The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for August, 2011

Jeter returns to short, Gardner to leadoff08.30.11

Heard from my old friend Mike Ashmore on the way to the park this afternoon. Ramiro Pena is rehabbing with Double-A Trenton, playing shortstop and leading off. Should be his first real game since having his appendix removed. Seems like a strong and obvious candidate to be added to the big league roster on Thursday.

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Jorge Posada DH
Francisco Cervelli C

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 99 Comments →

Pitching matchups in Boston08.30.11

Tonight
LHP CC Sabathia (17-7, 2.99)
vs.
RHP John Lackey (12-9, 5.98)
7:10 p.m. MY9 / MLB Network

Wednesday
RHP Phil Hughes (4-4, 6.46)
vs.
RHP Josh Beckett (11-5, 2.43)
7:10 p.m. YES Network / ESPN

Thursday
RHP A.J. Burnett (9-1, 5.31)
vs.
LHP Jon Lester (14-6, 3.09)
7:10 p.m. YES Network / MLB Network

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 272 Comments →

Jorge Vazquez named to postseason all-star team08.30.11

Just got to my hotel in Boston and saw this quick minor league note.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees slugger Jorge Vazquez was named the designated hitter for the International League’s postseason all-star team. He’s leading the league with 30 homers, and he’s third with 88 RBI. He’s certainly done enough to earn a September call-up, but I’m not sure he’ll get one with Brandon Laird already on the 40-man and able to help at all four corners.

Vazquez was the only Triple-A Yankee to make the postseason all-star team. There were two notable omissions.

Jesus Montero
Catcher
The Yankees top hitting prospect is now batting .290/.350/.471 with 18 home runs, 19 doubles and 67 RBI. Honestly, he probably didn’t deserve the all-star spot. Reds minor leaguer Devin Mesoraco was named the IL’s top catcher, and he’s hitting .289/.372/.486 with 15 home runs, 36 doubles and 71 RBI. It’s close, but Mesoraco probably deserves the nod, especially considering most votes probably came before Montero got red hot last week.

Kevin Whelan
Closer
He was hurt for a while, but Whelan still made a pretty convincing case as the league’s top reliever. His 23 saves rank second, and his 0.91 WHIP is the lowest of any closer. In 49.1 innings he struck out 49 and walked only 12. The league’s Reliever of the Year is Tim Wood from Indianapolis. He also has 23 saves, but he has a higher WHIP, fewer strikeouts and a much higher ERA. Whelan still has a spot on the 40-man, so he could be a strong September call-up candidate.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 72 Comments →

Swisher having a blast heading into Fenway08.30.11

Joe Girardi said he quite literally can’t imagine what it must be like to be Nick Swisher these days. Of Swisher’s past eight hits, six have been home runs.

“That’s like three years for me,” Girardi said. “I have no idea. He’s swinging the bat great.”

Remember early in the season when Swisher was begging for a homer and couldn’t get one? He hit one home run in the month of April, and he had just two homers through his first 46 games. Since May 29, he’s gone deep 19 times. He has six homers in his past seven games.

“I have no idea, man,” he said. “I’m just trying to go out there and have a blast. I’m putting in a lot of work, me and K-Long have been in the cage a lot. Once you get that groove, you want to continue to keep it. That’s all I’m really trying to do right now.”

Last night, it was Swisher who delivered the crucial blow with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. The Yankees are going into a three-game showdown with Boston, and it seems they’ll once again be without Alex Rodriguez. Derek Jeter is expected back from a bruised knee, but he’s missed back-to-back games.

“We do have some guys out, there’s no doubt about that,” Swisher said. “Obviously when you’re in a situation, you want to be the guy to try and step up. Everyone in the lineup is stepping their game up a little bit. I always go back to that word tenacity, but to come in here and lose those first two games, and the way we bounced back to win those last two, that’s just great baseball. Especially heading into a huge series this week.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 176 Comments →

Postgame notes: “I have to be happy”08.29.11

When Freddy Garcia agreed to a minor league deal this winter, the expectation was that he would eventually fall apart. Sure, he’d won some games with Chicago last year, but he was clearly beyond his prime, and clearly a signing based more on heavy desperation than high expectation.

But here we are, about to flip the calendar to September, and Garcia just keeps getting it done. It’s not flashy — he really is a different pitcher than he used to be — but it’s effective. He hadn’t pitched in a big league game since August 7, but there were no signs of rust. He gave up two hits through six innings and picked up his 11th win.

“That’s as good as it gets,” Joe Girardi said. “He hung one slider to Mark Reynolds and gave us six great innings. I would have signed up for that if someone had asked me what we’d get from him tonight. He was excellent tonight. He knows how to pitch.”

The tendency is to be … what’s the word? Shocked? Surprised? Impressed?

