The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Video: Masahiro Tanaka throws another bullpen

Taboola Home/Section Front Player


Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow is firmly planted in “no news is good news” territory. And today there seems to be no news. As long as he’s throwing pretty typical bullpens and facing hitters with no issues, he’ll be moving in the right direction, so today’s bullpen seems to be one of those small, positive steps. Tanaka showed no signs of pain or discomfort. Here’s some video.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 11:04 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Wednesday morning notes: Mason Williams playing with something to prove

Mason Williams

There are three distinct groups in today’s Yankees lineup.

1. The big league infielders. Familiar names all around the diamond, each with well-established story lines, from bounce back seasons, to lingering health issues, to a young shortstop trying to make a strong first impression.

2. The designated hitter. A thoroughly unique situation, and the one that will most certainly generate the most attention this afternoon. Is there any chance Alex Rodriguez won’t be the focus today? Nope.

3. The young outfielders. Three guys on the 40-man roster but with no time in the big leagues. All three have a chance to play a big league role this season (and a chance to be overshadowed and forgotten by September).

Of the nine players in today’s batting order, the one most easy to dismiss just might be the guy who, only two years ago, was considered by many to be the top prospect in the entire Yankees system. Mason Williams gets the start in center field today, one year after he hit just .223/.290/.304 in Double-A.

“Obviously everyone knows this is a game of failure,” Williams said. “And for me, honestly, that’s the first time I’ve ever really failed (at baseball). For me, honestly, last year was probably the biggest year of my career so far. I feel like I learned the most I could have by going through that failure and seeing my struggles. Now I feel like I’m knowing what I do when I go wrong and how to not put myself back into that situation.”

There is no doubt Williams has a lot to prove this season, especially when he can look around the Yankees clubhouse and see Ramon Flores sitting right next to him, Slade Heathcott two lockers away, Jake Cave wandering through the middle lockers, and Aaron Judge generating as much attention as anyone other than A-Rod. Williams used to be a standout. Now he’s a guy with big tools and disappointing numbers in a system heavy on upper-level outfield prospects.

But it says quite a bit that the Yankees protected him from the Rule 5 draft this winter. His speed and defense are already seen as big league ready. It’s the bat that has to make some strides.

“For me, I learned that I’ve got to give myself chances,” Williams said. “Last year, I struggled, and I feel like I gave a lot of at-bats away. And that’s something I want to clean up this year. … I want to be a better player in general. I want to be a better teammate. I want to be better on the field, in the dugout. Even in my house. I just want to be a better person. I feel like if I try to be that, other things will be OK.”

Williams arrived in camp in good shape. He said he began really focusing on the nuances of the game last season, and he feels like a smarter player because of it. He spent his offseason training at home in Orlando, driving the hour or so to the minor league complex every once in a while to check in. With that new spot on the 40-man, Williams isn’t simply setting his sights on finally conquering Double-A. Players on the 40-man are one opportunity and one phone call away from the big leagues.

“It definitely shows they still believe in me,” Williams said. “I obviously still have a lot of faith in myself, and I believe in myself. Knowing that they still believe in me, come out here and try to help New York this year and try to win a championship.”

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira• The clubhouse opened to media pretty early this morning, and there was no sign of Rodriguez, who’s return to the lineup will obviously be the biggest story of the day. I assume he’s hitting second to make it a little easier to give him extra at-bats. It’s worth noting that no one is listed as the backup DH for today. Someone might replace him at some point, but the Yankees seem to be leaving Rodriguez’s playing time pretty open-ended.

• Ramon Flores is starting in left field today. Long overshadowed by guys like Williams, Flores has become an organizational standout. A severe ankle injury probably robbed him of a big league call-up last season, but he put up a .347/.435/.505 slash line in winter ball. Flores said his ankle was never 100 percent even after he came off the disabled list late last season, and he was still nervous about it when he started playing this winter. Eventually, though, he became convinced that he was completely healthy, and the results were pretty overwhelming.

