Brett Gardner is out of the lineup for the second day in a row, but his right wrist was unwrapped when he sat at his locker this afternoon.
“Much better today,” he said. “Definitely happy that it feels the way it does.”
Hit by a pitch on Monday, Gardner went for X-rays that came back negative and said he’s expecting to be back in the lineup on Friday (the Yankees are off tomorrow). The Yankees are prepared to send him for an MRI when they get to Tampa tomorrow, but for now, it seems that might not be necessary.
“If it didn’t progress in the two days like we thought it should, we would MRI it,” manager Joe Girardi said. “But I’m hoping we won’t have to. He’s feeling a lot better today than he did yesterday, so it would be more precautionary than anything. We kind of wanted to give us that option if he didn’t feel any better.”
Just like last night, Gardner is available to pinch run and play defense. He said he might take some swings inside and didn’t sound like he’d be completely unable to hit, just prefers to rest if he can.
Despite facing a right-handed starter today, the Yankees are playing righty Chris Young and not lefty Garrett Jones in Gardner’s place. Young’s off to a strong start in a parttime role, hitting .333/.400/.778 for the highest OPS on the team.
• Ivan Nova came through yesterday’s live batting practice with no problems and continues to make good progress as he nears one year since Tommy John surgery. Girardi said he’s pretty sure Chris Capuano is throwing live batting practice tomorrow and could be about a month away from becoming a big league option again. Girardi said Capuano should be ready slightly ahead of Nova.
• Signed to a minor league contract this winter, reliever Wilking Rodriguez has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Furosemide. Rodriguez was in big league camp with the Yankees this spring, and he pitched two games for the Royals last season. Seemed like a solid bit of additional — but probably unnecessary — bullpen depth. “He threw the ball pretty well for us in spring training, and it’s not what you want to see,” Girardi said. “It’s still what we’re still dealing with.”
• Speaking of bullpen depth, now that the major league season is 10-days old, the Yankees are allowed to call up someone from their 40-man roster. Branden Pinder is here to provide a fairly typical bullpen arm, and Joel De La Rosa has been optioned back to Double-A since the Yankees have Esmil Rogers rested and don’t need another long man at the moment. “Our bullpen is pretty much at full strength now,” Girardi said.
• Pinder had five strikeouts, no walks and three hits allowed in three innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He last pitched on Monday, when he went two innings.
• Kyle Davies has cleared waivers and been outrighted back to Triple-A. He should basically fall back into the role he played at the beginning of the season, pitching out of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen and providing just-in-case depth if the Yankees need someone who can provide a bunch of innings. Pitched well in his one big league outing this year.
• Girardi said there has been some early talk about Brendan Ryan possibly going to Tampa with the team this weekend so that he can start doing some work at the minor league complex. Not sure it’s going to happen, though.
• In four starts against the Yankees last season, tonight’s Baltimore starter Bud Norris went 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA. He was knocked around in his first start this season — gave up eight runs against Toronto — but the Yankees are well aware that Norris can be tough. Some of the Yankees with N.L. experience (Headley, Drew, Jones, Beltran) have good career numbers against Norris. “I think he’s got outstanding stuff,” Girardi said. “I think he pitches inside effectively. He’s had one start against a real good-hitting team. I’m not making too much of it. But he knows how to pitch. He knows how to compete.”
Associated Press photos
The Yankees first spring workout is now six days away. We’ll continue our countdown of key spring training decisions by looking at the very back end of the Yankees rotation. Clearly the bulk of the rotation’s success or failure will hinge on the health and production of the top four starters, but the Yankees do have to consider one rotation decision this spring.
I’ve written several times that I don’t think of Capuano as a bad choice for the role. He’s actually been a better pitcher than he sometimes gets credit for being, and he was perfectly solid during his 12-start stint with the Yankees last season. If he can give the Yankees another 12-starts like he gave them last year, Capuano could hold down the fort until Ivan Nova is healthy (assuming he’s back by early June).
That said, Capuano doesn’t have to round out the rotation.
Beyond a few young guys who offer intriguing upside, the Yankees have also told relievers Adam Warren and Esmil Rogers to arrive ready to work as starters in spring training, and assistant general manager Billy Eppler has said it’s not out of the question that either Warren or Rogers could pitch his way into the rotation even if everyone else is healthy.
“I think you just walk into it with an open mind and just see,” Eppler said. “I think you just let it all play out. You usually don’t have to end up making the call. Situations and the players will make the call for you.”
