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Pregame notes: “Just catch the ball”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 28, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Brian McCann

The Yankees typically have their young minor league catchers take some ground balls at the infield corners. Might not play them in a game at first or third base, but the Yankees like to give their catchers at least a little bit of experience fielding ground balls so that they’re familiar with the job if that sort of defensive versatility is ever necessary.

Brian McCann said the Braves don’t do that.

Tonight, McCann will make his first professional start at first base. He’d never played the position at all until this season, when he’s had four innings of late-game experience. He does not regularly take ground balls at first, and he said those late-inning replacement situations are where he’s had the bulk of his work at the position. Today during batting practice, he was at first base with infield coach Mick Kelleher trying to get ready for tonight’s game.

“I feel comfortable going out there for a game and doing the job that needs to be done,” McCann said. “Not a whole lot (of work at the position), but I’ll go out there, let my instincts take over and hopefully do a good job.”

So why McCann at first? It starts with Mark Teixeira’s wrist being still a little sore. Also, Joe Girardi felt that scuffling Yangervis Solarte could use a day off. And he wanted to give Derek Jeter a day so that he could have two in a row heading into another long stretch of consecutive games. That left very few options, and McCann was the choice.

Since spring training, Girardi has said he wouldn’t want to put McCann at first, yet here we are.

“I was a little hesitant to do it,” Girardi said. “I saw him over there those couple of times (in the late innings) and I’m a little more open to it. Just because of some of the injuries (it makes more sense). You know, there are a lot of things you don’t plan on doing during the course of the season that kind of go awry when some things happen. I never planned on playing Vernon Wells at third base last year. Never in my wildest dreams, but it happened. That’s where you have to be sometimes a little creative.”

Biggest challenge?

“Just catch the ball,” McCann said. “Catch the ground balls, make the routine plays, and just do my job. … I’ll be looking in the dugout quite a bit trying to know where to play, and I’ll be talking to B-Rob for advice, telling me where to go.”

Mark Teixeira• No real change in Teixeira’s status. He’s still going to see his doctor tomorrow, and he still expects to be back soon. “There’s still more improvement, but he still feels it,” Girardi said. “We thought it was in his best interest to give him another day, which really gives him two days.”

• Carlos Beltran had a scheduled day off from swinging. He’ll do tee and toss with Kevin Long tomorrow.

• Shawn Kelley played catch again today. He’s throwing a bullpen on Friday.

• No change with Michael Pineda. Still scheduled for an intrasquad game on Sunday.

• Although John Ryan Murphy has some infield experience in the minors — 14 games at third base in A-ball — he said the Yankees never approached him about playing first base today. Girardi also said that he does not consider Alfonso Soriano to be a realistic option at first base. The Yankees were going to give Soriano some time at first base this spring, but they scrapped that plan. “We felt that Kelly’d be able to handle it (as the backup first baseman),” Girardi said. “And I still think that Kelly can handle it. But with some of the guys struggling a little bit, this is kind of what we chose to do today. Mark’s going to play most of the time over there, but the way our club is designed, this is what we’re doing.”

• Girardi said the decision to use McCann has nothing to do with Johnson’s recent struggles at first base. He said that if Solarte were playing today, Johnson would probably be back at first base. He does not expect McCann to become the go-to backup first baseman going forward. This could be a one-time thing. “I’m not looking at this as being an option going forward right now,” Girardi said. “I still consider him my everyday catcher.”

• Girardi said Jeter did not put up a fight about being out of the lineup. “I think he understood what I was trying to do here,” Girardi said. “We’re in another long streak here, a really long streak.”

• Why push Murphy all the way to the No. 5 spot in the lineup? “Just trying to split up our lefties,” Girardi said. “We have a lot of lefties in the lineup tonight and I’m trying to split them up, and he’s swung the bat extremely well for us. … With the way Murph’s played, I thought this was probably our best lineup.”

Associated Press photos

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101 Responses to “Pregame notes: “Just catch the ball””

  1. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Re-post:

    De Paula and Mason are hardly busts. LOL.

    —–

    True, but it’s well understood, at some point you have to put up numbers.

    I got into this in my write-up on Williams yesterday. As disappointing as he’s been the last couple of seasons, he has a pretty good chance of making to the majors with some team in a utility role. There are very very few position player prospects you can say that about in the Yankee system. You probably can count on one hand how many Yankee position player prospects right now have a good chance of a major league career and Williams is one of those.

    De Paula’s issue is probably going to be his mechanics. His stuff is real good. But without some semblance of control, he’s a very long longshot. Still, the Yanks do a pretty good job of getting relief pitchers to the majors so his odds are better than most.

