The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Girardi still working on a plan for Jeter’s final home game

Derek Jeter

Joe Girardi has a less than 72 hours to come up with a plan.

A year ago, he came up with a really good one for Mariano Rivera’s final game at Yankee Stadium. With the Yankees out of the race, that tearful goodbye on the mound was perhaps the most memorable moment of the year.

Now it’s time to give Derek Jeter a fitting farewell.

“It’s different in a sense with Derek because you don’t know where you’re going to be at (in the standings) and the meaning of the game at that point,” Girardi said. “Knowing Derek, not knowing if he’s going to want to be out there for every minute and every play. I have spent a little time thinking about it. There’s been other people that have thrown out some ideas that I’ve thought about. Just kind of wait and see how it goes, and we’ll make a decision when it’s time, I guess.”

Could take Jeter off the field in the top of the ninth. But what if the Yankees are losing, and he’s scheduled to hit in the bottom of the inning? If Jeter gets on base in his final at-bat, is it worth bringing in a pinch runner so that Jeter gets an ovation walking off the field? Does it matter whether the game’s close or a blowout? What if the Yankees win these next two games, the Royals lose, and the playoff hopes are still vaguely alive with four games to go?

“I can’t really go out and make a pitching change, shortstop change,” Girardi said. “It’s different. So let’s just worry about today, and when we get there I’ll figure it out as we go.”

The decision to have Jeter and Andy Pettitte remove Rivera from his final game was a kind of surprise. Doubt Jeter will be caught off guard, no matter what Girardi decides.

“Oh, I will definitely communicate with him, yes,” Girardi said.

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 9:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “Enjoy for the rest of my life”

Jose Pirela, Derek Jeter

You know, this was a really good day for the Yankees. It might very well be too little too late, but taken in a vacuum, this was a really good day.

Jose Pirela’s mad-dash triple in his first career at-bat. Michael Pineda flat-out dominant next-to-last start of the year. Derek Jeter’s continued resurgence in his final home stand. Fifth win in six games, and this one coming against a first-place team. There’s a reason the Yankees were smiling a whole lot when this one was finished.

Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki“I am so excited today,” Pirela said. “So I come here, and I’m looking to see if I play. When I see the lineup, I feel so excited. I try to enjoy this moment, enjoy for the rest of my life and play in the big leagues.”

That’s the kid talking. Here’s the soon-to-be-retired icon.

“You continue to play hard and you continue to fight until you’re out of games,” Jeter said. “That’s all you can do. I’m well aware of the situation that we’re in, but the only thing we can control is the games that we’re playing. It was a good win for us today, and we need to come out and win tomorrow.”

I don’t think anyone is really expecting the Yankees to advance to the postseason at this point, but this game was impressive because of Pineda, and it was fun because of Pirela and Jeter. There was something interesting about seeing a guy like Pirela have a debut like this on the same day that Jeter continued to swing the bat so well.

“It’s exciting to watch (Pirela),” Jeter said. “You see how excited he was to get his first hit, then his second hit. It never gets old. We’re all happy for him. He got an opportunity to play and I’m pretty sure he didn’t think he was going to get called up this year. For him to come up and get his first hit, that’s a fun thing to watch.”

As for Jeter, today’s double was the ninth hit during the first five games of this home stand. And the crowd was into his every at-bat.

“I never said I didn’t think I couldn’t play anymore,” Jeter said. “This is the time for me to call it a career after this season. Sometimes things are difficult, sometimes they come a little bit easier. Not easy, but they come a little easier at times. You have to continue to battle. This is a game of adjustments and I’ll continue to make those adjustments until I’m out of games.”

Michael Pineda• Pineda was terrific. One hit and one walk through 7.1 innings. It was the longest scoreless outing of his career, and eight strikeouts was his highest total since September 10, 2011 with Seattle. “I’m very happy for coming back and help my team,” Pineda said. “It’s very important for me to help my team every five days, when I take the mound. And I’m very happy, because I love pitching.”

• When Pineda came to the Yankees, he was mostly a fastball-slider guy with a changeup that needed work. But that changeup has come a long way, and we saw some of them tonight. “Every time I’m feeling more comfortable with my changeup, and I’m happy with that, you know?” Pineda said. “It’s very important. It’s a good pitch for me. Before, I’m not using my changeup. Now, it’s very good for me.”

• First Orioles base runner was a J.J. Hardy single in the fifth inning. It was the furthest into a start that Pineda had ever gone without putting anyone on base.

