The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Wrapping up from Target Field10.05.10

ALDS Yankees Twins Baseball

Reporters are doing two very different things on the day before a playoff series. The beat writers are asking very specific questions about roster decisions and lineup choices. We’re wondering about the current whereabouts of a guy like Ivan Nova, who some other reporters in the room have never even heard of.

The national writers and columnists are here to do bigger picture stories. Nick Swisher was asked again about his mechanical adjustments. CC Sabathia was asked about his playoff success last season. Joe Girardi was asked about filling the gaps left by Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.

I’m going to assume most of you know that Swisher trusts Kevin Long and that Girardi loves Robinson Cano. For today’s blog, I’m going to focus more on the nuts and bolts, starting with the pitching staff.

“Our plans are to go with a three-man rotation,” Girardi said. “If we have to change that, with the roster that we have, it gives us the flexibility to do that. A.J. will pitch out of the bullpen, but if he needed to start a game, he will start a game for us unless he was used (out of the pen).”

As for the bullpen.

“We really liked the way (Mitre’s) sinker has been working lately and the way he has been throwing the ball. And we felt we needed another guy to give us distance in case the first scenario came up… If A.J. has to make a start, you don’t really have a guy that can give you distance if you get in an extra-inning game except for Moseley.”

ALDS Yankees Twins Baseball• Despite starting on Sunday, Moseley is available to pitch immediately. Girardi said he can pitch tomorrow if necessary.

• Girardi said he has a lineup in mind, but he wants to sleep on it. Asked if that looming decision centers on his outfield, Girardi said, “Yes.” I have to believe that means he’s deciding between Brett Gardner and Austin Kearns against the lefty Francisco Liriano.

• The Yankees wanted Ramiro Pena over Eduardo Nunez because of Pena’s experience at second and third. “We felt Pena was the more experienced guy if you get in those situations,” Girardi said.

• The Yankees wanted Greg Golson over Nunez because of Nick Swisher’s recent knee problems. “He’s not banged up now, he feels good,” Girardi said. “But we felt that it was probably in our best interests to carry a defensive outfielder in case something happens in this series. (Golson) is also a guy that can pinch-run for you if you wanted.”

• Close to carrying Royce Ring? “He was definitely in the discussion,” Girardi said.

• Ring, Nunez, Nova and Jonathan Albaladejo have been sent to Tampa to keep working out and stay sharp in case the Yankees need them.

• Girardi on Andy Pettitte in Game 2: “We felt with all the left-handed hitters, we would try to throw four lefties at them in five games.”

• If the Yankees get to the ALCS, Burnett seems to be the front runner to be the fourth starter. “I hope we have the discussion,” Girardi said.

• Sabathia in response to a question about the unpredictability of the rotation beyond him: “I don’t see what you guys are saying about uncertainty. Andy Pettitte is the best pitcher in the playoffs in the history of baseball, so I think our rotation starts up pretty good against anybody.”

Associated Press photos of Jeter and Sabathia

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Game 162: Yankees at Red Sox10.03.10

YANKEES (95-66)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano DH
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Marcus Thames LF
Ramiro Pena 2B

RHP Dustin Moseley (4-3, 4.77)
Moseley vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (88-73)
Eric Patterson 2B
Jed Lowrie SS
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Bill Hall 3B
Ryan Kalish CF
Jason Varitek C
Daniel Nava LF
Lars Anderson 1B

RHP John Lackey (13-11, 4.47)
Lackey vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:35 p.m. / YES Network

UMPIRES: HP Brian Runge, 1B Jerry Layne, 2B Mike Winters, 3B Hunter Wendelstedt

WEATHER: Temperatures in the 50s. Slight chance of rain. Not nearly as nice as yesterday. Hopefully not nearly as long either.

ONE AWAY: Robinson Cano has 199 hits this season. He’s one away from becoming the first Yankees second baseman with back-to-back 200-hit seasons. He would be the first second baseman in the majors to pull it off since Carlos Baerga in 1992-93.

