A-Rod to begin rehab assignment on Friday

Update (Aug. 11th): Just as a quick update, the Yankees have confirmed that A-Rod will begin his rehab assignment with High-A Tampa on Friday. He’ll be the DH in that game before playing a few innings in the field over the weekend.

Original Post (Aug. 10th): Joe Girardi announced during his pregame press conference that Alex Rodriguez is very likely to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday. He’ll serve as the designated hitter, then play the field on Saturday, then who knows after that. A-Rod’s not leaving Florida until he’s ready to be activated, so that means he’ll rehab with High-A Tampa or the Rookie Level GCL Yankees. Eduardo Nunez has been pretty good as the fill-in third baseman, but holy cow will it be nice to have Alex back.

Open Thread: The Postseason Schedule

November baseball in 2009 was cool. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

You know it’s getting late in the season when MLB announces its postseason schedule. They did just that yesterday, and the good news is that they’ve cut down on the number of off days. Now teams will only be off for travel, so that miscellaneous off day in the middle of seven-games series has been eliminated. Now there’s a maximum of two off days per series, which is perfect. The postseason starts on Friday, September 30th this year, and the World Series will begin on Wednesday, October 19th. A potential Game Seven would be played on Thursday, October 27th, so the season is going to end pretty early this year, at least compared to the last few.

Anyway, here is the night’s open thread. You can watch the replay of this afternoon’s game on YES, but there will also be a live game broadcast on MLB Network. at 8pm ET. The team’s depend on where you live. Oh, and apparently the NFL preseason starts tonight, but I have no idea if there’s a game actually on television. You all know what to do by now, so have at it. Anything goes.

Three Yankees on BA’s Top Minor League Tools Lists

Yesterday we talked about Baseball America’s lists of the top tools in the big leagues, and today they released their lists for Triple-A, Double-A, and Single-A (subs. req’d). Not too many Yankees farmhand made the cut, only Brandon Laird (best defensive 3B), Ramon Flores (best plate discipline), and Slade Heathcott (best defensive outfielder) took home honors at their respective levels. Jesus Montero got beat out by Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox) for top power prospect, Dellin Betances by Henderson Alvarez (Blue Jays) for best fastball, Manny Banuelos by Eric Surkamp (Giants) for best changeup, and Gary Sanchez by Bryce Harper for best power prospect. Seems like the Yanks have a lot of guys that would rank second, third, or fourth in the various categories rather than first.

Yankees likely to cut rotation down to five by Monday

Prior to this afternoon’s game, Joe Girardi indicated that the Yankees are likely to get back to a five-man rotation by the time they start their road trip against the Royals on Monday. “We’re going to try to make our decision before we go to Kansas City,” said Girardi. “We’ve been talking about it, that we need to get down to five men. I’ll let you know [who’s out] when I know.” Sounds to me like Phil Hughes is getting Saturday’s start to show he’s worth the rotation spot, otherwise it’s back to the bullpen for him. Sigh.

Heat mapping Mariano’s cutter

“The pitch didn’t get there enough,” said Mariano Rivera after giving up what proved to be the game-winning homerun to Bobby Abreu on Monday. “It was middle in, not in enough. He put good wood on the ball. You have to make sure you get it there. It didn’t get there.” Two poor outings in a row for the greatest closer of all-time always creates an uproar, so Bill Chuck broke out some heat maps.

They show that Rivera’s cutter has been slowly drifting more out over the plate against lefties, but I’m not sure I agree with Bill’s conclusion that it’s a result of the pitch not cutting as much as it once did. The PitchFX data shows that it’s still getting as much horizontal break as the last two years, if not more. Perhaps it’s just a location issue, maybe he’s having a harder time getting the pitch in on the hands of lefties? If so, is that something that could be fixed by moving a little closer to the first base side of the rubber? I have no idea, just kinda spit balling here. Either way, check out Bill’s post, very interesting stuff.