K-Rod, Yankees’ reliever Bruney almost brawl before game

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez isn’t a big fan of Yankees reliever Brian Bruney – or his big mouth.

Bruney has pitched only once for New York since April 21 because of a strained elbow. He tossed a perfect inning Saturday in a rehab appearance for Double-A Trenton.

Afterward, he was asked about the Yankees’ wild win over the Mets on Friday night, when second baseman Luis Castillo dropped Alex Rodriguez’s two-out popup in the ninth inning. The error allowed two runs to score, giving the Yankees a 9-8 victory and handing K-Rod his first blown save in 17 chances this season.

“Unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like that. I have, but in high school,” Bruney said. “It couldn’t happen to a better guy on the mound, either. He’s got a tired act.”

After converting a save, Francisco Rodriguez often pounds his chest and points to the sky while letting out a roar.

Rodriguez shouted at the New York Yankees reliever during batting practice Sunday and the two were separated by teammates one day after they exchanged pointed jabs through the media.

Bruney called Rodriguez’s exuberant celebrations on the mound a “tired act,” and K-Rod said he didn’t know who the injured right-hander was before advising him to “keep his mouth shut.”

In video footage on the YES Network, an angry Rodriguez could be seen pointing at Bruney from a few feet away before Yankees reliever Jose Veras stepped between them in left field.

Bruney held his ground and appeared to say little, if anything. Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey got in front of Rodriguez and escorted him away.

“I was probably 10 feet away and I just saw K-Rod pointing and raising his voice,” Pelfrey said, “and I just came over and grabbed him and I said ‘C’mon, lets go in.’ He was upset I guess.”

After Bruney said what he did, if K-Rod was approached about the comments all he would have had to say was, “Who the hell is Brian Bruney?”

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MLB Daily Six Pack of Observations 4/7

1. Sabathia, Teixeira choke on applesauce in debuts
The Yankees’ two big offseason free agent signings got off to rough starts yesterday as CC Sabathia allowed six runs on eight hits in just 4.1 innings of work and Mark Teixeira went 0-4 in NY’s 10-5 loss to the O’s. Sabathia didn’t strike out one batter as his control looked completely out of whack and Teixeira left five men on base. Who knew spending gobs of money doesn’t guarantee initial success?

2. Tony Clark and Felipe Lopez: The New Bash Brothers
Clark and Lopez each went deep yesterday…twice. What’s amazing about the feat (besides the fact that Tony Clark and Felipe Lopez each hit two home runs in the same game) is that they were the first pair of switch-hitting teammates to homer from both sides of the plate in a game since Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams did if ro the Yankees on April 23, 2000. The D’Backs edged NL West rival Colorado 8-7.

3. Looks like Hanley Ramirez will be okay in the three-hole
Generally a leadoff hitter in previous seasons, the Marlins moved shortstop Hanley Ramirez into the three-hole this year and he responded on Opening Day by hitting his first career grand slam in the Fish’s 12-6 victory over the Nats. Ramirez also had an RBI double and walked. I know it was only the first game of 162, but Ramirez looked awfully comfortable at the plate.

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2009 MLB Preview: #3 New York Mets

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Offseason Movement: In a major effort to try and bolster their bullet riddled bullpen, the Mets signed top free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez, who saved a record 62-games last season for the Angels. The Mets also acquired reliever J.J. Putz, outfielder Jeremy Reed and RHP Sean Green in a three team swap with the Mariners and Indians. The club signed free agent starter Freddy Garcia, but after he gave up 15 runs in just seven innings this spring, they reassigned him to minor league camp. Livan Hernandez – yet another free agent signing – fared much better and will be the Mets’ fifth starter when the season opens. Casey Fossum, Alex Cora, Darren O’Day, Rocky Cherry, Connor Robertson and Cory Sullivan round out the rest of New York’s offseason additions.

Top Prospect: Wilmer Flores, SS
Outfield prospect Fernando Martinez also deserves mention here, but Flores is already showing potential at just 17 years old. Flores is light years away from the big leagues, but he’s already drawing comparisons to Miguel Cabrera in terms of his potential at such a young age. The Mets will likely move Flores along slowly and let him develop his skills. There’s absolutely no need to rush him, but he’ll get his opportunity to shine in the next couple of years.

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2009 MLB Preview: #5 Los Angeles Angels

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Offseason Movement: The Halos added outfielder Bobby Abreu for cheap and also signed former Colorado reliever Brian Fuentes to replace long-time closer Francisco Rodriguez. Along with K-Rod, the club also lost Garret Anderson, Jon Garland and Mark Teixeria via free agency.

Top Prospect: Nick Adenhart, RHP
Some feel as though Jordan Walden is the Halos’ best prospect, but Adenhart is the one that will have the opportunity to make the big league roster this year as a fourth or fifth starter. With Ervin Santana, Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey all sidelined due to various injuries, Adenhart will likely start the season in the starting rotation. He could be sent down as soon as the rest of the starters get healthy, but if he does well he’ll no doubt earn a future spot in the rotation. Thus far in spring training, Adenhart has displayed good command and struggled just once in five outings.

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2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Relief Pitchers

All 2009 Fantasy Articles | 2009 Position Rankings

There are two general schools of thought when it comes to selecting relief pitchers. Some owners zero in on a stud and are willing to select one in the first couple rounds, while others don’t mind cruising the wavier wire on a regular basis during the season after they waited to address the position late in their draft.

Neither approach is bad, although each has its drawbacks. K-Rod racked up 62 saves last season, but switching clubs and leagues this year leads to some uncertainty, plus outside of saves, his ERA and WHIP numbers have been on the decline for years. If you’re the type that burns a high draft pick on a top reliever and a guy like K-Rod fizzles, you obviously would have cost yourself an opportunity to select a position player that could have given you great value at that spot.

Conversely, if you wait until the later rounds of your draft to address your stopper(s), then you run the risk of playing Russian Roulette with the position throughout the regular season, possibly costing you wins/points in not only saves, but strikeouts, ERA and WHIP as well.

If we could offer some advice, we recommend finding a happy medium between those that make finding a reliever one of their top priorities, and those who avoid it like the dentist. Find that next wave of relievers after names like Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera come off the board. Chances are you’ll get a nice combination of saves, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP without burning a high draft pick on one of the studs.


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