The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Opening up the DH spot07.28.14

Carlos Beltran

Joe Girardi is looking forward to Carlos Beltran being able to play some in right again because it’s going to give the manager more flexibility without having one guy locked into the DH role.

“I’m sure Gardy could probably use a DH day,” Girardi said. “Ells could use a DH day. These guys are run out there on a regular, regular basis. It probably wouldn’t hurt them. By having (Beltran) and Ichiro, who’s an outstanding outfielder as well, I could probably do some things.”

Girardi indicated Beltran could be back out there as soon as next week, barring any setback with the bone spur in his right elbow that caused him to miss 21 games while on the DL in May and early June.

“He’s continuing to throw,” Girardi said. “He has progressed and he has thrown more and more distance as we’ve went on, and he’s done some outfield drills early.”

Beltran wants to get back out there, but it’s a process for him. After yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays, he said he had only been throwing for five days.

“Right now, throwing 90 feet isn’t going to do it,” said Beltran, who has picked it up offensively of late, batting .314 on the 10-game homestand to lift his average to .228. “So when I get to I guess 140, something like that, where I can make a throw from the outfield to home plate on a do-or-die play, let it go, then I will be close to playing games. Right now, I’m not.”

The Yankees, of course, could also acquire another outfield bat before Thursday’s nonwaiver deal deadline, which could impact how Beltran would be used.

Then there’s the question of who will mainly be used to back up the now oft-injured Mark Teixeira.

After missing the last seven games with a strained lat, Girardi didn’t rule out Teixeira returning as soon as tonight in Texas, depending on how felt today when he woke up after taking 50 swings yesterday and how he feels following live batting practice later, if he’s good to swing more.

With Kelly Johnson going on the DL Wednesday due to a strained groin, Brian McCann became the regular fill-in at first instead of squatting behind the plate. If Teixeira needs a day off, it figures to be Johnson’s job to fill in once he returns, according to Girardi. Johnson is eligible to return Aug. 7.

“We don’t anticipate Kelly Johnson’s injury is going to be long,” Girardi said. “So probably when I give Mac a day off (from catching), I’ll give him a day off.”

Here’s my latest story on what went on yesterday and Girardi’s frustration over the loss and really the mistakes of the last two days.

Photo by The Associated Press

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees pregame: Progress by Teixeira, Beltran07.27.14

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira took 50 swings this morning, 25 from each side of the plate. He told a couple of reporters that he felt no pain.

“He took swings today; he felt good,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s taking ground balls. He felt good. So we’ll reevaluate where he is tomorrow and how he feels after today. Hopefully he’s a player here pretty soon.”

Asked if tomorrow night’s game is a possibility, Girardi said, “I don’t know. I’m going to take it day by day and just see how he feels.”

He has missed six straight games heading into today.

“The one thing he hasn’t taken is live BP, (just) tee and toss,” Girardi said. “The one thing you always have to measure is when you’re working, you can guard against a lot of things. When you’re in the course of a game, sometimes you can’t do that. … Hopefully he wakes up and feels great tomorrow and he’s able to take BP and we’ll go from there.”

Carlos Beltran could be back in right within the next few weeks, freeing up the DH spot.

“He’s continuing to throw,” Girardi said. “He has progressed and he has thrown more and more distance as we’ve went on, and he’s done some outfield drills early. I don’t think it’s too far off. I don’t know if it will happen next week, but after that, I think it’s a possibility.”

Zelous Wheeler is making his second start in right today.

“This is a guy that’s been used to being moving around in his career, and I’m OK,” Girardi said.

Brian McCann, after yesterday’s seventh-inning debacle, is again at first.

“He’s going to give me everything he’s got,” Girardi said. “This guy is a professional.”

Brian Roberts, not excelling offensively or defensively, isn’t in the lineup. Girardi indicated it’s just a normal day of rest for the second baseman.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

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Yankees postgame: The streak is over07.26.14

Brian McCann

The Yankees had beaten the Blue Jays 17 straight times at Yankee Stadium. But the streak is now past tense after this 6-4 Toronto win, its first here since Aug. 29, 2012.

