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


Postgame notes: “My main focus is on calling a good game”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcast on Jun 30, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Russell Martin was hitting .293 with six home runs at the end of April. Since the first of May, he was hitting .190 with three homers, two doubles and 12 RBI in 36 games. Martin entered tonight’s game as easily the coldest player in an otherwise red-hot Yankees lineup.

“The good thing about Russ is that he can go 0-for-30 and you’d never know it,” A.J. Burnett said. “He cares more about harnessing us and taking care of us (pitchers). The homers and the hits will come.”

A big hit came tonight. Martin’s three-run homer was a game-changer, a go-ahead shot to left field that was his first extra-base hit in 68 at-bats.

“As long as we’re winning, it doesn’t bother me as much,” Martin said. “If we were losing more, it would probably affect me more. I go out there and my main focus is on calling a good game whether I’m doing it with the bat or not.”

Through that first month, Martin’s impact on this team was easy to notice. There were numbers and highlights to prove it. He was the new guy, and he was hammering the ball. These past two months, Martin’s impact has been behind the plate and in the clubhouse. The players seem to respond to him, a more soft-spoken version of Nick Swisher. I wrote a few days ago that, while being around this team, Martin’s felt like an all-star, no matter what the numbers have suggested.

It’s also worth remembering that Martin has dealt with toe and back injuries. He’s also been run over at the plate, and he’s been knocked in the head by a back swing. Joe Girardi said he thought the toe bothered Martin quite a bit, and Martin said he’s only recently started to feel like himself at the plate. But even through this slump, he’s had an impact. With a brand new pitching staff, he’s developed immediate relationships, and he’s not let offensive struggles affect his defensive approach.

“You wouldn’t know if he didn’t get another hit the rest of the month because he cares so much about us,” Burnett said. “That’s his main priority… When you meet between home and the mound and the catcher’s got this voice where you know it’s coming from his heart, it makes you believe in that pitch. It’s fun to work with him.”

Here’s Martin.

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• In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of the pregame injury updates: Brian Cashman said there’s a “good likelihood” that Bartolo Colon will start on Saturday, he said Phil Hughes’ stuff is ready for the big leagues but the Yankees have to decide whether to stretch him out further, and Cashman said it’s possible Derek Jeter will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday and return during next week’s Cleveland series.

• When Sergio Mitre was designated for assignment, I texted two of my writer friends and predicted he’d be with the Yankees by the weekend. Burnett said he and CC Sabathia had a similar conversation in the dugout yesterday, saying they wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees found a way to get Mitre back in the bullpen. “Just shows you what we think of him,” Burnett said. “We believe in him.”

• Girardi said he expects Mitre to serve a long relief role similar to last year. He’ll be available on Thursday.

• Burnett got some help from his defense tonight — including a nice running catch by Curtis Granderson and a nice stop by Eduardo Nunez — and he took advantage for a strong seven-inning start that ended with a standing ovation. “I threw some changeups in counts tonight that were big pitches and I got some double plays,” Burnett said. “In the past, it would have been fastball, fastball, fastball.”

• I’d never thought of this, but Burnett mentioned it after the game: Before coming to New York, Burnett never played for a team that always packed a stadium like the Yankees, so he never really experienced this sort of standing ovation until he got to New York. “I get goose bumps right now thinking about it,” he said.

• Burnett’s night ended on Nunez’s 10th error of the season, but Burnett made sure to talk to his shortstop before walking off the mound. “He was kind of the last one to come to the mound, and I was like, are you going to smile or what?” Burnett said. “You can’t forget the play he made earlier… He can play behind me any time.”

• Another escape act for Robertson, who struck out two of the four batters he faced. His ERA is down to 1.11.

• Speaking of the bullpen, Mariano Rivera got his 21st save. He’s converted 26 consecutive interleague save chances at home, dating back to June 14, 2001. He hasn’t allowed a run in those games. He’s struck out 32.

