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


Archive for the ‘Misc’

Refsnyder, Severino named Yankees’ top minor leaguers for 201403.28.15

Robert Refsnyder

Before today’s game, the Yankees named Rob Refsnyder and Luis Severino their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year for last season. Their past four players of the year: Greg Bird, Tyler Austin, Austin Romine and Eduardo Nunez. Their past four pitchers of the year: Shane Greene, Mark Montgomery, D.J. Mitchell and David Phelps. That’s a pretty wide spectrum of success following the honor. From the Yankees, here are the details of today’s honorees:

RefsnyderSeverino (2)The New York Yankees announced today that infielder Rob Refsnyder and right-handed pitcher Luis Severino were named winners of the 2014 Kevin Lawn Award as the Yankees’ minor league “Player of the Year” and “Pitcher of the Year,” respectively. The two players received their awards prior to today’s Yankees vs. Orioles game at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

The annual awards are dedicated to Kevin O’Brien Lawn—the son of longtime Yankees Vice President and Chief of Operations Jack Lawn—who passed away in 1999.

Refsnyder, 24, split the season with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, combining to bat .318 (164-for-515) with 82R, 38 doubles, 6 triples, 14HR and 63RBI in 137 games. The 2012 fifth-round draft pick ranked third among all Yankees minor leaguers in batting average. Following the season, he was tabbed an Organization All-Star by MiLB.com and ranked as the Yankees’ seventh-best prospect by Baseball America.

Severino, 21, combined to go 6-5 with a 2.46 ERA (113.1IP, 31ER) in 24 starts with Single-A Charleston, Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in 23 of his 24 starts, posting a 1.96 ERA (110.0IP, 24ER) in those games. The right-hander led all Yankee minor leaguers in strikeouts (127) and competed for the World Team in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Following the season, he was named an Organization All-Star by MiLB.com and was tabbed the Yankees’ best prospect by Baseball America.

Each player was presented with a trophy designed by C&C Awards, as well as a designer watch, courtesy of Betteridge Jewelers.

Associated Press photo of Refsnyder

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X-rays negative; Yankees optimistic Gregorius will play Wednesday03.28.15

Didi Gregorius

X-rays came back negative, and now Didi Gregorius and the Yankees sound optimistic that they’ve dodged a bullet after today’s injury scare.

“I was worried,” Gregorius said. “Now that everything is fine, there’s nothing to worry about.”

Gregorius landed awkwardly on his glove hand while trying to make a diving play in the second inning. He initially stayed in the game, but that lasted only two more innings. A check swing in the third inning hurt a little bit, and the Yankees sent him for tests. He was diagnosed with a sprained left wrist, but tests showed no further damage.

“I was feeling fine (initially),” Gregorius said. “I could move my hand normally, but on the last swing, the check swing, that’s when it bothered me a little bit. … On the check swing, I couldn’t hold my bat. That’s when I felt like something was wrong. But the X-ray was fine, so I’ll just wait a couple days.”

Joe Girardi said he plans to give Gregorius the next three days off. After that, if the Yankees feel his wrist is fine, Girardi said he’ll probably let Gregorius play in a major league game. The Yankees could have Gregorius play in the minor leagues the rest of spring just to give themselves the option of back-dating a potential disabled list stint, but Girardi said he’s not sure that will be necessary.

“Hopefully he’s available,” Girardi said.

If Gregorius is out a few days, Girardi said he’d likely play Brendan Ryan at shortstop and keep Stephen Drew at second base. If it’s a more serious situation, the Yankees would have to pick a new infielder to carry on the roster, and at that point, Girardi said he’d have to leave any option on the table. Drew has not taken a single infield drill at shortstop this spring, but Girardi doesn’t sound hesitant to play him at the position if need be.

“It’s riding a bike,” Girardi said. “I don’t think it would be hard for him.”

Associated Press photo

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Gregorius has sprained wrist; going for X-rays03.28.15

The Yankees announced that Didi Gregorius has a sprained left wrist, and he’s going for precautionary X-rays. 

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Romine gets a start with lineup regulars 03.28.15

RomineBrett Gardner LF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Chris Young CF
Stephen Drew 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Austin Romine C

RHP Scott Baker

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A-Rod getting time at first, but position still hinges on Teixeira03.27.15

Alex Rodriguez, Mark TeixeiraAlex Rodriguez is going to play first base on Sunday, and that’s attention-grabbing for obvious reasons. For one thing, it’s Rodriguez, and anything he does seems to generate attention. For another thing, it’s a veteran player learning a new position, and would spark at least some curiosity for even a role player. It’s also noteworthy because the Yankees have been talking about the possibility for months now.

