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Girardi: “It just shows you everyone is capable of producing in this lineup”08.29.15

Yankees Braves Baseball

From Charles Odum of The Associated Press:

ATLANTA (AP) — Didi Gregorius and Brian McCann combined to give the New York Yankees’ lineup a much-needed boost.

Gregorius drove in a career-high six runs, McCann hit a three-run homer in his return to Atlanta and the Yankees shook off a scoring slump to beat the Braves 15-4 on Friday night.

The Yankees scored a total of seven runs in losing three of their last four games to fall 1½ games behind first-place Toronto in the AL East. They scored nine runs in just the first two innings against the Braves.

“This was a big night for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It just shows you everyone is capable of producing in this lineup.”

Brian McCann, Brett GardnerGregorius had four hits, including a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run single in the second. McCann, the former longtime Braves catcher, added his three-run homer in the eighth.

“Tonight was huge,” McCann said. “You play so many games in a long season, everybody goes through slumps. Over the long haul, I really like this lineup.”

Gregorius set his previous career high when he drove in four runs at Texas on July 27.

Masahiro Tanaka (10-6) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings.

Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with two hits, including a third-inning homer.

Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, making his first career appearance as a pitcher, gave up two runs in the ninth, including a homer to Chris Young leading off the inning. Gomes raised his arm in celebration and raced to the dugout after striking out pitcher Bryan Mitchell to end the inning.

McCann, who played his first nine seasons with the Braves, received a warm ovation before his first at-bat in his return to Atlanta. He tipped his helmet to the fans. He had three walks and drove in four runs.

The Yankees led 9-2 after two innings despite having their first two batters retired in each inning.

Following Chase Headley’s two-run, ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in center field, Gregorius hit a three-run homer into the seats in right for a 5-0 lead in the first.

Freeman had a run-scoring single in Atlanta’s two-run first inning that would have been bigger if not for Jacoby Ellsbury’s inning-ending catch in deep center field. Running with his back to the infield, Ellsbury reached up to catch Christian Bethancourt’s two-out drive with two runners on base before sliding on the warning track.

“That saved me,” Tanaka said through a translator.

Ellsbury’s status for the game had been in doubt due to a hip injury.

Williams Perez (4-5) gave up eight runs in 1 2-3 innings. It is the fifth time in his last six starts he has allowed four or more runs. Perez and Detwiler combined to issue six walks in the first two innings.

Mitchell, reinstated from the seven-day concussion disabled list before the game, gave up a run-scoring single to Bethancourt in the ninth.

COME SEE THE YANKEES

Attendance was 35,546, including a strong turnout by Yankees fans. Many sat behind the visitor’s dugout on the third-base line. That topped the three-game total of 29,621 for the Braves’ series against Colorado this week.

BACK TO THE MINORS

LHP Chris Capuano, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday, was sent outright to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

TRAINER’S ROOM

1B Mark Teixeira (bruised right shin) did not start as had been expected as he was still unable to run. Girardi said after the game the medical staff decided against more tests. “He’s just got to heal,” Girardi said.

UP NEXT

Rookie RHP Luis Severino will make his fifth career start one week after earning his first win against Cleveland. He has lasted at least five innings and allowed no more than three runs in each of his first four starts.

Associated Press photos

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Game 127: Yankees at Braves08.28.15

Rays Yankees BaseballYANKEES (69-57)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
Masarhiro Tanaka P

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-6, 3.61)
Tanaka vs. Braves

BRAVES (54-73)
Nick Markakis RF
Cameron Maybin CF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Nick Swisher LF
Adonis Garcia 3B
Jace Peterson 2B
Christian Bethancourt c
Andrelton Simmons SS
Williams Perez P

RHP Williams Perez (4-4, 4.76)
Perez has never faced the Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:35 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: Temperatures in the high 70s with only a very, very slight chance of rain.

