Yankees have some interest in Rick Ankiel

Via Adam Kilgore, the Yankees have some interest the recently designated for assignment Rick Ankiel. We heard the exact opposite yesterday, that they had no interest in the outfielder, but the dynamic changed a bit after Nick Swisher left last night’s game with a mild left hip flexor. Besides, contradictory reports are the backbone of the rumor mill.

Ankiel, 33, posted a 76 wRC+ in 171 plate appearances for the Nationals this season. He can still hold his own against righties (95 wRC+ since 2010) but not lefties (44), so he’s a platoon guy only. Ankiel can play the two corner outfield spots fine and fake center on occasion, plus he has that rocket arm. The Yankees would assume the remainder of his $1.25M salary by claiming him off waivers. I’m not much of a fan but the Yankees could do worse if Swisher needs his first DL stint since 2005.

Minor League Injury Updates: Banuelos, Campos, Burawa

Via Josh Norris, pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras confirmed that LHP Manny Banuelos (elbow) has been throwing off a mound and recently had a 25-pitch fastball-changeup session. I suppose that means he’s yet to reintroduce the curveball, which makes sense since breaking balls tend to put more stress on the elbow. Contreras indicated that Banuelos is getting close to a return, though “close” is probably a relative term.

Meanwhile, RHP Jose Campos (elbow) is not expected to return this season. Contreras confirmed that there is no structural damage in his elbow. He’s currently on a throwing program but the minor league season ends in about six weeks and he’s unlikely to be ready in time for game action. Campos will instead head to Instructional League in the fall. RHP Dan Burawa (back) has not been cleared by doctors to resume baseball activities and won’t play at all this year. He was impressive in Spring Training and had a chance to sneak into the big league bullpen mix at some point this summer if he stayed healthy. For shame.

Joba could be activated before end of July

Via George King, there’s a chance the Yankees will be able to activate Joba Chamberlain off the DL before the end of July. He’s going to throw a bullpen session on Monday and then be tested in back-to-back games. If he comes through that fine, he’ll rejoin the team.

Joba allowed two runs in two innings in his latest minor league rehab outing yesterday, but was again clocked in the mid-90s with his fastball. His 30-day rehab clock expires on August 9th, but it’s not surprising he may be activated sooner just because he’s a reliever and doesn’t need to be stretched out to throw 100+ pitches. Four of the team’s seven relievers right now are specialists and we saw how problematic that can be when Cody Eppley had to face a left-handed batter with the winning run on second last night. If he manages to come back at some point in the next ten days and be even 90% of the guy he was pre-Tommy John surgery, Chamberlain will be enormous help.

Athletics walk-off with win over Yanks

Source: FanGraphs

The Athletics now have ten walk-off wins this year. Ten! That’s more than one out of every five wins overall and nearly half their home wins. Maybe they’re clutch, maybe they’re just ridiculously fortunate with their timing. Either way, ten is a crazy high number. Let’s recap…

  • Extra Bases: Two runs in 6.2 innings is a pretty good start but man, the Athletics were all over Ivan Nova whenever he missed his spot. They tagged him for five extra-base hits, raising his league-leading total to 64 (!) allowed. Jamie Shields is second with 52 (!!!). It’s been a problem all year; Nova’s mistakes doesn’t just go for singles or well-struck fly balls. He’s young and this is a learning process, but sheesh.
  • Changeups: Tommy Milone is a left-handed changeup specialist with a reverse split, so it’s not much of a surprise that he set a new career-high with ten strikeouts against a lineup stacked with righties. The 6-7-8 hitters went a combined 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts against him. Milone stifled the Yankees with that soft dead fish changeup down and away all night due in part to a lineup that played right into his strength.
  • Tie Game: The Yankees used a pair of solo homers to knot the game up, including an opposite field job from Robinson Cano to lead off the ninth. Russell Martin did the honors in the eighth. Cano had already singled to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 23 games, but that was a cheap little single that short-hopped the shortstop’s glove. The dinger legitimized it a bit.
  • Walk-off: With Rafael Soriano sitting in the bullpen waiting to protect the lead that never came, Cody Eppley surrendered the walk-off rally by allowing three singles (one an infield job) to the three batters he faced. I figured something bad would happen once he had to face a lefty with men on-base, and sure enough Brandon Moss won it. The Yankees really need another non-OOGY reliever and I don’t think waiting around for Joba Chamberlain is the solution.
  • Leftovers: Boone Logan (one out), David Robertson (three outs), and Clay Rapada (one out) were a bit shaky but still recorded their five outs and did the job … ugly night for Andruw Jones, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and made an offline throw to the plate on the game-winning hit … the Yankees have yet to draw a walk in the series … this game should have been a blowout, but the Athletics put on a mean RISPFAIL clinic (3-for-14) … the consecutive games with at least three runs is over, finishing at 43 for the second-longest single-season streak in baseball history.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. Every other team in the AL East won except for the Red Sox (who lost to the Blue Jays), so the lead in the division is down to eight games. The Yankees did pass the Rangers in run differential with an assist from the Angels, so New York now owns both the best record and run differential in all of baseball. Phil Hughes will look to help the Yankees salvage the series against another rookie on Saturday, this time right-hander Jarrod Parker.

Update: Swisher leaves game with mild left hip flexor

1:08am: The Yankees say it’s a mild left hip flexor for Swisher and he’s day-to-day. That’s generally good news, at least in the sense that it’s not a groin strain or something really bad.

12:09am: Nick Swisher left tonight’s game with an apparent left leg injury; he was pointing to his groin and quad in the dugout when talking to trainer Steve Donohue. Swisher pulled up lame while running out a ground ball in the seventh. The last thing the Yankees need right now is another outfield injury, so hopefully it was just a cramp and not something serious. Updates to come.

Montgomery makes Double-A debut in loss

OF Tyler Austin could return to action as soon as Sunday, so that’s good news. He’s been out a little more than two weeks with a minor concussion. Apparently LHP Jeremy Bleich is done with Short Season Staten Island and has been moved up to … somewhere. Double-A Trenton makes sense.

Triple-A Scranton (11-3 win over Gwinnett in six innings) game was completely early due to bad weather
3B Kevin Russo: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI
CF Chris Dickerson: 0-4, 2 K
C Frankie Cervelli: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
DH Jack Cust: 1-2, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP
1B Brandon Laird: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — 13 hits in his last 38 at-bats (.342)
LF Kosuke Fukudome: 2-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI — 7-for-17 (.412) with four walks and four plate appearances since signing
RF Cole Garner: 1-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
2B Ramiro Pena: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K
SS Doug Bernier: 0-1, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 E (throwing)
RHP John Maine: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 5/4 GB/FB — 53 of 84 pitches were strikes (63%)

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Game 93: Back on Track

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Yankees lost their first game in Oakland since 2010 last night, but that’s alright. It wasn’t going to last forever. Ivan Nova‘s on the bump tonight looking to get his club back into the win column. Here’s the lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
DH Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
LF Andruw Jones
2B Jayson Nix
Russell Martin

RHP Ivan Nova

Tonight’s game starts a little after 10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.