Archive for August, 2010
One day after throwing a more-intense-than-expected bullpen, Andy Pettitte said everything felt good this morning. He was able to do some light jogging in the outfield before batting practice.
“A tiny bit of soreness,” he said. “But I haven’t been on the mound in a long time. I just think that’s pretty normal. I feel really good.”
Next up for Pettitte is another bullpen on Wednesday. That one should be “pretty intense” according to Joe Girardi. What comes after that — whether he’s ready to face live hitters — depends entirely on what happens Wednesday.
“After yesterday, it’s a little encouraging because I felt really comfortable with my mechanics and everything again,” Pettitte said. “I’m just hoping that I can continue to feel comfortable coming back with everything.”
Otherwise, pretty light notes today.
• Alex Rodriguez ran a little bit and was scheduled for some tee and toss work in the bullpen. Girardi said Rodriguez will be activated as soon as he’s eligible. “I don’t think he’ll go on a rehab,” Girardi said.
• Speaking of rehabs, Lance Berkman is in the lineup in Trenton tonight.
• With a ton of day games coming up, Girardi said he will consider giving Derek Jeter — and some of the other regulars — a day off at some point. “We’ll look at how (Jeter’s) playing, how he’s feeling and make evaluations there,” Girardi said. “At one point we have six out of seven days games coming up after these original three night games. We’ll just see how all our guys are doing.”
• Girardi said he still has not been told of any official investigation into whether Ivan Nova injected B-12 while playing in Trenton last year.
• No Juan Miranda or Colin Curtis in tonight’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup — and Jesus Montero is at DH — but based strictly on my past years covering Dave Miley as the Triple-A manager, I’m not willing to read anything into the lineup as far as potential call-ups are concerned. His team clinched yesterday. Giving a few guys a break today seems pretty standard for Miley. That’s just my own take, though.
UPDATE, 6:21 p.m.: A’s lineup
Coco Crisp CF
Daric Barton 1B
Kurt Suzuki C
Jack Cust DH
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Mark Ellis 2B
Jeff Larish LF
Rajai Davis RF
Cliff Pennington SS
Teixeira tested and expected to play • 08.30.10
Joe Girardi doesn’t expect to make Mark Teixeira a late scratch this time.
“He tested it already in the cage,” Girardi said. “Unless something happens in BP, he’s in there.”
Teixeira back in the lineup • 08.30.10
Back from Chicago in time for the opener against Oakland. Looks like Mark Teixeira is going to try to play again.
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Marcus Thames DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Ramiro Pena 3B
Pitching matchups vs. Oakland • 08.30.10
RHP Dustin Moseley (4-2, 4.53)
RHP Trevor Cahill (14-5, 2.43)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP Phil Hughes (15-6, 4.12)
RHP Vin Mazzaro (6-6, 3.61)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP A.J. Burnett (9-12, 5.17)
LHP Brett Anderson (3-5, 3.32)
7:05 p.m. YES Network / ESPN
LHP CC Sabathia (18-5, 3.14)
LHP Dallas Braden (9-9, 3.28)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
Rosters expand on Wednesday… Alex Rodriguez isn’t eligible to come off the disabled list in time for Thursday’s game. Such a shame.
Associated Press photo of Moseley
Feeling good and heading home • 08.30.10
The Yankees ended every day of this road trip tied for first place. They fell into a tie after the series opener in Toronto, and they stayed there through two more games against the Blue Jays and three games against the White Sox.
In theory, the schedule gives them an opportunity to gain some ground during the upcoming home stand. The Yankees next 10 games are in the Bronx against the Athletics, Blue Jays and Orioles. The A’s are a second-place team, the Blue Jays are obviously dangerous and the Orioles have shown some signs of life, but there is no easier part of the schedule remaining.
It comes at a time when the Yankees have some life of their own. This road trip was very nearly a bad one — a very, very bad one — but the offense came to life on Saturday, the pitching carried the team on Sunday and the Yankees got out of Chicago able to breathe a little easier.
Two guys who helped make that happen: Eduardo Nunez and Ivan Nova.
Neither was among the most highly touted prospects in the system, but they’ve played a role this year, and shown enough promise to think they could continue to play some sort of role in the future. At different points this season the Yankees have leaned on guys like Colin Curtis and Kevin Russo, and those role-players from within have helped out when the Yankees needed them. The same sort of thing is happening right now.
