Chad Jennings notes the Yanks signed former uber-catching prospect JD Closser to a minor league deal to add some depth at Triple-A. No such thing as a bad minor league deal.
Triple-A Scranton was rained out, they’ll play two tomorrow. Wilson Betemit was supposed to play third and bat leadoff for the first five innings, while Brett Gardner was slotted into the THIRD spot in the order. I can’t imagine Gardner’s gotten more than a handful of at-bats in that spot in his life.
Double-A Trenton (5-4 loss to Connecticut)
Ramiro Pena: 0 for 3, 1 BB
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) – threw a runner out at second from CF … 11 K in his last 8 games after 10 K in his first 20 games
Colin Curtis, Matt Carson, Cody Ehlers, Jose Tabata, PJ Pilittere: all 0 for 4, 1 K – Curtis scored a run … Tabata is back from his little sit-down, but is still 3 for his last 38 with 14 K
Chris Malec: 1 for 3, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 BB
Kevin Russo: 3 for 4, 1 RBI
Dan McCutchen: 7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 6-6 GB/FB – had allowed 5 ER in his previous 26.2 IP combined
David Robertson: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K
A win tonight brings the Yanks back to the .500 mark they’ve been hovering around all season. Sadly, that’s a good thing at this point. Given the craptastic offense and the shakiness of the non-Wang rotation, the Yanks should be thankful that they’re not in a position similar to last year.
Big game for IPK. Another stinker could mean…geeze, I can hardly bring myself to say it…Kei Igawa. To me, it’s going to be about throwing some freakin’ strikes. If Kennedy gets hit hard, well, that’s going to happen to a rookie against a lineup like the Tigers. But if he’s missing the plate and racking up the pitch count, I think that’s far worse. Of course, getting belted will run up the pitch count, too.
Shelley’s hitting cleanup tonight against Nate Robertson. I dig the move. In fact, with the way the offense is going, I’d be finding any way possible to get Shelley into the lineup. He can’t be worse than what we’re trotting out there (::cough:: Giambi).
And on the mound, number thirty-one, Ian Patrick Kennedy
The Yankees continued to make up injuries plaguing the 21-year-old Phil Hughes after his 22 disappointing innings this year. This time, the team claims that he has a fractured rib. He will be shut down for four weeks until the Yanks can come up with another injury to keep their prized prospect out of the rotation. This is what happens when you high-five Shelley Duncan one too many times.
In all seriousness, this is a real injury; Hughes has a stress fracture in his rib cage and will indeed be shut down for at least four weeks. Clearly, this is not good news for the Yanks, and it puts more pressure on Ian Kennedy. How about — and I’ll have more on this tonight — prepping Joba for the rotation sooner rather than later? · (53) ·
I was just exchanging emails with a loyal reader on the topic of Robinson Cano. A hot topic for sure, considering his putrid start. To this point, I’ve remained unworried. We saw a similar start from Robbie last year, and I expect he’ll turn around soon enough. But I’d like to take a look at some of Cano’s numbers from the early going, and see if anything indicates that we should be really worried.
Last night, or the night before, someone in the game thread asked why we aren’t platooning Robbie with Alberto for the time being. Simple: He’s not showing any discernible platoon splits. In a tiny, 25 plate appearance sample size, Cano is hitting .150/.320/.300 off lefties. In 89 plate appearances against righties, .151/.180/.221. For his career, Robbie is .309/.337/.498 against righties, and .292/.339/.411 against lefties. So no, I don’t think platooning him is quite the answer.
Here’s the thing that has me optimistic about a turnaround: His batting average on balls in play is .156. That is the second lowest in the entire American League. Incidentally, Giambi is the pits with .119. Last year, Cano’s BABIP was .329. In 06 it was .359, and in his rookie season it was .318. So I think we can expect that he will bring it up yet again.
Also, from April 24 through May 16 last year, he hit just .143/.176/.214. So it’s not like we haven’t seen a prolonged slump before. His line drive percentages are in line from last year (17.4% this year to 16.9% last year), as are his groundball rates (51.1% to 52.2%).
So all considered, I’m fairly confident that Robbie will swing his way out of this slump and back into our good graces in the near future.
Purdue RHP Josh Lindblom and his snot. Photo taken from Baseball America’s front page sometime last week.
It’s been a while since we talked draft, so here’s some bullet point style draft goodness:
- MLB tweaked some of the draft rules a bit, so now failure to sign a second-round pick results in a compensation pick after the second round the following year. Previously the comp picks were awarded one spot after the original selection was made. The Braves and Red Sox saw their comp picks for the unsigned Josh Fields and Hunter Morris, respectively, drop 18 spots thanks to the rule change (haha). Fifth year seniors can no longer sign as free agents before the draft as part of the rule changes.
