The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

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Postgame notes: “Why wouldn’t it go this way?”07.23.14

Joe Girardi, Chase Headley

By the time Chase Headley stepped to the plate in the 14th inning, he’d already been through enough on this day. He woke up in Chicago, got a late-morning phone call, found out he’d been traded, said his goodbyes to his old Padres teammates, shaved his beard, caught a 3:30 p.m. flight to LaGuardia, took a car to Yankee Stadium, and he walked into the Yankees dugout sometime around the second inning.

This was Headley’s first time ever wearing the uniform of a professional team other than the Padres. It was a lot to take in, and so when he stepped to the plate in the 14th, he took his time.

Chase Headley“There’s a lot of nerves there,” Headley said. “But I kind of stepped out of the box and I thought to myself, ‘Why not?’ Why wouldn’t this day go this way?”

By the time he was halfway up the first-base line, Headley had his right hand up in the air. He got to first base, high-fived his new infield coach and was instantly mobbed by teammates he’d met just a few hours earlier. On his first day with the Yankees — technically second day, it was just past midnight — Headley was doused in Gatorade by Brett Gardner while being interviewed by Meredith Marakovits.

“What a way to do it,” Headley said. “Yeah, it’s strange. Anytime there’s a trade that happens during the season, it’s awkward. I’ve been on a team where we brought guys in, and you try to include the guy wherever you can because you know he’s experiencing a lot. But like I said, great bunch of guys so far, and I’m excited to get to know my teammates more.”

Headley said he arrived ready to play. He got loose a few times during those late innings, and Joe Girardi gave him the heads up that he would likely pinch hit for Zelous Wheeler at some point. Not sure Headley expected to get four at-bats in a game he didn’t start — for a team he wasn’t with when the day started — but that’s the way things went today.

“You’ve got to want to be up in that spot,” Headley said. “Had a chance earlier, wasn’t able to get it done. But was fortunate to come back around, for us to scrap out a big run in the 12th, 13th, whatever it was, to stay in the game. Was fortunate I had that opportunity. … Couldn’t be happier to be a Yankee. It’s unbelievable. Can’t even believe I’m saying that. But yeah, long day, but great way to finish.”

Jacoby Ellsbury• Kelly Johnson left tonight’s game with soreness in his groin. He thought it was a cramp, but was ultimately sent for an MRI. The Yankees didn’t have results postgame. Should know more tomorrow. “I think (he did it) running to first in that last at-bat,” Girardi said.

• The Yankees used their entire bullpen tonight — so the did the Rangers — and Girardi said he would talk to Brian Cashman about bringing up a pitcher tomorrow.

• Tonight’s winning pitcher was Jeff Francis, who made his Yankees debut 11 days after being acquired. Last time he pitched in a game was July 2 in Detroit with Oakland. “Jeff Francis hasn’t thrown in I don’t know how long; 14, 15 days maybe,” Girardi said. “Maybe even more than that. He comes in to throw strikes, gets a big three outs for us, and we win the game.”

• Before the J.P. Arencibia home run in the 13th, the Yankees relievers — six different guys — had held the Rangers to no hits and one walk with eight strikeouts through six innings.

• This was the Yankees third walk-off win of the season and second of the home stand. Last time they had a walk-off against the Rangers was June 25 of last year when Ichiro hit a game-winning home run in the ninth.

• Last player to have a walk-off hit as his first Yankees hit was Alfonso Soriano, who had an 11th-inning game-winner on September 24, 1999. Last player to have a walk-off hit in his Yankees debut was Roy Weatherly, who had a walk-off double in the ninth inning on April 22, 1943. That’s from Elias.

• Headley now has four career walk-off hits. This was his first since a 10th-inning home run on August 21, 2012.

• This game was scoreless through 12 innings. According to Elias, it was the first Yankees game in which both teams were scoreless through at least 12 innings since August 7, 2009 against Boston when the Yankees and Red Sox were scoreless through 14. The Yankees eventually won that game 2-0 in the 15th.

