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


Archive for the ‘Misc’

Game 20: Yankees at Red Sox04.22.14

David Ortiz, Jacoby EllsburyYANKEES (11-8)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05)
Tanaka has never faced any of the Red Sox

RED Sox (9-11)
Grady Sizemore RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Xander Bogaerts SS
Brock Holt 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17)
Lester vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MY9

WEATHER: Temperatures in the 60s, dipping into the 50s with a decent chance of rain. Isn’t it always like this in Boston?

UMPIRES: HP Quinn Walcott, 1B Gerry Davis, 2B Phil Cuzzi, 3B Brian Knight

THE CAPTAIN HITS: Derek Jeter has 10-game active hitting streak, marking the longest hitting streak by a Yankee at any point this season. Jeter now has 47 career double-digit hitting streaks, tying Hall of Famer Tris Speaker for the third-most in the Majors since 1903. (Ty Cobb has the most with 66, and Hank Aaron is second with 48.

BEATING THE LEFTIES: Over their last 12 games against left-handed pitchers, Yankees batters are hitting .287 (60-for-209) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 25 RBI, 12 walks and a .326 OBP. The Yankees began the season batting .233 (10-for-43) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, no home runs and 5 RBI vs. LHP over the first seven games of the season.

NYCFC AT YANKEE STADIUM: In a press conference held on Monday at Yankee Stadium, New York City Football Club (NYCFC) announced it will call Yankee Stadium home beginning in their 2015 inaugural season. Mariano Rivera was presented with the team’s first season tickets.

UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: Mostly boos, a few cheers and a lot of general indifference as Ellsbury takes his first Yankees at-bat at Fenway.

UPDATE, 7:13 p.m.: So either a fan touched the ball and it’s a double, or a fan didn’t touch it and it’s an inside-the-park home run. How the umpires have settled on a triple is beyond me.

UPDATE, 7:14 p.m.: Is fan interference a judgment call on where the runner ends up? I thought it was an automatic double, but maybe not. Or, I guess obviously not. Ellsbury has a leadoff triple, Jeter has followed with an RBI single and the Yankees have a quick and weird 1-0 lead.

UPDATE, 7:28 p.m.: Yankees take advantage of a triple, a couple of singles, a passed ball and an error to take a 2-0 lead after the first half inning. Here’s Tanaka’s rivalry debut.

UPDATE, 7:41 p.m.: Just played a video tribute to Ellsbury. Pretty good ovation from the crowd. Camera’s on Ellsbury as he tips his cap to the crowd.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: Three straight doubles by the Yankees to start the third inning. Granted, one of them was a weak blooper by Teixeira, but still, it counts just the same. Two more runs are in already and it’s a 4-0 lead.

UPDATE, 8:31 p.m.: Solo homer by Ortiz has cut the lead to 4-1. Looked a pretty straight fastball down in the zone.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Second turn through the order not going nearly as well as the first turn for Tanaka. Napoli has now homered. It’s the first time this year that the Red Sox have gone back to back. Another fastball from Tanaka, this one up in the zone. Pretty ugly pitch.

UPDATE, 8:56 p.m.: Two-out, two-run double for Ellsbury here in the fifth inning. He’s had quite the day in his return to Fenway. Yankees are up 7-2.

UPDATE, 10:03 p.m.: Beltran’s solo homer has pushed the Yankees lead to 9-2, and Tanaka is now finished after 7.1 strong innings. Betances is out of the bullpen, I assume to finish off this thing. Tanaka struck out seven and walked none. Another really, really good start from him.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 786 Comments →

Pregame notes: “The last thing that he wanted to hear”04.22.14

Ivan Nova, Joe Girardi

Two days ago, Ivan Nova seemed to be clinging to some sliver of hope. He knew that initial tests showed his ulnar collateral ligament was only partially torn, and Nova seemed to be hoping there might be good news to come. Maybe the tear was so small that it would heal with some rest and treatment.

Today’s follow-up, though, brought a new bit of reality. An MRI with Dr. Chris Ahmad confirmed the original diagnosis, and the Yankees medical team has recommended Tommy John surgery.

“Obviously we had an inkling that was going to be the recommendation,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s unfortunate and obviously he has to make a decision now. It’s what you don’t want to hear.”

Nova is not with the Yankees in Boston — at least, he wasn’t here this afternoon — and Girardi said he has not talked to Nova since hearing the recommendation. It’s possible Nova will seek a second opinion, but two tests seem to have already shown the same thing.

