The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for the ‘Misc’

Game 136: Yankees vs. Red Sox09.02.14

Shane GreeneYANKEES (70-65)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann DH
Martin Prado 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09)
Greene vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (60-77)
Brock Holt 2B
Mookie Betts CF
David Ortiz DH
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava RF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ross C

RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 3.86 with Boston)
Kelly vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

WEATHER: Surprisingly hot. Not that I’m complaining. Winter is coming.

UMPIRES: HP Tim Timmons, 1B Tim Welke, 2B Todd Tichenor, 3B Clint Fagan

SAVE THE DAY: Dave Robertson has 43 career saves, putting him one away from tying Rafael Soriano for eighth on the Yankees all-time saves list. Amazing that basically one season as closer can put a guy that high on the list. Guess that’s what happens when all of the saves keep going to one particular guy year after year.

PRADO OF THE YANKEES: In his past 15 games, Martin Prado is hitting .367 with 11 runs, three homers and 10 RBI. He had one walk-off hit in that span.

ON THIS DATE: It was on September 2, 2001 that Mike Mussina carried a perfect game into the ninth inning only to have Carl Everett deliver a pinch-hit, two-out single that broke up the milestone. Mussina got a 1-0 win with 13 strikeouts and no walks in the complete game.

UPDATE, 7:16 p.m.: RBI double for Cespedes. It’s met with a lot of indifference from the crowd.

UPDATE, 7:25 p.m.: Two runs and 31 pitches in the top of the first. At least there are five extra relievers.

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Pregame notes: “To single him out is not fair”09.02.14

Derek Jeter

Joe Girardi made a change at the top of the order today, just not the change so many have been suggesting. Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the leadoff spot, Brett Gardner is batting third for the first time, and Derek Jeter is still right in between them as the No. 2 hitter.

“For the first four months of the year, he was probably one of our most consistent hitters,” Girardi said. “One of the three most consistent hitters in our club. I consider us kind of to be in playoff mode right now, for us, because we obviously need to win games. Throughout his career, he’s been clutch in the playoffs, and we’re leaving him there. He’s a hot topic always just because of who he is, but there’s other issues that we have in our club that we have to get better at as well.”

Is there pressure to keep Jeter in that spot for his final month?

“No, not necessarily,” Girardi said. “… If I had eight other guys hitting .300, it probably wouldn’t be difficult (to move him down). When you look up and down at our numbers, we’ve had a number of guys that have had tough years. Years that we wouldn’t have projected. So (if) I move him, who am I going to put there? That’s my question. Who you going to move there that’s been more consistent during the course of the season. We haven’t hit collectively as a team, and to single him out is not fair. … (Rank) 13 out of 15 in runs scored. That’s not all Derek’s fault. That’s collectively we haven’t hit.”

Of course, it’s hard to know how much of Girardi’s persistence with Jeter is because of external pressure — because of who Jeter is and what his final season means — and how much is because of the disappointing hitters around him. The Yankees really haven’t had many consistent alternatives. Martin Prado is hot right now, but his first few weeks with the team were underwhelming. Gardner is coming off a bad month. Mark Teixeira is coming off a terrible month.

“(Jeter) could hit .600 and if the other guys don’t produce around him and through the lineup, then it’s not going to matter what he hits,” Girardi said. “So, as I said, it’s going to have to be a collection of all these guys that can swing the bat extremely well. And if one guy’s not, the other guy picks him up. That’s the bottom line.”

Masahiro Tanaka• Masahiro Tanaka has been examined by Dr. Chris Ahmad, who diagnosed him with nothing more than arm fatigue. “Every manual test that they did came out really well,” Girardi said. “They just said he had some arm fatigue. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen sometime this week and hopefully he’s ready to do it.” Tanaka played catch today and apparently had no issues.

• For those confused by the move: Putting Tanaka on the 60-day doesn’t really mean much. Those moves are always retroactive, and he’s missed close to 60 days already. He could still come back this season.

• David Phelps threw a 25-pitch bullpen this afternoon (fastballs and changeups), and he’s scheduled for a 35-pitch bullpen on Friday (all of his pitches). Phelps said he expects to throw a simulated game on Sunday, and that might be the final step toward getting him off the disabled list and into the bullpen. “I know that we’ve been going kind of conservative with it just to make sure everything comes back,” Phelps said. “All of the steps have been good along the way, so it shouldn’t be too long.”

