9:34 PM: Scratch that. Chad Jennings of The Journal News spoke with Cashman just moments ago and the general manager said that he was misquoted. Pettitte is still in decision mode for 2011 and the Yankees have heard nothing new.
9:02 PM: The Yankees are going to be just fine, let’s get that out of the way. They still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball from top to bottom and will be battling for the American League East crown this season despite a winter of letdowns.
But here comes another bit of bad news…
According to the New York Daily News, veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte told Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Wednesday that he will not be playing baseball when the 2011 season opens in late March and that he can’t say for sure if he will return at all.
“I don’t think he’s determined if he’s officially finished or not, but he’s chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011,” Cashman said Wednesday at the baseball owners’ meetings in Arizona. “If that ever changes he’ll call us. We’re not going to hound him or bother him.”
The Yankees missed out on top free agent target Cliff Lee this offseason and didn’t get the chance to bid on a host of other free agent pitchers because they had so much money committed to that offer. Carl Pavano is still unsigned, but the Yanks probably don’t want to dance that jig for a second time. Justin Duchscherer is another option, but there’s no guarantee that he can stay healthy.
The Bombers might just have to stick to internal candidates like Ivan Nova and Andrew Brackman in order to fill out their rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.
The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.
Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.
After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.