The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


How the Yankees responded to Boston’s last offseason splash11.25.14

Cash and Soriano

As details of the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals filtered through the internet yesterday, a friend sent this text message: “Remember when the Red Sox went (overboard) in the winter 2010? Traded for Adrian Gonzalez? Got (Carl) Crawford? Yankees responded with…”

The ellipsis was his own, essentially a stand-in for a question mark. His point was this: What exactly did the Yankees do the last time the Red Sox got incredibly aggressive during an offseason?

So lets flash back to the winter of 2010-11…

GonzalezWhat the Red Sox did: Most notably, they traded young talent for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year deal. Those two additions were in place before the end of the Winter Meetings (kind of like the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals this offseason). The Red Sox also signed Jason Varitek to one last contract, and they brought in Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler to add bullpen depth (in a relatively minor move at the time, they also signed Andrew Miller).

What others thought: At the time, the Red Sox seemed to have built a powerhouse. They seemed deep in the lineup, in the rotation and in the bullpen. Sports Illustrated picked them to win the World Series. Of course, we now know that the end result was a total mess, but at the time, it looked like the Red Sox were building a juggernaut and the Yankees would have to keep up.

What the Yankees did: It was actually a pretty busy winter for the Yankees. Trading Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks was only the beginning! The biggest moves, though, weren’t necessarily additions and it’s hard to classify any of these moves as direct reactions to the Red Sox (except maybe one unexpected splash for a player who seemed completely off the radar until he was suddenly on the roster).

These were the Yankees major moves in the winter of 2010-11, the last time the Red Sox went on an offseason spending spree:

Jeter1. Re-sign Derek Jeter — This was essentially The Captain’s final contract. It was a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year (rather than exercise that option, Jeter technically signed a new deal for 2014, but it comes down to the same thing). Coming off a bad 2010, Jeter was given four more seasons. He gave the Yankees a solid 2011, a very good 2012, an injured 2013 and a disappointing but memorable 2014.

2. Re-sign Mariano Rivera — This was supposed to be Rivera’s final contract. He signed a two-year deal that would take him through his age-42 season (which seemed perfect for the game’s final No. 42), but after injuring his knee in 2012, Rivera decided to come back for a farewell season. Without the injury, the two-year deal signed in December of 2010 would have been a success. Rivera was as good as ever in 2011 and was off to a strong start in 2012.

3. Sign Russell Martin — This was the initial one-year deal, with the Yankees having Martin under team control for a second year because of arbitration eligibility. Martin had an OK season. He was an all-star and hit for power, but his batting average was down. The Yankees brought him back for one more season, his average dipped even more, and Martin left for Pittsburgh.

4. Sign Pedro Feliciano — This was a total mess. Coming off three straight seasons in which he led the league in games pitched, Feliciano landed a two-year deal with the Yankees, who needed left-handed help in the bullpen. Feliciano was, of course, injured by the time the Yankees broke camp and he never pitched a single inning for the team. Boone Logan, instead, emerged as the go-to lefty.

5. Sign Rafael Soriano — I remember this one quite well because I’m the one who happened to be on the phone with Brian Cashman when he finally seemed to lose his patience with all of the questions about possibly signing Soriano. “I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman told me. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.” Within a few days, Cashman was overruled, a draft pick was gone, and Soriano was in the Yankees bullpen.

6. Sign Bartolo Colon/Freddy Garcia — Two separate signings based on the same idea. The Yankees knew they needed additional rotation depth, and they went looking for it in unlikely places. Colon hadn’t pitched in the big leagues in more than a year, and Garcia had been extremely limited in three of the previous four seasons. Of course, both wound up pitching well that year, with Colon in particular launching a stunning career resurgence.

7. Sign Eric Chavez — Once a star player in Oakland, Chavez had been hurt so often that there were questions about whether he could even handle a part-time role at this point. The Yankees took a shot and got a decent but predictably injury shortened year off the bench. It was the next year that Chavez returned to the Yankees and delivered a truly impressive bounce-back season.

8. Sign Andruw Jones — His second year with the Yankees was kind of a mess, which makes it easy to forget that Jones was actually really good in his first year. The Yankees didn’t finalize their deal with Jones until spring training — he had a locker before he officially had a spot on the roster — and he delivered a .286/.384/.540 slash line against lefties.

