The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Postgame notes: Swisher trying to catch Gardner04.29.11

There seemed to be an agreement between the manager and the right fielder that Nick Swisher began really pressing in the last week or so. Joe Girardi said the weekend games in Baltimore triggered some frustration because Swisher had hit the ball well but had nothing to show for it. Swisher pointed to the Baltimore series as well, but for a different reason.

“I think they really started eating at me, especially when Gardy started going deep,” Swisher said.

Swisher and Brett Gardner have one of those friendships. They’re constantly joking with one another, and when they can, they give one another a hard time. Even with Swisher frustrated by his numbers, Gardner wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to gain the upper hand. Gardner went deep once this weekend in Baltimore. Then he hit another home run at home. He hit his third home run of the season tonight, jump starting that six-run fifth inning.

“Nothing in particular,” Gardner said. “Just maybe a little thing like asking him how many home runs he has this year… By no means is me giving him a hard time going to put him down in the dumps, you guys know him well enough to know that.”

Tonight, Swisher told Gardner that he’s starting to catch up.

Said Swisher: “I think that home run’s always in the back of my mind. Tonight, just to get a couple of knocks, that little 16-hopper through the left side, that definitely makes me smile a little bit. Just trying to get something to keep rolling, and hopefully it just keeps rolling through the rest of the season.”

Said Gardner: “(Home runs are) not really my game, so I’m not really worrying about it too much. If that happens, then I’m happy. For me, my swing, I’m much more comfortable with the ball I hit in the seventh inning, the double to left-center. That’s my game and that’s where I need to stay.”

Here’s Swisher.

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And here’s Gardner.

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• CC Sabathia became the fifth straight Yankees starter to allow one earned run or less. He pitched seven innings without an earned run. All three White Sox runs came after an error in the seventh. After going winless in four starts, Sabathia has now won his past two.

• With some help from Alex Rodriguez — who made a nice throw to the plate — Sabathia stranded four runners in the first two inning. “You can look at that and possibly say that’s the difference in the ballgame,” Joe Girardi said. “Those first two innings, he strands a lot of runners, they have second and third with nobody out and the heart of their order coming up. I think he’s able to do that because he doesn’t think about what happened in the past. He’s able to focus on what he needs to do to the next hitter; he’s able to relax on the mound. He doesn’t get flustered and just makes pitches.”

• The bottom of the fifth took 32 minutes. “I was just pretty much down in the cage,” Sabathia said. “I got a little bit of extra heat put on my shoulder and elbow. Just make sure I keep a sweat. Whether that’s throwing balls in the cage or hoping on the bike, whatever you’ve got to do to just keep sweating.”

• The first nine Yankees reached base without making an out in the fifth inning. It was the first time the Yankees did that since 2002, according to Elias.

• Gardner and Swisher combined for five hits, six runs and two walks. “It’s just great to be making contact,” Gardner said. “For a little while I wasn’t even really making contact. I felt good at the plate today. That’s the best I’ve felt maybe even since the start of spring training. It’s all about maintaining consistency.”

• The Yankees actually had a 2-0 lead before they had a hit. Edwin Jackson walked four straight batters and allowed a sacrifice fly in the third inning to put the Yankees in front. “They just put some good at-bats on Jackson,” Girardi said. “Made him work and saw a lot of pitches.”

• Alex Rodriguez had his 859th RBI as a Yankee, passing Paul O’Neill for sole possession of 13th place on the franchise list.

• Two more hits for Robinson Cano. He has a hit in 16 of his past 17 game and 19 of 22 this season.

• In what might have been his final rehab start, Francisco Cervelli played all of tonight’s Triple-A game at catcher. He went 0-for-4 with a walk. On a related note, Gustavo Molina had his first hit as a Yankee.

• Eduardo Nunez had his first two hits of the season. He also made two errors, which could have a lot to do with a lot of time on the bench this first month. “I have confidence in myself,” Nunez said. “And I have to work on my defense.”

• Not a good minor league start for Kevin Millwood, who allowed six runs through two innings. He can opt out of his minor league contract on Sunday.

