Yankees pregame: Grandy off center? • 05.05.13
The Yankees had seemed to have passed on moving Curtis Granderson from center to left after he broke his right forearm in his first at-bat of his first exhibition game and missed spring training. But Joe Girardi today opened up the possibility again that Granderson may not be in center when he returns, that Brett Gardner may stay there.
“We’ll decide that as time goes on,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about Grandy; we just want to get him healthy. People have asked me a lot about, ‘When Grandy comes back, what are you going to do with your outfield if you have three guys who are playing pretty well?’ I said, ‘Well, Grandy is going to play. He’s a big part of our offense.’ But as we’ve seen around here, a lot can happen in a couple of weeks.”
Later, Girardi added, ‘We might toy around with some other things (for Granderson), left, right, other things. He’s getting reps everywhere right now.”
But that isn’t happening with Gardner next to him.
“That’s not my concern,” Girardi said. “My concern is how he reacts in all the different spots.”
Granderson has been playing extended spring games. And, of course, he had to get hit by a pitch Saturday in the arm. But this was in the triceps, according to Girardi.
“From what I understand, he’s OK. He’s kind of picking up where he left off,” Girardi said about him getting hit again.
The minor-league complex in Tampa will be packed with rehabbing major leaguers with several others set to join Granderson, including Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
“I know there’s a lot of big people there,” Girardi said. “I understand that. But that’s not going to be the focus of my day. The focus of my day is the people in this room right now and winning the game.”
David Robertson played catch for the second straight day. He plans to test that lower left hamstring again Tuesday prior to the game in Colorado, throwing on flat ground and then throwing a few pitches off a mound if that goes well. He said he just has a little tightness now.
“I don’t see why I can’t be ready,” Robertson said.
Andy Pettitte struggled without his signature cutter in his last start, against the Astros. Girardi doesn’t expect that to be a problem today, against the A’s.
“I’ll be completely shocked if it’s not there today,” Girardi said.
Brian Heyman here for Chad today. So Mark Teixeira fielded grounders, did light jogging and took outdoor batting practice for the first time since aggravating his calf strain in Baltimore.
“Everything felt fine,” Teixeira said. “I obviously wasn’t pushing it really out there. But it was a good workout.”
Tomorrow he plans to ramp up the activity a bit more and then head for Tampa in the afternoon. He still has no timetable for a return.
“I’m just going to take it day by day,” Teixeira said. “That’s the plan this time around.”
If he’s still having problems when the first game of the playoffs gets here — the Yankees’ magic number for at least drawing a wild card is down to seven — Teixeira isn’t sure if he will be in there anyway.
“I have no idea,” Teixeira said. “It’s a decision we’ll all have to make together.”
He has concerns, like having to make a quick move to dive for a ball, having to have quick acceleration out of the box and having to push it on the basepaths.
“I want to be comfortable that I can do those things and not blow out again, because then we’re right back to square one,” Teixeira said. “The first game of the playoffs, we’re down one run and I need to beat out a double or beat out an infield hit and I blow out and I’m out for the rest of the playoffs, we’ve accomplished nothing. I just need to be able to play.”
But he says he’s improving.
“Sometimes walking up or down stairs, where I’m not being careful, it still feels a little tight, a little sore,” Teixeira said. “But overall it’s getting better. It’s progressing a little bit better each day.”
Curtis Granders0n, whose strikeout total is up to 182 and whose average is down to .232 (albeit with 39 homers and 94 RBI), is out of the lineup. “Just a day (off),” Joe Girardi said.
Girardi said he probably won’t have Rafael Soriano available for this game after he saves both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader and blew the save last night. Soriano was experiencing what he felt was normal soreness last night. “I’m pretty sure that would go away,” Girardi said.
Girardi said he wasn’t sure if David Robertson will be available, either, after having appeared three straight days.
Ivan Nova will start today, coming off a good outing in his return to the rotation.
“We want to get him on a roll,” Girardi said.
Brett Gardner still hasn’t been activated.
The Yankees bring a one-game lead into this game.
“It’s playoff baseball in the month of September,” Girardi said. “… I think the guys are handling it very well and having fun.”
Brian Heyman back here at Yankee Stadium for the series finale. After batting seventh the last two nights, Mark Teixeira is in the three hole with Kansas City switching to lefty Will Smith, who will make his big-league debut.
“You look what Mark has done over his period as a right-handed hitter, he’s been outstanding,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s done a lot of damage here the three years that we’ve had him. We have not swung the bats particularly well against left-handers as a club this year, so I’m going with some track records and putting some guys where they’ve had a lot of success, and I put him there.”
Teixeira bemoaned his lack of selectivity so far, saying he has put too many balls in play. But he’s hopeful about the move up to No. 3.
