The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Postgame notes: “He continues to show people he belongs”

Luis Severino

The Blue Jays moved into first place on the strength of reinforcements acquired in blockbuster trades. If the Yankees are going to catch them, it just might be on the backs of young kids called up from Triple-A. Tonight the Yankees pulled within a half game of Toronto, and did so with Luis Severino pitching another gem and Greg Bird hitting another home run.

While Bird was just a part of the offense, Severino was the leader of the pitching staff. Since he arrived a month ago, no Yankees starter has a lower ERA — or even come close, really — than Severino’s 2.04. His 34 strikeouts through his first six career games are the fourth-most by a Yankees pitcher since 1914. He’s now gone at least six innings and allowed one run or less in three straight starts, something only one other Yankees’ starter (Masahiro Tanaka) has done this season.

Luis Severino“He belongs,” veteran catcher Brian McCann said. “He knows he belongs. He continues to show people he belongs.”

This wasn’t a dominant start throughout, but when Severino put runners on — which he did quite a bit — he routinely made big pitches to get big outs. He allowed seven hits and three walks, but he gave up only one run on a solo homer. As he’s done his time and time again, the Yankees’ confidence has clearly grown. This is no longer an experiment based on minor league success and glowing scouting reports. The Yankees are now counting on Severino every time he takes the mound.

“We feel a lot better about him,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We saw him that little bit in Spring Training, we knew he threw very well when he was in Double-A and Triple-A, but until you actually go through it up here, you’re always wondering how a guy’s going to adapt. He’s adapted very well. He has confidence in what he’s doing. He understands what he needs to do, and he has confidence in all his pitches and does a really good job.”

When Severino got a strikeout to leave two runners on base at the end of the sixth inning, he pumped his fist and showed some emotion for a big out in a big spot. He made his debut against the Red Sox. He’s pitched on the road against the Blue Jays. He got his first win against the only team that’s seen him twice. Tonight he finally went more than six innings. Severino keeps checking off boxes.

“A lot of confidence,” Severino said. “Every time I touch the mound, my team makes me be comfortable.”

It’s getting ahead of ourselves to think about a postseason rotation — Severino has to help the Yankees get there first — but at this point, the kid has to start in the playoffs, right? Haven’t these six games shown enough to assume he’ll be starting when the calendar flips to October?

“You haven’t seen anything that says you wouldn’t (do that),” Girardi said. “You think about the starts that he’s made: his first start against the Red Sox; his next start coming off a five game losing streak; started in Toronto (against a) very tough lineup. We haven’t seen anything that tells us otherwise.”

Brian McCann, Greg Bird• Although his bat has gone quiet at times, Bird has now homered in back-to-back games and he’s had a hit in six of his past seven with eight runs, seven RBI and five walks. “I’m just glad I can contribute,” Bird said. “I feel like I’ve done a good job of that. It’s good to be part of this team.”

• Here’s Girardi on his young first baseman: “He’s adjusting really well. I feel like there’s huge expectations on this young man because we’ve talked about him and we know he’s a good player. But he’s going to have his 0-fors, and he’s going to have his good days too. Had a big day the other day in Boston, and had another big day today. He’s had some hits off of left handers as well. I’m really happy with what he’s doing.”

• The Yankees hit three homers at Yankee Stadium for the first time July 8 against Oakland. They’ve hit 15 homers in their past seven games after hitting just three homers in their previous six games. The Yankees had just four hits tonight, and the only one that wasn’t a home run was an infield single. “We’ve got guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark,” McCann said. “We take our walks, and that’s what happened tonight. Got a walk, homer and then another one. We can beat you in a lot of different ways.”

• A few weird offensive numbers from tonight: The Yankees had a .067 BABIP for the game, they did not have a single at-bat with a runner in scoring position, and they left just one runner stranded for the first time since April 19 of last season.

• Alex Rodriguez now has 27 home runs this season. Tonight’s was his third home run in 32 games since July 28.

Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann• McCann now has 24 homers for the year, which matches his single-season career high.

