Big Mike is back tonight. Here’s David Ginsburg reporting for The Associated Press.
Pineda last pitched on April 23, when he was ejected from a game against Boston. He received a 10-game suspension from Major League Baseball for “possessing a foreign substance on his person.”
Pineda has been on the DL since May 6 with a right shoulder muscle injury. He returns to face the Orioles after making two rehabilitation starts for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre.
Pineda declared himself healthy and expressed an eagerness to put the suspension behind him.
“I know I made a mistake, so I learned from that,” he said in the New York clubhouse Monday. “Everything is in the past right now. I want to continue my career. I’m focused on my game and I’m focused on pitching. I said sorry to my team, sorry to everybody.”
Pineda is 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in four starts.
“I’m working hard, I was doing good, and I want to be ready for this situation,” he said. “I’m happy.”
The Yankees considered giving Pineda another rehab start but decided he was ready to go.
“We feel he’s ready now,” manager Joe Girardi said. “His stuff was good. His slider was good, his fastball was good, and his changeup was good. You’re never sure how when a guy’s rehabbing how the arm strength is going to be and how short they’re going to be, but he threw the ball well.”
Pineda returns at a time when the Yankees need a surge to make up a six-game deficit on first-place Baltimore in the AL East.
“This is a guy that threw very well before he went on the DL and it will be nice to have him back,” Girardi said.
Associated Press photo
Pineda to start tomorrow • 08.12.14
Wednesday: Michael Pineda
Thursday: Off day
Friday: Brandon McCarthy
Saturday: Shane Greene
Sunday: Chris Capuano
Yankees pregame: Teixeira watch • 08.10.14
Joe Girardi is really hopeful he can stick with the lineup he put together today for the series finale against the Indians, the one with Mark Teixeira batting cleanup and playing first after missing three games.
Teixeira is testing his left pinkie in batting practice.
“It’s important to us,” Girardi said. “It means we can move some other people around and do some things that would help us, and you get him in the middle of the order where he’s been productive. It would be nice.”
Girardi still had no decision to announce on Wednesday night’s starter in Baltimore, Michael Pineda or Esmil Rogers. It will be the finale of a three-game series. The Yankees are in second, trailing the Orioles by six games at the moment.
“They’re important games because we’re chasing them,” Girardi said. “They have a lead in our division and that’s where we want to be, on top of the division. I think we have 10 more games with them. But the important thing is that we continue to take series, like we have an opportunity to today. And you need to do that if you want to play in October.”
Hiroki Kuroda goes today. The 39-year-old hasn’t shown signs of wearing down like he did last year, at least not yet.
“I’ve been really pleased,” Girardi said. “We’ve been somewhat conscious of his workload. I know the one day in Texas we had to push him (to 115 pitches), but we knew he had an extra day. I think the last start he threw 90 pitches (actually 91). It was seven innings, though. We’ll continue to watch him.”
Girardi seems in no hurry to get Carlos Beltran back in right.
“He’s been throwing,” Girardi said. “He definitely feels better. But … with the flexibility we got with (Martin) Prado, we feel less of a rush, not a rush, but we’re OK. It’s subject to change, but we’ll see what happens.”
Photo by The Associated Press.
Mark Teixeira took some swings off a tee yesterday, testing the left pinkie that took a three-stitch cut on Wednesday. It didn’t go well.
“It’s not the cut,” Teixeira said this morning. “The joint is really, really sore.”
Then Teixeira tested it again after he spoke.
“He took swings and he felt better,” Joe Girardi said. “Hopefully it’s not much longer with him.”
The Yankees just announced that Brian McCann is going on the 7-day concussion DL. He suffered a mild concussion on a foul tip to the face mask in last night’s game. Austin Romine was recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Brian Roberts was unconditionally released.
Michael Pineda went 4 1/3 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Friday night, allowing one run and six hits while striking out seven. He threw 72 pitches.
“Everything is there,” Pineda said, back at his locker this morning. “The velocity is there. I’m feeling good. I’m happy with that.”
That was his second rehab start in his latest comeback from the upper back muscle strain near that right shoulder. Asked if he’s ready to pitch for the Yankees again, Pineda said, “I’m ready for pitching, yeah.”
Esmil Rogers turned in a strong five-inning start last night, filling in for the injured David Phelps. Both Rogers and Pineda are set to throw a bullpen session tomorrow, so both are on line for Wednesday.
But will Pineda make his return that night against the first-place Orioles in Baltimore?
“That’s something we’ll have to talk about,” Girardi said. “Ideally you’d like to get someone to 90 pitches. … We’ll sit down, Brian (Cashman) and the people who saw it, and decide what’s next for him.”
Paul O’Neill is receiving his Monument Park plaque honor before the game.
