Archive for June, 2010
Phil Hughes returns rested and ready • 06.29.10
Phil Hughes returns to the Yankees rotation tonight after having his previous start skipped in an effort to cut down on his innings.
“I think the pros are that we’re being smart about this guy,” Joe Girardi said. “This is a guy we want in our rotation for a long time. I believe that he’s a top-tier starter, and it’s our job to make sure that we don’t overuse him this year.”
“He might be a little strong on Tuesday night,” Girardi said. “It might take him an inning or two to find it. Usually he comes out pretty quickly throwing strikes. It’s almost like that eighth-inning mentality in the first inning for him. That will be something that I’m thinking about. He did throw more bullpens in between, but it’s not the intensity of the game and it’s not as taxing as a game. Those are the things that you worry about.”
All-star outfielder: Gardner or Swisher? • 06.28.10
At this point, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano seem to be locks for the All-Star Game. We’ve spent plenty of time discussing the merits of Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte as starting pitcher options, and Mariano Rivera might be having the best season of his career.
But two Yankees outfielders have somewhat quietly put up all-star caliber numbers.
Brett Gardner might be a real dark horse candidate, especially given Joe Girardi’s stated preference for players he knows can help him win the game. As an email from Robert pointed out: “A player who can get on base, get into scoring position, and come home on any ball put in play could easily make the difference between winning and losing.”
Gardner leads all American League outfielders in on-base percentage. He’s third in runs, fourth in stolen bases and fourth in batting average.
Swisher is beating Gardner in the fan voting — no real surprise there — and he has the 10th-most home runs and the eighth-most RBI of any AL outfielder. He’s seventh in slugging percentage and 10th in on-base percentage.
If you were Joe Girardi and you had room on the roster for two outfielders, would you take the Yankees? If you could take only one, which would it be?
Associated Press photo of Swisher trying to vote twice.
Moseley pulled in Scranton • 06.28.10
Just got a text from Donnie Collins.
Dustin Moseley had been pulled from his start in Scranton. Pure speculation, but it could be a sign of a call-up.
Here’s the final American League all-star voting update before the rosters are announced on Sunday.
Two veteran American League All-Stars, first baseman Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins and outfielder Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays, are trying to hang on to their first fan-elected starting assignments in the sixth and final set of balloting figures for the 81st All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 13th at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The sixth and final National League All-Star balloting update will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29th.
Morneau, a three-time A.L. All-Star, leads a tight three-way race with 2,118,654 votes, ahead of the 1,863,235 for Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and the 1,832,782 for Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Crawford, last year’s Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet, currently holds the third starting position in the outfield with 1,782,035 votes, ahead of the 1,621,771 for 2009 A.L. All-Star Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers.
For the third straight year, Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners and Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers are on track to start in the outfield for the American League. Ichiro, an All-Star in all nine of his Major League seasons and a fan-elected starter in eight of them, has drawn 1,924,904 votes. Hamilton, behind an historic June performance (.470, 9 HR, 30 RBI), has surged to 1,906,350 votes. Twins catcher Joe Mauer remains the most popular choice in all of Major League Baseball with 3,968,039 votes. Following Mauer among American League players are Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (3,350,155); Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3,118,600); New York second baseman Robinson Cano (2,948,269); and Rangers designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero (2,889,243).
TBS will unveil the 2010 American League and National League All-Stars on the 2010 All-Star Selection Show Presented by Taco Bell, set to air on Sunday, July 4th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. (EDT), immediately preceding TBS coverage of the 1:00 p.m. game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Marcus Thames running in Scranton • 06.28.10
Just landed in New York a little while ago and heard from a couple of friends back in Scranton.
This afternoon, Marcus Thames ran the bases at PNC Field. He went from home to first and home to second while several members of the Triple-A staff watched. I heard the word “sprints,” which suggests to me that he was able to run pretty hard.
Also, Donnie Collins points out that Dustin Moseley has an out in his contract that kicks in on July 1. Moseley has been pitching well and has some major league experience. With Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves on the disabled list, Donnie makes a good point that Moseley could be an alternative to Chad Gaudin or Chan Ho Park as a multi-inning reliever.
Gardner diagnosis: Right wrist contusion • 06.28.10
The Yankees just sent out a short release saying that “Brett Gardner saw team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad today and underwent X-rays on his right wrist, the results of which were negative. He was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion and is day-to-day.”
Gardner came out of last night’s game in L.A. early after being hit by a pitch.
They wear the uniform • 06.28.10
I’m not sure how you judge your days, but if you’re a guy has been in the big leagues less than a week, it’s probably a good day when the game’s best closer wants to talk about you.
“How about Curtis?” Mariano Rivera said last night. “That was a good at-bat, huh?”
Yes, yes it was. And Chad Huffman had a big hit right before it. With Marcus Thames and Nick Johnson on the disabled list, the veterans on the Yankees bench are 24-year-olds Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli. But the kids have been alright. Pena’s glove is ridiculous and he’s come up with some big hits, Kevin Russo helped bridge the gap when injuries crushed the outfield, Cervelli has been key through Jorge Posada’s injuries, and now Huffman and Curtis have played well in their brief time in New York.
The Yankees might very well try to bolster their bench in the next month and a half, but they’ve gotten some solid contributions from young players out of the minor league system, and the other guys in the clubhouse have noticed.
Mariano Rivera: “They wear the uniform. When they wear that uniform they want to do everything in their power to do right and contribute to the win.”
