Bartolo Colon hasn’t won a game since the beginning of August. He has a 5.09 ERA with a .298 opponents batting average since the all-star break, and he’s lost his past four decisions.
The lightning might be out of the bottle.
“When we went into this year, we weren’t sure how many innings we could get out of him,” Joe Girardi said. “There is some concern there, so we’ll continue to evaluate as we move forward… It’s location, it’s movement and it’s some velocity, as well. That’s why there are concerns.”
Colon seems baffled. He said he never looks at the scoreboard to see velocity, and the fastball seems to be coming out of his hand the same as it was earlier this season. Girardi, though, said the Yankees reports have his fastball a couple of miles per hour slower. Girardi doesn’t believe Colon is hurt, and Colon himself said he feels just fine.
“I feel the ball coming out of my hand well,” he said. “For some reason (it’s not as good). I don’t see anything different, I just need to continue working hard to go back to the way I was before.”
The Yankees will have CC Sabathia pitch a simulated game on Sunday, lining him up to start Game 1 of the division series. Girardi said the rest of his rotation is TBA. Earlier this season, Colon seemed to be the Yankees second-best starter, and at times he still looks like a viable option, but his past two outing have lasted a total of seven innings.
“When I pitched against Anaheim (two weeks ago), I threw the ball and had the movement on the ball and the velocity,” Colon said. “There’s no question that I’m going to get it back.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame press conference.
• Girardi said that no one who came out of tonight’s game was removed because of injury. Colon came out because he was ineffective. Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira were removed because the game was out of hand.
• CC Sabathia on the decision to throw a sim game instead of make another start: “I want to be on five days going into Game 1, so we’ll do it on Sunday… I think it will be fine. I’ll throw the simulated game, probably 45 pitches, then I’ll be ready to go on Friday.”
• Girardi left open the possibility of using only a three-man rotation in the first round. “It’s possible that you could go with three-man because only one guy would have to pitch on short rest,” Girardi said. “Sabathia, of course, said he would have no problem with that.
• Colon’s explanation of why he fell down in the first inning: “The pitch that I threw to Longoria, I threw the ball and I landed on my heel. My cleat got stuck.”
• The Yankees tied their season-high with 14 strikeouts. They had four players strike out at least twice, including Jorge Posada, who matched his career-high with four strikeouts (this was his sixth career game with four Ks).
• The Yankees also matched their season-high with four errors. It was the fourth time they had four errors in a game this season. In the previous four seasons, they had a total of four games with four errors.
• Ramiro Pena snapped an 0-for-28 with his sixth-inning single. He had another hit in the seventh. All told, Pena has a hit in two big league games this season, tonight and June 15 in Texas. Both were two-hit games.
• Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances both made their big league debuts. The last time two Yankees pitchers made their debuts in the same game was April 20, 2004 against the White Sox (Alex Graman and Scott Proctor).
• Yes, Proctor pitched in this game as well. Random.
• Derek Jeter had his first two-error game since June 2, 2007. It was the 14th two-error game of his career.
• Jesus Montero now has a hit in 10 of his first 14 career games. He went 3-for-3 and reached base in each of his five plate appearances.
• Really impressive start for Rays rookie Matt Moore, who was starting a big league game for the first time. “The young man has good stuff,” Girardi said. “Eleven strikeouts in five innings. I think we saw as high as 97, a 3-2 changeup. He’s got outstanding stuff.”
• An ugly game for the Yankees, and Girardi said it’s easier to move on because of what happened yesterday. “We got down a lot,” he said. “Our guys tried to chip away and we had some opportunities, it was just too much.”
Associated Press photos
Game 156: Yankees vs. Rays • 09.22.11
Derek Jeter SS
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Mark Teixeira DH
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Jesus Montero C
Jorge Posada 1B
Brandon Laird 3B
Greg Golson CF
RHP Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.81)
Colon vs. Rays
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce RF
Johnny Damon DH
Ben Zobrist 2B
Casey Kotchman 1B
John Jaso C
Reid Brignac SS
LHP Matt Moore (0-0, 6.23)
Moore vs. Yankees *This is Moore’s debut against the Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:05., YES Network/ESPN
WEATHER: It was pretty warm this afternoon, but it’s getting cool here at the stadium. Temperatures are dipping into the lower 70s and upper 60s.