“The intensity he brought, I used to love to watch,” Girardi said.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Since getting home from Boston, the Yankees have won four of five at Yankee Stadium, and each of those wins was started by a pitcher who wasn’t on the roster at the beginning of July. First it was Brandon McCarthy, then Chris Capuano, then Shane Greene, and now Esmil Rogers — a mix of youth and experience, familiar names and off-the-radar acquisitions.
This is not remotely the rotation the Yankees planned, but it’s working.
“It was the reason we went and got these guys because we felt that they could help us,” Joe Girardi said. “They’ve pitched extremely well. I’m not sure any of us knew exactly what to expect, but if you look at since the All-Star break, we’ve had a chance to win every game and that’s because of them.”
Rogers is arguably the least likely of the bunch. Cast out of the Blue Jays bullpen early this season, he’d been toiling in Triple-A for months when the Yankees grabbed him off waivers at the trade deadline. He was supposed to be a long man, but when David Phelps became the fifth Yankees starter to land on the disabled list — they have yet to get one back — Rogers was asked to make his first big league start since September of 2013.
He went five innings with one run, and even that was nearly avoided before a two-out single in the first inning.
“I didn’t have all my confidence (in Toronto) like I have it right now in all my pitches,” Rogers said. “My slider and my curveball, changeup and splitter too, and the sinker is unbelievable right now. So i think the key is pounding the zone right now.”
With Michael Pineda making a minor league rehab start tonight in Triple-A, and seeming available to come off the disabled list in five days if necessary, the Yankees now face a decision of whether to have Rogers start again or activate Pineda next turn through the rotation.
At the very least Rogers must have given the Yankees some confidence if they would rather stick with the original plan and let Pineda make one more minor league start.
“I think there’s a lot of things that are tied together here that we’re going to have to try to unwrap to see what we do next,” Girardi said.
• Brian McCann left tonight’s game with a mild concussion, but Girardi said he’s still not sure whether McCann will land on the seven-day disabled list. It will depend on tests tomorrow morning. “I think they evaluate him the next day to see what the doctors determine,” Girardi said.
• For whatever it’s worth, McCann didn’t want to leave tonight’s game. He stayed in after taking a foul tip in the third inning — “He (initially) felt like his jaw got jammed,” Girardi said — but after the top of the sixth, McCann told Girardi that he didn’t feel quite right. “I asked him, ‘Are you dizzy?’” Girardi said. “He said, no. I said, ‘Are you sick to your stomach?’ He said, no. He said, ‘I just don’t feel quite right.’ I said, ‘Do you feel a little foggy?’ (He said), yes. … He didn’t want to come out, but I said, you’re out.”
• Pineda’s final line in tonight’s Triple-A rehab start: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He threw 72 pitches. He told Donnie Collins that he feels ready to return to the big leagues.
• More from Donnie Collins: “Pineda really only gave up two hard-hit balls. (Double) by Walters in the first, and (single) by Aguilar in third. Change, fastball up, respectively.” Donnie says that Pineda’s fastball was 92-94 mph.
• Rogers has pitched for the Yankees three times and he has two wins. He threw 88 pitches tonight, and Girardi said he might have gone longer had he not pitched in Tuesday’s game. Certainly suggests he would be at least cleared for 100 pitches if the Yankees choose to send him out in five days. “I just wasn’t sure how much he would be able to give us, and I think we were pretty conscious of watching his stuff continue to be sharp as his pitch count mounted,” Girardi said. “He did a great job.”
• Carlos Beltran hit the 11th grand slam of his career in the sixth inning. It was his first grand slam since 2012. “You want to at least get the job done and get one in,” Beltran said. “I faced John Axford many times in the National League so I guess I have maybe like one hit against him. He felt that it was the right matchup for me. I was able to put a good at-bat and come through for the team.”
• This was the Yankees second grand slam of the year. Brett Gardner also hit one. Beltran had two hits and has been excellent since the All-Star break.
• Another milestone for Derek Jeter. Tonight’s first-inning single was the 3,430th of his career, tying Honus Wagner for sixth place on baseball’s all-time hits list. Honus Wagner! That’s insane. “Big names,” Girardi said. “I mean really big names, and it’s been fun to watch him go through it this season.”
• Ichiro Suzuki collected his 2,810th big league hit, tying George Sisler for 48th on baseball’s all-time hits list. Ichiro also had his first multi-steal game since June 15 of last year.
• This was the fourth time the Yankees scored at least 10 runs this season. This was the first time since 2012 that they scored five runs in more than one inning.
• In those two five-run innings, the Yankees had a total of just six hits. Took advantage of a bunch of walks tonight.
• The Yankees had a losing home record in the first half of the season, but they’ve won 11 of 15 at home since the All-Star break. “I did expect it to even out because we feel our lineup is built for this field, our ballpark,” Girardi said. “So you did expect it to even out. When I talked about coming into the second half (I said) we need to play better at home, and we have.”
