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

Pregame notes: “I wasn’t hired to put on a farewell tour”

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Misc on Apr 12, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Derek Jeter

Yankee Stadium hasn’t exactly been filled to the brim during the first two home series of the season, but it’s safe to say that a good portion of the fans who are making their way to River Ave. in the Bronx have been coming to see Derek Jeter.

Once Jeter made his preseason announcement that this season will be his last, it ensured that any chance to see him live would be a memorable experience. Inevitably, though, Jeter will have to sit out for at least a handful of games this year, and Saturday marks the first time that his named wasn’t penciled into the lineup for a home game.

“First of all, it’s April (12th). As I’ve said, I have to manage him with the focus of winning games and keeping him healthy – not it being a farewell tour. I wasn’t hired to put on a farewell tour,” Joe Girardi said. “This game is obviously important to us, but so is tomorrow and the next day and next month. I’m sorry for people who came to see him, but I have to be smart about it.”

It makes sense. Jeter is coming off of an injury-laden season in which he was only able to play in 17 games, and as he nears his 40th birthday, it would be foolish to expect him to play every single day. He’s played in seven straight games coming into today, and with this being a day game after a night game, it’s a logical time to give him a rest.

Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the Captain will have to just hope he enters the game as a pinch-hitter at some point.

“When you start running guys out there too much, you risk injury,” Girardi said. “I’m sure people would be a little more upset if he was out for two weeks or month, or something like that. I understand fans want to see him play, and I get that. I want to see him play. I’d love to run him out there 162 times, but I’ve got to do what’s best for him and our team. When you have day games after night games, or you walk into a hotel room at 6 o’clock in the morning, you’ve got to be smart about it.”

Mark Teixeira· Everything that we heard this morning about how Mark Teixeira is progressing was very positive. I spotted him in the clubhouse in uniform with his batting gloves, and it looked like he was heading to do some hitting. That’s obviously a good sign. Girardi gave the impression that he should be ready to jump back into the lineup as soon as his DL stint is up next weekend, and Teixeira told ESPN’s Andrew Marchand that he expects to play next Sunday. “I’d be surprised if he wasn’t back after the 15, 16 days or whatever,” Girardi said. “He’s moving along well. He’s going to hit more in the cage today.”

· Girardi was asked if he’s sensed any frustration from Teixeira about getting injured so quickly after working so hard to get back from his wrist surgery. “I know it’s worn on him,” he said. “I know he’s frustrated. He wants to be out there for his team and loves to play the game. Hopefully, this is just a little blip. Last year was kind of a strange injury that he had. He got hurt at the (World Baseball Classic) swinging, and it was a pretty significant injury. But he seemed to respond pretty well coming back from that, he just has a mild (hamstring) strain. Hopefully, we’ll get through it and that will be it.”

· Girardi was also asked about how he thinks Kelly Johnson has done while filling in for Teixeira at first base. “He’s done a really, really good job,” he said. “And that’s not an easy position. I think sometimes people think it’s an easy position, but there’s a lot of things to know when you start talking about bunt plays, cuts and relays, having to get off the base when you’re holding a guy on – so he’s done a really good job.”

· With Tex out, Girardi has been playing around with the lineup more than you would expect this early in the year. He seems to like Jacoby Ellsbury in the three-hole, and he’s probably been the Yankees biggest offensive weapon so far. With Jeter out today, Brian Roberts moves up into the two-hole. “You do feel that you’re going to have a fixed batting order, but when you lose someone in the middle, a lot of times it changes things,” Girardi said. “You maybe move it around a little bit more. We’re trying to get to more of a set batting order. We would like to do that. But with the age that we have and having to give guys a day off, sometimes you have to change it a little bit.”