“When we have a tough year, usually around this place you’d see tire tracks on your neck,” John Gibbons said.

But the Jays are improved this year and finally weren’t run over in their fifth try here in 2014.

“Sometimes you need a screwup or something to help you win a game in a tough streak, and we got some of that,” Gibbons said.

Yes, they did. In the seventh inning, Brian McCann had a bad moment filling in for the injured Mark Teixeira at first base, failing to get an out on a ball hit to him by Dioner Navarro with runners at second and third and no outs in a 2-2 game. The catcher, making just his seventh start this season at first, looked at Melky Cabrera holding in place down the third-base line, then looked at first too late, then threw to second and couldn’t get Jose Bautista getting back to the bag.

“There are a lot of things he could do, but he’s extremely inexperienced over there,” Joe Girardi said.

“The game sped up on me,” McCann said. “I didn’t make the play. … The more experience I’ll get over there, the better decision making I’ll have.”

One out later, Matt Thornton came on and Dan Johnson hit an infield blooper between first and second. Brian Roberts couldn’t get to it, then couldn’t hold the ball in his glove after a tricky hop. The go-ahead run scored.

“Maybe it’s a play I’m supposed to make,” Roberts said. “I don’t know.”

The Yankees are going to have to remake their middle infield. Derek Jeter will be retiring, of course. Roberts hasn’t been too impressive offensively or defensively. They could use a steadier backup first baseman as well with Teixeira breaking down a lot.

Chris Capuano put a lot of runners on, but the 35-year-old lefty didn’t give up a lot of runs in his Yankees debut, allowing just two in six innings.

“I had a little nerves going in the beginning,” Capuano said. “… But I made some good pitches today when I had to and was just thrilled to be out there.”

Francisco Cervelli went 1 for 2, so he has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 starts, batting .405 in that stretch.

Here’s my Lohud.com/Journal News story about the day’s happenings and the end of the streak. And here’s my Yankees notebook with items on Capuano, Roberts’ defense and Teixeira’s status.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

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Pregame notes: Yankees expect Teixiera decision tomorrow07.24.14

Mark Teixeira

Joe Girardi said the Yankees will to make a decision tomorrow regarding Mark Teixiera. He’s either healthy enough to rejoin the lineup in a few days, or he’s hurt enough to go on the disabled list.

“It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days (of rest),” Girardi said. “And then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be in the near future that he would play, or if we’re going to need the 15 days. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably make sense to get a player.”

This is Teixeira’s fourth day off after getting that injection for his strained lat. Without him, the Yankees really don’t have a first baseman. Kelly Johnson was the backup, but now he’s on the disabled list, and Brian McCann has become the first base regular, but at some point Francisco Cervelli’s going to need a day off behind the plate.

“I’ve got like 11 other guys I can run out there,” Girardi said, either joking or making a fair statement about the fact one inexperienced guy is just as good as another. “I talked to Chase (Headley) about it. Chase said he would feel comfortable going over there. I would not be afraid to put Brendan Ryan there. I would not be afraid to put (Zelous) Wheeler there.”

But if Teixeira is going to be out much longer, the Yankees might as well add someone who gives more flexibility at first base. That could be bringing up a first baseman — I assume either Kyle Roller or Jose Pirela — or bringing up a catcher so that McCann can play first base full time for the time being.

“We’ll get through today,” Girardi said. “And we’ll probably have something tomorrow and we’ll make a decision.”

Derek Jeter• Michael Pineda’s scheduled simulated game was rained out, so he pitched inside and threw the equivalent of two innings. Not ideal, but the Yankees will move forward with his rehab schedule. In five days he’ll go three innings or 45-50 pitches. Girardi said he wasn’t sure whether that would be a sim game or an actual rehab assignment.

• Regular day off for Derek Jeter, and Girardi said it has nothing to do with ground ball pitcher Brandon McCarthy being on the mound. “It’s just kind of the way it goes,” Girardi said. “Day game (after a night game). If it was a night game, he probably would’ve played.”

