The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for the ‘Misc’

Postgame notes: “I was able to do all of the things that I wanted to do”09.21.14

Masahiro Tanaka

Everyone in the Yankees’ organization was sitting on pins and needles leading up to Masahiro Tanaka’s first start in over two months, but according to his pitching coach and his catcher, there were clear signs before the game’s first pitch that their ace was feeling good.

“His warmups were really good,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “The (simulated) games, in the last one the warmups were O.K. But today, there was a difference. You could see it right away with the force in which he threw the ball and the quickness to his arm – all of the things that you saw before he went on the (disabled list).”

Tanaka passed his biggest test since being diagnosed with a partial tear in his UCL in July with flying colors, holding the Toronto Blue Jays to one run over 5 1/3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 win.

He did it on a limited pitch count and declared after the game that he came away “pain-free.”

“I thought he was great,” catcher Brian McCann said. “He looked the same. Hopefully, (Monday) his elbow responds well, but as far as the difference between today and what he did early on, it was nothing.”

Tanaka and the Yankees aren’t out of the woods yet, as Rothschild and others pointed out, but for now, this was a huge step in the right direction. Tanaka effectively used all of his pitches and went deeper in the game than the Yankees could have hoped for on just 70 pitches.

Barring a setback between now and then, Joe Girardi said that Tanaka will start again on Saturday.

“I was able to go pretty strong today, so I’m relieved,” Tanaka said. “I feel that I was able to do all of the things that I wanted to do.”

Masahiro Tanaka• What impressed Girardi most about Tanaka’s outing? “Efficiency,” he said. “When you’re efficient like that, then your control has to be pretty good. And talking to Mac, he said his split was the same, his slider was the same, everything was pretty much the same. The first pitch was 92 (mph), which I don’t know if I was really prepared for that, so that was encouraging to me, too.”

• Rothschild talked a lot about how he didn’t see any trepidation from Tanaka. It was as if he didn’t miss a beat. “Just his presence,” Rothschild said. “It didn’t bother him that he hadn’t been out there in awhile and he has complete confidence in what he’s doing, and then everything else follows suit. His command of his pitches, the ability to dissect the hitter when he needs to – he has a great feel for what pitches to make at the right time.”

• Tanaka allowed singles to the first two batters that he faced, but pretty much everything from that point on was encouraging. He responded by getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and striking out Dioner Navarro. “He made good pitches early in counts,” Rothschild said. “First inning, the fastball was a little sprayed. They were in the zone, but not where he wanted them. But after he settled down, he made some really good pitches.”

• How did Tanaka’s elbow feel today, compared to his last start on July 8? “Obviously way better today,” Tanaka said. “I don’t remember exactly when, but gradually as the game went on, I guess I forgot about it.”

• Some were pointing out on Twitter that Tanaka was throwing less splitters and more curveballs today, but he said that was just coincidence. Both Tanaka and McCann said that there were no discussions of limiting how many splits he threw. “Simply because my curveballs were pretty sharp today, so that’s why I was throwing that a lot,” Tanaka said. “It’s not just the split; basically, I wanted to go out there and check all of my pitches.”

Derek Jeter, Brian McCann• Although he was overshadowed by Tanaka, McCann also had a big day. He hit his 21st and 22nd homers of the season, and with the way that the Yankees lineup is currently constructed, they sure needed it. He’s had his ups and downs, but right now it’s hard to deny that he’s the most feared hitter in the order. “It felt good,” McCann said. “I got some pitches to hit, and I was able to knock in some runs.”

• Brett Gardner also homered — his 17th of the season — and it was a milestone for the team. Gardner’s solo shot was the 15,000th home run in franchise history. “I wasn’t sure,” Gardner said. “I knew a few days ago we were a couple away, within four or five. I wasn’t sure if it was the one I hit or the one McCann hit. So that was pretty cool. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

• Four games into his final homestand, Derek Jeter has four straight multi-hit games. He didn’t reach safely in either of his first two at-bats, but he singled to right in the fifth and hit a sharp double down the left field line to drive Gardner in during the seventh. He also stole his 10th base of the season. He became the first Yankee at age 40 or older to have four consecutive multi-hit games. “He’s hitting the ball with more authority, obviously,” Girardi said. “He’s pulled some balls, as well. That hit that he got (in the seventh) that put us ahead 3-1, that’s a huge hit in that situation.”

