The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

A-Rod joins elite company in Yankees’ 4-3 win

Orioles Yankees Baseball

As has been custom with this season, and what fans can expect in the remaining years of his career, Alex Rodriguez continued to climb Major League Baseball’s most prestigious statistical ranks and join baseball royalty Wednesday night when he launched a solo home run into the left-center field stands of Yankee Stadium.

The homer gave Rodriguez the 3,024th hit of his career and 20th home run of his storybook comeback season. Lost somewhere in the shuffle was that it also gave the Yankees the final run in their 4-3 win over Baltimore.

Rodriguez simultaneously passed Lou Brock for sole possession of 24th place on the all-time hits list and joined an elite list of sluggers with the blast, becoming the ninth player to reach the 20-home run plateau at least 16 times in their career.

Of the other eight hitters, seven are Hall of Famers, with Barry Bonds being the odd man out of Cooperstown.

Rodriguez, who had a four-year hiatus between his most recent 20-homer seasons, will have a longer wait before finding out if he will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, or if he will be waiting on the outskirts with Bonds.

The Yankees (52-41) erupted for three runs in the first, running off a bevy of hits — a Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff double, a Brett Gardner RBI single, a Mark Teixeira two-run home run — to take the lead, before continuing to threaten with Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran’s subsequent, and respective, single and walk.

Baltimore (46-47) got its only decent shot off Yankees starter in the third, when catcher Ryan Flaherty sent a two-run homer into the stands. It was one of only three hits the Orioles mustered off Nova, who struck out three and walked three over six innings to earn the win.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 9:42 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 93: Yankees vs. Orioles

Ivan NovaYANKEES (51-41)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

RHP Ivan Nova (1-3, 3.42)
Nova vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (46-46)
Manny Machado 3B
Travis Snider LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis RF
Jonathan Schoop 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 1B
Caleb Joseph C

RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.00)
Gausman vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., ESPN/YES Network

WEATHER: I really don’t think you could ask for a more perfect night of baseball. Forecast expects it to stay this way.

UMPIRES: HP Tim Welke, 1B Todd Tichenor, 2B Tim Timmons, 3B Mike Everitt

IF YOU AIN’T FIRST, YOU’RE LAST: The Yankees are now 10 games over .500 for the first time this season (and the first time since Sept. 13, 2013), leading the AL East by four and a half games. If the Yanks manage to pick up half a game tonight, it will give them their first five-game lead in the division this season.

ALWAYS BE CLOSING: Former Oriole Andrew Miller has been a wonderful addition to the Yankees bullpen this season, saving all 21 of his opportunities. The streak is the longest to begin a stint with the Yankees in club history, and is the sixth-longest such streak in MLB history. Miller will tie St. Louis’ Tom Henke for fifth with his next save. Philadelphia’s Brad Lidge (44) owns the MLB record.

A-ROD IN THE RANKS: Alex Rodriguez enters tonight tied with Lou Brock for 24th on the all-time hits list (3,023). If A-Rod passes the longtime Cardinal, he’ll have a little ways to go to pass his next target, Rod Carew, who has 3,053 hits.

Follow the action here and on Twitter at @LoHudYankees.

UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: The Yankees unloaded for three runs in the first on an RBI single by Gardner and two-run homer by Mark Teixeira. Baltimore gets on the board in the second on a two-run homer by Flaherty. On a side note, the guy who won the “tie race” promo game in-between innings is the father of a girl I covered for high school basketball.

UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: As Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media reports, Zack Hample — you know, the guy who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th hit — not only caught the Flaherty home run tonight, but was allegedly assaulted earlier int he night. Still no score change in the top of the fifth, so I thought this was interesting.

UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: A-Rod homers to left-center for career hit No. 3,024, passing Lou Brock for sole possession of 24th place on the all-time hits list. It is also A-Rod’s 20th homer of the season, his 16th such season in his career. Only eight other players in MLB history have ever accomplished the feat. If Hample caught that one, I’m going home. Yankees lead, 4-2.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 7:00 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: Mason Williams to rehab in Tampa, not game-ready yet

Mason Williams

Yankees outfielder Mason Williams spent some time before Wednesday’s game against Baltimore bidding farewell to teammates. It is expected that the 23-year-old will be headed to Tampa to rehabilitate his injured shoulder, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Williams, who was moved to the 60-day disabled list retroactive to June 20 after missing time because of his shoulder, is not ready to play in any games but is progressing, Girardi said.

One of four Yankees currently serving stints on the 60-day DL, Williams’ progress has been arguably the most questionable.

Pitchers Chase Whitley and Sergio Santos will have Tommy John surgery and not return this season, and fellow outfielder Slade Heathcott has been out with a Grade 2 right quad strain. Williams has suffered minor setbacks in his rehab, and there were reports he may need surgery as recent as Friday.

“You’re trying to keep your fingers crossed,” Girardi said.

Rays Yankees Baseball• Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka will not have an innings limit for the remainder of the season, Girardi said. With a healthy four-and-a-half-game lead in the division entering Wednesday, eyes will be on Tanaka to see how he handles the pressure of a playoff push after not pitching most of the second half last year.

“For me, right now, regardless of where the team is, I just want to go out there and pitch the best way that I can,” Tanaka said through a translator. “Looking ahead, once we get closer to October, I think the stadium atmosphere will be a little bit more exciting and will change a little bit.”

• Speaking of pitchers coming off injury this season, Girardi said he thinks he has a “pretty good idea” of what he’ll get out of right-hander Ivan Nova each outing. Nova, who had Tommy John surgery last season, is 1-3 this year but has posted a respectable 3.42 earned-run average.

“I think we’ve seen the stuff that he’s possessed before he got hurt,” Girardi said. “(Nova), like every pitcher in baseball, sometimes you have your best stuff, sometimes you’re not (going to).

“The one thing he’s done is, when he doesn’t have it, he’s kept us in games.”

• The Yankees bullpen has been spectacular through the second half of the season, tossing 11 scoreless innings coming out of the break. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances have — deservingly — gotten all of the headlines, but one of the under-the-radar guys out of the pen has been left-hander Justin Wilson.

“I think he kind of just got off to a little bit of a slow start,” Girardi said of Wilson, who has now thrown seven consecutive innings over eight innings. “He’s has consistent use, I think that has helped him a lot.

“I think he’s just being the guy we knew he was.”

• Brett Gardner was honored with the Yankees’ Heart and Hustle award for the fourth time in six years yesterday, and for good reason. The all-star outfielder has reached base safely in each of his last 22 games, two shy of a career-high.

“I think he’s just matured as a player,” Girardi said. “He understands who he is and where his hot zones are. He’s patient and grinds out at-bats and has a real toughness to him.”

Girardi noted that one of the biggest changes he’s seen in Gardner since his early years with the team is that he is now swinging for a bit more power than he used to. Gardner’s career-high 17 homers last year more than doubled any of his previous six seasons. The left-hander currently has 10 home runs in 86 games.

Gregorio Petit• The Yankees are no strangers to calling up and sending down people this season. With the plethora of injuries the team has suffered, Girardi and Co. have had to make numerous changes to fill roster spots and/or adjust along the way.

“I’m honest with guys in the situation and in what’s going on and how you need to approach it,” Girardi said. “A lot of times, the guys that go up and down are the guys who have options.”

The Yanks have currently used 46 players this season, and have had a yo-yo effect with several players (such as Ramon Flores and Gregorio Petit) between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Bronx. So what is the conversation like between Girardi and a player he is sending down for the second or third time in a season?

“Everyone in (the clubhouse) has probably went through it. The greatest of players have been sent down and come back,” Girardi said. “Make sure you’re ready when the phone rings again because it will ring again, I can guarantee you that.”

