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Pregame notes: Opportunities on the way

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Jun 10, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Joe Girardi said he wasn’t holding out much hope. The Yankees doctors had seen Joba Chamberlain’s MRI results, and the Yankees manager was sure that their diagnosis was correct.

“I was pretty convinced that he was going to have surgery,” Girardi said.

Dr. James Andrews confirmed the diagnosis today, and Chamberlain will have surgery on Thursday. He’s likely lost for a year or so, certainly through the rest of this season and probably well into next season.

A Yankees bullpen that was seen as an overwhelming strength at the start of the spring training schedule now includes only three relievers who were projected to make the team when camp opened — Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson and Boone Logan — and two of those three have been thrust into more significant roles than expected. Now it’s Luis Ayala who seems poised to take a larger-than-expected role. The Yankees will try some young guys, but Ayala’s experience essentially makes him the new Robertson, while Robertson becomes the new Chamberlain (who was already the new Rafael Soriano).

“(Ayala)’s become real important,” Girardi said. “He’d kind of taken Robby’s spot in the sixth, and now he’s going to be moved up to Robby’s spot in the seventh, so he’s become real important for us. He is a guy that has experience. He’s pitched in the back end of games, which I think is important. What we’ve seen from him is he has his good sinker, he comes in and throws strikes and he has a slider. He’s not afraid. He’s been through this before.”

The Yankees are expected to make a move before tonight’s game. We already know Kevin Whelan is on his way from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Once he arrives, he’ll be the first of what could be several internal options the Yankees look at in the late innings, trying to see who else might fit.

“You could see some guys that are going to get an opportunity, and we’re going to see what they can do,” Girardi said. “Obviously, when you start talking about pitching in the back end of games, a lot of times you prefer power arms or a lot of deception, and there’s some young kids down there — and some young kids in Double-A, and you probably even go down further — that have that, and they don’t have the experience. Some of them might get it.”

• Russell Martin texted Girardi this morning to say his back was feeling better, but the Yankees coaching staff told Girardi that Martin’s still not ready to play. Girardi said it’s just tightness. “We are going in the right direction,” Girardi said. “Maybe tomorrow is feasible. Maybe on Sunday. I’m hoping by this weekend we can play him.”

• Without Martin, the Yankees have leaned on Francisco Cervelli, who’s been throwing the ball into center field more often than the throws it to second base. Girardi and Tony Pena have been working with him to fix a mechanical flaw. “It’s similar to with a pitcher,” Girardi said. “If that front shoulder flies a little bit early, that ball’s taking off. And that’s what’s happening with him.”

• Girardi said Martin’s injury do not have him thinking about making a move to call up a catcher. “I think we’re OK for a while just because we do have Jorge in case of emergency,” Girardi said. “It would be different if we didn’t have Jorge.”

• Speaking of Posada, his son is feeling better two days after surgery. “He’s doing good,” Posada said. “He’s doing better.”

• Talked to Damaso Marte for a little while this afternoon. He’s playing catch, but only from about 20 feet. Much beyond that, his shoulder still feels sore. Playing light catch, though, the ball comes out “nice and easy” and Marte is still hopeful that he’ll be able to get himself back at some point after the all-star break.

• On Wednesday, the Indians optioned Shelley Duncan to Triple-A. It goes without saying that I was hoping to see him this weekend. He’s an easy guy to like, and an easy guy to root for.

• The Indians are one of the biggest surprises in baseball, a first-place team expected to finish at the bottom of the AL Central. “They’ve played well,” Girardi said. “They’ve pitched. Offensively, a lot of left-handed hitters. A lot of those guys are switch-hitters as well. They’re a young team that’s played well and they’ve gotten Grady Sizemore back. They’ve gotten huge contributions from Asdrubal Cabrera and there’s some experience there in bringing in Orlando Cabrera which I’m sure has helped out a lot and has helped out these young kids. Hafner, even though he’s been hurt, has had a pretty good year. I mean, this is a pretty good club, and they have some guys that have struggled but they’re still winning.”

• Tony Gwynn is one of the few players who would know, and he says the last 10 hits are the hardest to get on the way to 3,000. Derek Jeter is 10 away right now. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to get 3,000 hits,” Girardi said. “But I would imagine if I was at 2,990 it would be on my mind. But sometimes things just have a way of working out where it looks like it’s on your mind but it’s really not, or it’s on your mind and it looks like it’s not. I don’t think he’s ever going to let us know, but I’m sure it’s possible.”

Associated Press photos

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45 Responses to “Pregame notes: Opportunities on the way”

  1. Betsy June 10th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I feel sorry for any athlete who suffers a major injury………it really stinks. It’s bad for the team, of course, but worse for the player, who has to sit on the sidelines for a long time and basically not be part of the team. Hopefully Joba will return as good as new…….like most pitchers.

    We’ve had a run of terrible luck lately, so maybe Phil returning in a few weeks (hopefully) will be a bright spot.