Derek Jeter• Derek Jeter hit his 535th career double, passing Lou Gehrig for the most doubles in Yankees franchise history. According to Elias, it also snapped a 68-at-bat stretch without an extra-base hit, the second-longest of Jeter’s career.

• Chase Whitley — remember him, he actually started this game — delivered the longest scoreless outing of his career. He and Masahiro Tanaka are the only Yankees to pitch at least six scoreless innings without a walk this season. Whitley is the first Yankee to pull that off at home since Hiroki Kuroda’s complete game shutout on April 14 of last year.

• Worth noting that the Yankees very nearly had this game won in the 12th inning when Francisco Cervelli positively scorched a line drive that Adrian Beltre caught at third base. “You can’t a ball any harder,” Girardi said. “If it’s one foot to the left — his left, our right — he doesn’t catch it. You just think ‘What are the chances?’ But that’s baseball. The guys kept going at it, and we won.”

• Final word goes to Girardi: “It’s a huge hit for us. A huge rally off of Soria, too. We didn’t do much the first, I don’t know, 10, 11 innings. We didn’t have many chances. I lost track (of how many innings). And we used our whole bullpen, and they used their whole bullpen and ended up with a starter at the end. And we get a good at-bat out of Brian Roberts, Cervy, and then Chase. And it’s over.”

Associated Press photos

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Headley delivers in wild Yankees debut07.23.14

Chase Headley
Injuries suggest the Yankees need pitching, but on Tuesday they traded for a hitter and immediately showed why. Against the worst pitching staff in the American League, the Yankees were held scoreless through 12 innings and very nearly lost in the 13th, but after all that futility, new third baseman Chase Headley delivered a walk-off single in the 14th for a 2-1 Yankees win against the Rangers. It was the Yankees third walk-off of the season. Headley, acquired in an afternoon trade with San Diego, didn’t arrive in time to be in the starting lineup, but he pinch hit in the eighth inning and went 0-for-3 with a great leaping catch in the field before delivering the game-winner. The Yankees had fallen behind on a solo home run in the top of the 13th, but Brett Gardner started the bottom of the 13th with a double and scored on a Jacoby Ellsbury single. The Yankees first run of the night had come just in time. Yankees pitchers Chase Whitley, Matt Thornton, Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley and David Huff combined for 12 scoreless innings before Huff – in his second inning — allowed a go-ahead home run to J.P. Arencibia in the 13th. Jeff Francis made his Yankees debut with a scoreless 14th to get the win.

Associated Press photo

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Game 99: Yankees vs. Rangers07.22.14

Adrian Beltre, Derek JeterYANKEES (50-48)
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann 1B
Kelly Johnson RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Francisco Cervelli C
Zelous Wheeler 3B

RHP Chase Whitley (4-3, 5.10)
Whitley has never faced the Rangers

RANGERS (40-59)
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Elvis Andrus SS
Jim Adduci LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Leonys Martin CF
J.P. Arencibia 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
Rougned Odor 2B
Daniel Robertson DH

RHP Nick Martinez (1-6, 5.10)
Martinez has never faced the Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., MY9

WEATHER: Clear sky with a little bit of a breeze blowing from right to left.

UMPIRES: HP Quinn Wolcott, 1B Dale Scott, 2B Dan Iassogna, 3B CB Bucknor

HEART AND HUSTLE: Today the MLB Players Association named Brett Gardner as its “New York Yankees 2014 Hustle and Heart” Award winner. The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game.?The MLB winner will be announced on November 18.

ANOTHER NEW GUY: The Yankees have used 44 players this season, with ?19 of those players making their debut with the team. Chase Headley could become the 20th first-time Yankees player (unless Jeff Francis beats him to the punch).

GONNA NEED A REALLY GOOD NIGHT: Derek Jeter has 3,412 career hits. At 3,419 he will catch Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on baseball’s all-time hits list.

