The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


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

 
 

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

Game 161: Yankees at Red Sox

Masahiro TanakaYANKEES (83-77)
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Derek Jeter DH
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 1B
Chris Young LF
Stephen Drew SS
Jose Pirela 2B
Brendan Ryan 3B
Eury Perez CF

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 2.47)
Tanaka vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (70-90)
Mookie Betts 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Daniel Nava RF
Yoenis Cespedes DH
Allen Craig 1B
Garin Cecchini 3B
Rusney Castillo CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C

RHP Joe Kelly (3-2, 4.00)
Kelly vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., FOX

WEATHER: Absolutely beautiful day here in Boston. Couldn’t be much nicer.

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

UPDATE, 2:01 p.m.: Tanaka out of the game having not lasted through the second inning. He was knocked around quite a bit here today. The Yankees are primarily concerned with his health — results don’t matter much — but this wasn’t nearly as good as his previous outing. Preston Claiborne in from the bullpen with the Red Sox already leading 5-0 on seven hits. Tanaka got just five outs. He threw 50 pitches, 25 strikes. Could have gone up to 80, but he was clearly laboring.

UPDATE, 2:04 p.m.: And now an error on the new guy. Perez lets what should have been the final out bounce off his glove. It’s now 7-0.

UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.: Claiborne finally gets out of the second inning, but the damage is most certainly done. It’s a 9-0 Red Sox lead heading into the third.

UPDATE, 2:22 p.m.: Jeter chops a ball up the middle for an infield single. Big ovation here at Fenway.

UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: Looks like Jeter is finished after two at-bats. Francisco Cervelli on deck to hit for the captain.

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 1:07 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A-Rod will not play winter ball

More on this later in the day…

According to Brian Cashman, the Yankees checked in with Alex Rodriguez to find out whether he would be interested in playing winter ball in preparation for next season. Rodriguez said he’s not interested.

Cashman stressed that the Yankees were strictly finding out whether Rodriguez wanted to play — had to figure out insurance and stuff if he was going — and they were not requesting that he play. Cashman said the organization is fine with the decision.

As it is, Rodriguez is working out and has apparently passed an initial physical that has declared him healthy. Cashman said now it’s about getting him into baseball shape and ready for spring training.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 12:52 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Quick pregame notes: Jeter, Betances, Robertson, Gardner

Everything is happening a little later than usual today, so I’ll have to make this quick.

• Joe Girardi said he talked to Derek Jeter this morning to make sure he still wanted to DH today. “We talked about a couple of at-bats and we’ll see (if he plays to the end of the game),” Girardi said.

• On hitting Ichiro Suzuki and Jeter at the top of the order: “Those two have done that in the All-Star Game a number of times,” Girardi said.

• Dellin Betances has been shut down and won’t pitch this weekend. Girardi said it’s strictly because of his workload. He’s healthy, just no need to put another inning on that arm.

• Dave Robertson likely will pitch again if there’s a save opportunity. “I would love give him a chance to get 40,” Girardi said.

• Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira are each scheduled to play tomorrow so that they can play in Jeter’s final game.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 11:57 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

As planned, Jeter starting at DH

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Derek Jeter DH
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 1B
Chris Young LF
Stephen Drew SS
Jose Pirela 2B
Brendan Ryan 3B
Eury Perez CF

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 10:34 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Tanaka ready for one last start before (hopefully) a normal winter

Masahiro Tanaka

Today’s game might be another meaningless one in the standings, but it still carries weight for the Yankees. And all of that weight rests in Masahiro Tanaka’s right elbow.

As long as the elbow holds up through 70 to 80 pitches, the Yankees will shut down their young ace and send him home for a fairly routine offseason.

“It should give me some confidence and just be able to go back home to Japan and work out the way I want to,” Tanaka said. “… I do really want to go out there again and check to see how my arm is. That’s kind of the main thing I’m looking for.”

This will be Tanaka’s second start since going through the injection-and-rehab protocol that the Yankees are hoping has at least temporarily fixed the torn ligament that will likely require Tommy John surgery should anything go wrong this afternoon. It’s a risk the Yankees feel they have to take. They have to test the ligament so that they have a better idea of what they have for next season.

“I still want to go out there and check to see how my arm, how my body is,” Tanaka said. “But obviously, compared to the first time, to last Sunday, no I’m not (concerned). There’s no fear or anything.”

What are the Yankees looking for this afternoon?

“Just a continuation of what we saw the other day,” Girardi said. “The command, the sharpness of his stuff. Obviously I won’t push him too far. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense at this point. But just that same stuff.”

And will one start be enough to leave Tanaka satisfied that he’s fully healthy?

“It’s what it is,” he said. “You can’t ask for another game, so I’m just going to go in there (today), see how it is and work based on that.”

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 8:58 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “I couldn’t play today; first time”

Derek Jeter

Kind of weird to watch a game that was most notable for the guy who wasn’t playing.