• As the trade deadline approaches, we could see some significant roster changes throughout the MLB between now and July 31. The Yankees have maintained they plan to take a “practical” approach this season.

Closer Andrew Miller, who was acquired by New York in December, pitched for five different teams before his 30th birthday, so he’s more than familiar with changes in scenery.

Miller said he was “open” to returning to Baltimore for this season before the Yankees scooped him up, but said he understood the nature of the business. “Once I started getting some of the offers that I did, I hoped they would jump into it,” said Miller, who signed for four years, $36 million. “I’m sure they hoped that I would fall into their price range, but it just didn’t work out.”

Associated Press photos



Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 6:10 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

How’s it going Yankees faithful? Mike Zacchio pinch-hitting for tonight’s game against Baltimore. Stephen Drew replaces Brendan Ryan in the lineup against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Brett Gardner LF

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Carlos Beltran RF

Chase Headley 3B

Didi Gregorius SS

Stephen Drew 2B

RHP Ivan Nova


Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 3:33 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Brett Gardner wins Yankees’ Heart and Hustle Award

Brett Gardner

Here’s the announcement from the Players’ Association.

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) is pleased to announce Brett Gardner as the New York Yankees 2015 Heart and Hustle Award winner. This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.

“[Gardner] has moved into the leadoff spot in our lineup and has been the heartbeat of our offense,” said Alan Cockrell, Yankees assistant hitting coach. “He has moved from left field to center field and played Gold Glove defense. He has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse.”

The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, comprised of Alumni players with established relationships to each team. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. These players will be recognized prior to an upcoming home game. As the season draws to a close, fans, all Alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. The previous overall winners are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013) and Josh Harrison (2014).

The final winner will be announced on November 10,2015 at the 16th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 15,000 children each year at 120 clinics, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 9:58 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “It was exciting to get the opportunity today”

Orioles Yankees Baseball

I had an exchange earlier in the night on Twitter in which a follower (SB Nation’s @pinstripealley) claimed that Yankee reporters have been dismissive when fans suggest that the second base situation needs fixing. Now, I can’t speak for all of the writers (I think Chad did a solid job of explaining why the Yankees decided to keep Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan — for now — and send rookie Rob Refsnyder back to Triple-A), but I can say pretty confidently that I don’t think many believe Drew and/or Ryan should be starting consistently after the trade deadline.

Ultimately, I think that most of us believe that the job will be Refsnyder’s sooner, rather than later. For now, though, Brian Cashman’s desire to hold onto his assets instead of giving them up for nothing makes sense. We’ll see what happens at the trade deadline, but I have to think that Refsnyder will be added back to the roster shortly thereafter (barring a trade or something unforeseen).

So, what do we make of a night like Tuesday? A night in which Ryan provided the game-winning hit, seemingly quieting the doubters?

To be honest, I don’t think it’s worth over-analyzing. It would be silly to claim that this is some sort of breakthrough for Ryan, but perhaps it shows that he doesn’t necessarily belong in the trash heap, either. He’ll more than likely be back on the bench for the next two days with Baltimore starting two righties, but we know that he plays good defense and he can come up with the occasional hit against left-handed pitching.

Ryan’s two-out RBI double in the sixth won’t — and shouldn’t — change the Yankees’ approach to the trade deadline, and it shouldn’t result in fans panicking that they’ll never see Refsnyder again. If anything, it’s just a friendly reminder that keeping the roster as is for 10 more days isn’t going to wreck the season.

Orioles Yankees Baseball• It goes without saying that this was Ryan’s biggest moment as a Yankee this season. (Maybe ever?) He had only played in seven games this year before tonight due to various injuries, so he was beaming after the game. “It’s been obviously pretty frustrating, having not gotten to contribute in the first half at all with injury after injury,” he said. “Hopefully, that’s all behind me. It was exciting to get the opportunity today and I’m obviously glad that I was able to come through in that third (at-bat).”