UMPIRES: HP Fieldin Culbreth, 1B John Hirschbeck, 2B Wally Bell, 3B Scott Barry
SOUNDS NICE, MAKE IT TWICE: The Yankees won both ends of yesterday’s doubleheader, 4-2, marking the first time they won both games of a doubleheader by the same score since July 8, 2000, when they also won both games of a split-stadium, day-night doubleheader against the Mets by a 4-2 score.
CHANCE TO SWEEP: The Yankees will look to complete their 10th series sweep of the season. It would be their second four-game series sweep, they also took one of those in Chicago. Last year the Yankees swept a series only six times, and they are looking for their first sweep of the Rays since taking four games at home in 2009.
GUEST OF HONOR: As part of the team’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, Felipe Payano, the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Sports and Recreation will throw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch. On Saturday, Emmy Award-winning actress and performer Lucie Arnaz — daughter of Lucille Ball and Cuban-born Desi Arnaz — will get the honor.
UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: After Colon’s last start, I talked to a scout who was extremely unimpressed with his fastball. Now it looks like the Rays are similarly unimpressed. They’ve scored three first-inning runs, and Colon is looking pretty hitable.
UPDATE, 7:57 p.m.: Safe to say Colon looks nothing like the pitcher who thrived in the first half. He just gave up a two-run homer to Zobrist and the Rays are leading 7-0 in the third inning. There’s already activity in the Yankees bullpen with Scott Proctor up and throwing.
UPDATE, 8:08 p.m.: Here’s Proctor. Colon lasted three innings, they weren’t good innings.
UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Second two-run homer of the inning off Proctor and the Rays are up 11-0 in the fourth. Not pretty. Not at all pretty.
UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: Aaron Laffey pitching. Ramiro Pena replacing Jeter at short. Chris Dickerson replacing Swisher in right. There are no Yankees regulars on the field right now.
UPDATE, 8:49 p.m.: After four and a half innings and three Yankees pitchers, the Rays have a 13-0 lead with 15 hits. They’ve also walked three times and stuck out only twice. Ugly.
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: Andrew Brackman warming. That’s worth sticking around.
UPDATE, 8:59 p.m.: This could be interesting — either really good or really bad — as Brackman enters for his big league debut.
UPDATE, 9:07 p.m.: Andruw Jones goes deep, his 12th homer of the season.
UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Betances warming in the bullpen.
UPDATE, 10:06 p.m.: Control was an issue for Betances in the minor leagues this season, and it was a problem for him in his Major League debut. Four walks, a hit batter and two runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Postgame notes: “There’s some concern there” • 09.18.11
Ten starts in a row, Freddy Garcia didn’t allow a single home run. When he finally coughed one up on August 29, it was the only run he allowed all game. Since then, Garcia has allowed multiple home runs in three straight starts, including two tonight to Adam Lind.
“I try to make good pitches, and sometimes I’m not able to do it,” Garcia said. “That’s why I’ve been giving home runs… Last three starts, I don’t be doing my job. I’m really frustrated about it, but that’s part of the game. Sometimes you pitch good. Sometimes you pitch bad. You just have to go continue to try to do the best that you can do, and hopefully everything goes well for you.”
This weekend did little to clarify the Yankees rotation situation. Bartolo Colon couldn’t pitch beyond the fourth inning on Saturday, and Garcia couldn’t get out of the fifth today. At times, one of those two has been the Yankees second-best starter, but they’ve struggled recently.
“Bart had a good start on this road trip and had one that wasn’t so good,” Joe Girardi said. “Freddy’s kept us in the games. We talked at the beginning of the season how we worried about innings for both these guys. There’s some concern there, but they’ve just got to find a way to get it done.”
