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Tuesday notes: “I still think there’s a lot of good baseball in him”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 04, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Brian Roberts

Going to be a kind of weird day for Brian Roberts. The Orioles drafted him back in 1999, and today he’ll play against that organization for the first time in his life. Not that other players haven’t gone through something similar, but you have to imagine it’s a bit strange for a guy who once thought he might play his entire career with one organization.

“I literally just had this conversation with my wife last night,” Roberts said. “She was coming into the stadium from the stands and one of the security guys looked at her and said, ‘Diana, right?’ She said yes. He said, ‘But I don’t know your last name.’ She said, ‘That was so odd for me.’ Usually (with the Orioles), they’re like, ‘You’re Brian’s wife.’

Brian Roberts“It’s just different to be the guy in the back (of the clubhouse) that nobody cares about or knows about. I think that does help guys when you’re trying to get back on your feet a little bit.”

Roberts’ time in Baltimore ended with four injury-shortened seasons, and the Yankees signed him as a kind of reclamation project. He was healthy through the second half of last season, and the Yankees are going to try to play him regularly at second base. Joe Girardi said he’s not necessarily expecting 150 games from Roberts, but he’s not picturing him as a part of a platoon or mix-and-match situation either. He is the Yankees’ second baseman who will get some time off in an attempt to keep him healthy.

“I still think there’s a lot of good baseball in him, and he’ll play at a high level for us,” Girardi said. “It’s just communication more than anything. There’s some things you want to think you can control but you can’t. I think of Curtis (Granderson) last year. It’s not an injury that you can control. We’ll just try to be smart, communicate with (Roberts) and get him out there as much as we can.”

For now, Roberts is simply getting at-bats — seems safe to say he won’t be the Yankees cleanup hitter much longer — and getting ready for the season. He said he feels healthy, and he’s felt good in these early games.

Today’s game, he said, will be “a little different for sure,” but at no point has Roberts seemed out of place in the Yankees clubhouse. He’s another veteran in a clubhouse full of them. He’s been an All-Star. He has a locker next to Derek Jeter, who he’s known for years. He’s seen the Yankees up close and personal for more than decade in the American League East. Roberts has been able to slide into the mix quietly, without a ton of expectations or attention. He was a huge name in Baltimore. With the Yankees, he’s just another guy.

“When you play here, even though you’re taking over for Robbie (Cano), I still don’t think anyone is expecting or thinks that I have to go out and do a ton,” Roberts said. “… My expectation is hopefully to play as much as they want me to play. As I said early in camp, I take it one day at a time. I’ve been through enough to not go out there and try to make predictions, give people expectations. My job is to prepare every day and hopefully be ready to play.”

Mark Teixeira· Seems like every day there’s some young pitcher throwing live batting practice around here. Today? Not so much. The Yankees planned to have Mark Teixeira face live pitching today, but they literally don’t have anyone scheduled to face hitters. So, Teixeira will skip the live pitching for today and pick it up against tomorrow. He’s still on track to play in Thursday’s game.

· Alfonso Soriano is also on track to play on Thursday. Girardi did not say where he expects Soriano to play in the field, but he did clarify that he expects Soriano to play both left and right field this season. “Sometimes it’s going to depend on who we’re facing how we’re going to do it,” Girardi said. “I want him in the mix because I know he likes going in the outfield. I think it’s important that we get him in the mix and you’re not running Carlos out there every day, maybe you’re not running Jacoby out there every day. With Gardy (being flexible), he allows you to do a lot of different things.”

· What’s Ichiro’s role in all of this? “He’s going to compete for playing time, just a lot of the other guys that are competing right now,” Girardi said.

· Today Matt Thornton will become the last of the Yankees veteran relievers to appear in a game. Girardi said he expects to use Thornton primarily against lefties, and he could occasionally slide into an eighth-inning job if a team has two or three lefties scheduled to hit that inning. There might not be an always-pitch-the-eighth-no-matter-what guy like Dave Robertson used to be.

· Also making his spring debut today is infielder Scott Sizemore, who will come off the bench to finish the game at second base. He’s essentially competing with Eduardo Nunez (and maybe Yangervis Solarte and Russ Canzler) to be a right-handed platoon player at third base, while also backing up at second. He’s hit lefties in his career.

· Rare spring moment when a big league regular is playing off the bench. Brian McCann will get some late-inning at-bats as the DH after Jeter is finished.

· Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte is up from minor league camp for the day. Doesn’t look like he’ll get in the game, but he’s listed as one of the emergency guys available if necessary. Same for Jeremy Bleich and Graham Stoneburner (who still has one of the best names in the organization).

