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

Archive for April, 2012

Game 22: Yankees vs. Orioles04.30.12

Yankees lineup

1. Derek Jeter SS

2. Curtis Granderson CF

3. Alex Rodriguez DH

4. Robinson Cano 2B

5. Mark Teixeira 1B

6. Raul Ibanez RF

7. Eric Chavez 3B

8. Russell Martin C

9. Eduardo Nunez LF

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

Orioles lineup

1. Nolan Reimold LF

2. J.J. Hardy SS

3. Nick Markakis RF

4. Adam Jones CF

5. Matt Wieters C

6. Chris Davis 1B

7. Wilson Betemit 3B

8. Mark Reynolds DH

9. Robert Andino 2B

Jason Hammel RHP

TV/Radio: YES/WCBS 880

Weather: a chilly 52, mostly cloudy

Umpires: Jerry Layne HP, Bob Davidson 1B, Hunter Wendelstedt 2B, Dan Bellino 3B

Jeter’s hit count: Derek Jeter leads the major leagues with a career-April-high 36 hits and is No. 1 in the AL at .396.

Grandy man’s home homers: Curtis Granderson has hit seven homers in the team’s first 10 home games, tying the franchise record held by A-Rod, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.

Remembering April 30: On this date in 1923, the Yankees signed 19-year-old Lou Gehrig out of Columbia University. On this date in 1939, Gehrig played his 2,130th consecutive game. He benched himself for the next game, on May 2, and didn’t play again because of ALS.

Update, 7:12: Nunez makes a sliding-on-his-knees, flopping catch in left. At least he caught it. Makes two of the putouts in a 1-2-3 first.

Update, 7:28: Nunez makes a catch on a Chris Davis drive to the fence, sac fly, after Ibanez mistimed his leap at the fence on the previous play in right, making for a long single. 1-0, O’s.

Update, 7:37: Chavez now has three homers in 26 at-bats, two-run shot to the Yankees’ bullpen, 2-1 in the second.

Update, 7:48: Nunez has another adventure, but makes the catch practically sitting. So a 1-2-3 third for Kuroda.

Update, 8:13: Both teams have just two hits through four. Jason Hammel has been one of the reasons for the Orioles’ improvement, showed up at 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA.

Update, 8:24: Kuroda has allowed one run, three singles and one walk through five, his second straight good-looking outing, at least so far. It’s his first career start vs. Baltimore.

Update, 8:33: Hammel has allowed two runs and three hits through five. Jeter added to his best-ever hit count in April with No. 37, a single to right.

Update, 8:47: Ibanez kills a first-and-third, one-out threat with a double-play ball. 2-1, Yankees through six. Hard to believe Hammel came in with a 7.45 career ERA in 11 appearances vs. the Yankees.

Update, 8:51: Soriano and Logan warming up.

Update, 9:01: Kuroda escapes a big problem, second and third, one out. Russell Martin provided a big assist after Davis fanned on a splitter in the dirt and Martin threw him out at first. Then Martin nicely flipped to Kuroda covering at the plate on a ball that got away and Markakis was out trying to score. Matt Lindstrom is on for the seventh. David Robertson now warming.

Update, 9:08: Robertson on for the eighth.

Update, 9:17: Robertson strikes out the side, still hasn’t given up a run in 11 outings this season. Jim Johnson is on for Baltimore.

Update, 9:24: Rivera will come on to try to save it.

Update, 9:30: One out single for Hardy in Rivera’s 1,051st big-league appearance, now eighth all time.

Update, 9:31: 6-4-3 double play, Yankees win 2-1.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 856 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Swisher update, Nunez in left, Pettitte’s line04.30.12

Hello there, Brian Heyman here for Chad today. Let’s start with this: There are still no plans right now to put Nick Swisher on the DL due to his low-grade strained left hamstring that he suffered yesterday.

“That’s not my category, guys,” Swisher just told us.

