The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for the ‘Notes’

Postgame notes: “He did whatever he wanted tonight with the baseball”04.18.15

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka’s first big league complete game shutout came on May 14 of last season. It was at Citi Field, and Chris Young was one of Tanaka’s eight strikeouts that day.

“You never know what you’re going to get when you’re at the plate,” Young explained tonight. “There’s really no way to have a legit approach against him. You can get anything in any count, and that makes him really tough.”

Manager Joe Girardi’s most common critique through Tanaka’s first two starts this season was that Tanaka had yet to pitch a game with all of his weapons. Couldn’t locate his fastball quite right. Didn’t quite have his breaking balls working. It’s the total package that makes Tanaka so effective, and he had not shown his full arsenal until tonight.

Masahiro TanakaSeven innings. Two hits. No walks. Eight strikeouts. All on just 85 pitches, a start that surely would have gone longer had the Yankees not spent so much time scoring runs in the seventh that Tanaka had to throw to stay loose on the bench.

“I thought he had all his pitches tonight, which was the big difference,” Girardi said. “He located his fastball. He elevated it as well. He used his curveball, his slider and his split really effectively, and that’s the difference. When you have all your weapons you usually are going to go deeper into the game.”

Tanaka cruised tonight. At one point he struck out seven of 10 batters. He retired 15 in a row. He clearly had enough to go at least eight innings tonight, maybe even the full nine if the Yankees wanted to push his pitch count above 100. His fastball, according to the stadium gun, regularly hit 92 mph and topped out at 94. He got swings and misses with his split, but seemed just as capable of finishing off at-bats with his slider.

“He was better,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “The command of the fastball was better. I thought he had a better downhill plane on it, and threw some fastballs down and away to the spot to right handers very well. That means that he’s getting through pitches pretty well. I think it’s a real good step in the right direction.”

Brian McCann singled out Tanaka’s slider for having better tilt. Tanaka himself said he was most pleased with his fastball, and said the difference came down to better mechanics.

“He did whatever he wanted tonight with the baseball,” McCann said. “He (had) sink and cut. He put his curveball in there for a strike whenever he wanted to. … I feel like this is what he’s been doing since he got over here. I mean, I really do. There’s no questions in here about it. The guys that are in this clubhouse, that watch him prepare on a daily basis, that see him go about his business, (all believe) he’s ready to go.”

That’s what the Yankees have been saying since the end of spring training. But saying it is one thing. Seeing it is another.

Tonight they saw it.

“I think it’s really important for him to see when I have my stuff, I’m going to pitch extremely well,” Girardi said. “And that’s what he did tonight. … In life, you need to have some success or you get frustrated with yourself. I hadn’t noticed any (lack of confidence). His confidence has been fine. He’s been the same person to me, but we all want to have success.”

Chris Young, Joe Girardi• Rothschild said the Yankees still haven’t decided whether Tanaka will take his next turn on five days or six days rest. Girardi said the Yankees definitely plan to have Tanaka pitch on five days rest at some point, they just aren’t sure whether it will happen this turn. “We’ll see how he comes in tomorrow,” Rothschild said. “And then we have to decide to go the fifth day or the sixth day.”

• Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira were each pulled from the game in the late innings, but both were strictly because the game was so lopsided and it was worth getting them off their feet a little earlier. No new injuries, Girardi said.

• Huge game for McCann who became the first Yankees player to have a triple this season. He’s currently the team leader in that category. I know because McCann asked a bunch of writers to look it up and make sure no other Yankee had a triple so far. Kept bragging — as a joke — about his blinding speed. McCann has four triples in his career. “When you’ve got speed, you don’t have stop signs,” he said.

• McCann is now 8-for-13 with two home runs, a double, a triple and six RBI in his career against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. The rest of the Yankees had two singles against Odorizzi tonight. McCann went 3-for-3 against him. “With some people, the numbers stack up,” McCann said. “Sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight I was able to get some pitches up in the zone and not miss it.”

• As a result of his big night, McCann’s batting average jumped from .179 to .250. “I’ve been feeling good at the plate since Opening Day,” he said. “It’s early in the season. A couple of hits fall here and there and it’s a different story. I’ve been feeling good at the plate.”

• Aside from McCann’s triple, the other big hit of the night was Chris Young’s grand slam off Grant Balfour. A grand slam is great,” Young said. “But it’s not what’s in your mind when you’re at the plate, especially the way my at-bat started tonight. I had a couple of bad swings on sliders in the dirt, so I was just trying to grind, battle, try to work a walk, a base hit. He happened to leave one up on me.”

• Young’s was the Yankees’ second grand slam of the season following Stephen Drew’s, which came earlier in the week in Baltimore. It was Young’s third career grand slam. Young, Drew and Mark Teixeira are now tied for the second-most home runs on the team with three apiece.

• After the game, the Rays designated Balfour for assignment. Rough night.

Yankees Rays Baseball• Brett Gardner made his first start since being hit by a pitch on Monday. He reached base three times and stole a base twice. He has three stolen bases this season, all in the past two days. This was Gardner’s first multi-steal game since May 30 of last year.

• Branden Pinder struck out the first batter he faced in the ninth for his first career strikeout. Pinder said yesterday that he had a lot of family flying to Tampa for this series, so I assume that explains the people going nuts in the stands after that strikeout. It was a rough inning from there — he walked two and had the bases loaded before finally ending it — but Pinder got through it without the Yankees having to bring in Chris Martin, who was getting loose.

• By the way, Pinder was called for a balk in the ninth inning. I didn’t see anything, and Girardi said he had no idea what happened to cause the balk call. “We’re still trying to figure it out,” Girardi said.

• Final word goes to Young: “The biggest thing for all of us today collectively, we were able to make the adjustment off chasing too many pitches and kind of take our walks and put ourselves in a position to have a big inning. I think the biggest thing for us was the walks. Granted, Mac had the big hit, I had a hit as well in a big situation, but the walks kind of put you in that situation. Sooner or later, it’ll catch up to you.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc, Noteswith Comments Off

Pregame notes: “My inclination is to give him one more day”04.17.15

Brett Gardner

Wearing a new padded wrist guard, Brett Gardner hit inside when he got to Tropicana Field earlier today. That went well enough that he was given permission to take full batting practice with the team during the usual pregame workout.

Doesn’t sound likely that he could hit his way into the lineup, but Gardner said he’s basically ready to play.

“If I don’t get a chance to play today, hopefully tomorrow,” he said. “I hit in the cage and it felt pretty good.”

