Archive for April, 2013
Video: The Nova injury and the Nuno call up • 04.27.13
I’m going to head back downstairs to try to talk to Austin Romine after batting practice, but real quickly, here’s video of Joe Girardi discussing the Ivan Nova injury (inflammation of the triceps) and the decision to call up Vidal Nuno, who will move into the bullpen while David Phelps slides into the rotation.
A few other quick notes…
• To make room for Nuno on the 40-man, Derek Jeter has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
• Kevin Youkilis hit in the cage earlier today and felt fine. As long as he gets through batting practice with no problem — he’s hitting as I type this sentence — he’ll stay in the lineup. “If I have to make an adjustment after his BP, I will,” Girardi said. “But our hope is that he’s OK.”
• Austin Romine caught bullpens with Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte earlier today. He’s not in the lineup today, but Girardi said he expects to give Romine fairly regular work. “How he does will probably (determine) how much we use him,” Girardi said.
• Mariano Rivera is probably not available today because of recent workload. “My mind is not to use him today,” Girardi said. “I will talk to him, but my thought is he’s probably not available.”
• Nova and Girardi both seemed a little bit relieved by the inflammation diagnosis. That’s not nearly as bad as it might have been. “It’s negative,” Nova said. “But it’s not that bad.”
Associated Press photo
Youkilis back in the lineup • 04.27.13
Hafner gets a DH start against the lefty Happ.
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Travis Hafner DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C
LHP CC Sabathia
Nuno and Romine called up • 04.27.13
As first reported — I believe — by Jack Curry, the Yankees have called up both Austin Romine and Vidal Nuno. We already knew about Romine, but the Nuno move strongly suggests Ivan Nova is heading to the disabled list.
I’ve been told there’s no one else coming up, which suggests Kevin Youkilis is not going on the DL.
Cano making statement for new deal • 04.27.13
Robinson Cano has heated up in a hurry in this contract year.
After beginning 3 for 23 with no extra-base hits or RBI over the Yankees’ first six games, Cano has hit .385 over his last 16, going 26 for 68 with seven doubles, seven homers, 17 RBI and 14 runs scored. The second baseman is at .319 overall and has yet to make an error in 22 games.
He looks back at his World Baseball Classic run with the champion Dominican Republic as an important element in all this.
“I would say it helped a lot,” Cano said. “… You have to just go out there and play from the first inning to the last and play every game like it’s the last game.”
Cano has batted second 11 times and third 11 times. He doesn’t care where he hits, though.
“I don’t want to be the guy that will be a distraction,” Cano said. “I just go out there and just be happy to be in this lineup and wear this uniform.”
But will he be wearing this uniform after this season? I’ll guess yes. But how many years would you go on a new deal for Cano knowing he turns 31 in October and knowing what has happened with A-Rod’s too-long contract?
Also, here’s the link to my story on Ivan Nova and Francisco Cervelli getting hurt last night against the Blue Jays.
Yankees postgame: More injuries • 04.27.13
The Yankees certainly aren’t having any luck in the injury department. They keep dropping. Add Ivan Nova and Francisco Cervelli to the list.
Nova left with pain around the right elbow area. Joe Girardi was still waiting for the MRI results after the game. He was under the impression the problem was in the triceps connecting to the elbow. Nova complained of a little stiffness after the second inning, but he wanted to try to go in the third. After he hit the first batter and gave up a single to the second, he was done.
“We went out there and asked him; he said he wasn’t OK,” Girardi said.
Cervelli only lasted five pitches. Leadoff batter Rajai Davis fouled a ball off the back of Cervelli’s right hand. Surgery is set for Saturday. The catcher will be out at least six weeks.
“It’s disappointing, and I know it’s real disappointing to him because of all he’s been through to get to this point,” Girardi said.
Girardi said he’ll play the catching situation by ear with Chris Stewart and Austin Romine, coming up now from Triple-A. Romine was batting .333 with a homer and four RBI in 14 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Stewart said the 24-year-old righty hitter has “got a lot of talent. It’s just a matter of getting experience up here.”
Phelps would seem to be the logical choice to replace Nova, but Girardi said he wanted to wait a few days before announcing anything. Phelps had a 6.23 ERA in five outings before the game. He said he had struggled with the mentality of coming out of the bullpen, that he has been a starter basically his whole career. He said he has been better in these longer outings.