• Against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, McCann is now 11-for-17 with three doubles, a triple and three home runs. According to Elias, his 1.471 slugging percentage against Odorizzi is the highest of any current AL hitter against any current AL pitcher (minimum 15 at-bats).

• McCann also threw out another base runner tonight. He’s thrown out 22-of-58 base stealers this season, tied for the second-highest caught stealing total of his career (he had 31 in 2010). He’s caught 8-of-13 runners since August 17.

• Andrew Miller converted his 30th save of the season. YES Network’s research manager Jeff Quagliata noted that the Yankees have had four different pitchers reach 30 saves the past four seasons (Soriano, Rivera, Robertson, Miller).

• Girardi said Jacoby Ellsbury has had flu-like symptoms and he left tonight’s game because he was throwing up. “I have not talked to him since he left the game,” Girardi said. “He was throwing up and we just decided to pull him. Hopefully he feels better tomorrow. I don’t know if he’s a player for me tomorrow.”

• Final word goes to Girardi talking about Severino: “It’s extremely comforting because you feel good about it every time he takes the mound, and you have confidence if runners get in scoring position like they did tonight, that he can make the pitch; that you don’t have to go to your bullpen really early. It helps us all around.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 11:31 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Recipe for a win: Three homers and another Severino gem

Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez

Luis Severino’s third straight win just might have pulled the Yankees back within a half game of first place in the American League East. The Yankees’ rookie standout delivered yet another gem tonight and walked off the field to a standing ovation in a 5-2 Yankees win against the Rays. With the Blue Jays currently trailing the Orioles, the Yankees could gain ground in the division standings.

Severino pitched a career-high 6.1 innings, struck out five and has now won three straight starts. His ERA is down to 2.04. Although he allowed seven hits and three walks, Severino routinely got outs when he needed them, allowing his only run on a solo homer by Evan Longoria in the sixth. Even in that inning, Severino left two runners stranded with an inning-ending strikeout. The Yankees’ bullpen allowed one run before Andrew Miller came in for his 30th save.

Until there were two outs in the eighth, the Yankees had only three hits, but all were home runs. They had just five base runners to that point, but all came around to score. Immediately after a Brian McCann walk in the second inning, Alex Rodriguez launched his 27th home run of the year. Two innings later, McCann hit his 24th home run of the year, already matching his single-season career high. In the seventh, McCann walked again and rookie first baseman Greg Bird hit his fourth home run since coming up from Triple-A on August 13. The only Yankees base runner who didn’t score was Brett Gardner, who reached on a two-out infield single in the eighth and went stranded.

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 9:46 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 133: Yankees vs. Rays

Luis SeverinoYANKEES (74-58)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Alex Rodriguez DH
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

RHP Luis Severino (2-2, 2.17)
Severino has never faced the Rays

RAYS (66-67)
Grady Sizemore LF
Daniel Nava RF
Evan Longoria 3B
John Jaso DH
Logan Forsythe 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
James Loney 1B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
J.P. Arencibia C

Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 3.18)
Odorizzi vs. Yankees

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

WEATHER: Nice. It’s just really, really nice. Little breeze. Comfortable temperature.

UMPIRES: HP Joe West, 1B D.J. Rayburn, 2B Ben May, 3B Rob Drake

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: On Wednesday, Greg Bird, John Ryan Murphy, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew each homered in the Yankees’ win against the Red Sox. It was the second time in Yankees history that the team’s 6-9 hitters each homered in a game. The other time was in 1977 with Graig Nettles, Carlos May, George Zeber and Bucky Dent.

SHORTENING THE GAME: The Yankees record of 55-2 when leading after six innings is the best such record in the Majors this season. They are 69-0 when leading after eight innings. Only the Cardinals (75-0) have a better such record.

ON THIS DATE: It was on September 4, 1993 that Jim Abbott became the third Yankees left-hander to throw a no-hitter. He beat the Indians 4-0 at Yankee Stadium. It was the Yankees’ seventh no-hitter overall and the fourth at Yankee Stadium.

UPDATE, 7:15 p.m.: Severino pitched around a first-inning double and it’s a scoreless game heading into the bottom of the inning.

