March 19th Camp Notes: Eovaldi, Ryan, Burton, DePaula

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Phillies are traveling over from Clearwater to play the Yankees in Tampa tonight. The game is scheduled to begin a bit after 7pm ET, so the regular game thread will be along a little closer to game time. Until then, here is a recap of the day’s news and notes from Spring Training.

  • Nathan Eovaldi threw a simulated game afternoon. I’m not sure how many innings or anything like that, though I would guess it was four or five innings or so. Esmil Rogers is starting tonight and he’s competing for a rotation spot. Eovaldi isn’t, hence the simulated game to get work in. CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson, and Bryan Mitchell were among those to throw bullpen sessions. [Chad Jennings, Brendan Kuty]
  • Brendan Ryan (mid-back sprain) is on the travel roster for tomorrow afternoon’s game against the Tigers in Lakeland. He’ll be making his Grapefruit League debut after dealing with that back problem the last few weeks. Girardi made it clear Ryan will be the team’s backup infield if healthy, unsurprisingly. [Hoch, Jennings]
  • Jared Burton has a strained lat and is heading for an MRI. He’s in camp on a minor league contract and the Yankees have to pay him a $100,000 bonus to send him to the minors. If the injury is serious and a long-term thing, they might release him rather than pay the bonus. [Bryan Hoch]
  • Jose DePaula got good news from today’s MRI on his left shoulder. I have no idea what exactly that news is, but he feels good and the tests showed no significant injury. [Kuty]

Also, tonight’s game is your last chance to see the Yankees for a while. There will be no video broadcast for either Friday’s game or Saturday’s game. No YES, no MLB.tv, nothing. Next time we’ll see the Yankees after tonight is Sunday, when CC Sabathia faces Matt Harvey in Port St. Lucie.

The quietly important David Carpenter is opening eyes this spring, apparently

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

As the Yankees overhauled their bullpen this past offseason, they focused on adding power left-handed relievers, specifically guys who can get both righties and lefties out. Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson have both done that at the MLB level and Chasen Shreve projects to be that type of pitcher as well. Handedness doesn’t really matter if you have no platoon split, but quality lefties are harder to find than quality righties, so they’re good to have.

In addition to those lefties, the Yankees added one bonafide big league right-handed reliever in David Carpenter, who came over from the Braves with Shreve in the Manny Banuelos trade. Carpenter spent the last two years setting up Craig Kimbrel and he’ll slot into a similar setup role with the Yankees, basically replacing Shawn Kelley. That’s fitting because they’re both fastball/slider pitchers with fly ball tendencies, though Carpenter is slightly younger and cheaper (and under control two extra years).

According to Buster Olney, scouts have been impressed by the 29-year-old Carpenter in the early going this spring. He expanded on that ever so slightly in his Insider-only blog yesterday:

Evaluators have been greatly impressed with the spring showing of Yankees reliever David Carpenter, who has been working to add a splitter to his power stuff in his first season with New York. Carpenter mentioned in conversation how good it is to be teaming up again with catcher Brian McCann, who caught Carpenter when both were with the Braves during Carpenter’s impressive 2013 season.

Carpenter has only made four appearances this spring, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks in four innings, striking out three. His first two outings were very good, the last two were kinda duds. Whatever. Results don’t really mean much in March. Someone, somewhere was impressed by Carpenter according to Olney. That’s sort of cool but spring is always full of “this random guy looks great” stories.

Regardless of how he’s looked this spring, Carpenter is filling an important role with the Yankees as the No. 2 right-handed reliever behind Dellin Betances. Pretty quietly too. Carpenter hasn’t gotten as much press as Miller, Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, or pretty much every reliever in camp so far this spring. I guess that makes sense — Miller was a big free agent pickup, Shreve is trying to make the team, and Lindgren was the team’s top draft pick this year.

