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New York Yankees notes: Jeter, and other stuff

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If you watched New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter dive to his left last night and come up flexing his throwing hand you probably had the same reaction I did.

"Oh, no." Or something a little "rougher" than that.

Jeter, however, is fine. Manager Joe Girardi said he did not even notice Jeter's temporary discomfort.

"He's fine," Girardi said. "I asked him and he said, 'My hand's fine.' I didn't know about it until they said it [on television] in the fifth inning."

I know that Travis brought John Sickels interview with Yankee Senior VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman to your attention last night. It was fabulous work by Sickels, who particularly did an excellent job getting Newman to discuss the high risk/high reward strategy the Yankees employ in the draft. In case you have not read it, here is a snippet.

"When I look at it from the perspective of player development and scouting, our mandate to win yearly in the majors gives us two main challenges: our draft slot and the fact that we often trade prospects. Where we pick in the draft is always an issue, at least if we're doing our job by winning at the major league level. We almost always have lower picks in the draft, and that makes it harder to get players with high upsides in the draft process, especially for the hitters.

"At times we need to trade prospects to build a major league roster that can achieve our goals, the (Javier) Vazquez and (Curtis) Granderson trades are examples. Of course, sometimes we can bring players to the majors as well, like (Robinson) Cano or (Phil) Hughes or (Joba) Chamberlain, and that's always satisfying. But either way, it is an expand/contract cycle that we have to manage in the farm system.

"Because of those two factors, especially the draft slot issue, we will take risks on some players to get a high-ceiling guy in the system."

  • Dave Robertson is expected to build on his 2009 success and become a key late-inning reliever this season. Some folks are even wondering if he will develop into Mariano Rivera's successor as closer.

    My take: I love Robertson, but I think that's too optimistic. Besides, we don't know yet how much longer Mo can keep being Mo.
  • Another guy who has been thought of as a future closer is Mark Melancon. He did not look like it in a few big-league appearances in 2009, and he will likely start the season at AAA. But, I doubt anyone will be surprised if Melancon, who will be 25 in a few days, makes a Robertson-like rise to an important spot in the bullpen this season.

    Melancon feels more comfortable pitching to big-league hitters than he did a year ago.

    "When you first get there, you think everybody is going to hit everything you throw," Robertson said. "But eventually you find out that you can get away with some stuff. You can't always get away with stuff, but every now and then you do. You have to trust your stuff. Not every pitch is going to be great, but not every hitter is going to take a great swing."

    "There were times where I think I gave the hitters too much credit," Melancon said. "I wasn't attacking ... I guess (because) I wanted it so bad and I wanted to be up there so bad."

    "I don't think you go back and try to reinvent anything," Melancon said. "It's still the game of baseball, but it's a different feeling out there. That's why last year getting the first taste was so good, because I got that out of the way. I know these guys better now. I just feel so much more comfortable."

  • Tino Martinez is serious about being good at his new gig as part of the YES Network broadcast team.