Garcia said tonight’s home run was a good pitch, a splitter that Lind put a good swing on. The second was a slider that “didn’t do much.”
As good as Garcia has been this season, there is some risk with him. He’s never been an overwhelming or overpowering pitcher. His value is in his experience and savvy, and sometimes that leaves little margin for error.
“He’s just missing some spots, that’s all,” Girardi said. “That’s going to happen. Freddy’s not going to be a huge strikeout guy and they’re going to put the ball in play. If you miss some spots, that’s the chance you’re going to take.”
• The Yankees won only four of 10 on this road trip, but they still managed to gain two games in the standings. After today’s game, the team just seemed relieved to be finally going home. “From now on every game is important,” Alex Rodriguez said. “Every game is meaningful. We’re looking forward to playing at home, playing well, start cleaning up some of the small mistakes that we’ve been making. We understand we’ve got to get better.”
• After Monday’s makeup game against the Twins, the Yankees play their final 10 games against the Red Sox and Rays. With seven games at home against those two teams, the Yankees home stand could either put the division away or make it a race to the finish. “It will be a great opportunity to do that there,” Mariano Rivera said. “We still have to perform good and take care of business at home, get this thing over.”
• The Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff spot is five, to clinch the division is seven.
• Obviously Brandon Morrow completely shutdown the Yankees offense today. “He had us baffled all day with his slide,” Rodriguez said. “He probably threw 70 to 75 percent sliders, which is a very high percentage for him. He’s usually the opposite, 70 to 77 percent fastball guy.”
• Of course, Nunez also made the second Yankees base-running mistake of the weekend. “He’s just making an aggressive turn,” Girardi said. “In that situation, you’ve got to know the score. You’re not going to get to second unless it really bounces off himn, so you’ve got to be cautious there. He was just overaggressive.”
• Why not pinch hit for Ramiro Pena in the eighth? “Pena’s had some success off him,” Girardi said. “Grandy is 1 for his last 15 with 10 strikeouts. If we had a couple guys on, I might have pinch-hit Grandy and taken a chance.”
• Impressive Yankees debut by Raul Valdes, who retired four of the five batters he faced, including all three left-handers. The Yankees have been giving Aaron Laffey a lot of chances to emerge as a legitimate second lefty candidate, but that Valdes appearance might earn a few more looks. I still don’t think the Yankees will actually carry a second left-hander in the postseason, but I’m sure they’d like to have a backup option in mind.
• Random fact about tonight’s game: The phone from the dugout to the bullpen stopped working for a while. “The phones haven’t worked real good here the last couple days,” Girardi said. “Danny (Iassogna) handled it and we used the policeman’s walkie-talkie for a few minutes, then they got the phones working again.”
• Girardi’s assessment of going 4-6 on the road and still gaining two games in the standings: “I think we are fortunate,” he said. “We’ve got to go home and play better, there’s no doubt about it. At times, we didn’t swing the bats on this trip. Is it good pitching? Is it fatigue? I don’t know, but I know our guys are pretty worn down. Now they’ll get to sleep in their own beds and hopefully catch up a little bit.”
Game 150: Yankees at Blue Jays • 09.17.11
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Jesus Montero DH
Brett Gardner LF
Austin Romine C
RHP Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.55)
Colon vs. Blue Jays
BLUE JAYS (75-75)
Mike McCoy SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Jose Bautista RF
Adam Lind 1B
David Cooper DH
Colby Rasmus CF
Brett Lawrie 3B
Adam Loewen LF
Jose Molina C
RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.09)
Alvarez vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:07 p.m., YES Network
WEATHER: It’s starting to get chilly here in Canada, and probably back home in New York as well.
UMPIRES: HP CB Bucknor, 1B Dan Iassogna, 2B Dale Scott, 3B Jerry Meals
KEEPING IT CLOSE: The Yankees have had eight of their past 11 games — including six on this road trip — decided by one run. They are 20-23 overall in one-run contests. Five of their past six losses have come in their opponents’ last at-bat, including four walk-off losses on the current road trip.
