Injury Updates: Mitre, Aceves, Johnson

Earlier today we learned that Damaso Marte had to be placed on the disabled list with a bout of shoulder tendinitis and then A.J. Burnett left his start with lacerations on his right hand. While those two are only the latest in a slew of injured Yankees, we have some updates on the guys working their ways back to the Bronx.

Sergio Mitre threw a side session this afternoon after making a rehab start for Triple-A Scranton on Thursday. He will return to the team for the start of the Angels’ series on Tuesday. You have to figure that’s the end of the line for one of Chad Ho Moseley trio, and after today’s outing, Moseley may have thrown his final pitches for the Yanks. They should have traded him before he could opt out when his stock was at a high.

Two other key cogs aren’t close to returning. After suffering yet another setback, Alfredo Aceves will begin a throwing program this weekend by tossing off flat ground. With some major back problems plaguing him, Aceves isn’t coming back to help the bullpen anytime soon, and anything the Yanks get out of him this season is a bonus. He may have to explore surgery after the season is over.

As for Nick Johnson, he has restarted his rehab after feeling pain in his wrist earlier this month. His new plan involves “aggressive wrist exercises,” but he is still a few weeks away from true baseball activities such as swinging a bat. Like Aceves, anything they get out of Johnson the rest of the season is gravy.

Feel free to use this update as tonight’s open thread. We’ll be back later with Down on the Farm and the recap of this afternoon’s Rays-Yanks affair.

Yankees interested in Wes Helms

Via MLBTR, the Yankees have shown some interest in utility player Wes Helms, who Joe Girardi is familiar with from his time in Florida. The 34-year-old Helms isn’t much of a hitter, posting a sub-.300 wOBA in three of the last four seasons, including this one (.297).  His .148 ISO is Helms’ best since his 2006 under Girardi, so maybe he knows the magic formula. He’s basically a poor man’s version of Ty Wigginton, capable of playing first and third in a pinch. For what it’s worth, he’s long been considered a tremendous clubhouse guy, not that the Yanks need it.

There’s about $429,000 left on Helms’ contract this year, and he’s not close to being a Type-B free agent, nevermind a Type-A. If nothing else, he should be easy to acquire and easily DFA’able if it comes to that. The Yanks may also be talking to the Fish about other players as well.

Game 90: Bob Sheppard’s day at the park

Bob Reads a Poem

While the Yanks honored Bob Sheppard last night by silencing the public address announcer — including the between-innings barrage of scoreboard noise — George Steinbrenner took center stage with constant video tributes and a longer piece reflecting on his legacy prior to the game. Today, it’s all about Bob, as the Yanks’ dearly departed voice will be feted this afternoon. After airing a pre-Old Timer’s Day video tribute, the team will put on a special performance during the 7th inning stretch to remember the 57-year veteran of Yankee Stadium.

With another emotional day on tap, the Yankees will get down to business on the field this afternoon, and it should be another good one. Fresh off of their thrilling 5-4 walk-off last night, the Yanks will send the streaking A.J. Burnett to the mound. On the season, Burnett is an unimpressive 7-7 with a 4.75 ERA. His K/9 IP is down to 6.8 and his K/BB ratio is 1.76. But after a terrible stretch in June, Good A.J. has come roaring back. Over his last 13.2 innings, he’s allowed just a pair of earned runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out nine.

The Rays, however, have a bunch of good left-handed hitters who could give A.J. problems, and he has not pitched too well against Tampa this year. He’s 1-1 vs. the Rays in 2010, but he’s allowed eight earned runs in 13.2 innings while surrendering 13 hits and seven walks and striking out just five.

Opposing Burnett will be Jeff Niemann, another live arm in the Rays’ rotation. He’s 7-2 with a 2.77 ERA, but he’s outpitching his FIP by a considerable amount. With that mark of 4.21, he could be in for a regression against a good-hitting Yankee team playing in front of a boisterous crowd.

This one’s on FOX, and it’s supposed to start at 4:05 p.m. Game time temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s.

