The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for June, 2013

What should the Yankees do?06.28.13

Robinson CanoSo what should the Yankees do about their offense? I think they’re going to need more than their injured hitters back after the All-Star break in order to be serious about this season. They didn’t have enough offense last October.

They could use the outside help now.  The team is just 12-18 over the last 30 games, going from 30-18 to 42-36. The production from the fill-ins was good enough earlier in the season, but it just hasn’t been steady enough the last month or so. The staff can’t afford to make too many mistakes. And the Yankees can’t always count on running into bad pitching.

“I think we’ve shown that with the guys that are in this lineup, especially early on in the year, we were able to do enough to win games,” Vernon Wells said after Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Rangers capped a 4-5 homestand. “We just haven’t done that consistently lately.”

The Yankees have been shut out three times this month and seven times overall. They’ve been shut out four times at home already, the most in five years. Derek Holland two-hit them Thursday when they wasted a quality start by Phil Hughes. They had two baserunners to show for their last 20 plate appearances, both on walks. Holland had to throw just 92 pitches. The game was over in just 2:24. (Here’s a link to my story about it.)

Lyle Overbay said the Yankees haven’t been grinding out at-bats lately.

“I think we get into trying to do too much and then it kind of snowballs a little bit,” Overbay said. “We’re not going to be as consistent maybe, but if we get those timely hits, we can be effective. We’re not doing that right now.”

The previous lefty to shut the Yankees out on two hits or less in the Bronx was Matt Young of the Mariners. That was 30 years ago. The Yankees have dropped three in a row and four of the last five when a lefty has started. The bottom three in the order against Holland were rookie David Adams (now batting .179), journeyman Alberto Gonzalez (.188) and rookie Austin Romine (.150). They combined to go 1 for 8.

Robinson Cano was protected in the order by Wells, who played right and struck out all three times, leaving him 11 for his last 93. Cano is down to .276, although he sounded pleased that at least he has been taking more walks.

“We don’t have our main guys,” Cano said. “I’ve just got to go out there and try to take advantage if I get one pitch. … I’m not trying to chase pitches and not trying to do too much.”

Rookie Zoilo Almonte is 0 for 10 in his last three starts in place of Wells in left after going 6 for 10 in his first three starts. Adams is 1 for his last 24. Overbay is batting .258 against righties and .186 against lefties, so a righty bat to platoon with him wouldn’t hurt, especially now that Mark Teixeira isn’t coming back until next year.

The team average is down to .238. There are still 17 games left until the All-Star break, seven games against the Twins, six against the Orioles and four against the Royals. There’s still almost a month until the nonwaiver trade deadline.

When Derek Jeter returns, he will be coming off a twice-broken ankle. He just turned 39 Wednesday. Alex Rodriguez, who had been on the decline, will turn 38 next month. He, of course, is, coming off his second hip operation. There have been conflicting reports about his return. The latest had A-Rod questioning when he would come back this season or if he would come back this season. The MLB Biogenesis investigation and a possible suspension are also hanging over him.

There was a report from csnphilly.com earlier this week that the Yankees have thought about Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, now in the last year of his deal. So is Philadelphia’s Michael Young, who would be more expensive and more appealing. It would figure the Yankees would only want an expiring contract since their goal is to be below $189 million next season.

What should they do?

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 278 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Hughes deserved better06.27.13

Phil HughesPhil Hughes got back on track, allowing two runs and five hits across eight innings. And yet he still lost for the fifth time in his last six decisions and fell to 3-7 overall.

“He pitched way too good to get a loss,” Lyle Overbay said.

Hughes had seven days between starts and he put them to good use, working on mechanical issues and taking a step back to collect himself.

“I just felt like the last week or so really helped me,” Hughes said, “just to kind of gather my thoughts for a few days and work on some things on the side. I felt like I had better plan and better mechanics and threw the ball pretty good. … Whenever you’re trying to get through some rough stretches, it helps just to take a deep breath.”

There had been chatter about Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda waiting in the wings with Hughes struggling. But this isn’t his first bout with inconsistency.

“I don’t let the talk creep into my head,” Hughes said.

The Yankees are just 12-18 over the last 30 games, and the sporadic offense has obviously contributed. The Yankees were shut out for the seventh time, including three times this month. They were blanked only six times all of last season.

This time, Derek Holland shut them out on two hits. Do you know when the previous time was that a Rangers pitcher shut the Yankees out on two or less hits? That would be never. It hadn’t happened since the franchise moved from Washington to Texas in 1972. Joe Coleman last did it for the Senators on July 19, 1969.

“I believe we’re capable of scoring runs,” Joe Girardi said.

With this group?

“I think we can, but time will tell,” Girardi said.

On the rehab front, Derek Jeter actually drove Alex Rodriguez after their workout from Steinbrenner Field to the nearby minor-league complex, according to The Associated Press. Jeter ran outside for the first time since the second ankle fracture was discovered in April and reported no problems. The AP report stated that A-Rod took simulated at-bats. ESPNNewYork.com reported that Rodriguez basically told the Yankees Wednesday that he wasn’t sure when or if he will be back this season. But Jeter gave a positive review in the AP report.

“He looked good,” Jeter said. “Alex works extremely hard. He’s working hard now to come back.”

