The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for March, 2012

Maxwell gets another start in RF03.30.12

Nick Swisher played five innings in the outfield at the minor league complex today. He said he no longer feels any soreness in his groin. Todays big league lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones DH
Justin Maxwell RF
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Michael Pineda

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 391 Comments →

Travel rosters open questions03.30.12

No lineup posted just yet, but the Yankees have posted their travel rosters for the next four games.

Phil Hughes is not listed for Saturdays game. Originally he was lined up to start that game. Based on which pitchers are making that trip, Id guess Adam Warren is getting that start.

The Yankees are basically bringing their expected big league pitching staff to Miami, including both Cesar Cabral and Clay Rapada. George Kontos is making that trip. Warren, D.J. Mitchell and David Phelps are not.

On Tuesday, Ivan Nova is the only starting pitcher scheduled to make that trip against the Mets. That would seem to line him up as the Yankees No. 3 starter.

Also, the Yankees have outrightrd Craig Tatum to Triple-A, meaning their new catcher has cleared waivers.

Russell Branyon has also been released from his original minor league contract and signed to a new one. That must have been done for financial reasons.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 7 Comments →

Early minor league assignments in place03.30.12

It seems the Yankees have made most of their early minor league assignments. Josh Norris has the lists for each level, with the Triple-A roster obviously very light because of all the guys still in big league camp.

The minor league season opens early this year, and while some of these rosters will change slightly — a few guys will go on the DL to trip the roster size — these seem to be pretty good indications of where guys are opening the season. Just scrolling through it pretty quickly, there are no huge surprises that jump out at me.

If you’re into the minor league system, check Josh’s blog to see where these guys are heading.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 151 Comments →

Pineda ready to take his next spring turn03.30.12

“We’re still gathering. We’re in the information gathering business.”

Those are Joe Girardi’s words. Of course he was talking about the Yankees rotation competition, and he was speaking one day before Michael Pineda’s final spring start before the decision is made. A month and a half ago, it seemed the longest of long shots that Pineda might not make the big league roster (much less the rotation), but now the Yankees are leaving open the possibility of sending Pineda to Triple-A.

“We want to see how he’s doing, just like anyone else,” Girardi said. “I’ve looked at his starts and they’ve been pretty decent. I’ll look at his next start, what I think. We’ll sit around a room and try to hash it out the best we can.”

Pineda’s velocity is down this spring, but his offspeed pitches seem to be better than the Yankees were expecting. Ultimately, the results have been good. Knowing what to expect from Pineda, though, is a little difficult because he’s new. He doesn’t have the instant familiarity of Ivan Nova, or the track record of Freddy Garcia. The Yankees are learning as they go, adding this spring’s information to what they’ve already learned from a distance.

Tonight might be their last chance to gather information before they make a rotation decision.

“Does it hurt (that he’s new)?” Girardi said. “No, because I’ve watched plenty of his tapes to see what he’s capable of doing. He’s added a pitch really since last year for me. That’s a difference. … I want to see how sharp he is, and to get some distance out of him (tonight). These guys have been going up to about 95 pitches. We want to get some distance.”

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: Martin impressed with Nova’s outing03.29.12

Nothing especially impressive about Ivan Nova’s pitching line this afternoon. Facing Triple-A hitters, Nova allowed three runs through 7.1 innings. He struck out five and walked one. All three runs came near the end of the outing, long after the media — and manager Joe Girardi — had left for the big league stadium.

So what to make of such an outing?

“Today was a good day for him,” Russell Martin said. “There was one homer hit, but it was a fly ball that was kind of wind-aided. It ended up barely scraping over the fence, but besides that, his pitches were there. That’s what I wanted to see from him. He hadn’t put it all together (this spring). He’d have three out of four pitches, but he hadn’t had four yet in a game. Today was one of those games where he had everything.”

Nova’s had kind of a strange spring, and it looks like today’s game was part of the trend. There have been stretches — several innings at a time — when he’s been outstanding, but it seems each game includes an inning or two when he’s been knocked around. On the whole, he’s been better than his 6.86 ERA suggests, and Martin’s words suggest today’s start was better than three runs against minor leaguers would suggest.

