The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for March, 2013

Nuno and Mesa sent to minor league camp03.29.13

Here are the moves of the day. Am I missing something or does this essentially guarantee that Brennan Boesch, Cody Eppley and Adam Warren will make the team (barring any last-minute addition)?

– Optioned OF Melky Mesa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

– Reassigned to minor league camp: RHPs Jim Miller, Preston Claiborne and Branden Pinder; LHPs Juan Cedeno, Vidal Nuno and Josh Spence; C Bobby Wilson; INFs Dan Johnson, Jose Pirela and Gil Velazquez; and OF Thomas Neal.

– Outrighted RHP Sam Demel to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

– RHP Danny Otero claimed off waivers by Oakland.

– Re-signed INF David Adams to a minor league contract.

– Designated RHP David Aardsma for assignment.

– INF Jayson Nix and OF Ben Francisco added to the 40-man roster.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 67 Comments →

Overbay officially makes the team03.29.13

From the guys covering the team down in D.C., Lyle Overbay was just told that he has made the Yankees Opening Day roster. Overbay will be introduced at Yankee Stadium on Monday, less than a week after signing with the Yankees.

Also, Jayson Nix, Ben Francisco and Shawn Kelley have made the team.

By my count, that leaves two bullpen spots — could the Aardsma DFA open a spot for Vidal Nuno? — and one bench spot. The open bench spot will, presumably, go to Brennan Boesch, who took ground balls at first base today.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 21 Comments →

Aardsma designated for assignment03.29.13

In the last week of spring training, Joe Girardi did not seem sold on David Aardsma. Now the team has designated Aardsma for assignment.

“He didn’t really fit,” Girardi said.

Make that three bullpen spots up for grabs.

Andrew Marchand is reporting that Shawn Kelley has made the team, presumably in Aardsma’s place.

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Quick postgame notes: Adams, Teixiera, Jeter03.29.13

There’s a chance the Yankees will announce some roster decisions now that today’s game has ended. For now, here are a few quick things…

• Turns out, Brian Cashman and Co. knew what they were doing with the David Adams decision. Adams became a free agent today and re-signed a minor league deal with the Yankees. I was as stunned as anyone when the Yankees announced the release — in fact, I felt certain someone had misspoken — but it worked out.

• Mark Teixeira said yesterday that he will visit the Yankees team doctor on Monday, and he’s hoping the brace will come off his right wrist soon after, maybe even immediately after. Today, Teixeira was going through one-handed fielding drills at first base, and he’s hoping to take two-handed swings in two weeks. He’s been swinging with only his left hand since Sunday. Teixeira believes he could be in a game as early as May 1.

• No real news here, but Cashman said once again that Derek Jeter will not do any baseball activity until Monday. The chances of Jeter actually being activated on April 6 seem incredibly slim.

• In case you missed it, the Yankees beat the Nationals 4-2. Andy Pettitte allowed two runs — one earned — through six inning, and Joba Chamberlain, Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera closed the game with a scoreless inning each. Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells each doubled. Kevin Youkilis hit his sixth spring homer.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 19 Comments →

Exhibition game: Yankees at Nationals03.29.13

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0, 4.82)

Denard Span CF
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper LF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Wilson Ramos C
Steve Lombardozzi DH

RHP Jordan Zimmerman (0-1, 5.49)

TIME/TV: 2:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid 50s. Minimal chance of rain.

UMPIRES: HP Vic Carapazza, 1B D.J. Reyburn, 2B Chris Conroy, 3B Adam Hamari

SLOWLY MOVING NORTH: The Yankees flew out of Tampa last night and they’re making their way north. First stop, Washington D.C. for today’s exhibition against the Nationals. It will be the Yankees final tune up against Major League competition. They play Army tomorrow afternoon at West Point, then they’ll take Sunday off before opening at home against the Red Sox on Monday.

