Good Evening
Good Evening

Brett Gardner, Cliff Lee and Bobby Valentine

Greetings from Camden Yards, my favorite "new" ballpark. (My favorite old ballpark: Fenway Park). What with the Mets getting rained out tonight, I'm glad I stopped by here on my way home from Strasburgville.

The Yankees exist in an odd universe right now. They're so strong, so serene, that it feels like we in the yakosphere (trademark Neil Best) blow up what's going on, since we need to write and talk about something.

Anywho, we could be on the verge of some actual news, since Brett Gardner is getting his left thumb x-rayed and said today that it feels like it did last year - when he went on the disabled list for over a month. The Yankees would miss Gardner if he needed another DL stay, but they should have the lineup depth to handle his absence.

Ironically, our preseason Brett Gardner wager was about to reach its conclusion. Jim vowed to donate money to my selected charity if Gardner was still in the Yankees' lineup after 60 games. Tonight is the Yankees' 59th game. I didn't write in any injury provisions, so Jim might escape on a technicality if Gardner is on the DL.

--George King reported that the Mariners expect the Yankees to bid on Cliff Lee, and are therefore scouting the Yankees' minor-league system. I can't help but wonder if the Mariners are falling to the old "Assume the Yankees are brainless gluttons" condition that the Twins suffered when they asked for too much in return for Johan Santana - demands Minnesota made based on Hank Steinbrenner's nonsensical, irrelevant comments at the time.

Cliff Lee is great. Outstanding. And the Yankees are evolving into the strong favorites to sign him this coming winter.

But on these 2010 Yankees, whom would the Yankees even displace to make room for Lee? 

Starting pitching ranks as the least of these Yankees' needs. They'd probably go after a bat if they determine that Nick Johnson is done for the year, and a bullpen arm is always a possibility.

--The Orioles will interview Bobby Valentine for their managerial opening, The Baltimore Sun reported, and also have former Indians manager Eric Wedge on their radar. Valentine would definitely manage again, in the right opportunity, and remember, he was interested in managing the Rays after the 2005 season because he liked the idea of such a huge challenge.

--Jon Heyman listed 30 free-agent bargains so far.

--Rest in peace, Bill Handelman, the longtime Asbury Park Press sports columnist who died at the young age at 62. Bill wasn't a huge baseball guy, but he would stop by the ballpark once or twice a year and was always good for a laugh.

--UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: The X-rays on Gardner's thumb are negative, and he is day to day. So maybe the bet will be back on.

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