• Of the Yankees eight September call-ups, five are relievers. Two of those — Whitley and Mitchell — are basically long men. “Obviously pitching is always important this time of year,” Girardi said. “It gives you more options, with a doubleheader coming up eventually here.”

• Why John Ryan Murphy but not Austin Romine? “The organization made the decision to go with (Murphy),” Girardi said. “Obviously I don’t get to see either one of them play a lot. So they went with Murphy.”

• Not much of a surprise that Chris Young got a call-up. I have to imagine that was a condition of any contract he was looking to sign after being released. “(He’s) been pretty productive in his career off left-handers,” Girardi said.

• If there’s a surprise among the call-ups, it’s certainly Antoan Richardson. “Speed off the bench,” Girardi said. Richardson played with Atlanta a little bit in 2011. He was 26-for-27 stealing bases with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he also had a .380 on-base percentage. Kind of a custom-made September call-up, just wasn’t sure the Yankees would actually make the move to get him on the 40-man.

• Zoilo Almonte was designated for assignment after leading Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in home runs and RBI this season. After Almonte struggled in New York last season, Girardi just never seemed to have much faith in his ability to hit big league right-handers the way he did in Triple-A. His splits are so extreme that, despite being a switch hitter, he’s likely a platoon player at best. Last year might have been his opportunity to show something, but he hit .236/.274/.302 (vRHP .250/.296/.342).

• Why Gardner batting third? “He’s probably been as good against right-handers as anyone in our lineup,” Girardi said. “I left Jake in the one hole. My concern in switching the guys when they both were going well was that they’re both going well, why move them. So I put Jake in the one hole when Gardy got hurt and he did extremely well. I’ll leave him there and just put Gardy third.”

• On Ellsbury’s health: “I saw him run on Sunday, which, I was really encouraged,” Girardi said. “He said he felt better yesterday and felt better today and that’s why I have him in center. In saying that, I told him, look, if you feel that it’s an issue out there you’ve got to let me know. If you feel you need to DH a day, you have to let me know.”

Associated Press photos

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Gardner batting third, Jeter second09.02.14

September call ups: RHP Chaz Roe, RHP Chase Whitley, RHP Bryan Mitchell, RHP Preston Claiborne, LHP Rich Hill, C John Ryan Murphy, OF Chris Young and OF Antoan Richardson.

To open necessary 40-man spots, Masahiro Tanaka and Slade Heathcott were moved to the 60-day, Matt Daley was released and Zoilo Almonte was designed for assignment.

GardnerCF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
LF Brett Gardner
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Carlos Beltran
DH Brian McCann
2B Martin Prado
3B Chase Headley
C Francisco Cervelli

RHP Shane Greene

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Pitching matchups vs. Red Sox09.02.14

Shane Greene

RHP Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09)
RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 3.86 with Boston)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.88)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and ESPN

LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.24)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

Associated Press photo

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A few random thoughts as the Yankees return home09.02.14

Hope everyone enjoyed Labor Day. After a day off on Monday, the Yankees get back to work tonight in their series opener against the Red Sox. A few quick thoughts heading into this home stand.

Joe Girardi• On the off day, the Yankees picked up a half game in the division (but they’re still 8.5 games behind Baltimore). What’s far more significant is that the Yankees lost a half game in the wild card standings (because Detroit won) but did gain some ground on the teams ahead of them (because both Seattle and Cleveland lost). The Yankees enter September tied with the Indians four games out of the second wild card.

• In 2011, Joe Girardi moved Jorge Posada to the bottom of the order. In 2012, Girardi benched Alex Rodriguez down the stretch. It’s going to be interesting to see if he’ll make a lineup change in the wake of Derek Jeter’s brutal month of August. Would Girardi consider red-hot Martin Prado in the No. 2 spot? Would he hit Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner back-to-back? I don’t buy the idea that Jeter — or any player — should suggest to the manager that he be dropped in the order. That’s 100 percent on the manager to make the decision. It’s up to the player to believe he’s going to perform in whatever role.

• Perhaps a bigger problem than the lack of offensive production in the No. 2 spot, how about the diminishing power in the clean-up spot? Here’s Mark Teixeira’s month-by-month slugging percentage for this season — April: .487, May: .472, June: .471, July: .375, August: .307. That’s a problem. Teixeira’s not going to hit for a high average any more, so his value has to come from his power. The power was there earlier this year.

