Via Mark Feinsand: The Yankees are planning to call up infielder David Adams this coming Wednesday, the first day he is eligible to be added to the big league roster after being released and re-signing to a minor league contract last month. The team will give him a chance to play third base everyday.
Adams, 25, is hitting .314/.404/.477 (153 wRC+) with two homers and 99 plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton this year. He’s been a full-time third baseman since last July, but he came up as a second baseman and even spent some time at first this year. Although Ben Francisco seems like the obvious candidate to lose his roster spot, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees cut Chris Nelson in favor of Adams instead. Kevin Youkilis has just started working out in Tampa according to Chad Jennings, so he isn’t close to returning. Pretty great opportunity for Adams, who I ranked as the team’s 18th best prospect before the season. · (71) ·
Note from Mike: Just a heads up, Matt wrote this Thursday, so some of it sounds kinda weird after the blowout win over the Royals.
1. The Yankees offense looked pretty anemic against the Rockies, which is kind of surprising given the fly ball tendencies of Colorado’s ballpark. Then again, maybe it isn’t all that surprising as half of the Yankees lineup belongs in AAA (you know it’s bad when soon-to-be-canned Ben Francisco is batting fifth) and Travis Hafner is stuck on the bench. The Yankees pitching is pretty solid, but they’ll need to plate more than a couple runs on the board if they’re going to be successful this season, unless they plan on taking a page out of the 2012-Orioles-win-by-a-run-every-night handbook. When Hiroki Kuroda gives the team seven strong innings of two-run ball you’d like to see a W. On a side note, it’s really too bad CC Sabathia‘s start was cut short by rain. He was looking really sharp prior to the delay.
2. Speaking of run production deficiencies, I can’t stand watching the pitchers hit. Don’t get me wrong, I love interleague play – especially since the Yankees have generally fared pretty well through these matches. But I can’t stand pitchers hitting. Aside from the fact that they are generally terrible hitters at the plate (yes, even the “good” ones), the risk of injury is simply too great. Frankly, I cringe every time I see CC step up to the batter’s box in general, but now more than ever, the Yankees depend on him taking the ball every five days with half their team out of commission. Here’s to the AL and the designated hitter.
3. Not really Yankees related, but I thought I’d mention the fiasco in Cleveland. For those not familiar with the situation, Oakland’s Adam Rosales was ripped off of what would have been a game tying home run. Here’s the video. The umpires had an opportunity to reverse the incorrect call but they didn’t despite the replays showing definitively that they screwed up. I find this pretty inexcusable. I get the argument (though I don’t necessarily agree with it) that it’s nice to have the “human element” in the game (aside from the players apparently). But for goodness sake, get the damn call right when the tools have been implemented, are easily accessible and are designed specifically for that purpose.
4. During Thursday afternoon’s chat, I received a number of comments mentioning Joe Girardi’s nomination for the Manager of the Year award should the team make the playoffs. First, that seems a bit arbitrary to me – if the team has a successful season but just barely misses the playoffs by a game or two, shouldn’t that still count? Kind of like when he won the award with the Marlins? Second, Girardi’s doing the best that he can with the pieces that he has, and keep in mind those pieces are generally veteran players. That said, I don’t know that you can give him credit for the performance of the players. Guys like Hafner or Vernon Wells or Kevin Youkilis are going to do what they’re going to do. I’m just not sure how much Girardi has to do with it. At the end of the day, the players are accountable for their own performance. Just my $0.02.
The bullpen was short on Friday, so the offense did its part to make sure the Yankees would have enough breathing room in the late innings. The result was big 11-6 over the Royals in the series opener. They’ve won three of four to start the eight-game road trip. Let’s recap…
- Two Two-Run Shots: The Yankees jumped out to a four-run lead in the second inning thanks to two-run homers from Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Overbay’s was an absolute bomb with that no-doubt sound off the bat. Travis Hafner (walk) and Jayson Nix (double) deserve props for reaching base ahead of the homers. It was a fine start to the game.
- Phlopped: After four strong starts, Phil Hughes took a beating at the hands on Friday. He allowed six runs in his 5.2 innings of work, including a pair of homers. One of those homers was a three-run shot by Jarrod Dyson (!), a slap-hitting speedster. They were the first long balls Phil allowed in three starts. The good news is that he threw a first pitch strike to 23 of 26 batters faced, which is ridiculous. Still, six runs in 5.2 innings is six runs in 5.2 innings. Shake it off and do better next time.
- Lead Re-Taken: The game was knotted at five before the Yankees exploded for five runs in the sixth inning. Chris Nelson plated two with a single while Overbay (double off a lefty), Brett Gardner (triple), and Robinson Cano (single) also had run-scoring hits in the inning. Seven of the first eight batters in the sixth reached base. Overbay drove in another run with a single in the ninth, giving him five ribbies on the night. Well done.
- Whiffpen: How about Shawn Kelley? He struck out six of the seven men he faced in 2.1 perfect innings, raising his season strikeout rate to 14.73 K/9 (38.7 K%). Boone Logan struck out two in a perfect ninth, and overall the pitching staff retired the final eleven men they faced, nine on strikeouts. That is shutting it down.
- Leftovers: Vernon Wells and Hafner went a combined 0-for-9 with a walk while the rest of the lineup went 16-for-34 (.471) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers … the Yankees scored double-digit runs against a non-Indians team for the first time this season … last but certainly not least, this was Joe Girardi‘s 500th win as Yankees manager. Congrats to him.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has some other stats no one cares about. ESPN has the up to the minute standings. These same two teams will meet again Saturday night — yes, a dreaded Saturday night game — when Andy Pettitte gives it a go against Shields.
Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Gwinnett)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 2-5, 2 R, 1 K
- LF Curtis Granderson: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — had a little more on him earlier
- RF-LF Zoilo Almonte: 3-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI — had three hits in his previous 17 at-bats (.176)
- 3B Ronnie Mustelier: 2-5, 1 CS — had four hits total in his previous 29 at-bats (.138)
- 1B David Adams: 0-3
- RHP Chris Bootcheck: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 4/6 GB/FB — 57 of 96 pitches were strikes (59%) … allowed three runs in the first after allowing two runs total in his first five starts
- RHP Dellin Betances: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 17 of 32 pitches were strikes (53%), and he was sitting 93-94 and touching 97 … day one as a reliever is a success
In his second minor league rehab game with Triple-A Scranton, Curtis Granderson went 1-for-5 with an opposite field two-run homer and a strikeout. He grounded out in his other three at-bats. Granderson played eight innings in left after playing seven innings in right in his first rehab game, and he only had to make two plays: retrieve a double from the gap and catch a can of corn pop-up. So far, so good. · (2) ·
Coming into the season, the Royals and the Yankees were viewed as polar opposites. One has been in a cellar for the better part of two decades, the other has been at the top of the game. One made a huge blockbuster trade this past offseason, the other kinda sat around and did nothing. One has a roster full of young talent, the other has lots of old guys. One team is viewed as an up and comer, the other a … down and goer?
They both, however, currently sit right near the top of their respective divisions. The Yankees actually lead the AL East by percentage points over the Orioles and Red Sox despite lagging in the run differential department. Now that they can again use their DH and won’t have to worry about any left-handed starters, let’s hope they can beef up that record and increase that division lead this weekend. Here is the lineup that will face right-hander Wade Davis…
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- DH Travis Hafner
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Jayson Nix
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- 3B Chris Nelson
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is the 2004 First Team High School All-American, Phil Hughes.
Tonight’s game is scheduled to start a little after 8pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Eduardo Nunez Update: Nunez (ribcage) took some swings in the batting cage and felt fine, but he won’t hit on the field until tomorrow. I assume he’s available in an emergency like yesterday.
Joba Chamberlain Update: Joba (oblique) threw a 27-pitch bullpen session and came through with no issues. He’ll do the same on Sunday, and if that goes well, he’ll head out on a minor league rehab assignment.
The 2013 amateur draft will be held from June 6-8 this year, and between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Phil Ervin | OF
Ervin was a three-sport athlete who played for state championship football and baseball teams at Leroy High School in rural Alabama, about an hour north of Mobile. He went undrafted in 2010 because he tore a knee ligament his senior year and didn’t play much, which landed him at Samford. Ervin has hit .339/.456/.637 with eleven homers and 13 stolen bases this spring after putting up a .347/.421/.518 line with 14 homers and 23 steals during his first two years on campus.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 lbs., Ervin is more of a safe college bat than a toolsy upside type. He has a real quick and compact right-handed swing that allows him to get the fat part of the bat on the ball and make hard contact consistently. Some excess pre-swing movement has hindered his ability to catch up to good fastballs. Ervin is just an okay runner who is likely to wind up moving to corner outfield spot down the line. He does some pitching for the Bulldogs and has a strong arm, and he fared well against high-end pitching in the Cape Cod League last summer. There are some more videos on YouTube.
Baseball America (subs. req’d) and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Ervin as the 19th and 50th best draft prospect in their latest rankings, respectively, so there’s a definite split of opinions. Kiley McDaniel recently reported the Yankees are “heavy” on Ervin late in the first round, when they have three picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd). Premium college performance guys are always highly valued but there isn’t a ton of upside here. Ervin is a righty hitting corner outfielder without any projection left in his small frame, and frankly that does not jibe with what Damon Oppenheimer has done with his early draft picks over the years.
4:58pm: Cano confirmed he didn’t have the x-ray yesterday, he had it in New York during the A’s series. Either way, he’s fine.
3:30pm: Well this kinda came out of nowhere. George King reports that x-rays on Robinson Cano’s right foot came back negative yesterday. He fouled a ball off the foot during the Athletics series, then re-aggravated the injury when he slipped covering first base against the Rockies. “The tests were negative,” he said. “Everything is good.”
Cano, 30, is hitting .311/.359/.585 (150 wRC+) with nine homers in 145 plate appearances this year, and so far he’s played every inning of every game in the field save for two innings at the end of one of those blowout wins over the Indians. Eduardo Nunez’s injury means the team can’t give Cano even a half-day off at DH right now. It goes without saying that losing Robbie for any length of time would have been very bad even if the rest of the team was perfectly healthy. · (12) ·
Via Joel Sherman: The Yankees are permanently shifting Dellin Betances to the bullpen. “This is the problem with the development clock,” said Brian Cashman. “If he had two or three more (minor league) options, we would keep working with him as a starter. But with him being out of options after this year, it is becoming more obvious that if he is going to help us, it is going to be out of the pen.”
Betances, 25, has pitched to a 6.00 ERA (3.91 FIP) with 9.38 K/9 (23.4 K%) and 6.00 BB/9 (15.0 BB%) in 24 innings for Triple-A Scranton this year. He still throws hard and his curveball gets swings and misses, but he’s made zero progress refining and repeating his delivery since signing for $1M as the team’s eighth round pick in 2006. Relievers have a much better chance of surviving with bad command than starters, so hopefully something clicks. Moving Betances to the bullpen is both completely unsurprising and probably a few weeks overdue. · (94) ·