“I’m sure it’s the last thing that he wanted to hear,” Girardi said. “Sometimes it takes a little time to sink in before you can make a decision, but that’s what our doctor recommended. We’ll wait to hear what his decision is.”

The timing isn’t great for Nova, who hit arbitration for the first time this winter. He’s on track to be a free agent after the 2016 season, which is likely to be his first full healthy season after the surgery.

“We had high hopes for him because of what he did at the end of last year,” Girardi said. “His spring training was very, very good. We had big expectations for him. This is a blow to our rotation, but no one is going to feel sorry for you. As a ballclub, we have to figure it out.”

Francisco Cervelli, David Robertson· Vidal Nuno will stay in the rotation as Nova’s replacement. He’ll make his next start on Saturday. Obviously the situation could change at some point, but Girardi said that right now he considers Nuno to be the team’s fifth starter.

· Dave Robertson is back, which means the Yankees bullpen is basically structured the way it was intended with Robertson in the ninth inning, Shawn Kelley in the eighth, Matt Thornton as the go-to lefty and Adam Warren emerging as the likely seventh-inning guy. “I’d say probably five or six days ago is when I really felt good, like I could definitely pitch at that point,” Robertson said. “\It was just a matter of getting in a game, which I was fortunate to be able to do in Tampa while we were down there. Everything went great, had no problems, so I’m looking forward to getting back out in the real games.”

· Without Nuno in the bullpen, the Yankees are down to just one left-handed reliever. Just a few days ago they had three of them. “It is what it is and we’ll figure it out,” Girardi said. “That’s what our job is. It’s not exactly what you want but that’s what it is. We’ll figure it out. We have confidence in our right handers.”

· Speaking of lefties, Cesar Cabral has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has not been officially added to the Triple-A roster, so I’m not sure whether he’s accepted the outright assignment.

· Yet again Ichiro Suzuki finds himself in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher. Ichiro’s numbers against Jon Lester are much better than Brett Gardner’s. “Ich has had a ton of success off of Lester, had some really good at-bats the other day,” Girardi said. “That’s really what that is.”

· Girardi said the Yankees made no specific recommendations for the way Masahiro Tanaka should pitch in this park. “No, he has to pitch his game and he has to attack the hitters the way he would attack their hitters,” Girardi said. “There were no special instructions.”

· Is there a chance Girardi is going to start letting Tanaka get up to 120-plus pitches since he’s used to such a game-by-game workload? “I don’t know,” Girardi said. “Let’s just go start-by-start and see how he’s doing. I’m not going to make any promises one way or the other. That would be silly on my part. Let’s just see how he’s doing, how he’s responding.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 57 Comments →

Surgery recommended for Nova04.22.14

Yankees just sent the following update on Ivan Nova. Sounds like Tommy John will be the next step:

Under the supervision of Yankees Team Physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, RHP Ivan Nova underwent an MRI arthrogram today at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Results of the exam confirmed the original diagnosis of a partial tear of the right ulnar collateral ligament. Surgery has been recommended.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 126 Comments →

Ellsbury leading off in Fenway return04.22.14

Might not mean anything, but right now Vidal Nuno is on the lineup card as a starting pitcher, not as a reliever.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 23 Comments →

Pitching matchups in Boston04.22.14

Masahiro Tanaka

Tonight
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05)
vs.
LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17)
7:10 p.m., My9

Wednesday
RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 1.00)
vs.
RHP John Lackey (2-2, 5.25)
7:10 p.m., YES Network and ESPN

Thursday
LHP CC Sabathia (2-2, 5.19)
vs.
LHP Felix Doubront (1-2, 5.48)
7:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

Associated Press photo

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Ellsbury’s return to Fenway: “I haven’t really thought about it too much”04.22.14

Ellsbury1

In his first year with the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury is off to such a strong start, his numbers are almost as good as Yangervis Solarte’s. Ellsbury has hit for the second-highest average on the team, he’s gotten on base at a .395 clip, and he’s driven the ball enough — five doubles and a triple — that the Yankees were able to move him into the heart of the order while Mark Teixeira was hurt.