• Jorge Posada’s sixth-inning home run was the eighth time a play was reviewed at Yankee Stadium, including the postseason. I twa sthe second call reversed via replay. “I saw that the ball hit something out there above the wall,” Posada said.

• For the second night in a row, the Yankees won despite being outhit.

• Martin homered on an 0-2 pitch for the second time in his career. His 68 at-bats without an extra-base hit was a career-long stretch. That’s according to Elias. I didn’t know that off the top of my head.

• Joba Chamberlain was back with the team tonight. He came to town to have his stitches removed.

• Former Yankees reliever Luis Vizcaino has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

• I’m sure I’ll mention it again, but I’m going to host a chat at noon on Friday leading into this weekend’s Subway Series. Stop by!

Associated Press photos

 
 

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36 Responses to “Postgame notes: “My main focus is on calling a good game””

  1. Carlo June 30th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I really encourage some of u to go read Pete abes recent live chat. It’s so funny. He basically treats every other reader of is blog like sht. Guy may be the worst salesman ever. Tells off Jo fewer than 6 people in one live blog q & a. Dbag

  2. Rich in NJ June 30th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    He once wrote an anonymous letter complaining about anonymous blog writers. No really.

  3. LGY June 30th, 2011 at 12:24 am

    It’s funny when people complain about Chad and long for Pete.

    During the off day Monday Chad put up I believe 5 quality posts. Pete posted one or two little news blurbs and spent the rest of the day eating doughnuts.

  4. ET June 30th, 2011 at 12:26 am

    The pen will be

    Rivera
    Robertson
    Logan
    Ayala
    Wade
    Gordon
    Mitre

  5. Rich in NJ June 30th, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Another starter is likely going to the pen with Hughes and Colon coming back.

  6. m June 30th, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Good game, and any day you pick up a game on the Sox is a great day.

    I was thinking of how Russel Martin has helped guide this staff to one of the best pitching staffs in the league. Not sure how many runs allowed per game, but only Seattle and Oakland have allowed less runs (granted we’ve played less games than most teams). But still, Martin (and Rothschild) has done a great job.

    As for the Great Ayala Debate, the answer probably lies somewhere in between. How many inherited runners has he allowed to score?

  7. G-C June 30th, 2011 at 12:33 am

    So,

    If the Yankees decide to add Hughes to the rotation without another rehab start, how does the rotation get shuffled?

    No off days until the all star break.

    So say they want him to pitch on Monday on regular rest. Can they do that and slide everyone back a day? Or do you want to keep CC on regular rest and push everyone back two days?

  8. Vineyard Yankee June 30th, 2011 at 12:35 am

    ‘Girardi said he expects Mitre to serve a long relief role similar to last year. He’ll be available on Thursday’.

    =============

    Sounds like that’s it for Noesi now. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

  9. Jerkface June 30th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    As for the Great Ayala Debate, the answer probably lies somewhere in between.

    The answer of what? Ayala has pitched well, and he was basically in the same mold as Colon/Garcia. A scrapheap move that worked. But the Yankees should not be beholden to him. I’d trade him in a new york minute and he should be used as he is now. When the score margin is wide. Doesn’t blow anyone away, doesn’t have great control, lacks a plus pitch. Expendable is what he is.

  10. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 12:42 am

    The time may have arrived for random testing of LoHud bloggers.

    I am detecting strong evidence of roid rage emanating daily from the Cali kook(s).

    While I’m on that subject, it’s disheartening to read that one of my favorite ball players of all time, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn has admitted in the next issue of SI (?) to steroid use during the making of the film “Major League” (through some persona named Charlie Sheen).

  11. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 12:44 am

    He saidthe roid use jacked up his fastball velo from 79 to 85.

    He could’ve pitched for the Mets this year.

  12. Ghostwriter June 30th, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Jerkface June 30th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    As for the Great Ayala Debate, the answer probably lies somewhere in between.

