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


Pregame notes: “You have to find out what they can do”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Sep 12, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Joe Girardi chose today’s starting catcher based on two Double-A games in June. When Phil Hughes was in Trenton for rehab, his catcher was Austin Romine, and so Romine will catch Hughes again tonight in Seattle.

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t start (Jesus) Montero again,” Girardi said. “I just chose to do this because he caught him those times at Double-A… Romine’s been catching longer in his lifetime than Montero, but they’re both works in progress. We’re probably going to see things from them that you may not see in a couple years, just because they’re young catchers. Romine has been considered one of the top defensive catching prospects in baseball, so that’s why I brought him in.”

At this point, the Yankees are looking at Montero and Romine a little differently than expected. Girardi acknowledged today that one of them might have to be the Yankees backup catcher in the postseason.

Today’s MRI on Francisco Cervelli came back negative, but he’s still suffering from concussion symptoms, and the Yankees aren’t sure when they’ll have him back. Russell Martin is expected to be back tomorrow, but his backup is to-be-determined. In some ways, it’s similar to spring training, with Montero and Romine given an opportunity to prove themselves.

“They might be called into duty if we do get to the playoffs,” Girardi said. “You do have to find out what they can do.”

Even before the Cervelli injury, Montero seemed to be opening some eyes with his offense. He was trying to win a roster spot as a designated hitter anyway, now his ability to catch takes on some added importance. That said, the Yankees made it clear on Sunday — when Romine came in as a defensive replacement — that they prefer Romine’s glove behind the plate.

“You think about what we asked them to do yesterday, two really young catchers that had never had a big-league start and neither one had caught in the big-leagues,” Girardi said. “They did a pretty good job.”

• Alex Rodriguez has not swung a bat since being shutdown on Saturday. Girardi said today that Rodriguez might not play against until this weekend’s series in Toronto. “I’m kind of a cage rat over there with Kevin and I can’t even do that,” Rodriguez said. “You sit around patiently (until) it heals up.”

• Nick Swisher is back in the lineup. He said swinging from the left side — like he’ll do tonight against Felix Hernandez — was completely pain-free during a pregame BP session. Swinging from the right side was only slightly painful, more of a slight tug than the sharp pain he was feeling a few days ago. “I just have to stay within myself and not try swing too hard,” he said.

• Swisher’s not ready to play the outfield. He did some throwing pregame and felt fine with shorter throws, but his elbow began bothering him when he stretched it to 120-130 feet. “Just want to make sure we get it all right,” he said. “But first base I think it will be perfectly fine.”

• One last Swisher note: “If I have to get a shot, maybe, to get through this pain toward the end of the season, we’ll go ahead and do that. My biggest thing is I want to be on the field, I want to play, and I’m going to do anything I can to get there.”

• Girardi on Martin: “He’s better. He’s going to come out and throw today and see if he can be an emergency guy for me today, if possible. His thumb is better.”

• Everyone is available in the Yankees bullpen, including Boone Logan.

• Even without Rodriguez in the lineup, the Yankees are sticking with Derek Jeter as the leadoff man, abandoning the use of Brett Gardner in the top spot against right-handers. “Jeet’s been doing a great job, so we’ve just kind stuck with it,” Girardi said.

• Girardi liked the idea of giving Mark Teixeira a half day off. “Unfortunately he got two and a half days off when he got hit in the leg, and I think that kind of rejuvenated him a little bit,” Girardi said. “But this schedule hasn’t done anything for any of our players, so that’s why I chose to DH him today.”

• Girardi on Hughes: “We want some distance from him tonight. He’s going to have to shut them down because of who we’re facing tonight. There’s usually not a lot of runs scored off of Felix, so he’s going to have o be on top of his game.”

• Girardi was asked about calling Romine’s girlfriend on Saturday to finally get in touch with Romine about the call-up. He said the Yankees got the girlfriend’s number from Romine’s agent, and she was apparently very polite when caught off guard by the Yankees manager suddenly calling her cell phone. “She asked me how I was,” Girardi said.