Alex Rodriguez: “You can’t say enough about our young kids. Every single one of those guys had some unbelievable at-bats. Give those kids a lot of credit. They definitely acted like seasoned veteran. Just very proud of those guys in the ninth inning.”
Joe Girardi: “They had great at-bats. You look at Colin Curtis’s at-bats all trip long. They were all very very good. And Huffman has had much better at-bats off the bench than he did in maybe his first start.”
Here’s Huffman talking about last night.
And here’s Curtis.
That’s Curtis in the picture on the right. Huffman is on the left.
Rodriguez: “Every day is a little better” • 06.28.10
Alex Rodriguez saw two pitches in his first at-bat last night. He took one for a ball. He rolled the second one to third base for a fielder’s choice.
“The first at-bat was just awful,” he said. “We made an in-game adjustment. Kevin Long made an adjustment with my posture and my stance and we put it to work.”
Nothing major. Rodriguez just spread out a little bit, use his legs a little more and not stay so vertical. It worked to the tune of a home run and a base hit. He’s hit three homers in the past five games.
“I feel like every day I’ve gotten a little bit better,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I have a long way to go and can get a lot better. Every day is a little better.”
Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have each shown signs of life. Those two hitting up to their standards while Robinson Cano has a breakout year behind them would be scary.
Here’s the audio of Rodriguez from last night. It’s worth hearing if only for the last few seconds. Rodriguez had stopped to talk while standing right in front of Mariano Rivera’s locker, so when Mo got out of the shower he found a massive crowd gathered. He immediately declared that everyone, including Alex, had to disperse. You can hear Rodriguez laughing, saying over and over again, “I’m sorry Mo!”
Associated Press photo of Rodriguez.
Coast to coast • 06.28.10
Good morning from LAX. My hope was to get to my hotel last night in time to watch the season premier of Entourage, but that was a pipe dream. I’ll have to catch it when I get home in about eight hours. My new hope is to sleep through the entire flight.
This was a good trip for the Yankees. Two wins in Arizona. Two more in Los Angeles. Now they get a day off before facing the Mariners.
For me, I got to see some family friends from back home in Missouri, and I got to have lunch a couple of times with an old friend from college. Plus I got to see Dodger Stadium. The place is terrific, immediately becoming one of my favorite stadiums. One side has a terrific view of the Hollywood hills, the other side looks out over downtown L.A. It’s obviously an older stadium, but it seems to be in great condition. It’s highly recommended if you’re on this side of the country.
Time to catch this flight and make my way home. I’m counting on the weather to be nice when I get there.
Associated Press photo of Derek Jeter with Entourage actor Kevin Connolly before Saturday’s game.
Postgame notes: Pick your moment • 06.28.10
The early deficit. The big at-bats by the young guys. The home run off the lefty. The two innings from the closer. There are almost too many moments to choose from in this game.
“I don’t even remember last year having a win like this,” Alex Rodriguez said. “That was quite a miracle.”
It’s hard to be shocked by Robinson Cano these days, but George Sherrill had owned him until that 10th inning home run. Cano was 0-for-11 against him, but he hit the second pitch he saw for a two-run home run.
“You see a ball like that hit to left-center by a left-handed hitter, it looked like a right-handed power hitter hitting,” Rodriguez said. “It was awesome.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame. The quality’s not great, but it’ll have to work.
• Joe Girardi said he doesn’t want to make this a habit, but after the ninth inning, he went to Mariano Rivera and asked for honesty. “He said, ‘If you are ready to go back, don’t lie, be truthful,’” Rivera said. “I said, ‘I’m ready.’” Of course he was.
• Great at-bats by Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis in the ninth. Huffman had the better result — a two-run single — but Curtis might have had the better at-bat, fighting through 10 pitches from one of the better closers in the game.
• Truthfully, the most amazing thing might have been that Huffman got to first base and stood next to James Loney, his old high school teammate from Missouri City, Texas. How often does that happen in the big leagues? “Since we were kids in Pony ball actually,” Huffman said. “High school, winning state championships together. It was fun to see him out there at first base. It’s something I’ve been hoping to do for a long time. He wasn’t too, too happy with me.”
• Girardi said there were no communication break downs in the third inning, Andy Pettitte just didn’t make good throws. Pettitte said he was kicking himself because he was sure he had cost the Yankees the series. “For a guy that’s been throwing strikes all year long, been painting,” Girardi said. “He didn’t hit his spots.”
• Hard to say what the right play would have been on the Curtis ground out. “It happened so fast,” Girardi said. “To me it looked like it was right on top of the bag. I really believe if he makes a good throw – and he’s very, very accurate – he’s out. It was a chance and it didn’t work.” Curtis said he was worried out of the box that Loney would go to second base to try to start a double play. “He stepped on the base and wheeled home and the ball almost took my head off,” Curtis said.
• Rodriguez on his pregame conversation and hug with Joe Torre: “I thought it was important for me to go over there. I thought it was the mature thing to do. I thought it was important not to let things linger and to build on what I’ve started to build on here the past two years here.”
• Just for good measure, Pettitte talking one more time about Rivera: “You can’t compare Mo to anybody else. Mo’s the best. Mo’s the greatest there is. You can’t even say enough about Mariano. Mariano is in a league of his own. No one can compare to him the way that mentally and with the command that he goes out there with almost every single night.”
Associated Press photos of Cano, Posada and Pettitte.