• Eight starts since coming off the disabled list and Pineda’s walked just four batters while striking out 34. “He really picked up where he left off,” Joe Girardi said. “He was throwing the ball great for us before he got hurt, and he’s just really picked up where he left off. … I think it was important for him to come back and pitch well. He’s done that, and he’s pitched really well. And he’s got another start for us.”

• One other thing to note: It was pretty chilly today, and Pineda got through the start pitching well and without an ejection for using pine tar. That’s not to say that he wasn’t using pine tar, but he’s either found a more acceptable way to use it or learned to pitch without it. “You’ve got to remember, the night that he pitched (in Boston) was miserable,” Girardi said. “I do think it’s important to give him confidence when it’s cooler and it’s windy out. The wind a lot of times is the worst thing for a pitcher when it’s cool. It was windy out there, and I think it was important.”

• In his big league debut, Pirela went 2-for-3 with an energizing RBI triple in his first at-bat. He hadn’t played in about two weeks when the Yankees called him up as a late September addition, so he was given a few days to take batting practice and get ready again, but his debut was awfully memorable. “When I see the outfielder go to get the ball (in the first at-bat), I see that’s a hit,” Pirela said. “I say, I want to hit a homer. I thought the ball is gone but I hit a triple and I enjoy that.”

Jose Pirela• When he got around second base, Pirela was almost running too fast. He nearly stumbled. “I tried to run more fast than I do,” he said. “That’s why I almost, you know, (fell).”

• This was Jeter’s first three-RBI game since September 9, 2012 at Baltimore. Each of his last three games with at least three RBI have come against the Orioles.

• Ichiro Suzuki got his 2,840th career hit, tying Charlie Gehringer for 47th place on MLB’s all-time hit list.

• The Yankees scored more than three runs against Baltimore for the first time since June 20 at Yankee Stadium. They had not scored at least four runs in any of their past 11 games against the Orioles. According to Elias, that was their third-longest such streak against any team since 1920.

• Final word goes to Girardi: “I really believe we have to pretty much win out is pretty much it, but you never know. Strange things happen in sports. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen people that were 10 games back, come back in a month’s time and find a way to get back into the playoffs on the last day. Crazy things happen, and it’s obviously tougher when you’re chasing more than one team, to happen to a lot of teams, but the teams we’re chasing have had their struggles too. And you never know.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 11:30 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pineda terrific as Jeter’s resurgent farewell continues

Derek Jeter

Tonight was Michael Pineda’s game. It just happened to come during Derek Jeter’s home stand. Pineda was terrific, but Jeter continued his resurgent final stint at Yankee Stadium by driving in three runs for the first time this season in a 5-0 win against the Orioles. Jeter now has nine hits, four of them for extra-bases, during the first five games of his final home stand. Tonight he had an RBI ground out in the third inning, and a two-run double in the fifth, and he drew a walk in the seventh. Each time, the crowd went nuts. Hard to escape that shadow, though two of his teammates tried. Jose Pirela made his major-league debut and tripled in his first at-bat. Pirela also singled and scored twice, each time driven home by Jeter. The best stats of the night, though, belonged to Pineda who went 7.1 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, one walk and one hit. Until a one-out walk in the eighth, the only thing standing between Pineda and a shot at a perfect game was a J.J. Hardy single in the fifth inning. Three relievers handled the final five outs, and Chase Headley added a solo homer for good measure.

Associated Press photo



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 10:10 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 156: Yankees vs. Orioles

Michael PinedaYANKEES (80-75)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brian McCann C
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
Francisco Cervelli 1B
Stephen Drew 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jose Pirela DH

RHP Michael Pineda (3-5, 2.15)
Pineda vs. Blue Jays

ORIOLES (93-62)
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Christian Walker 1B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

LHP Wei-Yin Chen (16-4, 3.58)
Chen vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: Temperatures getting into the 60s. Nice night, really.

UMPIRES: HP Brian O’Nora, 1B D.J. Reyburn, 2B Jeff Kellogg, 3B Adam Hamari

With Sunday’s win, the Yankees now have had 23 consecutive winning seasons at home from 1992-2014 (are 41-36 at home in 2014 with four home games left).?According to the Elias Sports Bureau, their current streak is the third-longest such streak in Major League history, trailing only the Yankees’ 47-year home winning streak from 1918-64 and the Pirates’ 24-year streak from 1892-1915. Worth remembering that the Yankees had a losing record at home in the first half.

