The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Disappointing season leaves plenty of uncertainty

Joe Girardi

No sense wasting any time.

Essentially, the Yankees season has been over for weeks now, and so Joe Girardi will go ahead and address the media today at noon. It’s his annual end-of-the-season press conference to discuss all that happened in the past eight months and all that might happen in the next four months. And make no mistake, after a second straight season without a playoff berth, this Yankees team is loaded with uncertainty. There are plenty of questions that need answers.

Problem is, many of those questions — about health and expected production, about how much money the Yankees can and will spend this winter — can’t possibly be answered at this point. Not by Girardi anyway.

So today we’ll rehash a lot of what caused the Yankees season to end without a playoff berth. We’ll probably talk some more about Derek Jeter’s career, and Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow, and Alex Rodriguez’s return from suspension. We’ll talk about a lot of things that really don’t have answers at this point.

But on this first day of another long offseason, here are a few things we already know needing the manager’s perspective.

Mark TeixeiraThis disappointment wasn’t because of the injuries
Not because of the big injuries, anyway. Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran were rarely if ever fully healthy this season, and that surely contributed to their disappointing seasons, but the Yankees most significant injuries were in the rotation. And the rotation was just fine. Even with Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia on the disabled list almost all season, and with Michael Pineda and Tanaka lost for much of the year, the rotation held it together and gave the Yankees a chance. Hiroki Kuroda was steady, Brandon McCarthy was a strong acquisition, Shane Greene was a terrific call-up, and guys like Chris Capuano, David Phelps and Chase Whitley capably plugged holes for a while. It’s true, the Yankees were beat up this season, and they used more players than last year, but I’m not sure injuries are a viable excuse this time around.

Some problems aren’t going away
Maybe a full offseason will let Teixeira build some much-needed strength. Maybe getting rid of that bone spur will help Beltran hit again. Maybe Brian McCann’s strong September is a sign of things to come. Maybe Sabathia can be more effective with a healthier knee. Maybe Rodriguez is going to come back as a legitimate run producer and passable third baseman. There’s a chance these things could work out, but for now, it’s hard to see the Yankees easily moving on from some of their biggest roster concerns. They’re tied into long-term contracts that aren’t easily dumped on the trade market. If there is lingering concern with some of these guys — and there probably should be — it’s going to be the Yankees’ problem, no one else’s.

The team did, at the very least, make good additions
It wasn’t enough, but the Yankees did improve themselves during the season. The trade for McCarthy was an overwhelming success, and the Yankees also upgraded their lineup and their defense by adding Chase Headley and Martin Prado (Stephen Drew was a defensive improvement, he never hit like the Yankees hoped). Even Esmil Rogers was a useful piece, and Chris Young provided a real September boost. For the most part, the Yankees made moves that made a difference. Granted, it might have been easy to upgrade largely because the Yankees were so bad — or at least so inconsistent — to begin with. Despite the positive impact of the mid-season additions, the Yankees still played barely above .500 in both August and September. And of the additions, Prado is the only one who’s definitely coming back next year.

Pretty good pitching is already in place
Injuries in the rotation really forced the Yankees to dig through their pitching depth, and they were surely happy with what they found. Greene looks like a legitimate big league starter, and Bryan Mitchell emerged as an on-the-verge option who could compete for a rotation job sooner rather than later. There was also the promising first half from Tanaka, and the excellent partial season from Michael Pineda. There’s certainly cause for concern there, but there are also some good signs. It’s also worth noting that the short-term injuries to Dave Robertson and Shawn Kelley helped the Yankees find out what they have in Adam Warren and Dellin Betances (to be fair, Betances likely would have emerged without any injuries around him). There were also flashes of good stuff from David Phelps and Chase Whitley, and Manny Banuelos was pitching pretty well at the end of the year in Triple-A.

Offensive black holes are also in place
At least, that seems to be the case. The problem with having so many problems on long-term deals is that it’s hard to replace them. Can the Yankees find a more reliable first baseman with Teixeira still on the roster? Can they afford to add a pure designated hitter when they know Beltran and Rodriguez might need quite a bit of time at that position. There’s an obvious hole at shortstop, with a handful of options heading for the free agent market, but how much of an offensive difference maker is J.J. Hardy? Is it worth taking the risk of injury prone Hanley Ramirez? The Yankees have already committed long-term to two relatively light-hitting outfielders, which means they have only one outfield spot open for a true power threat, and they might have to fill that spot with Beltran’s uncertain bat.