Carpenter had a 1.78 ERA in 2013 and a 3.54 ERA in 2014, but his peripherals were very close those two seasons: 28.9 and 25.9 K%, 7.8 and 6.2 BB%, 38.2 and 37.6 GB%, 0.69 and 0.74 HR/9, and 2.83 and 2.94 FIP. There’s a little of the normal year to year fluctuation in there but for the most part his 2013 performance was in line with his 2014 performance aside from the whole runs allowed thing. More importantly, look at Carpenter’s platoon splits across 2013-14.

IP wOBA FIP K% BB% GB% HR/FB%
vs. RHP 72.1 .265 2.52 28.0% 5.4% 37.7% 7.2%
vs. LHP 54.1 .284 3.37 26.6% 9.2% 38.2% 8.8%

Like most relievers, especially fastball/slider guys, Carpenter is less effective against hitters of the opposite hand. It’s not a huge platoon split, but it’s enough of a split that Joe Girardi will probably opt for Miller or Wilson against a tough lefty in a big situation in the late innings of a close games.

The new splitter could be a difference-maker for Carpenter, however. It could better allow him to combat left-handed hitters and become an even greater weapon late in the ballgame. And maybe the pitch is something McCann can help him develop. Carpenter has said he greatly enjoyed throwing to McCann while with the Braves and perhaps he’s more comfortable using the splitter in meaningful games with his old friend behind the plate. It’s one thing to toy with it in Spring Training, it’s another to use it in the seventh inning of a one-run game in the regular season.

Either way, splitter or no splitter, Carpenter has the tools to be an effective late-inning reliever. He’s done it the last two years and he’ll be expected to do it again in 2015. If he can develop that splitter a little bit — it doesn’t need to be a great pitch, just something to put in the back of a left-handed hitter’s mind to keep him off the fastball and slider — Carpenter would become even more of a weapon for Girardi. For now, he’s the No. 2 righty behind Betances, and that itself is a pretty significant role.

March 18th Camp Notes: Ellsbury, Cuts, Rotation, Ryan

The Yankees pummeled the Braves 12-5 on Wednesday night. Masahiro Tanaka made his second start of the spring and was fantastic, allowing two hits in 3.2 scoreless innings, striking out three. He looked as strong as ever. Andrew Bailey made his spring debut — it was his first game action since July 2013 — and allowed an unearned run on two hits in an inning of work. The television gun had him at 92-93, which would be amazing after a torn shoulder capsule if true. His curveball was all over the place though. “Rusty” is the word I would use to describe how Bailey looked.

Didi Gregorius and Brian McCann led the way offensively. Didi went 3-for-3 with a triple and McCann went 2-for-2 with two walks and a two-run homer. Stephen Drew also mashed a two-run tater. Brett Gardner went 1-for-3 with a walk, Chase Headley went 1-for-2 with a walk, both Mark Teixeira and Garrett Jones went 1-for-3 with a double, and Chris Young went 1-for-3. Also, the Braves are going to be bad this year. Very, very bad. Here’s the box score, here are the video highlights, and here are the rest of the day’s notes from Tampa:

  • Jacoby Ellsbury went for an MRI and has been diagnosed with a low grade oblique strain, the Yankees announced. He’ll be shut down for the next seven days. Opening Day is 18 days away now, so there’s still time for Ellsbury to rest, heal up, and get ready for the start of the season. Any sort of setback might force him to start the regular season on the DL, however.
  • The Yankees announced another round of roster cuts following last night’s game. Branden Pinder was optioned to Triple-A Scranton, Gary Sanchez was optioned to Double-A Trenton, and Domingo German was optioned to High-A Tampa. Don’t ready anything into the level assignments, those are just the player’s workout group for the rest of spring. Greg Bird and Kyle Roller was both reassigned to minor league camp as well. I unofficially count 53 players still in big league camp.
  • The upcoming rotation: Esmil Rogers (Thursday), Adam Warren (Friday), Michael Pineda (Saturday), and CC Sabathia (Sunday). I assume Nathan Eovaldi will either throw a simulated game or pitch out of the bullpen one of those days. Also, Joe Girardi said Bryan Mitchell will make at least one more start this spring. One of the split squad games on April 2nd seems like a good guess. [Chad Jennings]
  • Brendan Ryan (mid-back sprain) is on track to return to game action on Friday. Some of the position players who didn’t make the trip for tonight’s game took batting practice back in Tampa, but there were no bullpens or throwing sessions scheduled. [Jennings, Brendan Kuty]
  • Lefty Jose DePaula is heading for an MRI on his shoulder after dealing with continued soreness. He’s had a ton of arm problems over the years, including shoulder tendinitis in 2013. DePaula has only thrown two innings during Grapefruit League play but had been throwing regular bullpen sessions. [Jennings, Kuty]

