The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for July, 2012

Cashman: “We’ll do nothing, most likely”07.31.12

Baseball’s trade deadline is a little more than seven hours away, and if Brian Cashman has another trick up his sleeve, he’s keeping it well hidden.

“A big day where we’ll do nothing, most likely,” he said.

Cashman said before last night’s game that he was “not at all” optimistic about making a move before today’s 4 p.m. deadline. It’s typical of Cashman to downplay his activity, but he rarely issues an absolute denial when he really has something cooking. Yesterday he sounded like a man who had already made his mid-season splash with the Ichiro trade.

“It’s gotten really quiet,” he said. “Things have just gotten quiet all of a sudden. There have been a lot of moves before (the deadline) so I’m not going to count anything out. … There are some very motivated buyers that you’ve seen, and some very reluctant sellers. It’s always difficult to agree on price regardless. I’m very comfortable that I know we’re getting our guys back from the DL. It’s just trying to maintain health, stay healthy and get healthy, and keep going with what you’ve got.”

Of course, all of this was said before Mark Teixeira’s injury. Teixeira is going for an MRI today, and it’s hard to say whether the Yankees will have those results in time to react within the trade market. It’s also unclear whether they would even be interested in reacting within the trade market, given they have some guys who could fill-in temporarily at first base. Cashman did make it very clear that he was satisfied at the other infield corner even without Alex Rodriguez.

“I’m comfortable with my current alternatives, with Chavez and Nix,” Cashman said. “They’ve both done a really nice job for us. We need Alex back, especially that power right-handed balance in the lineup. A consistent threat you can run out there, we miss that. I think in the Boston series you saw that because they threw a bunch of lefties at us. Joe’s choices aren’t as obvious as they would be if we were at full strength, trying to match up against lefty and righty starters. But I’m very comfortable with what we have. I just hope we can stay healthy there.”

Staying healthy is the key, and even if Teixeira’s injury is significant, the Yankees are clearly not planning to add significant long-term payroll. If they take on much money, the payments would have to stop short of 2014. That, Cashman said, is the reason he’s not at all in the mix for Cliff Lee.

“I’m not allowed to speak about another team’s player,” he said. “But if there was a hypothetical mythical beast that makes like $25 million a year for the next X amount of years that became hitting the market, we certainly could not participate in that type of level financial talent.”

And so, Cashman has — for now — set the stage for a quiet Yankees deadline. Things change in a hurry around here, but last night, Cashman certainly didn’t speak like a man on the verge of making a move.

“It’s possible,” he said. “But I highly doubt it.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 147 Comments →

Postgame notes: “It’s a big concern”07.30.12

Turns out, Mark Teixeira actually hurt himself last night. He was trying to play through it tonight, and landing awkwardly on his glove wasn’t part of the plan.

“Yesterday, third at-bat against Doubront, swung through a pitch and it just didn’t feel right,” Teixeira explained. “Played through it yesterday. Got a lot of treatment last night. I had treatment today. It just didn’t feel good again today. And then when I dove, I landed right on my glove and I just tweaked it even more. I went back in the dugout, in the clubhouse, tried to swing the bat and just couldn’t do it.”

Teixeira will go for an MRI tomorrow. He said he’ll almost certainly miss tomorrow night’s game, but his concern is “low” that this is a significant injury.

“Not crazy concerned because like I said, I tried to play through it,” he said. “It’s one of those things if you really hurt yourself bad, you’re out and you can’t do much. I was kind of nursing it today when I was swinging so hopefully it’s just a couple of days and I can get back out there. … More achy and sore than major pain. That’s why I feel okay about it. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Of course, if it is serious, the Yankees won’t have much time to make a significant move to find a replacement at first base. Baseball’s trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and Brian Cashman said before tonight game that he had nothing in the works. He indicated that there was no sense of urgency because the Yankees expected to get several key pieces — Joba Chamberlain, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte — off the disabled list before the end of the season. Adding Teixeira to that listed of wounded, though, would be yet another significant blow.