But there is a descrepancy about when he’ll be able to play again. Joe Girardi said he’s aiming for him to return in the field next Tuesday. Swisher hopes to be ready to play again Thursday night in Kansas City.

“Me and Skip, we’ve got to get together and get a game plan,” Swisher said. “From the way I feel right now, I wouldn’t see it being a week.”

“Could I pinch hit him?” Girardi said. “We’ve just got to go day by day to see how he’s feeling and where he’s at.”

The Yankees will have just two position players on the bench for this series. Brett Gardner is eligible to come off the DL Thursday. Girardi talked about a rehab assignment for him, which would probably be brief since the manager said, “We haven’t determined what day yet.”

So Eduardo Nunez is getting a shot in left tonight.

“It’s left field. That’s where they put players who can’t play anywhere else,” Gardner cracked. “He’ll be fine.”

Asked if Nunez could turn into a regular outfielder since infield advancement is blocked here right now, Girardi said, “We have him targeted as being an everyday shortstop one day. But, hey, stranger things have happened because of opportunities. You never what the possibilities are. He’s athletic. He has a lot of speed. There are a lot of different things he can do. We’re going to find out.”

Nunez said he’s comfortable in practice out there, but he obviously doesn’t have much game experience.

“I’m never nervous,” Nunez said. “Errors are part of the game. If you’re nervous, you’ll never be a good player. I’ve played this game all my life.” …

Here’s Andy Pettitte’s line from an extended spring training start today against Phillies organization personnel in Clearwater, Fla.: 5 2/3 innings, six runs, five earned, 10 hits, no walks, 8 Ks. He threw 96 pitches, 71 for strikes. Girardi said his understanding was there was “quite a wind blowing out.”

So does Pettitte need one more? Or is he ready?

“I think it’s something we have to talk about,” Girardi said, “see how he feels tomorrow and the next day and decide what’s next.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 129 Comments →

Yankees lineup04.30.12

1. Jeter SS
2. Granderson CF
3. Rodriguez DH
4. Cano 2B
5. Teixeira 1B
6. Ibanez RF
7. Chavez 3B
8. Martin C
9. Nunez LF
Kuroda P

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 126 Comments →

Pitching matchups vs. Orioles04.30.12

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-3, 4.38)
RHP Jason Hammel (3-0, 1.73)
7:05 p.m. YES Network

RHP Phil Hughes (1-3, 7.88)
LHP Brian Matusz (0-3, 5.66)
7:05 p.m. YES Network

RHP Ivan Nova (3-0, 5.18)
RHP Jake Arrieta (1-2, 4.45)
7:05 p.m. YES Network and ESPN

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 230 Comments →

Phelps and Mitchell emerging as valuable assets04.30.12

When the Yankees went into spring training, their projected Triple-A rotation included five young pitchers ranked among their top 21 prospects according to Baseball America: Manny Banuelos  was No. 2, Dellin Betances  was No. 3, Adam Warren was No. 15, D.J. Mitchell was No. 16 and David Phelps ranked No. 21.

You might have noticed it’s lowest-ranked of the group that just moved into the big league rotation, and the second lowest who was just called up to the big league bullpen.

“Any time you’re in consideration for a starting role on this team, it’s a big deal,” Phelps said. “With the quality arms we have on this team, I don’t take it lightly.”

Phelps and Mitchell — and Warren to a slightly lesser extent — have been overshadowed by Betances and Banuelos, but Phelps has proven he can pitch at the Major League level, and Mitchell was easily the best starter in that Triple-A rotation. There’s no doubt that age plays a part in this — Betances and Banuelos are younger than the other three — but it’s also a reminder that a player can move fairly quietly through the system (cough … Ivan Nova … cough) and emerge as a significant role player. Phelps, Mitchell and Warren more or less came up through the system together, and it was obvious during their three-man, long-relief competition this spring that they were pulling for one another.

