Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nova Implodes As Yanks Drop Fourth Straight

(Getty Images)
There are losses, there are the games that the Yankees have been playing over the last week or so, and then there's games like this. This may have actually been my least favorite game of the year. Outside of the first inning, there was absolutely nothing to like about this one. It would be an 11-5 Baltimore win; let's recap:
  • The Yanks offense got off to an early lead. Derek Jeter led off with a double, Curtis Granderson singled him in, and Robbie Cano homered, and just like that it was 3-0. They were able to add two more that inning and give Nova a nice early xushio while getting opposing starter Chris Tillman up around 30 pitches.
  • Ivan Nova came out today and looked very good. It took him six pitches (all strikes) to get through his first inning of work. He was pounding the zone with his fastball and looked to have sharp breaking stuff. Unfortunately that would be the end of his pitching well. He allowed seven runs in the second- all with two outs- which was capped by a Chris Davis Grand Slam. It really was awful. He wound up going five and allowing nine runs. At least he saved the pen a bit, but he was locating anything, and after the first, his curve and slider looked really flat.
  • After that first inning though, the Bombers offense fell apart. A hit here and a hit there, but they could never put together a strong rally against Tillman and the bullpen. Of course the five runs should have been enough to at least keep them in the game, but still they had nothing. The bats are really starting to go ice cold.
  • The bullpen was okay as Logan went one scoreless while Cody Eppley allowed a run in 1.2 frames and Clay Rapada allowed one in 1.1. Rapada has really been struggling recently and so has Eppley. Hopefully Joba's presence takes some of the load off of them. And at least they have a rested back end for tomorrow.
The Yanks will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow as Zach Britton takes on Phil Hughes in the finale of this three game set.

Yankees Farm Report: July 31st, 2012

Here are some notes from the day:
  • Shaeffer Hall was place on the DL with a toe injury and also in an effort to limit his innings. (Link)
  • Austin Romine is out with the flu. (Link)
This game got a late start and is still going on. I have some more stuff to do tonight so just a box score here.

The Thunder went up against 2011 first pick Gerrit Cole so hits were hard to come by today, but they did get five of them. Zoilo Almonte had the big one, a homer while David Adams, Melky Mesa, Luke Murton, and Rob Segedin each had hits, Segedin doubled and Mesa scored on a JR Murphy sac fly. On the mound, Brett Marshall struck out four and walked three in six frames while allowing a run on four hits. Kelvin Perez then came on to toss two scoreless and Ryan Pope struck out two to close it out in.

Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin each had four hits, Flores tripled stole a base, and scored a run and Austin walked, drove in three, and scored two runs. Kyle Roller and Kyle Higashioka each had two hits while Slade Heathcott and Hector Rabago each had a hit a piece. On the hill, Shane Greene struck out seven and walked none over five innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits. Sean Black and Branden Pinder each had two scoreless innings outings and struck out three each. Aaron Dott got the win with two scoreless innings of relief in extras.

Charleston 10 -- Greenville 5
Ben Gamel and Rob Refsnyder each had three hits, Gamel tripled, scored two runs, and drove in two and Refsnyder doubled, walked, drove in three, and scored a run. Rey Nunez added four hits while Francisco Arcia had two. Eduardo Sosa, Cito Culver, Kelvin DeLeon, and Ali Castillo each had hits as well. On the bump, Bryan Mitchell struck out five and walked four while allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits in five frames. Charlie Short struck out three in 1.1 innings in relief and Nick Goody hurled a scoreless ninth.

* * *
Short Season Staten Island had a scheduled day off and the GCL Yankees were rained out.

Game 103: Beginning Of The End

The new addition. (Getty Images)
The trade deadline has come and gone and the Yankees have come away with Casey McGehee. This will be the team that they go to war with for the final stretch of the season barring any waiver trades/claims. Tonight starts the beginning of the end of the season. Here's the lineup:
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Nick Swisher, RF
  5. Raul Ibanez, LF
  6. Eric Chavez, 3B
  7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  8. Russell Martin, C
  9. Ramiro Pena, SS
And it will be Ivan Nova on the bump. This one will start a little after 7 and can be seen on YES or MLB Network.

Joba To Be Activated Tonight

According to everyone on Twitter, the Yankees are planning on activating Joba Chamberlain tonight. Chad Qualls went to Pittsburgh so that does leave them one man short in the pen which is why this makes sense. Both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman say that is the plan although he was in Trenton as of a little while ago to continue his minor league rehab. It's nice to get him back so soon, especially with what original reports said back in February. Today's a good day.

Yankees Acquire Casey McGehee

(Pro Rumors)
People had no idea what the Yankees were going to do before the trade deadline passed at 4 pm today. Some thought going after a starter was important, others thought a reliever, and then there were people who thought an infielder was necessary. Through all the drama and sweat that we went through today and almost landing Ryan Dempster, they wound up getting third baseman Casey McGehee from the Pirates in exchange for Chad Qualls.

McGehee, 29, is under team control through 2014 and plays mainly third base and first base. This year he has posted a .348 wOBA and 119 wRC+ up against lefties which makes him a nice platoon partner with Eric Chavez at third base. He fills an immediate need at corner infield with Mark Teixeira out for a couple of days and Alex Rodriguez out until September.

It may not have been a big move, but being seven games up in the division and twenty games over .500 allowed the Yanks to not go all out and stay within themselves. They got McGehee for really nothing at all and he's a nice piece of depth. It allows Jayson Nix to go back to being a utility guy and Ramiro Pena can go back to Triple A. And now with the intention being activating Joba Chamberlain tonight, it makes even more sense.

Teixeira Has No Structural Damage

Mark Teixeira was sent for an MRI on his wrist today and it came back clean. There was no structural damage and they will re-evaluate him after three days. He did receive a cortisone shot for the swelling, but other than that, he just needs some rest. He's shooting for Friday so hopefully he can stick to that and get back by then. Yay for that.

Settling Into Their Roles

The trade deadline is today at 4 pm which means the Yankees may have their last chance to make a move and adjust their rosters before the last stretch of games until the playoffs. It doesn't look like Brian Cashman is in rush to make any move and whether the he makes any trades or not, doesn't really have anything to do with what I'm going to talk about. It has more to do with Ichiro Suzuki and Nick Swisher.

Brett Gardner has only played in nine games this season and is likely out for the year which left Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez as a platoon in left field instead of the designated hitter slot and made the defense a lot weaker. When Nick Swisher tweaked his hip flexor a week or so ago, it put the Yanks in a little bit in a hole, but luckily they were able to trade for Ichiro Suzuki to take on one of the outfield corners while he was absent.

After sitting for a week, Swish has been the designated hitter in each of the last two games and should return to the field soon. If all goes according to plan, he'll go to right, Ichiro will move to left, and Jones and Ibanez will be back to platooning in the DH spot. This tightens up the defense and allows those older players to not get as exposed.

