The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Opening up the DH spot07.28.14

Carlos Beltran

Joe Girardi is looking forward to Carlos Beltran being able to play some in right again because it’s going to give the manager more flexibility without having one guy locked into the DH role.

“I’m sure Gardy could probably use a DH day,” Girardi said. “Ells could use a DH day. These guys are run out there on a regular, regular basis. It probably wouldn’t hurt them. By having (Beltran) and Ichiro, who’s an outstanding outfielder as well, I could probably do some things.”

Girardi indicated Beltran could be back out there as soon as next week, barring any setback with the bone spur in his right elbow that caused him to miss 21 games while on the DL in May and early June.

“He’s continuing to throw,” Girardi said. “He has progressed and he has thrown more and more distance as we’ve went on, and he’s done some outfield drills early.”

Beltran wants to get back out there, but it’s a process for him. After yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays, he said he had only been throwing for five days.

“Right now, throwing 90 feet isn’t going to do it,” said Beltran, who has picked it up offensively of late, batting .314 on the 10-game homestand to lift his average to .228. “So when I get to I guess 140, something like that, where I can make a throw from the outfield to home plate on a do-or-die play, let it go, then I will be close to playing games. Right now, I’m not.”

The Yankees, of course, could also acquire another outfield bat before Thursday’s nonwaiver deal deadline, which could impact how Beltran would be used.

Then there’s the question of who will mainly be used to back up the now oft-injured Mark Teixeira.

After missing the last seven games with a strained lat, Girardi didn’t rule out Teixeira returning as soon as tonight in Texas, depending on how felt today when he woke up after taking 50 swings yesterday and how he feels following live batting practice later, if he’s good to swing more.

With Kelly Johnson going on the DL Wednesday due to a strained groin, Brian McCann became the regular fill-in at first instead of squatting behind the plate. If Teixeira needs a day off, it figures to be Johnson’s job to fill in once he returns, according to Girardi. Johnson is eligible to return Aug. 7.

“We don’t anticipate Kelly Johnson’s injury is going to be long,” Girardi said. “So probably when I give Mac a day off (from catching), I’ll give him a day off.”

Here’s my latest story on what went on yesterday and Girardi’s frustration over the loss and really the mistakes of the last two days.

Photo by The Associated Press

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Yankees pregame: Progress by Teixeira, Beltran07.27.14

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira took 50 swings this morning, 25 from each side of the plate. He told a couple of reporters that he felt no pain.

“He took swings today; he felt good,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s taking ground balls. He felt good. So we’ll reevaluate where he is tomorrow and how he feels after today. Hopefully he’s a player here pretty soon.”

Asked if tomorrow night’s game is a possibility, Girardi said, “I don’t know. I’m going to take it day by day and just see how he feels.”

He has missed six straight games heading into today.

“The one thing he hasn’t taken is live BP, (just) tee and toss,” Girardi said. “The one thing you always have to measure is when you’re working, you can guard against a lot of things. When you’re in the course of a game, sometimes you can’t do that. … Hopefully he wakes up and feels great tomorrow and he’s able to take BP and we’ll go from there.”

Carlos Beltran could be back in right within the next few weeks, freeing up the DH spot.

“He’s continuing to throw,” Girardi said. “He has progressed and he has thrown more and more distance as we’ve went on, and he’s done some outfield drills early. I don’t think it’s too far off. I don’t know if it will happen next week, but after that, I think it’s a possibility.”

Zelous Wheeler is making his second start in right today.

“This is a guy that’s been used to being moving around in his career, and I’m OK,” Girardi said.

Brian McCann, after yesterday’s seventh-inning debacle, is again at first.

“He’s going to give me everything he’s got,” Girardi said. “This guy is a professional.”

Brian Roberts, not excelling offensively or defensively, isn’t in the lineup. Girardi indicated it’s just a normal day of rest for the second baseman.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

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Yankees pregame: State of the homestand (with two to go)07.26.14

Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Roberts

The state of the homestand has been excellent, 7-1 with two games to go. Not the offense has steadily hummed. That has been a problem all season.

But the Yankees take a four-game winning streak into today’s game with the Blue Jays, and their last five wins have all featured comebacks.

“We’ve played good baseball,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve had some timely hitting. We’ve pitched extremely well. You look at a lot of the scores, they’ve been fairly low-scoring games. Our bullpen has continued to do a good job. Our starters have done a good job. You look at (Hiroki Kuroda’s) night last night, he gives up three in the first and then he pretty much shut them down the rest of the game and gave us a chance to come back. I think that’s the important thing. We’ve been able to come back in some of the games.

“But it’s just I think our pitching has been really good. You look at this homestand and that’s one of the reasons we’ve won a lot of games.”

