The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Yankees to retire numbers for Williams, Posada and Pettitte (plaque for Randolph)02.16.15

Here’s the official announcement from the Yankees:

Andy Pettitte, Jorge PosadaThe New York Yankees today announced that Bernie Williams (No. 51), Jorge Posada (No. 20) and Andy Pettitte (No. 46) will each have their uniform numbers retired and will be honored with plaques in Monument Park.

Willie Randolph will be recognized with a Monument Park plaque.

The ceremonies are part of a recognition series that saw the honoring of Joe Torre, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill in 2014.

Williams will be celebrated on Sunday, May 24, before the Yankees’ 8:05 p.m. game vs. Texas. Randolph will be honored during Old-Timers’ Day festivities on Saturday, June 20 prior to the Yankees’ 7:15 p.m. game vs. Detroit. Posada will take his place in Monument Park on August 22, and Pettitte will be recognized on August 23.

Williams played his entire 16-year Major League career with the Yankees (1991-2006), batting .297 (2,336-for-7,869) in 2,076 games with the club. In franchise history, the former centerfielder ranks third in doubles (449), fifth in hits, sixth in games played and runs scored (1,366) and seventh in home runs (287) and RBI (1,257). The five-time American League All-Star (1997-2001), four-time Gold Glove winner (1997-2000) and Silver Slugger Award recipient (2002) won the American League batting title in 1998, leading the league with a .339 batting average.

A four-time World Series champion in pinstripes (1996, ’98, ’99, 2000), Williams is the Yankees’ all-time postseason leader in home runs (22) and RBI (80), ranks second in playoff runs scored (83), hits (128) and doubles (29) and is third in games played (121). He was named the 1996 ALCS MVP after batting .474 (9-for-19) with 6R, 2HR and 6RBI in the Yankees’ five-game series win vs. the Orioles. In Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS vs. Boston, he hit a 10th-inning, “walk-off” home run to win the game for the Yankees.

Posada spent each of his 17 Major League seasons with the Yankees from 1995-2011, hitting .273 (1,664-for-6,092) with 900R, 379 doubles, 275HR and 1,065RBI in 1,829 games. As a player on five World Series championship teams (1996, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, ‘09), Posada finished his career among Baseball’s all-time postseason leaders in games played (second, 125), doubles (third, 23) and hits (fourth, 103), while his 119 postseason contests at catcher are the most all time. In 2011, the Puerto Rico native became the first Major Leaguer to catch at least one game with the same team in 17 straight seasons (1995-2011) since Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench did so in 17 consecutive seasons from 1967-83 (credit: Elias).

A five-time American League All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner (each in 2000-03, ’07), Posada twice finished in the top 10 in American League Most Valuable Player balloting, ranking third in 2003 and sixth in 2007. He is one of just eight players to appear in at least one game with the Yankees in each of 17 different seasons, joining Derek Jeter (20), Mariano Rivera (19), Yogi Berra (18), Mickey Mantle (18), Frank Crosetti (17), Bill Dickey (17) and Lou Gehrig (17). Along with Jeter and Rivera, Posada is part of the first trio of teammates in MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL history to appear in a game together in each of 17 straight seasons, a feat they accomplished from 1995-2011 (credit: Elias).

Pettitte was selected by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 First-Year Player Draft and pitched in 15 seasons with the club (1995-2003, ’07-10 and ’12-13), going 219-127 with a 3.94 ERA (2,796.1IP, 1,223ER) and 2,020K in 447 games (438 starts). The left-hander is the franchise leader in strikeouts (2,020), is tied with Whitey Ford for most games started and trails only Ford (236 wins, 3,171.0IP) and Red Ruffing (231 wins, 3,168.0IP) in wins and innings pitched as a Yankee. He made at least one start in each of his 15 seasons with the Yankees, tying Ruffing for second-most all-time in franchise history behind Ford (16 seasons). The three-time American League All-Star (1996, 2001 and ’10) is the only pitcher drafted by the Yankees to win 200 games in the Majors and, according to Elias, his 14 seasons with at least 10 wins while with the Yankees are the most in franchise history.

As a Yankees pitcher, Pettitte went 18-10 with a 3.76 ERA (251.1IP, 105ER) in 40 career postseason starts and is the organization’s all-time playoff leader in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts (167). He appeared in eight career World Series (seven with the Yankees and one with Houston), earning the Series-clinching victory in Game 4 at San Diego in 1998 and Game 6 vs. Philadelphia in 2009, while also winning championships with the Yankees in 1996, ’99 and 2000. In 2001, he was named ALCS MVP after going 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA (14.1IP, 4ER) in two starts vs. Seattle.