LINE THEM UP: The Red Sox are scheduled to start lefty Jon Lester on Opening Day, so today’s lineup might not be indicative of the Yankees batting order on Monday. It might, however, be a good indication of the team’s regular lineup against right-handers. Manager Joe Girardi has indicated that he’s willing to bat three lefties in a row at the top of the order.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Yankees will make a final decision on Lyle Overbay after today’s game. He seems to have a roster spot locked up, but I guess you just never know until it’s a done deal. … This is Andy Pettitte’s final start before he pitches next week’s series finale against the Red Sox. … I haven’t seen a list of scheduled relievers, but two bullpen spots still seem fairly up for grabs. The Yankees might have favorites in mind, but from the outside, there seem to be six or seven guys in the mix. … It’s doubtful the Yankees regulars will get more than one or two at-bats against Army, so this should be the final extended playing time before the opener.

UPDATE, 2:19 p.m.: Bryce Harper just singled off Pettitte. Last time Harper faced Pettitte in D.C., Pettitte struck him out three times as part of a five-strikeout day for Harper.

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Yankees turn to regulars for next-to-last exhibition03.29.13

As far as I know, Sweeny Murti is the only Yankees reporter attempting to cover both ends of these final back-to-back exhibition games. I flew to New York this morning, just got to my apartment less than an hour ago, and I’ll be at West Point tomorrow. For today, though, I’m a bit of a distant observer.

Today’s Yankees lineup — against right-hander Jordan Zimmerman — may very well be the regular Yankees lineup you’ll see against righties the first few weeks of the regular season. How this lineup looks probably depends on your expectations for Hafner and Wells.

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

LHP Andy Pettitte

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 198 Comments →

Getting out of Tampa03.29.13

The Yankees listed 43 players to leave Tampa last night and travel to Washington D.C. for the first of two final exhibition games before Opening Day. Barring a late-minute trade or waiver claim, the Yankees will trim 18 from this group to settle on an Opening Day roster. Some cuts will, obviously, be easier than others.

These are the players making the trip.

Hiroki Kuroda
Locked in as the Yankees No. 2 starter following a strong Yankees debut last year.
Ivan Nova
Has not had a great spring, but still locked into a spot in the big league rotation. For now.
Vidal Nuno
Terrific spring training that might have been enough to win a bullpen spot if the Yankees can fit him on the 40-man.
Andy Pettitte
Actually read to break camp with the team this year after staying behind last spring.
David Phelps
Will clearly make the team. Whether he opens in the rotation or the bullpen depends on Phil Hughes.
CC Sabathia
The ace.
Adam Warren
Optioned to Triple-A, but could find a spot on the roster if the Yankees need a long reliever who’s already on the 40-man

David Aardsma
Despite a so-so endorsement from Joe Girardi on Wednesday, still seems to have a bullpen job locked up.
Juan Cedeno
Nice Triple-A season last year, but probably behind Spence and Nuno for a left-handed relief job.
Joba Chamberlain
No broken ankle or busted elbow, just a seventh-inning job waiting for him this year.
Preston Claiborne
Upper-level relief prospect who quietly had a great spring.
Cody Eppley
Terrible spring training but could sneak onto the roster because of last year’s solid results.
Shawn Kelley
Might actually be a roster favorite given his spot on the 40-man, his solid spring numbers and the Yankees bullpen openings.
Boone Logan

The top lefty in the pen, only question is whether he’ll be the only lefty in the pen.
Jim Miller
Pitched well last year. Pitched well this spring. But he’s not on the 40-man.
Kelvin Perez
Up from minor league camp to provide an extra arm if necessary.
Branden Pinder
Relief prospect who’s stuck around all spring. Inevitably heading for the minors.
Mariano Rivera
The Greatest.
Dave Robertson
The setup man.
Josh Spence
Experienced left-hander had a good spring. Could have a job if the Yankees want another left-on-left specialist to replace Clay Rapada.

Francisco Arcia
Up from minor league camp to provide an extra catcher.
Francisco Cervelli
Terrific spring behind the plate. Emerged as the favorite to get the bulk of the catching starts.
Chris Stewart
Caught CC Sabathia’s last spring start. Does that mean he’ll catch on Opening Day?
Bobby Wilson
Inevitably heading to Triple-A as veteran insurance.