Jeter wouldn’t label A-Rod a distraction.

“Why would he be a distraction?” Jeter asked.

Francisco Cervelli, according to the AP, has been doing his hitting indoors. Curtis Granderson is doing range-of-motion exercises. No swinging yet. A minor-leaguer took a swing, though, launching a homer in batting practice that deflected off the clubhouse roof and hit Granderson’s car.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Podcastwith 108 Comments →

Game 78: Yankees vs. Rangers06.27.13

Yankees lineup

1. Ichiro Suzuki CF

2. Jayson Nix SS

3. Robinson Cano DH

4. Vernon Wells RF

5. Zoilo Almonte LF

6. Lyle Overbay 1B

7. David Adams 2B

8. Alberto Gonzalez 3B

9. Austin Romine C

Phil Hughes RHP

 

Rangers lineup

1. Ian Kinsler 2B

2. Elvis Andrus SS

3. Nelson Cruz RF

4. Adrian Beltre DH

5. Mitch Moreland 1B

6. Geovany Soto C

7. David Murphy LF

8. Jurickson Profar 3B

9. Engel Beltre CF

Derek Holland LHP

 

Umpires: Gerry Davis HP, Brian Knight 1B, Dan Iassogna 2B, Mark Carlson 3B

TV/Radio: YES/WCBS 880

Weather: Mostly cloudy, 82 degrees

 

.625: The Yankees have the second-best winning percentage in the majors (behind Texas) against lefty starters, going 15-9.

Some improvement: The Yankees are hitting .240 with nine homers and averaging 4.2 runs over the last nine games. They hit .192 with one homer and averaged 2.3 runs over the eight games prior to this stretch.

Suzuki vs. lefties: Ichiro is hitting .358 in 81 at-bats off lefties, No. 4 in the majors for lefty batters.

Today is a tossup: The Yankees are 13-13 in their 26 series-closing games.

Update, 1:14: Hughes gets two flies and a groundout to start the game. He’s due for a good one after two bad ones. By the way, he came in with .65 a ground ball to fly ball ratio. According the Yankees notes, that’s the lowest percentage in the majors for starters as far as batted balls put in play on the ground as opposed to the air.

Update, 1:22: Ichiro singles, so he has hit safely in eight of the nine games on the homestand. But Cano hits into an inning-ending double play. Holland came in at 0-5 with an 8.85 ERA in eight games, including seven starts, vs. the Yankees. The lefty also arrived 0-3 with an 8.06 ERA in five games, including four starts, at Yankee Stadium.

Update, 1:29: Hughes takes the Rangers down 1-2-3 again, two grounders and a strikeout. Alberto Gonzalez made a nice diving stop wide of third on the first grounder, hit by Adrian Beltre.

Update, 1:34: Yankees get nothing done in the second, 1-2-3. Wells strikes out.

Update, 1:49: Rangers score first, sac fly by Ian Kinsler in the third. Hughes has given up two singles and a walk this inning.

Update, 1:58: Romine actually gets a hit, a single with two outs, but Ichiro grounds into a force. Yankees no runs, two singles through three. Adams now 1 for last 22 after flying to right in that inning.

Update, 2:02: Hughes gives up a loud double to Cruz and then drills Adrian Beltre to start the fourth.

Update, 2:11: Hughes gets three straight outfield outs, now at 66 pitches.

Update, 2:20: Wells fans and Almonte grounds out to strand Nix at second. Almonte now 0 for 5 over these last two games. Wells, according to the Yankees’ numbers, is now 11 for his last 92.

Update, 2:26: Hughes has now given up 49 homers these last two seasons, tied for second most in the majors. Profar solo shot, 2-0.

Update, 2:28: Anti-aging cream/sunscreen day here. Yankees just gave us each a packet. Hope this isn’t from Biogenesis. I think I’ll try it later.

Update, 2:34: Yankees have been held to two singles through five by a pitcher with a bad track record against them.

Update, 2:40: Another good inning for Hughes, 1-2-3, two Ks. He has allowed two runs and four hits through six.

Update, 2:44: Holland gets three straight with help from Murphy making a diving catch in left on a bloop by Ichiro.

Update, 2:52: Hughes has retired nine in a row and 12 of the last 13 after another three-up, three-down inning.

Update, 3:00: Wells strikes out for the third straight time and Almonte flies to the wall in left after Cano led off with a walk and got thrown out trying to advance when a pitch bounced a short ways away from catcher Geovany Soto.

Update, 3:09: Hughes has given up just two runs and five hits in eight innings. Yankees still looking for their third hit.

Update, 3:14: Yankees go quietly in the eighth. Hughes is done. Claiborne on for the ninth.

Update, 3:34: Yankees lose 2-0. Two-hitter for Holland.

 

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Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 836 Comments →

Yankees pregame: A-Rod soap opera continues; big start for Hughes; much more06.27.13

Phil HughesAlex Rodriguez, according to the New York Post, told the Yankees yesterday his hip isn’t ready for rehab games. The Daily News had him allegedly planning to start playing rehab games, then claim he physically can’t play and retire before a possible 100-game MLB suspension comes, so he could get his full 4 1/2 seasons of money owed to him.

