Spring Training Dual Game Thread: Tanaka & Sabathia


If you believe everything the Yankees have been saying about their rotation, today is the single most important day of Spring Training. CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka are starting a pair of split squad games. The former is trying to win a rotation spot, the latter is trying to show enough to earn the Opening Day start. That’s what the Yankees say, anyway. Consider me skeptical.

Both of today’s games will be televised, meaning we’ll get to watch two games at the same time. That’s always a treat. Sabathia and most of the regulars will be at home in Tampa to play the Pirates, who made the trip down from Bradenton. The other half of the team — Tanaka and a bunch of minor leaguers, basically — will be on the other side of the causeway playing the Phillies in Clearwater. Here is the Pirates’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for the home game:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. C Austin Romine
    LHP CC Sabathia

Available Pitchers: RHP Nick Goody, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Johnny Barbato, RHP Vinnie Pestano, and RHP Jonathan Holder are all available, but I’m not sure who’s actually going to pitch. Today would be back-to-back days for Goody and Barbato.

Available Position Players: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Billy Fleming, 2B Jonathan Diaz, SS Tyler Wade, 3B Vicente Conde, LF Trey Amburgey, CF Jake Skole, RF Juan Silva, and DH Dan Fiorito will be the second string off the bench.

Sabathia is the most important storyline to watch in the home game. He had a good start last time out — I can’t believe we’re so focused on Spring Training performance, good grief — but the few before that were rough. Ivan Nova‘s tough start last time out all but clinched the last rotation spot for Sabathia, though you still want to see the big man pitch well today, in his last start before the regular season. This start is important enough that Joe Girardi stayed behind to watch. Now here is the Phillies’ lineup and the Yankees’ lineup for the road game:

  1. CF Aaron Hicks
  2. SS Ronald Torreyes
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. DH Carlos Corporan
  5. 1B Dustin Ackley
  6. 2B Pete Kozma
  7. RF Cesar Puello
  8. 3B Miguel Andujar
  9. LF Ben Gamel
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Available Pitchers: RHP Anthony Swarzak and RH Kirby Yates are also scheduled to pitch. LHP Caleb Frare, RHP Gio Gallegos, RHP Connor Mullee, LHP Caleb Smith, LHP Matt Tracy, and RHP Matt Wotherspoon are up from minor league camp and on the trip as well.

Available Position Players: C Eddy Rodriguez, C Francisco Diaz, 1B/OF Tyler Austin, IF Cito Culver, IF Jose Rosario, OF Dustin Fowler, OF Michael O’Neill, and OF Mark Payton are on the bench. Not sure who is scheduled to play though.

Again, the starting pitcher is the key here. Tanaka has not pitched well the last few times out and the Yankees have put some pressure on him to increase his intensity. It’s kinda funny the Yankees go to such great lengths to rest Tanaka and keep him healthy, but now they’re worried about his intensity during Grapefruit League games. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be on the road with Tanaka, and will surely report what he sees back to Girardi and the front office.

Both of today’s games will begin around 1pm ET, and the weather in Tampa and Clearwater is basically the same. It’s cloudy and cool, and the internet tells me there will be on and off rain all afternoon. (The chance of rain is higher in Tampa than Clearwater.) Hopefully nothing forces a delay or cancellation. The home game will be on YES and MLB.tv. The road game will be MLB Network and MLB.tv. There is no MLB Network blackout in the Tri-State Area for this one. Enjoy the games.

Update (1:28pm ET): The game is Tampa is underway, but the game in Clearwater is in a rain delay. The Phillies say the game is scheduled to begin at 1:40pm ET.

Open Thread: March 28th Camp Notes

The Yankees continue their Grapefruit League season tonight with a home game against the Tigers. Luis Cessa will be on the mound because the Yankees don’t want the Tigers to see one of their regular starters so close to the regular season. The Yankees will be in Detroit for the second series of the regular season next weekend. Anyway, there is no television broadcast of the game, so here is the Gameday link. Here are the day’s notes from Tampa:

  • Masahiro Tanaka is indeed scheduled to pitch tomorrow, not Wednesday. That’s what I figured yesterday. It’s his normal turn and it lines him up to start Opening Day with an extra day of rest. “Our hope is that he’s really good tomorrow and it’s a non-issue,” said Joe Girardi when asked about the Opening Day start if Tanaka doesn’t pitch well tomorrow. [George King, Bryan Hoch]
  • Luis Severino struck out 12 in six innings in a minor league game this afternoon. He threw 91 pitches, so he’s pretty well stretched out. Austin Romine was behind the plate. That Severino pitched in a minor league game today instead of facing the Tigers tonight indicates he’ll start either the fourth or fifth game of the regular season. [Shane Hennigan, Chad Jennings]
  • Jacoby Ellsbury played yesterday and is in the lineup tonight, but he admitted he still has some lingering soreness in his wrist after being hit by a pitch last week. “There’s still bruising and a little swelling in there but I feel like I can do everything I need to,” he said. [Brendan Kuty]
  • In an effort to stay healthy, Nathan Eovaldi has cut back on his throwing between starts. “Last year, I feel like I threw a lot between starts. Been trying to cut back on that and trying to focus on my bullpens in between games,” he said. “I just felt like that was one part of my game where I could do better at really, with my routine and shoulder programs.” [Kuty]
  • Tomorrow is Carlos Corporan’s opt-out date. All signs point to Romine being the backup catcher, so the best case for Corporan with the Yankees is backing up Gary Sanchez in Triple-A. [Hoch]

This is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network will show the Rangers and Dodgers live later tonight, plus both the Knicks and Nets are playing. Talk about those games, the unwatchable Yankees game, or anything else right here.

Open Thread: March 27th Camp Notes

The Yankees lost 5-2 to the Twins earlier this afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi started well and finished poorly. He was charged with five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks in 5.1 innings while striking out five. Dellin Betances (two outs) and Andrew Miller (four outs) each allowed a single in otherwise uneventful outings. Chasen Shreve retired both men he faced and Kirby Yates retired all three batters he faced.

Brett Gardner‘s solo home run off former Yankee Phil Hughes was pretty much the only offensive highlight of the day. Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-3 in his first game back after taking that pitch to the wrist last week. He came through healthy, which is all that matters. Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann each had singles. Here is the box score, here are the video highlights, and here’s the latest from Tampa:

  • Earlier today the Yankees released Chris Denorfia after he exercised the opt-out clause in his minor league contract, the club announced. Between that and the Rob Refsnyder demotion, there are now only 38 players in camp. Denorfia was never really a fit with the Yankees. It was going to take an outfield injury or two for him to make the team.
  • The upcoming rotation: Luis Cessa (Monday), CC Sabathia (Tuesday on TV), and Masahiro Tanaka (Wednesday on TV). Tanaka starting Wednesday means he would start Opening Day on normal rest, not with an extra day of rest. The Yankees have split squad games Tuesday and I wonder if Tanaka was incorrectly listed as Wednesday’s starter when he’s really Tuesday’s other starter. That’s the day he’s lined up to pitch. We’ll see. [Chad Jennings]
  • Aaron Hicks played in a minor league game this afternoon. During the YES broadcast, Joe Girardi said they wanted Hicks to get a bunch of lefty at-bats because he’s been facing a lot of southpaws of late. Hicks beat out an infield single and also hit a home run. [Shane Hennigan]
  • The Tigers will be in Tampa tomorrow night for Cessa’s un-televised start. Don’t count on YES picking that game up. The Nets are playing.

This is tonight’s open thread. This afternoon’s game will be replayed on YES at 7pm ET, if you missed it earlier or just want to watch again. MLB Network is showing the Reds and Dodgers live right now, the (hockey) Rangers and Devils are both playing, and there are the two March Madness games as well. Talk about any or all of that right here.

Open Thread: March 26th Camp Notes

The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 4-3 this afternoon. Bryan Mitchell started and was fantastic again, allowing just one hit in four innings of work. He fanned four. Hard to think he won’t be on the Opening Day roster at this point. Branden Pinder tossed a scoreless frame and three-time Tommy John surgery guy Conor Mullee struck out the side in the ninth for the save. One strikeout per surgery. Mullee was up from minor league camp for the day.