  2. Purenyyankee June 10th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I’m going Wednesday and all three games in Chicago, so I’m sure DJ will get #3,000 on Thursday.

  3. Salliedogs7 June 10th, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Who would have thought we would be in this shape with our pitching at this point of the season? Saying in baseball, you never have enough pitching. We need good outings from Nova and Garcia.

  4. Tom in N.J. June 10th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    http://nomaas.org/blog/wp-cont.....spital.jpg

  5. BoJo June 10th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Why hasn’t Damaso Marte gone to see Bartolo Colon’s doctor for stem cell and rich platelette blood procedures? We have the technology to rebuild him…and make him better.

  6. randy l. June 10th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    a whole lot of crap isn’t going the yankees way right now. this is one of those times where they could go on an extended losing period if they don’t watch out.

    the players have to know that this is a crunch time for them , and at least a few are going to have to step up and lead the team.

    it’s either that are it’ll fall on cashman in a few weeks to make some changes. i look at every game for the next few weeks as crucial for the yankee season. time for some guys to snap out of their funks and step it up.

  7. Wave Your Hat June 10th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    “time for some guys to snap out of their funks and step it up.”

    Yes. The bullpen has been getting all the press, but the pen isn’t the reason the Yanks are only 2 1/2 games out of fourth.

  8. jacksquat June 10th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Girardi said Martin’s injury do not have him thinking about making a move to call up a catcher. “I think we’re OK for a while just because we do have Jorge in case of emergency,” Girardi said. “It would be different if we didn’t have Jorge.”

    Great, apparently Cervelli is one of Girardi’s “favorite toys”.

  9. DocTodd June 10th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Cervelli is just plain awful, he needs to play AAA ball…

  10. Tyler June 10th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I have no idea why they continue to run Cervelli out there. They don’t even need to call up Montero. Call up a veteran catcher in the system who can at least throw it down to 2nd on a line… Cervelli catching is just painful at this point. I like the guy but he’s just not getting it done.

  11. MTU June 10th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Randy-

    I think changes are coming either way.

    I like the idea of trying to cure some of our weaknesses from within.

    If that works less will be needed from the outside.

    If not Cashman will pull in what he can.

    For the moment the object is to stay with in striking distance.

    ;)

  12. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    “it’s either that are it’ll fall on cashman in a few weeks to make some changes”

    Do you trust him to make the right ones, randy? I’m not sure I do.

  13. Warning Track Power June 10th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Jeter has 7 games to get 10 hits.
    Not impossible, but not so easy.

    I hope he does it. I predict Girardi will have Jeter in the line-up the next 7 games whether at SS or DH.

    Let’s go Jeter!!

  14. MTU June 10th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Rich-

    Cashman has said he he will look internal 1st for at least some our issues.

    If that works he may not have to trade as much.

    With your POV I guess you had better hope for the success of the internal options.

  15. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    MTU

    I hope the internal options work out because I suspect that any external ones that could make a difference would involve a huge overpay.

  16. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Maybe Francesa is correct that after Jeter gets his 3000th hit they will move him down in the lineup.

  17. LGY June 10th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I can’t wait until this 3,000 hits stuff is over with.

    BABIP Gods, please fuel Derek on this homestand.

  18. MTU June 10th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Rich-

    I understand your POV.

    That would be best but make no mistake about it if they do not perform he is not gonna stand pat, and your other concerns may come into play.

    I think our “A-list” prospects are pretty much untouchable.

    Your concern would be over the “B-listers” I would imagine.

  19. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    MTU

    No, I think they would trade anyone but Banuelos.

  20. Tom in N.J. June 10th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    The only viable options in AAA are Montero and Jorge Vazquez.

  21. DocTodd June 10th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Unfortunately it’s going to take this team really hitting rock bottom before needed changes are made..

  22. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I’m also down on Girardi because I think the passivity of the team is a reflection on him.

  23. MTU June 10th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Rich-

    My belief is that those guys would only be moved for elite players.

    Most likely elite pitching.

    There is no one out there fitting that description as of this moment.

    That’s my take.

  24. DocTodd June 10th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Cervelli has ‘Anthony Weiner’ type photos of Cashman and Girardi…

  25. Betsy June 10th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Rich, I agree with you that I’d rather see no moves than stupid moves. There’s really no one out there that is a difference maker, unfortunately. The Yankees are old and there’s just no way to disguise that. I love Jeter, but 3 more years of this? At least Jorge is on his way out. Cano is the problem. There’s no way he should have performed this way this year………

  26. J. Alfred Prufrock June 10th, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    The system is deep that we can just roll out a quality arm like Whelan in a pinch.

    I’m still smarting though having watched Aceves, whom we scouted and signed and who is still in his twenties, help the Red Sox beat us. Just clueless on Cashman’s part letting him go.