• In the other outfield corner is Tyler Austin, who finally recovered from a lingering wrist injury last season and hit .336/.397/.557 in the second half. While Austin acknowledged heath might have played a part in that, he said that strong second half had more to do with physical adjustments he’d been working on with hitting coach Marcus Thames. They simply began to click in the second half, and the numbers took off. Count Austin among many, many people in the organization who love Thames has a hitting guru.

• Vicente Campos threw a 25-pitch bullpen yesterday. It was all fastballs, and Campos said he’ll start incorporating changeups next week. Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Campos said he’s targeting May for his return to game action.

• Today is the two-year anniversary of Brian Cashman breaking his ankle while skydiving. Cashman said he was invited to try it again but turned down the invitation.

• Jose De Paula is throwing a simulated game today. He’ll pitch to Kyle Higashioka and face Greg Bird and Cito Culver.

Capuano (2)TanakaThree bullpen sessions today:

Chris Capuano (to John Ryan Murphy)
Masahiro Tanaka (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Domingo German (to Juan Graterol)

Today’s second string: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Nick Noonan, SS Cito Culver, 3B Cole Figueroa, LF Jake Cave, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Aaron Judge

Today’s scheduled relievers: Andrew Miller, Kyle Davies, Danny Burawa, Wilking Rodriguez, James Pazos, Tyler Webb (with Nick Rumbelow, Scott Baker and Jose Ramirez listed as just-in-case options)

Tomorrow’s travel squad to Bradenton:

Pitchers: Jacob Lindgren, Diego Moreno, Esmil Rogers, Nick Rumbelow, Chasen Shreve, Chase Whitley
Catchers: Trent Garrison, John Ryan Murphy, Eddy Rodriguez, Austin Romine
Infielders: Greg Bird, Cito Culver, Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, Garrett Jones, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder, Kyle Roller
Outfielders: Tyler Austin, Jake Cave, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ramon Flores, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Mason Williams, Chris Young
Up from minor league camp: SS Tyler Wade, RHP Cesar Vargas, LHP Fred Lewis, RHP Zach Nuding, RHP Taylor Garrison

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 10:03 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A-Rod batting second for spring home opener

RodriguezDidi Gregorius SS
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Tyler Austin RF
Ramon Flores LF
Mason Williams CF

RHP Nathan Eovaldi

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 8:12 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

17 months, 1 week and 1 day later: A-Rod “a little nervous” about return

Alex Rodriguez

September 25, 2013.

In the fifth inning of a five-run loss to the Rays, Alex Rodriguez struck out looking at a 93 mph fastball from David Price. It was a five-pitch at-bat, and Rodriguez never swung once. He hasn’t had a professional at-bat since.

Wednesday will be 17 months, one week, one day, three lawsuits and one season-long suspension since Rodriguez was last in uniform, in the lineup, and in the batter’s box against major-league pitching.

“I’ll be a little nervous, for sure,” Rodriguez said this morning. “I haven’t been in front of our fans for a long time, I’m excited about that. I have some challenges ahead.”

Truth is, Rodriguez was facing challenges even during that last at-bat of 2013. He was banged up back then, dealing with hamstring and calf injuries that ultimately kept him out of the lineup the final four games of that season. He was pulled for a pinch hitter three innings after the strikeout, and he finished the season having hit .203 for the month of September. That’s to say nothing of the looming appeal hearing and everything else that as going on off the field.

“That was a different time. That was a crazy time,” Rodriguez said. “To be honest with you, I don’t even know how I did what I did. It was a blur. I know that I hit a grand slam (against) San Francisco (late in the year) and was like, wow, that’s pretty cool. I think I’m in a much better place today. I’m in better shape.”

It’s interesting that Rodriguez immediately remembered that grand slam against the Giants (even if he said it was in San Francisco, not in the Bronx, as it actually was). I actually had no idea what he was talking about, but looking back, it was the last home run Rodriguez hit before his suspension. It was a tied game, and Rodriguez turned it into a win. He only had one more hit before he was shutdown for the rest of the season, and ultimately suspended for the next season.