Associated Press photos

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Pregame notes: Gathering information on Hughes04.26.11

Phil Hughes spent four hours at the doctor’s office today. He had an MRI on his shoulder, an MRI on his elbow and a few vascular tests. He’s scheduled to go back for a second round of tests tomorrow.

“If they find something, they find something,” Hughes said. “I’m just anxious to figure out what’s going on. I talked to the doctor this morning and (they) basically want to get as many tests done as possible so we can paint a clear picture of exactly what’s going on. As much information as we can gather, basically. The more the better.”

Hughes said his arm does not bother him in his day-to-day life. It doesn’t bother him when he’s loading groceries or anything like that, and he’s able to life weights like normal. Then again, he said the weight lifting could be testing only the larger muscles and “masking” an issue with a smaller muscle. It’s possible, and that’s why he’s doing so many tests. He said all of his symptoms are things he’s felt in the past, they’ve just lingered longer than ever before.

Joe Girardi said he never saw anything last season to suggest Hughes’ workload was having a negative impact, but certainly it’s possible that it’s affecting him now. Based on what Hughes has experienced and said, the Yankees have done all the things they know to do. Now they’re looking for medical issues.

“I think you just don’t want to give guys MRIs just to give them MRIs,” Girardi said. “They say you should only have so many MRIs per year. I don’t want him walking around like Spiderman, every time you feel something you go get an MRI. I think you have to be careful… Because he had no pain, we didn’t feel the need.”

Hughes kept answering questions in waves, but here’s early chunk of his pregame interview(s).

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• Girardi said he came into this home stand having decided to give Alex Rodriguez a DH day either yesterday or today. It happened to be today. “We had a long day Sunday, night game last night, so I thought I would just DH him and get Chavy in there for a day,” Girardi said. “Russell caught three days in a row, so I thought I’d get Molina in there.”

• Girardi said he’s not considering this a make-or-break start for Ivan Nova. Kevin Millwood is looming in Triple-A, but Girardi said Nova is not pitching for his job. He did acknowledge, though, that Nova might be thinking that way. “It’s not how I’m thinking, but I’ve been a young player, and I know that feeling,” Girardi said. “Sometimes it’s tough, but you have to fight that, and you have to be able to put that aside when you go out.”

• Francisco Cervelli was rained out last night and he’s scheduled to catch for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tonight. The Yankees still want him to catch back-to-back games before they activate him from the disabled list.

• Girardi on Jorge Posada’s struggles: “It just seems like he’s kind of in between. At times he’s late on the fastball and he’s early on the offspeed, and it seems like when he makes contact, he’s made some pretty good contact.”

• Colin Curtis was back in the clubhouse today. He has the most elaborate sling/brace I’ve ever seen wrapped around his right arm and shoulder. He said he has to wear it when he sleeps. Doctors discovered a significant labrum tear. That’s what was repaired during surgery. He won’t be able to do anything for a few months, but he said he should be ready well in time for spring training next year. Still, bad break for a good guy. He’s staying in New York doing some rehab work.

Good news and bad news in Trenton: Dellin Betances is about to come off the disabled list and start later this week, but Graham Stoneburner is going on the disabled list with a neck issue.

WHITE SOX
Juan Pierre LF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Carlos Quentin RF
Paul Konerko 1B
Adam Dunn DH
Alex Rios CF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Gordon Beckham 2B
Brent Morel 3B

Associated Press photo of Rodriguez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 16 Comments →

A few off day minor league notes04.21.11

Off days seem to work pretty well for minor league updates. There’s not much going on with the big league team on these days, so we might as well look into the minor league system.

Today let’s start in Double-A. Austin Romine is always the other catcher in the Yankees system. He’s not considered one of baseball’s elite like Jesus Montero, and he’s not a raw mega-talent like Gary Sanchez, but Romine is a legitimate prospect his bat is heating up.

He hit a walkoff single on Tuesday, then he homered twice on Wednesday. Romine got off to a slow start in the season’s first week, but in the past five games he’s collected nine hits including a double and two home runs. He has nine RBI in the his past five games after not driving in a run in any of his first six games. His slash line is up to .310/.420/.500.

