"There are a lot of other people out there with a lot of other ideas. I appreciate Joe coming in, starting new, and giving me the opportunity to get back out there and do what I've been doing," he said yesterday after pitching two innings in an intrasquad game at Legends Field.
"They could have turned the page and moved on to another plan. But they said I could go out there and do what I'm expected to do, and hopefully I can keep doing it."
"I'm not going to sit back and say that no matter what happens I'm going to be a starter. I understand that's not the case," he said. "I'm not going to go cruising along like it was eight or nine years ago. My role can change, and I know that. ... I'm thankful they're still giving me the chance."Then there was this from manager Joe Girardi:
"I looked at the numbers. He threw the ball pretty well, but he had one real bad month," Girardi said.Was this truly the case? Was it just one bad month that tainted the entire 2007 season for Mike Mussina? Let's look at the numbers:
April: 0-1, 9.00 ERA, .407 BAA
May: 2-2, 5.22 ERA, .273 BAA
June: 2-2, 3.44 ERA, .270 BAA
July: 2-2, 5.08 ERA, .304 BAA
August: 2-3, 8.87 ERA, 396 BAA
Makes you wonder what numbers Girardi was looking at, doesn't it? Mussina was actually pretty awful all season song. With the lone exception being the month of June. Maybe that's what Girardi meant; he only had one good month.
But last season is last season, that's the past, it's not important now. What is important is that Mussina has a good 2008.
The key to that becoming a reality is that Mike Mussina stays healthy, which last year was a major problem for him. "One thing led to another," Mussina said. "When you do a hamstring, hamstrings take a long, long time and sometimes you need the offseason to heal them up. It never really got right and it led to other things. The whole year was a fight and it wasn't a lot of fun."
Girardi is confident that Mussina will bounce-back, "I'm counting on Moose. We're counting on him," Girardi said. "It's not an accident that he has over 200 wins and has been healthy all his career. Moose knows how to pitch."
Girardi isn't the only one confident in Mike Mussina: Bill James in The 2008 Bill James Handbook projects Mussina to have a outstanding season, going 11-7 with a 3.74 ERA.
I think Mussina will surprise people with a very solid season in 2008. Something like 13 and 7 with a 4.15 ERA.