“I think you have to look at everything (this spring),” Girardi said. “But you also have to look at his body of work last year too. You can get caught up on judging people in spring training, and sometimes that judgment is not always true to what you see in the regular season, so I think you have to look at what he did last season as well.”

A focus on last season certainly works in Nova’s favor.

“Before the game today, I told him I wanted to see his focus,” Martin said. “Just sharpen up the focus a little bit. … He’s been progressing. He’s been getting more and more consistent as we go along. I think he’s going to have a great year; that’s my personal opinion. He went above expectations last year with what he did, so he’s got maybe a little bit more pressure on him to try to do that again. If he keeps the same attitude, that’s what I recognized from him last year the most – his intensity on the mound. He’s a guy that wants the ball and never backs down. He wants to stay out there that extra inning. That’s what I want to see from Nova.”

• Change of plans for D.J. Mitchell. After he pitched tonight, Mitchell went to the bullpen to get his pitch count up to 75. He will no longer pitch again on Saturday. Girardi said the decision was made during the game when the Yankees decided they’d rather let Mitchell get stretched out than test him on short rest. Girardi said it changes nothing about Mitchell’s chances of making the big league roster. “Not a bit,” Girardi said. “Because if (Mitchell, Phelps or Warren) were to go with us, it would be more of a long guy than back-to-back.”

• Curtis Granderson came through tonight’s game “great,” Girardi said. Nick Swisher also came through today’s five at-bats at the minor league complex with no problem. Depending on how he feels tomorrow Swisher might DH tomorrow’s big league game, play right field in tomorrow’s big league game or take another turn at the minor league complex.

• Eduardo Nunez came off the field a little awkward, but Girardi said he checked with Nunez and Nunez said he was fine. Nunez didn’t seem bothered when he was walking around the clubhouse.

• Raul Ibanez has four hits in his past four games, and he would have had five hits — and three home runs — if not for Jason Heyward robbing him yesterday. “I’ve been feeling better the last four, five days and trying to build momentum,” Ibanez said.

• Girardi said the only real difference for Ibanez is that he’s “hitting the ball,” and Ibanez said it’s strictly a matter of timing. He’s gotten it back through some intense sessions with Kevin Long. “The only thing I know how to do is just keep working until you find it,” Ibanez said.

• David Phelps allowed seven hits through five innings in his start tonight. He walked none and struck out four, including three huge strikeouts to end the fifth inning. With runners at second and third, Phelps got Nick Markakis with a slider, Adam Jones with a curveball and Matt Wieters looking at a fastball. “To be able to get through those guys he got was pretty good,” Girardi said.

• Mariano Rivera extended his scoreless spring training innings streak to 28 innings, a streak that goes back to 2008. Sources say he’ll make the team.

• Granderson singled in his return to the lineup. … Mark Teixeira’s double and Ibanez’s home run were the Yankees only extra-base hits. … Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Bill Hall and Nunez also had hits in the 4-3 loss. Nunez also stole a bag. … Rodriguez and Derek Jeter each made errors. Bad throw by Jeter, bad hop past Rodriguez. … Boone Logan faced and retired two batters.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 258 Comments →

Spring training Game 27: Yankees vs. Orioles03.29.12

YANKEES (13-10-3)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Andruw Jones RF
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP David Phelps (0-1, 1.64)
Phelps minor league numbers

ORIOLES (10-11-5)
Nolan Reimold LF
Nick Johnson DH
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Robert Andino SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B

RHP Jason Hammel (0-0, 3.09)
Hammel vs. Yankees

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

WEATHER: Few clouds in the sky, but otherwise another nice day here in Tampa. Very light breeze.

UMPIRES: HP Marty Foster, 1B Mike Estabrook, 2B Vic Carapazza, 3B Mike Hamari

ORIOLES PEN: After Jason Hammel, the Orioles are scheduled to pitch RHP Pedro Strop, LHP Troy Patton and RHP Darren O’Day.

HOT BAT: Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has eight hits in his past 10 at-bats dating back to March 23. Before that, he was 3-for-30 this spring.

