Archive for the ‘Misc’
Since the Yankees play their first exhibition game tomorrow, here’s a reminder of the Yankees upcoming spring training schedule:
A few changes since this scheduled was originally released: March 13 at Boston is now a night game, March 15 is now in Tampa instead of Clearwater, and March 18 at Atlanta is now a 6:05 first pitch.
This was one of the very few days since Yankees camp opened that Alex Rodriguez didn’t address the media. Why did anyone want to talk to him after an 0-for-2 in a relatively meaningless intrasquad game? Mostly because we now know when he’s going to make his real spring training debut, and seeing A-Rod in a game has been more than a year in the making. Not sure he would have had much to say about it, but that was one reason to ask about it.
“I think his work, his approach, is fairly the same what it used to be,” manager Joe Girardi said. “The rounds that he takes (in batting practice) and what he’s trying to accomplish, Alex was never a guy that was looking to put on a show in BP. He wants to get his work in, and that’s what I’ve seen him doing.”
Two at-bats against a pitching machine really didn’t tell us much. Seeing Rodriguez against live pitching should be a little more enlightening, giving us some baseline of what to expect. We need to know where he is to have any idea where he might be going.
“I think you’ll look at the progress that he’s making from day to day, week to week, that sort of thing,” Girardi said. “How his at-bats look on Day 10 as opposed to Day 1; what you see. Some guys come out swinging really great, but it’s usually the really young guys for whatever reason. I think you just look at the progress more than anything.”
So how the did the Yankees come to the decision to play Rodriguez on Wednesday and not Tuesday?
“I just asked him, ‘What do you think about Wednesday?’” Girardi said. “He said, ‘Good.’”
So there you have it. That was the final step toward getting Rodriguez on the schedule as a regular baseball player again. Wednesday will be his first spring training game since 2012. Is there any chance Rodriguez can be the kind of hitter he used to be?
“That’s what the hope is,” Girardi said. “That’s what we’re hoping for, that he can provide some offensive punch to our lineup. I know it’s a tall order. We know that. I mean, he’s 39-and-a-half years old, two hip surgeries, but I don’t ever count anyone out.”
•Today’s intrasquad game wasn’t really designed to tell us much, especially at the plate. Girardi said the Yankees used a pitching machine instead of a pitcher because they wanted to fire balls in the dirt at will — letting catchers practice blocking, and letting runners practice making reads — and they wanted to throw a lot of strikes for hitters to put the ball in play (which makes Chris Young’s strikeout all the more embarrassing).
• Girardi on the intrasquad game: “We wanted to see our baserunners reacting to situations, and we wanted to see cuts and relays and how guys react (on defense) to game situations as opposed to being told exactly what you’re going to do. You have to anticipate. And I thought it was an outstanding job.”
• My own impression of today’s game: Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew looked good together up the middle. … Mason Williams covers a lot of ground in center field. … Funny that neither Greg Bird nor Kyle Roller has a particularly good defensive reputation, but both made pretty good plays at first today. … Aaron Judge really is a presence when he steps into the batter’s box. … It’s still fun to watch the fast guys run fast. The Brett Gardner double was fun to see.
• By the way, the early favorite to be this year’s Yangervis Solarte has to be Jonathan Galvez. He made a couple of decent plays at third base today, and he went 2-for-3 with a double at the plate. It’s a shame the Grapefruit League is so strict about not counting pitching-machine games in the regular spring training stats.
• Obviously no coincidence that Gregorius and Drew played together this afternoon, or that they seem lined up to play together again on Wednesday. “They looked pretty good,” Girardi said. “That’s a combination we’ll try to keep together a lot in spring training.”
• Here’s Girardi explaining the decision to hold Carlos Beltran out of today’s game and out of the first few exhibition games: “He’s not going to play until Friday. We’re just taking it a little bit slower with him because of the surgery he came off of. We feel pretty good about where he’s at, but I’m just going to give him a couple of extra days. Nothing that’s happened in camp to do that, just going a little bit slower with him.”
