Today in The Journal News • 03.27.10
Having lost the competition to be the Yankees fifth starter, Joba Chamberlain is once again in the bullpen, uncertain whether his future is as a reliever or a starter. It’s the same debate we’ve been having for the past three years. “I think when they stop talking about me is when I probably should worry,” Chamberlain said.
On Friday, the Yankees played the Phillies in an exhibition game and Alex Rodriguez was a surprise clean-up hitter, having not met with federal investigators after all. Phil Hughes made his first start since being added to the rotation, Marcus Thames got a hit off Jamie Moyer, Jon Weber raised his average and Amaury Sanit was sent to minor league camp.
Notes from Friday • 03.26.10
Phil Hughes got the start tonight, but much of the attention this afternoon was on Joba Chamberlain, who is once again shifting roles to move back into the bullpen.
“I can say I’m happy with myself because I gave it everything I’ve got,” he said. “Hughes just beat me. That’s it, the long and the short of it.”
Chamberlain said he expects to go back to using primarily his fastball and slider, and the Yankees seem optimistic that his velocity will again climb into the upper 90s.
“I can’t think about being a starter at this point,” Chamberlain said. “For me to help this team right now, its being in the bullpen and trying to get guys out there. It’s unfair to my team to think about something else.”
Brian Cashman said this afternoon that the team discussed using both Hughes and Chamberlain in the bullpen this season, but they ultimately thought Hughes was their best No. 5 starter. He once again called Chamberlain a “starter pitching out of the pen.”
“I think we finished off his development plan, and we have choices with him now,” Cashman said. “He can start if we need him to start, he can relieve if we need him to relieve. I don’t feel it’s a waste at all. I think we completed the mission on him and what will be, will be.”
• The Associated Press is reporting that Alex Rodriguez was in fact supposed to met with investigators today, but the meeting was postponed “by mutual consent.”
• Hughes walked four in his three-plus innings, but both Hughes and Girardi seemed happy with his outing. “(He was missing) just a little bit,” Girardi said. “I thought he threw the ball well.”
• Amaury Sanit was reassigned to minor league camp.
• Francisco Cervelli will be out of camp the next two days to attend a personal matter.
• Marcus Thames had a single off Jamie Moyer. It was one of only four Yankees hits in the game. Of course, one of the hits was from Jon Weber, who raised his spring average to .565.
• Mike Rivera still has a sore hamstring. He felt it running to first during the intrasquad game a few days ago. He’ll take batting practice on Monday.
• Hughes next outing is Wednesday against Minnesota. Sergio Mitre will start one of the split squad games on Tuesday.
• Pitchers for tomorrow’s game at Lakeland: A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Chan Ho Park and Dave Robertson.
• Position players not going to Lakeland: Francisco Cervelli, Mike Rivera, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher. The entire usual infield has the game off, so you’ll see a lot of minor leaguers.
Those are Associated Press photos.
Looking for a surprise • 03.23.10
Aside from the 25 players who seem to be favorites for the Opening Day roster, there are still 14 others in big league camp with the Yankees. Could any of these play their way onto the roster?
Two straight seasons on the opening day roster, but that trend will probably come to an end this spring. He’s really struggled with a sinker that hasn’t sunk. On the roster? On his way to Scranton to get things worked out. He was pitching very well at the end of last season.
Might be on waivers, but he’s still in camp. Pitched well for the Yankees last season, but he seems to have been passed by Sergio Mitre. On the roster? It obviously doesn’t look good.
He’s on the 40-man and he’s had a nice spring — .300/.364/.550 with plus speed and defense — but he has yet to prove himself as a consistent hitter in the minor leagues. On the roster? More likely in Scranton trying to prove himself with the bat.
Joe Girardi seems to view a second lefty as a luxury, not a necessity. Logan has an option remaining, so he can be sent to Triple-A. That’s probably not good news for him. He has pitched well, though. On the roster? Not if the Yankees plan to keep the four remaining fifth-starter candidates.
One rocky outing, but otherwise he’s been solid this spring. The Chan Ho Park signing probably crowded out any chances he had of breaking camp with the big league club. On the roster? Not now. Check back in June.
Remember when the Yankees signed Nick Johnson? That was the day Miranda was bumped out of the big league mix. He’s insurance at this point. On the roster? Not as long as Johnson is healthy.
In camp to help handle the extra pitchers but has almost no chance of breaking camp with the team. Needs a chance to play regularly at Triple-A, but obviously Jesus Montero stands in the way. On the roster? A simple, no.
Veteran depth behind the plate, Rivera is around as insurance. He’s clearly behind Francisco Cervelli, and his .125 spring average probably hasn’t helped. On the roster? Not unless someone gets hurt.
Another pitcher who has done well this spring but seems crowded out of the bullpen. Even if the Yankees were to carry a second left, Logan might be the better bet. On the roster? Probably battling Logan for a call-up from Scranton.
He’s a polished hitter, and he’s proven that this spring, but his limited experience at shortstop and in the outfield leaves him as a tough fit for the Yankees. On the roster? Probably not on Opening Day, but keep an eye on his Scranton numbers.
I’ll be perfectly honest: I was surprised Sanit even got a big league invite, but the Yankees clearly saw some things and he’s proven worth the spot with a terrific spring. He won’t break camp with New York, but if he keeps this up he could push for a call-up. On the roster? No, but made a more compelling case than expected.
Minor league veteran was signed to a minor league deal this winter. He’s been solid this spring, but he’s pretty far down on the depth chart. On the roster? It’s a bit difficult to even find a spot for him in Scranton.
