Yankees get offensive, earn series split • 07.21.10
The Yankees scored in double digits for the second time since June 8, beating the Angels 10-6 this afternoon to split the season series. The top of the lineup did most of the early damage with Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira scoring five of the first six runs. When the Angels pulled within a run, it was the bottom of the lineup that pulled away on a solo home run by Juan Miranda and a three-run shot by Colin Curtis, his first major league homer. Javier Vazquez got the win and has now won against every current major league team at some point in his career.
Associated Press photo of Robinson Cano, who hit his 18th home run.
MRI negative on Thames • 06.12.10
This afternoon’s MRI on Marcus Thames’ right hamstring was negative. The Yankees are calling the injury a strain.
“I don’t know how he did it,” Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t ask him.”
Girardi noticed Thames stretching more than usual in the outfield, and when Thames didn’t run hard on a third-inning pop fly to center field, he knew there was a problem.
“I saw him stretching in the field, that was my first inclination,” Girardi said. “Then he hit the popup to center — and Marcus always plays hard — and didn’t run as hard as I usually see. A real red flag went up for me.”
A negative MRI suggests the injury is not serious, but it’s worth noting that Juan Miranda is not in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup.
Who stays and who goes? • 06.02.10
It seems likely Jorge Posada will be activated from the disabled list today. “If he’s healthy without any issues tomorrow, he’s probably a player for us,” Joe Girardi said yesterday.
As the Yankees ease Posada back into the lineup, he’ll probably get his first start at designated hitter. Question is, how many more games will he start at DH? Enough to keep Chad Moeller on the roster for a few more days? If Moeller is designated for assignment and Posada suffers a quick setback, the Yankees would need to add Rene Rivera to fill that veteran backup catcher role, and Rivera doesn’t have nearly Moeller’s experience.
Would you consider optioning either Juan Miranda or Kevin Russo in favor of a third catcher?
Does the status of Mark Teixeira — who hurt his foot during last night’s win — affect that decision?
Yankees bounce back against Cleveland • 05.30.10
One day after their worst loss of the year, the Yankees bounced back with one of their best wins. A.J. Burnett was lights out through eight innings, and the rejuvenated offense came to life with a five-run seventh that sent the Yankees to a 7-3 win against the Indians. Juan Miranda and Francisco Cervelli added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, but the big hits belonged to Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira who had a two-run single and a go-ahead home run, both with two outs in the seventh. Burnett struck out eight, walked none and allowed only one earned run.
Associated Press photo of Burnett
Right and wrong: The bench • 05.24.10
Hard to tell the difference between the bench and the lineup these days. Francisco Cervelli and Marcus Thames have seen regular playing time most of the month, Juan Miranda is getting regular at-bats at designated hitter and Kevin Russo has been worth a look in left field. Thames has played in more games than Curtis Granderson, and Randy Winn has played in more than Nick Johnson.
What’s gone right?
Cervelli and Jorge Posada have played in the same number of games. Posada has outstanding offensive numbers, but Cervelli still has more RBI. In his oversized helmet and bigger-than-expect role, Cervelli keeps getting big hits in big situations. The Yankees took a chance on him this winter, choosing not to sign a veteran backup catcher, and the faith has paid off and then some.
Unless he’s heading for a Hall of Fame career, Cervelli’s numbers are sure to dip at some point, but he looks like a guy who can hit and certainly catch at this level. And he made the decision easy when the Yankees might have been tempted to rush either Jesus Montero or Austin Romine after Posada’s injury.
Other bright spots: Thames’ offensive production against both righties and lefties; Thames’ walk-off home run; Russo’s first major league start; Miranda showing some power; Pena proving his defense can play anywhere.
What’s gone wrong?
When everyone was healthy, Winn’s primary role was to play right field defense after Nick Swisher’s final at-bat, but occasional duty has been a tough adjustment for the longtime major league starter. Winn has come through in the clutch a few times, but for the year he’s hitting just .213 with a .295 slugging percentage. Both are ugly numbers for a corner outfielder.
If it hasn’t been Winn filling in, it’s been Thames, who’s done more than enough with the bat while continuing to struggle in the field. There will never be a better example than his walk-off home run one night, followed immediately by his game-changing error the next night.
Other problem areas: Pena isn’t expected to hit much, but you’d like to get more than a .211/.244/.237 slash line. Even that’s kind of nit-picking considering Pena’s role on this team and the fact he’s come through more than once. Ultimately, there’s not a lot to complain about on the bench.