It’s past time to develop a hitter
The Yankees pitching staff has been supplemented — and the bullpen largely built — by internal options. Young pitchers have shown up and made an impact, which is a big reason the Yankees were able to withstand so many injuries this season. But this season, just like last season, it became clear that the Yankees badly need some sort of offensive impact from their farm system. They have some guys pretty close to big league ready — Rob Refsnyder was in Triple-A this season, Greg Bird and Tyler Austin were in Double-A, Aaron Judge and Eric Jagielo had strong first full seasons — and the Yankees need some of those bats to pan out. At some point, they’re going to need to fill some offensive holes with young, cheap alternatives. The sooner the better.

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 9:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “I’m ready for this to be the end”

Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira

Derek Jeter was not choking back tears this time. He laughed his way through batting practice and smiled when he got a hit in his final at-bat. Even taking his jersey off for the final time, Jeter said, did not leave him feeling overwhelmed.

“I felt like the time was right,” he said. “My emotions were so all over the place on Thursday in New York. When I got here, I was ready. I was ready for my career to be over with. I’m happy I had an opportunity to come and play here in a couple games, but I’m ready for this to be the end.”

The plan all along was for Jeter to get just two at-bats today. That’s what he told Joe Girardi pregame, and that’s what he had in mind when he went to the plate with a runner at third base in the third inning. There was no thought of changing the plan. This was his final moment as a professional baseball player, and he chopped an RBI single.

Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki“I never really planned on not getting a hit,” Jeter said. “In my head, I always think I’m going to get one, no matter how bad I look at the time. So I told Joe a couple of days ago, I was going to have a couple of at-bats each game. That’s what I planned on doing. I was lucky, but that was the plan.”

And with that hit, Jeter knew he was finished. Joe Girardi checked with him to make sure, but the plan was two at-bats, and that’s exactly what happened.

“It’s been a blessing,” Joe Girardi said, breaking down while discussing Jeter’s final game. “To play along such a great player. To manage a guy that is what you want in every player. What you want every player to care about. What you want every player to fight for. What you want every player to do. And it was a real blessing.”

And when it was over, Jeter was…

“I’m happy, man,” he said. “Because it’s hard. It’s a lot of stress, too. Like I said the other day, you try to play it cool, but out in the field with the bases loaded, one out, you’ve got Manny Ramirez at the plate, it’s not a comfortable feeling at times. When you’re facing Pedro (Martinez), trying to get a hit, it’s not a comfortable feeling.

“I remember running into Shawon Dunston a few years ago in San Francisco, and I had never met Shawon Dunston. I saw him on the street; me and Jorge were going to lunch and ran into him. I said, ‘How are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m stress-free. I don’t have to worry about hitting any sliders anymore.’ So I’m looking forward to it. I gave it everything I had physically, and I gave it everything I had mentally during my time. Now it’s time to step back and, like I said, let someone else play.”

Derek JeterThere’s going to plenty of time in the coming days and weeks to get into everything else that’s going on with the Yankees right now. For tonight, let’s just end with a few more comments from Jeter’s postgame press conference. Michael Pineda was excellent today, and Ichiro Suzuki had a triple in what was almost certainly his final game with the Yankees, and the team finished with 84 wins.

But this was a Jeter day, so here’s Jeter:

On the perfect way to finish his career
“You can’t top what happened Thursday. I don’t care if I came to Boston and I hit a home run every single at-bat. If I hit four home runs while I was here, for me personally, it just couldn’t have topped what happened. New York has been a special place for me. The way that game ended at home, you couldn’t have written the script. When I got here, I was just ready. I’m ready for my career to be over with, so I tried to have as much fun as I could. ”

On playing these two games in Boston
“I said I was going to play, so that’s why I played. There are a lot of fans that told me that they came a long way to see these last games, so I felt it was right to play here. But don’t think I didn’t think about that, I thought about it. People say, maybe New York was your last game because you want to remember that as the way your career ended. But you can’t take that memory away. I don’t care if I played for another three weeks, that memory is going to be there and it’s never going to go anywhere. I played out of respect for this rivalry and the fans here.”