• Would Girardi consider swapping roles by putting Cervelli at first base and using McCann behind the plate? “I could do that, (but) I’m not sure I would,” Girardi said. “Cervy’s next thing might be a day off. But right now he’s extremely energetic still and he has that in him.”

• Girardi wouldn’t go into detail about why he preferred Jacoby Ellsbury leading off and Brett Gardner batting second today, but he was also asked if he’s ever considered — given Ellsbury’s steals and Gardner’s surprising power — batting Ellsbury leadoff and Gardner third when the Yankees have a full lineup. “That I wouldn’t do,” Girardi said. “It’s just that Gardy’s really never hit in that spot. Jake is a guy that I feel I can move around because he has moved around, in a sense. I’ve toyed with different ideas. I won’t say the other day that I didn’t think about hitting Gardy (third). I thought that Jake might not be available to me that one day, maybe I do hit Gardy third, but I probably wouldn’t do it. But I said probably.”

• Just to be clear, the Yankees don’t expect Teixeira to play tomorrow, only that they’ll have a better idea about his health tomorrow. “I don’t think tomorrow’s the day,” Girardi said. “But obviously you want to feel that there’s progress and that he feels better and that he can start doing some stuff. We felt that we’d give him three days not doing much with treatment and we’d see where we’re at.”

• The Yankees are keeping their extra pitcher for today. Could lose a pitcher tomorrow to add a position player. Likely want to know what’s going on with Teixeira before making that decision.

• McCarthy has pitched well since coming to the Yankees, and he’s given some credit to the fact the Yankees are having him throw his cutter again. “I think guys want to feel like they have all their weapons,” Girardi said. “That was a big pitch for him. I know that when we faced him that was a huge pitch for him, and for him to get that back and feel comfortable with it would be really important.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees postgame: Team finally does its home work well07.20.14

Zack Cozart, Skip Schumaker

The Yankees know they need to be more rude to their guests in the second half. They have an AL-high 37 home games left. In the first half, they were just an 18-23 home team.

“We’re going to have to win at home,” Brian McCann said. “Our team is built for this ballpark. When we start to swing the bats better, we’re going to win more games.”

Now they’re 21-23 after this three-game sweep over the Reds to start a 10-game homestand out of the break.

“To be able to start off this way against a team that’s been playing well, that’s fighting for their division as well, I think it was real important,” Joe Girardi said.

Cincinnati put a bow on the sweep by giving the Yankees a gift run in the last of the ninth — McCann’s popup to shallow right that fell between three Reds and went for a single, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury from third to make it a 3-2 win.

“But I’ll take it, for sure,” McCann said.

“I thought I was under it and I was not,” first baseman Todd Frazier said.

Manager Bryan Price was looking at second baseman Skip Schumaker and right fielder Jay Bruce.

“Certainly I think it was a miscommunication in the sense that I’m sure Jay and Schumaker both thought the other was going to catch it,” Price said.

For all their rotation injuries, the Yankees’ starters are doing OK. They have given up three earned runs or less in each of their last eight games. They are 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in this stretch.

“Right now, these guys are getting it done for us,” Girardi said.

The only original starter left, Hiroki Kuroda, sure did in this start, allowing one unearned run and three hits in 6 2/3.

“He was awesome — again,” McCann said.

Dellin Betances wasn’t awesome for a change, surrendering the tying homer to Frazier in the eighth.

“I think we were all a little bit shocked when it happened,” Girardi said.

Betances said: “It was definitely frustrating, but I had faith that our team would come back.”

Ellsbury went 4 for 4, stole two bases and made a great catch in center.

“He showed all his tools today,” McCann said.

The Yankees finished interleague play at 13-7. Now injury-ravaged Texas comes in for four.

Photo by The Associated Press

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees postgame: Swept away by the Rays/Sabathia’s rehab start07.02.14

Brian McCann

 

Well, this series didn’t go too well for the Yankees. The last-place Rays have been playing better, but still …

The Yankees sure weren’t expecting to get swept by them. The 6-3 win gave Tampa Bay a season-high five-game winning streak and the Yankees a season-high five-game losing streak.

