Archive for February, 2010
Rained out in Tampa • 02.27.10
The Yankees didn’t get on the field today. It’s not wet enough to rain out a regular season game, but there was no sense risking a player slipping in the outfield or stumbling on the mound.
Pitchers threw side sessions and hitters took batting practice in the indoor cages. The day was pretty light.
It seems CC Sabathia did not pitch today. At the very least, I have yet to talk to anyone who saw him pitching.
UPDATE, 12:24 p.m.: Sabathia did not pitch today. He’ll throw batting practice tomorrow.
The sky doesn’t look good • 02.27.10
For all of you buried in snow up north, please know that I’m not complaining.
That said, the weather is kind of ugly down here. It’s not especially cold and it’s not pouring rain, but it’s just chilly enough and sprinkling just enough rain to make it uncertain the Yankees will actually workout on the field.
CC Sabathia is scheduled to throw his first live batting practice this morning. He’s supposed to be on Field 1 with Alfredo Aceves. Chad Guadin and Sergio Mitre are throwing on Field 2.
• Chan Ho Park is not here, but the word is that he might arrive later today and be in uniform tomorrow.
• Minor league catcher Neall French is in camp for the day to help catch bullpens and batting practice sessions.
• Pitchers throwing batting practice:
Field 1: Sabathia, Aceves, Robertson, Hirsh, Ring, Sanchez, Segovia, Arias
Field 2: Mitre, Gaudin, Albaladejo, Pope, Duff, Brackman, Sanit
• Defensive assignments: 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.
Today in The Journal News • 02.27.10
As a Rule 5 pick with a hockey background, Jamie Hoffmann is a new kind of Yankee, but he has a real chance of sticking on the opening day roster. He’s fighting for a spot on the Yankees bench, and Brian Cashman said it’s “his spot to lose.”
Speaking of fighting for a spot, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes threw live batting practice yesterday, facing hitters for the first time this spring. The notebook also has items on CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner.
Five questions with Christian Garcia • 02.26.10
We’ve seen Christian Garcia’s name mentioned a few times on this blog the past few days, and the first question with him is always the same. “How are you feeling?” There can be little doubt about the 24-year-old’s talent, but he’s been hurt year after year. How often does someone ask how he’s feeling? “About 20 times a day,” he said. “Every five minutes, from everybody.”
What has this process been like? You know the stuff is there to pitch, but something seems to always happen.
Garcia: Frustrating. If it isn’t the elbow, it’s the knee. The oblique. Something. But I think everything happens for a reason. Hopefully I find out what the reason is. I think with everything happening, it’s made be better physically and mentally.
How has your stuff come back from all of this?
Garcia: I have better control than I used to have. I think I’m more of a pitcher now than a thrower since all of those injuries. I didn’t have a changeup before, now it’s one of my best pitches… I incorporate the changeup a lot now. I have four things to play with. Before I had two. I had the four-seamer and the curveball, that’s it. I had zero changeup, zero sinker. Now I have the sinker and the changeup, so I have more to choose from in different situations.
Could you take me through the history of the injuries.
Garcia: Whew. Started off with the elbow. I had Tommy John. Then I had knee surgery. Pulled my oblique. Then I had elbow surgery again, I had it in June, this summer.
What do you differently to try to avoid the injuries?
Garcia: I do a lot more stuff for the shoulder, and more forearms, more running. I’m on a better program than I used to have. And also, not going out there, throwing the ball as hard as I can every time I touch a baseball. Now I’m a little more mature. You know you’re spots. After you throw your bullpen, the next day, take it easy. Don’t go out there throwing long toss, throwing the ball hard.
Does it feel good that you haven’t been forgotten through all this?
Garcia: Definitely. It’s awesome. Most people probably would have been forgotten. It definitely feels good that they haven’t forgotten, that they never gave up. It’s very nice.
Notes from Friday • 02.26.10
Fair warning, there’s absolutely no news value in the first part of this post. I just want to pass along a pretty fun exchange with Joe Girardi during his daily meeting with the writers. He was talking about just how little can be gathered from some batting practice sessions when he said, “At times, I think I could still hit BP. Not live BP, but regular BP.”
Girardi later amended that to say he might not be able to hit Kevin Long during BP. “He actually throws pretty hard,” he said.
This bit of information got us started asking Girardi just how much he could still do on a baseball diamond. For example, could he catch a rookie ball game?
“No way!” he said, with the exclamation point absolutely necessary. “It would be easier catching up here because you know where the ball’s going. At the rookie level it would be kind of tough. It would be in the dirt a lot… I think I could make nine innings, it would be the next day that would be a problem.”
Technically, Girardi went off the record with us for a while — though it was only to talk about something he had already discussed publicly — so I don’t want to post his audio. Instead, here’s a little bit of Jorge Posada talking about the rotation competition.
• The Yankees have decided who will start the spring opener on Wednesday, but they aren’t going to announce it until tomorrow. “I have not had a chance to talk to the human that is,” Girardi said. So we’ve narrowed it down to a human. Good to know.
• Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte will throw their first bullpen sessions on Monday.
• CC Sabathia throws live batting practice tomorrow. A.J. Burnett will throw BP on Monday, Andy Pettitte on Tuesday and Javier Vazquez on Wednesday. They’re skipping Sunday because of that off day at the beginning of the regular season.