UMPIRES: HP Dana DeMuth, 1B Mike Estabrook, 2B Ed Hickox, 3B Paul Nauert

FOR THE FIRST TIME: Only two players in the Braves’ lineup have ever faced Yankees’ starter Tanaka. Swisher is 1-for-3 with a home run against him, and Markakis is 1-for-7 with a walk. None of the Yankees has ever faced Braves’ starter Perez.

ON THIS DATE: It was on August 28, 1977 that Ron Guidry recorded his third shutout of the season in a 1-0 Yankees win against Texas. Guidry allowed two hits and faced just one batter over the minimum. Graig Nettles tripled and scored on a Reggie Jackson single for the game’s only run.

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Pregame notes: Teixeira going for additional tests on sore right leg08.28.15

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira said earlier this week that doctors told him he would likely miss roughly seven days because of the severe bone bruised suffered when he fouled a ball off the top of his right shin. He missed exactly that, seven days, before returning to the lineup on Tuesday.

But he clearly wasn’t 100 percent healthy then, and he’s not 100 percent healthy now.

Out of the lineup again tonight, Teixeira told reporters in Atlanta that he expects to go for additional tests to make sure there’s not something more severe going on in his leg. The Yankees initially suspected he might have broken his leg, but initial tests found no fracture.

Because Greg Bird was on the roster to play first base, and because Teixeira was supposed to miss only a week, the Yankees did not put him on the 15-day disabled list. However, it’s now been 11 days, and Teixeira’s been able to start only once. I’m not sure carrying a short bench has significantly impacted the Yankees this past week — they’ve played short-handed, but I can’t say there was a moment when it significantly hurt them — that said, if they’d known it was going to take this long, I’m sure the Yankees would have preferred to just put Teixeira on the DL.

Now, a possible disabled list stint — if that’s deemed necessary — would force Teixeira to miss the next two weeks. The Yankees might instead prefer to stick with a short bench for the next three days, supplement when rosters expand on Tuesday, and hope Teixeira can return sooner than mid-September.

Yankees Blue Jays Baseball• Jacoby Ellsbury is in the Yankees’ lineup for the moment, but Joe Girardi said that could change before first pitch. Have to assume Ellsbury will go through the usual pregame routine, and if his sore right hip isn’t strong enough to play, he’ll have to go to the bench. Ellsbury said he expects to play, but acknowledged there is still some swelling.

• If Ellsbury can’t play, that leaves the Yankees’ with a three-man bench in a National Leagues series. That’s not ideal. They would presumably have to put Chris Young in the outfield, leaving Alex Rodriguez (who can’t play the field), John Ryan Murphy (who could probably play an infield corner in an absolute pinch), and Brendan Ryan (who can play basically anywhere).

• Girardi joked that he might have a pitcher pinch run. At least, I assume he was joking. Is Nathan Eovaldi or Ivan Nova really a better base running option than Rodriguez or Carlos Beltran or Brian McCann?

• Little surprise that Rodriguez isn’t in the lineup. He’s hardly played the field this season and there’s little reason to expect him to be anything but a pinch hitter this weekend. Days off in National League parks seem to have helped Rodriguez previously this season.

• Chris Capuano has officially cleared waivers and — yet again — been outrighted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Indications are the Yankees would like to have Capuano make a start or two, knock some rust off, and likely rejoin the team sometime in September.

• After sitting out both games of a doubleheader yesterday, Rob Refsnyder is back in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup tonight. He’s playing second base. Dustin Ackley is starting in left field with Jose Pirela getting a turn in right.

