Archive for Asides
Via Nick Cafardo: The Yankees are one of several teams with interest in Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Danny Knobler recently reported the Rakuten Golden Eagles are expected to make their ace available via the posting system following this season.
Tanaka, 24, has pitched to a 2.08 ERA with a 45/9 K/BB in 52 innings across seven starts this year. Since the start of the 2010 season, he owns a 1.57 ERA with 9.1 K/9 (25.6 K%) and 2.0 BB/9 (3.1 BB%). One scout told Knobler that Tanaka has “a wipeout split-finger fastball” and “a good slider” to go with solid velocity, though it’s unclear if he can remain a starter long-term. He has missed time with shoulder issues (strains and inflammation, mostly) over the years.
The Yankees have shunned the Japanese pitching market since the Kei Igawa fiasco, and Brian Cashman explained why in a recent interview with Index Universe. They’re concerned about difference in pitching routines as well as the cultural adjustment. Tanaka is not Yu Darvish and frankly he’s not even Daisuke Matsuzaka, but he’s still someone worth keeping an eye on over the next several months. The Yankees can’t ignore Japanese pitchers forever.
The Yankees have outrighted Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A. They designated the infielder for assignment after acquiring Reid Brignac over the weekend. He remains in the organization, just not as a 40-man roster player.
Gonzalez, 30, went 3-for-9 in three games with the Yankees last week. They acquired him in a minor trade with the Cubs a little less than two weeks ago to add some minor league infield depth, but they wound up calling him up right away due to Eduardo Nunez‘s ribcage injury. Gonzalez, who can play all three non-first base infield positions, will likely to play shortstop everyday for Triple-A Scranton.
Via Ken Davidoff: Right-hander Michael Pineda “received strong reviews” for his 51-pitch Extended Spring Training start on Saturday. No word on his velocity, but he reportedly touched 95 in previous outings. I think this was his fourth ExST start, but don’t hold me to that.
The Yankees are planning to have the 24-year-old Pineda make two more ExST starts — one on Thursday and another next Tuesday — before starting his official 30-day rehab window by sending him out with one of the full-season affiliates. They want to get him stretched out to 65 pitches before starting the rehab clock, and I’m guessing they’ll use all 30 days to make sure he’s completely ready. I guess the state of the rotation in late-June will determine what happens after that, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The good news is Pineda continues to make progress.
3:48pm: It was a simulated game against some minor league pitchers, not an Extended Spring Training game. Teixeira’s still not ready for a full blown game, apparently.
1:30pm: According to the man himself, Mark Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk this afternoon in what I assume was an Extended Spring Training game. No idea if he played first base or simply DH’ed. It was his first game action and it does not start his 30-day rehab clock. That will happen when he joins one of the four full-season minor league affiliate.
Teixeira, 33, has been sidelined since early-March with a tendon sheath injury to his right wrist. He suffered the injury while prepping for the World Baseball Classic with Team USA, so the WBC is paying his salary while he’s on the DL. Lyle Overbay (102 wRC+) has filled in admirably at first base, so the Yankees can afford be patient with Teixeira. Wrist injuries tend to linger and no one wants a setback, especially considering how much they need his right-handed bat. Plus the longer they keep him on the DL, the more money they save.
Right-hander Joba Chamberlain is heading to Tampa to continue rehabbing from the oblique strain that has sidelined him for more than three weeks now. He’ll throw a bullpen and make a minor league rehab appearance with High-A Tampa next week, and there’s a chance he could be activated when the Yankees are in town to play the Rays next weekend.
Joba, 27, pitched to a 3.86 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 9.1 innings before the injury. He walked (six) nearly as many men as he struck out (seven), though all six walks came in his first three appearances — he struck out three and allowed six hits in his first seven appearances, all scoreless. Preston Claiborne has been awesome and Shawn Kelley has the third highest strikeout rate in baseball at 41.7% (min. 10 IP), but there’s always room for another quality reliever. If nothing else, the Yankees don’t have to worry about rushing Joba back right now.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com posted his first mock draft late last week, and he has the Astros taking Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray with the first overall pick. The Yankees drafted but failed to sign him in the tenth round of the 2011 draft. The Cubs are projected to take Stanford RHP Mark Appel second overall. San Diego 3B Kris Bryant going third to the Rockies is the consensus right now.
With their three first round picks, Mayo has the Yankees taking Oklahoma HS C Jon Denney (26th overall), New Jersey LHP Rob Kaminsky (32nd), and Mississippi JuCo SS Tim Anderson (33rd). I’ve already written posts on Kaminsky and Anderson, and Denney is a bat-first catcher who can really hit but may or may not remain behind the plate long-term. The Yankees have been connected to all three players in recent weeks, especially Denney and Kaminsky. High schoolers and up-the-middle athletes. Pretty typical for the Bombers.
Nelson, 27, hit .222/.243/.278 (36 wRC+) in 37 plate appearances for the Yankees after being acquired from the Rockies earlier this month. He finished up his tenure with the team with a nice little 8-for-26 (.308) road trip. The Yankees acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Rockies earlier today, replacing Alberto Gonzalez.
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees have not yet had contract extension talks with either Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman. Cashman is under contract through 2014, so that’s no big deal, but Girardi’s deal expires after this season.
The Yankees do not negotiate new contracts until the current one expires thanks to their archaic team policy, and right now I have no reason to believe they won’t try to bring Girardi back after the season. The team is far exceeding post-injury expectations and the credit for that deservingly goes to the manager. If Girardi doesn’t return, my guess it will be his decision — wants a new challenge, another club makes a huge offer, burnout, etc. — and not the team’s.
The Yankees have placed left-hander Andy Pettitte on the 15-day DL with a strained left trap. He left last night’s start with what was described as tightness. Fellow southpaw Vidal Nuno has been recalled from Triple-A to take the roster spot.
Pettitte, 40, was “pretty spasmed up” according to Brian Cashman. He’s pitched to 3.83 ERA and 4.12 FIP in 49.1 innings so far, numbers that are basically vintage Andy. He missed a start with lower back tightness a few weeks ago, but the trap is up higher, between the neck and shoulder blade. The 25-year-old Nuno has throw eight shutout innings with the big league team his year, include five in a spot start against the Indians earlier this week.
Chris Stewart is day-to-day with a left groin injury after leaving last night’s game. The MRI came back clean, so he’ll avoid the DL and instead rest a few days. He is available in an emergency. Austin Romine will hold down the fort until Stewart is ready to return to the lineup.