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Pregame notes: “He’s gotten it going again”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 19, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Kelly Johnson, Munenori Kawsaki

When Kelly Johnson lost his regular playing time earlier this season, he didn’t have to dig deep to find a reason why. Yangervis Solarte’s hot start wasn’t a well kept secret, especially not in the Yankees clubhouse.

“We all have to have roles,” Johnson said. “Obviously I’m wanting to win. When you get guys who are swinging the bat as well as Solarte or whoever, if you’re a guy that’s losing playing time because someone is doing that well and you’re winning games, you’re not going to be that upset. But at the same time, playing always helps especially to find a groove. It’s hard to find a groove if you’re not really playing a lot.”

Johnson’s in a bit of a groove now. He’s hit .379/.438/.448 in his past 10 games, a stretch that dates all the way back to May 28. That’s 10 games in three weeks, but tonight will be Johnson’s fifth start in one week. As he’s produced — and Solarte has slumped — Johnson’s seen more time at third.

“I just think he’s in a good groove,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s swinging the bat well. He’s also been on base through the walks, his at-bats have been really good. He went through a tough time. He started out pretty good, went through a tough time, and I think part of that was probably not playing as regularly as he was in the beginning. He’s gotten it going again, and that’s why he’s playing.”

Any explanation necessary early this season when Johnson lost his starting job?

“I think there was an understanding that Solo was doing really well,” Girardi said. “… You tell guys, ‘You’re still going to play, but Solo’s going well right now.’ And it’s kind of understood, in a sense. That’s kind of how the game works. But we know Kelly’s a good player, and we’ve said all along that he’s going to help us, and that’s what he’s doing right now.”

Dellin Betances• Big opportunity for the Yankees to finish off a three-game sweep against the team that currently leads the division. “I think the bigger thing is we’re playing in our division, we’re playing at home, and we’ve talked about that we need to play better at home,” Girardi said. “These last two days have been nice. It would be big. That’s the team that we’re chasing right now.”

• Because of recent workload, Dellin Betances is not available tonight. Girardi said he would check with Adam Warren. He might be available, might not.

• Brett Gardner is riding a hot streak, and Girardi indicated that he has no plans of changing those top three spots in the order right now. Jacoby Ellsbury seems likely to stay in the No. 3 spot for a while. “I like what I see out of both of them,” Girardi said. “You can only have one leadoff guy. I feel like our lineup has two of them, in a sense, but you can only use one of them. Gardy’s done a really good job at the top of the order. It really lengthens our lineup. It puts a lot of speed up top in front of these guys who can hit the doubles and the home runs, so it’s seemed to work OK.”

• Carlos Beltran continues to play catch, but there’s still no sense of when he might actually play right field again. “I can’t really give you a guess,” Girardi said. “He’s going to play catch. He will continue to play catch here, but I don’t really have a date on it. We’re trying to lengthen him out in a little bit where he’s throwing farther, and increasing the intensity a little bit, but we don’t really have a date. It’s kind of a day-by-day thing because we kind of told him, if he feels anything, we probably need to stop it. So I don’t really have a date.”

• We’ve seen David Phelps have both good and bad starts this year. So what does Phelps need to do to be successful against this Blue Jays lineup? “I think he has to be ahead in the count,” Girardi said. “I think that’s what you have to do with these lineups. You have to be aggressive. it’s one thing to be aggressive, but you also have to be aggressive and make some quality pitches and you can’t nibble too much because if you nibble too much you’re going to be in long counts and they’re going to see everything and you’re not going to last very long because your pitch count is going to skyrocket. So, to me, it’s being aggressive with first-pitch strikes and making them defensive.”

Associated Press photos

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59 Responses to “Pregame notes: “He’s gotten it going again””

  1. Against All Odds June 19th, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Warning Track Power June 19th, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    ————–

    Wasn’t he throwing harder earlier in the season?

  2. Warning Track Power June 19th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Warning Track Power June 19th, 2014 at 5:51 pm
    Banuelos was at 90-92 on Tuesday night — never any higher. His fastball was flat and soft for its velocity, though it played up just a little because he could offset it with an above-average-to-plus changeup around 78 mph with good arm speed. He didn’t have the same curveball he once showed — 73-76, big and very slow — but was throwing a lot of cutters at 84-86, with every fourth or fifth coming out above-average but most below that. His delivery is still compact and on line, providing a little deception because he keeps everything close to his body, but there’s a big gap between his old 92-95 mph fastball with a little pop and the current 90-92 version.
    ———————————————————————
    This news is alarming. Throwing 90-92 almost makes him slightly above average.
    Huge fall from where he once was. Maybe his arm/shoulder will regain some of that velocity as the summer goes on. Here’s to wishing that is the case.

  3. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Pete

    He’d rather have Roberts at 2nd over Johnson defense-wise.

  4. SweetSpot June 19th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Unfortunately Girardi omitted the most important thing in opining on what Phelps has to do against Toronto. Don’t throw anything that gets too much of the plate.

