Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Service Changes

1 Line
All times until August 2011

Bronx-bound 1 trains skip Dyckman St

11 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Jan 28 -31

Uptown 1 trains skip 50, 59 and 66 Sts

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information, read station signs.


2 Line
(Nights Only)
11 PM to 6:30 AM, Fri to Sun, Jan 28 – 30 and 11 PM Sun to 5 AM Mon, Jan 30 -31
Uptown 2 trains skip 50, 59 and 66 Sts.

(This Weekend only) 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon, Jan 29 – 31

Flatbush Av-bound 2 trains skip Bergen St, Grand Army Plaza and Eastern Pkwy.


3 Line
6:30 AM to midnight, Sat and Sun, Jan 29 – 30

New Lots Av-bound 3 trains skip Bergen St, Grand Army Plaza and Eastern Pkwy.


D Line
12:01 AM Sat to 6 PM Sun, Jan 29 – 31

Manhattan-bound D trains run on the N line from Stillwell Av to 36 St
This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information,  read station signs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg updates the City's responce to snowstorm

Blue Room, City Hall- After He decided to close the schools for only the 9th time in the last 30 years, Mayor Bloomberg had to adress the snow that had stacked 19 inches in Central Park. Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered at City Hall follow:

"Good morning. Let me bring you up to date on the storm that hit our city last night and this morning. The Police Commissioner is here. He has to go to another meeting, so unless anybody has any real questions for him - I don't think you do - when he walks out it isn't that he doesn't care, it's just that I've told him do the other meeting.

"When the snow stopped falling at about 4:00 AM, the official reading in Central Park was 19 inches. This is roughly twice the amount of snow that yesterday's evening National Weather Service forecast told us to expect. And we have now had the snowiest January in New York City history. We have had 36 inches since January 1st, breaking a record last set in 1925.

"The heavy overnight snowfall - which amounted to a foot or more of new snow by the early morning hours - is why we decided to close schools today. Emergency agencies, like police, fire, and the public hospitals, have remained open. And as I said over the course of a dozen or so interviews with TV and radio stations this morning, as transportation options get better, City employees should come in to work.

"The weather emergency that we declared yesterday afternoon remains in effect. Street cleaning and meter regulations will be suspended today and tomorrow. Clearing the streets remains our number one job - and to do that, motorists should please, please refrain from driving.

"If you get stuck, your car will be towed at your expense, and you also prevent us from plowing. So it would be very helpful if people did not use their cars. Thankfully, most car owners appear to have heeded the emergency declaration we issued. We have relatively few reports of stuck vehicles on our roadways and traffic is light.


"First, let me give you an overnight update. The City's tow truck task force - one of the elements of our new 15-point snow emergency plan that we developed this month - operated overnight out of the Emergency Operations Center at Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Brooklyn.

"OEM Commissioner Joe Bruno reports that dozens of ambulances were stuck at one point or another during the night. However, no patients were left in the stalled ambulances. The stuck ambulances were either rapidly towed out of snowdrifts, or patients were transferred to other ambulances that were dispatched to the scene. EMS reports that road and weather conditions made their response times higher than normal, but no calls ever remained in a queue. And OEM also dispatched snow removal equipment and crews from the Parks and Transportation Departments to clear some emergency entrances and driveways at City hospitals.

"All public and voluntary hospitals in the city remained, and remain, open.

"In terms of power, overnight there were two small, separate episodes of power outages on Staten Island, but as of 7 a.m., power had been restored in both of those cases.
"The MTA bus service was suspended about 12:30 this morning. MTA President Jay Walder is with us and will, in a few minutes, describe storm-related service changes.

"The Sanitation Department's strategy is to plow as much as they can, where they can, and then return to remove stalled vehicles.

"City public schools, as you know, are closed for the day. After-school programs are closed as well. The combination of mass transit delays and suspensions, and difficult conditions on secondary and tertiary streets, made this decision the only right one for parents, students, and staff. As you know, this is not a decision that we make lightly; we never want our kids to lose a day of school, or their parents to lose a day of work. For the record, this is only the ninth time since 1978 that schools have been closed because of snow. Parents, students and staff should assume that all schools, and all after-school programs, will be open tomorrow.

"We are in discussion with State education officials about finding a solution for students who were unable to take the Regents exams scheduled for today. This is not a problem only for New York City, there are other cities in the southern part of the state that have exactly the same problem.

"Yesterday, the City's human service agencies responsible for meal deliveries to shut-in or disabled New Yorkers made double deliveries of meals. And we really urge elderly neighbors with any such infirmities to remain in their homes until conditions permit them to get out and get about again. It is slippery and it will be slippery tonight when the warm weather, as it does every night, goes away and things freeze.

"At the moment, our Sanitation Department has 1,700 plows out on the streets cleaning snow. They are being assisted by a few hundred additional plows from the Department of Transportation, the Parks Department, and other agencies. We are also getting help from 128 hired pieces of equipment, including backhoes, bobcats and front-end loaders. And we're calling in upwards of 1,500 day laborers to shovel out bus stops and crosswalks.

"All primary streets and highways have received at least one pass of the plow - and we're now working on secondary and some tertiary streets. Our expectation is that by tomorrow morning's rush hour, all of the city's streets and roadways will have been plowed. Keep in mind, on some of the secondary and tertiary streets the snow gets plowed to the side where there are cars. When you shovel out your car, it would be helpful if you shovel the snow other than back into the middle of the street. When it gets into the middle of the street, it just gets messy and also gets to be dangerous.


"Even though the storms are passed, there are several steps that New Yorkers can continue to take to make the day easier and safer for everyone. First, people should please use nyc.gov for all information related to the snow. And keep 911 emergency calls to a minimum. If it's an emergency, 911. If it's not, please do not use 911. Leave it for people that really need it.

"Let me say something about 311, which is where you can go and we urge you to go. As of 8:30 this morning, 311 had received 145,000 calls since midnight - more than triple the normal number for a 24-hour period, and that puts us on track to match our highest total ever. The system is very busy. Please go to nyc.gov and it will direct you to 311 online. That will get you quicker response than if you wait in the queue for a person to actually talk to you.

"Second, now that the snow is ended, property owners are obliged to clear the sidewalks in front of their houses and businesses - and if you have a fire hydrant in front of your property, please make sure it is shoveled out, as well. If God forbid there is a fire and fire engines show up, we want them to be able to get water on a fire as quickly as possible. It could save a life. And if they have to start by finding the hydrant and shoveling it out, that just takes precious seconds away from it and that could be life threatening.


"Don't over exert yourself when you're shoveling your driveway, sidewalk, walk, car out. This snow is heavy, and if you don't exercise everyday just take it a little bit easy. Thousands of our fellow New Yorkers might need help shoveling out of their homes, so if you would like to volunteer to help them, please, once again, go to nyc.gov. We are a nation of volunteers as the President has asked us to be, particularly here in New York City, and we're happy to help those who need it. Keep an eye on your neighbors and older New Yorkers who might be having a really rough time during this kind of weather. It'd be nice to knock on the door and say, 'You okay? You have heat? Need a quart of milk or something? If you have to go someplace, can I walk with you so you don't slip?' Those kinds of courtesies make all the difference in the world.

"And for the latest details on services and alerts from the City, visit our new webpage at nyc.gov, which posts updates and other information. It makes it very easy to get everything in one place.


"Let me just try to summarize for our Spanish-speaking New Yorkers. Anoche tuvimos casi diez y nueve pulgadas de nieve, es mucho. Nuestras escuelas están cerradas hoy pero abrirán mañana. Todos tenemos que limpiar las aceras. Seguimos bajo una emergencia del clima y queremos que los coches se mantengan estacionados. No maneje al menos que sea necesario. Llame al nueve once solo en caso de emergencias. Para todo lo demás llame al tres once."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Suspension of Alternate Side Parking Regulations

The New York City Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Department of Sanitation, today announced that Alternate Side Parking Regulations are suspended citywide until further notice to facilitate snow removal.


Payment at parking meters is also suspended throughout the City until further notice.

Planned Service Changes Canceled for today through Thursday morning

Planned service changes for Wednesday, January 26 through rush hour Thursday, January 27 are canceled due to the winter storm forecast.


