The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Yankees postgame: Hughes or Huff?09.02.13

David HuffPhil Hughes had bad luck in this game. The hour and 53 minute rain delay took him out of the game after just four outs and five batters. The Yankees erupted for a season-high eight runs in a single inning, the fourth. That could have been Hughes’ property. Instead the runs belonged to David Huff.

The lefty picked up the ball for Hughes and earned the 9-1 win over the White Sox. He worked  5 2/3, a career high in relief, and allowed one run, five hits and no walks.

Afterward, Joe Girardi was noncommittal about whether there will be a change from Hughes to Huff for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

“I haven’t made any decisions about changing the rotation,” Girardi said.

Huff, who has allowed one run in 15 innings over five outings since coming back from Triple-A, is ready for anything.

“When I first got here, Joe was saying, ‘We’re going to be using you.’ I said, ‘OK,’ ” Huff said. “A few innings, whatever he needs, I’ll make sure I’m ready for it.”

Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball Tuesday night. He has appeared to be wearing down, going 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA over his last five starts.

“We need him to pitch well because he has been a staple in our rotation,” Girardi said. “He’s been struggling a little bit. … He got an extra day off. Maybe that will help him get going again.”

Both Cesar Cabral and J.R. Murphy made their major-league debuts, giving the Yankees a franchise-record 52 players used this season. Cabral pitched a scoreless eighth. And Murphy got a pinch-hit infield single batting for Robinson Cano in the eighth.

“I didn’t know who I was hitting for until they announced it, so that was pretty cool,” Murphy said. “After that, I just wanted to have a good at-bat. I was nervous, so I made sure I took the first pitch instead of swinging at it.”

Brett Gardner doubled twice, so six of his last eight hits have been doubles.

Associated Press photo.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 111 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Hughes needs to take step forward09.02.13

Alex Rodriguez; Phil Hughes; Derek Jeter; Austin Romine; Joe GirardiThe Yankees are in need of the good Phil Hughes to show up today against the White Sox instead of the bad Phil they have seen all too often this season.

If the bad Phil shows again, Joe Girardi could take a chance on David Huff going forward. But Girardi has stuck by Hughes, especially with limited alternatives.

“You look at what he’s done in the past,” Girardi said. “He’s struggled this year at times. There’s no doubt about it. You can talk about replacing him, but two of the guys that we would’ve possibly replaced him with are injured, Phelps and Pineda. So he’s got to get it done. And we expect him to get it done.”

Hughes hasn’t gotten it done. He has no wins to show for his last nine starts, going 0-6 with a 5.64 ERA, the longest winless stretch of his career. He last won a game on July 2. He has dropped 11 of his last 13 decisions since May 15. There have been 18 starts over that stretch, and his ERA has been 5.12. The Yankees are 5-13 in those starts. Overall the free agent-to-be is 4-13 with a 4.91 ERA across 25 starts.

“You want to see him have some quicker innings and get some early outs and where he doesn’t get long counts and they foul a lot of pitches off,” Girardi said.

Phelps is just playing catch these days and isn’t close to returning from his second forearm strain, according to Girardi.

With the September call-ups, Girardi has a few more arms available. So will he have a quicker hook with the starters?

“Yeah, probably,” Girardi said. “But you can’t be too quick because you wear your bullpen out and then you’ve got a lot of days in a row.”

The Yankees had a tough setback Sunday, blowing a 3-0 seven-inning lead to Baltimore and falling 7-3. But Girardi has seen their bounce-back ability.

“I think because you have guys that have played for so long, they understand it’s part of the game, that you can’t really have a carryover effect; you just have to move on,” Girardi said.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 144 Comments →

Yankees postgame: On to Boston/New hitter coming08.15.13

Chris NelsonThe Yankees seemed more encouraged than unhappy after this 8-4 loss ended their four-game winning streak and prevented them from sweeping four from the Angels. The Yankees should have done more with 15 hits and three walks, but the lineup is at least more formidable now with Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and especially Alfonso Soriano.

Those three weren’t around when the Yankees dropped two of three at Fenway last month. They will start another three-game series there Friday night.

“I think it’s a different club,” Joe Girardi said. “The way we’re swinging the bats, it’s a much different club.”