• And here’s Girardi on Masahiro Tanaka’s live batting practice: “I thought he looked good. He’s right where we want him to be. He’ll do another one. I’m not sure if it’s a BP or simulated game; to me, there’s not a lot of difference in them. Maybe he’ll sit down and go back out.”
Doesn’t get nearly the attention that Tanaka gets, but Jose Ramirez also threw live batting practice today, and people seemed to take notice. “He looks stronger,” Girardi said. “I thought he threw well today, really well today. It looks like he’s maturing. … I mean, this young man’s got really good stuff. He’s got a good fastball, great changeup, a slider that has improved. That’s the big thing, keeping him healthy and allowing him to pitch. And he’s, with us being up, he’s been in some tough situations, and he didn’t get consistent work and that makes it tough. But I like the fact that he’s been here, he knows what it takes, but if he stays healthy he’s going to help us.”
• While Girardi was clear that Rodriguez will DH on Wednesday, he was more vague about how long it might take to finally see Rodriguez play the field. At-bats are the important thing, and it’s easier to keep getting at-bats as a designated hitter. “I want to watch him running, see how – in my eyes – I think he’s doing,” Girardi said. “I’m going to ask him in his eyes how he’s physically doing. Make sure that when we want to get him out there and we want to evaluate that we get him out there and he’s not too beat up, in a sense, or not quite ready to go.”
• Adam Warren has the start tomorrow. Among the pitchers scheduled to follow him: Luis Severino, Jacob Lindgren, Branden Pinder and Nick Goody.
• How hard was that pitching machine throwing today? “I’m going to guess it’s 90 mph,” Girardi said. “The interesting thing about that is that for so many guys it’s difficult, because there’s no timing mechanism. Because you don’t have an arm to follow. And that’s the timing part, The guys who have that little bit of a leg kick, it’s even harder for them.”
• Final word to Girardi about A-Rod: “I think it’s been good. I think he has come into camp, and for him, he’s tried to just fit in, be one of the guys. Which is fairly normal for him in our clubhouse. (Other) people don’t see him the way we see him on a daily basis, but I don’t really see a huge difference in how he is. Guys are comfortable being around him. He makes people laugh. That’s what he does.”
Associated Press photos
Keeping track of today’s intrasquad game was harder than keeping track of a minor league spring training game. The rules were, let’s say, flexible.
Each inning was built around a specific situation. Every at-bat in the first inning happened with a runner on first. Every at-bat in the second inning, with a runner on second. Third inning, runner on third. Fourth inning, runner on third, infield in. Fifth inning, runner at second again. Sixth inning, runners at first and third.
If a player doubled in the first inning, the next batter would still come to the plate with only a runner on first. Some innings included three outs, some went four outs. The top of the first ended with a double play, even though there were already two outs. Several times the coaches would simply declare a no-out situation even if there had been several outs already. Some innings ended with a fly ball for the third out, but the fly ball was treated like a sacrifice situation (runners told to tag up, outfielders trying to get the out at the plate).
Best I can tell — by not counting those third-out sacrifices as runs — Team Goose beat Team Gator, 14-4. Of course, team Goose had a five-run sixth inning in which two runs scored on balls intentionally fired into the dirt. Team Goose also had the benefit of a four-out second inning, when two runs scored on three-out base hits.
Above is a video of highlights from the game. Obviously it’s all recorded from a cell phone in the third-base dugout, so there’s no replay, no zooming in, and no finding better angles. Just gives some idea of what the game looked like this afternoon.
Here’s the closest I can come to a real box score. Starters names are bold, reserves are italic.