In case you missed it earlier, tonight’s game against the Braves will be replayed on MLB Network at 11pm ET. Tune in for Tanaka, if nothing else.

Spring Training Game Thread: Tanaka, Take Two

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Another day, another Grapefruit League night game. The Yankees have another one tomorrow too. Spring Training night games are somehow even worse than regular season weekend night games in my opinion. I dunno, just seems like Spring Training baseball and weekend baseball belong under the sun and blue skies. Eh, whatever.

The Yankees are in Orlando to play the Braves tonight and they brought a fair amount of regulars on the trip. Guys are starting to play a little more — three or four at-bats instead of two or three, back-to-back days, that sort of stuff — in preparation for the regular season, which is now two weeks and five days away. But who’s counting?

Tonight’s reason to watch: Masahiro Tanaka is making his second Grapefruit League start this evening. His first went splendid. I tell myself worrying about his elbow accomplishes nothing, though I still find myself thinking about it. Can’t help it. Anyway, Tanaka is probably scheduled for something like three innings or 45 pitches. That’s pretty standard for the second spring outing. Also, Andrew Bailey is scheduled to make his spring debut tonight. He hasn’t pitched in a game since July 2013 due to shoulder surgery. I’m curious to see how he looks tonight. Torn capsules are usually the kiss of death for a veteran pitcher.

Here is the starting lineup for tonight’s game:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. DH Mark Teixeira
  5. 1B Garrett Jones
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. RF Chris Young
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. LF Jose Pirela
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Available Position Players: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Cole Figueroa, 3B Jonathan Galvez, LF Ramon Flores, CF Mason Williams, and RF Slade Heathcott will be the second string off the bench. C Kyle Higashioka, C Eddy Rodriguez, IF Nick Noonan, and OF Tyler Austin are the extra players.

Available Pitchers: RHP Jose Ramirez, RHP Andrew Bailey, LHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Danny Burawa, and RHP Nick Rumbelow are scheduled to pitch after Tanaka. RHP Diego Moreno, LHP James Pazos, and LHP Tyler Webb are the extra arms.

It’s cool and a little cloudy at Disney this evening. For whatever reason tonight’s game starts at 6pm ET, not 7pm ET. You can only watch live on MLB.tv. That’s it. There’s no YES broadcast and no television broadcast in the Atlanta area either. There are no MLB.tv blackouts in either team’s home market and the game will be replayed on MLB Network at 11pm ET. Enjoy the game.

Knee holds up as Sabathia allows two runs in two innings in spring debut

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

For the first time since last May, CC Sabathia pitched in an actual game Tuesday night, making his Grapefruit League debut against the Blue Jays at home in Tampa. He allowed two runs on four hits in two innings of work, striking out two. Twenty-two of his 31 pitches were strikes (71%).

Sabathia retired the side in order in the first (two grounders and a strikeout) before running into some trouble in the second. More importantly, scouts clocked his fastball at 90-92 mph in the first inning and 89-92 mph in the second inning, according to Mark Feinsand. That’s in line with the 90.6 mph he averaged last year and it’s only March 17th.

“I felt pretty good,” said Sabathia during a YES Network interview after his outing. “I was just telling the guys I was really nervous in the bullpen. Just wanted to get out there and be healthy. Felt good throwing the ball — made a couple bad pitches but I still wanted to get out there and get the game feel and get after it, and I did that.”