UPDATE, 7:36 p.m.: Severino gets out of a jam in the top of the second, and Alex Rodriguez delivers a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. It’s a 2-0 Yankees lead. That’s 27 home runs for Alex. I wasn’t sure he’d hit seven this year.

UPDATE, 8:06 p.m.: Severino’s allowed some base runners, but he’s gotten outs when he’s needed them. He’s through four scoreless. Yankees still up 2-0.

UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: Wow. McCann just homered over the Yankees’ bullpen. Over it! Impressive. It’s 3-0 in the fourth.

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Ellsbury is out of the game. Didn’t take the field for the top of the fifth. He’s been dealing with a hip issue, but there’s no word on why he’s out of this game. Chris Young now playing left, Gardner in center.

UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: Yankees say it’s an upset stomach for Ellsbury.

UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: Home run by Longoria has the Rays on the board, but Severino is one out away from making that the only damage through six innings. Still at just 74 pitches, too.

UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: Strikeout gets Severino through the sixth with a 3-1 lead. Another really good start for the kid.

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: Severino pulled after 6.1 innings — a career-high — and Wilson gets two outs to end the frame and maintain the lead.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Two-run homer for Greg Bird and the Yankees are up 5-1 in the seventh. Yankees have three hits. All have been homers. They’ve had five runners on base. All have scored.



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 7:00 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: Sabathia on track to rejoin Yankees’ rotation Wednesday

CC Sabathia

With a bigger, sturdier brace protecting his right knee, CC Sabathia threw a four-inning simulated game this afternoon. Assuming no unexpected setbacks, the plan is to have him come off the disabled list to rejoin the rotation on Wednesday.

Less than two weeks ago, Joe Girardi was talking about the possibility of Sabathia’s season being over. Today he was talking about revisiting a six-man rotation down the stretch.

“We weren’t sure what we were going to get when we saw the MRI,” Girardi said. “And the good thing is the MRI came back basically the same as it’s been, which allowed us to proceed forward. And he felt better and felt comfortable wearing the brace, which allowed us to move a little bit faster. So I am surprised.”

The new brace is thick, the kind of thing you often see on players who have had elbow or knee surgery. It has a joint that bends with the knee but otherwise stays thoroughly secure. Previously this season, Sabathia was wearing a tight sleeve. It was restrictive, Sabathia said, which might have been the point, but it became a problem.

“That other brace, it was just a little too restricting,” Sabathia said. “This one gives me a little more range of motion and stops right before I can hyperextend, so I feel comfortable with it (pitching) and running around getting bunts and that kind of thing. … I think the brace kind of holds my knee in one spot, not letting me get that grinding feeling, twisting and turning. I tested it as much as I could, and I let a lot of them go, so I felt pretty good.”

Sabathia faced Dustin Ackley, Rico Noel, Austin Romine, Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder. That’s one left-handed hitter and four righties, which might have been the point. Sabathia said his biggest test was throwing fastballs inside to right-handers. Something about that was problematic with the old sleeve, but those pitches were comfortable this afternoon.

“I don’t feel (knee pain) at all on any pitch,” Sabathia said. “Before, I felt it on a couple of pitches here and there in the bullpen, here and there playing catch. Throughout this whole last 10 days of playing catch, I haven’t felt it one time with the brace on.”

With that, the Yankees are prepared to put Sabathia right back into their rotation. If he comes back on Wednesday, he will have missed just 16 days. He will also come back just in time to give the Yankees a sixth starter exactly when they will need one in order to give the entire rotation an extra day of rest.

“Physically, we’ve had concerns all year,” Girardi said. “And we’ve kind of done this (spot starter routine) all year. Sometimes we didn’t know who was going to make the start to break it up, but if everything is OK, we know. … The whole thing is to make the knee more stable and for him to feel like he can do what he needs to do. He can let it go without having fear that something might pop up. Hopefully it works.”