The Yankees have scored six runs in each of their past three games. They’ve won none of them. They’ve put together some sort of late inning rally every time, and they’ve always fallen short.
“We battled back in every game here,” Joe Girardi said. “We scored runs. We just gave up too many.”
Pitching let the Yankees down this home stand. Aside from those first two games against the Twins, the pitching staff struggled in one form or another in five straight games. Tonight it was Andy Pettitte who had by far his worst start of the year, but said he actually didn’t feel too bad. The cutter that Carlos Pena hit for a home run was “just a horrible pitch,” but B.J. Upton went deep on a changeup that Pettitte was pretty happy with and Ben Zobrist homered on a sinker that Pettitte located where he wanted.
“I think they had a pretty good approach against me,” Pettitte said. “For Ben to hit the ball that he hit, he had to be thinking out there and staying out there. Most guys don’t run into the ball and hit it that far the other way like that… I feel like if I didn’t have anything I should be able to go out there and hold them to seven runs. Tonight I felt pretty decent. Definitely a frustrating night, that’s for sure.”
Here’s Joe Girardi’s postgame media session.
• One pitching bright spot was David Robertson, who looked positively dominant again. Two perfect innings with four strikeouts. “He’s thrown the ball better definitely the past few outings,” Girardi said. He seems to be getting back to that form that he had last year.”
• Two offensive bright spots: Three hits from Derek Jeter and another home run from Juan Miranda.
• One big picture bright spot: Curtis Granderson feels good. “So far, no setbacks,” he said. He believes it’s possible — though he admits this is optimistic — that he could get into a rehab game next week.
• I don’t have numbers to back this up, but the Yankees seem to be swinging early in the count quite a bit. “At times guys will do that,” Girardi said. “If you go up and take the first pitch all the time, just throw strike one and now you’re ahead of our hitters. I think hitters can’t fall into just one pattern of hitting. At times they have to be aggressive.”
• Nick Swisher said he felt no pain tonight, but he was disappointed by his two strikeouts. “My first few at-bats weren’t what I was expecting,” Swisher said. “My left side’s still a click off.”
• Chad Moeller got to the stadium around 6:30 after battling traffic from the airport.
• Mike Ashmore is reporting that the Yankees have signed catcher Rene Rivera to a minor league deal and assigned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Associated Press photos of Francisco Cervelli and Juan Miranda.
Yankees lose another to first-place Rays • 05.20.10
After opening the home stand with two straight wins, the Yankees have now lost four of five, including two in a row against the first place Tampa Bay Rays. Last night the Rays stole six bases, but tonight they played a power game with four home runs for an 8-6 win that was Andy Pettitte’s first loss of the season. He allowed three of the Rays homers after allowing a total of one home run through his first seven starts of the season. Juan Miranda had a home run, a triple and a walk, and Derek Jeter had three hits including a two-out double in the ninth, but the rest of the lineup didn’t do much.
Associated Press photo
Pregame notes: Swisher day-to-day • 05.13.10
Against all odds, the tarp is currently off the field here at Comerica Park. It looks like there might actually be a chance to play this game.
Nick Swisher is out of the lineup today, but he said his left biceps feels much better today than it did yesterday.
“I feels great right now,” he said.
Right now the plan is for Swisher to take the day off, get some treatment — ice and massage — and possibly return to the lineup in the next day or two.
“I’ll see if he’s available,” Joe Girardi said. “He’ll probably visit with the doctor when we come to the park tomorrow. Right now, I’m not too concerned about it.”
Without Swisher in the lineup today, the Yankees are going with Greg Golson in right field.
“If skip needed me today, I’d do what I can out get out there,” Swisher said.
The Yankees other injured outfielder, Curtis Granderson, is still a few days from beginning any sort of activities. Girardi said he’s heard that Granderson is feeling better, but he’s not especially close to a return.
“I don’t think he’s really started to do much yet,” Girardi said.
• Kevin Russo has been optioned back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Juan Miranda. Russo is flying out of Detroit this afternoon.
• Speaking of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Chan Ho Park is set to make a second rehab appearance on Friday, pitching in Triple-A. Girardi said it’s possible Park could return to the major league bullpen as early as Sunday.
• Assuming the Yankees play this game, it’s likely Sergio Mitre will spot start on Sunday. “That’s probably what we’ve got to lean toward,” Girardi said. “We’re going to bring someone back on short rest.”
• Of the two starters who pitched yesterday — Phil Hughes and Javier Vazquez — Girardi said he hasn’t decided which one will pitch first next time through the rotation. “I’m not even going to begin to touch that until we get through today,” he said.