The Yankees were nine back of the Red Sox heading into Thursday night’s play.

“We’re the team that’s chasing them now,” Granderson said. “So it’s going to be a very big three-game series, not the fact that’s it’s a Boston and Yankees series, but the fact that we can gain a lot of ground. It’s very important for us. We have to also be cautious that they can also create a lot of ground, too.”

They have another power-hitting bat on the way, according to Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com and some others Thursday night. The word from them is the Yankees have agreed to terms with Mark Reynolds. The righty batter, of course, is known for homering and striking out. But he can back up at third and platoon with Lyle Overbay at first. When the Indians designated Reynolds last week, he was at .215 with 15 homers, 48 RBI and 123 strikeouts. He has been cold in the homer department, none since June 28. He batted .098 in July. Your thoughts?

The Yankees delivered 46 hits in these last three games. They batted .366 and scored 31 runs in the four games.

Soriano had four singles and an RBI in this game and went 10 for 14 and drove in 14 in the last three. That was a major-league high for RBI in one series this season.  The last Yankee with at least 14 RBI in a series of any length was named Joe DiMaggio, who knocked in 14 in a six-game series vs. the Indians in 1938.

“The last three games, I’ve been hitting the ball good and seeing the ball good,” Soriano said.

Phil Hughes finally showed some improvement after failing to get through five in his previous three starts. He allowed three runs and six hits over six, but he fell to 4-12.

“It was obviously better,” Hughes said. “It would’ve been hard to pitch much worse than I had been.”

Girardi said that until he hears more about it from MLB, he didn’t want to comment on the new manager’s challenge rules for replay that will go into effect next season if the owners, players association and umpires approve.

Associated Press photo.

 

 

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

Yankees pregame: Huff up, Betances down08.15.13

Taboola Home/Section Front Player

 

 

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Lefty David Huff is back and righty Dellin Betances trades places with him, heading back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Huff said he felt bad for Betances, who was charged with four runs, five hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning in Tuesday night’s 14-7 win over the Angels, his lone outing.

“I was really looking forward to being in the bullpen with him,” Huff said. “We’ve been together for as long as I’ve been here. So it kind of sucks. But he’ll be back up here. I know he will. He’s got good stuff. But as far as me, everything I’ve been working on, we’ll see if it works. We’ll see if it pays off.”

The Yankees will need a starter for next Tuesday’s day/night doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Huff, a 28-year-old former Indian, was 1-6 with a 3.84 ERA over 13 outings with the RailRiders, 12 of them starts.

“He’s a guy who can give us more distance, another lefty in the bullpen,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s a guy that’s been starting down there. Moving forward, we have a split doubleheader coming up. so there’s a lot of things (he can do). You’ve got a couple of lefties coming up, it’s a chance to use him, too.”

To make room on the 40-man roster, David Phelps (another forearm strain) was transferred to the 60-day DL.

“He’s not going to pick up a ball for a while again like he did before,” Phelps said. “I think the last day he pitched was July 4. September 4 is not probably realistic anyway for him to come back, so it was a pretty easy move. I think he can pitch in September.”

Phil Hughes is overdue for a decent start. He brings a 4-11 record and a 4.99 ERA into today’s series finale.

“Location,” Girardi said about the key. “It’s simple. Location. That’s what pitching is about, location and changing speeds.”

Derek Jeter worked out with the team today and is next bound for Tampa. He’s eligible to be activated from the DL Sunday in Boston. Will he?

“I wouldn’t think so,” Girardi said. “We’ll go day by day and see where he’s at. I’m not sure (about the following series). He really hasn’t run, running the bases. It’s just day by day and hopefully sooner than later.”

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 176 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Phelps feeling better; Hughes/Joba on the trade block?07.10.13

David PhelpsDavid Phelps was a little concerned heading into his MRI. After winning his last start in Minnesota July 4, he went up to trainer Steve Donohue to ask for anti-inflammatory medication because he had been feeling a little stiffness in his right forearm near the elbow. Donohue told him a doctor visit was in order.