As a bonus, the new guys occasionally provide postgame interviews like this one from the night Nunez hit his first home run. The words he’s saying don’t even matter. Just listen to the guy. This is what happiness sounds like.
Hard to believe the difference between the first game of this series and the last. On Friday, the Yankees were in trouble. The team had lost three out of four, Joe Girardi was talking about shaking up the rotation and the road trip had the potential to be the Yankees worst of the season.
This afternoon, the mood was light and upbeat. Andy Pettitte had come through a strong bullpen, Lance Berkman was heading for a rehab assignment and a 23-year-old kid had the game ball sitting in his locker, having just pitched his way to a one-run win that was his first in the big leagues.
“We’re asking a young man to step up and that’s exactly what he’s doing,” Girardi said.
Ivan Nova said he felt no nerves, “just emotions” when he went to the mound today. It was 92 degrees at first pitch, the stadium was packed for Frank Thomas Day and the Yankees were in the thick of a pennant race. Nova had exactly one big league start under his belt, but he struck out seven, walked one and allowed just one extra-base hit.
“Maybe you guys never had an opportunity to see him in the minor leagues, but he’s always been the same way,” Francisco Cervelli said. “That’s what we try to do. It’s nothing different. Just a couple thousand more fans.”
Two starts into his career, it’s Nova’s poise that stands out. He’s been comfortable mixing all four pitches, and the curveball he promised would be better this time, was in fact better. Girardi waited only seconds into his postgame interview to announce that Nova would be making a third start.
“I’m ready, of course,” Nova said. “All the time.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame. All the bangs and clangs you hear in the background is the truck being loaded with all of the Yankees bags and equipment.
• Big game for Cervelli. He came into the game with three hits this month, then went 4-for-4 for the first time he can remember, but he and Girardi each said Cervelli’s biggest moment was throwing out Brent Lillibridge trying to steal in the eighth inning. “I think every manager watches numbers, the percent of my throws,” Cervelli said. “It’s low, so they’re going to do it. I was ready and I had a good throw. That’s it.”
• Asked to remember his last four-hit game, Cervelli thought for a moment: “I think… never.” he said. Then he tried again to come up with a four-hit game he might have had in the minor leagues somewhere, but he again came up blank. “No chance,” he said. “Just three, that’s it.”
• I would imagine there are now a lot of Marcus Thames fans out there. He has a hit in 13 of his past 14 starts, and now has a home run in four straight starts. Five of his nine homers this season have come off righties.
• The scouting report on Thames is that he hits fastballs. At this point, he said, he’s used to getting nothing but breaking balls when he comes to the plate. “I’m just trying to get a good pitch to hit,” Thames said. “If they hang something, I get it.”
• Nick Swisher went 5-for-13 this series and is hitting .385 against the White Sox this year. Think he likes playing his old team?
• Brett Gardner hit .333 this road trip, including an RBI single that stood as the decisive blow today.
• One night after the bullpen was a little shaky, Boone Logan, Kerry Wood, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combined for 3.1 scoreless. Wood has a 0.71 ERA over his past 11 appearances.
• Girardi pulled Nova after 88 pitches because he thought Nova was starting to get up in the zone. “I decided it was time to make a change,” Girardi said.
• Mark Teixeira is day-to-day and wasn’t able to do much this afternoon. He said his bone bruise did not feel significantly better, but he’s hopeful a day of treatment will do him some good. “It didn’t feel good so I figured best to give it a rest and hope for the best tomorrow,” he said.
• Lance Berkman said he has still not been officially told he’s going to Trenton tomorrow, but he’s heard that “through the grapevine.” Girardi confirmed it during his pregame session, so you can count on Berkman being there tomorrow for a short two-game stint.
• A glimpse into Berkman’s personality: When the group of reporters asked him how quickly he thought he could be back, Berkman immediately went to his brand of self-deprecating humor. “I’m sure fans can’t wait for me to resume my pursuit of the Mendoza line,” he said.
Associated Press photos of Cervelli, Jeter and Thames
Yankees sticking with the current rotation • 08.29.10
When the Yankees left Toronto, and even when they arrived in Chicago, Joe Girardi left the state of the rotation in flux. He committed to nothing and said he would evaluate after the weekend.
Now that the weekend series is over, Girardi has made his decision.
