Archive for June, 2012
Andy Pettitte did his very best to sound positive this afternoon, but it was hard not to feel bad for him as he came hobbling into the clubhouse with a boot around his foot and a crutches under his arms.
“You want to help this club,” he said. “But, man, we’ve got a lot to be positive about. We’re playing well, everybody’s throwing the ball well, and we’ve got guys that are going to step up and do a great job. I’ll be back. Time flies quick. I’ll be back before you know it. I know C’s going to be down for a couple of starts, so we’ve just got to weather the storm. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you with injuries and stuff like that. We’ve got a lot of good stuff going on here. We’ve got plenty of guys who can step in and do the job so it’s time to put my pom-poms on and be a cheerleader now for six weeks or so.”
Make no mistake, this was a very bad day for the Yankees, but it was also a day when they rallied for a one-run win, completed a three-game series sweep and extended their winning streak to five games. Freddy Garcia seems to have figured out some things, and Robinson Cano is impossibly hot right now, and Dave Robertson looked like his old self. Even Rafael Soriano — struggling while pitching for the fourth time in five days — found a way to get the big out he needed for his 17th save.
“It’s a good test,” Alex Rodriguez said. “We’ve been tested a little bit more than we’d like to be tested around here. Mo went down, and guys have stepped up. Gardner went down, other guys stepped up. We’ll have to do the same. It’s a long season. When you come out of spring training and break camp, you don’t expect to have 25 guys healthy the whole year. Today is another challenge, and I think we’ll do fine.”
• Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning. He’s homered in seven of his past 10 games, and in 14 of his past 32 games. This month he’s hitting .345 with 20 runs, three doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 18 RBI. According to Elias, this marks his most homers for any calendar month in his career.
• Garcia has been terrific since moving to the bullpen, and although the Yankees wanted to save him to start on Friday, they needed him today and Garcia delivered. He retired all seven batters he faced for his second win. “It’s too bad,” Garcia said. “We lost CC and Andy today. I don’t want to get back in the rotation that way, but that’s how it happened. It’s part of the game and stuff happens. I’ll always be ready for whatever role they want me to do, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I was in the bullpen and I did my job, trying to help the team and trying to help the bullpen.”
• Girardi said Soriano’s struggles might have been because he pitched four of the past five days. “He might be a little fatigued, a day game after a night game,” Girardi said. “There’s a good chance I’ll give him tomorrow off. I’ll see how he feels, but that could have been it. It looked like he was just missing today.”
• Clay Rapada allowed a single to Jason Kipnis, snapping a streak of 19 consecutive left-handed hitters retired. Lefties are hitting .148 with two extra-base hits against him this season.
• Russell Martin said his sore back was fine after his collision at the plate. “It’s good,” Martin said. “Kinda just rolled with that one. When they’re bang-bang and you don’t have time to react, that’s when they’re dangerous. There, I had time to set my feet and take the hit.”
• When reporters got into the clubhouse, not all of the players had heard the severity of Pettitte’s injury. Martin in particular was caught completely off guard. Rodriguez said he thought it might be pretty significant as soon as he saw Pettitte struggling with those warm-up pitches. “It looked pretty bad,” Rodriguez said. “I told Cano when he was warming up, there’s a pretty good chance we won’t see him until after the All-Star break, and maybe it’s a little worse than that.”
• Girardi said he found out around the sixth inning that Pettitte had a fracture. He thought Steve Donohue was kidding. “In my mind I’m saying, is he telling me a fib or what is he doing?” Girardi said. “I never imaged that’s what it was.”
• Pettitte on what he was thinking during those three warm-up pitches after the ball hit his ankle: “I just figured I would figure out a way to get through the inning. Even though I knew I couldn’t push off like I wanted to, I just figured I would go the other direction with it. Throw it slower than slow, maybe get them to hit some grounders. But that first pitch I threw, I pushed off, and just a lot of pain shooting right into my foot. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to throw another pitch.”