Garcia seems … indifferent. He shrugs off the extra rest without any rust. He shrugs off being 11-7 with a 3.09 ERA. He laughs at the notion that he should have any sort of reaction to keeping his spot in the rotation.

“Of course, I have to be happy,” he said. “I wasn’t pitching for almost three weeks, something like that, but I’m glad to do my job and get a win. We need it… I just try to do my job. Go there and do the best I can. When I pitch bad, I pitch bad. I know most guys, excuse. Go out there and perform. If I pitch good, I pitch good. If I pitch bad, I pitch bad. Nothing I can do. Always, if I’ve got a bad start, I have to put away the bad and think about my next one. I’ve got to be really positive about it.”

The Yankees are planning to cut their rotation from six to five at the end of this week. Joe Girardi has committed to no one being locked into a spot, but he did it tonight.

Will Garcia start again in five days?

“Oh yeah,” Girardi said.

Here’s Garcia.

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• Nick Swisher has become a beast. His two-run home run tonight was his sixth homer in seven games. He’s up to 21 for the season. “Once you get that groove, you want to continue to keep it,” he said. “That’s all I’m really trying to do right now.”

• Mark Teixeira’s RBI double in the first inning gave him 100 RBI for the season. He now has 30 homers and 100 RBI in eight straight seasons. He’s the only Major Leaguer to have done that in the past eight years. “He’s just a model of consistency,” Girardi said. “You know when the season starts that you’re going to get 30 and 100 from Tex. That’s great as a manager and as an organization to be able to pencil that in.”

• Curtis Granderson keeps scoring runs. Tonight he scored from first on Teixeira’s double, giving him 122 runs for the season. That matches a career-high for Granderson. He still leads baseball in the category, by a lot.

• Derek Jeter said his sore right knee feels considerably better than it did at this time last night. He expects to play tomorrow. “I hope so,” he said. “That’s the plan, but I haven’t done anything. We’ll see when we get there tomorrow.”

• Jeter said he believes he’ll be able to play shortstop. If he’s healthy enough to play, he’s healthy enough to play the field. He had his knee heavily wrapped yesterday, only moderately today.

• It wasn’t a perfect three innings for the Soriano-Robertson-Rivera trio, but it was good enough. Dave Robertson gave up his first home run of the season — snapping a streak of 68.2 innings without a homer — but those three still kept the slim lead intact. Rafael Soriano had an especially dominant inning. “Velocity was great, location was great,” Girardi said. “He’s a big part of this for us.”

• Speaking of homerless streaks ending: The home run Garcia allowed was his first after 69 innings without one.

• The J.J. Hardy home run off Robertson was also the first run Robertson had allowed on the road this year.

• The Orioles had not allowed a stolen base in seven games, but Brett Gardner stole one in the fifth inning. Gardner is up to 38 steals for the season.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 86 Comments →

Freddy returns to win series finale08.29.11


The Yankees are going to Boston short-handed, but they’re going with some momentum after Freddy Garcia pitched them to a 3-2 win tonight in Baltimore. The Yankees salvaged a series split and have now won two straight heading into this week’s Red Sox series. Garcia made his first big league start since August 7 and gave up one run and two hits through six strong innings. Nick Swisher hit a two-run home run, and Curtis Granderson scored on a first-inning double to give the Yankees pitching staff all the support it needed. Despite a solo homer off Dave Robertson, the Yankees usual late-inning trio kept the lead intact and locked up the win.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 303 Comments →

Game 132: Yankees at Orioles08.29.11

YANKEES (79-52)
Brett Gardner LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS

RHP Freddy Garcia (10-7, 3.16)
Garcia vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (53-78)
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Adams 2B
Nolan Reimold LF
Robert Andino 3B

RHP Alfredo Simon (4-6, 4.30)
Simon vs. Yankees

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

WEATHER: Little bit cloudy, but we’ve seen worse this series. It actually feels really nice outside. Not too hot.

UMPIRES: HP Vic Carapazza, 1B Laz Diaz, 2B John Hirschbeck, 3B Wally Bell

SWINGIN’ SWISH: Last night, Nick Swisher hit his 20th home run. He’s now reached 20 homers in seven straight seasons, making him one of just three American League players to do so. David Ortiz and Paul Konerko are the other two.

SCORING IN BUNCHES: Curtis Granderson has the Major League lead with 121 runs this season. That’s 26 more than any other player in baseball, and 45 more than he scored all of last year. With one more run he’ll tie his career high. And it’s not September yet.

GOING DEEP: The Yankees lead the Majors with 186 home runs, and they’ve homered in 11 of their past 12 games. They already have 18 individual multi-homer games — most in the Majors — which is one more than they had all of last year.