On hearing such cheers at Fenway Park
“I’ve been a part of some chants here at Fenway Park but I don’t know if any of them were good. I’ve said before that over the course of this entire season, Yankee fans have always been great to me. Playing the entire season, I’ve been here parts of 20 years and if you’re a Yankee fan or you’re not a Yankee fan, you want us to win or you want us to lose, you have good memories or bad memories, there’s a pretty good chance that I was a part of it. And what I mean by that is that I take a lot of pride in playing every game. I missed some games but I take a lot of pride in doing my job and going out there every day so, I think if you do that, then people may respect you. They may not necessarily like you or root for your team but I think they have respect for you. They’ve shown me a lot of respect throughout the course of the year.”

On the pregame ceremony by the Red Sox who brought various Boston sports captains onto the field
“It was unbelievable. I didn’t know anything about it, what was going to happen or who was going to be here. All the things they’ve done, it was hard to envision what would happen because this is a place where we’ve been an enemy for a long, long time. For them to flip the script this last time I come here, it made me feel extremely proud and happy that I was a part of it.”

On speaking to Clay Buchholz on his way off the field
“When I ran past him, I said, I know this is kind of odd but I just wanted to say I enjoyed competing against you over the years and good luck to him. I had the opportunity to speak to everyone on the Boston team (during the ceremony) but obviously not him because he was warming up. I thought it would be good to talk to him.”

On what he might do his first day of retirement

“I don’t know. That’s a good thing. I’ll take some time off, I’ll rest and relax just like I’ve done every season when the season is over with. I don’t know if I’ll necessarily realize it or anything will be different until about three or four weeks from now when I would normally start working out. At this point, I’m on vacation. Get away from it for a while.”

On whether he’ll start watching baseball games now
“I’ve got to go back and watch the games I played first. That’s going to take a while, because I never did watch the games that I played. I’ll do that first. Teammates, everybody back with the team playing, I’ll pull for them and check up on them and see how they’re doing. I don’t know if I’ll sit down and watch games in their entirety, but I’ll definitely check on them.”

On his own legacy
“You want to be known as someone that had respect for the game. Respect for your teammates, respect for the fans, respect for the media. Played the game hard. But for me, I’m happy being known as a Yankee. That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be, was the shortstop of the New York Yankees, and I had an opportunity to do that for 20 years. Being remembered as a Yankee is good enough for me.”

Associated Press photos

 
 
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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 7:31 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees finish the season (and Jeter’s career) with a win

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter went out a winner. His final at-bat was an RBI single, and his final game was a 9-5 win against the Red Sox. Having lined out to shortstop in his first at-bat, Jeter took one last turn at the plate in the third inning and hit a high chop toward the third baseman. The ball hung in the air too long to make a play, and so Jeter sprinted through first base with an RBI single. He signaled to the bench that he was finished, Brian McCann entered as a pinch runner, and Jeter’s playing career came to an end. After a length ovation from the crowd, as well as both benches, Jeter walked off the field and into the dugout. His final at-bat had been enough to push his career batting average from .309 to .310. Completely overshadowed by Jeter’s farewell was a dominant start by Michael Pineda. The big right-hander allowed three hits and no walks through 7.1 innings. He struck out 10. The Yankees scored four runs in the third inning — Ichiro Suzuki had a two-run triple before scoring on Jeter’s hit — and they added five more in the seventh when the first six Yankees batters had a hit.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 4:54 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 2,747: Yankees at Red Sox

Derek Jeter

YANKEES (83-78)
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Derek Jeter DH
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Francisco Cervelli C
Chris Young LF
Jose Pirela 2B

RHP Michael Pineda (4-5, 1.93)
Pineda vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (71-90)
Mookie Betts 2B
Daniel Nava RF
Yoenis Cespedes DH
Allen Craig 1B
Garin Cecchini 3B
Rusney Castillo CF
Bryce Brentz LF
David Ross C
Jemile Weeks SS

RHP Clay Buchholz (8-10, 5.31)
Buchholz vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:35 p.m., YES Network and TBS

WEATHER: Absolutely could not be a nicer day.