    The answer of what? Ayala has pitched well, and he was basically in the same mold as Colon/Garcia. A scrapheap move that worked. But the Yankees should not be beholden to him. I’d trade him in a new york minute and he should be used as he is now. When the score margin is wide. Doesn’t blow anyone away, doesn’t have great control, lacks a plus pitch. Expendable is what he is.
    —————————

    Colon and Garcia have much more value at this point. Colon has been awesome, and Garcia has morphed into a right-handed Jamie Moyer.

  13. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 12:50 am

    If Chad does choose to institute a random testing policy, I would submit that he require only one specimen from Westy and all his sock puppets. It’ll save a lot of time.

  14. waka flocka June 30th, 2011 at 12:50 am

    The Yankees bringing back Mitre is quite aggravating. Its not a huge deal but it says a lot about how much the Yankees trust/value the guys on the farm. At least Noesi will get to pitch now.

  15. Rich in NJ June 30th, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Speaking of the Mets, this weekend series notwithstanding, I hope they play well enough to keep Reyes through the end of the season.

  16. LGY June 30th, 2011 at 12:53 am

    The Yankees bringing back Mitre is quite aggravating. Its not a huge deal but it says a lot about how much the Yankees trust/value the guys on the farm. At least Noesi will get to pitch now.

    ——————-

    Mitre is the long man.

    It is a poor use of resources to have a prospect in that role.

  17. Ghostwriter June 30th, 2011 at 12:57 am

    waka flocka June 30th, 2011 at 12:50 am

    The Yankees bringing back Mitre is quite aggravating. Its not a huge deal but it says a lot about how much the Yankees trust/value the guys on the farm. At least Noesi will get to pitch now.
    ———————-

    I don’t see it that way at all. It says that the Yanks want to compete and win now, but they aren’t willing to completely sell out the future to do it. If they didn’t care about their youngsters they would just use and discard the youngsters at their convenience. This approach would leave Noesi wasting away in the ‘pen, rather than getting the work that he needs. Picking up Mitre for cash is a minor coup, and could wind up paying off quite handsomely.

  18. Jerkface June 30th, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I’ll take Mitre over Buddy Carlyle.

  19. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Rich in NJ June 30th, 2011 at 12:51 am
    Speaking of the Mets, this weekend series notwithstanding, I hope they play well enough to keep Reyes through the end of the season.

    ———————————

    The public comments coming out of there seem to indicate otherwise, though.

    They seem to be shooting for being a .500 team this year, citing it as a goal from time to time.

    Their owner is on record as saying that he won’t (can’t) ante up the money it’ll likely take to keep Reyes, so they may want to get value for him before he’s gone (though I think they’d be better off with the draft picks).

    Reyes is one of those guys, I suspect, who will have a career year … what am I saying? … IS HAVING a career year, then will cash in with a mega contract, and be hard pressed wherever he ends up to live up to those numbers and the expectations. Just a hunch, based on his history.

  20. Ghostwriter June 30th, 2011 at 1:10 am

    AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 1:03 am
    —————————-

    I agree. I would pass on Reyes and let somebody else get stuck with that turkey of a contract. We have Jeter and Nunez for the time being, and other more economical and reliable alternatives may present themselves in the future.

  21. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 1:12 am

    If Sergio sticks, his impact on this team will be about as important as Dickerson’s.

    Which is why LGY is right, it’s a poor use of resource to use a prospect in that role.

  22. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Ghostwriter June 30th, 2011 at 1:10 am
    AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 1:03 am
    —————————-

    I agree. I would pass on Reyes and let somebody else get stuck with that turkey of a contract. We have Jeter and Nunez for the time being, and other more economical and reliable alternatives may present themselves in the future.

    ——————————-

    Not only that, but he is the antithesis of Jeter when it comes to baseball IQ, pulling some real bonehead plays at the worst times (of course, that was back when their games MEANT something, ie, they were contending)

  23. waka flocka June 30th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Carlyle is only up due to injury. He was probably gone when Colon was activated anyway.