Mark Teixeira• Mark Teixeira stood on his own as he spoke to reporters in the Yankees’ clubhouse this afternoon, but when he walked away, it was on crutches without weight on his bruised right leg. “There’s a progression now,” Teixeira said. “I basically went from crutches to trying to run last time. Now that we know it’s a lot worse than first expected, there’s going to be a build-up from jogging to walking to running and making sure I can do everything.”

• Confident you’ll play again this season? “One hundred percent,” Teixeira said. “There’s no permanent damage. It’s just a really bad bone bruise, worse than we first expected. It’s unfortunate, but hopefully we have two months of the season left so there’s plenty of time for me to get healthy and come back.”

• Putting Teixeira on the disabled list wipes out any chance of getting him back in the lineup before the weekend, but the Yankees knew that wasn’t going to happen anyway. By putting him on the DL, they could bring back Nick Rumbelow a little bit earlier without waiting a full 10 days since he was optioned.

• Was the original injury worse than expected, or did trying to play through it make the injury worse? “Playing on it didn’t make it worse,” Teixeira said. “It just didn’t allow it to heal. That’s kind of the thing that we always knew, that, hey, you’re not going to make it worse by playing on it, but it just didn’t have a chance to heal. That’s why I’m back on the crutches, really letting the whole thing calm down and start from scratch. … Sometimes it takes more than 24 hours to get the full picture. We kind of went with our best guess the first time. We underestimated it a little bit. That’s the way it happens sometimes.”

• Probably goes without saying, but the Yankees are not pulling anyone out of the rotation when Sabathia comes back. There’s only one more scheduled off day the rest of the season. “We’ll insert him in here to give everyone an extra day’s rest,” Girardi said.

• A lot of attention on Stephen Drew’s bat these days, but you know who else is really hot? His double play partner, Didi Gregorius. “I think that Didi has grown up a lot in these five months,” Girardi said. “Playing every day, playing against lefties, allowing his talent to come out, gaining confidence each month, refining his swing; all of that. It’s your hope when you have a young player that it’s a transition that continues to go up and that’s what we’ve seen.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 5:27 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A-Rod hitting fifth; Beltran third

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Alex Rodriguez DH
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

RHP Luis Severino


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 3:25 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pitching matchups vs. Rays

Luis Severino

RHP Luis Severino (2-2, 2.17)
RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 3.18)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (14-2, 4.17)
LHP Matt Moore (1-3, 8.78)
1:05 p.m., FoxSports1

RHP Ivan Nova (5-7, 4.50)
RHP Chris Archer (12-10, 2.78)
1:05 p.m., YES Network and TBS

Associated Press photo



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 1:18 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees place Mark Teixeira on DL; recall Nick Rumbelow

TeixeiraNow that we know Mark Teixeira is going to miss quite a bit more time with a severe bone bruise in his right shin, the Yankees have officially placed him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to August 27.

That makes him eligible to return next Friday.

After going on crutches this week, I doubt anyone was expecting Teixeira to return any earlier than next Friday. I suppose putting him on the DL opens the possibility of giving him a rehab game at some point just to get at-bats (though the team might decide that’s not necessary).

The most immediate benefit is that it allowed the Yankees to recall Nick Rumbelow one day early. Because he’s replacing a player who’s going on the DL, Rumbelow was allowed to come back to the big leagues before he’d been in Triple-A 10 days.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 11:15 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Prospects in the desert: Eppler breaks down Yankees’ Fall League assignments

Gary Sanchez, Antoan Richardson

After a good road trip and a quiet off day, the Yankees are about to begin a key 10-game home stand. But really, you don’t need me to tell you about the importance of games down the stretch. Especially games at home when Toronto is coming to town at the end of next week.

Instead, let’s spend this morning looking back into the minor league system. Assistant general manager Billy Eppler spent some time last night explaining the Yankees’ choices for the Arizona Fall League. It’s a good group of legitimate prospects worth keeping an eye on. The Fall League schedule begins in mid-October.

Third baseman

Who he is: The Yankees top draft pick in 2013 broke camp with Double-A this season, but he hasn’t played since mid-June because of a knee injury that was worse than originally hoped and/or expected. Jagielo as one more medical check up in the next few days and sould begin baseball activities “in a pretty short timetable,” Eppler said.

