Early a.m. injury updates: Molina, Rivera

Pitching staff won't let Johnny Damon spoil perfectly good loss
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We love features around here, but these early morning injury updates are not exactly the best “wake up” news for Yankee fans. Today, the update stars the back-up catcher thrust into the starting role and the team’s Hall of Fame closer. Hooray!

Last night, for the first time since July 18, 1998, Mariano Rivera gave up two home runs in one appearance. For the first time in his career, he gave up back-to-back jacks. Age, it seems, catches up with everyone. As Joe detailed, Rivera has put up some ugly numbers and some good numbers recently. He has nine strike outs and no walks over his last 4.1 innings but has allowed nine hits — four homers — and five earned runs over that stretch.

After the game, Joe Girardi said that Rivera had been battling “arm strength” problems. The velocity graphs show a slight dip this year. With the command still there, Mike thinks this is a dead arm period, and I’m inclined to agree. Rivera is 39 and had shoulder surgery last year. He ain’t the spring chicken he once was, and he may lose a tick or two. But unless the Yanks see something physically wrong with him, he’ll just work through it as he always does.

Jose Molina, on the other hand, seems headed for the DL. Molina strained his quad while scoring last night, and the Yankees are now down to their third- and fourth-string catchers. Who starts behind the plate on Friday night is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Joe Girardi will a sign a player/coach contract and slip on the gear. Even at 44 and five season removed from his last game, he’s probably a better choice than anyone the Yanks have in their system.

Pitching staff won't let Johnny Damon spoil perfectly good loss
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  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

    “Perhaps Joe Girardi will a sign a player/coach contract and slip on the gear.”

    All I can think of after reading that is Roger Dorn in Major League 2 when he tells Taylor, “I activated myself!”

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I realize it’s a joke adding Girardi to the roster, but he does fit the bill the bill for a current bench player for this team. A light-hitting-can’t-get-on-base-overrated-defensive player sounds about right.

      • tim randle

        That’s a shot at Jeter.

        • hamburger helper

          teehee

          • Bryan

            I dont know about you guys, but I would love to see Joe behind the plate, just for old times sake. Hell, maybe he can leg out a triple at the new park.

  • Yankeegirl49

    I jokingly suggested to friends when Posada went on the DL that we have Girardi become a player/manager and use him when absolutely necessary. I had no idea that “absolutely necessary” would be tonight.

  • Joe R

    Well at least he’s caught Pettite before. Probably can still throw better than Damon.

  • V

    I have to wonder if they’d actually consider it. Put him on the 40 man and 25 man roster, then DFA him when Molina comes back.

    • Rick in Boston

      And if someone claims him off of waivers, those who want Joe gone can celebrate.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        …and Eiland can be activated for the bullpen and DFAed as well? sounds like a “win-win” to me. ;)

        yes, i am joking.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Are you, Jorge? Because it sounds like a solid idea to me.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

    Hey, I’m a vote for Girardi and I’m serious.

    I woke up this morning with a terrible throbbing pain in my finger (it still hurts, ow!) and my first thought was: hey, I feel like a Yankee!

    • hamburger helper

      I’m with you. He’d be able to call a good game. Only concern is bat speed, I think. That and an obvious vulnerability to injury. Then again, that didn’t stop Cash from having Posada and Molina as the only serviceable catchers.

      • Doug

        2 serviceable catchers is plenty of serviceable catchers.

        What sort of team goes 3-deep or 4-deep with ML-ready catching options? The Rangers only kept one of Teagarden, Saltalamacchia, and Laird.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Ramirez…Laird got dished to the Tigers.

          Still, they did it by building from within. The Yanks could be just a couple years away from having a similar issue.

        • hamburger helper

          Maybe it didn’t come through clearly enough – sorry. What I was geeting at was that Cash had to have seen the risk in having Posada and Molina and no Plan B, given their increasing fragility.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            The problem was that in order to get a viable “Plan B” the Yanks would have had to dish one of their more valuable chips for a young guy. A free agent wouldn’t sign here, at least one that’s better than Cash.

  • Russell NY

    Becca – the Yankees have been hit by the plague. Have you been hit by the plague? I hope not :)

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      I certainly feel like I have…

  • JohnC

    Wonder if Cashman regrets not taking a look at Royals C. Brayan Pena now. Was DFAed, could have had him for nothing.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I was very surprised we didn’t take a flyer on him. Switch-hitting big guy like that cleared waivers? Amazing.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        The issue, I think, is that he doesn’t handle himself well behind the plate. I actually wanted the Yanks to grab him when the Braves DFA’d him, but both times I think the 40-man roster was the issue.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        Maybe it’s just me but I do not see the appeal of Brayan Pena.