Hiroki Kuroda· Today’s bullpen sessions:
Vidal Nuno (to Pete O’Brien)
Shane Greene (to John Ryan Murphy)
Bryan Mitchell (to Roman Rodriguez)
Michael Pineda (to Francisco Arcia)
Hiroki Kuroda (to Jose Gil)

· Today’s second string: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Scott Sizemore, SS Dean Anna, 3B Zelous Wheeler, LF Ramon Flores, CF Mason Williams, RF Antoan Richardson, DH Brian McCann

· Today’s scheduled relievers: Matt Thornton, Brian Gordon, Cesar Cabral, Chris Leroux, Chase Whitley and Preston Claiborne (Bruce Billings, Graham Stoneburner, Jeremy Bleich and Pat Venditte listed as available if necessary).

· Tomorrow’s travel squad to Port Charlotte:
Pitchers: Dellin Betances, Dan Burawa, Robert Coello, Matt Daley, Jim Miller, Mark Montgomery, Yoshinori Tateyama
Catchers: Francisco Arcia, Jose Gil, John Ryan Murphy, Pete O’Brien, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
Infielders: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Kelly Johnson, Corban Joseph, Addison Maruszak, Eduardo Nunez, Jose Pirela, Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler
Outfielers: Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Brett Gardner, Antoan Richardson, Ichiro Suzuki, Mason Williams

· Finally, before today’s game, the Yankees will ask for a moment of silence in memory of former Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow, who died at 36 years old last week after battling lung cancer. She was a non-smoker, but was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in September 2009 while training for a marathon. I only knew Monica in passing — a smile and a wave when I’d see her in Baltimore or at Yankee Stadium — but you didn’t have to look very hard last week to find touching tributes from those who knew her well.

Associated Press photos

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30 Responses to “Tuesday notes: “I still think there’s a lot of good baseball in him””

  1. Mottsx March 4th, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    No Mark Reynolds/Eric Chavez types lingering around these days? I’m sure cashman will scoop one up in the next few weeks.

  2. blake March 4th, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    @AndrewMarchand: Everywhere I look at Steinbrenner Field, I see @RealMichaelKay & @DonLagreca on TV screens. Clubhouse, press dining room, press box.

    Kay’s head is omnipresent

  3. blake March 4th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    @BryanHoch: Brendan Ryan just got hit in the left hand by a line drive during BP. Looked painful. Jeter & Girardi went out to check on him.

    Paging Steven Drew

  4. Cashmoney March 4th, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Prime Time is ready to step in!

  5. Cashmoney March 4th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    On the serious side, if you have Solarte and Anna whom maybe are okay choice at SS and can get on base and hit a little, It’s represents opportunities. after all, Brendan Ryan has one outstanding skillset which is superior D.

  6. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    austinmac March 4th, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    “I disagree with the comments in the last post about relievers being fungible. What often separates good teams from very good ones is the pen. Look at the better teams this winter. They were adding to the pen.

    Would you feel more confident with Robertson in the eighth in a one run game or Clairborne? Or anyone else we have?”

    —-

    I think this is a helpful way to explain the problem. For a few weeks now I’ve been saying I believe relief pitching, especially in the 7th and 8th inning, is the Yanks’ potential Achilles heel this season.

    I’m not sure relievers are fungible, but I do think there are about three categories. Category I is the truly exceptional. Mo and Drob for sure. These are the guys who probably deserve multi-year deals. Category II are relief pitchers who are good for two or three years. These guys are very valuable. I’m not sure why they burn out. Maybe overuse. Maybe that’s the nature of the beast. Category III are the fungible guys. They are good for a season or a half season and then discarded.

    Problem is, most recently the Yanks had two or possibly three Category I guys. Now they only have one. I’m not sure what Thornton is now but he used to be Category I. Kelly could be II or III. But right now, there’s a ton of uncertainty regarding the 7th and 8th inning. A ndGod forbid something happens to Robinson.

  7. Russell Munson March 4th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    It’s StePHen Drew, not SteVen Drew.

  8. blake March 4th, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Russell Munson says:
    March 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm
    It’s StePHen Drew, not SteVen Drew.

    Who cares….sign him already

  9. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    And not even addressing the issue of how to win a playoff series. We seen time and time again that in the post season, relief pitching takes on extra importance. Depth, especially in starting pitching and catching, becomes almost irrelevant. But relief pitching often decides the champion.

  10. UpState March 4th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    @BryanHoch: Brendan Ryan just got hit in the left hand by a line drive during BP. Looked painful. Jeter & Girardi went out to check on him.
    =================================

    As many would say :

    “…so injury prone…”

  11. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    If you want Drew, the wrong SS got hit with the line drive.

