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

Archive for the ‘Misc’

Beltran and Headley in the lineup09.15.14

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Martin Prado 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Chase Headley 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
John Ryan Murphy C
Brendan Ryan SS

LHP Chris Capuano

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Tanaka hit hard but goes five scoreless09.15.14

Masahiro Tanaka pitched five scoreless innings in today’s instructional league game. He struck out four, gave up six hits and was hit hard several times while playing with and against a group of mostly teenagers, including several of this year’s international signings.

“Feels good,” he said. “I feel alright.”

Although Tanaka sounded satisfied that he’s generally healthy, he seemed less sold on the idea that his stuff is ready to pitch well in a big league game. He said his fastball topped
out at 92 mph. Asked whether he would tell Joe Girardi that he’s ready to pitch for the Yankees this weekend, Tanaka was noncommittal.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s hard to say.”

Tanaka allowed two hits and got a double play in the first inning.

Another two hits — one of them a weak bloop to center field — in the second inning (when Tanaka got some help on a nice running catch by A-ball left fielder Ericson Leonora). Tanaka opened that inning with his first strikeout.

In the third, Tanaka got another strikeout, a weak popup, a hard-hit out to left and a line drive single by Leonardo Molina, one of the team’s big international signings from 2013.

The fourth inning opened with another hard-hit fly ball, this one an out to deep right field. Then a line drive single over the shortstop. Tanaka ended the inning with a strikeout — blew a fastball by a kid — and a routine grounder to shortstop.

To get up to 65 pitches even, Tanaka pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning with a routine grounder, a strikeout looking and a shallow fly ball to center.

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Pitching matchups at Tampa Bay09.15.14

Chris Capuano

LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.90)
7:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

RHP Michael Pineda (3-4, 2.20)
RHP Jake Odorizzi (10-12, 4.08)
7:10 p.m., MY9

RHP Brandon McCarthy (6-4, 2.54)
RHP Alex Cobb (9-7, 2.75)
7:10 p.m., YES Network

Associated Press photo

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Today’s main event: Tanaka vs. minor leaguers09.15.14

Masahiro Tanaka

Today’s most important Yankees game isn’t the one happening tonight at Tropicana Field. The main event is happening this afternoon at the team’s spring training stadium where Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to pitch four innings against a bunch of low-level minor leaguers. It’s an instructional league game, and today’s lesson is all about the recovery of a torn elbow ligament.

“Command and health, to me, are what’s important,” manager Joe Girardi said.

If all goes well, today’s Tanaka tune-up could be his final step toward rejoining the Yankees rotation before the end of the season. There’s still time for him to get a start or two before the end of September, and if you’re holding out some hope for a playoff run, then Tanaka’s return is obviously short-term boost.

But 2015 is the bigger issue here. Getting Tanaka through today’s game and into a few regular-season games would go a long way toward giving the Yankees confidence that Tanaka’s elbow will be — or at least, might be — healthy and strong heading into next season.

Getting Tanaka into games would be the strongest indication that he’s capable of being the same pitcher the Yankees saw through the first half of this season.

“He’s got to throw all his pitches,” Girardi said. “The one thing people have talked about is, do you change your pitching style (because of the injury)? Well, that’s pretty hard to do. You’ve got to do what makes you successful. Last time out, he used all his pitches. He used all four pitches, and I expect him to do that on Monday.”

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: “Playing well isn’t good enough”09.15.14

David Robertson

This game didn’t have to be a farewell. The Orioles are certainly heading toward the playoffs, and if the Yankees were heading the same way, there would still be some chance of Derek Jeter returning to Baltimore for one last postseason showdown. But the Yankees are going the other way, and it seems Jeter’s career has two weeks until its expiration date.

“I’ve always talked about, you want to be in a position where you control what happens,” Jeter said. “Unfortunately now we’re not in control of what happens. We’re in control of our games, but now you need help from other people. We need to continue to come out and play well, and more importantly to win games. We’re at the point now where playing well isn’t good enough. We need to win games, and then we need some help from some other teams. It’s not an ideal situation, but we are what we are.”

Five games out of the second wild card with 14 games to play. That’s what the Yankees are. Tonight was an opportunity to gain ground on every other team in the race for that final postseason spot, but the Yankees took yet another one-run loss. They’ve been good in close games most of the year, but five of their past six loses by been by two runs or less. Four have been by one run.

“It’s very difficult because of what we’re trying to do,” Joe Girardi said. “Each game that you lose like this, it just makes it harder and harder to get to where we want to get.”

It now seems that those two emotional wins at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday were little more than the last gasp of a team that hasn’t been able to maintain much of a winning streak all year. They had a real chance to win all four games here in Baltimore — two were one-run losses, another was a shutout — but the Yankees scored a total of six runs in the series and managed just one win.