Gregorius — 0-1
Culver – 0-0 RBI, sac fly
Headley — 1-1, double, RBI
Figueroa — 0-1
Teixeira — 0-1, GIDP
Roller — 0-1
Rodriguez — 0-2
McCann — 0-2
Drew — 0-1
Refsnyder — 0-1
Murphy — 0-1, RBI, sac fly
Flores — 0-1 sac
Austin — 0-1
Williams — 0-1
Sanchez — 0-1
Ellsbury — 0-2, reached on an error
Heathcott — 1-1, single
Gardner — 1-2, double, RBI
Cave — 0-1
Young — 1-2, single, strikeout
Judge — 1-1, single, RBI
Jones — 0-3, GIDP
Romine — 0-2, RBI
Pirela — 0-3
Bird — 0-1
Rodriguez, E — 1-2 single, RBI
Arcia — 2-2, double, single, 2 RBI
Galvez — 2-3, double, single, 2 RBI
Noonan — 1-2, triple, RBI
Garrison — 1-2, single, RBI
Higashioka — 0-2, RBI
Associated Press photos
I’ll try to have video from today’s intrasquad game posted to the blog soon. For now, a few quick notes from today:
1. Alex Rodriguez will make his spring training debut at home on Wednesday. He will start at designated hitter. Joe Girardi said he expects to give him two or three at-bats.
2. Carlos Beltran is scheduled to make his spring debut on Friday. No setback in camp, just moving intentionally a little slower with him.
3. Yankees sound happy with Masahiro Tanaka’s first live batting practice of the spring. “He’s right where we want him to be,” Joe Girardi said. CC Sabathia will face hitters for the first time later this week.
4. After Adam Warren on Tuesday, Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday and Esmil Rogers on Thursday, the Yankees will have Bryan Mitchell and Chris Capuano start Friday’s split-squad doubleheader. Capuano will start the home game.
5. Catching prospect Luis Torrens has a shoulder injury. Assistant general manager Billy Eppler says the team is still evaluating the situation but should know more in the next 24 hours or so about the severity and the next step.
Associated Press photo
Today’s main event might be the afternoon intrasquad game, but the most important development is surely Masahiro Tanaka’s first live batting practice session.
Tanaka faced hitters earlier this morning and once again showed no signs of struggle or discomfort. He was scheduled to face a handful of minor league hitters, but Brett Gardner and Chris Young also got involved (they seemed to tracking pitches more than trying to actually hit).
Although Tanaka didn’t speak to media immediately after the session, he seemed to go straight to a normal workout, which is surely a good sign that he came through it healthy. Another step forward for a guy who claims to feel nothing unusual in his elbow. Tanaka sounds incredibly optimistic, and he’s passed every test so far.
Long way to go, but so far, so good.
There’s some video of the batting practice session at the top of this post.
• Alex Rodriguez will DH and hit cleanup in today’s intrasquad game, but he will not make tomorrow’s road trip to Clearwater. It seems his spring debut will be Wednesday at home, a game that happens to be televised on YES Network. Looks like Rodriguez and the bulk of the Yankees projected infield will be playing on Wednesday, while the outfielders will make the road trip tomorrow.
• Carlos Beltran is not playing in today’s intrasquad game, and he’s not making tomorrow’s road trip. Beltran, though, said he feels fine and deferred to Joe Girardi regarding the decision about not playing today or tomorrow. Beltran has been going through pretty normal drills, and was clearly on his way to the cage when he said he felt fine this morning. Seems like the Yankees are simply being cautious with him.
• Top pitching prospect Luis Severino is making tomorrow’s road trip and said he’s definitely scheduled to pitch. Severino’s been in Tampa since January 18, so he’s been throwing for a while and is clearly ready for games.
• You know who was pretty psyched to see his name on tomorrow’s travel roster: Slade Heathcott. I was talking to him at his locker before he’d seen the travel squad, and even then he said he was hoping to make the trip because it’s been so long since he played in a game. I’ve written before that Heathcott sounds as confident and optimistic as he’s been in a long time. Last spring, he seemed to be hoping his knee would stay healthy. This spring, he seems to fully expect it.
• Every catcher now has a drop in the Yankees spring “drop contest.” The last catcher without a drop was John Ryan Murphy, but he apparently dropped one yesterday.