No wonder it stands out in his mind. It really was his last great moment before fading away.

“I’m excited for tomorrow. Totally,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s just that time. Ready to go. Not sure how ready, but I’ll give it a shot.”

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 9:55 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Tuesday notes: Ellsbury and Gardner looking to become one-two punch

Phanatic, Joe Girardi

Luis Severino and Aaron Judge surely spark some optimism for the future, but if you were looking for immediate impact in the present, the big names from today’s Yankees spring opener were Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.

“I think we can do some damage as long as we both stay healthy and do our jobs,” Gardner said. “Get on base and take some attention from the hitter and (put it) on us from the pitcher and the catcher; get over into scoring position and give those guys in the middle of the lineup some RBI opportunities.”

That’s the idea, and the Yankees might actually be able to put it into action this season. When Ellsbury signed last winter, there was some immediate thought about the impact he and Gardner might have together as speed-oriented hitters and defenders. They played well side-by-side in the outfield, but they rarely hit together in the lineup. It seems inevitable that they’ll do that this year.

Brett Gardner“I think it’ll be fun,” Ellsbury said. “Having speed at the top of the lineup, you can do a lot of different things. Score a lot of different ways.”

They didn’t do much today — a combined 0-for-6 — but last season, Gardner and Ellsbury ranked first and second in OPS among Yankees everyday players. They combined for 60 steals and each hit more home runs than any Yankee other than Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. They are, perhaps, the most reliable pieces of this season’s projected lineup.

“If I play a full season this year and hit six (home runs), or if I hit 20, it really doesn’t matter to me,” Gardner said. “I still have to get on base. I don’t have to drive myself in. I just have to get on base and put myself into scoring position and those guys in the middle will drive me in if they’re healthy. … Get on base a little more (than last year), run a little more, and just use my speed to my advantage. Just taking things pitch by pitch, try and keep things simple. I kind of felt like I fell off a little bit towards the end of the season, the last month of last year. Right now I feel great. Just stay strong, try to stay healthy all season.”

For Ellsbury, hitting ahead of Gardner means he should have plenty of chances to run. Gardner’s a patient hitter, and Ellsbury can be an aggressive runner.

“I tend to go early in the count just to give a hitter a better opportunity before he’s down in the count or whatnot,” Ellsbury said. “But yeah, if I don’t go early, it just gives me opportunities to take a base. Brett does a good job with the bat and controlling the bat. Maybe he just advances me from second to third with no outs, something like that. … If I feel I can go, I’m going to take off unless they give me the red light and want the guy to hit if they’re so focused on the hitter seeing a pitch. I feel if I get my jump, I’m going to make it more often than not.”

Adam Warren• Pretty solid first outing for Adam Warren, who allowed just one hit — a weak single — through two scoreless innings. “I wanted to get ahead of hitters,” Warren said. “Didn’t really do that great today, but also wanted to establish fastball in to a lot of guys, which I did well today. Just have to keep working and improving. Getting ahead of guys for me is a the name of the game, so I want to do that a little bit better, but overall felt good.”

• Warren said he feels like he’s competing for a rotation spot and not simply serving as rotation insurance in case someone gets hurt. “Who knows where I’ll end up,” he said. “But right now my mind is being a starter and see where that leads.”

• Joe Girardi’s impression of Warren’s start: “A lot of quality strikes today. Good counts.”

• Every prospect reliever seemed to really thrive today except Jacob Lindgren. I was doing interviews in the Yankees clubhouse while Lindgren was pitching, so I actually missed most of his outing. He went two-thirds of an inning, gave up two hits and allowed two runs, which were unearned because of a Rob Refsnyder throwing error. Branden Pinder wound up finishing off that inning with a strikeout.

• Refsnyder wasn’t the only young second baseman with a throwing error. Jose Pirela also threw a ball away trying to make a tough turn on a double play.

Ryan Howard, Jose Pirela• Aaron Judge on seeing his game-tying home run go over the fence. “I thought he robbed it, so I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to turn around or keep going. So I just kept going, and no one stopped me.”

