Zoilo’s huge day helps Tampa to win

Update: The Double-A Trenton game is finally over and has been added to the post.

No official rosters have been released, but Cito Culver, Ben Gamel, and Mason Williams will be playing for Short Season Staten Island when the season starts this Friday. Not surprising. Oh, and apparently Alan Horne is done with his throwing program and is close to returning to one of the affiliates, though I’m guessing he’ll start close to home base in Tampa. Hard to believe he’s 28 already, but I guess time flies when you’re always hurt.

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Syracuse)
Kevin Russo, 2B: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K – nine for his last 22 (.409)
Greg Golson, CF, Jordan Parraz, RF & Gus Molina, DH: all 1 for 4 – Golson drove in a run and struck out
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 4 – he hit the ball hard three times
Jorge Vazquez, 1B & Brandon Laird, 3B: both 0 for 4, 2 K
Doug Bernier, SS: 1 for 4, 1 R
Austin Krum, LF: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B – three of his last four hits have been for extra bases
Adam Warren, RHP: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 4-9 GB/FB – 55 of 98 pitches were strikes (56.2%) … picked a runner off first with his great move … a few too many walks tonight, but he’s been on a very nice roll of late
Greg Smith, LHP: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1-0 GB/FB – 15 of 26 pitches were strikes (57.7%) … I’m guessing this was just a tuneup for Saturday’s start
Josh Schmidt, RHP: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K - threw six pitches, half for strikes

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Yankees sign Brian Gordon, may start Thursday

Update (9:27pm): Jack Curry spoke to Gordon, who clarified that his Thursday start is not set in stone. “I don’t know if it’s 100 %,” said Gordon. “I was told be mentally prepared to start on Thursday. That could change.”

Original Post (7:53pm): Via Ken Davidoff and Bob Brookover, the Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon, who had been pitching for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. He will be added to the big league roster as a condition of his opt-out clause with Philadelphia and start for the Yankees on Thursday. That would be his regular turn, conveniently.

Gordon, 32, has pitched extremely well this year. He owns a 2.55 FIP in nine starts and three relief appearances (55.1 IP) with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, striking out 56 and walked just seven. His 38% ground ball rate is scary though. Gordon has all of four big league innings to his credit, all coming with the Rangers back in 2008. Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand earlier today that they were leaning towards David Phelps to make that start, but Gordon represented a veteran alternative. Interesting move.

Game 65: Rain

(Photo Credit: Flickr user notladj via Creative Commons license)

It’s raining here in the city, though the forecast seems to indicate that there’s enough of a window to gets tonight’s game in at some point. The Yankees waited until the last possible minute to put Derek Jeter on the disabled list, but no such luck with Russell Martin. He’s still active and hobbled while the bench remains a man short. Anyway, here’s the starting lineup…

Brett Gardner, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, DH
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, 1B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Frankie Cervelli, C

CC Sabathia, SP

Whenever the game starts, you’ll be able to watch it on My9. Enjoy.

Start Time Update: The game will begin at 7:40pm ET. Not bad at all.

Calf strain lands Jeter on disabled list

Update (5:57pm): The Yankees announced that Jeter has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with that strained right calf. Pena takes his place on the roster. The Cap’n made a case to remain active, but the Yankees just couldn’t play any more shorthanded than they already are, not with the NL leg of interleague play coming up this weekend.

Original Post (4:27pm): Derek Jeter will miss at least a week with an injured calf, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters this afternoon, but the club will not move to place him on the disabled list until after the short stop meets with doctors at 6 p.m. tonight. No matter what happens with Jeter, the Yanks will recall Ramiro Peña from Triple A Scranton to provide infield depth, but Eduardo Nuñez will receive the majority of the playing time at short during Jeter’s absence.

Jeter left last night’s game in the fifth inning after pulling up lame while running out a routine fly ball, and was seen slamming his helmet as he walked to the clubhouse with assistant trainer Steve Donohue. It’s a shock whenever the Cap’n gets hurt because he’s been remarkably durable during his career. This would be his first DL stint since the infamous dislocated shoulder sidelined him for six weeks at the start of the 2003 season and just his fifth ever. The injury likely guarantees that his string of seven straight seasons with at least 150 games played will end.