Nine fairly significant signings — even if one of them never actually got on the field — but it’s hard to label any one of them a direct reaction to the Red Sox maneuvering. Certainly re-signing Jeter and Rivera had nothing to do with Boston, signing Martin had more to do with internal concerns about Jorge Posada, the Soriano signing didn’t happen until more than a month after the Red Sox big additions, and the other deals were basically attempts at bargain hunting. Seems likely we’ll see more of the same this offseason as the Yankees seem poised to stick with their original plan rather than spend recklessly based on the Red Sox signing two players the Yankees were never really after in the first place.

Associated Press and USA Today photos

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Non-Rodriguez notes: Pettitte, Dickerson, Garcia01.29.13

Obviously the Alex Rodriguez report is the big story of the day, but there are a few smaller items worth knowing.

• Ken Rosenthal cited major league sources who say Andy Pettitte has decided not to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Pettitte was left off the roster, but Joe Torre made it clear that the invitation remained open if Pettitte wanted to pitch. Instead, Rosenthal writes, there’s still a chance that Justin Verlander will decide to pitch for Team USA.

Chris Dickerson signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. I thought he might have a chance to get a big league deal somewhere, but apparently not. He was released by the Yankees earlier this month. The Orioles already have left-handed hitters Nick Markakis and Nate McLouth in their outfield. They also have lefty Xavier Avery and switch hitter Trayvon Robinson available for their bench.

• Freddy Garcia might have settled on a minor league deal, but he’s getting big league money. Jon Heyman reports that Garcia’s minor league contract pays $1.3 million with another $1.25 million in incentives.

• One of the best catchers still on the market — if not the best catcher still on the market – Kelly Shoppach is reportedly on the verge of a deal with the Mariners.

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Yankees postgame: Garcia perseveres to milestone08.05.12

Freddy Garcia struggled a bit in the heat and humidity, allowing five hits and four walks in five innings. But he only cracked for two runs in this 6-2 victory over the Mariners.

“Freddy battled,” Derek Jeter said. “Freddy has been around a long time. He knows how to mix things up.”

Garcia snapped a three-game winning streak and became the first Venezuelan to reach 150 victories in the majors.

“I still have the record,” said Garcia, who’s also the 12th Latin American-born pitcher to win at least 150. “For me, it’s another win. Hopefully more are coming.”

Garcia is 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA in seven starts since rejoining the rotation July 2.

“You’ve got to feel good about it after I pitched four games in April and I didn’t do my job and they sent me to the bullpen,” Garcia said.

The bullpen backed him up rather nicely this time, four hitless innings between Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano.

“It’s one reason why we are where we are,” Jeter said.

Ibanez is another reason. He has a knack for big hits, even at age 40. This time, he hit a long solo homer in the fifth to make it 4-2, then worked the count full and delivered a two-out, two-run bases-packed single in the sixth to set the final margin. Ibanez said he tries to keep any emotion out of the at-bats in these important situations.

“Raul is one of those guys who never tries to do too much and can relax in those situations,” Girardi said. “That’s why he comes through a lot.”

Ichiro Suzuki came through with a double in the seventh to tie Don Slaught’s record for longest hitting streak at the start of a Yankees career at 12 games. Of course, if you saw it or heard about it on the radio, it was a gift from the sun god. Center fielder Michael Saunders was blinded by the light and the ball fell for a gift double.

“As a hitter, I was hoping that ball would drop,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “But at the same time, I understand the outfielder’s feeling, how tough it is to fight that sun. So I felt for him a little bit.”

Andy Pettitte was due for another X-ray today on his fractured left ankle. After the game, Joe Girardi said Pettitte was “definitely better.” He’s exercising and playing catch. The Yankees are still hopeful he’ll be back in September.

The Yankees finished the homestand at 4-5. They had dropped the first two series, to the Red Sox and the Orioles.

“We won a series leaving and I think it’s important because we have to get back to winning series,” Girardi said. “We lost some really tight games. Hopefully this will get us on a really good streak.”

They head to Detroit for four and then to Toronto for three. Monday night’s pitching matchup features Ivan Nova and Justin Verlander. I’ll have more on that in my 9 a.m. post.