• Luis Severino said he believes he could be pitching in New York at some point this season, but he quickly shot down the idea that he’s trying to make a big impression this spring to make that happen. “No,” he said, flatly. “The same I do last year, I’ve got do this year the same.”

• Some of the pace of play rules were used today. The field had two red clocks counting down two minutes and 25 seconds for a pitcher to get ready at the start of an inning. I honestly didn’t even notice it at first. “It was a little strange,” Warren said. “I didn’t think about it the first inning. I went out there for the second inning, I noticed it at like a minute, 50 (seconds) when I first got out there. I’m like, ‘Crap, that’s not long at all.’ Then all of a sudden I look back after my last pitch, it’s at 50 seconds still, so it only took me a minute. After you’ve already gone out there, and you’re already a little bit loose, it didn’t affect me. I think you just have to get used to knowing the time’s ticking down to kind of know how long it takes you.”

• Garrett Jones singled in his first at-bat with the Yankees. Chris Young also had a single today. Of the guys really fighting for a roster spot, Pirela was the only other one who had a hit. Both Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy went 0-for-2. Jake Cave, Slade Heathcott, Greg Bird, Kyle Roller, Mason Williams, Jonathan Galvez, Nick Noonan, and of course Judge all had at least one hit today.

• Girardi said everyone came through today’s game healthy. No new injuries to report.

• Final word goes to Girardi: “You want to learn as much as you can about these (young) guys because we haven’t seen them a lot. See what their abilities are, what some of their strengths are. I think we’ve said all along, there’s some really good position players that are coming. They’re getting closer and closer, and at some point – you hope that you don’t have injuries, but at some point you know that it usually happens and these kids get a call-up and a chance to do something.”

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 7:05 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Severino and Judge steal the show in Yankees spring opener

Luis Severino, Austin Romine

Only two big league regulars were in the Yankees lineup today, and those two went 0-for-6. Only one projected big league pitcher got on the mound, and he pitched two relatively quiet innings. This was the start of the big league spring training schedule, but if you’re looking for highlights, it was the minor leaguers who stole the show. From Luis Severino’s dominant debut inning, to Aaron Judge’s game-tying home run in the ninth, the Yankees might have glimpsed their future as they tried to get ready for the present.

“I saw a lot of good things overall today from a lot of our guys,” Joe Girardi said. “You look at what Severino does. He came in and threw strikes and did a really nice job. Pinder comes in and does a really nice job for us. Shreve right there (in the ninth) does a nice job for us. You look at the at-bats a lot of our young kids had late in the game – really, really good. Encouraging to see.”

Branden Pinder faced four batters and retired them all. Chasen Shreve faced five batters and struck out two of them. Nick Goody pitched a scoreless inning. Slade Heathcott went 2-for-2 with a double. Greg Bird went 2-for-3, also with a double. Mason Williams doubled to start that game-tying, four-run ninth inning.

The Yankees got bad news on catcher Luis Torrens today, but there were plenty of positives in Clearwater. The biggest names in this minor league system are Severino and Judge, and they were impossible to ignore this afternoon.

Severino (2)LUIS SEVERINO
One-and-a-third innings, four hits, two runs, no walks, two strikeouts

First batter Severino ever faced in a big league spring training game, he fired fastballs at 94 and 95 mph, then he finished off the at-bat with a strikeout looking at an 86 mph slider. The pitch actually confused me when I saw it because there wasn’t a ton of movement (I actually thought it might have been a changeup), but Severino explained afterward that he likes to manipulate his slider. Sometimes he throws a big, sweeping one, and sometimes he tries to keep it tighter and smaller. This was a tight, small one, and a left-handed hitter froze against it.

Next batter, a strikeout swinging through 94 mph. The next, a broken-bat ground ball to third base.

Severino’s second inning wasn’t as smooth. He gave up four singles — all to left-handed hitters — and was pulled after an RBI bloop to left field. None of the hits were hard (could of ground balls up the middle, couple of flares just over the infield), and Severino said that when Girardi came to get him in the middle of the inning, the message was simple. Girardi just told him, good job.