ON THE RUN: Brett Gardner has 47 stolen bases this season. He’s tied for the fourth-most in the Majors, and it’s the ninth-highest total ever by a Yankee. Since 1945, the only Yankee who has stolen more in a season is Rickey Henderson who stole 93 in 1988, 87 in 1986 and 80 in 1995.

IT’S THE RUNS THAT MATTER: Seven Yankees have scored at least 70 runs this season (Cano, Gardner, Granderson, Jeter, Rodriguez, Swisher and Teixeira). Only the 1939 Yankees had more 70-run players in franchise history. The Yankees have five players with at least 90 runs, the most in the Majors this season.

THE OTHER GAME: The Rays and Royals begin playing at 2:10 ET.

UPDATE, 1:54 p.m.: Two-run home run by J.D. Drew. It’s 2-0 in the bottom of the first.

UPDATE, 2:04 p.m.: Swisher has matched last year’s home run total with his 29th of the season. He has 39 more hits than last year, but 40 fewer walks. Of course, hits and walks only matter if they lead to runs, and Swisher has more runs and RBI than last year. It’s 2-1 Red Sox in the second.

UPDATE, 2:24 p.m.: The Yankees took advantage of an error, got an RBI single from Rodriguez and the game is tied in the top of the third. The Rays and Royals are scoreless after one inning.

UPDATE, 2:57 p.m.: Dustin Moseley is back out for the fifth inning with the game still tied at 2. He’s thrown 73 pitches so this is likely to be his last inning one way or another. He’s allowed two singles to the past 12 batters he’s faced, and he hasn’t walked anyone since the second hitter of the game. This could be a pretty pivotal inning for this game. The Yankees have enough reliable one-inning relievers to handle four innings. If Moseley can give the Yankees five in this situation, that’s about all they can ask.

UPDATE, 3:08 p.m.: Moseley looked like he wanted to slam his glove to the ground on that one. Jed Lowrie’s two-run home run came on Moseley’s second big mistake of the game and it’s given the Red Sox a 4-2 lead in the fifth.

UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: Bunt single for David Ortiz. He got a curtain call and the Yankees basically lost a chance to test Royce Ring one last time. Here’s Robertson. Meanwhile, the Royals have a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

UPDATE, 3:38 p.m.: An inning that started with a bunt single by David Ortiz also includes a steal of home on the back end of a double steal. There are times when games just don’t feel like they’re going to go the Yankees way. This is one of them. It’s 7-2 Red Sox after six.

UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: Lowrie sneaks a second home run to right field and it’s 8-2 Red Sox. The Royals are holding off the Rays so far, but the Yankees aren’t doing their part.

UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.:There’s Cano’s 200th hit and 109th RBI. It’s 8-3 in the eighth.

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Pregame notes: Playing and waiting10.03.10

Yankees Red Sox BaseballJoe Girardi will be scoreboard watching this afternoon. On the big scoreboard in left field, the first game listed is TAM vs. KC. That game means just as much as this one, and Girardi will be paying attention.

“If Tampa is blowing a team out, then you might think about (resting) guys who played a lot yesterday,” he said.

If that Tampa Bay score goes the other way, the Yankees will have a shot at the division and home-field advantage. As you can imagine, everything beyond this afternoon hinges on what happens today, so the notes were pretty limited pregame.

Even postgame, Girardi said, the Yankees won’t be able to answer a lot of questions. He said the team literally has nothing set. They haven’t decided on a roster or a rotation. There are nothing more than ideas at this point.

“Obviously we know Derek Jeter is going to be on the roster,” Girardi said. “But we have a meeting tomorrow and we’re going to talk about everything.”

• How much power does a starting pitcher have on game day? Joba Chamberlain’s locker in Boston is between Mariano Rivera and Dustin Moseley. When Joba got to his locker this morning, Rivera’s suitcase and Moseley’s suitcase had both spilled over into his spot. Joba had to move at least one of them, and he moved the closer’s. “(Moseley) can do what he wants today,” he said.