• CC Sabathia threw a bullpen today. He was the only true bullpen listed on the schedule. He threw to Brian McCann.
With Cole Figueroa, Slade Heathcott and Aaron Judge hitting
Chris Capuano (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Jose Ramirez (to Trent Garrison)
James Pazos (to Gary Sanchez)
Nick Rumbelow (to Kyle Higashioka)
With Ramon Flores, Tyler Austin and Jonathan Galvez hitting (Gardner and Young joined them)
Masahiro Tanaka (to John Ryan Murphy)
Dellin Betances (to Austin Romine)
Scott Baker (to Francisco Arcia)
Team Gator: Cito Culver (SS), Cole Figueroa (3B), Kyle Roller (1B) and Rob Refsnyder (2B) are scheduled to play off the bench as straight-up replacements for Gregorius, Headley, Teixeira and Drew.
Team Goose: Slade Heathcott (CF), Jake Cave (LF), Aaron Judge (RF), Eddy Rodriguez (C) and Francisco Arcia (1B) are scheduled to play off the bench as straight-up replacements for Ellsbury, Gardner, Young, Romine and Bird.
• Tomorrow’s travel squad:
Pitchers: Danny Burawa, Kyle Davies, Nick Goody, Jacob Lindgren, Diego Moreno, Branden Pinder, Luis Severino, Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren, Tyler Webb
Catchers: Francisco Arcia, Kyle Higashioka, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine
Infielders: Greg Bird, Cito Culver, Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, Garrett Jones, Nick Noonan, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder, Kyle Roller
Outfielders: Tyler Austin, Jake Cave, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Slade Heathcott, Aaron Judge, Mason Williams, Chris Young
• Tomorrow’s early work:
Chris Martin, Ivan Nova, Vicente Campos, Michael Pineda, Jared Burton, Esmil Rogers, Bryan Mitchell, Chase Whitley, Justin Wilson, Andrew Bailey and David Carpenter are each scheduled to do early pitching work tomorrow morning.
Associated Press photo
Lineups for today’s intrasquad games • 03.02.15
The Yankees don’t do this every year, but today they’re going to play an intrasquad game as a tuneup to tomorrow’s Grapefruit League opener. It won’t be a true game — Joe Girardi said there will be a pitching machine instead of a pitcher — but it should still be something resembling real baseball, at least from a defensive and baserunning perspective. A few things I’m curious to see today.
• The middle infield. I have to assume Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew will play together, especially after Girardi talked about the value of having a double play combo get plenty of reps together. But beyond those two, there’s plenty of reason to watch Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela (whatever position he plays) and even Nick Noonan (giving a first look at the likely shortstop depth in Triple-A).
• Slade Heathcott. He’s said he feels greats, and he’s been going through drills, but Heathcott once again missed most of last season with yet another injury. The guy has huge talent, and he’s fun to watch when he’s actually on the field.
• The big guys at first base. Seems safe to assume Alex Rodriguez won’t play first tomorrow — he’s barely played it in drills — but Mark Teixeira, Garrett Jones, Kyle Roller and Greg Bird are each big hitters. Obviously the short-term key here is Teixeira, but Jones could play a meaningful role as left-handed platoon hitter and experienced backup at first.
• Aaron Judge. The guy is massive, and there’s no telling what he can do against a pitching machine (along those lines, I bet Roller can also do some damage in that setting as well). Even in a scrimmage that seems focused on defense, it’s hard not to keep an eye on the Yankees top position prospect. Supposed to be a pretty solid right fielder.
• One open competition. We aw enough last season to say with confidence that John Ryan Murphy is the favorite to win the backup catcher job, but Austin Romine showed up in great shape and clearly isn’t planning to give the job away. Romine needs to do a lot of things right this spring, and I can’t imagine he or Murphy is taking an intrasquad game as anything less than a chance to make the first strong impression.