“To an extent it really wasn’t disappointing (to be sent down) knowing it was going to be one of us three,” Mitchell said. “I’ve known Phelps since Day 1, and I’ve known Warren for a while too. Either way, I think we were proud of each other. Of course you’re going to be disappointed when you’re told you’re getting sent down, but it’s not as bad to be here now. I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s the greatest. I know I’ll be asking Phelps a lot of questions and try to take the best of it, run with it and see what happens.”

See what happens.

It’s a common phrase in spring training and in the minor leagues, especially when opportunities seem few and far between. In mid-March, the Yankees seemed to have six big league starters plus Andy Pettitte. There was little room for anyone from that projected Triple-A rotation to crack the big league pitching staff. Now Phelps and Mitchell have big league lockers just a few feet from one another.

“I learned real quick, especially this spring, to not have expectations about what’s going to happen,” Phelps said. “I just kind of go out and do what I can control and just kind of go from there. … It’s exciting for me because we were talking in spring training – me, Adam and D.J. – and if one of is going to get a chance, it’s exciting for the other ones because they’re right there with us. I’m so excited that D.J. got called up. It’s two of my best friends. It’s exciting to see our hard work pay off.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 236 Comments →

Garcia: “What are they supposed to do?”04.29.12

Freddy Garcia didn’t make a convincing argument on the field, and he didn’t try to make one in the clubhouse either.

“When you don’t do your job, what are they supposed to do?” Garcia said late this morning, not long after the Yankees finalized their decision to demote him into the bullpen. “That’s what happened. They’re honest. I don’t pitch the way I was supposed to pitch. It’s reality.”

That reality became impossible to deny after four starts, during which the Yankees gave Garcia the benefit of the doubt after last year’s success and this spring’s impressive results. Back-to-back starts that ended in the second inning, though, were too much to ignore.

“Sometimes you can go and try to find a way to fix things down in the bullpen,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It happens for a lot of guys, so we’ll put him down there as a long man, and we’ll make sure he gets some work, and we’ll try to get him back to where he wants to be.”

To this point, Garcia hasn’t been where he wants to be — or where the Yankees need him to be — and he couldn’t argue with their decision to move him elsewhere.

“When you play here, you play in New York, they expect you to pitch good,” Garcia said. “It’s not like when you pitch somewhere else. We play to win here. We don’t play to develop a player. Everybody here knows how to play. They don’t wait for anybody to (play better). One day, they’ll be good? No. If you’re good, you’re good, you know? It’s not like they wait for you to be good. That’s not how it works here.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 711 Comments →

Postgame notes: “He was exactly what we needed”04.29.12

It’s easy to look at CC Sabathia’s past three starts and believe that he’s been the exception to the rule. The rest of the rotation might have struggled, but surely not the Yankees ace. Not the guy who just beat the Rangers and Tigers in back-to-back starts and has pitched into the eighth inning three times in a row.

But slow starts are nothing new to Sabathia, and his first few outings this year weren’t particularly ace-like. What makes Sabathia an exception to the rule is that there’s never any doubt he’ll get it turned around and get on this kind of roll.

“I think we’ve seen him do it time and time again,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When we signed him, in spring training, we talked about that this is a guy who has notoriously got off to slow starts, let’s not evaluate him the first month of the season. And if I remember, that start was a little bit slow. You talk about a guy that you signed for a long time and expect good things, but that’s kind of his history. So that gives me confidence that he does get off to a slow start that things are going to turn around, because I’ve seen it time and time again.”

Sabathia’s ERA has dropped with each start. He was better than the numbers showed in Texas, but today was a legitimately dominant performance. Prince Fielder took him deep, and Miguel Cabrera hit an RBI double, but Sabahtia allowed only two other hits and struck out eight.

“You always feel confident that you can go out and hold a team down,” Sabathia said. “I felt pretty good today. Moved the ball around and made some pitches. … (Fastball command) has been getting better in the bullpens and in the games. I’ve been able to command it. I think that really makes my offspeed stuff that much better. When I can do that, I feel pretty good.”