Aaron Hicks led the game off a homer and both Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez had base hits. Ronald Torreyes went 2-for-4 with a double off a wall after just barely missing a home run earlier in the at-bat. The ball sailed just foul. Pete Kozma had a hit as well. His chances of making the team are annoyingly high. Here is the box score, here are the video highlights, and here is the rest of the day’s news from Tampa:

  • Jacoby Ellsbury (wrist) took batting practice again today and said he’s good to go for tomorrow’s game. Rob Refsnyder, meanwhile, took a ground ball to the face for the second straight day. This one caught him in the cheek and he’ll see a doctor. The third base experiment is not going too well these days. [Bryan Hoch, Erik Boland, Mark Feinsand]
  • Masahiro Tanaka threw a bullpen session with increased intensity today after the team told him to stop holding back. “I heard some people talking about that he did turn it up a little bit today. We think that’s important because we have to get him going too and get him feeling good about himself,” said Joe Girardi. [Chad Jennings]
  • Meaningful roster cuts before today’s game: James Pazos and Nick Rumbelow were optioned to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. That effectively takes them out of the running for Opening Day bullpen spots. Chris Parmelee was sent to minor league camp after the game. The Yankees still have 40 players in camp by my unofficial count.
  • The upcoming rotation: Nathan Eovaldi (Sunday on TV) and Luis Cessa (Monday, no TV). The Yankees are playing the Tigers on Monday, and it seems Cessa is getting the start because they don’t want Detroit to see one of the regular starters. The Yankees play the Tigers in the second series of the regular season. [Jennings]
  • Dellin Betances pitched an inning in a minor league game today. Shane Hennigan has the day’s minor league lineups, if you’re interested. Aaron Judge hit a grand slam. [Hennigan]

This is your open thread for the night. MLB Network is showing the Giants and Cubs live right now, then they’ll show a bunch of games on tape delay throughout the night. All of the local hockey and basketball teams are in action tonight except the Devils, and there are two March Madness games as well. Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Spring Training Game Thread: Only One Week Left


One week from today, the Yankees will play their final exhibition game of the spring. We can finally see the light at the end of the Spring Training tunnel. These games are fun in their own way, but the novelty has more or less worn off at this point, and I’m ready for meaningful games. Soon.

The Yankees made the quick half-hour ride up to Dunedin to play the Blue Jays this afternoon. I’m not sure there is anything in particular to watch this game — Rob Refsnyder‘s play at third is worth monitoring, especially since he seems to be getting exposed of late — and that’s probably a good thing at this point of the spring. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Aaron Hicks
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Austin Romine
  6. 3B Rob Refsnyder
  7. 2B Ronald Torreyes
  8. SS Pete Kozma
  9. LF Cesar Puello
    RHP Bryan Mitchell

Available Pitchers: RHP Anthony Swarzak and RHP Branden Pinder are scheduled to pitch. RHP Gio Gallegos, RHP Jonathan Holder, RHP Conor Mullee, RHP Matt Marsh, RHP Alex Smith, and LHP Caleb Smith are up from minor league camp and on the trip as well.

Available Position Players: C Carlos Corporan, 1B Deibinson Romero, LF Chris Parmelee, CF Lane Adams, RF Juan Silva, and DH Eddy Rodriguez will come off the bench. C Kyle Higashioka, IF Vicente Conde, IF Cito Culver, and IF Jose Rosario are on the trip too.

It is cloudy with temperatures in the low-80s in Dunedin, and there are some thunderstorms in the forecast. Doesn’t look like it’ll be anything long-lasting though. Maybe just a quick shower. We’ll see. There is no YES or MLB Network broadcast for this afternoon’s game. If you’re in the Blue Jays’ home market, which I’m pretty sure is all of Canada, you can watch on Sportsnet. Otherwise MLB.tv is your only option. Enjoy the game.

Open Thread: March 25th Camp Notes

The Yankees lost 11-10 to the Orioles this afternoon, and if it were a regular season game, it would have been a Very Bad Loss. Nick Rumbelow gave up a homer in the ninth to blow the save, the Yanks took a 10-8 lead in the top of the tenth, then the Orioles scored three runs in the bottom half to walk-off with the win. Rob Refsnyder committed two errors at third base in that tenth inning. Tough fake loss.

Anyway, Ivan Nova started and got roughed up, allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out five. Nova allowed three homers, and to be fair, the wind was blowing out this afternoon. “I put myself in a really bad position. I didn’t help myself today,” he said to Pete Caldera after the game when asked about the fifth starter’s competition.

