The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for July, 2010

Yankees reportedly close to acquiring Berkman07.30.10

It was pretty much during Joe Girardi’s pregame media session that reports started buzzing that the Yankees might be close to trading for Lance Berkman to fill the wide open designated hitter position.

“We’ve used it to rotate our guys and try to keep our guys fresh, but if we have an everyday guy, we have an everyday guy,” Girardi said. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, but it has helped giving Alex a half day, and Jeet a half day, and Tex, and Swish. But if you get an everyday guy that can swing it, that could help our club.”

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Yankees are working to trade for Berkman. It would essentially be a salary dump for the Astros, with Ken Davidoff reporting that Houston will be getting “non-prospect minor leaguers.” What that means, I’m not sure. It obviously means no Jesus Montero or Austin Romine, but I’m not sure how far down the list you have to go before reaching non-prospect territory.

“I probably wouldn’t share with you my wish list because then other team’s demands would probably go up,” Girardi said. “But however we can improve our club, I’m all for it.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 393 Comments →

Posada back behind the plate07.30.10

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Colin Curtis DH
Brett Gardner LF

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 345 Comments →

Hughes feeling good leading into tonight’s start07.30.10

I’m not a big fast food guy, but there’s a Chick-Fil-A in Tampa and I quite simply cannot help myself. I would have gladly traded my chicken sandwich for four more hours of sleep, but as a consolation prize, it wasn’t bad.

It’s a nice day here in Tampa. Hot, but that’s to be expected, and it won’t matter when the Yankees step into the dome.

ph_461833Phil Hughes is literally at home here. He grew up in Southern California, but he has a place in Tampa. His past few starts have been a little uneven, but he said he’s felt good about the work that’s led into tonight’s start.

“I’m getting there,” he said. “I had a couple of really good bullpens that I was happy about. I felt like I made progress. It’s just a matter of translating that to games, but I do feel better about what I’ve been doing the last few days or so with how I’ve been feeling and trying to get back to that feeling I had early in the year.”

Hughes said he can’t explain it, but he has pitched much better on the road (2.36 ERA, no home runs) than in New York (5.21 ERA, 15 home runs). Ultimately, he said much of his success or failure comes down to arm slot. When he stays on top of the ball, he can locate it.

“I throw majority fastballs, so for me it’s just establishing that pitch and being aggressive with it,” he said. “Getting ahead in counts and putting guys away. That’s kind of been my biggest problem, I haven’t been able to put guys away lately.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 329 Comments →

On the day before…07.30.10

Yankees Indians BaseballOne day before baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees don’t seem to be closely linked to any particular trade target. That means they’ve either kept things quiet — which is entirely possible — or they don’t see much that grabs their interest. These seem to be the four types of players who might have a spot on the Yankees roster.

Late-inning reliever
The Yankees have plenty of long relievers, and the ninth inning is locked down, but the eighth inning has been a problem. A late-inning reliever seems to be their greatest need. Finding one, on the other hand, might be an expensive crap shoot. Last night, the Twins traded for Matt Capps, and it cost them an Austin Romine-type catching prospect.

There are significant names out there — Joakim Soria and Leo Nunez have been thrown around — but someone like Scott Downs or Octavio Dotel might be more attainable. This also seems like the kind of thing the Yankees might be able to address after the non-waiver deadline, or they could give Dave Robertson a shot.

Bench depth
The Yankees seem to have found something in Colin Curtis, and they have Marcus Thames who can play the field when absolutely necessary, so the outfield isn’t a huge need. Francisco Cervelli hasn’t hit since that red-hot start to the season, but he also doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so catcher is probably not a target until Jorge Posada’s injury is worse than expected.

The bench could most use an upgrade in the infield. Ramiro Pena has lived up to his billing as a defensive specialist, but he doesn’t hit much. Eduardo Nunez is a pretty good bat in Triple-A, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Yankees go after a Jeff Keppinger-type if he’s not too terribly expensive.

Designated hitter
Right now, the Yankees primary DH is probably a platoon of Thames and Juan Miranda, but it’s also been a pit stop for Posada and various other everyday players. A big bat certainly wouldn’t hurt, but it would clearly cost them in one way or another. When it comes to position players, the Yankees might be better off tinkering with the bench rather than remaking the lineup. But, of course, it depends on what kind of deal is out there.

Starting pitcher
This would be more of a luxury purchase, and now that Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren and Cliff Lee are off the market, there might not be an available starter who provides a significant upgrade. The only concerns in the rotation would be Andy Pettitte’s injury and Phil Hughes’ innings limit. I’m not sure either is significant enough to give up young players for a No. 4 or 5 starter.