UPDATE, 7:27 p.m.: Couple of ground balls — one for a double play, one for an out at second base — keep the Yankees from taking advantage of a pair of first-inning singles. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury reached base, Derek Jeter and Carlos Beltran couldn’t take advantage.

UPDATE, 7:28 p.m.: Wheeler tried to make a really nice play but instead threw the ball away. It’s ruled a bunt single and an E-5 letting the runner get to second.

UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: Nice work by Whitley in the second inning to pitch around an error and a wild pitch. Got a couple of ground balls and a big strikeout. He’s through two scoreless.

UPDATE, 7:38 p.m.: Really nice catch by Martin to take a double from McCann.

UPDATE, 8:03 p.m.: More ground balls for Whitley, who’s through four innings without allowing a run. Of course, the Yankees haven’t scored either.

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: Just when you’re starting to think the Yankees are a really bad team, the Rangers try to run the bases and remind us all what bad baseball really looks like.

UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Whitley allowed leadoff singles in each of the first four innings, and a one-out double in the fifth, but he kept the Rangers off the board through six innings. A leadoff single here in the seventh has chased him from the game and here’s Thornton to face Martin with one on and no outs.

UPDATE, 8:57 p.m.: That’s a two-strike bunt by the Rangers No. 5 hitter. The fact it went foul is not what made it a bad idea.

UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: Headley on deck. He’s going to hit for Wheeler here in the eighth inning.

UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: And Headley goes down swinging. Still scoreless heading into the ninth, and here comes Robertson.

UPDATE, 9:58 p.m.: That was Jeter’s 535th career double, moving him ahead of Lou Gehrig for the most in Yankees history. Of course, it went nowhere. Robertson staying in the game to start the 10th inning.

UPDATE, 11:45 p.m.: Well, I’ve changed my running game story for the newspaper maybe a dozen times now. Arencibia go-ahead home run in the top of the 13th. Jacoby Ellsbury game-tying single in the bottom of the 13th. Two potential Yankees game-winning rallies have been squashed, and now Jeff Francis is finally making his Yankees debut in a 1-1 game in the 14th. This has not been an ideal night.

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Pregame notes: “We’ve been trying to do a lot of things”07.22.14

Taboola Home/Section Front Player

Brian Cashman said his offer had been on the table for several days: a young big league utility man with five years of team control, plus a hard-throwing young starter, for a free-agent-to-be third baseman having a bad season. The Yankees liked the potential for a strong second half out of Chase Headley, and eventually the Padres liked the package of Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula.

Consider it another incremental upgrade — or at least the potential for one — for a Yankees team that’s trying to stay in the race for a playoff spot. They saw David Huff as an upgrade over Alfredo Aceves, Brandon McCarthy as an upgrade over Vidal Nuno, and now they see Headley as an upgrade over Solarte and the other cast of characters at third base.

“I’ve been trying to push through on this for three weeks it feels like,” Cashman said. “We’ve had a lot of conversations and a lot of players we’ve sifted through to find some common ground. The McCarthy deal I think felt like a month and a half to two months to pull down. I’m OK (with making moves). It depends on the circumstance. We’ve got high-end stuff, without a doubt, players that other teams like. And those players would be available, or will be available, in the right circumstances. These are the deals that I can present to you that we were able to conclude, but we’re talking much larger type deals, (and) clearly much smaller, incremental upgrades.”

In the video above, Cashman explains why the Yankees believe Headley could be much better than his .229/.296/.355 slash line. Basically, Headley received an epidural injection in late June to help deal with a back issue, and his production has significantly improved ever since. Joe Girardi made it clear that he thinks of Headley as his everyday third baseman going forward.

“Sometimes hitters go through months where they struggle,” Girardi said. “And we feel that he’s in a pretty good place coming over here. He plays in an extremely big ballpark, big ballparks during the course of the season playing in the West. I think this place will help him. … I think our guys have played (third base) better as of late, but we’ll have some consistency there, which I think will be good. And another consistent switch-hitter in our lineup which I think will be good as well.”