• Girardi said Dave Robertson is the only reliever from yesterday’s first game who he’ll have to check with before using him today.

• Are there relievers he needs to see to make roster decisions? “We’re going to try to win the game, that’s the bottom line, so not necessarily,” Girardi said.

• Moseley probably won’t go much over 75 pitches.

• Despite his struggles, count on Austin Kearns making the playoff roster. “At this point (leaving him off) is not something we’ve talked about,” Girardi said. “My guess is he’s going to be there.”

• Jorge Posada took a foul ball off the mask yesterday. “He’s OK,” Girardi said. “I specifically asked him last night after the game.”

• CC Sabathia has a bullpen today. It’s his last bit of pitching before Wednesday’s playoff opener.

• The Yankees will meet about the playoff roster tomorrow, but Girardi said not to expect an announcement until Tuesday.

UPDATE, 1:05 p.m.: Boston lineup.
Eric Patterson CF
Jed Lowrie SS
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Bill Hall 2B
Ryan Kalish CF
Jason Varitek C
Daniel Nava LF
Lars Anderson 1B

Associated Press photo of Rivera

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Postgame notes: Division on the line in finale10.03.10

Yankees Red Sox BaseballIt was past 1 a.m. when Dustin Moseley found out he would be starting tomorrow’s today’s regular season finale in Boston. The Yankees had just dropped the second game of a double header, and manager Joe Girardi couldn’t name a starter any earlier because he wasn’t sure which pitchers he would need as Saturday’s second game drifted into extra innings.

“It’s good, man,” Moseley said. “Go out there and give them my all tomorrow. Try to get home real quick and get some sleep, then try to get back out there… The routine isn’t in place, but the mentality will be there and ready to go tomorrow.”

Moseley last pitched on Monday, two scoreless innings in Toronto. He last started September 12 in Texas, where he matched Cliff Lee for six innings before allowing three runs in the seventh.

“I’m going to take it for what its worth,” Moseley said. “Go out there and do what I can do and hopefully we come out on top tomorrow. Or today.”

The Yankees need more than Moseley to win the division. They also need the Rays to lose in Kansas City. The Yankees and Rays are currently tied for the division lead, but Tampa Bay has the tiebreaker. A double header sweep would have left the Yankees in control of their own destiny. Instead they enter Sunday’s game needing Moseley and needing help.

Yankees Red Sox Baseball• Girardi said he doesn’t know yet how many everyday players will be in the lineup on Sunday. “I’ll have to see when everybody gets in,” he said.

• Girardi used all of his go-to relievers in the first game, knowing he wouldn’t want to use any of them in the second. “You have to win the first game because you don’t know what’s going to arise in the second game,” he said.

• A.J. Burnett said he felt better than he has in his past few starts. “When I was quick I was able to slow down,” he said. “I didn’t let a lot of things bother me out there tonight. I never broke, so that’s a positive.”

• Four errors in the second game set a season high for the Yankees. The most glaring came on the play when Burnett argued with the umpire, forgetting about the runner at third base, who came around to score. “I probably should have called time, but I didn’t think about it,” Burnett said.

• Girardi’s take on the Burnett play at first: “It’s something that probably shouldn’t happen and it cost us a run.” Girardi said he never saw a replay of the controversial call at first.

• That 10th inning was going to be Ivan Nova’s last. Both of his major league losses have come against the Red Sox.

• The Yankees went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the second game. They were 4-for-37 with RISP in the double header.

• Burnett has now hit 19 batters this season, the third-highest single-season total in Yankees history and the most since Jack Warhop hit 26 batters in 1909.

• Brett Gardner had five stolen bases today. These were the third and fourth multi-steal games of the season for Gardner. Three steals in the second game matched his career high.

• Robinson Cano picked up three hits in both games. It’s the fourth time this year that he’s had back-to-back three-hit games.