• Another chance to watch Shane Greene pitch tonight. No one wants to take a job because another player gets hurt, but that’s often how doors open, and Greene has really taken advantage. I remember talking to a baseball source last winter and I was told to pay attention to Greene because his 2013 numbers were the real deal. He’d taken a significant step forward, and now we’re seeing it in the big leagues. Does a strong month of September basically lock him into a rotation job next season?

David Phelps• I suppose it makes sense to be careful with David Phelps and his upper-elbow/lower-triceps injury, but I’m still a bit surprised it’s taking so long to get him back in a relief role. I still think he could make another run at the rotation next season. He was pitching really well before the injury.

• New Red Sox starter Joe Kelly is going to make his first career start against the Yankees tonight. I haven’t seen much of Kelly, but I know my friends back in St. Louis were pretty disappointed to see him traded away. He was never remotely the biggest name on the young Cardinals pitching staff, but he was a third-round pick and he’s put up pretty good numbers for three years now.

• Martin Prado isn’t always going to hit like he’s hit these past two weeks or so, but even if he’s not quite this productive, his defensive versatility is a huge asset heading into next season. The Yankees are going to have questions at second base, third base and right field, and Prado could fill any of those spots. Even if he’s more of a No. 7 hitter than a No. 2 hitter, that ability to move around and provide some production is key.

• With September call-ups, the Yankees should be able to give Francisco Cervelli a little more playing time either as the DH or behind the plate (with Brian McCann at DH). I realize it’s time to give either Austin Romine or John Ryan Murphy a chance to win that backup catcher job next season, but Cervelli’s been awfully good this year. Is there a team out there willing to value him as an everyday catcher on the trade market?

Associated Press photos

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Jeter not alone with brutal August numbers09.01.14

Derek Jeter

At no point this year was Derek Jeter having a good season. In late April his batting average was pretty close to .300, and he was still getting on base at a decent clip through mid-May, but by Jeter standards, this has always been a down year. Problem is, it’s gotten much worse in the past month.

For the most part, Jeter’s actually had a pretty respectable season for a 40-year-old. Nothing like his prime years — the power has been completely lost — but the kind of production that might have been perfectly useful from a No. 8 hitter (and the kind of year that might have been easier to stomach if the hitters around him were living up to their own expectations).

Until recently, Jeter was doing enough to chip in now and then. But August was bad.

April: .272/.352/.309
May: .275/.327/.343
June: .272/.309/.330
July: .289/.340/.320
August: .207/.226/.261

So if you’re wondering why there’s been such an increase is almost universal calls for Jeter to be dropped in the order — a familiar sentiment, but one that’s gained steam in recent weeks — it probably has something to do with Jeter’s moderate production disappearing lately.

Mark TeixeiraBut as has been the case all season, Jeter’s numbers are only a small part of the problem. Consider the August slash lines from the rest of the Yankees regulars.

Brett Gardner: .213/.295/.372
Streaky hitter had a .932 OPS in July.

Jacoby Ellsbury: .324/.366/.539
Huge month. Too bad no one followed his lead.

Mark Teixeira: .193/.276/.307
Slugging percentage has decreased month by month.

Carlos Beltran: .242/.330/.396
Good first week, but just .183/.290/.283 since August 9.

Brian McCann: .219/.282/.453
Three home runs in a span of five games.

Martin Prado: .282/.308/.466
Trying to match Ellsbury. Hit .367/.377/.617 since August 16.

Chase Headley: .233/.343/.344
Led the team in strikeouts and walks for the month.

Stephen Drew: .153/.225/.306
Bat hasn’t emerged as the Yankees hoped.

Ichiro Suzuki: .352/.357/.389
Two extra base hits; hasn’t had more than three in any month.

Associated Press photos

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Sorting through the September call-up candidates09.01.14

Because today is an off day, the Yankees have little reason to make their September call-ups right away. They’ll more likely wait for the Double-A and Triple-A seasons to finish up this afternoon, then make their moves to supplement the big league roster. Here’s an unnecessarily long look at some of the guys who should be on the radar for September call-ups, as well as some of the guys who might seem like September candidates but are far more likely to go unpromoted because of 40-man roster constraints.

Teams always want to add pitching depth in September, and the Yankees have plenty of readily available options to do just that. Not all of these guys will be healthy enough to get a call-up, but it seems safe to assume that at least two or three will join (or rejoin) the team for the final month of the season.