“It’s a big concern,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s a huge part of our lineup and hopefully it’s only a couple of days, but we’ll find out more tomorrow.”

• The Yankees have now lost three in a row and eight of their past 11. Six of those eight losses have been by one run. “I think you’d be more concerned if you were getting pounded,” Girardi said. “We’ve had a chance to win a lot of those eight of 11 games. If you get yourself in enough of those opportunities, you’re going to start to win them. I think we’re playing pretty decent baseball. We’re pitching well. It’s just been a lot of those types of games.”

• By the way, Russell Branyan is on the Triple-A disabled list, so he’s not a first-base option right now. If the Yankees had to fill a first-base hole from within, it might be more likely that they would call up an outfielder — Chris Dickerson, Jack Cust, maybe even Ronnier Mustelier — and use Nick Swisher at first base. But that’s just a guess.

• Teixeira said his swing hurts from both sides. “It’s probably worse right-handed, because that’s how I hurt it with a right-handed swing,” he said. “But I feel it from both sides.”

• The injury is near the bottom of Teixeira’s wrist, close to where his wrist meets his hand. Not sure that’s important information, but might as well let ya know.

• The Yankees have homered in 18 straight home games, their second-longest such streak at the current Yankee Stadium. They homered in 20 straight in 2009.

• Ichiro Suzuki’s home run was his first as a Yankee and the 100th of his career. He seemed to care more about hitting his first with the Yankees than hitting his 100th overall. “I’ve been playing for 11 and a half years,” he said. “So 100 home runs, not that I’m embarrassed, but it’s not something to make a big deal out of.”

• Ichiro on hitting his first homer for the Yankees: “That was very special. To go out there and have the fans react the way they did toward me, that was very special.”

• The Yankees had a leadoff hit in both the eighth and ninth innings and couldn’t get a run across. Raul Ibanez was especially mad at himself for striking out immediately after Swisher doubled in the ninth. “I was trying to get the ball on the ground,” Ibanez said. “I was trying to get the guy over to third base. I just didn’t get it done, and I’ve got to be better about it.”

• Pretty typical Freddy Garcia start. He wasn’t great, but he didn’t walk anyone and he limited the damage enough to give the Yankees a chance. The only RBI hit he allowed was a home run in the third inning. “The home run, he don’t really hit that ball (well), but when you play here, that happens,” Garcia said.

• On what made Miguel Gonzalez so effective: “I don’t think it’s a matter of trying too hard,” Girardi said. “I think the kid did a nice job of mixing in his offspeed when he was behind in the count, expanding when he was ahead in the count, using his fastball on both sides of the plate.”

• Last word goes to Girardi, speaking about the Yankees injuries this season: “It is concerning, but no one is going to feel sorry for us. We got guys that are still capable of getting the job done, and that’s what you have to do. We’ve been able to overcome a lot of things up to this point, you just continue to do it.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 70 Comments →

Teixeira going for tests on injured wrist07.30.12

Mark Teixeira hurt his left wrist on that diving play in the seventh. He is going for tests tomorrow and Joe Girardi called it a big concern.

More later…

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 140 Comments →

Yankees lose third straight07.30.12

The Yankees comeback fell one run short tonight, and they were left with their third straight loss at Yankee Stadium. The second-place Orioles escaped with a 5-4 win, holding on after Eric Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki hit back-to-back homers to pull the Yankees within a run in the bottom of the seventh. The Yankees never got the final run they needed to complete the rally and have now lost eight of their past 11. The Yankees took an early lead on Chavez’s RBI single in the second inning, but the Orioles answered right back with a solo homer in the third. Back-to-back sacrifice flies put the Orioles in front 3-1 in the fifth, then they build breathing room with two more runs in the seventh. Freddy Garcia allowed three runs through six innings.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 47 Comments →

Game 102: Yankees vs. Orioles07.30.12

YANKEES (60-41)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

RHP Freddy Garcia (4-4, 5.16)
Garcia vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (53-49)
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Lew Ford LF
Wilson Betemit 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Omar Quintanilla 2B

RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.28)
Gonzalez has never faced the Yankees

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

WEATHER: Temperatures in the 70s. After a few days in Missouri, it feels much, much colder.