 

 

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Garcia: “What are they supposed to do?”04.29.12

Freddy Garcia didn’t make a convincing argument on the field, and he didn’t try to make one in the clubhouse either.

“When you don’t do your job, what are they supposed to do?” Garcia said late this morning, not long after the Yankees finalized their decision to demote him into the bullpen. “That’s what happened. They’re honest. I don’t pitch the way I was supposed to pitch. It’s reality.”

That reality became impossible to deny after four starts, during which the Yankees gave Garcia the benefit of the doubt after last year’s success and this spring’s impressive results. Back-to-back starts that ended in the second inning, though, were too much to ignore.

“Sometimes you can go and try to find a way to fix things down in the bullpen,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It happens for a lot of guys, so we’ll put him down there as a long man, and we’ll make sure he gets some work, and we’ll try to get him back to where he wants to be.”

To this point, Garcia hasn’t been where he wants to be — or where the Yankees need him to be — and he couldn’t argue with their decision to move him elsewhere.

“When you play here, you play in New York, they expect you to pitch good,” Garcia said. “It’s not like when you pitch somewhere else. We play to win here. We don’t play to develop a player. Everybody here knows how to play. They don’t wait for anybody to (play better). One day, they’ll be good? No. If you’re good, you’re good, you know? It’s not like they wait for you to be good. That’s not how it works here.”

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: Garcia’s role uncertain after another bad start04.28.12

The benefit of the doubt has been the only thing working in Freddy Garcia’s favor this season, but even that might have ended after today’s debacle. Manager Joe Girardi said he wanted to “sleep on things” before making a decision, but it’s clear that Garcia’s spot in the rotation is in doubt.

“I can’t tell you exactly what we’re going to do,” Girardi said. “I’m not going to come to any rash decisions. Obviously we’re trying to evaluate what’s going on here. It’s frustrating for the player and it’s frustrating for us, but we all know Freddy is better than what he has shown. We saw all last year how he competed, we saw it in spring training. For some reason it’s not coming out (of his hand).”

Although Garca said he physically feels fine, Girardi said it’s entirely possible that the Yankees will send him for medical tests. Garcia’s fastball velocity has dipped, and his split — an effective put-away pitch last season — has been cutting. It was an 0-2 split that Andy Dirks hit for a three-run home run in the first inning.

“I don’t see the crispness in his pitches,” Girardi said. “If we didn’t see it in spring training I’d say, well, maybe it’s not going to be there. But it was there. He threw great in spring training. He threw harder than he did last year. For whatever reason it’s not there right now.”

Garcia seemed baffled, frustrated and uncertain following the loss. He said he’d like to make his next start, but acknowledged that he’s not sure the Yankees will send him back out there.

“I’m just struggling, man,” he said. “For me, it’s really hard. I like to compete and I’m not competing right now. It’s frustrating. … My velocity is down. We work hard last week on a couple of things and things are not going in the right way right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

• For the first time, Girardi called David Phelps a candidate to move into the rotation. “Any time you have a long man, he’s a candidate to be a starter,” Girardi said. “Your long man is someone who is a sixth starter all the time in the bullpen.”

• After three hitless innings today, Phelps ERA is down to 3.57. After two rocky outings, today looked much more like what the Yankees saw out of Phelps in the first two weeks of the season. “My last two outings I was just trying to do a little bit too much instead of staying within myself,” he said. “I kind of got back to that today.”

• The bullpen allowed one run through 7.1 innings. Cody Eppley gave up a solo homer to Miguel Cabrera, but that was the extent of the damage. Despite Garcia’s awful start, the Yankees had a chance because of the pen. “It just speaks volumes to the quality of arms we have in our bullpen, the job that we’ve done all year,” Phelps said. “You saw tonight, we were 10 or 15 feet away from having a tie ballgame. It’s what we’re supposed to do, go in and give our team a chance to win. We’ve been doing a great job of it so far.”

• Those 10 or 15 feet came on Eric Chavez’s fly ball to end the game. A three-run ninth got Chavez to the plate as the tying run with two outs in the ninth. He gave the ball quite a ride, but it was caught short of the wall.

• Nick Swisher homered from both sides of the plate for the 11th time in his career, tying Eddie Murray and Chili Davis for the second-most such games all time behind Mark Teixeira. This was the first time Swisher had homered at home this season. He has six home runs.