LHP Manny Banuelos
In his first year back from Tommy John surgery, it’s been an up-and-down season for Banuelos. He was bumped up to Triple-A three weeks ago and has pitched four times at that level. His first last five strong innings. His second lasted just three innings with six walks. His third was another three-inning start, this time with five hits. Last time out he went four innings, six hits, three runs, one walk, four strikeouts.  Might be worth getting his feet wet, but might be a bit much to expect much impact.

RHP Jose Campos
Lost for the year after having Tommy John surgery in April. Not a call-up candidate.

RHP Preston Claiborne
Activated from the Triple-A disabled list a little more than a week ago. Seems like a good bet for a call-up if only because he’s a familiar face who’s had some big league success — granted, with some inconsistency — in the past. Only reason not to bring him up would be if the Yankees are going to give his 40-man spot to someone else.

RHP Matt Daley
The Yankees have carried Daley in their bullpen a decent amount this season. He’s a lot like Claiborne in that the only reason not to bring him up would be to immediately give his 40-man spot to someone else. Might depend on whether the Yankees think some of their younger relievers can legitimately help in the short term. If they’re not convinced, they could use Daley in September and still give his spot to someone else over the winter. (Completely forgot Daley’s on the disabled list, which would seem to make him far more of a DFA candidate than a call-up candidate)

RHP Bryan Mitchell
For a long time, Mitchell was far more potential than actual results. But since a mid-season bump to Triple-A, Mitchell’s numbers have been pretty good (with two pretty ugly starts mixed in). Seems telling that on Saturday the Yankees had both Mitchell and Chase Whitley pitch two innings of relief. Seems like the kind of thing they’d do to keep each guy on track for a Tuesday call-up.

RHP Jose Ramirez
Injured and not a call-up candidate. Question is whether the Yankees would be willing to basically give Ramirez a month of big league pay and service time so that they can transfer him to the 60-day disabled list and open his 40-man spot for someone else. Could happen, but it’s a rarity.

RHP Chase Whitley
Probably the biggest call-up lock of the bunch. Whitley was sent down when the Yankees finally needed a full four-man bench, and he’ll almost certainly return to give them another long man in the bullpen. Although the Yankees left Whitley exposed to the Rule 5 last winter, he’s likely done enough this season to keep his 40-man spot through the offseason to enter spring training as a long relief (and possibly rotation) candidate.

Now that Zelous Wheeler is back in the big leagues, the Yankees have six minor league position players on the 40-man roster, and not one of them is an infielder. The question is how many extra catchers and outfielders the Yankees really want/need for the final month of the season. 

OF Zoilo Almonte
Another strong bet for a call-up. Although Almonte is a switch hitter, his potential impact comes as a left-handed power bat who can play the outfield corners and possibly provide some pop. That said, when Almonte’s been up previously this season, Joe Girardi has been hesitant to use him. As a September call-up, he’d probably be a fifth outfielder at best behind fourth outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Good be to be called up, just not a good bet to see much playing time unless the Yankees fall completely out of the race.

OF Ramon Flores
Two ways to look at this one. On the one hand, Flores had a nice year in Triple-A and has some tools that could come in handy. On the other hand, he missed much of the year with an ankle injury, and aside from one huge game, he really hasn’t hit much since coming off the disabled list. Do the Yankees really have any kind of role for another left-handed outfielder? Especially if Almonte comes up, how is Flores going to get any sort of playing time?

OF Slade Heathcott
Out with yet another injury and not a call-up candidate. Upside is still significant enough that I have to believe the Yankees would strongly prefer not to put him on the 60-day disabled list and start any sort of big league clock, but it’s also becoming hard to ignore the fact that his star has faded considerably. Just hasn’t stayed healthy enough to have any real idea what to expect from him going foward.

C John Ryan Murphy / C Austin Romine
Two different guys, but it’s pretty hard to separate them at this point. Neither put up particularly good numbers in Triple-A this season, but each one has enough big league experience to serve as a dependable third catcher for the final month. On his own, either one would be a lock for September. With both on the roster, the question is whether the Yankees will call up both or simply chose one.

C Gary Sanchez
Still might be the Yankees top hitting prospect this side of Aaron Judge, but his Double-A numbers aren’t overwhelming and the Yankees already have more catchers than they need with Murphy and Romine in the September mix. Maybe the Yankees have seen something from Sanchez and want to reward him, but it seems more likely that they’ll go with one or two of the more experienced young catchers and let Sanchez begin making his big league case next season in Triple-A.

Two players are still taking up spots on the 40-man roster without being healthy enough to join the active roster. Activating either one of these two would essentially count as another September call-up. 

