The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Yankees waiting for some offense04.12.14

Kelly Johnson, David RossThe Yankees are off to a 5-6 start. They have scored four runs or less in eight of the games and have touched the plate only 39 times total so far.

“I’m definitely surprised,” said Kelly Johnson, pictured above after going down swinging against Jon Lester in the fifth inning of the 4-2 loss to the Red Sox Friday night. “I think we all are.

“Offenses can do that, can have some ups and down. We’ll make up for that.”

Mark Teixeira is on the DL. And this offense has a lot of new parts, like Johnson. He was asked whether the newcomers may be trying too hard here at the beginning.

“I think it’s human nature,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to say yes. I’m not going to say no.”

Johnson is batting .258 with two homers and six RBI. But Brian McCann and Brian Roberts are new guys who haven’t done much yet. McCann is at .162 with no homers and three RBI. Roberts is at .148 with no homers and one RBI. Carlos Beltran is at .243  with a homer and four RBI. The Yankees have sent up just seven homers. Johnson is tied for the team lead with .216-hitting Alfonso Soriano.

“We don’t have everyone clicking at this point yet,” Joe Girardi said.

But, stating the obvious, it’s still very early.

Here are links to my three stories today on and in The Journal News, first off on CC Sabathia sinking last night in frustration, plus one on Michael Pineda not getting suspended and some injury updates, and then I have a Matt Thornton feature story. He received his World Series ring yesterday from Red Sox management, yet he was profoundly disappointed to have been left of their playoff roster. He’s hopes to win another this year with the Yankees. I spoke to him before last night’s game.

I’m not scheduled for the rest of this homestand, but you can follow me on Twitter at @bheyman99. Enjoy today’s game.

Photo by The Associated Press.






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Yankees postgame: Sabathia frustrated04.12.14

CC SabathiaCC Sabathia had a lot of reasons to be frustrated. He pitched a good game overall, seven innings — four runs, six hits, nine Ks, two walks — but he pitched a bad sixth inning, giving up all four of the runs and four of the hits. He felt he let his emotions get the best of him in this 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, frustrating him the most. You can see his reaction above as he walked off the mound following the third out in the sixth.

The Yankees had a 1-0 lead going into the sixth and Sabathia had a one-hit shutout. Then he gave up a leadoff homer to Jonny Gomes. OK, it happens.

One out later, he gave up a checked-swing infield hit to Big Papi Ortiz. OK, that doesn’t usually happen. It made Sabathia angry. He lost his focus and he lost the game.

“Usually I’m able to stay even keel and not let that get to me, not let that frustrate me,” Sabathia said. “Next thing I know, it’s 3-0 on Napoli before I even calmed down. That’s something that I did when I was in my 20s and younger. I have to get better.”

Mike Napoli singled, and Grady Sizemore, Sabathia’s old friend from Cleveland, launched a slider for a three-run homer to right for the 4-1 lead.

“I was just frustrated,” Sabathia said. “I kind of rushed through and left the pitch hanging.”

So Sabathia is 1-2 with a 6.63 ERA after three starts.

Joe Girardi said: “He hasn’t thrown that poorly.”

Girardi also said: “I think it’s fair to say any time a guy has less velocity, there’s less margin for error.”

Sabathia said he just hasn’t put a full game together.

“I’m light years ahead of where I was last year,” Sabathia said. “I still have some work to do.”

Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4, so he has hit safely in all four of his starts, going 8 for 17. That’s .471.

Game 3 of this four-game series is scheduled for 1:05 Saturday. The matchup is Hiroki Kuroda vs. John Lackey.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 61 Comments →

Game 11: Yankees (5-5) vs. Red Sox (4-6)04.11.14

Yankees lineup

1. Derek Jeter SS

2. Jacoby Ellsbury CF

3. Carlos Beltran RF

4. Alfonso Soriano DH

5. Francisco Cervelli C

6. Yangervis Solarte 3B

7. Ichiro Suzuki LF

8. Brian Roberts 2B

9. Kelly Johnson 1B

CC Sabathia LHP


Red Sox lineup

1. Jonny Gomes RF

2. Dustin Pedroia 2B

3. David Ortiz DH

4. Mike Napoli 1B

5. Grady Sizemore LF

6. Xander Bogaerts SS

7. Ryan Roberts 3B

8. David Ross C

9. Jackie Bradley, Jr. CF

Jon Lester LHP


Umpires: James Hoye HP, John Tumpane 1B, Brian O’Nora 2B, Bob Davidson 3B

TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 & 101.9

Weather: Cloudy, chance of rain


Staff stats: Yankees pitchers are averaging 8.5 strikeouts and 2.2 walks.