• Curtis Granderson hit his seventh homer of the season. It was his first home run off a left-hander this season.

• Garcia has allowed nine first-inning runs this season.

• This is the first time in Garcia’s career that he’s gone back-to-back starts without pitching out of the second inning. Last time it happened to a Yankees starter was Chien-Ming Wang in 2009. That’s not exactly the comparision he wants right now.

• That Dirks home run was the first time Garcia had allowed a homer on an 0-2 pitch since Cabrera did it against him in 2009.

• Girardi said the team might call up a reliever before tomorrow’s game. “We’ll figure that out,” Girardi said. “Obviously we could make some adjustments.”

• It’s worth noting that D.J. Mitchell last started on Tuesday, making Sunday his regular day to pitch.

• Speaking of minor league starters: The Yankees confirmed that Andy Pettitte’s next start will be with High-A Tampa, not Double-A Trenton. They don’t want him pitching in the cold.

• Finally, here’s Girardi on whether Garcia is hurt: “It’s something I’ve thought. You see it one start and you don’t think much of it. You see it a couple starts and you start seeing it three starts, you really start to wonder.”

Associated Press photos (the Garcia shot was taken through the mesh at the front of the dugout)

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Familiar problem exposed in Texas04.26.12

Before the Rangers series opener, Joe Girardi called these three games a test to “see how good you are,” but I’m not sure the Yankees really learned much about themselves here in Texas.

They’ve always had faith that CC Sabathia would get going, they’ve trusted the Hiroki Kuroda would find some consistency, and they’ve known that a good starting pitcher — on a really good night — he can shutdown even deep and powerful lineup. Losing two out of three against a team like the Rangers didn’t teach the Yankees a whole lot, unless they needed to learn that they’re not a perfect team and can be beaten by a the team with the best record in the league.

The real issue with these three games is that it exposed what the Yankees already knew to be true: That they have a real problem in their rotation.

Sabathia and Kuroda pitched well this series, but the Yankees expect those two to pitch well this year. They’ve also come to expect that Ivan Nova will pitch well tomorrow. Their problem is that Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia have been bad, and those struggles were only magnified by Michael Pineda’s season-ending injury, Andy Pettitte’s ongoing minor league process and the fact that D.J. Mitchell is the only Triple-A starter with an ERA below 5.25.

“I think we’re pitching deep, but like anything else, I think we have some of our guys have got to get going,” Brian Cashman said. “They’re better than what they’ve shown in the first three weeks of the season at the Major League level and Triple-A. Other guys we’re feeling really good about. Do I feel that we have depth? Yeah. You have to acknowledge, at the same time, we’ve got some guys that we’ve got to get on track.”

Maybe you’d prefer to give Mitchell or David Phelps a shot, but right now the Yankees don’t have a can’t-miss alternative to Hughes and Garcia. They’re choosing not to skip Garcia’s next turn because they need to have him pitch to get things sorted out. They’re also committed to Hughes, trusting that talent will eventually be enough for consistent success.

But how long is the rope?

“Every outing like this is disappointing in its own way,” Hughes said after last night’s letdown. “It’s tough to deal with. The last start wasn’t good by any means. None of them have been good, so it’s a tough thing to deal with. You just hope things get better before they get worse. I’ll do everything in my power and do my best to try to do that.”

Hughes is still having trouble putting away hitters. His fastball velocity has been good, but his location has been bad. His secondary pitches — including his curveball — are hit-or-miss. When he came to spring training, Hughes was pitching for a job. He needed to pitch well to give himself a chance to stick in the rotation. Now that the Yankees have little choice but to keep Hughes in the rotation, he has to pitch well to give them a chance to win some games.

“That’s the case all the time,” Hughes said. “Whether we have guys coming back up or not, I’m trying to get this thing right for the team more than anything. We need wins, and we need our guys to do their jobs. I’m just not doing it right now. I don’t think it really matters what the situation is. If you’re not performing, something has to change.”

The Yankees can’t stick with him forever. At some point, with both Hughes and Garcia, it will be time to roll the dice with someone else.