“We’re in a spot where we’ve got to win,” Brian McCann said.

And at this point, even that might not be enough.

Martin Prado• Dave Robertson threw 35 pitches on Friday, but he threw just 11 pitches last night and told Girardi pregame that he actually felt pretty good. Girardi decided he would use Robertson in a save situation. “I felt great,” Robertson said. “He came up and talked to me in the outfield, asked me how I felt, and I told him I feel good, I was ready to go if we got a save situation. I wasn’t able to do it today, I just stunk. It wasn’t how I felt, it was how I pitched.”

• Girardi on the decision to go to Robertson for a third day in a row: “I mean, he’s my closer. That’s the thing. It’s the time of year (to use him aggressively). That’s why I try to take care of him all year long. You get to September and sometimes you’ve got to do that. Like I said, he’s been great for us all year and it just didn’t work out.”

• Any thought of simply using Dellin Betances for two innings? “No, no. Absolutely not,” Girardi said. “Dellin has been used a lot too, so, no.”

• With his strikeout of Adam Jones in the eighth inning, Betances tied Mariano Rivera’s 1996 record for the most strikeouts in a season by a Yankees reliever with 130. Betances reached that number in far fewer innings. “Yeah, but he did it with one pitch though,” Betances said. “Big difference. … It’s a great accomplishment, especially after everything I’ve gone through to get up here. I’m honored to be a part of this team, and for me to just be in the same area, or just by Mariano, that’s a huge accomplishment for me.”

• Betances said he didn’t realize he’d reached the record. “I had no idea,” he said. “I’m just trying to go out there and do my job, I’m not really worrying too much about that. As soon as Joe asked for the ball I had a feeling something happened, but I didn’t know if I had tied or gone ahead, I don’t know.”

• The problem for Robertson was hanging breaking balls. He left balls up in the zone, which seems to be an indication of fatigue, but Robertson said he really didn’t think that was the case. “I pitched like crap,” Robertson said. “I left three balls up to three of the best hitters in the game, and they all hit doubles. It was a terrible job by me out there. … I felt good in the pen, felt great warming up earlier today, and I thought I had good enough stuff to get people out, but I just kept leaving pitches up, and those guys are too good to leave pitches in the zone.”

Hiroki Kuroda• The game-winning hit came from Kelly Johnson, who was the Yankees Opening Day third baseman before being traded twice in the past month and a half.

• Hiroki Kuroda was awful last time out, but he was awfully good tonight. He went seven innings with one run. In the third inning, he reached 3,000 innings for his career (1,700.1 of them came for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp). It actually seems Kuroda might be effective through the end of the season this year, but it also seems unlikely to matter.

• Girardi said he found out after batting practice that Carlos Beltran felt good enough to pinch hit. He had a four-pitch at-bat in the seventh inning and swung only once. He swung and missed to finish off the strikeout and end the inning. He hadn’t played since Tuesday.

• Jeter is hitless in his past 24 at-bats and in the midst of a six-game hitless streak. It’s the second-longest hitless stretch of his career behind a seven-game streak in 2004. He has only got hitless in five or more games three times in his career (once in 2004, once in 2008 and now in 2014).

• Martin Prado is doing the opposite. He’s hit safely in 10 of his past 13 games including seven multi-hit games. In that span he’s had three home runs and batted .391. He’s now hit seven homers in 36 games with the Yankees. He hit five home runs in 106 games with the Diamondbacks.

• Chris Young’s six-game hitting streak ended.

• Final word goes to Jeter: “That (McCann home run) was huge, because it was a pitchers’ duel up to that point. I don’t know how many hits we had up to that point, but Mac hit that big home run and obviously we were all excited. But then, those guys aren’t going to give up over there, so we still needed three outs, and they came up with some big hits. Robertson’s been good for us all year long.”

Associated Press photos

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Blown save leaves Yankees with crushing loss in Baltimore09.14.14

Derek Jeter

Dave Robertson threw 46 pitches the past two days, and when he came out of the bullpen for a third day in a row, he cost the Yankees a chance to make up ground in their desperate chase for the second wild card. A two-run bottom of the ninth inning gave Robertson his fourth blown save of the year in a crushing 3-2 loss to the Orioles. Brian McCann hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth inning – his 20th of the year and second in as many days – but Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce opened the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back doubles, and former Yankees infielder Kelly Johnson won it on a walk-off single to the right-center gap. Every other team in the race for the second wild card also lost on Sunday, meaning the Yankees missed an opportunity to pick up a game on everyone.

