Archive for the ‘Misc’
Over the hill, and over the wall. Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 40th birthday just as he celebrated many birthdays before it, by going deep in a big league game. Rodriguez’s 24th home run of the season helped the Yankees to a 6-2 win against the Rangers tonight in Texas. While Rodriguez stole the show, Didi Gregorius did the heavy lifting with three hits and a career-high four RBI. Gregorius tied the game with a two-run home run in the third inning, then he added breathing room with at two-run single in the sixth. In between, Rodriguez hit a birthday home run for the sixth time in his career. According to Elias, he’s the fourth player in Major League history to hit a home run as a teenager and as a 40-year-old. The Yankees have now won eight of 10 since the All-Star break, and Ivan Nova picked up his second straight victory after laboring through five innings. He allowed eight base runners, but only two runs. The bullpen was once again a source of strength behind two particularly impressive innings from Chasen Shreve.
Associated Press photo
Game 98: Yankees at Rangers • 07.27.15
RHP Ivan Nova (2-3, 3.34)
Nova vs. Rangers
Roughned Odor 2B
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Prince Fielder DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Josh Hamilton LF
Elvis Andrus SS
Leonys Martin CF
Robinson Chirinos C
LHP Matt Harrison (1-1, 5.40)
Harrison vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., YES Network and ESPN
WEATHER: It’s just so, so hot. I’m sweating again just thinking about it.
UMPIRES: HP Jerry Meals, 1B Andy Fletcher, 2B Jordan Baker, 3B Paul Emmel
PAST SUCCESS: Obviously Josh Hamilton is a very different player than he used to be — he’s hitting just .233 — but in his career, he’s had a lot of success against Nova. In 10 career at-bats, Hamilton has six hits, three of which have been doubles against the Yankees’ starter.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: As a 40th birthday gift, the Rangers are giving Alex Rodriguez starting pitcher Matt Harrison. Rodriguez is a career .417/.500/.583 in 12 at-bats against Harrison.
ON THIS DATE: One year ago today, Joe Torre was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: Teixeira has a home run robbed in center field, so we’re scoreless heading into the bottom of the second.
UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: Couple of two-out hits for the Rangers and they’re on the board.
UPDATE, 8:44 p.m.: Two-run, game-tying home run for Gregorius followed by a triple for Brendan Ryan. But, since neither of those guys can really hit, I’m not sure any of this is counts.
UPDATE, 8:49 p.m.: Sac fly by Young and the Yankees are in front 3-2.
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: On his 40th birthday, Alex Rodriguez has his 24th home run. It was a low line drive to right field, and the Yankees are now in front 4-2. A-Rod is now tied with Mark Teixeira for the team lead in homers.
UPDATE, 9:47 p.m.: Nova is finished after five innings. They weren’t pretty, but Nova got through them with a lead. Here’s Chasen Shreve to start the sixth.
UPDATE, 10:04 p.m.: Career-high four RBI for Didi Gregorius.
In almost any other setting, the question might have been too cliché to generate much of an answer. But on his 40th birthday, in the year after his season-long suspension, in the middle of a remarkable career resurgence, Alex Rodriguez seemed genuinely taken aback by the very notion.
What advice would 40-year-old A-Rod give to himself at 20 years old? At 30 years old? Rodriguez paused, then smiled.
“I’m in no position to give anyone advice, including myself,” he said, with a laugh. “But I think there was a point in time for me when hitting home runs, being a great baseball player, was all that mattered. I figured that if I hit more home runs, it would justify for whatever behavior I had off the field.
“I realize today that it’s not that way at all. Hitting home runs doesn’t make you a good father, it doesn’t make you a good friend, and it certainly doesn’t make you a good teammate. To me they’re both important.”
Rodriguez turned 40 today, and there he is, back in the No. 3 spot in the Yankees lineup. He’ healthy, playing his usual designated hitter role, and he’s leading the team in OPS. Only four players in the entire American League have a higher OPS. Only six have more home runs.