Associated Press photos of Burnett with Francisco Cervelli and Eduardo Nunez with Curtis Granderson.

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Pregame notes: Adjusting on the fly09.26.10

Rays Yankees Baseball

In the early innings of yesterday’s game, Dustin Moseley was in the Yankees clubhouse, not an unusual place for the next day’s starting pitcher to be. He had no idea the Yankees coaching staff was looking for him, and he was initially caught a little off guard when they found him and told him to get his cleats on and get to the bullpen. If necessary, the Yankees were going to use him in long relief.

“I’m a realist. I see what’s going on,” Moseley said. “We just have to win some ball games. For the move they made, being a realist, I understand that. You’ve got to go with your guy. We’ve got to win and Phil’s been starting all year long and doing a great job.”

The decision was made yesterday, and Hughes was told last night. He’d thrown his regular bullpen and done his normal flat ground work. He was prepared to make today’s start, just didn’t know he was actually going to make it until a little less than 24 hours ago.

“We wouldn’t have prepared him for this if we didn’t think it was a possibility that he would pitch,” Joe Girardi said. “Usually if we give guys time off, we give them (full) time off.”

Girardi said there were two factors in today’s decision: One was the state of the bullpen, and the other was the state of the wild card.

“We’ve used pretty much every long guy that we’ve had in the last three or four days,” Girardi said. “I couldn’t envision Hughesy being the long guy and Dustin starting… We’ve been going at it hard here, and sometimes it’s hard when your starters don’t give you any distance. All of a sudden you’re using your bullpen a little bit different that day (and) when you do it four days in a row, things can get a little bit messed up.”

A win tonight — against the team that’s chasing them in the wild card — would cut the Yankees magic number to one with six games to play.

“That’s one of the factors that we look at, sure,” Girardi said. “My job is to make decisions with the information that I have. People are going to look at it the way they want to. We’ve been trying to win games, trying to win our division and trying to win home field advantage. We haven’t stopped doing that.”

Red Sox Yankees Baseball• Girardi wouldn’t say whether this will be Hughes final appearance of the regular season. “We will see,” was his answer to the question. “My job is to manage his innings and we’ve been doing that all year long,” Girardi said. “It’s something we talk about on a fairly regular basis. I just felt that where we were today, today was the right day to start him.”

• For now, the Yankees rotation in Toronto will be A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. That does not seem to lineup Sabathia for a Game 1 start in the division series.

• I sit next to Mark Feinsand for nearly every home game. I’m positive CC Sabathia told Mark that he was starting on Friday, not Tuesday. Girardi, however, said he never told Sabathia that the rotation was going to change. “We told him he was on rotation as long as we need to keep it,” Girardi said.

• That said, don’t be surprised if the rotation changes again in the next 48 hours, especially if the Yankees clinch. “Then we’ll look at it and see what’s best for us,” Girardi said. “But the point is that we have to get in first. We have to win ball games and play better.”

• Yankees relievers who have not been used at least one of the past two days: Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, Javier Vazquez and Andrew Brackman. Robertson and Brackman have each been up in the bullpen.

• Just a guess, but the Yankees seem to be saving Vazquez to start if/when they’re ready to realign the rotation for the playoffs.

Marco Scutaro 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Ryan Kalish CF
Bill Hall LF
Lars Anderson 1B

Associated Press photos of Hughes and Chad Gaudin

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Who’s next in the Yankees bullpen?09.22.10

Rays Yankees BaseballJoe Girardi has clearly found comfort in his late-inning relievers.

Since the all-star break, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain and and Dave Robertson have earned Girardi trust. Mariano Rivera earned that trust a long time, and Kerry Wood has been as reliable as anyone on the staff since coming over at the trade deadline. Those are Girardi’s go-to guys, and they’ll remain his go-to guys in the playoffs.

