Spring Training is over. The Yankees’ final Grapefruit League game was rained out this afternoon, and the team is leaving for Houston this evening. Well, some of the team. A bunch of guys are staying behind for the night and will fly out on their own tomorrow. Veterans have it good like that.
The Yankees finished the spring 17-12-2 with 128 runs scored and 106 runs allowed. They hit .250/.314/.359 with 20 homers as a team, the seventh fewest in baseball. Oh well. Those stats are all washed away when the regular season begins against the Astros on Tuesday. The Yankees will have a workout at Minute Maid Park on Monday. Here is 2014′s last round of camp notes:
- In case you missed it, Yangervis Solarte beat out Eduardo Nunez for the final bench spot. Dean Anna was given the other bench spot yesterday.
- Because of the rainout, everyone who was scheduled to pitch this afternoon instead threw simulated games inside. That includes starter Ivan Nova, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Matt Thornton. Michael Pineda will remain in Tampa and pitch in a minor league game tomorrow. [Chad Jennings]
- The Yankees announced their final round of roster cuts: Nunez, Cesar Cabral, and Shane Greene were optioned to Triple-A Scranton while Zelous Wheeler, Antoan Richardson, Adonis Garcia, Matt Daley, and Jose Gil were reassigned to minor league camp. The roster is down to … wait for it … 25 players.
- Masahiro Tanaka was named the 2014 James P. Dawson award winner as the best rookie in camp, the team announced. Previous winners include Vidal Nuno, David Phelps, Manny Banuelos, Jon Weber, and Brett Gardner.
- Brendan Ryan (back) will begin swinging a bat underwater on Monday. Brian Cashman already confirmed he will not be ready when his 15-day DL stint is up and there’s a chance will be out until early-May. [Mark Didtler]
- Joe Girardi said today’s lineup will likely be the Opening Day lineup, meaning Gardner will bat seventh and Kelly Johnson will bat ninth. [Joel Sherman]
Here is your open thread for the evening. MLB Network is showing a few live Spring Training games throughout the night, plus both the Devils and Islanders are playing. There’s also college basketball on somewhere. Talk about whatever you like here.
The Yankees have finalized their bench for the start of the 2014 season and it does not include Eduardo Nunez. Joe Girardi announced on Saturday that utility man Yangervis Solarte has won the final open roster spot. The team will need to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate him sometime before Tuesday’s season opener. Nunez will go to Triple-A Scranton.
Solarte, 26, could have opted out of his minor league contract if he did not make the team. He hit .429/.489/.571 with two homeruns in 47 plate appearances this spring while playing second base, shortstop, third base, and left field. Solarte hit .282/.332/.404 in 263 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League over the last two seasons while in the Rangers organization.
Nunez, 26, hit .265/.280/.388 with one homer in 50 plate appearances this spring. He blew a golden opportunity last season, hitting only .260/.307/.372 in 336 plate appearances while Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were on the DL. As you know, his defense has long been an issue. The Yankees seemed to grow tired on Nunez over the winter, signing players like Solarte, Dean Anna, and Scott Sizemore to directly compete with him.
Solarte will join Anna, Frankie Cervelli, and Ichiro Suzuki on the bench. There isn’t much (any?) offensive firepower there but Cervelli’s bat has been promising between injuries the last two years and, if nothing else, Anna knows how to work a walk and put together good at-bats. I thought the Yankees would take Nunez for a few reasons, mostly because he’s already on the 40-man roster and would be the easy move. I also didn’t think they’d buy into Solarte’s spring, but here we are.
Brendan Ryan will open the season on the DL with a back problem and earlier this week Brian Cashman confirmed he will miss more than the minimum 15 days. Anna and Solarte had to compete for a bench spot this spring, and now they have to continue competing to stay on the team once Ryan returns. Getting the big leagues is the easy part. Staying there is much harder.
Via Jorge Castillo: If he does not make the Opening Day roster, Spring Training standout Yangervis Solarte can opt-out of his minor league contract for a spot on another team’s 25-man roster. Chad Jennings says he has shown a willingness to go to Triple-A, for what it’s worth.
