Notes: Chavez, Hughes, Joba, Gardner, Andy


Brian Cashman made an appearance on WFAN 660 earlier this afternoon and had a number of interesting things to say beyond the usual YankeeSpeak schtick. Let’s recap (with some help from our own Stephen Rhoads)…

  • Eric Chavez will be placed on the DL and was actually still at the hospital as of the time of the interview. Jayson Nix is taking his place on the roster and Cashman says he can play the outfield if needed.
  • “I believe he’s getting there … baby steps,” said Cashman about Phil Hughes, making it sound like his rotation spot is safe for at least another few weeks. “I think he throws a fantastic curve, I think he’s better than what he’s shown … We want to be patient and optimistic but we also want to reward performance.”
  • Joba Chamberlain has already shed his walking boot and is recovering well from both Tommy John surgery and his dislocated ankle. There’s even a chance he may return this year, though I wouldn’t count on itl. “Definitely a possibility [he returns in 2012],” said the GM. “He’s got some sort of amazing recovery ability, he doesn’t feel pain … Definitely possible we’ll see Joba.”
  • Brett Gardner will head out on a minor league rehab assignment before returning to the team. He was shut down with pain in his right elbow a few days ago, though Cashman didn’t specify a new timetable. With the scheduled day off on Monday, me thinks the earliest we’ll see Gardner is Tuesday.

In a separate radio interview, Cashman said Andy Pettitte will make his next minor league tune-up start with Triple-A Empire State this Sunday. That game is scheduled to be played in Batavia but apparently is in the process of being moved to Rochester. It that goes well, it’s entirely possible we’ll see Pettitte make his return to the Yankees next weekend against the Mariners.

Categories : Injuries, News


  1. Raza says:

    Hughes becoming even a decent mid-rotation starter is a pipe dream right now, IMO. Its a pity because he is the sole reason I got into Yankee prospects. He’s got to start performing.

  2. CountryClub says:

    Francessa asked Cash about the organization’s philospophy on innings/pitch limits and Cash said they’re not changing anything. Most teams are doing the same thing. It just doesnt become national news because it’s not NY.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      It’s all circumstancial evidence anyway. People want to point at Texas and Nolan Ryan and all that because they’re off to a good start. If the comment section on the thread on pitcher development showed anything, it’s that the more we think we know, the less we, in fact, know.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I agree with just about everything you’re saying, but I do think there’s more to Texas than the hot start. They’ve been the to WS two straight seasons. I have no idea whether their approach is superior to any other approach, but it’s worked for them pretty well for a sustained period.

        Not only about your comment. Just something I picked up on in that other thread, Texas’ success being downplayed a bit as a hot start to one season.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Sure, there’s something to it, but how much of it is Nolan Ryan’s approach to young pitching? It’s just a convinient thing to point at when your favorite team’s approach is different and you’re not happy with their young pitching. How many teams have developed rotations with just as many home-grown options, but with innings limits?

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I think it would take a lot more work to show his approach is superior, but his approach has worked for him. Quite a bit of it has been their development of pitching. There are tons of qualifiers, small sample probably being the biggest.

            I’m not saying his approach is better. I’m just saying some people are not giving enough credit to the success they’ve had by making it seem like a 2012 thing.

        • CJ says:

          I think Texas is the better team. I never thought Boston or angels were better but really good teams that could win series. Texas is really good and well balanced. Texas also plays to a true home advantage. If Yu keeps it up they may just be the better team

  3. Jim Cavanaugh says:

    Sons of b*tches. I bought tix to next Thursday’s game against the Rays because there were reports that would be Andy’s comeback game. Now it’s just a regular damn game. First Cashman screws up Pedro Jose Feliciano, then mangles up Michael Pineda’s shoulder and now he ruins my Andy comeback game. That’s what he gets for sneaking around with Slobbie the Stalker.

  4. Slu says:

    I have a one year old baby. The progress she has made walking is much more substantial then any progress Hughes has made in the last year or so. Hell, Hughes still basically sucks as much as he did a year ago while my daughter went from not even existing to be able to walk. I wish Hughes could make that kind of progress!

    I feel like if Hughes’ name was anything else, he would have been removed from the rotation long ago. Cashman just doesn’t want to admit defeat.

    • ROBTEN says:

      Cashman just doesn’t want to admit defeat.

      What “defeat” would that be?

      Drafting a highly touted high school pitcher?

      Developing him into the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues?

      Hoping that, given the demands that the team continue to cut payroll, said top prospect can find success as a relatively cheap starter while still only 25 years old?