They are now a losing team for the first time since they were 5-6 on April 11. After nine losses in 11 games, they are 41-42 and 4 1/2 back of the Blue Jays.

“The talent is in that room,” Joe Girardi said. “We just need to play better. It’s a lot of different phases. You can look at almost every phase and say we need to play better. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”

The run production is the most glaring phase right now. The Yankees had 10 hits. They left nine on base. The RISP count was an RIP count — 1 for 9.

“Obviously offense has been an issue,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “It’s been an issue all season. We’ve got to turn it around somehow. … It’s not for a lack of effort.”

Long indicated that Carlos Beltran (two singles) and Brian McCann (single, solo homer) appear to be making progress. McCann (seen in the photo above executing his home-run swing) eliminated a toe tap from his mechanics in this game, according to Long. Apparently it helped. McCann was happy to produce.

But as he put it, “When you lose, it’s irrevelent.”

The Yankees also finished a 15-game stretch against the AL East.

“It started off good and ended bad,” Girardi said.

It ended at 6-9.

“I thought you were going to say 2-13,” said Brett Gardner, who tied his career high with his eighth homer and is batting .288 overall after this three-hit game. “We just haven’t played good.”

So it’s on to 11 straight on the road before the All-Star break. It starts Thursday night in Minnesota.

“We’ve got to pick each other up,” Gardner said. “We’ve got to pitch better and we’ve got to hit better and find a way to give our pitchers the lead a lot more often.”

CC Sabathia made his second rehab start Wednesday night, this one at Trenton. The lefty threw 33 of his 55 pitches for strikes in 3 2/3 against Portland. He gave up five runs, three of them earned, five hits and one walk. He hit one batter and struck out two.

Alex Rodriguez is back in the news. Sports Illustrated has an excerpt from a new book claiming MLB gave A-Rod permission to use a PED – testosterone – through a therapeutic use exemption in his MVP season of 2007.

MLB countered with a statement:

“All decisions regarding whether a player shall receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) under the Joint Drug Program are made by the Independent Program Administrator (IPA) in consultation with outside medical experts, with no input by either the Office of the Commissioner or the Players Association.  The process is confidentially administered by the IPA, and MLB and the MLBPA are not even made aware of which players applied for TUEs.

“The TUE process under the Joint Drug Program is comparable to the process under the World Anti-Doping Code.  The standard for receiving a TUE for a medication listed as a performance-enhancing substance is stringent, with only a few such TUEs being issued each year by the IPA.  MLB and the MLBPA annually review the TUE process to make sure it meets the most up-to-date standards for the issuance of TUEs.

“As recommended by the Mitchell Report, since 2008 MLB and the MLBPA have publicly issued the IPA’s annual report, which documents how many TUEs were granted for each category of medication.  We believe this high level of transparency helps to ensure the proper operation of the TUE process.”

Photo by The Associated Press

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 367 Comments →

Waiting on Beltran07.02.14

Carlos Beltran

 

Carlos Beltran has brought something to the Yankees.

“I think he’s a very positive influence,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he has a lot of knowledge to offer as well. I love just listening to him when he talks baseball because he’s done so many things in the game and has been so successful.

”I think he’s still an asset to our club no matter what’s going on.”

If only the 37-year-old switch-hitter also hadn’t brought a bone spur in his elbow that cost him 21 games in May and early June and has him limited to DH duty, and brought a mostly silent bat. At least so far.

The Yankees are still waiting for the Beltran they thought they were getting when they signed him for three years and $45 million in the offseason.

Mr. October II is batting .216 with eight homers and 24 RBI across 56 games. He did have that three-run walk-off homer against the Orioles June 20. But now he’s just 5 for his last 27. Beltran went 0 for 3 with a walk and stranded a runner in scoring position in the fourth and the sixth Tuesday night when the Yankees fell to Tampa Bay 2-1, making them a .500 team at 41-41.

Girardi discounted age as a factor for Beltran as well as .220-hitting Brian McCann, who is just 30.

“I don’t think you forget how to hit in a year,” Girardi said.

