The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Yankees pregame: Overbay takes the leap and hopes for the best06.03.13

The Yankees are going to give Overbay some action in right, starting tonight. The 36-year-old first baseman played five games there for Missoula in rookie ball in 1999. He played 25 games in left for Double-A El Paso in 2001. He spent much of this spring training playing in the outfield for the Red Sox. And he took fly balls during batting practice the last two days — in left.

“We’ve been forced to be a little bit creative here because of some of the injuries,” Joe Girardi said. “We just feel we’re going to give him an opportunity out there. It also gives us a little coverage for (Mark Teixeira) at first base, if we feel he needs a day off. We’ll see how it goes.”

His outfield glove is being shipped to him. So for now, he’s borrowing Boone Logan’s glove, which was given to Logan by David Robertson, who used it to shag flies.

“I’m 98 percent excited, 2 percent scared; or 98 percent scared, 2 percent excited; I don’t know,” Overbay said. “No, I’m excited. Any time you get out on the field, it’s an opportunity.”

Nick Swisher is back in town for the first time since leaving. Not surprisingly, he didn’t want to rehash his criticism of the fans after things got a bit harsh in the punchless playoffs. Life is good for him in Cleveland. Not that it was easy on him departing the Bronx.

“I still have great relationships with everybody over there,” Swisher said. “I knew very early in the offseason that coming back here was not going to be an option. So I had to do my best to step off. Obviously making that step was harder than most things that I’ve done in my life. But that’s kind of part of the game. This is a business. At the time, they were trying to stay under the payroll. But either way, I was so thankful for my opportunity to come over here and play. But being in Cleveland, I could not be more excited. We’ve got a great squad over here. We’ve got a scrappy squad. So far the season has gone pretty good for us.”

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 18 Comments →

Pinch hitting: Daniel Burch01.21.13

Up next in our Pinch Hitters series is Daniel Burch, who was born 27 years ago in Lebanon Hospital overlooking the old Yankee Stadium. Daniel has since moved to Atlanta and says that the Yankees are “easily the biggest thing that I miss from living in New York.” Daniel started his own blog, The Greedy Pinstripes, and calls himself a confessed “prospect hugger and anti austerity fan.”

Makes sense, then, that Daniel suggested a post about Brian Cashman’s trade history and whether Yankees fans should trust their general manager to make the necessary moves to keep the Yankees winning without a $200-million payroll.

This has been an off season to remember, or forget, depending on how you want to look at it.

For fans spoiled to grow up watching the Yankees during the dynasty years of the mid 90′s until as recently as 2009, we have all seen guys come through the system like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, and a plethora of others guys that I am unintentionally forgetting. We have also seen the Yankees go out and bid against themselves to get the biggest free agent prizes like Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, David Wells, Hideki Matsui, and probably 600 other free agents that George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have gotten into pinstripes. With a seemingly infinite budget — in free agency, on the international market and in the draft — the Yankees and Cashman have not been afraid to pull off big trades involving prospects for proven veteran pieces to make another World Series run. It was fun to watch until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its harsher penalties for repeat luxury tax offenders.

The idea to get under the $189-million threshold to save some money and restart the penalties makes sense on paper, but does it make sense in the real world? I personally have my doubts, and my question has always been whether the fiscal savings by getting under the threshold would outweigh the fiscal hit the Yankees would take if we were mediocre on the field not only in 2014 but this season as well. Can the Yankees really compete in a deep and competitive American League East AND follow through with the austerity budget in what seems to be a rebuilding project? Sure, we can, but the only way that is going to happen is if we put our faith into Cashman’s alter ego: Ninja Cashman.

Let’s not beat around the bush: Our farm system, especially in the upper levels, is depleted and barren and not going to really help us in major spots in 2013 and beyond besides for maybe a David Adams, Corban Joseph, Adam Warren, or a Mark Montgomery. While those are nice pieces for depth or in a pinch, aside from Montgomery, none of these guys is a can’t-miss type that we will need to keep the payroll down and still compete. The only way we are going to get this done is if Ninja Cashman can pull off a trade or two that brings us a young and effective piece without creating too many other holes. But can we really bank on that? I am glad that you asked…