UMPIRES: HP Larry Vanover, 1B Angel Hernandez, 2B Paul Nauert, 3B Vic Carapazza

END OF AN ERA: This is Derek Jeter’s final game. He’s a five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star. He ranks sixth on baseball’s all-time list with 3,464 hits. According to Elias, with the Yankees going 1,627-1,117-2 in games in which he has appeared, Jeter owns the highest personal winning percentage (.593) among all active players with at least 1,000 games.

ALL HE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN: Of the 2,746 career regular-season games Jeter has played in, there have been just three in which the Yankees have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention (Saturday, Thursday and September 26, 2008).

ONE AND DONE: Today marks the 46th anniversary of Mickey Mantle’s final career game in 1968, which also took place at Fenway Park. Mantle was the Yankees’ starting first baseman and popped out to shortstop in the top of the first inning, but was removed defensively (for Andy Kosco) before taking the field in the bottom of the first inning of the Yankees’ 4-3 win.

UPDATE, 1:44 p.m.: Line drive to the shortstop in Jeter’s first at-bat. Hit it hard. Hit it right to Weeks.

UPDATE, 2:27 p.m.: There’s your final moment of Derek Jeter’s career. High chop to the third baseman for an infield single, and he’s immediately lifted for a pinch runner (Brian McCann). Jeter hugged McCann, shook hands with Buchholz, then tipped his helmet as he walked off the field as an active player for the last time.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 1:30 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “You know I always want to hit”

Derek Jeter

Last game of the season, there was no guarantee the Yankees would take batting practice this morning. In fact, I can’t imagine the would have if this were any other meaningless Game 162.

But on Derek Jeter’s final day, the Captain wanted to take BP one last time.

“I asked him if he wanted to hit today,” Joe Girardi said. “And he said, ‘You know I always want to hit.’ So I said, we’ll hit then.”

So the Yankees hit, with Jeter playing his usual batting practice games, laughing constantly with Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people on the field for BP. Fans. Reporters. Photographers. There was actual cheering from the stands every time Jeter took his turn.

“One of my most enjoyable parts of my day is just watching his BP group and the stuff that he stirs up in BP,” Girardi said. “I’m talking about during BP, hitting and working. It makes me laugh every day when I sit there. I’m really going to miss that. Guys can take over that role, but I’m not so sure they can instigate as well as he has for the past 15 or 20 years. And I’m going to miss that.”

There will be a pregame ceremony. And there will be standing ovations. And Jeter will take as many in-game at-bats as he wants.

“It’s possible he could have an at-bat and get a hit and say I want that to be it,” Girardi said. “I’ll ask him after each at-bat, is it time? Do you want to come out? And then we’ll go from there.”

After one at-bat or five at-bats, one inning or nine, this will be the day it ends. Jeter wanted to hit this morning and he’s decided to play this afternoon, but at some point this evening he’ll take his first steps into retirement. And Jeter seems genuinely excited about that.

“I think it is the end of an era,” Girardi said. “I think it’s the end of the era of those four guys. And I don’t know if you’ll see it in sports again, in all of sports. I don’t know if you’ll see four guys stay together for so long who have had so much success. It just doesn’t happen very often. So yeah, I think it’s the end of an era.”

Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira• When batting practice was over, the Yankees gathered in left field for a footrace between Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. No explanation was given, but the Yankees were clearly trying to determine their slowest player. It was probably a 40-yard sprint, and I’d say Teixeira won by five or six yards. As we’ve long suspected, McCann is the slowest Yankee. By a lot.

• Most of the healthy regulars are in the lineup, but they might not be there for long. “I talked to them the last couple of days,” Girardi said. “They do want to play. These guys want to play in this game. I don’t know if I’ll play them the whole game. These guys want to play.”

• No news is good news on Masahiro Tanaka. He apparently still feels fine after yesterday’s start. “The good thing is I did not get any calls this morning, which is always a positive,” Girardi said. “I was talking to some people about it. I think it was probably harder what he went through, from a taxing standpoint, yesterday, maybe than his other start. Just because he threw so many pitches in two innings. So from that standpoint, I feel good about it.”

• According to Jack Curry, the Red Sox tribute to Jeter will include having Bernie Williams play Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh-inning stretch. That’ll be cool. I always enjoy hearing Bernie play.