      I mean, it may not work out with Hughes, but calling it a “defeat” for Cashman is just trolling.

      • Kevin Winters says:

        It’s true though no matter what Hughes does there goes Cashman with the textbook he’s better than the numbers show remark. I’m not saying he should trash the guy but boy how much longer with he continue to have blind faith in Phil Hughes.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Congrats on your kid, at least. RAB Parents whup whup.

    • rek4gehrig says:

      She’ll be college bound before Hughsie is fixed

    • blooper says:

      The kind of progress kids make from one day to the next is unbelievable. If any player could do that he’d go from little league to MVP in a single season. I don’t think Cashman should take too much blame for using a cliche in a sports interview.

      I’m not sure who you want to put in Hughes place anyway. Garcia? Your daughter?

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        My nine month-old can certainly cover more ground than Raul Ibanez.

      • Slu says:

        Seriously, I am in the anyone but Hughes camp. I really don’t care, it just seems insane to me to keep sending him out there and expecting different results at this point. And I thought it was obvious I was having a bit of fun with the cliche. Players clearly don’t improve as quickly as children develop. But Hughes never improves at all. I find it challenging to even watch games he pitches anymore.

  5. RetroRob says:

    Batavia? Is that even in the continental United States?

  6. BillR says:

    Sounds Eastern European to me…

  7. DontChaKnow says:

    I find Cashman’s never ending rope with Hughes funny considering that after 1 year of starting he determined that Joba was a bullpen pitcher because his stuff played up better there.

    • A.D. says:

      Agreed, have really not understood the patience with one vs. the other

      • Kevin Winters says:

        Many ppl attributed it to Joba’s shoulder injury and maybe that’s the case but boy when it comes to Phil he gets the benefit of the doubt no matter what.

  8. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I honestly don’t think I would have called up Nix. Even with Chavez’s injury, we still Nunez “capable” of covering at third. To me, this finally would have been the right time to bring up another outfielder. Not a massive deal, but not the move I thought the team should have made.

    • jjyank says:

      I thought Nix could play corner infield and corner outfield though?

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Can he play them any better than who we’ve got, though? I’ve always thought of him as a utility infielder.

    • Fernando says:

      Nix staring in LF today, Nunez at SS and Jeter at DH. I don’t know about Nix in the OF, as he’s only played a handful of games there (either in the majors or minors). He’s mainly a 2b-3b-ss in that order in terms of games played.

      With the limited range of Ibanez and Jones, I would have gone with a guy that was more comfortable in the OF (a defensive replacement for the late innings). Either Mesa or Almonte, as they don’t seem to want to risk losing Dickerson or Wise.

  9. Tom Zig says:

    Maybe I misinterpreted what was said but at one point, Francessa made a comment about Javy Vazquez pitched “tight” during his time in NY and Cashman sorta agreed with him. Maybe there is some truth to the “he can’t pitch in NY” theory.

    • DM says:

      You didn’t misinterpret. Cashman was defending his evaluation of pitchers — i.e., pitching qua pitching. But the unique aspect of evaluating a pitcher’s ability to handle the Yankee pressure cooker is something of a crap shoot. He pointed out many of his signings pitched well before their bad Yankee stint — then pitched well again after they left. New York and Boston have a special challenge to screen a player’s psyche as well as his talent. It’s not their ability to pitch but their ability to pitch here — which you can never accurately predict. Other teams don’t have to worry about such things.

      • Kosmo says:

        Can you name 3-4 pitchers who pitched as well before and after their Yankee stint ?
        Outside of Vasquez I can´t think of anybody.

        • DM says:

          He mentioned Vasquez and Pavano. He also brought up Kennedy as a positive example of their ability to evaluate young pitchers. Kennedy was considered a surprise to be drafted that high by most other teams — but Damon Oppenheimer saw something more. Cashman concluded that he couldn’t pitch that way here — but he certainly can pitch. That was his point — that they’re talent evaluation is fine, but you can’t tell what’s going to happen when they suit up in the Bronx until they do.

          • Kosmo says:

            Really only Vasquez so that´s not “many“ .

            • DM says:

              You’re being too kind to Pavano. I remember whispers right after he signed that he was telling others that “he made a big mistake” going to the Yankees. He barely talked with the media his first few days in camp. I know he had injuries but he didn’t seem driven to get back on a mound until he was getting close to free agency.

              • Kosmo says:

                Pavano ? Either his psyche was brittle or his arm or both but he really never got on track. I never heard the story that “he made a big mistake“ makes it even more pathetic.