I took it upon myself to look at the past six seasons worth of trades, no matter how minor, and evaluate each one specifically to determine whether we should really put our faith into Ninja Cash or if we should expect to miss the playoffs the next two seasons. I am just going to hit the high spots because I do not think anyone puts much weight into trades like when we acquired Justin Maxwell from the Nationals in 2011 for some guy whose name I cannot pronounce and have to copy and paste his last name (Adam Olbrychowski) to make sure the spelling is correct. Let’s look and evaluate the trade history of Ninja Cash:

On July 23, 2012 the Yankees traded minor leaguers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar for Ichiro Suzuki. This trade worked out beautifully for the Yankees because we were never going to give either of the young guys a shot for the big club, and in 67 games Ichiro gave us a 0.8 WAR, wreaked havoc on the base paths, and was one of the few Yankees to not totally disappear when the calendar changed to October. Verdict: Good Trade

On April 4, 2012 Cashman traded George Kontos to the Giants for Chris Stewart. This trade never made much sense to me because, while I can agree that relievers are a dime a dozen and Kontos was not exactly young or a “can’t miss guy,” can you not say the same thing about backup, defensive-minded, no-bat catchers? And that’s especially relevant when the Yankees already had a capable backup in Francisco Cervelli. Kontos went on to have a pretty good season for the eventual World Series champions, while we were without guys like Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain. Stewart did nothing of note for the Yankees. Granted Stewart looks more and more like our starting catcher in 2013, which I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, so there is time to get some value out of this trade. Verdict: Bad Trade

On January 23, 2012 the Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos from the Mariners. As much as this trade hurt because I have watched Montero come through the system and salivated at the idea of his power in Yankee Stadium, the trade made sense because Pineda was a power arm with five years left of team control and filled a need. Campos was also considered to be able to walk into camp and be listed in our Top 5 Prospects list right away. He had much more potential then Noesi ever thought of having. The trade is obviously incomplete as even after the 2013 season we will still have three years left of Pineda, and Campos is still only in Charleston. You have to wonder if Pineda will ever come back and be effective for the Yankees, and the only redeeming factor in this trade is the fact that Montero once again seems to be without a true position and did not exactly tear the cover off of the ball while Noesi got lit up in Safeco. Verdict: Fair Trade

On July 31, 2010 the Yankees acquired “Kid K” Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for two players to be named later — who turned out to be Matt Cusik and Andrew Shive — and cash. Kerry came over and absolutely dominated out of the Yankees pen with a 0.69 ERA in the second half while, to date neither, Shive nor Cusik has done anything for the tribe. Verdict: Good Trade

On December 22, 2009 the Yankees traded Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez. While in Atlanta, Cabrera was absolutely terrible, allowed to leave as a free agent, and eventually signed with Kansas City. Dunn has not done anything to lose sleep over, and Vizcaino is going to miss the 2013 season with Tommy John surgery. While Logan has been somewhat of the LOOGY we have been searching for the last five to ten seasons, Vazquez was absolutely terrible for the Yankees. It is a lot to give up just for essentially a LOOGY, but since we did not give up anything that has come back to bite us to date this trade gets my approval. Verdict: Good Trade

On December 8, 2009 the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Tigers hooked up in a three-team trade that saw The Yankees acquire Curtis Granderson from Detroit while giving up Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Tigers and sending Ian Kennedy to Arizona with other lesser pieces moving back and forth. Granderson started out well for the Yankees and has compiled a 13.2 WAR since the trade. The pieces we gave up have compiled a 26.8 WAR in the same time period. Jackson has turned into one of the better leadoff men and center fielders in the American League, Coke has dominated us in the playoffs out of the pen, and Kennedy is one season removed from becoming a 20-game winner. Granderson has forgotten how to take routes in center field and has become an all-or-nothing kind of home run hitter that the Yankees were trying to get away from. Verdict: Bad Trade

Our final trade we are going to look at was on November 13, 2008 when the Yankees acquire Nick Swisher and reliever Kanekoa Texeira for Wilson Betemit, Jeffrey Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez. This was a classic buy low move after Swisher had the worst season of his career in Chicago and rebounded nicely in four seasons for the Yankees. We gave up nothing of note and got a fan favorite in return that the Yankees are scrambling and struggling to replace after leaving via free agency this season. Swisher has compiled a 15 WAR in his time in pinstripes where Betemit, Marquez, and Nunez combined have brought Chicago a 2 WAR. Verdict: Excellent Trade

I know that I have missed a few trades, but for the sake of space, I hit the high spots and went over the bigger of the trades. According to my tally, I have one excellent trade, three good trades, one fair trade, and two bad trades. Trades, much like the MLB draft, are a crap shoot because you never know what you are going to get, but on the bigger trades Ninja Cash seems to get the better end of the deal more often than not.