“Forty is forty,” manager Joe Giradri said. “But it’s still just a number. You can still be extremely productive at that age and he’s showing it. … It’s rare, but guys can still do it.”
For Rodriguez, though, the birthday is a different sort of milestone. It’s notable not only because of how good he was a 20 years old, or for all he’d accomplished at 30, but because of where he was on the day he turned 39 while serving a season-long suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think someone asked me about 40 and evaluating where I am, and I think I did a lot of that last year,” Rodriguez said. “I had a lot of time to think and evaluate. It was a dark time, that’s for sure. To be able to come back this year and look back, hopefully I’m going to be a player, but more importantly, a better person, for the next 40 years.”
Rodriguez noted that not many baseball players talk about turning 40 because so few last beyond their mid-30s. Did it feel more significant turning 40 or turning 30?
“Forty feels bigger just because of all the things that have transpired and where I am today,” Rodriguez said.
Where he is today is among the most productive and consistent hitters in baseball. He’s stayed healthy so far, and Girardi has tried to keep it that way by rarely playing him in the field. Perhaps most surprisingly, he’s been cheered at home and seemingly accepted by opponents and some fans on the road.
“I’m going to continue to work hard,” he said. “I thought April would be my most challenging month and as I started getting more repetition, hopefully I would get better. I think that’s happened, and I hope that continues. I’m going to continue to work out and go through my regimen, but it’s also a nice reminder that if you play clean and you play hard, that good things can happen.”
• Still no announced starter for tomorrow. Girardi said it depends on who the Yankees have to use tonight. They prefer to have either Chris Capuano or Adam Warren start tomorrow’s game — with the other basically piggybacking — but that plan will only work if those two aren’t needed tonight. “We’ll try to get three or four innings out of (one of them), use another guy and go from there,” Girardi said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
• The original plan was to use Bryan Mitchell to start tomorrow’s game, but Mitchell’s schedule was thrown off last week when he was doing band work. The band was attached to a door (pretty common), and the door opened. Mitchell fell, hit his head, and had to sit out a few days. That threw him off turn for tomorrow’s game. “He’s off track now,” Girardi said. “We’ll keep building him up. He’s a guy we’ll definitely look at the next time.”
• Worth noting that Diego Moreno is tomorrow’s scheduled Triple-A starter, so if the Yankees need someone who can give several innings, they could recall Moreno as either a fresh long man or as an emergency starter.
• Jacoby Ellsbury banged his shoulder into the wall making a catcher yesterday, so Girardi decided to keep Ellsbury out of the lineup tonight. The plan was to sit either Ellsbury or Carlos Beltran tonight, and Girardi decided to give Ellsbury the rest. “I think that’s pretty much the plan for everybody to get one (day off) at some point on this road series,” Ellsbury said. “So they decided to give it to me today.”
• Ellsbury said he feels like he could play tonight, and he’ll be ready to run or play defense late in the game. He fully expects to be in the lineup tomorrow. He got some ice on the shoulder last night, but he said he didn’t do anything particularly out of the ordinary today. He can play if the Yankees need him.
• Girardi on Ellsbury: “If I have to use him, I would use him. He ran into the wall pretty hard. I was going to give him or Carlos one of the next two days off. I decided to do Jake today. We’ll go look at tomorrow. You’d like to be able to win the game without using him but if we need him, we’ll use him.”
• It’s really, really hot down here. “Stevie (Donohue) talks (to the players) about the importance of hydration,” Girardi said. “And we continue to do that. It’s hot, but it’s hot for both teams and you’ve got to deal with it.”
Associated Press photos
Ellsbury sitting for Texas series opener • 07.27.15
Brett Gardner CF
Chris Young LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Brendan Ryan 2B
RHP Ivan Nova
Pitching matchups in Texas • 07.27.15
The Yankees aren’t the only team with some rotation uncertainty coming into this series. The Rangers are listing TBA starters for Wednesday and Thursday because they are reportedly considering an extra left-handed starter for this series (an obvious attempt to matchup against the Yankees abundant left-handed bats). The Yankees still haven’t announced a Tuesday starter, though it will probably be either Chris Capuano or Adam Warren assuming they’re not needed tonight.