Headley is a free agent after this season, but these next two and a half months could be seen as a kind of tryout for the Yankees to decide whether they’d like to pursue him as an alternative to Alex Rodriguez. Cashman, though, said he’s thinking of this strictly as a rental. This was a opportunity — if Headley’s improvements continue — for the Yankees to add a pretty decent hitter in the short-term, without losing any of their highly valued pieces for the long term. It really does feel like the offensive version of the McCarthy trade.

“We’ve been trying to do a lot of things,” Cashman said. “But they’re just really hard to do. That’s the one thing that I can tell you probably on behalf of the 29 other clubs: it’s just not easy getting through and finding common ground. We’re going keep sifting through it and try to find ways to improve this club so we can get the team where it needs to be, which is qualifying for the playoffs and being one of those teams that has a shot at this thing in the next round, in the tournament, but I have more work to do.”

Chase Headley,A few comments on what Headley is and is not as a player…

Headley’s defensive metrics are pretty good; Cashman calls him average
“We feel like we’re at least getting an average everyday major leaguer at that position and maybe more,” Cashman said. “We’ll see. You want to support your pitching staff, especially pitchers like Brandon McCarthy, with real quality defense. Your infield has to be strong the day that a guy like that pitches. You don’t worry about it as much when you have a fly ball guy out there, but a fly ball guy is not conducive to Yankee Stadium, either. I think he’s an average third baseman. I think there’s some confusion on the metrics about what he really is. Our scouts have him as an average third baseman.”

Headley hit 31 homers in 2012; Cashman says he’s not a power hitter
“I think he can certainly deliver a long ball and this ballpark is certainly more conductive to that than where he’s coming from,” Cashman said. “But no, I think he’s a guy that can impact you on the offensive side by his plate discipline as well as his batting average. I think he’s a professional hitter and a switch-hitter that can spray it all over the place. And that’s what he’s been doing. I don’t think we’re getting a big thumper to answer your question. But I do think we’re getting an upgrade and a professional at-bat. He’s going to give you a good at-bat.”

Headley dealt with a back injury most of the year; Cashman said it’s not a big concern
“We’re well past three weeks and he’s really responded well and positively (to the epidural), both in performance and how he feels. So can’t deny there’s some risk. He’s a rental for the next two months, but our assessment of him from afar by scouting, by performance, and getting down deep in the medicals, is it’s a low risk. So we’re excited to have him here, but at the same time, the information we’ve shared with you has been in the public arena from the San Diego side. When he had the injection it was public at the time and so it’s not like I’m revealing anything.”

Kelly Johnson• Expectation is that Headley will get to the ballpark around 7:30 p.m., so he isn’t likely to make it into the lineup. Girardi said he believes Headley will be available in the late innings, though.

• Kelly Johnson has some outfield experience, and Girardi indicated that he’ll basically treat Johnson as the Yankees fourth outfielder going forward. He’s in right field tonight, but Girardi said that has more to do with wanting to give Ichiro Suzuki a day off. “(Johnson)’s played mostly left field,” Girardi said. “But I think he’s athletic enough that it shouldn’t be a problem (in right field). I might have to do it if we can’t get Carlos out there, cause I can’t run these guys out there every day.”

• Although he now has four options for second base — Roberts, Johnson, Wheeler, Ryan — Girardi said he still considers Brian Roberts to be the everyday guy at that position. “And I’ll use Brendan in there or I could use Wheels in there when he needs a day,” Girardi said. Still no indication that Johnson is being looked at as any more than the fourth option at second.

• Nothing new on Mark Teixeira. Cashman said the latest back injury is a very low-level concern. “I said it would be three or four days before we really know anything,” Girardi said.

• Carlos Beltran played catch today. The Yankees are still trying to get him throwing enough to play the outfield again.