Not at all flashy, but the guy knows how to hit and he’s shown it time and again this spring. Being left-handed takes his slim chances and makes them almost nil. On the roster? No. But he might have opened some eyes.
One of the more interesting minor league free agent signings, Winfree is still just 24 and has shown good power. The Yankees say he’s competing for a bench role, but it’s hard to see that happening with Thames in the mix. On the roster? Might be the only guy who could give Thames a challenge, but it still seems unlikely. Mid-season replacement? Very possible.
Notes from Wednesday • 03.17.10
When the Yankees boarded the bus to Clearwater this morning, the sky was grey and the forecast said a 30 to 50 percent chance of rain. Not great considering Andy Pettitte opened the exhibition schedule with a sim game, then had to pitch another simulated game when his second outing was rained out last week.
By game time, the sky was mostly clear, and Pettitte was able to get on the mound for an encouraging spring training debut: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. The walk came on a 3-2 curveball, a pitch Pettitte said he decided to try just to work on it. The first run came when Ryan Howard fought off a pretty good pitch inside.
“I threw a lot of good stuff, a lot of good pitches,” Pettitte said. “My location I thought was fairly good. The balls they hit were just balls that I just didn’t quite finish on a couple of them.”
Here’s Pettitte talking about his outing.
• Damaso Marte said he’s fine after being hit by a Ryan Howard line drive in the lower back. “He’s going to be sore,” Girardi said. “I asked if he had Bud’s signature on there. They said, just seams.”
• Joba Chamberlain threw 47 pitches in the game and another 15 or so in the bullpen. He wasn’t sure how many pitches he threw in the pen, but he said it was three batters worth. Pettitte was at 55 pitches, 36 strikes.
• Since Pettitte and Chamberlain are on the same scheduled, Girardi said there’s a good chance Pettitte’s next start will come in a minor league game so that Chamberlain can start another big league game.
• Girardi said once again that every fifth starter candidate will get at least one more outing before the Yankees start eliminating people from the competition.
• Two hits brought Brett Gardner’s spring average up to .240. Marcus Thames and Randy Winn also had hits today, just the third spring hit for each of them. “Marcus has swung the bat a little bit and run into a little bit of bad luck,” Girardi said. “You want to see everyone get into their groove because as we get going further, there are going to be less at-bats for people.”
• Give some credit to Amaury Sanit. He was easily the smallest-name Yankees pitcher in this game, but he did throw a hitless, walkless inning with two strikeouts. He hasn’t walked a batter or allowed a run through 3.2 spring innings.
• Three hits for Francisco Cervelli, who’s suddenly batting .583 this spring. That sort of number makes that goofy helmet look good on him. Jon Weber also had another hit. He’s batting .571. Cervelli and Weber have the highest batting averages in camp.
• None of the fifth starter candidates will pitch tomorrow night against the Rays. “We’re going to see some relievers,” Girardi said. Javier Vazquez will start. Chan Ho Park and Dave Robertson are among those scheduled to pitch in relief.
• Split-squad on Friday. CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera will pitch at home. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre will pitch on the road. The Yankees still haven’t decided when Alfredo Aceves will pitch next. He might pitch in relief of Sabathia on Friday, or he might start on Saturday.
• Recently discovered that I’m allowed to post Associated Press photos on here. It’s very helpful. That’s an AP shot of Pettitte at the top and of Marte in the middle.
Early spring training leaders • 03.15.10
Numbers don’t often mean a whole lot this time of the year, but as of today, these are a few of the Yankees spring training leaders.
Makes sense. The Yankees have to make a decision on their Rule 5 pick, so they’re giving him plenty of chances. He’s played all three outfield positions and has 20 at-bats, one more than a list of five guys with 19 ABs. He’s hitting just .150, but he’s also struck out only once, suggesting he’s not totally overmatched by these pitchers.
Very good start to the spring for Cano. He’s batting .474 with two walks and not a single strikeout. Second most hits on the team? It’s a bit of unexpected tie between Brandon Laird and Jon Weber at seven apiece.
Will he carry this power into the regular season? No idea, but he’s hit the ball hard and he’s hit it consistently since he got into camp. Johnson has three home runs — no one else has more than one — and he’s also tied for the team lead with five RBI. The other player with five? Greg Golson, of course. He’s actually looked really good down here. He can really move.
You were expecting Brett Gardner? Nope. Gardner hasn’t stolen a single base. Nunez has taken two of them. Golson, Colin Curtis and Ramiro Pena have one stolen base each. So does — you guessed it — Nick Johnson. Who’s clogging the bases now?!
This is what happens when you keep throwing strikes. Aceves has been under the same sort of pitch restrictions as everyone else, but he’s the only pitcher to have reached double-digit innings. He’s the only Yankees pitcher with at least four innings and no walks.
This is what happens when you’re a little farther removed from Tommy John surgery. Mitre has said he feels much stronger this spring than he did last year, and the results have been encouraging: Seven strikeouts and two walks through nine innings. Javy Vazquez is second with six strikeouts.
It’s been a rough first few weeks for Chamberlain, and it shows in his six walks through 3.2 innings. Only one other Yankees pitcher — CC Sabathia of all people — has more than three walks this spring. Chamberlain has pretty much lapped the field.
Of course. Who else would it be? Sanit has pitched three times and gotten two wins. On the other end of the spectrum: Chad Gaudin has pitched three times and has two losses.