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Pregame notes: “It’s more difficult than most people think”

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Misc on Jun 18, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Adam Warren, John Ryan Murphy

It’s quite possible that we’re making something out of nothing and that Adam Warren will remain in the bullpen — where he has been one of the Yankees’ most reliable arms this season — but it’s clear that the possibility of moving him into the rotation is at least being discussed.

Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi have each acknowledged it, and on Wednesday, Warren chimed in.

“I’m just trying to take it day-by-day,” he said. “I’m definitely open to it. I’ve always wanted to be a starter.”

While Warren said all of the right things and would willingly do whatever is asked of him, I also couldn’t help but get the feeling as he spoke that he has grown fond of coming out of the pen.

He mentioned his arm feeling as “fresh” as it ever has and being able to rely more on the fastball due to the increased velocity as a reliever, and the results have been an obvious improvement. He’s become a valuable late-inning reliever with a 2.19 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and is averaging just about a strikeout per inning, which are all significantly better numbers than he put up last year.

He acknowledged that it’s not a given that he would continue that to have that type of success as a starter.

“I feel like I’ll have to transition a bit because I’ve been in the mindset of a reliever,” he said. “It’s definitely two different mindsets. It’s more difficult than most people think.”

While no decision about what to do with Warren has been officially announced, it sounds like Girardi has already made his mind up. Which way he’s leaning is anybody’s guess, but with injuries stripping the rotation of three of its top arms and replacement starter Vidal Nuno struggling, don’t be surprised to see Warren switching roles soon.

“Things aren’t really up in the air with me with what we’re going to do,” he said. “Obviously, there are discussions, and I have my thoughts and beliefs. We talk about it as an organization, but I wouldn’t say things are up in the air with me.”

Vidal Nuno, Joe Girardi• As I mentioned, the Yankees wouldn’t be considering messing with Warren if not for Nuno’s recent hiccups. David Phelps and Chase Whitley have pitched well enough to assume that their jobs in the rotation are safe — for now — but Nuno is working with a bloated 5.90 ERA and hasn’t won a game since May 7. Girardi insisted that they remain “on rotation” and that Nuno will make his next start. But when asked if Nuno’s job is on the line, he shied away from the question. “We’re on rotation right now,” he said. “I don’t ever put that type of pressure on people. I don’t think it’s fair to send them out there like that, because there’s a lot of times where you could say that in every rotation. It’s not fair because you don’t necessarily do that with guys and their at-bats, where I call them in the office and say, ‘Hey, your job is on the line.’ I don’t think that’s fair. They understand what’s on the line every day and they understand that this is a performance-based business. They have to go out and perform.”

• Girardi has said that if they did move Warren into the rotation, they could possibly stretch him out with the big league club instead of sending him down. “If you end up doing it, I think you have to have a couple of long men because if you’re stretching out a guy, the chances are you’re going to use one of the long men then,” he said. “You hate to ever be without a long man. You don’t necessarily think that your pitchers are going to get knocked out early or something is going to be wrong with their arm, but you look at that ball that was hit at Tanaka (on Tuesday night). Sometimes that can go off your ankle and you can’t continue the start. That’s why you cannot be caught without a long men because you will fry your bullpen.”

• In my opinion, this is a really tough call. On one hand, Nuno has been pretty bad and it’s difficult to continue to send him out every fifth day when he’s not giving you much of a chance to win. But on the other hand — as we’ve seen with others in the past — it’s never a given that a guy who pitches well out of the pen will also succeed in the rotation. There’s a reason why guys who fail as starters are often converted to relievers — it’s easier to get through a lineup once than it is to do so three or four times. Here’s Warren on why he thinks he’s been so successful out of the pen. “When you know you’re only going out there for one inning, you can leave everything out there and not worry about conserving anything,” he said. “My arm actually responds better than I thought it would to throwing back-to-back days.”

• Of course, this problem could be solved if just one of the Yankees’ injured starters returns soon, and CC Sabathia is the closest to being ready. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session today and will increase that total when he throws again on Saturday (assuming there are no setbacks between now and then). As for an exact return date, well, good luck with that. “I can’t get give you the exact time but you’re trying to build him up to 90 pitches,” Girardi said. “He threw a bullpen today. Three bullpens and maybe a couple of live BPs and then you start games. So, he’s kind of on that track. I don’t know if it’s the exact track, exactly how long it’s going to take. For me to get into specifics, it doesn’t make a lot of sense because if he needs an extra time here one time. For me the important thing is getting (through it) day-by-day, and every time he goes out and throws another bullpen or goes beyond that, it’s a positive sign. And right now, the signs are positive.”

• In non-Yankees news, but more of an issue that concerns all of baseball, Girardi addressed the use of chewing tobacco. It’s become a hot topic in the days following Tony Gwynn’s death, with some calling for MLB to ban the use of “dip.” Some old school types are against it, but it’s quite clear that Gwynn’s overuse of the substance contributed to his untimely death at the age of 54. “I think you express concerns with all the health things that guys put in their mouth, the repetition and how often they’re doing it,” he said. “These are grown men and I have to be careful about what I talk about and what I don’t talk about, in a sense. I did talk to my son about (it) … and encouraged him to never do it because it is dangerous.”