MARINERS
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Kyle Seager 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Mike Carp DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Trayvon Robinson LF
Brendan Ryan SS
Michael Saunders CF

Associated Press photos

 
 

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25 Responses to “Pregame notes: “You have to find out what they can do””

  1. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    4 NYY September 12th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Montero, I hope, will hit like a madman, but remember he’s never hit more than 21 HR’s

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

    I’m not worried about Montero’s lack of HR power in the minor leagues. I believe catcher is the most exhausting position in the sport. It seems like back-breaking head-throbbing work. The wear and tear is just absurd. The amount of time spent with gameplanning and practice at the position extorts a tremendous amount of energy that might be better spent on offense. If Jesus Montero is made to be a DH and he can have full-rest and all the time in the world to focus on his hitting, he will shatter his single season HR totals from his time in AAA.

  2. JimK September 12th, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Why don’t we wait for the results before going over the edge?

  3. 4 NYY September 12th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    1. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    4 NYY September 12th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Montero, I hope, will hit like a madman, but remember he’s never hit more than 21 HR’s

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

    I’m not worried about Montero’s lack of HR power in the minor leagues. I believe catcher is the most exhausting position in the sport. It seems like back-breaking head-throbbing work. The wear and tear is just absurd. The amount of time spent with gameplanning and practice at the position extorts a tremendous amount of energy that might be better spent on offense. If Jesus Montero is made to be a DH and he can have full-rest and all the time in the world to focus on his hitting, he will shatter his single season HR totals from his time in AAA.
    ============================================

    Just meant to not over expect so soon. As I said, he could be one of those that does better in ML than minors.

  4. Jerkface September 12th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    jesus is not better now and certainly not better 2 years ago than major league catchers as you foolishly posted.

    Brian Cashman and the Yankees head of scouting said this, not me. I think they know more about catching than you do.

  5. LGY September 12th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    21 HRs is a lot in the minors dude. Especially for one of the youngest players in the league and when you look at the ballparks he played in.

    You can’t just look at mL numbers in the way you are.

  6. LGY September 12th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Posada is not an option as the BUC in the playoffs?

  7. JimK September 12th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Also remember Hughes is pitching and he is not inspired much confidence lately. In his last 6 starts he has failed to go more than 3 innings on two occasions and in one additional start he gave up 6 runs to Boston in less than 6 innings.
    Prediction, Hughes is history.

  8. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Instances where it may appear Girardi is leaning towards defense-first and run prevention at the catcher position is not just Girardi. It’s convenient to blame him because fans (people in general) can’t think past a common enemy. Girardi-this. Girardi-that.

    Many of these decisions that are making fans complain about Montero or Romine, they are collaborative, involving everyone from Yankees scouts, Brian Cashman, Pena etc. in addition to Girardi – the whole nine yards.

    So you’re not just disagreeing with Girardi’s tactics.

    You are standing in opposition to an organizational approach.

  9. Tyler September 12th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    LGY September 12th, 2011 at 9:07 pm
    21 HRs is a lot in the minors dude. Especially for one of the youngest players in the league and when you look at the ballparks he played in.

    You can’t just look at mL numbers in the way you are.
    ————————————–

    Exactly. Montero was always facing pitchers who were older and more experienced. Plus, the Yankees minor league parks are not exactly paradise for hitters. I believe that Montero had a few +900 OPS seasons down on the farm which is more than enough for me. Very few guys hit 30 + homers down there and the ones that do are sometimes AAAA players like Jorge Vazquez and Shelley Duncan.

  10. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    4 NYY,

    I don’t doubt Montero could be Albert Pujols – but not if he has to devote so many hours, days, weeks, months, years to the catching craft.

    How many fans would jump at the chance to have Albert Pujols at DH for league minimum?