And he was good in this one, four innings, one run, two hits, nine Ks. The strikeout total was not only a career high. It was the most by a Yankees reliever since Jay Howell fanned nine over 4 2/3 in 1983. Phelps is the first Yankees pitcher to strike out at least nine in four innings or less in the Live Ball Era.
Despite all the injuries, the Yankees keep winning. They’re 13-9 overall, and 12-5 since April 7.
At the postgame press conference, Girardi expressed his happiness over what this team has achieved to date.
“Injuries are part of the game,” Girardi said. “It’s part of life. I’m sure everyone in here can attest that life doesn’t go exactly the way we want it to sometimes. But when you’re able to accomplish things and go out and continue to win games, it’s very satisfying. I’m proud of what these guys have done so far. We’ll keep fighting and we’ll keep finding ways.”
Toronto, meanwhile, has found ways to go 9-15, probably the biggest disappointment in baseball so far after all its acquisitions.
“I’d say that we’re just not playing good enough to win right now,” manager John Gibbons said.
Game 22: Yankees vs. Blue Jays • 04.26.13
1. Brett Gardner CF
2. Jayson Nix 3B
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Vernon Wells LF
5. Francisco Cervelli C
6. Ichiro Suzuki RF
7. Eduardo Nunez SS
8. Lyle Overbay 1B
9. Ben Francisco DH
Ivan Nova RHP
1. Rajai Davis DH
2. Colby Rasmus CF
3. Jose Bautista RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
5. Melky Cabrera LF
6. J.P. Arencibia C
7. Brett Lawrie 3B
8. Maicer Izturis 2B
9. Munenori Kawasaki SS
Aaron Laffey LHP
Umpires: Chad Fairchild HP, Jeff Kellogg 1B, Chris Conroy 2B, Paul Schrieber 3B
TV/Radio: YES/WCBS 880
Weather: clear, comfortable
Wells loves Toronto (pitching): Vernon Wells is batting .421 with three homers and four RBI in four games against the Blue Jays this season and has hit .340 with four doubles, five homers and 10 RBI in his last 11 games overall against his old team.
Starting success: This may not be the time for this item with Nova starting, but you never know. Yankees starters have 10 outings of three earned runs allowed or less and at least seven innings pitched, and that ties the Phillies for the MLB lead.
Pen writing good story: The Yankees’ bullpen has a 1.13 ERA over its last four games, spanning eight innings.
Update, 7:12: Cervelli takes a ball to the back of his fingers with Davis up, has to come out for Stewart.
Update, 7:18: Good start for Nova, 1-2-3 first with two Ks.
Update, 7:24: 1-2-3 first for Laffey, who had been cut recently by the Mets. Original scheduled starter Josh Johnson was scratched due tightness in his right triceps.
Update, 7:30: Nova serves up HR to Edwin Encarnacion off the facing of the second deck in left. 93 mph fastball down and in, 1-0.
Update, 7:46: 1-1. RBI for Nunez, beats out possible double-play ball. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Twitter sources, has pulled Austin Romine in the middle of an inning, following Cervelli injury.
Update, 7:54: Nova gives up a single up the middle and then comes out with an injury, not sure the problem. He wasn’t pitching well these last two innings. There are no outs in the third, two on. Phelps comes on.
Update, 8:07: Rasmus RBI single for 2-1 lead, but that was it for the Jays. Bad night for the Yankees so far.
Update, 8:22: Wells sac fly, 2-2 in the third. Jon Heyman, no relation, states on Twitter that Cervelli has a broken hand.
Update, 8:24: Bases loaded, two outs, Laffey out, Lincoln in.
Update, 8:29: Ichiro goes down swinging, looked like a changeup. 2-2 after an eventful three innings.
Update, 8:32: Cervelli fractured right hand, surgery required, out a minimum of six weeks. Nova left with right elbow pain, MRI coming tonight.
Update, 8:45: Overbay snaps 0-for-16 skid, RBI triple, 3-2 Yankees in the fourth.
Update, 8:47: Wild pitch, 4-2.
Update, 9:08: Phelps gives up a walk but that’s it in the fifth. Gets Bautista swinging an at off-speed pitch to end it.
Update, 9:18: Maybe they should just intentionally walk Encarnacion every time. Another homer, 4-3.
Update, 9:39: Joba Chamberlain on for the seventh.
