The tarp is on the field here at Yankee Stadium. Check Twitter for updates.
--Very bad news for the Yankees today, as Joba Chamberlain has a torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow and is virtually certain to miss the rest of the season, as well as part or all of 2012.
Chamberlain claims that he felt nothing more than tightness after recent outings, and that's what prompted him to visit the team doctor. But even now, he says, he doesn't feel any of the classic symptoms _ discomfort opening doors or combing one's hair, for instance _ that those who need Tommy John surgery often need.
The Yankees will send the film of Chamberlain's MRI to Dr. James Andrews, who will likely green-light the surgery idea.
1) What do the Yankees do from here? Probably stay internal for a little while. When I asked Brian Cashman whether a legitimate trade market for relievers had developed, Cashman said, "Not to my knowledge."
Cashman doesn't like giving up prospects for relief pitchers. Last year, he acquired Kerry Wood from Cleveland in what was essentially an Indians money dump. One of his favorite non-trades occurred when he passed on giving Texas Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy for Eric Gagne, back in 2007. Instead, the Yankees promoted...Chamberlain, who exploded onto the scene.
There probably isn't someone with Chamberlain's upside who a) currently pitches in the Yankees' system and b) is ready to help at the big-league level. Dellin Betances is probably closest, but Cashman said not to expect him any time soon. Manny Banuelos isn't pitching as well this season, Cashman said; check out Banuelos' slightly higher walk numbers and lower strikeout count from last year.
If you're looking for a lightning-in-a-bottle guy for the short term, keep an eye on Kevin Whelan, who is pitching well at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barres after performing quite horribly the past few years. The Yankees acquired Whelan from Detroit all the way back in the Gary Sheffield trade of 2006.
Trade options down the road? Buster Olney lists a few in his blog today - Oakland's Grant Balfour and Michael Wuertz;San Diego's Mike Adams, Heath Bell and Luke Gregerson; the Cubs' Kerry Wood - and you might as well throw in Francisco Rodriguez, whom the Yankees could use as their setup man without worrying about his vesting option for next year.
2) OMG, do I not want to hear people point to the Joba Rules for the cause of this and call for all restrictions to be eliminated. Because for sure, some people will do just that.
Maybe the Yankees' handling of Chamberlain did contribute to this. I can't say for sure. But for sure, teams should and will continue to work on ways to protect their young pitchers as much as possible. But the idea that we should just "let them pitch," without monitoring, is just silly.
--Russell Martin isn't starting again tonight, but he said he felt better about catching in an emergency situation than he did last night. Nevertheless, the back discomfort still exists.
--Jorge Posada returned to the team and is scheduled to start at DH. Unfortunately for Posada, he has experience at compartmentalizing his brain so that he can focus on doing his job while his son Jorge III recovers from surgery to treat his Craniosynostosis. This was procedure number nine for Jorge III, who will turn 12 this fall.
--We have our first managerial firing of the season, as the A's dismissed Bob Geren and replaced him with Bob Melvin. Oakland, mired in a nine-game losing streak, had to do this. It had become eminently clear that Geren had lost his players.
We discussed Melvin at length here back in November, when he finished as the runner-up to Terry Collins for the Mets' managerial opening. He definitely isn't a striking contrast to Geren, as Melvin's strengths are viewed more on the strategic end and less on the communications end.
As we learned when Jerry Manuel replaced Willie Randolph, however, sometimes you just desperately need a change, and it doesn't particularly even matter who steps in.
The A's have a high climb ahead of them, given the multiple injuries they've sustained. Nevertheless, they're a better club than what they've shown so far.
--Have a great night.