Archive for Spring Training
The Yankees lost to the Twins tonight, and David Phelps got hit pretty hard (five runs in 3.2 innings). Mariano Rivera struck out the side in his scoreless inning while David Robertson — pitching for the second time in as many days — struck out just two in his scoreless inning. Slacker. David Aardsma fired a scoreless inning while Boone Logan surrendered one run in his one inning. Offensively, the Yankees were held to just one hit, a Robinson Cano single. Brett Gardner, Kevin Youkilis, and Travis Hafner all drew walks to round out the offense. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
- Derek Jeter said his ankle is doing better following yesterday’s cortisone shot, and he hopes to resume baseball activities tomorrow. I’m guessing the team will give him one extra day of rest. He remains optimistic about Opening Day and says he’d be disappointed if he has to start the season on the DL. [Wally Matthews & Andy McCullough]
- For what it’s worth, Brian Cashman said Jeter will only play in minor league games for the rest of Spring Training. If he appears in any Grapefruit League game, they’d lose the ability to backdate a potential DL stint when the season opens. [Jack Curry]
- Phil Hughes will throw three innings in a minor league game tomorrow as he works his way back from a bulging disk. Still seems unlikely that Phil will be ready in time for the start of the season, but progress is good. [Chad Jennings & Meredith Marakovits]
- No surprise here, but Joe Girardi all but confirmed his top three starters to open the season will be CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte, in that order. Just in case you were beating the “Vidal Nuno for number two starter” or something. [Bryan Hoch]
- VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman said Mark Montgomery is not in the mix for the Double-A Trenton bullpen, meaning he will start the year with Triple-A Scranton. Lefty Shaeffer Hall might get pushed into the bullpen because of the numbers crunch. [Josh Norris]
- Dellin Betances was sitting 92-94 in a minor league game this afternoon. Mechanics were still a mess though, which is just par for the course for him. Newman told Norris they’ve working on shortening Betances’ stride. [Kiley McDaniel]
- Jose Campos is throwing pain-free, according to Newman. It’s a “coin-flip” as to whether he begins the year with Low-A Charleston or High-A Tampa. I suspect he’ll be with the River Dogs. [Norris]
The Yankees will be on the road to play this same Twins team tomorrow in Fort Myers. That game will not be broadcast anywhere, unfortunately.
Fresh off his MVP-winning performance with the World Baseball Classic champion Dominican Republic, Robinson Cano is back in Yankees camp for the first time in about three weeks. He had 32 at-bats during the WBC, which put him at 50 total for Spring Training. That leads the Yankees. So yeah, Cano won’t be rusty despite being away from the team. Let’s just hope he avoids the injury bug that seems to be spreading through the clubhouse. Here’s the starting lineup, which looks an awful lot like what we figure to see for much of April…
- CF Brett Gardner
- LF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Robinson Cano
- 1B Kevin Youkilis
- DH Travis Hafner
- RF Brennan Boesch
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 3B Jayson Nix
- C Frankie Cervelli
Available Pitchers: RHP Mariano Rivera, RHP David Robertson, LHP Boone Logan, and RHP David Aardsma will all pitch. Robertson pitched yesterday and I believe this will be his first set of back-to-back appearances in camp.
Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Dan Johnson, 2B Gil Velazquez, SS Walter Ibarra, 3B Ronnie Mustelier, LF Addison Maruszak, CF Melky Mesa, and RF Thomas Neal are all scheduled to come off the bench.
Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES and MLB.tv (no local blackout). Enjoy.
Spring Training has not gone well for the Yankees on the health side of things, and things have only gotten worse these last two days with the news of Derek Jeter‘s setback. Of course the team hesitates to call these things setbacks, but the Cap’n had to be shut down from baseball activity to receive medical treatment (including a cortisone short) as part of his rehab from ankle surgery. It’s a setback. Brian Cashman acknowledged yesterday Jeter might have to start the season on the DL because he simply may run out of time to prepare for Opening Day.
Along with Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Curtis Granderson (forearm), the Yankees have now lost three of their four (five, at worst) most important offensive players before the season even begins. Sure, Jeter may heal up in time for Opening Day, but they would be foolish to consider this a one-time blip on the radar. He may seem immortal, but the Cap’n is going to be 39 years old this summer and he won’t heal as well as he did earlier in his career. There’s a very good chance he will have to deal with similar nagging soreness and stiffness and inflammation all year long.