Associated Press photos

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Ellsbury returns, but Teixeira once again not in Yankees’ lineup08.28.15

TeixeiraThe Yankees hoped to have Mark Teixeira available tonight, but he will instead go for further tests on his bruised right leg. Without Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez, Greg Bird moves into the No. 5 spot in the Yankees’ order.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
Masarhiro Tanaka P

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Pitching matchups in Atlanta08.28.15

Indians Yankees Baseball

Tonight
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-6, 3.61)
vs.
RHP Williams Perez (4-4, 4.76)
7:35 p.m., YES Network

Saturday
RHP Luis Severino (1-2, 2.74)
vs.
RHP Matt Wisler (5-4, 5.43)
7:10 p.m., FS1

Sunday
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (13-2, 4.00)
vs.
RHP Julio Teheran (9-6, 4.29)
1:35 p.m., YES Network

Associated Press photo

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Mitchell activated from disabled list08.28.15

MitchellLess than two weeks after he was hit in the face by a line drive, Bryan Mitchell has been reinstated from the disabled list. He will step back into the bullpen as a fresh long man, taking the roster spot vacated by Nick Goody, who was optioned immediately after Wednesday’s game.

For now, Mitchell is the only true long man in the bullpen. He also stands out as the most obvious spot start candidate should the Yankees want to insert a sixth starter at some point in September (unless, of course, CC Sabathia steps back into the rotation).

Activating Mitchell to fill the open spot on the roster suggests — but certainly doesn’t prove — that the Yankees are not going to call up an extra position player for this weekend series. Lingering injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira seemed to open that possibility, but the Yankees have said they hope to have both Ellsbury and Teixeira in the lineup tonight.

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State of the 40-man roster looking ahead to September08.28.15

Bryan Mitchell

Four days before rosters expand, the Yankees have one open spot on their 40-man roster, which makes it easy to call up one player like Andrew Bailey, James Pazos or Rico Noel who’s not currently on the roster. If they want to add more than one, they’ll have to make room by cutting someone else loose. Here’s the current state of the 40-man roster as we look ahead to reinforcements arriving early next week. 

RodriguezON THE ACTIVE ROSTER (24)
Pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Severino, Ivan Nova, Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve, Branden Pinder
Hitters: Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy, Mark Teixeira, Greg Bird, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius, Brendan Ryan, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Chris Young, Alex Rodriguez

Right now the Yankees have an open spot on their active roster. Given the injuries to Teixeira and Ellsbury, it’s possible the Yankees could call up an extra position player for this weekend, but that would leave them with a short bullpen. They could activate Bryan Mitchell from the disabled list, or they could use that open 40-man spot to go ahead and bring up a guy like Andrew Bailey (if that’s in the plans).

RefsnyderIMMEDIATE IMPACT WITH FUTURE UPSIDE (6)
Pitchers: Bryan Mitchell, Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody
Hitters: Gary Sanchez, Rob Refsnyder, Slade Heathcott

Players who have a combination of significant long-term upside with an obvious short-term role to play. In other words, these seem to be the most obvious call-up candidates. Mitchell will obviously come off the disabled list when he’s ready (he actually could be activated sooner rather than later), and both Goody and Rumbelow will surely come back as soon as they’re eligible. Adding Sanchez seems to depend entirely upon his health. He hurt his hamstring on Wednesday and is currently on the Triple-A disabled list.

PirelaYOUNGISH PLAYERS WITH EXPERIENCE (5)
Pitchers: Caleb Cotham, Chris Martin
Hitters: Cole Figueroa, Jose Pirela, Dustin Ackley

Not the names who get considerable attention on prospect rankings, but each of these guys is in his mid-to-late 20s and has played in the big leagues this season (even veteran Ackley is only a year and a half older than Pirela). A guy like Figueroa probably doesn’t have much future in the organization, so he could be an easy DFA candidate (perhaps Martin and Cotham as well). A guy like Ackley was clearly acquired with next season in mind, so he’ll almost certain sticking around (probably Pirela as well). Could add all six of these guys. Could DFA a few of them to open spots for others. Pirela doesn’t get much prospect attention, but his Triple-A numbers are once again impressive.