• Pettitte has struck out at least six batters in each of his past five starts, tying the longest such streak of his career.
• Brian Cashman said the Yankees didn’t consider giving Friday’s start to veteran Ramon Ortiz, who’s been pitching really well for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “Not ahead of Warren,” Cashman said. “Warren has been better.” Adam Warren has a 2.03 ERA with 18 strikeouts in his past five starts.
• Speaking of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation: Dellin Betances has been demoted to Double-A Trenton. I heard from a scout just yesterday that Betances’ fastball is down to 90-92 mph with no control. This scout was not impressed at all. Said Betances looks awful, which the numbers certainly suggest. He had a 6.39 ERA with nearly as many walks (69) as strikeouts (71).
• Fast-rising reliever Preston Claiborne was called up from Trenton to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 2010 draft pick hasn’t allowed a run in 18 innings this month.
• The last word, obviously, goes to Pettitte: “I think that we’re in a real good place with the other guys. There’s no need to try to do anything more. They’re throwing the ball great. They’ve just got to keep the same approach that they are, and they’re going to. I think we’re going to be fine. Freddy’s throwing the ball well. I know he’s probably going to be the one to step into the rotation now, and we’ll get someone called up. I don’t know whether it’s Phelpsy, if he comes back or what. This team is good. We’re good, and we’re playing with a lot of confidence, and I think they’re going to be just fine as long as guys don’t put a lot of pressure on themselves.”
Associated Press photo
Obviously there’s a lot to write today, but here are the nuts and bolts for right now.
What happened to Andy Pettitte?
Casey Kotchman’s sixth-inning comebacker hit him just above the left ankle. Tests revealed a broken fibula at the ankle. He’ll need roughly six weeks to heal, which likely means two months before he’ll be back on the active roster. For now he’s on the 15-day disabled list, but Brian Cashman said he’ll likely be transfered to the 60-day.
“Obviously it hurt, but I’ve been hit in the shin and that area so many times and have never had to come out of the game,” Pettitte said. “I was like, alright, it just got me in a good spot. I’ll just get on the mound and eventually it’s going to go away if I take enough time. It was bothering me in my warm-ups for sure, I just figured I could get through it. As soon as I threw that first pitch, I just had an awful lot of pain run all the way down into my foot. At that point, I felt like it might be something, but still it’s like, surely it’s not broke. Unfortunately, yeah, it’s fractured.”
What happened to CC Sabathia?
On one particular pitch on Sunday, Sabathia felt something near his left groin. He stayed in the game believing it was minor, but when it lingered during a bullpen session on Tuesday, he went for tests which revealed a strained adductor muscle. He’s likely to miss two starts.
“I tried to pitch through it, but that was probably the wrong decision to keep pushing it and ended up hurting it some more,” Sabathia said. “… I don’t think the side session (did any more damage) because it felt about the same as it did Sunday night. But I felt it on one pitch, I think it was the fourth inning, and just kept pitching and I probably made it a little worse.”
Who’s taking their spots?
Freddy Garcia will take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation and start on Monday. Adam Warren will be called up from Triple-A to start in Sabathia’s spot on Friday. Ryota Igarashi will also be called up to fill a roster spot. Both Warren and Igarashi will be here tomorrow. Warren will have to be added to the 40-man, but Cashman said he expects to open a 40-man spot by putting Pettitte on the 60-day.
“CC is due back right after the break,” Cashman said. “Andy, you’re talking about a minimum of six weeks of healing, and as a starter you have to get him going again, so I’ll throw two months in there in Andy’s case. We’ll just have to figure it out and see what happens. I would prefer not to go outside. Obviously if we do go outside, we’ve done that before. This is part of the process. You have to have alternatives. This gives opportunities for people to step up. Just like some guys in the bullpen have allowed us to step up and withstand some injuries — that’s what Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and Eppley have done — we’re going to have to ask for some other guys to do that for the rotation, as well. Let’s play it out and see where it takes us.”