• With Miranda in the mix, Girardi said it’s possible that the Yankees could use a sort of platoon DH, with Miranda starting against righties and Marcus Thames starting against lefties. That said, there will still be times when that plan changes so that regular position players can get occasional DH starts.
• The Yankees were planning to call up Miranda on Tuesday, but they changed that plan because of the doubleheader. They wanted to keep Russo for his versatility.
Small changes on the horizon • 05.11.10
Rain just kept falling today in Detroit. It was raining in the morning, it was positively pouring while I was eating lunch and it’s been falling slowly but steadily tonight.
With the rain out, the Yankees will play two games tomorrow. Javier Vazquez will start the first and Phil Hughes will start the second.
There will also be a minor change to the roster. Alfredo Aceves will go on the disabled list and the Yankees will call-up … someone. Joe Girardi said the move won’t necessarily be for a pitcher. It sounds like the move could be for Juan Miranda, moving the Yankees back to a 12-man bullpen.
Two years ago, the Yankees played a day-night doubleheader against the Mets and had Kei Igawa on standby just in case a move had to be made between games. Girardi said the Yankees could so something similar tomorrow: Bring a pitcher to Detroit but not put him on the roster, just have him ready in case they need another arm for the second game.
• The Yankees will not recall Romulo Sanchez. Although they could bring him back, they won’t because he’s not ready to pitch again.
• Girardi said he would have to check with his individual relievers to determine whether he could use any of his pitchers in both games. He’d rather not do it, but there could be situations where a pitcher doesn’t throw much in the first game and remains available for the second.
• Every active reliever will be available tomorrow.
• To keep his position players fresh, Girardi said he will likely switch around his designated hitters, letting certain players play the field one game and DH the other. The Yankees have to then play a day game on Thursday, so you could see another everyday player shifted to DH for that one.
• The pitching matchups have not changed. Vazquez will face Rick Porcello in the first game. Hughes will face Jeremy Bonderman in the second.
• Both games will be on YES.
Pregame notes: Aceves out with bulging disc • 05.11.10
Until yesterday, the Yankees were optimistic about Alfredo Aceves and his sore back. Aceves said he felt much better, and manager Joe Girardi thought Aceves was a day or two away from returning to the bullpen.
Then Aceves tried to throw yesterday and he felt his back pinch. He was fine during warmups, but when he tried to really throw with force, he felt the same pain two pitches in a row.
“I’m trying to play,” he said. “But it’s not in my hands.”
The Yankees expect to put Aceves on the disabled list tomorrow. Aceves said he’s been told he has a bulging disc and he wants to take his time now that he’s going on the DL.
Who the Yankees call-up to take his place could depend on tonight’s game.
“The bullpen moves we make right now, a lot of it depends on what happens that day,” Girardi said.
• Girardi would not comment on today’s reports of a Juan Miranda call-up, but indications are that the move could still be made, just not today.
• There is still rain and thunder at Comerica Park. Still no word on whether the game will be called, but it sounds like a double header will happen tomorrow if the game is rained out. “I’d prefer to play,” Girardi said. “Split double headers aren’t very good for a club.”
• Chan Ho Park will almost certainly make one rehab appearance on Wednesday and another on Friday before rejoining the major league bullpen.
• The earliest Sergio Mitre would be available out of the bullpen would be Friday.
• Dave Robertson is not available tonight and Joba Chamberlain is limited to one inning. Girardi said Ivan Nova could be used for something other than long relief because his right-handed options are limited.
• Girardi on Mariano Rivera not yet pitching this month: “I wouldn’t imagine we’d go much longer.”
• Nick Swisher said he wasn’t upset at the antics of Jose Valverde, who did a lot of fist pumping after his three straight strikeouts last night. “I’m an emotional guy,” Swisher said. “I probably do some things in the heat of the moment.”
• Just to be clear, there were no player moves today. The roster is the same today as it was yesterday with Aceves active — but not available — and a bench consisting of Pena, Russo and Cervelli. No word on why they haven’t made a move yet, but I suspect it has a lot to do with today’s weather. The Yankees need to know what exactly they’re dealing with before they start making changes.
UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: Folks here in Detroit seem to be more optimistic that the game is going to be played. It’s still raining pretty steady, but I guess it’s possible. Here’s the Tigers’ lineup.
Austin Jackson CF
Johnny Damon DH
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Brennan Boesch LF
Brandon Inge 3B
Scott Sizemore 2B
Gerald Laird C
Adam Everett SS
RHP Rick Porcello
Associated Press photo