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Judge orders mistrial in Roger Clemens case

Former star MLB baseball pitcher Roger Clemens departs the federal courthouse after his arraignment on charges of lying to Congress about use of performance enhancing drugs in Washington, August 30, 2010. Clemens pleaded not guilty to six counts that he lied and obstructed a congressional investigation about whether he used banned substances to enhance his performance REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL CRIME LAW POLITICS)

Roger Clemens got a reprieve today as the judge in his trial on charges of lying to Congress ordered a mistrial as the prosecution played a video that contained statements from the wife of Andy Pettitte.

The prosecution really screwed this up, as they had been clearly warned by the judge. You have to wonder whether this was an honest mistake or a case of an overaggressive prosecutor. The idea of a criminal trial was already controversial, and now the prosecution will have to decide whether to try again.

UPDATE: Reading this summary of the legal issues, it looks like Clemens is going to walk without another trial.

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With Pettitte retiring, the Yankees’ rotation success rides on Burnett

Now that Andy Pettitte has decided to retire, the general consensuses is that the Yankees’ are screwed when it comes to their starting rotation. But that’s probably an overreaction.

erunner Nelson Cruz circles the bases behind him in the top of the sixth inning of game four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York, USA, 19 October 2010. The winner of the best-of-seven series will go on to face either Philadelphia Phillies or the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. EPA/JUSTIN LANE fotoglif765596

Assuming he doesn’t get injured or suffer a case of bad luck, CC Sabathia is still the best pitcher in the American League. If he can stay healthy, Phil Hughes is a solid No. 3 on a championship team and even has the talent to be a good No. 2. Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre are the unknowns, but the Yankees don’t need any of those guys to be Cliff Lee or even Pettitte. They could do much worse for their No. 4 and No. 5 starters.

But with Pettitte retiring, the Bombers do need the 2009 version of A.J. Burnett to return and not the puss that took the mound in 2010. It’s not like the guy can’t pitch; he helped the Yankees win the World Series in ’09 by finishing with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. But those numbers rose in 2010 when he went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP.

The key with Burnett has always been his mindset. If he’s healthy and his head is in the right place, then the Yankees’ rotation will be fine with Sabathia, Burnett and Hughes rounding out the top 3 spots. But if Burnett’s confidence starts to go, then so does his stuff and the wheels can come off rather quickly.

Pitching in New York and the small dimensions at Yankee Stadium don’t help his cause either. Pitchers can’t get away with mistakes at Yankee Stadium like they can at Petco Park or AT&T. Leave one up to a lefty in the Bronx and the ball is likely to wind up in some fan’s office the next morning.

But the early reports on Burnett have been good. He’s working with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who says Burnett has a new approach that should yield better results. He also thinks that Burnett’s “mind and heart are in the right place,” and that he wants to do well.

For the Yankees’ sake, hopefully Rothschild is right. Losing Pettitte to retirement could be a minor blip or a catastrophe depending on Burnett.

Andy Pettitte still undecided about 2011

New York Yankee Andy Pettitte pitches to the Texas Rangers in the first inning during game three of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2010 in New York. UPI/Monika Graff

Despite a recent report by the New York Daily News that stated he does not intend to pitch next year, The Journal News writes that Andy Pettitte is still undecided about the 2011 season.

This was Cashman’s quote, as relayed by The Daily News: “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 you could basically substitute the word “pitch” for the word “start.” What Cashman meant was, at this stage, Pettitte is choosing not to pitch in 2011, but the Yankees are — as they’ve been all winter — waiting for Pettitte to let them know something official. He’s leaning toward retirement, and he’ll let them know if that situation changes.

After missing out on Cliff Lee, the Yankees really need Pettitte to return so their starting staff has a semblance of consistency. Thanks to their offense, the Yankees can probably get by with other options but that doesn’t mean they want to.

