Yankees postgame: Train keeps rolling • 04.17.13
The Yankees have now won three straight and seven of eight after this come-from-behind 4-3 win over Arizona. They’re 8-5 after the 1-4 start and despite all those marquee-name injuries.
“It’s early, but we’ve got a pretty good team,” CC Sabathia said. “The guys filling in are doing a great job.”
Travis Hafner would be one of those guys. After sitting around for two-plus hours, he sent up that pinch solo shot in the eighth. He’s now hitting .342 with four homers and eight RBI in 12 games.
“I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well,” Hafner said. “I’m having a great time.”
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson did believe what he just saw from Hafner, hitting that first-pitch, 96 mph fastball from David Hernandez.
“He’s hit a lot out like that,” Gibson said. “Obviously, not a good spot to throw it.”
Gibson also wasn’t thrilled with lefty reliever Tony Sipp’s fastball away to Brett Gardner with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh. That resulted in the tying two-run single.
“The ball is up and out over the plate, and give the guy some credit; he hit where he should have,” Gibson said.
Gardner was happier, saying, “With two outs and the bases loaded, it’s kind of all on you. It feels good to be able to come through.”
Sabathia threw 31 pitches in the two-run first, then threw just 77 over the next seven.
“I think he just battled through it,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve seen CC do that a number of times where maybe he doesn’t have his ‘A’ stuff and he finds a way to keep you in the game and doesn’t give up big innings. There’s a lot that can be learned for how he goes about his business.”
I’ll have more from Girardi on Sabathia’s diminished velocity in my morning post.
Yankees postgame: Seeing triple • 04.12.13
The postgame buzz mostly revolved around the 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play that the Yankees turned in the eighth to help preserve their 5-2 victory over the Orioles.
“You’re not going to see things like that happen in a crucial moment,” Joe Girardi said.
Let’s recap: The Orioles started the inning against CC Sabathia with singles by Alexi Casilla and Nick Markakis, bringing up the potential tying run. Then Manny Machado grounded to Robinson Cano, who threw to Jayson Nix for the force on Markakis at second.
Next came the key moment. Instead of throwing on to first for the double ball, Nix fired to Kevin Youkilis at third.
“It’s better to have the lead runner out,” Nix said.
Casilla was tagged out by Youkilis in a rundown. Then Youkilis threw to Lyle Overbay at first with Machado straying.
“I knew right away we’ve got a triple play,” Youkilis said.
Overbay fired to Cano at second for the tag on Machado. That makes three. The Yankees couldn’t contain their glee, especially Youkilis.
“When stuff like that happens, you feel like you’re back playing Little League again,” Youkilis said.
It was the Yankees’ second triple play since 1969 and first in the Bronx since 1968. They had one three years ago in Oakland, also helping Sabathia out of a jam.
“Any time you get a triple play, you’re fired up,” Sabathia said.
There was another key moment, though. How often are you going to see Adam Jones drop a fly ball? Not too often.
“He’s one of the best center fielders in the game,” Sabathia said.
But he dropped Vernon Wells’ drive to the track with the bases packed and two outs in the seventh. The 2-2 game became a 5-2 game on the error.
“The chances of that happening are slim, slim, slim, but we caught a break,” Girardi said.
“I don’t dwell at all on Adam’s play because he’s spoiled us with such a high level of play in center field,” Buck Showalter said. “That’s why it gets everybody’s attention. He’s special. I’m real glad he’s on our side.”
The Yankees were glad to have Sabathia on their side again — eight innings, two runs, eight hits, nine Ks, no walks.
“I thought he was brilliant,” Girardi said.
Sabathia, in his second straight strong start, threw 102 pitches, only 28 of them balls.
“I know his velocity isn’t what it used to be, 95, but I tell you, he’s really using his changeup and slider to get guys out,” Kevin Youkilis said.
Mark Teixeira had his wrist examined by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser. It was expected that Teixeira would be cleared to start swinging a fungo bat. He was not.
“He wants me to get a little stronger before I swing,” Teixeira said. “All good news. I’m just not swinging yet.”
Teixeira doesn’t think this changes the timetable for his return too much. He still hopes to be back the first week of May.
Eduardo Nunez is day-to-day after suffering a bruised right wrist when he was drilled by Miguel Gonzalez in the second.
How did CC Sabathia evaluate his first bullpen since October elbow surgery?