THE LAST STAND: Since the start of this home stand, Derek Jeter has recorded a season-high-tying four straight multi-hit games, becoming the first Yankee in franchise history to accomplish the feat at age 40 or older and the first major leaguer to do so at that age since Chipper Jones in 2012 (that’s from Elias). Jeter?is 8-for-17 with three runs, two doubles, one homer and there RBI in four games.

ON THIS DATE: It was on September 22 last season that the Yankees held Mariano Rivera Day, with Rivera unveiling a new Jackie Robinson plaque in Monument Park.

UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Yankees bench going bonkers as Pirela gets an RBI triple in his first big league plate appearance. So far, Pineda is perfect through three innings.

UPDATE, 7:53 p.m.: Jeter with an RBI ground out, then hugs Pirela when he gets into the dugout.

UPDATE, 8:42 p.m.: Jeter with a sharp two-run double. Three RBI so far tonight. His strong final home stand continues.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Pineda simply dominant through seven scoreless. One hit. No walks. Eight strikeouts.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “I should be good to go for next season”

Masahiro Tanaka

Yesterday was the big test for Masahiro Tanaka, but it wasn’t until this afternoon that the Yankees got a final grade on his long-awaited return to the rotation. It was important not only that he pitch well, but that he feel good the day after.

“He was all smiles today, which was good,” Joe Girardi said. “He was doing his normal routine that he would do after any other start, so it’s all good news.”

Yesterday’s game was encouraging. So was today’s catch. Tanaka remains on track to start again on Saturday. These last few steps are all about testing Tanaka’s elbow as much as possible heading into the offseason. There’s no way to be 100 percent certain his ligament will hold up, the more steps he gets through, the better. Today was another small one.

“Just the fact that I was able to throw yesterday and the fact I’m feeling good today (is encouraging),” Tanaka said. “Having the start coming up on Saturday, if I come out from that strong, then obviously that’s a positive. From where I am right now, I should be able to have a good offseason of training that I want to do, and I should be good to go for next season.”

CC Sabathia also played catch today — his first official throwing session since knee surgery — which was another small but encouraging step for a Yankees rotation facing quite a bit of uncertainty heading into this offseason.

“And I think you can add another guy in there; Nova’s rehab has went extremely well,” Girardi said. “He has had zero setbacks and has progressed very, very well. Obviously CC has done well after this new knee surgery and we’re pleased about that. These guys play a very important role. Pitching is a huge part and when you have pitching you can stay in most games and have an opportunity to win them. When you get distance from your starters, your bullpen stays more rested and you can use them a little more different. It would be big for us.”

Mark Teixeira, Jonathan Schoop• Mark Teixeira got a third cortisone injection for his sore right wrist. He got it yesterday and said this injection was in a slightly different spot — “The first two shots were kind of inside the tendon sheath and this is outside the tendon sheath,” he said — and the hope is that he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow. Why get a third injection at this point? “You never want to end the season hurt,” he said. “You want to finish the season. Every game you can’t play, you make a lot out of it, but realistically, to take a couple days off and get it taken care of, play the last five or six games whatever it might be — it’s worth it.”

• Can Teixeira ever be a 150-game player again? “As many games as hopefully I can,” he said. “I never want to say I am going to play 150 games-plus again because, who knows? You never know what is going to happen. I know my wrist is going to be healthier next year. It’s going to be stronger. That’s all I can say because I’ll have that full offseason of working out and strengthening and not necessarily rehabbing.”

• Sabathia said he wants to build up to throwing a bullpen, then he’ll shut down and have a relatively normal offseason. He did 20 throws at 60 feet today. “We’re trying not to make it that much (different from a normal offseason),” Sabathia said. “I’ll come up here a few times a week, but as far as workouts and stuff, it should be a normal winter.”

• Maybe we already knew this and I just forgot about it, but Sabathia said today that he got a second stem-cell injection last month. “I haven’t (had an knee pain), not since I went back out there for (another) stem cell,” Sabathia said. “I think that was the end of August. It feels great. I haven’t had any problems in the workouts.”

• First time playing catch today? “I’ve kinda been throwing the football a little bit, and throwing at home,” Sabathia said. “So it feels good to come out here and not have to hide and throw.”

• The Yankees claimed OF Eury Perez off waivers and opened a roster spot by designating Josh Outman. “We acquired a young center fielder, left fielder, plays all over, from the Washington Nationals,” Girardi said. “With some of the nicked up position players we had, we felt it was probably in our best interest to (DFA) a pitcher. Outman had done a pretty good job for us. He’s a situational lefty, which are kind of difficult to use this time of year because every time you send a lefty to face a lefty, they put a right hander up because they have so many players. It becomes more difficult to use them.”