• Girardi on how the Yankees will use Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson in the exhibition games: “We’ll put them in both spots. We’ll put them in center and left. Get them where we can evaluate whether they’re comfortable in left. We know that they’re comfortable in center.”
• Girardi would not say what the Yankees will do as a team outing on Tuesday, or even publicly admit that Tuesday will be a day off — remember that off the record part of today’s session? — but he did say: “There won’t be many stories to write Tuesday.”
Thames can opt out • 02.26.10
In a way, veteran Marcus Thames and Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann are in the same boat this spring. They’re both right-handed outfielders who will either make the major league roster, or likely won’t be in the Yankees organization at all.
Hoffmann has to stick on the 25-man roster or else be offered back to the Dodgers. Thames signed a minor league contract, but he can opt out if he doesn’t make the major league roster.
“He was brought in to compete for a spot on the 25-man roster,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “And at the end of camp, if he makes it, great. If he doesn’t make it, he’s free.”
Thames has big time power from the right side, and he has considerable experience at the major league level. Hoffmann is a better defensive player, with considerable upside if he can stick around.
“It’s his spot to lose,” Cashman said. “Hoffmann is on the 25, with restrictions. He’s like an out-of-options guy. He either makes it or he loses it.”
Although Hoffmann is “like an out-of-options guy,” he actually does have options remaining. If he makes it through this season on the big league roster, the Yankees can option Hoffmann to Triple-A next season.
Changeups, lots of them • 02.26.10
Both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain were in the mood for joking around this afternoon.
Hughes pitched first this afternoon, then he stood outside the cage to watch Chamberlain’s batting practice session. He was waiting for Chamberlain so the two could do their running together, but Hughes said he would be fine with everyone writing that he was actually there to size up the competition.
“I’ll roll with that if you want me to,” Hughes said.
As for Chamberlain, he was happy with his work today, but he seemed to enjoy being asked about the slider that almost hit Jorge Posada.
“Don’t take so many swings off me so early,” Chamberlain said.
Here’s the audio from those two. You’ll hear both Chamberlain and Hughes talk about throwing a lot of changeups today. That’s a pitch that needs some hitter reactions to get a good gauge of how well it’s working.
A few more pitches, but not many swings • 02.26.10
Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain just finished batting practice.
I had Hughes at 29 pitches — I would say he surely threw 30, but the writer next to me also had 29 — getting six swings. He pitched to a good group, but Curtis Granderson didn’t take a single swing, Robinson Cano hit one routine grounder and Derek Jeter had a foul ball and a sharp grounder that Juan Miranda snagged at first. Jesus Montero lifted two fly balls that hit off the cage and also bounced one up the middle, which might have been a base hit.
Joba Chamberlain threw 30 pitches and got seven swings. Brett Gardner took all 10 pitches he saw, and Jamie Hoffmann took five pitches. Nick Swisher hit three ground balls and fouled one off. Jorge Posada fouled one, hit one routine grounder and might have singled on a ground ball to the right side.
If I had to guess, I’d say Chamberlain had better command, but it was pretty hard to tell from where I was standing. I couldn’t see side-to-side at all, but Hughes seemed to be up on a few pitches. Really, they seemed pretty much the same. I wouldn’t say either was especially wild, both were right around the plate with most of their pitches.
Chamberlain did bounce one at Posada’s feet, and Posada had to dance out of the way. He made a big show out of it, running out of the cage with his hands up in the air, which was pretty funny.
Hughes and Chamberlain throwing BP today • 02.26.10
Today’s live batting practice assignments for Field 1 start with these two names: Hughes, Chamberlain.
Guess which field Joe Girardi will be watching.
Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain will face hitters for the first time this afternoon, but we’ve already seen that these batting practice sessions don’t tell us a whole lot about the hitters or the pitchers. Hitters are mostly tracking pitches. Pitchers are announcing what they’re about to throw, then trying to throw strikes.
That said, this is clearly the next step in the fifth starter competition.
Batting practice assignments
Field 1: Hughes, Chamberlain, Logan, Moseley, Ramirez, Melancon
Field 2: Igawa, McAllister, Noesi, Nova, Whelan, Bleich, Mitchell
• Pretty good first group of BP hitters: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Jesus Montero. I’m not sure which field they’ll be on, but if they’re on Field 1, they should be facing Hughes. Fingers crossed!
• A.J. Burnett, Javier Vazquez and Wilkin De La Rosa will throw bullpen sessions today.
• Still no sign of Chan Ho Park in camp.
• Defensive assignments for today: Winfree RF, Laird 3B, Granderson CF, Gardner CF, Hoffmann LF, Nunez 2B, Thames LF, Winn CF, Golson RF, Corona 3B, Gorecki RF, Pena 2B, Curtis CF, Russo SS, Weber LF
• Granderson, Gardner and Winn all played left field yesterday, now they’re all in center field. Russo is at short and Corona at third, those are probably the infield positions where they have the least experience.
Today in The Journal News • 02.26.10
After a year of the lowest lows and the highest highs, Alex Rodriguez addressed the media on Thursday from the same spot where he last year admitted using steroids. This time, the scene could hardly have been more different. One year ago, 2009 was shaping up as a year to forget, but Rodriguez now seems happy to relive it.
On the field, the Yankees hitters faced live pitching for the first time. The notebook also has items on the spring training rotation, Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson taking fly balls in left field, Andy Pettitte working in the bullpen and Reggie Jackson arriving in camp.