Solarte, 26, is a candidate for the final bench spot along with Eduardo Nunez. He hit .429/.489/.571 with two homers in 47 plate appearances this spring, and while it’s always possible something has clicked, there is nothing in his track record suggesting he’ll hit much during the regular season. Solarte is versatile though, regularly playing the three non-first base infield positions as well as left field. The deadline to set the Opening Day roster is 3pm ET tomorrow. · (13) ·
At long last, Spring Training is finally over. The Yankees will play their final Grapefruit League game this afternoon after six successful weeks, successful in the sense that they suffered no major injuries or controversies. Part of that is Alex Rodriguez being away, obviously. Masahiro Tanaka has acclimated well, Michael Pineda looks healthy, Dellin Betances and some other youngsters were impressive … yeah, pretty good six weeks.
Jacoby Ellsbury returns to the lineup for the first time in 15 days, though he has been playing in minor league games all week. By all accounts his tight calf is a non-issue at this point and he will be ready for Opening Day. Starting the first year of a seven-year contract on the DL wouldn’t have been the best first impression. Ivan Nova will make his final spring tune-up appearance before getting the ball in the third game of the regular season on Thursday.
The Marlins are back in Tampa following last night’s game — they probably never left, their Spring Training home is four hours away in Jupiter — and they’ve got a representative lineup. Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and former Yankee Casey McGehee are all playing. Right-hander Tom Koehler is on the mound. Here is Joe Girardi‘s final starting lineup of the spring:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- SS Derek Jeter
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- LF Brett Gardner
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Kelly Johnson
RHP Ivan Nova
Available Pitchers: RHP David Robertson, RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP Matt Thornton, RHP David Phelps, RHP Adam Warren, and RHP Matt Daley are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Danny Burawa, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.
Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Jose Gil, 2B Yangervis Solarte, SS Dean Anna, 3B Eduardo Nunez, LF Zelous Wheeler, and RF Adonis Garcia will be the second string off the bench. C Roybell Herrera, SS Carmen Angelini, OF Ichiro Suzuki, and OF Antoan Richardson are also available.
Now, the bad news: it’s supposed to rain in Tampa this afternoon and continue pretty much all night. There’s a good chance the game will be cancelled because no one is sitting through a postponement for the final spring game. What that means for Ellsbury and Nova, I have no idea. I’m guessing Nova will throw inside in the batting cage. If they do play, and I hope they do, you can watch live on YES and MLB.tv. Enjoy what is hopefully the last meaningless Yankees game of 2014.
Update (1:05pm): First pitch has been pushed back to 1:15pm ET.
Update (1:13pm): The game has been cancelled. Spring Training is over.
Via Patrick Saunders: Right-hander Tommy Kahnle has made the Rockies’ Opening Day roster. They selected him from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft back in December. He is filling former Yankee Boone Logan’s spot since the lefty is not all the way back from offseason elbow surgery.
Kahnle, 24, must remain on Colorado’s 25-man active roster all season, or be offered back to the Yankees. He had a 2.85 ERA (3.85 FIP) in 60 innings for Double-A Trenton last season, and this spring he allowed just one run in 9.2 innings. Kahnle throws very hard but his command is spotty at best. As with most Rule 5 Draft players, the odds are greatly in favor of him being offered back to the Yankees at some point. · (13) ·
9:44pm: Following tonight’s game, Joe Girardi confirmed Anna has indeed made the roster. He also said the other bench spot is still undecided, and they’re picking between Nunez and Yangervis Solarte. (Zelous Wheeler was reassigned to minor league camp tonight.) I will be surprised if it’s not Nunez. The deadline to set the roster is 3pm ET on Sunday.
7:30pm: Infielder Dean Anna has won the final bench spot, it seems. Former minor league teammate Jedd Gyorko congratulated him on Twitter for making the Opening Day roster, so either Anna made the team or Gyorko is playing a cruel joke. I’m guessing it’s the former. Anna is replacing the injured Brendan Ryan. He’ll join Frankie Cervelli, Ichiro Suzuki, and presumably Eduardo Nunez on the bench. · (120) ·
The Yankees shut out the Marlins by the score of 3-0 on Friday night, in their second-to-last Spring Training game. They were being no-hit until Kelly Johnson doubled leading off the eighth. Masahiro Tanaka is the story of the night; he struck out ten in six innings, allowing three hits and zero walks. Pretty awesome. He and Hiroki Kuroda combined for 14 strikeouts. Here’s the box score. · (9) ·
The Yankees are playing the Marlins in their second-to-last Spring Training game tonight, but the game will not be televised. Oh well. You’ll be up to your eyeballs in Yankees baseball starting next week, so enjoy the last few days before the start of the regular season. Here is tonight’s lineup card, if you’re interested. Here are the day’s notes from Tampa:
- In case you missed it earlier today, Joe Girardi announced that Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno have won the final two bullpen spots. Al Aceves was signed to a minor league deal to help replace the minor league rotation depth.