The Yankees should plan for this. They sought out Spring Training upgrades in the outfield by signing Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch, but plugging a shortstop hole is much more difficult. Cashman acknowledged that Eduardo Nunez will take over as the everyday shortstop in Jeter’s stead and … I mean fine, whatever. They obviously love him and if they’re ever going to give him a chance to play shortstop everyday, might as well do it now to see what happen. That said, they can’t hedge their bets with Jayson Nix and Gil Velazquez. They’ll need to dig up a better backup plan.
Veteran John McDonald would have been nice — mentioned him in this post last week — but he was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Pirates yesterday. Ronny Cedeno was released by the Cardinals earlier this week and he’s someone the Yankees should look into bringing in for depth. The 30-year-old put up a surprising 107 wRC+ in 186 plate appearances for the Mets last year, but otherwise he has no track record of hitting at the big league level (68 wRC+ in nearly 2,500 plate appearances). Cedeno can legitimately play shortstop though, and he’d instantly become the team’s best defender at the position in the upper levels. In a way he’s a better depth option than McDonald because he can go to Triple-A (on a minor league deal). Stashing a guy like him in the minors will be important in case Nunez’s throwing issues continue (as they probably will).
The bigger issue is Jeter’s lost offense. I’m not sure he will repeat his .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) effort from a year ago — heck, there’s a chance he will reverted to his .270/.340/.370 (93 wRC+) form from 2010 — but that’s what the Yankees will have to try to replace. They’ve already lost Teixeira and Granderson (and Alex Rodriguez!) on top of the Nick Swisher and Russell Martin free agent defections, so taking Jeter away means they’re down to one right-handed hitter (Kevin Youkilis) who poses a real threat to the opposition. Maybe Francisco or Juan Rivera will have a surprisingly productive year, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
There’s a chance, maybe even a good one, that Jeter will be ready and healthy enough to join the team on Opening Day. That would be outstanding. The Yankees should still consider this latest bout of inflammation a warning shot though, a harsh little reminder that the 38-year-old coming off major ankle surgery might not remain in one piece all year. Nunez is an okay backup plan, but his defensive issues mean they’ll need a backup plan for the backup plan. Cedeno is just one player who is available. The fact that Jeter’s and Teixeira’s injuries may linger should have the team looking intently for replacements before the season even begins.
The Yankees beat the Red Sox this afternoon thanks to a four-run second inning that featured one double (Ben Francisco), one walk (Brett Gardner), two sacrifice flies (Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez), and a whole bunch of singles (Juan Rivera, Chris Stewart, Thomas Neal, and Melky Mesa). Vidal Nuno threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk against one strikeout. David Robertson and Mark Montgomery each allowed a hit and struck a batter out in their scoreless innings while Joba Chamberlain tossed a perfect frame. It was his second consecutive day on the mound. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
- During the YES broadcast of this afternoon’s game, CC Sabathia said he threw 92 pitches in a minor league game. It was his second-to-last outing before Opening Day, and he and his surgically repaired elbow came through the day just fine. Sabathia allowed one run with eight strikeouts in six innings. [Bryan Hoch]
- Clay Rapada is going to try to throw a flat-ground bullpen session — regular pitching mechanics, but not on an actual mound — later this week as he comes back from shoulder bursitis. He still hasn’t been cleared to do anything more than play catch, however. [Chad Jennings]
- Josh Spence left this afternoon’s game after getting hit in the barehand by a comeback ground ball. It wasn’t hard hit and it deflected off his glove first, but I guess the Yankees didn’t want to take any chances. For what it’s worth, YES showed Spence in the dugout laughing with teammates afterwards, so I guess it wasn’t anything serious. No official update, however.
- Ronnie Mustelier was scratched from today’s game because he’s still banged up after running into the railing the other day. Forgotten right-hander David Herndon is throwing bullpens and could pitch in a game in late-April. He’s coming off Tommy John surgery and figures to be in the bullpen mix once healthy. [Chad Jennings]
- Both Montgomery and Matt Tracy were sent to minor league camp following today’s game, the team announced. The Yankees are down to 46 players in big league camp, but my unofficial count.
