Yesterday was the big test for Masahiro Tanaka, but it wasn’t until this afternoon that the Yankees got a final grade on his long-awaited return to the rotation. It was important not only that he pitch well, but that he feel good the day after.
“He was all smiles today, which was good,” Joe Girardi said. “He was doing his normal routine that he would do after any other start, so it’s all good news.”
Yesterday’s game was encouraging. So was today’s catch. Tanaka remains on track to start again on Saturday. These last few steps are all about testing Tanaka’s elbow as much as possible heading into the offseason. There’s no way to be 100 percent certain his ligament will hold up, the more steps he gets through, the better. Today was another small one.
“Just the fact that I was able to throw yesterday and the fact I’m feeling good today (is encouraging),” Tanaka said. “Having the start coming up on Saturday, if I come out from that strong, then obviously that’s a positive. From where I am right now, I should be able to have a good offseason of training that I want to do, and I should be good to go for next season.”
CC Sabathia also played catch today — his first official throwing session since knee surgery — which was another small but encouraging step for a Yankees rotation facing quite a bit of uncertainty heading into this offseason.
“And I think you can add another guy in there; Nova’s rehab has went extremely well,” Girardi said. “He has had zero setbacks and has progressed very, very well. Obviously CC has done well after this new knee surgery and we’re pleased about that. These guys play a very important role. Pitching is a huge part and when you have pitching you can stay in most games and have an opportunity to win them. When you get distance from your starters, your bullpen stays more rested and you can use them a little more different. It would be big for us.”
• Mark Teixeira got a third cortisone injection for his sore right wrist. He got it yesterday and said this injection was in a slightly different spot — “The first two shots were kind of inside the tendon sheath and this is outside the tendon sheath,” he said — and the hope is that he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow. Why get a third injection at this point? “You never want to end the season hurt,” he said. “You want to finish the season. Every game you can’t play, you make a lot out of it, but realistically, to take a couple days off and get it taken care of, play the last five or six games whatever it might be — it’s worth it.”
• Can Teixeira ever be a 150-game player again? “As many games as hopefully I can,” he said. “I never want to say I am going to play 150 games-plus again because, who knows? You never know what is going to happen. I know my wrist is going to be healthier next year. It’s going to be stronger. That’s all I can say because I’ll have that full offseason of working out and strengthening and not necessarily rehabbing.”
• Sabathia said he wants to build up to throwing a bullpen, then he’ll shut down and have a relatively normal offseason. He did 20 throws at 60 feet today. “We’re trying not to make it that much (different from a normal offseason),” Sabathia said. “I’ll come up here a few times a week, but as far as workouts and stuff, it should be a normal winter.”
• Maybe we already knew this and I just forgot about it, but Sabathia said today that he got a second stem-cell injection last month. “I haven’t (had an knee pain), not since I went back out there for (another) stem cell,” Sabathia said. “I think that was the end of August. It feels great. I haven’t had any problems in the workouts.”
• First time playing catch today? “I’ve kinda been throwing the football a little bit, and throwing at home,” Sabathia said. “So it feels good to come out here and not have to hide and throw.”
• The Yankees claimed OF Eury Perez off waivers and opened a roster spot by designating Josh Outman. “We acquired a young center fielder, left fielder, plays all over, from the Washington Nationals,” Girardi said. “With some of the nicked up position players we had, we felt it was probably in our best interest to (DFA) a pitcher. Outman had done a pretty good job for us. He’s a situational lefty, which are kind of difficult to use this time of year because every time you send a lefty to face a lefty, they put a right hander up because they have so many players. It becomes more difficult to use them.”
• Girardi said Carlos Beltran’s elbow is still bothering him. No update on Jacoby Ellsbury’s hamstring.
Associated Press photos
Again, Josh Thomson here in for Chad. I have a few things to share from this morning’s pregame.
CC Sabathia met with the media this morning, a day after Brian Cashman announced the lefty would undergo season-ending arthroscopic knee surgery, but one that will allow him to avoid dreaded micro-fracture surgery. Sabathia said he was disappointed to learn he would miss the remainder of the season. However, news that he would, for now, avoid the much more invasive micro-fracture and the long-term uncertainty that comes with it was welcome.