“There’s a lot less concern now after the MRI than there was,” Phelps said about the diagnosis of a slight straight. “Any time it’s your arm, there’s some concern. When (the doctor) came and said the ligament looked great, that was obviously reassuring. It’s just something minor. We can take care of that and go from there.”

The arm had been bothering him for a few days, but he said he didn’t feel it throwing.

“It was like weird times, like if I was laying in bed and I’d roll over,” Phelps said. “It would feel stiff.”

After ice and rest, he feels good to go again.

“My arm feels great now,” Phelps said. “It’s back to the way it felt before. I don’t expect it to bother me at all.”

Phelps spent some time with his family the last few days. He won’t be off during the All-Star break. He said he’s probably going to go to Tampa. He plans to throw on Monday. So barring any setbacks, he should be ready when he’s eligible to return from the DL next Saturday.

Alex Rodriguez had a single and an RBI in three at-bats today as a DH in Tampa’s 5-2 loss to Dunedin. So he’s 2 for 15 after six rehab games. There has been no lobbying campaign for a quick return like Derek Jeter has staged.

“I think Alex feels that he’s not to that level, that he’s not ready to go,” Joe Girardi said.

Jeter is scheduled to play tonight in Moosic for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Rochester. The Yankees have left open the possibility he will return for the weekend series here against the Twins. Girardi said he didn’t think it wasn’t an issue to bring back Jeter for that series if he’s ready even though there would be four off days afterward with the All-Star break.

Girardi also said he’d like to see Jeter go seven or eight innings at short in the minors first.

“We have to make sure he’s ready,” Girardi said.

The Yankees scored one run Tuesday night for the third straight game, but the lineup is the same. Any thought to doing some juggling?

“What would you suggest?” Girardi asked.

I’d suggest a trade for more help beyond just Jeter. Actually, there are reports circulating today that the Yankees are shopping free agents-to-be Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain in their search for hitting help.  Anyone in favor?

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 195 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Hughes deserved better06.27.13

Phil HughesPhil Hughes got back on track, allowing two runs and five hits across eight innings. And yet he still lost for the fifth time in his last six decisions and fell to 3-7 overall.

“He pitched way too good to get a loss,” Lyle Overbay said.

Hughes had seven days between starts and he put them to good use, working on mechanical issues and taking a step back to collect himself.

“I just felt like the last week or so really helped me,” Hughes said, “just to kind of gather my thoughts for a few days and work on some things on the side. I felt like I had better plan and better mechanics and threw the ball pretty good. … Whenever you’re trying to get through some rough stretches, it helps just to take a deep breath.”

There had been chatter about Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda waiting in the wings with Hughes struggling. But this isn’t his first bout with inconsistency.

“I don’t let the talk creep into my head,” Hughes said.

The Yankees are just 12-18 over the last 30 games, and the sporadic offense has obviously contributed. The Yankees were shut out for the seventh time, including three times this month. They were blanked only six times all of last season.

This time, Derek Holland shut them out on two hits. Do you know when the previous time was that a Rangers pitcher shut the Yankees out on two or less hits? That would be never. It hadn’t happened since the franchise moved from Washington to Texas in 1972. Joe Coleman last did it for the Senators on July 19, 1969.

“I believe we’re capable of scoring runs,” Joe Girardi said.

With this group?

“I think we can, but time will tell,” Girardi said.

On the rehab front, Derek Jeter actually drove Alex Rodriguez after their workout from Steinbrenner Field to the nearby minor-league complex, according to The Associated Press. Jeter ran outside for the first time since the second ankle fracture was discovered in April and reported no problems. The AP report stated that A-Rod took simulated at-bats. ESPNNewYork.com reported that Rodriguez basically told the Yankees Wednesday that he wasn’t sure when or if he will be back this season. But Jeter gave a positive review in the AP report.

“He looked good,” Jeter said. “Alex works extremely hard. He’s working hard now to come back.”

Jeter wouldn’t label A-Rod a distraction.

“Why would he be a distraction?” Jeter asked.

