Noesi goes the distance in Trenton win

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Indianapolis)
Reid Gorecki, RF: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K – threw a runner out at third
Colin Curtis, DH: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K – still just five for his last 37 (.135)
Eduardo Nunez, SS: 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 SB – eight for his last 15 (.533)
Juan Miranda, 1B: 2 for 4
Jorge Vazquez, 3B: 0 for 3, 1 RBI - drove in a run with a GIDP in his first Triple-A at-bat
Jesus Montero, C, David Winfree, LF & Reegie Corona, 2B: all 0 for 3, 1 K – Winfree threw a runner out at first
Greg Golson, CF: 0 for 3, 2 K
Tim Redding: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 5-7 GB/FB – 59 of his 92 pitches were strikes (64.1%)
Royce Ring: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HB – 12 of his 18 pitches were strikes
Mark Melancon: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1-1 GB/FB – just eight of his 15 pitches were strikes (53.3%)
Jon Albaladejo: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB - all six pitches he threw were strikes

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Open Thread: You wouldn’t like it when I’m angry

"OMFG u moron." (Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP)

I don’t think we’ve ever seen Mark Teixeira get as fired up as he did during the first inning today, on that hit by pitch non-call in the 1st. It doesn’t matter though, because the Yankees won the game and wrapped up a stretch of 16 games in which they went 12-4. That’s exactly what they had to do, and because the Rays lost to the Marlins, the Yanks are now tied for first in the AL East. Good times.

Here’s your open thread for the evening. The White Sox take on the Cubs in the ESPN Sunday Night Game (Gavin Floyd vs. Ted Lilly), and you’ve also got Game Five of NBA Finals as well. That series is tied at two. Chat about whatever you want here, just be cool.

Posada leaves game with soreness in right foot

Update (6:26pm): For what it’s worth, Posada said “soreness” was the wrong word, and that he was just fatigued. That was his first attempt at catching nine innings in a month, so that’s understandable.

5:06pm: Via Marc Carig, Jorge Posada left today’s game in the 9th inning with soreness in his right foot, though it’s on a different part of the foot than the hairline fracture that landed him on a disabled list in the first place. Today was Posada’s first time behind the plate since May 16th, so it’s a shame he couldn’t get through a full nine innings. I’m sure the Yankees will be extra careful with him, and tomorrow’s off day will give him a little bonus rest.

Aceves feels no pain during throwing session

Via LoHud, hobbled reliever Al Aceves threw off flat ground today and felt no pain in his lower back. “Nothing hurt,” he said. “Everything was normal.” Aceves has been on the disabled list since early May with a bulging disc in his back, and he received an epidural after suffering a setback last month. He threw for about eight minutes at 60% effort, and believes he could throw again tomorrow. Of course, it all depends on how the back feels in the morning.

Hopefully this is the first step back for Aceves; his absence has really made his importance to the team obvious. We knew he was important before, but good grief.

Game 63: Sweep the ‘Stros

Closer entrances have gone too far. (Photo Credit: Seth Wenig, AP)

The series win is already in the bag, but today is a big day in Yankeeland regardless. Jorge Posada is starting behind the plate for the first time since coming off the disabled list, and for the first time overall since May 16th. Frankie Cervelli is a fine player, but I think it was abundantly obvious over the last four weeks that he’s not much more than a backup at this point in time. There’s a chance he’ll be more in the future, but that time is not now.

Assuming Posada catches nine innings this afternoon without incident, the team will monitor how his foot reacts tomorrow, and then give him a two or three more starts behind the plate before feeling comfortable enough to let Chad Moeller go. The last thing they want to do is cut Moeller only to have Posada’s foot react in an unexpected way. Let’s all hope he passes this test with flying colors.

Aside from that, just sit back and watch Phil Hughes do his thing against on of the worst offenses in the game. This should be a treat.

Here is your lineup…

Jeter, SS
Granderson, CF
Teixeira, 1B
Cano, 2B
Swisher, DH
Posada, C
Gardner, LF
Huffman, RF – big league debut
Pena, 3B

And on the mound, St. Phil.

The game is set to begin at 1:05pm ET, and you can catch it on YES as (almost) always. Enjoy.

Mike Lowell in pinstripes?