Of course the new developments with Mark Teixeira may make things a little foggier as Chavez and Swisher may need to play some first now. If that is the case, they could dip in their depth and bring up either Chris Dickerson or Brandon Laird, both of whom could fit in well. However, hopefully it's nothing too serious and he's only out for a couple of days. If the latter is true, these players can finally settle into the roles and get ready for the final run of the year.

Russell in Reverse

Thankfully, it's been Russell Martin's offense on the fritz.

In a close and frustrating loss to the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball, the only offensive bright spot came from a place we have rarely seen this season.  In the ten-inning affair, Russell Martin reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 2-2 with a shut-out breaking solo homer, game-tying RBI single, and two walks.  His day at the plate raised his average by a remarkable seven points… to .189. 

Martin has been an offensive black hole at the bottom of the Yankees’ lineup throughout the season: an OBP of .310, hitting .167 with RISP and .143 with the bases loaded (and a nice, even .000 on turf).  His struggles are pervasive, not situational: a .190 batting average at home, .187 away.  He’s spent only one month (May) above the Mendoza line. 

But there is hope.  Although a straight number still heads his batting average, Russell is showing signs of turning around.  Over his last 8 games, Martin is hitting .272 with 3 homeruns, 6 RBI, and 6 walks.  Last year, he tore up (by his standards) August to the tune of 7 homers and a .286 batting average.  Over the past three years, he has hit a little less than ten points better in the second half. 

So, say the trends play out and Martin picks up his offensive share.  Granted, the Yankees have maintained first place without his bat for quite some time now.  If he plays to his caliber (he’s just 29 after all, and not even a career catcher), it will certainly add depth to a lineup without Alex Rodriguez until the last two weeks of the season. 

But a Martin offensive outburst would become a tremendous factor in October.  Although Chris Stewart has caught CC Sabathia’s past 16 starts, we can safely assume that Girardi will want his primary catcher for every playoff game.  Martin will need to prove himself in the batter’s box, because has CERA with Sabathia is over 6.00.  An effective Martin-CC tandem in Game 1 would be exactly what the Yanks need.

And if Martin doesn’t turn it around?  Stewart hasn’t been half bad (give Cashman credit for that deal).  And something tells me the Yankees will be fine with their current offensive output.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Comeback Fails Again In 5-4 Loss

(Getty Images)
The Yankees were coming off losing two out of three and have lost a ton of close game recently, which are honestly the worst, but if they were able to beat up on the second place Orioles coming into town, it would have made things a little easier. Unfortunately, they couldn't do it, and they went on to lose the first game of this three game set by a score of 5-4. Let's recap:
  • Freddy Garcia was solid enough, He gave up his three runs, but he got through six innings and kept the Yanks very much in the game. He did scatter nine hits and only strike out two, but he only allowed three runs and didn't walk anyone. He's the team's fifth starter so you really can't expect more than what he's done. I know with David Phelps lurking, it's nice to look for an opportunity to oust him, but he's doing a good job.
  • A long, long time ago, the Bombers did have a lead in this game. In the second inning, Eric Chavez singled in Raul Ibanez to make it 1-0, but of course that was the end of that. Speaking of which, the offense has really slowed down recently. When they're at their best, they win most of the games they played over this time, but they're going through a cold stretch; it happens.
  • They were down 3-2 in the seventh and Boone Logan had retired the first two batters and had two lefties coming up. No worries, right? Wrong. A walk and a double later, it was 4-2 and then David Phelps couldn't strand the inherited runner which made it 5-2. A rare clunker from Logan and it cost them the game.
  • The Yanks started mounting their comeback in the bottom half of that inning with back-to-back homers from Eric Chavez and Ichiro to make it a one run ball game. After going scoreless in the eighth, Nick Swisher led off the ninth with a double. They had three crack to get him in, but Raul Ibanez struck out, Chavez walked, Ichiro grounded into a fielder's choice and a pinch hitting Russell Martin struck out to end it. Close once again, but no cigar.
  • Besides letting that fifth run score, Phelps was very good again going 1.2 frames, but Clay Rapada couldn't get either of the two batters he faced out, but Chad Qualls bailed him out in what could be his last appearance as a Yankee.
The Bombers have now only won three of their last eight and their last nine losses have been by a combined 12 runs. Kind of crazy. Ivan Nova will hope to turn things around as he toes the rubber tomorrow as these two games meet again.

Yankees Farm Report: July 30th, 2012

Here are some notes from the last few days:
  • Mason Williams has been placed on Tampa's disabled list with a shoulder ailment after hurting himself diving for a fly ball.
  • Ronnier Mustelier has been activated off of Scranton's DL. (Link)
  • Caleb Cotham has also been placed on the DL, but that's because he's getting up there in innings. (Link)
Eduardo Nunez and Kosuke Fukudome each had two hits, Nunez scored a run and stole a base while Fukudome drove in a run. Corban Joseph, Ronnier Mustelier and Brandon Laird all added hits as well, Joseph scored a run and walked, Mustelier drove in a run, and Laird whiffed twice. On the hill, John Maine tossed a one hitter in seven frames walking only one and striking out two. Cory Wade followed with a perfect eighth and Ryota Igarashi allowed a run, but still nailed down the save in the ninth.

Every one in the lineup had exactly one hit except for Tyler Austin. Adonis Garcia doubled, Slade Hetathcott tripled, and Hector Rabago homered. Gary Sanchez and Ramon Flores each walked and scored a run as well. On the mound, Jose Ramirez struck out five and walked one while allowing two runs on seven hits over six frames. Jeremy Bleich then came on and tossed two scoreless innings in relief and Kramer Sneed hurled a hitless ninth and struck out two.

Charleston 3 -- Greenville 4 
Rob Refsnyder hit his first career pro homer and it tied things up in the ninth so yeah pretty well timed. He also had two other hits to go along with it. Ali Castillo and Cito Culver each had hits as well, Castillo stole a base and Culver walked and scored a run. On the bump, Scottie Allen had a nice start striking out four and walking none over five frames while allowing three runs on six hits. Fred Lewis followed with three hitless innings. He was followed by Pedro Guerra who tossed two scoreless frames and struck out two before allowing the winning run to score in the eleventh without recording an out.

Claudio Custodio and Peter O'Brien each had two hits, Custodio tripled, walked, scored a run, and drove in a run. Taylor Dugas, Saxon Butler, Matt Snyder, and Ravel Santana each had a hit a piece, Dugas walked and scored a run, Butler scored a run, and Snyder and Santana drove in a runs. Gabe Encinas was the starter and he had a great outing allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks while striking out four in seven frames. It should also be noted that he got twelve grounders which is pretty nuts. Josh Romanski allowed a run in inning of work and James Pazos tossed a scoreless ninth and tenth and struck out three, but Derek Varndore gave up a run in the eleventh to end it.