        • Steve in MN

          he’s a catcher not on the DL. That’s the appeal.

  • Rich

    I think Cervelli will do a decent job if they give him a chance. If so, the backup wouldn’t have to play much.

  • Dave M

    I would think they’d bring up Cash. The question is, who do you DFA?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Disable Molina, DFA Berroa, option Robertson/Melancon, recall Cash, Rodriguez, Miranda.

      • The Lodge

        Do you agree with Cash over the others, Joe P?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          I don’t disagree with it. I’m an unabashed Pilittere fan, so I’d like to see him. Nothing wrong with turning to Cash, though.

          • Chris

            Last night on the radio I thought they said Cash was on the DL.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              He was earlier in the season, but as you can see in last night’s DotF, he’s playing again.

              • Chris

                Yeah, wasn’t sure if that was before yesterday that he was on the DL, or if he went on between/after the games.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yeah, it seems counterintuitive at first, but I think you add Cash now rather than Pillitere, because Cash is less important to the org than Pillitere and thus, easier to DFA later when Posada and Molina return and he becomes superfluous.

            Unless you figure the difference between P.J. and the other options is big (which I don’t think it is), let P.J. sit in the minors for a bit more.

      • Ed

        You managed to beat me by seconds.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          It’s the advantage of having all the comments fed to you.

          • Ed

            Home field advantage wins again.

            I probably wouldn’t want to see your inbox though.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              If I had less common courtesy I’d forward you a batch of batshit insane emails I’ve gotten over the past week.

              • The Lodge

                You mean: “If I had less common courtesy I’d forward you a batch of batsh** insane emails I’ve gotten over the past week – from our loyal readers.”?

      • MattB

        If that’s John Rodgriguez you’re referring to, they’d still have to DFA someone else to make that work. Neither Cash nor JRod is on the 40 man. Berroa only opens up one spot.

        Perhaps they should consider moving Nady to the 60 day. He’s already been on 20+ days. That would open a 40 man spot without having to DFA somebody. I don’t think it’s probably he’ll be back before mid-June anyway.

    • Ed

      Angel Berroa. That would be a much harder question if A-Rod wasn’t returning today.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        Do you the Yankees told Berroa, “No need to pack for Baltimore, Angel.”?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          …and, according to Peter Abraham, Berroa packed his little cloth pack on a stick, put it over his shoulder, and got on the Flinstone-mobile…

          • Andy In Sunny Daytona

            “…we realize that you really love crab cakes, Angel, but…”

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              When Angel got back to his locker last night after the game, there was a fish wrapped in newspaper in it.

              • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                “…Angel, do you remember on “The Wire” when Omar was buying something in the store and the little kid can up behind him?…”

            • Doug

              Angel shuffles sadly away with his head lowered.

              Cue sad Charlie Brown music, Arrested Development style.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/ps3tf2/ Double-J

    Hmm, I wonder if Yogi can still play… :p

    • Steve in MN

      as long as he doesn’t have to catch Joba

  • CapitalT

    I don’t think Pena would help the team and it could cause a problem with Pena Sr. when they eventually dump the youngster.

    My guess is that they bring up Cash. Too bad for PJ but the team can’t carry 2 rookie catchers so Cash’s experience will be brought up.

    The 40 man roster spot will be interesting. Does Clagget get taken off. I could see him getting poached if that is the case. The other alternative is Nady to the 60 day DL.

    Side note: Its interesting that E. Duncan’s hot start came to a screaching halt the same time Ransom got hurt and Berroa was brought up. He had to be hoping that he would get a shot.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      1) as discussed above, Berroa will be DFA

      2) Brayan Pena is not related to Tony Pena. Tony Pena Jr. is related to Tony Pena.

      • CapitalT

        Thanks for pointing out I’m an idiot :)…twice…

      • Evan

        You mean to tell me that everyone with the last name Pena isn’t related. :: head explodes ::

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Yes, that cop they showed during God Bless America (on YES) last night was not the long lost brother of Tony Pena. I know, tragic stuff.

          • Andy In Sunny Daytona

            Isn’t Brayan Pena a Cuban defector?

            • Rick in Boston

              Yes he is. Hit .400 one year in Rookie Ball, I believe.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        I bet the next think you’re going to tell me is that Andruw and Chipper Jones aren’t brothers?

        • tim randle

          IETC

          • tim randle

            er, ietc as a full cap comment is…

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              IETC

              And yeah, acronyms deserve caps.

    • Rick in Boston

      Not sure I’m following why Brayan Pena would be an issue for Tony Pena – they’re not related.