“I was very concerned,” he said. “I told my wife last night, my season’s over, but it was the first time I was able to get some real sleep just kind of knowing I didn’t have to have the micro-fracture and that I can return next year.”
Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery next Wednesday, but Sabathia confirmed that team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad and Rangers team doctor Dr. Keith Meister both agreed with the form of treatment. He expects it will be approximately 6-8 weeks after his surgery next Wednesday before he can resume activity.
Sabathia said it was basically the same procedure performed on Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook, who obviously returned to form without any trouble. Sabathia believes he can pitch another 5-6 years, although he admitted the possibility of having to undergo future knee scopes for maintenance.
Here’s what Sabathia had to say today in its entirety:
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.
CC hoping “spring training” ends early • 06.18.14
CC Sabathia could be at least six weeks away from returning after throwing his first bullpen session Monday. Joe Girardi indicated Tuesday it was fair to compare this to the start of spring training for him. But Sabathia is hoping to return sooner than later. His problematic right knee has been cooperating.
“I’ve been throwing the whole time,” Sabathia said. “I feel pretty good. Obviously you have to be cautious, not wanting to hurt my arm. But we’ll see. I feel good. Hopefully we can skip some steps.”
The 33-year-old lefty was just 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA when he was done with his last start on May 10.
“It’s hard to watch the games and sit here and not be a part of it,” Sabathia said. “This is one of toughest things I’ve ever had to deal with as far as my career goes.”
Sabathia is scheduled to throw another bullpen today.
“We’ll just continue to increase the amount of pitches and the pitches that he throws,” Girardi said. “He threw fastball, changeup the first day. I think he’s going to mix in some other pitches (today), mix in his slider as well. And then just kind of go day by day with him for me.
“If he gets through (today), then he’ll probably throw another bullpen and we’ll increase the number there. And then if he gets through that, eventually you start to see hitters and BP and then you get the games.
“So it’s really just taking it a step at a time. … He’s been out for a little bit. We’ve said when you’re a starter and you have not thrown a lot, we have to somewhat rebuild you up. So it’s fairly similar (to spring training).”
Masahiro Tanaka just continues to win. Here’s my story on his victory over the Blue Jays last night. Francisco Cervelli is back and ready to help in any way possible, while John Ryan Murphy is now back in Triple-A. Here’s my story on Cervelli’s return and other Yankees notes. And Chase Whitley will take the ball tonight against Toronto. Here’s my feature story on Whitley and his success as a rookie.
Yankees pregame: Cervelli back, Murphy down • 06.17.14
John Ryan Murphy has been sent down to Triple-A and Francisco Cervelli has been activated from the DL, not just to be the backup catcher, but again to possibly be one of the backups for Mark Teixeira. When Cervelli hurt his hamstring back in mid-April, it was a game in which he started at first base. Two of his five starts in April were at first.
Joe Girardi said a choice between Kelly Johnson and Cervelli would come down to matchups.
“I think I’m comfortable there,” Cervelli said. “But I don’t want to forget about catching. That’s what I like, but I want to help any way I can.”
This has been the second straight season Cervelli has missed a huge chunk of time. He said he stayed positive these last two months.
“It’s frustrating,” Cervelli said. “But this time I took it differently. … I spent time with my dad. I recovered so fast before the 60 days.”
John Ryan Murphy got sent down to Triple-A to make room. He hit .286 with one homer and eight RBI in 24 games.
“He played extremely well,” Girardi said. “Obviously we were pleased with what he did. … We think it’s important for him to go play every day.”
CC Sabathia threw a 25-pitch bullpen yesterday and will have another session out there tomorrow. Joe Girardi compared this to the beginning of spring training for him.
Michael Pineda, who was shut down after his setback, is scheduled to play catch Saturday.
Rotation fill-in Vidal Nuno is 1-3 with a 5.90 ERA. Adam Warren has been mentioned as a possible replacement. But the reliever would have to be stretched out. Girardi said Warren could probably only go up to about 50 pitches now.