“Felt pretty good; no problems,” he said. “I probably didn’t throw a strike, but that’s normal for my first bullpen.”
Here’s some video — shot through a small gap in the fence — of Sabathia’s morning bullpen. When bullpen catcher Roman Rodriguez moves his head a little bit, you can see Andy Pettitte also throwing on the right side of the screen.
Thursday morning notes: Phelps faces hitters • 02.14.13
Around 9 a.m., David Phelps went to the mound on the main field here in Tampa. He wasn’t tucked away in the back, wasn’t shuffled to the minor league complex. He was in front of the empty seats, facing live hitters, throwing live batting practice on just the second day of workouts at Steinbrenner Field.
“I pushed myself a little more in the offseason so my arm is ready a little quicker during spring training because I’m trying to make an impression,” Phelps said. “It helped me out last year, my arm felt fresh throughout the entire year. I did the same routine I did last year coming into camp.”
Last year Phelps made an impression and got an unexpected opportunity. What he did with that opportunity has made him a favorite to win at least a spot in the Yankees bullpen, and it’s given him at least a chance of being out Ivan Nova for the last spot in the rotation.
This morning Phelps threw 30 pitches while facing Francisco Cervelli and Bobby Wilson.
“I’m willing to do whatever they want me to do,” Phelps said. “If being sent down to the minors and keeping starting is what’s in the best interest of the team and helping them win, that’s obviously what I’ll do. Obviously I want to be in the big leagues, whatever role that might be. I’m just going to go out and try to do my job on the field and let that take care of itself.”
• So far, no sign of new reliever Shawn Kelley. Not sure when he’s supposed to arrive.
• With so many pitchers already facing hitters — and so few position players currently in big league camp — the Yankees are actually sending a van over to the minor league complex later this morning. A dozen pitchers will go to the complex to throw live batting practice to the hitters across the street.
• Four pitchers threw live batting practice here at Steinbrenner Field this morning. Phelps, Adam Warren, Cody Eppley and Brett Marshall. Throwing programs assigned to minor leaguers started a little earlier than usual this winter, which helps explain why so many guys are ready to face hitters already.
• Phelps threw to J.R. Murphy and Marshall threw to Gary Sanchez. Those two faced Francisco Cervelli and Bobby Wilson. Eppley threw to Kyle Higashioka and Warren threw to Francisco Arcia. Those two faced Chris Stewart and Austin Romine.
• Early sides: Joba Chamberlain (to Stewart) and Ivan Nova (to Cervelli).
• Going to the complex to throw live batting practice: Corey Black, Preston Claiborne, Matt Daley, Nick Goody, Shane Greene, Bryan Mitchell, Mark Montgomery, Mike O’Brien, Kelvin Perez, Branden Pinder, Nik Turley and Chase Whitley.
• Bullpens at Steinbrenner Field (with the catcher they’ll throw to):
Dellin Betances (Romine)
Jose Ramirez (Arcia)
Dave Robertson (Wilson)
Francisco Rondon (Higashioka)
Josh Spence (Sanchez)
Cell phone photo of Phelps throwing BP, Associated Press photo of Sabathia
CC Sabathia always seemed to think he could pitch last season. He went on the disabled list twice, and he through some underwhelming stretches, but Sabathia has a bulldog reputation, and he did his best to live up to it. But after offseason elbow surgery to clean up a bone spur from his left elbow, Sabathia said he can easy feel the difference between health and not healthy.
“I definitely feel a relief,” he said. “Just having that range of motion back and not having that ache at the end of my extension. I felt that right away, so hopefully I can just continue to get better and continue to feel less. After last year, going through what I went through pretty much the whole second half, playing catch so far, it feels a lot better.”
Sabathia hasn’t been on a mound yet — “I never throw off the mound until I get down here anyway,” he said — and expects to throw his first fastball/changeup bullpen on Thursday. But he’s been playing catch, and that’s been enough for him to feel the surgical difference.
“He wasn’t 100 percent last year,” Girardi said. “Any time you need surgery at the end of the year, I think it’s fair to say that you weren’t 100 percent. But probably 95 percent of the players that go out there every day aren’t 100 percent. That’s part of the job. You’re going to play with bumps and bruises and injuries that you can still compete with. But I feel better that we were able to address the problem and he’s coming into spring training healthy. He wasn’t overworked last year, so I feel better about it.”
