Postgame notes: Banuelos holds his own • 03.14.11
Joe Girardi was asked tonight whether he knew many 20-year-olds who would be willing to throw a 3-2 changeup to Kevin Youkilis. When he said no, Girardi was asked if he knew many 30-year-olds who would be willing to throw a 3-2 changeup to Youkilis.
“How old is CC?” he said.
Manny Banuelos wasn’t perfect tonight, but he showed the Yankees — and himself — that he has the stuff to face big league hitters and get them out. He struck out Carl Crawford on a fastball, he got back-to-back ground balls to escape a bases-loaded jam, and he made Youkilis look bad on a 3-2 change that was his last pitch of the game.
“It’s a lot for me because now I know how I can pitch,” Banuelos said. “I have an idea how can I mix the pitches to the major league hitters. It’s a lot different, minor league to the major league hitters. Now I have an idea, how can I throw, what pitch can I use against the big hitters?”
Before the game, Brian Cashman made it clear that there was nothing Banuelos could do to change the Yankees plans. He’s going to open the season in Trenton.
“What we’re looking for, I’m not expecting for him to provide at this time,” Cashman said.
This was never going to be the night that pushed Banuelos into the big league rotation, and this was not the night Banuelos emerged as a front-line prospect. This was simply the night he got his first taste of the big stage. His command was off and he got into a lot of deep counts, but Banuelos more than held his own against a legitimate big league lineup. He showed some flaws, and he showed a lot of promise.
“I feel ready for this,” he said.
The Yankees will wait. They’ll let Banuelos develop a little longer and they’ll try to show some patience, but there is an obvious excitement about this kid. And that excitement is starting to spread.
“Let’s put it this way: Probably most people couldn’t pronounce his name before camp,” Cashman said. “I think everybody pronounces it now, accurately.”
Here’s Banuelos in the clubhouse after his start.
Here’s Cashman on the field before the game.
• Mark Prior did not make today’s road trip because he’s sick. Doesn’t sound serious.
• Cashman labeled his level of concern about Sergio Mitre as, “low.” Mitre tried to convince the Yankees to let him pitch, but the Yankees didn’t want to risk anything with his oblique. “Girardi had to do a little bit of a wrestling match with him,” Cashman said. “He almost had to get me on the phone.”
• Here’s Mitre’s take on the situation: “It was a little bit sore and tight (Sunday). They don’t want to chance it because I pulled an oblique on the same side last year. We’re trying to figure out if it’s related. If it blows out, they’re talking about six weeks, so hopefully it won’t. I feel pretty good today.”
• Joba Chamberlain’s injury is around his ribs, but Cashman said it’s technically in his oblique. Just like with Mitre, the Yankees don’t seem especially worries. Chamberlain felt something, let the Yankees know, and now they’re playing it safe. “Could it play itself into (taking) a while? That’s what we’re trying to prevent,” Cashman said.
• Dellin Betances hit a batter with his first pitch, walked two batters, threw two wild pitches and allowed both Boston runs. “A little wild,” Girardi said. “But he didn’t cave. To me that’s a sign he’s making progress as well.”
• Nick Swisher went 0-for-3 and his spring average dropped to .188. “I don’t get too caught up in numbers,” Girardi said. “I watch the way he’s swinging the bat, and I’ve been pleased with his at-bats. He’s not a huge concern of mine.”
• Eric Chavez didn’t have a hit today, but he did get another game at first base. “He’s been really good (at first),” Girardi said. “I’ve been really pleased with what he’s done. It seems to be a pretty good adjustment for him. He hasn’t been tested a ton, but every play he’s needed to make, he’s made.”
• Brett Gardner had his fourth spring double. It came immediately after Jesus Montero’s first double and drove in the only Yankees run in a 2-1 loss.
• Another hit for Jorge Vazquez. Of course.
