Archive for March, 2013
Tough calls and good players • 03.31.13
“It’s going to cut into some aspect. There are only 40 spots. What are you going to do? … We’re going to have to make tough calls that are going to affect good players. That’s life in the big city, at least this particular year.”
Those tough calls included taking a gamble by releasing David Adams, giving up on the low-risk investment into David Aardsma, and today designating for assignment a true left-on-left specialist in Clay Rapada. Why Rapada? Because there really wasn’t a pain-free alternative. The Yankees could have…
Designated Cody Eppley… But that would have solved nothing. In the process of losing Eppley, the Yankees would have opened a hole on the 25-man roster. And who would have filled it? Unless your answer is Brett Marshall, Francisco Rondon, Dellin Betances or Nik Turley, the Yankees would have been forced to DFA yet another player on top of Eppley.
Put Mark Teixeira on the 60-day… But that would have guaranteed losing Teixeira for two months, and right now, the Yankees are still hopeful that he’ll miss only one month. Teixeira is scheduled to visit the doctor on Monday, and there’s a chance he’ll have his brace removed, which would be a good sign that he’s moving in the right direction.
Designated Adam Warren… But that would have meant giving up on a guy who had a strong second half out of the Triple-A rotation last year. Sure, Warren’s long-man spot could have been filled by Marshall, but there’s probably more value in a 25-year-old starting pitcher than a 32-year-old lefty specialist. Especially with Rondon, Vidal Nuno, Juan Cedeno and Josh Spence in the organization. The Yankees actually have quite a few viable lefties right now.
Designated Melky Mesa… Or Corban Joseph. Or Zoilo Almonte. Basically, the Yankees could have cut some position depth in order to keep Rapada as bullpen depth. All about priorities, though, similar to the idea of designating Warren. It’s a matter of which one you’d rather have, a young player who may or may not help at the big league level, or a veteran who you know can help in a limited role. The trick that worked with Adams — release and hope he re-signs — isn’t something the Yankees would be able to pull off in every situation.
I happen to like Rapada quit a bit. I like talking to him in the clubhouse; I like that he does one particular thing awfully well. But given the alternatives, I’m not sure the Yankees made the wrong call here. The emergence of Nuno and the strong spring by Spence certainly give the Yankees left-handed depth even without Rapada. The 40-man was impossibly tight, and the Yankees managed to make their choices without losing a young player and without losing an irreplaceable big leaguer.
Associated Press photo
Rapada DFA as Yankees set Opening Day roster • 03.31.13
To open a spot on the Yankees 40-man roster, lefty Clay Rapada has been designated for assignment. The move clears the way for Lyle Overbay to make the Opening Day roster. Here’s the roster.
52 CC Sabathia
18 Hiroki Kuroda
46 Andy Pettitte
47 Ivan Nova
41 David Phelps
42 Mariano Rivera
30 Dave Robertson
62 Joba Chamberlain
48 Boone Logan
27 Shawn Kelley
38 Cody Eppley
43 Adam Warren
29 Francisco Cervelli
19 Chris Stewart
55 Lyle Overbay
24 Robinson Cano
36 Kevin Youkilis
26 Eduardo Nunez
17 Jayson Nix
33 Travis Hafner
11 Brett Gardner
31 Ichiro Suzuki
12 Vernon Wells
45 Ben Francisco
22 Brennan Boesch
15-DAY DISABLED LIST
65 Phil Hughes
2 Derek Jeter
25 Mark Teixeira
14 Curtis Granderson
60-DAY DISABLED LIST
71 Cesar Cabral
35 Michael Pineda
13 Alex Rodriguez
Associated Press photo
Cashman: “Our job is to find a way” • 03.31.13
Brian Cashman’s broken right fibula has become symbolic of the state of the Yankees.
It’s a team is so bruised and battered, even its general manager is wearing a cast.
The Yankees’ center fielder, shortstop, third baseman, first baseman, No. 4 starter and lefty specialist are each on the disabled list. Their No. 2 and 3 starters, corner outfielders, replacement corner infielders, closer and designated hitter are each 34 or older. It seems that expectations — at least from those outside of the Yankees clubhouse — have not been lower since before the late 90s dynasty.
But Cashman has not only been symbolic of the Yankees holes, he’s also been a vocal leader in their defiant reaction to those who doubt them. Opening Day is one day away, and the Yankees will either crumble or prove some folks wrong.
“We’re down, but don’t count us out,” Cashman said yesterday. “Our job is to make sure we find a way. I’ve been using the words — I’ve repeated it a few times now already because it seems to fit — we need to find a way to survive and thrive despite what’s occurred. That’s what good baseball teams do. The injuries occur to teams on a yearly basis whether they occur in March or July or August. They come. You have to find a way to survive and thrive, regardless. Our job is to do that.
“We have a lot of talent, so we’ll focus on what we have and continue to try to find a way to reinforce that roster and wait for the guys that are down to come back. The schedule is not going to wait for us, so we’re not going to cry. We’re just going to go forward and fight and find a way. That’s what we intend to do. We have a lot of players here that believe in themselves and that believe in each other. We know our competition is fierce and tough and hungry. We made a lot of enemies for the last 20 years, 18 years, whatever it’s been. People want to take advantage if we’re down. Our job is to say, we’re not down. Our job is to prove we’re not down. Our job is to find a way.
“And we expect to do that.”
A few quick notes today.