“We’ll continue to evaluate our staff and decide what we’re going to do,” Girardi said.
Tonight it appears the ball is in good hands. It’s Masahiro Tanaka time.
“Obviously Tanaka is the best pitcher on the planet,” Sabathia said.
Photo by The Associated Press
Yankees postgame: CC struggles again • 05.04.14
His ERA through seven starts stands at 5.75, which goes with a 3-4 record.
“I think last year I got down on myself and made myself miserable,” Sabathia said. “This year, I’m going to stay positive. … I know I can get these guys out.”
He had trouble with that in the 5-1 loss to the Rays Sunday, giving up the five runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3. He heard the boos coming off.
“I would’ve booed myself today, too,” Sabathia said. “I wouldn’t want to come to the ballpark and watch that.”
It was his shortest outing since 2009.
“I still think he’s evolving into a different type of pitcher,” Joe Girardi said, “but today he didn’t have his normal type of stuff.”
Hiroki Kuroda is 2-3 with a 5.14 ERA in six starts. Then there are the injuries to Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda.
“Is it a concern? Sure,” Larry Rothschild said. “But I think Kuroda and CC have a chance to get things going here.”
Alfredo Aceves pitched well in long relief, allowing no runs and three hits over the final 5 1/3.
“He did a heck of a job today,” Girardi said. “He saved our bullpen.”
Aceves had a problem in the fifth in the right thigh area.
“The doctor checked it out and said it was OK,” Aceves said.
Alfonso Soriano had a double and now needs just three hits to become the seventh with 1,000 hits in the AL and the NL.
Derek Jeter went 0 for 4 in the game and 4 for 30 on the homestand. His average fell to .240. But he said he feels good.
“When you’re an older player, any time you go through a slump, the age thing is going to be brought up,” Girardi said. “… We have to get him back on track.”
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees postgame: Sabathia frustrated • 04.12.14
CC Sabathia had a lot of reasons to be frustrated. He pitched a good game overall, seven innings — four runs, six hits, nine Ks, two walks — but he pitched a bad sixth inning, giving up all four of the runs and four of the hits. He felt he let his emotions get the best of him in this 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, frustrating him the most. You can see his reaction above as he walked off the mound following the third out in the sixth.
The Yankees had a 1-0 lead going into the sixth and Sabathia had a one-hit shutout. Then he gave up a leadoff homer to Jonny Gomes. OK, it happens.
One out later, he gave up a checked-swing infield hit to Big Papi Ortiz. OK, that doesn’t usually happen. It made Sabathia angry. He lost his focus and he lost the game.
“Usually I’m able to stay even keel and not let that get to me, not let that frustrate me,” Sabathia said. “Next thing I know, it’s 3-0 on Napoli before I even calmed down. That’s something that I did when I was in my 20s and younger. I have to get better.”
Mike Napoli singled, and Grady Sizemore, Sabathia’s old friend from Cleveland, launched a slider for a three-run homer to right for the 4-1 lead.
“I was just frustrated,” Sabathia said. “I kind of rushed through and left the pitch hanging.”
So Sabathia is 1-2 with a 6.63 ERA after three starts.
Joe Girardi said: “He hasn’t thrown that poorly.”
Girardi also said: “I think it’s fair to say any time a guy has less velocity, there’s less margin for error.”
Sabathia said he just hasn’t put a full game together.
“I’m light years ahead of where I was last year,” Sabathia said. “I still have some work to do.”
Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4, so he has hit safely in all four of his starts, going 8 for 17. That’s .471.
Game 3 of this four-game series is scheduled for 1:05 Saturday. The matchup is Hiroki Kuroda vs. John Lackey.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees postgame: Starved for runs • 07.09.13
It looks like that 29-run eruption in Minnesota was just a mirage, accomplished against bad pitching. The Yankees have just 11 runs to show for their last five games and only three in their three straight home losses. They became the final AL team to drop three in a row at home after this 3-1 loss to the Royals.
“We have not scored a ton of runs all year long,” Joe Girardi said. “As I said when we left spring training, we were going to have to win a lot of close games … That’s what we’re going through.”
