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: “You don’t want to be that guy who messes it up”04.16.14

Adam Warren, John Ryan Murphy

The Yankees only managed to score five runs in two games today, but it didn’t matter because they allowed a grand total of zero.

Masahiro Tanaka was brilliant in the first game, allowing two bunt hits over eight innings while striking out 10, and Michael Pineda followed up with six shutout innings of his own. Those two came into the season, on paper, as the Yankees’ No. 4 and 5 starters, but they’re each pitching like an ace.

This, quite obviously, bodes very well for the Yanks moving forward.

“That just goes to show you how well our pitchers threw today, and it’s nice to have. When you can shut the other team down for 18 innings, you’re doing some things right,” Joe Girardi said. “Our rotation was pretty good on the homestand. We had the one hiccup where we gave up a lot of runs, but for the most part, they threw the ball extremely well.”

Pretty good may be a bit of an understatement, because the biggest reason that the Yankees have won nine of their last 13 has been excellent starting pitching.

CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova have been solid, but it’s the youngest two guys in the rotation who have the most upside. And they’re proving it on the rubber.

“I’m very excited because two years ago (I was hurt), and right now, I’m pitching my first three games really (well),” Pineda said. “I want to continue to work hard every five days and be ready on the mound.”

Michael Pineada· Pineda didn’t have the same kind of swing-and-miss stuff that Tanaka showed earlier — he only struck out three — but he was dealing with a very cold night and really bore down with runners on. The Cubs got runners into scoring position in the third, fifth and sixth innings, but each time Pineda was able to keep them from crossing home plate. “Today was hard because it’s too cold,” he said. “My changeup was working really good tonight, and I’m happy with that. It’s hard for warming up in between innings, but I made adjustments.”

· Despite only throwing 89 pitches through six innings, Girardi decided to pull Pineda before the seventh. I guess it makes sense not to push him too much this early in his first full season back from shoulder surgery. “As cold as it was, and I’ve told you, we’re going to be somewhat careful,” Girardi said. “We don’t have an innings limit on him, but we’re going to be somewhat careful. We just felt it was time to get him out.”

· Girardi brought David Phelps in for the seventh, and he immediately got into trouble by putting the first two hitters on. But he rallied from there and recorded four straight outs. Matt Thornton got the final two outs in the eighth, and then Adam Warren got his first save of the season in the ninth. He has yet to allow a run in seven innings. “I think we feed off of each other and want to keep the train rolling on,” Warren said of the pitching staff. “You don’t want to be that guy who messes it up, so it kind pushes you a little bit to keep it going.”

· What was it like for Warren to be out there in a save situation? “It’s definitely a little bit different,” he said. “You get the blood flowing a little bit more, but I just tried slowing everything down. Everything was moving really fast to begin with, but the biggest thing for me is making sure that I’m staying slow and staying behind the ball.”

Scott Sizemore· The Yankees pounded out 12 hits in the second game, but left 12 men on base and only scored two runs. Brett Gardner had a two-out RBI single in the fourth, and Scott Sizemore did the same thing in the fifth. For Sizemore, it was his first big league RBI since 2011. “I’m sure it was special for him, because he’s been through a lot with the two knee surgeries and getting close to getting back, in a sense, and then tearing I believe his interior cruciate,” Girardi said. ”For him, it was a special day. Big hit. There weren’t a lot of runs scored today, and he was part of it.”

· This was the first time that the Yankees had two shutouts in one day since they did it against the Royals on April 19, 1987, roughly two months before I was born. “That was incredible,” Warren said. “Our starting pitchers gave us a lot of innings, which is huge in a doubleheader. It saves the bullpen and the guys that came out of the bullpen threw the ball well, too. Anytime you can get two wins and hold them to no runs, it’s even better.”

· Needless to say, Girardi was thrilled about not having to overuse the pen today. “It was big because we’re going to Tampa and we have a fairly rested bullpen,” he said. “At times, our bullpen has been a little bit fatigued because of some of the games that we’ve been in, but I feel pretty good about where our bullpen is going into an important four-game series. And that’s because of our starters.”

