The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

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.




Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 15 Comments →

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 →

Yankees pregame: All about the drugs06.05.13

Taboola Home/Section Front Player

Most of the questions at Joe Girardi’s press conference were about the latest PED scandal that is rocking baseball, especially since Alex Rodriguez is caught up in it.

Girardi said he hasn’t spoken to A-Rod today.

“When I talk to him, it will strictly be baseball stuff and rehab stuff like it always has been,” Girardi said.

“My concern is about the game and the game being clean and the game just being good. I had hoped that we were through it, but obviously maybe we’re not. We’re going to find out. But we’ll let MLB handle it.”

Girardi was asked how the team will be affected if A-Rod is suspended for 100 games, which is the plan, according to ESPN.

“We’ll cross that bridge,” Girardi said. “This is in MLB’s hands. For me to speculate doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Girardi was asked how he’s dealing with the issue in regard to the Yankees involved, including Francisco Cervelli.

“Being in New York, you’re always going to have things that come up,” Girardi said. “Some of it is going to be speculation, some of it’s not. You deal with it. You deal with it as time goes on and make sure that players focus on the field. I think our guys are really good at doing that. There are a lot of expectations that players have to deal with here. There’s a lot of different things that players have to deal with on a daily basis to play the game, and I think guys are really good at handling that.

“I’m always concerned about my players. And I’m concerned about guys on other teams, too, how they handle situations and how they deal with it, how it affects maybe a rehab. But my focus on them is doing whatever I have to to help them get ready. You try to put them in a good place. Right now, it’s in Tampa for Alex to get ready. Hopefully that will build up to games. But that’s my focus. My focus is not on what MLB is investigating and all of that. And I don’t want to get caught up in that just because, in a sense, they’re going to handle it. I’ll let them handle it. I’ll continue to assist our players in getting ready any way they can. But he’s in Tampa getting ready and that’s what we want him to do.

“I think the game is always bigger than one individual, 10 individuals, a hundred individuals, a thousand individuals. This game has gone on for a long period of time. I think the important thing is you try to learn from everything that happens in the  game, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. You try to learn. That’s how I try to get by it and through it and however you want to talk about it.

“This is a great game and I love this game and I want what’s best for this game,” Girardi added. “I think baseball is trying to do that as well. Unfortunately there are some things that you go through in all sports that sometimes is not what’s best for the sport. But you’re going to get through it. … This game has a long history and it’s a great game and it will continue to be a great game.”

Lyle Overbay is in right for the third straight game and Ichiro Suzuki is sitting at the start. Girardi said it’s partly about giving “our guys a day off in a long stretch. We’re going at it night game after day game, long day yesterday. So it’s just a good way to give Ich a little break and he’ll be back out there tomorrow.”

Mark Teixeira has driven in seven runs with two homers in the last two games.

“Tex is a great RBI guy and that’s what he’s doing,” Girardi said.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 75 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Tex takes a step06.04.13

Mark TeixeiraMark Teixeira, of course, is a notoriously slow starter. And now he’s basically starting his season in June.

But after going 1 for 9 with a walk and seven strikeouts in his first three games back after returning from the March wrist injury, Teixeira finally made an impact, sending a grand slam over the right-field fence in the third. It gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead that Andy Pettitte lost, but they recovered nicely in this 7-4 win over the Indians.

“We needed this win,” Teixeira said. “We’ve had a rough enough streak the last week and a half, two weeks as it is. That grand slam was good for me and good for the team.”

Joe Girardi thinks it’s going to “take Tex some time to catch up.” He also said: “Tex is an RBI machine and we need that.”

Teixeira said his wrist is holding up well so far, but he also doesn’t think getting up to speed is an instantaneous process. He finished 1 for 3 with a walk.

“I know it’s going to take me a few weeks to get back in the rhythm of playing every day and seeing big-league pitching every day,” Teixeira said. “But this is a good first step.”