Did you buy a card? Happy birthday Mark Teixeira, you’re 34 years old.


Update, 7:17: Effective first inning for Sabathia, two Ks and one walk, Ortiz.

Update, 7:22: Easy 1-2-3 first for Lester.

Update, 7:29: Even better second for Sabathia, two more Ks, 1-2-3 inning. You would think he’d been able to still pitch well despite diminished velocity, but we’ll see, not just today, although an encouraging start.

Update, 7:32: Soriano HR No. 2, solo shot to deep left, down the line.

Update, 7:43: Nice job by Sabathia to strand a runner at third with one out.

Update, 7:54: Beltran strands runners at first and second with two outs, grounds to third. 1-0 heading for the fourth.

Update, 7:59: 1-2-3 for Sabathia.

Update, 8:08: Lester is tough tonight as well, 1-2-3 fourth with two Ks.

Update, 8:22: Sabathia strands another in scoring position with 2 Ks in the fifth, now 6 Ks in the game and 1,014 Ks as a Yankee, ties Roger Clemens for 11th on their all-time list.

Update, 8:26: Leadoff infield hit for Ichiro, but Roberts erases him with a double-play grounder. Heading for the sixth.

Update, 8:30: Sabathia grooves a pitch to Gomes, HR to left-field seats, 1-1.

Update, 8:32: Sabathia sole possession of 11th on all-time Yankee list, strikes out Pedroia, 1,015. Then he gives up an infield hit to Ortiz.

Update, 8:37: Girardi said Sabathia needed to stay away from his couple bad innings. He couldn’t. Three-run HR Sizemore, 4-1 Boston in the sixth. Betances warming.

Update, 8:44: It’s magnetic schedule night, just got one. My fridge door thanks the Yankees.

Update, 8:51: Soriano leaves Ellsbury at second with two outs in the sixth, grounds back to Lester.

Update, 9:02: Sabathia through seven at 111 pitches if the counters are correct, four runs, six hits. All the runs and four of the hits came in the sixth.

Update, 9:19: RBI single for Kelly Johnson, 4-2. Lester is done. Tazawa is on.

Update, 9:23: Jeter strands two with a fly to right, 4-2 Boston after seven. 44,121 for the announced tickets sold.

Update, 9:27: Cabral comes in to face Ortiz, lefty to lefty, and he walks him. Warren comes on.

Update, 9:38: Warren leaves two on, 4-2 last of the eighth.

Update, 9:50: McCann, pinch hitting as the potential tying run, swings through a splitter for the third out. Betances on to pitch.

Update, 9:57: Wow, Betances looks good, strikes out the side, including two looking at 96 mph and 95 mph. He hasn’t allowed a run in four outings so far, only one hit given up in four innings. Edward Mujica will try to close it out for Boston.

Update, 10:08: Yankees lose 4-2.



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Yankees pregame: Pineda not getting suspended (Updated)04.11.14

Michael PinedaMichael Pineda is still sticking to his dirt story to explain that shiny spot on the palm of his hand during Thursday night’s brilliant start against the Red Sox. The picture above is from the first inning. Joe Torre plans on speaking to the Yankees about it, though, since the speculation was that it was pine tar to improve his grip on the ball, a foreign substance that’s supposed to be a no-no.

Pineda said he put dirt on his hand because it was sweaty. But even if it were pine tar, Pineda doesn’t have to worry about some sort of suspension coming down.

Here’s MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre’s statement to the AP:

“The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox.  Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred.”

(Torre did talk to Brian Cashman and Cashman said it’s now “a resolved issue.”)

Joe Girardi said he’s focusing on managing tonight’s game. “As far as the other thing, I have not heard from Joe Torre, and I’m not worried about it,” he said.

Girardi said he did speak to Pineda, but not about this situation.

“I don’t talk to pitchers about that, like, ‘Do you use or don’t you use?’ ” Girardi said. “I mean, this is not a recreational drug. So I don’t talk to people about that.