• Ramiro Pena had a hit and stole a base. He said a few days ago that he wanted to use his speed a little more to show the Yankees he could help on the bases, but Eduardo Nunez also had another hit today and continues to be a significantly better offensive option this spring.
• Against his old team, Alfredo Aceves pitched three innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Cashman reiterated that the Yankees did not have enough confidence in his back to offer Aceves a major league deal. “He’s got a back condition and we could not get him healthy, and I’ll leave it at that,” Cashman said.
• CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon will throw 80-85 pitches during tomorrow morning’s sim game.
Associated Press photos of Banuelos, Betances and Swisher
Spring Training Game 19: Yankees at Red Sox • 03.14.11
Brett Gardner LF
Ramiro Pena SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 1B
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Ronnie Belliard 3B
Jorge Vazquez DH
Jesus Montero C
LHP Manny Banuelos (0-0, 0.00)
Safe to say there’s no MLB track record here
RED SOX (9-8-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Cameron RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS
RHP Alfredo Aceves (0-1, 3.68)
Aceves vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., ESPN2
WEATHER: Very nice night. Little bit of wind blowing out to right-center, but nothing crazy.
UMPIRES: HP Jeff Kellogg, 1B Brian O’Nora, 2B Manny Gonzalez, 3B Mark Lollo
ON THE LINE: Just a few minutes ago, Brian Cashman said — once again — that there’s no chance Manny Banuelos will break camp with the Yankees. This is a chance to watch a young guy on a pretty big stage. Interesting and worth seeing for sure, but it has no impact on his plan. He’s heading to Trenton, no matter what happens tonight.
OUT OF THE BULLPEN FOR THE YANKEES: Dellin Betances, Romulo Sanchez, Mark Prior and Luis Ayala. Banuelos is getting all of the buzz because he’s getting the start, but Betances will be just as interesting to watch.
BULLPEN FOR THE RED SOX: LHP Dennys Reyes, RHP Bobby Jenks, LHP Rich Hill, LHP Hideki Okajima and RHP Jonathan Papelbon
LATE BIRTHDAY GIFT: Banuelos turned 20 yesterday. I have no idea what I did the day after my 20th birthday, but I can promise you it was nothing like this. ESPN certainly was not involved.
BORN A FEW YEARS BEFORE BANUELOS: Today is Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitting coach Butch Wynegar’s 55th birthday. Curtis Granderson turns 30 on Wednesday.
UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: The night starts with a nine-pitch walk for Banuelos.
UPDATE, 7:27 p.m.: Banuelos stranded two runners through a scoreless first inning. He struck out Carl Crawford, but walked Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis. Missed a few spots, but also got some bad swings and made his way through what must have been the toughest group of hitters he’s ever faced.
UPDATE, 7:46 p.m.: After loading the bases with one out, Banuelos got back-to-back ground balls to get out of the inning without a run. A chopper to third led to a force out at the plate, and a sharp grounder to third ended the inning with a routing 5-3.
UPDATE, 7:56 p.m.: Back-to-back doubles by Montero and Gardner have given the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the third. Montero drove his to the right-center gap. Gardner slapped his down the right-field line.
UPDATE, 8:09 p.m.: That’s all for Banuelos: 2.2 scoreless allowing two hits and three walks. He ended the night with a terrific 3-2 offspeed pitch (I thought curveball when I saw it live, but it looked more like a changeup on TV). He was a little erratic, but he also showed some flashes of everything the Yankees like about him, including the willingness to go offspeed in that situation against Youkilis.
UPDATE, 8:14 p.m.: Banuelos threw 53 pitches, 28 strikes.
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Betances is a little bit all of the place here in the fifth inning. He hit the first batter, walked the next, and allowed a run because of two wild pitches. He got some help from a terrible bit of base running by the Red Sox. Anyway, it’s now 1-1 at the end of the fifth.