• Range in the outfield. If this is mostly about guys getting used to playing the field, then it’s worth watching one of the Yankees defensive strengths, which is their outfield range. Carlos Beltran might not play right field just yet, which means we could see one outfield of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Chris Young, which could be the Yankees go-to alignment in late-and-close situations. Heathcott and Mason Williams can also cover a lot of ground, as can Jake Cave and Ramon Flores.
• Alex Rodriguez. Of course. The guy hasn’t been in a game situation in more than a year, so even an intrasquad game against a pitching machine is more game-like than anything Rodriguez has been through in a long, long time. Maybe he’ll only hit. Maybe he’ll get an inning or two at third base. Maybe he won’t play at all. Either way, hard not to pay attention to a guy coming back from a year-long suspension.
Associated Press photo
Joe Girardi has said over and over again that he’s going to check with Alex Rodriguez before deciding when to put him in the lineup this spring. Well, the Yankees are playing an intrasquad game tomorrow, so is that going to be the day Rodriguez gets some “game” action?
Girardi said he needed to check with Rodriguez. Rodriguez said he needed to check with Girardi.
“If I’m in the lineup, I’ll play,” Rodriguez said.
Surely someone’s going to make the decision at some point on when A-Rod will play. With the Yankees facing a pitching machine on Monday, it really seems the intrasquad game is more about defense than offense, so maybe that’s not a key time for a designated hitter to make his “debut.” Tuesday’s game, though, is a chance for Rodriguez to see live pitching again, and the Yankees have said that’s the priority this spring.
In fact, Rodriguez’s time in the field might be limited strictly because it’s easy to get more at-bats and play more days as a designated hitter than as an infielder.
“It’s really been a while since we’ve seen (him against live pitching),” Girardi said. “I’m excited to see that, and see how he does. … For a guy that was so talented, he has that going for him, and (he) has always had a good swing and been fundamentally sound. He has that going for him. The issues become when you’re older and you haven’t played in a while. That’s the issues. You think about a base for a player, he has it in a sense because he was so fundamentally sound.”
Fundamentals, though, don’t always make a big leaguer. Rodriguez has looked fine in batting practice, and he’s handled light fielding drills, but those don’t provide much of a gauge.
“I think Alex when he’s 60 could probably field a ground ball and show you good hands and that sort of thing,” Girardi said. “Probably swing a bat a little bit (too). I mean, we see guys at Old Timers’ Day come, and they hit the ball out of the ballpark. That’s the bottom line. The real test comes in games, and that’s what we’ve got to see.”
Associated Press photo
Ready or not, the Yankees/ exhibition schedule is right around the corner. There will be one more day of workouts — Monday will include an intrasquad game against a pitching machine — before the Yankees face the Phillies on Tuesday.
It will be the first time many of the big leaguers will see live pitching since the end of last season.
“For the most part, that’s probably how they would like it anyway,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You don’t like facing your own pitchers. I don’t care who you are. You just don’t.”
Aside from Brendan Ryan, who’s still dealing with that recent back injury, and minor league catcher Juan Graterol, who’s coming back from an arm injury, Girardi said he doesn’t have anyone who absolutely can’t play in games right now. Most big league starting pitchers won’t get in games just yet, but that’s pretty typical, and former closer Andrew Bailey is being moved along slowly as a precaution, but Girardi has said that basically everyone is good to go.
That includes, presumably, Alex Rodriguez. Girardi said he’ll check with Rodriguez on Monday before deciding whether he plays in Tuesday’s spring opener. If he’s going to strictly DH, I would think there’s a chance Rodriguez could play back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, letting him play both the spring opener and the home opener, but Girardi said he wants to check with Rodriguez before making any sort of lineup decisions.
“Just making sure he feels that he’s physically ready to go,” Girardi said.
For whatever reason, the exhibition schedule seems to have popped up quickly this spring, but Girardi said that’s not much of an issue.
“It seems to be a good amount of time for the pitchers,” Girardi said. “But as I said, we’ve got five weeks of games. (Players) can wait a couple of days before they get in if they don’t feel that they’re ready, it’s not such a big deal.”