                • DM says:

                  The rumor was that he told Beckett that after he signed b/c he couldn’t believe the NY media crush that ensued. Spooked from day 1. But he sure resurrected his career once he left.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    May the record reflect that he nailed Alyssa Milano before signing with the Twins.

                    • DM says:

                      Yeah, I know. But I think half the league can say that. She’s to MLB what Carol Alt was to the NHL.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    He’s pitched to his career numbers, which is not much different than what he did in an extremely limited sample in NY.

          • DM says:

            He didn’t mention him but I’d add Melancon as another young pitcher example. The Yankees didn’t think he could do it here; he settles in in Houston, then comes back to Boston (the other pressure cooker) and flops so much that he’s demoted. I think he’d be a productive reliever on most other teams. NY and Boston, AL East vs the rest of the baseball is like Broadway vs community theater. You need the cajones to go along with the talent in the former. I don’t think the Padres front office wonders if the free agent they sign can cut it in San Diego.

            • Kosmo says:

              FWIW I`d argue NY tried to change Melancon´s style of pitching and when it didn´t work they unloaded him, with Houston he reverted back to his former style and I might add with good success. He´s pitching well for Pawtucket so we´ll probably see him soon enough.

              • Kevin Winters says:

                What do you mean by change his style?

                • Kosmo says:

                  Simple fact of the matter is Melancon before NY asked him to alter his approach, pitched up in the strike zone, he started having problems for 2 reasons lack of use and trying to pitch lower in the strikezone.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                You’re adding qualifiers for just about every example being given to you. At this rate, absolutely nothing will meet what it is you’re looking for.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  The examples being given to him are random off-hand examples to prove an intangible point that is basically impossible to prove… so really can’t blame him for knocking the examples.

                  When FAs sign and young players come up in KC or where ever and flop it’s not attributed to “pressure,” but in NY it’s pressure… I think it’s total BS. There’s really no conclusive proof at all, but people hang on to the 2 or 3 examples in the last 20 years as a confirmation bias of their un-provable point.

                  • DM says:

                    You’ve loaded another assertion in this. I didn’t see anyone say that any FA or young players who flops in New York did so only b/c of pressure. And I’m sure some players can’t handle big league pressure at all – even in KC. But to dismiss NY/Boston level scrutiny, and the pressure that comes from that, doesn’t make sense. You’re basically saying that pressure doesn’t impact performance.

                    I remember an Ian Kennedy post-game interview with the usual 30 microphones in his face asking him what’s wrong after a poor outing. He looked incredulously at them and said “I gave up a few doubles.” Like what’s the big deal? Later he said he didn’t mind being sent down b/c they wouldn’t ask him all these questions in AAA and his comments wouldn’t make ESPN’s Sportcenter. That’s what’s different about NY and Boston. You don’t think that climate affects a guy like that when he takes the mound in the Bronx? He got a nice long leash with Arizona and fulfilled his potential. I always thought he was the best pitcher of the three; Joba was a hard thrower, Phil was/is a mysterious hybrid — and Kennedy knew how to pitch. But when faced with adversity under the NY microscope, he crumbled. You don’t have to speculate as to the effect on him. It’s in his own comments.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I’m saying that there’s no direct correlation. Some people will thrive under pressure and get bored without pressure. Some people will wilt under pressure and thrive in obscurity. And the vast majority will be somewhere in between. Nothing you’ve presented has done anything to show that the pressure caused poor performance. You’ve just listed random pitchers who struggled for the NYY.

                      You’re taking random examples of press conferences as if it’s somehow conclusive. One interview of IPK after a as a rookie is not conclusive proof that he wouldn’t have adapted to NY. You’re bending reality to fit your narrative. I’d have no problem with you saying “I think pressure might impact some players in some ways.” That’s not what you’re doing, though. You’re acting as if it’s fact. It’s not. It’s a theory.
                      Heck, every point you’ve made is unsubstantiated. “I remember someone saying roughly this 5 years ago.” “I heard a rumor he might have possibly said that.”

                    • DM says:

                      Huh? I reiterated Cashman’s comments. What are “random” examples? Baseball people much closer to the action make the same claims about the same players. No one said what you initially wrote below. You exaggerated the reaction to make it sound all encompassing in both directions with a new claim of your own. If you stated it the way you just did rather than what you say below, I wouldn’t have responded.