“I’ve gotten off to slower starts, I’ve gotten off to decent starts,” Ellsbury said. “I try to stay even as keel as possible throughout the season. I know it’s a long season and guys that are typically successful in this game try to keep that even keel, go about their approach each day regardless of the previous day’s results. That’s how I try to go about my business. Each at-bat, I take it serious and treat it as my last at-bat. You’ve got to keep even as keel as possible. It wouldn’t matter what I was hitting right now going into Boston.”

Even so, surely having good numbers leading into his Fenway return can only be a good thing for Ellsbury.

Ellsbury“Maybe not trying to do too much to make up for his numbers, I think so,” manager Joe Girardi said. “And I didn’t see it in the Boston series (at Yankee Stadium), him reaching. I didn’t.”

Ever since spring training, Ellsbury has consistently dismissed any curiosity about his decision to switch sides in baseball’s biggest rivalry. He’s acted as if it’s no big deal moving from the Red Sox to the Yankees — said his teammates haven’t even given him a hard time about it — and certainly it’s been done before, but it’s hard to imagine the Boston fans are going to treat Ellsbury’s departure as no big deal this week.

Fenway isn’t the friendliest place for any Yankees player. Probably won’t be particularly welcoming for Ellsbury.

“I haven’t really thought about it too much,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when the time comes. You can’t think about what they’re going to do. In this game, you can really only focus on what you can do, not worry about all that other stuff that you can’t control. We’ll see what happens. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life. Nine years in an organization, drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field.”

In my business, it’s a lot more fun to make a big deal out of things like this.

Derek Jeter’s first Fenway appearance of his final season!

Masahiro Tanaka’s introduction to baseball’s biggest rivalry!

Ellsbury’s return to Boston after switching sides!

Seems like all of this should be a big deal, but the Yankees have bigger concerns — mostly in Ivan Nova’s right elbow — and the city of Boston has been focused on the return of yesterday’s marathon. The players themselves seem not to get too caught up in the rivalry any more. I’m sure there will be quite a bit of buzz by the time tonight’s game gets started, but for now — on the morning of the series opener — things actually seem pretty calm and routine heading into the Yankees first Fenway series of the year.

“I saw Johnny (Damon) the other day, too,” Ellsbury said. “I didn’t ask him (what it’s like) or anything like that. We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to try to think about what they’re going to do or what they’re not going to do.”

Associated Press photos

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Rivera’s son: “I want to work for what I have”04.21.14

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Dan DeFrancesco is one of our guys in our sports department at The Journal News, and he handles a lot of college stuff for the newspaper. Today Dan passed along a feature he wrote about Mariano Rivera Jr. — the son of the great Yankees closer — who’s currently pitching at Iona. Here’s Dan’s story about a kid with a famous name who’s trying to set himself apart.

He’s not his father.

That’s the first distinction that needs to be made when talking about Mariano Rivera Jr., the eldest son of Yankee great Mariano Rivera.

Rivera Jr. is his own person and player, with his own successes and failures, all of which are separate from the achievements of his father, considered by many to be the greatest closer in the history of Major League Baseball.

“I want to be known for my abilities, my talents, and not just because of who my father is,” Rivera Jr. said. “I’ve learned to step away from that awhile back. … I want to work for what I have.”

That’s what Rivera Jr. has been doing at Iona, where he’s earned a spot as one of the Gaels’ weekend starters despite only being a sophomore.

At Iona, Rivera Jr., an Iona Prep graduate, has worked on building his own legacy, playing home games at Flowers Park in New Rochelle, 14 miles north of the old Yankee Stadium, where his father made a name for himself.

“There is no sense of entitlement with this kid,” Iona head coach Pat Carey said. “Whatever he gets, he knows he has to earn.”

On April 12, Rivera Jr. got the start at home against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Quinnipiac, where Rivera Jr. was enrolled for a semester before transferring home to Iona in the winter of 2013.

Rivera pitched well, giving up a run in the first and then buckling down to hold the Bobcats scoreless for five. The Gaels couldn’t give Rivera Jr. run support, though, and Iona ended up losing in eight innings (game two of weekend doubleheaders goes seven innings).

It’s been that type of season for Rivera Jr., who is 1-4 in eight starts with a 4.67 ERA and a .270 opponent’s batting average. He’s had his ups (throwing a two-hitter in a 5-0 win against visiting Fairfield on March 22) and downs (allowing 10 earned runs in four innings in a 16-4 loss at William & Mary) in his first full season as a starter for the Gaels (6-22).