Sabathia60-DAY DISABLED LIST CANDIDATES (3)
Pitchers: Domingo German, Jacob Lindgren, CC Sabathia
Hitters: None

Sabathia believes he will back, so the 60-day disabled list is not in the plans for him. But he’s one the disabled list at the moment, and if his knee doesn’t respond to rest and rehab, his plan could change. If Sabathia can’t pitch again this year, the Yankees might as well give his roster spot to someone else. Lindgren would surely be a call-up lock, but he’s not even throwing bullpens yet. German had season-ending surgery, but the Yankees might prefer not to give him a month of service time by putting him on the 60-day.

AustinPROSPECT WITH AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE (1)
Pitchers: None
Hitters: Tyler Austin

Unlike anyone else on the 40-man, Austin’s hit enough in the past that the Yankees protected him from the Rule 5 draft last offseason, and the team says they haven’t given up on his offensive potential, yet Austin struggled so much in Triple-A that he was demoted to Double-A mid-season. His numbers have improved in Trenton, but he hasn’t performed at a level that suggests he can help the Yankees immediately. Would the Yankees call him up anyway, would they consider designating him for assignment, or will they simply keep him on the roster without promoting him?

Associated Press photos

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Cashman on Yankees’ bullpen: “It’s just kind of a revolving door”08.27.15

John Ryan Murphy, Nick Rumbelow

As I’ve said many times, one benefit of working for Gannett is access to USA Today’s national baseball writers, and that’s especially true since Joe Lemire began writing for the newspaper. On Tuesday, USA Today ran a piece by Lemire all about the Yankees’ revolving door in the bullpen. This was even before yesterday’s moves in which Chris Capuano was designated for assignment (again) and Nick Rumbelow was optioned (again). It’s a good read, and a good way to wrap up this off day.

NEW YORK — Just inside the main entrance of the Yankees’ home clubhouse and to the right are a pair of lockers reserved for players occupying transient roster spots.

Residing there on a recent Monday were relievers Nick Rumbelow (on his third big league stint) and Branden Pinder (following his sixth promotion to the majors in this season alone). No fewer than a half-dozen players have occupied those stalls in rapid succession, enough that fellow reliever and next-locker neighbor Justin Wilson couldn’t begin to guess exactly how many.

“I don’t know,” Wilson said, shaking his head with a bemused grin. “A ton.”

There’s no team email blast about team transactions, so players find out upon arriving at the ballpark. “You just walk in and usually if you see a (new) guy’s here, then well, I guess we made a move today,” reliever Adam Warren said.

Branden PinderAt any given time, seemingly one or two members of the Yankees’ 40-man roster and, in particular its bullpen, can be found on Interstate 80, making the two-hour drive between New York and Class AAA Scranton (Pa.).

The Yankees lead the American League with 106 options, recalls, contract selections and designations for assignment — the 29 other major league clubs average 67– and has used 51 players this season, including an AL-leading 22 relievers (23, if you count position player Garrett Jones) and 15 players who made their major league debuts.

The shuffling has paid off: New York entered Tuesday night’s play tied with the Toronto Blue Jays atop the American League East, and has spent 83 days atop the division.

All this in a season where it’s been a challenge identifying some of the players.

The franchise has retired 20 uniform numbers (with Derek Jeter’s No. 2 to make 21), so several digits have been recycled this season: Six players have worn No. 40; five have worn No. 64; four have worn two numbers.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reckoned that his rotation — full with injury risks (Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda), aging (CC Sabathia), switching to the AL (Nathan Eovaldi) and with innings limits (Adam Warren and Luis Severino) — might not go deep into games and be what he called “five and six and fly.” That precipitated the offseason signing of closer Andrew Miller and trades for Wilson, Chasen Shreve and David Carpenter, plus the promise of a farm system’s upper levels filled with competent and fresh arms.

Demoted players need to spend 10 days in the minors before returning, unless there’s an injury, and many have changed places just that often, usually after an outing lasts multiple innings and thus requires at least one or two days of rest.