• Final word to Beltran: “I think the team has been doing the job, trying to add players that can make the ballclub better offensively and defensively. We had a lot of downs with our starting rotation and things like that, but at the end of the day we need to find a way to do it with what we’ve got.”
Associated Press photos
Mark Teixeira tested his cut lefty pinky earlier today, and by “tested” I mean that he gripped a bat and took a few dry swings.
“Pretty painful,” Teixeira said. “But I’m going to go out, run around, stretch, hopefully some blood flow will help, get it warm. During the day, as the day goes on, hopefully it just keeps getting a little better.”
Despite the early pain just gripping a bat, Teixeira said he’s going to take some tee and toss in the indoor cage, but there are no plans for him to immediately take batting practice. There’s really no telling when he’ll be back in the lineup. Could be soon. Could be several days.
“I’d love to play as soon as possible,” he said. “But I have no idea. I’ve never done this before. I have no idea how long it’s going to take.”
The cut is to his left pinky, and Teixeira said he’s assuming he’ll have an easier time batting left-handed. He’s also assuming he’ll be alright in the field, but he hasn’t tried to put on a glove. Joe Girardi said he’s considering Teixeira day-to-day and will follow guidance from the trainers in deciding whether Teixeira will be available to pinch hit before he’s available to start.
“There’s a big cut and then there’s the bruising and then the joints probably sprained a little bit too,” Teixeira said. “It’s just sore. I’m not sure if it’ll get worse, but it definitely needs to get better.”
• Masahiro Tanaka played catch again this afternoon. He made 25 throws at 60 feet and 25 throws at 90 feet. He will throw at 90 feet again tomorrow, then take a day off. He needs to get up to 120 feet before the Yankees will let him throw a flat-ground bullpen. “He said he felt good,” Girardi said.
• Michael Pineda is make a rehab start tonight with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Girardi said he might get an update or two during the game, but he’s really planning to wait until it’s over before finding out how Pineda looked. “Chances are it will be flashed on our TV screen in the video room and someone will give me a report,” Girardi said. “But for the most part I’ll check in after.”
• Bryan Mitchell is back. This is his third call-up, but he has yet to get in a game. Girardi said he’s just up to give the Yankees some bullpen innings if necessary. The Yankees are happy with the way Mitchell was pitching in Triple-A, where he had a 2.88 ERA through five starts (four of which were very good).
• Although Esmil Rogers was stretched out as a starter in Triple-A and has been stretched out beyond 100 pitches this season, Girardi said he doesn’t expect to get that many pitches out of Rogers tonight. “Obviously he pitched Sunday and went 45 pitches,” Girardi said. “And then he pitched Tuesday which would be a normal side day. But he threw in the game, and I think you expend a little bit more than if you do your normal side. He’s been built up to 100 pitches, but I wouldn’t think we’d get that many. It’s basically going to be watch and see.”
• The Yankees are carrying two left-handed relievers, but neither is a typical left-on-left specialist (Rich Hill and David Huff have been primarily long men and spot starters). Eventually, it seems the Yankees would like to bring up a young reliever to try to be a left-on-left replacement for Matt Thornton, but that hasn’t happened yet and might not happen right away. “Obviously we hope one of them moves quickly here and could be an option for us,” Girardi said. “As of today, we don’t feel that, but we like what we see.”
Associated Press photos
Yankees pregame: Tanaka still in play • 08.04.14
Masahiro Tanaka tested his right elbow for the first time since his platelet-rich plasma injection three weeks ago. He threw 25 times at 60 feet in the outfield. And the elbow passed its first test.
So how does he feel?
“Good,” Tanaka said in English.
“I thought it went all well,” he added in Japanese.
Tanaka said he felt “relieved.” The hope is he can be a starter again for the Yankees for the final month.
But Joe Girardi wasn’t ecstatic because this was only the first step, just a light catch. Tanaka is scheduled to play catch again tomorrow.
“It’s a positive day, but there’s still a long way to go,” Girardi said.
Obviously mound throwing will be the real test of whether the ulnar collateral ligament will hold up.
Girardi needs a starter for Friday night against the Indians now that David Phelps has gone on the DL with elbow tendinitis. Michael Pineda threw 58 pitches for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Sunday, plus another five in the bullpen. Pineda said he was feeling good and in a normal routine now. Could Pineda be a possibility for Friday?
While Girardi didn’t rule it out, he made it sound unlikely. He would like Pineda built up to at least 90 pitches, which would take another two rehab starts. Girardi did say that he thought the start would likely be taken by someone on the staff now.
Brett Gardner was named the AL player of the week after batting .478 with five homers and seven RBI in six games.