I am not the most patient Yankees fan, and I definitely hate settling for anyone less then Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton this offseason — hence the name Greedy Pinstripes. My faith in my General Manager and the team’s commitment to winning will never waiver. Ninja Cash has been fantastic at finding cheap value late in the offseason and in trades, and I have full confidence that he will again in 2013 and 2014 to keep this team in contention.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 95 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Ichiro No. 2 again09.23.12

Brian Heyman back again for Chad today, rookie hazing day at the Stadium. The rookies are supposed to dress up in costumes left for them after the game for the trip to Minnesota. I do have a sense of humor, but never really cared for the whole hazing concept, even for NFL rookies having to sing their school fight songs for a room full of veterans. Anyway we’ll see what it’s in store after the game.

Nick Swisher has hit anywhere from second to seventh. He has batted second 51 times, but he’s in the five hole today. Ichiro Suzuki is batting second for the second straight game. He’s batting .700 over his last five games.

“He’s just swinging the bat so well, and it gives you a real speed element up there,” Joe Girardi said. “Swish has been really good in moving him around this year, because he’s one of our wild cards in breaking up all the lefties. So I’ve had to move him around a little bit without (Mark Teixeira) being here. We’ve been missing one of those right-handed bats or a switch-hitter for the last two and a half months basically with Al (Rodriguez) being out. So it’s just the way Ichi has been swinging and getting on base and can run, the speed that he has — it’s helped.”

The last six games against the A’s have been decided by one run.

“We were on the wrong end of four in a row at their place,” Girardi said. “We’ve been fortunate to win these last two. They’ve been very good ballgames. Who knows what’s going to happen today?”

Teixeira is set to fly to Tampa this afternoon to continue the rehab process. Brett Gardner still hasn’t been activated, but Girardi said he will travel with the team for this final road trip of the regular season.

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 132 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Small ball/long ball; Nunez runs wild09.16.12

Alex Rodriguez called the Yankees’ five-run third “one of the best offensive innings we’ve had all year.” There were three hits, three walks, one homer (the three-run shot by Russell Martin), one error, one wild pitch and two steals, plus a Nick Swisher sacrifice.

“We get small ball and Bronx ball going back and forth, it’s going to be a lot of fun for us,” Swisher said. “A little Swisher-ism.”

Eduardo Nunez may be an adventure in the field sometimes, but he does have his value, especially in the small-ball game.

“I think I can run a little bit,” Nunez said.

He led off the big rally by working out a full-count walk. The following inning, he led off again and reached on an error before stealing second and third and scoring on an A-Rod sac fly in the fourth. His speed gives the Yankees an ability to create runs that they had been lacking without Brett Gardner.

“He changes the game offensively for us,” Rodriguez said about Nunez. “He has a unique package where he has power, speed and he has enough recklessness where it’s really helpful for our lineup.”

Martin has finally perked up in this lineup. His average is up to all of .209 after a 10-game stretch in which he has batted .343 with three homers and 11 RBI.

“The laws of averages, they’re on my side right now,” Martin said. “I just feel like I’m seeing the ball well.”

Joe Girardi saw Derek Jeter, the DH for the fourth straight game, still limping a little on the bases thanks to the bone bruise in his left ankle.

“I think it’s still hurt,” Girardi said. “I don’t see him as the shortstop yet right now as we speak.”

Girardi said he will see how Jeter feels on Tuesday following the off day. Jeter is one hit away from his eighth 200-hit year and his first since 2009, impressive at age 37/38 this season.

Hiroki Kuroda got some run support, which hasn’t always been the story of his season. He gave up four runs and four hits over six, with three runs coming in the sixth, two on a bad-hop single by Evan Longoria. Kuroda is 14-10 with a 3.26 ERA.

“With that kind of run support, I wanted to go deep in the game … but I hit that bump in the sixth inning,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “That’s the only regret I have.”

The Yankees have won two in a row, four of five, five of seven and seven of 11.

“We talked about playing better baseball,” Girardi said. “We starting to do that.”

