The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Yankees postgame: Tanaka not satisfied04.10.14

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka is now the second Yankees pitcher and the first since 1915 to strike out at least eight in his first two major-league starts. This time, he fanned 10. So after two starts, he owns 18 Ks and one walk in 14 innings.

But he worked in and out of trouble three times in this 5-4 loss to the Orioles and served up a three-run homer to Jonathan Schoop on the way to a no-decision, leaving him displeased.

“I thought I was able to battle,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “But I put runners on and gave up a home run to the ninth batter. That I can’t do.”

Still, you can see he has the kind of stuff to get out of jams. His splitter bailed him out in the third and the fifth.

“He made some pitches when he had to,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he threw the ball good.”

Tanaka, though, has allowed three runs by the end of the second inning in both of his starts before firing off five scoreless innings each time. Not time to call it a trend yet.

“Obviously that’s something I need to adjust, but it’s hard to make an assessment after two games,” he said.

Tanaka also said there was no problem making the transition to four days’ rest after usually pitching once a week in Japan. He came out after 101 pitches, but he has  thrown a lot more back home. He said he probably could have gone longer.

“But I understand it’s only four days in between and it’s a long season,” Tanaka said. “So I’m going by what the team tells me to do.”

The Yankees starters’ streak of five straight games without issuing a walk came to end when Tanaka gave out his one free pass in the third. It was the team’s longest streak since 2002.

Shawn Kelley lamented not being able to put batters away in the ninth, giving up three two-strike hits.

“I thought they did a pretty good job getting the barrel to some of those pitches,” Kelley said.

Now the Red Sox come in for four. I’ll have Jacoby Ellsbury’s thoughts on facing his old team in the morning post.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 29 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Who’s on first? The catcher04.08.14

Francisco Cervelli, David RobertsonGreetings, Brian Heyman back with you. It’s been a while. I’m here at Yankee Stadium today, tomorrow and Friday. Chad’s Ironman streak is over. I lost count of his consecutive-day record. Even Ripken eventually took a day off.

Here’s a guy who is on duty today as well: Meet your new Yankees first baseman, Francisco Cervelli. At least for the start of this game with lefty Wei-Yin Chen going for the Orioles.

So when was the last time the backup catcher played first? He said he was 15. But he has worked out at first occasionally.

“If I’ve got to pitch, I’ll go, too,” Cervelli said. “It’s not like I feel like I’m Mark Teixeira, but I think I’m going to be comfortable with more games. I think it’s like every other position. If I feel I’m not going to catch the ball, I’m going to block it.”

Sounds like a catcher playing first base. Joe Girardi called this move “low risk.”

“I really believe he can do it,” Girardi said. “I do. We’re going to find out.”

Girardi said the reward, if it works out, is “more flexibility during the course of the season. We don’t anticipate Tex being out very long, but you never know.”

Why no Brian McCann at first?

“I’ve seen Cervelli take ground balls and I like what I’ve seen,” Girardi said. “I’ve never seen Brian McCann take a ground ball.”

Girardi said Shawn Kelley will probably get much of the closing opportunities with David Robertson now officially on the DL with his groin strain. But Girardi also said Kelley will probably not be available today. If that’s the case, who would close if need be?

“That a good question?” Girardi said. “Let’s see where they are in the lineup.”

Robertson has been replaced on the roster by Cesar Cabral, up from Triple-A. The lefty had  a strong spring training.

“We’re seeing some pretty tough left-handed hitters this week, and we feel he can help us,” Girardi said.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 84 Comments →

Jeter not dwelling on injuries09.03.13

Rob Thomson, Conor Gillaspie, Derek JeterDerek Jeter has injured himself three times this year, fracturing his left ankle again and straining his right quad and calf. But he has been back for seven games since his third DL stay and he says he isn’t thinking about hurting those 39-year-old legs again.

“I don’t really have a choice,” Jeter said after the Yankees’ 9-1 win over the White Sox Monday at Yankee Stadium. “We only have 20-something games left. Our job is to try and go out there and win as many games as possible. It’s kind of hard to play the game when you’re thinking about not being injured.”

Joe Girardi was encouraged to see how Jeter ran in this game. In the first inning, he had an RBI single, moved to second on an error and tagged up and sped to third on a fly to right.

“That made me feel pretty good,” Girardi said.

Jeter said he feels fine. The Captain hadn’t been fine at the plate, coming in with no hits in his previous 14 at-bats. But he went 2 for 4. This was just his 12th major-league game in a season he called “kind of unique.”

