Archive for March, 2011
No more decisions just yet • 03.29.11
Nothing new to announce about the Yankees roster.
Neither Steve Garrison nor Luis Ayala will break camp with the team, but if the Yankees can’t find a replacement for Pedro Feliciano, one of those two will come up on Wednesday night.
Curtis Granderson and Chris Dickerson are both playing at the minor league complex the next two days. Dickerson’s assignment depends on Granderson’s health.
Gustavo Molina will go north with the team, but he won’t be added to the roster just yet.
Gardner leading off in spring finale • 03.29.11
Depending on Curtis Granderson, this could be a preview of the Opening Day lineup.
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
One more day • 03.29.11
Unbelievable as it might be, we’ve reached the final day of spring training. As long as the rain holds off, the Yankees will play one more exhibition game this afternoon and then they’ll catch a flight to New York.
Most of decisions have been made. Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez and Bartolo Colon are in. Jesus Montero, Sergio Mitre and Ramiro Pena are out.
All that’s left is to choose a temporary replacement for Pedro Feliciano, determine whether a backup catcher can be found on the open market and figure out whether Curtis Granderson will be healthy enough to open the season.
The games begin to count on Thursday.
The Yankees have a late report time this morning, so the lineup will probably come a little later than usual. The team will fly out of town tonight, I’ll catch a flight tomorrow morning and we’ll do a live chat when I get back to New York tomorrow afternoon.
Stop by tomorrow at 1 p.m. and we’ll chat for a while. Opening Day is right around the corner.
Montero: “We’re waiting for the opportunity” • 03.28.11
There had to be some disappointment for Jesus Montero and Austin Romine this afternoon. A few weeks ago, it seemed all but certain that one of them would break camp on the big league roster. Today they were both sent to the minor leagues, to the exact same level they were at last year.
“Romine and me, we’re not going to the big leagues right now,” Montero said. “But we’re thinking about playing in the big leagues one day, and we’re waiting for the opportunity.”
There must have been disappointment, both catching prospects kept it well hidden. They talked about taking the assignment and making the most of it. They talked about getting better. They talked about opening some eyes this spring and waiting for opportunities this summer.
“I accomplished what I wanted to do when I came here this spring,” Romine said. “I wanted to make it as tough a decision as I possibly could. I played as hard as I could when I got in the game, and I showed them that I could catch. I got accomplished what I wanted to get accomplished.”
The Yankees believe in both of them. They are legitimately two of the top catching prospects in baseball, and it’s not out of the question that at least one of them could be in New York at some point this season. Neither played especially well this spring, but both showed flashes of what the Yankees like about them. At their ages — Romine is 22, Montero is 21 — a return to Double-A and Triple-A isn’t really a setback.
Joe Girardi said he couldn’t be sure whether a strong showing from either would have been enough to make the roster. Earlier this spring Girardi said a young catcher develop quite a bit as a major league backup, but today he said that opinion seemed to change the more the Yankees talked about it. They weren’t sure a backup role made much sense for players this young, especially considering they’ve each caught a full season only once.
“I’ll have more (opportunities) to come in the future,” Montero said. “That’s the way I think. I have to keep working hard on the little things that I have to work on, keep doing well and try to do my best. I’ll wait for the opportunity to be in the big leagues and show them I can play there.”
Associated Press photo of Montero
Girardi’s take on today’s decisions • 03.28.11
A few comments from Joe Girardi about today’s decisions.
Sending Jesus Montero and Austin Romine to the minors
“We thought it was more beneficial for them to play every day instead of maybe just getting a couple starts in the month of April. When you look at those two young guys, we consider them front-line catchers in the big leagues some day. These are two guys that worked extremely hard, and I believe they’ll go down with the correct attitude. There’s got to be disappointment, that’s the bottom line, because you want to be here so bad. They seem to understand and will go down with the right attitude.”
Different decision if they had played better this spring?
“I can’t tell you. I saw improvement out of both of them; a lot of improvement since last year. Montero got more at-bats than Romine. I think Montero is a much better player than what he showed, offensivey. I think he pressed. I told him, ‘When you do come up one day, try to learn from this experience.’ It’s easy to say and it’s hard to do, not to press. You can only do what you can do.
“It’s possible we would have taken one of them, but we want them to play every day. We want when they come up, not to have to go back. These are guys we believe are everyday players.”
Choosing Eric Chavez as the backup corner infielder
“That one’s pretty evident. With the spring that he had, we feel that he’s healthy and we feel that it’s a good bat on a day that we rest Alex or Tex. You’ve got a pretty big bat there. We’re really pleased with what he did.”
Picking Eduardo Nunez over Ramiro Pena as the utility infielder
“We thought (Nunez) had a better spring. He played pretty well in the month of September last year, he’s probably a little bit better of a base stealer, he’s hit more in his career in the minor leagues. He swung the bat pretty good here last year. As I told Nino, this is a decision we’re making now. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be that way June 1 or May 1.”
Leaving Mark Prior in Tampa
“We’re going to leave him in Tampa just because of the weather. It’s the first time he’s ever relieved. Eventually, you want him to get to where he can give you more than one inning and go back-to-back. The weather is much more predictable here. It’s warmer for a guy that has never had to be on somewhat of a time limit when he warms up, so we thought it was beneficial for him to be here. It took him a little bit by surprise, but he understood the reasoning. I don’t think he thought he was going to A-ball. We told him the reasons why and as soon as the weather gets better – at least reasonable – we’ll move him.”
Finding a replacement for Pedro Feliciano
“That decision may not be made until Wednesday night because you wait to see what shakes out. You have (Luis) Ayala, and (Steve) Garrison as well, so if it’s one of those two, they’ll probably fly up on Wednesday.”