HARD TO BEAT: The Yankees have lost just one of their past nine games. They’re 5-1-3 in that span.

NOVA’S LINE: Ivan Nova finished today’s Triple-A start with this line: 7.1IP, 7H, 3ER, 1BB, 5K. He threw 94 pitches, 63 strikes. All three runs came in his final two innings (one in the seventh and two in the eighth).

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: Home run No. 2 for Raul Ibanez came on a 2-2 pitch. Would have been his second homer in as many days if not for Jason Heyward’s catch yesterday. It’s a 1-1 game in the bottom of the second.

UPDATE, 7:54 p.m.: Back-to-back doubles of Phelps have given the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Phelps has been 90-92 with his fastball, hitting 93 on one scout’s gun.

UPDATE, 7:56 p.m.: Bad throw by Jeter puts runners at ther corners with one out for the Orioles.

UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: Impressive work by Phelps to strikeout the heart of the Orioles order and strand runners at second and third. Really nice pitch to get Wieters looking to end the inning. It’s a 3-1 Baltimore lead through four and a half.

UPDATE, 8:38 p.m.: That’s weird. Rivera just pitched a scoreless inning.

UPDATE, 8:53 p.m.: Another hit for Raul Ibanez, this one an RBI single to make it a 3-2 game. He actually has been swinging quite a bit better these past few games.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 602 Comments →

Pregame notes: Yankees prepared for all rotation options03.29.12

Yesterday Joe Girardi spoke in glowing terms about Freddy Garcia, and today he left very open the possibility of optioning either Ivan Nova or Michael Pineda to Triple-A to start the season.

“There’s no gaurantee that the sixth starter goes to the bullpen,” Girardi said.

Quite often a manager or coach or general manager will leave public breadcumbs to make their intentions clear, but the Yankees are sending signals that they truly don’t know which five starters will make their Opening Day rotation. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are in, and Phil Hughes has been the best starter in camp, but the choice still seems fairly wide open even this late into camp. My guess is still the same — that ultimately Garcia gets crowded out — but the team is leaving every possibility open, and they’re preparing for every possibility.

Nova pitched in a minor league game today so that he could avoid facing the Orioles, who he could face in his first regular-season start if he makes the team, but Girardi said not to read too much into that. The Yankees had Nova pitch in the minor leagues because it’s possible he’ll face the Orioles in the second series of the season, not because he will face the Orioles in the second series of the season.

D.J. Mitchell is no longer starting tonight’s game because the Yankees want him to pitch in relief tonight, then pitch in relief again on Saturday. They want to see how he handles that sort of turnaround — something a reliever might do, but a starter would never do — because they want to prepare him for the possibility of being a long man when the season starts. Girardi said it’s still possibel any one of Mitchell, David Phelps and Adam Warren could make the team in a relief role.

“At some point, I’m going to have to disappoint someone,” Girardi said.

The Yankees are creating the impression that they truly don’t know who that’s going to be, and they seem to be preparing themselves for any and all possibilities.

• Nick Swisher was a late arrival at the Yankees minor league complex this afternoon. Swisher joined his teammates for the Boys & Girls Club luncheon, then he went to the complex afterward. Girardi had no word on how he did or how many at-bats he had.

• Obviously Curtis Granderson is in the lineup, which is good news for his sore right elbow.

• Girardi said Nova got up to 95 pitches. I left after four innings — Girardi left after about three — but Girardi said reports on Nova were good. Getting stretched out was a big thing today, and Nova certainly did that. He’d throw just 72 pitches through six innings.

• Andy Pettitte will pitch another simulated game in the next few days. Girardi said it’s still possible Pettitte will pitch in that final spring training game against the Mets. “If it is (possible), we’ll try to use him,” Girardi said.

• Rafael Soriano pitched in today’s Double-A game mostly because there are a lot of pitchers who the Yankees want to see in the big league game. The fact it’s a division opponent in the big league game was also a factor.

• Robinson Cano had a full day off today.