• Ichiro Suzki also had a multi-hit game, as he leads all Yankee regulars with a .285 batting average this season. I tweeted about this earlier, but even if Ichiro continues to play beyond this season, it almost certainly won’t be in pinstripes. Jeter is obviously receiving tons of attention, and deservedly so, but Ichiro is another all-time great who will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He just happens to be on the same team as the most popular player in the game. “When we started the season, we had kind of a crowded outfield and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, or how many starts (he would make),” Girardi said. “I told him in spring training, ‘You’re going to get starts,’ I just couldn’t tell him how many. He’s done his job.”

• Final word goes to Girardi, who spoke about his team fighting until the end. The only bad news for the Yankees to come out of today is that the Kansas City Royals won, meaning they still sit four and a half games out of the playoffs with seven to play. “They’ve done it during periods of the year, we just haven’t been really consistent during the course of the year,” he said. “I think that’s been the frustrating thing for all of our guys, but you could look at it two ways. You could be upset about it, but what I love about it is that they haven’t quit. They’re still fighting because there’s still a chance. That’s the best part about it for me.”

Associated Press photos

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Big day for Tanaka, Jeter and McCann in Yankees’ win09.21.14

Masahiro Tanaka

In a season in which not much has gone according to plan for the Yankees, they were treated to at least one day of serenity on Sunday.

We’ll have to see how Masahiro Tanaka feels in the 24 hours following today’s outing, but if the results are any indication, then Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays was a huge step in the right direction for the Yankees’ ace.

In his first start since July 8, Tanaka went 5 1/3 innings on 70 pitches, allowing five hits, no walks and one run while striking out four. Most importantly, he showed no ill effects from the partial UCL tear in his right elbow that kept him out for over two months.

Tanaka exited the game in the sixth after allowing a one-out single to Edwin Encarnacion, but Adam Warren came in and struck out the next two batters to keep Tanaka in line for his 13th win.

The Yankees had a 2-1 lead at the time thanks to solo home runs from Brian McCann and Brett Gardner, and they gave themselves some breathing room in the seventh.

Derek Jeter, who had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game during the final homestand of his career, drove in Gardner with an RBI double that sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy. The next batter was McCann, who hit his second homer of the game to extend the lead to 5-1.

Dellin Betances allowed an RBI single to Encarnacion in the eighth, and David Robertson worked the ninth for his 38th save of the year.

Associated Press photo

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Game 155: Blue Jays at Yankees09.21.14

Masahiro TanakaYANKEES (79-75)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter DH
Brian McCann C
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
Francisco Cervelli 1B
Stephen Drew 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brendan Ryan SS

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51)
Tanaka vs. Blue Jays

BLUE JAYS (78-76)
Jose Reyes SS
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Dioner Navarro C
Dan Johnson 1B
Munenori Kawasaki 3B
Dalton Pompey LF
Ryan Goins 2B
Anthony Gose CF

RHP Drew Hutchison (10-12, 4.51)
Hutchison vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: It’s a little damp from some rain this morning and still pretty cloudy, but the forecast says the chances of the precipitation are pretty light this afternoon. Temps are in the 70s.

UMPIRES: HP Mark Carlson, 1B Jeff Nelson, 2B Laz Diaz, 3B Scott Barry

TANAKA TIME: Masahiro Tanaka will be making his first start since July 8 today in an attempt to see how his right elbow holds up after suffering a partial UCL tear. He’ll be on a limited pitch count, likely somewhere in the range of 70-75. It’s likely that his franchise record of at least six innings pitched in each of his first 18 starts will be snapped.

STARTING BLOCKS: Yankees starters recorded at least five innings pitched and allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine consecutive games from 09/12-9/19, producing a 1.61 ERA in that span.

ROLL CALL: The Yankees have used 56 players in 2014, matching their single-season franchise-high set in 2013. On Tuesday, they added infielder Jose Pirela to the roster, who could make his Major League debut and allow the Yankees to set a new franchise record.

NOTE: I’ll be updating here every so often, but I’ll be much more active on Twitter. Follow me @vzmercogliano to join the conversation!

UPDATE, 1:17 p.m.: Tanaka got through a 14-pitch first inning, and by all accounts, his elbow still appears to be attached to his arm. He gave up singles to the first two batters that he faced, but then got Encarnacion to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and struck out Navarro to end the inning. Reyes scored on the DP ball, so Toronto is up 1-0.