Associated Press photo of Joe Girardi

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 237 Comments →

Pitching matchups in Tampa07.30.10

Angels Yankees BaseballToday
RHP Phil Hughes (12-3, 4.04)
RHP Wade Davis (8-9, 4.32)
7:10 p.m., YES Network

RHP Javier Vazquez (9-7, 4.54)
RHP Matt Garza (11-5, 4.06)
7:10 p.m., YES Network

LHP CC Sabathia (13-4, 3.15)
RHP James Shields (9-9, 4.79)
1:40 p.m., YES Network and TBS

Associated Press photo of Hughes

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 8 Comments →

Next stop, Tampa07.30.10

It’s no fun calling the hotel’s front desk at 2 a.m. to ask for a 4 a.m. wake up call. It’s less fun when that wake-up call actually comes.

The beat writers’ exodus from Cleveland has begun. Thankfully, the Cleveland airport had a restaurant that was already open at 5 a.m. I went with French toast, and I’ll probably regret it when I’m 30,000 feet over Georgia.

The Yankees, of course, got out of town a few hours after the game. Next stop is Tampa for a three-game set against the second-place Rays.

“We’re going to have to play at a very high level,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s going to take a lot of games to win this division. We’re basically where we were two weeks ago, but the bottom line is, we’re winning games, we’re winning series, and that’s what we need to worry about.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 327 Comments →

Postgame notes: The Yankees have their fifth starter07.30.10

Yankees Indians Baseball

Joe Girardi did not hesitate when he was asked the question. Yes, Dustin Moseley will remain in the Yankees rotation. He’ll make his next start at home on Tuesday.

“I’m real excited, I really am,” Moseley said. “It’s been kind of a long road the last couple of years, so to get this start and then go out there and keep the team in the game and eventually get the win, it worked out pretty well.”

After allowing a run on a hit, a walk, a hit batter and a sac fly in the first inning, Moseley went through 14 batters allowing just one more single. He said it was just a matter of relaxing, getting out of that first inning and  going after hitters. He said he felt calm all day — he talked about his trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and said the one thing he doesn’t want to do is compare himself to the guy he’s replacing in the rotation.

“I remember when (John) Lackey was out (with the Angels) and I was trying to do that, trying to do a little too much to fill those shoes,” Moseley said. “I can’t fill Andy Pettitte’s shoes. I can only do what I can do.”

What he did tonight was pretty impressive. It was exactly what the Yankees needed.

APTOPIX Yankees Indians BaseballThere was a lot of laughter in the Yankees clubhouse tonight, all of it directed at two people.

Nick Swisher
Not a bad game until he struck out against third baseman Andy Marte in the ninth inning. “As they say, you’ve got to just take it,” Swisher said. “Just wear it. Me and Marte, we’ve both got the same ERA.”

Swisher knows the feeling. He struck out Gabe Kapler last year. “I’m going to use his line too,” Swisher said. “I now have a new most embarrassing moment.”

Marcus Thames
When he was 9-years-old, Thames was supposed to be a bat boy for his older brother’s team, but they were a man short. And so, Thames played his first baseball game, and he played it at third base.

Tonight he went back to third because Girardi wanted to get Alex Rodriguez out of the game. Thames said he would do it, “as long as I had a cup on.” Derek Jeter told him it was inevitable that a ball would come to him, and when it did, Thames made a great backhand stop, then sailed the throw high and wide. He kept the lineup card.

“I threw like a quarterback,” Thames said. “I was trying to find Andre Rison on a slant or something.”

Yankees Indians Baseball• The only real downside to this game was Chan Ho Park’s ninth inning. After striking out fellow Shin-Soo Choo for the second out of the inning, Park said he was simply too excited. “I lost my focus,” he said. A Park-Choo matchup is massive news in Korea, and Park had been looking forward to the possibility of facing him. They ate lunch together this afternoon, and Park said the at-bat was “maybe too exciting.”

• After the Choo strikeout, Park’s command completely abandoned him. Girardi went to the mound with a trainer, but Park said he was perfectly fine.

• Girardi was going to take Moseley out after the sixth inning anyway. When the Yankees had that long seventh, it left no doubt.

• A perfect, two-strikeout inning by Dave Robertson will probably be lost in this long game, but he continues to look awfully good.

• Curtis Granderson stayed hot with two hits and two RBI. He had 13 hits in his past 32 at-bats.

• After all that, Brett Gardner had one at-bat. He was 1-for-1 with three walks, two runs and a stolen base. He’s reached base in 16 of his past 18 games.

