Postgame Notes: “Derek’s our shortstop”

Two topics dominated Joe Girardi‘s postgame press conference: Eduardo Nunez and Bartolo Colon. The Yankees’ temporary shortstop went 3-for-4 with three extra base hits this afternoon (the one out was a rocket that Justin Turner caught on a dive), leading to questions about his role with the team after Derek Jeter comes off the disabled list on Monday. “Derek’s our shortstop,” said Girardi, who rattled off cliche after cliche about how Jeter’s done it for them before and he makes the team better when he does the things he can do, so on and so forth.

It’s clear Jeter will get back his job on Monday, leaving Nunez and limbo. Girardi acknowledged that he’s been impressive when pressed into everyday duty (.339/.369/.525 with four walks and four strikeouts in 65 plate appearances since taking over), and they’re going to look for ways to get him more at-bats in the second half. The skipper mentioned giving Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez a little more rest than usual, be it days off or half games at designated hitter. Basically whatever they have to do to keep him going. The July and August weather figures to be hot and they have some extended stretches with no days, plus they have a few doubleheaders to get through. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if Jeter comes back and continues to hit poorly (.260/.324/.324 before the injury), because Nunez has certainly given everyone something to think about. This long-time nonbeliever included.

  • “[That’s] as good as I’ve seen [Bartolo], and I’ve seen him really good.” That wasn’t Joe Girardi, that was Mets manager Terry Collins. Girardi called this afternoon’s performance “vintage Bart,” emphasizing the movement on his two-seamer that resulted in five called strike threes out of six total strikeouts. They’re going to see how he feels tomorrow, see if there’s soreness in the hamstring before deciding whether or not to give him an extra day off before his next start.
  • Still no word about what happens to the rotation when Phil Hughes is ready to be activated, though that ties into the previous bullet point. Girardi didn’t promise he’d have an answer tomorrow either.
  • Girardi credited Dillon Gee’s changeup for keeping the Yankees off balance for the first five innings, but that’s as obvious as it gets.
  • Since this was Game 81, the season is officially halfway over. The Yankees have won 50 games already and Girardi just repeated what he said before the game: he’s pleased with his team and likes the way they’ve rebounded after tough games and series.
  • As for Jose Reyes, his hamstring tightening up running out his first inning infield single, but he didn’t say anything until he came off the field between the top and bottom halves of the second inning. He’s going for an MRI tomorrow and they’ll know more about how serious the injury is then. Reyes has dealt with hamstring issues in the past, but apparently this is the other hamstring. Collins stressed that they took him out as a precaution, Reyes didn’t ask to be lifted.

The win guaranteed that the Yankees will go a perfect 6-0 in interleague series this year. They’re on one of those rolls when they look unstoppable, and right now they are. The offense is clicking, the starting pitching has been great, and the misfit relievers behind David Robertson and Mariano Rivera have been a pleasant surprise.

Open Thread: Yankee Stadium vs. CitiField

Make sure you click that sucker for a larger view, or just go here for the original graphic and more. Surprisingly, the Yankees have hit some homeruns in Yankee Stadium over the last two and a half years that would have not been homeruns in CitiField. Crazy, I know. I don’t want to rag on the article, but what did they expect by comparing a hitter’s park to a (rather extreme) pitcher’s park? Yankee Stadium is the ninth (ninth!) best homerun park this year and just the third best in the AL East. That part we don’t hear about. And you know what? I love all the homeruns.

Anyway, I’ll have some postgame notes in the not too distant future (hopefully), but use this sucker as your open thread. You can watch Derek Jeter‘s rehab game right here (for free!), plus the MLB Network is airing a game (teams depend on where you live). It’s Saturday night and the weather is quite pleasant, so I suggest you go out and paint the town red.

Yankees release Carlos Silva

Via Donnie Collins, the Yankees have released Carlos Silva. Joel Sherman says it’s because he was having shoulder trouble. The 32-year-old was brought aboard on a minor league contract this spring after being released by the Cubs to provide some pitching depth when the Yankees needed it the most. He struck out 28 and walked six in 36 minor league innings, getting a ground ball 50% of the time.