But if you want to really know what this means for the Yankees, consider the fact we’re entering the final week of spring training, and Rodriguez is just now getting a few innings at the position. When camp opened, it seemed to be a bit of a priority that he get some time at first. Now it’s clearly a secondary concern at best.

“You feel pretty good that you got two healthy first basemen,” Girardi said. “So Alex would be kind of the third guy.”

Mark Teixeira is the starter, and Garrett Jones is the go-to backup. Rodriguez is learning first base strictly to fill the void should one of those two get hurt. Essentially, the Yankees would rather play him at first than either Chase Headley or Brian McCann, each of whom had to play the position a few times last season.”

“I’m thinking of first base to give Joe as many options as he could possibly have,” Rodriguez said. “I know he likes to give guys rest. I know he likes matchups. I just want to be an asset to Joe all year. And (Brian Cashman).”

Rodriguez said one of the clubhouse guys has been using his new first baseman’s mitt to play catch, helping get it worn in. Rodriguez has been using his regular infield glove for all of his first base drills, but he said he’ll use the real first base glove when he’s playing the position.

“He’s done some extra work (at first),” Girardi said. “He’ll do some tomorrow, again. We did cut off some relays with the shift the other day, and we had him at first doing it. We’ll go over the bunt defenses again before we leave. Those are the things that are going to be a little tricky. That’s the bottom line if he goes over there. Obviously, I’d probably put Garrett Jones there first, but if something were to happen to one of them, just trying to prepare ourselves.”

It comes down to this: The Yankees had no backup first baseman last season. They’re trying to vaguely have two of them this year. But if either Jones or Rodriguez is seeing a ton of time at first base this season, it won’t be a good thing. Success or failure at first base still largely hinges on Teixeira, who’s so far looked fairly strong and healthy throughout spring training. He had a hit and an RBI today, bringing his spring slash line to .279/.326/.419.

“Discipline, good at bats, letting it go when he swings,” Girardi said. “Everything that we kind of expect from Tex. It’s like we have Tex back, which is great. I feel that we’re going to get a real productive guy.”

Associated Press photo

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Scott Baker getting a start tomorrow; CC pitching in the minors03.27.15

Scott Baker

Scott Baker was scheduled to pitch multiple innings of long relief this afternoon, but the game was called in the sixth, and so the Yankees will instead have Baker start tomorrow’s game against Baltimore.

CC Sabathia will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow.

“We wanted (Baker) to go long,” Girardi said. “I called him in before that (last) inning and I said, ‘We’re going to wait, because we don’t want you to go just an inning or a half an inning and all of a sudden it starts pouring and they call the game.’ So he’ll start tomorrow.”

The original plan was to have Bryan Mitchell start tomorrow’s big league game. The Yankees don’t want Sabathia to do it because they’re facing the Orioles, and the Yankees would prefer to keep Sabathia out of a game against a division rival. Prioritizing Baker could be a sign that he’s still heavily in the mix for a long relief role.

After a rough spring debut, Baker pitched well against the Mets on Sunday (4.1 innings, one hit, no walks). It’s at least a little curious that the Yankees let Chase Whitley — another long relief candidate — pitch just one inning last time out but preferred to make sure Baker gets a multiple-inning appearance.

Would it make sense to carry Baker as a long man out of camp, while sending both Whitley and Mitchell to Triple-A to stay stretched out as rotation depth (making them potential candidates for spot starts whenever the Yankees want or need a sixth starter)? Opening a 40-man spot for Baker shouldn’t be tough, especially with Ivan Nova and possibly Chris Capuano being obvious 60-day disabled list candidates.

Associated Press photo

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Spring Game 26: Yankees at Phillies03.27.15

Michael Pineda

YANKEES (13-11-1)
Brett Gardner LF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Chris Young CF
Brendan Ryan SS

RHP Michael Pineda (5-5, 1.89 in 2014)

PHILLIES (11-12-1)
Ben Revere LF
Freddy Galvis SS
Russ Canzler 3B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Odubel Herrera CF
Cesar Hernandez 2B
Cameron Rupp C
Jonathan Papelbon P

RHP Jonathan Papelbon (39 saves, 2.04 ERA in 2014)

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., not on TV or radio

WEATHER: Could rain at basically any moment.

UMPIRES: HP Dan Iassogna, 1B Marty Foster, 2B Phil Cuzzi, 3B Vic Carapazza

TODAY’S SECOND STRING:
C Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Jonathan Galvez, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Nick Noonan, 3B Cole Figueroa, LF Tyler Austin, CF Jake Cave, RF Aaron Judge

TODAY’S SCHEDULED RELIEVERS: Scott Baker, Jacob Lindgren, Chasen Shreve, Chris Martin, Nick Rumbelow

RELIEF FROM THE START: Because of pending rain, the Phillies are having Jonathan Papelbon pitch the first inning today. Aaron Nola is the scheduled starter and will presumably follow him.