“I think September is going to be the biggest blessing in disguise for us,” Alex Rodriguez said. “This is the kind of baseball we’re going to have to play to win in October. And the other thing is, these are playoff-caliber games. We’re stepping up to the occasion a little bit.”

 

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 235 Comments →

If he has to leave, Swisher wants to go with no regrets/morning paper08.19.12

Nick Swisher delivered three of the Yankees’ seven hits in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Red Sox. He’s batting .380 in his last 12 games with four homers and 14 RBI. Seven of the games have included more than one hit. For the season, he’s batting .272 with 18 homers and 69 RBI.

But he knows his time here may be coming to a close after four seasons. The Yankees picked up his one-year, $10.25 million option after last season. He can be a free agent and the Yankees are intent on not getting clobbered by a luxury tax, so they want to get down to a $189 million payroll by 2014.

“I’ve been thinking a lot,” Swisher said. “That word ‘regret’ kind of pops into my head. That’s the last thing that I want to have, regardless of whatever my situation is next year. I want to enjoy this time that I have now and just soak it up, and we’ll see what happens.

“I’ve never gone through something like this,” he added. “I don’t even really know what to think about. I’m just trying to enjoy it because this place has been so amazing to me. I figure if I didn’t go out there and give it everything I had, I’d feel bad about that. I’m just trying to go out there and have some fun, put up quality at-bats every single time, and we’ll just go from there.”

Swisher may not be the second coming of Mr. October, but he does bring some valuable things to this team, including positive energy. He switch hits and can play right or back up at first. He’s a fan-friendly and media-friendly guy. And he likes it here.

What do you think the Yankees should do?

Also, hope you can read my articles today for The Journal News/LoHud.com, one on yesterday’s game and the promise of David Phelps despite the loss, another on the concern over Mark Teixeira’s recurring wrist trouble and other notes, and another that’s non-Yankees related. I worked for more than a month trying to track down  former players all over the country for a story on their 40th anniversary of going to the Little League World Series (the only ones in the history of their county and one of only two teams from the Lower Hudson Valley to go in the 66 years of it) to have them look back and find out where they are in their lives now. Extra credit and much thanks to anyone who takes the time to read that one.

My colleague, Josh Thomson, will be here for tonight’s series finale and Chad will be back tomorrow. I’m going on vacation today for two weeks since I don’t have an offseason, but anyone who would like to follow me or converse on Twitter during downtime from The LoHud Yankees Blog can do so @bheyman99.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 167 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Concern about Teixeira; Valentine gives himself a bad grade08.18.12

Brian Heyman here for Chad again today. Mark Teixeira is out of the starting lineup for the second straight game due to his left wrist inflammation.

“He’s a little bit better today,” Girardi said. “He’s not a player for me today. I wouldn’t imagine so. We’ll see in the next couple of days if we can get him back.”

Girardi is wondering, though.

“Yeah, I’m a little bit concerned if it’s going to get to 100 percent,” Girardi said. “He was better after the few days off a couple of weeks ago. And it seemed to come back a little bit. That raises a little bit of a red flag. You do what you can. Tex is good at playing beat up. He’s used to it in his career. We’ll try to get him back as soon as we can.”

The DL doesn’t appear off the table if the improvement doesn’t continue.

“Everyone plays a little beat up,” Girardi said. “It’s to the point where you’re too beat up to be productive. That’s what we weigh. If we feel that after two or three days, maybe he needs a whole week, we might try to make it like that. Or if he needs two weeks, we’ll do that. We’re going to do what it takes to try to get him healthy.”

Nick Swisher is again at first for Teixeira. Girardi said the Yankees originally had thought about playing Swisher at first before they acquired Teixeira. “I think he’s a very good first baseman,” Girardi said of Swisher, who’s batting .350 with a double, four homers and 11 RBI in the first five games of the homestand.

Girardi said: “What I’ve seen from Swish is he’s been patient, gotten his pitch and he hasn’t missed it. … He’s just in one of those grooves.”

Derek Jeter is the DH for the second straight game. Girardi had planned to DH him Thursday and today (both day games after night games), but Thursday’s plan went bad because Robinson Cano couldn’t start at second due to a stiff neck.

“Sixteen days in a row is the reason why I’ve done it,” Girardi said. “It’s really hard to give him a day off with the way that he’s swinging the bat. He’s our leadoff guy — and especially against left-handers.”