Francisco Cervelli, according to the AP, has been doing his hitting indoors. Curtis Granderson is doing range-of-motion exercises. No swinging yet. A minor-leaguer took a swing, though, launching a homer in batting practice that deflected off the clubhouse roof and hit Granderson’s car.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Podcastwith 102 Comments →

Yankees pregame: A-Rod soap opera continues; big start for Hughes; much more06.27.13

Phil HughesAlex Rodriguez, according to the New York Post, told the Yankees yesterday his hip isn’t ready for rehab games. The Daily News had him allegedly planning to start playing rehab games, then claim he physically can’t play and retire before a possible 100-game MLB suspension comes, so he could get his full 4 1/2 seasons of money owed to him.

“A couple of conflicting reports from sources,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s why I always say for me, when a player gets here, he gets here. When he’s ready, he’s ready. But everything that I understand, he’s been making progress and moved better day after day. So it sounds like things are pretty good.”

The erratic Phil Hughes gets the start today in the series finale against the Rangers.

“I’m not saying he’s pitching for a spot,” Girardi said.

But Hughes hasn’t pitched well in three of his last four starts and has gone 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA over his last seven starts. He’s 3-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 14 starts overall.

Girardi did say this start is “important. This is a guy who we need to be consistent for us and get on a roll like he’s capable of doing. It starts with his fastball command and using his other pitches.”

Ivan Nova pitched pretty well in his spot start Sunday and Michael Pineda has been pitching very well in his rehab starts, albeit against Single-A and Double-A hitters. Could that be in the back of Hughes’ mind? Could he be feeling any extra pressure for this start?

“I’m not sure,” Girardi said. “I think guys are aware of what’s going on around them. I’m not so sure when you get out on the mound, you start thinking about that. I think you think about making your pitches. Usually when you get on the field, you’re able to block everything out. It could be in someone’s thought process off the field.”

There’s no plan yet on what to do with Nova, according to Girardi. But by keeping him around, the Yankees are going with a shorter bench for the time being.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to look at and see if there’s someone who we think can help us that we can add,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. Is there someone who we think can help? We had Thomas Neal here. The minimum a guy has to be down is 10 days, and I’m not saying he’d be the guy that we would call up. Right now, a lot of players are on the DL and we’ll just have to see.”

Joba Chamberlain has given up at least one run in five of his last seven outings,, including two in two-thirds of an inning last night.

“I thought he threw pretty well before he got hurt,” Girardi said. “He just really hasn’t gotten on track for us. We’ve got to find a way to do it. Whatever it takes, we’ll try to do it.”

Brett Gardner isn’t starting today. He has a cold.

“But it’s more I’m just giving him a day because he’s played every day,” Girardi said.

So Vernon Wells is in the lineup, but he’s in right. Ichiro Suzuki is in center. Wells appears to have lost the regular left-field job after that 9-for-90 slump. Zoilo Almonte is starting in left for the sixth straight game. The rookie is 7 for 19 with three walks, two doubles, a homer and four RBI in seven games on the homestand.

“We’re running ‘Z’ out there,” Girardi said. “We’ll continue to do that, continue to watch how he’s doing. But he’s done pretty well.

“(Wells) has been ready to play every day. He’s ready to pinch hit. He’s worked very hard. I think he’s dealt with it very professionally.”

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

Yankees postgame: Nova throws an encouraging start06.23.13

Ivan NovaIvan Nova doesn’t want to go back to Triple-A. He made a statement why he shouldn’t have to in this 3-1 loss to the Rays.

The 26-year-old righty got called up for the spot start and left with two on and two outs in the seventh in a 1-1 game. He ended up being charged with three runs and seven hits. He struck seven, six with curves, walked three and hit two — both after he got the first two outs in the seventh.

“He was consistently throwing strikes,” Chris Stewart said. “… Repeating his mechanics has been a problem in the past, but for the most part he was good today.”

Asked if he pitched well enough to stay, Nova said, “I’ve got to say yes. Here is where you want to be.”

Joe Girardi was happy with the effort, too. Nova made three starts after being sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Girardi didn’t want him languishing as a long man here. Nova sees himself as a starter, too.

Asked about whether Nova stays or goes back down, Girardi said, “I have no idea what we’re going to do.”

Perhaps this will turn up the pressure on Phil Hughes to start being more consistent. Hughes’ next start has been pushed back to Thursday against the Rangers at the Stadium. Girardi said it’s “to try to keep everyone closer to a regular turn (and) a couple of extra bullpen sessions for him.”