Saturday notes: Vazquez keeps hitting • 03.12.11
It’s impossible to ignore Jorge Vazquez this spring. The guy made a career out of smashing baseballs in Mexico, he’s hit through his first two seasons in the minor leagues, and this spring he’s leading the team in RBI, tied for the team lead in home runs and batting .480.
“He’s played really well for us in spring training. He continues to swing the bat and continues to do what he needs to do,” Joe Girardi said. “This kid has shown that he can hit, and he’s hit at every level that he’s been at.”
Girardi has more than once called Vazquez “more of a first baseman,” but he can play third. If Eric Chavez weren’t also hitting this spring, Vazquez might be playing his way into a strong chance of landing a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Instead, he’s making an impression. The Yankees seem to be heading toward carrying Chavez on the bench, but it’s hard to ignore what Vazquez is doing right now, and it will be hard to forget if/when the Yankees need an extra bat in the middle of the summer.
“We know what he can do, and he’s shown us what he can do,” Girardi said.
• Burnett was most encouraged by his curveball today, but he continued his spring training tradition by working in a few changeups that he said were pretty effective. He threw one to right-handed hitter Ryan Zimmerman, who lined out on the pitch.
• Speaking of the changeup, here’s Burnett talking about pitching to Russell Martin: “He has an idea what I want to do. I faced him a couple of times a long time ago. He’s got an idea what my strengths are, but he wants me to use my changeup. He’s a big believer in that. It’s all confidence with him.”
• One more Burnett note: He has yet to walk anyone, and he seemed realize talking about it probably jinxed it this afternoon. “I haven’t walked anybody yet, have I?” Burnett said. “Well, there goes that.”
• In his first action in center field, Brett Gardner played there through the seventh inning. Eduardo Nunez stayed at shortstop throughout.
• Rule 5 pick Daniel Turpen gave up a walk-off single in the ninth inning, sending the Nationals to a 6-5 win. Not sure how much longer the Yankees will look at Turpen and Robert Fish, but it’s a crowded bullpen as it is, and neither Rule 5 pick has strong numbers this spring.
• Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano are both scheduled to pitch tomorrow.
• The Yankees remain excited about what they’ve seen from Chavez, but they decided to play it safe when it came to today’s road trip. “Extremely encouraged,” Girardi said. “I just thought it was silly to put him on a bus for two hours after he played yesterday.”
• When Ramiro Pena popped out in the eighth, he turned and flung his bat back toward the Yankees dugout, a rare show of emotion for the Yankees utility man. Hard not to notice that he’s hitting .154 this spring while Eduardo Nunez has thrived. I still think there’s a chance Pena will be the pick — the utility job is going to be an incredibly minor role, and the Yankees love Pena’s glove at short — but Nunez is clearly outplaying him this spring.
• Speaking of former Yankees: Talked to Chien-Ming Wang a little bit before today’s game. He said he’s thrown a sim game this spring and he’s hoping to be game ready early this season. His fastball has been 86-87 mph, and he thinks that will go up as he gains arm strength. “It’s been a long time, but I’ve been patient,” he said.
• I couldn’t see it from the press box, but Gardner said a stealth bomber flew by in the middle of the game. It happened before the bottom of an inning, while he was warming up with Melky Mesa. Gardner told Mesa to turn around and look at it, and Gardner said Mesa’s reaction was priceless. Gardner told him it was a UFO. Mesa’s reaction? “Maybe.”
Associated Press photos of Vazquez with Montero; Burnett’s arm; and Cano laughing after a called strikeout
CC Sabathia was scheduled for four innings this afternoon. He wound up pitching five scoreless and still didn’t reach his pitch count. Going head-to-head against Phillies ace Roy Halladay, Sabathia was back to his old self after a rocky start his last time out against the Nationals.
“That’s pretty much the CC we’re used to seeing,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Sabathia said he was sharp enough to work on some specific things today, throwing changeups when he was down in the count and mixing in some first-pitch two-seamers. His delivery was “cleaner,” he said.