Even after yesterday’s MRI showed nothing more serious than a bone bruise, the Yankees still decided to give Gardner one more day off. That’s pretty standard around here, where the Yankees seem to favor a cautionary approach to all injuries.

“My inclination is to give him one more day,” Girardi said. “But I want to see BP first. He did take some swings off the tee and said he felt pretty good, but let’s just see what happens after BP.”

The wrist guard Gardner’s wearing is pretty small and it’s designed in a way that doesn’t restrict movement. He said he’ll be wearing it when he finally does get back in the lineup.

Ivan Nova• Ivan Nova threw his second live batting practice of the week this morning at the minor league complex. “I’m getting closer,” Nova told The Associated Press. “Feels awesome.” Girardi said Nova’s schedule calls for him to begin pitching in actual minor league rehab games around May 1. Pretty much the schedule that’s been expected for several months now.

• Chris Capuano’s second live batting practice is scheduled for Sunday. He actually has a locker setup in the clubhouse for this series at Tropicana Field.

• When Capuano threw live batting practice earlier this week, Jose Pirela was one of the hitters he faced. Pirela is basically going through every drill and is scheduled to play an extended spring training game on Monday. He’s been working his way back from a concussion since late spring training. When he’s ready, will he go to Triple-A or join the big league bench? “I don’t know,” Girardi said. “Let’s just get him healthy first. Make sure he’s only seeing one of everything.”

• Girardi said Brendan Ryan “might” come down to Tampa next week to start going through some workouts on his way back from that spring calf injury. When Giradri said “might,” I took it to mean Ryan’s definitely coming down barring any sort of setback.

• Given the way Alex Rodriguez has hit — and given the way guys like Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann have hit — why isn’t Alex Rodriguez hitting higher than sixth? “I don’t think you can make too much of nine games,” Girardi said. “If you started moving your hitters according to every nine-game period you play, you’d be doing it all the time. We’re trying to have as much of a set lineup as you can. We don’t have Gardy in there, so I’ve used the same lineup two days in a row. I liked the way the guys swung the bats the other night, so we’ll just keep it the same.”

• The Yankees still don’t have a defined closer, but Girardi’s been using Andrew Miller in those situations, and it certainly sounds like that might be the case again here in Tampa. “We haven’t named it,” Girardi said. “Have I used him as the closer the last couple times? Yeah. We’ll let it play out a little but and see how this works out. Obviously in this situation, you would think about against Tampa — because they have so many right-handed hitters in the lineup — that you’d use Dellin more for four- or five-outs more than you would Miller.”

• Girardi said the Yankees are still actively discussing the idea of a spot starter at some point during this heavy stretch of games without many off days. He specifically mentioned Chase Whitley and Bryan Mitchell as candidates to come up and start at some point to give everyone an extra day off. He said that if/when they do it could depend on weather. If they get rained out in Detroit next week, then the sixth-starter call-up could be pushed back. “It’s something that’s on the back of our minds,” Girardi said. “And we’ve kind of prepared ourselves for it.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith Comments Off

Pregame notes: “How many days in a row can you run him out there?”04.13.15

Alex Rodriguez

One guy has started all seven games for the Yankees this season. Remarkably, that guy is the 39-year-old with two surgically repaired hips and a full year away from the game. Alex Rodriguez has been the designated hitter, he’s been a starting first baseman, and tonight he’s making his first start of the season at third base.

“You just wanted to see (his production) carry over (after) what he did in spring training,” Joe Girardi said. “And he’s done that. I think we answered the questions in spring training, and now I think the only question that we really need to answer on a consistent basis is how many days in a row can you run him out there before you need to give him a day off?”

Girardi said the plan is to give Rodriguez a day off either tomorrow or Wednesday, but for now, because he’s spent so much time at DH, there’s actually sense that Rodriguez might be relatively fresh. He’s playing third so that Chase Headley — in theory a more durable player — can get his first day off.

“Obviously the 19-inning game has taken a toll on a few of our players,” Girardi said. “And we’re just trying to get their legs to bounce back a little bit. I thought I’d give Headley a day off today. He hasn’t had a day, and he could use it. … I know his legs are heavy. He’s played every inning basically that we’ve played, and he came back after that 19-inning affair and played the next day and we played a long game (last) night. You get in these games and you get in these streaks and you don’t want to take your guys out, but you have to understand we have a long road. We don’t want someone on the DL for two or three weeks.”

And so, today we get Rodriguez at third, where even he has acknowledged the range is limited. He pretty much made all of the routine plays in spring training, but he’s not going to move to far in either direction. The Yankees know that. It’s why he’s only going to play third occasionally this season.

Tonight just happens to be one of the nights the Yankees feel they need him there.

“Catch the balls that are hit to you and get the outs for us,” Girardi said. “He’s going to be able to go a little to his left and a little to his right, but he’s got great hands and he knows how to play the position, so use that to your ability.”

Kyle Davies, Brian McCann• Learned something new today: I was told that, barring an injury, teams are not allowed to call up any 40-man player until 10 games into the season. That 10-day rule is fairly well known for a player who’s been optioned to the minor leagues — they have to stay down 10 days before coming back up — but I assumed players who were optioned at least 10 days before the end of spring training would be allowed to come up at any time. Apparently not. Helps explain the non-40-man call-ups we’ve seen so far.

• Speaking of which, today it’s Double-A right-hander Joel De La Cruz who’s on the roster for emergency mop-up duty. The Yankees were basically out of Triple-A starters to bring up. They can’t call-up either Chase Whitley or Bryan Mitchell, already used up Kyle Davies and Matt Tracy, and I’m sure they don’t want to add Jaron Long to the 40-man just for something like this. So for tonight, it’s De La Cruz who’s here just in case the Yankees need a bunch of innings.

• Along those lines, Girardi said he might have Esmil Rogers available tomorrow, but more likely he’d prefer to wait until Wednesday before actually putting Rogers back in a game. Once Rogers is ready, I guess the Yankees could call-up a short reliever — maybe Diego Moreno? — because they’d have Rogers for multiple innings. I still doubt they’d add a guy like Jacob Lindgren or Nick Rumbelow for a short-term thing. At this point might as well just wait until they’re eligible and bring up a 40-man guy like Danny Burawa or Jose Ramirez to supplement the pen.

