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


Archive for August, 2011

Bernie Williams being inducted into Latino Baseball Hall08.29.11

This press release is from Major League Baseball.

Five-time All-Star Bernie Williams will be among the six inductees who will be announced when the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame unveils its 2012 inductee class at Major League Baseball’s headquarters in New York City on Thursday, September 1st at 11:00 a.m. (ET). Williams is scheduled to be in attendance, along with Latino Baseball Hall of Famers Felipe Alou, Minnie Minoso and Tony Perez, who will be on hand to participate in the announcement of the new class. Omar Minaya, the former general manager of the New York Mets and Montreal Expos, will serve as the emcee of the press conference.

Six players whose careers impacted baseball after 1959 will represent the newest Latino Baseball Hall of Famers, chosen from a pool of 24 finalists. Williams will represent his native Puerto Rico, while his five fellow inductees will hail from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Panama. Additional selections will include veteran players and baseball executives whose contributions to baseball were made prior to 1959.

Williams, a member of four World Championship teams with the New York Yankees, played 16 years for the Bronx Bombers, from 1991-2006. The switch-hitter posted a .287 career batting average with 287 home runs, 1,257 RBI and 1,366 runs scored. Williams was an American League All-Star each season from 1997-2001 and the center fielder was a four-time Gold Glove winner (1997-2000). The Most Valuable Player of the 1996 American League Championship Series collected 22 home runs, 80 RBI and a .371 on-base percentage in 121 career Postseason games overall. Williams was the 1998 American League batting champion with a .339 average.

The accomplished musician is recording his third album this year and has co-authored a book, published by Hal Leonard Books, titled, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance. His first album, The Journey Within, was released in 2003 and featured fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ heritage. His second album, Moving Forward, featured guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Secada.

The 2012 class of Latino Hall of Famers will be officially inducted on February 11, 2012 in a ceremony at the Altos de Chavón amphitheater located in the Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Established in 2009, the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame (Salón de la Fama del Béisbol Latino) has hosted two previous induction ceremonies, honoring 38 players and personalities whose achievements have impacted baseball in Latin America. Drawings for the museum of the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame have been completed and construction in La Romana is scheduled to start in the near future.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 23 Comments →

Granderson: “That’s it. Unless it rains again.”08.29.11

Choosing a makeup date for Saturday’s inevitable rainout became something of a soap opera here in Baltimore. The Yankees didn’t want to lose their September 8 off day, and they seemed prepared to fight the decision, but the two sides came to an agreement after the Orioles agreed to make it an afternoon game, leaving the Yankees an evening flight to the West Coast.

“That’s it,” Curtis Granderson said. “Unless it rains again.”

Essentially, Granderson said, the Yankees explored every option and decided there was no better alternative out there.

“After speaking to the union,” Granderson said, “with the process of how it was all going to go down, the understanding after speaking to them between games was, considering there were common off days left, it had to be scheduled on at least one of those games. The option of scheduling at the end of the season, which was our third and very slim chance, was out of the question because we did share common off days.

“So, with that being understood, the best option remaining at that point was the 8th that had been announced. Then it was a matter of getting the time changed. That’s where the Orioles, I think, stepped up and said, ‘We’re going to make this a day game.’ With all that being said, they worked with us on that, and we’re appreciative that given all the opportunities, it’s the best-case scenario for both teams, and we’ve got to play it.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 215 Comments →

Nova: “I just found a way to help myself”08.29.11

In the early innings last night, Ivan Nova just didn’t have it.

The Orioles were making consistent contact, and it was hard contact. They scored a run in the first inning, scored a run in the second, scored again in the third, and they had another runner on base in the fourth before a double play.

Then it changed. Suddenly Nova was rolling, and he didn’t allow another hit until the eighth inning.

“The first four innings, I wasn’t feeling like my arm speed was there,” Nova said. “After that I watched my video. I said, ‘Oh, you’re doing this with your arm.’ I think that was a good adjustment that I made.”

Turns out, Nova hadn’t played catch catch on that rainy Thursday in New York, and he hadn’t played catch during Saturday’s hurricane in Baltimore. Two days without throwing, he said, disrupted his arm angle, and it took him a while to find it.

His ability to make that adjustment — surely a sign of a young pitcher growing into this level — saved yesterday’s doubleheader and gave the Yankees a chance to get out of here with a four-game split.