- Jacoby Ellsbury (calf) went 2-for-5 in a minor league game today. He ran the bases and played center field, saying afterwards that everything went fine. Girardi said Ellsbury will play in tomorrow’s Grapefruit League finale. Brendan Ryan (back), meanwhile, will not be ready when his DL stint ends, Brian Cashman confirmed. [Jorge Castillo, Joel Sherman, Bryan Hoch]
- Michael Pineda threw a bullpen session today and will stay behind in Tampa to pitch in a minor league game on Sunday. He’ll join the team in Houston before making his first start next Saturday. Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka will both pitch tonight, their final tune-ups before the season. [Chad Jennings]
- Manny Banuelos will not open the season with Triple-A Scranton. He’ll instead be assigned to High-A Tampa because they can better monitor his return from Tommy John surgery there, plus the weather will be warmer. He’ll move up after a few weeks. Aceves, Chris Leroux, Shane Greene, Bruce Billings, and Brian Gordon will start the year in the Triple-A Scranton rotation. [Joel Sherman]
- Tyler Austin (wrist), Slade Heathcott (knee), Greg Bird (back), and Jose Campos will all be held back in Extended Spring Training to make up for the time they lost this spring. Campos isn’t hurt, he was just brought along slowly in camp and needs more work before starting the season. [Josh Norris]
Here is your open thread for the night. MLB Network will air the Mets and Blue Jays live (from Montreal!) tonight, plus the Knicks, Nets, and (hockey) Rangers are all playing. Talk about anything and everything right here.
The Mexican Gangster wears pinstripes once again. The Yankees have signed Al Aceves to a minor league contract, according to Ken Davidoff. The contract includes a July 1st opt-out. He will join the Triple-A Scranton rotation for the time being.
Aceves, 31, allowed five runs in ten innings with the Orioles this spring. He opted out of contract when he was advised he did not make the team. Aceves had a 4.86 ERA (6.35 FIP) in 37 innings for the Red Sox last season, spending most of the year in Triple-A. The Yankees will carry David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal Nuno in their big league bullpen, so this move replenishes some rotation depth. Aceves has not been effective in a long time. I wouldn’t expect a return to 2009 glory anytime soon. · (21) ·
The bullpen for the start of the 2014 season is set. Joe Girardi announced that Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno have won the last two spots and will join David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton, David Phelps, and Adam Warren in the bullpen. Robertson, of course, is replacing Mariano Rivera as closer. The bench has not yet been finalized.
Betances, 26, moved into the bullpen full-time last May and his career took off after years of command issues. He pitched to a 2.08 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 28 walks in 65 total relief innings between Triple-A and MLB last season, and this spring he’s allowed only one run with eleven strikeouts and four walks in 12.1 innings. Betances, who lives and dies with his mid-90s fastball and hard curveball, figures to cut his teeth in middle relief before possibly assuming greater responsibility.
The 26-year-old Nuno had a 2.25 ERA in 20 big league innings last summer before suffering a season-ending groin injury. He allowed three runs in eight innings this spring, walking one and striking out eight. Girardi could use Nuno as a matchup left-hander or a multi-inning guy, so the bullpen has some added flexibility. I think the best case scenario for Nuno is a lefty version of 2009 Al Aceves, a rubber-armed reliever who can face one batter or throw four innings if need be.
The Yankees start the season with 13 games in 13 days, so having three stretched out relievers in Phelps, Warren, and Nuno allows them to take it easy on Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda out of the gate. Tanaka is transitioning from a seven-day schedule to a five-day schedule while Pineda is returning from shoulder surgery. Girardi, who is very good at getting the most out of his relievers, has insisted they would take the 12 best arms for the bullpen and that’s pretty much exactly what they’ve done.