Associated Press photo
Yankees win game, lose Pettitte • 06.27.12
Andy Pettitte is heading to the disabled list after fracturing his left ankle this afternoon. Pettitte left the game in the fifth inning after he was hit by a sharp comebacker. The Yankees say he will not need surgery, but he will require six weeks to heal. Without Pettitte, the Yankees rallied to extend their winning streak to five games. Robinson Cano’s seventh home run in his past 10 games lifted them to a 5-4 win and a three-game series sweep against the Indians. Freddy Garcia retired all seven batters he faced to pick up the win. Rafael Soriano walked in a run in the ninth, but Eric Chavez’s insurance RBI in the eighth proved crucial.
Associated Press photo
Game 74: Yankees vs. Indians • 06.27.12
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS
LHP Andy Pettitte (3-3, 3.29)
Pettitte vs. Indians
Michael Brantley CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Jason Kipnis 2B
Jose Lopez 3B
Carlos Santana DH
Shelley Duncan LF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Lou Marson C
Aaron Cunningham RF
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5. 4.59)
Jimenez vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: Sunny. Temperatures getting into the low 80s. Wind blowing from right to left.
UMPIRES: HP James Hoye, 1B Tom Hallion, 2B Mike DiMuro, 3B Jim Reynolds
SWEPT: The Yankees are looking for their seventh series sweep of the season. It would be their fourth sweep in their last six series, but they have swept just one three-game series at home this year (against the Mets earlier this morning. The Yankees?are looking for their first sweep of Cleveland in a series of at least three games since 2007.
THAT’S A WRAP: The Yankees are 15-9 in series finales this season and have won eight of their last 10 finales. They are 6-5 in finales at home.
ONE MORE: Derek Jeter has the day off. If he comes off the bench, he’ll have a chance to tie Cal Ripken Jr. on the all-time hits list. Jeter is one away from Ripken.
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: Shelley Duncan with an RBI double. If this were about five years ago, this would be good news for the Yankees.
UPDATE, 2:09 p.m.: Andy Pettitte has seven strikeouts through three innings.
UPDATE, 2:23 p.m.: Pettitte’s going to stay in the game after taking a comebacker off the foot/ankle. Looked bad at first.
UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.: Nevermind. Pettitte made one pitch and clearly couldn’t stay in the game. He buckled on his follow through and the infielders are coming off the field while another Yankees pitcher gets loose. No word on who it will be, but I would expect Freddy Garcia to get the ball, scratching him from Friday’s start.
UPDATE, 2:27 p.m.: And I’m wrong. Cody Eppley is coming in.
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: Looks like the Yankees are going to mix and match to get through this inning, then have Garcia start an inning. Looks like Garcia is getting loose in the bullpen as Clay Rapada comes out to face Brantley with runners at second and third.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: A play at the plate momentarily saves a run, but back-to-back singles have brought home two Indians runs and chased Rapada from the game. Here’s Garcia with two on and two outs.
UPDATE, 3:07 p.m.: Good grief. Another homer for Cano makes it a 4-3 game. He’s on a tear right now.
UPDATE, 3:46 p.m.: Pettitte’s going to be out for a while with a broken ankle. The Yankees say it will take six weeks to heal, which I’m guessing means he won’t be ready to pitch in the big leagues until closer to September 1. Rough blow.
During Sunday’s fourth inning, CC Sabathia felt some discomfort near his left groin. He never mentioned it to the Yankees until the pain lingered during Tuesday’s bullpen session. An MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain of his adductor muscle, which will leave Sabathia on the disabled list until after the all-star break.
“I talked to our doc and he was talking to me about the DL situation,” Brian Cashman said. “(Steve) Donahue was telling him CC was like, ‘Well, maybe miss a start, I don’t know about DL.’ I said, ‘Well start preparing, because I’m going there tomorrow and he’s going on the DL.’ I came in here and it was a one-way conversation. I did all the talking. I know what he wants to do, but this is what we’re going to do. You have to protect players from themselves. He’s a competitor and he wants to be out there. He feels he can pitch with it right now, but we’re not going to mess with it.”