Update, 9:45: 1-2-3 for Joba, with help from a fine play by Nunez. Got to give belated credit to Phelps, who had a 6.23 ERA coming in. He was charged with one run and two hits, and fanned nine in his four innings. You would think he would be the one to start for Nova if downtime is needed. And elbow pain doesn’t sound good.
Update, 10:01: Passed ball, Cano scores, 5-3 Yankees after seven. Robertson on for the eighth.
Update, 10:06: Bautista hits a shot to left, 5-4.
Update, 10:16: Solo homer for Gardner, 6-4.
Update, 10:19: Rivera on for the ninth.
Update, 10:32: Yankees win 6-4 after Rivera strikes out Rasmus with the bases loaded.
Ivan Nova has a power arm and he’s only 26, but at some point the Yankees’ patience is going to have to run out if he doesn’t start showing some consistency again and if a viable alternative emerges. By the way, Chien-Ming Wang is 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA after two starts at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“I’m not looking to make a change,” Joe Girardi said. “Our organization isn’t looking to make a change. We want to get guys going.”
When Nova steps on the mound tonight against the Blue Jays, he will bring along a 6.14 ERA and a 1-1 record constructed over three starts. He was 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA over 11 post-All-Star-break starts last year after going 10-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 18 pre-break starts and 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 2011. Girardi isn’t questioning now if Nova will ever be the same.
“I believe in my heart that he has the ability to do that, to get back to that,” Girardi said. “So I’m not at that point. I don’t really have a date that I would be at that point, because I believe in our guys and I believe in him. I’ve seen him do it. I’ve seen him be dominant at times. We just have to find the formula to get him back there.”
Girardi emphasized that Wang was signed during spring training for depth. The 33-year-old righty has been through some major injuries since his great years for the Yankees. He gave up three runs, only one of them earned, and four hits over 6 2/3 in a loss to Columbus Thursday after allowing no runs and six hits over 5 1/3 in a win over Syracuse in his first start last Saturday.
“I’d probably take it seriously when I hear reports that are glowing reports that he’s throwing the ball really well,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you can make too much out of two starts. I think you have to see how a guy responds start after start after start, going every fifth day. But we’ve all seen him pitch at a very high level. If he can get back to close to that, he becomes a viable option for us.”
Kevin Youkilis is still not a viable option to be in the starting lineup. This will be his sixth straight game sitting at the start because of lower back tightness.
“He’s better,” Girardi said. “He’s still not quite there. We’ll shoot for tomorrow.”
It’s getting to the point where the Yankees could think about the DL if the progress stalls.
“It’s been a week now,” Girardi said. “So I think you look and see where he’s at tomorrow and then you make a decision what you’re going to do and when you think you’re going to get him back.
“They don’t think it’s an issue where he needs a test. Keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow.”
Yankees lineup • 04.26.13
1. Gardner CF
2. Nix 3B
3. Cano 2B
4. Wells LF
5. Cervelli C
6. Suzuki RF
7. Nunez SS
8. Overbay 1B
9. Francisco DH
Derek Jeter is confident that whenever he returns — which is expected to be sometime after the All-Star break — he will be the same player he was before he broke his left ankle twice. Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman want to think the quality will still be there when the healing process is over.
“I don’t think any of us are going to know until we get to that point,” Girardi said. “… He’s had a setback here and we have to deal with it. But hopefully we get him back and he’s the same player he was at the end of last year. …
“He hasn’t done anything in his career that would make me believe that he’s not going to be a good player when he comes back. Yeah, I know it’s nine months off, but players get four or five months off in the offseason and then come back and they’re fine.
“I don’t think the extra few months is necessarily going to hurt him. I don’t think he’s going to forget how to hit, forget how to do all the things he needs to do. I think some people will question how he’s going to move when he’s going to come back. That’s something that we hope won’t be a problem. We’re just going to have to wait and see.”
Cashman said: “Obviously Derek has never done anything but have success. So I would expect a successful player like we’ve always gotten from him. It’s hard to expect anything otherwise from a Hall of Famer like himself.”
Here’s the link to my story on Jeter believing he will come back as the same guy and not seeing the two fractures as a sign the end is near. Plus, here’s the link to my story on Hiroki Kuroda, Vernon Wells and Robinson Cano triple teaming to lead the Yankees past the Blue Jays last night.
How do you think Jeter will do when he returns at 39?