UPDATE, 1:26 p.m.: McCann hit a two-out solo shot to tie the score at 1-1 in the first. That was his 21st homer of the year.

UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.: The Yankees had a great opportunity to score in the second when Cervelli walked and Ichiro doubled with two outs, but after originally waving Cervelli home, third base coach Robby Thomson changed his mind at the last second and threw up the stop sign on Cervelli. The next batter up was Ryan, who struck out to leave both runners stranded. Tanaka worked around a Kawasaki double in the top half of the inning and is at 26 pitches heading into the third. It’s still 1-1.

UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: Tanaka has cruised since the first inning. He just finished the fifth at 61 pitches, which leads me to believe he’ll be back out to start the sixth. He hasn’t allowed a hit in his last three innings of work. The Yankees bats have also remained quiet, so we’re still tied at 1-1.

UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.: After allowing a one-out single to Encarnacion in the sixth on his 70th pitch, Tanaka has been replaced by Adam Warren. We’ll have to see how Tanaka feels postgame, but on the surface, this start went about as smoothly as the Yankees could have hoped for. If Warren can get out of this slight jam, then Tanaka will be in line for his 13th win thanks to Gardner’s solo homer in the fifth. Yanks lead 2-1.

UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: The Jeter magic continues. After a leadoff double from Gardner in the seventh, Jeter laced an RBI double down the left field line that blew the roof of this place. That’s the loudest I’ve heard it here all season. Jeter then stole third for his 10 stolen base of the season and McCann followed with his second homer of the game to make it 5-1 Yankees.

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Pregame notes: “I’ve been looking forward to this day”09.21.14

Masahiro Tanaka

The most highly anticipated day of the Yankees’ final month of the 2014 campaign is here.

The Yanks are running out of games on the schedule — including Sunday, only eight remain — and they’ve slipped four and a half games out of the wild card race. It looks like they’ll miss out on the playoffs for the second consecutive year, so today is all about answering one critical question for 2015:

Will the Yankees have a fully healthy Masahiro Tanaka next season?

“A lot,” Joe Girardi said when asked how much Tanaka’s start on Sunday means for the Yankees future plans. “I think it’s important for us as an organization and for him to see what we have moving forward, so I’ve been looking forward to this day. … I’m sure he’s excited, and I’m sure there’s some anxiety in there, as well. But obviously, we know he loves to compete.”

Tanaka hasn’t pitched since July 8 — his last start before being diagnosed with a partial tear in the UCL in his right elbow. Rather than opt for Tommy John surgery right away, doctors advised Tanaka to rehab the ligament, and today will be the most stressful situation that his coveted right arm has been in for over two months.

This has the potential to be a very positive step for a player who the Yankees are hoping will be their ace from the get-go next season. But it also has the potential to blow up in their faces.

“You have guys that there was no sign of hurting their elbows, and they go out there and they get hurt, so I don’t think you really can (predict),” Girardi said. “I think obviously, if he throws well today and has no issues, and if he starts again and has no issues, you feel pretty good about moving forward. But Tommy John surgery was the surgery of the year, and it’s hard to predict.”

• What is the most important test for Girardi to see Tanaka pass today? “Obviously, you’re concerned about the results because of where we’re at,” he said. “Quality of stuff is the thing, is the big test. And you can’t necessarily expect him to be as sharp as he was right before he got hurt, because he had a bunch of starts under his belt and he was in mid-season form. But when he came out of spring training, he was pretty sharp, so you want to see the quality of the stuff.”

Carlos Beltran• Jacoby Ellsbury (right hamstring), Carlos Beltran (right elbow) and Mark Teixeira (right wrist) are all out of the lineup today, and it sounds like none of them will be available off of the bench. Last night, Beltran was pretty dejected and told us that he knows he’s going to need to have surgery on his problematic elbow in the offseason. Today, we found out that he’ll wait until the end of the season with the hope that he can contribute at some point during this final week. It sounds like Girardi could use him as a pinch-hitter, but not today, he said. Beltran said that the recovery time for the surgery is 12 weeks, so waiting one more week shouldn’t make much of a difference. “We’re going to wait to see if he can help us anytime during the course of this week as we’re still fighting,” Girardi said. “He’s still sore, but we’ll see.”