The big story of this game was 2012 first rounder Ty Hensley making his pro debut. Chris had a little more on him earlier. Brady Lail alos made his pro debut and struck out three over two perfect innings. I'm a big fan because he's a projectable righty with feel for three pitches which is hard to find from a high schooler. Yoely Bello struck out the side in his lone inning of work, Dayton Dawe allowed an unearned run and struck out two in two frames, while Adam Smith and Edison Mejia combined to strike out five in their combined two innings. On offense, Yeicok Calderon had a triple and a homer, while Ericson Leonora doubled and Nathan Mikolas and Miguel Andujar each added hits. Bubba Jones also walked three times and Abe Almonte continued his rehab with a hit, a walk, a run scored, and two stolen bases.

* * *
Double-A Trenton had a scheduled day off.

Mark Teixeira Will Be Sent For Tests

Update (10:19pm): The Yankees will send Tex for tests on his wrist tomorrow, but Joe Girardi says it's a "big concern" so that's definitely not good. It really stinks too, because he had been the team's second best hitter over the last two months. I guess we can only hope for the best at this point.

Original (9:32pm): Mark Teixeira was pulled from the game after the seventh inning. In the top of the inning, He looked to have jammed his left wrist diving for a ball and Joe Girardi and Steve Donahue actually came out to check on him, but he originally stayed in the game. When we find out more we'll update this post, but hopefully it's nothing too serious.

Mailbag Monday (July 30th): Hitting on Lee, Marshall, Pettitte & the Trade Deadline

Hello Yankee fans, welcome to another edition of #SSMailbag Monday.  David here to answer your weekly #SSMailbag questions.  You can find me on twitter with the username @Yankeesource and if you have a question just add the hashtag #SSMailbag and I’ll answer them on the next edition of #SSMailbag Monday.

@RickJones tweets: Is there anyone better than Freddy Garcia?   

A:  Freddy Garcia has not allowed more than four earned runs in any of his starts this month.  For a fifth starter, what more can you expect?  He doesn’t wow anyone with his stuff but he gets plenty of strikeouts and he’s been the perfect fill-in for Andy Pettitte.  You can do a lot worse than Freddy Garcia as the #5.

@SickyGG5 tweets: What do you think about Lee situation?

A:   Is there a better pitcher in the majors that gets moved every year?  It’s surprising to see Lee moved this often but he’s clearly been a disappointment this year for the Phillies.   If Amaro can move Lee without eating a lot of that contract it would be a win for the Phillies who have a lot of money tied up into the rotation.  I don’t see him being moved that easily but if he does expect the Rangers to be the frontrunners for Lee.  The Yankees will not take on that contract, especially considering the magic 189 million payroll they are targeting two years from now.  

@B-Ri tweets: Brett Marshall is having a solid year in AA after a nice year in A+. How do you view his prospect status?

A:  I like Marshall a lot. He’s cleaned up his mechanics and he projects to be a mid-rotation starter in the majors if he can stay away from injury or decline.  After listening to a few scouts talk about Marshall this year, I think the best of Brett Marshall is yet to come.  I think he can improve his command and also continue to refine his mechanics which was always a concern.  He has a lot of value and he is relatively close to the majors (possibly seeing some bullpen action as close as next season).  Stay tuned.

@Rickinator555 tweets: With Andy saying his ankle injury isn't healing as fast as he hoped, do Yankees look at SP either trade or waiver?

A: I don’t think Andy’s injury setback will have any impact on the approach the Yankees take at the deadline.  Other than some waiver wire moves, I don’t see much pitching coming the Yankees way via trade.  I wasn’t surprised when I heard about the setback since his age plays a factor in healing time.  I do think we’ll see Andy back at 100% before the end of the season.  No need to rush into a deal and make a mistake that could impact the team in the future.

@JamesJohnson119  tweets: What do you expect the Yanks do to at the deadline? 

 A:   Unless Chase Headley’s price drops significantly, I think the Yankees will just scour the market looking for a cheap filler at 3B.  The Yankees should also look into a guy like Reed Johnson, a LF who can hit lefties very well.  Playing Ichiro against lefties isn’t a very smart baseball decision, no matter how good his defense is.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they add one bullpen arm but with Joba coming back it would only happen if it was on their terms.

Thank you for all your questions and don’t forget to tweet your questions with the hashtag #SSMailbag to my account @yankeesource for the next segment of #SSMailbag Monday.  

Meet The New Writers

A few weeks ago we put out a little ad saying that we were looking for some new writers. Well, we've decided to add three. And here they are:
  • David Paulson- You may know Dave best as @YankeeSource on Twitter where he takes a lot of questions about prospects, the current Yankees team, and more. Every Monday he'll be doing a little mailbag answering some questions from readers. You can ask him questions on Twitter using the hashtag #SSMailbag. 
  • John Balletta- John is entering his freshman year of college at Princeton (yeah, I guess he's smart). He's a life long fan from Jersey and you may have seen his work on ESPNRise or Sportsnation. He'll be making his debut tomorrow morning and will be posting every Tuesday morning from now on so make sure you look out for that.
  • Tom Conroy- Tom is a journalism student at Marquette University and is an analyst with Chris on their television station. He's quite the character so he'll be doing little humor pieces every weekend, mostly on Sundays. Make sure you look out for those starting this coming weekend.
We're really excited to have all three of these guys aboard and look forward to their contributions. With these guys now as contributors, we've also decided to move Dave Fine up to a managing editor. He'll still post every Monday and Wednesday morning, just his title is different. Make sure you look out for all our new content and we look forward to bringing you better and more frequent coverage of the team.

Game 102: Birds

(Fitz and Vig)
The Orioles come into town for a three game set starting tonight so it'd be nice to extend that division lead. Here's the lineup:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Nick Swisher, DH
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Eric Chavez, 3B
  8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  9. Chris Stewart, C
And it will be Freddy Garcia on the bump. This one will start a little after 7 and can be seen on YES.

Series Preview: Orioles Visit Bronx for Three

Time to extend that 7.5 game lead.
Both the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles have recently undergone their mid-season slumps and are looking to turn their fortune around as they open a three game series in the Bronx. The last time these two teams faced each other, their spots in the standings were reversed as the Yankees trailed the Orioles in second place by two and a half games.

The Yankees have only won three of their last ten games, while the Orioles are coming off a Sunday win against the Oakland Athletics and are 5-5 in their last ten games. Hitting was an issue for the Yankees on Sunday as Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano combined for an 0-10 night for the lineup.

Nick Swisher was the only bright spot for the middle of the lineup as he had two hits and showed some mobility after a strained hip flexor. He will be hitting from the designated hitter's spot for the first game of the series, he help on defense has been missed. Ichiro has been holding down right-field duties, which leaves left-field with less speedy options like Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez. This was exposed in the Red Sox series with doubles and hits down the line. Unfortunately, Girardi says that Swisher could be the designated hitter for the whole series.

Matt Weiters is similarly coming off some period of rest for a bicep strain and he homered in his return to the lineup with a three-run shot against Oakland. He has homered twice against the Yankees in 2012 and is maintaining a .467 batting average against the divisional rivals. Phil Hughes has not been treated well by the long ball, especially in his last start where he surrendered three to the Red Sox. Hughes may have a target on his back as Weiters faces him in the series finale.