UPDATE, 1:22 p.m.: Couple of relatively weak singles off Pineda in the first inning, but he gets out of it with a double play ball to second base.

UPDATE, 1:30 p.m.: Rodriguez singled, Drew doubled and Young flied to right. The Yankees tried to score on the play, but Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate by Jeff Francoeur. It was a strong throw, but Rodriguez isn’t exactly a burner these days.

UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: Second double of the day for Ryan. Takes second on a Gardner single, scores on a passed ball.

UPDATE, 2:22 p.m.: Four straight hits to start the fifth inning for the Yankees. They’re now up 2-0. Still no outs in the inning. Two on for Teixeira.

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Masahiro Tanaka starting Opening Day03.27.15

Joe Girardi just announced the order of the Yankees top four starters to start this season. Sabathia gets Game 3.

1. Masahiro Tanaka

2. Michael Pineda

3. CC Sabathia

4. Nathan Eovaldi

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Ryan paired with Drew up the middle03.27.15

Brett Gardner LF

Chase Headley 3B

Carlos Beltran RF

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Alex Rodriguez DH 

Stephen Drew 2

Chris Young CF

Brendan Ryan SS

RHP Michael Pineda

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Gregorius making a strong first impression in Yankees camp03.26.15

Didi Gregorius

For a while, I found it hard to trust my own evaluation. These past five years, the shortstop I’ve seen the most has been a sure-handed but limited Hall of Famer. Derek Jeter is what he is in the history books, but especially late in his career, he was not a particularly rangy or dynamic fielder.

Through that lens, Didi Gregorius has looked incredible. He covers ground, he charges slow rollers, he makes every throw. Clearly, he’s been better than Jeter in the field, but what does that really mean?

It seems I’m not the only one impressed. Ken Rosenthal was in Yankees camp yesterday, and he wrote about the overwhelming enthusiasm Gregorius has generated. It’s a predictably good story full of glowing comments about the Yankees new young shortstop. Here’s the analysis Rosenthal got from Alex Rodriguez, using 6 and 7 as shorthand for 60 and 70 on the scouting scale:

Didi Gregorius“He has a rare combination of speed and explosiveness. But what you don’t see is an incredibly strong arm that is so accurate. That combination is lethal,” Rodriguez said.

“What you see in a lot of young players are 6 or 7 arms, but then their accuracy is 3 or 4. Which is normal, par for the course. As they get older, they go from a 7-1/2 arm to about a 5-1/2 or 6-1/2 and their accuracy goes to about 6. But when you have that combination at 25 years old of crazy range, 7-plus arm, 7-plus accuracy … even Ozzie [Smith], he had 7 accuracy but he didn’t have 7 arm strength.

“[Gregorius] has made plays from the hole, from his back foot, throwing the ball 90 mph across the diamond from his back foot. You don’t see that. It also makes it a lot easier for your third baseman to play third base.”

Thing is, the Yankees knew Gregorius could play the field. That was the only given about bringing him into the organization. He has impressed by just how good he can be in the field, but frankly, the Yankees were banking on him being able to play the position. The bigger question was whether he would hit, and so far Gregorius has been alright at the plate. He had two hits today, he’s hitting .308, he seems to make a decent amount of hard contact, and he’s even hit lefties in the past week and a half or so.

“I think he’s outstanding in the field,” Joe Girardi said. “And I think he’s really swung the bat pretty well. You look at his last two weeks, he’s hit the ball consistently hard. He’s hit left-handers, he’s hit right-handers. I feel pretty good about it. … The other day, he smoked a ball (against a lefty). He’s swung the bat against left-handers as well. There’s a lot of talent there. Sometimes it’s just getting that opportunity to do it every day and maybe not looking over your shoulder that really brings it out.”

Right now, Gregorius has little reason to look over his shoulder. Stephen Drew is in camp, but the Yankees have not given him a single inning at shortstop this spring. Brendan Ryan is in camp, but he’s an occasionally platoon backup who won’t steal many at-bats. The next-in-line shortstops from the minor league system are minor league free agent Nick Noonan and all-glove, no-bat Cito Culver, who’s never played above Class A.

The shortstop position belongs to Gregorius, and so far, the Yankees seem to like what they see.

“You know, I always liked him from the little bit that we saw him (with Arizona),” Girardi said. “But I never saw him for a long period of time. It’s really hard for me to make a judgment. I’ll never forget the first home run he hit, I’m like, ‘Who’s this kid?’ It kind of stuck in my mind that there was talent there.”

Associated Press photo

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