Here’s a link to my Yankees notebook on Jeter and the debuts of J.R. Murphy and Cesar Cabral. And here’s a link to my story on Phil Hughes and David Huff and the happenings in Monday’s game.

Associated Press photo.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 187 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Hughes or Huff?09.02.13

David HuffPhil Hughes had bad luck in this game. The hour and 53 minute rain delay took him out of the game after just four outs and five batters. The Yankees erupted for a season-high eight runs in a single inning, the fourth. That could have been Hughes’ property. Instead the runs belonged to David Huff.

The lefty picked up the ball for Hughes and earned the 9-1 win over the White Sox. He worked  5 2/3, a career high in relief, and allowed one run, five hits and no walks.

Afterward, Joe Girardi was noncommittal about whether there will be a change from Hughes to Huff for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

“I haven’t made any decisions about changing the rotation,” Girardi said.

Huff, who has allowed one run in 15 innings over five outings since coming back from Triple-A, is ready for anything.

“When I first got here, Joe was saying, ‘We’re going to be using you.’ I said, ‘OK,’ ” Huff said. “A few innings, whatever he needs, I’ll make sure I’m ready for it.”

Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball Tuesday night. He has appeared to be wearing down, going 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA over his last five starts.

“We need him to pitch well because he has been a staple in our rotation,” Girardi said. “He’s been struggling a little bit. … He got an extra day off. Maybe that will help him get going again.”

Both Cesar Cabral and J.R. Murphy made their major-league debuts, giving the Yankees a franchise-record 52 players used this season. Cabral pitched a scoreless eighth. And Murphy got a pinch-hit infield single batting for Robinson Cano in the eighth.

“I didn’t know who I was hitting for until they announced it, so that was pretty cool,” Murphy said. “After that, I just wanted to have a good at-bat. I was nervous, so I made sure I took the first pitch instead of swinging at it.”

Brett Gardner doubled twice, so six of his last eight hits have been doubles.

Associated Press photo.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 93 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Hughes needs to take step forward09.02.13

Alex Rodriguez; Phil Hughes; Derek Jeter; Austin Romine; Joe GirardiThe Yankees are in need of the good Phil Hughes to show up today against the White Sox instead of the bad Phil they have seen all too often this season.

If the bad Phil shows again, Joe Girardi could take a chance on David Huff going forward. But Girardi has stuck by Hughes, especially with limited alternatives.

“You look at what he’s done in the past,” Girardi said. “He’s struggled this year at times. There’s no doubt about it. You can talk about replacing him, but two of the guys that we would’ve possibly replaced him with are injured, Phelps and Pineda. So he’s got to get it done. And we expect him to get it done.”

Hughes hasn’t gotten it done. He has no wins to show for his last nine starts, going 0-6 with a 5.64 ERA, the longest winless stretch of his career. He last won a game on July 2. He has dropped 11 of his last 13 decisions since May 15. There have been 18 starts over that stretch, and his ERA has been 5.12. The Yankees are 5-13 in those starts. Overall the free agent-to-be is 4-13 with a 4.91 ERA across 25 starts.

“You want to see him have some quicker innings and get some early outs and where he doesn’t get long counts and they foul a lot of pitches off,” Girardi said.

Phelps is just playing catch these days and isn’t close to returning from his second forearm strain, according to Girardi.

With the September call-ups, Girardi has a few more arms available. So will he have a quicker hook with the starters?

“Yeah, probably,” Girardi said. “But you can’t be too quick because you wear your bullpen out and then you’ve got a lot of days in a row.”

The Yankees had a tough setback Sunday, blowing a 3-0 seven-inning lead to Baltimore and falling 7-3. But Girardi has seen their bounce-back ability.

“I think because you have guys that have played for so long, they understand it’s part of the game, that you can’t really have a carryover effect; you just have to move on,” Girardi said.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 69 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Huff up, Betances down08.15.13

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Lefty David Huff is back and righty Dellin Betances trades places with him, heading back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Huff said he felt bad for Betances, who was charged with four runs, five hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning in Tuesday night’s 14-7 win over the Angels, his lone outing.

“I was really looking forward to being in the bullpen with him,” Huff said. “We’ve been together for as long as I’ve been here. So it kind of sucks. But he’ll be back up here. I know he will. He’s got good stuff. But as far as me, everything I’ve been working on, we’ll see if it works. We’ll see if it pays off.”