The last starts for Miguel Gonzalez and Freddy Garcia could not be more opposite. Garcia struck out eight Mariners for a season high and Gonzalez surrendered seven runs on seven hits. The Orioles rebounded the day after with a solid start by Chris Tillman, who went six innings and only gave up two runs for the win. The Yankees and Rays offense is similar, so their next few starts could be more reflective of what was seen in their previous outings.

Pitching Matchups vs. Orioles
Monday - RHP Freddy Garcia (4-4, 5.16) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.28)

Start Time: 7:05 p.m. Television: YES Network
Tuesday - RHP Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.08) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66)Start Time: 7:05 p.m. Television: YES Network and MLB Network 
Wednesday RHP Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.08) vs. LHP Zach Britton (1-0, 5.74)Start Time: 1:05 p.m. Television: YES Network and MLB Network

First Rounder Ty Hensley Makes Professional Debut for GCL Yankees

The New York Yankees selected Ty Hensley with their first pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and on Monday afternoon, he took the hill for his debut for the Gulf Coast League Yankees. 18 days after signing with the Yankees, Hensley's first two innings showed some rust as he surrendered three quick runs.

First Inning: He was welcomed to professional baseball with a double off the bat off GCL Tigers' David Gonzalez. Tyler Gibson would follow him up in the lineup with a homerun. Hensley rebounded with a line out and strikeout, before walking the next two batters. Any further damage would be avoided with a groundout to shortstop Austin Aune, who would toss it to first base to end the inning.

Second Inning: Hensley got a runner on base quick in his second inning with a leadoff single by Jordan Guida. The batter after him would do the same and Guida moved to third. Gonzalez may have doubled off him in his first at-bat, but he grounded into a double play to give Hensley two outs. A third run would come across to score on the play. A groundout would end the inning and Hensley's day on the mound.

The first-rounder's final line read: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, ERA 13.50

Hensley's velocity sat around 90-93 mph throughout his two innings pitched. His fastest pitch was a fastball at 95 mph and was mainly working with a three pitch repertoire. ESPN's Kiley McDaniel said that his command and delivery looked rusty, but that's understandable being it is his first start as a professional. 

Update: Marci Hensley tweeted at The Stirring Straw and noted that this was the first time he threw in a game since May 9th. 

Give Tex Some Love

Teixeira is poised for his ninth-straight
30 home run, 100 RBI season.
Mark Teixeira has arguably been the Yankees best player this year, but nobody seems to notice.

He leads the team with 71 RBI's, is a walk machine, and is the team's best defensive player.

In the past month, he leads the team with 27 RBI's and seven home runs. He also has accrued a .306 average in that time.

In many ways, other storylines have overshadowed Tex's run. Robbie Cano's hit streak caught our attention earlier in the month, then Alex Rodriguez broke his arm, then the team acquired Ichiro.

It's not just that. He is in the middle of an 8 year, $180 million contract. He is expected to perform this way. And you know what, that's not fair.

If baseball's culture of big contracts has taught us anything, it's that players tend not to live up to their deals. It's not that the players struggle, but signing bloated contracts makes it near impossible to perform without being scrutinized for every failure.

This is not a new thing. Reggie Jackson was (mostly) despised in New York during the 1977 regular season. Then he hit three home runs in Game Six of the World Series against the Dodgers. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are considered the most overrated players in baseball, and their contracts have a lot to do with that.

Regardless of what you think of the poll, or Reggie Jackson, or big contracts, it's time to respect Teixeira. He has helped the Yankees to the best record in the American League, and is one of their top hitters this year. If he stays healthy, he will finish with over 100 RBI's and hit over 30 home runs. He has achieved that feat every year since 2004.

What more can you ask of the guy?

Yankees Waste Another Rally; Drop Series to Sox

One of four double plays, but Yankees can't hurdle over the Red Sox in 3-2 loss.
Sitting in Section 203 of the Bleachers at Yankee Stadium is always a ton of fun, but even more when it's a Yankees vs. Red Sox game. The stadium was packed and loud all the way through extra innings, but fans left the Bronx with their heads down as New York let another rally go to waste and the Red Sox capitalized to take the series with a 3-2 victory on Sunday night.

The tie was broken in the top of the 10th inning with a bloop single by Pedro Ciriaco that brought home Ryan Sweeny, leaving David Robertson dejected on the mound. Bobby Valentine would be tossed from the game shortly before on a controversial call that involved a hit batter and a hit umpire.

Russell Martin has had his fair share of struggles throughout the season with a batting average below the .200 mark, but he broke up Felix Doubront's shut-out in the seventh inning with a solo homerun. He would break out in the clutch yet again in the eighth inning with an RBI single.

The two runs off the Martin bat were all that the Yankees could muster and could not back up some solid pitching by Hiroki Kuroda. The Japanese right-hander went eighth innings and induced multiple groundballs and double plays throughout the night.

- Ichiro has hit safely in all six of his games as a New York Yankee. He is still one homerun shy of 100 on his career. Suzuki was 0-2 early in the game with runners in scoring position.

- New York is still up on Tampa and Baltimore by seven games in the American League East standings.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Joba Takes Rehab To Trenton

Joba Chamberlain made a rehab appearance for Double A Trenton today and allowed a hit and now walks while striking out three in 1.1 scoreless frames. He was apparently at 94-98 with the fastball and was throwing a curveball, a change, and a slider which is pretty awesome. His rehab clock lasts until August 9 which is when they need to activate him so they have time. I'd expect to see one more rehab appearance before he's back in the pinstripes.

Game 101: Take The Series

(MLB Blogs)
It would be nice to take this series from the Red Sox so let's do it. Here's the lineup:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Nick Swisher, DH
  6. Andruw Jones, LF
  7. Russell Martin, C
  8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  9. Jayson Nix, 3B
And it will be Hiroki Kuroda on the bump. This one will start a little after 8 and can be seen on ESPN.

Andy Pettitte Update: Pettitte has suffered a setback with his fractured ankle as it swelled up on him after doing some exercises. It still seems reasonable for him to get back by early September, but he needs a couple of days off.

Yankees Injury Notes: Joba & Swisher

- Outfielder Nick Swisher was not at 100% before Saturday night's game between the Red Sox and Yankees at Yankee Stadium, but after a few rain delays he entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter. Swisher was suffering from a strained hip flexor, which sidelined him for the past seven games, and struck out in his only at-bat of the Yankees 8-6 loss.

Swisher said that he would wait things out and see how he feels before the game and is expected to be a game time decision.