On a day the Yankees took a proactive step to try to improve the back of their rotation, the best thing they could do to sort out the top of the rotation was to leave Sabathia exactly where he is.

“He’s a guy that we’ve come to rely on, going out there and battling and keeping us in games,” Derek Jeter said. “He’s a guy that doesn’t want to come out, and especially when we’ve been using out bullpen a lot lately, he was exactly what we needed.”

• Girardi confirmed after today’s game that David Phelps will take Garcia’s spot in the rotation on Thursday in Kansas City. That’s about four hours from Phelps’ family home in St. Louis. “They were coming out regardless,” Phelps said. “But they were going to come Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Now I’m sure they’ll come on Thursday. It’s nice for the family too, to know exactly which day I’m going to pitch.”

• Although Girardi says it’s not a personal catcher situation, Chris Stewart has caught Sabathia’s past three starts, and Sabathia said he hasn’t shook once in the past two starts. “It feels good,” Sabathia said. “To believe in what he’s calling, he’s been calling great games, catching great games. I’m just excited about being able to work with him for however long it works out.”

• Stewart has at least one hit in each of those past three starts, and today’s single led to a run on a close play at the plate in the seventh inning. “We talk about it with all our catchers, your first job is defense,” Girardi said. “You talk about saving runs. I know that doesn’t go on the back of a bubblegum card, but it’s really really important, and he does a tremendous job doing it. I tell our catchers, offense is second. Save runs for me. And they understand that.”

• Dave Robertson picked up right where Sabathia left off today, striking out two in a dominant ninth inning. Through 10 innings this season, Robertson has allowed seven hits and struck out 15. He’s the last Yankees pitcher — except D.J. Mitchell, I guess — who has yet to be charged with a run.

• Alex Rodriguez drove in two runs today and moved ahead of Willie Mays for sole possession of eighth place on baseball’s all-time RBIs list. He has 1,904.

• Just a little bit behind Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson picked up his 500th career RBI today.

• Granderson said he had to watch a replay to realize how close Austin Jackson came to catching Granderson’s fourth-inning home run to center field. “I didn’t see what happened right away,” Granderson said. “When I heard the crowd make the noise that they did, I knew something good happened, I just didn’t know on which side. Then the umpire told me it went over the fence.”

• Jeter snapped an 0-for-9 with a 2-for-3. He now has 36 hits, his most ever for the season’s first month. He leads the team with 12 multi-hit games this season.

• Andruw Jones was hitless in his past 19 at-bats but went 2-for-2 with a home run after replacing Nick Swisher, who left with a hamstring injury.

• The Yankees drew a season-high nine walks and scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk. Tigers starter Max Scherzer had seven of those walks. “We’re not supposed to do that,” Jim Leyland said. “Major League pitchers are not supposed to do that, walk that many.”

• The Triple-A rotation has lost D.J. Mitchell, but it’s getting Manny Banuelos back from the disabled list on Wednesday.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 451 Comments →

Swisher has low-grade strain04.29.12

Nick Swisher has a low-grade stain of his left hamstring. Joe Girardi said its likely to take several days to heal, but its not necessarily a DL situation.

Girardi said the team will not add an outfielder before tomorrow’s game.