“I have the pause in my delivery,” Sabathia said. “I was kind of floating, drifting through it (last time) instead of just staying there, gathering, and then going. We worked on that in the bullpen, and I was conscious of it in the bullpen here today and trying to translate into the game.”
• Sabathia was hit in the thigh by a comebacker but stayed in the game. He didn’t even let the medical staff check him during the game, though he did have it wrapped afterward. “I’ve got a lot of meat down there,” he said.
• This early in spring training, and the two starting pitchers — Sabathia and Roy Halladay — combined for 11 scoreless, walkless innings. “Look at the two starters we’re looking at,” Girardi said. “You don’t see it a lot (this early), but if it’s going to happen, it’s usually two starters like that.”
• Warner Madrigal was scheduled to pitch today, but he felt some soreness in his arm. “He might be shut down for a few days,” Girardi said. Madrigal is coming back from surgery, but Girardi said today’s soreness was in a different spot.
• Dave Robertson faced one hitter this afternoon, which was the plan. Robertson threw 31 pitches his last time out and Girardi just wanted to get him in the game for one hitter. Of course, that one hitter tripled.
• After Robertson, Rule 5 pick Robert Fish had a rough sixth inning. He got three outs, one of which was a sac fly and one of which was a pickoff. John Mayberry Jr. hit a two-run home run off him, one of three hits against Fish.
• Mark Prior allowed his first runs of the spring. The Phillies scored three runs against him, but two were unearned because of an error by Justin Maxwell. Prior gave up two walks and an RBI double.
• The Yankees had a total of four hits today, on apiece by Brett Gardner, Russell Martin, Ramiro Pena and Jorge Posada. All of those hits were singles.
• In his spring debut, Ronnie Belliard went 0-for-2. Given the way Eric Chavez is hitting — and the way Jorge Vazquez is hitting for that matter — it’s really difficult to imagine Belliard doing enough to make this roster.
• Brett Gardner will get one at-bat as a designated hitter tomorrow, then he’ll make the road trip to play center field on Saturday.
• Girardi said he’s planning to go on the road for tomorrow’s split squad game against the Blue Jays because he wants to see Ivan Nova pitch. He’ll leave someone else to manage the home game and watch Phil Hughes. Why not have Nova pitch at home? Hughes has already made two starts on the road, and he’s locked into a rotation spot. He gets to stay home this time.
• Alfredo Aceves was knocked around today, allowing four hits and three earned runs through 2.1 innings for the Red Sox.
Associated Press photos of Sabathia meeting with Russell Martin and Jorge Posada, and of Girardi talking to Tony Pena
In case you missed it, Sam and I held a video chat this afternoon, and you can go back and watch it in the archives. Otherwise, here are a few notes and links from the day.
• Jerry Crasnick reported the contract details of Eric Chavez’s minor league deal with the Yankees: He’ll make $1.5 million if he makes the big league roster, and he has the chance to earn another $4 million or so based on plate appearances and time on the roster.
• Joel Sherman reports that the Yankees managed to void their minor league contract with reliever Luis Vizcaino after he was injured this winter. Perhaps most interesting is Sherman reporting that the Yankees’ scouts had Vizcaino steadily hitting the mid-90s and thought he was a legitimate candidate to make the roster.
• Kevin Long expects most of the Yankees lineup to be better in 2011 than in 2010. “It would be hard for Cano and Swisher to duplicate what they did last year,” Long told ESPNNewYork. “If they stay even close to that, great. But I expect the rest of them to do better.”
• Frankie Piliere is high on the Yankees top prospects, ranking Jesus Montero (4), Manny Banuelos (13), Gary Sanchez (34), Dellin Betances (44) and Andrew Brackman (60) among the Top 100 prospects in baseball.
• FanGraphs likes the Red Sox signing of Alfredo Aceves as a low-risk move with some upside.
