Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Javy Vazquez off to a decent start

When Jimmy Rollins hit the first pitch thrown by Javier Vazquez for a home run, I couldn't help thinking, here we go again. But Vazquez recovered nicely, striking out four of the remaining six hitters he faced with a nice mix of fastballs and breaking pitches. After his outing, Vazquez seemed surprised by Rollins' eagerness to swing the bat in a spring training game.

"Jimmy likes to swing at the first pitch, but the first pitch of spring training, I didn't know he was going to swing," Vazquez said with a laugh. He added that he "just wanted to throw strikes" and that he didn't know if his breaking pitches were as sharp as they looked because he threw a couple of bad changeups.

My enduring memory of Vazquez is from Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, the most embarrassing game of the modern New York Yankees era. But Vazquez said the atmosphere around the team is completely different from his first tenure. "There are some guys in the clubhouse that keep the club a little looser than before," he said.

Pitching behind the three-man rotation of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte that won a World Series last year, the pressure is off for Vazquez. All he has to do is pitch like a solid #4 starter and that will be more than enough for the Yankees. I have doubts about whether he can actually do that, but I hope I'm wrong.

Thanks to Kevin.Ward via Wikipedia for the photo.

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