But there is value in bullpen depth, and right now it’s hard to say who the Yankees sixth reliever would be in the playoffs, much less the seventh. Last year, Girardi used seven different relievers more than once in the ALCS. He used six different relievers more than once — and eight relievers overall — in the World Series. And that was with a schedule that let the Yankees use only three starters.

It could be that Girardi already has a good idea who he wants to carry in the postseason, but if he’s still trying to decide, there hasn’t been a lot of evidence in the past few weeks.

• Javier Vazquez, a big offseason addition who was looking like a reliable starter at the all-star break, pitched last night for the first time in 11 days.
• Sergio Mitre, who has a .205 opponents average as a reliever this season, has thrown six pitches since September 5.
• Dustin Moseley, who was a regular starter for more than a month, had a pretty good spot start last Sunday and hasn’t pitched since.
• Royce Ring, the team’s only option as a second lefty in the bullpen, hasn’t pitched since joining the team last week in Tampa Bay.
• Jonathan Albaladejo, who was positively dominant in Triple-A this season, has hardly gotten a look at any point this season. Ditto Romulo Sanchez.
• Chad Gaudin, who actually has become something of a go-to guy lately, went through all of June and July pitching only once when a game was within three runs. And that was in the 14th inning.

Associated Press photo of Chamberlain

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Postgame notes: “They played better than us”09.12.10

Yankees Rangers Baseball

Every time the Yankees fly from one city to the next, the players dress in suits and ties. No more t-shirts and sneakers. Today, the Yankees dressed for a showdown against Tampa Bay. They looked the part of a first-place team, even if they hadn’t played the part during a three-game sweep in Texas.

“They played better than us,” Derek Jeter said. “It was a tough three games, but we’re right in the position every team wants to be in. We control what happens. We play the teams that we’re tied with or are behind us, so we’re right where we need to be.”

Jeter, by the way, said a half-game lead is no different to him than a tie.

Dustin Moseley walked fewer batters than Cliff Lee this afternoon, but the Rangers turned each Moseley walk into a run. They advanced on fly balls to the outfield, took extra bases when given the chance and took the lead on Julio Borbon’s perfectly placed two-out bunt in the seventh inning.

“They did a lot of little things right that helped them win the game,” Moseley said.

The Yankees did a lot of little things wrong that cost them this series. Walks hurt the pitching staff and stranded runners killed the offense, but the Yankees managed to escape Arlington with smallest lead possible heading into their pivotal three-game series against Tampa Bay.

“I feel good about this team,” Joe Girardi said. “This team has worked hard to get to this point, where we are in the season. We still have some baseball left. I still believe that we are going to play extremely well down the stretch.”

Here’s Girardi’s postgame.

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Yankees Rangers Baseball• Dustin Moseley pitched exactly one-third of an inning in the 12 days leading up to today’s start. Even so, he retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced and allowed just one run through his first six innings. His undoing was that he walked two guys, both to leadoff an inning, both leading to runs. “When a guy has that kind of command, I’m sure it’s frustrating,” Girardi said.

• Even with a full bullpen, Girardi said he would have stuck with Moseley into the seventh inning. “I loved the way he was throwing the baseball,” Girardi said.

• Hard to believe Cliff Lee had been struggling and hadn’t pitched since August 31. He allowed two hits, though he did walk three. His leadoff walk to Derek Jeter was Lee’s first leadoff walk since June 24, 2009.

• Speaking of Jeter: The Yankees had five base runners today, three of them were Jeter who walked twice and doubled in the only run. “I thought today was a step in the right direction,” he said.

• Also speaking of Jeter: Before Borbon’s bunt single that scored the go-ahead run, Jeter actually went to the mound to warn Moseley that — even with two outs — Borbon might be bunting. “I had a feeling he might do it,” Jeter said. “But it was perfect. There was nothing anybody could have done in that situation.”

• Jorge Posada said he felt perfectly fine. “No problem,” with his might-be-a-concussion.