“A couple of conflicting reports from sources,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s why I always say for me, when a player gets here, he gets here. When he’s ready, he’s ready. But everything that I understand, he’s been making progress and moved better day after day. So it sounds like things are pretty good.”

The erratic Phil Hughes gets the start today in the series finale against the Rangers.

“I’m not saying he’s pitching for a spot,” Girardi said.

But Hughes hasn’t pitched well in three of his last four starts and has gone 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA over his last seven starts. He’s 3-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 14 starts overall.

Girardi did say this start is “important. This is a guy who we need to be consistent for us and get on a roll like he’s capable of doing. It starts with his fastball command and using his other pitches.”

Ivan Nova pitched pretty well in his spot start Sunday and Michael Pineda has been pitching very well in his rehab starts, albeit against Single-A and Double-A hitters. Could that be in the back of Hughes’ mind? Could he be feeling any extra pressure for this start?

“I’m not sure,” Girardi said. “I think guys are aware of what’s going on around them. I’m not so sure when you get out on the mound, you start thinking about that. I think you think about making your pitches. Usually when you get on the field, you’re able to block everything out. It could be in someone’s thought process off the field.”

There’s no plan yet on what to do with Nova, according to Girardi. But by keeping him around, the Yankees are going with a shorter bench for the time being.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to look at and see if there’s someone who we think can help us that we can add,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. Is there someone who we think can help? We had Thomas Neal here. The minimum a guy has to be down is 10 days, and I’m not saying he’d be the guy that we would call up. Right now, a lot of players are on the DL and we’ll just have to see.”

Joba Chamberlain has given up at least one run in five of his last seven outings,, including two in two-thirds of an inning last night.

“I thought he threw pretty well before he got hurt,” Girardi said. “He just really hasn’t gotten on track for us. We’ve got to find a way to do it. Whatever it takes, we’ll try to do it.”

Brett Gardner isn’t starting today. He has a cold.

“But it’s more I’m just giving him a day because he’s played every day,” Girardi said.

So Vernon Wells is in the lineup, but he’s in right. Ichiro Suzuki is in center. Wells appears to have lost the regular left-field job after that 9-for-90 slump. Zoilo Almonte is starting in left for the sixth straight game. The rookie is 7 for 19 with three walks, two doubles, a homer and four RBI in seven games on the homestand.

“We’re running ‘Z’ out there,” Girardi said. “We’ll continue to do that, continue to watch how he’s doing. But he’s done pretty well.

“(Wells) has been ready to play every day. He’s ready to pinch hit. He’s worked very hard. I think he’s dealt with it very professionally.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 151 Comments →

Yankees lineup06.27.13

1. Suzuki CF

2. Nix SS

3. Cano DH

4. Wells RF

5. Almonte LF

6. Overbay 1B

7. Adams 2B

8. Gonzalez 3B

9. Romine C

Hughes P

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Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 650 Comments →

Postgame notes: “Letting the team down is the worst part”06.26.13

Andy Pettitte

It was only one game, but Wednesday night’s 8-5 loss to the Texas Rangers was especially frustrating for the Yankees on a couple of fronts.

Of course, a win would have been nice to take some of the heat off of the organization after a wild day that was dominated by injury news and A-Rod nonsense. But it was also a tough day for two pitchers that were considered to be critical parts of the Yankees success coming into the season.

“Same old story for me right now every time I pitch,” Andy Pettitte said. “It’s frustrating. Guys battled and fought back, and it was good to see them do that, but unfortunately we couldn’t hold them down. They’ve got a good lineup, and we weren’t able to get it done.”

Pettitte didn’t pitch all that poorly, but a four-run third for the Rangers turned out to be his undoing. He’s now lost three consecutive starts, and it seemed like it was weighing on him after the game.

A pitcher who has been struggling even more so recently is Joba Chamberlain, who promptly served up a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz in the seventh just after the Yankees had cut their deficit to one-run. He has now allowed at least a run in five of his last seven appearances.

“It’s frustrating, and letting the team down is the worst part,” Chamberlain said. “I know I suck right now. There’s no getting around it, so you have to figure out what you can do to make it better.”

• The Yankees got on the board first thanks to Lyle Overbay, who hit a solo homer on the same day that he found out he’ll likely be the Yankees’ everyday first baseman for the remainder of the season. But Texas responded in the third thanks to some sloppy D and a string of hits. After Leonys Martin led off with a single and Ian Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus laid down a sac bunt and reached safely on an error to load the bases. Cruz struck out, but Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski each followed with two-run doubles to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. “Obviously, just to Beltre a bad pitch. That was it. I got him 0-2 and tried to elevate a fastball to him, and I didn’t get it quite high enough. He’s a good hitter,” Pettitte said. “I made a good pitch to Pierzynski, and he must have been sitting on it. He was all over that ball. It was down and away and out of a strike zone – a cutter. It’s a pitch that I’m hoping I could get a swing-and-miss on, or get an out.”

• Other than that one inning, Pettitte didn’t pitch all that poorly. He gave the Yankees six innings and pitched a season-high 107 pitches, striking out six and allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks. But for Pettitte, it’s all about winning, and that’s what really stung him. “I feel real good, it’s just frustrating,” he said. “You want to win. You want to help this team win. A big win last night for us, and you’re hoping that you can come out tonight and put up some zeros. And I’m not putting up zeros for us.”