MTA New York City Transit is at its highest state of readiness and has begun storm preparations to ensure safe travel across the city. We expect to run normal service on the bus and subway system this evening, but please monitor www.mta.info for the latest service updates in our ‘Current Service Status’ box.

We urge all of our customers to take extra care when traveling during the storm, and please allow extra travel time.

NYC DECLARES WEATHER EMERGENCY

NYC has declared a weather emergency. The snow is forecast to become more severe this evening and overnight.


1.The public is urged to avoid all unnecessary driving during the duration of the storm and until further directed, and to use public transportation wherever possible. If you must drive, use extreme caution. Information about any service changes to public transportation is available on the MTA website.

2.Any vehicle found to be blocking roadways or impeding the ability to plow streets shall be subject to towing at the owner's expense.

3.Effective immediately, alternate side parking, payment at parking meters and garbage collections are suspended citywide until further notice.

4.The Emergency Management, Fire, Police, Sanitation, and Transportation Commissioners will be taking all appropriate and necessary steps to preserve public safety and to render all required and available assistance to protect the security, well-being and health of the residents of the City.

TLC ANNOUNCES SNOW PLANS FOR JANUARY 27, 2011

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) wishes to alert its licensees that, in the event of an eight-inch (8-inch) snowfall by 4 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, January 27, 2011, there will be NO medallion taxicab or For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) inspections at the Woodside Safety & Emissions facility that day.


Medallion taxicabs scheduled for inspection on January 27, 2011, will be inspected, instead, at their same scheduled time on Friday, January 28, 2011.

FHVs scheduled for inspection on January 27, 2011, will be individually notified of a new inspection date. For more information on inspections, licensees may call 718-267-4555.

At this time, we anticipate that our 40 Rector Street offices and Long Island City Licensing and Adjudication facilities will be open and operating due to their closeness to mass transit -- unless otherwise noted on the TLC Web site at www.NYC.GOV/TAXI.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lesislation in place to give Women parking

Democrat David Greenfield is introducing new legislation that would give preagnent women free parking. "Women may need to get to a doctor's appointment or run errands," Greenfield from his Brooklyn office. "This will help women, and make NYC a better place." Critics say that while it is nice, they don't want to turn pregancy into a disbility.

Jets just fell apart in Pittsburgh

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh- The Jets in the 1st half looked like a train wreck than a football team. 24 points(3 by touchdown) have gotten by the Jets, whose defence has been horrible. A Field goal in the 2nd Quarter was all the Jets could muster.

The 2nd half didn't start good as Shawn Greene got injured on a 22 yard drive, he did stay in the game. And the results payed off. Mark Sanchez threw a 95 yard TD pass to cut the lead to 24-10.

With less than 8 minutes in the 3rd quarter, Ben Rodlithsburger throws another interception, his first multi-interception game. This time, it was intercepted by Pool and carried for another 10 yds. Rodlithsburger's troubles continue with 3 staraight negative plays, 2 of them as sacks.

4th quarter starts with a bang, with Sanchez throwing for about 45 yds. Then, Jerricho Cotchery recieves and runs fro 2nd & Goal, however, they do not capitilize. However, they rush Pittsburgh immedeatly after for a safety, the 3rd this season.

With less than 4 minutes left, they once again are at 2nd & Goal, this time, Sanchez succsessfuly making the catch to Cotchery.

24-19 Steelers at the 2 minute warning. After a 14 yard throw, Jets head coach Rex Ryan throws down his headset, signaling the end of the game, and his 2nd AFC championship lost while with the Jets. While Sanchez threw for 233 yards and 2 TD's for the losers, Ben Rodlithsburger threw for 133 yards and 2 interceptions for the winners.

At the Award Cerimony, Franco Harris presented the trophy to Art Rooney II(president). Mike Tomlin is the yougest coach to win 2 AFC Championships. With this win, Ben Rodlithsburger advances to his 3rd carrer SuperBowl(won his other 2).

Alternate Side Parking Rules Suspended Tuesday, January 25

Alternate Side Parking Regulations are suspended citywide tomorrow, Tuesday, January 25, to facilitate snow removal.


Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the City.

Download the 2011 alternate side parking calendar.
The calendar is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Around the Majors: Inbox: Are the O's interested in Manny or Vlad?

How significant is the Orioles' interest in the two best hitters still on the market: Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero? These guys would add fear to Baltimore's lineup.


-- John C., Baltimore

Camden Yards, Baltimore- There are several teams with reported interest in Ramirez, but the Orioles aren't among them. They do, however, have interest in Guerrero and have met with his representatives, but reports that they're aggressively after him -- at this point -- are exaggerated.


The Orioles, having added Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy to their lineup, are most focused on adding a veteran starter and a lefty reliever before heading to Spring Training. They could use another bat for their bench, but it wouldn't be a Guerrero-type; if he signed with Baltimore, it would be as a full-time designated hitter, a move that would likely shift Luke Scott to left field and crowd the current platoon of Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie. One of the three, most likely Pie in that scenario, would be traded.

But that's getting a little too far ahead of ourselves. Right now, Baltimore has Guerrero on its radar, and if he comes down to a price the O's can afford, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail could pull the trigger. Right now, the organization is confident moving forward with what it has given that Scott is coming off a career year, and early indications on Reimold are that he is poised to have a comeback year. Should Pie stay healthy, the Orioles' outfield -- coupled with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis -- will be a strong suit.


The Orioles are concentrating on supporting -- and not solely relying on -- their young arms to carry them through the season. In terms of a starter signing, it will be at a low risk, and ideally a contract that the team won't be saddled with should that player not work out. A guy coming off an injury or other bounceback candidates could see Baltimore as an enticing fit.




I keep hearing about the Orioles needing a lefty for the bullpen, but I haven't heard any names. Who is on their list?


-- Jake L., Columbia, Md.

There are seven Major League left-handed relievers still on the market, a group that includes Joe Beimel, Randy Flores, Ron Mahay, Dennys Reyes, Scott Schoeneweis, Bobby Seay and Mark Hendrickson -- last year's veteran lefty/long-relief guy. Ideally, Baltimore would like to sign a guy to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite, which isn't very enticing to the player, but it's the time of year where a player's options are dwindling. The Orioles want to do a one-year deal and would certainly take the kind of production they got last year from Will Ohman, who was one of the team's best relievers in the first half of the season, and netted them right-hander Rick VandenHurk in a Trade Deadline swap with the Marlins.


Internally, there are three lefty relievers on the team's 40-man roster besides Michael Gonzalez: Troy Patton, Pedro Viola and top prospect Zach Britton. Patton and Viola are expected to compete for a spot in the 'pen, while the Orioles would prefer to keep Britton as a starter given their lack of starting pitching depth.


It seems like every other team is busy signing guys to Minor League deals. Where are the Orioles' invites?


-- Matt L., Baltimore


The O's inked right-hander Mitch Atkins to a Minor League deal earlier this winter, and Brendan Harris -- included in the Hardy trade with the Twins -- has also received a Spring Training invite. Right-hander Armando Gabino was re-signed and will be at camp. I can confirm The Baltimore Sun's initial report that the following players are expected to be in big league camp: infielders Ryan Adams and Tyler Henson; catchers Adam Donachie, Michel Hernandez and Caleb Joseph; and pitchers Raul Rivero and Jose Rupe.


The Orioles will officially release all of their invites at once, an announcement that's expected in the next week or so.

Manager Buck Showalter said that he wanted to bring back the "Oriole Way" by getting more former O's involved with the organization. Do you feel he has made an honest effort to do so?


-- Richard R., Davao, Philippines

I think if you were to ask Showalter, he would say he's just getting started in that regard. While he made it no secret that he wanted to add a former Oriole to his Major League staff -- an effort that didn't pan out -- you can expect there to be some old O's at Spring Training as guest instructors. Roving offensive coordinator Mike Bordick, who was also in camp last year, and Brady Anderson, who has worked with at least four players this winter, come to mind, and there will be probably be others who make stops through Sarasota, Fla.