Derek Jeter had warned Joe Girardi even before last night’s game that he probably wouldn’t want to play tonight. In some ways, the overwhelming circumstances of Thursday night surely caught Jeter off guard, but in other ways, his entire season was building to that moment. He knew it was going to be draining, but perhaps didn’t realize it was going to be so overwhelming. Even when it was over, Jeter said he slept only a couple of hours last night.

Had he ever before asked to sit out? Jeter acted as if he couldn’t believe the question was being asked.

“Me?” he said. “Never. Yeah, today, I couldn’t play today. First time.”

Jeter’s desire to be in the lineup is notorious. Two years ago, he kept playing through an ankle injury until his ankle finally snapped. This year, even at 40, he’s been mildly frustrated by the occasional days off that he’s received through the course of the year. Jeter likes to play, and he said he still wants to DH on Saturday and Sunday. He just didn’t want to play tonight.

Derek Jeter“I can’t tell you (what it will be like) on Sunday,” Jeter said. “But I can’t imagine it (will be as emotional as Thursday), because that’s pretty much as good as it gets, I think, for me. Like I said, I’m playing here because I have respect for this rivalry, for Boston, and the fans. If it was anywhere else, I don’t know if I’d play.”

Jeter said he literally doesn’t remember taking his uniform off last night. It was the last time he ever took off a white pinstriped uniform, and you’d think that would be a memorable experience, but Jeter said he didn’t think about it.

“I was just happy, you know what I mean?” Jeter said. “Everything happened so quickly in terms of the swing of the emotions. Taking off the uniform, I don’t even remember it.”

If his desire to play is notorious, so is the fact the pays little attention to baseball beyond those games he is playing. But Jeter said he’d actually like to host a private screening to re-watch Thursday’s game with friends and family. Why that game?

“Because a lot of it I don’t even remember,” Jeter said. “I mean, I was doing things last night, like I told you, I almost told Joe, ‘Get me out of here.’ I was giving signs to (second baseman Stephen) Drew on who to cover second base on a steal, and there’s no runner on first, you know what I’m saying? There were a lot of things going on. I’d like to see how it went because I think I missed a lot of it.”

Ultimately, there’s still a chance Jeter will back out of playing this weekend. After all, when the Yankees left for Houston at the end of last season, everyone seemed certain Mariano Rivera was going to want to play at least one inning in center field. Rivera changed his mind, and there’s still a chance Jeter will as well. It just doesn’t seem very likely.

“I really think Jeet will go back out there,” Girardi said. “If he didn’t, I don’t have a problem with that, and I completely understand it. I’m not so sure what I would do if I was him in that situation. But he loves to compete, and I just have a feeling he’ll go back out.”

Jeter seems pretty sure about that as well. But this one night, for the first time in his career, he preferred to sit and watch.

“I don’t know if I could play tonight if I wanted to play tonight,” Jeter said.

Derek Jeter, David Robertson, John Ryan Murphy• Small bit of news coming out of the clubhouse: Girardi said Jacoby Ellsbury won’t play this series. “He’s done,” Girardi said. “He’s done. I am not going to use him. I would think it would be silly for him to re-injure himself at this point in the season and have to deal with it in the offseason. So, let’s send him home a healthy player, and we don’t have to worry about it over the offseason.”

• Dave Robertson was smiling tonight. Even though last night ended on a high note, he was obviously frustrated by last night’s blown save. He joked that he considered blowing tonight’s save just so the Yankees could let Jeter be the hero again. “I definitely thought they should have pinch-hit him after I gave up the run,” Robertson said.

• In all seriousness, Robertson now has 39 saves with two days to reach 40. That’s pretty good for a guy who came into this season answering big questions about whether he’d be able to handle the role in the wake of Mariano Rivera’s retirement. “Forty is just a number to me,” Robertson said. “The biggest thing for me personally, if I was 35-for-35, that’s what I would want to be. I don’t want to be the guy who lets people down. I know I’ve got five blown saves. It happens. Those are the games I want back. I don’t really care about the number that I get to. It’s just more the games that I help our team win.”

• If Robertson had given the Yankees an opportunity to use Jeter again, this crowd wouldn’t have had a problem with that. There were Derek Jeter chants often tonight. :There’s a substantial number of Yankees fans here,” Girardi said. “There always is, but also, I’ve got to believe there’s some Boston people chanting that too. … And I understand people want to see him, but he’s been through a lot. He’s been through a lot this year. It’s extremely emotional. He’s given everything he’s had inside of him for 20 years, and I respect whatever he does.”

Chris Capuano• In the later innings, the crowd was booing the other Yankees hitters, always wanting Jeter to pinch hit. “I kind of felt bad for Austin (Romine) going up to the plate,” Chris Capuano said. “He was getting booed just because the fans wanted Jeter in that spot. He had such a special night last night. I think everyone can understand him wanting to take a day.”

