Yankees acquire Chad Qualls

Via Mark Hale, the Yankees have acquired Chad Qualls from the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash. Philadelphia designated the veteran right-handed reliever for assignment earlier this week. No word on the corresponding roster moves yet.

Qualls, 33, was pretty awful with the Phillies — 4.60 ERA and 5.61 FIP — and has been awful for about three years now. Since the start of 2010, he’s pitched to a 5.08 ERA (4.31 FIP) in 164.2 innings, the fourth highest ERA among qualified relievers. Qualls is a sinker guy, relying on grounders (55.6% since 2010) and not strikeouts (6.07 K/9 and 15.3 K%). It is worth noting that he’s held right-handed batters to a .286 wOBA over the last three seasons, so he’s something of a specialist.

Qualls signed a one-year, $1.15M deal with the Phillies this past offseason, so he’s cheap and will become a free agent after the season. I’m still not quite sure why the Yankees traded for him unless someone — Cory Wade after his 58-pitch appearance the other day? — is going to the DL. I suppose it could also have something to do with David Aardsma’s setback. Kinda weird.

Jeter, Cano, and Granderson named starters for All-Star Game

SS Derek Jeter, 2B Robinson Cano, and OF Curtis Granderson will all start in the All-Star Game later this month after winning the fan voting at their respective positions. Other AL starters include C Mike Napoli, 1B Prince Fielder, 3B Adrian Beltre, OF Josh Hamilton, OF Jose Bautista, and DH David Ortiz. No word on the reserves yet, but I’m not sure any other Yankees will be selected for the game.

NL starters include C Buster Posey, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Dan Uggla, SS Rafael Furcal, 3B Pablo Sandoval, OF Matt Kemp, OF Carlos Beltan, and former Yankee OF Melky Cabrera.

Update: CC Sabathia has been selected to the pitching staff, but he obviously won’t participate in the game given his injury. It would have been neat if Hiroki Kuroda was named his replacement, but the spot went to C.J. Wilson instead. Here are the full rosters and the Final Vote ballot.

Game 78: Old Timers’ Day

(Photo Credit: Flickr user bump via Creative Commons license)

I’ve always felt that Old Timers’ Day is one of those events you have to attend in person to really appreciate. Watching on television is fun and all, but you can’t really appreciate the gravity of the situation. I was at the 2007 event, which was Paul O’Neill’s first year back. The chants for him were just unbelievably loud, and then you had Don Mattingly and his chants. Then Reggie Jackson. Then Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra. It was amazing and having watched on television the last four years just isn’t the same. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s much more enjoyable in person.

Anyway, this year’s crop of newcomers is headlined by retired and long-time trainer Gene Monahan, as well as Sterling Hitchock, Matt Nokes, and Tanyon Sturtze. Jorge Posada will not be there this year, but he won’t stay away forever. Most guys take a few years off before coming back. The full roster of Old Timers can be found right here.

The Old Timers’ Day festivities start at 11am ET and can be seen on YES. The series finale against the White Sox will follow at 2:05pm ET, and you can watch that on YES locally and TBS nationally. I’ll add the lineup once it’s posted. Enjoy.

Update: Here’s today’s lineup…

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

RHP Phil Hughes

Kuroda silences White Sox as lefty bats hammer Peavy in win

Source: FanGraphs

The first two games of this four-game series against the White Sox were rough for similar yet different reasons, but the Yankees got back into the win column with a rather convincing shutout victory on Saturday afternoon. Let’s recap…