COMFORTABLE IN THE DOME: Nick Swisher is batting .385 (10-for-26) at Rogers Centre this season and has hit safely in each of his past 12 games in Toronto dating back to last August.
IT GETS BETTER: The Yankees are 32-16 in the second game of a series in 2011.
MAGIC NUMBER: The Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff spot is six. The magic number to clinch the AL East is 10.
UPDATE, 1:19 p.m.: Base knock in Rodriguez’s first at-bat of the day.
UPDATE, 1:27 p.m.: Three straight Blue Jays hits open the bottom of the second. They’re now up 1-0, still with no outs and runners at second and third.
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: You’ve been wanting to see Betances. Maybe this is the day. Colon is getting knocked around here in the second inning. The Blue Jays are up 4-0 and still have a runner at third with two outs.
UPDATE, 1:55 p.m.: So Colon got knocked around in the second, then breezed through the middle of the order in the third.
UPDATE, 2:07 p.m.: Very nice catch by Rasmus, and Cano’s doubled off at second, costing the Yankees a run. They got one that inning, but it’s still a 4-1 Blue Jays lead.
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Colon is finished after four innings. Here’s Proctor with a 6-1 Blue Jays lead in the fifth.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Rodriguez just smoked a line drive home run to left. It’s his second hit of a game, a three-run shot that pulls the Yankees within 6-5.
UPDATE, 2:57 p.m.: Laffey pitches a scoreless sixth and the Yankees are still within one heading into the final three innings. They’re into the Blue Jays bullpen.
UPDATE, 3:17 p.m.: Granderson breaks out of his slump right when the Yankees needed him. His two-run homer in the seventh as pushed the Yankees into the lead, 7-6.
Last night, Russell Martin saw something familiar in Bartolo Colon. He saw the same fastball that made Colon and reliable and occasionally dominant starter in the first half of the season.
“He had really good late movement on his fastball,” Martin said. “And when he was really good, he was locating that pitch really well. He looked as good as he has all year.”
For a while, the Yankees seemed to have caught lightning in a bottle with Colon. He spent the first couple months of the season pitching like a legitimate No. 2 starter. He didn’t look washed up. Didn’t seem past his prime. Didn’t need to worry about his spot in the rotation.
Then the lightning was gone.
From July 7 through August 23, Colon had a 5.21 ERA. Opponents were hitting .311 against him, and there was legitimate reason to worry whether the workload was finally catching up to him.
In his past three starts, though, Colon’s been much better. He’s pitched into the seventh inning in each of those three outings, and his fastball has regained some of that early season control and movement.
“He’s looked better as of late,” Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes guys are going to go through little hiccups during the season, but he’s started to pitch better. Physically he looks pretty good again, so that’s important.”
As the Yankees sort out their rotation, Colon is his own sort of wild card. He hasn’t dealt with Phil Hughes’ injury problems or A.J. Burnett’s steady disappointment, but he’s dealt with more innings than he’s thrown in six years. There’s always that looming threat of an expiration date. If nothing else, last night Colon proved he’s not finished just yet.
“I feel like in the beginning of the season,” he said. “The location of the pitch was the same thing. My command was really good today… What I did today is the location of my sinker was really, really good. Every time I command that way, I will pitch the same way I was pitching the first half.”
Associated Press photo
Postgame notes: “He’s not afraid to be here” • 09.10.11
Except Jesus Montero.
On a night when the Yankees failed to pickup a game in the standings, it was still hard to ignore the impact of the Yankees young designated hitter. Against one of the best pitchers in the game, Montero went deep for his third home run in as many days. It was his first time starting a big league game against a right-handed starter, and in his first at-bat he lifted a ball over both bullpens.