During the loss to Quinnipiac, Rivera Sr. stands stoically, hands folded in front or behind him, splitting time between behind the backstop and down the left-field line. He’s no different from any other parent in attendance watching their son play, besides the consistent stream of fans looking for photos and autographs and the fact he likely has five more World Series rings than any other onlooker.

After the game, Rivera Sr. cautiously talks about his son. He says he’s happy to be able to watch his games — he’s attended every home game Rivera Jr. has pitched in this season — and has enjoyed sharing in the experience with his son during his first season out of MLB since 1995.

While Rivera Jr. said he’s happy that his family has the opportunity to watch him play, it’s a nonfactor. In fact, despite living at home in Harrison with his parents, he said he only occasionally talks about his pitching performances with his dad.

“Being so close to home doesn’t impact me in a negative or positive way,” Rivera Jr. said. “I have to show up, play and give everything I have day in and day out. It doesn’t matter if I’m home, 300 miles away, or wherever.”

This summer Rivera Jr. will get a chance to prove himself on another stage after nabbing a spot on the Laconia Muskrats, one of 12 teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. According to Carey, the NECBL is one of the best collegiate summer baseball leagues in the country behind the well-known Cape Cod Baseball League.

Iona has sent a few players every summer to Lebanon, N.H., to play for the Muskrats due to Carey’s relationship with general manager Noah Crane, but Rivera Jr. isn’t looking for any type of handout because of the performances of other Gaels.

“Just because a few of my teammates have played over there doesn’t mean I’m anything special or anything different,” Rivera Jr. said. “I want to work for what I have.”

Playing the NECBL will also provide another opportunity for Rivera Jr. to continue to blaze his own path.

“I feel like I’m going to make a name for myself being up there,” Rivera Jr. said. “It has nothing to do with my father. I feel like this is a step towards the direction of me being my own player, being my own person.”

For those that know him, being a great baseball player has always been what it’s about for Rivera Jr.

“No matter what his father was, when he pitches it has nothing to do with (Rivera Sr.),” Carey said. “He does it himself. … This has nothing to do with his father. This is about him and his inner drive. He wants to be a baseball player.”?

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 89 Comments →

Tanaka unfazed heading into Fenway debut04.21.14

Masahiro TanakaSince coming to the Yankees from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka has routinely appeared to be underwhelmed by this surroundings. He hasn’t been bothered by the constant media attention, he seemed to easily transition through his first American spring training, and his early regular-season results have been unusual only in their dominance. Tanaka has arrived as a fully prepared big league pitcher, so why should a rivalry shake him?

Tomorrow night, Tanaka will make his first career start against the Red Sox.

“Through the television screen monitor back in Japan, I’ve seen the two teams play and I understand there is a certain rivalry between the two teams going into the game,” Tanaka said. “I’m sure the fans will be heated up a bit, and it should be a good experience going up on the mound that day and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Nervous? Uncertain? Concerned? No, Tanaka spoke about Tuesday’s start with the same dry expression he’s shown since spring training. He even said that watching the Red Sox games in the Bronx last weekend didn’t do much for him.

“Didn’t feel too much when they came to Yankee Stadium,” he said.

This seems to be Tanaka’s personality. He’s unaffected by all of the noise that surrounds him, and takes a very matter-of-fact approach to his job. Asked about facing David Ortiz, Tanaka said he considers him a good hitter, but didn’t say much more. Asked about dealing with the Green Monster, Tanaka said he thinks it’s probably best to get a bunch of ground balls. No added dramatics, just the facts.

Did his Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have a rivalry similar to Yankees-Red Sox?

“Probably the (Yomiuri) Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, the big rivalry in Japan,” Tanaka said. “But for the Eagles, I don’t think so.”

Just one more thing in his life that’s different this year, and nothing else seems to have been a big deal.

“So far he’s shown that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “There hasn’t been anything that’s said he’s going to be more anxious for this start than any other start, so I’d expect him to have the same personality.”

Associated Press photo

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Baseball still adjusting — and getting used to — new replay system04.21.14

Girardi replayLast night, the Yankees had Brett Gardner’s fly out changed to an RBI double; they had Ichiro Suzuki’s key late-inning steal changed to a rally-killing out; and they had an attempted double play result in no outs — and eventually a run — because Brian Roberts didn’t make a clean transfer at second base. It was a game that could have been a lot different a year ago.