As always, there’s a chance the Yankees will need to fill more than one rotation spot — an injury could change things, and an injury is certainly not out of the question — but for now, the decision heading into camp is whether Capuano is definitely the best choice for the No. 5 spot. These will be the options as camp opens:
The favorite — Chris Capuano
When the Yankees re-signed Capuano, Brian Cashman made it clear that he would come to camp expected to fill a rotation spot. This is clearly the direction the Yankees are leaning. Capuano had a 4.25 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP — pretty close to his career numbers — in 12 starts for the Yankees last season. Nothing flashy, but never allowed more than four runs in a start last season (granted, one of those starts didn’t last beyond the first inning).
The relievers — Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers
As long as everyone is healthy, Warren and Rogers seem heading toward a return to the Yankees bullpen (either one could be a long man if he stays stretched out). That said, Rogers put up good numbers in winter ball, and Warren was a pretty good rotation prospect throughout the minor leagues. If he could maintain last season’s bullpen success as a big league starter, he could be another good young option for the rotation.
The veterans — Scott Baker, Kyle Davies
It’s been a while since either Baker or Davies was a viable big league starter, but Baker in particular was a pretty solid starter before his elbow injury a few years ago. Each of these two looks like little more than just-in-case depth — just in case several other plans fall through — but it’s worth considering the possibility that one of them comes into camp strong and looks surprisingly good as a short-term alternative.
The young guys — Chase Whitley, Bryan Mitchell, Jose De Paula
These three have spots on the 40-man roster, so they could easily slide onto the big league roster in one role or another. For now, all three seem to most naturally fit as rotation depth in Triple-A, but Whitley was a significant rotation boost through his first few starts last season, and Mitchell pitched well in a couple of big league opportunities in September. De Paula’s never pitched in the majors, but the Yankees obviously see potential in the lefty.
The kid — Luis Severino
Probably the most exciting possibility, but also probably the least likely. Severino is the top pitching prospect in the organization and one of the better pitching prospects in baseball. He was given an invitation to big league camp, and the Yankees have acknowledged some chance that he could reach the big leagues this year. That said, he turns 21 on Friday and has just six career starts above A-ball. Huge upside, but might not be there just yet.
Associated Press photos
We haven’t done a chat in a long time. Even though it’s the offseason, let’s have one tomorrow. We’ll be chatting all about the Yankees offseason right here on the blog at noon tomorrow. Stop by if you can. For now, a few quick notes and links:
• Sweeny Murti reported this morning that the Yankees have signed veteran Kyle Davies to a minor league deal. The Yankees have since confirmed the signing, announcing that it comes with an invitation to big league camp. The former Royals starter is only 31 years old, but he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011 and hasn’t pitched to a sub-5.00 ERA in the big leagues since 2008. He’s presumably coming in to provide a veteran presence in Triple-A.
• The Yankees made three trades last year that included “either a player to be named later or cash considerations.” I checked with a Yankees official yesterday who said all of those trades were finalized with cash and not a player, so no unexpected prospects leaving the Yankees system to complete the 2014 deals for Martin Prado, Jeff Francis or Josh Outman.
• Mike Axisa points out that today’s James Shields signing means the 2015 draft order is set. The Padres are losing the No. 13 overall pick, which moves the Yankees top pick up to 16th overall. The Yankees will also get a compensation pick at No. 30 (for losing Dave Robertson). The Yankees haven’t drafted as high as 16th in long, long time. That said, the draft is no sure thing, and the 16th spot has not consistently provided an impact player in the past decade or so. Nick Swisher went 16th in 2002, but since then, Brett Lawrie is easily the most notable name (plus 2013 pick J.P. Crawford, who’s an unproven but highly touted prospect with the Phillies).
• In case you missed it, David Waldstein wrote a predictably great story about Yankees second baseman Rob Refsnyder. It focuses on some of Refsnyder’s life experiences as an adopted, Asian-American kid in California. We had a pinch hitter post about that very topic last week. Great stuff.
• Speaking of life experiences, our old friend Bryan Hoch wrote about Chase Whitley’s offseason. Today Whitley’s down in Tampa getting a head start on spring training, but he spent most of the winter at home in Alabama working with kids at a small baseball academy. There are some great anecdotes in there, including the story of kids from the academy sending Whitley good luck video messages before his big league debut. Whitley also converted a family barn into a baseball training facility. “I’m telling you, man, it’s as redneck as you can get,” Whitley said, “but it’s awesome.”
• If you’re in the mood for more prospect information, that hard-working rabble-rouser Dan Martin talked to pitching coordinator Gil Patterson about elite rotation talent Luis Severino. “I hope he gets to the point where he’s not knocking on the door,” Patterson said. “I hope he’s breaking it down.”
• From Baseball America’s latest minor league transactions, the Yankees have signed left-handed pitcher Anthony Marzi, a non-drafted free agent from the University of Connecticut. It seems Marzi impressed at a late January tryout in Port Chester (he also struck out former first-round pick Eric Jagielo twice in the 2013 Big East final). Also from the minor league transactions: infielder David Adams has signed a minor league deal with the Marlins.