· Pineda was asked if he used pine tar, or any other substance, to get a better grip on the ball tonight. He said no, and said that he hasn’t paid attention to all of the talk about the substance on his hand in his previous start. Girardi said he never discussed it with him, but acknowledged that he wanted to see how Pineda responded to the media attention. “I think there’s a little concern on my part, because I haven’t had him long enough to know how he responds to certain things,” he said. “Some guys are really good at just moving on; some guys will think about it. But I thought he handled it extremely well and was ready to go tonight.”

· More good news for the Yankees. Mark Teixeira took batting practice and ran the bases today, and he’ll play three innings in a game tomorrow. Girardi said it won’t be a sim game, but he also didn’t know where beyond saying, “somewhere in Florida.” It sounds like he’ll play in the series finale with the Rays this weekend, barring any setback. “He’s going to play three innings tomorrow,” Girardi said. “He’s right on track where we want him to be, and Sunday is definitely a possibility.”

· Final word goes to Warren: “It was a lot of fun. We can’t so too much down there, but just seeing all of the weak contact and strikeouts they got. It’s a big confidence booster for our whole team.”

Associated Press photos

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Pineda follows Tanaka’s gem with strong outing to complete sweep04.16.14

Michael Pineada

While he wasn’t quite as dominant as Masahiro Tanaka was in Game 1, Michael Pineda was still pretty darn good in the nightcap. The Yankees completed a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader with a 2-0, as Pineda tossed six shutout innings for his second win of the season. He allowed runners to get into scoring position in the third, fifth and sixth innings, but wiggled out of trouble each time. He allowed four hits and one walk while striking out three on 89 pitches.

David Phelps came on in the seventh and put the first two batters that he faced on, but then recorded four straight outs, including two strikeouts. Matt Thornton recorded the final two outs in the eighth, and then Adam Warren worked the ninth for his second career save and first of the season.

The Yankees finished with 12 hits, but only managed two runs. Brett Gardner hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth, and Scott Sizemore hit a two-out RBI single in the fifth. For Sizemore, it was his first big league RBI since 2011.

Associated Press photo

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Game 15: Cubs at Yankees04.16.14

Michael PinedaYANKEES (8-6)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Scott Sizemore 3B
Kelly Johnson 1B
John Ryan Murphy C

RHP Michael Pineda (1-1, 1.50)
Pineda vs. Cubs

CUBS (4-9)
Emilio Bonifacio CF
Ryan Sweeney LF
Anthony Rizzo 1B
Nate Schierholtz DH
Starlin Castro SS
Luis Valbuena 3B
Wellington Castillo C
Ryan Kalish RF
Darwin Barney 2B

LHP Travis Wood (0-1, 2.92)
Wood vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, YES and WFAN

WEATHER: Still cold.

UMPIRES: HP Fieldin Culbreth, 1B Sean Barber, 2B Tom Woodring, 3B Manny Gonzalez

LET’S PLAY TWO!: After Tuesday’s game was rained out, the Yankees will play a day-night doubleheader with the Cubs today. Masahiro Tanaka started the first game, with Pineda taking the ball in the second.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO…: After eight shutout innings from Tanaka in the first game, can Pineda, who has also pitched very well, keep the good pitching going?

BRONX BOMBERS: After starting off slow, the Yankees power bats have come alive. They’ve hit at least one homer in each of the past seven games. Beltran has homered in three straight.

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, 8:38 p.m.: After the Yankees squeaked a run across in the fourth thanks to a two-out RBI single from Gardner, Pineda wiggled out of trouble in the fifth to maintain the 1-0 lead. A sac bunt from Castillo put runners on second and third for the Cubs with one out, but Pineda struck out Kalish and got Barney to pop-up to center. He didn’t have to pitch out of the stretch much in the first four innings, but came up big right there.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Yanks get another run in the fifth on a two-out RBI single from Sizemore — his first MLB RBI since 2011. Pineda stranded a runner at third again in the sixth, and Girardi is going to David Phelps in the seventh. Pineda’s final line: 6 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 89 pitches (57 strikes).