• Javier Vazquez was available out of the bullpen today, and Girardi said he’ll be available out of the bullpen again tomorrow.

• Girardi said there are no additional tests planned for Nick Swisher. “We’ll know more tomorrow,” he said.

• In case you missed it, Kevin Russo and Juan Miranda arrived today. They were available off the bench.

Associated Press photos of Curtis Granderson and Moseley

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Game 143: Yankees vs. Rangers09.12.10

YANKEES (87-55)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Marcus Thames DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Austin Kearns LF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Greg Golson RF

RHP Dustin Moseley (4-2, 4.83)
Moseley vs. Rangers

RANGERS (79-63)
Elvis Andrus SS
Michael Young 3B
David Murphy LF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Ian Kinsler 2B
Mitch Moreland 1B
Matt Treanor C
Julio Borbon CF

LHP Cliff Lee (10-8, 3.37)
Lee vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 3:05 p.m. / YES Network and TBS

UMPIRES: HP Alfronso Marquez, 1B Dan Iassogna, 2B Dale Scott, 3B Ted Barrett

WEATHER: Might not dip below 90 degrees during the game. Very light breeze blowing in a bit. It’s not only the stars at night that are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. The sun is awfully bright too.

NOT A GOOD WEEKEND: According to Elias, the last time the Yankees suffered back-to-back walk-off loses was in May of 2001 in Oakland.  Last night was the first time this season that the Yankees lost when leading after eight innings. They had been 76-0 in such games.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: The Yankees have not been swept in a three-game series this season. The only time they’ve been swept was a two-game series in Tampa in May. A loss today would mean their first three-game sweep since July of 2009. Under Joe Girardi, the Yankees are 15-5 in the third game of a three-game series after losing the first two games.

DOWN THE STRETCH: After today’s game, the Yankees will play their final 19 games of the season against teams in the American League East.

UPDATE, 3:34 p.m.: Doesn’t have to be pretty. Austin Kearns makes up for the double off his glove with an awkward catch for the final out of the second inning. Dustin Moseley looks pretty good so far.

UPDATE, 4:07 p.m.: Moseley still looks good. Not many hard-hit outs, and even the base hits have been fairly weak. He’s through four innings on 53 pitches, pretty much exactly what the Yankees needed. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee looks like Cliff Lee again.

UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.: Two bits of good news: It’s hard to imagine Dustin Moseley pitching much better, and the Yankees have not stranded a single base runner.

UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: Eduardo Nunez breaks up Cliff Lee’s no-hitter. One more thing in a very strange weekend of baseball in Texas.

UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: The Captain comes through. Derek Jeter’s two-out double has scored Nunez and given the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

UPDATE, 4:34 p.m.: This is only the second time Cliff Lee has unintentionally walked two batters in a game this season.

UPDATE, 4:43 p.m.: Leadoff walk. Rarely a good thing. It comes back to hurt Moseley in the bottom of the sixth and the Rangers have tied it at 1. With the runner at third and one out, Moseley got the ground ball, but the Yankees couldn’t get the force at the plate.

UPDATE, 5:10 p.m.: Girardi said before the game that he was hoping for six innings out of Moseley. He got that, and you have to wonder if he might have made a bullpen move sooner if he had a full set of relievers. Another lead-off walk and now back-to-back two-out singles — one of them a bunt — have given the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Here’s Albaladejo for a second day in a row.

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Pitching matchups in Texas09.10.10

Athletics Yankees BaseballTonight
RHP Javier Vazquez (10-9, 5.01)
LHP C.J. Wilson (14-6, 3.10)
8:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP A.J. Burnett (10-13, 5.15)
RHP Tommy Hunter (12-3, 3.99)
8:05 p.m., YES Network / MLB Network

RHP Dustin Moseley (4-2, 4.83)
LHP Cliff Lee (10-8, 3.37)
3:05 p.m., YES Network / TBS

Because of a sore lower back, Cliff Lee hasn’t pitched since August 31. He was 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in August… Josh Hamilton remains day-to-day because of sore ribs… Shortstop Elvis Andrus has been dealing with a sore hamstring and sat out the Rangers previous series in Toronto.

