Reader Mike Addonizio was at tonight’s Triple-A Scranton game, so he sent along some photos to check out. Brian McCann was rehabbing with Triple-A Gwinnett, so that’s him behind the plate in most of the pics. Otherwise, got some quick notes…
- UTIL Ronnie Mustelier was added to the Triple-A Scranton roster as expected. IF Kevin Mahoney was send back down to Double-A Trenton is a corresponding move.
- In today’s chat, Keith Law said RHP Jose Campos and RHP Rafael both have questions about their mechanics and could wind up dynamite relievers instead of starters. He said he’s spoken to a few scouts who said DePaula has “premium stuff.” The strikeout rate (15.72 K/9 and 41.9 K%) with Low-A Charleston backs that up.
- In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees are calling up RHP Preston Claiborne from Triple-A to replace the injured Joba Chamberlain.
Triple-A Scranton (4-1 win over Gwinnett)
- 2B David Adams: 0-4, 1 R, 1 K — first game at second base this year
- CF Melky Mesa: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 K — 37 strikeouts and four walks in 25 games … yuck
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4
- 3B Ronnie Mustelier: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB – first game of the year
- RF Addison Maruszak: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
- RHP Brett Marshall: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 9/5 GB/FB — 58 of 99 pitches were strikes (56%) … easily his best start of the year
- RHP Cody Eppley: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 0/1 GB/FB – 13 of 18 pitches were strikes (72%)
According to Mark Montgomery and Rob Segedin, the Yankees will call-up right-hander Preston Claiborne to replace the injured Joba Chamberlain on Friday. They’ll need to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate him. I’m guessing Cody Eppley and Melky Mesa are most at risk of being designated for assignment.
Claiborne, 25, was the club’s 17th round pick in the 2010 draft. He pitched to a 3.48 ERA (1.55 FIP) in 10.1 Triple-A innings this year, striking out ten and walking one. He managed a 4.05 ERA (3.32 FIP) in 33.1 innings at the level last year. Claiborne is mostly a low-to-mid-90s fastball/mid-80s slider guy, and he’s done a good job of missing bats throughout his career (23.3 K%). He pitched very well in big league camp (one run in 10.2 innings), which probably moved him near the front of the call-up line. · (39) ·
Alex Rodriguez and his surgically repaired left hip have been cleared to begin baseball activities, Brian Cashman confirmed. He has been able to run at full speed and will head to Tampa to continue rehabbing on Monday.
A-Rod, 37, has surgery in early-January and started light running last month. Cashman stuck to the original timetable when asked about a return date, meaning they’re still not expecting him back until after the All-Star break. I’m of the “whatever they get out of him this year is gravy” mindset, they can’t count on him for anything in 2013, but it is good to hear he’s progressing. · (32) ·
The Yankees are off today and will welcome the Athletics to the Bronx for a three-game weekend series starting tomorrow — mid-homestand off-days are always weird, no? — so this is a good chance to get away from baseball for a night. I know that’s what I’ll be doing. The more I write about the game, the Yankees or just in general, the more I appreciate the time away.
Anyway, here is your open thread for the evening. The Mets are off, but MLB Network will air the Nationals and Braves (Haren vs. Medlen). The Nets and Rangers are both playing playoff games tonight, and if the Nets lose, they go home. Talk about those games or anything else here. Enjoy.
I wrote this today, and the video is too good not to share even if it has nothing to do with the Yankees.
During a conference call this afternoon, Brian Cashman confirmed rehabbing right-hander Michael Pineda showed mid-90s velocity during an Extended Spring Training game today. “He pitched at 93 and was up to 95,” said the GM. “A good physical day.”
Two important pieces of news here: One, Pineda is pitching in actual games. ExST doesn’t start his official 30-day rehab window, but it shows he’s graduated from live batting practice and simulated games to real live games. Two, holy crap velocity. Pineda is one year and one day out from shoulder surgery, and he’s showing similar heat to the 94.2 mph he averaged with the Mariners in 2011. Overwhelmingly good news even if his return is nowhere close to imminent. · (46) ·
David Robertson is day-to-day with “crankiness” in his left hamstring, Brian Cashman confirmed. He had an MRI today and it is not a DL situation.