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Pre/postgame notes: “He can do a lot with two strikes”04.16.14

Masahiro Tanaka

Everyone assumed that it would be impossible for Masahiro Tanaka to live up to the sky-high expectations that he came to the states shouldering, but he has somehow pulled it off.

Whether the Yankees want to call him their No. 3 or 4 starter, he’s pitched like an ace, and he turned in his best performance so far with eight stellar innings in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

“He’s pitched really well,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he bought into what (pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) was talking to him about, and probably having Kuroda to bounce ideas off of probably helped, as well. Having somebody that’s already made the transition, and somebody who he probably rooted for when he was younger.”

Rothschild has a tremendous reputation as a pitching coach and Hiroki Kuroda has probably made him feel more comfortable in many ways, but it’s Tanaka who deserves the lion’s share of the credit. The devastating splitter has been as good as advertised, he’s displayed an arsenal of pitches that not many Major League starters can match, and most importantly, he’s shown the type of demeanor on the mound that makes you think he can handle the ups-and-downs that every successful pitcher must endure.

Even after the game, Tanaka answers questions from two large hordes of media with a certain “Aw, shucks” way about him.

“It’s just one game,” he said. “I feel like I was a little more calm compared to my first two starts, so I guess I’m pretty excited with what I accomplished.”

· Tanaka was very impressive in his first two starts, but he gave up a couple of runs early in each. That was not the case today, as he only allowed two weak singles and one walk over eight shutout innings. He struck out 10, and threw 76 of his 107 pitches for strikes, good for 71 percent. Not too shabby. “He did a great job,” Carlos Beltran said. “He was able to locate his (pitches), and he got them to chase all game long. When he needed to make the pitch for a strikeout, he was able to do it. I think McCann and him had a great plan.”

Masahiro Tanaka· Tanaka has now struck out 28 batters in his first three career starts, surpassing Al Leiter for most strikeouts by any Yankees pitcher through his first three outings (Leiter had 25 in 1987). He got a quite a few swings and misses on the splitter, but he also used his slider very effectively today. With such a vast array of pitches that he’s comfortable throwing, it adds to his unpredictability. “He can do a lot with two strikes. He’s not just going to throw his split,” Rothschild said. “The slider was consistent today, and he had great command of his fastball.”

· With all of that being said, it’s quite clear that hitters are taking notice of how nasty that split can be. He can get it over for a strike when he needs to, but he can also bury it in the dirt to generate some ugly swings and misses. “You gotta hope that he’s hanging that pitch,” Beltran said. “It’s not like it’s 82 or 83 (mph) and you have more time to recognize it. He throws it 87, 88. You think in your mind it’s a fastball, and all of a sudden, you swing (on top of it).”

· Neither hit that Tanaka gave up was hit very hard, with one coming on a Junior Lake out that was overturned (Tanaka made a great play to get off the mound quickly and make it close). But when asked if he thought he had no-hit type of stuff today, Tanaka simply smiled and said, “No.”

· When asked what the biggest adjustment that he’s had to make so far, Tanaka couldn’t pinpoint one thing. “It’s really hard to say,” he said. “It’s too early in the season. I think I’ll have a better idea once the season is over, but I feel like I’m going through the adjustment period right now. As we get into the summer and climate changes, I’m sure that there will be adjustments that I need to make.”

· While Beltran spoke extensively about how impressive Tanaka has been, he also gave some insight into what it’s like being a hitter and facing him for the first time. “I would say this: When hitters don’t know the pitcher, sometimes it’s very difficult for the hitter to have an idea of what he’s trying to do,” he said. “But at the same time, he’s got great stuff. I’m not saying that he’s not a good pitcher. He’s a good pitcher. He can throw 95 when he wants to, or he can throw the split in a 3-2 count, like he did today a couple of times. It’s fun to have a guy like that who’s going to give you a quality start out there every day.”