• Girardi said Carlos Beltran’s elbow is still bothering him. No update on Jacoby Ellsbury’s hamstring.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 5:38 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pirela gets in the lineup at DH

PirelaBy making his major-league debut, Jose Pirela will become the 57th Yankees player this season. That’s a new franchise record.

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brian McCann C
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
Francisco Cervelli 1B
Stephen Drew 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jose Pirela DH

RHP Michael Pineda



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 3:25 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees claim OF Eury Perez

Here’s the announcement from the Yankees…

Earlier today, the Yankees claimed OF Eury Perez off waivers from the Washington Nationals. In 67 games with Triple-A Syracuse, Single-A Potomac and the GCL Nationals, the right-handed batter combined to hit .310 (75-for-242) with 36R, 14 doubles, 2HR and 15RBI. Perez has appeared in 22 career Major League games with the Nationals (2012-13), batting .154 (2-for-13) with 4R and 4SB. He was originally signed by Washington as a non-drafted free agent on 4/13/07.

A reciprocal 40-man move will be announced later today.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 2:36 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pitching matchups vs. Orioles

Michael Pineda

The Orioles obviously haven’t announced the bulk of their rotation, but here’s what the Yankees are rolling out for these final four home games.

RHP Michael Pineda (3-5, 2.15)
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (16-4, 3.58)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP Brandon McCarthy (7-4, 2.54)
7:05 p.m., MY9 and ESPN

RHP Shane Greene (5-3, 3.24)
1:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 3.77)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 12:21 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Girardi on Tanaka: “Let’s keep our fingers crossed”

Masahiro Tanaka

Vin Mercogliano checking in with one final post before Chad takes back over for the start of the Orioles series. I’ll be back on Thursday to help out with our coverage of what will likely be Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium: 

Whenever Masahiro Tanaka rises from bed this on this Monday morning, one would have to assume that, at some point shortly thereafter, he’ll begin to take notice of how his right elbow is feeling.

Is it normal day-after-a-start soreness? Or is it something more serious?

Many within the Yankee organization – and its fans – will be anxiously awaiting the answers.

“Let’s just keep our fingers crossed,” Joe Girardi said Sunday after Tanaka gave the Yankees 5 1/3 strong innings on 70 pitches in his first start since July 8.

Tanaka gave the Yankees every reason to believe that the partial tear in his UCL has sufficiently healed and that he could avoid Tommy John surgery, and he’ll have another chance to prove it when he starts on Saturday in Boston.

In his postgame press conference, he sounded very optimistic.

“I’m very relieved,” he said when asked if he felt as if he can go about his business as usual from this point forward. “As for the offseason, I should be able to do the stuff that I want to do.”

But just because the elbow didn’t act up on Sunday, and even if Monday comes and goes with no issues, it’s clear that this will continue to be a closely monitored situation. One good start doesn’t necessarily mean the ligament will hold up under the rigors of a full season’s worth of work, which is what the Yankees are hoping for in 2015.

As we’ve seen across the league, pitching injuries can be tricky and seem to increase in frequency every year.

“It’s a step in the right direction. Are we going to know fully until five years down the road? Probably not,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “It’s possible that he can get through this for quite awhile, and it’s possible that it comes back and bites him.

“We’re hopeful that it’s an early sign that he’s going to be fine.”

Associated Press photo



Posted by:vmercoglianoon Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 8:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “I was able to do all of the things that I wanted to do”

Masahiro Tanaka

Everyone in the Yankees’ organization was sitting on pins and needles leading up to Masahiro Tanaka’s first start in over two months, but according to his pitching coach and his catcher, there were clear signs before the game’s first pitch that their ace was feeling good.

“His warmups were really good,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “The (simulated) games, in the last one the warmups were O.K. But today, there was a difference. You could see it right away with the force in which he threw the ball and the quickness to his arm – all of the things that you saw before he went on the (disabled list).”

Tanaka passed his biggest test since being diagnosed with a partial tear in his UCL in July with flying colors, holding the Toronto Blue Jays to one run over 5 1/3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 win.

He did it on a limited pitch count and declared after the game that he came away “pain-free.”

“I thought he was great,” catcher Brian McCann said. “He looked the same. Hopefully, (Monday) his elbow responds well, but as far as the difference between today and what he did early on, it was nothing.”

