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Why do you hate Hideki Matsui so much? The guy is gonna have a great year!

I also think Hughes needs a bit more seasoning before the Yanks bring him up to the Bronx.

I don't hate Matsui, I just want him to play first. He's "fundamentally" sound in left, which means he isn't great, but doesn't make mental errors. That's fine. Melky is exceptional in left.

Matsui "gets rid of the ball quickly" which is a nice way of saying he has no arm strength, but at least he doesn't dilly dally before he throws the ball to the cut off man. Melky has a cannon.

What's the drawback of playing Matsui at first? Basically, if you have a pulse you can play first base. Even Giambi would be fine there defensively if he didn't have a mental block about throwing the ball. Yes, Doug is a great first baseman, but in the grand scheme of things, how many runs is he going to save with great defense at first? Maybe 5-10 over the course of the entire season? How many runs is he going to cost the Yankees by hitting .220?

The team, as a whole, is much better if you put Matsui at first and Melky in left. Having a better defender in left is more important than having a better defender at first, and Melky's offensive production will completely dwarf Doug's.

And as far as Hughes is concerned, seasoning schmeasoning. He's dominated every level he's competed at. If he goes to AAA and does the same thing for a month or two what kind of seasoning is he getting?

If you play against inferior talent for too long, you start to play down to their level. He's an exceptional talent, and unless something completely unexpected happens, keeping him in the minors is doing him, and the Yankees, a great disservice.

Not to mention the fact, the Yanks are going to need him.

Matsui isn't a great fielder by any means, but he doesn't hurt them out there.

And yeah, I didn't like the Mientkiewicz signing either, but you can't just put a guy who played his entire career in the outfield at first base and expect him to be good.

Your boy Melky will get his at-bats -- just not a guaranteed spot in the field.

Hughes is still a baby. I'd rather he get his pitch count up in Triple A instead of asking him to pitch in the majors. Why put the pressure on him now when the Yanks don't really need to?

Like I said, if you have a pulse, you can play a decent first base. That's all you need. Honestly, I doubt Matsui would have a problem playing first, he seems like a good soldier to me. The difference between Matsui and Melky in left is greater than the difference between Doug and Matsui at first. That's just the nature of the beast.

The Yanks don't really need to bring Hughes up? Going into opening day, the Yanks have two starters, Mussina and Pettitte. Pettitte is experiencing back spasms. If you're banking on Pavano, Karstens and Igawa you're much more brave than I am.

And I've said it before, but I'll say it again. The reason almost every pitcher in the majors these days goes down with a serious arm injury at some point in his career is that teams coddle young pitchers way too much. They don't build up the stamina in their arms by pitching 150 innings/season in the minors. They don't have the stamina to go deep into games because they only throw 80-100 pitches per game for the first two to four years of their career. Pitchers should be throwing more, not having their pitch counts limited.

I think Matsui would go if the Yanks told him, but I don't think it's a good move. I guess we agree to disagree on that one.

I agree 100% with you on the way pitchers are treated, but shouldn't Pavano, Igawa and Karstens (or even Rasner) get the chance to fail before Hughes? Hughes looked overwhelmed at times this spring. I'm not knocking him for it (he is still just a kid), but it would be 100x worse on the real stage.

They say patience is a virtue.

Of course those guys should get a chance. I'm just not confident that they'll do anything with that chance. The way I see, the best case scenario with this pitching staff at this point is we have 3 Jaret Wrights in the rotation.

Igawa, Pavano and Karstens will probably be lucky to give you 5 innings, 4 earned runs on a consistent basis. (Igawa has a shot to do more than that, the other two, I think that's the best we can hope for). Last year, we could weather that kind of effort once every five games. Even that one game per week was a huge strain on the bullpen, what's this bullpen going to look like when they're responsible for 12 innings over a 3-game stretch, time and time again?

As far as Hughes, I'm not saying he should leave camp in the rotation. He should go down. But if he dominates, which I think he will, the Yanks shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

Patience is for Mets' fans. Remember how they babied Scott Kazmir? Then gave up on him before even giving him a shot. How did that turn out?

Oh, man -- I hope Igawa and Pavano can do better than 5 innings and 4 earned runs every fifth day.

The Mets never gave Kazmir a shot. Hughes will get his shot. I just don't think it'll be this year.

brandon on Mar 30 at 7:43

This is very well written, and I completely agree.

I think a big part of the problem (Matsui playing over Melky) is Joe Torre. Torre is loyal to a fault, as we all know, and he's more of the problem than the solution. Neither Matsui or Sheffield should have played over Melky in the playoffs last year. They didn't earn that right on the field, only in Joe's heart. Just like the way Joe started Bernie in one of those playoff games.

Vets are always going to get the nod over rooks, as long as Torre is managing this team. Until they get rid of him, this isn't going to change.

On a side note, I was all for the Mientkiewicz signing, and I diagree with Brian. I don't think "anyone" can play first base. Giambi has proven that over the years, Sheffield proved it last year and Yanks have proved it by not even trying Bernie at the cold corner. Not only will Mientkiewicz save some runs, more importantly he will be a boost to Arod's confidence by saving all of those errent throws. Doug's spot in the lineup is not the problem here, it's Matsui's and Abreu's. I would have liked to see the Yanks shop either or both of them during this past offseason. I have my doubts about Abreu, and don't believe he's going to be as impressive as he was last year. So, by the All-Star break, he might be on the trading block, hopefully for some pitching. Then the Yanks could slide Melky into right where he hopefully stays for years to come.

In Yankee Stadium, it's much more important to have a good defensive left fielder than right fielder. They have so much more space to cover out there.

And Abreu is solid. He isn't going to hit 30 bombs anymore (funny how he lost all of his power when they started testing for roids), but his OBP and 10-pitch at bats are really, really valuable.

Putting Sheff at first was a huge mistake, basically because he didn't practice there. That's why I said they should've spent the entire spring having Mattingly teach Matsui to play first. It's not hard to pick up.

Also, I'd be fine with Giambi playing first and Matsui DHing. You don't sacrifice offense for defense at first base. You just don't. And I'm sick of people trying to find ways to massage A-Rod's ego, you make $25M/year, you should be able to throw the ball to first base.

Mix Master Mu on Mar 30 at 15:33

Who cares. GO PHILS!!! 162-0 is still a possibilty. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mix, we have a phils blog in the network: http://www.fightinphilsfans.com

and yes, 162-0 is still a possibility.

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