Associated Press photo

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Yankees postgame: Garcia disappointed04.17.12

Freddy Garcia didn’t throw a wild pitch in this 7-3 loss to the Twins, unlike the five he threw in his first start at Baltimore. But he did give up five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3. He was really disappointed that four of the runs scored with two outs.

“You’ve got two out, you’ve got to put it away no matter what,” Garcia said.

Joe Girardi said earlier in the day that what happened in the previous start was uncharacteristic for Garcia. But what happened in this start was also uncharacteristic.

“The one thing that we’ve seen Freddy be really good at is minimizing damage and making pitches with people on base,” Girardi said. “But he gave up a lot of two-out runs and that was the difference.”

On the other hand, Carl Pavano gave up next to nothing against his old team after a three-run, four-hit first. He yielded just three more singles — two were infield hits — over his final six innings. He was moving his fastball inside and out, tossing in a good changeup and just generally keeping the Yankees off-balance in beating them for the first time in his career.

“He’s the same all the time,” Derek Jeter said. “He’s going to throw whatever he wants whenever he wants to whoever he wants. …  He pitched well. He mixed it up. He knows how to pitch. Carl has always known how to pitch. The only problem he has ever had is health. When he’s healthy, he pitches well.”

Robbie Cano said the Yankees just have to forget about this game.

They are 5-5 after losing for the second time in three games and are just 2-2 on the seven-game homestand. The Twins had already been swept twice in losing seven of their first nine. This stopped a three-game losing streak and marked their first road win of the season. Of course, Minnesota is usually a team the Yankees beat up on. They are now 17-5 in their last 22 regular-season games against the Twins and 28-6 in their last 34 home games against them since the beginning of the 2002 season.

“You know what, it’s a new season,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “So we’re 1-0 at Yankee Stadium.”

The Twins will play the second of four against the Yankees tonight. It will be a pitching matchup between two winless lefties, CC Sabathia vs. Francisco Liriano.

We’ll have more this morning about the Yankees’ starting pitching.

 

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Saturday notes: Garcia shows no rust in rotation return03.24.12

Freddy Garcia could have made things easy for the Yankees this afternoon. Instead, he might have made things harder. Showing absolutely no rust in his first start back from a swollen right hand, Garcia pitched 4.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and two walks. The only hit he allowed was a comebacker — of course — that glanced off his leg.

“Freddy was great today,” Joe Girardi said, not even waiting for a reporter to ask him a question. “I mean, everything; slow curveball he used to get ahead in the count sometimes, located his fastball, his split was good, his backdoor slider was good. He had it all. We got him to 64 pitches, so I was very pleased.”

Garcia doesn’t have the longterm upside of Phil Hughes, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova — which means the Yankees might choose to cut him out of the rotation regardless of results — but he’s been very sharp this spring. Garcia ERA is down to 2.92, and he’s looked very much like the guy who pitched so well for the Yankees last season.

“Last year, I signed a minor-league deal and came to spring training to earn a spot,” Garcia said. “Everything was harder for me because I had to come here and pitch really good and show them I can pitch in this league. (This winter) I signed early, but they signed guys and (Girardi) said he liked competition, and we’re in competition. I like that. It’s making my thinking straight. I concentrate better on what you’re doing.”

After last week’s hand injury — on a comebacker in Dunedin — Garcia might have fallen to the back of the pack, but he looked today as if he hadn’t missed a step. Whether you believe him or not, Girardi has said the Yankees will take their five best starting pitchers, and right now Garcia has been more consistent than anyone but Phil Hughes.

“I have to worry about myself and go out there and pitch,” Garcia said. “The way I pitched today, you know, I needed it.”

• Raul Ibanez’s two-run home run in the seventh inning not only gave the Yankees the lead, it also snapped him out of a hitless streak dating back to March 10. “It felt good to be able to make a left turn instead of a right turn,” Ibanez said.

• Ibanez credited extra work with Kevin Long. The two spent an extended session in the cage yesterday, and Ibanez said it paid off. “I felt like I was in a better position to hit,” he said. “And in a better position to take a good swing.”

• Because the Yankees are facing a left-handed starter tomorrow, Ibanez will go to the minor league complex to get at-bats. It’s not uncommon for big league hitters to leadoff every inning in minor league spring training games. They can often get more at-bats by hitting in multiple games. “I told him, as many (at-bats) as he wants,” Girardi said.

