Archive for February, 2010
Five questions with Greg Golson • 02.28.10
Back in 2004, the Phillies took Greg Golson with the 21st pick of the amateur draft. His bat, though, has been slow to develop through high strikeout totals and not enough walks for a guy with plus speed. The Phillies traded him to Texas in 2008, and the Yankees traded for him this winter — sending infielder Mitch Hilligoss to Texas — after the Rangers designated Golson for assignment..
I remember when you were drafted, you were labeled as the best athlete in the draft. What have you been working on since then?
Golson: Pitch recognition. I feel like that’s been the thorn in my side basically my whole career. I’m trying to be more patient at the plate and allow the pitcher to put me on base a couple of times so I can use my speed a little bit more. Hopefully, with the things I’ve been working on in the offseason, and the things I learned in Texas and Philly, I can incorporate that all the time. It’s basically just trying to build on that every year.
It seems that when players are given that athlete label, it comes with an idea that they’re still learning baseball, but you grew up playing baseball your whole life didn’t you?
Golson: I started when I was 11, so it was a little bit later than everybody else, but I still feel like that’s plenty of time to learn the game. I feel like I know the game just as well as anyone else my age, it’s just sometimes it took me a little bit longer to trust my ability. Things other guys have to do, I might not have to do because my hands are quicker or whatever. Those are things that every player needs to learn, what they’re good at and what they’re not good at.
Did the trade to the Yankees catch you off guard, or did the trade to Texas leave you feeling like anything can happen at any moment?
Golson: That definitely did happen to me, you realize that you don’t know where you’re going to be. I kind of knew something was going to happen when they designated me. I knew that I wasn’t going to be with the Rangers this year. But for the Yankees to pick me up, that was completely unexpected. The history that they have and everything, it definitely lets you know that you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Do you feel like a better baseball player now than you were maybe three or four years ago?
Golson: Absolutely. If I didn’t there would be no reason for me to play right now. Being with Texas, I learned a lot about myself as far as hitting goes I learned my swing. All of the coaches that I’ve been around – Davey Lopes, Gary Pettis, Rudy Jaramillo, Kevin Long – all of these guys that have some really, really solid credentials in baseball. I get to learn from them. I might not be with them now, but stuff that they told me sticks with me.
What do you need to do better this year than you did last year in order to get to New York and stick around?
Golson: I just feel like I need to be more consistent. Last year started off real well. I got a call-up, then for whatever reason, I didn’t necessarily carry that throughout the year. I feel like if I steal more bases, get on base more, I feel like that will take care of a lot of things. I feel like if I do what I can do, things will work out the way they’re supposed to… At some point I want to make all of the people that were backing me when I was younger look good.
Notes from Sunday • 02.28.10
Chan Ho Park is locked into the Yankees bullpen. Brian Cashman said this afternoon that Park has a guaranteed deal, which means he’s guaranteed a spot. It’s too early to know, Cashman said, how that affects the rest of the Yankees pitchers.
“There’s clearly a lot of competition,” Cashman said. “Hopefully we can stay healthy, but it’s unrealistic to expect health. A lot of time this stuff works itself out. I just feel, before we start games, we have a better foundation going into the game of spring training this year than we did last year. We’re a little deeper. A little more flexible.”
Joe Girardi said he sees Park as a one- or two-inning reliever, but he’s also seen Park pitch as a late-inning, one-inning setup type reliever.
Here’s the audio from Cashman and then the audio from Girardi.
• Park, Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte will each throw their first bullpen sessions tomorrow. Girardi said those three are on roughly the same schedule.
• CC Sabathia will throw on side session on Tuesday, then make his first start on Thursday. The other starters are more or less on their regular five-day schedule. Joba Chamberlain, for example, pitched batting practice today. That means he’ll take Monday off, throw a bullpen Tuesday, throw another light bullpen Wednesday, take Thursday off, then pitch in a game on Friday.
• On Wednesday, the Yankees plan to use Chad Guadin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves in that order, with no one between them. But, all three will start an inning. If, for example, the Yankees need someone to get the final out of Gaudin’s final inning, they’ll use a reliever, then use Mitre to start the next inning.
• Cashman on Edwar Ramirez being designated: “Selfishly, we hope we can keep him in the organization, but we’ll know here in the next 10 days how realistic that is.”
• Cashman said “no there aren’t” when asked if there were other free agents on the Yankees radar.
• Minor league catcher Neall French was still in big league camp today. He was brought up yesterday to help catch bullpens. He did not catch any of the live BP sessions.
• Tino Martinez is here as a guest instructor. Apparently he was here earlier, I just didn’t see him until today.
• Girardi is remaining quiet about what the team outing will be on Tuesday. “I told the guys, just be in street clothes by 10 o’clock,” he said.
Hughes wins some and loses some • 02.28.10
This afternoon, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain threw their batting practice sessions in two “inning” stints. They threw roughly 20 pitches, sat while another pitcher went to the mound, then went back for another 20 or so pitches.