2 Jeter SS
33 Swisher RF
25 Teixeira 1B
13 Rodriguez 3B
24 Cano 2B
20 Posada DH
14 Granderson CF
29 Cervelli C
11 Gardner LF

34 Burnett P

2010 Old Timer’s Day Thread

Less than 24 hours after paying tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, the Yankees will hold their annual celebration of the team’s storied history this afternoon. Ah yes, Old Timer’s Day. One of my favorite days of the season.

The Yanks are the only team that could pull off an event like this, honoring all the great players that have donned their uniform. Some of them weren’t even great, but they’re all beloved because of their contributions to the team. It’s like a big family reunion, it’s the one time a year we get to catch up with some old friends.

Sadly, one friend that won’t be in attendance today is Yogi Berra. Sweeny Murti reports that he fell in his home last night, and even though nothing is broken and he’s still in one piece, he’s bruised and sore and will not make the trip out. I know I’m not alone in wishing him a speedy recovery.

The Old Timer’s Day festivities begin at 2pm ET and can be seen on YES. LoHud has the exact schedule and the list of who’s attending, but I prefer to be surprised.

Yankees recall Logan, Marte to the DL

The Yankees have recalled lefty reliever Boone Logan from Triple-A today, taking the place of Damaso Marte, who was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. His shoulder started barking in Seattle, and he will begin a shoulder strengthening program. The Rays have some dangerous lefties in their lineup with Carl Crawford, John Jaso, Carlos Pena, and Matt Joyce, so it’s understandable why Joe Girardi would want another southpaw during Marte’s absence.

Meanwhile, Girardi indicated during his pre-game press conference that he would “do what’s best for the team” in the 8th inning, and that his players are going to have to “earn their roles.” Doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement of Joba Chamberlain, does it?

Link Dump: Yankee envy, Ben Davis, Spaceman, Bagwell and Bobby Bo

Some Saturday morning links for your reading pleasure.

Despite winning titles in 2004 and 2007, it’s still pretty clear Red Sox fans have Yankees envy.  There is an ancient story that Babe Ruth, when living in Massachusetts either threw or lost a piano into the lake he lived on.  For years people set up dives every year to try and find the piano, reasoning that if they found the piano, The Curse would be over.  Winning didn’t stop this tradition, and it’s only getting worse.  Now they’ve brought a psychic in to help find the piano.  No joke.

Interesting piece about former major league catcher Ben Davis, who is now trying to make it back as a pitcher.  In hindsight, Davis holds a special place in my heart by bunting in the 8th inning to break up a perfect game being thrown by Curt Schilling.  I didn’t care all that much at the time (and I don’t think it was bush league, bunting is part of the game), but that was long before Schilling put on the Red Sox uniform (and a colored red sock).

Speaking of former Red Sox pitchers whom I have a dislike for, Bill Lee’s statements on George Steinbrenner’s death are as classless as I have seen.  Luckily the Red Sox organization has been extremely classy in the wake of The Boss’s death, I just wish someone had the sense to not stick a microphone in front of a loser like Bill Lee.

As if we needed more proof that the Astros are just a poorly run organization, they hired Jeff Bagwell as their hitting coach this week.  Really?  Ok, maybe it will turn out ok, but that’s like having Tim Lincecum teach someone how to pitch.  Bagwell was a great player, but he had an extremely unique swing and has zero experience as a hitting coach.  What’s next, Craig Biggio as pitching coach?  The Astros really shouldn’t be such a poor organization.  Nice stadium, income tax free state and an owner that has been willing to spend money.  They just can’t get it right though.

Pretty cool article on the breakdown of Bobby Bonilla’s essentially lifetime contract with the Mets and how it all came about.  Contained in the article is a little nugget that Bret Saberhagen has his own Mets buyout, though not nearly as lucrative as Bonilla’s, as he gets a paltry $250k/year for 25 years.  If the Mets felt a need to bring Bonilla back, I wonder if they could call him up and demand he put on a uniform.  He is, after all, making more money than Fernando Tatis.