Andy Pettitte felt like he ran out of gas in his first game back after the trapezius problem. He lasted just 4 2/3, giving up three runs in that fifth and four total. He said he doesn’t plan to cut back on his between-starts routine, thinking he needs that much throwing in order to be strong enough to have success. He usually has two bullpen sessions between outings.

Lyle Overbay, meanwhile, says he’s up for more action in right. He ran in to catch the one chance he had.

“I survived,” he said. “I felt relaxed.”

Photo by The Associated Press

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 25 Comments →

Nova a bright spot for Yankees, plus injury updates, Overbay situation05.30.13

Ivan NovaIvan Nova really hasn’t had too many good moments since the first half of last season, but the 26-year-old righty was one of the bright lights on an otherwise dark night for the home team at Yankee Stadium Wednesday.

He was working in the long-lost game against the Mets, entering for the fifth with the Yankees trailing 8-1.  He allowed just one run and five hits with six strikeouts and only one walk across the final five innings of the 9-4 loss.

“I was throwing a lot of strikes and I was aggressive,” Nova said. “It’s a good one.”

In the eighth, he struck out the side, getting Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Ruben Tejada swinging.

“The curveball was really good,” Nova said. “Once I get ahead, I go with my curveball. That’s my strikeout pitch.”

Nova knows he has to prove that he’s worthy of being put back in the rotation after posting a 6.48 ERA over four starts and then spending April 27 through May 23 on the DL with triceps inflammation and a back problem. He pitched into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th inning and earned the win last Saturday at Tampa Bay in his first relief outing after returning. This second outing brought his ERA down from 6.11 to 5.16.

“I’m really excited about the way I’m pitching,” Nova said. “The way I pitched today, I’m pretty happy with myself.”

It would certainly be a boost for the Yankees if he can pitch like this consistently and regain the form when he went 16-4 as a rookie in 2011 or 10-3 in the first half last year.

Also, here’s the link to my story on last night’s game. The Yankees have scored just nine runs in the four-game losing streak. Here are updates on Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson. And I spoke with Lyle Overbay and he’s loving his time here and wants to stay no matter what the role after Teixeira’s return.

Photo by The Associated Press

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 237 Comments →

Yankees pregame: injuries and the roster05.29.13

Of course, the Yankees’ pregame chatter had much to do about injuries. Both Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis played seven innings in the field and both went 0 for 2 with a walk in their first rehab game with Trenton today. Barring anything hurting after tomorrow’s rehab game, both are expected back for the start of the Red Sox series here Friday night.

Joe Girardi isn’t exactly sweating over messing up the chemistry. He called that talk “kind of strange.” Just bring back those bats, so he can balance out the lineup, especially vs. lefties.

“We’re so left-handed dominant,” Girardi said. “We’re running up six lefties in a row tonight, seven out of nine. (Their return) changes our lineup a little bit, makes it harder to navigate through. But it’s also experience and a lot of production that we’re bringing back.”

Curtis Granderson had a pin placed in his broken knuckle today.

“The surgery does not change (anything),” Girardi said. “It’s basically four weeks of inactivity and then you go from there. You can’t expect him to go four weeks  of inactivity and be in a game the next day. So the healing process, the time doesn’t change. They just decided it was better to put a pin in there. Four weeks, he’ll start doing rehab.”

Girardi confirmed Andy Pettitte is expected back early next week if his trapezius is feeling OK, and he talked about cutting back from 13 to 12 pitchers. The Yankees will probably need two roster spots Friday and then one for Pettitte. So Vidal Nuno, who will start for Pettitte tomorrow night, figures to be one of the guys going to make room for Teixeira or Youkilis.

I spoke with Lyle Overbay when the clubhouse opened and he’s hoping to stay, even in a reserve role. And he should stay considering he’s second on the team in RBI with 29, nine of them driving in the go-ahead run. So it could come down to David Adams vs. Reid Brignac Friday. Your thoughts? And Nova for when Pettitte comes back? Hard to send down Preston Claiborne or Adam Warren with how they’ve pitched. We’ll see.