“(We had) from Double A on up a lot of really interesting power arms from the left and right side that were under control, with options,” Cashman said. “We talked all winter about where we could be in a situation where we’re really taking a guy every 10 days. Call a guy up, max him out, send him back out and get a new guy up. It’s just kind of a revolving door.”

Chris CapuanoOne veteran without options has been caught up in the fluctuating roster, too.

Veteran lefty Chris Capuano has been designated for assignment three times in less than a month (now four times) and returned to the big leagues all three times. He and his agent, Casey Close, now treat such transactions as part of the daily routine.

“We just send these short perfunctory texts now,” Capuano said, offering such examples as “DFA today,” ”Going to Scranton,” ”Stay ready” and “Coming back to NY today” without tipping his hand to possible emoji use.

When scanning a list of pitchers used this season, Miller confessed that he had forgotten one name who had shared the bullpen with him. He said it’s tough to watch young teammates shuttle back and forth, especially when they’ve been pitching well, but that the roster manipulation has helped the big league club.

“I think having that flexibility in the seventh spot has essentially given us an eight- or nine-man bullpen, which has been really huge,” said Miller, who called it an “underrated” part of the club’s first-place season.

For most of the season, Miller, Warren, Wilson, Shreve and Dellin Betances have held down steady bullpen roles for a unit that has thrown the majors’ sixth-most innings (400 1/3) with the eighth-best ERA (3.23). Miller, Betances and Shreve all have ERAs under 2.00; the other two have ERAs just north of 3.00.

The rotating cast filling in the other bullpen seats has largely proven interchangeable and durable in logging 167 2/3 relief innings. Of the 11 rookie pitchers to relieve this season, only two — Jacob Lindgren (No. 10) and Bryan Mitchell (No. 17) — rank among the organization’s top-30 prospects, per mlb.com.

Of the four veterans in the mix, Capuano keeps shuttling back and forth, and only one of the other three has shown post-Yankees success: Esmil Rogers has since thrown two complete games for his new team — in Korea.

Chris MartinAll three of Capuano’s return trips to the Yankees have occurred the evening before he was to make a Class AAA start, complicating what is already a difficult chore of getting regular work. (Once, he had checked into his Scranton-area hotel for less than an hour before Cashman called to summon him back to the majors.) To keep his command sharp and his arm strength up, Capuano has taken to throwing a lot of live bullpens with reserve hitters standing in the box.

“It’s a little bit of a different formula they’ve applied this year, just making sure they always have fresh arms, but it’s part of it,” he said. “All I want to do is win a World Series and be part of it in some way.”

Sometimes that means being a bullpen martyr.

After Shreve threw 3 1/3 innings in April 10′s 19-inning game, he was sent down for 10 days. Similarly, on May 23, Pinder logged three innings in a blowout loss to keep the high-leverage-throwing core fresh; he was optioned to Scranton after that game.

“We all knew — and I’m pretty sure (Pinder) knew too — that he was going to be sent down,” Shreve said.

Pinder returned a few weeks later in place of right-hander Chris Martin, who threw 80 pitches in three appearances over a span of six days. Demotions around here aren’t farewells.

“Whenever somebody goes down,” Shreve said, “it’s ‘Hey, we’ll see you soon.’”

Associated Press photos

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Off day notes and links: Gary Sanchez placed on Triple-A disabled list08.27.15

The Blue Jays lost to Texas this afternoon, which means the Yankees picked up a half game in the standings today. Here are a few links and notes on this much-needed off day for the Yankees:

• Up above is a video from Yankees On Demand talking to Brian McCann about his work with the Yankees’ pitching staff. It’s pretty good stuff. He goes into some detail about different guys on the mound. On Luis Severino: “He’s the No. 1 prospect in this organization for a reason,” McCann said. “When you get to see guys come up that you hear about and they exceed your expectation, I mean, this guy, he’s the real deal.”