      As for E-Dunc, Mike was right, he goes on these tears where he looks like he’s putting it all together before it all crashes down once again.

      And you are right, Cash is getting the call largely because of his experience, warrented or not. But, this should mean PJ’s going to be getting most of the action in SWB.

      • A.D.

        Also Cash is a throw-away, when Molina & Posada come back they can DFA him, they probably want to keep PJ

        • Rick in Boston

          True. And if the OF/bench is still an issue, you can add Rodriguez or Linden.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            I’d like them to do that soon. If the damn starters pitched like they were supposed to the Yanks could carry 11 pitchers, with a bench of Linden/backup C du jour/Pena/Miranda/eventually Nady. That’s beyond solid.

  • Evan

    The Molina thing certainly hurts. But it’s not like we need to replace an offensive force here. He was the guaranteed #9 hitter every time he was in the lineup. As long as Cervelli/Cash/PJ can play a remotely good defense, I think we will be fine until Jorge gets back.

    As for the other issue. I think if Mariano pitched more than twice a week, his arm would be able to build up the necessary strength. This goes for everyone in the BP. They need to get work on a regular basis to maintain their sharpness. Mariano will be fine, as always. He struck out the side on Wednesday. Mo will be Mo.

    Let’s hope that with the addition of ARod tonight, there will be some significant moves made. Get Miranda up here tonight, let Tex take a breather (esp in Baltimore where he will be showered with boos), send down some of the dead weight in the BP and let’s get this train rolling.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      I’m not sure anyone quite grasps the phrase ‘black hole of doom’ until they see someone hitting .200 at AA suddenly appear in the majors.

      Molina was a weak bat, but he got hits (albeit very occasionally).

      Cervelli may very well make Ramiro Peña look like a bona fide major leaguer.

      • Evan

        Or he may not. I’m just saying that we are trading a .250 hitter for a potential .200 hitter. Not the end of the world. As long as whoever is our new backstop can keep runners from stealing bases at will, we should be fine. Maybe we will be surprised.

      • Rich

        Cervelli may very well make Ramiro Peña look like a bona fide major leaguer.

        Career mL stats:

        Cevelli: .271 .371 .379 .750

        Pena: .258 .316 .319 .635

        I don’t think so, unless Girardi refuses to play.

  • Reggie C.

    What i didn’t notice till i checked the last 10 games production was how Molina’s BA had actually jumped from .176 to .273

    Molina’s been waaaaaaay more consistent than Cano and Teix in the last 10 games (which we’ve lost). Cano has 1 HIT, 1 BB in the last 5 games. Molina’s hitting seemed to be exactly where Yank fans should hope it’d be. This quad injury has robbed Molina of building on a decent last 10 games, and since Molina has only got so many decent hitting streaks in him, it just plain sucks.

    • Reggie C.

      “(which we’ve lost)” = I was actually referring to the past 5 games. I was however using the last 10 games worth of production.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      But Molina could come back down to earth at any time. So perhaps the timing wasn’t all that bad…going out on top, like Soundgarden and Sublime (sadly).

      • Nady Nation

        Don’t forget Costanza as well.

        • jsbrendog

          well played

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  • Chris P.

    Wil Nieves

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Whil Wheaton

      • Doug

        Hwil Hwheaton?

        But hwhy?

  • Lance

    MLBTR noted that the Orioles are going to make Ryan Freel available after he comes off the DL. He bats righty and can play 2B, 3B and all three outfield positions. He has a 3.3MM salary but the Yankees may not have to take on all of that if they want to give up a live arm. With all the injuries he might be worth a shot. Plus, he exudes grit.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      Freel complained about lack of playing time in Baltimore and I think he’d get the same treatment here. Sure, he’d be a decent fourth OF option over Gardner but is that really something worth trading for, especially in division? Meh.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The main reason they’re going to make him available, as I understand it, is that he’s bitching incessantly about not getting enough playing time and not starting.

      If we acquired him to be our supersub, he’d probably not get a lot of playing time and certainly wouldn’t start… so, I guess I wonder about how well that will work out.

      Also, I’m not keen on trading inside the division.

      Now, if he could play catcher…

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        There’s also the fact that he’s just an incredibly average player. He’s got a .271 career BA, .357 OBP and a career SLG under .400, all amounting to a .333 wOBA. His defense is pretty good but he’s still not worth trading for. If they DFA’d him or released him, sure I’d take a shot, but not in a trade.

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

    This didn’t really spark much discussion last time I brought it up but now it seems more appropriate: will Jose Molina be a Yankee in ’10?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I think the next month of extended playing time for Fransisco Cervelli will answer that question.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Nope. It’ll be Cervelli I would think.

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