The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for June, 2011

Game 78: Yankees vs. Brewers06.29.11

YANKEES (46-31)
Brett Gardner LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS

RHP A.J. Burnett (7-6, 4.15)
Burnett vs. Brewers

BREWERS (44-36)
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel DH
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C

RHP Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.95)
Marcum vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: It’s beautiful here at Yankee Stadium. Nice night with the wind blowing out to right.

UMPIRES: HP Gary Cederstrom, 1B Adrian Johnson, 2B Alan Porter, 3B Fieldin Culbreth

AT THE TOP: Since Derek Jeter went on the disabled list, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher have combined to bat .292 with a .433 on-base percentage in the lead-off spot.

GOING DEEP: Mark Teixeira is tied with Jose Bautista for the Major League lead with 24 home runs. In the past 50 years, only three Yankees have hit more homers before the all-star break: Alex Rodriguez (30 in 2007), Tino Martinez (28 in 1997) and Jason Giambi (27 in 2006 and 26 in 2003).

A FEW MORE HOURS: Online voting for the all-star game concludes on Thursday night at 11:59 p.m. According to the latest voting update, the Yankees are in line to have Rodriguez, Jeter, Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson in the American League lineup.

UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: Walk, stolen base and an RBI single. The Brewers have a quick first-inning lead.

UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: That a real nice play by Granderson, making the catch in deep center field then getting the ball into the infield in time to turn the double play.

UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: I really don’t remember a louder “thud” when an outfield has run into the wall. Nyjer Morgan just slammed into the center field padding, but he’s still in the game and Cano has a leadoff triple in the fourth. It’s still 1-0 Brewers.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: RBI single by Swisher and now a single off the wall for Posada. The game’s tied and the Yankees are in business with runners at the corners and no outs.

UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: Russell Martin’s 10th home run of the season, and now it’s 4-1 Yankees. That snapped a 64-AB homer-less stretch for Martin. He hadn’t hit one since May.

UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: It’s a home run. No it’s not. Yes it is. After review, Posada’s solo shot stands and it’s a 5-2 Yankees lead at the end of the sixth.

UPDATE, 9:39 p.m.: Another error for Nunez, but Burnett walks off the mound to a standing ovation. Here’s Robertson to finish off the eighth inning.

UPDATE, 9:51 p.m.: I’m telling ya, Robertson should be an all-star.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 379 Comments →

Pregame notes: Significant progress for Hughes06.29.11

It’s been assumed — because Brian Cashman said so — that Phil Hughes would need one more rehab start before rejoining the big league rotation. But it seems that plan is not set in stone. Cashman was in Trenton today to watch Hughes go 6.1 innings, and Joe Girardi said the team is deciding whether they need to see any more.

“That’s something we’re in the process of discussing,” Girardi said. “Cash just got back from, I believe it was Trenton. We’ll discuss that over the next couple of days. He said it was night and day from the start before.”

Hughes was only so-so in his previous start, but this outing was sharp. Multiple reports say his fastball was generally in the low 90s, topping out at 94. Girardi said Hughes only threw a few changeups, but his cutter and curveball were sharp. All eight of his strikeouts were swinging.

“It was a good step,” Hughes told The Associated Press. “I went out today and did not even think about stuff. I know that’s what everybody wants to know about, but my last two outings, and even in the (simulated) games in Florida, my stuff was good. I trusted that it would be there and worried more about command, so that’s really what I was most concerned about.”

Hughes would be on turn to start on Monday, either for the Yankees in Cleveland or for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Lehigh Valley. Bartolo Colon is in New York and could start this weekend against the Mets, and Girardi said he’s begun thinking about what his rotation might look like with both Colon and Hughes healthy.

“We started for about 5-10 minutes before I came in here today,” Girardi said. “When they are both healthy, there are decisions that we’re going to have to make. We have a lot of people throwing the baseball good in our rotation, and that’s a good problem to have. We’re going to have to make some decisions.”

The first decision will be where to send Hughes for his next start.

“I just have to make sure I keep improving, getting all my pitches and making sure my location is good,” Hughes said. “I felt like I was throwing a lot more strikes and that was a good sign. Overall, I was just much more comfortable.”