  2. Shame Spencer May 28th, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    You don’t need sources to know the FO of the club has been at best in transition and at worst utterly incompetent. That’s been well documented around here for about 3-4 years.

    Now if you’re trying to make asserstions about player acquisitions based on supposition…well, a source or two might not be a bad jumping off point for speculation.

  3. Shame Spencer May 28th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    O’Brien just hit a grand slam lmao….Will he ever stop????

  4. chicken_stanley May 28th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    well, a source or two might not be a bad jumping off point for speculation.

    ——————

    Oh yeah? well, to quote that multiple-Oscar-winning film Blazing Saddles – “Sources?, we don’t need no stinking sources!”

    Wait a minute in the movie it was “badges” instead of “sources” My bad. Carry on. :)

  5. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Shame Spencer May 28th, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    You don’t need sources to know the FO of the club has been at best in transition and at worst utterly incompetent. That’s been well documented around here for about 3-4 years.
    ///

    It became clear as early as 2010 that these people were perhaps not going to be equal to the task. Yes, many of us have had to be the bearers of this bad news throughout the last few years, and it’s hard not to notice how some who bashed us as “Yankee haters” and “bad fans” have surreptitiously slithered across the street and have quietly incorporated what were considered rogue viewpoints into their own rhetoric as if they’d known it all along :roll:

  6. austinmac May 28th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Shame,

    O’Brien even walked today. Did he get the ball?

  7. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:30 pm
    Mason has plus plus D in CF in a run saving era. He should hit at average to above. He was brought up to AA because of his June and July mega-production at A+. His road splits are excellent decent and if you ever get around to watching the AB, he is having good AB. I don’t care what some writers say. They aren’t scouts and they had Dellin among others buried. Why not do your own watching? As for De Paula, he is a work in progress and his K/BB are decent and control has improved since last season. His striking out 11.06 K/9 and his 4.89 BB/9 aren’t fatal, and I can give you a list of mlb current pitchers who had worse stats than that in A ball and higher. Again De Paula has a huge, electric arm. Only a few other pitchers in the system I have seen (Dellin, JRam, Severino of the ones I have seen compare)… No one is giving up on De Paula at this point with that kind of arm.

    Free-range, I look forward to all visuals and audio.
    ____
    austinmac, O’Brien should. He may never walk again. Last time I looked his OBP was something like .265…

  8. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    ndrew Marchand ?@AndrewMarchand 8m
    Tarp is going on the field. It actually is raining.
    ___
    :(

  9. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    O’Brien has got to be one of the more interesting prospects that has come down the pike in quite awhile. The ridiculous power matched with a ridiculous walk rate. He has 44 SOs this year and 5 walks.

    I don’t think his SO rate is horrific. It was high last year, 26% but he’s down to 23% this year. Gallo is 26% now and was an astronomical 36% last year. But Gallo walks. O’Brien doesn’t.

    I have to believe O’Brien could walk more if he really wanted to. I don’t think pitchers want to keep appearing on Youtube giving up his blasts. Certainly doesn’t seem like any park can keep him in though.

  10. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Tyler, there’s your potential rainout… Start praying. ;)

  11. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Mason Williams still hasn’t hit in two years.

  12. Cashmoney May 28th, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I get the sense the power is real with obrien. BigD has a legit point with so/walk ratio with O’brien. really hard to come to any solid conclusion without really watching him play on a regular basis. should there be some excitements? well, i am little excited in a otherwise pedestrian big league season so far.

  13. bbb51 May 28th, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I’m going to call him Bam Bam O’Brien.

  14. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    SSS but O’Brien’s SO rate is lower in AA than A. In 69 PAs it’s 22%. I don’t think that’s terrible. Need some walks though.

  15. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    O’Brien….not the same player by any stretch of the imagination… However, it got me thinking… GB7 might have brought up Cody Johnson at this point because he hit towering shots, except Cody’s SO % in Trenton was @woeful 35%. Still if only he could learn not to strike out so much, GB would say wistfully. Damn Cody could cream the ball when he made contact. GB loved his power. But we all knew he couldn’t cut down on the K’s and they got worse once Cody moved up to Trenton.

    Now O’Brien live flat out murders the ball. Next work on that OBP, dude.

  16. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    moved up to *Scranton* should read…

  17. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    O’Brien should be invited to the All Star Game for Home Run Derby. I’m serious. People would be into that.

  18. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    They should invite Gallo and O’Brien. That would be cool.

  19. chicken_stanley May 28th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    What’s the latest on the weather? Gonna be delayed?

  20. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    First pitch 8:20 supposedly…

  21. austinmac May 28th, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Another walk for O’Brien. He is turning into a walking machine.