  • KU! RO! DA!: Hiroki Kuroda is singlehandedly smashing every stereotype about NL pitchers, Japanese pitchers, older pitchers … you name it. His latest gem featured seven shutout innings against the White Sox on Saturday, with just five baserunners — three in the first inning — and 11 strikeouts. That’s a new season high, ditto his 22 (!) swings and misses. Kuroda now owns the ninth best ERA (3.17) in the AL (min. 80 IP) and second best in the AL East (David Price at 2.92). He was everything the Yankees needed and more in this game.
  • Lefty Power: Jake Peavy is a pretty good pitcher, but he’s also a pitcher with a sizable platoon split. New York’s left-handed batters took advantage of that by going 8-for-21 (.381) with a double (Dewayne Wise) and three solo homers (Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Wise). The right-handed bats countered by going 0-for-10 with five strikeouts. Peavy threw an eight-inning complete game with 11 strikeouts and no walks, but the Yankees made him pay when he made a mistake by hitting the ball out of the park. Gotta do that against good pitchers. Where have I heard that before?
  • Bullpen: David Robertson rebounded from Wednesday’s blown save with an uncharacteristically efficient 1-2-3 eighth inning (12 pitches), so that was good to see. Boone Logan walked Adam Dunn — Dunn’s sixth walk of the series — before Rafael Soriano bailed him out with a double play. Seven up, six down. Much better than Friday’s pitching nightmare.
  • Leftovers: Cano just missed a second homer — technically it would have been his first of day — by lining a ball down the line and watching it sail just foul by no more than a foot … Wise went 3-for-3 and was a triple away from the cycle, and he’s now 7-for-11 (.636) with a double, a triple, and two homers on the homestand … that’s pretty much it. Pretty quick (2:25) and uneventful game outside of the dingers.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will go for the series split on Sunday afternoon when Phil Hughes gets the ball against Gavin Floyd, but first they’ll celebrate their history will Old Timers’ Day. The festivities starts at 11am ET, so remember to set your alarm and check RAB Tickets for last-minute deals.

Betances throws six scoreless in return to AA

LHP Manny Banuelos and RHP Jose Campos are both still in Tampa rehabbing their respective elbow injuries according to Mike Ashmore. Doesn’t sound like either is close to a return.

Triple-A Scranton (6-4 win over Rochester)
LF Chris Dickerson: 2-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 K — nine doubles in 19 June games
2B Corban Joseph: 0-4, 2 K
C Frankie Cervelli: 0-3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 PB, 1 HBP
DH Jack Cust: 1-4, 1 R
1B Russell Branyan: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K — that’s his tenth homer in June, the most in the International League
3B Brandon Laird: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K — seven hits in his last 17 at-bats (.412) with three doubles
RF Colin Curtis: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
SS Ramiro Pena: 0-2, 1 K — left the game for an unknown reason after striking out … Doug Bernier replaced him and singled in one of his two at-bats
CF Ray Kruml: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 CS
LHP Mike O’Connor: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 4/3 GB/FB — 45 of 65 pitches were strikes (69.2%) … they’re in pretty good shape despite losing two starters this week thanks to O’Connor and Nelson Figueroa
RHP Preston Claiborne: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 20 of 26 pitches were strikes (76.9%)
RHP Manny Delcarmen: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 24 of 34 pitches were strikes (70.6%)
RHP Jason Bulger: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 11 of 16 pitches were strikes … gave up a solo homer to former Yankees farmhand Matt Carson

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Saturday Night Open Thread

(click to embiggen)

Things were much different back in 1995, back before the days of Derek Jeter and a million different forgettable Orioles shortstops. Reader Jeff Snow sent us the above image, one of those Got Milk ads from way back in the day. Pretty funny to look back on given everything that’s happened since then, including Jeter passing Cal Ripken Jr. on the all-time hit list last night.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. The Mets and Dodgers (Santana vs. Eovaldi) are the Sunday night game on FOX (7pm ET), then later tonight (10pm ET) you’ll have the Red Sox and Mariners (Beckett vs. Erasmo Ramirez) on MLB Network.

Baseball America’s Top 20 International Free Agents

The 2012 international free agent signing period opens on Monday, though this year every team will be limited to $2.9M in bonuses thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Like the draft, there are harsh penalties for exceeding that amount. Next year the spending pool will be based on the standings, so the more you win the less you get.

Ben Badler published a list of this summer’s top 20 prospects, though you need a subscription to read the scouting reports. Both Badler and Enrique Rojas say the Yankees are expected to sign Venezuelan catcher Luis Torrens (#2 prospect) to a sizable deal. They’ve also been connected to Venezuelan outfielder Alex Palma (#4) and Dominican shortstop Wendell Rijo (#10). You can read more about Torrens and Palma here while Balder describes Rijo as a strong runner with power and tremendous baseball instincts, though he may wind up at second base due to his weak arm.

The Yankees have signed Cuban southpaw Omar Luis Rodriguez ($4M) and Dominican right-hander Manolo Reyes ($600k) in recent weeks, their last chance to spend freely before the cap hits. They also made an aggressive offer for Jorge Soler ($25-30M).