Of course, in this system, Romine isn’t the only minor league catcher who’s been hitting lately.

Jesus Montero continues to rake for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had another three-hit game last night, and although he hasn’t homered since April 9 and has yet to draw a walk, Montero is batting .423/.423/.558 through 11 games. Down in Charleston, Gary Sanchez is back from a brief stint on the disabled list and had a hit last night. While Sanchez was out — Josh Norris says it was a sore oblique, of course — J.R. Murphy got some regular time behind the plate and his bat is still going strong with three homers, 13 RBI and a .326 average.

For the immediate future, the catching situation that has the most impact on the Yankees is happening in Tampa, where Francisco Cervelli is supposed to be begin a rehab assignment tonight.

• Kei Igawa is up from Double-A to start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tonight. Kevin Millwood is coming up from the Double-A roster to start for Scranton tomorrow. As Donnie Collins pointed out, Millwood should have time to make one start after tomorrow before his out kicks in.

• Speaking of Triple-A starters, David Phelps and Adam Warren have turned in back-to-back gems this week. Phelps allowed three hits and struck out six through 6.1 innings on Tuesday night, then Warren followed with eight scoreless innings on Wednesday. Minor league pitchers — and big league pitchers for that matter — occasionally talk about creating a friendly rivalry in which one player’s success helps to spark another’s success. Those two outings could start something like that.

• Jorge Vazquez is up to seven home runs in Scranton, meanwhile Chris Dickerson has started hitting in Triple-A. Eight hits in his past four games has Dickerson’s slash line up to .292/.393/.375. He’s had two doubles and a triple in the past three days, his first extra-base hits of the year.

• Manny Banuelos is back from his blister and made his second start on Tuesday night. He allowed two hits and one unearned run through four innings for Double-A Trenton. Dellin Betances is still on the disabled list in Trenton, but he seems close to a return.

• Good numbers from a name you might not know: Mikey O’Brien, a ninth-round pick in 2008, has a 2.16 ERA with 19 strikeouts through his first three starts with Charleston. He’s walked only three and his production has been pretty steady (his numbers aren’t the product of just one good start), but he has yet to get a win. O’Brien could be building on last season when he had a 2.08 ERA in Staten Island.

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The Yankees 1-2 punch in Triple-A04.18.11

Of all the young hitters in big league camp this spring, Jorge Vazquez was the greatest surprise. Jesus Montero was the greatest disappointment.

Nine games into the Triple-A season, Vazquez is still hitting, and Montero has finally started.

This afternoon, Vazquez was named the International League Player of the Week. All he did was hit .423 with five home runs and 11 RBI through six games. For the season he’s hitting .325/.333/.775 with a team-high 15 RBI (more than twice as many as any one of his teammates). Vazquez is always going to strike out a bunch, and he’s not going to walk much, but that’s a big bat to have in reserve behind Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Eric Chavez.

Montero has played in eight games this season, and he has three hits in half of them. He has one home run and three doubles, and my line earlier about him finally hitting was kind of a lie. Reports were positive about Montero from the moment he was assigned to minor league camp. He showed this spring that there might still be room to grow, but he’s shown this season that his bat is still one of the elite tools in minor league baseball.

Some other off day notes from the minor leagues:

• The early standout from the deep Triple-A outfield has been Jordan Parraz, the guy who was claimed this winter and designated for assignment just before spring training. Parraz has two homers, two triples and a .395 average. Ramiro Pena and Justin Maxwell are also off to strong starts in Triple-A. Off to surprisingly slow starts: Brandon Laird, Kevin Russo and Chris Dickerson.

Kevin Millwood was mostly 86-87 mph in his Double-A start on Sunday. Freddy Garcia showed on Saturday that a veteran pitcher can have success at that velocity, but it’s still hard to see a place for Millwood in New York. He’s going to have to prove he’s not only worth a call-up, but worth taking someone off the 40-man roster. For what it’s worth, Millwood’s line on Sunday was impressive: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB and 3 K.

• Ten games into the Eastern League season, Trenton has two home runs as a team, one by Cody Johnson and one by Melky Mesa. Only Johnson and Ray Kruml are hitting better than .265.