Sanchez• The Yankees officially placed catcher Gary Sanchez on the Triple-A disabled list. That’s a seven-day DL, which seems to rule out the possibility of a September 1 call-up, though the issue might not necessarily take a full two weeks. Sanchez hurt his hamstring last night and Brian Cashman said earlier today that the Yankees weren’t sure how significant the injury might be. If it’s going to cost significant time, I have to think Austin Romine will be called up.

• Also in Triple-A, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has a doubleheader tonight, and Dustin Ackley is batting third as the Game 1 designated hitter. Ackley has missed nearly a month with a back injury suffered right after he was traded from Seattle. Seems likely he’ll get some at-bats for a few days — maybe beyond the weekend — and rejoin the Yankees sometime in September. For the time being, the Yankees have said they think of Ackley primarily as an outfielder.

• A lot of talk today about possible September call-ups. Donnie Collins broke down some of the guys who aren’t currently on the 40-man roster but might be worth a look in September. I tend to agree with Donnie that, while Ben Gamel is having a monster year, he might not make much sense in September because he’s basically another version of Slade Heathcott (who’s basically a less proven version of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury). “It may actually make more sense for the Yankees to go off the board and add the type of player they really don’t have in the bigs right now,” Donnie wrote, pointing toward pinch running candidate Rico Noel.

• Tough break for former Yankees starter Shane Greene. Already having a rough first year in the Tigers organization, Greene is having season-ending surgery to deal with numbness in his pitching hand. According to the Tigers’ trainer, the surgery is going to repair the circumflex artery.

• Remember Derek Jeter? He’s in his first year of retirement, and based on today’s mailbag Q&A posted on The Players’ Tribune, Jeter’s enjoying it. “As far as what I’ve learned from retirement,” Jeter wrote, “a lot of it so far is how many little things I missed out on while playing. Anything summer-related, I probably missed it. A barbecue. A trip to the beach. Or even just a lazy Saturday afternoon. It sounds simple, but rediscovering experiences like that has been fun.” Be sure to check the link to his new Twitter account at the bottom of the Q&A.

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Yankees not planning to call-up Aaron Judge (plus other September notes)08.27.15

Aaron Judge

The Yankees have no plans to bring Aaron Judge to the big leagues when rosters expand in September. Judge remains the Yankees’ top offensive prospect, but he’s hitting just .232 in Triple-A, he will not be Rule 5 eligible this winter, and there’s currently no clear role for him to play in New York.

“Just like last year with (Rob) Refsnyder, we’re not going to bring somebody just to bring them,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “Greg Bird came up because there was a need, and obviously he was performing well. In Judge’s case, there’s currently not a need.”

The Yankees are not down on Judge based on his Triple-A struggles, but they see little sense in having him unnecessarily clog a 40-man roster spot all winter just to come up and get a taste of the big leagues. With Carlos Beltran hitting as well as anyone on the team, there’s no need for a right fielder, and Judge has not performed at a level that suggests he could significantly upgrade over Alex Rodriguez at DH or Chris Young as a platoon outfielder.

Judge opened the season in Double-A and made his Triple-A debut on June 22. In 185 at-bats since then, he’s hit .232/.319/.405 with 61 strikeouts and eight homers. His power has jumped in the month of August, but that power surge has come with only a .200 batting average for the month.

“It’s good that he’s going through it,” Cashman said. “You’d rather have that stuff happen in the minor leagues as they make adjustments and figure out what they have to do on a daily basis to stay positive.”

A few other notes about September call-ups:

Gary Sanchez, Antoan RichardsonGary Sanchez is hurt; status unknown
The Yankees top upper-level catcher, Gary Sanchez, left last night’s Triple-A game with a hamstring injury. Sanchez is on the 40-man roster, he’s played well this season, and teams almost always add third catchers in September. For those reasons, I think of Sanchez as a near lock for a call-up as long as he’s healthy. The Yankees, though, are not sure whether last night’s injury has put September at risk.

