Friday, April 3, 2015
Alex Rodriguez handled first base so well against the Pirates on Thursday at Steinbrenner Field that Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would be confident using him in a real game.
“I’m glad he’s confident. Yeah, I think I can manage. Everything to help the team win,’’ said Rodriguez, who scooped two Stephen Drew throws from shortstop out of the dirt for outs and just missed turning a 3-6 double play at second. “I thought it was a play I could have made. But I didn’t make it.”
In his second stint at first, Rodriguez played six innings, recorded seven putouts and one assist.
I’d rather see Rodriguez at first every day over Teixeira, honestly.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
“Tanaka is not healthy right now because I believe Tanaka is hesitant to let it go,” said Martinez, an analyst for TBS and MLB Network. “Tanaka is hanging all those breaking balls that he is throwing.
“The only pitch he is committing to is the split finger, and his problems are actually in a place where you don’t need to put any more stress, which is the elbow. And he’s hesitant. He’s hesitating to throw his fastball, and he’s hanging every breaking ball he’s throwing out there. Plus his velocity is not there yet.”
Please. What would Pedro Martinez know about pitching?
In need of another healthy infielder by Opening Day, the New York Yankees have acquired Gregorio Petit from the Houston Astros for cash.
The teams announced the deal Wednesday night. New York says Petit will report to major league camp.
Petit batted .278 with two homers and nine RBI in 37 games with the Astros last season. He played in 85 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI.
Petit has also played for Oakland (2008-09) and is a .278 career hitter in 62 big league games.
Four days after Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius got hurt, backup Brendan Ryan strained his right calf during Wednesday’s spring training game against Tampa Bay. He is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.
All signs point to Petit making the Big League squad as the back-up at short and second base. There is a reason he didn’t play in the Majors between 2009 and 2014, so don’t expect much from the guy, but he is clearly a good defender and his bat has a little tiny bit of pop in it (plus, he’s a righthanded hitter, which gives Girardi the option to sit either Gregarious or Drew late in a game against a lefty). Plus, he’s so disposable that he can be cut easily when Ryan returns.
However, there is also the slight chance that Nick Noonan makes the team over him and Petit goes to AAA as the back-up plan. Hell, there’s even a theoretical scenario where Refsynder still gets the call and Petit and Noonan go to AAA if Refsnyder can’t hack it at second base.
But the most likely scenario is Petit breaks camp as the Yankees backup shortstop and second baseman. He’s a pretty good defender, so this move is fine, as it wasn’t like Ryan was going to be a great hitter, either.
EDITED TO ADD: Well, Noonan and Refsnyder were both sent down (along with Chase Whitley, surprisingly enough), so it looks like the job belongs to Petit (unless someone interesting gets cut by another team right before the season begins. You just know Cashman is dying for a return of former Yankee MVP*, Jayson Nix).
*As voted on by John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Ellsbury has no worries about being ready for the April 6 season opener against Toronto.
“I don’t have any issues,” he said, adding: “I’m ready now.”
Monday, March 30, 2015
After Sunday’s 7-0 victory over the Astros, the Yankees optioned outfielder Ramon Flores to Triple-A and re-assigned seven players—catchers Francisco Arcia and Kyle Higashioka, infielders Cole Figueroa and Jonathan Galvez, outfielder Slade Heathcott, left-hander Jacob Lindgren and right-hander Nick Rumbelow—to Minor League camp.
Lindgren had enjoyed a strong spring, posting a 1.23 ERA in eight appearances spanning 7 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old was a long shot to make the club, with just 25 professional innings under his belt, but Cashman said earlier on Sunday that Lindgren had made a good impression in camp.
“Obviously, we’ve kept him this long for a reason—because he’s continued to open people’s eyes,” Cashman said.
Like a lot of you, I was surprised by the move, as Lindgren has looked so good and when he was drafted, everyone pointed out at the time that it seemed like the plan was to get him to the Majors as soon as he showed that he could pitch there, and he certainly seems to have shown he can pitch in the Majors. Chad Jennings, though, had an interesting take on the situation at LoHud...
I have no idea what the Yankees are going to do about those final two spots in the bullpen. I think Chase Whitley is a favorite for one of those spots, if only because I think they’ll want another long man other than Esmil Rogers (and all the other long relief candidates have been sent away). What I can’t figure out is who the favorites might be for that last spot in the pen. I do think it’s worth noting that Chris Martin and Chasen Shreve are on the 40-man and have options, and I think that final bullpen spot might be very flexible early in the season. For that reason — because the 12th reliever might have to go up and down to Triple-A a few times — I’m not surprised the Yankees steered away from Jacob Lindgren. He’s looked great, but I imagine that once he’s on the big league roster, the Yankees want him to stay there. Why not carry Martin or Shreve out of camp, send him down for a sixth starter in late April, and then think about adding either Lindgren or Andrew Bailey?
I think he’s probably correct that both Lindgren and Bailey (presuming Bailey remains healthy) will return to the Majors, so whoever makes the roster now will likely be a placeholder.
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.