Cashman said the injury is minor enough that Sabathia could pitch through it if this were the stretch run or the postseason, but in late June, there was no sense risking it. Assuming he comes back as soon as expected, he’ll miss only two starts.
“Dr. Ahmad said if we give him the 10-15 days, that’s going to heal and it should not be an issue,” Joe Girardi said. “… Obviously you don’t want to miss him, but he would have started against the Rays on Wednesday and then been off until after the All-Star break, anyway. You’re talking about him missing two starts. You could have tried maybe to have him not start this Friday and then have him start on Wednesday, but our thought is you’re risking him maybe missing 7-8 starts if he hurts it worse on Wednesday. He’s going to miss a start against the White Sox and Rays and that should be it.”
The team does not believe Sabathia made it any worse by pitching with it, and Girardi said he has no problem with Sabathia waiting to see how it felt during yesterday’s bullpen before saying anything.
“These guys, if they had an issue every time they felt something and came in and told me, they’d be in there every day and they would wear me out,” Girardi said. “I wouldn’t be able to take it. I’d say enough because I’d have 25 guys coming in. They know their bodies and he was smart. After the Tuesday bullpen session, he knew that it was something more than maybe just a twinge, and he came in and told us.”
• Girardi didn’t want to announce a planned move, but Cashman said the Yankees are planning to call-up Adam Warren from Triple-A and put him in a long relief role. “It’s a good way to bring Warren and baptize him that way,” Cashman said.
• Freddy Garcia will start in Sabathia’s place on Friday. Garcia will be able to throw 50 to 60 pitches. “I do believe his stuff has come back some,” Girardi said. Warren can essentially piggyback Garcia.
• There will be no roster addition today, there will be 24 players on the active roster.
• Standard off day for Derek Jeter. “Sometimes it’s a day game after a night game, sometimes it’s just rotating through the system,” Girardi said. “It’s just a couple different things you look at.”
• Russell Martin is back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore back. “I’ll probably ask him a couple times during the game,” Girardi said. “I think you can tell by the way he’s moving around more than anything. He doesn’t like to come out, either.”
• Apparently there was some thought during yesterday’s game that Phil Hughes was throwing his slider again. Hughes said this morning that he’s been occasionally using a slightly lower arm angle and throwing a harder, tighter curveball that might look a little bit like a slider. It’s not a new pitch, just a different way of using his curveball. I know he’s done it in the past, and he said he’s been working on it the past six starts or so.
Associated Press photos
Sabathia going on the DL • 06.27.12
CC Sabathia is going on the disabled list after feeling pain in his left adductor muscle. He felt it in his last start and waited until after yesterdays bullpen to tell the team.
Freddy Garcia will start on Friday.
Sabathia is expected to be back immediately after the all-star break and should miss two starts.
HOPE Week honors Andy Fass • 06.27.12
Here are the details of today’s HOPE Week event as provided by the Yankees…
The New York Yankees are proud to continue HOPE Week 2012 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) on Wednesday by celebrating Andy Fass. Yankees players Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Russell Martin, Clay Rapada and Chris Stewart along with third-base coach Rob Thomson and first base coach Mick Kelleher will honor Andy Fass’ perseverance to play tee-ball despite being legally blind. The Yankees have arranged for a surprise greeting for the Fass family at Wednesday’s game at approximately 11:00 a.m. Upon entering their Stadium suite, Andy will be surprised by Yankees players and family members who will reveal an additional postgame party at the MLB Fan Cave in Manhattan. Yankees players will escort the Fass family down to the Fan Cave for a private tee-ball lesson and other games with children who also have Andy’s condition of albinism.