The Yankees wasted a complete game from CC Sabathia, who allowed three runs and seven hits. The Yankees managed just six hits. Sabathia is looking forward to the injured hitters coming back. Derek Jeter is the closest right now.
“The guys in here that have been called up to step up have done a good job, but it’s hard to replace those guys,” Sabathia said.
Travis Hafner struck out three times and walked in his four plate appearances. He’s 13 for his last 58 and down to .217 overall.
“Getting some of the guys who have been hurt back will be a big help, but I think the guys that are here can swing the bat better — obviously myself,” Hafner said.
Sabathia obviously would’ve had to pitch a shutout to win. He rued the inside fastballs that David Lough and Billy Butler hit for solo homers.
“Two big mistakes,” Sabathia said.
There is practically no margin for error with this offense in the state it’s in right now.
Ivan Nova gets the ball Wednesday night. Wade Davis, who’s 4-7 with a 5.42 ERA, will start for Kansas City.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Support for A-Rod • 06.06.13
“We haven’t had him the last two months,” Brett Gardner said. “It won’t change anything.”
You would think Rodriguez would appeal if there’s a penalty. But if a ban is announced, as Tuesday’s ESPN report indicated it would be for Rodriguez and about a total of 20 players over alleged ties to PEDs, the attitude in the clubhouse will be forgiving. That’s what CC Sabathia indicated.
“I think it’ll be support,” Sabathia said. “Everybody makes mistakes. We’ll just have to wait and see. But I think there will be nothing but love and support in here.”
Gardner said Rodriguez is like a brother to the players. Mariano Rivera said he doesn’t think he will bring up the current situation with Rodriguez, but he’s open to listening if A-Rod wants to share his thoughts.
Asked if he has sympathy for Rodriguez, who always seems to be in the middle of some controversy, the closer said, “He’s my friend. Besides that, he’s my teammate also. Definitely it’s not easy. It’s not easy to be on the cameras or in the papers, always being chased. But at the same time, all I have to do is support.”
Here’s a link to my full story today on this matter, complete with Terry Francona’s thoughts on who’s to blame, plus an attached video at the top that I shot of Joe Girardi talking about the situation. Also, here’s a link to my story today about Sabathia feeling encouraged after his last two starts, including yesterday’s complete game. I also shot a video of Girardi talking about Sabathia with that one. Thanks for reading the last three days. Chad will be back later to take you through the West Coast trip.
CC Sabathia came away with his 36th career complete game and 28th career complete-game win, allowing seven hits and one walk while fanning nine. He was perfect the first 4 2/3, then gave up two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh before finishing strong in this 6-4 victory over Cleveland that completed the Yankees’ fifth series sweep of the season.
He came away feeling encouraged after his second straight decent start that followed a three-start stretch in which he gave up a combined 29 hits. He said throwing strikes has been the difference. Indeed he threw 84 of his 116 pitches for strikes against his old team. He has also had a little better velocity the last two starts, hitting 93 mph in each of the final four innings this time, including five times in the seventh.
“I feel a lot better,” Sabathia said. “Just throwing on the side, playing catch, I feel more consistent. I’m being able to throw the ball where I want. So hopefully I can just keep building and be better.”
When Mike Aviles dumped a single into left with two outs in the fifth, the perfect game was gone. Sabathia wasn’t down.
“I hadn’t even realized until after he got the hit,” Sabathia said. “Everybody started clapping. I figured there were not Indians fans here.”
Travis Hafner backed him with a two-run homer, his second long ball of the series against his old team. Seven of his 10 homers have come at Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner backed Sabathia with a three-run homer. That’s six homers already for Gardner. Seven is his career high.
“Maybe just being a little better hitter, a little more mature approach at the plate,” Gardner said.
The Yankees finished the season series at 6-1. Interesting stat: They averaged seven runs per game against Cleveland. They are averaging 3.67 runs in 52 games against other teams.
So after the 1-4 start, they finished the homestand at 4-4 to move to 34-25. Now come 10 games on the road, four in Seattle, three in Oakland and three in Anaheim.
Photo by The Associated Press.