  5. pete22 June 19th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Jerkface June 19th, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Remember when Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett didn’t force LAD to do some kind of wild extension to waive their no trade clauses? Or manny? or A-rod?

    Its a potential consideration, but you’re not going to be forced to guarantee all 3 of Utleys vesting options to acquire him. Cliff Lees 2016 option is basically guaranteed to vest anyways.
    ====================

    Crawford had limited trade protection, he could block trades to only 2 teams, Dodgers were not one of them (Yankees wereO. Beckett did not have a NTC. Manny wanted out of Boston to any team who would agree not to pick up his option year. He wanted to be a free agent. Arod was willing to give up salary to get out of Texas (MLBPA would not allow that so blokced the deal to Boston). None of these situations resemble Utleys that I could see.

  6. Patrick June 19th, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    This news is alarming. Throwing 90-92 almost makes him slightly above average.
    Huge fall from where he once was. Maybe his arm/shoulder will regain some of that velocity as the summer goes on. Here’s to wishing that is the case.

    It is alarming but he’s clearly not 100% yet. The Yankees are slowly building up his arm strength. I wouldn’t really pay attention to how he’s throwing until spring training.

  7. pete22 June 19th, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Pete

    He’d rather have Roberts at 2nd over Johnson defense-wise.
    ==================

    Roberts at -3.8 UZR (18th among 21 qualified 2Bmen) so he has not been especially good defensively

  8. Pat M. June 19th, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Mick….I’m on the hook for 50 ( pays off at 75 ) if Johnson doesn’t go yard 20 times. Truth is I was popping off here back in February about Kelly going deep 25 times. I need him to get AB’S

  9. jmills June 19th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    mick, did catch your post this morning, I’ve been pretty work busy, sounds like it kept me from an uncomfortable thread last night.

  10. Jerkface June 19th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Crawford had limited trade protection, he could block trades to only 2 teams, Dodgers were not one of them (Yankees wereO. Beckett did not have a NTC. Manny wanted out of Boston to any team who would agree not to pick up his option year. He wanted to be a free agent. Arod was willing to give up salary to get out of Texas (MLBPA would not allow that so blokced the deal to Boston). None of these situations resemble Utleys that I could see.

    Beckett had 10/5 rights which = a full NTC, Crawford’s NTC included LAD, and the Manny/Arod situations are borderline applicable because Utley has not said he wants to be a phillie for life or anything like that.

    Theres been no word from Utley about not wanting to be traded, being unwilling to accept a trade, or any of the kind of posturing that would prompt someone to think, “you know what, if we trade for Utley he is going to strong arm us into making a bunch of vesting options guaranteed.”

    Actually I think its rare for any player to use their NTC in that fashion, despite it being worried about all the time.

  11. Warning Track Power June 19th, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Patrick June 19th, 2014 at 6:10 pm
    This news is alarming. Throwing 90-92 almost makes him slightly above average.
    Huge fall from where he once was. Maybe his arm/shoulder will regain some of that velocity as the summer goes on. Here’s to wishing that is the case.

    It is alarming but he’s clearly not 100% yet. The Yankees are slowly building up his arm strength. I wouldn’t really pay attention to how he’s throwing until spring training.
    ——————————————————————————————
    ST 2015??
    So you’re saying this year is a total loss in terms of the big leagues?
    Not sure about that. I think there is a good chance he will get called up in Sept, pitch in crucial situations before the month is over and be on the active playoff roster as well.

  12. UnKnown June 19th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Hey how about another 7 runs tonight.

  13. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Against All Odds June 19th, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    mick June 19th, 2014 at 5:38 pm
    Why not. He was a newbie. Levine and Hank got the best of him.
    Not any more tho’

    ————-

    Wasn’t Hank a newbie at the time as well??

    I have a hard time believing Hal was so how let astray by his brother and Levine.
    ==========================
    No. Hank was a George Clone his entire life.
    Hal wanted no part of it.

  14. jmills June 19th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Hutchison should be interesting for you people. The kid oscillates between lights out and blow up.

  15. Patrick June 19th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    ST 2015??
    So you’re saying this year is a total loss in terms of the big leagues?
    Not sure about that. I think there is a good chance he will get called up in Sept, pitch in crucial situations before the month is over and be on the active playoff roster as well.

    Really???

    He’s still only throwing 3 innings per start and has been for the last 3 months. The Yankees are taking it REALLY slow with him. Don’t forget, he’s still only 23 years old, no need to rush him.

    I could see him in a bullpen role late in the year but nothing more than that.

  16. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Hutchison should be interesting for you people.
    ===============
    mills you sound like your serving him up on a silver platter for us.

  17. Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    If Hal doesn’t want expensive long term contracts than how do you explain the Ellsbury signing?

    Not to mention the Sabathia extension and giving 3yrs to a 37 yr old Beltran.