• Speaking of Capuano, another strong start from him. This was the third time since joining the Yankees that Capuano made a start without allowing an earned run. It was his fourth start without a walk. He matched a season-high with 6.2 innings. “I feel like I learned a lot,” Capuano said. “I just got to soak in Derek’s last couple of months, and last night was amazing. It was among the best two months I’ve had in the big leagues, that much fun.”

• When he was pulled from the game, Capuano shook Girardi’s hand. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be here,” Capuano said. “I just wanted to thank Joe for that. Just a great opportunity to pitch.”

• Girardi on Capuano: “I think every player wants to finish strong. I think that’s a feeling that you want to have going home. … I thought he did a really good job for us. And I thought tonight he was excellent again.”

• Did Girardi consider pinch hitting Jeter at any point? “As I’ve said, I’m going to leave it up to him,” Girardi said. “He felt that he just needed a day today. He didn’t sleep much last night. We got in late. He was up early today. That’s what happens when you get older, you kind of get set on the time you wake up in the morning and it’s hard to change.”

• Still plan to have him DH the next two games? “Whatever he tells me. I’m sticking to that,” Girardi said. “Whatever he tells me he wants to do, that’s what we’re going to do.”

• Francisco Cervelli went 2-for-3. Since being recalled from the 60-day disabled list on August 25, he’s hit .306 with 10 doubles and two homers.

• New outfielder Eury Perez singled in his first at-bat of the season for his third career hit. He also stole a base, his fifth career steal.

• Final word to Robertson: “There’s a lot of Yankees fans in the seats tonight, and I know that the Red Sox fans respect (Jeter). They’ve enjoyed seeing the rivalry. It’ll be fun to watch him tomorrow when he plays.”

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 11:17 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

With Jeter on the bench, Robertson gets the save this time

Derek Jeter

One night after the best blown save of his career, Dave Robertson picked up his 39th save of the season in tonight’s 3-2 Yankees win against the Red Sox. With no true regulars in the lineup — and the crowd occasionally chanting for Derek Jeter to wave from the bench — the Yankees leaned heavily on starting pitcher Chris Capuano, who delivered yet another rock solid start. Actually, this one was a really good start. The veteran lefty went 6.2 innings allowing one run — unearned — on four hits. He walked none, struck out five, and as soon as he came out of the game, Shawn Kelley allowed a solo home run that pulled the Red Sox within a run. Without any of their big names, the Yankees took advantage of a dropped third strike to set the stage for a two-run third inning. Francisco Cervelli and Chris Young had hits in the inning, John Ryan Murphy drove in a run with a ground ball, and the Yankees climbed in front 2-1. Murphy extended that lead int he sixth when he doubled, took third on an Austin Romine single, and scored on a Zelous Wheeler sacrifice fly.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 10:13 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 160: Yankees at Red Sox

Derek JeterYANKEES (82-77)
Jose Pirela 2B
Eury Perez CF
Francisco Cervelli 1B
Chris Young LF
John Ryan Murphy C
Austin Romine DH
Brendan Ryan SS
Zelous Wheeler 3B
Antoan Richardson RF

LHP Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.67)
Capuano vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (70-89)
Mookie Betts 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Yoenis Cespedes DH
Allen Craig RF
Garin Cecchini 3B
Rusney Castillo CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Ryan Lavarnway 1B
Dan Butler C

RHP Steven Wright (0-0, 3.38)
Wright vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10, MY9

WEATHER: Little bit cool, but ultimately a nice night for our final night game of the year.

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

ALL HE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN:
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Derek Jeter’s 20 seasons is the longest career for any Major Leaguer who played exclusively for winning teams, surpassing the mark set last season by Mariano Rivera, whose Yankees teams finished with a winning record in all 19of his MLB seasons.

THE LAST STAND: Over his final Yankee Stadium homestand, Jeter batted .353 (12-for-34) with five runs, four doubles, one homer and nine RBI in eight games.

THE LAST AT-BAT: After last night, the Yankees have nine walk-off wins in 2014, surpassing their 2013 total (7) and marking their most since 2009 (15). Eight of this year’s walk-offs came after the All-Star break.?Elias notes it’s most post-All-Star walk-offs by the Yankees since 1988.

UPDATE, 7:54 p.m.: Two-out single int he bottom of the second has the Red Sox in front 1-0. Unearned run, by the way. Perez made a nice diving catch earlier, but ultimately it’s hard to make too much of what’s happening in this game.

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: Ugly game so far. Yankees take the lead in the top of the third — and Capuano’s able to hold it in the bottom of the third — by taking advantage of a dropped third strike. They got two runs, neither earned, and they’re up 2-1 heading into the fourth. Perez, Cerelli and Young each have hits.

UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: I’ve honestly spent most of this game writing about the guy who’s not playing in it. Weird game. Feels like a spring training game, except somehow less interesting. Tomorrow will at least have Tanaka, and Sunday will be Jeter’s final game. But this one is just kind of a thing that’s happening. Hard to make much of it. But Capuano pitched pretty well again and it’s a 3-1 Yankees lead as Kelley comes in with two outs in the seventh.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 7:05 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


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