• Stats from a name you might not know: Tampa starter Josh Romanski is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA through two stats. He’s allowed five hits and two walks through 11 innings. The only run he’s allowed came on a homer.

• Speaking of Tampa, the High-A corner infielders are off to strong starts. Third baseman Rob Lyerly is hitting .364 with two doubles, two triples, two homers and 14 RBI. First baseman Luke Murton is hitting .341 with two homers, a triple and four doubles.

• Ten games into the Low-A season, former first-round pick Slade Heathcott is hitting .364/.396/.705, though he has struck out 15 times. Another name to keep in mind on that Charleston roster is corner outfielder/first baseman Ramon Flores. He popped onto the radar with an impressive turn in the Gulf Coast League last year, and now he’s hitting .353/.522/.471 in Low-A. He’s played in 10 games and drawn 10 walks with seven strikeouts.

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Postgame notes: “This is just a bad moment”04.15.11


The back of the Yankees rotation took on more significance today. Phil Hughes is out of the mix for at least two weeks, and the Yankees can’t use CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett every game.

Freddy Garcia gets his first start tomorrow, and Bartolo Colon will get a start in the coming day, but Ivan Nova is the guy who left spring training as the Yankees No. 4. He’s the young guy with some upside beyond simply holding down the fort for a month or two. Ideally, Nova is the guy to step up and show the Yankees something more than he showed tonight.

“I know I can pitch, and I can throw strikes,” Nova said. “This is just a bad moment that I have and I just have to keep my head up and keep working hard trying to go back to where I was in spring training… I can’t throw strikes with my fastball right now, and I depend a lot on my fastball. When I don’t have command, especially of my fastball, I don’t pitch too good when that happens.”

Command is what crushed Nova tonight. He made some good pitches in the early innings, but he got only one out and allowed four base runners — two walks, a hit and a hit batter — in the three-run fifth that made the difference. Granted, Dave Robertson’s wild pitches contributed to that inning, but the Yankees pitching in this game hinged on Nova, and for the second start in a row he lasted just 4.1 innings.

It was a start similar to some of last year’s Nova outings. He was OK for a while, but eventually the wheels fell off. Even if the result was the same, manager Joe Girardi said the cause was different.

“I didn’t think tonight was anything like what we saw last year,” Girardi said. “I think tonight was command. The free base runners that he gave up is what got him into trouble, and that’s not something he did a lot of last year.”

Nova was terrific in spring training, and he was pretty good in his season debut. Since then, he’s struggled. Maybe these are the natural ups and downs of a 24-year-old rookie, but the Yankees need him now.

“We do need to get some distance,” Girardi said. “It has to come from different starters. We have to get them all to where they can get there for us.”

Here’s Nova’s postgame interview.

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Command was Nova’s problem. It was Lance Pendleton’s strength.

“Impressed,” Girardi said. “He threw strikes. He threw strikes with all his pitches tonight.”

Pendleton got to New York around 6:15. He struck out the first batter he faced, then went on to pitch three hitless innings in a terrific big league debut. There’s a lot of pitching in this organization, and Pendleton’s hardly the biggest name, but he put himself on the radar last season and tonight showed why he was the choice to fill a long-relief role in the bullpen.

“I don’t know what I was envisioning,” Pendleton said. “I’ve got a wife and son and I was more flustered getting them setup and here. We’ve got a dog, getting him somewhere in Scranton to take care of him, probably all worked to my favor that I didn’t have an opportunity to think too much. I couldn’t have written it up any better than this other than I wish we had won. But if we were winning, I might not have pitched.”

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• Three innings from Pendleton means he won’t be available for a while, but Girardi said Hector Noesi is available for 100 pitches out of the bullpen, so he doesn’t need to make a move. “I don’t have any plans of making a move right now,” Girardi said.

• The Yankees tied an American League record by grounding into six double plays, all of them against Rangers starter Matt Harrison. It’s a franchise record, and six different batters grounded into the double plays. “It was amazing to watch pressure get put on him, but he made all of his pitches down from his fastball to his slider to his changeup,” Curtis Granderson said.

