wright was serviceable — dare I say promising? — over 4 innings.
Ramiro Mendoza relieved me.
Mike Myers was 1-2-3
Cox did well though it felt like more than one inning.
More of TODAY to come: Sabathia, McCarthy, Cotts, Jenks
YESTERDAY to come
Tanyon Sturtze (R-RP) is struggling with mechanics. He has had a sore shoulder since the end of last season, and he started Spring Training exercises slowly and gingerly. Essentially, he is overcompensating for his weakened shoulder, throwing too hard at the expense of control. According Mark Feinsand’s article of Thursday, March 16, "He has been flying open with his front shoulder, which affects his location, and manager Joe Torre has said on more than one occasion that it looks like Sturtze is trying to throw the ball through the back wall." hat concerns me about this is that he has fallen into that mental trap in the past, overthrowing the plate even when he was, apparently, not hurt.
Keep an eye on these guys, if you like:
A’s: Loaiza, Street Reds: Claussen, Harang, Womack Diamondbacks: Clark Boston: R. Seanez, Mota (+ Foulke no less!) (Wells says he commits) Beckett, Lowell Padres: Peavy, Estes, Greene Tigers: Rogers, Maroth, Robertson, Bonderman, Seay, Inge, Leyland Cleveland: Sabathia Rockies: Fogg Orioles: Benson (Bottalico, Yates), Duquette, Mazzone Mets: Trachsel, Heilman (+obvious Billy Wagner), Keppinger Angels: Figgins Cardinals: David Eckstein Cubs: Eyre, Jacque Jones Brewers: Capuano Tampa Bay: Marlins: Girardi Pirates: Zach Duke, Ty Wigginton Phillies: Rowand (great fielder, does not hit under pressure, though) Dodgers: Sele White Sox: McCarthy Rangers: Benoit, Eaton, Dellucci, Durazo Royals: Runelvys Hernandez, McEwing Astros: Taveras Yankees: Chacon, Small, Wang, Proctor (as a starter), Sturtze, Mendoza, Ron Guidry (Hughes, Cox)
- What do Enrique Wilson and John Flaherty, have in common? Check out City of Palms Park in Fort Myers on Feb. 28. Hint: Maybe they should ask Ramiro Mendoza and David Wells what to expect, the red carpet or Abu GaRed. We can infer which reception Mendoza got — he didn’t talk, and look what happened to him. Wells, on the other hand, I’m not sure. Look what he did to us! (Then again, maybe we deserved that.)
- Is anyone worried about the effect the WBC will have on the performance of players missing spring training?
- We might as well take Keiichi Yabu off Oakland’s hands, so no one else can. We can’t hit off him.
- Aaron Rowand, Jaque Jones, and Eric Byrnes weren’t good enough? Was Johnny Damon really necessary? Some of us are still a little sore about Boston’s statistically-probable fluke of 2004. (Let’s get this straight, though. I’m more upset about losing to them in the playoffs than about their WS win. Ouch, that hurt — I couldn’t get myself to spell out WS!) I didn’t bother detesting the Red Sox until they started relying on dirty play, beginning mainly in 2004. From Tier Reserved, I even rooted for Boston against the Yankees when Ramiro Mendoza started — and WON — July 5, 2003 with 5 shutout innings at the Stadium back after we traded him away, way back in December of 2002, after 11 years with us. We haven’t treated Mr. "I want to die a Yankee" too well now that we have him back, by the way. Read on.) He beat Roger Clemens, by the way, 10-2.
- Mendoza and Al Leiter got minor league contracts and invitations to Spring Training? Am I supposed to be angry that David Wells’ pride was too big to do that back in 2004?
- We couldn’t offer Tino Martinez a one-year or even a minor league contract? I know he froze in the post-season, but there’s no excuse not letting him retire from a live position, at least. (The Free Agent Tracker reports that the Yankees declined his option, not that he retired.) His "Bam-Tino" bunches of home runs lifted a lot more than the score, and his outlook steadied the team when the back pages doubted. What about his defense? He did more than just cover first while Giambi healed — didn’t you feel good when he started a game? As a defensive substitution he is peerless. There was that one major miss, but wouldn’t Giambi love to have hat said about himself? Did anyone notice that Giambi came back a better fielder than he started? Anyone wonder why?
- WANG was spectacular. With him, Chacon and Small, we have 3 big-game pitchers who are healthy. All have indicated that they can handle Yankee-style pressure on the mound, and they seem impervious. Thank goodness. I’m still a big fan of the seniors — and, in fact, I’d like to raise the average age of the rotation by restoring our favorite emotional rollercoaster David Wells to his rightful place. I still think we used bad, if not immoral, judgement when we forced Kevin Brown to make his first rehab start at Yankee Stadium; we may be responsible for ruining his career and his memory in the minds of many. The way we treated Brown, Wells — twice, Mendoza ("I want to die as a Yankee") and Stanton when letting them go, etc., has created bad karma. I’m not superstitious enough to say that’s why we haven’t won since…, am I?
- BUBBA CROSBY interfered with Derek Jeter’s catches twice. Is he just overeager, now that he has felt the good feeling? (Scoring the winning home run on Sept 2 plus a couple fabulous catches) He reminds me of the CANO, who was fielding everywhere but 2nd base earlier this season. He’ll settle down soon. Soon enough? We need to keep an eye on Cano, too, — yes, without killing his spirit, of course. That was a big running error today.
- GARY SHEFFIELD. The Man. RBI sac fly and an important 3-run home run, widening the gap in a game in which confused fielding (see Crosby above) cost the Yankees a run off Mariano in the 9th.