• One non-40-man pitcher who could be an option is Andrew Bailey, but Bailey still hasn’t pitched back-to-back games. He’s gotten into one game since opening the season with High-A Tampa. He pitched on Friday and allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk. “I think the important thing that we said was that he is able to go back to back, just continue to build arm strength,” Girardi said. “I think after that you could really consider it.”

• Jose Pirela has been cleared for all baseball activity and should begin extended spring training games next week.

• The Yankees have Chris Young, John Ryan Murphy and Gregorio Petit in the lineup, which must mean there’s a lefty on the mound. Tonight it’s Wei-Yin Chen. “He locates with four pitches,” Girardi said. “He has the ability to get in on right-handers, and he has the ability to elevate the ball. And that’s the one you have to stay off of.”

Associated Press photo

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Pregame notes: “You have to regain the trust every day”04.09.15

Alex Rodriguez

With the lineup already posted on the door that leads to the batting cage, Alex Rodriguez came walking through the clubhouse this afternoon and suddenly stopped in his tracks. Someone had just mentioned that he was hitting second. The words initially seemed to pass without Rodriguez hearing them, then he froze and looked back.

“You’re kidding me,” he said.

He walked to the door. Looked at the lineup. Walked away. Came back. Looked again and kind of whispered, “wow” before going to hit in the cage.

Rodriguez“I didn’t tell him,” Joe Girardi said with a little laugh. “But we’re taking Gardy out, and against a left-hander I decided to move (Rodriguez) up. I like the way he’s swinging the bat, so we moved him up today.”

For a guy with Rodriguez’s resume, a turn in the No. 2 hole in early April surely doesn’t rate as any sort of real accomplishment. But for a guy who’s almost 40 and coming off a year-long suspension, hitting second seems pretty telling. Can’t imagine Rodriguez — even with Brett Gardner out of the lineup, even with a lefty on the mound — would be hitting second if he hadn’t shown the Yankees quite a bit in spring training.

Six weeks ago, the Yankees had no idea what to expect from him. Now he’s as dependable as anyone at the top of the order.

“Joe and I have a long history,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been through a lot together, we won a championship together, so I think there’s a lot of trust on both sides. Whether you’re hitting second or seventh, third or fourth, the goal doesn’t change. You have to help the team win.”

Asked if he’s surprised by the way Rodriguez has looked at the plate, Girardi said that after spring training, he’s come to expect it. Rodriguez has shown a good eye since exhibition games started, and he’s done a good job of making contact and occasionally driving mistake pitches.

“Naturally, any time you hit at the top of the order, you should have better pitches to hit because they want to stay out of the meat of the order,” Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t matter where they’re hitting me; I think they’re always going to honor the power at some point.”

So today he’s in the No. 2 spot. Tomorrow, who knows?

“Anything that Skip wants me to do, I’m ready to do,” Rodriguez said. “… It’s all about trust. You have to regain the trust every day. Every day is an opportunity to prove yourself and help the team win.”

John Ryan Murphy• Stephen Drew, Brian McCann and Brett Gardner all have the day off because of the lefty starting for Toronto. No one is hurt. It’s just a chance to give guys a day off, and so three lefties are on the bench. Girardi said he plans to play Drew and sit Didi Gregorius tomorrow. Seems safe to assume McCann will be back in the lineup tomorrow as well, and I would expect the same for Gardner.

• Usually Girardi likes to pair his backup catcher with one particularly pitcher, but he said the decision to starter John Ryan Murphy today had more to do with the opposing starter and less to do with the Yankees starter. Doesn’t sound like Murphy and Sabathia will be paired together regularly, it just worked out that way this time around. “I think I’ll try to rotate it based on when Mac needs a day,” Girardi said.

• Speaking of today’s Yankees starter, it’s CC Sabathia’s return. “It means a lot to him, I know it does,” Girardi said. “But it also means a lot to us. It’s important that we have him in our rotation. I look back on last year, I didn’t realize how few starts he actually made. It’s really great to have him back, and we’ve just got to keep him in the rotation. I think that’s the important thing.”

• First two games of the season, the first pitcher out of the bullpen has been Chris Martin, and Martin’s been impressive. Two innings, no base runners, three strikeouts. “We’ve liked what we’ve seen obviously his last outing,” Girardi said. “But his last few outings of spring training (were also encouraging). His breaking ball has improved, which I think is really going to help him during the course of this season. He had the cutter, but he’s added a little bit bigger breaking ball which gives a different look. So I feel good about our guys in the bullpen, and I brought him in a close game hoping he would keep it there. I think our parts are somewhat interchangeable down there, and you just have to keep the guys fresh.”

• Rodriguez has moved up in the order, but when’s he going to play the field? “I have no idea,” he said. “I already took my ground balls this afternoon. Did the same thing yesterday early. I’m ready when my number is called.”

• Minor league seasons get started tonight. Bryan Mitchell has the start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Associated Press photos

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Postgame notes: “I have to earn their cheers and earn their respect”04.06.15

Alex Rodriguez

This was a game all about Masahiro Tanaka. Big picture, small picture, however you want to look at it, this was Tanaka’s game. It was his rocky third inning that put the Yankees in an immediate hole, and it was his lackluster outing that made the Yankees seem even less reliable than they were coming out of spring training.

In many ways, Tanaka is a snapshot of the team as a whole — clearly talented, but perhaps too damaged in one way or another — and so it’s impossible to ignore him on a day like today.

But even with Tanaka under that sort of microscope, no one drew a bigger Yankee Stadium reaction than Alex Rodriguez. His ovation during pregame introductions was certainly the biggest, and it came with more cheers than boos. In the batters box, he had a hit and a walk as the only Yankees player to reach base more than once.

“I have to admit, it definitely felt good, that’s for sure,” Rodriguez said. “I have a lot of love for the city of New York, especially our fans. But let’s make it clear, the fans don’t owe me anything. (One thing) I’ve said all along in spring training is that part of feeling like a rookie is that I have to earn their cheers and earn their respect.”

He actually earned them today. On a day the Yankees had just three hits, Rodriguez was perhaps their best offensive weapon outside of Brett Gardner, whose home run accounted for the only Yankees run.

“I thought he performed well, and I thought he was received well,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought our fans were behind him and want to see him, in a sense, make a comeback.”

The fact Opening Day centered on a pitcher with a slightly torn elbow ligament and a hitter who hasn’t played in more than a year probably says a lot about the state of the Yankees. They’re a team loaded with uncertainty, and that uncertainty of course came front and center today. They walk a fine line. Today they didn’t hit very much, and for one inning, their No. 1 starter pitched poorly. That was enough for a lopsided loss.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a win,” Rodriguez said. “But I like this team a lot. This team showed a lot in spring training, I think it has a lot of potential.”