• The Yankees signed Yangervis Solarte to the minor league deal this winter, got two great months out of him, and have now used him as a piece to acquire Headley. That makes Solarte a rock solid signing for a guy who spent just a few months in the organization. Here’s Cashman on the Solarte experience:

“We were lucky to have him. When we were competing for him as a six-year minor-league free agent, there was a lot of competition for him and I’m glad he picked us. He really saved our bacon early this year. When we had a lot of other issues going on this year, he stepped up. And for that we’re thankful. But he was a player that had to be in this situation to get Chase Headley back. I wish him the best and I guess I’ll see and we’ll all see over time where he kind of falls in — what he really is as he declares himself. Is he an everyday player? Is he a nice support player as we move forward? He’s a good under-control piece, switch-hitter and a lot of contact and he brings a lot of energy and a positive attitude, so I wish him well.”

Associated Press photos

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No Headley, Johnson in right, McCann at first07.22.14

JohnsonI assume they will change this lineup if Chase Headley arrives in time. He’s listed on the active roster.

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann 1B
Kelly Johnson RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Francisco Cervelli C
Zelous Wheeler 3B

RHP Chase Whitley

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Yankees get Chase Headley from Padres07.22.14

Chase Headley

A source has confirmed that the Yankees have acquired Padres third baseman Chase Headley.

San Diego will play a little over $1 million of the roughly $4 million that remains on his contract. In return, the Yankees will send utility man Yangervis Solarte and High-A pitcher Rafael De Puala to the Padres.

Headley, 30, was a middle-of-the-ballot MVP candidate just two years ago, but his power dragged last season and he’s hitting just .229/.296/.355 this season. He’s been better lately, hitting .323/.323/.462 (not a single walk) in the month of July.

A team source said the Yankees “hope” to have Headley in town for tonight’s game.

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Lohud Yankees chat begins at noon07.22.14

If you cannot view the chat above, find it here.

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Refsnyder staying focused on the task at hand07.22.14

Refsnyder (Farmer)

First, a reminder that we’re doing a chat today at noon. We haven’t had one in a while, so there should be plenty to talk about. Stop by if you can.

Until then — on the off chance you’re not carefully reading The Journal News every day — here’s a link to Sunday’s story about second base prospect Rob Refsnyder. From his college coach, to his current general manager, to his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre teammates, Refsnyder seems to routinely impress people with his ability to stay focused on the task at hand. At the very mention of a possible call-up later in the year, Refsnyder rattled off to me that day’s to-do list, from eating lunch to studying defensive assignments to working on his offensive holes with Triple-A hitting coach Butch Wynegar.

“The final destination is pretty obvious,” Refsnyder said. “But obviously we need to work on something (in Triple-A), and that’s kind of what consumes my day is how can I get better today and how can I get ready today?”

Among the things I didn’t have space to get into the newspaper story was Refsnyder’s step-by-step progress at second base.

A right fielder in college, Refsnyder started learning second base during instructs in the fall of 2012. He’d spent the second half of that season — right after he was drafted — playing right field for Low-A Charleston, but Refsnyder went to instructs and took “no exaggeration, probably a million ground balls” with Yankees infield instructor Carlos Mendoza. He was sent back to A-ball for the 2013 season and was treated as a full-time second baseman, working on a little of everything to get the basics ironed out.

“They started to get a little bit more fine-print when I was in Double-A,” he said.

By “fine print,” Refsnyder meant that he began working on some specifics when he got to Double-A this year. For example, at one point while he was in Trenton, the Yankees pointed out that his double play turns were slow.

“(Mendoza) came in and we did turns for three days,” Refsnyder said. “I was out before a lot of the people, and we did double play turns for like 40 minutes (each day). Then I got (to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) and Luis (Sojo) is like, ‘Hey, your first-step quickness is good, but we need to make it better.’ So I’m actually going to work on that today with Luis and watch some video to compare and contrast with some of the best defensive second basemen today. It’s a lot more fine print.”