Michael Pineda· While the offense still seems to be finding its way, it’s very hard not to be encouraged by what this Yankees pitching staff has done. The starting rotation has the potential to be the most dynamic that Girardi has had during his time as manager — especially when you consider the upside of No. 4 starter Masahiro Tanaka and No. 5 Michael Pineda — and the bullpen seems to have guys who can be effective in certain roles once closer David Robertson returns. There are a lot of question marks, but it’s also a very compelling group. “It’s something where you don’t have five guys coming in who you know exactly what they did last year. You don’t,” Girardi said. “I think there was curiosity on how CC would bounce back, and I think he’s thrown the ball pretty well. You get a young man that comes over from Japan that’s never pitched in our country, and everyone is wondering how he’s going to adapt to (pitching) every fifth day, and the balls a little different, and the country is different. He seems, so far, to do a pretty good job. And then there were the questions about Pineda, and where’s he really at? He finished up pretty well last year throwing in some minor league rehab games and we were pretty pleased, but I still think there was the question: Where is he at? So far, he’s in a pretty good place. Do we have to be somewhat careful with him? Yes. And I have to manage that.”

· Here’s more on what’s been impressive about Pineda: “How he competes,” Girardi said. “How quickly he works. Usually, if a guy is not feeling well, you’ll see them slow down a little bit. That was the one thing that I noticed early in spring training that gave me the clue that he was feeling pretty good – his bullpens were quick. He didn’t waste any time. But I like the way that he competes, and how he has a high expectation of himself.”

· Girardi was asked if this year has been more challenging than usual for him because of losing Tex and Robertson, plus dealing with an aging roster. But let’s be honest, it would be hard to top last season. “I seem to have a little bit more of a set lineup this year than I did last year,” he said. “Last year was somewhat challenging because there were people walking through the door all of the time. (I was) trying to learn so many new players throughout the whole year, as opposed to maybe at the beginning of this year. But there’s some age on this team that I definitely have to manage, and it’s just not in one particular group.”

· There wasn’t as much talk about Robertson as there was about Teixeira this morning, but I did see D-Rob in uniform with his glove in hand. Looked like he was going to throw, and Girardi also seems to think he’ll be ready shortly after his DL time is up. “It should be short-lived, and we should get him back pretty soon,” he said.

Associated Press photos





9 Responses to “Pregame notes: “I wasn’t hired to put on a farewell tour””

  1. SweetSpot April 12th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    That may be true Girardi but it’s a pretty stupid and classless thing to say publicly. How about just saying, “he’s an older player coming off an injury and I think he needs a day off every now and then. Apologies to those fans that came out to see him today.”

  2. UnKnown April 12th, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Conspiracy theory – Because the crowds have been down so far at YS, Hal told Joe to sit Jeter today expecting a bigger crowd because it is a Saturday. NOW all those fans have to come back again to see Jeter on final time. dun dun dun

  3. exiledintampa April 12th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Some frustration in Garardi’s words Not his usual tone. He gets it. This offense doesn’t have that guy who can carry a team. Blame doesn’t solve that.

  4. austinmac April 12th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    They were just discussing the empty seats on MLB radio. Surely it will be packed on a beautiful Saturday afternoon against the Sox.

  5. luis April 12th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Well…There was this great 2B that is currently playing in Seattle

  6. J. Alfred Prufrock April 12th, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    To not have a real 1B or a real 3B on the active roster is indicative of inept roster construction and piss poor player development that lies clearly at the feet of Cashman and Newman. And tolerating this failure lies at the feet of Hal.

    I missed this expanded discussion this morning, and I have to say there were some very money posts on how Cashman, upon any scrutiny beyond just the $189 precedent, cannot avoid culpability.

    Cashman had to know the clamps where coming.

    What did he do?

    He got rid of position player after player who could have buoyed an aging but still viable set of hitters and reversed this team’s fortunes the last few years, and turned us into, alternately, a faux contender team in 2012 with a back-leg, slow-bat, hacking “offense” that postseason pitching bore down to expose, to the dumpster dive collection of riff-raff that he tried to defend with his thin-skinned condescending response to criticism, that fans would “get to see” what a lack of power looks like.

    So, you say – Hal wouldn’t give him the $$$ to do more.

    Well, Hal is a problem in himself, who, as Yankee21 noted, doesn’t really understand baseball well enough to have made a change in the FO to begin with.

