4:43pm: Swisher has a low-grade hamstring strain and will miss “more than a few days” according to Joe Girardi. He might not need a DL stint, however. Three healthy outfielders with Eduardo Nunez as the backup won’t cut it, the Yankees are going to have to abandon the 13-man pitching staff at some point.
3:19pm: The team says it’s a tight left hamstring and Swisher will head for a precautionary MRI. Hopefully it’s not a strain or anything and he won’t miss more than a few days.
2:13pm: Nick Swisher was lifted from this afternoon’s game with an apparent left hamstring injury. Replays showed him flexing his leg and grabbing at it following a swing then again on first base after drawing a walk. Andruw Jones replaced Swisher off the bench. Hopefully it’s just a cramp. We’ll update this post with more as it comes in.
The Yankees have won just one of their last three series, but today they have a chance to take two of three from the Tigers before embarking on a pretty favorable stretch of the schedule. The right guy is on the mound too, and the Yankees really need CC Sabathia to step up and help set this disaster of a rotation straight. Here’s the starting nine…
LHP CC Sabathia
Today’s game starts at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Update (12:09pm): As expected, Eppley has been sent down to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Mitchell.
11:42am: Freddy Garcia has been bumped from the rotation and will pitch out of the bullpen for the first time in his career. Joe Girardi hinted at both Mitchell and David Phelps being candidates to fill the rotation void, probably depending on who is needed out of the bullpen the next few days.
10:48am:The Yankees have recalled D.J. Mitchell from Triple-A, the team announced. There’s no word on the corresponding roster move, but I suspect Cody Eppley will be sent down after throwing three innings and 37 pitches yesterday. No 40-man roster move is required.
Mitchell, 24, was scheduled to start for Triple-A Empire State today, so he’s fresh and available for a whole lot of innings. He had been the best starter on the club’s top minor league affiliate in the early going, pitching to a 3.13 ERA with 8.22 K/9 (24.1 K%), 2.74 BB/9 (8.1 BB%), and a 48% ground ball rate in 21 IP across four starts. I ranked him as the Yankees’ 16th best prospect before the season.
Josh Norris recently spoke to former Yankees hitting coach Rick Down, who now serves as the club’s minor league hitting coordinator. In part one of their chat, Downs talks more about his role within the organization — coaching the hitting coaches, not necessarily the players — and hitting philosophy in general. “Most often when you talk to people who don’t know much about hitting, the first place they want to go is to the swing, but that’s the last thing that happens,” said Down. “The barrel’s the last thing to the ball in this whole hitting process.”
Part two of their talk is focused more on individual players, specifically Double-A guys Cody Johnson, Melky Mesa, and Ronnie Mustelier. Both parts are fascinating and well worth your time. Hitting seems like such a harder thing to perfect than pitching, which I think is why so many of best hitters in baseball today are guys who exceeded expectations.
The Yankees are lucky the season is only 20 games old because they have some very serious starting pitching problems and will need plenty of time to sort this mess out. Here’s a recap of the latest starting pitching embarrassment/game…
- Unacceptable: Freddy Garcia can’t make another start for the Yankees, at least not anytime soon. It’s that simple. They didn’t take advantage of Thursday’s off day by skipping him and were rewarded with a six-run, five-out start. You don’t get to keep your job with a 12.51 ERA after four starts, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing this or how gritty of a veteran you are. Thanks for last year Freddy, but you’re of no use to the team now.
- The Answer: The obvious candidate to take Garcia’s place is David Phelps, who faced the minimum in three scoreless innings of work and only threw 31 pitches in this game. I would have liked to see him throw a few more innings to build up that pitch count, though he did just throw 53 pitches on Wednesday. Probably have to save him for the inevitable Phil Hughes disaster on Tuesday.
SmylyFrowny Face: While Freddy was busy getting his brains beat in, lefty Drew Smyly was busy shutting the Yankees’ offense down. He gave up a solo homer to Nick Swisher in the first, then retired 18 of the next 20 he faced before Alex Rodriguez ended his afternoon with a leadoff single in the seventh. Smyly struck out seven, walked two, and allowed just the two hits. He got his first career win in Yankee Stadium, which is pretty cool.
- Late Rally: The Yankees would not be denied though. They tagged the Detroit bullpen for four runs in three innings, including three off Jose Valverde. Despite being down six runs at one point, they managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez juuust missed a game-tying homer, at least in terms of his swing. The ball landed in Don Kelly’s glove about ten feet shy of the wall. I always appreciate a late-inning rally, even if they lose. It’s good to show some fight and make the other club sweat, especially since the game looked over after two innings.
- Leftovers: I can only assume Cody Eppley will be sent to Triple-A in favor of a fresh arm after throwing three effective innings — the one run allowed was a solo homer to Miguel Cabrera, which is completely forgivable — and 37 pitches on Saturday afternoon, I just don’t know who would come up, there’s no obvious candidate … Swisher hit solo homers from each side of the plate, the 11th time he’s done that in his career. Only Mark Teixeira (13) has homered from both side of the plate on more occasions in baseball history … Curtis Granderson hit a solo homer off Phil Coke, his first against a lefty this year. And yes, Coke pointed at it like it a playable fly ball.
MLB.com has the box score and video lowlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. CC Sabathia will start the rubber game of this series against Max Scherzer on Sunday afternoon, and the Yankees really need him to come through with a strong outing. Lots of quality innings, please. RAB Tickets can get you into the park on the cheap if you feel like heading up to the Bronx.
Manny Banuelos (back) is scheduled to come off the DL and start for Triple-A Empire State on Wednesday, so hooray for that. Meanwhile, Graham Stoneburner (groin) will come off the DL and start for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday.
Triple-A Empire State (8-4 win over Lehigh Valley)
LF-3B Kevin Russo: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — eight for his last 13 (.615) with four doubles
C Frankie Cervelli: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI — ten for his last 25 (.400)
DH-LF Dewayne Wise: 1-4
1B Steve Pearce: 0-1, 1 R, 1 BB — left the game after fouling a ball off his foot in the second inning
CF Ray Kruml: 0-2, 1 K — replace Pearce off the bench
2B Jayson Nix: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
RF-1B Brandon Laird: 1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
CF-RF Colin Curtis: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
SS Doug Bernier: 0-2, 1 R, 1 BB
3B Ramiro Pena: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K — was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the eighth inning
RHP Nelson Figueroa: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 8/3 GB/FB — 43 of 65 pitches were strikes (66.2%) … dude is still sitting in the low-90s at 38 years old too
RHP Adam Miller: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 4/2 GB/FB — 22 of 36 pitches were strikes (61.1%)
RHP Chase Whitley: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB — eight of 13 pitches were strikes
RHP Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K — 18 pitches, 12 strikes … 17 K and 5 BB in 11 IP