- There was a scout from the Yomiuri Giants in camp today. Japanese clubs usually monitor the final weeks of camp and try to poach guys on the roster bubble, which I guess could mean someone like Jim Miller or Thomas Neal. Who knows. [Josh Norris]
- The Twins will be in Tampa for a night game tomorrow. David Phelps will start and you’ll be able to watch that one on YES.
Here is your open thread for the evening. Both the Knicks and Nets are playing, so talk about either of those games or anything else here. Go nuts.
Brian Cashman told reporters in Tampa that Derek Jeter received a cortisone shot for the mild inflammation in his left ankle today. He remains day-to-day, but Cashman acknowledged the Cap’n may have to start the season on the DL. Jeter needs to play a full nine-inning game at shortstop and play back-to-back days before being declared for regular season action. There are only 12 days left in Spring Training, so time is running out.
Derek Jeter is not playing against the Red Sox this afternoon, but that’s not much of a surprise. He was scratched from yesterday’s lineup with what was deemed mild left ankle inflammation, and given his importance to the team, it’s obvious they were going to proceed with caution. I suppose he could return tomorrow night against the Twins, but if not he may not return to the lineup until Saturday since the Yankees are on the road Thursday and Friday. Either way, they’re wise to play it safe in mid-March. Here’s the starting nine…
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 3B Kevin Youkilis
- 1B Juan Rivera
- RF Ben Francisco
- 2B Jayson Nix
- C Chris Stewart
- DH Thomas Neal
- CF Melky Mesa
Available Position Players: C Bobby Wilson, 1B Dan Johnson, 2B Corban Joseph, SS Gil Velazquez, 3B Jose Pirela, LF Ronnier Mustelier, CF Mason Williams, and RF Addison Maruszak are all coming off the bench. This will be Williams’ first appearance in big league camp this spring.
There’s some rain in the forecast this afternoon, but it’s not supposed to start for another few hours. The game is scheduled to start a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES, ESPN, and MLB.tv (no local blackouts). Enjoy.
Via Josh Norris: Chien-Ming Wang is with the Yankees in Tampa and is working out for the team. He’ll throw a few bullpen sessions, stuff like that. Ken Davidoff confirmed with the right-hander’s agent that no deal has been reached and they are still talking to multiple teams.
Wang, 32, pitched very well for Chinese Taipei in the World Baseball Classic, throwing 12 scoreless innings across two starts. His trademark sinker was clocked in the 88-92 mph range and the Yankees have had interest in him for about a month now. We know the club is looking for a veteran starter to stash in Triple-A, but the fact remains that Wang has not been an effective pitcher since hurting his foot running the bases in Houston in June 2008. That said, if what he showed during the WBC — heavy sinkers and lots of quick outs — was legit, he’d be perfect on a minor league deal.
Although Derek Jeter is day-to-day with left ankle inflammation, the Yankees did actually get some positive injury news yesterday. Left-hander Boone Logan made his Grapefruit League debut against the Phillies, striking out two and allowing a bloop single in a scoreless inning of work. He had been battling elbow inflammation earlier in camp, inflammation that may or may not be related to his career-high workload and league-leading 80 appearances in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are still without second lefty reliever Clay Rapada. He’s been out for a few weeks with shoulder bursitis, and while he was able to play long-toss yesterday, it’s looking less and less likely he will be ready in time for Opening Day. Opening the year with just one lefty reliever — assuming Logan’s elbow continues to hold up — isn’t the end of the world, but Rapada’s injury does open the door for fellow southpaws Josh Spence and Vidal Nuno these next ten days.
Spence and Nuno are both cut from a very similar cloth. They’re both 25 years old and not on the 40-man roster, plus they’re offspeed-heavy finesse guys. Spence — who pitched to a 3.15 ERA (3.92 FIP) in 40 innings for the Padres from 2011-2012 — is a changeup pitcher while Nuno relies on his slider. They’ve both had strong Spring Trainings but Nuno has been better, striking out a dozen against two walks in 8.1 innings of one-run ball. He’ll also capable of pitching multiple innings while Spence is more of a true specialist. Then again, he has no big league experience.
Carrying a second left-hander in the bullpen won’t be imperative early in the season. The Red Sox are in town for the first series of the year and both David Ortiz (heels) and Stephen Drew (concussion) are likely to start the year on the DL. Assuming Mike Carp fills in for Ortiz, he and Ellsbury will be the only lefty-hitting regulars in Boston’s lineup. The Yankees head to Detroit for three games after that, and Alex Avila is their only lefty bat worthy of a matchup southpaw. Prince Fielder mashes everyone and Andy Dirks has shown no split in his short big league career. The Indians are up next after that and carrying two lefties would be nice starting with that series.