• It almost goes without saying, but Bryan Hoch took a look at Michael Young as a potential trade target for the Yankees and found that it’s not a good fit.
• Good news for former Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf: He won his arbitration hearing.
• Bad news for Ohlendorf: He’s still with the Pirates.
For those of you curious about what’s going on down in Tampa this week, one of our frequent readers — blog handle, Tyanksfan36 — emailed this picture which was taken this morning at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa.
• With good reason, the story of Wake Forest coach Tom Walter is spreading to various media outlets: Walter donated a kidney to freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan, who was actually drafted by the Yankees before committing to Wake Forest.
• Jay Jaffe used PECOTA to evaluate the Yankees fourth and fifth starter candidates. Believe it or not, the best projected numbers belonged to Sergio Mitre and Hector Noesi. Ivan Nova’s numbers are near the bottom, behind Manny Banuelos and David Phelps. By the way, I think there’s a very real chance we’ll still be talking about Noesi in the middle of March. He could make a run at this thing.
• The Yankees signed a kid named Freiter Marte out of the Dominican Prospect League. He’s a 20-year-old outfielder, but that’s pretty much all I know about him.
• A a few days ago Donnie Collins offered a nice take on new Yankees outfielder Justin Maxwell. Donnie wrote: He is a guy that you see, and you remember. He has hit 19 homers in 177 games the last two seasons with Syracuse, and when he connects, the ball flies. And when the ball is hit toward him, he flies. He is as good a defensive outfielder as there was in the International League.
• To make room on the 40-man for Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, the Rays designated outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Leslie Anderson for assignment. Ruggiano’s opportunity had kind of come and gone in Tampa, but Anderson showed some promise as an older-than-usual prospect last year.
• Not sure this should be considered “cool” but I think it’s pretty awesome: Baseball Prospectus figured out which game Ferris Bueller attended during his day off.
Red Sox reportedly interested in Aceves • 02.06.11
The Red Sox are looking into Aceves, who was shut down by the Yankees May 8 after hurting his back. Aceves is 14-1 in his career, including 10-1 in 2009 with the Yankees. He was 3-0 last season until his back injury flared up. He would be an injury rehab project but is working out and could provide protection in the bullpen or as a starter.
Check out the full notebook. Cafardo has an item about Andy Pettitte, mentions A.J. Burnett as one of the players most needing to step up this season and once again connects the Yankees to Kevin Millwood.
As for Aceves, the Yankees non-tendered him this winter after a pair of injuries: A lower-back problem that kept flaring up during the season, and a broken left clavicle suffered this offseason in Mexico.
Brian Cashman said early this offseason that the Yankees would like to bring Aceves back on a minor league deal, but that back problem seems to make it difficult to count on him this season and beyond.
Fewer missing pieces than you might expect • 12.24.10
On the day Cliff Lee signed with Philadelphia, Brian Cashman said this:
“We have a championship caliber team. There are areas that could be improved upon. There are players in this marketplace currently that could assist there, but will we solve all the problems that we have right now? I don’t want to mislead people and say, ‘Yeah, we’ll take care of that right now this winter.’ It doesn’t have to happen in the winter time. We have up through the summer to get everything we need necessarily fixed.”
Those words didn’t carry much weight because the Yankees seemed to have too many holes to ignore. But then again, consider the 2010 Opening Day roster. Aside from Andy Pettitte, the changes from then to now haven’t been especially significant, and most should be considered addition by subtraction. The roster concerns seem to have more to do with performance than personnel.
Derek Jeter SS
Still with the team. This time he’s coming off the worst season of his career, not a near MVP season.
Nick Johnson DH
Gone. He had 12 hits last year.
Mark Teixeira 1B
Still with the team. A model of consistency the previous six years, last season he slugged below .500 for the first time since he was a rookie.
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Still with the team. Had 125 RBI in a down year.
Robinson Cano 2B
Still with the team. Emerged as one of the game’s elite players.