“I’m aware. I’ve been on teams where I’ve seen it. I’m 99 percent sure that I know of guys on other teams that use it, and I just haven’t said anything. So will we talk to Michael? If we did, I wouldn’t tell you anyway.”

But if using pine tar just helps the grip but doesn’t have an impact on pitch movement, and some believe it doesn’t, should the rule be changed?

“The way we’re addressing rules now, I think we could address that and get some clarity on it,” Girardi said. “It would probably be helpful.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell said the substance was gone from Pineda’s hand for the fifth inning.

“I’m sure every pitcher does it for purposes of getting a better grip or whatever, but last night was flat-out blatant,” Shane Victorino said.

On another topic, Girardi said he expects Mark Teixeira back by May 1, but Cashman wouldn’t commit to that timetable. Cashman said Brendan Ryan wouldn’t be back this month. Ryan has been doing some light baseball activities on the way back from his back problem.

“It’s improving,” Girardi said, “but he’s still a ways away from games.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 64 Comments →

Ellsbury steps into Yankees-Red Sox from the other side04.10.14

Jacoby EllsburyJacoby Ellsbury will get a whole new view of Yankees-Red Sox Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, the view that comes with playing in The Rivalry while wearing pinstriped clothing.

The Yankees center fielder will face his former team for the first time in the opener of a four-game series after being given 153 million reasons to switch sides in the offseason.

“You can think about it,” Ellsbury said before Wednesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Orioles, “but until it happens, you don’t know how it’s going to feel.”

Boston made Ellsbury a first-round pick in 2005 and brought him up two years later, and he won two rings with that team, including one last October. He went 0 for 4 in this last game, but he’s off to a nice start overall with his new team, batting .364 with four steals in five tries.

“I’m looking forward to it, but it’s just really another game,” Ellsbury said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to it. I try not to get into an emotional roller coaster. That’s just each and every game.”

Yet he added: “A good amount of time, a good portion of my life I spent with that organization. I gave them everything I had. I left it all on the field.”

Joe Girardi said: “I think it’ll be interesting for him. My thought process is, it’ll be a little bit more interesting when we go there.”

The Yankees gave Masahiro Tanaka 155 million reasons to sign here. He has been impressive with 18 Ks and one walk in 14 innings over his two starts so far. Here’s a link to my story about his start and the Yankees’ loss in the Baltimore series finale. And here’s my feature story on the rise of Yangervis Solarte and it’s complete with how he got his name.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 186 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Tanaka not satisfied04.10.14

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka is now the second Yankees pitcher and the first since 1915 to strike out at least eight in his first two major-league starts. This time, he fanned 10. So after two starts, he owns 18 Ks and one walk in 14 innings.

But he worked in and out of trouble three times in this 5-4 loss to the Orioles and served up a three-run homer to Jonathan Schoop on the way to a no-decision, leaving him displeased.

“I thought I was able to battle,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “But I put runners on and gave up a home run to the ninth batter. That I can’t do.”

Still, you can see he has the kind of stuff to get out of jams. His splitter bailed him out in the third and the fifth.

“He made some pitches when he had to,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he threw the ball good.”

Tanaka, though, has allowed three runs by the end of the second inning in both of his starts before firing off five scoreless innings each time. Not time to call it a trend yet.

“Obviously that’s something I need to adjust, but it’s hard to make an assessment after two games,” he said.

Tanaka also said there was no problem making the transition to four days’ rest after usually pitching once a week in Japan. He came out after 101 pitches, but he has  thrown a lot more back home. He said he probably could have gone longer.

“But I understand it’s only four days in between and it’s a long season,” Tanaka said. “So I’m going by what the team tells me to do.”

The Yankees starters’ streak of five straight games without issuing a walk came to end when Tanaka gave out his one free pass in the third. It was the team’s longest streak since 2002.

Shawn Kelley lamented not being able to put batters away in the ninth, giving up three two-strike hits.

“I thought they did a pretty good job getting the barrel to some of those pitches,” Kelley said.

