Good Morning
Good Morning

Sunday reading: Javier Vazquez, Eduardo Nunez and Bernie Williams

Off yesterday's Yankees game, I wrote about Javier Vazquez, who put together a solid start against the lowly Astros but continued to raise some eyebrows with his velocity drop.

Vazquez's fastball topped out at 89 mph, according to's Pitch/FX, but it mostly hovered around 87 and 88. The fastball averaged 91.1 mph last year, according to FanGraphs.

Vazquez and Joe Girardi both voiced the "This can work, as long as the command is good," and maybe it can. At first, I started to write, "Vazquez will be more consistenty tested as the season progresses and he faces more good teams." But will he? As we move forward, it appears that there are very few imposing offenses out there.

He'll have to pitch against Tampa Bay and Boston eventually, but in between will be plenty of oases. Until the All-Star break, these are his likely assignments: 

1) The Mets at home on June 19. He already shut them down once.

2) At the Dodgers on June 25. The Dodgers are better-than-average offensively for a National League team.

3) Against Seattle at home on July 1. The Mariners are horrendous offensively.

4) At Oakland on July 6. The A's most intimidating quality is that they have a pitcher from the 209. Their offense ranks as less of a concern, and Vazquez won at Oakland back in April, his one decent start during that awful first month.

5) At Seattle on July 11, to close out the first half. Again, the Mariners present a challenge only if you compare them to the Orioles.

Then the Yankees can re-shuffle their rotation coming out of the break so that Vazquez misses Tampa Bay in either the July 16-18 series at home or the July 30-August 1 series at Tropicana Field. It doesn't seem like he can get out of both series, though.

--It wasn't a perfect day for the Yankees, as Marcus Thames headed to the disabled list. Greg Golson would seem to be the natural replacement, with Brett Gardner getting more starts in leftfield against lefties, while Thames is out.

--Alex Rodriguez sat out again, as expected. It sounds like the Yankees hope to have A-Rod back at least as the DH by Tuesday's game against the Phillies.

--For my Sunday Insider - also known as the 7th-Inning Stretch - I wrote about Eduardo Nunez, the Yankees' shortstop prospect. If you wanted to bet on Yankees minor-leaguers most likely to be traded by July 31, I'd put Nunez at the top of the list. He can play shortstop defensively, he gets on base and he showed some pop last year. There are also notes on Stephen Strasburg, the White Sox and the latest amateur draft.

--Curtis Granderson has still been bad against lefties, NoMaas points out. Thanks to my buddy Twitter for the link.

--Down in Baltimore, the Mets ended a mind-blowing run of road incompetence. I agree with Jerry Manuel that this - two straight road wins, and a road series victor - can be a big step for them. The further the Mets go into this season, the more optimism they provide. Especially with the Phillies, now two games behind the Mets, really struggling.

--Rod Barajas would be open to signing an extension with the Mets.

--The Mets cheered on Team USA in the World Cup.

--Last night, I saw Bernie Williams perform at the Iridium Jazz Club in Manhattan. It was a very small room, with about 40 people, and Bernie and his band took ownership of the place. I can't profess to be a music expert, unlike the way I fake it with baseball, but I thought they were excellent. Bernie seems very happy with his new life.

HIs CD is called "Moving Forward," and it's doing great on the jazz charts. He told me afterwards that he's preparing for gigs in Rochester and Bay Shore, so I'll post that information when it's confirmed.

--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on "Sports Extra" on Fox 5 in New York, with Duke Castiglione, at 10:30 tonight.

--And there's a live chat tomorrow at 11:00, so make sure you go to bed right after you watch "Sports Extra," so you have good questions ready to go.

--Have a great day


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