“He’s not afraid to be here,” Mark Teixeira said. “He’s not afraid to let it fly and if he’s going to be as good as everyone thinks he is, he’s going to have to face a lot of these guys. And he’s showing right away that he’s not afraid of them.”
The pitch was a 1-2 fastball inside, and Montero was looking for it.
“At the beginning of the at-bat, I was looking fastball,” Montero said. “He threw me two good curveballs and then I was thinking in, because I’m a catcher, too. I was thinking fastball in at that moment, and I got the right pitch.”
Joe Girardi said before the game that he wants to see more and more of the Yankees top hitting prospect, and tonight did little to change that opinion. “You continue to look at him,” is the way Girardi phrased it after the game. Bottom line, Montero’s going to keep getting at-bats. He’s going to have a real chance to earn a spot in the postseason.
“I just put that away and try to do my job whenever they give me the opportunity,” Montero said. “Keep doing my routine every single day. When I’m playing, when I’m DHing, I’m in the cage with Kevin Long. That’s been helping me, keeping my routine every single day… It’s been good, thank God. Tomorrow, I might play again and strike out four times, but it’s been good.”
• Montero and Bartolo Colon were the bright spots, but ultimately the game was decided by this fact: The Yankees bullpen was terribly thin. Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade and Boone Logan were unavailable, Dave Robertson had been used in the eighth and Mariano Rivera was being saved for a save. That meant Aaron Laffey and Luis Ayala got the call in a tied ninth inning. “Playing all these days in a row and all these tight ballgames, you get into this,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he’s actually planning to give Logan another full day off tomorrow. Logan said he’s not hurt, just going through a “little case of dead arm” and a couple days of rest might help. “My body is great and everything is fine,” he said. “But a couple days off, flushing out the body and letting it rest, it will give me a chance to get my velocity back.”
• Nick Swisher went for an MRI. The results won’t be available until tomorrow.
• Turns out, Bartolo Colon gave the Yankees seven strong innings on an upset stomach. He said he wasn’t feeling well all day, but he still delivered a performance reminiscent of his first half. “What I did today is the location of my sinker was really, really good,” Colon said. “Every time I command that way, I will pitch the same way I was pitching the first half.”
• The only Angels run off Colon came after Derek Jeter’s throwing error in the fifth. “He wasn’t in trouble the entire day until I put him in trouble,” Jeter said. “… It’s a play that has to be made. It’s not a difficult play.”
• Girardi said the Angels simply guessed right on Eduardo Nunez’s stolen base attempt in the top of the ninth. Nunez was brought in to steal the bag, and the Angels pitched out at the right time. “That’s going to happen,” Girardi said. “He was pretty close to being safe, too.”
• Girardi on using Ramiro Pena instead of Nunez to play third base in the bottom of the ninth: “I was probably going to hit Chavy the next inning and put Chavy at third, so that’s what I decided to do. Nino’s played a little more third than Nuney over his career, so I just decided to do it that way.”
• To be clear, Alex Rodriguez is not hurt. He came out strictly to have Nunez run.
• Russell Martin seemed to have a runner picked off at first base in the ninth, but he didn’t throw. “I didn’t get a good grip on the ball,” he said. “If I get a better grip I’ll make an attempt, but a couple of times this year I’ve tried to throw with a mediocre grip and I’ve thrown the ball into right field. In that situation, you don’t want that to happen.”
Associated Press photos
Obviously winning is the most important thing, and the Yankees didn’t do that this afternoon, but they did come away encouraged by Bartolo Colon. No big-picture issue is more pressing heading into the final month of the season, and Colon eased some concerns with a vintage start.
“It’s real encouraging for us,” Joe Girardi said. “He had struggled a little bit and hadn’t been as sharp. I thought he was real sharp today. Maybe the extra rest helped him recharge a little bit and got him going.”
Larry Rothschild had talked to Colon about trusting his two-seamer, and that pitch was a weapon again tonight (of course, Colon it was a backdoor two-seamer that Vladimir Guerrero hit for an RBI single that put the Orioles on the board). Big picture, Colon eased some concerns about his workload and his ability to maintain velocity and effectiveness this late in the season.