Even today, Sabathia called the elbow issue an “excuse,” while also acknowledging that it was “always there.” Elbow surguries are generally less concerning than shoulder operations, and Sabathia’s was relatively minor, so he’s expected to be fully healthy for this season. Even in a down year, Sabathia reached 200 innings with a 3.38 ERA last season.
“I just want to concentrate on staying healthy,” Sabathia said. “Any kind of numbers I feel will be there if I’m healthy, so that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”
• David Phelps made the big move from the middle lockers — where most of the minor leaguers are assigned — to a locker on the left wall where most of the big league staff is grouped together. Adam Warren also moved to that wall. Phelps has changed uniform numbers to No. 35. He has a locker right next to Andy Pettitte.
• In other locker-assignment news: The short wall just inside the main door has three lockers: Cesar Cabral, Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda. That must be rehab central.
• Sabathia said he lost about 10 pounds over the winter and is down to 290. He said that’s what he was last spring, and that seems about right. He looks about the same as last spring. “This is the ideal weight,” he said. “I was probably about 300 by the end of last year, so I probably gained 10 pounds. Room service, different stuff. It’s part of the season. I’m fine with that.”
• Any concerns about Mariano Rivera? “I have extreme confidence in Mo, just knowing how hard he works, wanting to be ready and be prepared, be on top of his game,” Sabathia said. “He’s ageless. He can pitch forever. I have a lot of confidence in him coming back and being the same old Mo.”
• Speaking of Rivera, he’s helped raise another $50,000 toward renovations of his church in New Rochelle.
• A few guys threw in the outfield today, but the first full day of pitching workouts is tomorrow. There was no schedule of bullpens posted, but I’m guessing we’ll have those tomorrow morning when the clubhouse opens.
Associated Press photo
Sabathia honored at BBWAA dinner • 01.21.13
I was out of town this weekend, so I missed this year’s BBWAA dinner in Manhattan. It’s always a fantastic event, and based on the stories I’ve heard, this was one of the more memorable dinners in recent memory.
Among the honorees was Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who was given the New York chapter’s Joan Payson Award for humanitarian efforts. CC and his wife, Amber, have done a lot of good on both coasts with their PitCCh In Foundation, and Sabathia is one of those athletes who seems to genuinely care and want to be involved with each event.
That said, there was no sense denying it…
“I was telling my wife,” Sabathia said while accepting his award on Saturday. “It would have been a lot cooler if I was here to get one of the Cy Youngs or MVPs, but I guess that’s up to me.”
Check out the video above, if only to see the slimmed down ace three weeks before he reports to camp.
Just a few quick notes from this cold Monday.
• The Yankees have signed outfielder Thomas Neal to a minor league contract. I believe it was Josh Norris who first pointed out that Neal’s twitter page described him as a member of the Yankees organization (that’s where I first saw it, anyway), and today Brian Cashman confirmed the signing. That’s one more right-handed outfield bat to put in the mix. Neal got into nine games for the Indians last season, and he’s put up pretty good minor league numbers. He’s primarily played the outfield corners, with a little bit of time at first and in center. Neal was designated for assignment and eventually released when the Indians signed Nick Swisher.
• Speaking of the Indians — and speaking of right-handed outfielders — Cleveland has agreed to minor league deals with Ben Francisco and Ryan Raburn. Both could have been cheap, fringy options for the Yankees bench. I especially like Raburn, who has a lot of defensive flexibility and has actually hit pretty well against lefties in his career.
• Speaking of minor league deals, the Mets have signed lefty Pedro Feliciano. The veteran signed a two-year deal with the Yankees before the 2011 season, but a shoulder injury kept him on the disabled list through the entirety of the contract. He’ll return to the Mets, where he pitched — probably too much — before signing with the Yankees.
• Down in Trenton, the Thunder have announced that they’re installing a big video board at Arm & Hammer Park. That’ll be a nice addition down there.
• In his new gig over at CBS Sports, Mike Axisa takes a look at the core of the Yankees determines that the current cornerstone of the franchise isn’t Robinson Cano (contract expires too soon), Derek Jeter (face of the franchise, but not necessarily the roster keystone), or Alex Rodriguez (more problem than solution at this point). Mike writes that it’s CC Sabathia who the Yankees seem to be building their team around. It’s good stuff, as always. Congratulations to Mike, who I’ve gotten to know a little bit over the years, and who does terrific work with Joe, Ben and the rest of the crew over at River Ave. Blues. He’ll be a nice addition to that CBS blog, and thankfully he’s not abandoning RAB.
