Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Win (Ugly), Baby

Sometimes your name can take you a long way.

Take Miguel Tejada, for instance. For all intents and purposes, Tejada's career is in a irreversible nosedive. The man has no business being the starting third baseman for any Major League team, no matter how awful that team may be.

But Tejada is a former MVP, a six-time All-Star, and has enough residual HGH matter in his bloodstream to revive Gary Coleman, so the Orioles continue to run the 36-year-old to the hot corner despite his atrocious defense and .296 on-base percentage.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. Tejada's throwing error was the decisive play in the Yankees' 3-1 win over the O's on Tuesday night, New York's sixth win in eight games. It also served as a probable snapshot of Baltimore rookie Brian Matusz's first seven years in the big leagues—hold Yankees offense in check then watch the bullpen, or defense, or bullpen and defense saddle him with the loss or no-decision. Welcome to The Show, Brian!

Give credit to the don't see many Tejada-types pop up on the roster anymore. Jason Giambi was certainly about to reach that point, but Brian Cashman wisely jettisoned the affable slugger following the 2008 season.

Facing the likes of Tejada and the rest of his Birds teammates certainly was a nice way for Javier Vazquez to get back on track. The right-hander finally gave Yankee Stadium fans a reason to cheer, allowing one run over seven innings of work for his fourth win. Escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh was especially encouraging—he displayed an ability to dodge trouble that you didn't see in his last start in Minnesota.

Who knows if this will finally be the turning point that sends Vazquez in the right direction for good this season, but it's certainly a promising development. His fastball consistently touched 90 and occasionally hit 91, up from the 88 MPH meatballs he was chucking in April and most of May.

Most importantly, he may have shed that, "Hey, did Bobby Cox call while I was in the bathroom?" look on his face. Vazquez is starting to look like he may actually want to be here, and that can only mean good things for the Yankees going forward.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at Follow Dan on Twitter at danhanzus.

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