Yankees Daily Briefing 07/29/11

Despite a 12-4 record against the Orioles in his career, A.J. Burnett's ERA against that team is 4.54. The high ERA, however, is still better than Jeremy Guthrie's career 5.46 ERA against the Yankees. The two starters will be on take the mound for their respective teams on Friday, as the Yankees will attempt to go to 7-0 against Baltimore on the season.

Discussion of the Day: Do you believe it's time that the Yankees call up Jesus Montero? Why or why not? Share your answers in the comments.

1) Rob Parker writes that while Hideki Irabu never quite lived up to expectations, his debut with the Yankees was a performance to remember. Irabu was found dead in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Despite a 1997-1999>4.80 ERA with the Yankees, Irabu won two World Series with the team (Irabu, however, pitched in just one postseason game). Irabu's career is emblematic of the struggles that players coming over from Japan may face -- having to adjust not just to a new language and culture, but to an altogether different level of play, even when they come with a wave of hype that makes it seem impossible that they may not live up to expectations. Irabu's untimely death is a tragedy; his career is emblematic of many Japanese players who fail to live up to expectations.

2) Marc Carig writes that Burnett remains a key as the Yankees approach the deadline.

Burnett's 2010 struggles are well known, but, by the same token, it's highly unlikely the Yankees would have won the World Series without Burnett's performance in 2009. The biggest issue with Burnett is perhaps one of perception: signed to a five year contract over $82 million, the expectations of Burnett have been that of a number two starter (and, as Carig notes, in 2009 Sabathia and Burnett lost back-to-back games just once), but over the last season and this one, Burnett has not pitched as a number two starter. Burnett figuring out how to pitch like he did in 2009, while not ace caliber, could still end up being the best possible deadline acquisition the Yankees could make.

3) Eric Schultz at The Yankee Analysts wonders if Montero might force the Yankees hand. With the Yankees getting substandard production from Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli at catcher and Jorge Posada at designated hitter, one has to wonder how much longer Montero can remain at Triple-A.

Montero's stats for the season aren't bad, by any stretch, though they aren't, perhaps, what fans are used to seeing from him. Still, it's hard to believe that Montero couldn't be at least as effective with the bat as those currently in the Yankees' lineup, though concerns about his defense remain, and it's not likely, given past events, that pulling Posada out of the DH spot would sit well with the veteran.

4) Minor league results were mixed.

Triple-A Scranton beat Buffalo, 6-3.

Montero was hitless in four at bats and walked once.

Double-A Trenton lost to Richmond, 8-3.

Dellin Betances allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in five innings pitched. He walked one and struck out three. He sat mostly mostly 93-94 mph on the gun, but did hit 96.

High-A Tampa beat Fort Myers, 12-2, while Low-A Charleston lost to Greeneville, 13-8.

In Charleston, Gary Sanchez had a double and a triple in five at bats. He allowed a passed ball and had a throwing error.

Short Season Staten Island lost to Batavia, 4-3, while the Rookie GCL Yankees beat the GCL Blue Jays, 8-3.