Jorge Posada C
Still with the team. Nagging injuries took their toll last season. This time he’ll be the primary designated hitter.
Curtis Granderson CF
Still with the team. Made significant improvements down the stretch last season.
Nick Swisher RF
Still with the team. Finally had an all-star season and moved up from the No. 8 hole.
Brett Gardner LF
Still with the team. A complete unknown at this time last year.
Francisco Cervelli C
Still with the team. Likely to return to the exact same role as last season.
Ramiro Pena INF
Still with the team. Could return to the utility role. Could be replaced by Eduardo Nunez or an outside candidate.
Marcus Thames OF
Gone. Wasn’t with the Yankees at this time last year. Didn’t sign until just before spring training.
Randy Winn OF
Gone. Also wasn’t with the team at this time last year. Brian Cashman tried to buy low, but Winn made 16 starts before being designated for assignment.
CC Sabathia LHP
Still with the team. Still at the top of the rotation. Still a Cy Young candidate.
A.J. Burnett RHP
Still with the team. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine he could be any worse than he was last season.
Andy Pettitte LHP
Unknown. While he’s considering retirement, he’s also considered the rotation’s most significant missing piece. Injury limited him to 21 starts last season.
Javier Vazquez RHP
Gone. Last winter’s big rotation addition managed 26 largely forgettable starts.
Phil Hughes RHP
Still with the team. And this time he doesn’t have to fight for a spot in spring training.
Mariano Rivera RHP
Still with the team. Same as always. Age would be a factor if he were anyone but Mo.
Joba Chamberlain RHP
Still with the team. Not fighting for a rotation spot this time.
Dave Robertson RHP
Still with the team. Had a 2.27 ERA and held opponents to a .207 batting average in the second half last season.
Damaso Marte LHP
Injured. Likely to miss all season. Essentially replaced by Pedro Feleciano.
Chan Ho Park RHP
Gone. Wasn’t with the team at this time last year. Allowed one more hit than Rivera, despite pitching fewer than half of the games.
Alfredo Aceves RHP
Gone. Non-tendered after missing almost all year with a back injury. Pitched in 10 games last season.
Sergio Mitre RHP
Still with the team. Actually coming off a pretty solid season, in a much better spot than at this time last year.
Associated Press photos of Jeter, Cervelli, Sabathia and Rivera
Cashman notes from Winter Meetings Day 1 • 12.06.10
When the Yankees beat writers walked into Brian Cashman’s suite early this evening, the Yankees general manager was sitting in a chair in the corner, spinning a football in his hands and occasionally tossing it into the air. He was wearing jeans, flip-flops, a faded Yankees t-shirt and a dark, zip-up hoodie.
Cashman had been meeting with teams and agents all day, and said he never changed out of that outfit. This is going to be a long week in Orlanda, and Cashman plans to be comfortable.
“My whole day has been on a number of different players,” he said. “Some you probably wouldn’t think would be on our radar. We covered a lot of ground today to try to assess expected value and see if it matches up with something we’re trying to do.”
Obviously, Cashman met with Cliff Lee’s representation. “While we’re in the same area, I’m going to try to meet with him as much as I possibly can,” Cashman said.
Cashman wouldn’t go into detail about those Lee conversations — and he wouldn’t say exactly which other teams and agents stopped by his suite today — but it’s clear that Lee is a primary target. When Jayson Werth signed a massive contract yesterday, it might very well have affected Lee’s asking price, but it hasn’t affected the Yankees offer.
“I know what and where we’re willing to go,” Cashman said. “It’s not going to impact us, but it may impact them.”
• The only other free agent camp Cashman acknowledged talking to today was Kerry Wood’s. The Yankees have interest in bringing Wood back for the eighth inning, but Cashman realizes Wood could get a closer opportunity elsewhere. “If he does he won’t pitch here,” Cashman said. “I won’t compete with closer money.”