    Two other losses that cause grief: Arodys Vizcaino (now there’s the kind of arm Leiter was talking about on the radio) and Mark Melancon. Melancon has both long man and short relief stuff and qualities. Here’s the problem with Cashman. It’s not that he uses chips to bring guys back, it’s that he has wasted some of those chips in the wrong enterprise. Both Melancon and Vizcaino were worth hanging onto.

    I am glad to see Marte believes he will be back this season. What a world of difference he could make in the bullpen (as we have dramatically seen).

  27. yankeefeminista June 10th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Mike Ashmore is reporting that Josh Schmidt has left Trenton and is bound for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he’ll join the Yankees bullpen.

    http://blogs.thetimes-tribune.com/yankees/?p=10320

  28. justinxdance27 June 10th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    To bad we traded Mitre for Maxwell.

  29. Betsy June 10th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Rich, ironically people thought Joe would be the anti-Joe………..Torre, that is. The thing is, Joe is a very good guy off-the field and I think he’s religious as well. I just don’t think it’s in him to be that aggressive – he’d rather turn the other cheek.

  30. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I think Cash has done a good job overall, but it’s time to try someone else, although the fear is that his replacement would be even more of a YES man, pun intended.

  31. Rich in NJ June 10th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Betsy

    Jeter won’t be a starter for 3 years if this continues.

    I’m not sure what’s up with Cano, I need to see a bigger sample size.

  32. justinxdance27 June 10th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    or whoever we traded mitre for. He may have actually helped us.

  33. LGY June 10th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I feel like the Yankees need a manager from the outside who never had any Yankee ties.

    A guy who has no connection to these players or their history.

    With the aging vets on this team, the Yanks need a manager who is only concerned with winning baseball games. That’s it.

    It became pretty clear after Jorge’s fit that Girardi is not the one running this team.

  34. MTU June 10th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    YF-

    What can you tell about him ?

    Have you seen him ?

    What’s your take ?

  35. Betsy June 10th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Rich, I think the time has come for Cash to go as well……..I’ve certainly not agreed with some of his public (not all, though) comments and have gotten tired of the BS. I can’t put my finger on why I don’t love Cash at this point. I don’t blame him for the lack of development in the young pitching because that’s just the way it goes- sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t, and the Yankees didn’t.

    As to Jeter, I don’t see a replacement on the horizon. Reyes? It’s not like he always has consistently great years – he’s also been injury prone. I’m not that interested in signing him as a FA next year…………

    As to Cano, he should have taken a step forward or at least stayed the same……..he was at least one player the Yanks should have been able to count on. His D has been so bad and that’s been the most disappointing part.

  36. Betsy June 10th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    LGY, I had no problem with how Joe handled that…………I just don’t think he’s that good of a manager.

  37. MTU June 10th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I guess Schmidt is Whelan’s replacement ?

  38. Irreverent Discourse June 10th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    His D has been so bad and that’s been the most disappointing part.

    hahahaha

  39. LGY June 10th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    LGY, I had no problem with how Joe handled that…………I just don’t think he’s that good of a manager.

    —–

    Betsy

    I’m talking about after the fact. Jorge hasnt batted 9th since and his dumb comment about look what happened the last time I changed the lineup.

  40. mykyl1 June 10th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Can someone explain why all the writer are saying Joba is out for 18 months and will not be available to pitch for the Yankees till next year? If Joba is done then he is done as a Yankee. HIs deal is a 1 year deal and will end Nov 1st. If he wants to pitch again someone will need to sign him first. Am I wrong?

  41. LGY June 10th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    The lack of focus Cano has shown in the field this year has been really sad to watch.

    I truly thought all that stuff was in the past after last season.

  42. Betsy June 10th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    LGY, I don’t remember the comment, but I guess it is odd that he never batted 9th after that. Honestly, though, it’s still on Jorge for me………

    As to Cano, esp. disappointing after Alex had that talk with him in ST about potentially being a HOF player. He’s the one that has to be the cornerstone of the franchise……..I hope he can be that, but he’s not a baby anymore as Alex said; it’s time to become a reliably terrific player that the team can count on.

  43. sammiejohnson June 10th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    mykyl1 June 10th, 2011 at 6:27 pm
    Can someone explain why all the writer are saying Joba is out for 18 months and will not be available to pitch for the Yankees till next year? If Joba is done then he is done as a Yankee. HIs deal is a 1 year deal and will end Nov 1st. If he wants to pitch again someone will need to sign him first. Am I wrong

    **************

    Joba has two more years of arb. left (12′-13′). He will not be a FA until 2014. While true the Yankees would have to sign him, it is not like he is a FA and could sign with the highest bidder.

  44. yankeefeminista June 10th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    MTU, I haven’t seen Schmidt, and yes, he replaces Whelan on the roster.

  45. yankeefeminista June 10th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Cano has made some phenomenal defensive plays, but he has also not made some seemingly routine ones. However, I would hardly call his D “bad.”

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