Check out my work at Mystique and Aura

Swish, Yanks honor the Boss with walk-off win

The Yankees just don’t seem to lose games like this. Whenever they’re playing with a heavy heart, the Bombers always manage to come out on top. They’re not just wins either, they’re memorable wins that remind us just why we love baseball and how lucky we are to be Yankee fans. On a night when the team honored the late George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, there was no better way to feel.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Biggest Hit: Send Swish

In a game like this, it’s hard to decide what exactly the biggest hit was. WPA obviously says it was Nick Swisher‘s walk-off single, but we can’t discount his game-tying homer in the 8th inning either. You really can’t say enough about what the first time All Star did on Friday night. Remember, he hit another ball to the wall that Gabe Kapler made a great catch on, but of course we can’t forget the two defensive blunders (missed fly ball, throw to the wrong base), though I’m going to cut him some slack on the fly ball since the wind likely played a factor. The Yankee rightfielder was tremendous, he carried the team on his back in the late innings and gave a performance that we’ll remember for years to come.

In the end, Swisher posted a 0.725 WPA in this game, which I’m willing to bet is the highest mark by a Yankee this season.  It’s fitting that an Ohio State guy shined on the day that Steinbrenner, born and raised in Ohio, was honored.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Biggest Out: Bossman Gets A Little Lazy

Considering how much trouble CC Sabathia was in on Friday (more on that later), the biggest out record by a Yankee pitcher didn’t even come on a pitch. After B.J. Upton led off the 9th with a broken bat aided single to third, the Rays’ sometimes enigmatic centerfielder got caught napping at first, and was picked off by the great Mariano Rivera. It was Mo’s first pickoff since 2003, just the fifth of his career, and it decreased Tampa’s chances of winning by close to 15%.

You can’t say enough about the job Mo did either, he was simply fantastic. The crowd was on their feet in the 9th, and it seemed like a win was inevitable once he recorded out number three.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Fans

I wasn’t in attendance tonight, but you were able to feel the somber mood just by watching on television. The pre-game tribute to the Boss and Sheppard was simple and elegant, but it was more than appropriate. The crowd seemed to be very unsure of what to do after that, it felt like everyone just wanted to explode in cheers while at the same time remaining quite and respectful.

As cliche as it sounds, you know George would have wanted the fans on their feet and rooting for these great Yankees. They certainly were doing that by the end of the game, with good reason. I’m proud of my fellow fans, they did a great job of honoring the legacy of two tremendous Yankee legends.

Miscellany

CC Sabathia certainly wasn’t great in this game, but he did what aces do when they aren’t right: he kept his team in the game and put them in a position to win. His only 1-2-3 inning came in the 1st, so he was pitching in and out of trouble all night. The Yanks are now 9-0 in his last nine starts. Can’t complain about that. Nope, not at all.

Robbie Cano and Jorge Posada going back-to-back in the 6th was when the Yankees really seemed to wake up. A lot of people are going to remember this game for George, Sheppard, and Swish, but those two homers off a cruising Jamie Shields were enormously important.

Curtis Granderson singled off a lefty to start the 9th inning rally. Yay. I don’t agree with pinch-bunting (pinch-bunting!!!) for Juan Miranda with Ramiro Pena after that, but I’m in too good of a mood to let it bother me. I’ll let you off the hook today, Joe Girardi.

David Robertson was in full-on beast mode in his inning of work. Three batters, 12 pitches, three strikeouts. Vintage D-Rob right there. Shades of last July.

Was it just me, or did it sound like the YES crew tinkered with the crowd microphones during the break? I know the game was broadcast on My9, but I assume they use the same equipment. The sound was very clear, and the ball seemed to crack extra loud when coming off the bat. Maybe Cano, Jorge, and Swish just hit those pitches on the sweet spot. Either way, I approve.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Yankees are now three games up on the Rays in the AL East and 6.5 up on the Red Sox, and are guaranteed to finish this series in sole possession of first place regardless of what happens on Saturday and Sunday.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Here’s the box, here’s the rest.

Up Next

Old Timer’s Day! Tomorrow afternoon the Yanks’ will hold their annual celebration of the franchise’s great history, and I’m sure there will be even more Steinbrenner and Sheppard tributes. The fun starts at 2pm ET, the actual game two hours later.