Robinson Cano
Best player on the team.
Travis Hafner
Listed as an infield as some sort of joke, I assume.
Dan Johnson
Any remote chance of making the team surely died with the arrival of Overbay.
Jayson Nix
Basically locked into a job as the Yankees utility infielder.
Eduardo Nunez
Opening Day shortstop.
Lyle Overbay
Brought in on a three-day tryout to prove he can fill-in at first base for a while. Seems to have already won the job.
Jose Pirela
Up from minor league camp to provide some utility depth.
Mark Teixeira
Injured and unable to play.
Gil Velazquez
Veteran utility man likely heading to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to provide insurance.
Kevin Youkilis
Starting third baseman, who should see some platoon time at first.

Zoilo Almonte
Up from minor league camp to provide additional outfield depth.
Brennan Boesch
Left-handed outfield bat signed mid-spring. Clearly in line to win a spot.
Ben Francisco
Right-handed outfield bat signed mid-spring. Clearly in line to win a spot.
Brett Gardner
Looks like the Opening Day center fielder and leadoff hitter.
Melky Mesa
Chances of making the team took a hit with the Francisco signing and the Wells trade. Spring offensive decline didn’t help.
Thomas Neal
Quietly had a very nice spring. Still seems ticketed for the minor leagues.
Ichiro Suzuki
Starting right fielder.
Vernon Wells
This week’s trade brought the Yankees their new everyday left fielder (at least until Granderson is healthy).

* Dan Otero was listed on the travel roster, but I’m not sure that will still happen now that he’s been designated for assignment.

Associated Press photos

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Nuno named top rookie in Yankees camp03.28.13

A quick blog post while I’m packing seven weeks of my life into a suitcase…

Jose Pirela, Preston Claiborne and Brett Marshall were awfully good this spring, but there were really two candidates to be the Yankees top rookie in big league camp. Could have voted for Ronnier Mustelier (.314/.368/.571 with two homers including a walkoff), or could have voted for the guy who actually won the award. It was a close vote, and I’ll admit that I voted for the winner. Here’s the announcement from the Yankees (we’ll have to wait to find out whether Nuno will be announced as a member of the Opening Day roster).

The New York Yankees today announced that left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno is the recipient of the 2013 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training. Nuno received the award in a pre-game ceremony today, prior to the Yankees’ 1:05 p.m. game vs. the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Nuno, 25, went 1-1 with one save and a 0.61 ERA (14.2IP, 1ER) in seven appearances (two starts) this spring (10H, 1R, 4BB, 13K). In 2012, he went 10-6 with a 2.54 ERA (138.1IP, 39ER) in 31 appearances (21 starts) with the Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, leading all Yankees farmhands in ERA and strikeouts and tying for third in wins. A California native, he attended Baker University in Kansas and was signed by the Yankees as a Minor League free agent on June 18, 2011. Nuno was originally selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 48th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

The award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and covered boxing and baseball until his death during spring training in 1953.

Two winners of the honor, Tony Kubek in 1957 and Tom Tresh in 1962, went on to win the American League “Rookie of the Year” Award. The award first was presented to rookie Norm Siebern by Manager Casey Stengel in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the conclusion of spring training in 1956. New York Yankees beat writers vote on the winner.

In conjunction with the award, Nuno received an Elysee watch from Manfredi Jewels.