• Ryan’s first two at-bats weren’t pretty. He came up with two on and one out in the second, weakly popping out to second, and then grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice with two on in the fourth. It was entertaining to see all of the venom being spewed on social media, but he made amends in his third at-bat. “You try to take something from it and make an adjustment,” he said. “(Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen) broke my bat in the first at-bat just kind of pouring stuff in on me there. I thought I had a good pitch to hit in the next at-bat, and he just beats me again. I just tried to make sure that I got my foot down and I was ready to hit the fastball. If he’s going to beat me with the other stuff, then I’ll tip my cap. But I gotta be ready to hit the fastball and work off of that. I was lucky to barrel something and get it past (Manny) Machado, because not much gets past him over there.”

• Ryan also heaped credit on Didi Gregorius, who set up the game-winning hit with a two-out single and motored all the way home from first on Ryan’s double. “I was thinking, ‘Go Didi, go!’ Ryan said. “Without him cutting corners like that, we might still be playing. You gotta tip your hat to him. He was flying around the bags. But it’s nice when 8-9 can push one across and help the guys out. It was a good win for us.”

• Calling a player a “good clubhouse guy” is often a nice way to say he’s not that good of a player, but Ryan’s teammates seemed generally happy for him after the game. He may not be around in a few weeks, but he seems to be a very well-liked guy in there. He definitely has a goofy side and likes to enjoy himself. “He’s a great clubhouse guy,” Chase Headley said of Ryan. “He has a lot of fun and keeps it loose around here.”

• The Yankees totaled 11 hits, but went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. A-Rod had a sac fly in the first and Headley banged an RBI double off the base of the left field wall in the second, but the bats went quiet in big spots for a stretch after that. “We had a lot of opportunities to blow the game open, but they had opportunities, too,” Joe Girardi said. “I think it was just a really well-pitched game is what it came down to. Guys made big pitches when they had to.”

• For four innings, Nathan Eovaldi looked about as strong as he has all season. The fastball was consistently 99-100 mph and Baltimore was having a tough time squaring it up. Even when they were able to foul off the heater, he would eventually pull the string with his improving splitter. “I think he did another outstanding job,” Girardi said. “It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get the win, but I thought he did another outstanding job, and he continues to mature and pitch well for us.”

Orioles Yankees Baseball• Here’s Eovaldi on his outing: “For the most part, I was able to throw first-pitch strikes and I was able to locate my fastball both inside and outside,” he said. “And the split was good early on. As the season has progressed, it’s been really good for me. It’s been one of my go-to pitches and I’ve really been able to throw it at any time in the count, which has really helped me out a lot in getting the guys off of my fastball.”

• Eovaldi only allowed one infield single through five innings, but his command began to falter in the fifth, which resulted in a few walks and his pitch count elevating. The Orioles were finally able to breakthrough in the sixth, with Matt Wieters’ RBI single knocking Eovaldi out of the game with two outs. He only allowed two runs, but his inability to go deeper into games has been a source of frustration. “That’s one my things is that I want to go deeper into ballgames,” Eovaldi said. “It’s frustrating for me as a starter because I need to go further into the game to save our bullpen, but our bullpen has just been outstanding the entire year.”

• Eovaldi is right about the pen. Justin Wilson gave up an RBI single to J.J. Hardy that tied the score at 2-2, but Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller did exactly what you expect them to do — shut it down. “We have a really nasty bullpen,” Ryan said. “It’s just one after another, really. Lights out stuff. You’re almost surprised when something gets barreled off those guys.”

• Betances recorded four outs tonight, which is no surprise. He’s shown time-and-time again that he can pitch multiple innings. The workload may eventually become a concern, but Girardi said he tries to communicate with the tall righty and put him in specific situations. “I think he understands when we start to get to the seventh that I might use him for multiple outs,” Girardi said. “We called down and said, ‘Be ready with two outs.’ That’s what we did. We weren’t going to ask him to get us five outs; we were going to ask him to get us four.”