CC Sabathia threw about 20 pitches in the bullpen and pronounced himself ready to pitch Friday in Cleveland.

The Red Sox begin this game at 58-62, 13 1/2 back of the Yankees and 6 1/2 back of the Orioles and the Tigers in the race for the second wild card.

Bobby Valentine gave this summation on how he has done so far as manager: “As far as my job is concerned here and whether I’m doing a good job, I’m not doing a good job. I didn’t get paid to do anything other than to get to the playoffs, win a lot of games, be in the thick of things right down to the end, even be in first place. The team I’m managing is not there. Simple. So my job has not been a good job if I had to assess, but that’s not what I do. That’s not my job.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 30 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Home runs galore; Hughes makes a change08.18.12

The Yankees hit five homers in this 6-4 win over the Red Sox, all solo shots. The homer total tied a season high, and not coincidently the previous time also came against Boston pitching.

“Yeah, the home runs, that’s the way they live and they had a whole bunch of them tonight,” Bobby Valentine said after the Sox fell 13 1/2 games behind the Yankees.

This time, they did it with Mark Teixeira sitting out with his inflamed left wrist.

“I feel like we’re playing pretty well with a lot of our big bombers not in the lineup,” Nick Swisher said. “I think it’s a testament to this team’s resiliency.”

Swisher hit one from each side of the plate, the 12th time that has happened for him in a game. Only Teixeira is ahead of him on the all-time list, with 13. Swisher now has four homers in his last five games, giving him 18 for the season. He also has at least one RBI and one run scored in his last six games, which is a career high.

“It just so happens I’m hot right now,” Swisher said. “I felt I picked something up a week ago. … It’s rare you feel good from both sides of the plate at the same time.”

Derek Jeter hit No. 10 on the season/career No. 250, so the Yankees now have 10 players with at least 10 homers, a major-league high. And it ties the franchise record established in 1998.

Phil Hughes threw away a potential double-play ball in the third thanks to a bad grip or he would’ve had seven shutout innings. The four runs in that inning were unearned. But Hughes only gave up four hits in all and is now tied with CC Sabathia for the team lead in wins with 12.

Hughes used his changeup a lot more, especially to righties.

“It was more just being stubborn before,” Hughes said.

“It’s something we’re probably going to use from here on out,” Russell Martin said.

Rafael Soriano’s great season continues. He picked up save No. 30 in 32 tries, so he’s the seventh Yankee to post 30 saves dating to 1969 when the modern save rule came into existence.

The Yankees have won eight of 10. Saturday’s pitching matchup will feature David Phelps and Jon Lester.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 252 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Grandy messes up for a change07.28.12

Curtis Granderson has played a wonderful center field for the Yankees, but he had a bad moment in the ninth and it cost the Yankees this game against the Red Sox.

It was 6-6 with Jacoby Ellsbury on first and one out in the ninth when Pedro Ciriaco hit the drive to center.

“I thought (Ciriaco) was good and we were lucky,” Bobby Valentine said.

Because Granderson broke in, then drifted back, got twisted around and missed in his reach for the ball.

“We haven’t seen much of that, him getting turned around like that,” Joe Girardi said.

Ellsbury scored and Ciriaco ended up on third. Then he scored on Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly.

“You’re going to make some mistakes out there,” Granderson said. “I didn’t get the best read on it. … I just didn’t think it was hit that hard.”

CC Sabathia really didn’t help the cause, either, allowing six runs and eight hits over six innings.

“It’s tough … not being able to get out there and pitch the way you want, especially against a team in your division,” Sabathia said.

Nick Swisher struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth after failing to start for the seventh straight game because of that strained hip flexor. Swisher wants back in Sunday night in the series finale.

“I think to be able to pinch hit after sitting on the bench for three hours, you’d be able to DH at least,” Swisher said. “We’ll come back here tomorrow and see what they say.

“I’ve been penned up for a while. I’m ready to go.”

Ichiro Suzuki has hit in all five games as a Yankee. Robinson Cano had his 13-game hitting streak against Boston snapped.

I’ll have more on Mark Teixeira’s homer off Vicente Padilla in our 9 a.m. posting.

Sunday night’s pitching matchup pits Hiroki Kuroda and Felix Doubront.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 85 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Swisher still out, Stewart still in07.28.12

Brian Heyman back here at the Stadium for this middle game of the series against the Red Sox. Nick Swisher still isn’t in the lineup. This will be the seventh straight time the game has started without him because of his mild hip flexor strain. The thing is, Swisher says he feels available for anything today. I saw him down taking batting practice.