• If you missed it earlier, the Yankees have signed former Pirates 1B/OF Steve Pearce to a minor league deal. It looks like he’ll be the regular first baseman in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The sense I got based on a few conversations at the minor league complex is that the Yankees would like to move Jorge Vazquez to a team that will give him a better opportunity (could be overseas or another MLB organization). If he is traded, I’m not sure the return would be overly exciting despite last year’s power numbers.

• Heard from a Yankees source today that the team might try to immediately pass Craig Tatum back through waivers in hopes that he’ll clear, letting the Yankees send him to Triple-A for minor league depth. The Yankees claimed Tatum yesterday. He’s out of options, but the fact he fell all the way to the Yankees suggests no other team is interested in claiming him.

• A few injury updates from the minor league complex: Corban Joseph has been shutdown with a shoulder injury. The team is still waiting for word from the team doctor to determine just how much time he’ll miss. … Kyle Higashioka is expected to miss about a month because of a recurring shoulder injury. … Jeremy Bleich, who’s missed more time than expected because of a shoulder injury, is throwing bullpens and getting close facing hitters.

• Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia threw sides today. Hiroki Kuroda will throw one tomorrow.

• Todays available pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Boone Logan, Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, Clay Rapada, Cesar Cabral, Mike OConnor, Kramer Sneed, Kelvin Perez

• Todays second string: C Gustavo Molina, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Bill Hall, SS Jayson Nix, 3B Doug Bernier, LF Dewayne Wise, CF Justin Maxwell, RF Chris Dickerson

• For those of you who are interested, here’s today’s Triple-A lineup that played behind Nova (yes, with two DHs, it’s a different world down there):

Austin Krum LF
Ramiro Pena 2B
Colin Curtis RF
Steve Pearce 1B
Brandon Laird 3B
Cole Garner DH
Dan Brewer DH
Ray Kruml CF
Kevin Russo SS
Russell Martin C

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 84 Comments →

Nunez at second vs. Orioles03.29.12

David Phelps, not D.J. Mitchell, is listed as the Yankees starting pitcher. Looks like Mitchell is pitching in relief.

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Andruw Jones RF
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP David Phelps

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 458 Comments →

Nova at the complex03.29.12

Ivan Nova worked a scoreless first inning with Russell Martin catching at the minor league complex.

Nova is pitching in the Triple-A game. Rafael Soriano pitched the first inning of the Double-A game.

UPDATE, 1:29 p.m.: Another scoreless inning for Nova. No sign of Nick Swisher, which is odd.

UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: Unexpected roster note… Steve Pearce is playing first base for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Apparently he just signed a minor league deal. He was originally with the Pirates.

UPDATE, 2:02 p.m.: Nova is through four innings. Also, Corban Joseph is not playing. Turns out hes been shut down with a shoulder injury.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 89 Comments →

Nova to the minors (for a day)03.29.12

Last time the Yankees assigned Ivan Nova to the minor leagues, he returned four weeks later and won nine straight starts. Today, the Yankees are sending Nova down for a day to start in a minor league game. They didn’t want Nova facing the Orioles, so D.J. Mitchell will start tonight’s big league game.

“I think we have a pretty good idea (what Nova can do),” Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes it can be harder to pitch down there, I think. You have no scouting reports so it really comes down to making your pitches. You don’t know which breaking ball a guy hits better than the other, you don’t know if a guy hits the changeup, if they like the ball in and out. You can’t set them up either. So the bottom line is, you’ve got to make your pitches down there, or they’re going to hit you around.”

That’s more or less what Phil Hughes said when he pitched in a minor league game on Monday — he got outs when he made good pitches, and the hits he allowed came on mistakes — and really, results aren’t always the best measure of a pitcher in spring training. Nova has a 6.86 ERA this spring, but he really hasn’t pitched nearly as poorly as that number suggests.

“It’s been some innings that have gotten him,” Girardi said. “Like the other day, he was perfect through four, and then the fifth and sixth got him a little bit, and he was good again in the seventh. I think the biggest thing that I haven’t seen from him is the consistency in the location of his fastball, but I think it’s gotten better as spring training has went on.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 75 Comments →

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