• Similar news for Ellsbury, who continues to stress that he’s hoping to play again this season after straining his hamstring on Friday. Just like Beltran, Girardi said it’s more likely that Ellsbury would be a pinch-hitter at some point this week. It’s doubtful that we’ll see him in center field again this season. “We’ll just go day-by-day,” Girardi said. “He has a low-grade strain and we’ll see how he feels today, where we’re at. Usually you give it a few days and go from there, like we did with (Martin) Prado.”

• No real updates on Teixeira, who won’t see him surgeon to ask about another cortisone shot until after today’s game. “He’s not a player today, and we’ll just go day-by-day,” Girardi said.

• You may have heard of this one guy who isn’t hurt. Derek Jeter has had three consecutive multi-hit games to begin his final homestand and he’ll DH today. Girardi acknowledged that, as of now, he plays to play him in each of the Yankees’ final eight games. “I do,” he said. “Obviously, some of those days are going to DH days to keep him going, similar to what today is. He had Monday off, but now he’s swinging the bat. I’m going to keep him in there.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees lineup: Jeter at DH; No Ellsbury, Tex, Beltran09.21.14

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter DH
Brian McCann C
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
Francisco Cervelli 1B
Stephen Drew 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brendan Ryan SS

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

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Postgame notes: “There’s not much left if we don’t win out”09.20.14

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter’s bat has been heating up during the final homestand of his storied career, but even a late charge from one of the most iconic players in Yankees’ history might not be enough to save their season.

Jeter had his third straight multi-hit game on Saturday, but the Yankees still slipped further out of contention for a playoff spot with a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

“There’s not much left if we don’t win out and other teams lose,” manager Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees’ season has just eight games remaining, and their latest loss dropped them to four and a half games out of the second and final wild card spot in the American League. At this point, it would take a minor miracle for them to reach the postseason.

And to make matters worse, the injuries continue to mount.

Jacoby Ellsbury was held out of the lineup after straining his right hamstring on Friday, Carlos Beltran was unavailable due to a bone spur in his right elbow that has bothered him for more than half of the season, and Mark Teixeira was pulled during the fifth inning on Saturday when the tendinitis in his surgically repaired right wrist flared back up.

“This time of year, a lot of guys are beat up,” Brett Gardner said. “It’s a long season, and we’ve played about 200 games in 150 days, it seems like. It’s been a grind and we’re in a long stretch right here where we have a lot of games in a row. It’s tough, especially when you lose a middle of the order guy like Tex.”

Mark Teixeira• In talking with some of the players in the locker room, the mood was obviously pretty somber. Any loss at this juncture is crippling, and although they’re not mathematically out of it yet, reality certainly seems to be setting in. Teixeira called it “a bad day,” and the all of the injury news made it even tougher to swallow the loss. “We’ve been beat up,” starter Chris Capuano said. “Guys are playing hurt and giving everything that they have.”

• Teixeira has been pretty bad in the second half, and his balky wrist continues to give him problems. He said that rest is the best thing for it, but since he doesn’t have time for rest at the moment, he made it sound like he plans to ask the doctor about another cortisone shot. He’s already had two this season. “There’s really not time for rest,” he said. “I think (another cortisone shot) is what we’re going to talk about. You don’t want to have too many of them, but we’re kind of at, what’s the risk-reward right now.”

• Girardi said that he decided to pull Teixeira when he saw him wincing during his second at-bat, but Tex said that he didn’t re-injure the wrist on one particular swing. “It’s been bothering me, you know, for the last 10 days,” he said. “Joe just didn’t like what he saw, so he wanted to get me out of there.”

• I know Teixeira has been criticized for all of the games that he’s had to miss at various points this season, and he seems to be taking some of that stuff to heart. You could see the frustration in his face, and he was dismissive when asked if it would be wise to just shut him down. “No, I’m going to play through anything. As long as we’re in it, I’m playing, but today Joe obviously didn’t like what he saw, so he got me out of there,” he said. “You want to be out there every game that you can – especially when you’re hanging onto some hope.”

• Some wondered — including me — why Girardi didn’t pinch-hit for Brendan Ryan when he came up in the ninth as the tying run, but we were told after the game that Carlos Beltran wasn’t available. His elbow is acting up again, and he’s surely heading for surgery in the offseason. “I tried to play (Friday) and it continues to bother me,” Beltran said. “Yesterday, my forearm got tight. … It can’t get anymore frustrating.”