• Speaking of Granderson, all three of his home runs this season are against left-handers. He said that’s a product of last year’s mechanical changes, which helps his timing against lefties. “Now it seems that, no matter what they happen to be doing, at least I’m down and ready to hit the baseball,” he said. “That’s it. It’s not going to go ahead and be positive all the time, but as long as I’m ready to hit the baseball I’ve got a chance.”

• Granderson hit a total of four home runs against left-handed pitchers last season.

• One of the walks and two of the wild pitches in that game-changing fifth inning were charged to Robertson. “You make some wild pitches, it just compounds the problem,” Girardi said.

• When the media got into the clubhouse several minutes after the game, Larry Rothschild was still at Nova’s locker. Nova said the message was one of confidence, telling him to keep his head up and keep working. “We just have to keep watching the video and find out something,” Nova said.

• Pendleton is following the little-used road that Dave Robertson took to New York: He’ll join the Yankees big league roster without having ever been invited to big league spring training.

• Pedro Feliciano was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Pendleton on the 40-man.

• For whatever it’s worth, Nova said the weather didn’t affect him.

My old friend Mike Ashmore caught up with Kevin Millwood in Trenton, where Millwood is making a Double-A start on Sunday. “(The arm strength) still probably has a little ways to go,” Millwood said. “But it’s definitely closer than it was when I got here.”

Associated Press photos

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Millwood makes second extended spring start04.13.11

The Yankees beat writers have left Florida, but The Associated Press is still down there and offers some updates on Kevin Millwood, Mark Prior and Carlos Silva.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees pitcher Kevin Millwood threw 75 pitches over 5-plus innings Tuesday in his second extended spring training start.

Millwood gave up four runs, three earned, and seven hits against Philadelphia minor leaguers. He faced two batters who singled and scored in the sixth to reach his scheduled pitch count.

The 36-year-old Millwood, who was 4-16 last season with Baltimore, felt good after the outing and could pitch for Double-A Trenton or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Also, Mark Prior expects to pitch again for Class-A Tampa on Wednesday or Thursday. The right-hander pitched on consecutive days for the first time last weekend.

Carlos Silva will have his first on-field workout at the Yankees’ complex on Wednesday. The right-hander agreed to a minor league contract Saturday.

Associated Press photo of Millwood

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Off day notes and links: A different kind of birthday gift04.11.11

First, we’ll start with a photo passed along by the group that help organize today’s Nick Swisher appearances at various Bank of America locations. Is anyone surprised to see that Swisher seemed to be having a great time?

Second, a very cool thing is happening over at Chasing800.com, where the website came up with a good way to celebrate Mark Teixeira’s birthday.

Inspired by Teixeira’s $1 million donation to Harlem RBI and the DreamTeam25 initiative, the website found a group of 25 Yankees fans who agreed to donate $40 apiece to the cause. It took 48 hours to assemble the group of fans who would contribute to a $1,000 donation to Teixeira’s charity. From the website:

During a time of economic uncertainty and daily financial struggles, it was great to see a group of fans with one common interest (Yankees Baseball) coming together in support of a great cause for inner city athletics and inner city education.

Check out Chasing800.com for a list of those who donated.

A few other notes on this off day…

• The Yankees announced today that CC Sabathia will be greeting fans in the Great Hall near Gate 6 before tomorrow’s game. Sabathia will be there around 5 p.m. Also, Robinson Cano will get his Silver Slugger award before the game.

• Speaking of the upcoming home stand, Connecticut basketball player Kemba Walker — fresh off his NCAA title win — will throw out the first pitch on Wednesday.

• The Associated Press has reported that Kevin Millwood is scheduled to make his “second and possibly final” extended spring training start tomorrow in Florida.

• Buster Olney reports that the Yankees are “just trying to get 20 to 35 starts” out of their final two rotation spots, then they’ll look to the trade market to fill the rotation. Right now there’s no clearly defined rotation trade market, hence the Millwood and Carlos Silva additions.

• The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looked back at the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte and, unsurprisingly, found it to be a win for the Pirates on the strength of Jose Tabata alone.