Randolph spent 13 seasons playing for the Yankees from 1976-88, batting .275 (1,731-for-6,303) with 1,027R, 259 doubles, 58 triples, 48HR, 549RBI and 251SB in 1,694 games. He appeared in 1,688 games at second base with the team, more than any other player at the position in Yankees history, and ranks third on the organization’s all-time list in stolen bases. The five-time American League All-Star (1976-77, ’80-81 and ’87) was also named a 1980 AL Silver Slugger in the award’s inaugural season. He played in 37 postseason games with the Yankees from 1977-81, hitting a game-tying home run in Game 1 of the 1977 World Series vs. the Dodgers. On March 4, 1986, he and Ron Guidry were named Yankees Co-Captains.

In addition to his 13 playing seasons with the Yankees, Randolph spent 11 seasons coaching for the organization, serving as the club’s third base coach from 1994-2003 and bench coach in 2004.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on Yankees to retire numbers for Williams, Posada and Pettitte (plaque for Randolph)

ICYMI: Yankees to retire Pettitte’s number this season02.16.15

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte’s son broke the news last night on Twitter: The Yankee are going to honor Pettitte by retiring the No. 46 at Yankee Stadium on August 23. Mark Feinsand reports there are also plans to possibly retire numbers for Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada this year. Here’s a quick story from Mike Fitzpatrick of The Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — A person familiar with the decision confirms the New York Yankees plan to honor Andy Pettitte this summer by retiring his No. 46 and giving the pitcher a plaque in Monument Park.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday night because the team had not yet made an announcement, which was expected in the next few days.

Pettitte’s son, Josh, posted the news on Twitter earlier Sunday and said Andy Pettitte day at Yankee Stadium will be Aug. 23, when New York plays the Cleveland Indians.

Pettitte helped the Yankees win five World Series championships. He ranks third in team history with 219 wins and first in strikeouts with 2,020. The left-hander retired in 2013 after spending 15 of his 18 major league seasons in pinstripes.

A three-time All-Star, Pettitte was MVP of the 2001 AL Championship Series and owns big league postseason records for wins (19) and starts (44).

Associated Press photo

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Pinch hitting: Shailen Shah02.14.15

Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte

Today’s Pinch Hitter is Shailen Shah, a sophomore undergraduate student at American University in Washington, D.C. Originally from New Jersey, he’s been a Yankee fan “from birth.” He’s visited 20 Major League stadiums and hopes to work in baseball after school.

The key to his post is this fact: Shailen’s never lived a day in his life when a member of the Core Four was not a part of the Yankees organization.

Mariano Rivera, Jorge PosadaIn 1995, Yankee history changed forever.

Four young stars were independently called up from Triple-A Columbus to get a taste of the big leagues. A tall southpaw from Texas was first. A skinny starting pitcher from Panama was second. A few short days later, a young kid from Michigan go the call. A fiery catcher for Puerto Rico was the last.

Separately, each one had an incredible career. Together, they were the backbone of a dynasty and organizational staples for most of two decades. Affectionately, Yankees fans know these men as the Core Four.

This will be the first year since ’95 that the Yankees will not have at least one of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte on their roster. The dynamic of the team will be different, yet the marks those four left on the franchise and the game of baseball will remain eternal. What separates these individuals from the other great players of their generation is their desire to win above all else, and their respect for the game.

January is always an exciting month for baseball fans because there is so much discussion about the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yankee fans in particular are eager for the near future years when members of the Core Four become eligible for Cooperstown. In 2019 and 2020, Yankees fans know exactly what to expect when Rivera and Jeter undoubtedly become first-ballot electees. The more interesting cases lie with their other two long-time teammates.

What can Yankee fans expect?

A teary-eyed Posada walked out of the Yankees’ clubhouse for a final time in 2011. A season that saw the former all-star catcher move to the designated hitter spot, ended with a tremendous individual postseason against the Detroit Tigers. Posada was a leader in the Yankees’ clubhouse for 17 seasons. His fiery personality was a contrast to the quiet leadership of Yankees captain Jeter. Posada didn’t walk into 2011 knowing it would be his final season. He actually didn’t make a formal retirement announcement until 2012. Yankee fans never got the opportunity to say goodbye to their beloved catcher. However, fans can expect that Posada will soon have his day at the Stadium with his number likely being retired.

Posada is a borderline Hall of Famer. His strongest cases will be made on the premise that many of his statistics (doubles, OPS, OBP, home runs, walks) rank in the top 10 among catchers. His five all-star selections and five Silver Slugger awards don’t hurt his case either. Unquestionably, he was also a leader in the clubhouse and an integral part of five championship teams.