• Betances said that he has confidence no matter when he comes into the game. “Every time that I go out there, I believe in myself,” he said. “I believe that I’m going to do the job.”

• Final word goes to Girardi, who talked about what a luxury it is to have that 1-2 punch at the end of games and was asked if he thinks it deflates our teams when they know they have to see Betances and Miller. “I don’t know what other teams think,” he said, before smiling and adding, “I know what we think, and it’s really nice to have them.”

Associated Press photos



Posted by:vmercoglianoon Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 12:01 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Ryan delivers amidst clamors for Refsnyder

Orioles Yankees Baseball

Since Sunday’s announcement that rookie second baseman Rob Refsnyder was being optioned back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so that the Yankees could hold onto light-hitting “assets” Brendan Ryan and Stephen Drew, fans have been pouring on criticism on social media and talk radio.

Drew entered Tuesday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles batting a paltry .181, while Ryan has always been regarded as a defense-first player without much offensive potential. Refsnyder, who was sent down after just four games with the big league club, represents an alternative with upside.

On Tuesday, Ryan got his first start since June 21, failing to come through with runners in scoring position in each of his first two at-bats. Twitter was filled with harsh critics, but then Ryan stunned them all. He came up in a tie ballgame with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and delivered in a big way, lacing an RBI double to left field that drove in the winning run.

Ryan’s clutch hit led to a 3-2 win, increasing the Yankees (51-41) lead over Baltimore in the AL East to five games and putting them 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.

The Yankees struggled with runners on base earlier in the game. Alex Rodriguez gave them a 1-0 lead with a sac fly in the first and Chase Headley added an RBI double in the second, but the Yanks left six men stranded in the next four innings.

Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi was sharp through five innings, allowing just one infield hit and no runs, but the Orioles (46-46) started getting to him in the sixth. After allowing an RBI single to Matt Wieters, Eovaldi was pulled with two outs in favor of Justin Wilson.

Wilson allowed Baltimore to tie the score at 2-2 on J.J. Hardy’s RBI single, giving Eovaldi two earned runs over 5.2 innings on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Dellin Betances worked 1.1 scoreless innings in relief and Andrew Miller pitched the ninth for his 21st save in as many tries.

Associated Press photo


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 10:14 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 92: Orioles at Yankees

Nathan EovaldiYANKEES (50-41)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Chris Young RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Brendan Ryan 2B

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (9-2, 4.50)
Eovaldi vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (46-45)
Manny Machado 3B
Jimmy Paredes DH
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis RF
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Travis Snider LF
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Chris Parmelee 1B

LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-5, 2.78)
Chen vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., WPIX/MLB Network

WEATHER: Well, it’s definitely humid. A cold shower sounds ideal right now. Earlier in the day, the forecast mentioned a chance of rain, but it looks less likely now. I guess we’ll find out.

UMPIRES: HP Mike Everitt, 1B Tim Welke, 2B Todd Tichenor, 3B Tim Timmons

DIVISIONAL BATTLE: The Yankees enter this three-game set with a four-game lead over the second place O’s and a chance to put more distance between them.

YOU GOTTA BEAT THE BEST: With their win on Sunday, in which they faced Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, the Yankees improved to 6-1 this season in games in which former Cy Young Award winners started against them.

TIE-BREAKING TEX MESSAGE: Of Mark Teixeira’s 23 homers this season, 12 have either tied the game (four) or given the Yankees the lead (12).

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: After the Yankees won a challenge on an Eovaldi pick-off to help them get out of the first inning (their 11th successful challenge in 17 tries this season), Ellsbury led off with a double down the left field line, advanced to third on Gardner’s sac bunt and scored on A-Rod’s sac fly. 1-0 Yankees as we head to the second.

UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: Eovaldi has looked good so far — he had a 1-2-3 in the second with two strikeouts — but rain showed up in the middle of the second and now we’re in a delay. Doesn’t look like it’s coming down hard, so hopefully this doesn’t last long. Hopefully.

UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: After a 15-minute rain delay, the game is back underway. McCann leads off with an opposite field single for the Yanks, who lead 1-0.

UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: Singles from McCann and Young, plus an RBI double from Headley, made it 2-0 Yankees with no outs in the bottom of the second. But after holding Young at third base on the Headley double, he ended up stranded. Gregorius struck out on three pitches, Ryan popped out to second and Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning.

UPDATE, 8:46 p.m.: Eovaldi works out of a jam with runners on the corners in the fifth. He’s been pretty good tonight. At 83 pitches, he should be coming out for the sixth. Yanks still lead 2-0.

UPDATE, 9:17 p.m.: After allowing an RBI single to Wieters to break up the shutout, Eovaldi was pulled with two outs in the sixth. Justin Wilson replaced him and gave up a game-tying single to Hardy. We’re knotted at 2-2, heading to the bottom of the sixth.

UPDATE, 9:22 p.m.: Gregorius and Ryan looked pretty helpless in their first two at-bats of the night, but they just came up big in the sixth. After a two-out single from Didi, Ryan drove him in with a clutch RBI double. It’s 3-2 Yankees as Rob Refsnyder enthusiasts shudder in disbelief.


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 7:08 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “You have to find a way to get him into the lineup”

Joe Girardi, Chris Young

There have been several instances when Yankees manager Joe Girardi has shown a soft spot for veteran players, often sticking with them as age deteriorates their performance on the field.

We saw it last season when he batted a 40-year-old Derek Jeter in the two-hole, even with Jeter putting up the worst offensive numbers of his career. More recently, fans have clamored for Girardi to replace second baseman Stephen Drew with highly-regarded rookie Rob Refsnyder, yet the Yankees’ skipper continues to trot Drew out there, sub-.200 batting average and all.

But in the case of who will be his everyday right fielder, Girardi may be deviating from his usual stance. Carlos Beltran is a proud player who has been among the best in baseball throughout his career, but backup Chris Young has absolutely mashed this season against left-handed pitching to the tune of a .360/.415/.686 slash line. Factor in that Beltran, a switch-hitter, is batting 32 points higher against right-handed pitching, and it’s fairly obvious that who plays should be based on which side the opposing team’s starting pitcher throws from.

“With how good he’s been off of left-handers, you have to find a way to get him into the lineup,” Girardi said of Young. “I would think that against every lefty that we face this year moving forward – and it’s been that way so far – he’s probably going to be in there.”

With the Baltimore Orioles starting lefty Wei-Yin Chen in Tuesday night’s series opener, Girardi made the obvious choice and penciled Young into the lineup instead of Beltran.

Beltran, to his credit, stood behind his manager’s decision.

“It is what it is,” he said. “You got to understand you’re not young, like 22, anymore. So you’ve got to be ready and know that manager also has a plan that he’s behind. The good thing with Joe is that he communicates, so I have no problem with that. He lets me know basically the days he thinks I need off and I try to go with it.”

Still, while the lineup card leads us to believe that Young will play over Beltran against lefties, Girardi didn’t want to use the term “platoon.” Protecting the egos of his veteran players is simply part of the job, which is a big reason why he’s earned the trust of his team. But it’s also important to those in the clubhouse that Girardi does what’s in the best interest of the team, and in this case, he seems to be doing just that.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be a platoon,” Girardi said. “That’s not what I’m saying because I said I would give (Brett Gardner) a day off and (Jacoby Ellsbury) a day off. The other thing that I’m being somewhat careful with is that he hasn’t had a ton of right-handed at-bats lately. We’ll kind of work him in slow and go from there.”

