The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Wednesday notes: Results encouraging, the market is not03.09.11

So far, tonight’s Bartolo Colon start has been the worst outing in this four-man rotation competition, and even Colon wasn’t too bad.

It’s too early to make too much of it, but rotation results have been encouraging this spring, and Brian Cashman said it’s entirely possible the Yankees have all the pieces of their Opening Day rotation already in camp. Cashman said he wouldn’t rule out adding a pitcher before the end of March, but right now an addition doesn’t seem likely.

“I’m not encouraged (by the market),” Cashman said. “I’m only saying there’s a chance because who knows what’s going to happen between now and then? There’s nothing hot. I’ve got nothing going on. Zero. That type of activity doesn’t usually take place right now.”

Colon had a rocky second inning, but that came after he struck out the side in the first inning and before he pitched a scoreless third and fourth. All told, Colon allowed two runs through four innings, striking out seven and walking none.

“I’ve been a little bit more surprised about Colon than (Freddy) Garcia,” Joe Girardi said. “Freddy, I saw Freddy pitch last year so I had a pretty good idea of what he was going to do. Bartolo, the movement on his fastball surprised me a little bit. I’m not surprised with his command and I’m not surprised with the changeup. The breaking ball is a little bit better than it was in the past.”

If the situation changes, could the trade market heat up at the end of March?

“Usually with bad contract guys, out of option guys, that type of stuff,” Cashman said.

• If the Yankees don’t add a starter, they probably won’t add anyone this spring. The lineup is set, the bullpen is deep and Cashman said he’s happy with the bench options. “I don’t think we have to go outside camp unless we have injuries looking for bench help,” he said. “We have the potential of a real good bench going forward to open the season.”

• Colon started his outing by striking out the side in the first inning. “Usually I try to pace myself, but today I went hard right from the very beginning,” he said. “Today I just felt very strong.” Colon allowed two runs in the second inning, but Girardi was impressed that the outing didn’t snowball and Colon pitched a scoreless third and fourth. “You want to see a guy be able to shut it down and get back to making pitches,” Girardi said.

• Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless inning in his spring debut. Girardi said this could be the best bullpen since he came to New York. “Our bullpen in 2009, at the end, was special,” Girardi said. “With Hughesy down there and Marte back and Robertson, the strides that he made. Joba. Ace. That was pretty good. I think this bullpen has a chance to be better.”

• Girardi was impressed by Soriano’s debut. “I didn’t really expect a whole lot different than that,” Girardi said.

• Eduardo Nunez played left field tonight and caught the only ball hit to him. “It was weird, but good,” Nunez said. The Yankees want Nunez and Ramiro Pena to get a little bit of outfield time this spring, preparing themselves to play there in a pinch this season.

• Nunez also had another hit, raising his spring average to .375. He also got his fifth stolen base.

• Russell Martin and Andruw Jones each hit their first Yankees home runs tonight. The Yankees started seven players likely to make the Opening Day roster, and all seven had a hit. The Yankees won 4-2.

• Manny Banuelos made his third scoreless appearance of the spring. Nice work by Andrew Marchand on this piece about Mariano Rivera’s impressions of the young lefty. Safe to say, the Yankees closer is impressed. Girardi said before the game he thought Banuelos would go three innings, but the Yankees changed their mind and gave him two innings. Banuelos would have pitched three innings if Colon had lasted just three innings, Girardi said.

• Gustavo Molina had a root canal today.

• There’s a chance of rain tomorrow. If that happens, Girardi said CC Sabathia will probably throw a simulated game in the indoor cages. If not, Sabathia will matchup against Roy Halladay in Clearwater.

• Speaking of Clearwater, Ronnie Belliard is scheduled to make the trip. He could get in his first game tomorrow.

• Just a random observation: I hadn’t talked to Melky Mesa much this spring, but talked to him a little bit today. The guy’s a ball of energy, laughing and smiling, even when he’s in the game. He’s definitely one of those “I just love to play the game” kind of guys.

• After today’s paintball outing, someone asked Girardi if he’s still hoping to have a players outing in spring training. “I don’t know,” Girardi said. “We’ll see. A lot of times during the beginning of the season we’ll watch the Final Four together as a team. This was a year that was a little bit different (in spring training). I’ve had some ideas in my mind about things that I could do, but it seems like time gets short sometimes.”

• The Yankees finally posted tomorrow’s travel roster for Clearwater, and it includes one regular infielder — Robinson Cano — traveling with the regular outfielders. It also includes every healthy catcher, including Jorge Posada.