Derek Jeter• Capuano pitched a decent game until the sixth, but he hurt himself with two walks that led to a bases loaded situation with no outs. Danny Valencia followed with a two-run, ground rule double and John Mayberry Jr. hit a sac fly to erase what had been a one-run Yankees’ lead. “We kind of cruised through the first five innings, had a good rhythm going, but things kind of got away in the sixth,” Capuano said. “It’s very frustrating.”

• On a more positive note, Jeter seems to be bringing back some of his magic for his final homestand. He now has a multi-hit game in each of the first three against Toronto, and he kept hope alive with an RBI double that he laced down the left field line in the ninth. “Well, he had two hits on Thursday and two hits yesterday, so he’ll probably have two more hits every day this homestand, if I had to guess,” Gardner joked.

• Jeter is currently seven for his last 15, and the crowd was electric for everyone of his at-bats today. It’s a pretty cool thing to see when everyone is on their feet and chanting his name as early as the first inning. The run that he scored on Brian McCann’s RBI single in the third was the 1,920th of his career, moving him past suspended teammate Alex Rodriguez for ninth all-time. I wonder what that guy is up to… “He’s turned it around again,” Girardi said of Jeter. “You’re seeing it again. The guy never stops fight and believing in himself. Obviously, it’s an attitude that’s infectious. It’s an attitude that you want in your players.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees three-game winning streak snapped09.20.14

Chris Capuano, Joe Girardi

The Yankees had their three-game winning streak snapped by a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, as their dreams of a miracle playoff run continue to slip away.

Starting pitcher Chris Capuano came unraveled in the sixth inning when he loaded the bases with no outs before allowing a two-run double to Danny Valencia and a sac fly to John Mayberry Jr. to erase a one-run lead and put the Blue Jays up 4-2.

Toronto added two more runs on Jose Bautista’s solo homer in the seventh and Dioner Navarro’s RBI single in the ninth.

The Yankees had tied the score at 1-1 in third when Derek Jeter reached on an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Brian McCann’s two-out RBI single. It was the 1,920th run scored of Jeter’s career, moving him past suspended teammate Alex Rodriguez for sole possession of ninth all-time.

In the fourth inning, Chase Headley scored on Francisco Cervelli’s two-out RBI single to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead.

The Yankees’ final run came in the ninth when Jeter laced an RBI double down the left field line.

Mark Teixeira exited the game in the fifth due to soreness in his right wrist.

Associated Press photo

 

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Game 154: Blue Jays at Yankees09.20.14

Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Stephen DrewYANKEES (79-74)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brian McCann DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Francisco Cervelli C

LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.55)
Capuano vs. Blue Jays

BLUE JAYS (77-76)
Jose Reyes SS
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Dioner Navarro C
Danny Valencia 3B
John Mayberry Jr. 1B
Dalton Pompey CF
Steve Tolleson 2B
Kevin Pillar LF

RHP Marcus Stroman (10-6, 3.80)
Stroman vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 4:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

WEATHER: Temps in the 70s with a slight breeze going out to left field. A pretty comfortable day.

UMPIRES: HP Scott Barry, 1B Mark Carlson, 2B Jeff Nelson, 3B Laz Diaz

HOME STRETCH: The Yankees will finish the regular season with 21 games in 20 days. They’ve won three straight and are 6-6 thus far during the final stretch of games.

NEW TO THE FAMILY: On Friday, Austin Romine and his wife, Alexzandra, welcomed the birth of their second child, Kinley Elizabeth Romine. Congrats to Austin and his family.

PENMANSHIP: Yankees relievers are 4-0 with a 0.76 ERA (35.2 IP, 3 ER) in their last 10 home games. They’ve allowed only 18 hits with seven walks and 37 strikeouts in that span.

NOTE: I’ll be updating here every so often, but I’ll be much more active on Twitter. Follow me @vzmercogliano to join the conversation!

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: The Jays went ahead 1-0 on Encarnacion’s RBI double in the top of the first. Gardner led off the bottom half with a double, but was left stranded.

UPDATE, 5:08 p.m.: We have a tie ballgame. Jeter reached when Tolleson couldn’t scoop up his ground ball with two outs in the third (it was ruled a single), then advanced to second on a wild pitch. McCann came through with a two-out RBI single and now it’s 1-1.

UPDATE, 5:26 p.m.: More two out hitting gives the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fourth. With Headley on first, Ichiro singled and Cervelli drove Headley in with a single of his own.