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 12:39 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Gardner and Teixeira return for Jeter’s finale

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Derek Jeter DH
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Francisco Cervelli C
Chris Young LF
Jose Pirela 2B

RHP Michael Pineda

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 10:22 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

One last game for Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter

I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but since this day is what it is, I’ll tell it again.

First time I met Derek Jeter was my first spring training covering the Yankees minor league system. I was in my mid-20s, and I’d been around big league clubhouses plenty, but I’d never spoken to the Yankees captain. And the only thing I wanted to ask him about was his Triple-A experience more than a decade earlier. Plenty of players would have blown it off, but Jeter gave me a solid 10 to 15 minutes one-on-one. It wasn’t over-the-top. He didn’t come across as the greatest guy I’d ever met. But he was kind and professional. He laughed and told stories. He understood that I was just trying to do a job and do it well, and he treated me as if I’d been covering the big leagues for a decade. I always appreciated that.

In the years since, I’ve had plenty of interactions with Jeter that were far more memorable and enjoyable — he found out I’d picked Michigan to go far in the NCAA Tournament one year, and I’m pretty sure we were best friends for about seven seconds — but that first meeting said a lot about the way he’s handled himself, and a lot about why I’ve enjoyed covering him in New York the past five-plus years.

I’m not sure anyone else would have handled being Derek Jeter better than Derek Jeter did, and there’s a lot to be said for that. I think that’s why it matters so very much that he’s about to play his final game.

“There’s sadness for me,” Joe Giradri said. “You never want to see great players leave. I’m never really good on the last day of the season anyway, because you have relationships with these guys, and you know that some of the guys aren’t going to be back, and that’s hard for me.”

This day won’t be hard for me. I’m not emotionally invested in saying goodbye, but I’m glad I got the chance to cover Jeter and get to know him a very little bit. There have been plenty of words written and said about Jeter in the past few weeks and months, but while we wait to see his name in a lineup one last time, I’ll leave you with this quote from Thursday’s emotional finale in the Bronx.

“I know that there’s a lot of people that have much more talent than I do,” Jeter said. “(That’s true) throughout the course of my career, not just now. I can honestly say I don’t think anyone played harder. I don’t. Maybe just as hard, but I don’t think anyone had more of an effort. Every single day I went out there and tried to have respect for the game, play as hard as I possibly could. I did it here in New York, which I think is much more difficult to do.

“I’m happy for that.”

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 8:57 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “I hope he has peace of mind”

Masahiro Tanaka

On the day he came off the disabled list, Masahiro Tanaka pitched 5.1 innings against Toronto, and that was his shortest outing of the year. Its brevity was easy to dismiss because he was working with a limited pitch count and the results were still awfully impressive for a guy who hadn’t pitched in more than two months.

Today, Tanaka was cleared for more pitches, and there was a definite expectation that he would simply give the Yankees more of the same. One more encouraging start would boost confidence and send the Yankees into the offseason feeling relatively good about the status of Tanaka’s right elbow.

Instead, Tanaka got just five outs. He was charged with a season-high seven runs — five earned — and he was pulled from the game after just 50 pitches. It was bad. Except that Tanaka said afterward that he was simply having a bad day, not a injured day.

“Obviously I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be today,” he said. “But arm and body is fine.”

That is, I suppose, good news, but hearing Tanaka say he’s healthy certainly carries a little more weight when he’s coming off a strong and encouraging start. This start was neither of those things.

“There was no problem,” Joe Girardi said. “He had just thrown a lot of pitches in those first two innings, and I just thought it’s not smart to send him back out or leave him out there, so I just made a change. … He struggled with some command today a little bit and wasn’t real sharp with his fastball for whatever reason. We asked him, ‘Do you feel good?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I feel good.’ He got in some bad counts and they hurt him.”

Worry about it all winter?

“I would think that he would have some peace of mind knowing that he feels good and knowing that spring training, we’ll build him up as normal as we would any other time,” Girardi said. “I hope he has peace of mind. I’d hate for him to go through the winter and not have it. We asked him even when he came in after the game, ‘You sure you felt OK?’ He said, ‘I felt good. I just didn’t have it today.’”

So this will be the Yankees final image of Tanaka as they move through this offseason. Physically, it seems the injection-and-rehab protocol has helped the ligament, and the Yankees are as confident about his health as they could be given the circumstances.