Pettitte was the anti-A.J. Burnett last year in that Joe Girardi could rely on him to give him quality starts each and every time. The Bombers need him, especially now that the Red Sox have re-tooled their lineup.

Carlos Zambrano to be a Yankee?

June 09, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano  pitched for 5 innings giving up 3 runs off of 2 hits to the Milwaukee Brewers..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Chicago Cubs 4-9..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

If I’m a Yankee fan the first thing that pops into my head when I read the title of this post is: hey, at least it’s not Carl Pavano.

That said, Carlos Zambrano a Yankee? Better yet, Carlos Zambrano in New York? Yeeee.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily News expects the Yankees to target Zambrano via trade at some point this offseason. After losing out on Cliff Lee, the Bombers obviously need to do something and after his midseason meltdown last year in Chicago, Big Z did pitch well down the stretch.

He would also be reunited with former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who just joined the Yankees. But would Zambrano’s fiery temperament work in the Big Apple? And was his late-season success a sign that he’s returning to form or will his struggles from the first half rear their ugly heads again?

The Yankees have to do something because their current rotation just won’t do. They’re expecting to hear from Andy Pettitte soon about whether or not he’ll come back for one more year and if I’m Brian Cashman, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure he does.

But Carlos Zambrano? Talk about a risk/reward situation. He’s coming off a year in which his ERA (3.33) was good, but his WHIP (1.45) was bad. He also won 11 games but we’re talking about a man that was banished from the Cubs for nearly holding all of Wrigley Field hostage during a game (okay, so I may be exaggerating a little).

Him + NY probably = disaster, although at this point what are the Yankees going to do? The Red Sox have completely retooled and the one player they put all of their efforts into signing this offseason just took less money to play for the Phillies. The Cubs would probably give Zambrano away for a bottle of hand sanitizer and a new latrine for the bathrooms at Wrigley Field, so maybe the Yankees should make a move. At this point, they may not have much of a choice.

Top 10 active pitchers who keep it in the yard

Some pitchers give up 1-2 home runs or more per game, while some of them are masters at keeping the ball in the park. We did a gopher ball list last year, so here is the opposite…the pitchers who give up the fewest home runs per nine innings, and therefore the guys you want in the game when the game is on the line:

1. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (0.4953)—Amazingly, Rivera gave up 11 home runs his rookie year (1995) and since then, only 50. That’s 50 home runs in like 15 years, or about 3 per season. That’s just sick. No wonder the guy has so many career saves (538).

2. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (0.7141)—If only Hudson was able to stay healthy for any length of time, he’d be a lock for the Hall of Fame.

3. Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves (0.7221)—When you have a ball that drops like six feet before it reaches home plate, you’re not going to have a lot of hitters get under your pitches. What you’ll get are lots of ground balls.

4. Aaron Cook, Colorado Rockies (0.7384)—If you’re a pitcher in Colorado, it’s sort of like being a meatball sandwich in a pizza joint. You’ll get noticed, but only when they run out of pizza…or in this case, when the Rockies aren’t hitting. Still, when you think about Cook and how he’s spent his entire career in Denver, being fourth on this list is quite an accomplishment.

5. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (0.7385)—A perfect game only added to Halladay’s Hall of Fame resume.

6. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (0.7445)—He’s always angry but always has nasty stuff, and, like Cook, he pitches in a hitter-friendly park.

7. Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (0.7671)—Lucky for the Yankees, Pettitte’s career high of 27 home runs allowed was when he was with the Astros in 2006.

8. Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros (0.7729)—He has an impeccable nose for the strike zone, but puts enough on his pitches to keep hitters guessing and in the park.

9. Jake Westbrook, Cleveland Indians (0.7999)—He hasn’t pitched much in the last three years, but when he does, Jake Westbrook is very good at keeping the ball in the yard.

10. AJ Burnett, New York Yankees (0.8213)—As if the Yankees needed another guy like this in their rotation.

Source: Baseball Reference

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