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


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Now and then: Many of Joe Girardi’s concerns remain unchanged this spring02.16.16

Joe Girardi

On the day the Yankees opened their 2015 spring training, Joe Girardi sat for his annual start-of-camp press conference and answered almost 40 questions from the media. Looking back through the transcript now, roughly a third of the questions were about Alex Rodriguez. Very nearly another third were about Masashiro Tanaka.

Even in the first year of Derek Jeter’s retirement, it was the unpredictability of A-Rod and the uncertainty of the Tanaka (and the rest of the rotation) that loomed over Yankees camp.

To some extent, I expect more of the same in two days when pitchers and catchers officially report back to Tampa. As Dennis wrote this morning, Rodriguez put himself on a much better path last season – a remarkable surprise considering how many ways his year could have gone wrong – but A-Rod’s sustainability and durability remain points of concern and unpredictability this year.

And that’s not unusual. There were a lot of issues that Girardi addressed during last year’s opening press conference that will surely be brought up again, in some form, this spring. Here are some of Girardi’s comments from the day pitchers and catchers reported last spring:

Masahiro TanakaOn his primary focus in spring training…

Then: “I think getting the rotation ironed out, seeing how all these guys fit in and how it affects the bullpen guys that will begin spring training as starters, guys that will be stretched out, and who could possibly push their way into the rotation. … I think determining some roles in the bullpen will be extremely important as well. You’d like to say that you’ll have that all ironed out by the end of spring training, but maybe you don’t and you figure it out as we go.”

Now: This situation really hasn’t changed. Adam Warren and Chris Capuano are out of the mix , but Luis Severino and Ivan Nova are back in the mix (neither was an option last spring training). Ultimately, the rotation is still built around the uncertainty of Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi. The Yankees also still have Bryan Mitchell as an option for the Triple-A rotation, the big league bullpen, or as an injury replacement in the big league rotation (just like last year). There’s less uncertainty about exact roles — only Nova and Mitchell stand out as obvious starter/reliever candidates — but the uncertainty is pretty similar.

On the new faces in Yankees camp…

Then: “I think there’s probably a little bit more open competition this year. I’ll try to reiterate to the players on a constant basis that you’re not going to impress me the first day of camp (and) you’re not going to impress me the first week of camp.”

Now: Aside from the bullpen and a couple of bench spots, there’s really not a ton of competition in Yankees camp this spring. The spots that are up for grabs — except the catcher job — could rotate throughout the season anyway, so those decisions don’t stand out as particularly make-or-break out of camp. The only new guy with something to prove is probably Starlin Castro, and he’s only trying to prove he can play a little bit of third base. His primary role is locked up. Most of the new guys this year are role players, which is a lot different from last year when Didi Gregorius, Stephen Drew, Chase Headley, Andrew Miller, Chris Young, Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve and David Carpenter were all in Yankees camp for the first time.

On the viability of a six-man rotation…

Then: “It’s something that we will talk about. As far as having a six-man rotation all the time, no, but if you get into some long stretches where you’re playing 18 days in a row, could we interject a sixth starter for a start to give the guys an extra day’s rest? Absolutely.”

Now: Because the health concerns are the same, the idea of a six-man rotation is surely going to remain a talking point. But as the Yankees have said — and as they found last year — the idea is easier said that done. In an attempt to limit workload a little bit, it’s entirely possible the Yankees will insert a sixth starter from time to time again this year, but that remains to see seen. This will surely be a situation to be addressed again this spring.

Andrew MillerOn the possibility of mixing and matching in the ninth inning…

Then: “I think you could do that. Would you like to iron it out? Sure, we would love to iron it out. I think you have to see how people react when they’re in the situation. I feel good about both of those guys doing it. A number of guys down there, I think, are more than capable of closing. You’d like to iron it out, but it doesn’t hurt to have a guy that has the ability to close if your closer is down for a day or a couple of days.”