During Hughes’ first inning, Alex Rodriguez swung and missed against back-to-back fastballs, but the writers were in the clubhouse interviewing CC Sabathia during Hughes’ second inning. It seems we missed something.
“I don’t like the cage thing, especially when A-Rod’s taking you deep,” Hughes said “It might have been a ground-rule double. I tried not to look. It sounded good off he bat. Like thunder.”
Rodriguez said it wasn’t a home run. He hit one deep to left and one deep to right, but Rodriguez didn’t think either ball left the yard.
What about those first two fastballs?
“He was setting me up,” Hughes said. “Baiting me to throw him another fastball.”
UPDATE, 6:12 p.m.: Here’s the audio. All three are pretty short. Honestly, at this point we’ve pretty much asked these guys all we can in a group setting. Hughes actually made fun of us for not having much to ask him.
In the picture, that’s Yogi Berra, Francisco Cervelli and Rodriguez watching batting practice.
The big man is ready • 02.28.10
CC Sabathia threw 28 pitches this afternoon. He got a swing on his second pitch and broke Mike Rivera’s bat on a fly ball to center.
“They didn’t take many swings,” Sabathia said. “But it’s good to have that hitter judge your pitches… It doesn’t matter whether they swing or not.”
Sabathia faced Rivera, Marcus Thames, Randy Winn and Nick Johnson. Thames popped one up into the cage, Winn hit a ground ball and Johnson (of course) took every pitch he saw. Rivera, actually, was the star of the show. After the broken bat, he grounded one to short, grounded one to second and got his revenge with a hard-hit ball to center field.
Is Sabathia ready to finally pitch in a game?
“We’ll see,” he said. “I feel good tough. Bullpens went real well. I get Monday off then throw another bullpen, so I’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to it. Today definitely helped, getting back going and getting used to facing guys.”
And how does he feel about facing Roy Halladay in his first spring start?
“If I face him in the regular season I’ll probably be more concerned becasue I’d probably have to hit,” he said.
Park back to Day 1 • 02.28.10
Brian Cashman said the Yankees will treat Chan Ho Park as if today is his first day of spring training (which, I guess, it is).
Park has been facing hitters and throwing bullpens in Korea, but the Yankees will begin his throwing program just like they began all the other pitchers.
Park will throw a bullpen tomorrow, but Cashman said he will not throw in a game during the first week of the spring schedule. That still leaves enough time to get him ready for opening day, they just don’t want to risk getting him hurt by rushing through a throwing program.
Ramirez designated for assignment • 02.28.10
To make room for Chan Ho Park on the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated Edwar Ramirez for assignment. Here’s the full press release announcing the move.
The New York Yankees today announced they have signed right-handed pitcher Chan Ho Park to a one-year Major League contract. He has joined the team today at spring training camp in Tampa, Fla.
Park, 36, owns a career record of 120-95 with a 4.35 ERA in 423 games (287 starts) over 16 Major League seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1994-2001, ‘08), Texas Rangers (2002-05), San Diego Padres (2005-06), New York Mets (2007) and Philadelphia Phillies (2009). He has won at least 10 games in a season at least six times in his career, including three seasons of 15-or-more victories (1998, 2000 and 2001).
He became the first-ever Korean-born player to appear in a Major League game on April 8, 1994 vs. Atlanta (w/ Los Angeles-NL) and is the first native of South Korea signed by the Yankees. His 120 career victories are second-most all-time among Asian-born pitchers behind only Japan’s Hideo Nomo (123 wins).
In 2009, Park went 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 games (seven starts) with the National League-champion Philadelphia Phillies. He made his season debut in relief, and then made seven starts from April 12-May 17 before returning to the bullpen for his final 37 outings of the season. Overall, Park posted a 2-2 record with a 2.52 ERA (50.0IP, 14ER) as a reliever, tossing more than 1.0 inning in 13 of his 38 relief outings.
Park owns 13 career postseason appearances, going 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA (10.1IP, 3ER), including 3.1 scoreless innings in the 2009 World Series vs. the Yankees. He was named to the 2001 National League All-Star team as a member of the Dodgers.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Edwar Ramirez was designated for assignment.
• Beautiful day here in Tampa. Much nicer than yesterday, which means CC Sabathia should finally be able to face some hitters. Not sure which group of hitters he’ll be facing, but he’s scheduled to be the second pitcher throwing on the main field, after Joba Chamberlain and before Phil Hughes.
• As indicated in the previous post, Park will do long toss today and expects to throw a bullpen tomorrow.
• Pitchers throwing live batting practice:
Field 1: Chamberlain, Sabathia, Hughes, Logan, McAllister, Nova, Noesi
Field 2: Igawa, Moseley, Mitchell, Melancon, Bleich, Whelan
• Ramirez was scheduled to throw on Field 2, but I’m assuming that’s no longer in the cards.