• Colon is here, but the Yankees aren’t sure whether he’ll be activated this weekend. If he is activated, he’ll start Saturday against the Mets. If not, Brian Gordon will make that start. “We’re going to run him through some drills,” Girardi said. “Then we should know in a couple of days what we’re going to do with him. I have no answers on that yet, but he’s got to go through some drills for us.”

• Girardi said that right now, it’s either Colon or Gordon for Saturday’s start. As it stands, there is no third option.

• Derek Jeter once again ran the bases at less than full strength today in Tampa. “He basically just did the same thing (as yesterday),” Girardi said. “Ran the bases. Took ground balls. We don’t have a time table yet set for him, but he’s definitely going in the right direction.”

• Curtis Granderson fouled a ball off his right leg yesterday and had it wrapped after last night’s game. Girardi said he did not check with Granderson before posting the lineup, but he’ll check with him after batting practice.

• Alex Rodriguez has not hit a home run since June 11, but in those 14 homer-less games, he’s hit .408/.483/.531 with 14 RBI. “He’s been getting on base and driving in runs, and that’s basically his job in the spot where he hits in the order,” Girardi said. “He’s not trying to do too much. I think he’s taking what the pitcher is giving him. His average has been on a constant climb, and very pleased. His on-base percentage has been on a constant climb. Keeping the line moving is what he’s doing. But he’s also being very productive while he’s doing that.”

• If you’re looking for more on the Hughes rehab start in Trenton, go to my old friend Mike Ashmore’s blog. There’s an insane amount of information there, including video of every pitch and video of Hughes’ entire postgame press conference.

• Speaking of Mike’s blog, he notes that Melky Mesa has rejoined Trenton. He was sent to Tampa earlier this month, but that seems to have been largely to work his way back from injury.

• And speaking of Double-A: Austin Romine, Corban Joseph, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances made the Eastern League all-star team. I believe the International League all-stars will be announced later this week. The Pacific Coast League all-star team was announced today, including former Yankees utility man Cody Ransom. He’s hitting .321/.398/.632 with Reno in the Diamondbacks system.

UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: Cashman agrees that Hughes might not need another rehab start. He also said it’s entirely possible Derek Jeter could begin a rehab assignment on Saturday, putting him back in the big league lineup during next week’s Cleveland series.

Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel DH
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 118 Comments →

Regular lineup for Yankees06.29.11

Brett Gardner LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 58 Comments →

Hughes goes 6.1 innings in rehab start06.29.11

Phil Hughes is finished for the day. He went 6.1 innings for Double-A Trenton, allowing one run on three hits and two walks. He struck out eight.

For some updates from the scene, check our good friend Erik Boland’s twitter feed. Erik was in Trenton and reports that Hughes threw 88 pitches, 64 or strikes. He talked to one scout who said Hughes’ command was “much better.” Apparently Hughes was at 92 mph with his fastball, topping out at 94.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 442 Comments →

Yankees still leading in final all-star update06.29.11

Final all-star voting results will be announced on Sunday, and the Yankees are still in line to have five position players in the American League starting lineup. Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are pretty comfortably in position. Derek Jeter and Russell Martin are in closer races — against players with better numbers — but voting ends on Thursday, so it would take a significant surge to change those results. The tightest race right now is between Josh Hamilton and Jacoby Ellsbury for the final outfield spot.

Russell Martin, 2,779,592
Alex Avila, 2,345,065
Joe Mauer, 1,699,604

First base
Adrian Gonzalez, 4,014,722
Mark Teixeira, 3,077,242
Miguel Cabrera, 2,184,480

Second base
Robinson Cano, 4,724,816
Dustin Pedroia, 2,979,181
Ian Kinsler, 1,896,259

Third base
Alex Rodriguez, 3,735,406
Adrian Beltre, 2,935,373
Kevin Youkilis, 2,724,286

Derek Jeter, 3,392,128
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2,885,778
Elvis Andrus, 1,971,514

Jose Bautista, 5,263,840
Curtis Granderson, 4,582,419
Josh Hamilton, 3,173,000
Jacoby Ellsbury, 3,051,675
Carl Crawford, 2,294,337
Nelson Cruz, 1,912,783
Ichiro Suzuki, 1,912,062
Nick Swisher, 1,648,599
Brett Gardner, 1,499,367
J.D. Drew, 1,428,367

Designated hitter
David Ortiz, 4,237,014
Michael Young, 2,235,504
Jorge Posada, 1,453,383

Associated Press photos of Rodriguez and Granderson

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 482 Comments →

Girardi: “Some guys have seized an opportunity”06.29.11

Through all of last season, the Yankees put a total of 11 players on the disabled list.