- Joba Chamberlain is expected to have quite the crowd behind him in Double-A Trenton as he is slated to make a relief appearance. The game starts at 5PM and we will have updates via Twitter on his progress. This could be one of his final rehab appearances before being called up to join the team in the Major Leagues.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Game 100: Time Flies

We're already at game number 100 which is kind of crazy when you think about. Time has flown by this season, as it usually does. We have the trade deadline to look forward to and then the final stretch of baseball. Can't wait. Here's the lineup:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Andruw Jones, LF
  6. Jayson Nix, 3B
  7. Russell Martin, DH
  8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  9. Chris Stewart, C
And it will be CC Sabathia on the bump. This one will start a little after 4 and can be seen on FOX.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Notes And Links

Here some injury and general notes from today along with some links:
  • Nick Swisher ran the bases and took batting practice today and may be available as a pinch hitter tonight. He says he feels good so hopefully he'll be back in the lineup tomorrow.
  • Joba Chamberlain says he feels good as well, but will make another minor league rehab appearance with Double A Trenton on Sunday. They'll take it from there and see how things go.
  • David Aardsma says via Twitter that he will start throwing again on Monday after a lot of rest. He had started his minor league rehab about a month ago, but his elbow acted up so they shut him down.
  • On to the hot stove, the Yanks will not trade for Cliff Lee, as sad as that may be. Many thought they would have tried to trade him with the Cole Hamels contract, but they're gonna keep him.
  • Lastly, if you get the chance, head over to Fangraphs and read the Q&A they did with him. They talk about scrapping his cutter, his hamstring injury from 2007 and much more. It's a great read and gets our recommendation.

Game 99: Get To Work

(AP Photo)
The Yankees have a stretch of six straight games coming up against in-division opponents. They play the Red Sox in three games this weekend, and then host the Orioles for three more next week. A nice 5-1 record over this time would be dandy, but that would probably be asking a bit much. Hopefully they get off to a good start tonight. Here's the lineup:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  5. Raul Ibanez, LF
  6. Andruw Jones, DH
  7. Eric Chavez, 3B
  8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  9. Russell Martin, C
And it will be Phil Hughes on the bump. This one will start a little after 7 and can be seen on YES.

Yankees @ Red Sox Series Preview

After an awful 2-5 road trip, the Yankees come home to face the Red Sox in a three game weekend set.  The Sox are currently 10.5 games back of the Yanks in the American League East and have struggled recently going 8-13 for the month of July. However, it's worth mentioning they're just getting healthy now so they could be poised to go on something of a run.

(Rumors and Rants)
The Red Sox offense has been very good this year as they are top five in wOBA and runs scored. They have been struggling of late. The once injured Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez have wOBA's under .330 and Jarrod Saltalamachhia has gone cold lately and is down to a .336 wOBA. Cody Ross has been very good when he is on the field with a 126 wRC+ along with Will Middlebrooks (123) and David Ortiz has been the best hitter (165), but is hurt.

Starting Rotation
Aaron Cook (2-3, 3.50 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (9-8, 4.09 ERA)

Jon Lester (5-8, 5.46 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (10-3, 3.30 ERA)

Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.54 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.34 ERA)

The Red Sox bullpen has been very good since the start of the season and the group is led by Alfredo Aceves (3.67 FIP) and set up guys Vicente Padilla (2.59) and Andrew Miller (2.76). Franklin Morales, Mark Melancon, Junichi Tazawa, and Matt Albers round out the decent group. The Sox did have yesterday off so they should be well rested and ready to go.

Five Prospects To Keep An Eye On

Last week I published my top 20 prospects list which you can see right here. As you start to to get to that 15-20 area, there are a lot of guys that you can probably sub in and the list would still be fine. Since there are a lot of prospects that I would like to mention, but only 20 spots, I have decided to make this post about guys that we should maybe keep an eye (all for different reasons) even though they don't get too much press right now.

(Trenton Thunder Official Site)
Just for the record, this is not a list of my 20-25 prospects, but rather just guys that are worth keeping tabs on because they could be someone that's talked about down the road.

Matt Tracy, LHP/HiA- Tracy, 23, was a 24th round selection by the Yanks in 2011 and has pitched well since signing. So far for High-A Tampa this year, he has a 3.58 FIP, but only a 5.87 K/9. He does counter this a little by getting a good helping of grounders and he has missed bats in the past so this could be something of a fluke, though it is against more advanced hitters. He may never be a front line guy, but he still has some good value as a four or five.

David Adams, 2B/AA- Since playing in his first game in the organization back in 2008, Adams has been battling some serious injury issues, namely his ankle. The big injury, which happened back in 2010, still effects him to this day since he's only playing three games on, one game off. The 25 year old infielder is still having a big year hitting .315/.384/.434 for Trenton with very good BB and K rates. The Yanks higher-ups obviously feel pretty good about Adams too since they added him to the 40-man roster before 2012. Obviously Robinson Cano has second base locked up for the foreseeable future, but the bat clearly has value and he could be a good trade chip.

Daniel Camarena, LHP/GCL- This is the 2011 20th round pick from a California high school. The Yanks persuaded Camarena out of his college commitment on the last day of the signing deadline. The appeal with him is that he's a lefty with a feel for three pitches (fastball/curveball/change). The fastball sits 88-89, but you gotta figure that as he continues to grow and throws in a pro program that his arm will get stronger. You don't see to many guys like this so hopefully he can continue to develop and start to pitch, since he only has made one pro appearance.

Nick Goody RHP/LoA- Goody was the Yanks sixth rounder this year and actually was drafted by them last year too in 22nd round, but didn't sign. He's had a great start to his pro debut striking out 22 and walking only six in 14.1 frames thanks to a low-90's fastball and a very good, hard slider. He seems to lead the next crop of power relievers that the system is grooming and he can apparently move through the system very quickly.

Miguel Andujar 3B/GCL- Andujar is the most exciting guy to watch out of this group for one reason in particular. He was born on March 2, 1995, meaning he is only 17 years old and he is already the starting third baseman for the GCL Yanks. He may not be having a great year (only hitting .225/.288/.284), but he has the tools to be very good at some point. He has great bat speed and a good swing path that will allow him to hit for good average and average power. He is also good in the field, has a very good arm, and should stick at third. He was the Bombers best IFA pick up last year and the fact that he's already playing stateside means the organization clearly thinks very highly of him.

The Batting Order; Adding Ichiro & Subtracting A-Rod

In a span of two days, the Yankees’ lineup added a future Hall of Famer for the rest of the season but lost a different future Hall of Famer until September.

With the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki and the broken hand of Alex Rodriguez (who turns 37 years old today), the Yankees’ lineup could see some rearranging over the next few weeks. Nick Swisher is expected to return to the lineup sometime this weekend, which will alter the lineup Joe Girardi used on Wednesday.

Ichiro batted eighth in his first two games with the team and was originally going to be plugged into the bottom third of the order. With A-Rod’s absence, I could see some shuffling that would keep Ichiro in the leadoff spot, where he batted on Wednesday.

Derek Jeter isn’t dropping any further than the two hole. He and Ichiro could basically flip back and forth between batting first and second, depending on match-ups against right or left-handed starting pitchers. Swisher has also gotten some plate appearances while batting second this season.

This is where it gets interesting.

After hearing of the trade on Monday, I personally envisioned a lineup with newly-acquired Ichiro at the top, then Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and then Mark Teixeira to round out the top six batting spots, respectively.

Initially, I figured that Granderson could slide down to the third spot, to stay behind Jeter and keep that sequence intact. But batting third is reserved for the offense’s best contact hitter and Grandy is third worst in the MLB with 117 strikeouts.