• Pettitte reiterated several times that he’s feeling good, which gives him optimism that things will turn around if he stays the course. It’s not like he’s been getting shelled; he’s just being giving up more runs than he’s accustomed to giving up. “Right now, it’s just not happening for me,” he said. “And it’ll turn. I just want my body to continue to feel good, and if I keep throwing the ball the way that I am now, I know that it’s going to turn around. It’s just a matter of staying positive… This ain’t nothing I haven’t been through before.”

• On an odd play in the third, Martin bunted back towards the pitcher’s mound, and when Pettitte picked it up, his arm collided with Jayson Nix on the throw attempt. It looked pretty violent and the Steve Donohue came out to check on Pettitte, but it seems like Nix was the one who was more shaken up. “It did at first just because I hit him,” Pettitte said when asked if it was a scare. “I mean, I threw a ball as hard as I could to first and I hit him good. I knocked the wind out of him. I was fortunate that I didn’t hurt my arm. I felt fine. That wasn’t an issue at all.”

• The Yankees rallied back in the sixth with four straight hits to start the inning. Brett Gardner reached on an infield single, which was followed by a double from Ichiro Suzuki . That prompted Texas manager Ron Washington to bring in lefty reliever Robbie Ross to face left-handed batters Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner, but both came through with RBI singles to cut the deficit to 4-3. The bases were reloaded when Zoilo Almonte walked with one out, but Nix grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Joba Chamberlain• With Pettitte at 107 pitches, Joe Girardi opted to go to Joba to pitch the seventh. Every time he comes in recently you can’t help but notice this feeling of impending doom, and the fans started getting antsy with him right away. He served up a two-run homer to Cruz, which sucked the air out of the place and shut down the Yankees comeback hopes as quickly as they had started. “Just fastball command,” Joba said of his issues recently. “I’m obviously being aggressive, but being up in the zone. These guys are really good, and you can’t be up in the zone. They make you pay for your mistakes. You have to get back out there and figure out what you can do to change it.”

• Joba also spoke about needing to look at his delivery and make sure that his mechanics are in order. He stressed that he feels fine, but pretty much everything seemed to hang up in the zone. “Just go look at film and see if we’re drifting, not getting over the rubber, and just work on those things. Be positive and know you’ve done it before,” he said. “Obviously, if that was bad mechanically, my velo would be down, and it’s continued to get better. We have to figure out what the problem is and fix it quick.”

• With others in the pen pitching well (personally, I think that Boone Logan should be the go-to guy in the seventh if he isn’t needed to face a lefty earlier in the game), Girardi was asked why he continues to go to Chamberlain in close games. “I don’t know,” he said. “Somehow, we have to find a way to get him going. That’s the bottom line. This guy needs to help us, and to me his stuff is too good not to help us. But right now, he’s making mistakes.”

• One guy who continues to play well is Ichiro. He had the big hit last night, and went 3 for 4 tonight. His two-run homer in the seventh brought the Yankees back to within one run, but they gave the Rangers two runs back in the ninth.

• Lastly, with his six strikeouts tonight, Andy Pettitte improved his total to 1,956 as a Yankee, which puts him one behind Whitey Ford for the most in franchise history. “That’s cool,” he said. “Anytime you tie Whitey in anything, that’s good stuff. That means I’ve been around here for a long time and I’m getting old. That’s what it means. But it’s an honor to be able to have played as long as I have here, and I feel very blessed and fortunate. I don’t take it for granted. I appreciate it a whole lot, that’s for sure.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees drop one to Texas after a tough day06.26.13

Joba Chamberlain

It was a tough day in the Bronx off of the field on Wednesday, and it didn’t get much better on it.

After the Yankees spent the day dealing with the aftermath of the Alex Rodriguez-Brian Cashman controversy and announced that Mark Teixeira would have season-ending wrist surgery, the team came up short later that night in aN loss 8-5 to the Texas Rangers.

Lyle Overbay – who should be Teixeira’s replacement at first base for the reminder of the season, barring a trade – got the Yankees on the board first with a solo homer in the third, but Texas would respond in the third.

After Leonys Martin led off with a single and Ian Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus laid down a sac bunt and reached safely on an error to load the bases. Nelson Cruz struck out, but Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski each followed with two-run doubles to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.

The Yankees rallied in the sixth with four straight hits to start the inning. Brett Gardner reached on an infield single, which was followed by a double from Ichiro Suzuki . That prompted Texas manager Ron Washington to bring in lefty reliever Robbie Ross to face left-handed batters Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner, but both came through with RBI singles to cut the deficit to 4-3. The bases were reloaded when Zoilo Almonte walked with one out, but Jayson Nix grounded into an inning-ending double play.

With starter Andy Pettitte at 107 pitches and having allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out six in six innings, Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted to go to Joba Chamberlain to pitch the seventh. The right-handed reliever couldn’t make it out of the inning, serving up a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz to allow the Rangers to regain a three-run lead.

Chamberlain has struggled mightily since returning from the disabled list in late May. In his last seven appearances, he has allowed at least one run in five of them.

