Open Thread: 3/25 Camp Notes

Not the Yankees, but this happened.

The Yankees and Tigers played to a one-all tie today. Michael Pineda allowed one run in five innings of work and anywhere from 89-94 on the YES gun. Mariano Rivera allowed his first hit of Spring Training and Rafael Soriano threw a perfect inning as well. David Robertson (foot) and Manny Delcarmen (lat) both returned to game action with uneventful innings. Derek Jeter scored the only run when he hit the first pitch of the first inning over the right field wall for a solo homer. He later doubled, as did Mark Teixeira and Eduardo Nunez. Curtis Granderson drew a pair of walks and that was pretty much the day for the offense. Here’s the box score and here’s the latest from Tampa…

  • Andy Pettitte threw a “light” bullpen session today, part of his normal between-start routine. “Still feels good,” he said. [Erik Boland]
  • Adam Warren, Ivan Nova, and Hiroki Kuroda all threw sides today as well. Brad Meyers and Cory Wade each threw live batting practice. [Chad Jennings]
  • “Sometime in the next two or three days,’’ said Nick Swisher (groin) when asked when he’ll return to the field. “We don’t want to push it. I am doing all the other things, running and working out.’’ [George King]
  • The Yankees are off tomorrow, but Phil Hughes will remain on schedule and throw six innings in a minor league game. [King]

Here is tonight’s open thread. The Devils and Islanders are playing tonight and right now, respectively. MLB Network will be showing a game later on as well. Talk about whatever your heart desires, enjoy.

[Photo via @bubbaprog]

Pena optioned to Triple-A among flurry of roster moves

Via Anthony McCarron, the Yankees have optioned Ramiro Pena to Triple-A and reassigned the following players to minor league camp: RHP Manny Delcarmen, RHP Kevin Whelan, C Jose Gil, OF Colin Curtis, and OF Cole Garner. None of these folks had a realistic chance to make the team has everyone stayed healthy. The roster continues to shrink, and before you know it we’ll be at 25.

Report: Phillies have interest in Ramiro Pena

Via George King, the Phillies have some interest in infielder Ramiro Pena. Chase Utley (knee) and Michael Martinez (foot) are going to start the season on the DL, and Ryan Howard’s injury means Ty Wigginton will have to spend most of his time at first. Long story short, the Phillies need infielders. Pena doesn’t have a ton of value so it’s unlikely the Yankees would get anything noteworthy should they make a deal. Maybe cash or a Grade-D prospect.

Update: A-Rod leaves game after hit-by-pitch

Update (4:48pm): A-Rod is fine, says Sweeny Murti. He’ll play in the team’s next game on Tuesday.

3:29pm: Alex Rodriguez left this afternoon’s game after taking a fastball to the ribcage. Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue checked him out before he left the game. It was the seventh inning and the regulars were being replaced after their final at-bats, so chances are Alex would have exited anyway. It sure sounded like it hurt though. We’ll update with more info as it comes in.

Joba released from hospital

Via Anthony McCarron and Chad Jennings, Joba Chamberlain was released from the hospital in the wheelchair* this afternoon after suffering that open dislocation on Thursday. “Things are going as good as could be expected, as I understand it,” said Brian Cashman. “There’s a limit of what we can give in terms of absolutes, and there’s a spectrum of risk to optimism. We’re not in a position to give absolutes that this is going to be a definite one way or the other.”

Joba will remain in a cast for six weeks then will switch over to a weight-bearing walking boot. Infection remains a concern, but doctors feel the risk is small enough that he was released. With each day that passes, the risk of infection decreases. It’s good news that he was allowed to go home, but Joba still has a long, long way to go between this injury and his Tommy John surgery rehab. Fingers crossed.

* Doesn’t everyone get released from the hospital in a wheelchair? This isn’t unusual, right?

