Joba, Aardsma getting closer to return

Via George King, right-hander Joba Chamberlain (elbow, ankle) will face hitters in nine days for the first time since having Tommy John surgery last June. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions and the next step is live batting practice. Meanwhile, David Aardsma (elbow) is likely to appear in his first minor league rehab game with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees sometimes next week. That will start his 30-day rehab clock and put him on track to return in mid-July. Hard not to be excited about the progress these two have made in recent weeks.

Yanks outlast Nats in 14 innings, win 8th straight


Source: FanGraphs

There were a lot more Yankees fans in Nationals Park on Saturday than the day before, likely because a bunch came down after work on Friday. Lots of cheers for the road team and lots of groans when Mark Teixeira doubled in two go-ahead runs in the 14th. The Yankees won 5-3 and outside of one Cory Wade meatball, got some pretty fantastic pitching. It was a great win. Really was. Here are some miscellaneous observations…

  • First thing that stands out to me: Bryce Harper looked just awful. Andy Pettitte completely manhandled him early, and overall the wunderkind went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts. He saw 24 pitches total, swung and missed 11 (!) times, and grounded out weakly to end the game on the first pitch he saw from Rafael Soriano. That’s about as bad as a player can look in a single game.
  • The Yankees almost got no-hit by Washington’s bullpen, which threw seven hitless innings from the start of the seventh through the end of the 13th. The Brad Lidge meltdown was as predictable as it gets — he has been unbelievably terrible this year — but Teixeira was their last hope in that 14th inning. The pitcher’s spot was behind Robinson Cano and he wasn’t going to see a hittable pitch again all day.
  • New York’s bullpen was pretty awesome as well, with only four hits allowed — one being the game-tying homer by Ian Desmond in the eighth — to go with five strikeouts and a 10/4 GB/FB. I thought it was only a matter of time until someone hit a walk-off once Freddy Garcia entered the game, but give it up to him, dude threw two nearly flawless innings despite making just one appearance in the last 25 days.
  • I haven’t seen a replay yet but frankly I don’t want too. The home plate ump called Tyler Moore out at the plate on Dewayne Wise’s throw in the eighth and that’s good enough for me. I had no idea Wise has that kind of arm, he got the ball to Russell Martin on the fly.
  • Derek Jeter had the loudest 1-for-7 ever, he scalded three line drives right at defenders for outs. Eric Chavez was also hitting the snot out of everything and even made a few standout defensive plays at the hot corner. Outside of the two homer game at Fenway, this was probably his best game of the season.
  • Nice little game for Jayson Nix, who came into the game as part of a double switch and had the dinky little infield single that started the 14th inning rally. He also stole a big base that inning, got down a sac bunt when asked earlier in the game, and made one nice play defensively in left. Most utility players are terrible, but I definitely think Nix has been a notch above that during his brief time with the Yankees.
  • Pettitte gave up five hits and how many were on broken bats, at least three right? Jesus Flores’ two-run double to the wall was clearly the most annoying only because Jesus Flores has no business hitting the ball to the wall in the first place, broken bat or not.
  • I was surprised to learn that this was only the Yankees’ third extra-innings game this season. The other two came in Baltimore during the second series of the year. Also, I have to admit I’m kinda disappointed they won despite not hitting a homer. Part of me was hoping to see them win 95 games and go 0-30 when not hitting one out. Woulda be … unique.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees have won eight straight games and that’s kind of a big deal. They’ve also won 11 of their last 12, 13 of the last 15, and 18 of the last 22. I mentioned this last game, but this might be the best baseball they’ve played since 2009. Ivan Nova gets the ball against Edwin Jackson on Sunday afternoon, hoping to give his club their third consecutive three-game series sweep.

Trenton lineup explodes in big win

Another night of bullet points…

  • Triple-A Empire State (win): CF Chris Dickerson and LF Ronnie Mustelier each had a pair of doubles while 1B Russell Branyan clubbed another homer, his sixth in the last ten games. SS Ramiro Pena also had three knocks, including a double. RHP D.J. Mitchell had his best start in a while, allowing two runs in seven innings. He struck out six and got eight ground balls. LHP Juan Cedeno and RHP Ryota Igarashi combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
  • Double-A Trenton (win): The Thunder scored 19 runs, so make sure you click the box score for all of the offense. 3B Jose Pirela, CF Melky Mesa, 1B Luke Murton, C Jose Gil, and SS Addison Maruszak all homered while Mesa was the only starter without a multi-hit game. Pirela and 2B David Adams had four knocks apiece. Seriously, click the link. RHP Brett Marshall allowed six runs in six innings, but he just knows how to win. RHP Ryan Flannery also got knocked around in relief.
  • High-A All Star Game (North win): CF Rob Segedin started and went hitless in three at-bats while C J.R. Murphy came off the bench and went 0-for-1. RHP Mark Montgomery got rocked in relief, allowing three runs on one hit and two walks in 0.2 innings. At least it came in a meaningless game.
  • Low-A Charleston (loss): RF Tyler Austin returned to the lineup after a brief stint on the DL, doubling once in four at-bats. C Gary Sanchez hit another homer, his fourth in five games. 2B Angelo Gumbs also had a knock while CF Mason Williams and SS Cito Culver combined to go 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Ouch. Nothing exciting happened on the mound, at all.

Also, make sure you check out Penn League Report for the Short Season Staten Island roster. The season — as well as the Rookie Level GCL Yankees — starts on Monday.

Saturday Night Open Thread

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Here is your open thread for this fine evening. MLB Network will air a game later tonight, but the teams depend on where you live. Apparently Game Three of the NBA Finals won’t be played until tomorrow night. Lame. If you’re in the D.C. area, we’re having a meet-up tonight as well. Enjoy your evening and feel free to talk about whatever you want here.

2012 Draft: Yanks sign 6th and 16th round picks

Via Jim Callis, the Yankees have signed sixth round pick RHP Nick Goody for $140k. Slot money for that pick is just north of $154k. LSU was knocked out of the NCAA postseason about a week ago, allowing their closer to turn pro. Goody is said to “consistently (pound) the zone with a 90-93 mph fastball and a short, late-breaking slider with good power.”

In other news, the Yankees have also sign 16th rounder RHP Stefan Lopez according to Chris Landry. Last weekend we heard that Lopez passed up a pre-draft deal in the tenth round, but Landry says the team wooed him by agreeing to pay tuition whenever he goes back to school to finish his degree. That’s not uncommon. Any bonus money they give Lopez in excess of $100k will count against the draft pool. Lopez is another college closer and actually led the nation with 19 saves this year. He relies heavily on a low-to-mid-90s fastball. All of the team’s picks can be found at Baseball America, and check out our Draft Pool page for the latest on that front.

Game 64: Don’t stop at seven

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

It’s really difficult to not be excited about the way the Yankees are playing these days. They’re getting excellent work on the mound from both the starters and relievers, plus the lineup has seemed to correct their inability to get that big, timely hit. They’re still crushing dingers as well, so it’s the best of both offensive worlds. Seven wins in a row is nothing to sneeze at, and today they’ll push for their first eight-game winning streak since last August. Here’s the starting nine…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
Russell Martin
3B Eric Chavez
LHP Andy Pettitte

Today’s game is scheduled to start a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. If you’re in the D.C. area, we’re having a little meet-up after the game. Enjoy.