    There’s a difference between spending wisely and spending stupid.

  18. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @LoHudYankees

    First-place Toronto in town, and Yankee Stadium plays Canadian band Rush during batting practice. “Cast in this unlikely role…”
    ==========================
    Thought you would like this mills…

  19. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Since when is a 7 or 3 year deal the same as one for 10?
    Forget about Arod’s, that was the worst of all time.
    6m for a HR? Insane…

  20. G. Love June 19th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Wow, all this comrade talk? I guess I really got under your skin today mick after you chose to insult me. Come on boyo, I know you can handle some ribbing. You’re Mr. Cellophane.

  21. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    No GLOve i seem to have hit your last nerve but do consider you a comrade so that was a mixed message ..

  22. jmills June 19th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks, mick, Rush always liked to do a week long album preview at Radio City.

  23. SweetSpot June 19th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:35 pm
    If Hal doesn’t want expensive long term contracts than how do you explain the Ellsbury signing?
    Not to mention the Sabathia extension and giving 3yrs to a 37 yr old Beltran.
    There’s a difference between spending wisely and spending stupid.
    —————–
    I am referring to now and I said aging players. Ellsbury is not old and he is a premium ballplayer in his prime. They were filling a huge offensive hole left by Cano. Betran is only thre years and I don’t think they will repeat a Sabathia type extension.

  24. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    G.

    Just was using you as a whipping boy for those who vacillate from pitch to pitch.
    Know you are a diehard and suffer every pitch..

  25. Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Cano isn’t old right now either but he will be by the end of that contract.

    That’s the argument the Yanks made when they opted not to sign him but gave a lesser player 7 years.

  26. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Why can’t I wait for 1st pitch….Baseball.

    Must be something wrong with me..

  27. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    That’s the argument the Yanks made when they opted not to sign him but gave a lesser player 7 years
    =============
    Cano was going to the highest bidder.

  28. Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Since when is a 7 or 3 year deal the same as one for 10?

    —–

    Never said they were the same thing. But how is 7 years not long term?

    There’s only a few players in the last decade who signed 10 yr deals.

  29. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I don’t think they will repeat a Sabathia type extension.
    ===================
    Might have to with Tanaka.

  30. Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Cano was going to the highest bidder.

    —-

    Most players do – just like Ellsbury and McCann.

  31. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    —–

    Never said they were the same thing. But how is 7 years not long term?
    ======================
    It takes Ells to age 37, Cano 40.

  32. austinmac June 19th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Mills is right about Hutchisn. Half the time he throws a shutout and the other half he gets hammered. Could we have a bad one please?

  33. jmills June 19th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Joan Armatrading, ” Love and Affection ” – wow!

  34. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Most players do – just like Ellsbury and McCann.
    =================
    They were reasonable compared to Cano.

  35. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I remember Joan-she was good.

  36. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Mark Tush-era bobble nite, oh boy!

  37. Russell Munson June 19th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Ellsbury is not a premimum ballplayer.

  38. jmills June 19th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    austin, you don’t want to see my guy coughing up a fur ball on your mound, now do you? ( Horrible sight for an otherwise pleasant Thursday evening )

  39. mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Ellsbury is not a premimum ballplayer.
    =======================
    He’ll win an MVP before Cano.

  40. SweetSpot June 19th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    “Ellsbury is not a premimum ballplayer.”
    ———-
    Please.

  41. Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    mick June 19th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    —–

    Never said they were the same thing. But how is 7 years not long term?
    ======================
    It takes Ells to age 37, Cano 40.

    —-

    Ellsbury’s game is all about speed and speed declines faster than any other physical attribute.

    Not to mention he’s also prone to injuries. Not so with Cano.

  42. austinmac June 19th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Mills,

    Fur balls would work for me. It is my selfish nature.

  43. austinmac June 19th, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Judge is playing for Tampa tonight. He is my hope for a future star.

  44. mick June 19th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Not to mention he’s also prone to injuries. Not so with Cano.
    =====================
    Cano will grow fat.

  45. SweetSpot June 19th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Giuseppe Franco June 19th, 2014 at 6:58 pm
    Ellsbury’s game is all about speed and speed declines faster than any other physical attribute.
    Not to mention he’s also prone to injuries. Not so with Cano.
    ____________

    Ellsbury is a very good hitter and outfielder and you have no idea when his skills will decline or what the resulting stats will be. It’s just a generalization that has no basis in fact because it hasn’t happened yet.

    Cano wanted ten years into his 40′s. The Yankees wisely don’t do ten year deals anymore. Good riddance. There are other ways to remain a winner besides being held up by a ballplayer making those kind of demands. We’re doing fine without him.

  46. mick June 19th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    RIP Phoebe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShtB_hIgmE

    LOve ya , Laura Nyro RIP

  47. jmills June 19th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Phoebe Snow, ” Poetry Man “.

    R.I.P., thanks for all the great times!

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