RHP Ivan Nova (2-3, 3.34)
LHP Matt Harrison (1-1, 5.40)
8:05 p.m., YES Network and ESPN
LHP Martin Perez (0-1, 4.91)
8:05 p.m., FS1
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-3, 3.64)
8:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP Michael Pineda (9-7, 3.97)
8:05 p.m. YES Network
Associated Press photo
We’re now less than a week from the trade deadline. The Yankees just won another three-game series, they’re clearly in the market for roster upgrades, and the trade market has started to move in a big way.
As Brian Cashman approaches the deadline with a team in contention, here are a few thoughts and expectations heading into July 31. The Yankees are clearly buyers and not sellers, but what exactly are the willing to give up, and which parts of the roster need the most attention?
Key to the kingdom
I don’t think anyone has to convince Cashman that pitching is both valuable and necessary. How many times have we heard him refer to starting pitching as the “key to the kingdom?” Rotation pieces are already moving on the trade market, and more starting pitchers are available. The Yankees’ rotation is not necessarily a source of comfort despite being healthy at the moment, so it’s hard to dismiss the idea of the Yankees getting involved. They certainly place a high value on rotation arms, but is that value higher than the system’s top prospects? Wouldn’t David Price be awfully tempting?
A luxury and a tax
Speaking of available starters, Cole Hamels’ contract isn’t awful compared to what starting pitchers are getting on the open market these days, but that doesn’t mean his contract is small or insignificant. He’s owed $67.5 million the next three years (plus a $6 million buyout or team option for 2019). He’s also 50-percent more expensive for the Yankees because of the luxury tax. Another problem with acquiring Hamels: He would put more money on the books for 2017 and 2018, the first years the Yankees have a fighting chance of breaking free of the luxury tax, which remains a stated goal going forward.
Major league trade chips
Recent history suggests Cashman could look to improve his major league roster by trading pieces off his major league roster. In the past year-plus we’ve seen him trade Yangervis Solarte, Vidal Nuno, Francisco Cervelli, Shawn Kelley, David Phelps, Martin Prado, Shane Greene and others. At the deadline last year he even made a trade with the Red Sox by swapping one short-term big leaguer for another. It’s worth wondering if the Yankees could deal Nathan Eovaldi (whose stock surely climbed a little yesterday), Ivan Nova or Adam Warren for a more proven starter. Such a move would do nothing to help the Yankees’ depth, but it might give them a more potent arm in the short-term while keeping top minor leaguers in place.
Just a few days ago, someone tweeted at me that it would be just like Cashman to trade his top prospects for a short-term rental who’s more than 30 years old. My response: when’s the last time Cashman did that? Despite his reputation for constantly giving up on young players, Cashman’s actually been more prone to keep his young guys lately. When he swapped Jesus Montero, it was for another young guy. When he traded for Martin Prado, he used a prospect with an especially uncertain future (lots of power but no proven position). When he traded Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, it was for a guy in his prime with several years of team control. Not saying Cashman absolutely won’t trade a big-name prospect, but I have no trouble believing he wants to keep them.
Shorten the game
If the Yankees don’t like the prices for a rotation upgrade, they could try to shorten the game from the back end. They’ve been linked several times — mostly in speculation, it seems — to Padres closer Craig Kimbrel, and they’re reportedly among the teams who have looked into Athletics’ closer Tyler Clippard. I suppose Aroldis Chapman should be added to this list as well, though I imagine his price is significantly higher than the other two. If the Yankees want to protect their rotation but don’t want to pay the prospect cost to acquire a starter, maybe they could improve the bullpen and keep their current rotation healthy by shortening the game from the back end.