• Little surprise that Adam Warren is pitching Tuesday’s spring opener. That’s seemed to be a strong possibility since camp opened with Warren saying he’d already faced hitters twice. Might also be little coincidence that new guy Nathan Eovaldi has the home opener, which is being televised on YES Network.
• Girardi said he wasn’t sure when exactly CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda or Masahiro Tanaka would make a spring debut. Tanaka is scheduled to pitch tomorrow, but Girardi wasn’t sure whether that would be a bullpen or live batting practice.
• Speaking of live batting practice, Pineda made a strong impression during his first live BP this morning. “His command was outstanding,” Girardi said. “The movement was great. His slider was good. His changeup was good. Threw a ton of strikes. I mean, he’s a strike thrower. You look at a lot of his games last year, there is not a high pitch count in his games. He is very efficient. He’s great.”
• Considering he’s pitched very little the past three years, it’s worth wondering how many innings Pineda will be allowed to pitch this season. Girardi said the team hasn’t talked about an innings limit, but Pineda was going to have a limit last season had he not missed so much time with the suspension and the injury. “I think they had an idea what they wanted him to be at,” Girardi said. “I don’t remember where it was at.”
• Tomorrow’s intrasquad game is expected to last five or six innings. Pitchers will throw live batting practice in the morning, but there will be no pitcher in the game. Girardi said he expects his big league guys to play, but once again, he wasn’t sure whether Rodriguez would be involved.
• Although the Yankees are opening the exhibition schedule in a National League ballpark, Girardi said he’s assuming he’ll be able to use a designated hitter. If not, I can’t imagine Rodriguez making that trip.
• And since it’s hard to get away from Rodriguez today, he took very few reps at first base during fielding drills this afternoon. The reps he did take were with his third-base glove. I assume he’ll use the regular first-baseman’s mitt when he does full drills at the position. The drills he did at first today were basically just serving as a receiver for the other infielders.
• One personal impression from fielding drills today: Stephen Drew looks really smooth when he charges a slow roller. He was doing that at second base today, and man, he’s good at it. Just looks easy for him.
• I was talking to Chase Whitley in the clubhouse today when John Ryan Murphy walked up. I made a joke that Murphy was there to tell Whitley all the things he did wrong in today’s two-inning live batting practice/sim game. “No I’m not,” Murphy said. “He’s not doing anything wrong.” That’s not the first person I’ve heard who’s been impressed by Whitley early this spring. Worth remembering that this is the first spring training Whitley’s ever been treated as a starter. He worked as a reliever all though big league camp last spring. He said it feels more natural to get stretched out a little bit down here.
• No real final word, just a final image: After today’s workout, a ton of Yankees were on the field for a military appreciation event. They were playing Wiffle Ball with kids, talking to fans, and Girardi gave a little thank you speech from behind home plate. Good stuff by the Yankees.
Associated Press photos
A few quick notes from this Sunday afternoon:
1. The Yankees have announced their first three spring training starters. Adam Warren will start on Tuesday, followed by Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday and Esmil Rogers on Thursday. Chase Whitley said he’s piggybacking one of those days — pitching a couple innings of relief — and I would expect the same for Bryan Mitchell.
2. An intrasquad game is set for tomorrow, and Joe Girardi said he expects the big league regulars to play. No pitcher, though. Several guys will throw live batting practice, but the intrasquad game will be against a pitching machine.
3. No definitive word on whether Alex Rodriguez will play in Tuesday’s spring opener. Girardi said he’ll check with Rodriguez tomorrow, see how he’s feeling, and then make a decision. I wonder if Rodriguez might play each of the first two games at designated hitter just so he can get at-bats. It’s a very short road trip to Clearwater on Tuesday, then a home game on Wednesday.
4. Girardi watched Michael Pineda’s live batting practice this morning and said it was very impressive. Girardi singled out Pineda’s command, his movement, and his offspeed pitches. Also: “Threw a ton of strikes,” Girardi said.
Associated Press photo