“We’ve had a lot of success the last three years with me hitting third,” Teixeira said.
David Robertson has indicated that he hopes he’s about a week away from returning, if all goes well from here with the oblique. But will he be going back to the eighth inning or remaining as Mariano Rivera’s primary stand-in for the rest of the season? Girardi opened up the possibility of sticking with Rafael Soriano.
“Let’s just see where we are when Robbie gets back and how Robbie’s doing and how he feels,” Girardi said. “I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. But I’ve been comfortable bringing in Sori where we’re bringing him because of his experience and what he’s done.
“Obviously he’s had a track record as a closer that’s been very successful, and I expect him to do that here, too.”
Who would you like to see as the closer, Robertson or Soriano?
Meanwhile, with Alex Rodriguez’s lack of productivity, the questions are starting over whether he can live up to his track record and be as productive anymore (with five more years on his contract after this one, we might add).
“I’m sure because he’s (almost) 37, I’m going to be asked that a lot more,” Girardi said. “Only time is going to tell.
“Do I think seven or eight home runs in a month is possible for Alex Rodriguez? Absolutely, I do. Now will you carry that over six months? I don’t know. That’s pretty tough for any hitter to do. But is Alex the kind of guy who can carry us for a month at a time? Yes, I believe that.”
Robertson a worthy heir • 05.01.12
David Robertson is looking like a worthy heir to Mariano Rivera’s closing throne. If Rivera retires after this season, wouldn’t you want to see Robertson in the ninth? He’s sure doing a wonderful job in the eighth again.
Robertson struck out the side in the eighth Monday night, setting up Rivera for his fifth save in the 2-1 win over the Orioles. Not only does Robertson own 18 strikeouts in 11 innings over 11 outings so far this season, he has yet to give up a run, earned or unearned.
In fact, he has now thrown 24 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings dating to Sept. 1, 2011, the longest current streak in the major leagues.
“He’s been lights out,” Russell Martin said with the view from behind the catcher’s mask. “He’s just got that sort of fastball that nobody seems to be able to put the barrel on. It gets on you quick and it has got some late cut action. His ball is moving. Guys just don’t seem to recognize it well. He’s got a good curveball to go with that. He’s got a changeup. We rarely have to use the changeup because there are so many guys who are just overmatched by his fastball.
“It’s just a luxury to have a guy like that in the eighth inning.”
Martin can see some of Rivera in Robertson.
“They have the same type of fastball,” Martin said. “It’s just heavy. It’s like a heavy ball and it bores in on left-handers. Righties, they start their swing and it’s just moving a couple of inches off the barrel. So it’s nice to have them.”
Yankees postgame: Colon strong again • 07.24.11
Bartolo Colon again eased concerns about whether he’s going to hold up. The 38-year-old righty has followed two straight bad starts with two straight strong starts. This time, he gave up two runs, eight hits and one walk over seven in the 7-5 win over the A’s. He’s 7-6 with a 3.29 ERA. And this was his first post-All-Star-break win since 2005.
“I thought he looked really good today,” Joe Girardi said. “… I thought he threw the ball well. He gave us distance.”
Colon said his slider was working, and that he had worked hard in the bullpen before the game with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
David Robertson, on the other hand, wasn’t so good for a change. He said he was irritated with himself after allowing two runs on three doubles and only getting two outs in the eighth. In his defense, it was raining at the time and he had trouble with his grip on the ball. He had yielded just two earned runs in his previous 26 appearances.
“Well now I know that you’re human,” Girardi told him after the game.
“Because he’s been so good for us,” Girardi added. “You haven’t seen him have a blip like that. It’s really strange.”
Mariano Rivera came on for a four-out save. He got the last out in the eighth with two pitches, but he was shaky in the ninth, allowing four straight singles to cut it to 7-5. Only one was a line drive, Josh Willingham’s RBI to left. But then David DeJesus lined to Mark Teixeira for an unassisted double play. And Rivera had extended his major-league record to 15 straight seasons of at least 25 saves.
“I’d be surprised if someone could outdo that record,” Girardi said. “You think of the closers that have come along. That’s one of those records that I don’t think someone will break.”
Rivera isn’t a big stat guy.
“When you play for a team like the New York Yankees, you’re going to have opportunities,” Rivera said. “I try to do my job and help the team as much as I can. Yeah, 25, that’s good. But I just want to win ballgames.”
This was the first time Rivera had given up a run at home this season, having started with 22 straight scoreless appearances, three short of the record.
*Curtis Granderson hit his team-high 27th homer, three less than his career high and three more than last year. It was his 11th homer off a lefty, extending his career high. He made an adjustment in the cage before the game with Kevin Long after going hitless in the first two games of the series.
