Challenge of Sept. 8th makeup game “going nowhere”

Via Pete Caldera, the Yankees challenge of their September 8th makeup game with the Orioles is “going nowhere.” That’s a makeup for one of today’s games, which were postponed because of Hurricane Irene.

September 8th is basically the team’s only off-day next month. They’ll play that game in Baltimore, then immediately fly to the west coast for six games. They’ll have a day off one week later, but that’s just for travel back east, which hardly qualifies as “off.” The Orioles didn’t want to play a doubleheader yesterday because they’d lose the gate, which is understandable by also kinda ridiculous when you consider that several other teams made similar arrangements due to the storm.

2011 Draft: Yanks sign 27th rounder C. Hebert, 38th rounder J. Maher

Update (Aug. 27th): Just to tie up some loose ends, Baseball America (subs. req’d) says Hebert received a $148k bonus while Maher received $300k. That’s what I figured, low six-figures. Again, solid deals late in the draft.

Original Post (Aug. 15th): Via K. Levine-Flandrup, the Yankees have agreed to terms with both 27th rounder Chaz Hebert and 38th rounder Joey Maher. The former is a high school lefty from Louisiana, the latter a high school righty from New Hampshire. No word on the money, but both figure to have received six-figure bonuses.

Maher is the better prospects of the two, a 6-foot-5, 185 lb. sinker-baller that still sits in the mid-to-high-80’s with the fastball and is still working on a breaking ball. Baseball America (subs. req’d) said that one evaluator dropped a Derek Lowe comp on him. Hebert is a bit smaller at 6-foot-2 and 180 lbs., but he generally sits in the low-90’s with his heat. “His slow curveball is well below-average, lacking velocity and at times resembling an eephus pitch,” said Baseball America. Both guys are great late-round fliers, there’s nothing to lose here but money.

Yankees outright Jeff Marquez to Triple-A

The Yankees have outrighted Jeff Marquez to Triple-A Scranton in what is basically a paper move. Marquez was already on the 60-day disabled list, so he’s not taking up a spot on the 40-man roster, but the outright removes him from the 40-man completely. Now they won’t have to activate him when his 30-day rehab window ends next week.

Marquez was pretty much the first guy on the 40-man roster chopping block, but his shoulder injury and subsequent 60-day DL’ing bought him a little time. The Yankees will still have some roster trimming to do before September call-ups, especially if they plan on bringing non-40-man players Jesus Montero and George Kontos to the show in the season’s final month. Gotta figure Justin Maxwell will be one roster casualty, but the other is a little up in the air.

Swag

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

It’s the yin and the yang.

Ahead of Irene, Burnett fizzles out again

Over their past six games, the Yankees have taken on such AL powerhouses as the Twins, A’s and Orioles. One might expect the Yankees, a 97-win team, to go 4-2 or maybe even 5-1 against such inferior competition, but alas, they have not. They are 2-4 vs. the AL bottom feeders, and two of those losses came from the arm of A.J. Burnett, who’s not even giving the Yanks a chance.

Tonight, Joe Girardi could have pulled Burnett in the second as he did Saturday in Minnesota. Since Phil Hughes couldn’t last three yesterday, though, Girardi couldn’t risk overworking the bullpen again. He chose instead to let Burnett tough it out, and A.J. didn’t deliver. Through five innings, he threw a whopping 116 pitches. He allowed nine earned runs on nine hits — eight of which went for extra bases. He also walked two and threw three wild pitches. The Yanks, who lost 12-4, never really had a chance.

After the game, everyone involved sounded frustrated. “I’m frustrated,” Joe Girardi said, speaking for everyone. “Part of my job is to remember it’s a person out there struggling. It’s not just an employee of the New York Yankees. It hurts me to see someone struggling. We’ve got to try and fix it.”

“It’s not acceptable, but the bottom line is, I can’t worry about my numbers right now,” Burnett said. “Even if I pitch great the rest of the year, I’m still going to have bad numbers. I’ve got to get on good track. I’m going to get on a good track. I can’t worry about my ERA, my 9-11 record.”

It’s all well and good for A.J. and Girardi to talk about improvement, but after the double headers this weekend and once the five-man pitching rotation gets straightened out, A.J. shouldn’t be it. As I said last weekend, he’s one of the Yanks’ top five starters in salary only. He hasn’t thrown a quality start in ten outings, and his 7.79 ERA since the start of July is utterly abysmal. Adam Warren could do this job for $16.1 million a year less.

On the bright side, A-Rod broke his homerless streak after reaching the 105 PA plateau; Jorge hit another home run; and Nick Swisher continued his torrid summer. He’s now hitting .268/.383/.455 on the season and has hit five home runs over his last eight games. Go get ‘em tomorrow or whenever the next game is.

Saturday’s Double Header Postponed

The Yankees and Orioles have already postponed Saturday’s double header due to the looming hurricane. Instead, the Yanks and O’s will try for a Sunday double header with games at 1:35 p.m. and 7:35 p.m. The two teams will play one game on Monday, and the Orioles want to make up tomorrow’s game on Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. The Yankees have a West Coast road trip that begins the next day, and the team is going to fit this change tooth and nail. They should have played two today, but the Orioles seem intent on screwing over the Yanks one way or another.