Keep in mind a big part of the old "Oriole Way" was the way those teams and players approach the game, and the reverence and passion they had between the lines. Showalter and his new staff -- a group that includes bench coach Willie Randolph, third-base coach John Russell, pitching coach Mark Connor, hitting coach Jim Presley, first-base coach Wayne Kirby and bullpen coach Rick Adair -- will go to camp preaching intensity, fundamentals and a streamlined approach throughout the organization.

Around the NL East: Nationals bring aboard right-hander Coffey

Nationals Ballpark, Washington D.C- The Nationals have agreed to terms with right-hander Todd Coffey, pending a physical, according to two baseball sources. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Coffey, 30, is considered a workhorse out of the bullpen. He will compete with Drew Storen, Henry Rodriguez, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard for the closer role. If Coffey doesn't win the job, he is expected to be one of the setup men.

Coffey played the last two-plus years with the Brewers, appearing in 156 games. His best season was in 2009, posting a 2.90 ERA with two saves.

Besides playing for the Brewers, Coffey also played with the Reds from 2005-08. During his career, Coffey is 19-17 with a 4.15 ERA in 369 games. Coffey is known to run from the bullpen to the mound when it his turn to pitch.


General manager Mike Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman were not available for comment.

Alternate Side Parking Rules Suspended Saturday, January 22

Alternate Side Parking (ASP) regulations will be suspended Citywide on Saturday, January 22 to facilitate snow removal. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the City.



Download the 2011 alternate side parking calendar.
The calendar is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Around the NL East: Phillies rotation talented, but came at a cost

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia- It took plenty of talent and plenty of money to build the Phillies' rotation.


Philadelphia traded 13 prospects and dedicated more than $255 million to have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton in the same rotation at the same time. That is quite a commitment for something -- a World Series championship -- that is not guaranteed, despite one of the most talented rotations in baseball in recent memory. But Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is happy with the early returns.

"We don't make those trades unless we're getting the level of talent we got, and the control," he said. "Ultimately, these were all deals that weren't one and done. In each of these cases, we had some level of control beyond that particular season. If any of these guys were one and done, I don't think we would have done any of these deals."

But it is easy to wonder if Amaro occasionally sits in his office and thinks, "Boy, I wish I hadn't traded [insert player's name here]."


Or does he simply think, "The sacrifices were worth it."?

He said both thoughts have crossed his mind.

"There are going to be times down the road when I'm going to wish we had younger players contributing at the Major League level," Amaro said. "And that's kind of where we're going to be shortly. We have a lot of veteran guys and they're going to have to be replaced. I understand you have to give up talent to get talent, but it's a hard and difficult balance. Fortunately for us, we've done a good job of bringing in talent into the system so we can stay viable for the long-term. But some of our prospects have to become players for us, because we're going to need them as some of our veteran guys get older and less productive."

Hamels is the only homegrown talent in the rotation. The Phillies have committed roughly $23 million to him in his career: his $2 million signing bonus out of high school; $900,000 during his first two seasons with Philadelphia; and a $20.5 million contract extension before the 2009 season. Hamels will earn more with the Phils. He is salary arbitration-eligible following this season and cannot become a free agent until after the 2012 season.

Relatively speaking, Hamels has come cheap.


The same cannot be said for Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Blanton.



HALLADAY
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"I understand you have to give up talent to get talent, but it's a hard and difficult balance. Fortunately for us, we've done a good job of bringing in talent into the system so we can stay viable for the long-term."

-- Ruben Amaro Jr.
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The Phillies acquired Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays on Dec. 16, 2009, for Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud. The Phils have committed $69.75 million ($9.75 million in 2010, plus a $60 million contract extension) to Halladay, with $20 million more possible if his 2014 club option vests.

Here is a look at the prospects Philadelphia sent to Toronto:

Catcher Travis d'Arnaud. MLB.com ranks him as the ninth-best catching prospect in baseball. Baseball America considers him the organization's fourth-best prospect in its rankings. He certainly has the all-around skills to be a frontline catcher. In fact, including d'Arnaud in the Halladay deal gave the Phillies pause because of the dearth of catching depth in the organization and all around baseball.

Right-hander Kyle Drabek. The 23-year-old is the organization's top prospect and one of the top 10 right-handed pitching prospects in baseball, according to MLB.com. He should have the opportunity to make the team out of Spring Training as the fourth starter. He earned Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors last season, going 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA in 27 starts. In three starts with the Blue Jays in September, he went 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA. He never allowed more than three runs in those starts.

Outfielder Michael Taylor. Toronto immediately traded Taylor to Oakland for Brett Wallace. Taylor had a .383 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage during three seasons in the Phillies' organization, but he never got on track last season at Triple-A Sacramento. He had a .372 on-base percentage, but just a .392 slugging percentage. Still, Baseball America considers him the A's 10th-best prospect.

LEE

The Phillies acquired Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians on July 29, 2009, for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp. Philadelphia paid Lee roughly $1.9 million the final two months of the 2009 season before trading him to Seattle for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez in December 2009. The Phillies lured him back to Philly with a $120 million contract, which could jump to $135 million if his 2016 club option vests.

Here is a look at the prospects Philadelphia sent to Cleveland:


Right-hander Carlos Carrasco. He made strides last season. He went 10-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 25 starts with Triple-A Columbus before a promotion to the big leagues, where he went 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA in seven starts with the Tribe. The Indians still see him with top-of-the-rotation potential.

Infielder Jason Donald. The Phillies always considered Donald a super utility player, which he basically was with the Indians last season. He played in 88 games, hitting .253 with a .312 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage. Cleveland is still trying to determine if Donald can be an everyday second baseman.

Right-hander Jason Knapp. He had the most upside of the four prospects. He still does. But after suffering a shoulder injury, the Indians are keeping their eye on him. But his potential is off the charts. In just 28 innings last season, he struck out 47 and walked 12. Baseball America considers Knapp the organization's sixth-best prospect.

Catcher Lou Marson. It is hard to believe, but Phillies fans once considered Marson the heir apparent to Carlos Ruiz. But Marson struggled (.195/.274/.286) last season in 87 games with the Indians. He struggled (.202/.327/.371) with Columbus, too. Marson looks like a backup catcher at this point, but he has to improve offensively to stay in the big leagues.

Of course, it is impossible to mention Lee without mentioning the December 2009 trade that sent him to Seattle for Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez. The early returns on those three prospects have not been kind, but Amaro maintains they are young, with time to improve.

The Phillies are returning Aumont to the bullpen, where he is most comfortable. He struggled terribly last season as a starter. Gillies spent most of the season on the disabled list with leg injuries and later was arrested on a cocaine possession charge, which was ultimately dropped. Ramirez went 7-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 24 starts with Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. His future could be in the bullpen.

"These are important years for these guys," Amaro said. "They've got some time. Hopefully they all stay healthy and perform."



OSWALT

The Phillies acquired Oswalt from the Houston Astros on July 29 for J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. They paid Oswalt roughly $5 million the final two months of the 2010 season. He also is guaranteed $16 million this season, plus a $2 million buyout following the season. Of course, Philadelphia and Oswalt could pick up the $16 million mutual option for 2012. But don't forget the Astros kicked in $11 million to help pay Oswalt's salary. That means of the $23 million he was owed from the time of the trade through the end of this season, the Phillies are on the hook for about $12 million.

Here is a look at the prospects Philadelphia shipped to Houston:

Outfielder Anthony Gose. The Astros immediately traded Gose to the Blue Jays to get Wallace, who Oakland traded to Toronto to get Taylor. The Blue Jays wanted Gose before the July 2009 Trade Deadline, when the Phillies tried to land Halladay, but Philadelphia balked. Toronto has him now, and he is considered the organization's third-best prospect and the heir apparent to center fielder Vernon Wells.

Left-hander J.A. Happ. He went 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 starts with the Astros. Asked about a player he wished he could have kept in these trades, Amaro quickly mentioned Happ. "He's going to be a very good Major League pitcher," he said. "Young, controllable pitching, there is a lot of value in that."

Shortstop Jonathan Villar. Villar is Houston's third-best prospect, according to Baseball America. The Phillies liked him before they traded him. He has tremendous tools, although he still needs work offensively.