“We’re going to stay on rotation, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “There were things I wanted to think about, and instead of giving you quick answers, I thought about them and we’re staying on rotation.”
That means Ivan Nova will stay in the rotation — “He’s going to make another start, I can tell you that,” Girardi said — and it also means A.J. Burnett will make his next scheduled start at home against Oakland.
“He’s going out Wednesday, and we need him to pitch well for us,” Girardi said.
I’ll have more on this in the actual postgame notes, but for now two real quick notes from the Yankees clubhouse:
1. Mark Teixeira said he knew as soon as he picked up a bat that he wouldn’t be able to play. His bruised hand didn’t feel much better today than it did yesterday, but he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to play tomorrow.
2. Lance Berkman came through his pregame running just fine and will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow in Trenton. He said he’s been told it will last two days, meaning he’ll be activated when rosters expand on Wednesday.
Associated Press photo
Nova sends Yankees home winners • 08.29.10
Two days ago, this was a bad road trip for the Yankees. They’d lost three of the first four games but bounced back last night, and because of Ivan Nova they’ll go home having taken two of three from the White Sox. Nova pitched 5.2 innings in his second big league start, earning the 2-1 win and keeping the Yankees in the game despite very little offense. Marcus Thames homered again — he’s gone deep in four straight starts — and Francisco Cervelli had four hits, including a double that led to a run.
Associated Press photo of Nova
Game 130: Yankees at White Sox • 08.29.10
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Austin Kearns RF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C
RHP Ivan Nova (0-0, 2.16)
Nova has not faced the White Sox
WHITE SOX (70-59)
Juan Pierre LF
Omar Vizquel 3B
Alex Rios CF
Paul Konerko 1B
Andruw Jones RF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Alexei Ramirez SS
Mark Teahan DH
Gordon Beckham 2B
RHP Gavin Floyd (9-10, 3.91)
Floyd vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 2:05 p.m. / YES Network and TBS
UMPIRES: HP Tim Tschida, 1B Bob Davidson, 2B Alfonso Marquez, 3B Tim Timmons
WEATHER: It got a little bit hot on the last day in Chicago. Should get into the 90s with about a 30 percent chance of rain in the late innings.
GOOD START: Eduardo Nunez is the first Yankee to have a four-RBI game within his first 10 games since Shelley Duncan in 2007. Only four other Yankees have done it since 1967: Duncan, Andy Phillips (2005), Hideki Matsui (2003) and Brian Dayett (1983).
MORE NUNEZ: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Nunez became the fifth player in franchise history to have his first homer and first stolen base in the same game: Willie Randolph (1976), Roy White (1966), Gil McDougald (1951) and Wally Pipp (1915).
SWISH VS. SOX: Nick Swisher seems like the right guy to fill in as the No. 3 hitter. He’s batting .409 (9-for-22) against the White Sox this season. he has homered in each of his past four games against the White Sox, and three of his past five games at U.S. Cellular Field.
CHASING 20: According to Elias, CC Sabathia is the first Yankees starter to reach 18 wins before August 28 since David Con in 1998. Cone finished that season 20-7. Sabathia is already one away from his career high of 19.
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Marcus Thames is some kinda hot right now. He just took Gavin Floyd deep for a 1-0 Yankees lead in the second inning. He’s positively crushing the ball right now. Good call by Girardi to keep his bat in the lineup, even against a right-hander.
UPDATE, 2:37 p.m.: All-around impressive play up the middle for the White Sox. Double play gets them out of the second inning.
UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: So far so good for Nova. He really looks in control through four innings, and the Yankees have given him a 2-0 lead on Thames’ home run and an RBI single by Brett Gardner. Whatever decisions Girardi has to make about his rotation, Nova seems to be making one decision easy.
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: The Yankees have needed Nova this afternoon, because Gavin Floyd has settled in to pitch pretty well. He’s allowed some base runners, but not many hard-hit balls and it’s still a 2-0 Yankees lead through four and a half.
UPDATE, 3:47 p.m.: The White Sox tied it on back-to-back two-out hits. We’re even at 2.
UPDATE, 4:00 p.m.: Another impressive start for Ivan Nova, who turns the game over to Boone Logan with two outs in the sixth. Nova leaves with the game tied, so he won’t get his first big league win, but he’s given the Yankees two good starts. Hard to imagine him losing his spot in the rotation just yet.