UMPIRES: HP Ron Kulpa, 1B Derryl Cousins, 2B Alan Porter, 3B Jim Wolf

TEX MESSAGE: Mark Teixeira is hitting .316 with 16 runs, five doubles, a triple, seven homers and 27 RBI in his past 22 games. His 27 RBI are the most in the Majors this month, and his second-most in a single month since coming to the Yankees.

STANDARD FIRST-TIME-STARTER NOTE: The Yankees will face RHP Miguel Gonzalez for the first time tonight. According to Elias, the Yankees are 27-13 over the last two years (2011-12) in games in which they are opposed by a starting pitcher who they were facing for the first time. That includes a 10-8 mark this season. The Yankees?won their last such game after four consecutive losses in such games.

ON THIS DATE: On July 30, 1890, Casey Stengel was born in Kansas City. Stengel managed the Yankees for 12 seasons and won seven World Series.

UPDATE, 7:36 p.m.: There’s a two-out single by Ibanez, first hit of the day for the Yankees.

UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: RBI single by starting third baseman Eric Chavez, and it’s now a 1-0 Yankees lead in the second.

UPDATE, 7:44 p.m.: Orioles get that run right back on Betemit’s homer in the third. It’s 1-1.

UPDATE, 8:13 p.m.: Cano hit one hard, but it’s an out and the Yankees are held scoreless in the fourth. It’s still 1-1.

UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Sac fly. Another sac fly. And now it’s 3-1 Orioles.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Ibanez’s 14th homer of the year has made this a one-run game. He’s been pretty much exactly what the Yankees thought he would be. He hits for power, which is enough to have an impact despite the low average and OBP.

UPDATE, 9:21 p.m.: Chavez’s ninth homer of the season might have carried more weight had the Orioles not pulled away with two more runs in the top of the seventh. Instead of tying the game, Chavez’s homer simply pulls the Yankees within 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh.

UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Ichiro’s first homer as a Yankee is the 100th of his career, and it’s pulled the Yankees within 5-4.

UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: Teixeira is out of the game after that diving play in the seventh. No word on an injury.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 488 Comments →

Pregame notes: “We can afford to do this”07.30.12

According to Nick Swisher, there’s nothing to see here. His strained hip flexor feels fine, he hasn’t told the Yankees that he needs more time at DH, and the team is simply being extra cautious by keeping him out of the field for a few days.

“We can afford to do this,” Swisher said. “I guess that’s kind of the answer. Why wouldn’t we, I guess. As soon as we get back on the field and we’re playing, you don’t want to leave for the rest of the time. If we can soak up a few DH days, yesterday and today, then maybe tomorrow we’ll go out and play the field just depending on how everything feels. Then we’ll just go from there.”

Girardi paints only a slightly different picture.

“Just from some of the discussions I’ve had with him tells me to continue DHing him,” Girardi said. “I might DH him every day in these next three days. I’m not sure. I’ll continue to discuss it with him and see how he feels.”

Swisher said he hasn’t had any sort of setback and the injury, “feels good, man.” But he’s still spending time on the trainer’s table getting some treatment on that groin/quad/hip situation. He said Girardi is just “helping me out a little bit” by giving him a few more DH days.

“I think you just have to be smart about it,” Girardi said. “And we’ve told him to be smart about it and continue to communicate. Sometimes with playesrs, you have to listen real closely.”

• Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to make another rehab appearance for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday. “I felt ready a month ago,” Chamberlain said. “Now it’s just continuing to get into game situations. You can go into any game situation and be ready, but to go through the experiences and the process that we’ve gone through so far, has helped us to get better and clean some things up. We’ve got to continue to focus on everything that we got to this point. Even when I do get back, it’s to still focus on everything we’ve done to get me back to this point and to keep building on that.”