BLANTON

Oakland sent him to Philadelphia on July 17, 2008, for Josh Outman, Adrian Cardenas and Matt Spencer. The Phillies paid Blanton roughly $1.4 million the final two-plus months of the 2008 season, plus $5.475 million in '09 before signing him to a $24 million extension.

Here is a look at the three prospects Philadelphia sent to Oakland:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The goal remains the same: build from within."

-- Amaro
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Second baseman Adrian Cardenas. He could compete for a job at second base this spring. He hit .345 with three home runs and 32 RBIs in 51 games last season with Double-A Midland before hitting .267 with one homer and 21 RBIs in 58 games with Triple-A Sacramento.

Left-hander Josh Outman. He is expected to compete for the fifth starter's job this spring. He was 4-1 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) with the A's in 2009 before blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery.

Outfielder/first baseman Matt Spencer. The A's traded Spencer, Jeff Gray and Ronny Moria to the Chicago Cubs before the 2010 season for Aaron Miles and Jake Fox. Spencer hit a combined .269 with 19 homers and 69 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. The Phillies considered him a fringe prospect before trading him.

When Amaro looks back at these trades, he mentions the pitching they sacrificed: Happ, Drabek, Carrasco, Knapp and Outman.

"Those are some pretty darn good arms we gave up," Amaro said. "That's part of doing business. It's also a challenge to continue to bring talent into the system. We just have to keep doing it, because at some point, we're not going to be able to make trades. We're going to have to rely on these players, like Domonic Brown, Ramirez, hopefully Gillies -- these kids that we traded for or are developing."

Amaro said he thinks the organization remains healthy, despite the trades.

"Amazingly, I am pleased with it," Amaro said. "But we have holes we need to fill, just like any other organization. It's hard to find talent. Pat Gillick said it's the hardest thing to do. We just have to make sure we identify the right guys, and try to get them to be the best players they can be. The goal remains the same: build from within."

Without talent from within, they never would have acquired Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Blanton.

Around the NL East: Pressure off for Marlins' bullpen prospects

Sun Life Stadium, Miami- Bringing in several big league-tested arms promises to benefit the Marlins' bullpen for the upcoming season and years to come.


From the outset this offseason, the Marlins identified their bullpen as an area to improve. Through trades and free-agent signings, they acquired Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Randy Choate and Dustin Richardson.

All of them will be in big league camp for Spring Training, with a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster.

Their presence also takes the pressure off the organization to tap into its Minor League system for prospects who may need more seasoning.


The Marlins have some talented relief prospects who are close to being big league-ready. Prospects like left-hander Dan Jennings, along with right-handers such as Jose Ceda, Steve Cishek and Jhan Marinez all will get a look in Spring Training. Ceda, Cishek and Marinez got a taste of MLB life in the second half of 2010. Now they have the chance to continue developing at their own pace due to the offseason acquisitions.

"I can't tell you how important the additions of Mujica, Webb and the others are," said Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming. "It just helps our young guys to not have to pitch in the big leagues if they're not ready. It gives us some leeway. It adds depth. It allows us to be patient. Depth is so important."

Out of necessity in 2010, the Marlins felt the urgency to accelerate a number of their young relievers before they were ready. In all, the team used 23 different pitchers out of the bullpen.

Marlins pitchers and catchers begin Spring Training workouts on Feb. 18 in Jupiter, Fla. There will be a number of young relievers who will have an opportunity in camp, but many of them will be headed to the Minor Leagues before Opening Day.

"If they don't make the club, it will give us an idea of what they need to work on, and kind of what path to take them on if we have them at Triple-A," Fleming said. "Those four guys [Marinez, Cisheck, Ceda and Jennings], and we have more than them, I would have to say are excellent prospects in any organization. They are all good, young prospects, and I think any organization would be happy to have them."

In 2010, the Marlins' bullpen had a 4.08 ERA, which ranked ninth in the National League. Their combined 25 blown saves were tops in the NL and second most in the Major Leagues. Baltimore's 'pen had 27 blown saves.

Injuries and inconsistencies caused high turnover in the bullpen and led to a high amount of Minor Leagues getting called up.

"It was just really hard on our young pitching," Fleming said. "I'm sure they all really enjoyed going to the big leagues and it was a great thrill for them. But it puts so much pressure on our starters to go deep into games. We just didn't have a legitimate bullpen at the big league level. So we felt the effects all the way down.

"This year, as long as we stay healthy, we can call on those guys. When we do, they've got some experience now. But also when we call on them, we will know that one or two of them will absolutely be ready to go pitch in the big leagues, rather than just pulling them off Double-A."

Marinez was a prime example of a reliever who was pushed faster than the team had hoped. Promoted from Double-A on July 16, the right-hander was 21 at the time. He appeared in four big league games, but eventually went on the disabled list with a right elbow strain.

Fleming said Marinez and the rest of the young relievers are cleared medically and should be ready for Spring Training.

The Marlins' bullpen depth also will have an unusual addition this year. Chris Hatcher, the organization's fifth-round pick in 2006, is being converting from catcher to a reliever.

Hatcher, 26, pitched some at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. And he has made two relief appearances as a Minor Leaguer.

The Marlins called Hatcher up in September to add catching depth. The organization considered the switch during the 2010 season, but because of injuries at the catcher position, it kept him behind the plate.

The hope is Hatcher is ready to handle pitching in Double-A. But if necessary, he could open at Class A Jupiter.

"His delivery is something we thought we would not have much work to do with," Fleming said. "We thought, 'Let's take a chance. Let's see what happens.' We're going to put him in the 'pen and he should be able to go to Double-A. If we have to slow him down, we'll put him in Jupiter. It should be interesting. He's all for it."

Hatcher's fastball has been clocked in the low-to-mid 90s.

"He had the strongest catching arm in the organization," Fleming said. "When he threw off the mound in Double-A, he was at 93-94 [mph], and not just strolling out to the mound."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Around the NL East: No hearings, but big raises for Prado, Jurrjens

Turner Field, Atlanta- Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens have both landed the first seven-digit salaries of their young careers, and the Braves have the satisfaction of knowing they are done dealing with arbitration-eligible players this year.


Braves general manager Frank Wren said late Tuesday afternoon that an agreement has been reached with each of his club's remaining arbitration-eligible players -- Prado, Jurrjens, Peter Moylan and Eric O'Flaherty.

Prado will earn $3.1 million this upcoming season, and Jurrjens will collect $3.25 million with his one-year deal. This year marked the first time they were eligible to apply to have their respective salaries determined by the arbitration process. Their salaries during the 2010 season were below $500,000.

Moylan will see his $1.15 million salary rise to $2 million for the upcoming season. The durable right-handed reliever has made at least 80 appearances during three of the past four seasons. The other season was interrupted after just seven appearances by Tommy John surgery.


O'Flaherty, who is also entering his first arbitration-eligible season, will see his salary double from $440,000 to $895,000 this year. The left-handed reliever missed most of the second half of 2010 while dealing with the lingering effects of mononucleosis.

Prado's significant raise certainly was expected. On the way to earning his first All-Star selection in 2010, he hit .307, with career highs in homers (15) and RBIs (66).

Since the start of the 2009 season, Prado ranks fifth among all National League players in batting average and third in doubles with 78, a figure only bettered by Albert Pujols and Ryan Braun.

Jurrjens' raise had more to do with what he had done during his first two big league seasons. While battling numerous injuries last year, he went 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA. But since the start of 2008, the 24-year-old right-hander ranks 12th among NL hurlers with a 3.45 ERA. The 2.60 ERA he posted in 2009 stood as the NL's third-best mark.

Top MLB News: Healthy Berkman plans to have 'great year'

Busch Stadium, St. Louis- Somewhere in the back of his mind, Lance Berkman wonders, just a little bit, about whether he's still good enough to play at his accustomed level. But he doesn't worry even the slightest bit about whether he's healthy enough.


Coming off the worst full season of his Major League career, the longtime Astros icon signed a one-year deal to join a team he once loved to hate. He'll play right field for the Cardinals in 2011, returning to the outfield after a layoff of nearly four years. And though knee troubles plagued him in 2010, Berkman insists that covering ground won't be a problem.

In fact, he sees it as potentially beneficial.