Associated Press photo

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Game 148: Yankees at Orioles09.14.14

Hiroki KurodaYANKEES (76-71)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner LF
Martin Prado 3B
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Antoan Richardson RF

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-9, 3.91)
Kuroda vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (88-60)
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz RF
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Kelly Johnson 3B
Nick Hundley C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

RHP Chris Tillman (12-5, 3.36)
Tillman vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., ESPN

WEATHER: Starting to get just a little bit, but ultimately a nice night for a game.

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

FEELS LIKE HOME: Brian McCann hit his third road home run of the season yesterday. It was his first road homer since May 23 in Chicago, snapping a 37-game road homerless stretch. It marked the second-longest such stretch of his career behind a 48-game span on the road that ended in 2011 with Atlanta.

TWO AWAY: Derek Jeter remains two runs away from tying Alex Rodriguez for the ninth-most runs in baseball history.

THEY SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY: St. Louis native Josh Outman is celebrating his 30th birthday today. Someone get this guy a cup of Ted Drewes and a bottle of Perennial.

UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: Kuroda is through three scoreless. And with Prado leading off the fourth inning, the Yankees are surely about to get another run. They’re up 1-0 because of yet another Prado homer in the second inning.

UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: Middle of the fifth with the Yankees still holding that 1-0 lead.

UPDATE, 9:41 p.m.: Kuroda is through five scoreless. Huge return to form after Tuesday’s rough start at home.

UPDATE, 9:59 p.m.: Line drive deflected by Prado becomes an RBI double for Jones, tying the game at 1 here in the sixth inning.

UPDATE, 10:03 p.m.: Drew might have saved a run there. Nice diving stop to keep the ball in the infield, which forced Jones to stop at third base.

UPDATE, 10:16 p.m.: Wow. Carlos Beltran just stepped on deck and the Orioles are going to Andrew Miller.

UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.: Took a shot, but Beltran is down swinging and the inning is over.

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Pregame notes: Jeter’s final game at Camden Yards09.14.14

Derek Jeter

This is Derek Jeter final game at Camden Yards, a place that’s awfully familiar for the retiring shortstop. Jeter has plenty of strong ties to the ballpark and this city, beginning with iconic Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and extending through their current manager Buck Showalter. This afternoon, Jeter held a press conference to discuss his final trip to Baltimore. A few highlights:

On Showalter’s idea that the Orioles give Jeter a framed poster of Jeffrey Maier’s catch
“I’ve already reaped the benefits of it. I don’t need a poster. I’ve had other reminders. It was funny playing with Tony (Tarasco), I forget what year it was he came and played for us. We had a lot of fun with that one.”

On the impact of Showalter as Jeter’s first big league manager
“The thing I appreciate with Buck is the fact that he gave me the opportunity to stay around for the postseason (in 1995). I wasn’t on the roster, and they could have sent me home or sent me back down to Tampa to be one of those just-in-case guys, but Buck kept me around and allowed me to see what the postseason atmosphere was like, which I think helped me the following year going into the playoffs. Even though I didn’t get a chance to play (in the ’95 postseason), I got a chance to see and feel what the atmosphere was like. I owe him for that. … You can’t prepare for nerves. How you’re going to feel, those are things you’re going to have to deal with. For him to give me the opportunity, I think I was more nervous watching the playoffs in ’95 than I was playing in ’96. A lot of that is a credit to him.”

On remembering the disappointment of the 1995 postseason
“Of course. I’ve always been a believer in, you try to remember the good times, but you also remember the times when you struggle and you lose. You remember what that feeling is like. When you remember those feelings, you don’t want to have them again. That’s what drives you, that’s what makes you continue to work. Yeah, I remember. Donnie played his entire career and got to the playoffs one time, his last year. So I never took that for granted. I’m glad I had an opportunity to see it. It may sound kind of funny, I’m not glad that they lost, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be around it.”

On the impact of Cal Ripken Jr.
“He’s someone I always looked up to, and I feel as though when I was younger I was allowed to continue playing the position because of guys like Cal. Taller shortstops. The bigger shortstops. A lot of guys today owe that to him. … I just remember when I was younger, not necessarily professionally, just growing up and playing shortstop and being tall, people would say well shortstops aren’t tall. The first line of defense is ‘Cal Ripken,’ and then everybody would shut up, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, he set the standard. There were other guys, but Cal was so big that he set the standard for big players playing in the middle of the field. So no, it’s never been brought up, not one time my entire career has switching positions been brought up.”

On the ’90s rivalry with the Orioles
“I was sort of thrust right into it. Baltimore had some great teams. I remember coming here in 1996 in the ALCS my first full season and playing in the playoffs. Cal was on the other side, and this was the person I always admired growing up and still do today. To have the opportunity to play against him in the playoffs, it was a lot of fun. It was exciting. I was nervous. That’s a long time ago. Sometimes it feels like it’s not so long, but it was a very long time ago. Those are the memories that I’ll share with people about Camden Yards, playing those great teams.”