UPDATE, 7:26 p.m.: Garcia strands a runner at second in the bottom of the first, and the Yankees have a 1-0 lead heading into the second. They scored on a walk and a double in the top of the inning, with Curtis Granderson going first to home. The guy leads the league in homers, and he can still run.

UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: Swisher is clobbering the ball lately. He just went deep again, another home run to deep right field. It was a two-run shot and it’s now a 3-0 Yankees lead in the fourth.

UPDATE, 8:26 p.m.: Garcia had retired 11 in a row before allowing a solo home run to Mark Reynolds in the fifth. The Yankees still lead it, 3-1. Garcia looks sharp for a guy who’s hardly pitched the past three weeks.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Swisher manages to get in the umpire’s face to argue balls and strikes, yet doesn’t get tossed. He must have worded that argument as nicely has humanly possible.

UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: Garcia is finished after three innings and 88 pitches. Looks like Girardi is going to the Soriano-Robertson-Rivera trio to close out this thing. Garcia was terrific.

UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: That’s the first run Robertson has allowed on the road this year. It’s also the first home run he’s allowed this season.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 303 Comments →

Pregame notes: Short-handed heading to Boston08.29.11


Alex Rodriguez jammed his thumb making a play at third base in Minneapolis. He aggravated the injury swinging a bat here in Baltimore. Although an MRI came back clean, the Yankees aren’t certain they’ll have their third baseman at all this week in Boston.

“I think it’s really questionable,” Joe Girardi said. “But let’s just see.”

Rodriguez saw hand specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, and Girardi said the Yankees just have to make sure the thumb is ready to go. It bothers him more swinging than fielding, and Girardi doesn’t believe it’s the kind of injury that will linger. Once it’s healed, it’s healed.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are heading to Boston for a key three-game series, and their third baseman isn’t the only concern. Derek Jeter seems better, but obviously he’s a little banged up, and he’s spent a ton of time in the trainer’s room this afternoon. The Yankees bullpen is also short-handed with Hector Noesi optioned to Triple-A to make room for Freddy Garcia.

“It is a little bit (of a concern), knowing how some of the games can get up north,” Girardi said. “With Freddy tonight, it is a little bit of a concern. We’re going to have to deal with it.”

• Noesi has been optioned, and so he won’t be available for a call-up on September 1. Demoted players have to stay in the minors for 10 days. In the case of September, a player has to stay in the minors either 10 days or until the end of that particular minor league season. So Noesi won’t be back — barring injury — until September 6.

• Without Noesi, the Yankees are carrying a six-man bullpen, none of whom is a true long man. Girardi said the bullpen is plenty deep enough for tonight, and he’ll adjust if necessary the next few days. Just a guess, but I’d say this basically assures either Lance Pendleton or George Kontos or one of the Triple-A starters getting an immediate September call-up to fill that long-man void.

• Girardi on Derek Jeter: “He was walking around fine today. Walking a lot better than I would have anticipated wnen I saw him walk out last night. He healed up pretty good, so I can use him in case of an emergency.”

• Both Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte have suffered setbacks. They pitched on Thursday, but they felt soreness and have been shutdown. Girardi said it’s still very unlikely that either will pitch in the big leagues this season. If Feliciano ends up having surgery, Girardi acknowledged that it could be career-ending.

• Tonight, Freddy Garcia’s pitch count could be a “a little short” but nothing significant. He’s still pretty stretched out after that one rehab game. “I’m not sure what to expect,” Girardi said. “I feel better that he threw better Monday in Scranton, was able to use all of his pitches and that his finger is healed. But when a guy hasn’t pitched off a mound in a while, you worry a little about control and stamina.”

• Girardi was asked a little bit about September call-ups today, but he wouldn’t give any indication about who they’re planning to promote. He didn’t commit to any specific pitchers or hitters, and didn’t say whether they planned to add a third catcher.

ORIOLES
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Adams 2B
Nolan Reimold LF
Robert Andino 3B

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 55 Comments →

MRI for A-Rod, Jeter available08.29.11

Alex Rodriguez went back to New York for an MRI on his sore left thumb. Joe Girardi said the MRI came back clean and Rodriguez will rejoin the Yankees in Boston. It’s uncertain, though, when he’ll be able to play.

“Just depends on how the thumb responds to the treatment,” Girardi said.

Derek Jeter is available in an emergency, and Girardi said he’s been moving around much more easily than expected. Girardi is hoping to have Jeter in the lineup tomorrow.

Jeter seems more likely to play tomorrow than Rodriguez.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 34 Comments →

No Jeter or A-Rod in lineup08.29.11

Hector Noesi not listed in the bullpen. Looks like he was optioned for Freddy Garcia.

For some reason Mark Teixeira is not listed for batting practice, but he’s in the lineup.

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

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 67 Comments →

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