"First base is harder on your knees than the outfield is," Berkman said Saturday at the Cardinals' annual Winter Warm-Up. "And the reason is because, at first base, there's a tremendous amount of direction change, there's stopping and starting. You're holding guys on. You're bouncing off. You're having to get back. ... The actual, hey, run from A to B and either catch the ball or don't get there, that's easy if your legs are in good shape."


Berkman underwent left knee surgery last March and missed the Astros' first 12 regular-season games. After that, he was never quite himself at the plate, finishing the year far off of his career norms. Berkman ended 2010, which he split between the Astros and Yankees due to a July trade, with a .248 batting average, .368 on-base percentage and a .436 slugging percentage.

He's choosing to think that with a full spring and his knees mended, he's in for a better season in '11.

"I hope that was the whole reason," he said. "I'm just going to blame it on that anyway. But I don't know. Obviously it got me off on the wrong foot, no pun intended. I missed Spring Training, and when I came back, I just didn't have enough strength, I don't think. On my left side particularly, that's my back leg. You hear people say, 'Sit back, you've got to stay back,' and I just wasn't able to do that.

"I'm hopeful that that was the case. But if it wasn't, and I'm really just not any good anymore, I can live with that. I worked hard this offseason and I don't think that's the case, but we'll see."

Berkman said that he's down approximately 15-20 pounds from the weight at which he ended last season, and he certainly looked trim in street clothes. After finishing last season at 230 pounds, he'd like to come to camp at about 215. That should help ease the load on his knees and aid him in covering ground in the outfield.

Of course, Berkman was signed for two things: to hit, and to bring some personality and fun into the Cardinals' clubhouse. If he does those two things, it's unlikely that defense will be much of a hangup for anyone.


"I'm just glad I don't have to pitch against him," said new teammate Kyle Lohse. "I know he had a down year last year, but the guy can hit. I've been seeing everything where you guys are talking about how he's working out and getting ready, and I'm definitely excited."

Berkman, a five-time All-Star, views his detour to St. Louis as a make-good opportunity. Reports circled over the winter of the possibility of a multi-year offer for Berkman somewhere, but he said Saturday that he actually had little interest in signing for more than one year.

"Even if I had been offered a two-year deal for the same money, I probably wouldn't have taken it," Berkman said. "Just because, honestly, I feel like last year was a fluke. I think I'm going to have a great year this year. And if I do, then statistically I'm going to be in a great spot. And if I don't, I'll want to retire. But if I had locked into a two-year deal, then I would feel like I had to honor the second year of that. So from a flexibility standpoint, and from just a financial standpoint, I feel like if I can go out and regain form, I'll be sitting pretty as a free agent next year."

Thus, the Cardinals' desire to stand firm on a one-year deal actually suited him. That was one of a few reasons that St. Louis represented such a good fit for Berkman.

He told reporters on Saturday that he instructed his agent to check on opportunities with five teams: Houston, Texas, Atlanta, St. Louis and Colorado. If none of those clubs had been interested, he said, he might have hung it up entirely. Fortunately, the Redbirds were interested in bringing him in to play right field and bat fifth.

"It's weird," he said. "For most of my career, I couldn't stand the Cardinals. I basically hated the organization's guts -- in a good way. In a fun way. It's more just a healthy respect, I should say. But that was part of what drove me here, too. I think so much of this organization and so much of the people, from [manager Tony La Russa] to his coaching staff to the players that have been around and I've competed against for so many years. I couldn't think of a better place to be."

Top MLB News: Reds, Cueto agree on four-year extension

Cincinatti- The Reds were trying to work out a deal to avoid arbitration with right-hander Johnny Cueto. Turns out, they might have locked him up all the way through his first free-agent year.


Cueto and the Reds have reached agreement on a four-year, $27 million contract extension, according to a report on ESPNDeportes.com on Thursday night. The Reds did not confirm the report, which said the agreement is pending a physical examination, though the club did acknowledge that discussions about a multiyear deal with Cueto have taken place.

If the deal goes through, then Cueto would be the third arbitration-eligible player the Reds have locked in with a multiyear commitment this winter. Outfielder Jay Bruce signed a six-year, $51 million deal last month, and reigning MVP Joey Votto signed a three-year, $38 million contract earlier this week.

Cueto signing would leave right-hander Edinson Volquez as the last remaining arbitration-eligible player on the Reds' roster this winter. Both Cueto and Volquez made $445,000 last season. Arbitration hearings run from Feb. 1-21, but teams can still find middle ground with their eligible players in advance of a hearing.


Earlier this week, when arbitration figures were exchanged, Cueto had asked for $3.9 million for the 2011 season, with the Reds countering with a $3 million offer.

The 24-year-old Cueto, a native of the Dominican, went 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA last season. His wins total, ERA, innings pitched (185 2/3) and walks allowed (56) were all career-bests.

After signing with the Reds as an amateur free agent in 2004, Cueto made his Major League debut in '08. He has compiled a 32-32 record and 4.27 ERA in 92 starts over the last three seasons.

Pettitte still undecided, but getting into shape

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa- Andy Pettitte may still be undecided on his future pitching plans, but it may be an encouraging sign for the Yankees that the left-hander has at least picked up a baseball this winter.


Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Wednesday that he had spoken to Pettitte in the last week and that the hurler was starting to get into baseball shape, just in case he decides to pitch in 2011.

"I believe he is throwing," Girardi said at Yankee Stadium. "He wants to be prepared, whatever his decision is." Pettitte, 38, told the Yankees after the American League Championship Series not to count on his return and that he was leaning toward retirement, saying he needed to spend more time with his family in Texas.


"Andy has told us he's not in," general manager Brian Cashman said on Wednesday. "He told us that right after we got knocked out by Texas. He told us if he ever changes his mind, he'll let us know."

But Pettitte has continued to leave the door open at least a sliver, with his decision still not set in stone despite the report date for pitchers and catchers quickly approaching.

"Basically, the advice that I've given him is: 'Just think about it, talk to your wife [Laura] about it,'" Girardi said. "There's no rush, there really isn't, because he is training."

Girardi said that he left his last conversation with Pettitte still "mulling over his options." He did not know if there was a cutoff date for Pettitte to make a decision.

"Andy needs to do what's right for him," Girardi said. "That's the most important thing, and I respect that. That's not an easy decision to make."

Though not specifically voiced by the Yankees, there is a thought that Pettitte could return at a later date, as Roger Clemens did by joining the team in June 2007, when the starting rotation floundered.

Cashman said that it was "not even sensible for me to speculate" about such a scenario, and said that there was no reason to call Pettitte and try to talk him into pitching.

"He's not open to persuasion," Cashman said. "He's made a decision and it's more about if he changes his mind. I don't want to change someone's heart. He knows at the same time how dedicated, how committed, how much effort it takes.

"His heart has got to be in it, he's got to be all in. And if it's not, then it's in everybody's best interest for him not to play, including himself. Only he can make that decision."


For now, Girardi said he is looking at his rotation on paper without Pettitte, but holding out hope that won't have to be the case in three weeks.

"We always have hope. I always think positive," Girardi said. "I hope he does come back -- who wouldn't want Andy Pettitte to come back? But you do have to kind of prepare like he's not coming back."

Andruw agrees to one-year deal with Yankees

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa- The Yankees have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with five-time National League All-Star Andruw Jones, who will join the club as a backup at all three outfield positions.


MLB.com has confirmed that the 33-year-old will receive a base salary of $2 million, plus $1.2 million in potential performance incentives. The Yankees have not made an announcement, and the deal will not be official until Jones passes a physical.

General manager Brian Cashman has been seeking a right-handed hitter to join the mix as a fourth outfielder, and Jones fills one of the team's final needs as it prepares to begin Spring Training.

With Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson both left-handed hitters, New York could use Jones much as it did Marcus Thames in 2010. Thames' bat was a nice surprise for the Yankees, but they had concerns about his defense, an area where Jones should represent an improvement.


A 10-time NL Gold Glove Award winner during his best seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Jones spent 2010 with the Chicago White Sox, his fourth Major League team and third in the last three years.