• Travis Hafner being scratched from the lineup sounds like a non-issue. “He just wasn’t able to do his normal routine, his normal cage stuff,” Joe Girardi said. “He was a little stiff. Nothing to be concerned about. He spends a lot of time getting loose every day and doing his routine, getting in hot tubs and taking his time in the cage. We just didn’t have time to do that today.”
• Alex Rodriguez will be at Yankee Stadium for Monday’s opener. Whether he’ll actually be a part of the pregame ceremony or address the media remains uncertain. “I haven’t asked,” Girardi said. “I don’t see why he wouldn’t necessarily do it. He’s part of our team. I don’t know what the expectation is, but he’s part of our team and I’m looking forward to seeing him.”
• As expected, Cody Eppley and Adam Warren have been given the final two spots in the Yankees bullpen. Girardi made those decisions official after today’s game.
• Also as expected, Brennan Boesch will get the final spot on the Yankees bench. He’s the only position player on the roster who doesn’t have an obvious role. “I could do a lot of different things with him,” Girardi said. “I could DH him possibly on a day. I could put him in the outfield. I could pinch hit with him. I could do a lot of different things with him. He’ll get some starts. He’s a guy that we believe has a big upside.”
• Apparently the Yankees made the decision a few days ago to have Vidal Nuno start today’s game instead of Adam Warren, who pitched an inning of relief. Girardi didn’t address it, but it makes sense to have Warren pitch out of the pen since he’s going to be in a relief role to open the season.
Hafner scratched with stiffness • 03.30.13
Travis Hafner has been scratched from the lineup with what the Yankees are calling general stiffness. Brennan Boesch will DH in his place. Should have more information postgame.
Meanwhile, this place is awesome, but the Internet at the stadium is a bit spotty. I am not able to access the blog except on my phone, so for now lets consider this the game post.
If you are able to follow along, feel free to discuss the game here.
Nuno, not Warren, starting vs. Army • 03.30.13
Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Francisco Cervelli C
LHP Vidal Nuno
The last one that doesn’t count • 03.30.13
The picture above is from the Army baseball field at West Point, where extra seating has been added for today’s Yankees game. I’m about to leave for West Point right now. The Yankees themselves might already be there. They’re scheduled to receive a tour of the grounds and each lunch with the cadets before playing their final exhibition of the spring.
Frankly, there doesn’t seem to be very much to learn today. The Yankees essentially set their roster yesterday when they cut David Aardsma and shipped Vidal Nuno and Melky Mesa to minor league camp. Barring another waiver claim or trade addition, the Yankees seem to be on track to carry Shawn Kelley, Cody Eppley and Adam Warren as their final pitchers; and Ben Francisco, Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch as their final position players.
They still have to officially put Phil Hughes, Clay Rapada, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the disabled list, but that’s little more than a technicality. They also have to open a 40-man spot for Overbay, which presents an interesting decision.
For now, here are two numbers that are fairly surprising.
A full 20 percent of the Yankees Opening Day roster will be made up of players who weren’t with the Yankees when spring training started. Kelley came over in a trade one day after pitchers reported to camp, and Francisco, Overbay, Boesch and Vernon Wells were each acquired in the past three weeks.
But that’s nothing compared to this…
The Yankees lineup on Monday is expected to have only two players — Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner — who were in the Opening Day lineup last year. Two!
Associated Press photo
Yankees announce Opening Day details • 03.29.13
Here are the basics from the Yankees…
The New York Yankees will play their 111th Opening Day game in franchise history on Monday, April 1 vs. the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.
Gates will open to fans with valid tickets beginning at 11:00 a.m., with festivities slated to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. with the introduction of both teams on the baselines. The Yankees ask their fans to please budget ample time when planning their trip to the Stadium and urge their fans to use public transportation.
Lou Piniella, who will be honored with the “Pride of the Yankees Award” at the 2013 Homecoming Dinner following the Opening Day game, will throw out the Opening Day ceremonial first pitch. He will become the 12th former Yankees player to receive the Opening Day honor. A Tampa native, Piniella played his final 11 Major League seasons with the Yankees (1974-84) and was a pivotal piece of their World Series Championship teams in 1977 and 1978. He also managed the Yankees from 1986-87, and took over as the Yankees’ general manager for the 1988 season and also resumed his manager’s role in June of that year.
As previously released, the Yankees and the Red Sox will stand together in dedicating the 2013 Opening Day game to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, their families and the greater community of Newtown. Pregame ceremonies will feature joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence, during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims’ names will be recognized on the center-field video board.
The Yankees and Red Sox will also wear a special ribbon on their uniforms for Opening Day to honor those lost and those affected by the tragedy.
Constantine Maroulis, Tony nominee and star of the Jekyll & Hyde Broadway musical scheduled to open on April 5, will sing the national anthem. In addition, a giant American flag will be unfurled by 75 West Point Cadets.
During the seventh-inning stretch, Alli Mauzey of the Broadway hit Wicked will perform “God Bless America.”
Pitching matchups vs. Boston • 03.29.13
These are the pitching matchups for the Yankees opening series against the Red Sox. The statistics are last year’s regular season numbers.
LHP CC Sabathia (15-6, 3.38)
LHP Jon Lester (9-14, 4.82)
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32)
RHP Clay Buchholz (11-8, 4.56)
LHP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87)
RHP Ryan Dempster (12-8, 3.38)