Robertson, 28, limped off the field last night after apparently catching a spike during the follow through of his final pitch. He said afterwards he was fine, but the team send him for tests anyway. Robertson has pitched well this year (3.86 ERA, 3.54 FIP), and with Joba Chamberlain hitting the DL, the Yankees really can’t afford to lose their primary setup man. · (23) ·
3:38pm: Brian Cashman confirmed Joba suffered the injury warming up on Tuesday. He called it a “mild” strain, for what it’s worth. A decision has not been made about who will be called up, but it definitely will not be Clay Rapada or Chien-Ming Wang according to the GM. Rapada can be called back up to the big leagues starting tomorrow.
2:44pm: The Yankees have placed right-hander Joba Chamberlain on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain, the team announced. The DL stint is retroactive to April 28th, so he is eligible to return in a week and four days. Obliques are tricky though, he could easily be out longer. David Robertson missed a month with an oblique issue last year, for example.
Joba, 27, warmed up on Tuesday but did not appear in the game, as our Bullpen Workload page shows. I guess that’s when it happened. He pitched in three straight games last weekend and there was no indication he was hurt. No word on who will take his place on the roster just yet, but Cody Eppley seems like a safe bet. Joba has pitched pretty well this year (3.86 ERA and 3.45 FIP), especially of late. Shawn Kelley seems likely to assume seventh inning duties along with Boone Logan. · (59) ·
The Yankees handled most of their offseason pitching business back in November, when they re-signed the veteran trio of Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda. With David Phelps set to serve as the sixth starter and Michael Pineda on his way back from shoulder surgery, the team had some depth. They did, however, spend some time looking for a veteran seventh starter type to stash in Triple-A, just someone to have around in case all hell broke loose. It wasn’t a huge priority, but it was definitely an item on the agenda.
It wasn’t until late-March, near the very end of Spring Training that the Yankees found their seventh starter. They signed former ace Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract after his solid showing in the World Baseball Classic and impressive private workouts for the team in Tampa. The sinkerballer has since made three starts for Triple-A Scranton (0.95 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 59% grounders) and declined to use the first opt-out clause in his contract earlier this week. The next opt-out date is a little less than a month away.
Wang, 33, is nowhere near the pitcher he was during his 2005-2008 heyday with the Yankees. Injuries, most notably surgery for a torn shoulder capsule in 2009, have sapped some heat from his trademark sinker, which used to regularly sit in the 93-96 mph range. Reports from his last Triple-A start indicate he touched the 90-91 mph, which is a step up from where he was in his first two outings. The television gun during the WBC in March had him right around 90 mph, but TV guns are not to be trusted.
“(It was a) cold night, but his fastball velocity was only 87-88, with some sink … Not the Wang of old. Threw strikes, but not impressive for me,” said one scout who had seen CMW recently to Andy Martino. Torn capsules are no joke, no one has ever come back from one and had the same kind of success they had before the injury. That’s a list of pitchers that includes Mark Prior, John Maine, Johan Santana, and Rich Harden.
Despite all of that, I find myself cautiously optimistic about Wang’s ability to contribute to the big league team at some point this year. I’m certain that feeling is mostly nostalgia-driven, but he did somewhat resemble the CMW of old during the WBC — thanks to the plethora of quick ground ball outs — and is showing decent velocity in the upper levels of the minors. I’m not sure what more we could ask for at this point.
The Yankees have some questions at the back of the rotation right now thanks to Ivan Nova‘s triceps and the general uncertainty surrounding David Phelps and Vidal Nuno. Add in Andy Pettitte’s and Phil Hughes‘ recent back trouble, and it’s not a stretch to think the team may have to call on Wang at some point this summer. Will he show enough to earn that shot, and furthermore, will he stick around long enough to take advantage of it? If he continues to pitch well in Triple-A and settles into that 90-91 mph consistently, I have to think some teams will come calling with big league offers when that next opt-out date comes around in a few weeks.