Is Rodriguez a part of that potential? Can he be an impact player for an offense that could use a real boost?

“I think overall my expectations are different now,” Rodriguez said. “I just want to contribute and help the team win. … It means the world to me (to be back). I don’t think I ever took it for granted, but I can guarantee you that I won’t take this year for granted.”

Paul Sanchez, Didi Gregorius• The offensive low point was surely in the eighth inning when the Yankees were down by five and had two runners on for cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira. That’s when — of all times — Didi Gregorius tried to steal third, getting thrown out easily to end the inning and destroy any chance for a rally. “I’m just going to chalk it up as someone trying to do too much,” Girardi said. “And in a game like this, you’re looking for a three-run homer there. (Gregorius’s) run doesn’t mean a whole lot. The guy behind you has to get a hit, in a sense. It’s probably a real good learning experience that it happened in game one here and hopefully it never happens again.”

• Gregorius explaining his decision to run: “They were shifting a little bit so I decided to try and take third but it was a bad mistake. … It was a bad mistake by me, I’ll admit it. I’ll admit that it was my mistake and it won’t happen again.”

• Also on Gregorius: He was on base because he’d been hit by a pitch in the elbow. The early indications are that he’ll be fine. “Hopefully he’s OK and hopefully the day off helps,” Girardi said. “He said he was OK. I think you have to wait to see how he feels on Wednesday, because sometimes there can be swelling after the game and you have to deal with it. He did not say that we needed to take him out, which was a good sign, but you never know in those situations.”

• From a low point to a high point: The Yankees’ bullpen pitched five innings with just one run. No one was better than Chris Martin, who struck out — in order — Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson in the fifth inning. That was quite the Yankees debut. “Some new guys who haven’t pitched in Yankee Stadium, I thought they fared pretty well,” Girardi said.

• The Yankees actually had Esmil Rogers getting loose as early as the third inning, but when Girardi went to the bullpen, he elected to use a bunch of relievers rather than lean on his only true long man. He wound up getting four first-time Yankee pitchers in the game. “I could have went to Esmil earlier,” Girardi said. “But I just thought I’d kind of spread it out to the bullpen. (Rogers) ended up getting in anyway. He’s our true long guy in a sense, but I thought to get all those guys in there.”

Chassn Shreve• Brett Gardner’s home run was the 100th Opening Day home run in franchise history. The last Yankee to homer on Opening Day was Raul Ibanez in 2012 at Tampa Bay. Today was Gardner’s first Opening Day home run.

• Players making their Yankees debut today: Gregorius, Martin, Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, David Carpenter. Chase Headley and Stephen Drew were with the team on Opening Day for the first time. Martin, Shreve and Carptenter combined to retire 12 of 13 batters from the fifth through eighth innings.

• Martin is the second Yankees pitcher since 1914 to strike out every batter faced in his team debut. The first to do so was Edwar Ramirez — with that ridiculous changeup — back in 2007.

• Good news: The Yankees’ pitchers tied a franchise Opening Day record with 12 strikeouts. Tanaka had half of them.

• Bad news: The Yankees hitters had just three hits, their fewest on Opening Day since also having just three in 1984.

• This was the Yankees’ fourth consecutive Opening Day loss, their longest losing streak since also losing four in a row from 1982 to 1985.

• Final word goes to Girardi on Tanaka’s arm strength: “I think all of our guys still need to (build arm strength). We saw 93, 94 in (Tanaka’s) first game in spring training. I think it’s something that all of our guys still build upon. It’s just getting into a long season. It’s a long season for these guys, and we want them for the long term. We felt this spot is the best spot for him considering the extra days and all of that. He pitched really well for us and we thought he would handle today well. It just didn’t work out.”

Associated Press photos

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Pregame notes: Yankees might not name a true closer04.03.15

Dellin Betances

For years, Joe Girardi has talked about the value of defined roles in the bullpen. Even this spring he’s talked about it. Relievers like to know when they’re getting in a game, and so it helps to have a true closer, setup man, long reliever, lefty specialist, etc.

But on this final day of camp, it seems the Yankees might be prepared to go into the season with more flexibility than definition in their pen. Girardi strongly indicated that he has no plan of naming a closer and will instead mix-and-match the final two innings, using Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances interchangeably depending on matchups.

“I really think that if you do it that way, and as long as you’re prepared, it has a chance to be advantageous to you,” Girardi said.

Girardi said the Yankees have not prioritized a closer decision, and now it seems they won’t make a decision at all. Instead, Girardi said he’s looking at Miller and Betances as his eighth- and ninth-inning relievers, but he’s open to using either one in either role. If there are lefties coming up in the eighth, then Miller will be the setup man and Betances the closer. If there are more lefties due up in the ninth, the roles will reverse.

“My thought has been more like with a power lefty who strikes out a lot of guys and a power righty, the lineups just might match up where one day he’s the eighth inning guy and then one day he’s the ninth inning guy a little bit better,” Giradri said. “… I think you start managing who you’re going to use (in the ninth) in about the sixth inning, because you try to prepare them.”

The flexibility goes beyond the ninth. The Yankees are currently planning to carry three lefties, but Girardi has said none is necessarily a true left-on-left specialist. They’ll all be used to get right-handers out as well. And while Esmil Rogers is the only real long man in the pen, today Girardi named him along with David Carpenter and Justin Wilson as options to will basically the seventh-inning role that Adam Warren had last season. Chasen Shreve was a starter through much of his minor league career, and Chris Martin has pitching multiple innings this spring, so one of those two might be available for long relief if necessary.

The Yankees see their bullpen as a strength, but they also see it as a evolving piece of the roster, which could change from day to day and game to game.

“I’ve talked to both (Miller and Betances)” Girardi said. “They’re concerned about winning more than (roles), in the sense of I’m this guy, I’m this guy. That’s the sense I’ve got from them. Now, could it iron itself out and you start to do it one way? Yes. But we talked a little bit about it yesterday. I’ll continue to talk about it with my coaches and Larry and his feelings about it as they get a feel, and Gary Tuck who’s in the bullpen, what do you think the importance of it is that we actually set a role? But as of right now, we haven’t felt that we have to.”