Now the Red Sox come in for four. I’ll have Jacoby Ellsbury’s thoughts on facing his old team in the morning post.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 29 Comments →

Game 9: Yankees (4-4) vs. Orioles (3-5)04.09.14

Yankees lineup

1. Brett Gardner CF

2. Derek Jeter SS

3. Jacoby Ellsbury DH

4. Carlos Beltran RF

5. Brian McCann C

6. Alfonso Soriano LF

7. Kelly Johnson 1B

8. Brian Roberts 2B

9. Yangervis Solarte 3B

Masahiro Tanaka RHP


Orioles lineup

1. Nick Markakis RF

2. Delmon Young DH

3. Chris Davis 1B

4. Adam Jones CF

5. Matt Wieters C

6. Nelson Cruz LF

7. Steve Lombardozzi 2B

8. Ryan Flaherty SS

9. Jonathan Schoop 3B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP


Umpires: Tim Welke HP, Will Little 1B, Tim Timmons 2B, Todd Tichenor 3B

Weather: Clear, chilly

TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 & 101.9


Streaking: Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Aug. 19, 2012, when his Rakuten team fell at Seibu. His winning streak, including his first start with the Yankees, is at 29 games.


Update, 7:16: Tanaka blows a 94 mph fastball past Adam Jones to strand Delmon Young, who had doubled, and end the top of the first.

Update, 7:23: Gardner singles, but Jeter lines into a double play.

Update, 7:35: Schoop really launched that homer off Tanaka, three-run shot to the second deck in left, 3-0 in the second.

Update, 7:40: Beltran first homer as a Yankee, 3-1.

Update, 7:42: Kelly Johnson second homer as a Yankee, 3-2.

Update, 8:05: Tanaka strands two in the third, gets Nelson Cruz to wave at a splitter after doing the same vs. Adam Jones earlier in the inning.

Update, 8:19: Finally a 1-2-3 inning for Tanaka.

Update, 8:26: Beltran’s bat is paying off tonight. Leadoff double and he scores on a Soriano grounder, 3-3.

Update, 8:38: Tanaka strands two more thanks to his splitter, gets Matt Wieters.

Update, 8:48: Ellsbury strands two to end the fifth.

Update, 8:52: Nice diving grab by Soriano to rob Lombardozzi, then nice play by Roberts to end the Baltimore sixth.

Update, 9:07: My first in-person look at Tanaka, very impressive, 10 Ks in seven innings, has the pitches to get out of trouble, especially that splitter.

Update, 9:16: Yankees go down 1-2-3 vs. Evan Meek in relief of Gonzalez. Headed for the eighth, 3-3. Thornton on for Tanaka.

Update, 9:22: Thornton gets a K, Warren comes on.

Update, 9:33: Warren strands Adam Jones at second after an infield hit and an error by Johnson trying to catch a pickoff try at first.

Update, 9:38: 39,412 here for Tanaka Night. Gardner leadoff double in the eighth.

Update, 9:43: Ellsbury a not-clutch foul out with Gardner at third, two outs. Beltran intentionally walked.

Update, 9:46: McCann, who hasn’t done much so far, flies to center. Kelley on to pitch the ninth.

Update, 9:54: Orioles up 4-3. Shawn Kelley gives up three straight hits, including an RBI single by Nick Markakis.

Update, 9:58: Chris Davis sac fly, 5-3.

Update, 10:19: Yankees lose 5-4.





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Yankees pregame: New guys in the news04.09.14

Masahiro TanakaShane Greene flashed some ability in spring training. The 25-year-old old righty didn’t make the team, but then Tuesday he got a call from senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman.

“Basically, it was just, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to New York in the morning,’ ” Greene said quietly this afternoon, standing at his new locker in the Bronx.

Austin Romine got sent down to make room for Greene, whose parents were thrilled.

“They were a little more emotional than I was,” Greene said.

The 6-foot-4 Greene had been a starter in his five previous minor-league seasons. He took a large step forward last season, combining to go 12-10 with a 3.38 ERA with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, and it carried over to spring training. He fanned 10 and walked one across 7 2/3 innings and six outings. Greene gave up four runs and eight hits.

“I just kept the same mentality as last year — attack guys, throw strikes and make them earn their way on base,” Greene said.

He was the Kevin Lawn Award winner for 2013 as the organization’s pitcher of the year.

But why is he here now?

“We felt at this time in the stretch that we’re in that we could use 13 pitchers,” Joe Girardi said.