After hitting a walk-off homer for the win on Tuesday, Ichiro came through again for the Yankees in the seventh-inning with a two-out, two-run homer to cut the Rangers’ lead to 6-5.

Texas would tack on two more in the ninth on an RBI single from Lance Berkman and a sac fly from Mitch Moreland.

Associated Press photo

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Game 77: Rangers at Yankees06.26.13

YANKEES (42-34)
Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Lyle Overbay 1B
Zoilo Almonte LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Chris Stewart C
Alberto Gonzalez SS

LHP Andy Pettitte (5-5, 4.20)
Pettitte vs. Rangers

RANGERS (44-33)
Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Nelson Cruz RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
AJ Pierzynski C
Lance Berkman DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
David Murphy LF
Leonys Martin CF

RHP Justin Grimm (6-5, 5.57)
Grimm vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES and ESPN

WEATHER: It’s not quite as hot as last night, but still pretty humid. The forecast calls for a chance of thunderstorms starting at 9 p.m., so we could be looking at some rain later on. Right now, it seems fine.

UMPIRES: HP Mark Carlson, 1B Gerry Davis, 2B Brian Knight, 3B Dan Iassogna

SEEKING 600: With a win tonight, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will earn the 600th of his managerial career. He won 78 with the Marlins, and has won 521 with the Yankees coming into tonight. He will become the 16th current manager to reach that plateau.

WALKING OFF: The Yankees recorded their first walk-off win of the season last night. They were the last team in the AL to record a walk-off this season.

CLOSE CALLS: The Yankees have had 39 of their 76 games decided by two runs or less (51.3 percent). They have gone a Major League-best 26-13 (.533) in those contests.

(I’ll be updating what’s going on in the game here every so often, but I’ll be much more active on Twitter. Follow me @vzmercogliano to join in the conversation!)

UPDATE, 8:08 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates. I’m going crazy over here dealing with all of the A-Rod and Tex aftermath. Overbay put the Yanks up 1-0 with a solo shot in the second, but the Rangers responded with four runs in third on back-to-back doubles from Beltre and Pierzynski. Texas leads 4-1.

UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: After the Yankees scored two runs in the sixth on RBI singles from Cano and Hafner to cut the deficit to 4-3, Joba Chamberlain gave the runs right back in the seventh. A two-run homer from Cruz put Texas up 6-3.

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Cashman expresses regret about choice of words06.26.13