Asked for his theory on why the offense really hasn’t clicked consistently so far as a whole, Beltran said: “No idea.”

Here’s my story on what happened in this latest loss. Here’s my story on CC Sabathia taking his next rehab step Wednesday night and the impact he wants to have when he returns.  And here’s my feature story on Dellin Betances and his hopes for being an All-Star this month.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 262 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Questions about “horrible” McCann07.01.14

Brian McCannBrian McCann described his offensive work as “horrible” Monday night, and that led to a lot of what’s wrong with McCann questions in Joe Girardi’s pregame meeting with the media.

The big-ticket catcher is getting a rest tonight against the Rays, at least at the start. He’s batting just .221 through the first half, with a .281 on-base percentage. He has hit nine homers and drive in 36.

“I think everything involved — you talk about coming to a new town, a new contract, learning all these new pitchers — it can be difficult,” Girardi said. “His RBI total isn’t too bad. His home runs aren’t too bad. I think he’s done a really good job with our pitching staff.

“But when he looks at his average, I’m sure he’s frustrated and knows that he can do better. So I don’t want to just focus on one aspect of the game because he has driven in some big runs for us and he has done a great job with our staff.

“And he needs to remind himself of that, too.”

Without question, Dellin Betances belongs at the All-Star Game. And Girardi made a good case for him.

“If you want a big strikeout and you want a guy to come in in the middle of an inning and get people out, he’s pretty good at it,” Girardi said. “He’s done a tremendous job. He’s a reliever that can obviously give you multiple innings. Sometimes you get in an extra-inning game, that can be pretty important, too.”

Betances, who may get a game or two off after pitching in three of the last four, is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 35 appearances. He’d love to be at Target Field July 15.

“You’re talking about guys that you grew up watching, unbelievable players,” Betances said. “I haven’t really thought too much about it, but I’d be honored.”

After the 12-inning game last night, the Yankees needed a fresh arm in the bullpen. Righty Jim Miller has the arm that was summoned from Triple-A. Jose Ramirez got sent down. And CC Sabathia got moved to the 60-day DL.

Speaking of Sabathia, he will pitch a rehab game on three days’ rest. His next start will come tomorrow for Trenton. Sabathia threw just 37 pitches in his first rehab start, Saturday with Tampa.

“After that, it’ll be every five days,” Girardi said.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 268 Comments →

Yankees waiting for some offense04.12.14

Kelly Johnson, David RossThe Yankees are off to a 5-6 start. They have scored four runs or less in eight of the games and have touched the plate only 39 times total so far.

“I’m definitely surprised,” said Kelly Johnson, pictured above after going down swinging against Jon Lester in the fifth inning of the 4-2 loss to the Red Sox Friday night. “I think we all are.

“Offenses can do that, can have some ups and down. We’ll make up for that.”

Mark Teixeira is on the DL. And this offense has a lot of new parts, like Johnson. He was asked whether the newcomers may be trying too hard here at the beginning.

“I think it’s human nature,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to say yes. I’m not going to say no.”

Johnson is batting .258 with two homers and six RBI. But Brian McCann and Brian Roberts are new guys who haven’t done much yet. McCann is at .162 with no homers and three RBI. Roberts is at .148 with no homers and one RBI. Carlos Beltran is at .243  with a homer and four RBI. The Yankees have sent up just seven homers. Johnson is tied for the team lead with .216-hitting Alfonso Soriano.

“We don’t have everyone clicking at this point yet,” Joe Girardi said.

But, stating the obvious, it’s still very early.

Here are links to my three stories today on Lohud.com and in The Journal News, first off on CC Sabathia sinking last night in frustration, plus one on Michael Pineda not getting suspended and some injury updates, and then I have a Matt Thornton feature story. He received his World Series ring yesterday from Red Sox management, yet he was profoundly disappointed to have been left of their playoff roster. He’s hopes to win another this year with the Yankees. I spoke to him before last night’s game.

I’m not scheduled for the rest of this homestand, but you can follow me on Twitter at @bheyman99. Enjoy today’s game.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

 

 

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