Andy PettitteThe case against Posada is that he was never the best catcher of his time. His statistics, particularly his batting average, don’t pass the eye-test for Cooperstown. When the time comes, the decision will ultimately be left to the members of the BBWAA whether to permit Posada into the halls of Cooperstown.

Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history with 19 wins, stepped off the mound for the final time in 2013 along with his longtime friend and teammate Rivera. Pettitte, unlike the other three members of the Core Four, didn’t play his entire career with the Yankees. Pettitte spent some time in Houston, came back to New York and left the game following the 2010 season only to return in 2012 after feeling an “itch” to pitch again. He ultimately announced he was going to retire with just over a week left in the 2013 season. While the Yankees got a brief chance to thank Pettitte during the final week of the 2013 season, one week is certainly insufficient. For this, we can expect that Pettitte too will have his own special day at Yankee Stadium. He will likely have his number retired, too.

Much like his longtime battery-mate Posada, Pettitte is a borderline Hall of Famer. His postseason success and his 256 regular season victories provide Pettitte’s strongest case. Pettitte never pitched a season with a losing record and was also a three-time all-star. That said, Pettitte was never the best pitcher of his time and his appearance on the Mitchell Report could certainly hurt his cause, particularly given the negative reception other players linked to PEDs have received in the Cooperstown discussion.

On a sunny Sunday at Fenway Park this past September, this era in Yankees history ended. A quartet of friends, teammates and Yankee greats have sealed their fates in the hearts of Yankees fans and likely on the walls of Monument Park. Fans have started wondering what the new core of the team will be. Perhaps a combination of Rob Refsnyder, Luis Severino, John Ryan Murphy and Aaron Judge? Out of respect for what the Core Four accomplished, Yankees fans must realize and accept that there likely won’t be another “core four” in the near future — and that’s OK!

That doesn’t mean there won’t be other leaders on the team. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be another crop of solid homegrown players. It just means that four homegrown players playing together for so long and winning so many games is not likely in today’s game.

We can however, be grateful for what the Core Four meant to the Yankees franchise. Maybe one day, the Core Four will once again be reunited in the halls of Cooperstown.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on Pinch hitting: Shailen Shah

Yankees pregame: Nunez has setback06.04.13

Eduardo Nunez was supposedly feeling good again. But his strained left oblique had other ideas.

“We thought he was ready to go again and he took swings today, and I guess he’s not ready to go again,” Joe Girardi said. “He did a bunch of drills the other day and said, ‘I feel great. Let’s try it again.’ And it didn’t work.

“I think you just continue to rest and then you try it again in a little while.”

This didn’t seem like a longterm thing when it happened. But Nunez has been on the DL since May 12 and that was retroactive to May 6. This game tonight will mark the 28th he has missed while on the DL.

“It’s kind of how the year has went in a sense,” Girardi said. “We thought we’d get him back after a week of sitting him down. He wasn’t ready to go. Obliques are hard. They’re hard muscles to heal sometimes.”

Lyle Overbay is in right for the second straight game after 1,272 at first. Girardi said he wanted to give Brett Gardner a rest, so Ichiro Suzuki will move over to center. But he also said Overbay may be out in right tomorrow, too.

“I don’t think I’m necessarily thinking three or four nights a week,” Girardi said. “When you’re in a long stretch, if you’re going to run a guy out there in a long stretch, you kind of like to do it bang, bang, bang, because he’s kind of in the feel of the game.”

Andy Pettitte made it clear after his start last night he doesn’t want to cut back on his between-start throwing. Girardi indicated he doesn’t have a problem with that.

“One of the things that gives players confidence is when they feel that they are prepared,” Girardi said. “So the one thing I don’t want to stop or hinder is Andy feeling he’s prepared.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 101 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Tex takes a step06.04.13

Mark TeixeiraMark Teixeira, of course, is a notoriously slow starter. And now he’s basically starting his season in June.

But after going 1 for 9 with a walk and seven strikeouts in his first three games back after returning from the March wrist injury, Teixeira finally made an impact, sending a grand slam over the right-field fence in the third. It gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead that Andy Pettitte lost, but they recovered nicely in this 7-4 win over the Indians.

“We needed this win,” Teixeira said. “We’ve had a rough enough streak the last week and a half, two weeks as it is. That grand slam was good for me and good for the team.”

Joe Girardi thinks it’s going to “take Tex some time to catch up.” He also said: “Tex is an RBI machine and we need that.”

Teixeira said his wrist is holding up well so far, but he also doesn’t think getting up to speed is an instantaneous process. He finished 1 for 3 with a walk.