Jones batted .230 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs in 107 games for the White Sox, playing all three outfield positions.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday in New York, where the Yankees introduced reliever Rafael Soriano, agent Scott Boras said that Jones' goal is to return to his former status as an everyday outfielder, but he understands that is not likely under his current situation.

"I think at this point, he's going to have to prove himself in the Major Leagues to get that," Boras said. "Right now, the opportunities that are available to him are more in the realm of being a guy that can play all three outfield positions and be a fourth outfielder."

Boras added that White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker was especially encouraged by the last six weeks of Jones' service in Chicago, when he batted .375 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 60 plate appearances.

Many Yankees fans will likely remember Jones from his grand entrance onto the baseball stage as a 19-year-old rookie, blasting two home runs in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series to supplant Mickey Mantle as the youngest player to homer in a Fall Classic.

In a 15-year career with the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers and the White Sox, Jones is a .256 lifetime hitter in 2,025 Major League games, slugging 407 home runs and collecting 1,222 RBIs.

Jones' best season came with Atlanta in 2005, when he led the NL with 51 home runs and 128 RBIs, finishing second in the NL MVP balloting to Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.

Boras also said on Wednesday that there continues to be a market for Johnny Damon, a free agent whom the Yankees also had some level of interest in for a return. But with Gardner and Granderson in place, Jones simply made more sense as an addition.

Mets complete deal with outfielder Hairston

Port St. Lucie, Florida- The Mets signed outfielder Scott Hairston to a one-year contract on Thursday, finalizing a deal with the free-agent outfielder that was agreed to earlier in the week.


Hairston, 30, hit .210 with 10 home runs last season for San Diego, primarily as a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter. He will battle Nick Evans for New York's one remaining reserve outfield spot. Willie Harris, whom the Mets signed to a Minor League contract earlier this week, is a heavy favorite to make the team as a fourth outfielder and left-handed pinch-hitter.

Evans is out of Minor League options, meaning if he does not make the team, the Mets will risk losing him to a waiver claim. Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan are already entrenched as the club's three starting outfielders.

A veteran of seven seasons with the D-backs, Padres and A's, Hairston hit .258 with 34 homers over a two-year stretch from 2008-09, before struggling somewhat last season in San Diego. He is the brother of free-agent infielder Jerry Hairston Jr., and the son of former Major League outfielder Jerry Hairston Sr.

Healthy Young's one-year pact with Mets official

Port St. Lucie, Florida- Chris Young was not on San Diego's active roster when the Padres visited Citi Field last June. But he was traveling with the team. And he was actively engaged.


"I thought to myself, 'It would be a lot of fun to play here,'" Young said.

Months later, at the end of yet another injury-plagued season, Young finally made it back to the big leagues. His audition for free agency was impressive, prompting the Mets to take a gamble.

It worked out that way, and I'm just really thrilled to be here," Young said Thursday, shortly after the Mets officially announced his signing to a one-year deal. "I can't wait to get started."


The Mets on Thursday also officially announced the signing of outfielder Scott Hairston to a Major League contract. To make room for those two, they must drop two players off their 40-man roster, a process they intend to complete by the end of the day. Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, who are expected in camp next month, do not appear to be among the candidates.

But right now, the Mets are less concerned with subtractions than they are with the addition of Young, a 6-foot-10 right-hander with a Princeton education, a high-80s fastball and a strong command of his repertoire. General manager Sandy Alderson first met Young during his days as CEO in San Diego, and came away impressed.

"From my standpoint, [he was] our big-game pitcher when he was available to us," Alderson said. "We really believe that Chris can make a major contribution to us. His approach to the game, his work ethic, as well as his exceptional results in the past, all give him a big upside with us -- particularly in this ballpark."

The ballpark was a factor for Young as well -- and not only because of its aesthetics. A fly-ball specialist, Young stands to benefit more than most pitchers from Citi's spacious dimensions, which have a habit of turning potential home runs into deep fly-ball outs.


"It's something obviously that I thought about, but it wasn't a big, defining factor for me," Young said. "Really, I never change the way I pitch based on where I'm pitching, and I never will. I feel like you can have good ballgames in hitters' ballparks and you can have bad ballgames in pitchers' ballparks. It really comes down to execution of pitches."

And health. A series of arm injuries over the past three seasons has included both the typical (a right shoulder strain last year, a labrum tear in 2009) and the freakish (an Albert Pujols line drive off his forehead in '08). But Young on Thursday passed his physical in New York, finalizing his contract. He feels healthy. He seems healthy. And at 31 years old, he still has a chance to resurrect what once had been an impressive start to his career.

From 2005-08, Young ranked among the top young arms in the game, compiling a 39-26 record and 3.66 ERA for the Rangers and Padres. He averaged roughly eight strikeouts and three walks per nine innings.

But injuries haunted him until the end of last season, when Young, in effect, pressed the restart button on his career. Pitching for the Padres down the stretch, he allowed two earned runs in 20 innings, improving his velocity with each and every outing.


"Unfortunately, the clock sort of ran out of time and I didn't have the proper time that I needed to build up my arm strength," Young said. "But I felt like I was confident. I was making progress and I was very happy with my mechanics, which is a big part of being efficient and healthy."

Now, he'll have a chance to continue that work at Citi Field -- a place he's already come to enjoy.

"The energy in that stadium is the best in the Major Leagues," Young said. "I'm excited to experience that."

Weeknight Planned Service Changes Cancelled

Weeknight Planned Service Changes for Thursday, Jan 20 to Friday morning, Jan 21, are cancelled due to the Winter Storm Forecast.


Please monitor mta.info for the latest service updates.

Alternate Side Parking Rules Suspended Friday, January 21

Alternate Side Parking (ASP) regulations will be suspended Citywide on Friday, January 21 to facilitate snow removal. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the City.


Download the 2011 alternate side parking calendar.
The calendar is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Soriano happy to be working with Mo

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa- The Yankees put the finishing touches on one of the game's top late-inning relief combinations on Wednesday, dressing Rafael Soriano in pinstripes at Yankee Stadium.


With the 31-year-old Soriano drawn to New York by a three-year, $35 million contract, the team will enter 2011 showcasing a new setup man for Mariano Rivera as well as a possible future successor for the long-occupied closer role in the Bronx.

"It's a great pleasure to be here, one of the most important days of my career, to represent this uniform," Soriano said through a Spanish translator, donning a home jersey embroidered with No. 29.

"I know people will find this strange, but I'm very happy to be close to one of the greatest closers in Mariano Rivera. Hopefully in the future I will, after being a setup man, be the closer, too."


Widely considered the best available talent remaining on the free-agent market, Soriano converted an American League-leading 45 saves in 48 opportunities last year, helping the Rays edge the Wild Card-winning Yankees for the AL East title.

He'll be expected to answer the bullpen phone in the eighth innings for New York, setting up as Rivera takes aim at the all-time Major League saves record, entering this year 42 behind Trevor Hoffman's total of 601.

"A lot of the success of the Yankees over the years has come because of a knockdown bullpen, and Soriano is adding to that," manager Joe Girardi said. "You could argue that Mariano and Rafael had the best years as closers last year, and we have two closers now.


"When you have a lead, it's important to win those games. I'm going to be very excited to pick up the phone and call down and bring him into the game, and feel good about it."

Soriano's contract, as negotiated by agent Scott Boras with team president Randy Levine, permits the All-Star to opt out and become a free agent after either the 2011 or '12 seasons. Those perks were at Boras' suggestion, Soriano said.

"It didn't come from me," Soriano said. "One of the greatest things about this contract is that at any given time, if I don't feel comfortable, I can always get out of the contract. That was [Boras'] decision, and I think it was a good decision."

Soriano will earn $10 million in the first year of his pact, with an additional $1.5 million if he opts out; $11 million in the second year, with an opt-out payment of $1.5 million; and $14 million for the 2013 campaign.


Soriano said he would like to finish his three years with the Yankees and perhaps play in New York longer, but if his performance holds true in the Bronx, he may entertain some tantalizing closing opportunities. He posted a 1.73 ERA, an .802 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings last year.

"I just wanted to give him the ability to return to his [closer's] role if it was something that he sought to do," Boras said. "It's an unusual contract, but this is an unusual situation, when you have a player coming here for reasons of playing with the greatest closer in the game."