“I really don’t feel tired,” Colon said. “Every time I pitch, I won’t pitch the same. Sometimes I’m going to get hit, and some days I’m going to pitch the way I pitched today.”
Here’s Colon, with Roman Rodriguez translating.
• Girardi made it clear that he plans to cut to a five-man rotation after the upcoming Boston series. Colon made it clear that he feels ready to remain a starter down the stretch. “I’m a little bit older now, but that’s the way I always pitched, every five days,” he said. “I feel better that way.”
• Derek Jeter fouled a ball off his right leg just above the knee. No surprise, he said it was a non-issue. Didn’t even have it wrapped… Nick Swisher seemed bothered after a play in the outfield, but he also said it was no big deal. “Just rolled around a little out there,” he said… Francisco Cervelli had his left leg wrapped after taking a foul ball while catching. He said he’s fine. “Just a bruise,” he said.
• Zach Britton was a mess the last time he faced the Yankees. This time he pitched seven scoreless with just four hits and one walk. “We expect a lot out of this lineup,” Swisher said. “And when something like that happens to us, we take that to heart. I’m really excited to see how we bounce back today.
• When Girardi went to the mound for the first time in the eighth inning, it was strictly to discuss strategy and what the Orioles might do. He had no thoughts of taking Colon out at that point.
• Girardi said no one did anything wrong on the hit by Jeter that turned into a fielder’s choice when Cervelli was thrown out at second. Cervelli had to wait to decide whether the right fielder would catch it, and was stuck in no-man’s land. “It’s just a tough play that you see once in a while,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing Cervy can do there.”
• Curtis Granderson said he simply didn’t get there in time on the bloop single that feel kind of between him and Robinson Cano. He didn’t think Cano ever had a real shot at the ball either.
• Cano struck out twice today, only the 13th time he’s done that this season. He hasn’t struck out three times in a game this year.
• Cano’s team-leading 17-game hitting streak came to an end.
• This was Colon’s first loss in a day game this season. He is now 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA in day games. “I have no idea (why),” he said. “I never pay attention to that.”
• Girardi said he still wasn’t sure who would start the second game. He needed to check with all of his guys. Not sure when we’ll get a lineup.
Associated Press photos
Postgame notes: Swish’s long ride to nowhere • 08.23.11
With the Yankees languishing offensively, Nick Swisher breathed life into the club with his home run in the eighth inning. With the Yankees on the verge of an unlikely victory, he wanted to finish what he started. But no such luck.
Swisher’s fly ball with the bases loaded in the ninth inning went 390 feet but stayed in the park for the last out of a 6-5 defeat to the Oakland A’s.
“You always want to be the guy in that spot, at least I do,” Swisher said. “You always want to be the hero. And for a while I thought I was.”
Off the bat he was thinking grand slam. It was only when CF Coco Crisp settled under it with his back nearly touching the wall that he knew it was not to be.
Swisher’s three-run homer with two outs in the eighth had started the rally. Before that the Yanks had been listless against A’s righthander Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy was locating well and never looked worried until the home run, which sent him to the showers.
Jorge Posada went yard to make it 6-4 in the ninth. The Yanks eventually loaded the bases for Mark Teixiera, who fouled out.
“I’d love to come through there,” he said.
Robinson Cano walked on a close 3-2 pitch to force in the fifth run.
• Jeter went 3 for 3 with a walk, raising his batting average to .295. It’s the second-best mark on the team behind Cano.
Despite the big night Girardi opted to bunt him with two on and no outs in the ninth. He said his decision was based on factors. For one, Granderson and Teixiera were coming up next. For another, he wanted to stay out of the double play.
• Alex Rodriguez received X-rays during the game, which came back negative. He has a sprain of the left thumb and is considered day-to-day.
“We’ll just go day by day,” Girardi said. “Hopefully he’ll be better tomorrow.”