UPDATE, 6:02 p.m.: Capuano came unraveled in the sixth. After loading the bases with no outs, he allowed a two-run double to Valencia and a sac fly to Mayberry. It’s now 4-2 Toronto.

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Pregame notes: “It’s not what you want, but you have to deal with it”09.20.14

Jacoby Ellsbury, Dioner Navarro

The standings tell us that the Yankees are four and a half games out of the second and final wild card spot in the American League with nine games to play, which many would tell you means that they’ll be watching October baseball from their respective couches.

But Joe Girardi isn’t conceding anything yet, and that makes the latest injury to Jacoby Ellsbury’s right hamstring a source of frustration for the Yankees’ skipper.

“Jake has played through a lot this month with the bad ankle that he hurt in Toronto, but he found a way to get through it for us,” Girardi said. “It’s frustrating. You lose (Martin) Prado, who was swinging the bat well, and you lose Jake, and it’s just tough.”

The Yankees are in the midst of a mini three-game winning streak during the final homestand of Derek Jeter’s career, but Girardi said that he doesn’t expect Ellsbury to play for at least “a few days.”

He also acknowledged that Friday’s game, in which Ellsbury doubled and homered in his first two at-bats before tweaking the hamstring, may have been the last time that we see the Yankees’ center fielder in 2014.

“It’s not what you want, but you have to deal with it,” Girardi said. “We’ll just go day-by-day, see how he’s feeling, and then we’ll find out.”

• Ellsbury told reporters that he hopes to play again this season, but if yesterday was Ellsbury’s last game of the year, how would you assess his debut season in pinstripes? Out of all of their free agent additions in terms of everyday players — including Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran — he’s easily been the most productive. The batting average (.271), on-base (.328) and OPS (.747) probably aren’t what some hoped for, but he put up his best power numbers since 2011 with 16 homers and 70 RBI, and he’s second in the AL with 39 stolen bases. He also stayed relatively healthy, which was a concern, and played a strong center field.

Masahiro Tanaka• Other than the Ellsbury injury update, the rest of Girardi’s pregame press conference was devoted to Sunday’s starter, Masahiro Tanaka. With the Yankees pretty much out of the the playoff race, there are two concerns for these final nine games — saying farewell to Jeter, and keeping fingers crossed that Tanaka comes through his final two starts without incident. What is Girardi hoping to see? “That he basically goes five (innings) with 75 pitches, and his stuff is sharp. I think that’s the best case scenario,” Girardi said. “I think he threw 65 or 68 the last time out, but I’ve said that these are going to be the real tests when the intensity is turned up and the atmosphere is what he’s used to being in. We’re going to find out a lot, probably, tomorrow.”

• What will the Yankees learn about Tanaka on Sunday that they wouldn’t have seen if he just stuck to pitching in simulated games in Tampa? “It’s different, just because they’re used to pitching in an atmosphere like this, and then when you get somewhat in a simulated game, or a minor league game, where the preparation is different, in a sense,” Girardi said. “There aren’t really a lot of scouting reports. You’re kind of just feeling through it as a pitcher because you’ve never faced a guy – it’s just different. Sometimes you can’t set young hitters up. It’s impossible. They just swing, no matter what. There’s nobody in the stands. It’s just a lot different. I think the last time out, he hit 92, 93, which is normal. But each pitch in a big league game has a lot of meaning, where if you give up a hit in a simulated game, it’s just, ‘Okay, there’s a guy on first and I’m going back to work.’ ”

• Even Girardi acknowledged that Tanaka’s start is more about assessing the health of his right elbow than it is about seeing results. The Yankees are essentially trying to see if his elbow will hold up in a strenuous game situation. If not, he’ll probably be heading for Tommy John surgery. “I think that’s probably a good way to look at it, and the big thing is that he gets out of this healthy for us,” Girardi said. “That’s the big thing. And that he feels good about, and he feels good about making another start. For me, that’s the most important thing. But it might give us a decent idea of what we’re going to have next year.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees lineup: Ellsbury out; McCann at DH09.20.14

Good afternoon all! Vin Mercogliano here for the next two days as Chad (hopefully) enjoys a weekend off. Joe Girardi said that Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t available today due to his right hamstring injury. I’ll have more on that in a bit.

Here is today’s lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brian McCann DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Francisco Cervelli C

LHP Chris Capuano

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

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