Now that A-Rod is out for at least four and as many as eight weeks, someone needs to become the new cleanup hitter. Even on a down year power-wise, A-Rod is not an easy player to replace.

Here is where Girardi can experiment- Cano is clearly the best overall hitter on the team, which, in most cases, would have his name carved into the three spot every night. But in 56 games as the cleanup hitter this season, the second baseman has a line of .338/.395/.620.

Teixeira, on the other hand, is hitting much better as the three hitter than as the four or five hitter. In 25 games in the three spot, he has seven home runs with a line of .319/.425/.638.

With these numbers, it would appear that the best lineup would have Teixeira third and Cano fourth, with Granderson fifth. They were the other way around on Wednesday, the first day without A-Rod.

Girardi could also stick with the original plan for Ichiro and, hypothetically, put him ninth as a “second leadoff batter.” Then Jeter would keep his leadoff status, Granderson stays second and Swisher moves up from his usual six spot to the five. Girardi has plenty of options with this offense.

But there is really no wrong answer with this lineup. With a seven and a half game lead in the AL East, the Yankees have a large enough cushion for Girardi to play around with the order until he finds one that works best. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yankees Farm Report: July 26th, 2012

David Adams took grounders at third today. Speculate all about that.

Chris Dickerson was the story of this game with two homers and four hits overall. Francisco Cervelli had three hits while Brandon Laird and Kevin Russo each had two hits, Laird doubled and scored a run and Russo walked, drove in a run, and scored one. Corban Joseph and Eduardo Nunez each had hits as well, Nunez also stole a base. On the hill, Ramon Ortiz allowed six runs on ten hits and one walk while striking out three. Juan Cedeno allowed one run in two frames and Manny Delcarmen nailed down the save with a scorless ninth.

Caleb Cotham had a nice start allowing two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five and getting five grounders. Sean Black followed and allowed two runs in two frames, but did strike out three and Tommy Kahnle struck out two in two innings. Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, and Austin Romine each had three hits, Flores doubled, tripled and scores three runs and Heathcott drove in two and scored once. Heathcott also played center in Mason Williams' absence which was nice to see. Adonis Garcia also had two hits while Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez each had a hit.

Charleston 5 -- Greenville 0
Ben Gamel had two hits and scored two runs while Cito Culver and Rob Refsnyder each had two hits, Culver also drove two walks and scored two runs and Refsnyder drove in two runs. On the mound, Bryan Mitchell had a typical Mitchell performance allowing four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four in five innings. Nothing of much note happened out of the pen.

Austin Aune led the offense today with two hits including a double and a walk, while Jerison Lopez, Ericson Leonora, and Walt Ibarra each had hits, Lopez walked and scored a run, Leonora drove in a run, and Ibarra doubled and scored a run. On the mound, Joseph Maher got the start and had a tough go  allowing five runs on six hits and a walk while only recording two outs. Chaz Hebert had a good outing, however, striking out five over four scoreless frames and Dayton Dawe made his pro debut striking out two in tow perfect innings.

* * *
Staten Island's game was postponed and Trenton's game was suspended in the second inning.

Trade Deadline Needs

I don't know if it's just me, but I feel like once we get into the summer months, baseball season just flies by. That's why when I woke up this morning and saw that we were only five days away from the trade deadline, I got very excited, but also kind of sad. It's just crazy to think that we're so close to the final stretch. That being said, let's take a look at what needs the Yankees may want to address by Tuesday at 4 pm.

Third Base/Infielder
If only... (Getty Images)
Alex Rodriguez's fractured hand hurts the Yanks more than people realize. I know he's not the player he was, but he was still third in OPS among AL third basemen. There's a lot of value there. At least in the short term it looks as though Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix will platoon until and if Brian Cashman finds outside help. I don't really feel comfortable with this set up going forward and although I would like Eduardo Nunez better, I don't think the front office wants to bring him up to play third.

There are a few options out there headlined by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew. Getting one of those guys would be awesome, but it seems pretty unrealistic because both would cost a lot. A smaller option like Marco Scutaro seems more likely. He can take most of third base duties with Eric Chavez making two starts or so per week while moving Jayson Nix back into the utility role. And then when A-Rod gets back, Nix could be let go and Scutaro can become the utility guy. It doesn't have to be Scutaro who they acquire, but someone similar would make sense.

Bullpen Help
Seeing this may be a little bit of a surprise, but I really wouldn't be shocked to see Cash make a move for an arm. I said this in the game recap the other night and I'll say it again: the Bombers have been starting to get hurt by the fact that they have a lot of match-up guys in their pen (Clay Rapada, Cody Eppley, Chad Qualls), and not a lot of guys who can get both sided hitters out and go more than two or three batters.

This is part of the reason that David Phelps has been used as a short reliever and maybe getting Joba Chamberlain back will help that out a bit, but I still wouldn't mind adding another quality arm back there for middle relief. I'm sure there are a few teams that would part with some decent middle relief guys without asking for too much in return.

Looking To The Future
This has nothing to do with a certain position that the Bombers need help at, but it wouldn't hurt to make a trade for a guy that will help beyond this year, We know they are working hard to get under the $189 million threshold by 2014 and acquiring a guy that has a few years of team control left would be a good idea to get some cost certainty at spots that are future question marks. Whether it be a starting pitcher, an outfielder, or a catcher it would help a lot to acquire a guy who will play a role in the future.

* * *
I also wrote up earlier today how the Yankees should look into trading for George Kottaras, so you could add catcher to this list as well. If you want to know more abou that situation, you can just click the link. Maybe something happens in the few days that changes everything and forces the Yanks to do something different, but as of right now, these are the spots that they should be looking to upgrade before July 31.

Minor League Updates: Romine, Nunez, Santana, More

Here are some injury notes and more on some minor league players:
  • Austin Romine is done rehabbing for the GCL Yankees and will start playing for High-A Tampa tonight. According to Romine's agent, the catcher is in the best shape of his life and is hoping to help the team soon. (Link)
  • Eduardo Nunez was activated from the GCL Yankees the other day to play for the Tampa Yankees, but then made his way to Scranton to play shortstop for them last night. He is just coming off that thumb injury so I would think that he would stay down there until after the trade deadline if the Yanks don't make a move.
  • Staten Island center fielder Ravel Santana is out for a few days with a sore ankle according to manager Justin Pope. Pope says it's the ankle he brutally injured last year so hopefully it's nothing too serious and he can get back on the field soon.
  • Tyler Austin also played for the GCL Yanks for a few games and returned to action with Tampa last night. Good to see him back soon after the concussion.
  • And lastly, Nik Turley got some love in Kevin Goldstein's 'Minor League Update' which said what we already know; basically that he's a big kid with three solid pitches, but nothing extraordinary about the stuff. He's had a great year this year and if he can continue it at the next level when he gets there, then he's a very real prospect. (Link)

Wanting George Kottaras

Overall, the Yankees offense has been pretty good this year and is a big reason why they sport the best record in baseball. Robinson Cano is having an MVP-caliber season while Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and Derek Jeter are putting up solid years as well. However, the team has gotten basically nothing from their catchers on offense, but now we could see a change.