I thought Sabathia looked pretty good considering it was his first outing a) in ten months, and b) after knee surgery. His location was okay with most misses way off the plate, so hopefully he irons that out as camp progresses. It would have been nice to see him go six up, six down, but whatever. Sabathia didn’t come out with Jamie Moyer velocity and his mechanics seemed fine. That’s good enough for me in mid-March.

Spring Training Game Thread: Sabathia’s debut

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees are back in action tonight following yesterday’s off-day, their first of the Grapefruit League season. The big story tonight is CC Sabathia‘s spring debut. This will be his first game action of any kind since last May thanks to his knee issue aside from his recent simulated game, but that doesn’t really count.

Everything has gone well for Sabathia in Spring Training so far — he’s thrown bullpens and simulated games and all that and reported no problems with the knee — so tonight is about preparing for the season. Getting stretched out and developing a feel for his pitches. That sort of thing. Hopefully he makes it through in one piece.

Tonight’s reason to watch: Sabathia, obviously. I know people are going obsess over the radar gun but I have no reason to think Sabathia’s velocity is coming back. He’s 34 and has a million miles on his arm. I’m going to looking at his location more than anything. Is Sabathia consistently hitting the glove? That’s most important.

Here is the starting lineup that face the visiting Blue Jays tonight:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Alex Rodriguez
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. DH Garrett Jones
  7. CF Chris Young
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    LHP CC Sabathia

Available Pitchers & Position Players: I haven’t seen tonight’s lineup card floating around anywhere so I have no idea who is coming off the bench or out of the bullpen tonight. Sorry.

It’s nice and sunny in Tampa this evening. No clouds and it’s cool, with temperatures in the low-to-mid-70s. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7pm ET and there are plenty of ways to watch: YES, MLB Network, and MLB.tv are all showing the game live. It will be blacked out in the Yankees’ market on MLB Network but not MLB.tv. Enjoy the game.

March 17th Camp Notes: Ellsbury, Bailey, Ryan, A-Rod

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees are playing the Blue Jays later tonight and CC Sabathia will be making his Grapefruit League debut. It will be the big man’s first game action since last May. That makes it a pretty important game by Spring Training standards. The regular game thread will be a long a little closer to first pitch. Until then, here are the day’s notes from camp:

  • Jacoby Ellsbury is day-to-day with a “mild, mild, mild, mild” right abdominal strain according to Joe Girardi, who isn’t too concerned. Ellsbury won’t play tonight or tomorrow. It’s the middle of March. No reason to push anything. Give Ellsbury whatever rest he needs plus an extra day for good measure [Dan Barbarisi]
  • Andrew Bailey is scheduled to make his spring debut tomorrow night. He hasn’t pitched in an actual game — Spring Training or otherwise — since July 2013. Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to start tomorrow’s game, and others set to make the trip are Brett Gardner, Jacob Lindgren, and the entire projected starting infield. [Mark Feinsand, Brendan Kuty]
  • Bryan Mitchell and Andrew Miller both threw simulated games today. Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren, Nathan Eovaldi, David Carpenter, Ivan Nova, Chase Whitley, Vicente Campos, and Jose DePaula were among the small army of pitchers to throw bullpen sessions. Nova threw curveballs for the first time as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. [Chad Jennings, Kuty, Pete Caldera]
  • During yesterday’s off-day, Brendan Ryan (mid-back sprain) took ground balls and did all sorts of hitting, including full batting practice. He’ll do the same today and is on track to play in a game later this week. [Feinsand, Jennings]
  • Girardi doesn’t seem to be in a rush to play Alex Rodriguez at first base this spring. “I am not sure, it’s something we will talk about,” Girardi said. “It is something we can do if we want. (Garrett) Jones is more than capable of playing there and we have to get him reps but I might throw (A-Rod) in there one or two games just to see.’’ [George King]