But Joe Girardi is waiting.

“I don’t blame him,” Swisher said. “I don’t want to go backwards. … I just want to play.”

Girardi didn’t rule out using him as a pinch hitter today.

“In talking to him, he felt pretty good yesterday,” Girardi said. “But we’ve got to make sure that it’s real good, because if you go out and play one day and you have a little setback, now you’re looking at 15, 16 days. So one or two days might buy you a lot of time in the future.

“I think it’s difficult for him because he loves to play. But I think he understands, too, that we need him and we don’t want him to go back to where he has to go on the DL because he reinjures it.”

So the Ichiro-to-left move will have to wait until Girardi deems that Swisher is ready to head back out to right.

“Our real hope was today, in my mind, I would feel that he was 100 percent,” Girardi said. “I just don’t think he’s quite there. We’ve waited this long. What’s maybe one or two more days?”

Chris Stewart is catching CC Sabathia again even though Girardi would like to pair up Russell Martin again with the lefty. They will need to be in sync for Game 1 in October. Martin is the DH today.

“He caught last night,” Girardi said. “It is a day game after a night game. At some point, I want to do it. I can’t tell you when I’m going to do it.

“But it has seemed to work out. It seems to keep them both fresh. I think Russell has swung the bat better since he’s come back in the second half. Maybe some of that has to do with not playing him day games after night games.”

Stewart has caught 15 of Sabathia’s starts this season and they have a 2.92 ERA together, according to baseball-reference.com. Martin has caught two and they have a 6.75 ERA together.

“If you throw him back there (in the postseason) and he hasn’t caught him all year, I guess it’s an issue,” Girardi said. “You want to make sure both of them are comfortable. Not just the pitcher, but you want the catcher to be comfortable, too, that he has a sense that he knows what CC wants to throw and they’re on the same page. I think that’s really important.”

Sabathia is 10-3. Overall, the Yankees have gone 19-11 when Stewart has been the starter.

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 212 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Swisher update, Nunez in left, Pettitte’s line04.30.12

Hello there, Brian Heyman here for Chad today. Let’s start with this: There are still no plans right now to put Nick Swisher on the DL due to his low-grade strained left hamstring that he suffered yesterday.

“That’s not my category, guys,” Swisher just told us.

But there is a descrepancy about when he’ll be able to play again. Joe Girardi said he’s aiming for him to return in the field next Tuesday. Swisher hopes to be ready to play again Thursday night in Kansas City.

“Me and Skip, we’ve got to get together and get a game plan,” Swisher said. “From the way I feel right now, I wouldn’t see it being a week.”

“Could I pinch hit him?” Girardi said. “We’ve just got to go day by day to see how he’s feeling and where he’s at.”

The Yankees will have just two position players on the bench for this series. Brett Gardner is eligible to come off the DL Thursday. Girardi talked about a rehab assignment for him, which would probably be brief since the manager said, “We haven’t determined what day yet.”

So Eduardo Nunez is getting a shot in left tonight.

“It’s left field. That’s where they put players who can’t play anywhere else,” Gardner cracked. “He’ll be fine.”

Asked if Nunez could turn into a regular outfielder since infield advancement is blocked here right now, Girardi said, “We have him targeted as being an everyday shortstop one day. But, hey, stranger things have happened because of opportunities. You never what the possibilities are. He’s athletic. He has a lot of speed. There are a lot of different things he can do. We’re going to find out.”

Nunez said he’s comfortable in practice out there, but he obviously doesn’t have much game experience.

“I’m never nervous,” Nunez said. “Errors are part of the game. If you’re nervous, you’ll never be a good player. I’ve played this game all my life.” …

Here’s Andy Pettitte’s line from an extended spring training start today against Phillies organization personnel in Clearwater, Fla.: 5 2/3 innings, six runs, five earned, 10 hits, no walks, 8 Ks. He threw 96 pitches, 71 for strikes. Girardi said his understanding was there was “quite a wind blowing out.”

So does Pettitte need one more? Or is he ready?

“I think it’s something we have to talk about,” Girardi said, “see how he feels tomorrow and the next day and decide what’s next.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 69 Comments →

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