So the word in Boston is that Mike Lowell is on the outs, and could be gone within a week.  Since he made his displeasure with his semi-platoon with David Ortiz known on May 19th, he has been buried on Terry Francona’s bench.  While some of that can be attributed to  Ortiz’ resurgence at the plate, he has been struggling lately, yet Lowell hasn’t gotten much of a chance to contribute.  In 11 games in June, Ortiz has a .158/.333/.316 line with 1 HR.  Considering Ortiz is also hitting just .217/.315/.326 vs. LHP on the year, they surely could have found more at-bats for Lowell, no?

I bring this all on up on the slight chance that the Sox just release Lowell in the next 10 days or so.  I assume, by eating the rest of Lowell’s contract, the Sox will be able to find a trade partner.  In the offseason, before failing a physical, the Sox had agreed to trade Lowell to Texas for intriguing catcher Max Ramirez.  I expect a trade soon, while the Sox will likely get less of a return, they are in more dire need to rid themselves of a potential problem.

But………………

If the Sox can’t work out a trade, and Lowell is soon released, how would Lowell look in pinstripes, returning to his original organization?  Is there room for him in New York?  Would he be happy with the playing time?  Would he even consider crossing to the other side of the rivalry?  My answers are yes, yes, and yes.

The recent injury to Alex Rodriguez, however minor, has shown what a huge hole is created when he is out of the lineup.  While Curtis Granderson, Jorge Posada and Nick Johnson have all missed time this year, there were sufficient backups in place which allowed the Yankees to tread water at those positions.  At third base, it’s a different story.  Not only is A-Rod better than the aforementioned trio, his backups are worse.  Ramiro Pena simply cannot hit at the major league level.  Kevin Russo has shown nothing with the bat and has seen limited time at 3rd base.  If A-Rod were to even go on the 15 day DL, it would be a huge blow to the Yankees.

If A-Rod remains healthy, is there a role for Lowell as a DH?  While Lowell is (or was) being used in Boston as a DH against LHP, in his career he has OPS’d .797 against righthanders, so he doesn’t exactly have Marcus Thames type splits.  That .797 OPS of course came primarily as a strong fielding 3rd baseman, and not a DH, so there was a ton of value in that type of offensive production.  Could you bring in Lowell as a backup at the corners, and give him 60-70% of the at-bats at DH?  You could still work Posada in at DH, and have Thames (or now Huffman) DH against lefties.  If you are comfortable with Ramiro Pena in the OF, you can send Kevin Russo to Scranton.  If you are comfortable with Russo at SS, you can send Pena down.  If bringing in Lowell would provide enough of an upgrade, you can make it work roster-wise.

To address my second and third yes votes above, why would Lowell be happy as a part-time player in New York if he’s not happy in Boston?  Lowell, frankly, has been bitter since soon after resigning with the Sox after the 2007 World Series.  He took a hometown discount as the Phillies were offering him a longer deal, but Lowell wanted to stay with the Sox and took fewer years and total dollars.  It wasn’t long before the rumors started about the Sox acquiring new players that would have pushed Lowell out of his starting role.  This displeasure was strongly evident when the Sox made the hard push to sign Mark Teixeira after the 2008 season, which would have moved Kevin Youkilis to 3B, and Lowell on the trade block.  Lowell was pissed.  After winning the World Series MVP and taking a hometown discount, he felt he deserved better.  Lowell’s feelings were only compounded this offseason when the Sox signed Adrian Beltre (after many Adrian Gonzalez rumors) to play 3rd, pushing Lowell to the bench.  This, a nearly two-year-old chip on his shoulder, just might be enough for Lowell to not only accept a reduced role for another team, but also to do it for the Yankees, just to spite the Red Sox.

There are a lot more questions than answers, and at the end of the day I don’t think the Sox will cut Lowell knowing that he could end up in pinstripes.  We don’t know whether Lowell can play even a passable 3rd base anymore.  He was terrible in 2009, but was struggling with a major hip injury.  We don’t know how much is left in his bat; in 2008 and 2009 he was about league average, and he has just 74 ABs this year.  We don’t know if he would consider a part-time role — or any role — with the Yankees.  If the Yankees had the opportunity to get Lowell for the minimum, I think it’s something they would have to look into, and see if they can catch lightning in a bottle.  If not, they can cut him themselves, no harm, no foul.

For more of my work head over to Mystique and Aura.