Refsnyder said he feels that he has the fundamentals ironed out, and he credits a lot of teammates — he specifically named Cito Culver and Corban Joseph — with helping him learn some of the nuances of being an infielder. Although the Yankees have been using him in right field lately, it’s clear that they still see Refsnyder’s future at second base, and they seem encouraged by his defensive improvement. Refsnyder said he regularly finds himself making plays he couldn’t have made as recently as last season.

“Probably once or twice a week,” he said. “Just my double play turns this year have gotten so considerably quicker that Carlos and I share some moments where it’s like, wow man, it’s been fun.”

I closed the newspaper story with this quote from Refsnyder’s college coach, and I still think it’s a pretty telling comment on a player like this.

“Before, it was a guy who was bigger, faster and stronger (who made it to the majors),” Andy Lopez said. “Well, you know what? I’ve been doing this for 37 years. My God, they’re all big, strong and fast now. So what separates them? Well, it’s baseball IQ and work ethic and character. And Robert Refsnyder has all of those things.”

Photo from my old friend Jason Farmer at the Scranton Times-Tribune

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Postgame notes: “An ugly game on our part”07.22.14

Shane Greene

Joe Girardi didn’t seem to be pointing fingers after this particularly sloppy loss. He wasn’t blaming it on Shane Greene, wasn’t blaming it on the sloppy infield defense, and wasn’t blaming it on an offense that got just one extra-base hit and scored just two runs against a pitcher with a 7.48 ERA.

His message seemed too broad for finger pointing.

“It was an ugly game on our part,” Girardi said. “Our defense was bad. We didn’t swing the bats particularly well. We made the pitcher work hard the first two innings, and then he ends up getting into the eighth inning. It was an ugly game.”

Ugly sums it up pretty well. And ugly in so many ways.

Pitching? Greene pitched pretty well for the most part, but with two outs, a one-run lead and the bases empty in the sixth inning, he let the bottom of a bad Rangers lineup set the stage for a six-run inning. Greene let Geovany Soto get the game-tying hit before Matt Thornton allowed back-to-back run-scoring singles against back-to-back lefties. Ugly.

Fielding? Five errors were the most for the Yankees in a nine-inning game since August 20, 1998. In most situations, a link to 1998 is most welcome, but this wasn’t so nice. None of the errors directly led to a run — a run scored on Brian Roberts’ error, but he said he wasn’t expecting to turn two on the play any way — but those errors certainly hurt Greene’s pitch count, which might have left him vulnerable in the sixth. Ugly.

Hitting? Not to knock the guy, but I’m not sure I’d ever heard of Miles Mikolas until I was writing today’s blog post listing the starting pitchers for this series. The Rangers have been hit with Yankees-like injuries, and Mikolas came into this game with a 10.05 ERA. His first inning wasn’t pretty, and Jacoby Ellsbury homered off him in the fourth, but otherwise he pitched 7.1 innings with just four hits and two runs. The Yankees gave him his first ever win as a starting pitcher. Ugly.

“There’s no point in dwelling on it too long,” Roberts said. “We didn’t play well tonight, and we need to play better tomorrow.”

Francisco Cervelli• I’m sure Greene is going to find himself on the bad end of a SportsCenter blooper reel, but he actually pitched alright. His errors were embarrassing, but the Rangers really didn’t make much hard contact against him. Through 5.2 innings he allowed just one walk and five hits (all but one were singles). “I’m honestly not that frustrated,” Greene said. “I’d like to have a couple of pitches back, but I felt pretty good.”

• Girardi on Greene: “He threw a really good game. He threw five and two-thirds, and we had four or five errors; that gets him into the seventh (if the errors hadn’t happened). They didn’t really square up a lot of balls. I thought he threw the ball well, but our defense — him included — hurt us.”