What he does: Considered an advanced hitter coming out of Notre Dame, Jagielo has hit for good power in his brief professional career, including a .495 slugging percentage before this year’s injury. “He puts the ball in the air to the pull side, and he can really impact the baseball,” Eppler said. “He has an idea of the strike zone. Kind of fits the mold of the players you’ve seen us gravitate to over the years.”

Why the Fall League: This is a pretty clear-cut case of a player going to the Fall League to make up for lost time. Eppler said he wasn’t positive whether Jagielo would play both infield corners in Arizona, but the Yankees expect to keep giving him at least some time at first base. Jagielo”s still considered a third baseman, but he got three starts at first base this season. “He hasn’t played very much first at all,” Eppler said. “So third base is where the comfort level and familiarity lies at this point in time.”


Who he is: The top catching prospect in the system got to Triple-A this year and was almost certainly going to get a September call-up before a late-season hamstring injury. Could he become an option before the end of the regular season? “Probably T.B.D.,” Eppler said. “Just depends on how he feels. Pretty minor hamstring injury from the feedback we got from the minor league staff, the medical staff, so we’ll just kind of base it on how he feels on an every few days cycle.”

What he does: Sanchez has impressed the Yankees since spring training with his improved defense and maturity, and he capped his season with a whopping .295/.349/.500 slash line in Triple-A. “This guy’s 22 years old, so he’s coming out of college right now, essentially,” Eppler said. “And he’s basically dominating Triple-A. That’s pretty valuable. And he’s doing it at a premium position. He’s a pretty complete player right now. We’re excited by how he’s grown.”

Why the Fall League: Eppler said the Yankees discussed sending Sanchez to the Fall League even before the injury. This isn’t about making up for lost time. It’s about continuing Sanchez’s steps in the right direction. “Just wanted him to continue,” Eppler said. “Get his games called and games caught up there.”


Who he is: Emerging as one of the system’s top position prospects, Wade was a fourth-round pick in 2013, and he opened this season playing shortstop every day in High-A Tampa. He’s finishing the year in Double-A Trenton. He reached that level that despite being just 20 years old. “For us to move a player that young up to Double-A, there’s going to be ingredients that go beyond performance,” Eppler said.

What he does: Those ingredients beyond performance, Eppler said, center on Wade’s drive and competitive nature. It has been noticeable since spring training that the organization — from the big league coach staff on through the minor league system — is already wildly impressed by the way Wade works and carries himself. It’s hard not to notice the way people talk about Wade, and that high-end makeup goes alongside good numbers for such a young guy playing a premium position. “He’s got a very good chance to achieve his potential,” Eppler said.

Why the Fall League: Wade has more than 500 plate appearances as it is, so this isn’t a matter of playing time. The Yankees are sending Wade to Arizona strictly to challenge him even further. “Just the experience level, getting to play against advanced competition,” Eppler said. “He’s getting a little exposure to that in Double-A right now. We’re going to put him against some pretty good arms in the Fall League, and I think that will be good for him. And continuing his reps at shortstop and the infield is going to be good for him.”

MiLB: JUN 27 Mets at Yankees (LoMoglio)DUSTIN FOWLER
Center fielder

Who he is: An 18th-round pick out of high school in 2013, Fowler’s had one of the best all-around seasons of anyone in the Yankees’ system. He played his way from Low-A to High-A, and he has the second-most RBI in the organization. He also has the third-best batting average among full-season prospects, and the fifth-most stolen bases. “Improving his ability to put the ball in play,” Eppler said. “(Also) improving his selectivity. He’s clearly getting stronger.”

What he does: Eppler said there’s “no doubt” Fowler can stick in center field, and the team has been encouraged by his all-around offensive improvements. Fowler could be an emerging prospect, and Eppler noted his combination of speed, hitting ability, improving plate discipline, and “strength arrows pointing upward” have been encouraging. Add him to the list as yet another left-handed outfielder who has the Yankees’ attention.