CC Sabathia• CC Sabathia is cleared for 80-85 pitches today. This will be his final start before pitching the third game of the season. Sabathia has so far thrown only 4.2 innings this spring and will surely break camp with less than 10 innings of actually game experience, but Girardi said he’s satisfied that Sabathia’s gotten all the work he needs. After one regular season start, he’ll basically be as stretched out as any other starter, and the Yankees prioritized taking it slow ahead of giving him a ton of spring training work.

• Normal day off for Alex Rodriguez today. Carlos Beltran is also sitting out a second straight day because of flu-like symptoms. Girardi said he expects both to play tomorrow’s final exhibition game in Washington D.C.

• Still no catcher decision. Girardi said both John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine will make tomorrow’s trip to D.C. He expects to make a final decision after tomorrow’s game.

• Although they’re playing in a National League park, the Yankees will use a designated hitter tomorrow. Girardi said he expects to give all of his regulars a few at-bats. Sounds like the Opening Day lineup might be in there tomorrow.

• Talked to Slade Heathcott a little bit this morning. I didn’t realize this, but Heathcott said this should be the first year he’s ever broken camp with a team. Amazing how much injuries have slowed him down, but a source said yesterday that the team is planning to open Heathcott in Triple-A strictly because he’s played so well this spring. He finally feels fully healthy. “DL and injury are not in my vocab anymore,” Heathcott said.

• Just based on a few conversations these past few days, it seems a bunch of the upper-level minor league relievers are getting anxious to find out about Opening Day assignments. They all seem to recognize that there are way too many guys for the Triple-A bullpen, so some are going to naturally be forced back to Double-A. These guys have to get an apartment somewhere in the next few days, and right now it seems none of them has a clue where he’s going.

• The two Tommy John rehab guys, Ivan Nova and Vicente Campos, are each throwing bullpens today. Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled for long toss and some flat ground work.

Today’s second string: C Austin Romine, 1B Jonathan Galvez, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Nick Noonan, 3B Eric Jagielo, LF Ben Gamel, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Ramon Flores, DH Stephen Drew

Today’s scheduled relievers: Chasen Shreve, Andrew Bailey, Branden Pinder, Cesar Vargas, Nick Goody

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith Comments Off

Postgame notes: “He got through all the hurdles”03.31.15

Masahiro Tanaka

No one in the Yankees clubhouse — not the manager, not the catcher, not the pitcher himself — had particularly good things to say about Masahiro Tanaka’s final spring training start on Tuesday, yet everyone involved seemed to think it an overwhelming success.

Never mind the seven hits, the three runs or the consistent hard contract. On the final day of March, Tanaka threw 76 pitches and finished his spring on track to start Opening Day.

“He got through all the hurdles,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t really ever feel we needed to give him an extra day or be cautious. He never reported any trouble with his arm or feeling stiff after a start more than normal. So I felt that was all good stuff.”

Even after today’s rough start, Tanaka finished his spring with a 3.07 ERA. He walked one batter in 14.2 innings. Today he yet again focused on two-seamers, threw only a few four-seam fastballs — “Enough to know there were four-seams involved,” Austin Romine said — and got some good results with his slider, which helped make up for an inconsistent splitter. It wasn’t a good way to end the spring, but there was no indication that Tanaka was hurt or worried.

“I feel good that I was able to come through camp healthy right now,” he said. “I think I’m a bit relieved. … As far as going into the season, I’m pretty confident of where I am, how strong I am. Yeah, I feel good going into the season.”

From electing not to undergo Tommy John surgery last season to progressing slowly this spring, Tanaka has taken a conservative approach to managing his elbow. He threw fewer innings than he did last spring, and he’ll be limited to roughly 90 pitches on Opening Day, but he’s made every start, completed every bullpen, and complained of no pain or discomfort.

Under the circumstances, Tanaka’s spring has gone about as well as the Yankees could have hoped.

“I felt pretty decent about him going into the offseason,” Girardi said. “But I think you feel a little bit better now just watching him go through his starts and getting built up. But you never know about pitchers today. … There’s a lot of guys that have slight (tears) and they pitch for a while. For whatever reason, some guys go right away and some guys pitch.”

The Yankees are banking on Tanaka being one of the guys who pitch.

Chris Young• Jacoby Ellsbury told reporters in Tampa that the came through today’s minor league game just fine. He had two hits, also apparently made a decent play in left center. “It’s not a controlled environment,” Ellsbury said. “It’s not like you’re hitting off a tee. You’re seeing different things, swings and misses, check swings, stuff like that. This is the best test for it, game action. Until you get out there and actually do some explosive stuff, you really don’t know, but it was great.”

• Not such a strong day for Adam Warren. I don’t have his pitching line, but he acknowledged that the results weren’t great in his minor league outing. “The results weren’t the best,” he said. “Just trying to get ready for the season. It’s tough out here to get the adrenaline going, so you try to lock it in, work on some things. That’s really what I try to focus on, getting ready for the season. … Throwing changeups for strikes is one thing I was working on. The more I kept throwing it, the better it got, so I felt like I improved there.”

• Warren said he still hasn’t been told whether he’s the fifth starter, but today he was stretched out to more than 80 pitches. He’s also on scheduled to start the fifth game of the season on an extra day of rest. That rotation spot seems like a done deal.

• Girardi indicated that he’s still confident Didi Gregorius will be ready for Opening Day, but when he said “obviously we’d like him to play before we leave,” Girardi seemed to be acknowledging that Gregorius might not play in another game before breaking camp. If that’s the case, have to wonder if the Yankees might retroactive a DL stint and consider carrying either Nick Noonan or Rob Refsnyder to start the season.

• Austin Romine went 0-for-3 and cut his batting average down to .143. He’s still in the mix for the backup catcher job, but at this point, John Ryan Murphy is hitting 73 points higher. “I’m just playing,” Romine said. “I’m playing to make this team. I’m also playing for other teams out there. I would like nothing more than to make it on this team, that’s my goal. It’s out of my hands. I just play. I try not to worry about that stuff. It’s hard sometimes, but I try not to worry about it.”

• It’s worth noting that the Yankees constantly stress to young players that they should remember other teams are watching, so Romine bringing up “playing for other teams out there” is not unusual, and not even against what the Yankees preach to their young guys. It’s just the reality of the situation. Romine knows he’s out of options and knows his best opportunity might come elsewhere. “I’m kind of eager to see what happens,” he said. “… I haven’t packed at all. I’ve cleaned some stuff. I knew the situation this year, so I came a little light, but I’m ready to go wherever.”