Tanaka and the Yankees aren’t out of the woods yet, as Rothschild and others pointed out, but for now, this was a huge step in the right direction. Tanaka effectively used all of his pitches and went deeper in the game than the Yankees could have hoped for on just 70 pitches.

Barring a setback between now and then, Joe Girardi said that Tanaka will start again on Saturday.

“I was able to go pretty strong today, so I’m relieved,” Tanaka said. “I feel that I was able to do all of the things that I wanted to do.”

Masahiro Tanaka• What impressed Girardi most about Tanaka’s outing? “Efficiency,” he said. “When you’re efficient like that, then your control has to be pretty good. And talking to Mac, he said his split was the same, his slider was the same, everything was pretty much the same. The first pitch was 92 (mph), which I don’t know if I was really prepared for that, so that was encouraging to me, too.”

• Rothschild talked a lot about how he didn’t see any trepidation from Tanaka. It was as if he didn’t miss a beat. “Just his presence,” Rothschild said. “It didn’t bother him that he hadn’t been out there in awhile and he has complete confidence in what he’s doing, and then everything else follows suit. His command of his pitches, the ability to dissect the hitter when he needs to – he has a great feel for what pitches to make at the right time.”

• Tanaka allowed singles to the first two batters that he faced, but pretty much everything from that point on was encouraging. He responded by getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and striking out Dioner Navarro. “He made good pitches early in counts,” Rothschild said. “First inning, the fastball was a little sprayed. They were in the zone, but not where he wanted them. But after he settled down, he made some really good pitches.”

• How did Tanaka’s elbow feel today, compared to his last start on July 8? “Obviously way better today,” Tanaka said. “I don’t remember exactly when, but gradually as the game went on, I guess I forgot about it.”

• Some were pointing out on Twitter that Tanaka was throwing less splitters and more curveballs today, but he said that was just coincidence. Both Tanaka and McCann said that there were no discussions of limiting how many splits he threw. “Simply because my curveballs were pretty sharp today, so that’s why I was throwing that a lot,” Tanaka said. “It’s not just the split; basically, I wanted to go out there and check all of my pitches.”

Derek Jeter, Brian McCann• Although he was overshadowed by Tanaka, McCann also had a big day. He hit his 21st and 22nd homers of the season, and with the way that the Yankees lineup is currently constructed, they sure needed it. He’s had his ups and downs, but right now it’s hard to deny that he’s the most feared hitter in the order. “It felt good,” McCann said. “I got some pitches to hit, and I was able to knock in some runs.”

• Brett Gardner also homered — his 17th of the season — and it was a milestone for the team. Gardner’s solo shot was the 15,000th home run in franchise history. “I wasn’t sure,” Gardner said. “I knew a few days ago we were a couple away, within four or five. I wasn’t sure if it was the one I hit or the one McCann hit. So that was pretty cool. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

• Four games into his final homestand, Derek Jeter has four straight multi-hit games. He didn’t reach safely in either of his first two at-bats, but he singled to right in the fifth and hit a sharp double down the left field line to drive Gardner in during the seventh. He also stole his 10th base of the season. He became the first Yankee at age 40 or older to have four consecutive multi-hit games. “He’s hitting the ball with more authority, obviously,” Girardi said. “He’s pulled some balls, as well. That hit that he got (in the seventh) that put us ahead 3-1, that’s a huge hit in that situation.”

• Ichiro Suzki also had a multi-hit game, as he leads all Yankee regulars with a .285 batting average this season. I tweeted about this earlier, but even if Ichiro continues to play beyond this season, it almost certainly won’t be in pinstripes. Jeter is obviously receiving tons of attention, and deservedly so, but Ichiro is another all-time great who will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He just happens to be on the same team as the most popular player in the game. “When we started the season, we had kind of a crowded outfield and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, or how many starts (he would make),” Girardi said. “I told him in spring training, ‘You’re going to get starts,’ I just couldn’t tell him how many. He’s done his job.”

• Final word goes to Girardi, who spoke about his team fighting until the end. The only bad news for the Yankees to come out of today is that the Kansas City Royals won, meaning they still sit four and a half games out of the playoffs with seven to play. “They’ve done it during periods of the year, we just haven’t been really consistent during the course of the year,” he said. “I think that’s been the frustrating thing for all of our guys, but you could look at it two ways. You could be upset about it, but what I love about it is that they haven’t quit. They’re still fighting because there’s still a chance. That’s the best part about it for me.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 6:20 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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