“There’s no fear there,” Girardi said. “The young man has a lot of belief in what he’s doing, and he has command, and he went right at guys today. I wasn’t sure how he’d react being the first time, and you worry about guys trying to do too much, but he seemed calm and threw the ball pretty well.”

Severino said the at-bat that stood out to him was against Ryan Howard, who had a long at-bat and ultimately shot a weak single into right field. Severino clearly considered it a test to face such an accomplished hitter.

“It’s a good challenge,” he said. “I tried to strike him out or get him out, but I don’t get it. … I can get a lot of experience that way.”

JudgeAARON JUDGE
1-for-2, walk, three-run home run

First thing anyone seems to notice about Judge is just how big he is, but last season he showed he’s more than simply a raw slugger. Judge has an advanced approach at the plate. He takes pitches, works the count and stays patient. After a ground out in his first at-bat, Judge worked a walk in his second trip to the plate.

His third plate appearance came in the ninth when he again took pitches until he found one he liked. His game-tying, three-run homer barely made it over the wall, but it was also sky high.

“He’s just big,” Girardi said. “He’s just big and strong. You’re not going to see too many people that big in the game. It’s just not tall, there’s a lot of strength there as well. He’s a really good athlete, and sometimes when you see a guy like that, you’re not sure how good of an athlete you have, but you have a really good athlete too. … He had two really, really good at-bats today. He was patient. He waited for his pitch. He didn’t over swing.”

Judge was quick to credit Williams, Heathcott and Jake Cave for having good at-bats ahead of him to set the stage for that three-run shot. He said that his first thought after seeing the ball go over the fence was to think the outfielder had caught it. He said he was more nervous on deck than he ever was in the box. He honestly sounded like a guy who’d been in that situation — surrounded by media after an eye-opening home run — dozens of times in his career. He sounded like a pro, and he looked like one too.

“I’m trying to make it as hard as I can for them to send me back across the street for the minor leagues,” he said. “Just doing whatever I can to help us win.”

Associated Press photos

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 5:15 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Catching prospect Luis Torrens having season-ending surgery

TorrensOne of the top prospects in the Yankees system will miss all of the 2015 season.

The team just announced that minor league catcher Luis Torrens has been diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He will undergo surgery tomorrow performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

It’s a season-ending surgery for an 18-year-old who was pegged by Baseball America as the ninth-best prospect in the Yankees system. Among his strengths is a powerful arm.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 5:08 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Spring Game 1: Yankees at Phillies

Yankees Phillies Spring Baseball

YANKEES (0-0)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Chris Young RF
Garrett Jones 1B
Jose Pirela 2B
Austin Romine C
Kyle Roller DH
Jonathan Galvez 3B
Nick Noonan SS

RHP Adam Warren (3-6, 2.97 in 2014)
Warren vs. Phillies

PHILLIES (0-0)
Ben Revere CF
Freddy Galvis SS
Grady Sizemore LF
Ryan Howard 1B
Carlos Ruiz DH
Domonic Brown RF
Cody Asche 3B
Cesar Hernandez 2B
Cameron Rupp C

RHP Jerome Williams (6-7, 4.77 in 2014)
Williams vs. Yankees

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

WEATHER: Beautiful afternoon with wind blowing out to left field.

UMPIRES: HP Vic Carapazza, 1B Tom Hallion, 3B Bob Davidson

TODAY’S SECOND STRING: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Greg Bird, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Cito Culver, 3B Cole Figueroa, LF Slade Heathcott, CF Jake Cave, RF Aaron Judge, DH Mason Williams

TODAY’S SCHEDULED RELIEVERS: Luis Severino, Jacob Lindgren, Branden Pinder, Nick Goody, Diego Moreno

FOR THE PHILLIES: Starting pitcher Jerome Williams pitched for Houston, Texas and Philadelphia last season. No huge names scheduled to pitch out of the Phillies bullpen today, though two lefties — Joely Rodriguez and Mario Hollands — are on the list. Believe it or not, this is pretty close to their projected lineup except without Chase Utley, who’s hurt.