So how does Tanaka evaluate his first year with the Yankees?

“My goal coming in this season was to stay healthy and keep a spot in the rotation,” he said. “So obviously I wasn’t able to do that. I was only able to do half a job, so with that said, I think I’m a little bit disappointed how the season was. … I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of talk, a lot of expectations, but for me, I just try to go out on the mound and try to do the best I can. Try to put up a W. As far as comparing the first half of the season with next season, I feel like I want to do better than I did the first half of the season.”

Derek Jeter• Derek Jeter didn’t really address the media postgame except to say that he still plans to play tomorrow.

• Two at-bats in tonight’s game was the plan all along for Jeter. It’s what he told Girardi he wanted. How many at-bats will he get tomorrow? “Whatever he tells me,” Girardi said. “He told me two at-bats today, so that’s what I did.”

• Kind of looked like Jeter might have hurt himself a little bit while beating out that infield single in the third inning. “No, I don’t think so,” Girardi said. “I think he had run extremely hard, he had to stretch. He probably felt it a little bit in his hamstring. He didn’t say that he was injured, but we’ll see.”

• This was Jeter’s 152nd career game at Fenway Park, matching Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig for the most games ever played here by a Yankees player. He should break that record tomorrow.

• This was the first time since August 11 that the Yankees allowed 10 runs or more. It was their 21st loss when scoring at least four runs.

• Ichiro Suzuki had another two-hit day and has hit safely in six of his past seven starts with a .360 average in that span. … Chase Headley also had two hits, his third multi-hit game in the past five. … Chris Young had two more hits including another double and another RBI. Turned out to be a nice addition for the final month of the season.

Eury PerezAs for the ESPN.com report about Girardi addressing the team on Thursday: “Let me clear this up,” Girardi said. “I’m going to clear it up right now. I addressed the team and told them what I expect for next year. Yeah, we’re all disappointed we didn’t make the playoffs. I addressed the team because it’s easier to do it at our ballpark. We need to be better. We need to execute better next year. That’s what baseball comes down to; execution. Everyone in that room is disappointed. I’m not the only one that’s disappointed. I just felt it was the place to do it. We have to go back to work.”

• According to the report, Girardi got on some players for being overweight and others for not being “hungry” enough. Girardi said he has no problem with the conditioning of his team, and as he’s said publicly all year, he said he’s been happy with the team’s work ethic and desire. “Our team never stopped playing, so I don’t know what you’re asking for,” Girardi said. “The bottom line is we didn’t execute well enough in certain situations, and we have to do better. Whether it’s getting a run in, getting a runner over, making a pitch when you need to make a pitch. We were in a lot of close games. If you could have won five or six more of them, you might be playing next week. Because we were in so many, there are probably some that you can think about. It’s disappointment.”

• Would the message have made a difference if it had been delivered several weeks ago? “I have had some individual meetings where I pull a guy aside and talk about things, but we were eliminated and I just told them,” Girardi said. “… These guys never gave up on us. They never gave up. They kept playing, kept playing, kept playing. We went through difficult things and they kept fighting and fighting. People wrote us off a bunch of times, but they didn’t. They kept fighting. For that, I’ve told you all along, I was proud of them. I just wanted to let them to know what we expect next year. None of us are happy that we’re not playing next week.”

• Final word we’ll give to Brian Cashman from pregame: “We didn’t hit for the most part all year when we needed to, especially in scoring position. We were deficient on the defensive side for a good portion of the season; that improved significantly with the additions and subtractions. But offensively, we never really could get it going. Pitching was tremendous and somehow we fixed that, which is harder typically to do, but the offense we could not fix.”

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 7:22 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Rodriguez working toward 2015 return

Alex Rodriguez

Brian Cashman got a text message as he was driving up to Boston last night. It was Alex Rodriguez, asking whether he was allowed to reach out to various personnel about his winter workout problem. Cashman gave him the green light.

In other words, as the Yankees are saying goodbye to beloved shortstop, they’re taking steps toward bringing back their controversial third baseman.

“One thing about Alex, he’s always been a hard worker,” Cashman said. “That’s nothing you ever have to worry about with Alex. … He’s doing two-a-days right now. Last I remember, he said he was out at UCLA. Between that and his workouts in Miami, he’s (also) going to plan on working with our staff in Tampa at some point this winter. He looks forward to reintroducing himself in a positive way for us going forward.”