RHP David Phelps
I don’t think Phelps will be ready to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, but I also don’t think he’s so far away that it would be worth putting him on the 60-day. Last pitched on August 3, so going on the 60-day would mean losing Phelps for the season. Little reason to do that unless he has a setback.

RHP Masahiro Tanaka
So far, the Yankees have kept Tanaka on the 15-day disabled list. With rosters expanding, though, and his return pushed back because of his sore arm, Tanaka might as well go on the 60-day at this point. It’s been almost 60-days already. If the Yankees want to add a guy who’s not currently on the 40-man, moving Tanaka to the 60-day would at least temporarily open a spot.

These players are not on the 40-man roster, and they likely have no long-term future with the Yankees. The question is whether the Yankees believe they can play some sort of short-term role to provide a minor boost during the month of September before being almost certainly taken off the roster this winter.

RHP Andrew Bailey
Has been vaguely on the radar since signing a minor league deal with the Yankees in spring training. The former big league closer, though, is recovering from shoulder surgery and does not seem far enough along to be a legitimate call-up candidate. Mark Newman said recently that Bailey is not far enough along to even offer a guess as to when he might be ready to pitch in a game.

RHP Chris Leroux
Been up and down several times and got into two games for the Yankees this season, but he’s no longer on the 40-man roster, and the Yankees can more easily add a guy like Mitchell or Whitley to provide an true long man for the final month. He’s spent some time in the big leagues this season, but September seems unlikely.

RHP Chaz Roe
Got into 21 games with the Diamondbacks last season, but Roe spent all of this season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League where he had a 1.16 WHIP, 14 saves, and 72 strikeouts in 64 innings. The Yankees made a minor trade for him yesterday, and considering the minor league season ends today, it’s worth wondering why they acquired him at all if not for a September call-up that might serve as an audition for next season. He’s 27 years old and was a first-round pick back in 2005.

OF Antoan Richardson
In some other circumstances, Richardson might be a nice September candidate as a versatile outfielder who can switch hit and provide some speed off the bench. He’s had a nice year with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, living up to his reputation as a guy who has a knack for getting on base. The Yankees, though, already have Ichiro Suzuki providing outfield depth and speed off the bench.

INF Scott Sizemore
Once again healthy and active in Triple-A, Sizemore has done exactly what he’s supposed to do — he’s hit pretty well against lefties — and he’s gotten some big league time with the Yankees, but the Yankees are no longer desperate for help at second and third, which might rule out the possibility of bringing Sizemore back. Seems kind of pointless to have both him and Wheeler.

OF Chris Young
The Yankees signed the veteran to essentially a five-game minor league tryout. He homered in his third game in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he’s also struck out a lot. He’s basically an experienced right-handed outfield option. At his best he has some speed and some pop and can play center field, but is a guy who was released by the Mets really going to help the Yankees?

These players have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason or else face the possibility of being taken in the Rule 5 draft. Being Rule 5 eligible gives added incentive to go ahead and add these players to the 40-man right away if the Yankees believe they can play a big league role immediately (it happens occasionally, but not very often). It’s worth noting that several other players will be Rule 5 eligible this offseason — Mason Williams, Cito Culver, Matt Tracy, Zach Nuding — but I’m not listing them here just because they seem to be extreme long shots for September.

OF Tyler Austin
To his credit, Austin really turned things on in the second half. He’s hit .336/.397/.557 in 122 at-bats since the All-Star break, some much-needed good news for a guy whose prospect star was fading. He’s also back to playing right field most of the time. Probably not enough to win him a September call-up, but might be enough to get him onto the 40-man this winter.

RHP Dan Burawa
Was actually Rule 5 eligible last winter as well, but he went unprotected and the Yankees were able to keep him and his big fastball. Burawa’s minor league season, though, has been wildly up and down. He was terrific early in the season in Triple-A, then faded and wound up demoted to Double-A where he pitched well again and just earned a promotion back to Triple-A. Big arm, but seems like a call-up long shot.

RHP Mark Montgomery
When he positively dominated the lower levels, Montgomery emerged as the Yankees top bullpen prospect, earning comparisons to Dave Robertson. In the upper-levels, though, he’s dealt with injuries and underwhelming results. This season, he’s gone from Triple-A to Double-A, where he’s basically spent the past month cutting down on the walks and consistently putting up zeroes again. That said, if he were a call-up candidate, surely he would have been bumped back up to Triple-A by now.