Why the Fall League: Fowler is one of the Fall League players assigned to the taxi squad, meaning he’ll only be active a couple of times a week. He’s not going to Arizona to play a ton, just to keep doing what he’s been doing and see some higher competition. “Our reports on him in 2014 were the same we have on him in 2015,” Eppler said. “He’s a guy Damon (Oppenheimer) and his guys identified as a prospect out of the gate. He’s a guy that our pro scouts and some of our amateur staff that cycle through our system still identify as a prospect. He’s a guy who’s very much on our radar and has maintained that position on our radar.”

Left-handed reliever

Who he is: A college draftee in 2013, Webb reached Triple-A in his first full season of pro ball. He got a look in big league camp this spring, then he opened the season back with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He might very well have pushed for a big league call up, but a tendon issue in his pitching hand landed Webb on the disabled list in late June. No surgery required, and Webb has resumed baseball activities. Eppler said Webb has a bullpen coming up. Might even be today, he wasn’t sure.

What he does: Keep Webb on the suddenly long list of lefties with a chance to play a big league role next season. Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren and James Pazos are in the big leagues now, and Eppler said he still thinks of Webb as belonging in that group. “There’s a lot of candidates for those roles, and that’s a good thing,” Eppler said. “I don’t really put Andrew Miller in that. He’s occupying a different role.”

Why the Fall League: Like Jagielo, this is a standard case of sending a player to the Fall League to make up for lost time. Webb was hurt in the summer, so he’ll pitch in the fall. “He’ll just go down to kind of make up for some of the innings that he missed this year,” Eppler said. “The Fall League will provide those innings.”

MiLB: MAY 03 Flying Tigers at YankeesCHAZ HEBERT
Left-handed starter

Who he is: It’s a credit to the level of talent the Yankees are sending to Arizona that if there’s a name on this list you don’t know, I’m guessing it’s Hebert. Not that Hebert is a huge name, but he’s had a good year, including seven shutout innings in a Triple-A spot start late last month. Most of Hebert’s season was spent as a 22-year-old in High-A where he was excellent from the first of June onward (his month of June started with a nine-inning shutout, one of three shutouts he’s thrown this year).

What he does: Essentially, Hebert fits the profile of a young pitcher who doesn’t get a lot of attention but does enough to keep the Yankees intrigued by his potential. “Left-handed starter that controls the strike zone (and) manages the strike zone well,” Eppler said. “Has a pretty advanced changeup. Small cutter that is showing improvement. Breaking ball that he can throw for strikes. He’s still pretty young at 22 years old and pitched pretty well in the Florida State League.”

Why the Fall League: Teams basically work with the Fall League to settle on the general role each prospect will play in Arizona. Eppler said he wasn’t on the conference call that finalized those roles, but it seems likely Hebert will work as a starter in Arizona. “Just an avenue to get him more innings,” Eppler said.

MiLB: AUG 06 - Brevard County Manatees at Tampa Yankees (LoMoglio) LindgrenTWO OPEN SPOTS
Two pitching possibilities?

The Yankees still have to assign two more pitchers to the Fall League. Not sure when those announcements will happen, but it’s not at all unusual for a few Fall League choices to be settled a little later. Two names that stand out as possible candidates — legit prospects who need innings — are Jacob Lindgren and Ian Clarkin. I asked about both, but Eppler said he wasn’t sure what minor league director Gary Denbo had in mind. My own thought is that Clarkin might not be quite advanced enough — he made one start above Low-A last year and hasn’t pitched at all this year — but Lindgren seems like a good fit as long as he’s health enough. That’s 100 percent opinion, though. Eppler didn’t indicate one way or the other.

Lindgren had bone spur surgery to clean up his elbow back in June. He is still in a throwing program, but he hasn’t thrown a bullpen yet. Eppler said his rehab is moving in the right direction.

“Player has no complaints,” Eppler said, reading off a recent report from Tampa.

Clarkin had an elbow issue in spring training and hasn’t pitched in a game this year, but he didn’t need surgery and he’s currently in a throwing program. He has progressed to the point of throwing live batting practice. “Everything seems to be going good, so we’ll see,” Eppler said.

