By Sweeny Murti
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Rain has me on the ground at O’Hare, which got me to thinking…

*The Yankees have dominated pretty much everybody not wearing Red Sox uniforms in the last month. Can you honestly tell me that–besides Boston–there is a better team in the American League?  Tampa Bay’s pitching will be something to deal with when the Yanks play them 16 times after the All-Star break. But even with all their injuries, the Yanks have enough to stay afloat until pitchers get healthy or arrive as reinforcements at the trade deadline.

*Phil Hughes is coming back very soon. He felt so good after Sunday’s rehab game for Staten Island that he used the word “spectubular” to describe it. Hughes will be a major boost. He will probably throw around 75-80 pitches on Friday for AA-Trenton, and then may need only one more outing after that before re-joining the rotation.

*Read last week’s post here to see Brian Cashman’s reasons why you will NOT see Manny Banuelos and Delin Betances in the big leagues this year, at least if he can help it. But scouts who have seen both pitchers this year at Trenton have been excited by both, although their fastball command still has to improve.  They will make things interesting next spring for sure. No guarantees, but a chance to compete for certain.

*Brett Gardner has turned things on since his slow start in April. Take out the first 20 games and he is hitting over .350 with an OBP over .430. When Derek Jeter gets back it will spark much debate about the lineup. But because he is who he is, its hard to see Jeter batting anywhere but first. Because the 2-5 hitters are locked in right now, the only other place to put Jeter would be ninth. And we know that is not happening.  But essentially batting between Gardner and Granderson won’t be a bad thing either.

*Thoughts and prayers to everybody in E Street Nation on the passing of The Biggest Man You Will Ever See. Rest in peace, Clarence Clemons.

*We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Les Nessman will be back with all the news, sports, and weather–and the award-winning farm report–later this afternoon. I’ll be back with an update during The Venus Flytrap Show.

Sweeny Murti

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