RHP Branden Pinder
Having basically jumped ahead of guys like Burawa and Montgomery, Pinder was making a decent case for a call-up before he landed on the disabled list a little more than a week ago. Might not have been a strong September candidate anyway. Going to be more interesting to see whether he’s protected this winter.

UT Jose Pirela
Pretty sure Pirela isn’t simply Rule 5 eligible, he should be eligible for free agency after spending the past seven seasons playing pro ball in the United States. A terrific year in Triple-A has put Pirela back on the prospect map as a guy capable of playing basically any position except pitcher and catcher. Question is whether the Yankees believe he’s worth a 40-man spot. In the short-term, could basically do exactly what Zelous Wheeler is doing? In the long term, is it worth a roster spot for a guy who’s upside might be no higher than big league bench player?

1B Kyle Roller
Easily overlooked throughout his career, Roller has stayed relevant because he’s kept hitting. This year the Yankees bumped him up to Triple-A and he has the most home runs of any minor leaguer currently in the organization (Pete O’Brien had more). He’s a left-handed hitter, but defensively he’s limited to first base, which makes him neither a strong bench player nor a great Rule 5 candidate.

LHP Nik Turley
The starting pitcher for today’s Triple-A finale, Turley was on the 40-man roster until a spring arm problem forced him to miss time and ultimately cost him a roster spot. Since coming off the disabled list, he’s been good at times and not so good at other times. Not so long ago, the Yankees liked him enough to give him a roster spot. How much has that situation changed? A lot of walks this year, which isn’t a great sign.

SHP Pat Venditte
Almost didn’t list him because it’s still hard to know what to make of the famous switch pitcher. His Triple-A numbers are pretty good this year — better against lefties than against righties — and he’s been better in the second half of the season. But do the Yankees take him seriously as a big league option? If they liked him as a possible left-on-left specialist, why didn’t he get that Rich Hill call-up earlier this month?

Here are a few young player who have already made it into the upper levels of the system, and to at least some degree have played well enough to deserve call-up consideration. In each case, though, giving one of these players a September call-up would fill a 40-man roster spot earlier than necessary, potentially forcing the Yankees to leave another prospect exposed to the Rule 5 or forcing them to DFA a player they could otherwise keep. The question in each case is whether the one-month impact of each player would be worth creating an unnecessary 40-man logjam.

OF Taylor Dugas
Yes, he’s undersized, but at some point that won’t matter if he keeps hitting. In a year when so many upper-level outfielders either struggled or got hurt, Dugas hit his way onto the radar. He was an eighth-round pick, so it’s not like he entered the system as a completely nobody.

OF Adonis Garcia
Checked with a Yankees official just to make sure, and Garcia is still not Rule 5 eligible. He’s been a nice offensive player in Triple-A, showing both power and speed. He’s also been able to play all three outfield positions, plus some third base. But is it really worth putting him on the 40-man just to give him a few big league at-bats in September?

LHP James Pazos
Maybe a reach to suggest he deserves serious consideration, but Pazos is a lefty who went to the Arizona Fall League last offseason and has pitched well in Double-A this year (lefties have hit just .178 against him). Before getting Josh Outman, the Yankees might have been more desperate for a left-handed reliever, and Pazos might have been a stronger candidate if he were already Rule 5 eligible.

2B Rob Refsnyder
Surely the most popular September call-up candidate, but also a guy who’s almost certainly not going to get one. Could win a big league job next year, and will likely compete for a job in spring training, but it’s hard to imagine the Yankees clogging their 40-man just to let Refsnyder get his feet wet.

RHP Nick Rumbelow
I’m mentioning him largely because he’s in Triple-A and has pitched well aside from one four-hit, four-run outing last weekend. This is just his first full season of pro ball, though. Makes more sense to have him on the 2015 radar rather than the September radar.

LHP Jacob Lindgren
Let’s call him the second-most popular September candidate after Refsnyder. But again, he doesn’t have to be protected, and now that Outman is in the mix, there’s less sense of desperation in looking for a left-handed reliever. Could be interesting next spring to see how many non-40-man guys are seriously competing for big league roster spots.

LHP Tyler Webb
Three rounds after the Yankees took Rumbelow out of LSU, the Yankees took Webb out of the University of South Carolina. The Yankees pushed Webb to Triple-A in July, and he instantly jumped onto the big league roster as a potential left-handed reliever. But Triple-A lefties have hit .320 against him, and he just like with Lindgren, it’s hard to see the Yankees creating 40-man issues now that they have Outman in the mix.