Chris Denorfia whacked a three-run home run — like I said, the wind was blowing out — and Brett Gardner had two hits. One was a beautiful bunt single, the other was a triple off the wall. Didi Gregorius doubled off the wall. Dustin Ackley and Chase Headley each had a base hit as well. Here is the box score, here are the video highlights, and here are the day’s notes from Tampa:

  • Jacoby Ellsbury (wrist) took full batting practice today. “I felt very good today. I felt confident in my swing. I was able to drive the ball to all gaps. (Thursday) was just nice and easy batting practice to see how I felt and today I was taking my normal swing. I walked away today feeling very pleased how it went. It was a nice progression,” he said. Ellsbury is going to track pitches tomorrow and hopefully play Sunday. [George King, Jared Diamond]
  • On his second error in that tenth inning, Refsnyder took a hard hit ground ball to the face. It took a weird hop and jumped up on him. He was bloodied and left the game with a cut up near his eye. That’s the only damage. Just the cut. The third base experiment will continue, according to Joe Girardi. [Bryan Hoch]
  • Michael Pineda threw five scoreless innings in a minor league game. Austin Romine caught him. No surprise there. Romine is on track to be the backup catcher and he needs to learn the pitching staff. Andrew Miller, Luis Severino, and Luis Cessa threw bullpens. [Erik Boland, Chad Jennings]
  • For what it’s worth, CC Sabathia went back to using an old two-seam changeup grip last night. He had a 6/1 GB/FB in that start after having a 14/10 GB/FB in his first three Grapefruit League starts. Eh, we’ll see. I’m not sold on a new changeup grip solving Sabathia’s problems. [Brendan Kuty]
  • Shane Hennigan has the day’s minor league lineups. Cito Culver batted tenth for Triple-A Scranton. I’m not joking. Rain screwed up the minor league travel plans this afternoon, so the Yankees had their players stay in Tampa and play a bunch of intrasquad games. [Hennigan]
  • Prior to last night’s game, Severino and Gary Sanchez were named the 2015 Kevin Lawn Award winners as the Yankees’ minor league pitcher and player of the year, respectively. It was Severino’s second straight Kevin Lawn Award. Congrats to the two of them.
  • Among the players making tomorrow’s road trip are Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Aaron Hicks, Carlos Beltran, and Bryan Mitchell. I assume Mitchell is starting. Pineda had been lined up to start that game. That will be one of those MLB.tv only games. No YES or MLB Network. [Mark Feinsand]
  • Some non-Yankees news: Collin McHugh will start the second game of the season for the Astros (behind Dallas Keuchel), and Evan Gattis (hernia) is expected to start the year on the DL. The Yankees open the season at home with three games against the ‘Stros. [Evan Drellich]

This is tonight’s open thread. This afternoon’s game will be replayed on YES at 7pm ET, if you’re interested. MLB Network is showing the Angels and Athletics live right now, then they’ll have games on tape delay all throughout the night. The Devils and Islanders are both playing, and you’ve got the four March Madness games too. Have at it.

Spring Training Game Thread: Ivan’s Last Chance?


Last night, CC Sabathia had his best start of the spring (two runs in five innings) as he supposedly competes for the fifth starter’s spot. His primary competition, Ivan Nova, gets the ball this afternoon. For Nova to win the job, he’s going to have to show he is clearly the best option. Anything close to a tie is going to go to the veteran making huge money. Ivan has to dominate today to stay in the hunt. It might be his last chance to make a case for the rotation.

The Yankees made the 60-mile trip down to Sarasota to play the Orioles this afternoon. Not many regulars on the trip following the night game last night, as you could imagine. Pretty soon the regular season will begin and we’ll see the starters every day. Can’t wait for meaningful baseball. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Didi Gregorius
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. 3B Chase Headley
  5. 1B Dustin Ackley
  6. C Carlos Corporan
  7. DH Chris Parmelee
  8. RF Chris Denorfia
  9. CF Cesar Puello
    RHP Ivan Nova

Available Pitchers: RHP Johnny Barbato, RHP Nick Goody, LHP James Pazos, and RHP Nick Rumbelow are all scheduled to pitch. LHP Matt Tracy, RHP Eric Ruth, and LHP Caleb Smith are up from minor league camp and made the trip as well.

Available Position Players: C Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Deibinson Romero, 2B Ronald Torreyes, SS Pete Kozma, 3B Rob Refsnyder, LF Ben Gamel, CF Dustin Fowler, and RF Jake Skole will be the second string off the bench. C Radley Haddad, C Kyle Higashioka, and IF Dan Fiorito, also made the trip.

It is cloudy and humid in Sarasota, and there is a chance of some rain throughout the afternoon, though nothing too heavy. They shouldn’t have much trouble getting the game in. This afternoon’s game will begin just after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB.tv everywhere. (And MASN if you’re in the O’s home market.) It’s the only YES road game of the spring. Enjoy the game, folks.