• Defensive assignments are the same as yesterday: Granderson LF, Hoffmann CF, Gardner LF, Laird 1B, Winfree LF, Nunez 3B, Thames RF, Winn LF, Golson CF, Corona 2B, Gorecki LF, Pena 3B, Curtis LF, Russo 3B, Weber RF.
Chan Ho Park has arrived • 02.28.10
Looks like Chan Ho Park has finally made it to Tampa.
In the Yankees clubhouse, one of the corner lockers has Park’s name at the top and his usual No. 61 hanging on the rail.
Still no sign of Park himself, but his stuff is clearly here. Also no word on a move to open a spot in the 40-man.
UPDATE, 10:57 a.m.: Just talked to Park. He’s been throwing in Korea and said he feels ready to pitch in a game. He’ll do long toss today and throw a bullpen tomorrow.
Today in The Journal News • 02.28.10
Chad Gaudin has been ready for any role since the day the Yankees acquired him. This spring, he’s trying to “make their decision tough” in the competition for the back of the rotation. He’ll have the first chance to make a first impression when he starts the spring opener on Wednesday.
While the early spring rotation is set, the lineup remains a mystery. Joe Girardi knows where Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez will hit, but the rest is subject to change. The notebook also has items on the rest of the rotation, a wet day in Tampa and the pending arrival of Chan Ho Park.
Sorry for the lack of posts last night. I did not anticipate that dinner with Girardi would last past 9, much less that it would last past 10. Good news is, it’s a sunny morning in Tampa, so there should be some action at the Yankees spring training complex.
Notes from Saturday • 02.27.10
All of our best to first-base coach Mick Kelleher, who is away from the team following the death of his mother. She was 91. Kelleher is expected back from California on Tuesday.
There wasn’t much going on at George M. Steinbrenner Field today. By the afternoon, it was pretty nice outside, but the morning was ugly and the Yankees stayed off the field. Instead, pitchers threw bullpen sessions and hitters took regular batting practice in the indoor cages beneath the stands on the first-base side.
One cool moment in the rain: Mariano Rivera went to a side field to throw off flat ground with Edwar Ramirez, then the two ran in the outfield. No one wanted to be outside. It was cold and wet and gross, but there was the greatest closer of all time on a back field getting his work done in the rain.
• Joe Girardi hasn’t settled on a lineup for Wednesday’s spring opener. In fact, he said the only spots set in stone for next season are 1, 3 and 4. Right now, he expects Nick Swisher to bat eighth, but he said that could change depending on who’s batting fifth, sixth and seventh.
• Girardi on getting Nick Johnson ready to be a primary designated hitter: “The only thing you can do is give him a lot of DH days in spring training so that he figures out what he’s most comfortable doing in between at-bats. I think sometimes guys can get too caught up with going to watch too much tape, they overanalyze their swing.”
• Later in spring training, there’s a good chance one or two of the top four starters will make starts at the minor league complex so that the Yankees can give the fifth-starter candidates a few extra starts.
• March 15 is an off day on the Yankees spring training schedule, and the Yankees plan for that to be the case in every way possible. “Our plan is, nobody will throw on the 15th,” Girardi said. A day in spring training without a single pitcher throwing? For me and the rest of the writers, it will officially be known as What-In-The-World-Are-We-Going-To-Write Monday.
• Roy Halladay will face CC Sabathia on Thursday.
• Might be a light night for the blog. The spring rotation was the big news of the day, and all of the beat writers are having dinner with Joe Girardi tonight, so I won’t be around a computer. I do have another Five Questions that I’ll post this evening.
The picture at the top is Brett Gardner taking batting practice this morning. Outside of the indoor cages is a fairly dark tunnel which became the place to be today. Reggie Jackson was occasionally looking in on some of the hitters, and I was just trying to see over the top of the blue barriers.
In Joe Girardi’s spring training office, one wall is covered by a massive dry-erase board configured into a calendar. It’s been fairly blank since camp opened, but this afternoon is was covered with players initials, outlining the Yankees rotation for the first 11 spring training dates.
Andy Pettitte will not pitch in a game until March 12, but he will throw a simulated game in Tampa on March 7th.
The Yankees have not announced which relievers will be pitching each day. The first time through, their starters will be limited to roughly 35 pitches.
The first name listed is that day’s starter. The other names will pitch in relief.
March 3 vs. Pittsburgh
Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves
March 4 at Philadelphia
March 5 vs. Tampa Bay
Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain
March 6 vs. Toronto
March 7 at Minnesota
Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin
March 8 vs. Philadelphia (ss)
March 8 at Pittsburgh (ss)
March 9 vs. Pittsburgh
March 10 at Detroit
Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes
March 11 vs. Atlanta
March 12 at Washington
March 13 vs. Baltimore (ss)
March 13 at Detroit (ss)