Something about Wang being back healthy and back in the organization makes me irrationally happy. Irrationally happy and hopeful. I know he’s so very unlikely to help the team in a meaningful way this year — he hasn’t been an effective big leaguer since hurting his foot in 2008, remember — but the fan in me wants to see him and that sinker in pinstripes having success. At the same time, I know that if Wang does resurface in the Bronx, it’s because something will have gone wrong elsewhere on the pitching staff. CMW is pitching well enough and showing encouraging velocity in Triple-A right now, and as tough as it is, we have to be careful not to get our hopes up too much.
Via Josh Norris: Right-hander Jose Campos confirmed he missed most of last season with a small fracture in his elbow. The injury was originally described as some kind of sprain or bone bruise. Obviously it was more serious than that. Despite the injury, I ranked him as the team’s seventh best prospect before the season.
Campos, 20, told Norris he feels he’s 90% of the way back to being where he was before the injury, when he was arguably the most electric pitching prospect in the system. That remaining 10% is mechanical refinements, he said. Campos made just five starts (4.01 ERA, 3.24 FIP in 24.2 innings) before getting hurt last year. He’s been limited to three-inning outings early in 2013, pitching to a 6.00 ERA (5.37 FIP) in 12 innings for Low-A Charleston. · (15) ·
No team has been more beset by injuries this year than the Yankees. They’ve used the DL ten times already, the most in the big leagues. Some injuries are more serious than others, and some absences are more noticeable than others. Still, ten players on the DL one month into the season is a little extreme.
With a lineup that is averaging just four runs per game since the blowout Indians series (team 106 wRC+ overall), it’s clear the offense doesn’t pack as much punch as it once did. The Yankees can’t hit lefties at all — .225/.300/.365 (78 wRC+) as a team — and the injuries are a major reason why. The pitching staff has been pretty awesome (4.22 runs per game, 3.64 FIP), and that’s why the club owns the second best record in baseball at 17-10.
Some of those injured players are getting closer to a return, and a month gives us a good enough to look to determine which guy the Yankees have missed the most. With all due to respect to Kevin Youkilis, Ivan Nova, and Frankie Cervelli, this is limited to players who started the season on the DL and would have unquestionably made the 25-man roster if healthy. That means no Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral, basically, and it leaves us with four prominent position players.
The Yankees lost their top power hitter five pitches into his Grapefruit League season, when an errant J.A. Happ pitch broke Granderson’s forearm and put him on the DL for more than two months. Curtis played in his first Extended Spring Training game just yesterday, getting two at-bats before it started raining. The Yankees have hit an MLB-best 38 homers this season, so they haven’t been the powerless punch and judy offense so many (including me) expected. Still, losing a legitimate 40-homer hitter is a blow to any team.
October ankle surgery turned into an April setback, which will force the Cap’n to the sidelines until the All-Star break. Jeter hit .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) last season and that’s close to impossible to replace at the shortstop position – the team’s shortstops are currently hitting .214/.289/.264 (52 wRC+) – but the Yankees especially miss his right-handed bat against lefty pitchers. He hit .364/.399/.542 (157 wRC+) against southpaws in 2012, and boy would that fit nicely atop the lineup these days.
The Bombers knew about A-Rod‘s hip injury in December, so they were able to secure a more than capable replacement in Youkilis. That said, the old and broken down version of A-Rod produced more in 2012 (.272/.353/.430, 114 wRC+) than the totally awesome and rejuvenated version of Youkilis in 2013 (.266/.347/.422, 108 wRC+). The difference is especially noticeable against lefties, where A-Rod massively outproduced his third base replacement (152 vs. -40 wRC+). Rodriguez’s right-handed bat would fit perfectly into the middle of the lineup, especially against southpaws.
Teixeira hurt his wrist in mid-May while with preparing for the World Baseball Classic with Team USA, so the Yankees didn’t have much time to find a replacement. Lyle Overbay has been decent overall (98 wRC+) and much more than that against righties (.322/.375/.610, 163 wRC+), but he’s also been useless against lefties (-63 wRC+). Despite his decline, Teixeira was very productive last year (.251/.332/.475, 116 wRC+), especially against lefties (.269/.333/.531, 129 wRC+). Once again, that ability to mash southpaws is something the Yankees miss in a big way right now.
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Four players who, in recent years, occupied the top four spots in the lineup. All are missed in their own way, but some are definitely missed more than others.