Rain out notes: Granderson ready to play • 03.28.11
If the Yankees don’t get rained out again, Curtis Granderson has been cleared to play in minor league games tomorrow and Wednesday. If he’s able to play in those two games, Joe Girardi said it’s likely he’ll be able to play on Opening Day.
Today Granderson did the same drills he did yesterday, he just did more of them.
He’ll stay behind when the team breaks camp tomorrow night, skip Wednesday’s workout so he can play at the minor league complex, then he’ll fly to New York on Wednesday night and be there in time for Thursday’s game.
Basically, if everything goes to plan, Granderson will be in the lineup on Opening Day. If there’s a slight setback, he might not be there.
• The Yankees are going to wait to officially add Gustavo Molina to the roster, and they’re going to wait before naming a replacement for Pedro Feliciano. They’re going to check on the availability of other players before making any sort of final decision. “As of right now, (Molina) is going with us tomorrow,” Girardi said.
• Luis Ayala and Steve Garrison are the in-house options to take Feliciano’s place in the bullpen.
• Mark Prior will stay in Tampa strictly because of the weather. The Yankees want him to pitch more than one inning at a time, and they want him to get into back-to-back games, and when it gets warmer, he’ll go north to join (probably) Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
• Prior has an opt-out in his contract that kicks in mid-summer. He wasn’t sure of the exact date, but he said it’s not something he’s thinking about. All along he’s expected to be assigned to the minor leagues for a while to build innings.
• Girardi said the choice of Eduardo Nunez over Ramiro Pena was his most difficult decision, but the team believes Nunez is a better base-stealer and his minor league numbers suggest he’ll be a better hitter. “It hurts me to send (Pena) down,” Girardi said.
• Talked to both Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. Both seemed to take the news incredibly well. “I have more to come in the future,” Montero said. Girardi said the Yankees might have taken one of them if they were 24 or 25, but because they’re so young, they didn’t want to rush them.
• Obviously the pitching plans were scrambled by today’s rain, but Girardi said right now the plan is to have Rafael Soriano pitch in tomorrow’s big league game and to have Mariano Rivera pitch at the minor league complex.
• A.J. Burnett was supposed to start today and instead threw a kind of sim game inside. He didn’t face hitters, but threw his regular number of pitches. CC Sabathia also threw an indoors side today.
Associated Press photos
Montero and Pena officially sent to Triple-A • 03.28.11
These moves were made official just minutes ago.
Justin Maxwell and Ramiro Pena optioned to Triple-A.
Jesus Montero and Doug Bernier assigned to Triple-A.
Austin Romine assigned to Double-A.
Ronnie Belliard released.
Romulo Sanchez’s contract sold to a team in Japan.
Eric Chavez added to the 40-man.
Mark Prior will stay in Tampa for the time being, I guess in extended spring, though that’s not clear.
Rained out in Tampa • 03.28.11
UPDATE: The Yankees just cancelled tonight’s game. They made it official about a minute after the Rays broke the news.
The Rays people are saying today’s game is rained out. Still waiting for word from the Yankees. Just in case, the team just sent today’s lineup. Probably meaningless, but here it is.
A.J. Burnett is supposed to start.
Pouring rain, game in doubt • 03.28.11
The storm clouds have opened here at Steinbrenner Field. It’s officially pouring, and at this point, my guess is that the Yankees and Rays won’t play tonight’s game.
Three days before Opening Day, no sense having Brett Gardner and B.J. Upton running around on a wet outfield. If they decide it’s safe, they’ll play. If it keeps going like this, they probably won’t.
I’ll have more in just a bit, but here are the quick items from the clubhouse.
• Curtis Granderson was supposed to do a lot of work on the field this afternoon, but the rain has cancelled those plans. He’s not sure how much this sets him back — if it sets him back at all — but he’d like to get in a game before Opening Day. He thinks he’ll be 100 percent healthy very close to Opening Day. “Very close to it, if not on it,” he said. He doesn’t expect to go on the disabled list.
• Pedro Feliciano said he expects to be out a couple of weeks. He’ll stay in Tampa to rehab, but said he’ll only need “a couple of bullpens” to be ready for the season.
• Francisco Cervelli was walking around in shoes today. He still has the protective boot, but he’ll lose that for good tomorrow.
• As the clubhouse closed, Romulo Sanchez was packing his bags and saying goodbye. He’s clearly going somewhere, just don’t know where.
• Chris Dickerson said his hamstring issue is “manageable.” He thinks he got a little dehydrated from traveling, and what he thought was a minor one-time-only cramp before the game didn’t quite go away during the game.
• Bartolo Colon said he was not disappointed to end up in the bullpen. “I didn’t pitch last year, so I’m just glad that I made the team,” he said.
• Kevin Millwood has arrived. He said the Yankees haven’t given him an exact plan, but he feels like he could throw about four innings right now.
• As you have probably gathered, no roster decisions have been announced and no lineup has been posted.
Rainy day at Steinbrenner Field • 03.28.11
The tarp is on the field here at George M. Steinbrenner Field. It’s not raining, but there are plenty of clouds in the sky and it certainly feels like one of those days that could be hit with rain at any moment.
Some of the Yankees pregame work has been cancelled or postponed. There’s no lineup yet, and the clubhouse opened to the media for only a couple of minutes before closing again because players are arriving later than expected. The only mildly interesting bit of information I gathered is that Romulo Sanchez still has a full locker. Looks like he’s still with the team, at least for now.
While we wait, check out Bryan Hoch’s story about the Yankees clubhouse crew getting things ready for the trip north.