Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Melky Way

Joe Torre is notorious for not trusting his young players. One sometimes has to wonder what would have happened had Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams come up initially through the farm system during Torre's reign.

Robinson Cano was a special case last year. Not only did Cano come up during Torre's tenure, but he also struggled at first. Torre still wrote his name into the lineup every day, even while Cano was batting south of .150. My theory is that Brian Cashman forced Cano into the lineup.

This year, Torre initially did not show any respect for Melky Cabrera. He took him out for a defensive replacement late into games, despite Melky's defensive reputation. From the New York Daily News:

"As for Melky, who didn't have any errors charged to him in left field last night but seemed to have an awful lot of balls dropping in around him, Torre acknowledged: "He's in a foreign land and he's got to prove to himself he's capable. It's not his fault he wasn't supposed to be up here yet."

Things may have changed last night. Melky Cabrera may have won the game with a brilliant at bat against William Wagner last night, drawing an 11-pitch walk after going down 0-2. He looked like the antithesis of Robinson Cano. Wagner seemed to lose his control after Melky fought him so hard, resulting in a Yankee rally. Torre commented:

"Torre called Cabrera's at-bat "wonderful. Spectacular, really." Alex Rodriguez said Cabrera "laid off some nasty pitches. I was on second and they looked so hard to lay off." If Wagner had thrown good pitches to Cabrera, they were his last of the day, because he walked Kelly Stinnett on four pitches, then hit pinch-hitter Bernie Williams with his next delivery, bringing Willie Randolph out of the dugout to yank him."
Melky may have entered Torre's "circle of trust". This is a good thing for Melky fans. Hopefully he can replace Bernie in that circle once Sheffield returns and Damon heals.