THE STORY OF ANDY FASS:
A chance encounter gave five-year-old Andy Fass a new goal and hope. As someone who has a condition called oculocutaneous albinism, which affects approximately 40,000 people around the world, Andy is legally blind and without pigment in his skin, forcing him to avoid long exposure to the sun. Though Andy has always gravitated to people and many individual activities, he was told baseball would never be an option due to the contact and the chance of injury due to moving objects.
All of that changed, however, on April 25, 2012, when Andy Pettitte, who was making a start at Trenton, gave little Andy the baseball he was using to warm up. Encouraged by the gesture, little Andy – who was attending his first-ever professional baseball game – was immediately inspired to sign up for tee-ball and take on the challenge.
Martin in, Jeter out • 06.27.12
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS
LHP Andy Pettitte
Wade trying to get back on track • 06.27.12
When the Yankees badly needed Cory Wade, he was all they could have asked for. Mariano Rivera and Dave Robertson landed on the disabled list within two weeks of one another, and Wade was key to the bullpen remaining a reliable strength. He gave up those crushing home runs in Anaheim and Detroit, but otherwise he was outstanding.
Since Robertson came off the disabled list, though, Wade has pitched five times and given up at least one run in four of those outings. The worst was last night’s four-run ninth, which let the Indians come back from a blowout and make it a game.
“He’s been struggling,” Joe Girardi said. “I’m sure he’s went through this before. Everyone’s going to go through it. We saw a guy who has almost 3,200 hits go through it for two months last year. It’s different sometimes when it’s a pitcher. It makes it a feel a little different, and it doesn’t make it any easier to know that some of the greatest players of all time have struggled, but we have to get him right. That’s the bottom line.”
The Yankees don’t have to lean on Wade quite as much these days — hence using him in a six-run game last night — but this bullpen is at its best when it’s deep, and lately Wade’s become an unreliable piece.
“He’s missing over the plate,” catcher Chris Stewart said. “His stuff doesn’t necessarily move as much as other guys and his velocity’s not as hard as other guys, so he’s got to be more pinpoint with his accuracy and it just happens to be missing over the middle. When your stuff is 90 and pretty straight, it’s kind of tough to avoid those mistakes.”
Associated Press photo
Postgame notes: “They already had one” • 06.26.12
Phil Hughes was terrific tonight. He faced a lineup full of left-handed hitters — literally all lefties and switch-hitters — and delivered eight scoreless innings, coming three outs away from a complete game shutout. Of all the outs he got, though, the most memorable was the one that shouldn’t have been an out at all.
“I saw (the umpire) kind of looking at my glove,” Dewayne Wise said. “So I just got up, put my head down and ran off the field.”
You know what was missing from Wise’s glove as he ran off the field at the end of the seventh? The ball. He never had it. When Wise flipped over the wall and into the seats for the final out of the inning, the ball hit off the heel of his glove and into the stands. Wise never tried to sell it, he just got up and jogged off the field as third-base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled an out to leave an Indians runner stranded at third base.
“Normally when a guy makes a play like that, that’s the first thing they’re saying. He’s showing the ball,” Wise said. “But I guess he was confident I made the catch. Like I said, it was a tough angle for him. But truthfully, the ball popped out. … Stuff like that happens. They’re not perfect. He said out right away, so what was I supposed to do? Run back to left field? I ran off the field.”
Said DiMuro: “Now that I see the tape it’s obvious that the ball fell out of his glove. In hindsight, I should have asked him to show me the ball since he fell into the stands and out of my line of vision.”
After seeing a replay between innings, Jack Hannahan — who hit the ball — got into an argument with DiMuro in the middle of the eighth inning and was ejected. Hannahan thought DiMuro had also blown a fair/foul call on Chris Stewart’s RBI single in the second inning.
“By the time you find out, it’s too late,” Indians umpire Manny Acta said. “We knew because they didn’t show it on the board. It’s a great play, how come you’re not showing it on the board for the fans? We were discussing that with the umpires. What can he do? He can’t see the guy picking up the ball over there. He felt bad, but the damage was done.”