Kyle Higashioka• Still in the mix for a spot in the bullpen, big right-hander Chris Martin was terrific this afternoon. He retired all six batters he faced, striking out three of them. “Threw good today,” Girardi said. “Really good. Good downhill angle, good breaking ball. Really good.”

• Sent to minor league camp on Sunday, Ramon Flores forgot his jersey for this trip and had to wear someone else’s. No matter, he made a nice catch in right field and went 2-for-4 with the Yankees’ only RBI in a 3-1 loss. … Brett Gardner was also on base twice with a single and a walk (he was also picked off at first). … Danny Burawa pitched a scoreless inning immediately after Branden Pinder retired the only two batters he faced.

• Pretty typical spring training day for Rob Refsnyder. He singled, walked and committed a throwing error. It was his sixth error of the spring, and it came after he made a nice diving play. He made the stop, then botched the throw. The guy has definitely hit though. He has a .342 average this spring.

• Final word goes to Girardi, one more time talking about Tanaka: “I think he’s ready to go. The fact of him being the first starter gives him more days (off), six days, than any of the other starters. We wanted to make sure that he was ready, and the fact that he can only go 90 instead of 100 is not a big deal.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith Comments Off

Postgame notes: “See the game from a totally different lens”03.29.15

Jose Altuve, Alex Rodriguez

Bottom of the first, the Yankees first out of the game was a routine 5-3 grounder. Except this time, Alex Rodriguez was the 3, not the 5. Making his career debut at first base, Rodriguez looked perhaps awkward, but passable at the position. He had three chances — two throws and one ground ball — and made all the plays.

“It was quite interesting after 20 years in the league to see the game from a totally different lens,” Rodriguez said. “It was pretty cool. … Not relieved. It was fun. Any time I get to go out and play the field and play baseball, I have a good time. I do hope, in all seriousness, that I can be an asset for Joe at some point during the year. If Tex or Chase needs a blow at some point, hopefully I can be an asset for Joe at some point.”

Alex Rodriguez, Joe GirardiThat seems to be the plan for Rodriguez in the field. He’s not going to play defense very often, and when he does, the Yankees just want him to make the routine plays. Play a passable version of first and third and Rodriguez will do his job. There’s a solid chance he won’t even get a turn at first during the regular season, but the Yankees want him to get some experience there just in case.

“It’s not something we’re looking to do,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s if something happens to one of our other guys. I would feel comfortable throwing him out there. I think he can handle it just fine. … The toughest things are when you get into cuts, relays and bunts, and we didn’t get into any of that today. Fielding ground balls, I’m not worried about that. Really, I’m not. Catching the ball, I’m not worried about that. I’d think he’d be pretty good around the bag, even scooping, because you get a lot of those hot shots at (third) base.”

Rodriguez took throws from third base and second base, but his toughest play was on a ball to his right. He had to charge it and field on a kind of in-between hop. He bobbled briefly but made a good throw to Nathan Eovaldi covering the bag.

“I’ve never made that play,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like a quarterback hitting my tight end on the run. I’ve never done that before, I don’t think.”

More important is the fact Rodriguez went 1-for-1 with a walk. He’s still having a great spring at the plate, he’s been healthy enough to play regularly, and both Girardi and Brian Cashman today said they’ve been happy with the way he’s settled back into the clubhouse.

“I’m happy to be playing baseball,” Rodriguez said. “I’m here to play baseball, I’m here to do exactly what my bosses want me to do, and I just want to help the team win. I’ll tell you that I’m a lot more happy, fortunate, and grateful than I was 12 months ago.”

John Ryan Murphy• A quick heads up that we’re doing a chat tomorrow at noon. Stop by if you can. It’s the last off day before the Yankees get out of Tampa, and there’s obviously plenty to talk about. Chat. Here. Noon. Be there if you can.

• Girardi said there’s no real concern about Mark Teixeira after he was hit by a pitch to the knee in a minor league game this afternoon. Teixeira got some ice treatment and is expected to play again — as scheduled — on Wednesday. Didi Gregorius is also still on track for Wednesday, and Jacoby Ellsbury remains on track to play Tuesday.

• As the Yankees head into a Monday off day, Girardi said he hopes to set his roster — picking a backup catcher and deciding on the final two spots in the bullpen — before Saturday’s exhibition game in D.C. “I would hope we would have everything done before we go,” Girardi said. “Sometimes you don’t, because there might be other things involved that are out of my control.”

• Even with Esmil Rogers and Chase Whitley pitching out of the bullpen today — and seemingly every other rotation candidate shipped out of camp — Girardi is still not ready to name Adam Warren his fifth starter. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to some other players I need to talk to before I make any more announcements,” he said.

Nathan Eovaldi• While Girardi has said a few times that he’s not sure he’ll set a closer before the end of spring training, he said that if does make such a decision, he’ll make it known. The closer role won’t be a mystery heading into Opening Day. “Whatever we have the first game, there will be a plan in place on what we’re going to do,” Girardi said. “If I was to name a closer, I’d make it public.”

• Another good start for Nathan Eovaldi who went 4.2 scoreless innings with three hits, no walks and five strikeouts. It’s been a good and encouraging spring for him. “Just being able to use all four of my pitches (has been the best thing),” Eovaldi said. “Last year it was either fastball or slider. Now I’ve been able to mix in the curveball first pitch, using the split, and then being able to elevate with the fastball as well.”

• One downside to Eovaldi’s outing: it took him 89 pitches to get through 4.2 innings. Just not overly efficient considering he had so few base runners. He did have five strikeouts, but he had a lot more strikeout opportunities. “I felt like they were fouling off every pitch,” Eovaldi said. “I felt like I’d get ahead 1-2, 0-2 and then they’d work the count 3-2. I’d have to battle through it, but fortunately I didn’t walk anybody today and I was able to pitch out of it. … It’s important to me (to put guys away). I don’t want to get into those counts, those 3-2s. In my head, 0-2, 1-2, I need to be able to put them away with one or two pitches.”

• Girardi on Eovaldi: “He’s had a really good spring. I thought he pitched really well again today. He’s got a lot of life on his fastball. I think his split has developed, I think his curveball, he uses it effectively, his slider, I like what I see. He holds runners. We like him.”

Chase Headley• After being stretched out most of the spring, Chase Whitley faced just one batter today. He entered in the middle of an inning and got a strikeout to end it. Now that he’s working with a windup, Whitley said it actually felt important to have a day like this when he didn’t know when he was coming into a game. He had to get ready fairly quickly, and he’ll have to do that if he has a bullpen role this season.