· Beltran remained red-hot, homering for the third consecutive game in the first inning to give Tanaka an early 1-0 cushion. After being named AL Player of the Week last week, he’s clearly still feeling good. “I’m seeing the ball (well) and having good results,” he said. “When you’re swinging the bat well and good things are happening for you, you develop a little bit of confidence, knowing that every at-bat is going to be a positive one. You’re going to make outs, but the most important thing is that you’re putting quality at-bats out there.”

John Baker, Brian McCann· The Yankees second run came in the fourth when Dean Anna hit a shallow sac fly with the bases loaded. Third base coach Rob Thomson sent Brian McCann from third, and with the throw being a little high, he slid under the tag. Girardi was asked if he felt the catcher improperly blocked the plate. “It actually looked like he was a little behind the plate from my viewpoint,” he said.

· Their third and final run came on a play that I can’t recall seeing anytime in the past few years. With Jacoby Ellsbury up and Brett Gardner on third, catcher’s interference was called. The Yankees were given the option of putting Ellsbury on first and keeping Gardner at third, or allowing Gardner to score with Ellsbury being called out. Girardi chose to take the run and concede the out. “With zero outs, it might have been a little bit of a different story,” he said. “But with one out, I think you take the run.”

· Shawn Kelley worked the ninth for his fourth save in four tries. The bullpen has been awfully good since David Robertson went down. “These guys have stepped up in Robby’s absence,” Girardi said. “Obviously, there was concern when he went down and we had to move everyone up, but when you think about the job that these guys have done down there – all of them – it’s been really, really important.”

· I’d assume that they won’t use Kelley again in the second game, but you never know. The rest of the bullpen is fresh and available, thanks in large part to Tanaka. “I think that’s really important because it allows you to do some things in the second game when you don’t go through your whole bullpen in the first game,” Girardi said. “Anytime you can get distance out of your starters in split doubleheaders and you’re playing the next day, it’s really important.”

· You never know what gets lost in translation when you’re interviewing a foreign player, but when Tanaka was asked if he chose the Yankees over a team like the Cubs because he has a better chance to win here, his answer wasn’t exactly the politically correct one. “I’ll know at the end if the right choice was made to come to the Yankees or not,” he said. “I came here because the Yankees gave me the highest evaluation.”

· Here’s the lineup for Game 2. I meant to tweet it before, but I jotted down my best guess in my notes and nailed it, so someone should probably think about locking me up next time there’s a managerial opening.

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Scott Sizemore 3B
Kelly Johnson 1B
John Ryan Murphy C

RHP Michael Pineda

Associated Press photos

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Tanaka dominates with 10 strikeouts in Game 1 win04.16.14

Masahiro Tanaka

Through three starts, Masahiro Tanaka looks like the real deal. His first two outings were very impressive, but today’s effort in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a day-night doubleheader was flat out dominant. The Japanese import gave the Yankees eight strong innings, allowing just two singles and one walk while striking out 10. Despite the cold temperatures, he had everything working, throwing 76 of his 107 pitches for strikes, including 19 first-pitch strikes. The Yankees have to be very, very happy with their investment thus far.

The Yankees offense didn’t tear the cover off the ball, but it did enough to give Tanaka a little breathing room. Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer in the first – his fourth of the season – and the Yanks extended it to 2-0 on Dean Anna’s bases loaded sac fly in the fourth. In a unique situation in the fifth, Brett Gardner was allowed to score from third on a catcher’s interference call for the third and final run. Shawn Kelley worked the ninth for his fourth save in four tries.

Michael Pineda will start the second game of the doubleheader tonight at 7:05 p.m. He’ll be opposed by lefty Travis Wood (and Derek Jeter will be in the lineup).

Associated Press photo

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Game 14: Cubs at Yankees04.16.14

Masahiro TanakaYANKEES (7-6)
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Alfonso Soriano DH
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Kelly Johnson 1B
Dean Anna SS
Scott Sizemore 3B

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.21)
Tanaka has never faced the Cubs

CUBS (4-8)
Emilio Bonifacio 2B
Justin Ruggiano CF
Anthony Rizzo 1B
Nate Schierholtz RF
Starlin Castro SS
Junior Lake LF
Luis Valbuena 3B
Mike Olt DH
John Baker C

RHP Jason Hammel (2-0, 2.63)
Hammel vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, My9 and WFAN

WEATHER: Not a cloud a sky, but it’s cold. Temps around 40 are not ideal for baseball (or sports writing).