Game 81: Bart’s Back

(Photo Credit: Flickr user dbfoto™ via Creative Commons license)

It’s been 22 days since Bartolo Colon hurt hamstring, but he says he’s ready to pitch nine innings today. Of course the team won’t let him, they’re going to limit him to just 80-85 pitches after he threw 61 in a simulated game five days ago. Given the way he pitched before the injury, 80 pitches might mean seven innings, which would be pretty cool. Here’s the lineup…

Brett Gardner, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Russell Martin, C
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Bartolo Colon, SP

It’s a FOX broadcast,  so you’ll get to enjoy the dynamic announcing tandem of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver when the game begins shortly after 4pm ET. Enjoy.

Pregame Notes: All About Derek

The hot topic during Joe Girardi‘s pregame press conference today was Derek Jeter, who will begin a two-game rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton tonight. The skipper isn’t sure how much he’ll play tonight (Mike Ashmore says it’ll likely be six innings), but in a perfect world Girardi would like to see the Cap’n get three at-bats and play six or seven innings in the field. He hopes they’re short innings too, he doesn’t want Jeter standing out there for a while. Craig Heyer is the scheduled starter for Trenton and he typically works quickly and pounds the zone, so that’s good.

Girardi will call Jeter after the game (Trenton plays at 7pm ET) just to see how he feels, then the team will figure out a plan of attack for the next week. Derek won’t play nine consecutive games before the All-Star break (two rehab games plus seven straight games with the big league team), so he’ll get a day off somewhere in there. Girardi said it would be nice for Jeter to get his 3,000th hit at home, but winning is priority number one. After three games in Cleveland, the Yankees will be home for four straight against Tampa. My guess is he plays Monday and Tuesday, sits Wednesday, then plays all four at home. Unless Jeter goes bananas in those first two games against the Indians, he’ll get the milestone hit in the Bronx.

  • Bartolo Colon told Girardi that he’ll pitch all nine innings today, but they’re going to limit him to 80-85 pitches after he threw 61 in Monday’s simulated game. Colon’s hamstring is healthy and they’re not concerned about his ability to field his position when the the Mets inevitably test him with bunts. They’re more concerned about the fatigue related with fielding the bunts and running the bases, not him re-injuring the hammy.
  • Girardi praised a) Russell Martin and Larry Rothschild for the job they’ve done learning a new pitching staff so quickly, and b) all the bullpen guys they’ve called up this year due to injury, specifically mentioning Cody Wade, Luis Ayala, and Hector Noesi. At the halfway point of the season (today is Game 81), Girardi is pleased with where his team is, particularly the way they “bounced back after some difficult losses and difficult series.”
  • Speaking of Noesi, he is still with the team. Brian Gordon was sent down to make room on the roster for Colon, in case you missed it. They were concerned that Gordon was rusty after not pitching in eleven days. Girardi said another roster move is coming soon, and I assume he was talking about Phil Hughes. No hint about what that move may be, but we heard they’re thinking about sending down Ivan Nova.
  • The Yankees haven’t figured out how they’ll address their sudden abundance of starters, but they’re going to discuss it soon. They’re not against using a six-man rotation, but they also don’t want to give CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett too much rest between starts. Since the All-Star break is a week away, I figure they could get away with a six-man rotation this time around then sort things out after the break.
  • “Robbie is deserving, I believe,” responded Girardi when asked if he felt David Robertson should go to the All-Star Game. After being in the position of picking the AL squad last season, he understands that it’s tough to get a guy like Robertson on the roster since the Yankees figure to have so many other All-Stars and the need for every team to be represented.
  • In case you were wondering, Nick Swisher was walking around the clubhouse just fine, so that foul ball off his foot last night doesn’t appear to be a problem. He’s in the lineup today, which you can see here. It’s the standard lineup.