Chris Capuano will make his Yankees debut in this game. The 35-year-old lefty got stretched out over four starts in the Rockies’ system after relieving for the Red Sox before his July 1 release. Girardi said he could be used for about 100 pitches.

“This guy is a competitor,” Girardi said. “He knows what he’s doing out there.”

Mark Teixeira isn’t scheduled for baseball activities today. Girardi said Teixeira may try to test his back with tee and toss tomorrow and then the Yankees could decide whether he needs to be put him on the DL or will be good to go again very soon.

Brian Roberts owns a team-high 10 errors. The veteran second baseman has looked especially shaky in the field lately.

“He’s just going through some things that fielders probably go through,” Girardi said. “I don’t really have any concerns about it.”

The man Girardi replaced in this job, Joe Torre, is going into the Hall of Fame Sunday along with Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.

“I think it’s great how they’re going in, the three of them together,” Girardi said. “You’re talking about three great managers who have had a ton of success. I had a chance to play for two of them (Torre and La Russa), which was really pretty neat for me, and be able to pick their brains as much as I did. So I feel really fortunate. But it’s three guys that are well deserving, not only who have been great managers but have been great men. I think when you talk to the players that have played for them, they would say they learned a lot and look up to them.

“I’ve always tried to keep a fairly even demeanor. I had that as a player, but I saw the important of it from Joe as a manager, how important it is to keep that even demeanor. There are days that you’re going to be happier than others, but you have to be the same guy every day. When I looked at Tony La Russa, it was just the preparation that he did in watching him. You talk about ideas that had validity and the way he used the bullpen. There’s a lot to learn from all these guys.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Yankees postgame: If only Buehrle could pitch against them every game07.25.14

Ichiro Suzuki, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Rob Drake

The Yankees — and Ichiro Suzuki — just own Mark Buehrle. Actually the Yankees own the Blue Jays here at Yankee Stadium.

This 6-4 win marked their 17th straight against the Jays in the Bronx, the fourth-longest home winning streak by one team against another since divisional play began in 1969. The Yankees have 26 of the last 28 here against Toronto since May 24, 2011.

And then there’s Buehrle. The 35-year-old lefty is 0-10 with a 7.34 ERA in his last 15 starts against the Yankees. He’s 1-12 overall in 19 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten them since April 10, 2004, and that was at the old Yankee Stadium.

Asked the reason for the dominance, Joe Girardi said, “It’s hard to say. He’s a really good pitcher.”

Ichiro, who’s now 25 for 60 lifetime vs. Buehrle, hit a three-run shot in the third to snap his 294 at-bat homerless streak dating to last August 30. Derek Jeter had been on his case with some friendly teasing.

“During batting practice, he always tells me, ‘Can’t leave. Can’t leave,’ which means the ball doesn’t leave the ballpark,” Ichiro said through his interpreter.

“For a Japanese person, it’s hard to hear the ‘t’ at the end. I think he said, ‘Can leave,’ ” Ichiro added jokingly.

Hiroki Kuroda struggled some, but he earned the win, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3. Girardi said he had trouble with command of his sinker.

“He just fought all night,” Girardi said.

Chase Headley went 3 for 4, so he’s at .429 (6 for 14) after four games with his new team.

Mark Teixeira didn’t do any baseball activity, according to Girardi, just ran and did rotational exercises. Girardi said he’s expected to do the same Saturday, and that it wasn’t “probably realistic” that Teixeira could return to the lineup Sunday.

The Yankees are 7-1 since the break, having won four in a row. Their last five wins have been of the comeback variety. They own the second wild card at the moment.

“It beats the alternative,” Girardi said. “But it really doesn’t mean a whole lot with 60 games to go.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yankees pregame: Capuano moves right in07.25.14

Chris Capuano

Joe Girardi announced that Chris Capuano is moving right into the rotation in the wake of yesterday’s deal with the Rockies. He will be starting tomorrow against the Blue Jays. Shane Greene will be pushed back a day. Chase Whitley is headed for the bullpen.

“That’s why we went and got Cap, to be a starter for us,” Girardi said. “And we’re obviously hopeful that he’ll do good things.”

Capuano did good things in April in relief for the Red Sox — he owned a 0.00 ERA in 11 outings — and then it started to go bad. The 35-year-old lefty had a 22.50 ERA across five June outings and got released on July 1, ultimately with a 1-1 record and 4.55 ERA. He signed with the Rockies organization three days later and made four starts combined in Double-A and Triple-A, going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA.

Asked what he likes about Capuano, Girardi said, “Just the experience that he has, used to being a starter, used to logging a lot of innings, gives us a left-hander at our ballpark, which you like. It also allows to — Chase is really built up — put him in the bullpen to help us out there as a real long guy. It gives you more flexibility with (David) Huff. So it does a lot of things for us, actually.”