“My arm feels good and my body feels good, but you know that something is not right,” Nova said. “I wanted to go fastball away, and it was coming to the middle. Something was happening. So, for me, I just found a way to help myself, and I think that’s what I did.”

Here’s Nova.

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Associated Press photo

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Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Podcastwith 313 Comments →

Postgame notes: “It’s just one of those freak things”08.29.11

Curtis Granderson still doesn’t think he’s a home run hitter. Not even with the most homers in the Majors. Not even after two home runs tonight. Not even after the crowd at Camden Yards chanted MVP as he disappeared into the dugout.

“It’s one of those freak things,” Granderson said. “I was thinking, the home run guys do it, and they hit mammoth shots. Mine, as long as they just get over the fence, that’s great. Doesn’t matter how far they happen to go. I’m still not in that Alex category or Big Papi or Adrian Gonzalez category. (Those players) just do it at will. At least, I think they can. I look at those guys and it’s one of the things I always think about when they come to the plate, like this is one of the guys that could hit a home run on this pitch. I don’t feel that way about myself.”

Granderson made this argument: He hit a home run in his second at-bat, then looked bad on a strikeout, then hit another home run. His argument was that a real home run hitter wouldn’t have those sort of ups and downs. Someone countered with the argument that he’d just described exactly what home run hitters do.

“But I don’t how to do that,” he said. “It just happens. Some guys know how to do it. I remember guys talking like, this is what I did in order to do that. My thing is, I got beat, I’ve got to change something up here.”

Here’s his other I’m-not-a-home-run-hitter argument:

“When I go up to bat, guys are still playing me to bunt,” he said. “And I’m still looking at, can I bunt in certain situations? And they’re not giving it to me. It’s not like the infield is completely like, this guy is going to come up and swing the bat. It’s not like the guys in the outfield are pushing back, unless it’s a no-doubles situation. I see that with other guys.”

Fine. He’s not strictly a home run hitter. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a dangerous home run hitter. In fact, it might mean he’s the most valuable player in the American League.

Here’s Granderson.

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• Now that the Orioles have announced a 1:05 first-pitch, the Yankees have decided to stop fighting the decision to play a makeup game on September 8. “Given all the opportunities, it’s the best-case scenario for both teams,” Granderson said. “And we’ve got to play it.”

• Girardi on Alex Rodriguez’s left thumb: “It’s been bothering him since (last week), but today it got pretty sore on him. A lot more sore than it’s necessarily been the last few days. It’s just something we gotta get right.”

• Girardi on Derek Jeter’s right knee: “He came in after the game and he iced, then he got really, really sore to the point where they X-rayed it and the X-rays came back negative. He’s gimping around pretty good. After the game, once the adrenaline was gone, it got really sore. I don’t know if we’ll have him tomorrow, but he’s day to day.”

• Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones hit three straight home runs in the sixth inning. The last time the Yankees hit homers in three straight at-bats was May 20, 2009. That was also against Baltimore, and it also involved Swisher and Cano. Melky Cabrera hit the third homer that day.

• The Yankees matched a season-high with five home runs in the game.

• Granderson leads the Majors with 15 home runs off left-handed pitchers. Tonight he passed Cano for the most RBI against lefties with 38. And, yes, both Granderson and Cano are left-handed hitters. So much for platoon splits.

• Ivan Nova is now 10-0 with a 3.52 ERA in his past 11 starts. His 14 wins are the most among all Major League rookies, and he’s now tied Johnny Allen for the third-longest winning streak of all time by a Yankees rookie. Allen did it in 1932.

• According to Elias, Nova became the first Yankees rookie to win seven straight starts since Vic Raschi won seven straight spanning the 1946 and 1947 seasons, both as a rookie. Nova also became the first Yankees rookie to win at least 10 straight decisions in a single season since Atley Donald won 12 straight in 1939.

• Nova on leading Major League rookies in wins: “It’s good, but I don’t pay too much attention to the individual goals. I’m a part of this team and we need to win games. That’s all that matters.”

• It was clear that Nova got better as the game went on. Nova said his arm didn’t feel quite right in the early innings. “He just started making better pitches today,” Girardi said. “He got ahead of some guys and just wasn’t able to put them away early on. All of a sudden his slider got better, his location got better and he started putting people away.”