For the Yankees, the decision to place Jeter on the disabled list is complicated by the Captain himself. As Jeter admitted, he knows he’s going to be out at least a week with the calf strain, but he is concerned, as Jack Curry noted, that if he is ready to play after a week, he’ll be bored waiting for his DL stint to be over. With the Yanks’ upcoming Interleague swing through NL parks, the club might be better off using the roster flexibility (although Jeter himself begs to differ).

As for Jeter’s pursuit of his 3000th career hits, well that’s going to be on hold for a while. He’s clearly not going to get to 3000 on this homestand. If he goes on the disabled list, he would be eligible to come off on Wednesday, June 29th, the second game of a three game series against the Brewers at home. The Yankees then head out on the road for six games, but it’s worth noting that the first series of that short road trip is against the Mets. Jeter’s six hits away, so it’s still possible that he’ll reach the milestone in New York, just in CitiField. If he misses only a week, he would be able to return to the lineup on the brink of a six-game homestand, and I’m sure the Yankees would prefer to see him reach the milestone in the Bronx.

We’ll update this story once the Yankees announce their moves later this evening.

Cory Wade: Useful or Filler?

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Malingering via Creative Commons license)

Given the state of their bullpen, we shouldn’t write off any pitcher with big league experience that joins the Yankees on a minor league deal over the next few weeks. Randy Flores was the first such move, and apparently he has a mid-June opt-out that is rapidly approaching. The Yankees added lefty Greg Smith and righty Cory Wade yesterday, both of whom are with Triple-A Scranton for the time being. Smith is little more than a fill-in starter for a team with half its rotation in the big league bullpen, but Wade has the potential to be useful in middle relief.

Wade’s story isn’t terribly long or interesting. The 28-year-old was a tenth round pick of the Dodgers out of Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2004, and he reached the show in 2008 after moving to the bullpen full-time in 2007. Wade threw 71.1 IP across 55 appearances (the Joe Torre Plan( following a late-April call-up, posting a rock solid 3.78 FIP. He struck out just 6.43 batters but only walked 1.51 unintentionally per nine innings that year, getting a ground ball 40.8% of the time. Wade struggled (4.40 FIP, 5.53 ERA) in 27.2 IP with the Dodgers in 2009 and was sent back to the minors. He had shoulder surgery in March 2010 and pitched some late in the year, but was non-tendered after the season. The Rays picked Wade up over the winter and stashed him in Triple-A until he informed them that he planned to use his opt-out clause this past weekend, which is why he was available in the first place.

The shoulder surgery was not any kind of major reconstruction, just an arthroscopic procedure that cleaned things up. Wade was never a hard-thrower before, sitting mostly 88-91 with his fastball in the past and his velocity has reportedly returned to similar levels following the surgery. His bread and butter is a mid-70’s curveball with both vertical and horizontal break that he spots well on the outer half of the plate to both righties and lefties. You can see it in this video (first out). He’s also uses an 80 mph or so changeup as well, making him a rare three pitch reliever.

Wade’s strengths are his lack of a significant platoon split (thanks to the changeup and curve) and his ability to limit walks (1.72 uIBB/9 in the bigs, 1.83 in the minors). His weaknesses are that he hasn’t shown much strikeout ability in the big leagues (6.27 K/9 but 8.15 in the minors) and is prone to the long ball (0.91 HR/9 in the bigs, 1.09 in the minors). That tends to happen to fly ball pitchers (just 39.3% grounders) with less than stellar fastball velocity. Wade was his usual self with Tampa’s Triple-A affiliate this year (8.35 K/9, 1.47 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9 in 36.2 IP), so it doesn’t appear as if the surgery had any ill effects.

Those are two nice strengths but also two serious weaknesses, keeping him from being anything more than a middle innings guy at the big league level, particularly in the AL East. That said, Wade is certainly better than the Buddy Carlyles and Amaury Sanits of the world, so he’s a fine pickup that the Yankees can stash in Triple-A and evaluate for a little while before deciding if he’s worth a call-up. With Joba Chamberlain done for the year and Rafael Soriano not yet throwing, the more options the Yankees have available to them, the better. Wade’s about as good as minor league signings get this time of year.