They have 11 players on the disabled list right now.

“Some of our guys have seized an opportunity, ran with it and played very well,” Joe Girardi said. “It seemed like it was one after another for a while there. We kept having injuries, and we were talking about a new guy, but these guys have played hard. They haven’t said, ‘Golly, we lost another guy.’ They just went out and played the game. Guys have stepped up for us big, and that’s why we’re winning games.”

Without their starting shortstop. Without their top two setup relievers. Without their top two left-handed relievers. Without their 18-game winner from last season, and without his rotation replacement, the Yankees have won 13 of 17 and pulled a game and a half ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East.

They’ve played well, and as Girardi might say, that’s the bottom line. Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Jorge Posada are hitting again, the rotation has been good enough that the thin bullpen hasn’t been an issue and Eduardo Nunez has been productive in place of Derek Jeter.

“We all try to step up when somebody is needed,” Swisher said. “We take pride in that. Whoever goes down, there’s going to be somebody that’s going to be able to step up and be ready for that spot. Prime example is Nuney’s done such a tremendous job with the absence of Jeet. Obviously you can’t replace a guy like that, but I think the way that Nuney’s playing, he’s really fit in.”

Bartolo Colon could be back by the weekend, and Phil Hughes doesn’t seem too far behind. Jeter is taking batting practice, and so is Eric Chavez. Rafael Soriano is apparently able to throw a ball without his elbow bothering him.

Right now the Yankees are playing as if they don’t need them, but getting some players back would certainly boost the roster, fill some holes and increase the margin of error. The Yankees are playing very well right now, but in terms of personnel, they’re a long way from being at their best.

“I don’t think our guys ever felt sorry for ourselves,” Girardi said. “I think that was the important part of it.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 156 Comments →

Postgame notes: “I’ll take them both”06.29.11

Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one. Nick Swisher had the big home run in the second inning, then he had the big throw to the plate in the sixth. Surely one of those meat more than the other, but on this night, there was no reason to pick just one.

“I’ll take them both,” Swisher said.

The outfield assist was Swisher’s fifth of the season. The home run was his fifth in the past 13 games (since the day Derek Jeter went on the disabled list).

This is the new Swisher, same as the old Swisher we saw last season. He’s been productive on the field and laughing it up in the clubhouse, even laughing at himself after Russell Martin gave him the baseball that he threw to the plate, telling him he should keep it because he doesn’t make a throw like that very often.

“I took the ball, I really did,” Swisher said.

For whatever reason, there seemed to be a lot of talk tonight about the people Swisher’s been talking to. It started with Swisher telling the story of his conversation with Martin, and that led to the story of his conversations with Dave Robertson and Boone Logan, who have worked with him on improving his throws from right field. Joe Girardi said Swisher’s at his best when he short-arms the ball, throwing more like a catcher without creating a long, loopy arm motion. Swisher said he’s at his best because Robertson and Logan have told him to get out in front a little more and not be so wild with his mechanics.

“I’m trying to take a little more pride in the defensive end of things,” he said. “I’ve always just kind of played defense so I can hit, but now I’m trying to take pride in all aspects of the game.”

Eventually, Mark Teixeira was talking about his conversations with Swisher. If anyone on this team knows what it’s like to be a switch hitter off to a slow start, it’s Teixeira, and he tried to talk Swisher through those early season struggles. Swisher is now is hitting .320 with eight homers since May 27.

“Me and him talked a lot because of my bad starts,” Teixeira said. “And I just said, ‘Hey man, you’ve done it for a long time. Just keep doing what you doing.’ As long as you’re physically alright, just ride it out because it’s going to turn, and it did… Power hitters go through a lot of slumps, and then having to do it from both sides of the plate to start a season, when you’ve been sitting around for six months, it’s just not easy to do so we can get in some bad slumps as switch hitters.”

Here’s Swisher. Talking.

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• Freddy Garcia was cruising along tonight, getting in and out of some trouble to pitch another good game for the Yankees. He’d thrown only 76 pitches, but because the Yankees four-run sixth took so long, he wasn’t sent back out for the seventh inning. “I was throwing strikes,” Garcia said. “I gave up like eight hits, but they’re aggressive. They don’t let you pitch, but I was able to make a good pitch.”