Now: Similar, but different. A year ago, the Yankees really didn’t know whether Miller or Dellin Betances — or a combination — would be their closer. This spring, Girardi has already announced his intention to use Aroldis Chapman as his closer with Miller and Betances serving primarily as setup men (or possibly in fireman-type roles). The bullpen questions are primarily about how to use Miller and Betances, and how to fill out the rest of the group. The ninth inning has a set closer.

On the expectations for Nathan Eovaldi…

Then: “We expect him to be one of our starters, and to be extremely productive, and to continue to mature as a pitcher and develop his pitches. A guy that can be a workhorse for you and give you innings and give you valuable innings.”

Now: Having seen Eovaldi actually take some of those positive steps — better split, more effective use of his fastball, strong second half — the Yankees surely have the same expectations heading into this season, hoping Eovaldi can take another step forward, become more consistent and be a middle-of-the-rotation workhorse. Problem is, that elbow issue at the end of last season is cause for fresh concern. It could be nothing, but it’s enough to at least wonder how long he can stay healthy.

On the possibility of Rodriguez playing some first base…

Then: “That will be a conversation I have when he gets here, because I can have the conversation over the phone but I can’t see his face and reaction. I want to have it in person. Everything that he said, he’s willing to do everything to help us, and that’s what you want from your players. That will be a conversation I have when he gets here.”

Now: It seems that ship has sailed. The Yankees keep saying this winter that they’re not even considering the possibility of A-Rod playing the field. Even the injury to Greg Bird hasn’t changed that. Maybe Rodriguez can show up and convince them otherwise, but that seems a real long shot. Rodriguez is a DH only.

CC SabathiaOn the expectations for CC Sabathia…

Then: “I feel pretty good about it. Just watching him do his work here and what he’s been through, and obviously, I’m an optimistic guy by nature, but we feel that we have good doctors, that handled his situation, and put him in a good place to pitch 30 to 32 starts this year. Now, can I guarantee it? No, I can’t guarantee it, but I feel pretty good about it.”

Now: A year ago, the biggest concern about Sabathia was his knee and whether he would be healthy enough to get through a full season. Now the concern seems to have more to do with effectiveness. Staying healthy is only half the battle. The Yankees need Sabathia to be healthy enough to not only pitch, but also pitch effectively. His rehab issue will surely be addressed, but that doesn’t seem to be a real concern heading into spring training. The concern is more about keeping his knee strong and durable.

On the state of the American League East…

Then: “I think you obviously pay attention to what other teams are doing. And the one thing that you realize over a 162 games schedule is there’s a lot of things that have to go right for you to be the winner at the end. Sometimes it’s contributions from unexpected players that you had no idea maybe were even going to be on your roster. Or that were going to be traded for, or released and you pick them up. Sometimes it’s just everything goes pretty much according to the plan. I hadn’t been on too many of those teams.”

Now: Last season really stands as a cautionary tale about expectation and reality. A year ago, the Red Sox seemed to be a popular favorite in the division because of all the offense they’d added, but Boston fell flat with bad pitching and a few disappointing performances. Now the Red Sox again look like favorites on the strength of pitching additions, but the division remains fairly wide open and uncertain. To some extent, this sort of unpredictability seems to be an annual thing.

On being concerned about the age of the Yankees’ veterans…

Then:I think you worry about aging players. I think you have to. And I think you have to be more cognizant of their playing time and (be) strategic on their days off where they physically, their bodies are able to recuperate and be more productive. But, as far as being a club, we’re younger than we were last year. But there’s still some players that we have to watch.”

Now: Even though Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran had bounce-back seasons last year — which was obviously a cause for encouragement — they’re also each another year older, which is a cause for further concern. In previous interviews this offseason, Girardi has suggested he’d like to use his bench a little more often to give everyone a few more days off (not just the older guys, but also Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and perhaps Chase Headley). The Yankees continue to work toward adding younger players, but age is not a problem that’s going to disappear this season.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Lineupwith Comments Off

A-Rod remains in lineup, one hit shy of 3,00006.19.15

Brett Gardner LF

Chase Headley 3B

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Carlos Beltran RF

Didi Gregorius SS

Stephen Drew 2B

John Ryan Murphy C

Mason Williams CF

RHP Adam Warren

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Lineupwith Comments Off

A-Rod, Didi sit against Chen05.09.15

Josh Thomson here at the Stadium for Chad today.