• Speaking of that trade, Ross Ohlendorf went on the disabled list and was replaced on the roster by Dan McCutchen.

• Speaking of traded former Yankees: Austin Jackson is struggling in Detroit.

• Not to excuse the cost of parking around Yankee Stadium, but thought I’d mention that it cost me $45 to park at Fenway last night.

Associated Press photo of Sabathia

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Friday notes: “You never know what can happen”03.25.11

Nothing is settled, but Jesus Montero’s chances of making Yankees roster certainly seem to have diminished in the past week. Montero hasn’t hit especially well this spring, and Joe Girardi has admitted that the 21-year-old seems to be pressing. Francisco Cervelli’s injury opened a door, and it’s only natural that Montero would try to force his way through it.

Would he be upset if someone is gets the job?

“No, I would be fine,” Montero said. “I’ll be working hard. My moment is going to be there.”

In a lot of ways, Gustavo Molina’s moment came in early December. The Yankees were the first team to make an offer, and Molina jumped at the chance after having to sign late last year.

“If you get here, it’s for a reason, to show what I can do on the field,” Molina said. “They know what I can do on paper. Whatever is coming through is my best. I give my best every day. Make a tough decision for anybody, even in the big leagues… You never know. I learned that in ’07 with the White Sox, you never know what can happen in spring training. Sometimes people get hurt and opportunites are coming up, and sometimes you play good and you open eyes for somebody to give you a chance.”

Molina made the White Sox Opening Day roster in 2007. It was his first time in the big leagues. He’s since played for the Orioles, Mets and Red Sox.

“After you make it to the big leagues, you know what you have to do to get there, so that’s what you bring to spring training,” he said. “… I want to be part of this team. You see a lot of good people around, good players, and you want to be a part of that, so I hope I get a chance.”

Montero hopes to get a chance too. He said he’s still trying to prove he belongs, still trying to win that spot on the Yankees bench.

“They decide everything,” Montero said. “I’m doing my best here. I’m doing my job. I’m doing whatever they want me to do. I feel comfortable right now. I don’t know what decisions they’re going to make, but I feel happy.”

• Joe Girardi said he plans to announce his pitching assignments tomorrow. Decisions were made tonight, and Girardi is going to talk to his players first, then make the decisions public. When asked whether Ivan Nova has earned a rotation spot, Girardi said “I need to talk to my players first,” but also nodded his head.

• Speaking of Nova, he didn’t have his good stuff tonight, but still got through six solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits. “His stuff was not extremely sharp tonight, but that’s actually maturing and that’s a good thing,” Girardi said. “You’re not always going to have your A stuff and be sharp, and you have to find a way to do it.

• Nova found out about the Mitre trade when he got to the stadium today. He can count to three. “When he got traded, I know there’s more space now,” Nova said. “That makes me feel good. I don’t want him to leave, but now there’s three spots.”

• Girardi said he occasionally does “different things” with his backup players. Today, Molina was scheduled to be the backup, but Montero instead played the final few innings. Girardi wouldn’t say what should be read into that, but I wonder if it was an effort to give Montero one last big league inning before sending him to minor league camp. Just a guess.

• In his first at-bat back from a minor calf injury, Eric Chavez hit his first spring home run. He singled in his second at-bat and doubled in his third (after nearly hitting a home run that went just foul). He’s now batting .421 this spring.

• Speaking of which, Girardi said he took notice of Chavez’s batting practice this afternoon. “It was like, off the charts today,” Girardi said. “And it just went right into the game.”

• Curtis Granderson came through his pregame running feeling good enough that he was cleared to do some light throwing as well. “I think the intensity will be more tomorrow,” Girardi said.

• Joba Chamberalin, Dave Robertson, Boone Logan and Rafael Soriano are all scheduled to pitch back-to-back games, so they should all be back in tomorrow’s game.

• Nick Swisher’s foot came through tonight’s game just fine.

• Russell Martin said he was definitely safe when he was called out tagging up on a fly ball to left. He also said he loved it that Girardi went out to argue on his behalf. Arguing in a spring training game? “I figure you’ve got to practice,” Girardi said.