Associated Press photos (except the Refsnyder shot, which is from my friends at the Scranton Times-Tribune)

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Playoff hopes slipping as Yankees enter September09.01.14

Derek Jeter

While the Yankees were busy scoring just three runs and once again losing to the Blue Jays on Sunday, the Orioles were scoring 12 runs and winning for the sixth time in seven days.

And so we enter the season’s final month with the Yankees a full nine games out of first place in the American League East. Even if the Yankees sweep their remaining eight games against Baltimore, they’ll still need help to win the division. I suppose a division title is not impossible, but focusing on the division standings seems a waste of time at the moment. So let’s forget about the Orioles for now. The second wild card is the only thing worth any attention right now, which means focusing on these teams:

Kansas City Royals
Leading the AL Central
Games remaining vs. Yankees: 3
September schedule: 3 vs. Rangers, 3 at Yankees, 3 at Tigers, 4 vs. Red Sox, 3 vs. White Sox, 3 vs. Tigers, 3 at Indians, 4 at White Sox

Right now, the Royals have played themselves beyond the wild card standings and into the mix for a division title. They’re just a half game ahead of the Tigers, though, and there’s a solid chance the Royals will be back in the wild card fray by the time they get to Yankee Stadium this weekend. They get an off day before the start of that series. They also finish the season with a week on the road. The Royals also still have to finish last night’s game against the Indians, which was postponed with the Indians winning in the 10th inning.

Detroit Tigers
Leading the second wild card
Games remaining vs. Yankees: 0
September schedule: 4 at Indians, 3 vs. Giants, 3 vs. Royals, 3 vs. Indians, 3 at Twins, 3 at Royals, 3 vs. White Sox, 4 vs. Twins

The Tigers have two convenient off days sprinkled into the middle of the month, one on the 11th and another on the 18th. They also get to finish the season with a seven-game home stand against the White Sox and Twins, two of the worst teams in the Central. Could make a case that the Yankees would prefer to have the Tigers take control of the Central so that those three games at home against Kansas City might mean something in the wild card standings.

Seattle Mariners
Half game out of the wild card
Games remaining vs. Yankees: 0
September schedule: 3 at Athletics, 4 at Rangers, 3 vs. Astros, 3 vs. Athletics, 4 at Angels, 3 at Astros, 4 at Blue Jays, 3 vs. Angels

Real mix of good and bad for the Mariners down the stretch. They’re actually going to have a real say in whether the A’s or Angels end up winning the American League West (the Mariners have 13 games remaining against those two teams). Only nine home games remaining for the Mariners. They’re on the road for 18 games with only one off day.

Cleveland Indians
Three games out of the wild card
Games remaining vs. Yankees: 0September schedule: 4 vs. Tigers, 3 vs. White Sox, 1 vs. Angels, 3 vs. Twins, 3 at Tigers, 4 at Astros, 3 at Twins, 3 vs. Royals, 3 vs. Rays

The Indians have just one day off this month and it’s not until the 25th. Half of their games in the next two weeks are against the Tigers, but they also get to play a bunch of games against the Astros, Twins and White Sox. The Yankees also still have to finish last night’s game, which was postponed by rain with the Indians winning in the 10th inning. The makeup date is September 22.

New York Yankees
Three-and-a-half games out of the wild card
Games remaining vs. Yankees: NA
September schedule: 3 vs. Red Sox, 3 vs. Royals, 3 vs. Rays, 4 at Orioles, 3 at Rays, 4 vs. Blue Jays, 4 vs. Orioles, 3 at Red Sox

Included here just to give a sense of where the Yankees currently fall in the standings. They’re ahead of only one team that still has a winning record, and that one team just won two of three in a head-to-head weekend series.

Toronto Blue Jays
Five games out of the wild card
Games remaining vs. Yankees: 4
September schedule: 3 at Rays, 3 at Red Sox, 3 vs. Cubs, 3 vs. Rays, 3 at Orioles, 4 at Yankees, 4 vs. Mariners, 3 vs. Orioles

Just like the Yankees, the Blue Jays are off today. But when their September schedule gets started tomorrow, it starts with four straight series against sub-.500 teams, including one interleague series at home. Granted, their next six games are on the road — and the Blue Jays do have six games left against the Orioles — but the September schedule opens fairly soft, which might let the Blue Jays get back in the mix.