The Yankees will face the Orioles and Wei-Yen Chen today and will do so without Alex Rodriguez and Didi Gregorius. Both are out of the lineup, which, as you can probably tell, was released late. Joe Girardi said he “wanted to check with some guys” before writing out the lineup. That was during his meeting with the media at 11 a.m., so I wouldn’t read too much into who is in and who is out.

Ellsbury CF
Gardner LF
Young RF
Teixeira 1B
Beltran DH
Pirela 2B
Headley 3B
Drew SS
Murphy C

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Hip forces Ellsbury to sit04.26.15

This is Josh Thomson, here again at the Stadium for Chad.

Jacoby Ellsbury will sit tonight after his hip tightened up during Saturday’s loss to the Mets. Joe Girardi said Ellsbury intended to play today, but the manager gave him a day off out of precaution.

Gardner LF
Young CF
Rodriguez DH
Teixeira 1B
Beltran RF
Headley 3B
Murphy C
Drew SS
Petit 2B

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Young starts, Beltran sits vs. Harvey04.25.15

Josh Thomson here for Chad the next two days.

Red-hot Chris Young will start today against the right-hander, Matt Harvey. That means the slumping Carlos Beltran will sit.

Ellsbury CF
Gardner LF
Rodriguez DH
Teixeira 1B
McCann C
Young RF
Headley 3B
Drew 2B
Gregorius SS

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Ellsbury, McCann, Teixeira earn rest; A-Rod to make 1B debut04.11.15

Josh Thomson, back here for Chad this morning. (You could not quite fit last night’s game into the time I was gone from the ballpark.)

Alex Rodriguez will make his first career start at first base today. Joe Girardi also opted to rest three regulars who played 18-plus innings last night. The only players in the lineup who played all 19 innings are Chase Headley and Brett Gardner.

Brett Gardner CF

Chris Young LF

Carlos Beltran DH

Alex Rodriguez 1B

Chase Headley 3B

Garrett Jones RF

John Ryan Murphy C

Didi Gregorius SS

Gregorio Petit 2B

RHP Adam Warren

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A-Rod batting third; Beltran, Gregorius sit04.10.15

Josh Thomson here. I’m in for Chad tonight and tomorrow.

Look who’s batting third…

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Brett Gardner LF

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Chase Headley 3B

Chris Young RF

Stephen Drew SS

Gregorio Petit 2B

RHP Nathan Eovaldi

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Same lineup vs. Simon07.19.14

Josh Thomson in for Chad today.

The Yankees will send the same lineup out today when they face All-Star RHP Alfredo Simon and the Reds.

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B

Brandon McCarthy RHP

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Yankees lineup vs. Harvey05.28.13

Josh Thomson in for Chad again today.

Travis Hafner definitely does not own a glove. The Yanks could use his LH bat tonight against Harvey (if they play).

Here’s who they will send up instead:

Yankees
Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Reid Brignac SS
Chris Stewart C
Hiroki Kuroda SP

Mets
Ruben Tejada SS
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda LF
Marlon Byrd RF
Rick Ankiel CF
John Buck C
Ike Davis 1B
Matt Harvey SP

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Lineupwith 367 Comments →

Yankee lineup in Subway Series opener05.27.13

Josh Thomson here. I’m in for Chad the next two nights.

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup for the Subway Series opener at Citi Field:

Yankees
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Chris Stewart C
Phil Hughes SP

Mets
Ruben Tejada SS
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda LF
John Buck C
Rick Ankiel CF
Ike Davis 1B
Mike Baxter RF
Jon Niese SP

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Lineupwith 30 Comments →

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