Pitchers who will be making the trip: Brian Anderson, Robert Fish, Warner Madrigal, David Phelps, Ryan Pope, Mark Prior, Dave Robertson, CC Sabathia, Romulo Sanchez, Andy Sisco, Daniel Turpen and Eric Wordekemper.

Players who will not be making the trip: Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli.

Associated Press photos of Colon, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez. Williams threw out the first pitch, Martinez is in camp as a guest instructor.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 165 Comments →

Sunday notes: Less is more02.20.11


The weight issue won’t quite go away here in Tampa. Alex Rodriguez arrived in camp a little bit lighter. Buster Olney reported it was 10 pounds lighter. Joe Girardi said it wasn’t quite that much. Whatever the exact number, it’s more than a pound or two, but not so much that Rodriguez looks drastically different.

“Sometimes guys just feel like they want to be a little bit lighter,” Girardi said. “It might add to their game. Physically they might bounce back quicker. That’s not uncommon for a player to try to put more energy into their body, and sometimes it is by not having to carry so much mass.”

Girardi said he didn’t know Rodriguez was planning to lose weight until Rodriguez reported to camp. But seeing him, Girardi has no complaints.

“This is just the weight that he showed up,” Girardi said. “He showed up in very good shape, so I’m not going to complain about that.”

• Girardi said it’s too early to learn anything from the bullpen sessions. In fact, he goes out of his way to make sure players don’t feel pressure to perform at this point.

“I’m careful to not try to push players right now or to say a whole lot to pitchers — we need a little bit more, your breaking ball’s not quite as sharp – because I don’t want them trying to overdo it,” Girardi said. “Sometimes there might even be a guy that’s throwing the ball well, and if I come around I see that he missed a couple of spots, I might just move on (if it’s) a young guy. I don’t want them thinking, gosh, the manager’s watching. Just let them go about their business. There will be plenty of time to evaluate.”

• That said, five pitchers threw batting practice to actual hitters early this morning: Joba Chamberlain, Ivan Nova, Dave Robertson, Brian Anderson and Manny Banuelos. “Some guys got an early morning wakeup call at 8:15,” Girardi said.

• Eight more pitchers will throw BP tomorrow. Girardi didn’t say who.

• Because there are fewer workout days, there will be no intrasquad games before the actual spring schedule.

• Girardi said he knows who he wants to start the spring opener, but he wants to wait a few days to make sure that pitcher is still good to go. He promised to make the announcement on Tuesday.

• When he finished hitting, Jorge Posada spent some time at first base. Girardi said it’s possible Posada could see some time at the position this spring, but whether he’s a legitimate option at first during the season depends on who else is on the roster. “Is it a viable option? Is it an emergency option? A lot of it depends on the makeup of your roster,” Girardi said.

• Kevin Russo was listed as an infielder today, but he instead worked as an outfielder during drills. He said he expects to work in the infield tomorrow.

• Random infield assignments: Eric Chavez, Brad Suttle and Brandon Laird did their infield work at third base, and Jorge Vazquez got his time at first. Those four will probably spend time at both infield corners this spring. Ronnie Belliard and Doug Bernier got time at both second base and shortstop, though the time at short was just fielding grounders. I doubt Belliard is being looked at as a shortstop option. Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez both worked at shortstop.

• Tino Martinez has arrived in Yankees camp as a guest instructor.

• Girardi and his staff are still discussing possible team outings. Not sure what it will be this year.

Associated Press photos of Jeter with Rodriguez during stretch; Nova in the bullpen; and Andruw Jones in the outfield

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 74 Comments →

Tino Martinez added to Hall of Fame ballot11.29.10

Former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez is among the first-timers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, but he’ll certainly not be the focus.

Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are back after near-misses last year. Edgar Martinez will once again be a measuring stick for designated hitters getting into Cooperstown. Among the first timers, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker might have the best chances for election (Bagwell especially).

And steroids will, of course, come front and center with Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and the lingering issue of Mark McGwire.

This year’s list isn’t especially heavy with Yankees. Don Mattingly is still on the ballot, with a very outspoken corner of the baseball world pleading for his induction. Tino Martinez was a good part of great teams, but probably not a Hall of Famer. Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Tim Raines spent the bulk of their careers playing elsewhere.

I’m a long way from having a vote, which is good because I have a hard time making up my mind about some of these guys. I’ve gone back and forth about Blyleven, McGwire, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammell. Larken, Bagwell and Alomar jump out as players I would definitely vote for, and I’m starting to come around on Raines.

Of course, by the time the election results are announced, I will have probably changed my mind 20 times.

The complete ballot, via the AP: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 80 Comments →

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