What We Learned About the Yankees This Weekend

Yankees wrap up west coast road trip with 6-3 record.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    And the 10th thing: Mark Teixeira's power stroke is impressive.

    Anaheim has been a rough place for the Yankees to visit in the past.

    Whether it is the eternally scrappy Angels teams, the proximity to Disneyland or the loathsome Thunderstix, something about trips to Orange County have always been dicey propositions. With Jered Weaver and Dan Haren looming in the first two games, this year's visit didn't appear to be much different.

    But Haren got hurt and missed his start, the Yankees got great pitching in all three games and wound up winning two of them to end their west coast swing with a 6-3 record. That means they are tied with the Indians for the best winning percentage in the American League and return home with a head of steam for a series with the Red Sox starting on Tuesday.

    That's not all we learned about the Yankees this weekend, however.

    1. Whether it is a meal or a baseball game, CC Sabathia likes to finish what he starts. He didn't quite make it on Saturday night as Mariano Rivera came in for the final out, but Sabathia has now pitched at least eight innings in each of his last four starts.

    In this season of rotation uncertainty, that kind of durability makes Sabathia even more valuable than he was in his first two seasons with the Yankees. No surprise, then, that Joe Girardi opted to swap Ivan Nova out of a start on Thursday to give Sabathia the ball against Boston. 

    2. Curtis Granderson's bat cooled off a bit out west, but Nick Swisher's showed signs of life that have been missing all year. He hit three homers and had hits in all but one of the games during the trip to restore hope that he'll contribute something other than enthusiasm this season. 

    3. Jorge Posada's brutal year isn't showing any signs of getting better. He had two hits Sunday but all anyone will remember is his inexplicable decision to keep running past second on a double in the fourth inning.

    He was tagged out, obviously, and added another chapter to his long book of mindbogglingly stupid baserunning decisions. The only analogy to make about Posada's refusal to understand the mechanics of getting around the bases is that he is like a little kid who refuses to accept that there's nothing on his shirt before getting flicked in the nose once again.

    4. The chances of a Phil Hughes return keep getting better. He threw a live batting practice session over the weekend and will now head to Tampa to keep progressing toward a return to the team sometime in early July.

    5. Derek Jeter probably won't get to 3,000 hits before Father's Day and it doesn't sound like the new book about him would make such a hot gift either. Ian O'Connor's tome got panned by Richard Sandomir of the Times over the weekend for genuflecting too much in the presence of the Captain.

    6. The Yankee minor leagues are an unhappier than you might have imagined. Catcher Gary Sanchez, one of several promising backstops in the system, has been sent back to extended spring training because of attitude problems, while Double-A Trenton hitting coach Julius Matos has been suspended following an altercation with manager Tony Franklin.

    7. Baseball will be holding its draft on Monday but don't hold your breath waiting for the Yankees to pick. Thanks to the Rafael Soriano signing, there's no first round pick for the team.

    Brian Cashman will be keeping track of who the Rays take in that spot in case his inevitable memoir comes up short by a chapter or two. 

    8. The flap over his cousin never went anywhere, but A-Rod's not quite done dealing with fallout from his transgressions. The Times is reporting that MLB is still investigating his ties to a doctor charged with distributing human growth hormone.

    9. When in Anaheim, watch out for falling Torii Hunters!

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.