• Garcia was fine after being hit by a Jhonny Peralta comebacker in the third inning. He quickly dismissed the training staff and stayed in the game, but it was kind of freaky to see a pitcher hit in his first game back from a comebacker. “It happened to me twice,” Garcia sad. “But it’s nothing to worry about.”

• Francisco Cervelli was taken out of the game after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. “He’s fine, too,” Girardi said. “He just got hit in the calf. Well, the shin. He’ll be fine.”

• Dewayne Wise continued his strong spring training with a game-winning, two-run double in the 10th inning. The Yankees went into extras after the Tigers tied the game with two-runs in the ninth. Both runs came off D.J. Mitchell, who was pitching his third inning of work and seemed to lose the strike zone a little bit.

• Another strong showing for Cesar Cabral who had one strikeout in a hitless bottom of the 10th. The Rule 5 pick has 12 strikeouts and only one walk this spring.

• Justin Maxwell picked up his fourth stolen base of the spring as part of a double steal in the 10th inning. Maxwell stole third. … Jose Gil’s batting average is down to .563 after a 1-for-2 day. … Mark Teixeira and Colin Curtis also had hits today. … Boone Logan retired the two batters he faced, and Kevin Whelan retired the three batters he faced.

• Although Joba Chamberlain is being released from the hospital tomorrow, Girardi said he’s not sure when Chamberlain will stop by Yankees camp. Girardi expects Chamberlain to be in camp again at some point, but it might not happen right away. “He’s not capable of driving, so we might see him next week some time,” Girardi said. “It just depends what he wants to do.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees injury report03.19.12

A quick rundown of the injuries suffered in Yankees camp this spring…

Robinson Cano
Bruised hand
Hit by a pitch last night, Cano was pulled from the game, then he went for x-rays that came back negative. He’s going to be reevaluated on Tuesday, but the Yankees don’t seem overly concerned.

Derek Jeter
Sore left calf
Jeter felt some soreness in his calf during Wednesday’s game in Dunedin. He finished the game but hasn’t played since. Today he’s scheduled to get treatment at the stadium. He hasn’t done baseball activities since Thursday. He’s expected to play Tuesday.

Russell Martin
Tight groin/hamstring
Martin was scratched from yesterday’s road trip because of some stiffness that he says is between his groin and hamstring. He felt something similar a few years ago and decided to be cautious about it this year. He’s expected to play Tuesday.

Nick Swisher
Sore groin
An MRI came back negative, but Swisher hasn’t played since feeling something “tug” running out of the box on Wednesday. He’s been going through regular baseball drills and is expected to play on Tuesday. Like Martin, Swisher said he wouldn’t have come out of the lineup if this were the regular season.

Dave Robertson
Bruised right foot
The most infamous Yankees injury of the spring seems to have resolved itself. Robertson stumbled down a step while carrying a box at his house and he hasn’t played in two weeks, but he threw a bullpen yesterday and is scheduled to throw another one tomorrow. He could be in a game within a week or so and the expectation is that he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

Freddy Garcia
Swollen right hand
Hit by a comebacker on Wednesday, Garcia has been shutdown for a few days. He’s skipping a scheduled minor league start this afternoon but could be back in a game as early as Friday. X-rays showed no broken bones, and Garcia’s simply been waiting for the swelling to go down.

Eduardo Nunez
Bruised right hand
Although he still had the hand wrapped after the game, Nunez played last night and said everything felt fine. He’s now played in back-to-back games after missing nearly two weeks because of soreness than lingered longer than expected. He suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch in Clearwater.

Ramiro Pena
Sprained right ankle
Pena is scheduled to take batting practice off Brad Meyers on Tuesday, which seems to indicate that he’s pretty close to returning from a sprained ankle suffered while sliding into second base on Thursday. He’s been walking around the clubhouse with no noticeable limp.

Austin Romine
Sore back
Romine missed time with a sore back last season as well, so the Yankees decided to be extra cautious when his back began feeling sore this spring. Romine has not played in a game and just started taking swings two days ago. He might be able to get in a game late in spring training, but he’s spent most of his time just trying to make sure the back doesn’t become a lingering issue.