James P. Dawson Award winners
· 1956…Norm Siebern OF
· 1957…Tony Kubek SS
· 1958…John Blanchard C
· 1959…Gordon Windhorn OF
· 1960… John James P
· 1961…Rollie Sheldon P
· 1962…Tom Tresh SS
· 1963…Pedro Gonzalez 2B
· 1964…Pete Mikkelsen P
· 1965…Arturo Lopez OF
· 1966…Roy White OF
· 1967…Bill Robinson OF
· 1968…Mike Ferraro 3B
· 1969…Jerry Kenney OF/ Bill Burbach P
· 1970…John Ellis 1B/C
· 1971…None Selected
· 1972…Rusty Torres OF
· 1973…Otto Velez OF
· 1974…Tom Buskey P
· 1975…Tippy Martinez P
· 1976…Willie Randolph 2B
· 1977…George Zeber INF
· 1978…Jim Beattie P
· 1979…Paul Mirabella P
· 1980…Mike Griffin P
· 1981…Gene Nelson P
· 1982…Andre Robertson SS
· 1983…Don Mattingly 1B
· 1984…Jose Rijo P
· 1985…Scott Bradley C
· 1986…Bob Tewksbury P
· 1987…Keith Hughes OF
· 1988…Al Leiter P
· 1989…None Selected
· 1990…Alan Mills P
· 1991…Hensley Meulens OF
· 1992…Gerald Williams OF
· 1993…Mike Humphreys OF
· 1994…Sterling Hitchcock P
· 1995…None Selected
· 1996…Mark Hutton P
· 1997…Jorge Posada C
· 1998…Homer Bush INF
· 1999…None Selected
· 2000…None Selected
· 2001…Alfonso Soriano 2B
· 2002…Nick Johnson 1B
· 2003…Hideki Matsui OF
· 2004…Bubba Crosby OF
· 2005…Andy Phillips INF
· 2006…Eric Duncan INF
· 2007…Kei Igawa P
· 2008…Shelley Duncan INF/OF
· 2009…Brett Gardner OF
· 2010…Jon Weber OF
· 2011…Manny Banuelos P
· 2012…David Phelps P
· 2013…Vidal Nuno P

Associated Press photos

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Postgame notes: “I’m just along for the ride”03.28.13

It’s easy to understand Lyle Overbay’s confusion. He rushed into Yankees camp on Tuesday, saw an upcoming road game against the Nationals, and assumed he’d be taking a bus across the state to Space Coast Stadium in Viera. He didn’t realize until this morning that he was actually a few hours away from flying to Washington D.C.

“I didn’t have any clothes,” he said. “I thought we were going to Washington tomorrow, to their spring training facility. … My wife took a two-and-a-half hour drive to Fort Myers to get my stuff and come back up. She’s got about nine hours of driving. She’s a trooper.”

Get ready for even more traveling, Sarah Overbay, because it looks like your husband is on his way to the Bronx.

“He’s got the inside track,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’ll be looking outside as well and we’ll see what happens. Right now, he’s beaten out everybody else in camp.”

Can we all remember this moment next winter when we’re trying to project the Yankees Opening Day roster? Two and a half weeks ago, the Yankees didn’t have Overbay, Vernon Wells, Brennan Boesch or Ben Francisco under contract. Now it seems that all four will almost certainly break camp with the team, but none seems less likely than Overbay, who didn’t sign with the Red Sox until late January and didn’t know he was being released until early Tuesday.

“I felt like this opportunity was probably one of the better ones, if not the best, so I wanted to get it done and get up here as soon as possible,” he said. “… I just had a change of clothes. I jumped in my car literally to get here as soon as possible. I wasn’t even thinking about two days.”

Girardi said Overbay’s defense was a significant factor in the decision to cut Juan Rivera. Girardi didn’t specifically mention Eduardo Nunez, but it’s worth noting that Nunez has been intentionally bouncing some of his throws — it’s better than sailing them into the stands — and Overbay is a good defensive player who can make those scoops.

“I’m just along for the ride and to see what I can do,” Overbay said. “It’s hard to know what to expect and what to show them. I just try to be as professional as you can and try to work good at-bats and show them what you’ve got in a short amount of time. … It’s a whirlwind, but I didn’t have anything else to do.”

• Girardi said he’s not sure how long Ronnier Mustelier will be out with that bone bruise in his knee. “How long he’s out, it’s kind of like, what he can tolerate?” Girardi said.

• Was Mustelier going to make the team? “He had an outside chance,” Girardi said. “But with the addition of some of the other guys, it changed.” In other words, no, he was not.”

• Cashman on the decision to release Juan Rivera: “Juan had a great camp, but as camp developed we also increased our options with Ben Francisco coming in and Boesch coming in. We had to made a decision on Juan today, and we just did. He did everything he needed to do. We just increased our options and he fell short because of that.”