BRIAN CASHMAN
Alex RodriguezOpening Statement: “I regret the choice of words that I used yesterday in my conversation with ESPN New York but otherwise let’s open it up for questions
Have you spoken with Alex since last night?…“I have not. Alex today, spoke with our owner. Hal Steinbrenner was working out at the complex where Alex was rehabbing. So Alex grabbed Hal and they had a conversation. Hal reiterated about the way (Alex tweeted). He did it a in a more professional way maybe than I did about managing from the top down rather than from the bottom up, which obviously is how I reacted from yesterday’s tweeting and contradicting statements and things of that nature.”
Do you think Alex got the message?... “He got the message I know. He obviously had a nice conversation with Hal, according to Hal. Obviously my message was a bit different.”
Is there a start date?… “He’s getting close. I know Dr. Kelly was down there and Dr. Kelly was obviously the operating surgeon at HSSS (Hospital for Special Surgery) and he was down there because we have a number of prospects that I think Kelly has worked with so this wasn’t even Kelly clearing him. I just think Kelly was just caught up in a tweet and a picture of a tweet while he was down at the complex he obviously saw Alex too but our doctors were obviously the ones running the rehab process now since he’s been released. When he went from New York to Tampa he went into the hands of our staff and our doctors.”
Why did you get so mad?… “The last two days, first it was an article about was a rehab date set which we hadn’t set a rehab date. So I spent a day dealing with that. The next day was yesterday where obviously our guys on the field are competing and I’m trying to lock in on an important game and I wind up on the phone dealing with a tweet… From Alex’s perspective, he’s not trying to create a disturbance by tweeting it this way. I know that but at the same time it affects our media relations director, it affects me now that you have to pull away from the business at hand whatever it is at that moment in time to having again to handle something that I think is unnecessary and we’re doing it from managing from the top down instead of from the bottom up. It was an unnecessary distraction. It was unnecessary extra work that not just myself but other people have to deal with. Obviously timing is everything and the timing of that on the second day was something that with the pressure valve that I have which is something 99 times out of a 100, I roll it pretty good. I didn’t roll it this one well at all. So I popped and that’s it. I sounded off, reality TV at its best.”
Did Hal say anything about your choice of words?… “Hal said to me basically that I’m sure you knew when you said it, that that was an issue and that you would regret it. I said you’re right, I did. It’s not the normal way that I conduct myself clearly. But listen when you’re managing something big and you’re having to adjust on the run, sometimes you adjust extremely well and sometimes you adjust not as well as you could have category and would go in the not as well as you could have category… It doesn’t change the message. The message is it’s like anything else. This isn’t the first time that I’ve had to deal with this situation. Social media is creating a lot of circumstances that kind of put the club secondary… We want to control the message and when and I don’t feel like I should be put in a position to have to react to stuff that is in our purview and when he is cleared and when his rehab games are supposed to begin, we’ll talk about it. We want Alex back as soon as we possibly can get him. There’s no doubt about it. That’s not an issue. It’s just creating extra work by putting it out different pieces of information.”
Is it OK for other players to tweet updates about rehabbing their injuries?... “Whatever Mark was tweeting, it doesn’t come across my desk. I don’t know if he just tweeting out, hey got a couple of reps in, feel good. That’s fine. I know Alex created the twitter account, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, a month ago and i know he’s tweeted out lifting and feeling good and stuff like that but I never got calls on that… But this was a 48 hour period of rehab games being cleared for that I already covered the day before and the picture of Dr. Kelly and him is fine.  It’s a great picture but Kelly’s not clearing his rehabbing so it’s just not accurate that’s all. So with the extra stuff, the extra work and believe me with the season that we have had so far, I got a lot of extra work and I’m all for it. I’m all up for it. I’m used to dealing with unnecessary stuff but clearly the timing of this, I was you know what, I don’t want to deal with this and this is false hustle right now. So you got some reality, raw emotion back on how I felt like having to deal with something that I felt was unnecessary.”
This creates the perception of a rift between the team and Rodriguez:…“That comes and goes. You’re going to have disagreements at times. You’re going to have conflicts at times. Relationships get strong, they get weak, they get better, they get worse over time and it’s up to everybody involved to try and keep things together. So my response was having to deal with some extra work that I felt was not necessary. But make no mistake if Alex Rodriguez is healthy we want him and I want him playing third base for us yesterday and he’s doing everything in his power to get here to do that and we’re clearly a better team with him. That’s not the issue. There’s no we’re not holding him back, we’re not trying to hold him back we’re obviously taking it every step of the process. The other frustrating side was the last conversation we had with Alex and his representatives a few months back was that whatever we do, we’ll do it together. Whatever messages are put out and once he goes to Tampa, we’re just going to let him go and we’ll give updates about what he did that day but not projection dates. So obviously he just got off (message) in his excitement about whatever conversations he had with Kelly, he kind of went off the beaten path and that was a change in direction to what we all agreed to already. So it is what it is. It’s about managing from the top down and not the down up.
When was the last time you chatted with him?… “Can’t remember the exact date. I haven’t talked to Alex in a while… More than a month.”
Is it unusual for him not to respond?… “I sent him an email. I called his phone. It rang but at least on the number that I had it didn’t have voicemail. I sent him an email that I have for him, which I’m sure I got it. This morning he saw Hal Steinbrenner. Hal is the boss. He had a conversation with Hal. So if that’s good enough for him.”
Did Hal seek him out?… “Alex saw Hal in the weight room and sought him out.”
Did Hal tell you he was disappointed in the reaction?… “I don’t think he used those words but I’m sure he was. I think the fact that he qualified his comment with I’m sure you regret saying the way you said it. I said yes, I do. I think it speaks for itself. There’s a way to communicate and 99 times out of a hundred, I’ll communicate it a certain way. The message needed to be sent and I continue to reinforce it with our people that there’s a way to use social media and there’s a way to not use social media and do not use the social media that’s going to put yourself in a position to have a conversation with me and I don’t want to have that. I’ve conveyed that to our minor leaguers, I’ve conveyed it to our major leaguers. We’ve had a media training program even though I might have failed to live up to all aspects of it yesterday but we do try to do the best we can. I try to do the best I can but the social media stuff can turn back on you at the same time and this was a circumstance where a player is communicating stuff ahead of the club and in our opinion different than where the club is sitting. Therefore we had an issue to deal with and I don’t think it’s something we should be dealing with.”
Is Alex still going to tweet?… “A message has been sent on that. Players can have social media. There is no agreement that he will not be tweeting or that anyone else wouldn’t have their twitter accounts. We don’t control that. That’s something between the union and the commissioner’s office and there’s always people that believe they have rights… But I haven’t talked to Alex. A message was certainly sent, it was received, reinforced by Hal in a more professional way. But that was it. As far as I’m concerned unless I’m having to deal with this again, there’s nothing left to deal with. It’s a story that got blown up and that’s my responsibility and Alex’s. I think we’re both at fault with his communicating what he communicated, the way he communicated and then how I reacted to it. Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything left to deal with unless I have to be put back in this position.”
Is the plan now that he’s going to play for sure?... “We are having those discussions. We’ve had those discussions that continued. They continued with the player. They’ve continued with the training staff. So right now a rough sketch of what he’s going to be doing on a daily basis and if all goes well when he should be playing but I’m not prepared to tell you that.”
What does he have to between now and the time he starts to be given your clearance for rehab?… “He has a set schedule in place. He’s doing everything from a baseball standpoint as you see from the updates. He’s hitting, he’s throwing (and) he’s fielding. He’s doing everything that we put him in a position to. He’s ready to go but you got to pull the stamina up and I thought we’re doing now is building the stamina up… So far every box has been checked off and he is close but he still has a few more things that he has to accomplish and then we’ll be in a position to say here’s the date when you’re going to start and we’re ready to go. It’s just we’re not ready to say that yet. I know he’s excited to get going. So nobody’s holding anybody back, it’s just about controlling the message.”
In your hearts of hearts, do you believe that tweet was a genuine expression of happiness about getting close or was this done in spite for what happened Monday?… “I think he was generally happy. I think he was putting information that he was excited about and not recognizing the job that I have to deal with, our media relations director has to deal with and maybe our manager is going to have to deal with…. Everything you say has a direct impact on something else usually. Do I think he thought that out before he sent it out? No. Do I believe from his perspective harmless, I do. Was it harmless from my end? It wasn’t. That’s why I tried to get him on the phone but before I even got him on the phone, I was dealing with the media calls already and then the runaway train started.”
On the conspiracy theories about slowing him down for insurance reasons or for suspension reasons:… “False and false. We have insurance on Alex period. If he fails then we can work on the insurance and look at that aspect and whatever that is, it is. That’s black and white. Nothing changes there. He’s not being slowed down. We need him yesterday but we can’t have him unless he’s ready period… I have no knowledge about where the Biogenesis stuff is other than what I read in the papers and that’s why throughout this entire process we’ve said no comment. There’s nothing to comment on because you have nothing to comment on. People speculate about contracts and this and that and the other thing. It’s like how can you even focus on a contract when you don’t have facts to lead you to make any assessments of what impact it would have on people’s contracts. Baseball is in charge of this stuff and they’re obviously doing everything in their power to investigate.”