• Chamberlain said he was encouraged by yesterday’s outing for two reasons: 1. His offspeed stuff showed a little more velocity, and 2. He got up, sat down without getting in the game, then got loose again to pitch the next inning. “That’s something I hadn’t experienced yet, so it was good to get under my belt,” he said.

• Girardi on Chamberlain: “The report we got on him yesterday is he continues to improve. His command has gotten better, his breaking balls have gotten sharper, and I think that’s the important thing. He went, I think, one and a third yesterday, gave up a hit and struck out three and his stuff was pretty good yesterday.”

• Russell Martin gets a standard day off with Freddy Garcia on the mound. Chris Stewart has been regularly catching Garcia.

• Girardi on reports of Andy Pettitte suffering a setback: “Everyone is going to call it a setback. I guess in all situations when you’re healing at one rate and it changes how you feel — when a bone is healing, it’s not always going to go like this (points up). Sometimes it’ll go like this (up and down) a little bit. Same with any strained muscle. We’ve said all along this is a 60-day injury, at least. If you don’t pick up a baseball and throw off a mound for at least six weeks, 60 days is pretty tough to get back by, because you’re talking about 42 days where you have to build a guy back up. As far as a setback, I wouldn’t call it a setback. I think it’s part of the healing process.”

• Girardi said it was always “pushing it” to think Pettitte would miss only 60 days with this injury. He still expects Pettitte back in September.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 62 Comments →

Swisher still at DH07.30.12

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

RHP Freddy Garcia

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 282 Comments →

Pitching matchups vs. Orioles07.30.12

RHP Freddy Garcia (4-4, 5.16)
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.28)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.08)
RHP Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network 

RHP Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.08)
LHP Zach Britton (1-0, 5.74)
1:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 192 Comments →

Joba: “I can go get guys out right now”07.30.12

I got an email from Chad last night with some fresh Joba quotes as per Mike Ashmore, who covers the Trenton Thunder. You can find some video of Joba pitching on his blog, Mike Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts. After another outing in which he did not allow a run (1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 K, 30 pitches, 23 strikes), used all four of his pitches, and hit 98 mph on Sunday, he made it clear that he feels he’s ready for the next level.

“Without a doubt,” Chamberlain said. “Obviously the physical part is over, now it’s the mental part. That’s the hardest thing. Obviously, knowing that I could throw everything with conviction was the least of my concerns. Now it’s just getting in the pace of the game, and getting in the flow, and having an idea of what you want to do from pitch to pitch. Not looking back an inning later after you’ve given up a couple hits and realizing what you did.

“If you’re late with your arm, correcting it during that at-bat and not having to wait. I think that’s the biggest thing that we’ve done and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job. I have out pitches I can go to if my fastball’s been missing to get me back out front and go from there. So, without a doubt in my mind, I feel like I can go get guys out right now and help us in the big leagues.”

It seems like Joba’s stuff is back for the most part. He’s had high radar gun readings in each of his rehab appearances, and the results have been very encouraging. He knows his time is coming, and he sounds like he’s eager to prove that he still has it.

Joe Girardi acknowledged that Joba has to be on the big league roster by August 6, but the Yankees might be tempted to bring him up before then. Of course, Girardi didn’t want to give too much away about what they’re thinking.

“I think as a player it’s important to take it day-by-day,” Girardi said on Sunday. “There is a finish – there is a 30-day period. He knew of that, and we’re aware of that. You don’t want to rush a player… And Joba you have to remember hasn’t pitched in awhile. He hasn’t pitched in really over a year at this level, so we have to make sure that he’s prepared.”

Photo from Mike Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts blog

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Miscwith 118 Comments →

Postgame notes: “He hit it where no one could catch it”07.30.12

There were plenty of positives for the Yankees to take away from in tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox, but the bottom line in the clubhouse was that a loss is a loss.

“It’s tough,” Russell Martin said. “I felt like Hiro kept us in the game. He threw the ball really well. Really just one mistake early in the game to (Ryan) Sweeney, but other than that he was tremendous.”

Hiroki Kuroda gutted his way through eight innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out four. The key to his outing was inducing four double plays, as he continues to show the ability to bear down in a big spot.