• Speaking of Whitley’s role, he’s not sure whether he’s going to be a major league reliever or a minor league starter, but he seems ready to roll with either decision. He said he’s literally just trying to think about each pitch, letting the eventual role take care of itself. “You can paint enough small pictures to get a big picture,” he said. Good line.

• Esmil Rogers went 1.2 hitless innings today, Chasen Shreve went 1.1 hitless, and Jose Ramirez allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth. Ramirez also struck out two.

• Chase Headley’s strong spring continued with a home run, his third of the year. That was part of a three-hit day. … Rob Refsnyder had two hits, both doubles. … John Ryan Murphy and Stephen Drew each doubled. For Murphy, that’s important. He’s started to hit, which might help him in the catcher competition. … Brendan Ryan had a hit today. He also struck out twice.

• Final word goes to Girardi talking about Rodriguez: “There was probably more intrigue around him from all of us and probably from himself. I’m sure he had confidence in what he could do, but when you sit out a year and you don’t play a lot for two years, you’re probably curious what it’s going to feel like, how I’m going to feel every day, how my body is going to respond. I think it’s responded pretty well. I think he’s handled it well and he’s played well, so we’re encouraged by it.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith Comments Off

Postgame notes: “Y’all can put stock in whatever you want”03.28.15

CC Sabathia

Given the option of facing a divisional opponent or pitching in a minor league game, CC Sabathia chose the minor leagues. Then he went to the complex, gave up a long home run on his first pitch, and allowed a three-run home run two innings later.

While Sabathia insists he feels better than he’s felt in years, he’s already allowed five home runs in three spring outings and his official 11.57 ERA — which doesn’t count today’s four runs in five innings — is the highest on the team.

“I don’t give a (darn) what stock they put in it,” Sabathia said, using a word far more racy than darn. “It is what it is. I’ve had spring trainings where I’ve given up a lot of runs and went out and had a good season. I’ve had spring trainings like last year where I didn’t give up no runs, and I gave up five in the first game. Y’all can put stock in whatever you want. I’m not really worried about it.”

SabathiaSabathia is defiant that this spring has left him feeling confident. He’s said his surgically repaired right knee feels strong, and his velocity has been legitimately higher than in recent springs. He’s consistently reaching 92-93 mph with his fastball, and his offspeed pitches have been good if not consistent.

“You look at his stuff,” Joe Girardi said. “You try to evaluate his stuff and how you feel about that. What we’ve seen this year is much more positive than what we’ve seen the last (few years), you know, in velocity, the discrepancy between that and the change up and slider, so now to me it’s just ironing out and being more consistent.”

It’s not particularly unusual for a pitcher to not want to face a division team in spring training, but by passing on a start against the Orioles, Sabathia was left open to obvious questions about a five-inning, four-run start against minor leaguers. He walked two and struck out seven.

“Today was a day when we were trying to work on the changeup,” Sabathia said. “I get runners on first and second or whatever it was (and threw) a couple of changeups. Me and (catcher Brian McCann) wanted to work on it so I threw it again. The guy hits a homer. I probably won’t throw it like that in a game.”

McCann noted that he’s seen Sabathia get stronger from start to start. He said he really sees that added strength late in games. McCann said Sabathia’s stuff was basically the same in today’s fifth inning as it was in the first inning.

“The ball was coming out great,” McCann said. “I thought he threw the ball great. Two-seamer was running really good. Ambushed a couple of hits, but all in all, I thought the ball was coming out fantastic. … When you go over there, you’re not pitching to scouting reports. You get guys set up, and then you think you can get something in there, and they hit it. But all in all, I thought changeup was really good, fastball to both sides of the plate, and the slider was great today.”

Sabathia has one more spring start before he pitches the third game of the regular season.

“I was able to go out there five times and pitch five innings and feel great,” he said. “Like I said, I haven’t had any problems. I’m just looking forward to getting into the season and trying to help this team.”

Alex Rodriguez• Alex Rodriguez raised his slash line to .306/.405/.583 and hit his team-leading third home run in a 10-2 loss to Baltimore. “Numbers mean nothing,” Rodriguez said. “But you definitely want to pass the eye test. That means moving around better, putting balls in play, and hitting balls in the mid-90s. Those are things I haven’t done in over a year and a half, so everything for me this year – this spring, at least – is a test.”

• While the numbers might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, they do seem to provide some hope that Rodriguez might have something left. It was one thing when he was drawing walks and getting into good counts early in spring training, but now he seems to be putting together good and productive at-bats even in the final week of exhibition games. “Overall, it’s just repetition,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve said it all along. Any time you can keep adding up at-bats, it’s a good thing.”

• While his first two spring home runs left plenty of doubt off the bat, today’s was clearly gone from the moment Rodriguez made contact. “That one felt good,” he said. “I was excited about that one.”

• Plan is still to have Rodriguez start at first base tomorrow.

• More good news on Jacoby Ellsbury, who came through today’s batting practice with no problems. He’s scheduled for more BP tomorrow and remains on track to play a minor league game on Tuesday.

• No real update on Jose Pirela. “I don’t know what he did today,” Giradi said. “He said he felt better. I didn’t ask him what he did today.”

• Sabathia is certainly not the only Yankees pitcher putting up numbers that aren’t exactly encouraging. Dellin Betances has now allowed a run in five straight outings. He had one walk, one strikeout and allowed a single today. “I’ve been leaving the ball up,” Betances said. “When I get ahead, I leave the ball up. Today, the contact wasn’t as hard. Obviously the first guy I fell behind 3-1 and he had a good swing, but after that, I felt like I threw some good pitches. I’ll be ready.”

Dellin Betances, Juan Lagares• Betances said he’s been working on his leg kick with Larry Rothschild. Concerning that, after being so good last year, he’s having some mechanical issues this spring? “It’s not like I’m missing as bad as I once was (in the minor leagues),” He said. “I’m around the zone. I felt way better even before I came in. I felt like my direction was better, something I’ll try to work on more. As that gets better, I think I’ll be able to throw more strikes and put guys away.”

• Giradri said he was encouraged because Betances had a better breaking ball today. “It’s not what you want,” Girardi said. “But one thing you always talk about a lot is don’t judge people on spring training, right? Sometimes a different beast comes out Opening Day. If this was happening the first month, you’d say, OK, what’s going on? But, I thought he was better today, and I think when the season starts, he’ll be right.”