  22. Ys Guy May 28th, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    “If somebody will just show me where first base is, I’m ready.”

    That’s what Joe Dimaggio told the press before his first start at 1b in 1950. (Privately Joe was furious at being moved and at Casey for having Dan Topping break the news to him instead of Casey.)

  23. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    lol, just saw your post after I posted the time, Free-range. Glad to oblige. ;)

  24. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    austinmac, I missed that bit of history. Do share.

  25. chicken_stanley May 28th, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks YF

  26. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Josh Norris ?@jnorris427 11m
    @nickperuffo Was one of the hardest balls I’ve ever seen hit
    __
    I’ll bet. O’Brien hits the ball so hard it’s ridiculous.

  27. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:02 pm

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  28. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Cashmoney, I had to go listen to Superstar to see if I understood the connection between it and what I wrote. I can relate to the melancholy I suppose, but it may just be a mysterious connection within you, like a reversal of what T.S. Eliot calls the objective correlative. Thanks, I’m eternally interested in the nonrational, which is kind of where poetry lives, isn’t it.

  29. Ys Guy May 28th, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Of course, it was Joe’s one and only appearance at 1B.

  30. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I said this like a month ago. I can’t imagine that any pitcher with an IQ would throw O’Brien a strike. The guy either hits homers, strikes out or makes an out. Throw pitches off the plate and let him get himself out.

    Now if O’Brien can realize what’s happening, he should be able to collect at least a few walks.

  31. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Nice catch, Mason. Love the way the Reading stream shows zero replays of any Thunder runs, catches, etc. So provincial.

  32. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Cody’s SO % in Trenton was @woeful 35%
    ///

    Don’t remind me. He did have ridiculous power, like O’Brien seems to.

    It was fun to see him hit at Trenton, but I have to say I was more excited that day to see Heredia. I can’t get that change-curve combo off my mind.

  33. austinmac May 28th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Yf,

    These have been his first AA walks, I believe. Two tonight does say something.

  34. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    They shouldn’t throw him fast balls. Period.

  35. bigdan22 May 28th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    A lot of the Yankee players hated Casey for that. If fact, a lot of Yankee players hated Casey for a lot of things. Mostly for not being Joe McCarthy. But all Casey did was make them win like no other manager or coach has done in professional sports history.

  36. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    O’Brien is interesting, but off very SSS of having seen both live, I am frankly more stoked about Judge.

  37. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    austin, yes, his first two.

  38. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    LOL, pitching addictions I can understand. ;)

  39. austinmac May 28th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    JAP,

    One thing is certain. O’Brien has very rare power. I’m talking 450 foot plus homers. Will he learn the strike zone? He has a pretty good looking swing.

  40. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I like O’Brien’s AB when he connects. I prefer Judge’s approach, for sure.

  41. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Hey Yankeefem:

    “Cody Johnson was drafted in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves and he will likely never see the majors. After five years in Atlanta’s system, where his best season by far was in 2007 when he hit .305/.374/.630 in his second go around in rookie ball, he left the organization. He went to the Yankees and played the 2011 and 2012 seasons in High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. In 2013 he made it to the Triple-A level for the first time, but hit a measly .167/.297/.259 in 64 plate appearances at the age of 24.

    The Yankees released him in early May and he quickly signed with the Atlantic League’s York Revolution. He hit .268/.358/.506 in his first taste of Indy ball and played with the likes of Eric Patterson, Mark Teahen, ex-Yankee Brett Tomko, and just missed playing with former 2010 Yankees farmhand Zack Segovia by four days. He stuck with the team until mid-July when he left and signed with the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian-American Association. Even first round picks can end up as a baseball nomad.”

  42. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    LOL, pitching addictions I can understand. ;)

    ///

    Nothing at all like the Dealin’ addiction, though. Trumps all :D

  43. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    austinmac May 28th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    JAP,

    One thing is certain. O’Brien has very rare power. I’m talking 450 foot plus homers. Will he learn the strike zone? He has a pretty good looking swing.
    ///

    Yeah, we’ll see if he matures as a hitter. We could use a big RHBP. The swing is sometimes too long for me. TBD.

  44. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Matt Kardos ? ?@mattkardos 16m
    O’Brien told me last wk that pitchers have been attacking him same way all yr. Hasn’t noticed a difference in AA…They should prob start.
    ____

    Interesting about Cody Johnson.

    ___
    Are we starting on time?

  45. yankeefeminista May 28th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Cody Kimball is killing me. Seems to always give up inherited runs, at least when I am watching him pitch.

  46. J. Alfred Prufrock May 28th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    RHPB I meant to say

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