JOE GIRARDI
Do you still anticipate that you’ll get Alex back? And do you want him here as a player considering the circus that comes with him?… “Of course I want him here. He’s a guy that you’re going to throw right in the middle of the order to break up your left-handers. You’re going to put him at third base – I don’t know how many different third basemen we’ve used this year – so you’re going to put him out there five, six days a week, probably. And I do anticipate that we’ll get him back. It seems like his strength is getting better and better every day. His mobility is getting better every day, he’s doing more every day, so I do anticipate getting him back.”
When is the last time you spoke to Alex?… “Probably not too long ago.
What was the nature of the conversation?… How he’s doing, how he’s moving, how his girls are – that sort of thing. A little bit about the Heat and the Bulls.”
Do you think there’s a rift between the player and the organization?… “I’m not worried about that. My job is to manage players when they get here, and they’re going to be things that come up during the course of a season. As we talk about, this is a family, and in any family, there are going to be things that come up. You deal with them, you get through them, and you move on.”
Does the loss of Tex make you more anxious to get Alex back?… “I was anxious to get him back from the day that I heard he started moving around and actually doing baseball activities. Obviously, he becomes very important because of: A) The way our lineup is constructed; and B) He can play pretty regularly at third.”
Do you think that Alex can block out the distractions?… “I think he can. What tells me he can is that he’s done it before. I know Alex is anxious to get back to playing and doing what he loves to do where he’s comfortable. I think that he can do that because he’s had to do it before. I think it’s important that he evaluates every day – just like all of us – what we’re doing and how we’re going about our business.”

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Miscwith 382 Comments →

Tex speaks about season-ending wrist surgery06.26.13

If yesterday seemed like a busy day in the Bronx, today has made it seem like a cakewalk. With news breaking that Mark Teixeira’s injured right wrist will require season-ending surgery, he spoke to the media at length. Brian Cashman also addressed the media about the A-Rod situation, which I’ll have posted soon.