Alex RodriguezCashman said he wasn’t sure when Rodriguez’s season-long suspension would officially come an end, but essentially it ends on Sunday when the Yankees play their final game. Rodriguez is signed through 2017, he’ll be eligible to play again next year, and right now there’s no indication that the Yankees are going to release him or find a way out of his contract. This has always been a fairly unpredictable situation, but right now, indications are that Rodriguez will be back next year.

“The (suspension) process went through,” Cashman said. “It wasn’t a healthy process for anybody involved, but the process had finality and now it’s about moving forward. Simple as that. Alex has not not been talked to throughout this season. He’s stayed in touch with various members of the coaching staff, front office staff throughout the year. I talked to him earlier in the season regarding insurance stuff, and more recently, and then Alex texted me about a strategy going into the winter. Can he reach out to certain people so he can start mapping out his winter? And I said absolutely.”

Cashman defined his conversations with Rodriguez as being “very professional.”

“When you deal with Alex on baseball, it’s always good,” he said.

Most recently, Cashman said, the conversations centered on whether Rodriguez would be interested in playing in the Dominican Winter League. Cashman said he wasn’t requesting that Rodriguez play winter ball, but he needed to find out whether Rodriguez wanted to get those games under his belt because doing so would likely require several phone calls about the team’s insurance policy. Ultimately, it didn’t matter, because Rodriguez said he doesn’t want to play this winter.

“There (are) a lot of different avenues,” Cashman said. “If this was an avenue that was one avenue to take and of interest, I needed to do some work, and that was it. This wasn’t a directive that this was what I want you to do. It was (finding out) if this was something you’re interested in doing, and that was that.”

Cashman said that Rodriguez has already passed an insurance physical, which declared him healthy enough to go through full workouts. Yankees strength coach Matt Krause will meet with Rodriguez soon further evaluate him.

“Passing a physical and being ready for Major League Baseball are completely different,” Cashman said. “But he passed a physical. He’s a go, physically fit to compete. Now it’s about getting him back into shape so he’s a quality player.”

What kind of player he’ll be is anyone’s guess. Cashman said he hasn’t even asked whether Rodriguez is working out at third base, and he hasn’t had any conversations about possibly having him work at first base. It’s early in the process of getting a player back from a one-year hiatus. There’s a lot to be done between now and spring training, but the process has clearly begun.

“Winter ball is not one of the avenues that we’re focusing on,” Cashman said. “It’s going to be on his continued workouts, which have always been high-end, and obviously working with some of our field staff in the southern office in Tampa, and going from there and preparing him from a hitting standpoint, fielding standpoint. We’ll deal with it further as we move forward, but that’s where we’re at right now.”

Associated Press photos

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 4:58 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Lopsided loss on a rough day for the Yankees

Derek Jeter

Only two at-bats for Derek Jeter, a terrible final start by Masahiro Tanaka, and a new ESPN.com report that Joe Girardi chastised his players during a pregame tirade on Thursday. Safe to say, these past few hours weren’t all roses for the Yankees, and that was even before the Red Sox finished off a lopsided 10-4 blowout on the next-to-last day of the season. There were still massive ovations for Jeter, who had an infield single in his second at-bat before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning, which the Fenway crowd didn’t appreciate. But the Yankees had bigger problems, mostly the fact Tanaka got just five outs and allowed seven hits. Last weekend, Tanaka returned from the disabled list to allowed just one run through 5.1 innings. It was an encouraging statement, pretty much a best-case scenario for a guy who’d lost more than two months to a slightly torn elbow ligament. Today’s start was quite different. Tanaka couldn’t pitch out of the second inning. He threw 50 pitches, only half of them for strikes. Seven runs, five earned, made this by far his worst start of the season. Bryan Mitchell pitched well in long relief, allowing one run in four innings. Chase Whitley chipped in a pair of scoreless innings, but the hole was too big. Chase Headley and Chris Young had two hits apiece, and Stephen Drew had a two-run double, but a 10-hit afternoon wasn’t enough for the Yankees to match the Red Sox early offensive outburst.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 4:13 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


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