HARANG SCRATCHED: Scheduled to start for the Phillies tomorrow in Tampa, Aaron Harang has been scratched because of a back issue. The Yankees will instead face Kevin Slowey.

GETTING STARTED: This is the Yankees spring opener. They will play a total of 34 Grapefruit League games, and this year they did not open against a college team (something they’ve done in recent years). For many of the Yankees, this will be the first time seeing live pitching since last season. The Yankees play their first home game of the spring tomorrow at Steinbrenner Field. This is the 20th consecutive season the Yankees have held spring training in Tampa.

UPDATE, 1:06 p.m.: The spring schedule starts with Ellsbury hitting into a routine ground out to second. And Jerome Williams isn’t pitching for the Phillies. Even the Philly writers seem confused about why.

UPDATE, 1:08 p.m.: Chris Young single through the right side of the infield. He also had a “hit” yesterday, but that was pretty easy to forget considering he struck out in his second pitching machine at-bat.

UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: Three straight two-out singles for the Yankees, all to the right side. Jones singled down the line, sending Young to third, then Pirela chopped a ball over the infield for an RBI single. It’s a 1-0 Yankees lead with Romine at the plate and runners at the corners.

UPDATE, 1:19 p.m.: There’s a one-two-three inning for Warren. Still a 1-0 Yankees lead after one inning.

UPDATE, 1:25 p.m.: Two of the stars of yesterday’s intrasquad game, Jonathan Galvez and Nick Noonan just hit back-to-back singles here in the second. Galvez had one of the worst slides I’ve ever seen going into third base, but he was safe. He was then thrown out at the plate after Ellsbury grounded to third.

UPDATE, 1:31 p.m.: Ryan Howard lifts a little single to left field to beat the shift. I honestly think he might have miss-hit the ball — kind of an awkward swinging, sounded weird off the bat — but it was effective. That’s the first hit Warren’s allowed.

UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.: Warren pitched around the single in the second inning. Pirela almost made a really nice turn on a potential double play. He bare-handed the toss from Noonan, but then his throw to first sailed way too high. Warren got the next guy out to end the inning.

UPDATE, 1:51 p.m.: Impressive spring debut for Luis Severino. Fastball up to 95 mph. Got a strikeout looking an an offspeed pitch, then a strikeout swinging through a fastball, then a broken-bat ground out to third.

UPDATE, 2:12 p.m.: Severino’s second inning wasn’t nearly as good as his first. The inning opened with three straight singles, capped by an RBI flare by Ryan Howard. After a fly out to left field, Severino allowed another single to Domonic Brown — this one a bloop to left — and was pulled from the game. All four hits against him were by lefties. He retired two other lefties and retired the only two right-handed hitters he faced. He was ultimately charged with two runs after a sacrifice fly off reliever Diego Moreno.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Tuesday morning notes: Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot for Yankees

Jacoby Ellsbury ; Brett Gardner

Hard to make much of Game 1 lineup in spring training, but after seeing a similar batting order in yesterday’s intrasquad game, it seems we have a pretty good idea how Joe Girardi plans to stack the top of his lineup. Barring a surprising change of plans, Jacoby Ellsbury is the leadoff hitter, and Brett Gardner is the No. 2 hitter.

“It’s definitely a possibility,” Joe Girardi said (that’s about as much as he’ll ever commit to anything this time of year). “I think that both of them are capable of leading off. Ells has done it a little more in his career than Gardy, but I just kind of like the combination of those two guys together. We’ll take a look at it a lot this spring as we try to keep the outfielders together a lot early on, and the infielders together, just to see how it works. Left-handed, right-handed, in my mind right now I’m not really worried either way.”

Girardi wouldn’t go into detail about why exactly he likes Ellsbury ahead of Gardner — said it was about strategy, and he didn’t want to discuss strategy — but beyond Ellsbury’s experience in the leadoff spot, I think of the fact that Ellsbury seems to run more often than Gardner, and Gardner sees a lot of pitches, which creates plenty of opportunities for Ellsbury to take second or third.