• Boone Logan is scheduled to pitch again tomorrow, and he said he’s still hoping to do that despite today’s comebacker that hit him in the left side. Girardi said he’s not sure that will happen, but he’s still confident Logan will be ready for Opening Day. “I don’t know if that’s in his cards right now,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he is. He might have been able to pitch (after the comebacker). I just said, it’s silly. During the season, I’m going to try to let him throw a couple.”

• David Aardsma replaced Logan after the comebacker. He allowed a single, a walk and threw two wild pitches. The past two days, Girardi has seemed a bit down on Aardsma, but given the 40-man issues, I still find it hard to believe that Aardsma doesn’t have a bullpen spot locked up.

• For whatever it’s worth, Overbay said he’s felt pretty good at the plate and has already developed a good working relationship with Kevin Long, who he was excited to work with. Overbay had an RBI double today and said he’s a little bit out front of pitches — even fastballs — but that’s better than being late. “That’s a good thing, in my mind,” he said.

• Terrific start for Hiroki Kuroda who went six scoreless in his final spring outing. “The main thing was staying healthy rather than thinking about mechanics,” he said.

• Brennan Boesch had a double, and just like yesterday’s home run, it was off a left-handers. … Thomas Neal had his fourth double of the spring and broke camp with a .289 batting average. He was quietly pretty good this spring. … A triple for Francisco Cervelli, who also had a throwing error. Of course, the error is easier to overlook when he’s had such a strong defensive spring. … Cody Eppley pitched 1.1 scoreless. I still wonder if he could sneak onto the roster because of the 40-man situation.

• Cashman said the Yankees will finalize an Overbay decision after tomorrow’s game. Their Opening Day roster has to be finalized on Sunday.

Associated Press photos

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Yankees roster comes into focus03.28.13

One decision and a few telling comments have brought the Yankees roster plans into focus.

Who’s in
The Yankees have until tomorrow, after the exhibition against the Nationals, to make a decision on Lyle Overbay, but it’s clear that the team is planning to carry him as the regular first baseman. Are there any other options for the position? “Not right now, no,” Joe Girardi admitted.

Girardi said Overbay would likely play only against right-handers. Kevin Youkilis will probably play first and Jayson Nix will play third against lefties.

It also seems the Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch will make the team as reserve outfielders. Francisco could also DH against lefties. Those two spots aren’t set in stone, but Francisco and Boesch do seem to have the inside track. “That’s a good educated guess,” Brian Cashman said.

Who’s out
Juan Rivera has been released. He was the clear front runner for a roster spot, but Girardi said things changed with the additions of Francisco and Overbay. Because of Rivera’s contract, the Yankees couldn’t wait any longer. “We had to make a decision on Juan today,” Cashman said. “And we just did.”

Ronnier Mustelier is also out of the running. Yesterday’s knee soreness is a bone bruise that dates back to that collision with a railing here at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees aren’t sure how long Mustelier will be out, but he won’t travel north with the team and will instead stay behind in Tampa. Girardi indicated that Mustelier wasn’t likely to make the team anyway.

To be decided
The last two spots on the pitching staff are still a bit unknown. Boone Logan is fine after being hit by a comebacker, but the Yankees still have to fill the spots that were supposed to go to Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada. Those decisions will likely wait until Sunday when the Yankees have to submit their Opening Day roster.

Cashman stressed that he’s still shopping around, looking for potential upgrades and other options. For the time being, though, it seems that this is the Yankees plan:

C Francisco Cervelli
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Robinson Cano
3B Kevin Youkilis
SS Eduardo Nunez
LF Vernon Wells
CF Brett Gardner
RF Ichiro Suzuki
DH Travis Hafner

C Chris Stewart
INF Jayson Nix
OF Ben Francisco
OF Brennan Boesch

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Ivan Nova
David Phelps

Mariano Rivera
Dave Robertson
Joba Chamberlain
Boone Logan
David Aardsma

Associated Press photos

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