Of course, carrying a second lefty specialist isn’t all that important anyway. Carrying the best pitchers possible is more important than having someone who throws with a specific arm just because, plus the Yankees do have three right-handed relievers who get lefties out in Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, and Joba Chamberlain. Though two of those three are married to specific innings though, it’s not like Joe Girardi will use Robertson to get a tough lefty out in the sixth inning or something. The point stands though, the club has a few guys capable of retiring lefties even if Rapada has to start the year on the shelf.
Now, if Logan’s elbow starts barking again, things will change. I can’t imagine the Yankees would open the season without no lefty relievers at all, meaning Spence or Nuno could be the guy. Both would have to be added to the 40-man and have minor league options remaining, so sending them to Triple-A when Logan and/or Rapada get healthy won’t be difficult. It becomes a question of which guy is the better bet to actually help the team, and I’m not sure we can answer that. Spence has some big league success but is an unconventional lefty specialist because he’s a changeup pitcher. Nuno has no Triple-A experience, nevermind MLB experience, but is more conventional thanks to his slider.
In all likelihood, the Yankees will use either Shawn Kelley or Cody Eppley in Rapada’s place come Opening Day if Logan remains healthy. Both righties are ticketed for Triple-A but have big league experience and would be used in lower-leverage spots anyway. Finding someone capable to fill-in isn’t the problem, it’s just a question of how much the Yankees value a reliever’s handedness. I say take the best pitchers regardless of which hands they throw with, but the Bombers clearly value left-handedness and would like to have two southpaws if possible. There’s at least a small chance Spence or Nuno could sneak onto the roster if they continue to impress in camp.
The Yankees were held to just two hits — Brett Gardner single and Ichiro Suzuki double — in their loss to the Phillies this afternoon. The only other baserunners were Melky Mesa (walk) and Chris Stewart (error by Michael Young). Adam Warren started and allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk in 3.2 innings while Joba Chamberlain struck out the only man he faced. David Aardsma tossed a perfect inning with two strikeouts. Boone Logan also made his Grapefruit League debut, striking out two and allowing a bloop single in an inning work. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
- Derek Jeter said he’s not concerned about the ankle stiffness that caused him to be scratched from the lineup this afternoon. “I’m not concerned because I was told this was going to happen,” he said. The Cap’n remains day-to-day. [Adam Berry]
- Meanwhile, Joe Girardi confirmed Jeter may serve as the DH on Opening Day, which is not at all surprising. The Yankees are playing the Red Sox and Jon Lester figures to start. They’ve been talking about DHing Jeter against lefties all spring. [Mark Feinsand]
- Logan and his barking elbow were scheduled to throw a simulated game today, but obviously he felt good enough to pitch in the game. “It feels good, period. It really does though, I promise,” said the left-hander. [Andy McCullough]
- Clay Rapada threw long-toss today as he tries to come back from a bout with shoulder bursitis. He doesn’t have any pain but it is becoming increasingly unlikely he will be ready in time for Opening Day. [Dan Barbarisi]
- The Yankees will welcome the Red Sox to Tampa tomorrow afternoon. Vidal Nuno gets the start while CC Sabathia throws in a minor league game. That game will be broadcast on YES, ESPN, and MLB.tv.
This is your open thread for the evening. All three hockey locals are in action plus Robinson Cano‘s Dominican Republic team will play Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic Title (8pm ET on MLB Network). Talk about any of that stuff and more here. Have at it.
6:26pm: The Yankees announced that Jeter has been diagnosed with mild inflammation in the ankle after a precautionary MRI and is day-to-day. X-rays came back clean.
4:24pm: The Yankees have sent Jeter to the doctor for what Girardi called “precautionary” reasons. No word on whether they did any tests, stuff like that.
11:45am: Derek Jeter has been scratched from this afternoon’s game with what Joe Girardi called a “cranky” ankle. The Cap’n felt some stiffness in his surgically-repaired ankle during batting practice and they yanked him from the lineup. He was slated to play shortstop. Girardi said they’ll proceed day by day right now. I’m honestly surprised it took this long for something like this to happen.