Over and over again, the Yankees have shown a willingness to make a move just to marginally improve their roster. Even if it’s for only a few games. They’ve done that with a flurry of bullpen call ups. They’ve done that with short-term promotions of Cole Figueroa and Rob Refsnyder. They tried to do that last year by trading for Stephen Drew. This week, Cashman could look into moving secondary trade chips — a young reliever, a left-handed outfield prospect, maybe even a little-used big leaguer like Garrett Jones — to add someone slightly more useful in the short term. Cashman has said a smaller trade is more likely than a blockbuster.
It takes two
How many teams are convinced Gary Sanchez can remain at catcher? Is there one team particularly sold on Rob Refsnyder’s defense? How many have an immediate big league role for Slade Heathcott or Ramon Flores? How many were convinced in the first half that Warren can stick as a back-end starting pitcher for the next several seasons? How many see Bryan Mitchell as an immediate big league starter. How many could immediately use one of the Yankees’ many Triple-A relievers? While the appeal of Luis Severino or Aaron Judge is fairly universal, the appeal of the Yankees’ other trade chips could be in the eye of the beholder. It’s worth remembering through all of the inevitable trade suggestions that a guy like Sanchez or Warren might be valued differently by different teams.
Associated Press photos
Game 97: Yankees at Twins • 07.26.15
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (9-2, 4.43)
Eovaldi vs. Twins
Brian Dozier 2B
Torii Hunter RF
Joe Mauer 1B
Miguel Sano DH
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Eddie Rosario LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Kurt Suzuki C
Aaron Hicks CF
RHP Kyle Gibson (8-7, 3.19)
Gibson vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 2:10 p.m., YES Network
WEATHER: Temperatures in the 80s. Cloudy with a slight chance of rain.
UMPIRES: HP Tom Woodring, 1B Cory Blaser, 2B Laz Diaz, 3B Jeff Nelson
TWO OF A KIND: Only two current Twins have ever faced Yankees’ starter Eovaldi. Torii Hunter is 1-for-6 against him. Kurt Suzuki is 0-for-3.
SMALL SAMPLE SIZE: As a group, the current Yankees have a career .308/.313/.538 slash line against Twins’ starter Gibson. That looks pretty good, but it’s built around four hits in 13 at-bats. That slugging percentage comes from the fact Brett Gardner has tripled and Mark Teixeira has doubled against Gibson. No current Yankees player has more than one hit against him.
ON THIS DATE: On July 26, 1931 the Yankees set a team record — it’s since been matched once — for most runs scored in a home game. They beat the White Sox 22-5 that day. It was Game 2 of a doubleheader at the original Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees scored all those runs without hitting a single homer.
A few quick notes heading into this afternoon’s series finale in Minnesota:
• Biggest news of the early afternoon has been Ken Rosenthal’s report that the Royals are trading for Johnny Cueto. News of the swap began to leak apparently before the Reds had even told Cueto that a deal was in place. The Yankees trading for Cueto never seemed particularly likely given their reluctance to trade one of their high-end, on-the-verge prospects.
• As for the Yankees, they have Alex Rodriguez on the bench for a day game after a night game. Of course, that night game happened to be a three-homer event for A-Rod. Rodriguez said he feels fine, just getting a day to rest. Days off for a DH seem to bother plenty of folks in the fan base — as does the unwillingness to use Rodriguez in the field from time to time — but at the end of July, Rodriguez has been consistently productive and incredibly healthy. If that’s because of the way Joe Girardi has used him, then it’s hard to argue with the approach.
• Right fielder Aaron Judge has returned to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup after missing basically a week with what seems to have been a minor injury. Could be nothing more than the Yankees being their usual, overly cautious selves. Even without providing details, Brian Cashman insisted several times that there was no serious issue.