Associated Press photo of Sanchez


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 8:52 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Off day notes and links: Figueroa, Drew, Almonte and bat flips

Been a really quiet Thursday, but here are a few notes and links as we wrap up this off day. The Yankees begin a 10-game home stand tomorrow night.

Mark Teixeira, Cole Figueroa• The Yankees announced that infielder Cole Figueroa has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That means he’ll rejoin that team for the Triple-A playoffs, which is certainly good news for Dave Miley and Co. Figueroa’s really had a nice year down there. No word yet on Tyler Austin, who was also designated for assignment earlier this week. Have to assume the Yankees are actually getting a feel for Austin’s market before putting him on waivers.

• Good stuff, as always, from Wally Matthews writing about the Yankees faith in Stephen Drew, which has been rewarded lately. “It’s good to finally have some confidence back,” Drew said. “That’s a good feeling. I know what I can do. I know what’s there. It’s just a matter of putting it together and staying consistent.” Everything about Drew’s career always pointed to him being much better than he was in 2014 and the first two months of 2015.

• The Yankees’ Low-A affiliate in Charleston has announced a new logo design and new uniforms for next year’s 20th anniversary season.

• Former Yankees prospect Abraham Almonte — traded several years ago for Shawn Kelley — has found a big league role playing center field in Cleveland. Zack Meisel wrote today about the long road that got Almonte to that point, and that road is filled with stories of misbehavior during Almonte’s time with the Yankees. “That’s the same thing with alcohol and drugs,” Almonte said. “People think they can control it. They think everything is fine. But one day you find out that you’re not. You’re just lying to yourself. For months. For years. Then, when you find out, you have two choices: You change and do better, or you just keep doing it, keep lying to yourself, keep killing yourself.”

• If you haven’t read this story yet, it’s absolutely worth reading now. For the New York Times, Andrew Keh went to South Korea to write about the art of the bat flip and the way the gesture is viewed outside of Major League Baseball. It’s great stuff. It seems natural that different cultures would view something like that differently. That’s certainly not a phenomenon limited to baseball. Great story by Keh.

• For the Yankees’ upcoming home stand, two of the first four games are scheduled to be against left-handed starters (Matt Moore on Saturday; Wei-Yin Chen on Monday). The Yankees also drew Rays’ ace Chris Archer, who’s on turn to start the final game of the upcoming weekend series.

Associated Press photo



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 9:01 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Expanded roster: Which September call-ups might have the biggest impact?

Rico Noel

When rosters expanded on Tuesday, the Yankees brought up eight players from the minor league system. Three were brand new additions, three were recalled from optional assignments, one was a blast from the recent past, and one was activated from the disabled list. More additions will surely arrive in the coming days.

But what impact will these September call-ups actually have?

As always, these are secondary role players. The key players were already on the roster. These additions are simply on the roster to help out when and where they can. So here’s an attempt to rank the September call-ups in terms of expected impact down the stretch. Even for those at the very top of the list, the impact is probably going to be pretty small. This is not a ranking of talent or potential, only an attempt to guess who will actually play the most significant role down the stretch.

Rumbelow1. Nick Rumbelow/Nick Goody
Let’s get weird from the very beginning. Truth is, the greatest expanded-roster impact will probably come from two guys who haven’t even been called up just yet. Rumbelow and Goody are still in Triple-A, but only because it’s been less than 10 days since they were last optioned to the minors. Once they’re available, Rumbelow and Goody — Rumbelow in particular, I would think — should jump ahead of the other September call-ups in terms of bullpen pecking order. They might even jump ahead of guys like Branden Pinder and Bryan Mitchell who were already on the roster before expansion. Put Rumbelow in the ninth inning last night, and Andrew Miller might not have pitched.