  11. JimK September 12th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    4 NYY,

    I don’t doubt Montero could be Albert Pujols – but not if he has to devote so many hours, days, weeks, months, years to the catching craft.

    How many fans would jump at the chance to have Albert Pujols at DH for league minimum?

    Based on less than 20 plus A/b’s ; don’ts you think that’s ac stretch this early in his early career/

  12. JimK September 12th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Too small a sample

  13. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    My point is that if you ever hope for that kind of comp, your best chance of realizing it is if he DH’s rather than catches.

    I’ll say it again.

    Any day of the week I’d take a healthy Ortiz at DH over a broken down Joe Mauer.

  14. EA September 12th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Bret,

    As long as Cash/Girardi/Pena are running the show, I don’t think you have to worry about Montero being a full-time C here.

  15. 4 train September 12th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    yo brett the hitman dude. you comparing the montero kid to one of the great hitters ever in albert p. you must be hanging tight with jerkface and the lgy dudes. crazy stuff man

  16. randy l. September 12th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    if the yankees brain trust is so smart how did they get in the position of having to have two rookies make their mlb catching debut in the same game that mattered?

    some of you give them way too much credit.

  17. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    How many teams in the game could absorb the loss of their starting and backup catcher in the same week without dipping into the minor leagues and calling up guys without spring training experience, let alone major league experience in games that count?

    The Yankees are as prepared as they or any other team in the game could possibly be.

  18. Bret The Hitman September 12th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    4 train,

    Just because I said I don’t doubt Montero could be Pujols, doesn’t mean I believe 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s going to happen. I was just illustrating a point that Montero’s projections change when you free him from the rigors of catching and let him focus exclusively on hitting. I don’t think Montero DH’ing is such a horrible fate for him or the team. Would I rather have a #2 pitcher rather than Montero at DH? Of course.

  19. Frozen Rope September 12th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    manny ramirez arrested in florida. lol

  20. randy l. September 12th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    “The Yankees are as prepared as they or any other team in the game could possibly be.”

    au contraire

    i called it days before that the yankees needed to be working montero into the cacthing rotation in case they needed him.

    i can understand that one rookie had to catch in an emergency game, but two?

    come on, the yankees simply didn’t plan ahead.

  21. LGY September 12th, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Martin is pretty fragile for a guy known for his toughness.

    One of the primary reasons people wanted Jesus up earlier was as insurance to a Martin injury and to help limit those injuries.

    It’s not exactly surprising Martin is injured again.

  22. RhapsodyInBlue September 12th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    manny ramirez arrested in florida

    Female fertility drug rage.

  23. LGY September 12th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    It’s also why Po should have been kept in the catching mix.

    Can you imagine Austin Romine entering a playoff game? I certainly can’t and would feel much more comfortable with Posada back there.

  24. Yogi Mantle September 12th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Randy, while I agree that there should have been more of a contingency plan, especially once Cervelli got rocked by the fightin’ Showalters, it isn’t likely most clubs would be thinking that they would lose both their starting catcher and the backup. Heck, most clubs wouldn’t have much of a back up to that.

    I think they should have been using Montero behind the dish once he came up in some kind of role. Be it late innings for a relief pitcher or to start a game with Martin or Cervelli coming in later. Trouble is, with the division race being so tight it isn’t easy to do. The pitchers the Yankees have will have enough troubles getting through games on a given night, making a veteran catcher more important.

    I agree that Montero should have been brought up earlier, but chances are he would have sat the pine more.

    If the Yankees were out of the race, I think it would be a different way of handling things. It will be interesting to see how they go forward.

  25. randy l. September 12th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    it’s clear that the yankees plan was to have no injuries to martin and cervelli.

    they are lucky both got injured with time left in the season which forced them to get real with their post season catching planning.

    im not sure they would have ever had montero catch, and they certainly wouldn’t have had romine cacth.


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