-At long last, the New York Yankees will be playing an actual baseball game, on an actual baseball field, against an actual baseball team (kind of) today.
Adam Warren will get the start against the University of South Florida today, while the regulars will get one to two at bats. Brett Marshall, Dan Burawa, Juan Cedeno, Graham Stoneburner, and Kevin Whelan are also due to pitch at some point during the game. Legitimate baseball games begin tomorrow against the Phillies.
-The Yankees held their annual team bonding session yesterday at Tampa Improv.
Apparently something involving Mark Teixeira and Michael Jackson happened. Everyone loved it. Tex doesn't really strike me as the funniest of guys, but he was named MVP of the outing by Nick Swisher.
-Speaking of Teixeira, he has hired agent Casey Close to replace old agent, Scott Boras.
You may know Casey Close as the agent for Derek Jeter. Coincidence? Perhaps, but who knows? Teixeira still has five years remaining on his contract with the Yankees, so this is largely a non-issue.
-Hal Steinbrenner confirmed yesterday that the Yankees have every intention of getting their payroll below $189 million by 2014.
A lot of people have called their bluff on the matter, but under the CBA, there is simply too much to be gained to ignore. Hal also said that if you have a good farm system, you don't need the $220 million dollar payroll. It could be all smoke at this point, but if they are truly dedicated to getting under the luxury tax limit, they will definitely have to lean on the kids on the farm.
-Mike Axisa at River Ave Blues uses fangraphs' new pitch blocking data to examine the Yankee catchers.
Verdict: while Russell Martin supposedly calls a good game, he isn't so great at blocking pitches. In fact, over the last three seasons, only seven catchers with at least 1,000 innings caught have been worse than him at blocking balls in the dirt according to this data. He was rather bad in 2009, and right around league average since then. Apologize.