• Garcia is 7-6 with a 3.28 ERA. This from a guy who didn’t even have a guaranteed job in spring training. “I was glad to get the chance to start the games,” he said. “I got a shot in spring training to be one of the starters and that’s my job to go and try and do the best that I can do when I’m pitching. And I was able to do that so far.”

• Zack Greinke has a 6.45 ERA in 11 games against the Yankees. He hit the first batter, then the Brewers made a defensive mistake, and the Yankees pounced. By the time Swisher homered in the second inning, it was a 7-0 lead and Greinke’s night was finished before the third. “If he gets on a roll, who knows?” Teixeira said. “Good pitchers, it’s nice to get them early because you don’t know if you’re going to have any more opportunities.”

• The Yankees actually hadn’t seen Greinke since 2008.

• Each Yankees starter reached base tonight and all but Brett Gardner — who reached twice — had a hit. They stole four bases tonight, their fifth game with at least four steals this season. They had three such games all of last year.

• Weird stat of the night: Elias says this is the first time since 1951 that the Yankees won a game by at least 10 runs while also being out-hit.

• Curtis Granderson had his team-leading seventh triple, matching his total for last season (though it was really a mistake by Nyjer Morgan).

• Granderson had his right calf lightly wrapped after the game. He fouled a ball off that leg, but said it’s not a big deal and shouldn’t bother him tomorrow.

• Teixeira has homered in three-straight games and now has a team-high 24 for the season. This is the fourth time this season that he’s homered in four straight games. He now has 299 career homers.

• Jorge Posada has a hit in 12 of his past 13 starts, dating back to June 5. He’s hitting .388 in games he’s starting during that stretch.

• Dave Robertson didn’t pitch tonight, but his name somehow came up in Girardi’s postgame press conference: “To me he’s an all-star,” Girardi said. “There’s no doubt about it.”

• Girardi will greet fans entering Yankee Stadium through the Great Hall tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 83 Comments →

Yankees expand division lead06.28.11

The Yankees never gave the Brewers much of a chance tonight. They scored seven runs in the first two innings, chased Zack Greinke from the game and beat Milwaukee 12-2 at Yankee Stadium. It was the Yankees 13th win in their past 17 games, and gave them a game and a half lead in the American League East, their largest lead since June 2. Nick Swisher stayed hot with four RBI, three of them on a second-inning homer that quickly put the game out of reach. Freddy Garcia picked up his seventh win, allowing two runs through seven innings while throwing only 76 pitches.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 173 Comments →

Game 77: Yankees vs. Brewers06.28.11

YANKEES (45-31)
Brett Gardner LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS

RHP Freddy Garcia (6-6, 3.30)
Garcia vs. Brewers

BREWERS (44-35)
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel DH
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C

RHP Zack Greinke (7-2, 4.77)
Greinke vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network / MLB Network

WEATHER: Pretty nice night here at Yankee Stadium. Little bit of a breeze blowing from right to left.

UMPIRES: HP Fieldin Culbreth, 1B Gary Cederstrom, 2B Adrian Johnson, 3B Alan Porter

ALL-STAR NUMBERS: Dave Robertson has a 1.15 ERA, the second lowest among all Major League pitchers with at least 30 innings pitches. Only Cleveland’s Rafael Perez (1.13) has a lower ERA. Robertson is averaging 1.6 strikeouts per inning.

SERIES WINS: The Yankees have won each of their past five series since June 10, going 12-4 in that stretch immediately after being swept at home by Boston. In those 16 games, the Yankees have averaged 5.81 runs and 9.81 hits. The pitching staff has a 3.29 ERA in that span.

HIP HIP: In his past 17 games — since June 5 — Jorge Posada is batting .420 with four doubles, two homers, eight RBI and a .455 on-base percentage. Before that, he was hitting .169 with six doubles, six homers and 17 RBI in 44 games.

ONE AWAY: Alex Rodriguez has at least one RBI in his past six games, one game shy of his career-long streak (which he’s accomplished four times, most recently in 2007).

UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Garcia wiggles out of trouble in the first, stranding runners at second and third.