                      “When FAs sign and young players come up in KC or where ever and flop it’s not attributed to “pressure,” but in NY it’s pressure…”

                      That’s a strawman. Players can choke — even in small markets. No one said otherwise. And players can flop in NY just b/c they flop. No one said otherwise. But other players were singled out as flopping due to the pressure — that viewpoint came from the Yankees themselves not out of the blue. Pavano was one of those players. So was Ian Kennedy. Jaret Wright, Paul Quantrill, AJ Burnett and many others were bad but no one says “He just couldn’t handle the big stage of NY.” They weren’t spooked; they just sucked. They didn’t get that label — like Kenny Rogers did — or Whitson years before.

                      And what’s your rationale for calling it BS? You gave none. You didn’t substantiate the above. You just painted over the examples with a broad brush as though you know everyone’s take on the subject. You put down my Kennedy example. His quotes aren’t intangible. What does that indicate to you? Does the fact that GM felt that he couldn’t do it here have any meaning for you? So much that he traded him? And I passed on what was whispered about Pavano. Nothing was invented. You didn’t find that troublesome? Why would that pop up before he threw a pitch? Why did he become a pariah? I didn’t hear anyone calling out Marte or Feliciano when they were injured. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. You don’t get knocked out for another 2 months b/c of “bruised buttocks” — not if you wanna join the team and pitch. Players rarely kill their injured teammates — but Damon did publicly. Why? Do you think he knew Pavano better than you or I?

                      Give me an example of a failed player with the Yankees that you know for sure was unrelated to the pressure. The idea of performance being negatively impacted by pressure is not a novel idea — neither is the idea that there’s more pressure playing in NY.

              • DM says:

                Maybe — but that’s a different issue than evaluation. And FWIW, I heard Gammons say that Boston thinks (internally) that trading for Melancon was a misfire. Nothing about his talent, just his head. I heard the same about his makeup when he as a Yankee.

          • the other Steve S. says:

            MOVE TO JERSEY!!!

        • jjyank says:

          Pavano. Though he was more injured than he was ineffective.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          It’s a tricky question. The Yankees have the financial ability to keep the actual successful pitchers around as lng as they want, or until they become ineffective due to age, etc., while unloading on the ones that don’t work out rather quickly. This is why we can’t really say a whole lot about Mussina, Key, Cone, or even go back to guys that were around briefly before their careers ended, such as McDowell, Abbott, etc. Guys like Kevin Brown and Jeff Weaver (and Andy Hawkins, Scott Sanderson, Rick Rhoden, etc.) were goes as soon as their contracts permitted, or someone was willing to take them on (maybe – someone factcheck me there.)

          Vazquez 1.0 is a pretty big anomaly as Yankee stints go.

          We can say Wells and Clemens were effective before and after Yankee stints.

          • Kosmo says:

            Wells seemed to relish pitching for NY and once Clemens settled in after some rough early going became a tremendous asset.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              …or they were just very good pitchers who pitched for the Yankees at the right time for team and player.

              I don’t think New York sucks your heart out and spits you out, if this is what you’re trying to get at.

              • Kosmo says:

                I´m not saying that in the least. My point is they succeeded where many have failed. Wells and Clemens enjoyed the spotlight and were very talented. They were successful before and after and during.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  Who do you think failed?

                  • Kosmo says:

                    Actually the “many“ was more a comment regarding DMs statement. Pavano, Vasquez etc. I do think Abbott, Rogers, Brown ,Whitson didn´t exactly take Gotham by storm. I could go back to the 80s but why should we?

                    • DM says:

                      My statement was paraphrasing Cashman’s — but I do believe his assertion. The level of scrutiny in NY and the “Win Now!” attitude is unique. You don’t get booed or your role or effectiveness questioned as fast as in NY or Boston. That impatience leads to players pressing under such a short leash. That’s really the point. There is more pressure — some respond, others don’t. New players will get x-amount of ABs or x-amount of innings no matter what. Here you must prove something quickly or your job is in jeopardy. Obviously it’s harder to perform knowing that each performance counts for so much more. You may not get the chance to work through something here before they make a change.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Philly is far more known for booing than NY. Chicago and LA are bigger markets than Boston.

                    • DM says:

                      Boston has more media than NY or Phila — and there more even more brutal.

                    • DM says:

                      And much more than Chicago or LA. It’s not just the size; it’s how they react. And Boston and NY crucify while Dodger fans leave a close game in the 7th to beat the traffic. When Javy Vasquez gave it up to the Red Sox everyone knew he’d be gone in the off-season — despite having just traded two prospects for him and signing him to an extension. How many other teams would dump a young signed pitcher, who made the All-Star team, after one season? Only in NY or Boston. His fate was sealed when the ball landed in the seats.