First of all, New York catchers are hitting .201/.290/.335 in 380 plate appearances which adds up to a .281 wOBA and a 70 wRC+ *wanking motion*. I'm all for getting a solid defensive backstop and not worrying about offense so much because of the other pieces in the lineup, but that's a little ridiculous. Adding a little offense wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Kottaras might actually be the perfect fit and would allow Martin to still play. Kottaras brings a .355 wOBA to the table against right-handed pitching which would be a big improvement over what they have now. Kottaras, a left-handed swinger, has trouble with same side pitching, however, owning a career .178/.336/.308 slash line against them. This is where Martin comes in as he has been owning south paws this year posting a .398 wOBA. That would be a pretty nice little platoon.

Other things you might want to know about him is that he's a very good defender, but is not very successful throwing runners out trying to steal and owns a clip somewhere in the teens. On offense, it should be noted that walks a ton (13.8 BB% for career) and doesn't strike out too much (20.1%). Also, it'd be interesting to see if he could come into a little more power with the short porch. And the last thing and maybe the most important: Kottaras is under team control through 2015 and would be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season. That could help the Yanks going forward since their future catcher situation is a little foggy at the moment.

The reason I bring this all up is because the Brewers designated the catcher for assignment this morning. He was only a back up in Milwaukee so we don't know how he would do with more plat appearances, even though it wouldn't be too many more. Of course this move would also mean letting go of Chris Stewart which I know some fans would hate, but it would probably be the right move. Hopefully Brian Cashman pulls the trigger because I think he could be a big help.

Yanks Come Back To Win 5-2

(Getty Images)
This road trip had been awful between losing Alex Rodriguez to a pretty significant injury and also losing five of the first six games. Luckily, things took a turn for the better today as the Yankees took the final game of this road trip by a score of 5-2.
  • Ivan Nova did not bring his usual command to the hill today. He walked six over five innings while allowing two runs on two hits and striking out six. He seemed to really have his fastball running it up to 96 and 97 at times early in the game, which could have been the cause of his command issues.
  • Derek Jeter got the Yanks on the board early with a solo shot in the first, but Nova gave it back plus one in the bottom half of the frame. It wasn't until the eighth inning when the Bombers would strike back when Jayson Nix, pinch hitting for Raul Ibanez with the bases loaded, doubled to left center to drive in all three runners. He would later be driven in by Russell Martin. It doesn't seem like this team has too many come back wins so it's nice to see one here, especially with things being so tough recently.
  • The bullpen was once again fantastic. Clay Rapada got two outs while being perfect while David Phelps continues too be spectacular retiring the four batter he faced, two by the strikeout. David Robertson and Rafael Soriano hurled scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Can't ask for much better.
  • Derek Jeter led the way with three hits and two runs scored, Robbie Cano had two hits and a run scored, and Mark Teixiera had a hit along with a walk and a run scored. Ichiro and Curtis Granderson each notched hits as well.
It'll be nice to not stay up so late to watch games anymore now that the Yanks no longer have to go to the west coast. After a much needed day off tomorrow, they return home to take on the Red Sox in a three game weekend set. Should be a fun one.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Joba Tosses Another Scoreless Inning

Joba Chamberlain threw another scoreless inning (for the Tampa as he works his way back from his elbow and ankle injuries. It was the first time during his rehab that he has thrown in back to back games which is awesome to see. You gotta think that the Yanks will take some time to re-evaluate and then see what the next step is. I'm guessing he throws at least two more times before being activated.

This Whole Phelps/Garcia Situation

Last night on Twitter, after Freddy Garcia allowed a single to Jesus Montero that scored a run and made it a 3-1 Mariners lead, people seemed to go nuts. A lot of people seemed to want David Phelps to take Garcia's spot in the rotation and basically throw Garcia to the wolves. Now I know at this point that the Twitter world is pretty subjective about things like this and seems to be say the first things that come to mind, but I still didn't get it.

Freddy didn't have a great April, but since then he's been essentially what we would expect from him in a split starter/reliever role pitching to a 3.04 ERA over 47.1 innings while holding opponents to a .235/.281/.341 slash line. The only time he has given up more than three runs in an outing was in his last start in Oakland when he allowed four runs over 5.2 frames. Not really bad at all.

He has this thing where he gets into trouble early and allows a few runs, but he always settles down and finds a way to keep the team in the game, which is really all you can ask from a number five starter at this point in the season. He's filling in remember, and was basically their number six starter, so I'm not really sure what more you could want.

Now, I could see someone say that Phelps is younger with more upside and has a better chance to be a starter in the future and all of this is true. I'd love to have Phelps starting too, and I'm not really against it, but the bullpen has a need to fill at the moment, one that was exposed in Oakland. After Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and Boone Logan, the Bombers only have match-up specialists back there in Cody Eppley, Chad Qualls, and Clay Rapada. Phelps provides an option that can give length and get both righties and lefties out.

Obviously Phelps could be an effective starter now, but he fills a need in the pen and is more effective in filling it than Garcia would be. Maybe when Joba Chamberlain is activated some time in the next week or two, they could put Phelps into the rotation and move Freddy back in the long man role, but even if they don't, there's no need to get worked up because the latter is doing a fine job.

Game 98: Life Without A-Rod

Time to get the Yankees out of the West Coast.
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has changed up the lineup amidst the latest injury to hit the Yankees. Ichiro Suzuki will be leading off for New York as they hope to leave the West Coast on a positive note and take two of three against the Seattle Mariners. Originally, Girardi said that the plan would be to hit Ichiro in the lower third of the lineup, but once Nick Swisher returns, he could be in the number two slot behind Jeter. Any sort of combination with Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira would most likely follow.

1. Ichiro Suzuki - RF
2. Derek Jeter - SS
3. Robinson Cano - 2B
4. Mark Teixeira - 1B
5. Curtis Granderson - CF
6. Raul Ibanez - DH
7. Eric Chavez - 3B
8. Andruw Jones - LF
9. Russell Martin - C

Ivan Nova has hit a bump in his sophomore year as he has only won one game from his last five starts. The defense has been shaky behind him to allow five runs in those last few starts. Last time out, Nova gave up nine hits with two runs. He has not won nor lost a contest against Seattle, so this could be his first shot of getting on board with a win against them. The game will be on the YES Network and will start shortly after 3:40 PM.

Replacing A-Rod: Chavez, Nix, Rolen, Ramirez

Down goes Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list with a broken hand that he suffered in the New York Yankees' loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. The front office now has to decide what they will decide to do for the next 4 to 6 weeks in replacing Rodriguez's presence on the field and in the lineup.
Platooning Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix is an option, which Brian Cashman put himself in a position for in the winter by signing both players for Rodriguez's relief. Ramiro Pena was called up to take his spot on the roster. One thing is certain that none of those players mentioned have the same plate presence as Rodriguez does when he steps in against a pitcher.