“This is a game where you have to prove yourself over and over,” Girardi said.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon raved about Nova.

“Their guy really settled in,” Maddon said. “I don’t understand why this guy struggles. I have never seen him bad. I don’t know — one of the best pitchers in the world as far as I’m concerned. He gets that hook over and he’s really tough on left-handers.”

Boone Logan gave up a two-run, bases-loaded single to James Loney that broke the 1-1 tie in the seventh, so 10 of Logan’s 28 inherited runners this season have scored.

Brett Gardner went 3 for 4, giving him at least one hit in 24 of his last 29 games and a .336 average over that stretch.

Zoilo Almonte started for Vernon Wells in left the last three games and went 6 for 10 with two doubles (both in this latest game), a homer and four RBI.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 95 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Nothing to see here06.19.13

Robinson CanoThe second game of this doubleheader against the Dodgers won’t be included in the Yankees’ highlight video. Phil Hughes wasn’t good again. And the offense was nearly nonexistent again, like it was before the finale of the road trip and the first game of this doubleheader. It added up to a 6-0 loss, leaving the Yankees at 39-32.

The offense managed three singles, all off starter Chris Capuano, who worked six. Two were infield hits. Robinson Cano was the only one to reach the outfield with a hit and he got thrown out trying to stretch it. That was in the fourth, and it was the Yankees’ final hit. They had just one baserunner to show for their last 18 trips to the plate — Jayson Nix getting drilled by Brandon League in the ninth.

Lyle Overbay, who had one of the infield hits, said the lefty Capuano kept the ball down, mixed his pitches and had the Yankees off balance.

“We couldn’t get anything going,” Overbay said.

The erratic Hughes had his second straight substandard start. He gave up four singles to start the game, down 2-0 just like that. He allowed five runs and 10 hits over six.

“I really didn’t have good control in the first inning,” Hughes said. “From then on, it was a struggle to find any sort of rhythm.”

Back to the offense, Vernon Wells went 0 for 7 in the doubleheader, leaving him at a nearly unfathomable 9 for his last 87. It’s hard to remember his fast start now. Zoilo Almonte made his major-league debut, grounding out as a pinch hitter in  the ninth.

The Yankees were blanked for the sixth time this season. They have dropped six of their last eight overall. With the split, they are 14-1-18 in twinbills since 2000.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 253 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Kuroda takes the day shift06.19.13

Hiroki KurodaWelcome to a long day/night of baseball. Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Yankees in the opener of the doubleheader against the Dodgers and Phil Hughes will take the night shift. Kuroda is 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA in his 12 day starts with the Yankees these two seasons, tied for the top winning percentage in the AL (.778).

“A lot of times when you have a little age on you, you prefer the first game instead of waiting around all day,” Joe Girardi said. “Hughesie seems to like to pitch a little better at night. So it actually works out pretty well.”

Kuroda went 7-12 with a 3.79 ERA in 26 games, including 25 starts, working on the day side for the Dodgers. And now he gets to go against his old team.

“What might help is this situation is a lot of the guys that are playing today weren’t teammates of his,” Girardi said. “They have a lot of new faces there.”

Girardi said he hadn’t spoken to Brian Cashman as yet about the Yankees’ plan for the outfielder they reportedly have acquired from the Astros, Fernando Martinez, the former Mets prospect who got hurt often and didn’t pan out. The Yankees do need outfield depth at Triple-A.

The tentative plan for new call-up Zoilo Almonte is to give the 24-year-old switch-hitting outfielder a start in the second game and probably one against a righty in the coming Tampa Bay series. He was batting .297 with 12 doubles, six homers and 36 RBI with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was batting .354 in 16 games this month, including 10 for 17 in his last four games. Almonte played all three outfield positions for the RailRiders.

“We really believe this kid is going to hit,” Girardi said. “At times, we really saw it in spring training. He struggled a little bit in spring training. Maybe it was the excitement of trying to make a team. But he has seemed to swing the bat pretty well down there, especially left-handed. He’s a guy that can play either left or right, which is helpful in this situation.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 145 Comments →

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