The signing came over the objections of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who did not agree with the financial terms, as well as losing the team's first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft to the Rays because of Soriano's Type A free-agent status.

"I didn't recommend it -- not because I dispute the ability of the player," Cashman said. "He's a tremendous player in what he does. But for me, I'm pretty transparent in how I've evolved in building your team. Early on, we've obviously committed a lot of money to relievers and had some difficulties with that."


But Cashman was ultimately overruled by general partner Hal Steinbrenner, writing another chapter in a difficult winter that saw the Yankees unable to upgrade their starting pitching. Rivera actually played a part in the negotiations, urging the club to go hard after Soriano and promising to help him acclimate to the team's clubhouse.

"Mariano is one of the ones who actually did something for me to be signed by the Yankees," Soriano said. "I'm going to learn a lot from him. He is one of the greatest, and the communication between he and I is going to be wonderful. We're going to do a lot of good for the team."

Soriano became a full-time closer in 2009 while pitching for the Atlanta Braves. He came up in the Seattle Mariners system and broke into the Majors in '02 as a starter before locking into a middle-relief and setup role. He has a career 2.73 ERA, 1.000 WHIP and 422 strikeouts in 395 innings.

Having also added catcher Russell Martin and left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano this winter, the Yankees can now hope that Soriano and Rivera will shorten games as one of the game's knockout relief combinations.


"I'll be ready to pitch in the eighth inning," Soriano said. "I think it's important to pitch the eighth inning as well as the ninth inning, because it can be a blown save. I'd like to do a good job pitching the eighth inning, and I will prepare for that situation."

Pelfrey will get ball for Mets on Opening Day

Port St. Lucie, Florida- Speaking to a group of students from Sunnyside Community Services in Queens on Wednesday, Mets manager Terry Collins began by introducing the six players on hand. Most needed no introduction. But when he came to Mike Pelfrey, Collins referred to the right-hander as his Opening Day starter.


"Darn right he is," Collins said afterward. "He deserves it. He earned it. He should have made the All-Star team last year, and right now I think Mike Pelfrey is the No. 1 guy on this staff."

Considering the absence of Johan Santana, who will miss the start of the season recovering from left shoulder surgery, that much should come as no surprise. But the fact that Collins was willing to say it so openly and plainly at a Citi Field Kids fundraiser speaks to the respect he has for Pelfrey.

"It feels good," Pelfrey said. "There's still a lot of work to be done. There's still a lot of time before it actually starts. I'll look forward to it, and I'll go out there in Spring Training and get myself ready for the first time."


The only other candidate for the job, R.A. Dickey, admitted that Pelfrey "deserves it 100 percent. I think he's ready," Dickey said.

And Pelfrey thinks so, too.

In his third full big league season, pitching behind Santana in the rotation, Pelfrey set career bests in wins (15), innings (204), ERA (3.66) and strikeouts (113) -- all at the age of 26. His prime years still lie ahead of him. And if the Mets are to win this season, they need Pelfrey -- perhaps more than anyone else -- to remain an integral part of their successes.

"You embrace it," Pelfrey said. "I feel good and I'm excited. Whether you're starting the first game of the year or whether you're starting the fifth game of the year, you have to go out there and put up zeros. You have to go out there and compete."


The challenges, for Pelfrey, should begin immediately. It's a good bet that the Marlins and Phillies will start Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay on Opening Day, respectively, meaning Pelfrey's first two outings may come against two of the best starters in the Major Leagues. Such is the life of an ace.

Pelfrey must prepare for it. He's no longer a No. 2 starter.

"Those are the guys you want to go against," he said of Johnson and Halladay specifically. "When you face guys of that caliber, it usually brings the best out of you. I'll be looking forward to it, and I'm going to go out there and do the best I can, and we'll see what happens."

"Someone's got to pitch against them, and why not have it be Mike?" Collins said. "I know he's excited about it, he's ready to compete, and if that's what he draws, that's what he draws."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yankees avoid arbitration with Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan

George M. Steinbrenner field, Tampa- The Yankees avoided arbitration with three pitchers today, locking Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan into one-year deals for 2011. Hughes will receive $2.7 million, Chamberlain will receive $1.4 million and Logan will receive $1.2 million, according to SI.com.


The team also officially announced a three-year contract for Rafael Soriano, the right-handed reliever expected to complement Mariano Rivera in the bullpen.

Hughes, 24, made progress as a starter in 2010. He finished 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA. He threw a career-high 176 1/3 innings.

Chamberlain, 25, struggled at times out of the bullpen. He had a 4.40 ERA, though his 2.98 fielding-independent mark indicates he suffered from some bad luck. It is unclear what his role will be for 2011, considering the rotation is in flux and the bullpen has been fortified by the addition of Soriano.

Logan, 26, threw 40 decent innings for the Yankees in 2010. His ERA was 2.93. He will be one of two lefties in the Yankees bullpen headed into spring training.

Alternate Side Parking Rules In Effect On Wednesday, January 19

Alternate side parking rules will be back in effect on Wednesday, January 19.


Download the 2011 alternate side parking calendar.
The calendar is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Righty Young headed to Mets, pending physical

Citi Field- Filling the one remaining hole in their roster, the Mets on Monday agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Chris Young, according to a baseball source. The deal, which the Mets have not confirmed, is pending a physical.


Young, 31, became a free agent after several injury-plagued seasons prompted the Padres to decline his $8.5 million option for 2011. Missing nearly all of last season with a strained right shoulder, Young has made just 26 big league starts over the last three years, following three consecutive seasons in which he started at least 30 games, won at least nine and posted an ERA no higher than 4.26. The 6-foot-10 Young, one of the tallest players in Major League history, is 48-34 with a 3.80 ERA over a seven-year career with the Rangers and Padres.

On a limited budget this offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson has looked to injury-prone pitchers, such as Young and recent signees Chris Capuano and Taylor Buchholz, in a series of low-risk gambles.


The Mets have also signed right-hander D.J. Carrasco, lefty Taylor Tankersley, catcher Ronny Paulino and outfielder Willie Harris, making Young one of their final acquisitions. The Mets now have an expected five-man rotation of Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Young and Capuano to go along with a full bullpen, lineup and bench. Though they may commit more non-guaranteed money to another Minor League acquisition or two, the Mets should be done with their major spending this offseason.

Young's lone All-Star appearance in 2007 capped a two-year stretch in which he went 20-13 with a 3.30 ERA.

Pelfrey avoids hearing, signs deal with Mets

Citi Field- The Mets agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday, and they exchanged salary figures with their two other arbitration-eligible players, Angel Pagan and R.A. Dickey.


Pelfrey, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time, agreed to a new contract worth $3.9 million, according to a baseball source. The Mets have not confirmed the deal. Though Pelfrey made $2.2 million in 2009 as part of his original four-year, $5.25 million contract with the Mets, he dropped down to $500,000 last season after that deal expired.

Pelfrey quickly settled Tuesday on the first day that teams and players could exchange salary figures. His $3.9 million deal is a product not only of his past salaries, but of his 15-9 record and 3.66 ERA last season. Because Johan Santana will miss the start of the season due to injury, Pelfrey -- who remains under team control for three more seasons -- is the heavy favorite to start for the Mets on Opening Day.

Through the arbitration process, players with between three and six years of service time must first file for arbitration, then exchange salary figures for potential one-year contracts with their teams. If they cannot independently negotiate a deal by late February, the two sides then go to hearing, at which a panel of three arbitrators listens to arguments and chooses either the player's suggested salary or the team's.


In most cases, players and teams settle long before the hearing is scheduled to take place. The Mets have gone to a hearing just twice in the past 19 years -- with David Cone in 1992 and Oliver Perez in 2008.

Dickey, 36, figures to make somewhere between $1 million and $2 million through the arbitration process, with his age depressing his salary potential. Enjoying the most successful season of his career last year as a full-time knuckleballer, Dickey finished 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA. As of last week, the Mets had not broached the subject of a multiyear deal with Dickey, who can become a free agent after the 2011 season.

Pagan, 29, should make something close to $3 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He hit .290 with 11 home runs and 37 stolen bases last season, his first as an everyday player. Pagan, who will start either in right or center field this year, is under team control for two more seasons.

