The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for May, 2009

Pettitte: I’ll make my next start05.30.09

Andy Pettitte hurt his back on Monday in Texas, stretching in the outfield after a workout. He loosened up enough to start tonight but aggravated his condition a few times when he slipped on the mound.

Pitchers dig a hole for their landing foot and need traction to keep from skidding. Pettitte missed his spot a few times and every time he did, it caused pain to flare up. That’s what you saw in the third inning when he walked Vic Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to load the bases.

But Pettitte fought through five innings. Once he was unable to finish off his pitches, Joe Girardi came and got him.

“He’s a fighter. He’s going to find a way to get through it,” Jorge Posada said. “I’ve known Andy a long time and he’s not coming out even if he’s messed up. He wouldn’t admit it.”

Pettitte made a sour face when asked if he would miss his next start.

“No, no, no,” he said. “I’ll be there.”

Girardi also said he expects Pettitte to be there. But the Yankees will keep an eye on him. There is no sense risking further injury at this point in the season, especially with Chien-Ming Wang twiddling his thumbs.

Tonight marked the 58th time that Mariano Rivera saved a victory for Pettitte. That broke the record held by Dennis Eckersley and Bob Welch. The Eck was here tonight, as it turns out, prepping for the TBS telecast on Sunday.

As records go, it’s not much to excited about. A save is sort of meaningless (as is a win, often times) and Rivera didn’t much seem to care. But it is a testament to longevity.

“We’ve been together a long time,” Rivera said. “My memory doesn’t go that far.”

Of greater significance is that the Yankees have won 13 of 16, they’re in first place and are performing well in all three aspects of the game.

Yanks-Tribe again tomorrow. CC Sabathia back in Cleveland, facing Fausto Carmona. 7:05 start on YES. We’ll drop a few posts on you during the day.

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Game 48: Yankees at Indians (updated with roster move and Posada pre-game audio)05.29.09

YANKEES (27-20)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Gardner CF

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (4-1, 4.30).

INDIANS (21-28)
Cabrera SS
Sizemore DH
Martinez 1B
Peralta 3B
DeRosa LF
Francisco RF
Carroll 2B
Shoppach C
Crowe CF

Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee (2-5, 3.04).

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

STATE OF THE ‘STRIPES: The Yankees are a half-out out of first in the AL East. They have won 12 of 15 and have started the road trip by taking two of three against Texas. Cleveland is in last place in the Central but swept four from Tampa at home, scoring 30 runs in the process.

THEY MEET AGAIN: The Yankees split a four-game series with the Indians in April in the Bronx. Lee beat them on April 16 when the new Stadium opened, allowing one run over six innings in a 10-2 rout. Pettitte did not pitch in that series.

PLEASE, CAN WE STAY: The Yankees were 47 of 120 (.392) in the three games in Texas, collecting 15 extra-base hits and walking 12 times as they scored 23 runs. They raised the team batting average from .271 to .280.

IT’S GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME: The Yankees have a 5.01 ERA, the lowest it has been since April 16.

GLOVE STORY: The Yankees have gone 14 games without making an error.

THEY’RE HOT: Derek Jeter has hit in 11 straight. … Mark Teixeira has hit in 10 straight. He has two or more hits in six of the last seven games and nine of the last 12. He has eight homers and 19 RBI in the last 12 games. …Brett Gardner is 13 of his last 31. …Robbie Cano is 17 of his last 42, going from .296 to .320. Of those 17 hits, eight were extra bases.

OLD FOLKS NEED THEIR REST: Mariano Rivera last worked on Sunday.

SWING FOR THE FENCES: Of the 17 hits Alex Rodriguez has since his return, 11 are for extra bases.

Back later with much more.

UPDATE, 5:56 p.m: Lots of stuff to get to:

• Kevin Cash was optioned to Scranton. Sounds like they want Cervelli to catch Sabathia tomorrow. Plus Jose Molina will catch in a game tomorrow in Florida and will be back soon enough. There are no plans to carry three catchers.

• Xavier Nady starts a throwing program on Monday.

• Brian Bruney starts his throwing program on Tuesday.

• The Yankees have not discussed Joba in the bullpen. Great line from Girardi: “The good thing about the presidential debates is that they end. … This one doesn’t.”

• There is hope that Melky could be in the lineup as soon as Monday. He has made a lot of progress the last two days and in fact took some swings today. “It’s better,” Melky said to me in a conversation that included his English and my lousy college Spanish. “Maybe a day or two. I won’t go on the DL. No reason.”

UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: Here is Jorge Posada talking about his return:

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Jorge talks about his readiness to play, how he strengthened his shoulder while he was on the DL and how proud he is of Francisco Cervelli.

UPDATE, 6:51 p.m.: Bad news, gang. They’re putting the tarp on the field and the game will be delayed. No word on a start time.