• Girardi said he was happy with the Yankees early at-bats, despite the fact the stranded a ton of runners in scoring position. “I can’t fault the guys for their at-bats because we were hitting a lot of balls hard, just weren’t having any luck,” he said.

• Then, of course, there’s Rodriguez, who has now gone 34 plate appearances — 30 at-bats — without hitting No. 600. “The thing to remember is, when I get this done, it won’t change anything,” Rodriguez said. “We’re in the middle of a pennant race and you just try to play good baseball.”

Associated Press photos of Moseley, Rodriguez and Teixeira with Rob Thomson, and Park with Cervelli

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 7 Comments →

Moseley shines early, offense shines late07.29.10

A two-out, seven-run rally in the seventh inning made tonight’s series finale a blowout. It ended as an 11-4 Yankees win that was in such little doubt, Marcus Thames played third base in the ninth inning. But for six innings, it was a close one, and Dustin Moseley allowed one run through six innings for a much-deserved win in his first spot start of the season. Alex Rodriguez led the Yankees with three RBI, but he’s now gone a week without hitting home run No. 600. And in case you’re wondering, Thames had never played third base in his professional career. Not even in rookie ball.

Yankees Indians Baseball

Associated Press photo of Rodriguez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 74 Comments →

Game 101: Yankees at Indians07.29.10

YANKEES (64-36)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Brett Gardner LF
Francisco Cervelli C
Colin Curtis RF

RHP Dustin Moseley (0-0, 4.22)
Moseley vs. Indians

INDIANS (42-59)
Trevor Crowe CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Carlos Santana C
Austin Kearns LF
Matt LaPorta 1B
Jayson Nix 3B
Shelley Duncan DH
Luis Valbuena 2B

RHP Mitch Talbot (8-9, 4.08)
Talbot vs. Yankees

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

UMPIRES: HP Jerry Meals, 1B Mark Wegner, 2B Dan Iossogna, 3B Dale Scott

WEATHER: Perfectly blue sky. Couldn’t be more different from yesterday.

OFF THE BOARD: The Yankees have six shutouts this season, five of them on the road. That’s the most road shutouts in the American League this season. Colorado has eight in the National League. Last night was the first time the Yankees shutout Cleveland since 2008.

WHO NEEDS HOME RUNS? Alex Rodriguez has at least one RBI in 19 of his past 31 games. That dates back to June 21, and he leads the majors in RBIs during that time period. Of his 82 RBI this season, 37 have either tied the game or put the Yankees in the lead.

THAT GUY AND THE OTHER GUY: There are two players in the Indians lineup who have faced Dustin Moseley in the past. Asdrubal Cabrera is 1-for-4 and Luis Valbuena is 1-for-2. The rest are newcomers to the Moseley experience. Travis Hafner has 10 at-bats, but he’s on the bench.

STILL A FAN FAVORITE: About five minutes ago, Shelley Duncan walked out of the Cleveland dugout to find a guy holding a huge sign with bright orange letters: SHELLEY DUNCAN POWER. Shelley signed the sign and gave the guy a fist bump.

UPDATE, 7:12 p.m.: My A-Rod home run prediction of the night. Fourth inning.

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: Shaky first inning for Moseley, but he got through it with just the one run scoring on a sac fly. The inning cost him 31 pitches. It’s a 1-0 Cleveland lead.

UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Ouch. Bases loaded bouncer up the middle starts a 1-6-3 double play. Yankees can’t take advantage of three walks in the second inning and the Indians are still in front.

UPDATE, 8:10 p.m.: Hard-hit line drive sac fly for Rodriguez ties the game. The crowd here seemed to think they had just seen No. 600.

UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: Perez can’t bare-hand the bunt and Gardner has an infield single. Two on with no outs for Cervelli and Curtis in the fourth inning.

UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: Talbot left with a mid-back strain.

UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: The missed opportunities continue for the Yankees. Two on with no outs in the fifth, the 4, 5 and 6 hitters made outs to strand the runners. We’re still tied at 1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: Might want to pencil Moseley in for the next turn through the rotation. Through five innings, he’s allowed one run on two hits and two walks. If the Yankees offense had taken advantage of some opportunities, he’d be in line for a win right now.

UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: I talked to Brett Gardner pregame about deciding when to steal, when not to steal, and why he hasn’t taken as many bags lately. “I need to start running more,” he said. You’re welcome!

UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: Gardner steals third. Jeter singles him home. Yankees take a 2-1 lead. Simple as that.