Acta had no problem with Wise’s reaction — “If you can get an out, why not?” Acta said. “We’ve had phantom tags in baseball forever.” — and Wise rewarded the left-field fans a little later in the game.
“I threw a ball over there a couple of innings later,” Wise said. “They already had one.”
• If not for the Wise non-catch, this game would have been all about a bounceback start for Hughes, who rebounded for him a rocky outing last week against the Braves to pitch through the eighth inning for the second time this month. “My fastball was good,” Hughes said. “I threw some good curveballs when I needed to. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen an all-left-handed lineup before, and I’m pretty comfortable with my fastball going into lefties. I did that a lot and things worked out.”
• Hughes ERA is down to 4.48, the lowest it’s been since his first start of the season. The difference between this start and his last one? “Just trying to keep my fastball more true, which I struggled with early I think,” Hughes said. “I did a better job as the game progressed. It’s the same things we’ve been working on; sometimes you have to chalk it up you didn’t have your stuff that day and go from there.”
• Asked when he knew he had good stuff, Hughes said the answer was, never. “It wasn’t great, I didn’t think,” he said. “I was able to work and locate some pitches pretty well, but it wasn’t the best stuff I’ve had all year. I had a good curveball, especially to my arm side, that allowed me to get out of some situations. It’s not the best stuff I had, especially early. I think I found a little bit better stuff as the game progressed.”
• Catcher Chris Stewart said Hughes made up for his lack of stuff by staying aggressive. “Forcing them to hit the ball,” Stewart said. “He wasn’t shying away from anybody. He was forcing them to try to hit his fastball.”
• The Wise play might have helped Hughes get through the night without a run, but he also did a nice job getting out of some trouble by himself. “Really impressed, and you can look at the (seventh), where he gets a runner on second with nobody out,” Joe Girardi said. “All three innings (the fifth, sixth and seventh). It ends up those runs might have meant something when you look at the game now. It’s really impressive what he did.”
• Speaking of meaning something now, Cory Wade had another rough outing in that four-run ninth. It’s becoming a trend for him lately. “Couple of balls over the middle and they hit them well,” Stewart said. “Kind of sucks. That one ball that Damon hit just fell in there. That could have been the end of the game, no runs given up.”
• Girardi said some of the same stuff — if a few balls go just a little differently, Wade might have had a scoreless innings — but he also acknowledged that Wade’s command hasn’t been nearly as good as it was earlier this season when he was a go-to setup man. Girardi doesn’t believe he’s hurt. “His velocity is the same,” Girardi said. “If I saw a real drop in velocity, I’d be concerned. I just think he’s struggling right now.”
• The Yankees are now a season-high 17 games over .500. … They’ve won seven of their past eight series and nine of their past 11. … They’ve won 10 of their past 14 home games and 14 of their past 17 overall.
• Alex Rodriguez hit his 13th homer of the year, but the Yankees didn’t lean on the home run in this one. They went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position, including 3-for-4 in their three-run second inning. “We only hit one homer tonight!” Girardi said. “It was really good. It was important. We had some big hits by some guys. Masterson’s sinker is crazy. The thing is moving all over the place. Guys are shaking their heads. Righties are saying, ‘Come on, lefties.’ It comes in on the right-handed hitters. He’s a tough guy to hit, so for us to manufacture some runs was pretty impressive.”
• Russell Martin said his back injury is less significant than the one he had last season. “Last year was worse,” he said. “I don’t know how much time I missed last year, but it’s definitely not as severe as it was last year. It’s just something small. I’ll take care of it. If I had to play today, I’d play.”
• Rafael Soriano faced one batter and got his 16th save of the season.
• Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 and now has a .327 average on his birthday. His next hit will tie Cal Ripken for 13th on baseball’s all-time hits list.
Associated Press photos