• I don’t even know what to right about Dave Robertson at this point. He said after the game that he’s able to get out of those bases-loaded situations because, “I can’t stand to lose.” He said it’s really that simple. “When the bases are loaded, I’m digging in deep, trying to give everything I can,” he said.

• Granderson said he notices the MVP chants when he’s on the field. “I hear them,” he said. “But I don’t really pay much attention to them. It’s just one of the things a lot of people talk about. Then right behind it, you’ve got the ‘you suck’ chants.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 364 Comments →

Jeter and A-Rod uncertain for tomorrow08.28.11

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are day-to-day, and Joe Girardi isn’t sure he’ll have either one for tomorrow’s series finale.

Rodriguez’s sore thumb was worse than usual after today’s first game, and that kept him from playing the second. Jeter’s right knee became so sore in between games, that he was sent for x-rays. Those ultimately came back negative.

“We iced it in between games and then afterward, it swelled up,” Jeter said. “It became a challenge. You guys asked between games, and when I told you I was fine, I really was fine. It was really bizarre to be honest with you.”

Jeter was hit by a pitch at the top of the right knee cap, and he hobbled around the plate for a while, but he ultimately finished the first game. When he talked to the media between games, he didn’t even have it iced and quickly dismissed questions about whether he would be able to play. He was in the lineup until becoming a late scratch.

“I don’t know if we’ll have either one of them tomorrow,” Girardi said.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 17 Comments →

Home runs carry Yankees in nightcap08.28.11

Curtis Granderson’s case for the MVP got even stronger tonight. The Yankees center fielder homered twice in an 8-3 Yankees win in the second game of a Baltimore doubleheader. Granderson now leads the Majors in home runs, runs and RBI. In between his two home runs, the Yankees hit three straight homers in the sixth inning. Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones went back-to-back-to-back, the first time the Yankees hit three in a row since 2009. Ivan Nova picked up his 14th win. He’s won seven straight starts, including every start since his return from Triple-A.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 43 Comments →

Game 131: Yankees at Orioles08.28.11

YANKEES (78-52)
Brett Gardner LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Russell Martin C
Eric Chavez 3B
Eduardo Nunez 3B

RHP Ivan Nova (13-4, 3.97)
Nova vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (53-77)
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Adams 2B
Nolan Reimold LF
Robert Andino 3B
Craig Tatum C

LHP Brian Matusz (1-6, 8.92)
Matusz vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:35 p.m., YES Network
* Like the day game, tonight’s radio broadcast will be on WFAN

WEATHER: Got through the first game with no problem, and the day just keeps getting nicer.

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

STILL SUPER: Ivan Nova is going for his 14th win. It would move him into a tie with Ron Davis and Doc Medich for the most wins by a Yankees rookie since 1950. Davis won 14 out of the bullpen.

ONE AWAY: Derek Jeter is one hit away from tying Craig Biggio for 20th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. He has 3,059… Alex Rodriguez isn’t in the lineup this game, but he’s two runs away from trying Carl Yastzremski for 15th place on baseball’s all-time runs scored list.

ON THIS DATE: On August 28, 1977 Ron Guidry had his third shutout of the season in a 1-0 Yankees win against Texas. He faced just one batter over the minimum and the Yankees won on Graig Nettles RBI triple, scoring Reggie Jackson.

UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: It was just announced that Jeter has been scratched from the lineup. Gardner is leading off, Nunez is at short and Eric Chavez is playing third.

UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: So Jeter is out with a right knee contusion, and the Orioles have a 1-0 lead after a double, wild pitch and sac fly. Not exactly the start the Yankees were hoping for.

UPDATE, 8:06 p.m.: Two more hits and another Orioles run to start the bottom of the second. It’s already 2-0.

UPDATE, 8:13 p.m.: The Yankees got a little bit of their way in this makeup game situation. The Orioles have announced that the September 8 makeup game will be a 1:05 start instead of 7:05 as previously expected.

UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: Three-run homer for Granderson, followed by “MVP” chants from the Yankees fans in attendance.

UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: The Orioles are still hitting Nova pretty hard. A double and a deep sac fly have tied the game at 3 in the third inning. The Orioles have scored once an inning.

UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: Back-to-back homers by Cano and Swisher have the Yankees back in front. Cano’s was a two-run shot — a line drive right over the wall in left — and it’s now a 6-3 Yankees lead in the sixth.