UMPIRES: HP Jim Reynolds, 1B Manny Gonzalez, 2B Sean Barber, 3B Tom Woodring

LET’S PLAY TWO!: After Tuesday’s game was rained out, the Yankees will play a day-night doubleheader with the Cubs today. Tanaka will start the first game, with Michael Pineda taking the ball in the second.

I’VE GOT TO ADMIT, IT’S GETTING BETTER: After dropping their first two games of the season at Houston, the Yankees have gone 7-4, including taking three of four against the world champion Red Sox.

BRONX BOMBERS: After starting off slow, the Yankees power bats have come alive. They’ve hit at least one homer in each of the past six games.

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, 1:29 p.m.: After being named the AL Player of the Week, Beltran remains red-hot. He took a low and inside pitch and planted it into the right field seats to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first. That’s four homers for him this season, and seven straight games in which the Yanks have hit at least one.

UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: The Yankees extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth on Anna’s bases loaded sac fly, with Johnson just barely beating the throw to home. Meanwhile, Tanaka has been stellar so far. He’s allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out six through five, and he should go at least one or two more with a manageable pitch count of 71.

UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: The Yanks add another run in the fifth on a bizarre sequence. Gardner doubled and moved to third on a Beltran groundout. Ellsbury was called safe at first on a catcher’s interference call, but Joe Girardi elected to take the out in order to allow Gardner to score. That makes it 3-0.

UPDATE, 3:29 p.m.: Brilliant effort from Tanaka. He just had another 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. He’s at 107 pitches, so you’d have to assume that he’s done. Shawn Kelley is warming up for the ninth. Tanaka’s current line: 8 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 107 pitches (76 strikes).

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Pregame notes: “I’ve always understood, but I didn’t like it”04.16.14

Derek Jeter

As the throngs of media swarmed Derek Jeter’s locker this morning, his face said it all.

He seems to have perfected this, “You want me?” look, as if he didn’t already know the answer. Predictably, Jeter deflected questions about him being hurt and downplayed the tight right quad as a non-issue.

He said he’s been ready to play for the past few days, and despite not being in the lineup for Game 1 of today’s day-night doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs, he’ll be in the lineup for Game 2.

“I’ve always understood, but I didn’t like it,” Jeter said of being given days off. “I still don’t like it, but I get it, the fact that it’s a long season.”

Jeter repeated that him not playing in the past two games was Joe Girardi’s decision, and said that he never came to Girardi to complain about the quad.

Here’s how he recalled it.

“I didn’t say anything,” he said. “I was running to first, and evidently, someone saw me stretching. I don’t know who. Joe said, ‘Did you hurt yourself? I saw you stretching.’ I said, ‘No, I was just tight.’ No big deal. That was the end of the conversation. Saturday, he was not planning on playing me anyways, and then when I got here on Sunday, he said, ‘You have the day off.’ ”

· Girardi said the decision to play Jeter in the night game instead of the day game simply came down to the pitching matchups. The lefty swinging Dean Anna will play against RHP Jason Hammel, while Jeter will play against LHP Travis Wood. “He’s playing the night game,” Girardi said of Jeter. “You have a right-hander going (in Game 1) and a left-hander going (in Game 2). That’s why.”

· Scott Sizemore will get the start in his first game wearing pinstripes. As Chad wrote yesterday, his numbers at Triple-A have looked pretty good (.344/.436/.500), but he does already have 16 strikeouts. In terms of how he feels and his timing at the plate, Sizemore said, “I would say I’m not quite there yet, but I’m 95 percent.” He also said before this latest comeback attempt, he was considering going back to school. Now he’s starting at third base for the New York Yankees.