*Russell Martin showed off his athleticism again, not only leaping for a relay and then tagging out a runner at the plate but also stealing second, setting up a run. He leads all catchers in steals with eight, the third most by a Yankees catcher in the last 50 years. Girardi has the most with 13 in 1996.
*Seattle comes in now for the start of a three-game series. The Mariners have lost a franchise-record 15 in a row. Freddy Garcia and lefty Jason Vargas are Monday night’s starters.
Swisher endorses Robertson for the eighth • 06.27.11
After his 1-2-3, two-K eighth to get the game to Mariano Rivera for a 1-2-3 ninth in Sunday’s 6-4 win over the Rockies, David Robertson had given up only one earned run over his last 18 appearances. That dated to May 17 and included just nine hits allowed and 30 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. His ERA for the season is a tiny 1.15 over 34 outings. He has fanned 50 in 31 1/3, although he has walked 20.
Robertson has moved up from the sixth and then the seventh after the injuries to the original eighth-inning guy, Rafael Soriano, and then Joba Chamberlain. Soriano could be back after the All-Star break from his elbow inflammation. But following this latest game, Nick Swisher endorsed Robertson for the permanent eighth-inning job.
“I’m not taking credit from anybody, but that’s the spot he should be in,” Swisher said. “He’s proven that. The numbers show that. He’s one of my good buddies. I’m so excited that he’s starting to get a lot of the credit that he deserves.”
I agree with Swisher. I can’t see going back to Soriano for the eighth no matter how much he’s making when Robertson is doing this well, and especially since Soriano wasn’t having a steady season when he went down. He checked out with a 5.40 ERA over 16 appearances.
Notes from Friday • 02.19.10
While Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes were throwing their first official bullpen of the spring, Andy Pettitte followed the lead of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez. He stayed off the mound on Friday and will wait a few days before he starts his spring training throwing schedule.
“My body’s feeling good,” Pettitte said. “Everything feels good coming into the spring. I feel real good about that.”
Pettitte said the extra workload of the playoffs shouldn’t bother him because the Yankees did a good job of keeping their three-man, postseason rotation well rested at the end of the regular season. He feels fresh, and he was happy to see the team add another durable arm in Javier Vazquez. Those two had never met another until this winter, but they’ve already played golf together.
“You can’t ever have enough pitching, and not only is he a great pitcher, he’s a quality human being,” Pettitte said. “He’s going to be great here.”
• Joe Girardi on whether he’ll carry two lefties in the bullpen: “In a perfect world, you’d like to have two lefties. Last year we went with one lefty most of the time, and we were able to do it. We believe that our right-handers get left-handers out very well. You look at what Robertson did down there getting left-handers out, he was very successful. But in a perfect world, you’d love to have two because it gives you so many more options.”
• What’s the first thing Girardi looks for in his pitchers during spring training? “To me early, I want to see command of the fastball,” he said. “That’s extremely important. And that you pitch inside effectively. That’s important to us with all of our pitchers.”
• Yogi Berra was in the clubhouse this morning.
• Add David Winfree to the list of outfielders who have popped into the clubhouse. I really wish I could have covered him in Scranton. I went to say hello and it turned into a five minute conversation. Very easy to talk to. Also, he’s a big dude. I have absolutely no trouble believing he can hit a few balls out of the park. And he’s really excited about being a Yankee. He talked about the prestige of wearing the pinstripes.
• Greg Golson was also around for a little bit this afternoon. He popped in and out a few days ago, but I wasn’t sure it was him. This time I said hello, and Golson said he has something to prove after two teams sent him elsewhere. He was a lot like Winfree, very easy to talk to, seems to be out to prove himself. This could be a good situation for him because of that spot on the 40-man.
• Kind of a funny line from Girardi, asked if anything jumped out this early in camp: “A lot of good arms in camp. You look at some of the sizes of these guys. Those are some pretty intimidating figures on the mound. I need a step stool to go talk to them.” He didn’t name names, but I’m thinking Jason Hirsh, Andrew Brackman, Grant Duff, Jonathan Albaladejo and Romulo Sanchez.
• Finally met Kyle Higashioka and Jeremy Bleich today. They’ve been around, but I hadn’t said hello. For the record, their names are pronounce He-ga-she-oh-ka and Bly-sh.
• Pitchers who threw in the bullpen today:
First group: Chamberlain, Garcia, Hughes, Ramirez
Second group: Igawa, Melancon, Logan, Moseley
Third group: McAllister, Nova, Whelan
Fourth group: Bleich, De La Rosa, Mitchell, Noesi
• Like yesterday, I only wrote down the catchers for the first group: Posada caught Chamberlain, Rivera caught Garcia, Montero caught Hughes and Romine caught Ramirez.
• In the picture up top, Girardi and Dave Eiland are on the far left of the group of coaches watching pitchers get loose.