• Bartolo Colon denied that he is getting tired from being a full-time starter. Colon hasn’t started a full season since 2007. He’s already thrown more innings this year than he did in the three previous years combined.
His performance has slipped since the all-star break. He’s surrendered nine runs over his last two starts.
“I feel really healthy, very strong,” he said through an interpreter. “All I have to do is keep working hard and see what happens.”
He was fine with today’s outing, saying, “I think I pitched good.”
He admitted to going away from his two-seam fastball because he’d been taken deep on that pitch twice in his last start. He used only four seamers today, except for two occasions.
• See if you can figure this one out: the Yanks are 21-21 in series openers and 56-28 in all other games. Is it a sample size thing or does it mean something? Why would they slack off in the first game of every series?
• Cano extended his hitting streak to 14 games, longest by a Yankee this season.
Pregame notes: A-Rod out again • 08.23.11
To paraphrase Michael Corleone: every time he thinks he’s in, they pull him back out.
A day after Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankee lineup from his long DL stint, he was a late scratch today because of a totally separate injury. Rodriguez jammed his left (non-throwing) thumb in Sunday’s win over the Twins. A Joe Mauer ground ball caught him the wrong way on a backhand.
“I just jammed my thumb a little bit on that play where Mauer hit it,” he said. “It kind of swelled up a little bit. Hopefully it’s just a day.”
The plan was to get it X-Rayed by Dr. Chris Ahmad after speaking to reporters. But Rodriguez said repeatedly that it felt like a one-day injury.
It was sore during yesterday’s off day, when he and a few other players attended a charity event. Today he was in the original lineup and took two rounds of early batting practice with Kevin Long. I saw him flexing his hand repeatedly toward the end of that BP. Apparently the pain was too much and he opted to come out.
“The good news is the knee feels great,” he said. “The knee feels great, body feels good, and hopefully it’s just a bump in the road here.”
Eric Chavez will play third base.
• A magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit the East Coast today at about 2 p.m. Though it was centered in Virginia, it could be felt in New York. By some people at least. Girardi was working out at the Stadium and said he didn’t feel anything, though some members of his coaching staff did.
Curtis Granderson doesn’t even know where he was when it hit.
“Once I was in the cab,” he said, “I got a text saying did I feel that. I said feel what? I didn’t feel anything.”
• With Rodriguez out of the lineup, Curtis Granderson was dropped into the 3-hole to provide power. Mark Teixiera was moved to cleanup. Derek Jeter takes Granderson’s usual 2-spot. Brett Gardner moves from ninth to leadoff.
• Girardi on Bartolo Colon’s second-half fade: “It just seems like he hasn’t been able to put people away. And he’s gotten into some deeper counts. They fouled more pitches off on him. And then eventually its kind of led to some mistakes that he’s made. So to me it’s the location, getting back to the location, and the movement, and the late movement, that’s worked for him.”
• Colon has thrown more innings this year than the last three years combined. Girardi said he might skip one of his starts after this turn through the rotation.
• Aaron Laffey and Gustavo Molina cleared waivers.
Is Colon’s workload becoming a problem? • 08.18.11
Bartolo Colon has pitched 124.2 innings this season. That’s far more than he’s thrown in any season since 2005, and more than he’s pitched total since 2007.
Colon says he feels as healthy as ever, but he hasn’t been pitching as deep into games lately — in May he pitched a complete game shutout on 103 pitches, last night he needed 99 pitches to get through five — and Joe Girardi acknowledged that the team is at least mildly concerned about Colon’s durability.
“Obviously we’re trying to take precautions and give him extra rest,” Girardi said. “That is something that we’re trying to do. He had the one bad inning that really cost us (last night), but it’s something that we look at, yes.”
Colon dismissed the issue, but he’s thrown more than five innings just once in his past four starts. This from the guy who threw fewer than five innings only once in his first 12 starts.
“I feel very strong right now,” Colon said. “Physically and mentally I try to do my job. I do my best to win the game.”
Associated Press photo