Carlos Beltran• It makes sense that, if Girardi is going to give an occasional day off to either Ellsbury or Gardner, it would come against a left-handed pitcher. Both guys bat left-handed, but with Beltran’s shaky defense in right and the age factor, it’s probably safe to assume that he’ll usually be the guy to sit. Even Beltran acknowledged how valuable Young has been in his role. “He’s doing great,” Beltran said. “It’s good to see that. The guys that aren’t playing every day are coming in doing a good job for the team, so that also helps a lot. It helps everybody. It gives the manager another option. So when he thinks, ‘I give Gardner or Carlos a day off, this is a guy I can play.’ Chris Young’s been great this year and I’m just happy that he’s having a successful season.”

• Young has clearly had less success against right-handed pitchers (he’s hitting a Stephen Drew-like .178 vs. RHP), but he claimed that he’s comfortable in any situation. “It doesn’t really change much mentally,” Young said. He did acknowledge that, when it comes to lefties, “…throughout the season, I’m seeing them pretty good.”

• Girardi was asked about how he’ll manage his older position players in the second half, specifically Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. “We have a number of long stretches coming up as we move forward these last two and a half months, so I’m going to have to pick days to give them days off,” he said. “Some day games after night games, possibly, maybe take one guy out and DH another guy, that sort of thing. I think it’s important that we keep them strong.”

• Beltran was asked if he thinks he benefits from occasional days off. “I think we all do,” he said. “Once you get a day off you can focus on other things. In my case, I can go the gym do my workout routine, go the cage work on my swing. You know that late in the game you’re going to get an at-bat. In the American League, there is no such thing as a full day off. You’ve got to be ready and be prepared, so I think we all benefit from that.”

Jacoby Ellsbury• Ellsbury had at least one hit in each of his first four games after coming off of the disabled list two weeks ago, but since then, he’s gone a combined 1 for 17. Any concern? “I think he’s due to get hot here pretty soon,” Girardi said. “It would be a great time right now. It probably didn’t help that he played those four or five games, then we had four days off.”

• Prior to Sunday, Gardner had an eight-game hitting streak, as he continues to be one of the Yankees’ most consistent players. Earlier today, he was named the Yankees’ “Heart & Hustle Award” winner. Each MLB team gets one nominee for the award, and Gardner has now been selected four times in the last six years. “I’m not surprised,” Girardi said. “How hard he plays the game and dives all over the place and what he’s meant to this club, I’m not surprised.”

• There has been a lot of chatter in the last 48 hours about the white cleats that Gardner wore during Sunday’s game — Gardner joked that it gave us something to write about on the off day — and he confirmed today that he has been warned by the Yankees and MLB not to wear them again. “I won’t be wearing them again,” Gardner said. “That was a one-time thing. I definitely got some warnings about that.”

• The Yankees come into this series with a four-game lead over the second place Orioles, so this represents a chance to bury last year’s division champs a bit more. It’s still July, but Girardi wants the Yankees to seize the opportunity. “I think that every series in our division from here on out is extremely important,” he said. “You start to run out of dates is what happens as we move forward, so this is a big series. And you’re still going to have a lot of games, but it gives you an opportunity to put more distance between you and other clubs.”

Associated Press photos



Posted by:vmercoglianoon Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 5:33 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees lineup: As expected vs. LHP

Good afternoon! This is Vin Mercogliano in for Chad after a few weeks of vacation and such. I’ll be here for two out of three in this series against Baltimore (tonight and Thursday).

Tonight’s lineup is pretty much what you’d expect with the O’s throwing a left-handed pitcher. I actually jotted down what I thought the lineup would be earlier today, and this was it, so no surprises. I’ll be back soon with pregame notes.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Brett Gardner LF

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Chris Young RF

Chase Headley 3B

Didi Gregorius SS

Brendan Ryan 2B

RHP Nathan Eovaldi


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 3:34 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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