The Yankees also got positive contributions from Russell Martin, and Nick Swisher had two hits in his return to the lineup after an eight day absence. But the rest of the Yankee bats went cold against Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, and David Robertson got burned by a game-winning bloop hit from Pedro Ciriaco in a wild top of the tenth.

“It’s tough, but it’s part of the game,” Robertson said. “I made a good pitch, but he hit it where no one could catch it. It’s a tough break.”

• This was the second consecutive game in which Ciriaco came up with the big hit. He’s earning the reputation of a Yankee killer, with an even .500 average (11 for 22) with six RBI in six games against the Yankees this season. “Fastball in, trying to jam him,” Martin said of the pitch that Ciriaco blooped into right field. “We did just that, but he found a hole and caught a break.”

• Prior to Ciriaco’s hit, there was some controversy and fireworks in the tenth. Will Middlebrooks got hit in the hand, but rather than being awarded first base, it was determined by the umps that he was attempting to lay down a bunt. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine ended up getting tossed, much to the delight of the crowd. He was immediately followed by Josh Beckett, who got the boot for shouting from the dugout. “I probably would have argued myself,” Girardi said. “But I thought he attempted to bunt.”

• Robertson ended up giving up a single to Middlebrooks, but he felt that the most important at-bat of the inning was the first one — a walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “Leadoff walks always come back to haunt you,” D-Rob said.

• While Robertson wasn’t at his best, Kuroda put forth a really gutsy effort. After giving up two runs in the second on a double from Sweeney, he did a great job of limiting damage throughout the game. He has not earned a loss in his last seven starts. “I think even though I gave up some hits, I tried concentrating on keeping everything down and I was able to get some double plays,” Kuroda said.

• Before Ciriaco put Boston ahead in the tenth, it was Martin who looked like he would be the star of the game. He’s still hitting under .200, but he went 2 for 2 with two walks, two RBI and a big homer. He led off the seventh with a solo shot, and then laced a clutch, two-out RBI single up the gut to tie the game at 2-2 in the eighth. “We’ve said all along that we thought his at-bats in the second half have been really good,” Joe Girardi said. “And we see a different hitter. He had two big RBI tonight – the only two that we get.”

• Martin didn’t really seem to buy into the idea that he looks like a different hitter, but he did admit to feeling much more comfortable at the plate. “I don’t know if I feel like a different hitter,” he said. “I feel good right now. I feel like I’m seeing the ball well, and that’s the first key…. I’m holding my hands a little bit higher; I feel like I’m a bit freer out there. I feel like my hands are going through the zone better.”

• Before Martin put some runs on the board later in the game, Doubront had looked very sharp through the first six innings. He struck out seven and allowed just four hits, not giving up many hard hit balls at all. He did walk five — which is what drove up his pitch count and forced him to come out with one out in the seventh — but the Yankees failed to make him pay for the extra baserunners. “Just using all of his pitches,” Girardi said of Doubront. “His changeup was good, his fastball was locating, his cutter was good, and he threw enough curveballs to keep our guys off balance.”

• Ichiro ended up with an infield single and a stolen base, but he also came up lame in a couple of big spots. In each of his first two at-bats he came up with two runners on, but he failed to do anything productive in either situation. He still doesn’t seem to be driving the ball with authority.

• Girardi was asked if he felt that the Red Sox are playing with more of a sense of urgency than the Yankees. Boston has been up-and-down all season, and will need a strong final two months to reach the postseason. “I think from everything that I see, they’re not uptight,” he said. “I think they’re playing pretty loose… They’re a talented group – no doubt about it.”

• The biggest reason that the Yankees struggled to score runs tonight: their 1-4 hitters combined to go 1 for 19 with six strikeouts. Ouch.

• The Yankees — who were the hottest team in baseball for a stretch of over a month — have now lost seven out of 10. Blip in the radar? Or legitimate reason to be concerned?

• Also, can you believe that this was the first extra inning game at Yankee Stadium this season?

Associated Press photos

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Miscwith 80 Comments →

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