UPDATE, 5:21 p.m.: Here’s Girardi’s quick explanation of the Swisher situation from today’s postgame press conference:

“He’s got a real low-grade strain. We’re probably looking at more than a few days, but I’m not saying it’s a DL. We’ll have to see how it progresses in the next few days. He had an MRI and it’s just a real low-grade strain. … We won’t (add an outfielder) before tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. Gardy’s eligible to come back on Thursday. We’ll see how that goes. We could try to go through (until Gardner comes back). We’ll see what happens and go from there.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 142 Comments →

Sabathia picks up third straight win04.29.12

CC Sabathia is pitching like an ace again. Against a dangerous Tigers lineup, the Yankees big lefty allowed two runs on four hits through eight innings this afteroon. The Yankees got a 6-2 win that was Sabathia’s third straight, and he’s pitched into the eighth inning in each of those wins. Sabathia struck out eight before Dave Robertson closed out the win with a scoreless ninth. The Yankees left 15 runners on base, but Curtis Granderson and Andruw Jones each hit home runs, and Alex Rodriguez had a pair of RBIs as the Yankees won their second game in three days against the Detroit. Nick Swisher left the game with tightness in his left hamstring, and his status is uncertain. He was sent for a precautionary MRI.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 31 Comments →

Game 21: Yankees vs. Tigers04.29.12

YANKEES (11-9)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez DH
Chris Stewart C

LHP CC Sabathia (2-0, 5.27)
Sabathia vs. Tigers

TIGERS (11-10)
Austin Jackson CF
Brennan Boesch RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Brad Eldred DH
Ryan Raburn LF
Ramon Santiago SS
Gerald Laird C
Danny Worth 2B

RHP Max Scherzer (1-2, 8.24)
Scherzer vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES Network and TBS

WEATHER: Feels a lot like yesterday. Chilly but not really cold. Little bit of wind blowing out to center.

UMPIRES: HP Rob Drake, 1B Cory Blaser, 2B Joe West, 3B Andy Fletcher

SWISH’S START: Nick Swisher got off to a brutal start last season, but this year he’s reached base safely in 18 of 20 games, hitting safely in 16 of those. Nine of his past 11 hits have gone for extra bases and he leads the American League with 15 extra-base hits this season.

ROUGH PATCH: Today’s game ends a stretch of 21 games to start the season, of which 15 came against the other three 2011 American League playoff teams (Detroit, Texas, Tampa Bay) and the teams with the next-best 2011 records (Boston and Los Angeles).

TOMORROW IN YANKEES HISTORY: Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s final game of his 2,130 consecutive games played. On April 30, 1939 he went 0-for-4 in a 3-2 loss against Washington at the original Yankee Stadium. After a team off day on May 1, Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy to be kept out of the lineup on May 2 at Detroit. He never played in another Major League game.

UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: Sabathia strikes out Fielder, strands a double and gets through a scoreless first inning. Fielder never had a shot at that strike-three slider.

UPDATE, 1:37 p.m.: Two more strikeouts for Sabathia. Looks sharp today.

UPDATE, 1:53 p.m.: After Jeter’s infield single loaded the bases, Granderson draws a walk for a 1-0 Yankees lead. Scherzer’s command has been erratic these first two innings.

UPDATE, 1:54 p.m.: Weakly hit, but Rodriguez has an infield single for a 2-0 Yankees lead. That brings Cano to the plate, still with the bases loaded and two outs.

UPDATE, 2:22 p.m.: Sabathia’s been dealing, but Fielder just took him deep on a first-pitch breaking ball up in the zone. The homer went into the second deck and it’s 2-1 as Sabathia ends the top of the fourth inning.

UPDATE, 2:29 p.m.: Almost an unreal catch by Austin Jackson. Instead it’s a solo homer for Curtis Granderson, good for a 3-1 Yankees lead in the fourth.

UPDATE, 3:18 p.m.: Swisher left today’s game with a tight left hamstring. He’s going for a precautionary MRI. It’s worth noting that no one has been pulled from the Triple-A game (I would have to assume Dewayne Wise is first in line for a call-up).

UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: Replay looks like Rob Drake got it right. Stewart slides home just under the tag, scoring on Rodriguez’s career RBI No. 1,904. That moves Rodriguez ahead of Willie Mays into sole possession of eight place all time.

UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.: Add a sac fly and it’s 5-2 Yankees in the bottom of the seventh.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 609 Comments →

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