The Yankees will need a starter for next Tuesday’s day/night doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Huff, a 28-year-old former Indian, was 1-6 with a 3.84 ERA over 13 outings with the RailRiders, 12 of them starts.

“He’s a guy who can give us more distance, another lefty in the bullpen,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s a guy that’s been starting down there. Moving forward, we have a split doubleheader coming up. so there’s a lot of things (he can do). You’ve got a couple of lefties coming up, it’s a chance to use him, too.”

To make room on the 40-man roster, David Phelps (another forearm strain) was transferred to the 60-day DL.

“He’s not going to pick up a ball for a while again like he did before,” Phelps said. “I think the last day he pitched was July 4. September 4 is not probably realistic anyway for him to come back, so it was a pretty easy move. I think he can pitch in September.”

Phil Hughes is overdue for a decent start. He brings a 4-11 record and a 4.99 ERA into today’s series finale.

“Location,” Girardi said about the key. “It’s simple. Location. That’s what pitching is about, location and changing speeds.”

Derek Jeter worked out with the team today and is next bound for Tampa. He’s eligible to be activated from the DL Sunday in Boston. Will he?

“I wouldn’t think so,” Girardi said. “We’ll go day by day and see where he’s at. I’m not sure (about the following series). He really hasn’t run, running the bases. It’s just day by day and hopefully sooner than later.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 90 Comments →

A-Rod and life for those on the marquee08.10.13

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez has been living in a different world than your average player for a long time. Joe Girardi has trouble relating:

“I often wonder how guys like Michael Jordan and some of the greatest football players and some of the greatest hockey players — their life has to be so much different, because what I might consider being able to go out and do every day and just trying to be normal, I don’t necessarily think it’s that way for them.

“I lived close to Michael Jordan when we were in Chicago. His yard was fenced. He had his own movie theater in his house because it was easier for him to watch it there. The time he handed out candy on Halloween through the fence, the line was a mile long. It’s never happened to me. I don’t get that many people in five years.

“I think their lives are different because of who they are and what they’ve done in their careers. So for me to try to imagine what a superstar would go through, I can’t.”

A-Rod is still a marquee name, but he’s no longer a superstar. He didn’t look good in the Yankees’ 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Tigers last night at Yankee Stadium, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, leaving him at 3 for 15 in four games.

He’s going to have to tune out some of the sounds like he heard during this game, the loud boos from the home crowd that were competing with the cheers, the boos that came as a result of the PED allegations for which MLB suspended him 211 games, pending his appeal.

“Alex has had to deal with stuff before,” Girardi said. “He’s been booed before. He knows what he has to do, and I expect him to do it.”

This morning, ESPNNewYork.com reported that the Yankees informed Rodriguez in writing before the game that they intend to discipline him for getting a second opinion on his quad issue last month without their authorization. A-Rod stood up the media after the game. Here’s a link to my story about what went on last night. Also, Curtis Granderson has literally had a couple of unlucky breaks this season, but he did contribute to the winning rally. Here’s a link to my story on his year and the struggles in his latest comeback.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 126 Comments →

Yankees postgame: So Alex, your thoughts?08.10.13

Tigers Yankees BaseballWe were all waiting around A-Rod’s locker for a comment about the reception he got here tonight during the 4-3 win in 10 over the Tigers. But we were finally told by media relations director Jason Zillo that Rodriguez had left.

Joe Girardi did speak about the boos and the cheers for his lightning rod at third.

“It was probably 50-50, maybe a little more cheers,” Girardi said. “It’s something he has to be able to put out of his mind and be a player for us.”

Rodriguez wasn’t a very effective player for them in this game. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He’s now 3 for 15 since his return.

Mariano Rivera hasn’t been effective the last two games, blowing back-to-back saves for the first time since April 2011. Miguel Cabrera got him for a two-run homer to tie it at 3-3 in the ninth.

“You’re talking about one of the great hitters,” Rivera said.

The Yankees won it on Brett Gardner’s two-out walk-off single. That stopped their four-game losing streak and the Tigers’ 12-game winning streak. It also saved the Yankees from falling to .500. They’re up to 58-56.

“We haven’t been playing good baseball for a couple of months,” Gardner said. “Sometime you have to keep winning or you’ll be out of it.”

Robinson Cano had two RBI on a double. He had driven in two runs in his previous 15 games combined.

The pitching matchup later today will be Phil Hughes and Anibal Sanchez.

Associated Press photo.