Associated Press photo

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Jeter: “We only have so many series left”08.31.14

Steve Tolleson, Francisco Cervelli

Here’s Ian Harrison for The Associated Press…

TORONTO (AP) — The Blue Jays finished off a forgettable August with their biggest power display of the month.

Jose Bautista homered for the fifth straight game and Toronto erased a three-run deficit to beat the New York Yankees 4-3 on Sunday.

Edwin Encarnacion and Melky Cabrera also connected for the Blue Jays, who had their most home runs since hitting four in Houston on July 31.

“They win. It’s guaranteed runs,” manager John Gibbons said of the power surge. “We’ve kind of been missing that.”

Derek JeterDerek Jeter had a chance to tie it for the Yankees in the ninth inning. With the sellout crowd of 45,678 on its feet, Jeter popped up against closer Casey Janssen with a runner on third for the final out in his last regular-season at-bat in Toronto.

“I don’t think I have had much success against (Janssen),” Jeter said. “He was better than me this time.”

J.A. Happ won for the first time in seven starts as Toronto closed August with a 9-17 record. Munenori Kawasaki singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh to help the Blue Jays take two of three in a series between AL East teams trying to stay close in the playoff chase.

New York’s loss was its fourth in six games.

“It’s tough. We only have so many series left,” Jeter said.

Brett Gardner finished a single shy of the cycle, but couldn’t deliver on a big opportunity in the ninth, grounding out with a runner on second to bring up Jeter.

Gardner gave the Yankees a quick lead when he connected on Happ’s second pitch for his sixth career leadoff homer and fifth this year.

Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI single in the fourth and the Yankees made it 3-0 in the fifth when Gardner tripled and scored on an errant relay throw by shortstop Jose Reyes.

Brandon McCarthyNew York right-hander Brandon McCarthy allowed just two singles and a walk through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. Cabrera ended a streak of nine straight outs with a homer to right and, four pitches later, Bautista went deep.

“Everything happened so fast,” Cervelli said.

Jose Cruz Jr. holds the Blue Jays record for consecutive games with a home run, connecting in six straight from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2001.

Encarnacion tied it at 3 with a leadoff drive in the seventh, and McCarthy left after walking Dioner Navarro. Dellin Betances got two outs before pinch-runner Steve Tolleson stole second and scored on Kawasaki’s single, sliding in under Cervelli’s tag at home plate.

Happ (9-8) allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings to win for the first time since July 22 against Boston.

“His breaking ball today was as good as we’ve seen it,” Gibbons said.

Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Janssen finished for his 20th save in 24 chances.

McCarthy (5-4) allowed four runs and five hits in six innings, losing for the fourth time in five starts.

Starting as the designated hitter, Jeter went 1 for 5 with a single in the first.


Before the game, the Blue Jays honored Jeter with a video tribute and a $10,000 donation to his Turn 2 charity. Bautista and Mark Buehrle joined Jeter on the field to present him with a gift, a three-night luxury trip to Banff, Alberta, complete with a helicopter tour of the Rocky Mountains as well as Jeter’s choice of golf or ski lessons. “I will definitely use that one,” Jeter said.


Pressed again on Masahiro Tanaka’s return to New York for further treatment on his sore right arm, Yankees manager Joe Girardi cited the superiority of the facilities at Yankee Stadium compared to those at 25-year-old Rogers Centre. “Has anyone seen the weight room?” Girardi asked a crowd of media in the visitor’s dugout before the game. “It’s about as big as this area we’re in right now, this little room.”


Jacoby Ellsbury (sore left ankle) was held out of the starting lineup but delivered a pinch-hit double in the ninth. He was replaced by pinch-runner Ichiro Suzuki. Ellsbury was scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday night when the team returned home to New York.

Associated Press photos

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Yankees make minor trade for RHP Chaz Roe08.31.14

Maybe the Yankees like this guy for a September call-up? Don’t know anything about him, only that the Yankees just sent this announcement:

RoeThe New York Yankees today acquired minor-league RHP Chaz Roe from the Miami Marlins in exchange for cash considerations.

Roe has spent the 2014 season with Triple-A New Orleans, going 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA and 14 saves in 47 relief appearances (64.0IP, 53H, 26ER, 21BB, 72K, 5HR).

Roe’s Major-League experience came in 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, going 1-0 with a 4.03 ERA in 21 relief appearances (22.1IP, 18H, 13BB, 24K, 3HR).

Roe was originally selected by the Colorado Rockies in the first round (32nd pick) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

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