2. Rob Refsnyder
Hard to tell how Joe Girardi plans to use Refsnyder. Certainly he won’t be playing second base against right-handed starters, but he seems to be a viable option against lefties. He has more offensive potential than Brendan Ryan, and it could be both meaningful and helpful to have Refsnyder bring some right-handed balance to the bottom of the order. For that to happen, though, Girardi will have to trust him and Refsnyder will have to perform. Neither one is a sure thing, but the potential for impact certainly exists. If Refsnyder does become the platoon second baseman, his impact will surely be greater than any other September call-up, but the fact that might not happen leaves him at No. 2 on this list.

Andrew Bailey3. Andrew Bailey
In his first big league appearance in more than two years, Bailey wasn’t sharp yesterday. He was wild and walked some guys, and that obviously wasn’t the best-case scenario. But it was understandable, and Bailey’s raw stuff actually looked alright. Given Girardi’s faith in veterans, I’m sure Bailey will get quite a few more chances to pitch relatively meaningful innings. Not huge innings, but I could see Bailey being a go-to choice for innings that don’t quite call for one of the big boys, but could get away from one of the less-proven kids. If the Yankees were convinced Bailey were better than Rumbelow or Goody, he might have been called up already. Even if he’s behind those two in the pecking order, Bailey will surely get some chances to pitch.

4. Rico Noel
Last year, Antoan Richardson pinch ran six times and stole five bases. He also got more at-bats than might have been expected. To better determine the potential impact of a guy like Noel, Mike Axisa looked at the late-season pinch running workload of a few similar players in recent years. He found 25 pinch running opportunities for three notable September pinch runners. Mike noted: “23 of those 25 pinch-running situations came in the sixth inning or later of a game separated by no more than two runs.” This Yankees team doesn’t have much speed outside of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, but Noel changes that. Even in his tiny, specific role, he could legitimately be the difference in a game or two.

5. Austin Romine
I don’t think Romine will play very much, but his impact will come in the fact he makes it much easier to use Brian McCann and John Ryan Murphy as the situation dictates. That might mean pinch running for McCann late in a game. It might mean using Murphy to pinch hit against a lefty, or pulling Murphy for a pinch hitter against a righty. It might mean no hesitation using McCann as a pinch hitter on days McCann doesn’t start. Adding Romine makes it easier to use McCann and Murphy and more effectively.

Jose Pirela, Travis Shaw6. Jose Pirela
If it turns out the Yankees trust Pirela at second base ahead of Refsnyder, then Pirela’s spot on this list moves way up. If not, though, then Pirela’s greatest attribute is that he basically lets Girardi make any change he wants knowing he has someone on the bench who can fill that hole. Remove any position player except catcher, and the Yankees could use Pirela to fill the defensive void (occasionally by moving other players around the field). Add some speed and a right-handed bat, and Pirela has the potential for impact, just doesn’t have a clear role that will give him very much playing time.

7. Dustin Ackley
Similar to Pirela because of his versatility, and perhaps a better fit for the Yankees in the long term because he’s left-handed and could handle second base next season. For the time being, though, Ackley’s impact is limited by the fact he’s surrounded by better alternatives. The Yankees regular outfield consists of two left-handed hitters and a switch hitter. The have a left-handed second baseman. Their current first baseman is left-handed. Maybe Ackley can give Carlos Beltran a rest now and then, and maybe he could play when Alex Rodriguez sit against a right-hander, but otherwise there’s just not a lot for Ackley to do right now. Acquiring him seems to have much more to do with next season than this season.

8. James Pazos
Potential impact for Pazos would be much higher if the Yankees didn’t already have three go-to left-handed relievers. Pazos might be a good matchup option in a low-leverage situation, but big at-bats against lefties are going to be handled by Justin Wilson or Chasen Shreve. Adding Pazos to the mix seems more about adding depth and getting a first look at what he can do. Hard to see how he’ll have a real impact in this bullpen.

9. Caleb Cotham
If you can define any of the Yankees’ relievers as a true mopup man right now, it’s surely Cotham. He can pitch multiple innings, and despite that strong first impression in Texas, he’s since delivered two total duds. He’s definitely here to eat innings in games that are already decided. That will be even more true when Rumbelow and Goody officially show up.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 6:02 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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