“I have no idea,” Cashman said.

If Sanchez is too injured to play, I imagine the Yankees would find a way to get Austin Romine back on the roster to serve as catching depth. He’s played well in Triple-A this season.

Jacob Lindgren probably won’t be ready
Arguably the top bullpen prospect in the organization, last year’s top draft pick Jacob Lindgren has been called up already this season, but an elbow injury might keep him from returning in September. Lindgren had surgery to remove a bone spur, and while he’s started a throwing program, he’s not even throwing bullpens yet, much less pitching in games.

Cashman said that right now he’s not expecting to bring Lindgren back to the big leagues in September. He said the team hasn’t discussed yet whether they should put him on the 60-day disabled list to open a spot for someone else.

Rico Noel is a legitimate possibility
One of the more unusual September call-up candidates is outfielder Rico Noel, a career minor leaguer who was released by the Padres earlier this season. The 26-year-old has big-time speed, and the Yankees see him as a potential pinch runner who could also play some outfield defense.

“That’s what we’re talking about,” Cashman said. “Is he a possibility? Yes.”

In the month of August, Noel has played in 10 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In eight of those games, he entered as a pinch runner, and in those games he’s 5-for-8 stolen base attempts. He stole a base yesterday but was also thrown out on another attempt. In his minor league career Noel has 280 stolen bases and he’s been caught 61 times. The Yankees have the minors’ stolen base leader for this season, but Jorge Mateo is not close to Rule 5 eligibility and it’s basically impossible to imagine the Yankees would actually add him to the roster just to pinch run. Noel, on the other hand, could play that role for a month and then give his roster spot to someone else this winter.

Chris CapuanoChances are, Chris Capuano will be back
For the fourth time this season, the Yankees have designated Chris Capuano for assignment. If he clears waivers, chances are, he’ll be back in New York at some point.

“The only difference there is he’s been back and forth so much, we’ve got to get him back on a routine,” Cashman said.

Cashman pointed out that Capuano has to clear waivers before the Yankees can really put a plan in place, and he would not commit to absolutely bringing him back, but it seems clear that the Yankees want Capuano to play his familiar role of eating innings whenever necessary. The Triple-A rotation has been thinned out, so I assume Capuano could end up back with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make a few starts into the playoffs just to get him back into the swing of things before he returns.

The Yankees won’t hold back on September 1
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is a first-place team with a schedule that runs through September 7 plus the playoffs beyond that. It’s also a team that’s about to take a major hit.

“I hate to say it,” Cashman said. “But I’m not going to care about Scranton. I’m going to care about New York. If there’s somebody down there we think can help, they’re coming.”

Earlier today, Cashman told Bryan Hoch that Rob Refsnyder will be among those call-ups (which seems pretty obvious, but confirmation is a good thing). He also told Hoch that it’s “all hands on deck” for guys on the 40-man roster, which suggests guys like Slade Heathcott, Jose Pirela, Chris Martin, Caleb Cotham and — once eligible to return — Nick Rumbelow and Nick Goody will also be brought up. I suppose the Yankees could make some 40-man changes to add other guys as well. Noel, Andrew Bailey, James Pazos and Ben Gamel stand out as non-40-man guys who could be candidates, though aside from Noel, Cashman didn’t comment on the possibility of any of those being added.

It’s worth noting that the Yankees have several intriguing prospects who need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this offseason — Gamel, Pazos, Johnny Barbato, Jake Cave, etc. — but Cashman said no one will be called up strictly because he needs Rule 5 protection. If the Yankees want to protect a guy, but don’t necessarily think he can help in the big leagues right away, they’ll wait until the offseason to put him on the roster. I would think that rules out some of the Double-A guys like Cave and Tony Renda.

“I’m not bringing anybody unless they can help New York, period,” Cashman said.

Associated Press photos

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