New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The first month of the Major League Baseball season is now in the books. The New York Yankees finished an up-and-down month 13-9, 1.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. Let's review the month for the Yankees, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style. 'Kudos,' of course, go to players deserving praise. 'Wet Willies' go to those who get a thumbs down for their work thus far.
Kudos to ...
Derek Jeter -- The future Hall of Fame shortstop is hitting a robust .389, third in the American League, and leads the major leagues with 37 base hits. Unbelievable work for a guy who looked ordinary the first half of the 2011 season.
Nick Swisher -- In the final year of his contract, Swisher has gotten off to a tremendous start. His 23 RBI are second in the American League. Swisher is currently sidelined for a few games with a hamstring injury.
Curtis Granderson -- The Yankee centerfielder has picked up where he left off last season, when he bashed a career-high 41 home runs. He has eight thus far, tied for second in the American League. Granderson has a three-home run game in April, as well.
Alex Rodriguez -- A so-so start statistically for A-Rod (.244/4/11), but Rodriguez has moved past Ken Griffey Jr. and into fifth place all time on the home run list. When the next name on the list is Willie Mays, you get 'kudos.'
David Phelps -- The rookie right-hander could get 'Kudos' just for pitching his way onto the Opening Day roster. He has now pitched so well in six relief appearances that he will get a start Thursday in place of the atrocious Freddy Garcia. Good luck, young fella! Hopefully, this is the first of many Yankee starts for you.
David Robertson -- Eleven appearances, 11 innings, pitched, no runs allowed and a WHIP of .91. Yeah, he has been pretty good so far.
Mariano Rivera -- There was concern that Rivera had gotten old when he blew a save in his first appearance of the season. Well, forget that. Mo has been perfect since in eight games, allowing just three hits over that time and lowering his ERA to 2.16.
The rest of the bullpen -- Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan and Clay Rapada have all been good, sometimes better than good. They deserve mention here.
Wet Willies to ..
Michael Pineda -- Nice going, there Pineda. Show up at Spring Training overweight and out of shape, then blow out your labrum trying to hurry up and get in shape. See ya some time next year, when you can -- maybe -- start trying to make Brian Cashman look like less of an idiot for trading the Yankees' best prospect, Jesus Monterlo, for you.
Freddy Garcia -- Freddy-G and his abominable 12.51 ERA are now hanging out in the Yankee bullpen, most likely waiting for chances to mop up in blowouts and show that his career as a big-league pitcher has not reached its expiration date. Right now, that is undeniably a valid question.
Phil Hughes -- At this point, all Hughes can do is thank Garcia for being even more terrible than he has been during the season's first month. That is the only reason why Hughes and the unsightly 7.88 ERA he is lugging around are still part of the starting rotation. Is Hughes turning into A.J. Burnett? I hope not, but there is not doubt that Hughes has better stuff than this. Maybe not front-of-the-rotation stuff, but enough to be a quality big-league starter.
Mark Teixeira -- Here are again with Teixeira. Another horrible April, and maybe another year where he looks more and more like Jason Giambi at the plate. He hit just .244 in April, and just does not resemble the .290-.300 hitter he used to be. Thank God for that slick glove, or the Yankees' marriage to Tex could be turning into Yankees-Giambi II.
Russell Martin -- A .167 batting average just isn't going to cut it.