After throwing 67 pitches Tuesday, lefty Vidal Nuno may not be available until Saturday, during the four-game Red Sox series, according to Girardi. There may be a need for some lefty relievers vs. Boston, and now Girardi has three of them with Matt Thornton around as well.

“I think it’s important we have those options when we need them,” Girardi said. “You can be more situational.”

Another new guy gets to start tonight in the series finale against the Orioles — Masahiro Tanaka’s Bronx debut. Girardi said it’s too early to tell how Tanaka will handle the pressure of New York, but he did note that Tanaka has a lot of experience in big games in Japan.

“He has seemed to fit right in,” Girardi said. “He needles people. I see him smile. I see him laugh. He has fit in really well. He’s been a good teammate.”

Yangervis Solarte is starting for the seventh time in nine games, the sixth time at third. The rookie is batting a team-high .458 — 11 for 24. He also leads the Yankees with six doubles and seven RBIs. Girardi plans to keep running him out there while he’s out.

So is Solarte surprised by his early success?

“I am a little bit,” Solarte said, “but for that I give thanks to God.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 47 Comments →

Tanaka time in the Bronx04.09.14

Masahiro TanakaIt figures to be rather chilly inside Yankee Stadium Wednesday night, but Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sweating over the thought.

“I’m not worried too much just because I used to pitch in a city called Sendai, which is in the northern part of Japan, which was usually cold around this time of the season,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.

Of course, if Tanaka pitches the way he did last year in his 24-0 Rakuten run or like he did in the final five innings of his win Friday night when the Yankees were in Toronto, he should receive a lot of warmth from the home crowd. Tanaka will be making his Bronx debut in the series finale against the Orioles.

And he’s looking forward to it, especially after experiencing the festivities at Monday’s home opener.

“I was going through the ceremony; I felt that the fans are here to back us up,” Tanaka said. “So unlike Toronto, it should be nice.”

His 29-game regular-season winning streak will be on the line, dating to Aug. 19, 2012, when the Seibu Lions beat him. After giving up three runs in the first two innings of his Yankees debut, the 25-year-old righty fired off five scoreless innings against the Blue Jays and picked up a 7-3 win.

“For me, it’s all about the mechanics of how I pitch,” Tanaka said. “That said, I know what I need to fix.”

Ivan Nova knows he has to fix some things, too, after reverting to his inconsistent ways in his first two starts. Here’s the link to my story on and in The Journal News today about what went on with him and the team in yesterday’s 14-5 loss.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 267 Comments →

Nova off to shaky start04.08.14

Ivan NovaSo what’s up with Ivan Nova?

He allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings in losing to the Orioles after walking five in 5 2/3 in his first start in Houston. Nova only gave up two runs in that game and was the winner, but in this game, he couldn’t minimize the damage and the Yankees ended up losing 14-5.

“I don’t feel good when you pitch that way with the good spring training that I had,” Nova said.  “It’s only the second time. I have plenty of time to fix it and get back to where I want to be.”

He had a problem with his curve, and his sinker was up. Nova said he needs to get his pitches down.

“I wouldn’t make too much out of two starts,” Joe Girardi said. “I know it’s glaring in the beginning. I know he’s more than capable of turning this around and being a big-time pitcher for us.”

There was a chance for Nova to get out of the first with no runs scored instead of three. But Derek Jeter couldn’t reach Delmon Young’s bouncing single for a double-play try.

“I know he tried the best to get the double play,” Nova said. “That’s the game.”

Despite struggling, Nova didn’t walk anyone. So Yankees starting pitchers haven’t walked a batter now in five straight games.

Francisco Cervelli got his first shot at first base. He admitted he missed one foul ball that he probably should have caught. But Girardi said he was OK with his work over there.

“He passed for me,” Girardi said.

So Cervelli could be another option vs. lefties with Mark Teixeira out.

Yangervis Solarte doubled twice, making the rookie third baseman the first player since 1900 with at least six doubles in the first seven games of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 4 and is 12 for his last 22 after starting 0 for 7.

Alfonso Soriano hit homer No. 1 on the season and No. 407 for his career, tying Duke Snider for 50th on the all-time list.

I’ll have more on Masahiro Tanaka’s Wednesday night Bronx debut in the morning.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 196 Comments →

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