• Greene said the errors affected him “not at all” and his only comment on his own errors was: “Obviously I need to work on that.” So, there’s that.

• As for the impact of the errors, while they didn’t necessarily directly contribute to any of the Rangers runs, the did push Greene’s pitch count, and that might have impacted his rough end of the sixth inning. “You got it,” Girardi said. “That’s where it killed him. If you look, he threw 110 pitches. He was at like 80 and probably should have been through the sixth inning, and then it finally caught up to him.”

• Could say the Roberts error led to a run, but he said he really didn’t expect to turn a double play on that ball. “I guess I just missed the ball,” he said. “You know, it was one of those where it was kind of slow developing. It wasn’t hit real hard. I really wasn’t even thinking about turning the double play at that point. It just kind of hit off the thumb of my glove and unfortunately, it just didn’t go in.”

• Last time the Yankees had five errors in any game was July 7, 2007 when they had five errors in a 13-inning loss to the Angels.

• Last Yankees player to make three errors in a game was Ramiro Pena in 2011. An Pena, as you’ll remember, is considered a defensive specialist.

• Even with all the errors, all five Rangers runs were earned, snapping a streak of six games in which the Yankees pitching staff hadn’t allowed more than three earned.

Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury• Didn’t see Thornton in the clubhouse postgame — to his credit, I can’t remember another time when he wasn’t waiting at his locker after he’s had a bad game — but obviously those were two big hits in a situation that’s exactly what he’s here for. “That’s our guy to get lefties out,” Girardi said. “That’s why I went to him.”

• Jacoby Ellsbury has six hits in his past eight at-bats including a home run and a double. He’s hitting .500 with three runs, two doubles, two homers and three stolen bases in four games since the All-Star break.

• No one seemed able to explain what Mikolas as doing that gave the Yankees such trouble. “Once he got out there and kind of got rolling, that’s the kind of thing where guys get some confidence and they get going and they start feeling better and better about themselves,” Roberts said. “Especially in a place like this. I think that was one of those things that happened for him. He just kind of got rolling and we just couldn’t really string anything together.”

• Nothing new on Mark Teixeira. “Obviously he’s in the middle and we miss him,” Girardi said. “It would be nice to have him back. We’ll take three or four days to see where he’s at and then we’ll make a decision on what’s next for him.”

• Final word goes to Girardi: “There’s going to be physical errors. I don’t really think we made mental errors tonight. They were physical errors and those happen. It’s unfortunate they all happened in one game, in a sense, or maybe it’s not. Maybe we get them out of the way. But I didn’t really see any mental errors tonight. They were physical.”

** Late notice, but let’s chat tomorrow. We’ll chat at noon on Tuesday, so stop by for a while. **

Associated Press photos

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Sloppy game brings end to Yankees winning streak07.21.14

Shane Greene

If this weekend was a sign of how good the Yankees could be, tonight was a reminder of just how fragile they really are. The Yankees committed five errors, but remarkably, that’s not what cost them the most in a 4-2 loss to the last-place Rangers. Only one error could be directly linked to a run, and it was an error-free sixth inning that saw a one-run Yankees lead turn into a two-run deficit. With two outs and the bases empty, five straight Rangers reached base for a three-run rally that made the difference. Starter Shane Greene allowed the game-tying hit before Matt Thornton allowed back-to-back singles to put Texas in front with an insurance run. Greene made three of the Yankees errors, but he pitched around each of his own mistakes, and Adam Warren pitched around a Derek Jeter throwing error in the seventh. The only error that might have cost the Yankees came in the third when Brian Roberts had a chance to turn an inning-ending double play – it would have been a close, and a run would have scored regardless if he couldn’t turn it — but instead dropped the ball. The Yankees took advantage of Rangers mistakes to score their first run, then they got a solo home run from Jacoby Ellsbury, but Jeter hit into a bases-loaded double play in the fifth and the offense didn’t make much noise the rest of the way.

Associated Press photo

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