Mets officially announce deal with Harris

Citi Field- NEW YORK -- Known in large part for his string of successes in Queens in recent years, outfielder Willie Harris has signed a Minor League contract with the Mets, the team announced on Monday. Harris agreed to terms with the club last Friday.


Harris, 32, hit .183 with a .291 on-base percentage in 132 games for the Nationals last season. But he also hit 10 home runs and provided capable defensive help at all three outfield positions. For the Mets, his defense was the most intriguing selling point; three times over the past four seasons, Harris preserved wins over the Mets with spectacular outfield catches.

Harris has spent the past four years in the National League East with the Nationals and Braves, amassing more than 300 at-bats in three of those four seasons.

Though his deal with the Mets is non-guaranteed, a source said Harris is all but a lock to make the team in an arrangement that should net him between 250 and 400 plate appearances, which should help keep veteran starters Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay and Angel Pagan fresh. Harris' defensive numbers may have declined since his standout season in 2008, but he is not far removed from being one of the game's better defensive outfielders.


With him in the mix, New York's roster of position players now appears to be set. In addition to Beltran, Bay, Pagan and Harris, outfielder Nick Evans is a favorite to make the team as a right-handed pinch-hitter.

Early last week, the Mets signed lefty reliever Taylor Tankersley to a Minor League contract, leaving just one remaining hole on their roster: starting pitcher. One of their top targets, Jeff Francis, signed with the Royals on Friday morning, making a Chris Young signing even more likely. If the Mets do not sign Young, Dave Bush and Freddy Garcia are two potential alternatives.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

JETS WIN! THE JETS WIN!

Foxborough, New England- The Jets are one step away from Super Bowl 45. Aftera 45-3 loss to the Patriots in December, the Jets got their revenge with a 28-21 win in the AFC Divisional game.

The Patriots led 3-0 at the end of the 1st, but the Jets scored 14 in the 2nd to take a 14-3 lead by halftime. The Patriots did score 8 in the 3rd to cut the deficit to 14-11. But a couple of throwing errors in the 4th led to 14 points to make it not possible for New England to come back.

After the drubbing the Jets recieved in Week 13, Mark Sanchez siad that he "wanted a second chance." He made sure to use the oppertunity. Sanchez threw for 194 yards and scored 3 TD's. Ladinian Tomlinson also helped his own cause with 1 touchdown.

Tom Brady and the Patriots didn't have the magic on this night, making all sorts of errors in the field.  Some of the throws were off(including one taken for an interception). The Jets also set a  franchise single-game postseason record by sacking Tom Brady 5 times.

So now, the Jets head to Pittsburg to take on the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The Jets do have a win against the Steelers in Pittsburg with a 22-17 win in Week 15. Their playoff experience has not been that good. Their last game vs. the Steelers was the Championship game in 2005. They lost on a field goal for a 20-17 loss. Can the Jets get revenge? We'll see.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Take the New Year, New You Free Fitness Challenge

This FREE 12-week challenge will run from January 17 to April 8, and will include measurements of weight, strength, flexibility, and body fat, both “BEFORE” and “AFTER” the challenge.


The challenge will be offered at more than 30 Shape Up NYC sites throughout the city, with kick-off days happening at each site during the week of January 17. The challenge will end with a day of celebration, where the top three most successful participants at each site will receive fun, healthy prizes!

For the full Kick-off Week schedule, or to find a free Shape Up class in your neighborhood, visit the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and start to Shape Up today!

Shape Up NYC is a FREE fitness program offered by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYC Service, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Equinox Fitness Clubs. Like all Shape Up NYC classes, the New Year, New You Challenge is open to the public, FREE of charge, and no pre-registration is required. Please visit BeFitNYC to find a Shape Up NYC class near you!

Weekend Bridge and Street Closures – January 15-16

The Manhattan Bridge’s North Upper Roadway will be closed on Saturday from 12:01 am to 6 am. The rain date is Sunday. This closure is needed for the installation of a construction shed over the northern bicycle pathway and the removal of a temporary access platform.


One of three eastbound/Brooklyn-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will be closed Saturday from 6 am to 2 pm to facilitate bridge maintenance.

One of four eastbound/Brooklyn-bound lanes of the Williamsburg Bridge will be closed Saturday from 6 am to 2 pm to facilitate maintenance work.

59th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Manhattan will be closed from 7 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday to facilitate utility and trunk water main work by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Motorists should use 2nd Avenue southbound or 58th Street eastbound to access the lower level of the Queensboro Bridge.

Two of three lanes of northbound Route 9A (West Street) from Liberty Street to Vesey Street will be closed on Saturday from 12:01 am to 10 am and again on Sunday from 12:01 am to 11:59 am to facilitate Port Authority roadway work.



This information will be available on the DOT web site at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/wkndtraf.shtml.

Temorary diversion of sothbound traffic out of Laguardia Airport

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) wishes to alert its licensees that the planned diversion of southbound traffic (toward Ditmars Boulevard and the eastbound Grand Central Parkway ramp) out of LaGuardia Airport onto a two-lane temporary 94th Street Bridge will begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2011. Northbound traffic entering the airport will follow the current two lanes on the existing 94th Street Bridge. This configuration will be in effect for approximately one year.

Please allow extra travel time due to this project.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Alternate Side Parking Rules Suspended Friday through Monday, January 14-17

Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended Friday and Saturday, January 14-15, for snow removal and on Monday, January 17 for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.


Alternate side parking and parking meter rules are suspended on Sunday, January 16.

Download the 2011 alternate side parking calendar at Nyc.gov/dot

The calendar is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Special Weather Statemwnt from NWS

For the following Counties in NY: Bronx county, Hudson, Kings, Brooklyn, New York, Northeast Suffolk, Northern Nassau, Queens, Northwest Suffolk, Richmond, Southeast Suffolk, Southern Nassau, Southern Westchester, Southeast Suffolk, and Western Suffolk


For the following counties in Conneticut: Northern New London, Southern Fairfield, Southern Middlesex, Southern New Haven,and Southern New London

Forthe following counties in NJ: Eastern Bergen, Eastern Essex, Eastern Union, Western Essex, and Western Union

Bands of heavy snow will continue to impact Long Island and will move into the NYC area, Costal Conneticut and Long Island. At 8:06 PM EST, NWS Doppler Radar was tracking an area of snow along a line extending from 23 miles west of Bethel to 14 miles southeast of West Freehold...and moving east at 15 MPH. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hourand winds gusting up to 35 MPH. Visabilities of 1/4 and 1/2 miles are expected with the snow with near blizzard conditions developing. Motorists should avoid all unessasary travel and exercise extreme caution if you must travel.


A blizzard warning remains in effect.

Alternate Side Parking and Parking Meters Suspended

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Effective immediately, Alternate Side Parking, payment at parking meters and garbage collections are suspended citywide until further notice.

Download the 2011 alternate side parking calendar NYC.GOV/DOT.
The calendar is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 comes in with a bang

Times Square- A million screaming revelers packed into a slushy Times Square last night to watch the ball drop and ring in the new year.

The crossroads of the world was filled with confetti and sounds of "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight, as the throng of revelers from around the world, some of whom waited for more than 16 hours to watch the event, welcomed 2011.

"The weather is perfect tonight," Brooklyn's Meagan Pulk said of the 42-degree temperatures five days after a blizzard slammed the city. "They cleaned up Times Square really nice so there's not too much snow getting in everyone's way. This is the place to be, baby!"

Jennifer Stephens, 22, of Pennsylvania added: "I've got a ton of confetti stuck in my hair, I'm exhausted and probably dehydrated, but it was all worth it for that one moment. It was perfect." Cevilla Rendle, 48, of Columbus, Ga., claimed her spot just before 8 a.m. and went without food until noon, when a crew from Domino's Pizza worked its way through the crowd selling pies.

"I wanted to make sure I got the opportunity to see the ball drop," she said.

Rendle came prepared for the wet streets by bringing a garbage bag to use as "my raincoat."

Anticipating many hours penned off away from restrooms, some considered wearing adult diapers to have the true "New Year's baby" experience.


Have a happy and healthy new year!
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