Yanks offense makes life easy for Javy in 9-3 win

Today’s game might not have been as smooth as last night’s, but that’s for a good reason: the Yankees offense needed some more time to run up the score. It made for a comfortable game, where the Yanks had the lead most of the way. There was that microscopic length, which lasted just three outs, where the Astros had a one-run lead, but we knew that wouldn’t last. In fact, before the Astros could record an out in the bottom of the third the Yanks had essentially put the game away.

Biggest Hit: Jorge don’t need no stinkin’ rehab assignment

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP

In last night’s recap I mentioned Jorge’s poor numbers, including high strikeout total, since returning from the disabled list. It appears he could have used a rehab assignment, but given that he’s been back since the beginning of the month he’s basically been through one already. While his strikeout to lead off the second was discouraging, he made up for it in his next at-bat.

The entire bottom of the third was one long string of excellent. The Astros had just taken a 2-1 lead, and the Yankees just couldn’t stand for that. Derek Jeter started the inning by drawing a walk on a 3-2 count, and got a bit aggressive on the bases. He bolted for second and would have made it even if the throw didn’t get deflected into shallow center. That allowed him to take third and score easily when Nick Swisher lined one to left-center. Tie game.

Mark Teixeira continued showing a more discerning eye at the plate, drawing another walk. This is nothing but an encouraging sign. Robinson Cano followed with what Michael Kay called a potential double play ball, but probably would have accounted for only one out had the ball landed in Wandy Rodriguez’s glove rather than deflecting off it. That loaded them up for Jorge with no outs. It took just two pitches to put the Yanks out ahead again. Wandy came inside with a fastball for a called strike one, and then tried to go low and away with a curve. Jorge picked it up and smashed it the other way. Over the right field wall it went. 6-2 Yanks.

Jorge got on base in his next two times up as well via a single and an HBP. If he and Teixeira are staring to get into a rhythm, and if rest really does cure A-Rod‘s ailing hip flexor, the Yanks will be set for the summer. Also, I might be sounding a bit like Peter Gammons there.

Biggest Pitch: Stros take a puny lead

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP

Javy Vazquez looked good right at the start of this one. He was using his fastball and changeup well, retiring the side on 14 pitches, including a first-pitch pop out Carlos Lee to end the inning. He had a few hiccups, but nothing especially worrisome. In the second, Hunter Pence led off with a game-tying home run on the first pitch. It was a high fastball, a pitch Javy just can’t throw if his fastball is clocking under 90 mph. While he’s improved on that aspect of his game since April, I’m sure it’s easy to forget that his lack of velocity precludes him from throwing certain pitches in certain places.

The biggest blow came in the top of the third. Tommy Manzella, who apparently can hit only Yankees pitching, led off with a single. Javy then had one of the most amusing sequences in the game, throwing Michael Bourn six straight changeups, eventually getting him to tip one into Cervelli’s glove. He actually started off the next batter, Jeff Keppinger, with two changeups, both of which missed low. His next pitch, a slider, caught a bit too much of the plate and Keppinger lined it to the wall in left. With Marcus Thames out there at the time it was a no brainer to send Manzella home.

From there, however, Javy rolled. He retired 10 straight before Carlos Lee hammered a belt high fastball over the left field wall. He then got four of the final five hitters he faced. He threw just 95 pitches through seven innings, which made me wonder why Girardi removed him. But with the top of the order coming up I guess he wanted to get Javy out.

Strange fact of the game: Javy threw more changeups, 39, than he did fastballs, 24 four-seamers and five two-seamers. He also went to the curveball 16 times. The slider he threw most infrequently, 11 times. After the Keppinger double he threw only one, a first-pitch later that inning, until the seventh, when he attacked Manzella with it.

Stuff

Derek Jeter’s two-homer game was the ninth in his career and his first since August 27, 2006. He did it twice, in the same month, in 2004.

Another 1 for 3 with a walk day for Teixeira. Not only is he performing better, but he’s looking better at the place. Though I suppose the two go hand in hand.

Marcus Thames left the game with hamstring problems. He had an MRI. As of this writing I haven’t heard anything.

Jorge will catch tomorrow. I’m guessing they’ll recall Miranda and play him at DH if Thames hits the DL.

Yanks with RISP: 4 for 7. Thaaaaat’s more like it.

Six strikeouts and no walks for Javy. He’s been quite excellent lately.

Graph and box

You know it’s a good game when the graph goes flatline towards the end.

Box and graphs.

Next Up

Another matinee to close out the series. It’ll be Brian Moehler for the Astros against Phil Hughes.