    Its not wasting a resource to have Noesi in the bullpen. Plenty of prospects are broken in at the major league level via the bullpen. All you have to do is work him more than once every five days. That shouldn’t be so difficult given the bullpen is basically four men deep (Rivera, Robertson, Ayala, and Wade). Even if you want to just go with the flow it still doesn’t explain why they signed Brian Gordon out of thin air instead of giving Noesi, Warren, or Phelps a crack.

  24. West Coast Yankee Fan June 30th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I want my 2-iron back. Disinfected.

  25. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Your mom is too attached to it.

    Idiot.

  26. Rich in NJ June 30th, 2011 at 1:39 am

    My point was that I don’t want to see Reyes traded to another team that will potentially be the Yankees’ competition for the WS.

    But on the larger issue, who’s the next top SS that will be available over the next two years, and what will it cost to acquire him in terms of player personnel assets/money?

    If Reyes could be persuaded to let Jeter play the majority of games at SS in 2012, I think you have to seriously consider signing him.

  27. West Coast Yankee Fan June 30th, 2011 at 2:02 am

    You sure didn’t say that when you were face down in the sand trap begging.

  28. jacksquat June 30th, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Sticking Soriano in the 7th inning role could possibly get him to opt out…

    And Jeter coming back in the Cleveland series lines him up perfectly to get 3000 at home. Shocker. :D

  29. Jerkface June 30th, 2011 at 2:37 am

    Sticking Soriano in the 7th inning role could possibly get him to opt out…

    I was thinking about this, using him as a fireman and not letting him dominate the 8th inning could possibly make him opt out, saving the yankees heart ache if Soriano feels like he isn’t getting the ‘respect’ he deserves (even though it’d be the opposite, ebing a fireman is quite respectful)

  30. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Even if you want to just go with the flow it still doesn’t explain why they signed Brian Gordon out of thin air instead of giving Noesi, Warren, or Phelps a crack.

    ———–

    Same reason they previouly signed Colon and Garcia, as well as Prior, Silva, Millwood. The GM’s old adage that says you can never have too much pitching. Gordon was available and low cost, low risk. He’s already paid off by filling in for Colon.

  31. Betsy June 30th, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I think Phil needs another rehab start – it makes no sense to rush him back; what’s another start?

    M, I love Russell Martin…….and I’m more than willing to live with his offensive woes given how well he’s guided this staff and what a terrific catcher he is.

    I have zero interest in Reyes. He’s having this kind of year on a walk year and I would never give him anything close to the type of contract he’s going to get. He’s never been able to put together consistent excellent seasons – he’s also been hurt. Let someone else get suckered in.

  32. Betsy June 30th, 2011 at 8:16 am

    LGY, I detest how the Yankees are using Noesi…

  33. austinmac June 30th, 2011 at 8:19 am

    If Soriano opts out his agent will have heart attack. He could never get that kind of money next year after the year he is having. That will not happen.

    I am beginning to wonder if the Yankees will make any kind of significant move. With Posada and Swisher now hitting, I don’t know where an offensive addition would play other than OF backup.

    I would still like a top flight lefty in the rotation and pen, but the staff is pitching amazingly well. I think, by the way, Girardi must get credit for that. He is great at handling pitching. I don’t see that starting lefty out there. No to Wandy. The White Sox and Twins are likely not sellers.

  34. pat June 30th, 2011 at 8:19 am

    “Klapisch: Brian Cashman says Yanks won’t make a splash at trade deadline”

    Truth or Stealth Cashman? Given his chatty track record this year, I’m leaning toward believing him.

  35. AldotheApache June 30th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    pat, I think Cash is telling the truth, but that it can all change by one phone call from a team dropping out of contention.

  36. Vineyard Yankee June 30th, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Yikes ! ! Someone let ‘it’ out of the sandtrap ! ! Call animal control ! !


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