UPDATE, 7:21 p.m.: I’ll say this much for Nyjer Morgan: That ball off Ramiro Pena’s chest followed by the throw into the dirt by Eduardo Nunez is still the worst play I’ve ever seen in professional baseball. Morgan’s stumble might be second, but that Pena/Nunez play was kind of hilarious. Anyway, it’s 2-0 Yankees in the first.

UPDATE, 7:58 p.m.: The Yankees are clobbering Greinke already. Capped by Nick Swisher’s three-run homer, the Yankees have scored five runs in the second inning and already have a 7-0 lead.

UPDATE, 8:08 p.m.: Greinke didn’t even come out for the third inning. The Brewers are already into their bullpen. This would be a good spot for Sergio Mitre, no?

UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: As usual, terrific job by the scoreboard crew, showing a clip from Major League — “Juuuuuust a bit outside” — then cutting to Bob Uecker in the Brewers broadcast booth.

Meanwhile, the Brewers scratched out two runs in the fourth. Yankees now leading 7-2.

UPDATE, 9:53 p.m.: With an 11-2 Yankees lead, the Brewers have pulled Fielder and Weeks. It’s a blowout, and the Brewers are waved a white flag here in the seventh inning. The Yankees meanwhile, have Dickerson ready to hit for Granderson.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 388 Comments →

Pregame notes: Colon on his way back to New York06.28.11

Bartolo Colon is on his way back to New York and will be evaluated by the Yankees tomorrow. After a four-inning simulated game on Monday, the Yankees believe there’s a chance Colon could be ready to pitch this weekend against the Mets.

“That’s what we have to evaluate,” Joe Girardi said. “Do we feel that he is ready? We’ll get a chance to look at him tomorrow and make that decision.”

Colon threw 60 pitches yesterday, then went through a series of drills — including bunting — today in Tampa. Girardi said he’s not concerned about hitting and running the bases putting Colon at greater risk of re-injuring his right hamstring. The injury happened in the first place when he was covering first base on a play that might happen in any park. As Girardi put it: “If he’s ready to go, there’s a chance he’s going to pitch.”

So why would Phil Hughes need a series of rehab starts, but Colon would need nothing more than a simulated game?

“He’s really only missed two starts,” Girardi said. “It’s not abnormal to skip a pitcher a start and then for him to come back and make the next start. You see that happen all the time, where a guy might pitch on 10 days rest. He did somewhat make a rehab start yesterday: 60 pitches, four innings for Bartolo. He said he felt great, and he could have went more. I believe him, because he was built up. I don’t think missing the two starts was really that much, because he was playing long-toss in that time and keeping his arm in shape. The concern for me is not his arm, it’s making sure his leg is healed. That, we’ll check out.”

• Derek Jeter took batting practice, fielded ground balls and ran the bases at about 50 or 60 percent effort today. Girardi said it’s “probably fair to say” that Jeter would need at least two rehab games before being ready to return. When he might be ready for a rehab assignment is still uncertain. “The one thing you have to see is you have to see him run at 100 percent,” Girardi said. “And you’ve got to see him recover and maybe do it a couple of days in a row before you possibly send him out on a rehab.”

• Will the schedule and 3,000 hits play into when Jeter is activated? “When he’s ready, that’s when we want him back,” Girardi said. “We can’t get caught up in scheduling and trying to get his 3,000 th hit at home. He’s a part of this club that we need, and when he’s ready, he’s ready. That’s the way we look at it.”

• Rafael Soriano played catch today — Girardi said he was pretty sure it was a regular long toss — and reported no problems.

• Update on Eric Chavez: “He’s just continuing to move along,” Girardi said. “He’s taking ground balls, he’s hitting and he’s lightly running. He’s still not where he needs to be, though.”

• Phil Hughes will make a Double-A rehab start tomorrow. It seems likely that he’ll need one more — Brian Cashman has said as much — and Girardi said he’s not sure whether Hughes could do enough tomorrow to show the Yankees he’s ready. “I can’t tell you that,” Girardi said. “I’m looking forward to his start to see how he does, I can tell you that, and to make a determination if we think he’s ready.”

• Talked to Jeff Marquez a little bit this afternoon. He was diagnosed with a very slight strain near his rotator cuff. He’s scheduled to start throwing in three days, and he’s not sure whether he’ll do that here or in Tampa.

• No change among the leaders in today’s latest American League all-star voting update. Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin are still leading at their positions, and Curtis Granderson is comfortably in second place among outfielders.

Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel DH
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 180 Comments →

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