 

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 34 Comments →

Yankees pregame: All about A-Rod08.09.13

Of course, our question of the day is: How will Yankees fans greet Alex Rodriguez tonight? He’s batting fifth and playing third in his 2013 home debut. I’ll guess there will be more boos than cheers with the 211-game suspension dangling over him.

“I don’t really have a way they should receive him,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s not my job. … I’m not so sure how it’s going to go out there. The only thing that you hope is when you walk into a ballpark, whether you’re at home or a visiting ballpark, it’s not personal. That’s the only thing you hope. But the fans are going to react the way they’re going to react. They buy the tickets and that’s part of it.”

Girardi was asked this: If he were just a regular guy coming to the game with his son, what would he say to him about reacting to this situation?

“I’ve talked about this with my son and how things have went in baseball,” Girardi said. “In this day and age, with cameraphones and everything that goes on, the chances of you ever getting away with anything aren’t very good. There are consequences to your actions and you’re usually going to have to pay for them. I talked to my son about the value of hard work and doing things the right way. As far as my son as a fan, I’d tell him not to get wrapped up in what goes on in the stands. Be respectful and go from there. Because I think a lot of times the kids are going to imitate what your mom and dad do in a sense, when they’re smaller.

“I talked about that in Chicago, that someone cheered when Alex was hit. Now it’s their perogative to do what they want, but if it was your son, would you cheer if a guy got plunked? Probably not. But as far as the other part of the reception, that’s up to the people.”

After three games, Rodriguez is 3 for 11, with all the hits being singles. He has walked twice and has been hit once.

“I think his swing has been a little bit more explosive than I thought it might be,” Girardi said. “You never how a guy is going to react off a second hip surgery. He’s just missed a few balls. He’s squared up a few balls. But I’m pleased with how his lower half is working, and I wasn’t sure how that was going to work when he came back from this second hip surgery and being older. But I’ve been pleased with it.”

A-Rod reportedly apologized to all his teammates the other day for creating a distraction, but Curtis Granderson has seen business as usual in that regard.

“There’s media here all the time,” Granderson said. “And between the first inning and the ninth inning, it’s us against them. Fans have booed us. Fans are going to cheer us. That’s part of it. We’re the New York Yankees and I don’t expect anything different.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 59 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Phelps feeling better; Hughes/Joba on the trade block?07.10.13

David PhelpsDavid Phelps was a little concerned heading into his MRI. After winning his last start in Minnesota July 4, he went up to trainer Steve Donohue to ask for anti-inflammatory medication because he had been feeling a little stiffness in his right forearm near the elbow. Donohue told him a doctor visit was in order.

“There’s a lot less concern now after the MRI than there was,” Phelps said about the diagnosis of a slight straight. “Any time it’s your arm, there’s some concern. When (the doctor) came and said the ligament looked great, that was obviously reassuring. It’s just something minor. We can take care of that and go from there.”

The arm had been bothering him for a few days, but he said he didn’t feel it throwing.

“It was like weird times, like if I was laying in bed and I’d roll over,” Phelps said. “It would feel stiff.”

After ice and rest, he feels good to go again.

“My arm feels great now,” Phelps said. “It’s back to the way it felt before. I don’t expect it to bother me at all.”

Phelps spent some time with his family the last few days. He won’t be off during the All-Star break. He said he’s probably going to go to Tampa. He plans to throw on Monday. So barring any setbacks, he should be ready when he’s eligible to return from the DL next Saturday.

Alex Rodriguez had a single and an RBI in three at-bats today as a DH in Tampa’s 5-2 loss to Dunedin. So he’s 2 for 15 after six rehab games. There has been no lobbying campaign for a quick return like Derek Jeter has staged.

“I think Alex feels that he’s not to that level, that he’s not ready to go,” Joe Girardi said.

Jeter is scheduled to play tonight in Moosic for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Rochester. The Yankees have left open the possibility he will return for the weekend series here against the Twins. Girardi said he didn’t think it wasn’t an issue to bring back Jeter for that series if he’s ready even though there would be four off days afterward with the All-Star break.

Girardi also said he’d like to see Jeter go seven or eight innings at short in the minors first.

“We have to make sure he’s ready,” Girardi said.

The Yankees scored one run Tuesday night for the third straight game, but the lineup is the same. Any thought to doing some juggling?

“What would you suggest?” Girardi asked.

I’d suggest a trade for more help beyond just Jeter. Actually, there are reports circulating today that the Yankees are shopping free agents-to-be Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain in their search for hitting help.  Anyone in favor?

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 84 Comments →

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