UPDATE, 9:26 p.m.: Well there’s something new. Grounder to second, the runner kicks it perfectly to Derek Jeter, who steps on second and throws to first for a custom made double play. I mean, the runner couldn’t have thrown the ball to Jeter any better than he kicked it. Of course, it’s a dead ball as soon as it hits the runner, so the Yankees only get the one out and Choo is safe at first, but still, I’ve never seen anything like that and I’ll never see it again.

UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: Twenty home runs for Robinson Cano, who just went deep with a two-out solo shot for a 3-1 Yankees lead.

UPDATE, 9:48 p.m.: Seems like it’s been a while since Francisco Cervelli had one of those patented big hits, but he has an RBI single in the seventh to make it 4-1. Colin Curtis was then hit by a pitch and the bases are loaded for Jeter.

UPDATE, 9:58 p.m.: Bases-loaded walk by Jeter. Two-run single by Granderson. The Yankees suddenly have a commanding 7-1 lead, and they’re still batting in the seventh. Bases loaded for Rodriguez.

UPDATE, 10:02 p.m.: Robertson in for the Yankees. Moseley did his job and then some, meanwhile, the Yankees just sent nine batters to the plate without making an out. It’s a 9-1 game.

UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.: Two hit game for Colin Curtis. Meanwhile, Girardi said before the game that he was happy about getting Granderson out of a game in the late innings last night, and happy about giving Swisher a DH game tonight. Now he’s given Gardner a break by pinch hitting Marcus Thames in the eighth. That’s a little bit of rest for all three outfielders.

UPDATE, 11:02 p.m.: Is this the low point for Chan Ho Park? Three two-out walks in a blowout? Clearly Thames is playing way out of position just to give Rodriguez a breather, so it’s hard to get on him for the throwing error. This debacle of an inning is on Park. Just awful. It’s now 11-4.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 802 Comments →

Pregame notes: Preparing for the weekend07.29.10

Yankees Indians BaseballJorge Posada said he could have played today, even Joe Girardi said “there’s no doubt” he could have started Posada. Thing is, Posada showed up today with some lingering stiffness in his left knee and Girardi decided to sit him and start Francisco Cervelli back behind the plate.

“Just give me an extra day with the big series coming up,” Posada said.

The big series, of course, is against second-place Tampa this weekend. Posada said he hopes to catch two out of three.

“I was hoping that with a DH day yesterday it would be gone or feel a lot better and it didn’t,” Girardi said. “We’ll give him a whole day and get a lot of treatment and see where we’re at… You’re still using your legs when you hit. You’re still running and you’re still going to irritate the back of your leg when you hit. We’re just trying to get it to calm down. Hopefully we don’t need him tonight.”

APTOPIX Yankees Indians Baseball• Last I heard, Girardi said Alfredo Aceves was going to throw a bullpen Friday. Instead, he threw a bullpen this afternoon. It was going on while we talked to Girardi pregame. “I’ll talk to Dave to see what he saw, and I’ll talk to Geno to discuss it,” Girardi said. “Maybe he’ll be pitching in a game soon, a rehab. I would hope if they say he’s ready to go that it would be within a week (that he’d start a rehab assignment).”

• Nick Swisher at DH has nothing to do with last week’s Achilles issue. “He hasn’t said anything to me,” Girardi said. “I just thought I’d give him a day.”

• Curtis Granderson has been much better lately, but Girardi said his decision to bat Granderson left is primarily so that he can use Swisher to break up the lefties at the bottom of the lineup.

• Dustin Moseley is pretty stretched out. He’s cleared for 90 to 100 pitches. “If I can get six innings out of him, that would be great,” Girardi said.

• Phil Hughes starts again tomorrow. Girardi said he doesn’t have a plan for if/when the Yankees might skip Hughes again to limit his innings. “I don’t have anything completely mapped out because there are a lot of things that could change between there,” he said.

• An entire pregame session with no questions about Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning or Alex Rodriguez hitting No. 600. It was remarkable.

• In non-milestone Rodriguez news, according to the AP, A-Rod has filed “an objection to aspects of next week’s auction of the Texas Rangers, saying he and other former players may not get the millions owed them.”

UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.: Just in case you missed them, two trades from the past two hours or so: Jorge Cantu to Texas and Miguel Tejada to San Diego. Here’s the Indians lineup:

Trevor Crowe CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Carlos Santana C
Austin Kearns LF
Matt LaPorta 1B
Jayson Nix 3B
Shelley Duncan DH
Luis Valbuena 2B

Associated Press photos of Cervelli with Gardner, and Rodriguez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 184 Comments →

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