“I know it’s going to take me a few weeks to get back in the rhythm of playing every day and seeing big-league pitching every day,” Teixeira said. “But this is a good first step.”

Andy Pettitte felt like he ran out of gas in his first game back after the trapezius problem. He lasted just 4 2/3, giving up three runs in that fifth and four total. He said he doesn’t plan to cut back on his between-starts routine, thinking he needs that much throwing in order to be strong enough to have success. He usually has two bullpen sessions between outings.

Lyle Overbay, meanwhile, says he’s up for more action in right. He ran in to catch the one chance he had.

“I survived,” he said. “I felt relaxed.”

Photo by The Associated Press

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Yankees postgame: What’s up with Pettitte?05.05.13

Andy PettitteAndy Pettitte was frustrated after this 5-4 loss to the A’s. The 40-year-old lefty began the season with four straight quality starts. But now he has had two off outings in a row.

This one came with four runs, four hits and four walks allowed in five innings, plus he hit a batter. He served up two homers. There were 100 pitches, just 57 for strikes.

“It’s a struggle,” Pettitte said. “The issue is everything. Everything I’ve got to do as a starting pitcher, I’m not able to do right now. … My release point is floating around a little bit. … It’s been a long, long time since I haven’t had a feeling for my pitches.”

Pettitte is good at being brutally frank when it comes to self-assessments.

“My cutter is nonexistent right now,” Pettitte said.

Joe Girardi said he wasn’t going to make a big deal out of two bad starts. Pettitte is just hoping to find a steady release point in a hurry.

“I wish I could tell you something hurt,” Pettitte said. “But I feel good.”

So did Preston Claiborne. The 25-year-old righty looked great in his major-league debut, throwing two perfect innings.

“This was a big game, the biggest one so far of my life,” Claiborne said. “I knew that when I took the mound, it was just playing baseball again.  So I tried to keep that in mind and went out there and tried to just execute pitches as best I could.”

Vernon Wells didn’t execute with two on and two outs in the last of the ninth, going down swinging against Grant Balfour.

“It was shaping up to be one of those memorable Yankee Stadium moments,” Wells said. “I didn’t come through. I’ll have to wait for next time for that moment to happen.”

Eduardo Nunez is day-to-day after leaving with tightness in the front of his left rib cage. An MRI came back negative. Girardi wasn’t sure that he would have the shortstop for Tuesday night’s series opener in Colorado.

Robinson Cano went 2 for 4 with an intentional walk and now has 1,499 career hits.

Cody Eppley cleared waivers and was outrighted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.



Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 434 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Grandy off center?05.05.13

The Yankees had seemed to have passed on moving Curtis Granderson from center to left after he broke his right forearm in his first at-bat of his first exhibition game and missed spring training. But Joe Girardi today opened up the possibility again that Granderson may not be in center when he returns, that Brett Gardner may stay there.

“We’ll decide that as time goes on,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about Grandy; we just want to get him healthy. People have asked me a lot about, ‘When Grandy comes back, what are you going to do with your outfield if you have three guys who are playing pretty well?’ I said, ‘Well, Grandy is going to play. He’s a big part of our offense.’ But as we’ve seen around here, a lot can happen in a couple of weeks.”

Later, Girardi added, ‘We might toy around with some other things (for Granderson), left, right, other things. He’s getting reps everywhere right now.”

But that isn’t happening with Gardner next to him.

“That’s not my concern,” Girardi said. “My concern is how he reacts in all the different spots.”

Granderson has been playing extended spring games. And, of course, he had to get hit by a pitch Saturday in the arm. But this was in the triceps, according to Girardi.

“From what I understand, he’s OK. He’s kind of picking up where he left off,” Girardi said about him getting hit again.

The minor-league complex in Tampa will be packed with rehabbing major leaguers with several others set to join Granderson, including Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

“I know there’s a lot of big people there,” Girardi said. “I understand that. But that’s not going to be the focus of my day. The focus of my day is the people in this room right now and winning the game.”

David Robertson played catch for the second straight day. He plans to test that lower left hamstring again Tuesday prior to the game in Colorado, throwing on flat ground and then throwing a few pitches off a mound if that goes well. He said he just has a little tightness now.

“I don’t see why I can’t be ready,” Robertson said.

Andy Pettitte struggled without his signature cutter in his last start, against the Astros. Girardi doesn’t expect that to be a problem today, against the A’s.

“I’ll be completely shocked if it’s not there today,” Girardi said.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 28 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Pettitte finds outing tough to digest04.29.13

Andy Pettitte turned in his worst start of the season, charged with seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3. It was 5-0 after four and the Yankees were on their way to a 9-1 loss to the AL’s worst team, the Astros.

