First the immediate news: Alex Rodriguez has been scratched from today’s lineup. He’s sick. Robinson Cano is moving into the cleanup spot and Eric Chavez is taking over at third base. Now for the regular notes.
After looking at video from last season, Phil Hughes believes he and Larry Rothschild have found a minor mechanical issue that might be contributing to his early season struggles. Actually, Hughes said it’s more mental than mechanical, but the bottom line is that he’s trying to get his lower half more involved. He believes he was more “deliberate” in his delivery last season.
“Even though I’m fairly confident it’s more of an arm-strength issue, I’m still trying to clean some things up in my delivery and hopefully get things back on track,” he said. “… Looking back at last year I noticed that my delivery was a lot more deliberate. It wasn’t so easy through my motion. I was — I wouldn’t say drop and drive — but pretty aggressive through my delivery to the plate. Hopefully that’s something that can get a little bit better. I’m also hoping the arm strength comes along as well.”
Hughes took that approach into his bullpen this afternoon. He said he couldn’t feel a difference, but he could see a difference. He’s was a little more aggressive than usual in today’s bullpen, and he’s done some more long toss to try to build up arm strength (he guessed he was at about 200 feet today). In the past he’s done two sides between starts, but this time he might do just one plus a flat-ground session. He’s been so aggressive in his side work, he doesn’t want to overdo it.
Is there danger in making a mechanical change when he doesn’t believe it’s a mechanical issue?
“There is,” Hughes said. “But it’s nothing huge or major, just using my lower half a little more.”
• Freddy Garcia is scheduled to start Friday’s series opener vs. Texas.
• Joe Girardi on not having Chavez in the lineup (before the lineup change, obviously): “You can get caught up in trying to play the hot hand sometimes,” he said. “You can do that. He had a good day yesterday, and I’m extremely proud that he hadn’t played in a while (and still played well), but we’ve said all along that our plan is for Jorge to be our DH. I gave Jorge a day off and then I got him back in there.”
• One other thing to keep in mind, Girardi said he doesn’t want to sit Posada too often right now while he’s adjusting to the designated hitter role. The fact there are a lot of early games at Yankee Stadium — where there’s an accessible cage and Posada’s healthy — could help with the adjustment, Girardi said.
• Girardi guessed that Russell Martin could play 120-130 games this season. “For a guy as strong as he is and his age, I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” he said.
• After his massive first few games, Mark Teixeira’s production has fallen off in recent days. “Just missing balls a little bit, that’s all,” Girardi said. “I think he’s put some pretty good swings on it.”
• Speaking of guys who aren’t necessarily hitting right now, Girardi spent quite a bit of time talking about Derek Jeter this afternoon. I’m sure I’ll get further into it tonight or tomorrow, but the general idea was this: “He’s the fifth leading hitter of our everyday hitters, so we have other guys we need to get going as well,” Girardi said. “To me it’s too early to talk about it every day.”
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Carl Crawford LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Cameron CF
J.D. Drew RF
Jason Varitek C
Marco Scutaro SS
Associated Press photos