UPDATE, 6:58 p.m.: Based on the radar on, it’ll be a quick storm. Hopefully, anyway.

UPDATE, 7:27 p.m.: OK, it is in fact raining. No word on a start time.

Meanwhile, cool stat via Kim Jones: Tonight would be the first time the Yankees have Posada, Matsui and Rodriguez in the lineup together since last June 22. How crazy is that?

UPDATE, 8:07 p.m.: The game is set for an 8:30 p.m start.

UPDATE, 8:31 p.m.: We’re underway and Derek Jeter quickly extends his hitting streak to 12 games. Obviously he was inspired by today’s feature in The Journal News.

UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: And Tex has hit in 11 straight. Yankees picking up where they left off in Texas.

UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Kind of odd, isn’t it, that the Indians would pitch to A-Rod with first base open and a lefty on deck?

UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: Shows you what I know as he strikes out looking. But they’re up 2-0 on Lee. Nice start.

UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: Very methodical offense against Lee as the Yankees lead 3-0. They have seven hits and have drawn two walks. They’ve already left six runners on base, however.

UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: Lee is closing in on 80 pitches here in the fourth inning. That’s a good sign.

UPDATE, 9:54 p.m.: I’m certainly not trying to put the Michael Kay Jinx on anything. But now that the Red Sox have lost, the Yankees can move into first place alone for the first time since the final game of the 2006 season if they win tonight.

How crazy is that?

Of course, they still have six innings to get through. But I figured I’d get that out there before you saw it someplace else.

UPDATE, 9:59 p.m.: Assistant athletic trainer Steve Donohue just followed Andy into the clubhouse. Not sure if that is a problem or not. He appeared to have some sort of hip issue earlier but looked OK in the fourth inning.

I’ll see what I can find out.

UPDATE, 10:07 p.m.: No updates from the Yankees on Andy. As long as he’s in the game, they’re not going to call down to the trainer’s room. That is certainly understandable. If he’s pitching, how hurt can he be? They wouldn’t take any stupid chances on May 29.

UPDATE, 10:14 p.m.: It’s like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom here at Progressive Field. There are millions of bugs around the lights (they are either mosquitos or midges according to Newday’s Erik Boland, a native Ohioan) and there are hundreds of birds in a feeding frenzy.

Meanwhile, three guys in racing around the field in hot dog suits nearly ran over first base coach Mick Kelliher. It’s very exciting at the ballpark.

UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.: It’s 3-0, Swisher singles and they have Gardner bunt? I’m sorry, that’s a bad play. Lee has struggled all game and is throwing a lot of pitches. Gardner also has swung the bat well in recent weeks. Don’t give Lee an out, make him earn it. Outs are precious. This isn’t the NL.

UPDATE, 10:27 p.m.: Pettitte has some sort of issue as Donohue visits the mound with Girardi.

UPDATE, 10:28 p.m.: That’s it for Andy. I’ll post the news as soon as I get it. It’s clearly a lower-body sort of thing.

Chien-Ming Wang, come on down!

UPDATE, 10:38 p.m.: Nice job by Alfredo Aceves, who wiggles out of the bases-loaded, no-outs jam allowing only one run. He has Ramiro Mendozian qualities.

UPDATE, 10:49 p.m.: How good of a hitter is Posada? Spends 24 days on the DL, gets a few at-bats against kids in Florida and comes back and goes 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are 2-for-12 with RISP and have stranded 10 in seven innings. It’ll be interesting to see who pitches the eighth inning if Aceves gets through the seventh. You know what? I’d let Aceves do it if he fees OK. Better him than Veras or Coke.

UPDATE, 10:54 p.m.: Pettitte has what’s being described as lower back stiffness.

UPDATE, 10:55 p.m.: 1-2-3 inning for Aceves. I’d leave him in. No reason to screw around and get fancy. He gets three, Mo comes in, first place.

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Run for your life, Joba05.29.09

Based on this photo of the pressbox window, the midges are back in Cleveland.

Good thing Andy Pettitte is pitching tonight.

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Miscwith 41 Comments →

Oh, Jay-Z, you crack me up05.29.09

As was mentioned, A-Rod and several other players attended the Magic-Cavs game here last night. Via our pals at Big League Stew, here’s a shot of Alex yucking it up with Jay-Z.

(Jay-Z, meanwhile, seems to be channeling Phillip Michael Thomas back in the Miami Vice days).

According to the gossip pages, Alex stayed at the fancy Hotel ZaZa in Texas instead of with the team as he was with Kate Hudson, the once successful actress.

Some folks may wonder how this is part of the the “focus on baseball, remove all distractions” plan Alex was espousing. But if he keeps hitting home runs, he can hang out with Jennifer Hudson, the Hudson Brothers or Henry Hudson for all anybody cares.