“It’s frustrating,” Pettitte said. “We’ve been playing well. And to come out here and give up those five runs that early in the game and feel like we don’t have a chance to get back in it and not give us a chance to win, it makes me sick to my stomach.”

Pettitte and rookie catcher Austin Romine had trouble getting on the same page, especially since the 40-year-old lefty’s signature cutter had abandoned him.

“I’ve got to get into his head and figure out what he wants to do,” Romine said. (I’ll have more on Romine in my morning post.)

Joe Girardi couldn’t remember ever seeing Pettitte without that cutter working.

“He had a tough start,” Girardi said. “It happens.”

On the other hand, the Yankees had trouble with righty sinkerballer Lucas Harrell. They managed eight hits off in 6 1/3, but just the one run in the sixth. They grounded into four double plays overall, three against Harrell.

“He was able to continue to pound the sinker down in the zone,” Girardi said, “and we kept hitting it into the ground.”

The news that came out of his postgame press conference was that Kevin Youkilis’ MRI came back negative. He’s supposed to have an epidural injection Tuesday. The Yankees were supposed to make a decision late Monday night about whether to put him on the DL. So we’ll know Tuesday.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 186 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Pettitte hurting04.12.13

Andy Pettitte is having a problem with back spasms. The 40-year-old lefty first felt it in the mid-back area in the third inning of his start in Cleveland Tuesday and fought through it, allowing a run over seven innings in the 14-1 win. He was OK after laser treatment Wednesday and during his bullpen session Thursday. But the Yankees sent him home ahead of the team and he felt his lower back lock up at home Thursday night.

So they have pushed his Sunday start back. Now they’re hoping he can go Tuesday or Wednesday. Pettitte said he would have gone out and fought through it again, but the Yankees are taking the long view.

“I’m almost 100 percent we believe it’s a muscle spasm,” Pettitte said. “So hopefully it just calms down and I don’t have any more problems with it.”

So Phil Hughes, instead of pitching out of the bullpen after his start got rained out in Cleveland Thursday night, will take the ball Saturday and Hiroki Kuroda will be pushed back a day, starting now on Sunday.

Joe Girardi said he wasn’t expecting a full complement of starts out of Pettitte this season, not at this age. Pettitte hasn’t made it through a full season since 2009, when he made 32 starts, although he was retired for 2011.

“I think it’s pretty tough to get 32 starts out of a young guy in a sense, a guy who hasn’t logged as many innings as he has,” Girardi said. “Our hope is you get somewhere between 28 and 30 starts. … I don’t think we expect him to make 32 starts.”

Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco got eight games and a fine for intentionally hitting Kevin Youkilis in Tuesday’s game. Girardi said he wasn’t surprised.

Youkilis’ reaction? “I’m indifferent,” he said.

We should be able to get this game in, but it’s really cold and very windy.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 164 Comments →

Yankees postgame: They win, finally; Pettitte and Rivera, together again04.04.13

The Yankees were a bit relieved to get out of town without getting swept by the Red Sox in this opening series.

“I thought it was pretty important or I probably wouldn’t have said it in the pregame,” Joe Girardi said after the 4-2 win. “You don’t hear me say that very often. We’re going to Detroit and Cleveland. We have a seven-day road trip, seven games. Detroit is a good team and Cleveland is much improved. You don’t want to leave your home park going 0-3. That’s for sure.”

This was like old times, Andy Pettitte starting and Mariano Rivera saving it for him. It was the 69th time in the regular season, extending the record for the tandem, but the first time since July 8, 2010, thanks to Pettitte’s one-season retirement in 2011 and Rivera’s knee injury in 2012. It was win No. 246 for Pettitte and save No. 609 for Rivera.

“These two have been doing it a long time together,” Girardi said. “As a fan, I appreciate what these two have done together, the amount of saves that Mo has for Andy’s wins, the amount of wins that Andy has, his postseason wins.”

Rivera was a bit shaky in his first real game in almost a year. He started his final season by allowing a leadoff walk, a one-out double and a run-scoring groundout, but he ultimately protected the lead.

“That’s a lot of emotions there, but at the same time, you have to control that,” Rivera said of his return. “I have to be able to do that because we still have to finish the game. But … it was wonderful.”

Rivera broke a tie with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra for most seasons playing with the Yankees. This is season No. 19 for Rivera. The closer also tied John Franco’s major-league record for most consecutive seasons with at least one save. This is season No. 18 for that.

“There were times where because of the therapy and the pain and all that stuff, I was thinking if it would be worth it come back,” Rivera said. “But at the same time, the love and the drive you have for the game motivated me to keep going.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 457 Comments →

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