    But here’s the thing: Cashman is the one whose moves have put the team into the position of having had to pay out for past-prime bats, because he’s depleted the system of the few who were “ready” youth that could have made an impact, so Cashman has no one to deflect blame to for Hal’s frustration with the farm not providing what has been needed, and for Cashman’s trading everyone for “pitching” he has failed to develop from within.

    If Cashman were any good, he’d have not parted with Cabrera, nor tried to trade Robinson Cano three times – but not when it actually made some sense, since they knew he would not be re-signed – nor would he have allowed Eppler and Eiland to prevail in their Joba-to-the-pen opinion (please see 2008, for everyone who thinks Joba never pitched like a future ace, nor brought the Bronx to the kind of frenzy that Pineda touched on Thursday night). This all after Cashman repeatedly insisted Joba was going to be a starter, the BP was temporary, come hell or highwater, before all that “abbreviated innings” crap ensued that even Pettitte and Sabathia opined was doomed to fail.

    How about that – can’t develop the young pitching talent, so has to go out and get somebody else’s; can’t project the lineup’s corroding before our eyes, and assures everyone that the offense “is fine.”

    Trades the young hitting talent to try to get someone else’s better development results for pitching.

    I’m beginning to think that this Betances decision was more about Hal saying, “look – you gave this guy a $1 million bonus, and he hasn’t been able to help us yet. Get something out of him or something for him, or else.”

    Cashman said it was the “out of options” end of the line that decided Betances’ fate, that this was the only reason they didn’t continue to try and help him gain enough consistency to stay a starter.

    It also was reported that the FO was “split” on the Betances’ decision; not the automatic “no brainer” decision that confirmation bias around here seems to think it was.

    Well, I’m willing to bet the naysayers in the FO included Brian Cashman, who has basically had his power eunuched because of his development failures in general.

    Cashman has become stripped of much power, it’s true, but he didn’t do much with the power he wielded – in fact, he has done nothing but move the Yankees away from the summit of baseball since 2009, not to a place that might have sustained it.

    I totally believe drafting and IFA signings have not been the big bugaboo – development has, including the general ADD in the entire organization that refuses to allow the development that is the key to producing ML players; that’s a general failure, from the owner on down.

    Now, because of Cashman’s general ineptness, Levine is actually making baseball decisions; Hal doesn’t care, because Levine, like him, is about making “business” decisions that trump baseball sense – like signing Ichiro for two years to lure the Japanese fan and market.

    Hal and Cashman are inextricably entwined with fault for what has been wrought here: one for not recognizing his GM was moving away from real success, rather than toward it, the other for putting himself on the chopping block for having no $$ and no real power.

    You can’t compartmentalize Hal as the problem, and Cashman skates free, not when the baseball neophyte owner’s response to Cashman’s results are tied to the state of the current team.

  7. SweetSpot April 12th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Unfortunately Luis, that great 31 year old second baseman wanted $240 million dollars and a ten year contract, the fourth largest in major league history. The Yankees offered Cano a $175 million, seven-year deal. That’s $25k per year and would have paid him until he was 38 years old.

  8. J. Alfred Prufrock April 12th, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Someone wrote on an earlier thread that they attended last night’s game, and it was better attended than some of us were saying games are.

    That’s a Friday night game, so when you don’t have to go to work in the morning, or classes (college still in session), you can attend a game. Thursday was a skeleton crowd, which, to my point about this, indicates that these games are not “sell outs” as the Yankee Universe propaganda goes, nor as people who do not live near the Stadium and who rarely, if ever, attend games, seem to say on this site.

    When school gets out an the weather really gets nice, you’ll see more crowds, but the prices and the wait-and-see caution of fans probably will continue to be a factor.

    It costs me about $200 to attend a game at Yankee Stadium, for instance. Last year, I wasn’t going to fork out that kind of money for Vernon Wells and a faded Ichiro, and I’m not doing it this year, either, for an Cano-less team. I’ll pick my spots, based on whose pitching, and with the understanding that this is it for Derek.

  9. maillot Silva enfant September 3rd, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I like it when folks come together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!|

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