• New outfielder Chris Dickerson is flying into Tampa tonight. I have to assume he’ll be at the complex for tomorrow’s game against the Pirates.

• Brian Cashman said he’s not sure when Kevin Millwood will actually arrive in Tampa.

• After completing one trade and agreeing to one minor league deal, Cashman said he’s not finished shopping this spring. Doesn’t mean he’ll make another move, but he’ll keep looking around. “I feel that we have some quality choices in house, but my job is always to find people who are better than what we have,” Cashman said.

Top picture was taken by Paul Dean and emailed to me. From left, that’s Montero, Molina, Tony Pena, Russell Martin and Jose Gil. That’s an AP photo of Girardi with Astros first-base coach Bobby Meacham, and an AP photo of Jeter, Swisher and Kevin Long in front of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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Notes and links: Millwood, Sheffield, prospects and more02.17.11

Brian Cashman has said time and again that he’s open to adding more rotation options if the price is right, and Joel Sherman reported today that Kevin Millwood could be one of those options. Sherman says the Yankees are still interested in the veteran Millwood, who would be one more veteran in the back-of-the-rotation competition.

• In no uncertain terms, Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand that Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will not break camp with the big league club. Those two will go to Trenton.

Gary Sheffield has officially retired. “It’s time to say goodbye,” Sheffield said.

• Nick Swisher told Ken Davidoff that he switched agents because he and Joe Bick, “grew apart a little bit.”

• Former Yankees part-time DH Juan Miranda has more competition for the Diamondbacks first base job. Arizona has signed Russell Branyan, and the D-Backs are also considering pitcher Micah Owings for a little bit of first base time.

• The YES Network has been nominated for 46 New York Emmy awards. According to a press release, on-air talent Bob Lorenz, Paul O’Neill, John Flaherty, Marv Albert and Jim Spanarkel received individual nominations.

• The Blue Jays have wrapped up an extension with Jose Bautista. They’ve also signed Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal.

MLB Network announced its broadcast schedule for spring training games. The Yankees pop up quite a bit.

Associated Press photos of A.J. Burnett and Francisco Cervelli. They really have nothing to do with this post, but they were available, so why not use them?

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You go your way (and I’ll go mine)02.13.11

I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely excited to see the Grammy Awards, but I’ll be watching tonight.

I’m sure most of the ceremony will be rather forgettable, but mixed into the nonsense, Arcade Fire is scheduled to perform, Mick Jagger will be part of a tribute to Solomon Burke, and Bob Dylan will be the third act in a three-artist medley with Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons. That’s a can’t miss combination.

That’s how I’ll spend my last night before the baseball chaos ensues. For now, here is one last batch of offseason notes and links. Have a good night, everyone. Pitchers and catchers report in the morning.

• Nice work by Marc Carig, who looked into the personality of new Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild. “He knows when to hit the accelerator,” Al Leiter said. “He knows when to hit the brakes.”

• Speaking of new faces, Anthony McCarron profiled non-roster pitcher Brian Anderson, the converted outfielder trying to reestablish himself as a pitcher. “Pitching was always what I wanted to do,” Anderson said.

• The Yankees are not necessarily a finished product. Jon Heyman reports that they’re still talking to starter Kevin Millwood, but no deal seems close. Remember what Brian Cashman has said time and time again: If any current free agent starters are going to land in New York, it’s going to have to be at the Yankees price.

• George King took a look at 10 issues facing the Yankees heading into spring training.

• Cool story in the New York Times about the history of the Negro Leagues at Yankee Stadium.

• Funny story from Buster Olney about a minor league run-in with Deion Sanders. The only time I can remember a player being angry and confronting me about it, the story in question — a blog post actually — had been misinterpreted by a family member, who told the player that I was pushing for the Yankees to release him. This was in spring training a few years ago, the player was new to the team, and he’s just been sent down from big league camp. The whole thing got sorted out pretty quickly, and he actually became a go-to guy in the clubhouse, but in that moment, he was not pleased.

Associated Press of Rothschild with Carlos Zambrano

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 281 Comments →

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