UPDATE, 4:04 p.m.: I’m just the messenger: The scorer here in Chicago ruled that a single for Pierzynski. If Pierre were running? Fine. But that wasn’t Pierre.
UPDATE, 4:13 p.m.: Bases loaded, Kerry Wood finally gets out of the sixth inning with a ground ball to first. Yankees up by one.
As you might have noticed, I got totally screwed up earlier thinking the White Sox had tied the game with that run in the fifth. Happens a lot covering a game. Sounds crazy, but you spend so much time writing during the course of a game, it’s pretty easy to get yourself mixed up. Sorry about that. It’s 2-1.
UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: Omar Vizquel works a walk on a tough at-bat, and now Joba Chamberlain is in for Wood with two outs in the seventh. Fly ball to center field ends the inning, still 2-1.
UPDATE, 5:02 p.m.: Jenks just wiggled out of a bases-loaded eighth. Missed opportunity for the Yankees, and still a 2-1 game.
UPDATE, 5:06 p.m.: Francisco Cervelli just picked up Eduardo Nunez, throwing out pinch runner Lillibridge to erase Nunez’s error. That’s a big out in this situation.
UPDATE, 5:18 p.m.: Through the eighth inning with a one-run Yankees lead. You know who’s getting loose in the bullpen.
UPDATE, 5:24 p.m.: It would be a real shame to come all the way to Chicago and not see Ozzie get ejected. No sense arguing that call. Gardner was safe. Cervelli went pretty far out of his way on the takeout slide, but not enough to change the call.
UPDATE, 5:28 p.m.: Not a good defensive game for Nunez, so Ramiro Pena is in to play third base in the ninth.
Andy Pettitte doesn’t know when exactly he’ll throw his next bullpen. He doesn’t know when he’ll finally face hitters, and he’s not sure how well his arm will bounce back from today’s bullpen session. Taking an absolute guess, Pettitte said he could be back in two weeks at the earliest.
“That would be real quick,” he said.
Joe Girardi thought that guess was a good one.
“That sounds about right,” Girardi said. “As long as we don’t have any setbacks, that’s realistic.”
Assuming he feels good tomorrow, Pettitte’s next bullpen will come either Tuesday or Wednesday. It was obvious from Pettitte’s tone this morning that he feels much better than he did on Friday, and Girardi seemed similarly encouraged.
As for how long Pettitte rehabs, Girardi said he might not get fully stretched out in the minor leagues.
“It might be a situation where we’re not asking you to go 100 pitches your first start back with us,” Girardi said. “Give us 75 or 80, and we’ll see where we are. We’re probably going to have to build him up here a little bit. There might come a point where it’s hard to find games for him to pitch in except up here.”
Here’s Pettitte speaking before the game.
• Without Mark Teixeira in the lineup, Nick Swisher will make his first start of the year in the No. 3 spot.
• Lance Berkman just ran the bases a little bit. Assuming that went well and his ankle felt strong, he’ll begin a rehab assignment with Trenton tomorrow. “We’ll watch carefully to see if he’s favoring it or if he feels OK,” Girardi said. “And then how it feels tomorrow.”
• As long as he’s healthy, Berkman won’t need many minor league at-bats. “I don’t anticipate he’ll need a ton, but you just have to see how it goes,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he’d have to check with Javier Vazquez to make sure he’s available tonight. Asked who his long man would be, Girardi’s first response was Chad Gaudin. At least, I assume that’s who he meant. “Chad’s available to do that,” Girardi said. Obviously, I was flattered.
• The Yankees seem excited about Ivan Nova’s potential. They liked what they saw last time, and think his breaking ball can be better. “I think we all remember what it’s like to start our first game, and the feelings you have and the emotions you have,” Girardi said. “We saw his curveball get better as the game went on. Could that be because he was too hyped up? Maybe. We think he can be better.”
• Looking ahead two weeks to the Andy Pettitte best-case scenario: The Yankees will be wrapping up a series in Texas and about to begin a series in Tampa Bay. Those would seem to be tough games for a 75-pitch starter who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in two months. In two and a half weeks, the Yankees are in Baltimore. Would that make more sense? I don’t know. Maybe.
• Frank Thomas is having his number retired before today’s game. “Extremely selective hitter that was very productive,” Girardi said. “Dangerous. Dangerous. Dangerous. Batting champ. Drove in a ton of runs. He was a great player.”
Associated Press photos of Pettitte and Teixeira