Capuano has a career record of 74-84 with a 4.28 ERA over 10 seasons and 266 games, 209 of them starts. He was also with the Diamondbacks in 2003, the Brewers from 2004-07 and again in 2010, the Mets in 2011 and the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013. He won 18 games in 2005, was an All-Star in 2006 and went 11-12 with the Mets in 2011. He has also been through Tommy John surgeries, the last one in 2008.

The Yankees designated righty Chris Leroux for assignment to make room. Mark Teixeira remains on the roster, at least for now, although he has been unavailable since Monday due to the strained lat in his back.

“I hope to be back in a few days,” Teixeira said. “… The spasms have really felt better. The actual strain itself is feeling better.”

But baseball activity will be more of a test.

“I would hate to put Tex on the DL and he’s ready after seven days or eight days or six,” Girardi said. “That’s what I don’t want to do. So as he does some activity over the next two days, we’ll have a much better idea where he’s at.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

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Pregame notes: Yankees expect Teixiera decision tomorrow07.24.14

Mark Teixeira

Joe Girardi said the Yankees will to make a decision tomorrow regarding Mark Teixiera. He’s either healthy enough to rejoin the lineup in a few days, or he’s hurt enough to go on the disabled list.

“It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days (of rest),” Girardi said. “And then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be in the near future that he would play, or if we’re going to need the 15 days. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably make sense to get a player.”

This is Teixeira’s fourth day off after getting that injection for his strained lat. Without him, the Yankees really don’t have a first baseman. Kelly Johnson was the backup, but now he’s on the disabled list, and Brian McCann has become the first base regular, but at some point Francisco Cervelli’s going to need a day off behind the plate.

“I’ve got like 11 other guys I can run out there,” Girardi said, either joking or making a fair statement about the fact one inexperienced guy is just as good as another. “I talked to Chase (Headley) about it. Chase said he would feel comfortable going over there. I would not be afraid to put Brendan Ryan there. I would not be afraid to put (Zelous) Wheeler there.”

But if Teixeira is going to be out much longer, the Yankees might as well add someone who gives more flexibility at first base. That could be bringing up a first baseman — I assume either Kyle Roller or Jose Pirela — or bringing up a catcher so that McCann can play first base full time for the time being.

“We’ll get through today,” Girardi said. “And we’ll probably have something tomorrow and we’ll make a decision.”

Derek Jeter• Michael Pineda’s scheduled simulated game was rained out, so he pitched inside and threw the equivalent of two innings. Not ideal, but the Yankees will move forward with his rehab schedule. In five days he’ll go three innings or 45-50 pitches. Girardi said he wasn’t sure whether that would be a sim game or an actual rehab assignment.

• Regular day off for Derek Jeter, and Girardi said it has nothing to do with ground ball pitcher Brandon McCarthy being on the mound. “It’s just kind of the way it goes,” Girardi said. “Day game (after a night game). If it was a night game, he probably would’ve played.”

• Would Girardi consider swapping roles by putting Cervelli at first base and using McCann behind the plate? “I could do that, (but) I’m not sure I would,” Girardi said. “Cervy’s next thing might be a day off. But right now he’s extremely energetic still and he has that in him.”

• Girardi wouldn’t go into detail about why he preferred Jacoby Ellsbury leading off and Brett Gardner batting second today, but he was also asked if he’s ever considered — given Ellsbury’s steals and Gardner’s surprising power — batting Ellsbury leadoff and Gardner third when the Yankees have a full lineup. “That I wouldn’t do,” Girardi said. “It’s just that Gardy’s really never hit in that spot. Jake is a guy that I feel I can move around because he has moved around, in a sense. I’ve toyed with different ideas. I won’t say the other day that I didn’t think about hitting Gardy (third). I thought that Jake might not be available to me that one day, maybe I do hit Gardy third, but I probably wouldn’t do it. But I said probably.”

• Just to be clear, the Yankees don’t expect Teixeira to play tomorrow, only that they’ll have a better idea about his health tomorrow. “I don’t think tomorrow’s the day,” Girardi said. “But obviously you want to feel that there’s progress and that he feels better and that he can start doing some stuff. We felt that we’d give him three days not doing much with treatment and we’d see where we’re at.”

• The Yankees are keeping their extra pitcher for today. Could lose a pitcher tomorrow to add a position player. Likely want to know what’s going on with Teixeira before making that decision.

• McCarthy has pitched well since coming to the Yankees, and he’s given some credit to the fact the Yankees are having him throw his cutter again. “I think guys want to feel like they have all their weapons,” Girardi said. “That was a big pitch for him. I know that when we faced him that was a huge pitch for him, and for him to get that back and feel comfortable with it would be really important.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees pregame: Teixeira, Ellsbury hurting07.02.14

Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t in the lineup, and it isn’t just a typical day of rest.