Also, Derek Jeter is on the field playing catch.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 103 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Welcome Reid Brignac, and you’re starting at shortstop today05.19.13

The newest new guy is here. Joe Girardi has Reid Brignac in his lineup (although it’s raining right now at 11:30). He’s down to play short and bat eighth. He arrived in town last night after being acquired Saturday from the Rockies, who had designated him for assignment after he batted .250 with a homer and six RBI in 29 games. Brignac said he was a little disappointed and upset when the Rockies dumped him and excited when the Yankees picked him up.

“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions,” Brignac said.

Brignac is 27 and he knows this division rather well, having been with the Rays for all or parts of the last five seasons, primarily parts. He gives the Yankees a lefty-hitting option at short. He can also play third, second and the outfield.

“Just to be a very good shortstop out there when he plays and to add offensively,” Girardi said of his expectations. “I’ve seen him have some big days. I’ve seen him have some good years. I think there’s some good talent there. So we’re going to see what he can do.

“I think he’s a really good defender. I think he’s got a little pop in his bat. This ballpark might play well for that.”

Chris Stewart is available in an absolutely-need-you situation after tweaking his groin rounding third on Thursday night, but he still won’t be starting behind the plate for at least a few days.

“I have told him that tomorrow maybe we’ll start some tee and toss and see where he’s at in that situation, moving around,” Girardi said. “He’s still a guy who I would not hesitate to put in there if I had to, but I figured if you can get one more day in a sense, where it gives you almost 36 hours, let’s take it, take advantage of it. I don’t know if he would play Tuesday, but I want to know that he’s better so we could make a decision. He does feel better; he told me.”

Girardi said Kevin Youkilis is making progress in rehab from his back problem, hitting off a tee and against soft tosses and taking grounders. Girardi also said the news on Mark Teixeira’s comeback from his wrist problem is good.

“He’s been taking BP,” Girardi said. “He’s doing actually really well. We’re encouraged by what he’s doing. There has to be probably a next step here pretty quick where he starts to see some live BP or some simulated games.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 71 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Grandy off center?05.05.13

The Yankees had seemed to have passed on moving Curtis Granderson from center to left after he broke his right forearm in his first at-bat of his first exhibition game and missed spring training. But Joe Girardi today opened up the possibility again that Granderson may not be in center when he returns, that Brett Gardner may stay there.

“We’ll decide that as time goes on,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about Grandy; we just want to get him healthy. People have asked me a lot about, ‘When Grandy comes back, what are you going to do with your outfield if you have three guys who are playing pretty well?’ I said, ‘Well, Grandy is going to play. He’s a big part of our offense.’ But as we’ve seen around here, a lot can happen in a couple of weeks.”

Later, Girardi added, ‘We might toy around with some other things (for Granderson), left, right, other things. He’s getting reps everywhere right now.”

But that isn’t happening with Gardner next to him.

“That’s not my concern,” Girardi said. “My concern is how he reacts in all the different spots.”

Granderson has been playing extended spring games. And, of course, he had to get hit by a pitch Saturday in the arm. But this was in the triceps, according to Girardi.

“From what I understand, he’s OK. He’s kind of picking up where he left off,” Girardi said about him getting hit again.

The minor-league complex in Tampa will be packed with rehabbing major leaguers with several others set to join Granderson, including Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

“I know there’s a lot of big people there,” Girardi said. “I understand that. But that’s not going to be the focus of my day. The focus of my day is the people in this room right now and winning the game.”

David Robertson played catch for the second straight day. He plans to test that lower left hamstring again Tuesday prior to the game in Colorado, throwing on flat ground and then throwing a few pitches off a mound if that goes well. He said he just has a little tightness now.

“I don’t see why I can’t be ready,” Robertson said.

Andy Pettitte struggled without his signature cutter in his last start, against the Astros. Girardi doesn’t expect that to be a problem today, against the A’s.

“I’ll be completely shocked if it’s not there today,” Girardi said.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 21 Comments →

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