        • A.D. says:

          Kenny Rogers
          Randy Johnson (though only 1 year with the Yankees was bad)
          Jeff Weaver (2 reasonably productive years with Dodgers)
          Kyle Farnsworth

          • Kosmo says:

            I forgot about Rogers and Weaver. In 1996 Rogers wasn´t entirely healthy and Johnson was pretty much washed up in his last season with NY although he pitched OK after he left.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Weaver was nothing more than an innings eater (with potential since he was young) to begin with and never amounted to anything anywhere.

            RJ was like 43 years old… He had 4.6 and 3.6 fWAR seasons in NY, and didn’t go one to do any better afterwards.

            Farnsworth struggled with command in Chicago before ever coming to NY.

            Rogers wasn’t much better in Texas than NY.

            Some people might be impacted by the pressure, but fans take every single example of a P who failed in NY regardless of context and attribute it to “pressure.”

            • Kosmo says:

              Thanks for setting the record straight.

            • A.D. says:

              Randy it was really about the 2nd year (and that’s what people seem to remember) Farns is a reliever, always volatile, but Rogers and Weaver have noticeable Yankee dips

              2 Years before NYY: WAR: 8, ERA 3.86
              2 years in NYY: WAR: 3.6, ERA: 5.11
              2 Years after NYY: WAR: 9.9, ERA 3.63

              2 Years before NYY: WAR: 5.8, ERA 4.19
              2 years in NYY: WAR: 1.1, ERA: 5.35
              2 Years after NYY: WAR: 2.7, ERA: 4.11

              • Ted Nelson says:

                Rogers had a career year before coming to NY. This is part of the selection bias in general. The Yankees try to time the market, so to speak, and you can’t successfully time the market. They often ended up bringing in guys right after a “break-out season” that turned out to be a one year career year. Or bringing in an old guy who was at the end of the road. I mean people saying RJ and Brown couldn’t handle the pressure… that’s the most ridiculous to me. Those guys were in their 40s. They were just done. RJ especially had handled the playoff pressure plenty before NY.
                Rogers’ FIP his first season in NY wasn’t much worse that before or after (could be largely due to better comp and smaller stadiums in AL East). He did really struggle in 1997, but how do you know that had anything to do with pressure?

                Look at Weaver’s FIP instead of ERA. Hardly changed. fWAR didn’t dip that much either.

                • DM says:

                  Kenny Rogers had his best season in Oakland after the Yankees traded him away. His two best seasons were just before coming to the Yankees and just after leaving. And there were questions about his make-up before he came to the Yankees. People didn’t think he was a “New York guy” but Boras was his agent and landed him in NY b/c that’s where the best money was. He didn’t sign quickly and many questioned the move b/c he was considered soft. And the notion that he couldn’t handle NY came from his manager and teammates — but I guess they wouldn’t know either, huh? Pettitte was the only one who backed him up b/c of their shared religious beliefs and personal friendship.

          • jsbrendog says:

            jim abbot was a better pitcher statistically in all his yrs pre yankees and for one yr afterwards

  10. Kosmo says:

    Baby Steps ?
    It means setting small reasonable goals for yourself
    One day at a time
    One tiny step at a time
    baby steps.
    Dr Leo Marvin

  11. Drew says:

    Did Chavez go on the 7 day DL or the 14 day DL?

  12. gageagainstthemachine says:

    Re: Chavez
    1) Get better Chavez!

    2) I know they’ve been reporting whiplash/concussion. But, if I had to place my bet on what happened, personally I think he came down with Vertigo. I had that once and the way he reacted as it hit him in the batter’s box and how he had to be helped off the field reminded me of exactly what I went through. If I’m right, he’s probably puking his guts out and wishing he were dead today. The fact that they’re reporting him still in the hospital makes me wonder if the original diagnosis was wrong. If it is vertigo, it could be a long time before he’s healthy enough to play again.
    3) This is obviously just pure speculation. I’m probably wrong. Wouldn’t be surprised. Wouldn’t be the first time. Get better Chavez!

  13. Tom says:

    Folks realize the Nix callup does absolutely nothing to fix the bench issues?

    The Yankees still go into this series with a 2 man bench (one of which is the backup catcher). This means when Nunez, Nix, Jones, Ibanez come up late in the game where you want to pinch hit for them, you get 1 shot. It also means losing the DH in a lot of cases with the rotating DH philosophy. Things are no different than they were yesterday (well except Nix taking Chavez’s spot)

    The Yankees are still TWO players short on the bench with Swisher not healthy and the 8 man bullpen madness. I can see them living with a 3man bench for a while but it looks like they may go a week with a 2man bench?

  14. joek says:

    According to Lohud Chavez on 7 day dl

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