Mark Teixeira· Sizemore said that he hasn’t played much first base in his career, but that he did some work there while he was in Scranton. Girardi made it sound as if he’ll be Kelly Johnson’s backup until Mark Teixeira returns. “I could put Sizemore there,” Girardi said. “I think I could put Solarte there. And obviously, I know I can put Beltran there. That wouldn’t be my second choice, though. … I think I would probably run Sizemore out there.”

· Speaking of Tex, he’s already in Tampa for the Yankees next series with the Rays. It sounds like they’re hoping to play him on Sunday when he’s eligible to come off the DL. “He’s already there,” Girardi said. “He’s working out today. I’m not sure when he’s getting into a game.”

· John Ryan Murphy was also added to the 25-man roster to take Francisco Cervelli’s place as the backup catcher, which was a slight surprise. I think most expected Austin Romine to be recalled considering he’s had more big league time and experience with the pitching staff, but clearly, Murphy has moved ahead of him on the depth chart. “We liked what he did last year when he came up,” Girardi said. “We liked what he did in spring training, and we decided to go with him. It’s probably a pretty close call. They both have experience, but we went with Murph.”

· Brian Roberts is unavailable today, but Girardi said he’s hoping he’ll be able to play any day now. “He’s much better,” Girardi said. “It’s just some back spasms. I would probably stay away from him today, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

· I can tell you first-hand that it’s awfully cold in the Bronx today. My fingers are slightly numb as I’m typing this, and these surely won’t be ideal conditions for the players. When I arrived, they were using what looked like leaf blowers to dry off the field from last night’s snowfall (yes, we got snow in April). “There is a concern about keeping them warm, keeping them loose, keeping them stretched,” Girardi said. “You play one game, and then you sit for a few hours, and then you play another game. That’s a concern, as well. You have to get through one day of it, and then we’re going back indoors.”

Masahiro Tanaka· Masahiro Tanaka will start the first game, but Girardi didn’t seem overly concerned about how he’ll handle the cold. “They pitch in Japan in this, so he’s pitched in cold weather,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s going to affect him, but I don’t think it’s foreign to him.”

· With Tanaka’s start being pushed back to today, the Yankees will need find a new starter for Sunday’s series finale in Tampa. Girardi said as of now, “it’s Mr. TBA,” which probably means they’ll wait to see how the bullpen is used in the next few days. Adam Warren seems to be entrenched in a late-inning relief role, but I could easily see David Phelps or Vidal Nuno getting that start. Next Tuesday for the series opener in Boston will either be Tanaka or Michael Pineda. “I think with him getting the extra day (of rest), it’s kind of the best of both worlds,” Girardi said of Tanaka. “You’re easing him into our schedule, but you’re also kind of holding onto his schedule a little bit. As far as what we’re doing next Tuesday, I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t hesitate to start him on Tuesday.”

· There was some talk about the new rule on collisions at home plate during Girardi’s press conference. Apparently, he spoke to Joe Torre about it recently, but still doesn’t have a full understanding of how it will play out in games. “It seem to be a difficult timing call, in a sense, to make,” Girardi said. “When is it considered blocking the plate? There is no clear-cut answer on what is considered blocking the plate right now. It’s kind of on the umpires. It’s difficult to know what to tell you catchers right now. It’s in the beginning stages.”

· There were rumors during the offseason about Girardi possibly bolting from New York to return to manage the Cubs, which is the team that he grew up rooting for. But Girardi said he never really considered leaving the Yankees when he was asked if he ever viewed the Cubs position as a dream job. “You think about playing. That was my dream as a little boy,” he said. “I didn’t think about anything after that. This is home for me. This has been home for a pretty long time, really. Since I started playing here. We’ve been coming back and broadcasting, coaching, managing, and my family is engrained in schools in New York. This is our life, so New York was I wanted to be, and this is where I’m at.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees lineup: No Jeter for Game 1 of doubleheader04.16.14

Guess who’s back? Vin Mercogliano back in the Bronx for what will be my third and fourth games in a row. The Yankees will play two with the Chicago Cubs today, but it appears that Derek Jeter will play no more than one. The Captain is not in the lineup for Game 1, and when Joe Girardi speaks to the media around 11 a.m., we’ll find out if he’s going to play at all. Follow me on Twitter @vzmercogliano to find out what he says.

Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Alfonso Soriano DH
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Kelly Johnson 1B
Dean Anna SS
Scott Sizemore 3B

RHP Masahiro Tanaka


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Rivera’s son to pitch in New England Collegiate Baseball League04.15.14

Mariano Rivera

We’ll wrap up this unexpected off day with a quick story the Associated Press sent about Mariano Rivera’s son, who’s going to pitch in New Hampshire this winter. Mariano Rivera Jr. is the tallest of Rivera’s sons in the picture above.

LACONIA, N.H. (AP) — The son of retired New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is going to pitch for a collegiate summer program in New Hampshire.

Mariano Rivera Jr. will join the Laconia Muskrats this summer, part of the 12-team New England Collegiate Baseball League.

He’s a right-hander, like his dad.

Noah Crane, the Muskrats’ general manager, tells New Hampshire Public Radio the 20-year-old Rivera Jr. is coming to the state because of the Muskrats’ close relationship with Pat Carey, Rivera’s coach at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. He says each year, the team has one or two of the school’s players.

Rivera’s dad retired at the end of last season after winning five World Series championships with the Yankees. He is Major League Baseball’s career saves leader with 652.

Associated Press photo

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Cashman notes: Murphy, Jeter, Roberts, Solarte, infield shifts04.15.14

Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi

Quick phone call with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman today. A few of the talking points:

MurphyWhy John Ryan Murphy this time?
When the Yankees called up a catcher in Toronto, it was Austin Romine who got the call. This time, it was John Ryan Murphy. The difference is that this call-up is for a role with actual playing time. Romine was a third catcher. Murphy will be the No. 2, getting regular starts when Brian McCann sits.

“He’s the No. 1 catcher in Triple-A,” Cashman said. “And we had a real need where, when McCan isn’t playing, he’s going to play. … Now that we’re in a situation where when the No. 1 catcher isn’t there, the backup is obviously the starter, we’re going to take the best player.”

Is Derek Jeter’s hamstring healthy?
Cashman said he expects Jeter to play tomorrow.

“As of right now, we’re hopeful that’s a resolved issue,” Cashman said.

RobertsWhat about Brian Roberts’ back?
“We’ll see how he responds daily to treatment,” Cashman said. “Backs are tricky. Could be a couple of days. Could be slower. Could be quicker. … He may be a player for us as early as tomorrow, or it could be a week. I don’t know yet.”

By the way, Cashman said he’s not overly bothered by Roberts’ slow start at the plate.

“It’s a small sample,” Cashman said. “He had a good spring. He had a good Opening Day (actually a good second game of the year) and then he has struggled here in the games there after. It’s a small sample. He’s a pro. … When he’s healthy, I think you have a track record of what he is.”

Has Yangervis Solarte earned continued playing time?
Mark Teixeira is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, and there seems to be at least some chance that he’ll return on that date (or at least soon after). What does that mean for the playing time of early rookie standout Yangervis Solarte?

“We’ll see,” Cashman said. “Those are decisions Joe (Girardi) will make on a daily basis. Tex isn’t back, so it’s not something I’m really focused on. … Like the anything else, the better you perform, the higher consideration you get.”

JeterHave the Yankees been happy with their infield defense?
Asked about the infield defense, Cashman immediately pointed to the work of David Grabiner and Mike Fishman from the Yankees baseball analysis department. Cashman said it’s those two who have spearheaded the research that’s pushed the Yankees toward shifting their infield so often this season.

Cashman did not say that infield defense has been a problem or a concern, but he said that he believes the shifts being employed this year would be helpful for any infield. He stressed that the players and the coaching staff have been fully on board with the decision.

“(Grabiner and Fishman) really found a way to allow the players and the coaching staff to gravitate to this data that will benefit our defense even more,” Cashman said. “I think it’s important whether you have an exceptional defensive team or a team that might not compare as well as others. You’re always interested in getting players in the best place as possible.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 90 Comments →

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