“I’m glad to get out on top, but I’ve never seen more replays,” Mark Teixeira said. “I still don’t understand some of those calls today, but hey, we got the win. That’s all that matters. … The Gardner (play), I still think that should have been a home run because we’re told to play through. The release transfer play is a silly rule, if you ask me. We’ve been playing the game for 100 years. You’ve got to be quick at second base for a double play. That’s a weird play. Ichi’s call gets reversed. You have to get used to seeing those kind of calls in a game. It kind of disrupts the flow a little bit.”

It’s the brave new world of instant replay and adjusted rules interpretations.

The Gardner play was initially ruled an out after Wil Myers wound up with the deep fly ball in his glove. The Yankees finished off the play as if Myers had not made the catch, and because Myers never threw the ball in from the outfield, Gardner came around for what was — according to what actually transpired on the field — a two-run, inside-the-park home run. When replay showed the Myers had, in fact, simply caught the ball off the wall, the umpires decided to give Gardner a double because the play had been ruled dead when the umpires made their incorrect out call.

That’s one of the odd wrinkles still being worked out with instant replay. Does a play continue just in case a call is reversed, or should play stop as soon as any call is made, even though the call could be overturned? The Yankees were taught in spring training to play through, but it didn’t matter last night.

Rob Drake, Joe West“You’re rewarding (Myers) for acting like he caught it when he knew he didn’t catch it,” Gardner said. “That’s what I was confused about. I don’t think that anything like this has happened before so they really couldn’t give me an answer. You’re taught to keep playing, and I don’t see where it’s any different than maybe a continuation play with a guy scoring from second to home where maybe the first baseman comes off the bag on a ground ball. You’re taught to keep running, and everybody in the dugout was telling me to keep running because it was obvious to them that he didn’t catch the ball.”

The other replay from last night was more cut-and-dry – Ichiro was called safe; he was really out – and the Yankees were instead left asking questions about a play that wasn’t reviewed at all. When Brian Roberts tried to turn two in the seventh inning, he gathered the throw to second base, then dropped the ball while trying to make the quick turn. In previous years, the runner at second would almost certainly have been called out because Roberts dropped the ball on the transfer, but the league is now saying that a second baseman or shortstop must control the ball all the way – catch, turn, and throw – in order to get even one out on a potential double play.

Ken Rosenthal wrote last week that such a strict interpretation of the transfer rule could change before the end of the season, but for last night, the Yankees knew they had no chance of getting the Roberts call overturned.

“You’ve got to make the transfer and he didn’t do it,” Joe Girardi said. “He didn’t have a grip on the ball, so that’s why I didn’t replay it.”

Associated Press photos

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Girardi: “Plenty of opportunities to play everybody”04.21.14

Yangervis Solarte

Now that Mark Teixeira is off the disabled list, the Yankees have six infielders, only one of whom is a clear backup.

Teixeira is the everyday guy at first base, Derek Jeter is the starter (and Dean Anna the backup) at shortstop, and that leaves Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts and Yangervis Solarte to split the playing time between second and third.

“All these guys are going to play,” Girardi said. “I think it’s important that they all play, that you keep them all fresh, that you make sure that they’re all involved in case you do have an injury or something. One year, because of rainouts and stuff, Eduardo Nunez didn’t play for the first three weeks. When he got in there and we needed him, he was really rusty. I don’t think you can afford to do that. And with the age on our team, I think that everyone is going to play.”

This is exactly the infield the Yankees had out of spring training, but several things have changed the dynamic. Johnson has been one of the team’s more productive hitters (though he slowed down in the past week), Roberts has struggled and missed some time with a back injury (though he just had a three-hit game on Thursday), and Solarte has emerged as one of the most surprising players in the majors this season (though he’s hitless in his last 10 at-bats).

The Yankees have given no indication that Solarte has surpassed either Johnson or Roberts on the depth chart, but they’ve certainly given no indication that Solarte is going back to being strictly a bench player. Facing a lefty on Sunday, Girardi went with Solarte at third and Roberts at second, leaving left-handed hitter Johnson on the bench. Bt Girardi said he had not yet decided how he would setup the lineup against a right-hander. Seems safe to assume Johnson will play against righties, the question is whether Roberts or Solarte will be the other infielder.

“I’ll worry about that when I have to worry about it,” Girardi said. “… There will be plenty of opportunities to play everybody.”

Associated Press photo

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