“I would love (stealing bases) to be a successful tool whenever they can do it,” Girardi said. “That’s the key. Our success rate was really good last year. The one thing you don’t want to do is run yourself out of innings. But they’re both capable of stealing a ton of bases, creating a lot of pressure. Putting pressure on defenses, pitchers; maybe taking 10 percent, 15, 20 percent of their attention off the hitter, which is always great for the hitter, and I like that.”

While Girardi said it doesn’t bother him having two lefties at the top of the order, the situation gets a little more tricky when you consider Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius are natural fits in the No. 8 and 9 spots in the order, creating a lineup with four lefties in a row.

“That’s the one thing that we have to kind of iron out, how that’s going to work,” Girardi said. “It’s possible you could have four in a row, and if I don’t have concerns about 1 and 2, then maybe late in the game you pinch hit at the bottom. They bring in their lefty, you bring in a righty to hit for them, so (the other team has) to make a choice.”

Adam Warren• Adam Warren is starting for the Yankees this afternoon. Girardi said he would consider using Warren as a starter even if everyone is healthy, but he also acknowledged that it’s tempting to keep Warren in the bullpen considering how well he handled that role last season. “I think (putting him in the rotation) is something you have to look at with the way he’s pitched,” Girardi said. “And with the health of our pitchers I think we also have to be prepared. I think it’s both reasons.”

• Alex Rodriguez said he’ll be “a little nervous, for sure” to face live pitching tomorrow. He’s staying behind in Tampa to go through normal drills. He said he expects to begin really focused first-base drills “within the next week.”

• Carlos Beltran is among those scheduled to stay behind in Tampa and go through normal workout drills, with hitting and fielding. Pretty much the same stuff the Yankees have been doing since position players showed up last week. Rodriguez, Stephen Drew, Ramon Flores, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira will all participate in those drills. The catchers who are staying behind are scheduled to catch bullpens and hit.

• Brendan Ryan said he’s scheduled to take batting practice and field ground balls today. Yesterday he hit off a tee and played some light catch. The said his back is progressing well. Seems to be moving a lot a little quicker than he expected.

• Should be cool to see Luis Severino get into his first big league spring training game. “Pretty calm,” Girardi said. “Strike-thrower with very good stuff. I thought the BP sessions, the second one was better than the first; you saw growth, and him getting more comfortable. There’s kind of a buildup for pitchers. I don’t expect them to be in mid-season form their first BP, but he’s pretty calm. He’s a worker too, which is really good.”

• Francisco Arcia and Tyler Austin are making the trip to Clearwater, but they’re not scheduled to play. Drew the short straw, I guess.

WilsonBaileyLive batting practice in Tampa: (facing Ramon Flores and Kyle Higashioka)

Chris Martin (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Jared Burton (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Justin Wilson (to Gary Sanchez)
Andrew Bailey (to Gary Sanchez)
David Carpenter (to Trent Garrison)

Bullpen sessions in Tampa:

Ivan Nova (to Austin Romine)
Jose Campos (to Juan Graterol)
Michael Pineda (to Brian McCann)
Esmil Rogers (to Joe Graterol)
Bryan Mitchell (to Roman Rodriguez)
Chase Whitley (to Juan Graterol)

Today’s second string: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Greg Bird, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Cito Culver, 3B Cole Figueroa, LF Slade Heathcott, CF Jake Cave, RF Aaron Judge, DH Mason Williams

Today’s scheduled relievers: Luis Severino, Jacob Lindgren, Branden Pinder, Nick Goody, Diego Moreno (also on the trip as just-in-case backups: Kyle Davies, Danny Burawa, Chasen Shreve and Tyler Webb)

Associated Press photos

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 10:25 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Romine gets the start at catcher in Game 1

RomineJacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Chris Young RF
Garrett Jones 1B
Jose Pirela 2B
Austin Romine C
Kyle Roller DH
Jonathan Galvez 3B
Nick Noonan SS

RHP Adam Warren

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 8:55 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


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