Happy Thanksgiving/CC to be honored • 11.22.12
I just want to wish you all a great Thanksgiving. Thanks for being here with us year-round.
I’m off to a family gathering today, but first here’s a charity-related item I didn’t get to from the other day.
Yankees postgame: What’s up with CC? • 09.15.12
The Yankees need their ace to pitch like an ace right now, but it isn’t happening. CC Sabathia’s velocity was a bit better, but he still turned over a lead for the fifth straight start and didn’t win for the fourth straight start. He has dropped three decisions in a row for the first time as a Yankee.
“It’s tough because we’re in a race and I’m struggling,” Sabathia said. “… It’s definitely been frustrating.”
This time, he gave up four runs and six hits over 6 2/3 and fell to 13-6. David Price just outpitched him in Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory.
Sabathia says his arm feels good. But the game got away from him when his command departed in the fifth. His 1-0 lead turned into a 3-2 deficit.
“Just not making pitches,” Sabathia said.
The Yankees were predictably supportive.
“I still believe in CC,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s done so many special things. I know his heart.”
“You definitely want CC on the mound,” Curtis Granderson said. “CC is one of the best guys out there.”
“CC pitched well,” Derek Jeter said. “I’m sure he didn’t pitch as good as he would’ve liked to, but he still kept us in the game.”
Sabathia knows he’s better than this. He thinks he may be looking to strike people out too much.
“Today should’ve been a day when I went out and dominated,” Sabathia said.
He’s happy that Ivan Nova will be back later today and that Andy Pettitte will return to start on Tuesday.
“Hopefully they can help us out, because I haven’t been,” Sabathia said.
Meanwhile, it was another milestone night for both Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Jeter passed Willie Mays and took sole possession of 10th on the all-time hits lists. The Captain had two hits, giving him 3,285. He said passing Mays was “pretty special.”
A-Rod passed Lou Gehrig on the all-time list for runs scored thanks to his homer. Rodriguez now has sole possession of ninth with 1,889. He also tied Zack Wheat for 37th on the all-time hits list at 2,884. Rodriguez is batting .279 with three homers and eight RBI in 11 games since coming off the DL. He’s now 13 homers behind Mays for fourth on the homers list after belting No. 647.
The Yankees are now 6-9 in their last 15 games. They are 3 for 40 with runners in scoring position over the last four games, leaving 36 on base. They have blown leads in six of their last seven defeats and 10 of their last 14 defeats. Lot of negatives here. But there are still 18 games to go.
Brian Heyman here for Chad today at Yankee Stadium. Much of the pregame talk revolved around Derek Jeter. Joe Girardi didn’t have a lineup ready to announce when he met the media at 4:10. He had to check on the status of Jeter’s left ankle. The lineup came out about an hour later and The Captain was in, but he’s serving as the designated hitter for the second straight game.
Girardi said Jeter’s status will be a day-to -ay thing as far as being at short or being the DH.
“If I had a 10-game lead, I’d probably give him some days off,” Girardi said. “But I’m not sure that would take care of it.”
Because if he lands on it the wrong way, he could aggravate it like he did Wednesday night in Boston. Could this bone bruise be a chronic thing that won’t fully heal until offseason rest? Girardi said he hasn’t been told that.
“But in my mind, that’s what I believe,” Girardi said, adding it could improve or it “could take a while.”
Jeter, predictably, shed no light. Talking about injuries isn’t his thing, especially when he feels he’s good enough to play.
“This is not an issue,” he said.
Jeter does feel he’s well enough to play short.
“I felt I could play the field when he took me out,” Jeter said, referring to Girardi’s move on Wednesday in the eighth inning after that lunge trying to beat out a double-play ball led to him leaving the game.
Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte threw from the main mound and did drills.
“Everything is a good for Tuesday,” Girardi said.
CC Sabathia takes the ball tonight after going 0-2 with a no-decision and turning over leads in his last three starts. He was down a bit on velocity in the last one, averaging about 92 on the fastball. Girardi said it could be for a number of reasons, including all “the innings he’s logged in his life.”