  12. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    “4) Batted Ball Profiles Have More Predictive Value than We Realized

    \The Houston Astros have recognized that not all line drives are created equally. By measuring the vector and speed of the ball off the bat, the Astros have been able to associate individual batted balls with a run expectancy that is highly predictive. Tracking the ball off the bat allows teams to develop individual park factors for players, potentially improving player valuations in trades or free agency. SABR President Vince Gennaro specifically cited Brian McCann as benefiting from Yankee Stadium compared to Turner Field.

    http://riveraveblues.com/2014/.....ce-100135/

    —-

    This is from RAB today regarding ideas coming out of the MIT/Sloan baseball Analytics Conference. The quote “[b]y measuring the vector and speed of the ball off the bat, the Astros have been able to associate individual batted balls with a run expectancy that is highly predictive,” I believe means that teams are more likely to score runs if their batters hit the ball hard and to places where there are no fielders.

    Now that is a revolutionary idea.

  13. blake March 4th, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    bigdan22 says:
    March 4, 2014 at 5:10 pm
    If you want Drew, the wrong SS got hit with the line drive.

    Not really….Ryan is the only other guy that can play SS….maybe Anna but he’s not even made the team yet

  14. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    The Yanks are not going to spend $10MM+ to bring in a new SS while Jeter is perceived to be healthy. Especially at current budgetary levels. That’s not Hal’s way. He’s still in his “value mode.”

  15. blake March 4th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    “0The Yanks are not going to spend $10MM+ to bring in a new SS while Jeter is perceived to be healthy. Especially at current budgetary levels. That’s not Hal’s way. He’s still in his “value mode.””

    They need a 3B and 2B too so that’s fine

  16. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    “They need a 3B and 2B too so that’s fine”

    —-

    We’ve already seen that that perceived need is not a driver to significantly increase the budget at this time. My guess is, as long as there are no injuries to starters, the Yanks will make no major expenditures or trades until at least June. I believe Hal has left money in the budget for a mid-season acquisition or to deal with any major injuries.

  17. blake March 4th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    @LoHudYankees: Brendan Ryan is fine after taking a line drive off his left hand during BP. Had fielded a fungo grounder, then a batted line drive hit him.

    Crisis maintained

  18. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    http://riveraveblues.com/2014/.....ce-100128/

    This is real good work by Axisa regarding CC. Some good analysis with perspective. My only caveat is the article seems to presume that CC can get his average FB up to 90, still a decrease over last year but enough to make him effective with improved command. That’s an assumption that CC will add about 3 ticks from what he showed on Saturday. I’m not sure he’s going to do that and I think averaging 88 or 89 is different than 90 on your fastball, especially for CC. One or two ticks are key when you are right around 90 unless you are a true soft-tosser.

    Good stuff anyway though.

  19. pete2 March 4th, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Somewhere Drew is sticking pins in voodoo dolls of various MLB SS. Need a bigger pin Stephen, Brendan barely felt that one.

  20. pete2 March 4th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    ” bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    ” Hal has left money in the budget for a mid-season acquisition or to deal with any major injuries.:

    Hal has tons of money that is not in the budget. Yankees Global Enterprise is cash rich. Budgets for private companies are not very binding. More like a goal and not a mandate.

  21. bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    pete2 March 4th, 2014 at 5:57 pm
    ” bigdan22 March 4th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    ” Hal has left money in the budget for a mid-season acquisition or to deal with any major injuries.:

    Hal has tons of money that is not in the budget. Yankees Global Enterprise is cash rich. Budgets for private companies are not very binding. More like a goal and not a mandate

    —–

    When I refer to the “budget” I am not referring to cash flow or the liquidity of affiliated entities. I am referring to a financial plan. I believe Hal has one for the Yankees in 2014, a plan that he’s willing to deviate from but only if certain contingencies arise. I believe this plan explains much of what the Yanks have and have not done this off season.

  22. hardwired7 March 4th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Must have been a pretty good shot if Ryan couldn’t field it, even bare-handed.

  23. UnKnown March 4th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Go Roberts! ! Love me a former roid guy. :grin:

  24. Giuseppe Franco March 4th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Whether the Yanks need him or not, it really is hard to believe that Drew hasn’t been signed by someone yet.

  25. Giuseppe Franco March 4th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    There’s a big difference between having the cash to spend and deciding to actually spend it.

    Hal obviously has a budget and a line has been drawn that he won’t cross – at least not yet.

    How else can you explain ignoring both 2B and 3B?

  26. redsoxfever4ever March 4th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Go Roberts! ! Love me a former roid guy. :grin:

    You like a former roid guy you must have an alter set up for Giambi, Pettit and Arod.

  27. yankeefeminista March 4th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Who is Pettit?

  28. RhapsodyInBlue March 4th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    The biggest juicer in baseball DHs for the red sox.

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