Associated Press photo of Vazquez with Jorge Posada

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Postgame notes: Vazquez making his pitch for the rotation08.31.10

Athletics Yankees Baseball

It’s been just seven days since Javier Vazquez was knocked out of the Yankees rotation. He’s already making a case that he should be back in it. This was a two-run slugfest when Vazquez came into tonight’s game. He shutdown the Oakland lineup while the Yankees lineup kept hitting. That’s why this thing became a lopsided blowout.

In two relief appearances since being banished, Vazquez has pitched nine innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He’s struck out eight.

“When the decision was made I was disappointed,” Vazquez said. “I’ve always been a starter. I would love to be in the rotation, but if they feel like I can help the team in the bullpen, that’s fine by me.”

As Joe Girardi said during his postgame press conference, he had “just walked in the door” when he was asked whether Vazquez had put himself into contention to rejoin the rotation. Girardi couldn’t have decided anything in those few minutes, but he seemed to know the question was coming.

“This is a continued evaluation process,” he siad. “But right now we’re on rotation.”

There is a slight mechanical adjustment that seems to be helping Vazquez’s fastball. When he lifts his left leg in his delivery, Vazquez is bringing the leg farther back. It’s not more of a twist, he said, and the leg’s not coming up any higher, it’s just coming a little farther back toward second base.

“The arm angle also has to play a part of it, but (pitching coach Dave Eiland) feels like that’s going to give me better momentum, and it has,” Vazquez said. “The ball was true to where I wanted it to be.”

The ball has been true ever since the Yankees pushed Vazquez out of the rotation, and given the uncertain nature of every Yankees starter except CC Sabathia, it’s hard to rule out another Vazquez move before the end of the season.

Here’s Javy talking after the game.

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APTOPIX Athletics Yankees Baseball• Alex Rodriguez came through his pregame workout just fine. “We’ll just continue to try to increase it a little bit every day,” Girardi said. “I’m not sure if he’ll do anything on the field tomorrow as far as hitting, but he came through today ok.”

• Same for Mark Teixeira and his bruised right hand. “Bone bruises just get slowly better,” Teixeira said. “It’s a little sore now and maybe in the next couple of days it will get a little bit better. We play with a little soreness all the time… I woke up this morning feeling really good and called Kevin Long right away.”

• Jorge Posada’s take on Vazquez: “He belongs in the rotation. He understands that, and today was another step.”

• Girardi’s take on Dustin Moseley: “Mose was just kind of struggling a little bit today. I didn’t think his stuff was quite as sharp. He was in long counts all night and so I decided to make the change.”

• Teixeira and Robinson Cano tonight: 6-for-7 with six runs, one double, two home runs and four RBI. Cano’s 26th homer of the season gave him a career-high this year. Cano has homered in five of his past seven home games. He’s seven RBI shy of a career high.

• Not much more to say about Marcus Thames. The guy has been a beast with a home run in each of his past five starts. Tonight’s was a real blast into the second deck. “I saw a little bit of it,” he said. “I got it good. I’m just trying not to miss my pitch.”

• Ramiro Pena has a hit in seven of his past 10 starts. He also has five RBI in those 10 starts.

• Vazquez has 11 straight 10-win seasons.

• Lance Berkman was 2-for-5 with a run scored in his first rehab game with Double-A Trenton. He was the designated hitter.

• Alfredo Aceves allowed one run on two hits through an inning and a third for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He threw 33 pitches, 21 for strikes. That’s a better outing than his previous two.

• Joba Chamberlain was not available tonight, and the Yankees were trying to avoid using Boone Logan and Kerry Wood.

• The championship belt was in Vazquez’s locker.

Associated Press photos of Vazquez and Swisher

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 239 Comments →

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