• Speaking of bullpen guys, Andrew Bailey had another scoreless inning today. Chasen Shreve also pitched a scoreless inning. Those were the pitching bright spots for sure. Otherwise, it was kind of a mess today. Jacob Lindgren allowed his first earned run of the spring. Chris Martin struck out two but let two inherited runners score on a double. Justin Wilson got three strikeouts, but those were hit runners that scored on Martin’s watch.

• Worst pitching line of the day belonged to Scott Baker, who seemed to pitch himself into the roster conversation with a strong outing against the Mets last weekend. This time he had a clean first inning before allowing five runs on five hits including a homer in the second inning. “Physically, I felt great,” Baker said. “First inning, I made some good pitches. Then in the second inning, they found a couple holes and then they got the big hit. Maybe out of the stretch a little bit I was kind of feeling for it, but overall, I felt good. The results don’t necessarily show how I felt.”

• Over at the miner league complex, Bryan Mitchell was hit by a Gary Sanchez throw to second base. He finished the outing and is apparently fine.

• Despite the fact Esmil Rogers is making tomorrow’s road trip to pitch out of the bullpen, Girardi still wouldn’t name a fifth starter today. “Actually we’re going to sit down and talk today about what we’re going to do,” Girardi said.

• Here’s Sabathia talking about Masahiro Tanaka being chosen for Opening Day: “I’m excited for him. I think it’ll be a good deal. I know he’s excited to get a chance to do that. I’m excited to get a chance to be able to enjoy Opening Day. It should be fun.”

• Final word goes to McCann, who’s predictably staying optimistic about underperforming pitchers: “Spring training is not (the regular season),” McCann said. “Adrenaline plays a huge factor in results. You run out of the bullpen with 50,000 people in the stands, if you’re throwing 94 (in spring training), you’re going to throw 97, 98. Adrenaline plays a huge factor in both sides, hitting and pitching. When the lights turn on, it’s a whole other ball game.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith Comments Off

Pregame notes: “I just keep my head down, and I keep working”03.28.15

David Carpenter, Austin Romine

Austin Romine’s never come to spring training as a favorite. He’s competed for a job many times, had a chance to open plenty of eyes, but there’s always been someone ahead of him on the projected depth chart whether it was Chris Stewart or Francisco Cervelli or — this year — John Ryan Murphy.

How do we know Murphy was ahead of Romine coming into this spring? Because the Yankees left no doubt last season. Romine got a long look in 2013, but it was Murphy who got the extended opportunity in 2014. Romine got a couple cups of coffee last year, that’s it. He didn’t even get a September call-up when the roster first expanded.

MurphyRomine“Last year was tough at the beginning,” Romine said. “It was tough to be, I don’t want to say forgotten. Not forgotten. Just, it’s a business. Stuff happens. Moves get made. You can’t blame people for that. It was tough in the beginning, but once I kind of settled in an figured out, I still have to play good baseball wherever I am. That’s basically what I told myself every day. It was rough for a little while, but I kind of got over it. I got my head down and I started working again.”

This spring, Romine came into camp recognizing it for what it is. It’s another opportunity, perhaps his last in this organization. Murphy might be the favorite, but Romine spent his winter at an intense training facility in California. He said he threw up after the first eight workouts. He ultimately lost 10 pounds, came to camp lean and strong.

He showed up to prove himself. He gets the start behind the plate today, which is another opportunity to do that.

“Everybody says they’re in the best shape ever when they come into spring training,” Romine said. “But I literally was. I wanted to be able to go into the office when they call me — if I’m going up or going down — and know that I gave it everything I had, because they deserve it. They’ve given me a lot, and I want to be the backup catcher to give back to them. They’ve put me in a position to be where I am in my life, so I feel like I owe it to them to give it everything I have.”

Neither Romine nor Murphy has had a particularly good spring at the plate. Murphy’s gotten going a little bit lately, but he still has just a .492 OPS. Romine has a .477. Romine is out of options. Murphy is not. Brian Cashman has said that’s a factor that could play into the decision of who wins the job. In a way, that gives Romine an advantage, if he can only show he’s worth another opportunity.

“I came in here with a plan,” Romine said. “And I’ve put myself in a good position to achieve that plan. I just keep my head down, and I keep working, and I get down what I need to get done. Hopefully I make this team. … I have no idea, no idea (what’s going to happen). Murph doesn’t either. No one does. We just keep playing. They’ll figure it out. That’s their job, so we just keep playing.”

CC Sabathia• A reminder that CC Sabathia is pitching in a minor league game today while Scott Baker starts the big league game against Baltimore. Bryan Mitchell, who was originally scheduled to start against the Orioles, said he’s also going to pitch at the minor league complex.

• Tomorrow’s travel squad includes Esmil Rogers, who’s clearly making the trip to pitch out of the bullpen. That seems to be yet another sign that Adam Warren has won the fifth-starter job.

• It will be interesting to see how the long relief role plays out. Obviously Rogers is stretched out and could be one long man, but given the rotation concerns, the Yankees surely want another guy who’s capable of multiple innings. Baker and Chase Whitley are — in my opinion — the top candidates for that job ahead of Mitchell, who makes more sense as Triple-A rotation depth. While Baker is getting a chance to start today, Whitley is on the travel squad for tomorrow, obviously scheduled to pitch an inning or two of relief.

• Ivan Nova has now thrown four bullpens that have included breaking balls. He said his arm still feels great. He’s happy and encouraged by the way his Tommy John rehab has gone. All positive so far.

• Masahiro Tanaka and Adam Warren each threw a side today.

WilsonJonesToday’s second string: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Nick Noonan, 3B Jonathan Galvez, LF Ramon Flores, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Garrett Jones

Today’s scheduled relievers: Justin Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller (with Nick Rumbelow, Danny Burawa, Diego Moreno and Tyler Webb listed as available just in case)

• Tomorrow’s travel squad to Kissimmee:

Pitchers: Danny Burawa, Nathan Eovaldi, Jacob Lindgren, Jose Ramirez, Esmil Rogers, Nick Rumbelow, Chasen Shreve, Chase Whitley
Catchers: Francisco Arcia, Kyle Higashioka, John Ryan Murphy, Eddy Rodriguez, Austin Romine
Infielders: Stephen Drew, Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, Nick Noonan, Rob Refsnyder, Alex Rodriguez, Brendan Ryan
Outfielders: Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott
From minor league camp: RHP Cesar Vargas, RHP Nick Goody, LHP Fred Lewis, INF Dan Fiorito, OF Ben Gamel, OF Aaron Judge, OF Michael O’Neill

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith Comments Off

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