UPDATE, 9:21 p.m.: Make that three straight as Andruw Jones goes deep for a 7-3 Yankees lead.

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: Granderson now leads the Majors with 38 homers after a solo shot in the seventh. It’s an 8-3 Yankees lead.

UPDATE, 10:01 p.m.: Huge ovation for Nova, who really settled in after a rocky first two innings. Here comes Robertson with two on and no outs in the eighth.

UPDATE, 10:13 p.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Robertson. Unreal. Struck out three straight to leave the bases loaded, again. And honestly, was there ever any doubt?

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 308 Comments →

A-Rod sits out second game08.28.11

YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Brett Gardner LF

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

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 125 Comments →

Between-game notes: “I really don’t feel tired”08.28.11

Obviously winning is the most important thing, and the Yankees didn’t do that this afternoon, but they did come away encouraged by Bartolo Colon. No big-picture issue is more pressing heading into the final month of the season, and Colon eased some concerns with a vintage start.

“It’s real encouraging for us,” Joe Girardi said. “He had struggled a little bit and hadn’t been as sharp. I thought he was real sharp today. Maybe the extra rest helped him recharge a little bit and got him going.”

Larry Rothschild had talked to Colon about trusting his two-seamer, and that pitch was a weapon again tonight (of course, Colon it was a backdoor two-seamer that Vladimir Guerrero hit for an RBI single that put the Orioles on the board). Big picture, Colon eased some concerns about his workload and his ability to maintain velocity and effectiveness this late in the season.

“I really don’t feel tired,” Colon said. “Every time I pitch, I won’t pitch the same. Sometimes I’m going to get hit, and some days I’m going to pitch the way I pitched today.”

Here’s Colon, with Roman Rodriguez translating.

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• Girardi made it clear that he plans to cut to a five-man rotation after the upcoming Boston series. Colon made it clear that he feels ready to remain a starter down the stretch. “I’m a little bit older now, but that’s the way I always pitched, every five days,” he said. “I feel better that way.”

• Derek Jeter fouled a ball off his right leg just above the knee. No surprise, he said it was a non-issue. Didn’t even have it wrapped… Nick Swisher seemed bothered after a play in the outfield, but he also said it was no big deal. “Just rolled around a little out there,” he said… Francisco Cervelli had his left leg wrapped after taking a foul ball while catching. He said he’s fine. “Just a bruise,” he said.

• Zach Britton was a mess the last time he faced the Yankees. This time he pitched seven scoreless with just four hits and one walk. “We expect a lot out of this lineup,” Swisher said. “And when something like that happens to us, we take that to heart. I’m really excited to see how we bounce back today.

• When Girardi went to the mound for the first time in the eighth inning, it was strictly to discuss strategy and what the Orioles might do. He had no thoughts of taking Colon out at that point.

• Girardi said no one did anything wrong on the hit by Jeter that turned into a fielder’s choice when Cervelli was thrown out at second. Cervelli had to wait to decide whether the right fielder would catch it, and was stuck in no-man’s land. “It’s just a tough play that you see once in a while,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing Cervy can do there.”

•  Curtis Granderson said he simply didn’t get there in time on the bloop single that feel kind of between him and Robinson Cano. He didn’t think Cano ever had a real shot at the ball either.

• Cano struck out twice today, only the 13th time he’s done that this season. He hasn’t struck out three times in a game this year.

• Cano’s team-leading 17-game hitting streak came to an end.

• This was Colon’s first loss in a day game this season. He is now 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA in day games. “I have no idea (why),” he said. “I never pay attention to that.”

• Girardi said he still wasn’t sure who would start the second game. He needed to check with all of his guys. Not sure when we’ll get a lineup.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 224 Comments →

Yankees bats can’t back Colon in opener08.28.11

The Yankees got a bounce-back start from Bartolo Colon, but they got nothing from their lineup in a 2-0 loss to the Orioles in today’s doubleheader opener. Colon was one out away from a complete game, allowing two runs on seven hits through 7.2 innings. He allowed one run in the seventh and another in the eighth. The Yankees, meanwhile, were held scoreless throughout, collecting just five hits, all of them singles. Alex Rodriguez’s double play ball ended it.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 81 Comments →

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