Teixeira had his left knee drained after last night’s game. Joe Girardi said he expects him back for tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota.

“He’s been playing with a little fluid on it for a few days,” Girardi said.

Ellsbury isn’t feeling great in general, according to Girardi.

“Ells is just kind of beat up and needs a day off,” Girardi said. “He should be back in there tomorrow, too. He’s a little bit sore all over. So he needs a day. And a guy needs a day, he needs a day.”

The struggling offense loses the .288 bat and the speed of Ellsbury and its leading homer (15) and RBI (41) producer in Teixeira, but the Yankees still have to try to avoid a sweep by the Rays.

“It is what it is and someone else has got to come up with some big hits today,” Girardi said.

Girardi added this about the offense: “There’s no magic formula. Can I go, I don’t know, walk on my hands through the clubhouse? No, I can’t do that. It’s just continue to work and you keep throwing them out there. You try to give the guys that you believe are the most productive consistent at-bats and eventually it’s going to change.”

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 125 Comments →

Yankees in need of more production06.23.14

Orioles Yankees BaseballOrioles starters really shut down the Yankees in the three-game series that ended Sunday with Baltimore’s 8-0 win. The Yankees managed four hits to follow up on their one-run, seven-hit Saturday loss. They needed a walk-off three-run homer from Carlos Beltran Friday to claim a 5-3 victory.

The offense really hasn’t taken off on a consistent basis.

Asked if he expected more, Joe Girardi said: “Yeah, I think that’s probably fair to say, but we still have a long way to go. And I see signs of us swinging the bats better. I do. But it is what it is and we’ll go from here.”

They have a lot of below-average averages right now on a 39-35 team. For instance: Carlos Beltran .220; Brian McCann .222; Kelly Johnson .222; Alfonso Soriano .232; Brian Roberts .244; and Mark Teixeira .246. The Yankees also have Yangervis Solarte at 0 for his last 28, dropping him to .263.

“We definitely have more in us,” Teixeira said. “I think we expect more out of each other. Hopefully we can score more runs.

“There’s a lot of time left, but we do need to pick it up.”

Here’s my story on Sunday’s events, from the Old-Timers’ Game to Masahiro Tanaka’s effort to the punchless offense to Steve Pearce’s takeout slide to Teixeira’s fear he had broken a toe or two. And here’s my Yankees notebook on Goose Gossage heading to Monument Park, Jeter’s response to Hideki Matsui’s marital advice and Girardi talking about the Adam Warren/Vidal Nuno situation. Thanks for reading. You’re always welcome to join me on Twitter as well at @bheyman99. Chad will be back with you later.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

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Yankees postgame: “That was pretty malicious”06.22.14

Kelly Johnson, Steve PearceJoe Girardi wasn’t thrilled with Steve Pearce’s takeout slide on Kelly Johnson at third in the Orioles’ four-run eighth, causing a throwing error. It looked like Pearce was way out of the basepath, although you can’t really tell by the angle of the picture above. There was no call.

After the 8-0 loss, Girardi called it “pretty malicious.”

“I don’t think he intended to try to hurt him, but it was a pretty violent and dangerous slide,” Girardi said.

Johnson said Pearce told him: “My bad.”

“You got away with one,” Johnson told Pearce.

Pearce told reporters: “When I saw the replay, I was like, ‘Man, I was really far away from the bag.’<TH>” But it’s no different than if the play is at second base. I was trying to time it, trying to take him out before he can make the throw.”

Then T.J. McFarland hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch in the bottom half of the inning, getting him on the last two toes of his left foot. X-rays were negative. Teixeira was still feeling sore, but he thought he would play Monday night in Toronto.

He had feared the worst, though, having broken a toe in 2010. Teixeira slammed his helmet before leaving the game.

“I thought it was broken again,” said Teixeira, who lost a 10-game hitting streak. “So I just took it out on my helmet.”

In the end, the Yankees wasted Masahiro Tanaka’s 15th quality start in 15 tries. He would’ve had to pitch a shutout just to tie.

“It wasn’t the best today,” Brian McCann said about the inconsistent offense.

Tanaka hopes to be involved on Old-Timers’ Day someday as an Old-Timer.

“I think the important thing is to try to become a very good player so I would be invited on such occasions,” Tanaka said via an interpreter.

The Orioles were thrilled to take the series after losing the opener on Carlos Beltran’s walk-off homer.

“This was a big series,” J.J. Hardy said. “To lose like we did on Friday and then come back and win the next two, especially against such a great pitcher like Tanaka, was huge.”

Derek Jeter continues to be the lone Yankee leading in the AL All-Star balloting, according to the update released Sunday night. He’s ahead of Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox, 2,353,336-1,933,117.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 40 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 →

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