The trade targets that would have been candidates for filling a middle of the lineup slot are gone. Kevin Youkilis was dealt to the Chicago White Sox a few weeks ago, while Hanley Ramirez was dealt from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. The price tag on those guys would have been too high for them to just be temporary replacements, but there are still options.

Marco Scutaro is an option that Matt Filippi wrote up a few weeks ago. He is definitely an upgrade over using Jayson Nix every day. The best hitter on the market would most likely be Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres. Just imagine the damage that he could do, if he left Petco Park for a place notorious for the longball like Yankee Stadium.

Headley's contract has him under team control through 2015 and would not be too difficult to manage with the Yankees trying to go under their payroll cap in 2014. Headley also played a ton of games in left field before the transition to the infield, so he would take Ichiro's spot once the year is over. He's versatile enough for the Yankees to hold onto him and use him in different slots as the years go on.
Scott Rolen and Aramis Ramirez are other options from the National League to consider. Rolen is just as injury prone as Eric Chavez. Ramirez's hefty contract may be too much for the Yankees to handle for the future. Girardi could easily decide to alternate Chavez and Rolen in lineups as they are left-handed and right-handed respectively. A deal for Rolen would have the Yankees giving up a similar small package like the Ichiro deal.
Whether it's Chavez, Rolen, Nix, or Ramirez, they will have some big shoes to fill as one of the Yankees' biggest offensive threats will be sidelined until the end of the regular season.

Former Yankee Outfielder Hideki Matsui Designated for Assignment

Before you get your hopes up, the New York Yankees acquired their replacement outfielder for Brett Gardner earlier in the week in Ichiro Suzuki. The Tampa Bay Rays have designated Hideki Matsui for assignment and chances are the Yankees will most likely not persue his services. He played very little left field with the team in his last stint and New York just does not have enough room for that many people in the press room.

Matsui was moved after Ryan Roberts was acuired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade last night. Mastui's recent 0-16 skid with a sub-.200 batting average put a target on his back and he had to go. Very soon, Matsui could be headed back to Japan for his final games as  professional baseball player, if there are no more suitors for him the Major Leagues.

Ichiro Is Not Gardner, And That's A Good Thing For New York

Ichiro's speed will be important for the Yankees. 
The comparisons are inevitable, so Ichiro Suzuki's acquistion could only be viewed through one-lens: the Yankees are trying to make up for the loss of Brett Gardner.

Yes and no. In one sense, the Yankees are getting another player to fill in for Gardner. But, Ichiro is not  Gardner.

The obvious response is, "of course, Gardner is 28, and Ichiro is 38".

I didn't mean it that way.

If I were starting a franchise, the obvious player to pick would be Gardner. He is younger, just entering "his prime", and can still recover from injury and be better than he was before.

Then there is Ichiro, who will probably be out of baseball in three years. He is a future hall of famer, but isn't playing at a hall-of-fame level today.

Otto Gruele/Getty Images
Yet, I would rather have Ichiro if I were the Yankees.

If there is one thing Suzuki guarantees, it is he is a team player, and is always motivated. He played on some terrible teams in Seattle, and has only been in the postseason once. Yet, he played as well as anybody could have in that circumstance for a decade. In the Bronx, where every game in August, September, and October holds meaning, he will want to prove he can succeed. It also may be Ichiro's last chance to win a title.

Don't forget about Ichiro's abilities when he is not batting. His fielding and throwing arm is much better than Gardner's. If you don't believe me/want to see amazing Ichiro highlights, click here.

More than anything though, Ichiro's presence makes a big difference. Think about it, an opposing pitcher is playing New York, and they look at the lineup. What name inspires more fear, Ichiro, or Gardner? It doesn't matter Ichiro is having a bad year, because anyone with over 2500 career hits is still respected.

Let's just hope opposing pitchers are as afraid of Ichiro as I am certain he will be better than Gardner.

Yanks Lose Tough One 4-2

(NY Daily News)
There are always those games throughout the season that as fans we have a really tough time getting through and therefore complain about and this was one of them. Not only was it a west coast game, but there was little hitting with runners in scoring position and the eighth inning was just dreadful. Let's recap:

  • Freddy Garcia got a lot of crap on Twitter tonight and I'm not really sure why. He allowed three runs on five hits over 7.1 innings while striking out eight and walking none. After the third inning, he didn't allow a hit and just kept Seattle hitters off balance all night. Why he was taken out with only 89 pitches to his name, I'm not sure, but more on that later.
  • This one started out good as Curtis Granderson homered on the first pitch he saw to give the Yanks an early lead. The only other run they scored came on a sac fly from Mark Teixeira in the eighth. They had a ton of opportunities against Felix, but they just couldn't covert. It was a real shame.
  • The eighth of this game sucked, and was pretty big on questionable decisions by Joe Girardi. First of all, in the top half of the inning, Raul Ibanez came up to face a lefty and Andruw Jones didn't replace him. Then, with 89 pitches, he took out Garcia while he was cruising along. He went on to use five pitchers in that inning. Just ridiculous. This was also the inning that A-Rod got hurt. Just awfulness.
Hopefully tomorrow is a better day as Ivan Nova and Hisashi Iwakuma get together for a 3:40 start in the rubber game.

A-Rod Has Non-Displaced Fracture In Hand

Update (1:09am): It turns out A-Rod has a non-displaced fracture in his left hand and is heading for the disabled list and there's no timetable for his return and they won't know more until he meets with the team doctors back in New York. It'll be interesting to see how the Yanks attack the trade market now and who will be the immediate replacement. Eduardo Nunez, perhaps?

Original (12:16am): Alex Rodriguez was hit on the left hand by a Felix Hernandez pitch in the eighth inning of tonight's game. He looked to be in some serious pain and was taken out of the game for a pinch runner. I'll update this when I know more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Joba Continues Rehab In Tampa

Joba Chamberlain continued his minor league rehab tonight for the Tampa Yankees and tossed an inning full of zeros. The plan is for him to pitch an inning tomorrow also, the first time he will pitch on back-to-back days since injuring himself. If all goes well, we could see him activated before the end of July. Yay for that.

Game 97: The King

(NY Daily News)
The Yankees take on King Felix Hernandez tonight, which is never an easy task. Hopefully, the next trade that these two teams make will be involving him. Here's the lineup:
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Alex Rodriguez, DH
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Eric Chavez, 3B
  8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  9. Chris Stewart, C
And it will be Freddy Garcia on the bump. This one will start a little after 10 and can be seen on YES.

A Few Minutes With Taylor Dugas

In the eighth round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft, the Yankees selected outfielder Taylor Dugas out of the University of Alabama. Dugas was a four year player at U of A and accomplished so many things over his four years there including being names to the All-American team, the All-SEC team, and becoming the all time hits leader for his school.

He hasn't missed a beat since signing and joining Short Season-A Staten Island hitting .305/.476/.358 in his first 27 games with more walks than strikeouts. Keith Law of ESPN has said that he's guy who could wind up being a lead off type at the Major League level one day. Luckily for us, he was able to take some time out of his busy schedule after a game last week and answer a few questions.


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