• Speaking of Triple-A, Andrew Marchand reports that Bryan Mitchell was supposed to be lined up to start Tuesday’s game in Texas, but a mild injury altered his turn in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation. Mitchell was sent down rather suddenly to start last Saturday, which would have put him perfectly on turn to be on schedule and eligible to return on Tuesday, but he wound up not making his next start until yesterday (when he pitched pretty well). Now it seems either Adam Warren or Chris Capuano will probably make that spot start on Tuesday.
• Scranton/Wilkes-Barre activated Austin Romine from the disabled list today. Going to be interesting to see how they use Romine now that Gary Sanchez is on the roster. It’s not like they have a ton of DH at-bats to give away. Those have been going mostly to Kyle Roller now that Greg Bird is on the roster, and the outfield is also suddenly overcrowded with Judge, Ben Gamel, Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin. There don’t seem to be enough at-bats for everyone who needs regular playing time to actually get regular playing time.
Associated Press photo
A-Rod on the bench for series finale • 07.26.15
Alex Rodriguez is presumably just getting a scheduled day off in this stretch of consecutive games.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira DH
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Garrett Jones 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
From Adam Czech of The Associated Press:
MINNEAPOLIS — Alex Rodriguez gave himself an early 40th birthday present.
Three of them, actually.
Rodriguez hit three home runs in a game for the fifth time in his career and keyed a ninth-inning rally against All-Star closer Glen Perkins, sending the New York Yankees over the Minnesota Twins 8-5 Saturday night.
“Some people say that life starts at 40. I’ll sign up for that right now,” said A-Rod, who hits the mark Monday.
The Yankees trailed 5-0 early. Rodriguez connected on Perkins’ first pitch for a tying homer, and John Ryan Murphy later launched a three-run shot.
“Got to be one of my best feelings since I’ve been in the major leagues,” Murphy said. “There’s no greater feeling than knowing you just won the game for your team.”
Rodriguez bear-hugged Murphy in the dugout and picked him up. By then, the slugger had already showed his strength.
Rodriguez hit 452-foot solo homer in the fourth and a 422-foot drive that made it 5-3 in the seventh. His 424-foot homer in the ninth cleared the center field wall.
He clapped as he trotted around first base after each homer while fans at sold-out Target Field booed. The last time Rodriguez hit three home runs in a game was Aug. 14, 2010, at Kansas City. He didn’t play last season while sitting out a drug suspension.
“I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m appreciating everything the game has to offer,” he said.
Rodriguez has 23 homers this season and 677 in his career. He is now 6 for 10 lifetime against Perkins with two home runs.
Perkins (0-2) didn’t blow a save chance before the All-Star break, but is 1 for 3 since. He had allowed just six runs all season before the Yankees tagged him for four.
“I saved however many to start the season and I said I’m going to blow games. I’m not going to be able to go out there and hit every spot like I have,” Perkins said. “It’s magnified. But I miss spots, everybody misses spots and I’ll learn from that.”
Adam Warren (6-5) pitched 2 1-3 innings in relief of CC Sabathia. Andrew Miller worked the ninth for his 23rd save.
“Maybe our best win of the year,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi’s decision to move Rodriguez to DH has helped rejuvenate the star.
“He’s been a guy that’s been productive all year,” Girardi said. “He’s been impressive.”
Torii Hunter hit his 208th career home run with the Twins, passing his mentor Kirby Puckett for sixth in team history and giving Minnesota a 5-0 lead in the third.
Aaron Hicks also homered to give the Twins a 2-0 lead off Sabathia in the first.
Chase Headley’s sacrifice fly cut Minnesota’s lead to 5-4 in a three-run seventh.
Sabathia was pulled after walking Brian Dozier to load the bases in the sixth.
Warren struck out Hicks on a check swing to end the threat, prompting Twins manager Paul Molitor to protest from the dugout and get ejected by plate umpire Jeff Nelson.
“He thought he saw enough to call the swing and I just voiced my opinion that I thought it was too close for him to make that call,” Molitor said. “That’s why they have the appeal process and it kind of spiraled down from there.”
Associated Press photos