While the Yanks slogged their way through April, RAB had a stellar month. We finished the month with over 300,000 page views for the first time in our 14-month history. We had a few record-setting game threads and some great discussions from all of our readers. So as the Yankees embark on their second month of the season, we just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and adding in your two cents. It’s been a great run so far, and we hope you all will keep coming back. · (15) ·
A composite shot of the new stadium taken on Wednesday evening from the left field entrance to the tier level in Yankee Stadium. Click the image for a bigger version. (Photo by Ben K.)
In all of my years going to games at Yankee Stadium and watching the Yanks play, through thick and thin, from Jack Clark to Alvaro Espinoza and Bob Geren to Derek Jeter and A-Rod, I have rarely seen the Yankees play as flat as they did tonight. The offensive was downright terrible.
After loading the bases with no outs in the first, it looked like the Yankee bats may finally be ready to wake up. The middle of the order — sans A-Rod — was up, and it was time to knock the struggling Jeremy Bonderman out of the game. The Yanks emerged from the inning up 2-0, but it certainly seemed like they should have gotten more.
After two innings, the Yanks had Bonderman at 42 pitches, and it seemed like a matter of time before the offense would put together a few more hits. Little did we know those two runs would be it for the Yankees as their offense eked out just two more hits the whole rest of the way. Bonderman threw just 58 pitches over his last 5.2 innings of work, and the Yanks managed just two more singles. They took weak hacks and did nothing. Sad, sad, sad.
On the other side of the ball, Andy Pettitte was rolling until the fifth. A Marcus Thames home run just out of the reach of Johnny Damon and, an inning later, a Placido Polanco solo shot gave Andy an ugly five earned runs in six innings. He fell to 3-3 with a 3.93 and 0-2 over his last two outings. He’s given up four home runs and nine earned runs over his last 11 innings pitched against the Indians and Tigers. Ouch.
Meanwhile, despite a few raised eyebrows, Phil Hughes‘ injury is a real one, according to Kat O’Brien. That explains his poor performance on Tuesday, and this oblique injury could shelve him for six weeks.
Anyway, instead of dwelling on an ugly loss that caps off a losing April and the current spate of injuries, let’s look at photos of the new stadium that I’ve taken over the first month of the season. The full set of 32 shots is here on flickr. Select highlights are bulleted below:
- The front of the new stadium looks really good.
- The right field entrance is getting its own gold lettering. On Wednesday, it said “ANKEE ADIUM.” I guess they were some panels short when the bell rang.
- Two weeks ago, that same entrance looked far from completion, and on April 6, it was simply a metal frame.
- At night, the new stadium really looms over the 4 platform.
Not much going on in the minors today, so I’ll keep it short. Triple-A Scranton had the night off, while Austin Jackson went hitless for the third straight game. Jose Tabata is still MIA, and Eric Hacker continued his brilliance for Tampa. Jesus Montero doubled for the fourth straight game, giving him 7 in his last 9 games. Dellin Betances had a good outing, but was outpitched by the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft. That about wraps it up, see y’all tomorrow. · (9) ·
I’m not sure if Mike or Ben has anything planned for an overnight. But Rasner will jump in the rotation for the disabled Phil Hughes on Sunday. As I said in the game thread, this is the second time in a year — almost to the day — that I’ve been set to see Hughes pitch on a Sunday, only to have him get injured. And yes, Rasner was his replacement last time, too.
So I guess that solves the whole “does he get sent down” question. You have to figure he’ll make at least two rehab starts before returning. · (33) ·
So tonight we find out if the Yankees finish April above or below .500. Not that it matters a ton in the grand scheme of things. While every game counts as 1/162 of the season, we know that ground can be made up later. This is especially true this year, as no dominant team has emerged in the division yet, as the Red Sox were last year. Baltimore currently sits atop the standings, and that doesn’t figure to last much longer.
The Yankees once again turn to Andy Pettitte to go deep into the game. Though despite Hughes’s short start last night, the bullpen should be relatively fresh. Only three relievers were used last night — Ohlendorf, Hawkins, and Edwar — and the Yankees are stocking 13 pitchers for the time being.
I guess that could use some explanation. So Chris Britton is staying, as he replaces A-Rod on the roster. Chad Moeller is back as well, as he cleared waivers. Dan Graziano of the Star Ledger thinks that the other AL East teams did a poor job by “not claiming him just to mess with the Yankees.” Sorry, Dan, but I’m fairly certain that those teams don’t want to spend a 40-man roster spot just to keep a 33-year-old journeyman catcher out of the Yankees hands.
Chris Stewart was mercifully sent down to AAA. To make room for Moeller on the 40-man, Sean Henn was activated from the DL and then designated for assignment. You’d think they could have just activated Henn, thrown him on the 25-man in A-Rod’s spot, and designated Stewart. But I suppose the Yanks want to keep Stewart around in case of emergency. A team like the Giants has no reason not to claim Henn — other than the fact that he sucks, I suppose.
And on the mound, number forty-six, Andy Pettitte