Sunday, March 29, 2015
TAMPA — Nine and two-thirds inning of game work for CC Sabathia this spring, the last five of those coming Saturday at the Yankees’ minor league complex for Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against the Pirates’ affiliate Indianapolis. Five home runs allowed.
A reporter asked the veteran lefty how much stock anyone should put in the results we’ve seen so far.
“I don’t give a [expletive] what stock they put in it,” Sabathia said, as the Yankees were losing a 10-2 game to the Orioles at Steinbrenner Field. “It is what it is. I’ve had spring trainings where I’ve given up a lot of runs and went out and had a good season. I’ve had spring trainings like last year where I didn’t give up [any] runs and I gave up [six] in the first game [April 1 at Houston]. So you all can put stock in whatever you want. I’m not really worried about it.”
So this was new: a defiant Sabathia. We haven’t seen much of this before. Nor had we heard him drop an F-bomb in a formal interview.
I haven’t seen any spring training so I have no idea how Sabathia’s stuff looks. But that’s more important to me than his actual results.
In other pitching news, the Yankees have released Scott Baker and re-assigned Kyle Davies. They will be missed.
Friday, March 27, 2015
It’s official: Masahiro Tanaka will make the Opening Day start for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 6 at Yankee Stadium, ending the six-year Opening Day run of the former ace, CC Sabathia.
The announcement from manager Joe Girardi on Friday morning was hardly a surprise, since it was clear last season that Tanaka had assumed the role of ace from Sabathia, whose effectiveness has been compromised by elbow and knee injuries and a significant loss of fastball velocity over the past two seasons.
. With the exception of Tanaka’s last outing against the New York Mets, he has pitched well this spring, showing virtually no ill effects from the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament he suffered last July that cost him two months of his rookie season.
I admire the fact that this clearly WAS a tough call for Girardi to make, just based on sentimental reasons. He’s a real softie. Let’s hope this is the first of six straight Opening Day starts for Tanaka with the Yankees!
Thursday, March 26, 2015
It looks like Adam Warren has a spot in the Yankees rotation going into the season. And, according to our depth charts, he has a chance to hold that spot until at least Ivan Nova‘s mid-season return. Given the health histories of some of the veterans ahead of him, that means he could start all year.
Could he start all year? What might we expect from him, given his arsenal and transition from the bullpen to the rotation?
Warren seems well suited for the transition. He regularly threw five pitches last year, as you might expect from a college starter coming out of a good program like University of North Carolina’s. It’s those five pitches, with examples all thrown in one five-out appearance last September 21st, that can give us a structure for this introduction.
Interesting article by Eno Sarris where he looks at the odds of Warren’s strong bullpen performance transitioning to being a good starting pitcher, and one of the key aspects is that Warren did not do the traditional reduction of his pitch arsenal in relief that many relievers do, so he’s particularly well-suited for the transition to starting. The article paints a pretty optimistic case for Warren as a starter.
Tip of the hat to keith for the link!
“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.