George Kontos
Sore oblique
Injured in his first bullpen of the spring, Kontos waited longer than expected before getting back on a mound, but he finally made his spring debut last night with a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

Russell Branyan
Sore back
Something of a wild card for the Yankees platoon DH job, Branyan hasn’t had a chance to plead his case because he’s been shutdown with a sore back. He received epidurals last week, but it’s still not clear when he’ll be ready to play.

Manny Delcarmen
Strained lat
The former Red Sox reliever hasn’t pitched in a game this season, but he threw a bullpen yesterday. Based on the timing of other pitchers he seems to be on track to get in a game in about a week.

Dan Burawa
Torn oblique
The biggest long-term injury of the camp could force Burawa to miss significant time. The young relief pitcher seemed to make a fast impression — both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman mentioned him at different points — but he had to shut it down at

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Jeter, Martin and Swisher scratched03.16.12

Derek Jeter was pulled from todays lineup because of a tender left calf. Joe Girardi said hes decided Jeter wont play again until Tuesday, but he labeled this as more precautionary than anything. He hasnt forgotten what happened to Jeters other calf last year.

Also, Russell Martin was scratched because of soreness in his left groin. Its unclear whether it happened on yesterdays play at first base.

Nick Swisher has told Girardi that his tight groin feels better, but Girardi decided not to play him today either.

UPDATE, 10:14 a.m.: Here’s the basic injury update…

Derek Jeter
Went through normal drills in Tampa yesterday, but while the Yankees were on the bus home from Viera, Girardi got a call saying Jeter’s left calf was “tender.” That’s not the same calf that Jeter hurt last year, but Girardi considered last season’s injury to be a cautionary tale.

“My alarm was he hurt his calf last year,” Girardi said. “I said, even though it’s the other calf, I said we’re going to be smart about this. I told him, ‘Don’t even go out today.’ I think he could hit today and take BP, but just let it calm down.”

Russell Martin
Girardi planned to have Martin catch seven or eight innings today, but instead Martin showed up and said his left groin was “stiff.” Girardi’s not sure whether it’s connected to yesterday’s awkward play at first base. For whatever it’s worth, Martin said yesterday that he was fine on that play, banged his shoulder into the ground but nothing else.

“He will not catch today and I’m not sure when he’ll play again,” Girardi said. “… I don’t think Russell will be out but a couple of days, but you never know. You don’t know how guys respond.”

Nick Swisher
Pulled from Wednesday’s game because of a sore groin, Swisher went through drills yesterday and told Girardi that he’s feeling better, but Girardi is being extra cautious — hard to blame him given the current state of nagging injuries — and so he won’t play this afternoon. Girardi said it’s possible Swisher will play tomorrow.

Freddy Garcia
Was scheduled to pitch on Monday’s off day, but Girardi said he doesn’t expect that to happen. However, there seems to be a chance that Monday will be the only start Garcia actually skips. Too early to know for sure, but Girardi didn’t seem to be ruling out any other start.

“His hand looks better,” Girardi said. “(But) he still has some swelling in there.”

Eduardo Nunez
As scheduled, Nunez will not hit again today. It will be his third day off in a row. He’s scheduled to try to hit again tomorrow. He still hasn’t played since being hit by a pitch in the right hand last Monday.

Ramiro Pena
Out with a sprained right ankle suffered in yesterday’s game. Although Pena said yesterday that he thinks he’ll be out only a day or two, Girardi still thinks it might be longer. Girardi mentioned Tuesday as a possible return for Pena.

“I imagine he’s going to be a couple of days,” Girardi said. “The way I saw him walk off the field yesterday, I wasn’t extremely encouraged.”

Russell Branyan
Has yet to play in a spring training game and had multiple epidurals this morning to try to help his sore back.

Austin Romine
Still not doing anything baseball related because of his sore back.

“He’s doing better,” Girardi said. “He’s probably pretty close to getting on the field to do some baseball activities. He feels much better, he feels much stronger, and that was the feeling we wanted him to have.”

Dave Robertson
Said this morning that he’s going to play catch today, but he’s still not sure when he’ll be on a mound. Robertson said he’s “doing well” but Girardi had too many other players on his mind today and forgot to check on his setup man.

“I forgot to ask about him,” Girardi said. “I had so many other guys to talk about.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 206 Comments →

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