“It’s been fun, and if he wants to do it this week, that’ll be great, too,” Girardi said.
In the days leading up to the trade deadline, the Yankees seemed to be banking on Carlos Beltran getting back in the outfield fairly soon. He was playing catch again, things seemed to be going pretty well, and Joe Girardi was talking about putting Beltran in right field as early as the upcoming home stand.
But that’s not longer such a priority.
“I think there’s probably a little less of a, I don’t want to use ‘sense of urgency,’ but (sense) that we need to get him out there,” Joe Girardi said. “We have more options. We were carrying three outfielders for a while there. Carlos was the fourth, and then we were running infielders out there. But with Martin (Prado), who’s played a lot of outfield, and then having Ich too — we’ll make sure (Beltran)’s ready when he goes out there.”
Basically, sounds like the Yankees haven’t given up on Beltran playing the outfield this season, there’s just less need to make it happen now that Prado is the everyday right fielder is Ichiro Suzuki is a true fourth outfielder. No reason to risk hurting a guy who’s become a productive hitter again since the All-Star break.
“I think we’ll keep him throwing and see where he’s at,” Girardi said. “The one thing we don’t want to risk is him having a setback. We’ve kind of taken it day by day, but we’ll keep him throwing.”
• Tomorrow’s a pretty big day for the Yankees with Michael Pineda scheduled for 60-65 pitches in a Triple-A rehab game. Seems he’ll need one or two more minor league starts before being activated, but certainly he’s getting close (barring another setback, obviously). “The important thing is that he builds up and comes out of it healthy,” Girardi said. “You get 60, 65 pitches tomorrow, and then you figure five days later you’re getting close to 80. You’re starting to get pretty close. The big thing is that he responds to going out there and physically feels good. And this is further than he was before, so it makes you feel that this injury is healed.”
• Speaking of injury, there is none to Brian McCann, but the Yankees have been happy with the way Francisco Cervelli and Shane Greene have worked together. Add that it’s an afternoon game after a night game, and that’s why McCann isn’t in the lineup. “There’s a lot of familiarity,” Girardi said. “(Greene)’s thrown the ball well with (Cervelli) back there. We’re going to give Brian days off in this 13-day stretch, so I chose today.”
• Although he’s played a few innings at the position, this is actually Martin Prado’s first career start in right field. “There’s nothing that tells me he can’t do it, so I don’t worry much about it,” Girardi said. “I haven’t put much thought about him going out there. I just penciled his name in.”
• If you couldn’t tell, the addition of Prado signals the intended end of Ichiro Suzuki being an everyday player for the Yankees. He’s back to that backup outfielder role that he had out of spring training (and he actually thrived in that role for a while). “I think at this point in the season you kind of go day by day (determining Ichiro’s playing time), but we acquired Prado to play a lot,” Girardi said.
• Obviously the Red Sox have been pretty bad this year, but after their trade deadline moves, their lineup has a string of 2-through-5 hitters consisting of Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Yoenis Cespedes and Mike Napoli (Allen Craig has the day off or else I assume he’d be hitting sixth). That’s pretty dangerous. Cespedes is a big right-handed bat that really fits well for Boston. “We’ve seen him have success off us,” Girardi said. “And this ballpark probably plays pretty well for him, too. He’s an accomplished hitter, he’s a dangerous hitter, and you’ve got to make your pitches.”
Associated Press photos
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.”
• 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
“This next week I’ll get some of the other guys into games here to keep everyone going,” Girardi said. “But you like to try to run the same lineup out there as much as you can.”
Will there come a day when Carlos Beltran will be in the lineup as the right fielder again instead of as the DH? He would need to start throwing again first.
“We’ve talked about that,” Girardi said. “That could probably start happening pretty soon here.”
With Beltran’s bone spur in the right elbow and the struggles and departure of Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki has taken on a larger role in right. This will be the 40-year-old’s 49th start out there. Ichiro is batting. 286 with no homers and 11 RBI in 83 games. He’s 0 for his last 16.
“He’s had a pretty decent year for us,” Girardi said. “He’s played a lot as of late. I know that I have to give him a day off every once in a while to keep him fresh. Even though he won’t say that, I think it’s important that that happens. But he’s been an everyday player for us.”
Michael Pineda has thrown one live batting practice session and Girardi thinks he will do that again.
“And then you might start seeing him, in a sense, throw a couple of innings, three innings, that sort of thing, depending on how that goes,” Girardi said.
“Sometimes we like to do sim games because it’s easier to build them up. It’s more controlled.”
This has been substandard home team this year. After beating the Reds in the first two games of this series, the Yankees are still only 20-23 at home.
“It’s going to take everyone in that clubhouse for us to play better at home,” Girardi said.
Photo by The Associated Press