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Indians make a move05.29.09

The Indians today recalled LHP Rafael Perez from Triple-A Columbus and DFA’d OF David Dellucci.

Perez has spent the last three weeks in Columbus where he went 1-0 with two saves in seven games and did not allow a run in 9.0 innings pitched. He had a 15.19 ERA in 13 games with Cleveland to start the season.

Perez has pitched well against the the Yankees in the past (2.61 ERA, .194 batting average against), which probably explains why he is back.

No word yet on the Yankees move. But if they kept Kevin Cash around as a backup and sent Francisco Cervelli back to play everyday, that would seem to make sense.

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Miscwith 275 Comments →

The Cervelli backstory05.29.09

Had a chance in Texas to have a long conversation with Francisco Cervelli. Get this: He has been catching only since 2003 when the Yankees signed him out of Venezuela.

“I was a shortstop and a second baseman and I pitched in Venezuela,” Cervelli said. “I had never caught in my life. I had no idea what to do at first.”

But when he was 17, the Yankees liked his size, arm and athletic ability and offered to sign him if he was willing to try catching. Cervelli jumped at the chance.

“I love it,” he said of catching. “I feel like I was born to do it. I just didn’t know before.”

Cervelli also was a switch hitter when he was a teenager. But when he arrived at the Dominican Summer League in 2003, that was the end of that. He was told to stick with his natural right-handed swing.

Cervelli’s story sort of reminds you of Jorge Posada, who was an infielder before he became a catcher. Now he has a chance to learn from Posada and — who knows? — maybe someday be his replacement. These last few weeks have boosted Cervelli’s stock in a lot of eyes.

Meanwhile, Jesus Montero is 1 for 2 with a double today for Single-A Tampa after belting two homers yesterday. He’s at .340/.394/.571 on the season. That kid is a beast at the plate.

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Miscwith 44 Comments →

Live video chat today at 1105.29.09

Our latest video chat will be today at 11 a.m.

I’m in Cleveland with the Yankees. But thanks to internet magic, you can go to our Pro Talk Live page and get your questions answered.

Hope to see you there at 11.

The chat is sponsored by Friedrich Air Conditioning.

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Today in The Journal News05.29.09

Derek Jeter’s power and speed numbers suggest he’s fighting a winning battle (for now) against age.

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I saw something tonight I could not believe: An arena full of people cheered Carl Pavano. Well, that and LeBron James carrying an entire city on his back. That was pretty cool, too.

NBA games are a little overwhelming. Fire shoots from the scoreboard, there are approximately 1,278 people on the court during timeouts and a team named the Cavaliers had a guy in a dog suit as its mascot. The Quicken Loans Arena makes Yankee Stadium seem like a library.

Cleveland beat Orlando to stay alive in the Eastern finals as LeBron had 37 points, 14 boards and 11 assists. King James either scored or assisted on 29 of the 34 points Cleveland scored in the fourth quarter. By the end of the game, they ran the same isolation play over and over again and he abused poor Mickael Pietrus.

LeBron is even more impressive in person than he is on television. He’s so big and quick that he overwhelms any defender you try on him. Orlando stubbornly refused to double him for some reason. The fourth quarter was one of the greatest athletic feats you could hope to see.

I caught the game with Mark Feinsand of the The Daily News. We had great seats but not as great as the Yankees who were in the house.

Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera were in the first row behind the Cleveland bench. CC Sabathia had a big crew behind the Orlando bench including Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner and Brian Bruney.

The scoreboard showed all the athletes in the stands including CC (some boos), Brady Quinn (cheers), Kerry Wood (sort-of cheers), A-Rod (loud boos) and Pavano (cheers, amazingly enough). Ben Roethlisberger was there as well. He got booed the most.

Game 6 will be in Orlando on Saturday. If the Cavs win, they’ll be back home on Monday night. Think anybody would go see Yanks-Indians across the street?

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Miscwith 326 Comments →

Reminder: Live video chat tomorrow at 11 a.m.05.28.09

Alas, the Yankees have fallen out of first place. But fear not, there are still 115 games left. Once they move Joba to the bullpen, put Jeter in center and trade Wang, everything will be fine.

(Can I ask why it’s necessary to try and solve every problem every day? Let the season play out a little, let it breathe, let them get their roster together. It’s baseball, not SEC football. Calm down.)

Meanwhile, that will probably be it for the blogging today. Things to do, places to go.

So be here tomorrow at 11 a.m. with your questions. Go to <a href=”I’m in Cleveland with the Yankees. But thanks to internet magic, you can go to our Pro Talk Live page and get your questions answered.
” target=”_blank”>

The chat is sponsored by Friedrich Air Conditioning.

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