Associated Press photos

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26 Responses to “Pregame notes: “It’s more difficult than most people think””

  1. Jerkface June 18th, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Re: MVP

    I think if you look at it the MVP should pretty much always be a position player that plays all phases of the game well, assuming their hitting is within reasonable distance of worse fielders who are also hitting. Like Trout vs Cabrera, Trout is clearly the MVP. A guy who hits AND fields and can run the bases well affects more of the game than any 1 hitter does only hitting or pitcher does only pitching.

    That being said, if I were to have an opinion on the MVP and also weight how the media thinks and reacts to MVP voting, Tanaka has to be the MVP right now. This Yankee team would not exist without him.

  2. MTU June 18th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Warren should definitely be an option IMO.

  3. Hankflorida June 18th, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    My problem is that Phelps is also a problem especially if the umpire has a narrow strike zone, and Whitley has not yet proved his worth. We know that Warren does not have to nibble and can bring it if he has to. My feeling is that the higher ups will never allow Betances to leave the pen because of their lack of trust in him as a starter. If Stengel and Weiss were manning the ship, Betances would be the one two punch with Tanaka. I say that because when Larsen failed as a starter because of his wildness, he was sent to the pen and developed the no windup; he was great in relief so they made him a starter. I know many of you would say that was the stone age of baseball when relief pitching was not an art and pitchers usually went the distance. My answer to them would be that the Yankees had a pretty good staff with Ford and Turley and would not go long with any pitcher and did depend on long relief because no deficit was insurmountable in the Mantle era. We do not have that luxury today so it is more important to have a dominant pitcher keep the game close.

  4. Missing Cano June 18th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    they understand that this is a performance-based business. They have to go out and perform.”

    wait what???

  5. J. Alfred Prufrock June 18th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    While Warren said all of the right things and would willingly do whatever is asked of him, I also couldn’t help but get the feeling as he spoke that he has grown fond of coming out of the pen.

    He mentioned his arm feeling as “fresh” as it ever has and being able to rely more on the fastball due to the increased velocity as a reliever, and the results have been an obvious improvement. He’s become a valuable late-inning reliever with a 2.19 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and is averaging just about a strikeout per inning, which are all significantly better numbers than he put up last year.

    “I feel like I’ll have to transition a bit because I’ve been in the mindset of a reliever,” he said. “It’s definitely two different mindsets. It’s more difficult than most people think.”
    ////

    What’s the goal here?

    Warren is better than Nuno. Bravo. The comment about the velo says it all; Warren relies on limited looks and a spike that he can’t sustain.
    Warren does not have a special breaking pitch. Warren is probably going to be Phelps lite, and that’s not what you strive for in an attempt to upgrade your pitching staff.

    Yeah, it’s more difficult than most people think and moreso if you’re not a particularly good pitcher, and Warren isn’t. He’s actually the epitome of what is erroneously said about Betances: a guy whose stuff “plays up” in relief, but who can’t hack it a few times around a batting order.

    There’s a 6-8 elephant in the room and very few people want to talk about it, but it’s there and it’s resoundingly the best chance to take.

    Unless you’re not interested in really upgrading the rotation without losing prospects and valuable young talent, including the 6-8 elephant, who everyone is going to want for that high-end starter.

  6. ohengin33r June 18th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    So Kelly Johnson has a decent game yesterday and shows some life with the bat and he goes right back to riding the pine today in favor of Soriano, Roberts and the like. Why not give KJ a start at his normal position (2B) with Solarte back at third to see if KJ can continue to hit and give the offense the potential of a little more pop in lieu of the same ole same ole BS associate with the lineup…..especially with Soriano back in there who hasn’t swung his tree for a bat in a couple of days

  7. blake June 18th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Good stuff JF…..I mean he’s gotta be in the conversation for MVP right now and that’s crazy in of itself…..

    As I said last night as well…..I haven’t seen a pitcher field his position like him since Maddux…..what if he won RoY , CY young,…..MVP and the gold glove?

  8. blake June 18th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    And yes the Yankees would certainly be in last place without Tanaka …..I addition to the direct effect he has when he pitches…..the indirect effect he has had on the bullpen has to be counted as well……
    Where would the Angels be without trout? Worse off for sure…..but would that hit hurt as bad as taking Tank off the Yanks? Maybe not

  9. J. Alfred Prufrock June 18th, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    If Stengel and Weiss were manning the ship, Betances would be the one two punch with Tanaka. I say that because when Larsen failed as a starter because of his wildness, he was sent to the pen and developed the no windup; he was great in relief so they made him a starter. I know many of you would say that was the stone age of baseball when relief pitching was not an art and pitchers usually went the distance. My answer to them would be that the Yankees had a pretty good staff with Ford and Turley and would not go long with any pitcher and did depend on long relief because no deficit was insurmountable in the Mantle era. We do not have that luxury today so it is more important to have a dominant pitcher keep the game close.
    ///

    Hank, your ability to dip into Yankee history and provide historic references is greatly appreciated. I always learn something when you take a trip down memory lane, and I always hear my father’s voice, too, for which I thank you.

