Thursday, March 26, 2015
“Didi is unbelievable, as good a shortstop as I’ve seen,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “And I’m not overexaggerating.”
Keep in mind that Teixeira is a 12-year veteran, and was teammates in Texas with Rodriguez in 2003 when A-Rod was still one of the top defensive shortstops in the game.
I had to ask Rodriguez if he shared Teixeira’s opinion on Gregorius, whom the Yankees acquired from the Diamondbacks last Dec. 5 in a three-team deal in which they sent right-hander Shane Greene to the Tigers.
Say what you want about A-Rod, but few players match his passion and knowledge for the game. He even talks in scouting shorthand, using single digits (2 to 8) when referring to the 20-to-80 scouting scale, in which 50 is considered major-league average.
When I informed Rodriguez of what Teixeira had said about Gregorius, he replied, “That’s a helluva compliment.”
And then A-Rod broke down Gregorius like a scout.
“He has a rare combination of speed and explosiveness. But what you don’t see is an incredibly strong arm that is so accurate. That combination is lethal,” Rodriguez said.
“What you see in a lot of young players are 6 or 7 arms, but then their accuracy is 3 or 4. Which is normal, par for the course. As they get older, they go from a 7-1/2 arm to about a 5-1/2 or 6-1/2 and their accuracy goes to about 6. But when you have that combination at 25 years old of crazy range, 7-plus arm, 7-plus accuracy ... even Ozzie [Smith], he had 7 accuracy but he didn’t have 7 arm strength.
“[Gregorius] has made plays from the hole, from his back foot, throwing the ball 90 mph across the diamond from his back foot. You don’t see that. It also makes it a lot easier for your third baseman to play third base.”
Man, it is kind of crazy how interesting Alex Rodriguez is when he just talks shop. There is a great sidebar to the article where A-Rod talks about the game is so different now due to the shift, that things have dramatically changed in just the year he was away.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
TAMPA — Delin Betances didn’t know his fastball topped out at 94 mph on Tuesday night against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
All the Yankees’ giant right-handed closer candidate understood was that it was short of the gas he hurled last season when he lived in the high 90s and reached 100 mph a few times.
“I haven’t asked about it, but it’s nowhere near where it should be,’’ Betances said after a rocky frame in which his first eight pitches were out of the strike zone. “The more I pitch, that will come. Last year in spring training I trusted it more. This year I am trying to do too much instead of trusting what I have. The more I pitch the better I feel. I have always been like that.’’
Since Betances won’t have to protect any leads for a team that will score roughly zero runs this season, I don’t think this is much of a problem.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
TAMPA — Dellin Betances’ lone major league save came on July 7, and as the right-hander pointed out Monday, it was a two-inning outing.
With the way Joe Girardi is talking this spring, the Yankees may have more non-traditional saves in the works, so the manager can take advantage of having both Betances and lefty Andrew Miller in the back of the bullpen.
“In years past we had a clearly defined closer,’’ the manager said of Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. “There was never a question. In looking at the candidates we have, neither one of them has ever really closed. I know David Robertson hadn’t closed, but he was an eighth-inning guy for five years.’’
The uncertainty doesn’t seem to bother Betances or Miller.
The Yankees are collecting potential closers like the Red Sox used to collect aces.
Monday, March 23, 2015
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Joe Girardi wanted to see versatile Yankees spring sensation Jose Pirela in centerfield. But he certainly didn’t want to see this.
Pirela suffered a concussion and was taken by ambulance to Tradition Medical Center after crashing into the centerfield wall on what turned into an inside-the-park home run for leadoff batter Juan Lagares of the Mets in the first inning.
The Yankees announced Sunday night that Pirela had been discharged from the hospital and that all tests came back normal.
Hopefully he’ll be fine.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
TAMPA − Hal Steinbrenner is fully aware of the lack of customary buzz for this coming Yankee season. He doesn’t have to be told he’s got a lot of bloated contracts on his payroll and that he hasn’t been getting nearly enough bang for his buck from his biggest stars. The Yankee owner and managing general partner knows the days of a consistently sold-out Yankee Stadium are over until further notice — and what a third straight season out of the postseason money will do to his season-ticket fan base. He gets it.
Monday, March 16, 2015
TAMPA — Watching Nathan Eovaldi dominate the Phillies on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, a question couldn’t be ignored: How does a pitcher with his type of electric stuff take a 15-35 career record into his first Yankees season?
Yes, it was spring training against a split squad of Phillies who had maybe two regulars in the lineup. Yet his fastball danced on the black of the plate at 95 to 98 mph and a hard slider was clocked at 89.
With health questions attached to Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, Eovaldi didn’t bring that issue with him from the Marlins when the Yankees figured his age (25) and durability were worth sacrificing Martin Prado.
Still, 15-35 in parts of four pitcher-friendly NL seasons certainly drew red flags concerning the right-hander’s ability to win in the AL East.
That remains a question, but Sunday’s electrifying outing can’t be ignored.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Unsung Yankee History: How a Dramatic Phone Call Saved the 1996 Offseason From Going to the Birds
This is the second in a series of examinations (second in three years, so don’t hold your breath for the third) into different games, events and decisions that impacted Yankees history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Flip” or Babe Ruth calling his own shot, but still have a place in Yankees history, especially for die-hard fans.
Today we look at how the Yankees nearly lost David Cone to the Baltimore Orioles before the 1996 season.(Click Comments to read more)
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