Associated Press photo
Game 115: Yankees at Royals • 08.13.10
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Lance Berkman DH
Austin Kearns RF
Brett Gardner LF
RHP Dustin Moseley (2-1, 3.86)
Moseley vs. Royals
Gregor Blanco CF
Jason Kendall C
Billy Butler 1B
Wilson Betemit 3B
Kila Ka’aihue DH
Alex Gordon LF
Mike Aviles 2B
Mitch Maier RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
RHP Kyle Davies (5-7, 5.21)
Davies vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 8:10 p.m. / YES Network
UMPIRES: HP Ed Hickox, 1B Fieldin Culbreth, 2B Mike Muchlinski, 3B Gary Cederstrom
WEATHER: Temperatures in the 90s with a slight chance — about 35 percent — of rain in the late innings. That’s what the Weather Channel says. It doesn’t look like there’s any chance of rain.
SO FAR, SO GOOD: The current Royals have a total of 28 at-bats against Dustin Moseley. In those at-bats, they have three hits for a .107 average and a .107 slugging percentage. Small sample sizes are fun!
CONSISTENT CC: Since the first of June, CC Sabathia is 11-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 14 starts. In each one of those outings, he’s pitched more than six innings while allowing three earned runs or less. According to Elias, it’s the longest such streak for a Yankees pitcher since Ron Guidry got at least 19 and gave up no more three earned in each of his first 15 starts in 1978.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOONE: Today is Boone Logan’s 26th birthday. I’m guessing he’ll celebrate by striking out Alex Gordon in the seventh inning.
TWO SCORELESS FOR ACEVES: Alfredo Aceves pitched two scoreless, hitless innings in Trenton. Mike Ashmore has all the details.
UPDATE, 8:25 p.m.: Remember when I wrote that it doesn’t look like rain. That is no longer true. It now looks like it’s going to rain quite a bit.
UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: After a series of singles, the Royals finally got an extra-base hit off Moseley and it’s given Kansas City a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Meanwhile, insane clouds are rolling in from the West.
UPDATE, 9:13 p.m.: Infield single by Alex Rodriguez pulls the Yankees within 3-1 and leaves runners at the corners with one out in the third. Meanwhile, the grounds crew is gathering around the tarp.
UPDATE, 9:14 p.m.: Make that 3-2 on an RBI single by Robinson Cano.
UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: Lance Berkman has tied it on a two-out double to right. Rain still falling, but no tarp on the field just yet.
UPDATE, 9:22 p.m.: Here comes the tarp.
UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: The tarp is coming off.
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: Scheduled to resume playing at 9:55.
UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: Dustin Moseley back on the mound for the Yankees. When he says he’s ready, the game will begin.
UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: Ground out and strikeout for Moseley.. Folks from Arkansas are always just a little more comfortable after a good rain.
UPDATE, 10:20 p.m.:Home run y Butler puts the Royals in the lead, 4-3. By the way, there seems to be more rain on the way. The crew is back behind the tarp.
UPDATE, 10:22 p.m.: After a one-out walk, while Dave Eiland was on the mound for a visit, the tarp was brought back onto the field. We’re now in rain delay No. 2.
UPDATE, 11:10 p.m.: Rain delays are good for booking travel, but they aren’t good for much of anything else.
UPDATE, 11:18 p.m.: The Royals just announced the attendance, but they have yet to announce an estimated start time.
UPDATE, 11:44 p.m.: The grounds crew appears to be preparing to take the tarp off the field. Fans are returning to their seats. There might be more baseball tonight.
UPDATE, 11:50 p.m.: Scheduled to resume at midnight. Awesome.
UPDATE, 11:57 p.m.: Tarp coming back on the field. I don’t want to talk about it.
UPDATE, 12:25 a.m.: I think they’re actually going to play this time.
UPDATE, 12:31 a.m.: Here we go. Chad Gaudin on the mound. The temperature has dropped 25 degrees since first pitch. That was a 2:10 rain delay.
UPDATE, 12:42 a.m.: The Yankees and Royals have played one another six times this year. Three of those games have been delayed by rain. Total of six hours, 38 minutes worth of rain delays between these teams.
UPDATE, 1:01 a.m.: Automatic timers at Kauffman turn the lights out at midnight (just the ones inside, not the big lights on the field). So, the lights just went out in the press box and there are phone calls being made to get them turned on. It’s been a weird night.
UPDATE, 1:20 a.m.: A whole lot of stupid on that play. Credit Pena with a stolen base for being surprisingly the least stupid of the bunch.
UPDATE, 1:35 a.m.: I was off by an inning. Logan just struck out Gordon in the eighth.