ST Game Thread: Robertson Returns

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Eighteen days ago, David Robertson slid down some steps while carrying boxes at his house. Yankeeland collectively freaked out as the setup man extraordinaire showed up for work the next day with a limp and walking boot, but thankful the injury was nothing more than a bone bruise. After two weeks of rest and bullpen sessions, Robertson will return to game action today with plenty of time to get himself ready for the regular season. All things considered, it could have been worse. A whole lot worse. Here’s the starting lineup…

SS Derek Jeter – scheduled for five innings
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
C Russell Martin
DH Andruw Jones
RF Eduardo Nunez
LF Brett Gardner

RHP Michael Pineda

Available Pitchers: RHP Mariano Rivera, RHP Rafael Soriano, RHP David Robertson, and RHP Manny Delcarmen are scheduled to pitch after Pineda. RHP George Kontos, LHP Clay Rapada, RHP Phil Wetherell, RHP Branden Pinder, and SwP Pat Venditte are all available if needed.

Available Position Players: C Jose Gil, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Bill Hall, SS Doug Bernier, 3B Brandon Laird, LF Jayson Nix, CF Dewayne Wise, and RF Chris Dickerson will replace the starters.

Today’s game starts at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Thinking Out Loud: The Tommy John Bullpen

(Madson via The Cincinnati Enquirer; Soria via Getty)

It’s been a pretty rough month for big name relief pitchers. Not only did Joba Chamberlain suffer an open dislocation of his right ankle, but both Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria blew out their pitching elbows. Those two guys will have Tommy John surgery in the very near future. Forgive me while I indulge myself a bit, but wouldn’t it be something if the Yankees bought low on both Madson and Soria next offseason? We can all dream a little.

* * *

Based on how he’s been talking in camp, Mariano Rivera is likely to call it a career after this season. It’ll be a very sad day whenever Mo hangs ’em up, but it is inevitable. The Yankees do have two ready-made closer replacements already in-house, specifically Rafael Soriano and David Robertson. Who knows what we’ll be saying ten months from now, but at the moment those two are more than qualified for ninth inning work. The Yankees will still have to replace a dominant reliever though, and both Madson and Soria qualify as dominant relievers when healthy.

Madson, 31, signed a one-year pillow contract with the Reds this offseason, so he’ll again be a free agent next offseason coming off elbow surgery. Needless to say, the big multi-year offers won’t be rolling in. Soria, 27, is at the whim of the Royals. They can either pick up his $8M option for 2013 or cut him loose and let him become a free agent for the first time in his career. Again, it’s safe to assume those big multi-year contract offers won’t be rolling in for the Mexecutioner. Sucks for them, but that’s how this baseballing thing works.

This is Soria’s second Tommy John procedure, and the two-timers don’t have a great track record of recovery. Chris Capuano and Hong-Chih Kuo are the two most notable success stories. For the sake of argument, let’s assume Kansas City decides not to sink 15-20% of its payroll into Soria and lets him walk. The Yankees could look at both guys on one-year contracts, allowing them to re-establish themselves as dominant late-game relievers before hitting the open market after the season in search of that big multi-year deal they won’t get next winter. One-year pacts would still allow the Yankees to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014.

Let’s say they could get both Madson and Soria on one-year, $3M contracts with incentives. Add in David Aardsma, who the Yankees can retain in 2013 for just $500k, and that’s three Tommy John guys in the bullpen. Joba could make it four depending on how the ankle injury impacts his elbow rehab schedule. Now, not all of those guys would work out. We may think it’s routine, but elbow ligament replacement surgery is a serious procedure. Two of those four guys may flame out and be completely ineffective, but if the other two guys get back to being their pre-Tommy John selves, the Yankees would still come out ahead in the whole production vs. cost thing.

Anyway, I’m just thinking out loud. Everyone loves the idea of landing a super-talented player on the cheap as they come off injury (hence all the Grady Sizemore-related mailbag questions this winter) but that’s because we’re not the ones assuming the risk. The team has to pay them real money to pitch real innings, and coming off serious surgery like that is no piece of cake. A bullpen staff of Madson, Soria, Joba, Robertson, Soriano, and Aardsma is drool-worthy regardless of who ends up closing, and there’s no harm dreaming about it. We are Yankees fans, after all.