    I hope you are having a great time with your grandkids and children during your visit back home in our great city. :)

    Speaking of homeboys, our Dealin’ Loisaida (that’s latino slang for “lower Eastsider”) Dellin Betances – born in Washington Heights and raised on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan and a graduate of Grand Street Campus HS in Brooklyn – is not even throwing a lot of pitches any more, having become nearly as efficient as he is deadly.

    I agree that nothing short of dominance won’t float our pinstriped boat unless they significantly upgrade the offense (fat chance); also do not see the BFD (no pun intended). If it fails he goes back to the bullpen. Time to get started: it’s gettin’ late early.

  10. blake June 18th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Has Betances touched 100 this year? I’ve seen some 99s

  11. J. Alfred Prufrock June 18th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Great Yankee fielding pitchers: Guidry, Rivera, Mussina

  12. Jerkface June 18th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    According to brooks baseball he has thrown over 100 in June & may and 99.53 in April

  13. pete22 June 18th, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    What CC does in 25 pitch bullpen sessions is almost meaningless (unless his knees were killing him and then it would be meaningful). Throwing 100 pitches a game every 5 days and fielding his position will be a test, and one that will eventually fail with degenerative knees. He should go to the pen for the duration. I know it won’t happen though.

    Yankees have the pieces to land Price in their system. According to Bowman the Rays would trade within the division. Might take Sanchez, Severino and O’Brien. Would you do it? His ERA is a bit bloated, but he is going deep and has a great K/BB. Like CC he has given up too many hits and HR, unlike CC this could be more due to bad luck than an injury that sapping his velocity.

    I’d prefer to upgrade the hitting, but with Beltran blocking DH and Morales off the table, and Jeter and Roberts untouchable, I have no idea what they can do there via trade. Just hope for positive regression and health for Beltran, Tex, Soriano and McCann I guess.

  14. blake June 18th, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks JF..

  15. J. Alfred Prufrock June 18th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Not sure but he’s hit 100 and as high as 101 at games I attended when he was starting and in the later innings . :D

  16. charlestonchew June 18th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I get the sense that Girardi wants Warren in the bullpen. Warren is not going to be a MLB starter in his career most likely. Phelps probably will, but most likely in the NL. His stuff isn’t good enough to cut it in the AL, nevermind the AL East.

    Betances also won’t be a starter. The kid could not put it together as a reliever and the Yankees seem set on keeping him in the bullpen. I don’t think either Betances or Warren has a future in the rotation, either, given how much the two have improved out of the bullpen. Warren is fringy at best. Betances has no control in the rotation. Having said that, there’s also no doubt that Nuno has got to go. How to replace him is another question worth considering, but it’s not likely to be Betances or Warren.

  17. pete22 June 18th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Jerkface June 18th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    According to brooks baseball he has thrown over 100 in June & may and 99.53 in April
    ===================

    Brooks Baseball velocity is inflated 1-2 mph relative to game day, fan graphs data and radar gun readings since it calculates the velocity at a release point of 55 ft instead of 50 ft. Probably more realistic for most pitchers, but perhaps not for pitchers Delins size

  18. Hankflorida June 18th, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Pete, our offense is etched in stone with little relief from the farm boys. We are both on the same page as the Yanks have to go with Beltran, Tex, McCaan, Soriano and Johnson everyday and hope for the long ball as you keep reminding us that the line does not move when it depends on singles. Five power bats and four banjos may get us to average five runs a game, and that is the least we can expect in order to bolster this question mark pitching staff with our eyes on one in five chances to get to October.

  19. J. Alfred Prufrock June 18th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Betances has no control in the rotation.
    ///

    He hasn’t pitched in the rotation with the new delivery, so you’d be making an assumption that it won’t translate. Incidentally: 2.21 BB/9 now. 15.05 K/9 (40.2 IP this season).

    If he can hold it together for 6 innings, even if he’s slightly less efficient, you have a front-end starter, since everything else about him – pitch variety, quality of pitches, ability to maintain fastball velocity – does translate to starting.

  20. MTU June 18th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Maybe Nuno’s name should be “Nunca”, or “Nada” because that’s what he’s been giving us lately.

    Or maybe just call him “Zip”.

    :)

  21. MTU June 18th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    The best place to hide something is sometimes in plain sight.

    ;)

  22. MTU June 18th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    My dream was a Tanaka-Nova-Pineda triad.

    :(

  23. MTU June 18th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Or is that “triumvirate”.

    Oh well.

    You know what I meant.

  24. MTU June 18th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Enjoy the game folks.

    I hope Whase Chitley.

    Err, Chase Whitley lights it up again.

    :)

  25. mick June 18th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Ichiro and his reverse splits and .421 vs Buerhle not in the lineup but Sori is?
    Good luck against his junk…

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