• Cashman on Jorge Posada: “He’s our DH. That’s what he is, unless he plays himself off of it.”
• With that in mind, Cashman mentioned Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine as internal options at catcher. “I think we have the catching answers from within,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that you don’t make sure that you explore additional opportunities at the same time.”
• When the Yankees non-tendered Alfredo Aceves, they made sure to let Aceves know that they’d like to have him back on a minor league deal. Cashman called that “less risky” than keeping Aceves on the 40-man.
• Before non-tendering Dustin Moseley, the Yankees offered Moseley a Major League contract that would keep Moseley out of arbitration. “They wanted to pursue something greater,” Cashman said. “I wasn’t going to tender it if I was going to be put in arbitration. I need to control our costs.”
• The three key players who had, or will have, surgery this winter — CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner — remain on track for spring training. Mark Teixeira has also progressed to the point he’s back on his normal winter routine.
• Cashman on the Yankees outfield depth: “That’s an area that we could upgrade on. Our backup situations aren’t as strong as our everyday situations.”
• There will probably be more discussion about this in the coming days, but Cashman said he doesn’t believe there are any lingering issues because of the occasionally tense Derek Jeter negotiations.
• Cashman on George Steinbrenner: “He’s a Hall of Famer. They just haven’t made it official yet.”
Associated Press photos of Cashman and Wood
Cashman notes from Tuesday • 11.16.10
Brian Cashman joked that he walked into a sword fight without a sword.
Standing in a room filled with media, Cashman didn’t want to talk about the details of today’s meetings, didn’t want to give his opinion on expanded playoffs and wouldn’t get into specifics about potential player moves. He talked quite a bit more about the search for a pitching coach, but wouldn’t say who or even how many will be interviewed.
The only juicy bit of information he provided was nothing but a tease.
“I’ve got a small player move that I’m working on that might get done at some point this week,” he said. “But it’s small.”
In the course of nearly a half hour, though, Cashman did drop a few little notes of information. Nothing huge, just a few nuggets to keep in mind.
• The starter-or-reliever questions are official finished for Joba Chamberlain. “Joba to the pen,” Cashman said. “We made that decision after spring training. We’re not looking to put it back. We told him in the spring, you’re a reliever now. That’s it.”
• Alfredo Aceves is healthy enough that he’s expected to pitch in Mexico this winter. “His rehab resolved,” Cashman said. “He was throwing bullpens (and) felt fine. We’re probably going to be talking about winter ball here at some point. He was trying to make it. He would have been a potential guy, believe it or not, to our surprise, if we got to the World Series.”
• Aceves never had surgery.
• Cashman is moving forward with the assumption that Damaso Marte will not pitch at all next season. “Whether (a lefty reliever) is available in this particular marketplace is what I don’t know,” Cashman said. “It’s certainly an area that I would like to have two lefties in the bullpen. I just don’t know if I’ll be successful or not.”
• That said, Cashman has no plans to dump Marte from the 40-man roster. He doesn’t think he’ll need that spot to protect anyone from the Rule 5. “You don’t just release a guy,” he said. “With our Rule 5 protection, I don’t feel like I have a roster crunch.”
• Cashman said he only way he could imagine a roster crunch would be if the Yankees made a trade in which they acquired multiple players, but he doesn’t expect that sort of trade to happen.
• Cashman said he has “zero” indication whether Andy Pettitte will be back next year. Pettitte told Cashman the same thing he’s said publicly: That if he had to make a decision right now, it would probably be retirement, but he’s not planning to make a decision right now.
• The Yankees consider Ivan Nova a legitimate rotation candidate for next year.
• Last year was the final year of Juan Miranda’s four-year contract, but he doesn’t have enough service time to become a free agent, so he’s still under the Yankees control. They don’t have to offer him arbitration, he will simply come into spring training as a 40-man player who’s out of options.
• Cashman listed Miranda, Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Laird as players who could play a bench role next season.
Associated Press photos