Chase Headley• Plan is for Chase Headley to basically go through full drills today, including batting practice and ground balls. “Maybe he’s a pinch hitter for me tonight and a player tomorrow,” Joe Girardi said.

• Francisco Cervelli has said his headaches have gone away, but the Yankees are still reluctant to put him in a game just yet. “The doctors didn’t say it was related to the concussions,” Girardi said. “But we don’t want these cluster migraines to come back. So he’s having to do a lot of activity to make sure it’s not triggered by that. … (Doctors have) talked about going day by day, seeing how he’s doing. He’s increased activity, caught in the bullpen.”

• Still some progress to report on Carlos Beltran. “He swung yesterday and felt better,” Girardi said. “So I’m going to see if they’re going to allow him to take BP today. He might do it in the cage.” Beltran is still hoping to play again before having offseason elbow surgery.

• This might seem like a good day for Ichiro Suzuki to be in the lineup, but the Yankees like what they’ve seen out of switch-hitter Antoan Richardson. “Yeah, (Ichiro)’s healthy,” Girardi said. “Antoan’s been playing well. And this guy (Orioles starter Chris Tillman) has given Ich some trouble. So, I was going to give him yesterday off just because he’d played a lot, day games after night games. Antoan swung well yesterday, and we’ll probably get Ich back in there tomorrow.”

• Jeter’s actually hit the ball fairly hard lately, but he hasn’t had much to show for it. Girardi said he’s planning to give Jeter one of the next three games off. “I don’t think Derek would ever press,” Girardi said. “Could he be physically tired? Well, it’s September, and you’re going to ask every player that, they’re all going to be a little bit tired this time of year. He’s had his days off – probably give him a day off in Tampa somewhere here. Probably would help him. I mean, we’re in a tough stretch here, and we need to make up ground.”

• Has nothing at all to do with baseball, but 10 years ago today, Arcade Fire’s album Funeral was released. It’s just a great album and a pretty important album for the rise of indie artists toward the mainstream in the past decade. Has no relevance for tonight’s game, just something I was reading about earlier today and had stuck in my head.

Associated Press photos

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Richardson gets another turn in right09.14.14

Richardson1Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner LF
Martin Prado 3B
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Antoan Richardson RF

RHP Hiroki Kurodo

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Young headlines a group of helpful September call-ups09.14.14

Chris Young

Being released by the Mets made Chris Young an easy target for ridicule when the Yankees signed him a minor league deal in late August. Since coming up as a September call-up, though, he’s hit .400/.400/.920 and been the team’s best player since stepping into the starting lineup just a few days ago.

“I’m having a blast,” Young said. “These guys over here are amazing, and I’m getting an opportunity to play. I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

There weren’t many big names among this year’s September call-up — higher-profile prospects would have only clogged the 40-man roster, and September guys rarely jump into key roles anyway — but most of the guys brought up when rosters expanded have been legitimately helpful as complementary pieces.

Here’s the list:

Rich HillPreston Claiborne – He’s made one big league appearance since June, but that was in Wednesday’s wild game against the Rays, and Claiborne got the win that night.

Rich Hill – He lost the left-handed specialist job in August, but he’s been good at it since returning in September. Since rosters expanded, Hill’s faced nine batters. He’s struck out six of them, walked one and allowed one hit.

Bryan Mitchell – He took the loss, but Mitchell made his first big league start on Friday and pitched well through five innings with just two runs. The Yankees needed someone to handle the second game of a doubleheader, and Mitchell gave them a chance to win.

John Ryan Murphy – With Francisco Cervelli dealing with migraines, Murphy’s made two starts since rejoining the team and he’s gone 3-for-9 with a double in those games. Strong pitching performances from Brandon McCarthy with Murphy behind the plate as well.

Antoan Richardson – He’s been picked off and doubled off, but Richardson has also stolen three bases — one of which setup a steal of home — and hit .571 with a .625 on-base percentage in limited action.

Chaz Roe – Kind of the exception to the rule. The Yankees acquired Roe just before rosters expanded, so he never even played in a minor league game for them. He’s pitched three times. Twice he gave up at least one run, and the other time he walked the only batter he faced.

Austin Romine – A late addition after Francisco Cervelli got hurt, Romine’s had just two at-bats since coming up. His biggest contribution was probably providing a familiar target for Mitchell’s first big league start.

Chase Whitley – Up with the Yankees for much of the year, Whitley has allowed one hit in four innings since returning from a brief demotion. He was particularly helpful in Wednesday’s win, giving the Yankees 2.2 scoreless after Chris Capuano couldn’t make it out of the first inning.

* I supposed David Phelps counts as a September addition, but his activation from the disabled list was inevitable. He’s certainly not a true September call-up.

Associated Press photos

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