MARK TEIXEIRA
Mark TeixeiraHow tough is to get this news?… It’s very tough; especially in a season where the team could really use me. We’ve had some really, really good teams the last few years, and this year we have a great team. I would love to be apart of this team. I would really have loved to be apart of what hopefully will be a playoff run, but when you realize that it’s not going to happen it’s tough.
Was there a point when you realized that your season could be over?… The final point was this past Sunday when, after a week, the cortisone shot didn’t work. I usually respond very well to cortisone shots. I’ve had a dozen in my career, and I’ve always responded pretty well. It didn’t work and I wasn’t getting any better, so I knew it was going to be bad news.
When will you have the surgery?… Probably early next week. We’re just sorting through he’s going to do the surgery and the getting the specifics out of the way. But we’ll do it early next week, and then four-to-five months of rehab, and then the doctor expects me to be 100 percent in six months.
Are there any long term concerns?… I asked one of the doctors – we’ve been talking and consulting with a few – I asked one of them, ‘Once this surgery is done, is there any worry that I’ll ever have anymore problems?’ And he said, ‘None.’ This isn’t one of those degenerative conditions in the joint where you need to kind of protect it the rest of your career. It’s a torn tendon sheet, and you have to fix the torn tendon. Once it’s fixed, I should be OK.
Do you have any regrets about coming back too soon?… No regrets at all. Hindsight is 20-20, obviously, but we had a great plan. We had a plan that said the team suggested that we rehab it, and I agreed. I wanted to rehab it and didn’t want to have the surgery. I felt pretty good in Tampa. I was having good batting practices, good simulated games. My first week back with the team was far better than I ever expected. Three home runs, driving the ball, but at some point on the West Coast, I reinjured it. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I have no regrets. Up until the point when I reinjured it, everything was going pretty well.
Did the doctors indicate why it was injured again?… It’s tough to exactly tell. It could have been one check swing, one bad swing, it could have been one violent swing that finally did it again. Or, it could have just been the constant wear. You guys know, baseball players, we swing the bat really hard. It’s very violent swing, and if your wrist is a little bit not right, or a little bit weak, these things happen.
Do you think this could have been an overuse injury from preparing for the WBC?… It could have definitely caused it. When the injury originally occurred, the doctor said, ‘This is kind of a classic overuse injury.’ We’ve talked about that. It’s been no secret that I’ve spent more time in the batting cage over the last two seasons than I ever have – more time on the tee, more time working on the swing. Being a switch-hitter, that’s double what most players would put on their wrists. The overuse just got to me. It’s like a pitcher with pitch counts. Maybe we should start having swing counts on hitters because there’s a lot more wrist injuries in baseball.
Do you have any regrets about the WBC?… No, because I would have been swinging just as much during spring training. One thing about baseball is, whether it’s the WBC, a spring training game or a home run derby, you want to perform. You want to succeed, so you don’t want to go out there and make a fool out of yourself and fail. You get your swing right, and if you’re swing isn’t right, you take extra swings.
When you first felt it, did you think it could cost you the season?… That’s the first thing that you think about: ‘I don’t want to miss the season.’ Then when we had the conversations with the doctors and decided we were going to opt for no surgery, I wanted to be back in a month… I wanted to be back by May 1st. That was the original goal.
What kind of workouts do you do in the offseason?… We don’t have enough time for that. I have an exercise program, as we all do. It’s running, it’s stretching, it’s weight-lifting, it’s tee work, it’s footwork drills. It’s a comprehensive workout routine that I’ve had my whole career. You tweak it every now and then, depending on what you’re working on and how your body feels, but nothing too different from what I’ve always done. I swung more, but lifted actually a little bit less this offseason. Like I said, maybe the extra swinging is what put the extra stress on the wrist.
Can you speak about the personal feeling of frustration?… It’s been very tough. I’ve been blessed my whole career to be relatively healthy. I averaged 150 games the first 10 years of my career, and I’ll play 15 games this year. That’s completely out of the norm for me, and it’s very tough. When you play for the New York Yankees, you want to win a championship every year. When you are not on the field and then are told that you’re out for the rest of the season, you can’t help your team do that. You feel pretty worthless as a baseball player.
What do you think about the job Girardi has done?… He’s done an amazing job. We have such a great family. We’re so tight, and we have each other’s backs. I’ve been on four different teams in four different organizations, and while every organization that I’ve played for has been great in their own way, the Yankee family is special. I think we all understand that as players, as managers, as coaches… Our support staff is the best staff out there, and I’m not just saying that because I’m here. We’re a family, and Joe has kept us together. We haven’t pointed fingers when things have gone bad, and no one has stood up and said, ‘I’m the reason that we’re winning right now.’
How much does this team need Alex back?… It would be great. I would love to see a healthy Alex. We all know what he’s capable of. The same goes for Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter and Michael Pineda. When you have all of your troops together and they’re all performing together, then you know what the team is capable of. I don’t think we know exactly what our team is capable of, because we haven’t had our whole team this year. But we’ve done a great job so far; I’ll say that.
Do you agree with Kevin Long’s comments that the wrist was never right?… It’s tough to say. The mechanics were definitely compromised a little bit, but listen. I broke my ankle, and my running mechanics have been different since I was 21. I had a very bad quad tear and knee injury in the 2007 season, and my running mechanics were compromised then. I’ve worked through wrist injuries in the past, I’ve worked through shoulder injuries – we don’t tell you guys everything that happens. Every now and then, you work through things. You figure out a way to make your swing not hurt.

JOE GIRARDI
How big of a blow is losing Tex?… Well, it’s definitely not what we wanted. We thought that the shot would get him through, but they’ve decided that he needs surgery and we’re going to have to do it without him.
Did you expect this news when the cortisone shot wasn’t working?… When he was in his fourth and fifth day and he really wasn’t having any relief and still having pain, there was some concern of mine. That’s why he was evaluated again.
Is the plan to go with Overbay at first?… For right now, yeah.
With Youk and Tex gone for the year, how tough is it now that this guys have been lost for the season?… I’ve always said that you worry about the guys who are in the room at the time, and that’s basically what we’ll continue to do. There’s obviously talk about the other guys coming back, but until we have them, they’re not in that room. It’s tough when you miss players. No one is going to feel sorry for you. The guys in that room understand what they need to do, so we need to go out and get the job done.
How does this affect what you’re trying to accomplish here?… It doesn’t really change what we’re trying to accomplish; it just makes it a little different in how you accomplish it. There was a lot of not knowing who was going to be our outfielders when the season started, and exactly who was going to be our first baseman when the season started. We’ve kind of settled in on that. We expected Derek, and then that changed. Nunie went down, and we’ve had a number of guys who have played shortstop since then. It’s changed a little bit, but I don’t think it really changes what your goal is.
Have all of the injuries changed how you’ve had to go about scoring runs?… Yeah, I think it has. As you look, we’re stacking five left-handers, which is not something that I like doing. It has changed, but if we hit four homers every night like we did last night, we’ll be alright.

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Miscwith 10 Comments →

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