Yankees drop the second game of the series 7-2 to Happ’s arm and Jays’ bats

Like it’s always been said, any game with this Toronto Blue Jays team is never going to be easy. After winning a fun one yesterday, the Yankees went down rather haplessly tonight 7-2. On a positive note: Michael Pineda looked much better tonight and, well, Ronald Torreyes kept hitting. It was largely unspectacular, let’s go with that.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Big Mike

Unlike against the Astros, Pineda had his slider working tonight. Especially early on, he really had it going, showing a very sharp downward movement that made it near impossible for hitters to catch up.

For instance:

 

That doesn’t mean his outing went all too well though. In the second, the Jays drew first blood. With two outs with Russell Martin at first, Pineda uncorked a fastball right down the middle to Ryan Goins that got clobbered to right-center for an RBI double. 1-0 Toronto.

Ryan Goins struck again in the fifth. Pineda walked Justin Smoak to start the inning. Goins saw the first pitch fastball and drove it towards the left field fence for a double. With runners on second and third, Torreyes bounced a throw to first on a Kevin Pillar grounder and Mark Teixeira couldn’t handle it: an E-6 and a 2-1 Jays lead. With runners on first and third, Josh Donaldson grounded into the double play to make it two outs but a runner came home for a 3-1 Toronto lead anyways.

His final line – 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER) 3 BB, 6 K – is not his best nor worst line but I’ll say this: he gave Yankees a chance to win today. Unfortunately, their bats did not come up potent against J.A. Happ tonight.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Few Activities of Yankee Bats

J.A. Happ wasn’t spectacular – he allowed ten baserunners in six innings pitched – but he did the job. He induced two double plays, struck out four (including A-Rod twice), did not give up big hits with RISP, etc. It remains to be seen if his late-season performance boost with the Pirates is fluke or not (7-2 with 1.85 ERA) but if his adjustments hold true long-term, the Jays have themselves a nice starter. 

In the top of fifth, Torreyes led off with a double past third base. Austin Romine hit a single to center that put the runners on first and third with no out. Jacoby Ellsbury popped out innocuously to third but Aaron Hicks hit an RBI ground out to drive a run in, 1-1. A run engineered by Torreyes and Romine, how about that? 

The Yankees got a run back in the eighth against the former Yankee draftee Drew Storen (34th rounder in 2007). With one out, Teixeira hit a fastball right down the middle to the right field foul pole to make it 3-2.

And well, those were all the scoring activities they had. The Bombers hit 1-for-7 in RISP situations tonight, leading to seven runners left on base in total. That’s not what you want. There are nights where you score sixteen runs and there are those where you go away quiet like this. It’s baseball.

Digging the Hole

Right after the Yankees scored a run in the top of eighth, they allowed much more. Joe Girardi turned to Ivan Nova for the bottom of eighth. Nova, on his previous appearance, threw for a pretty solid four-inning save. Tonight, nothing went right for him.

On the first pitch, he allowed a double to Donaldson. A wild pitch advanced the reigning AL MVP to third but it didn’t matter – Jose Bautista snared a double to drive him in. Nova retired Edwin Encarnacion on a ground out but Troy Tulowitzki singled to right to bring Bautista home. Michael Saunders banged a double off the left field wall to put two runners in the scoring position and both of them came in with a Russell Martin sac fly and Ryan Goins RBI single. When it was all said and done: a four-run inning and a 7-2 Jays lead.

On the next frame, former Yankee farmhand Pat Venditte came in and threw a three-up-three-down frame to end the game.

Leftovers

How about Ronald Torreyes? As Michael Kay said “He’s a hitting machine!” Tonight, he went for 2-for-4, bringing his season average to .667 with an OPS of 1.667. I can’t say I’m confident that he’ll keep it going but he’s making a nice case for a long-term roster spot.

A bullpen arm who pitched tonight not named Ivan Nova – Kirby Yates – threw a solid scoreless inning tonight. Yates came in the bottom of seventh, threw 14 pitches and struck out two. He was the only Yankee pitcher tonight that retired Ryan Goins (went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s tonight) when he struck out the Jays second baseman on three pitches, therefore earning a temporary superhero status.

Box Score, WPA, Highlights and Updated Standing

Here are tonight’s box score, updated standings, WPA and video highlights. 


Source: FanGraphs


The series tied at 1-1, so you know what that means. Tomorrow’s game will be a rubber match between the Yankees and Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound against Marcus Stroman. It should be a fun one.

DotF: Scranton ekes out a win behind Haynes, Pinder

In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees’ minor league deal with 1B/OF Nick Swisher is now official. He’s expected to be in the Triple-A Scranton lineup tomorrow.

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K — 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles and a triple in his last three games
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 2 K — first hitless game of the year … we’re still waiting for his first strikeout-less game of the year … he has ten strikeouts in 28 plate appearances so far (35.7%), which is obviously way too many … still early though
  • LF Slade Heathcott: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 3 K
  • DH Cesar Puello: 0-1, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP — guessing he’s about to lose some playing time to Swisher
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 9/4 GB/FB — 58 of 88 pitches were strikes (66%) … the Yankees got him in the Chris Stewart trade with the Pirates a few years ago … I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take a trip or two on the shuttle this summer
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0/3 GB/FB — 32 of 48 pitches were strikes (67%) … eight strikeouts and no walks in five innings so far this year … this was his 12th outing of at least three innings in 159 career minor league appearances

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Game Seven: Big Mike in Toronto

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees picked up a big win — big by mid-April standards, anyway — in last night’s series opener against the Blue Jays, and it was the kind of game they’re built to win. The score was close, they scratched out the go-ahead run, then turned it over to the bullpen. They’ve already won a few high-scoring games this season. Last night was a grind-it-out win.

Michael Pineda is on the mound tonight, and he’s going to have to do a much better job locating his slider tonight if he wants to navigate that devastating Toronto lineup. Big Mike gave up three home runs to the Astros last week and all three were on spinners right out over the plate. Can’t do that. He needs to be better tonight. Six innings would be cool. Maybe even (gasp!) seven. Here is the Jays’ lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Aaron Hicks
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Ronald Torreyes
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Michael Pineda

It’s another cold and cloudy day in Toronto, so expect the Rogers Centre roof to be closed again. Tonight’s game will begin a touch after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy the game, nerds.

Injury Update: Brian McCann (toe) is still sore, but he is available to pinch-hit and catch in an emergency. He took a foul tip off the foot last night … Luis Cessa suffered some kind of allergic reaction yesterday and his right eye was swollen shut, according to Marly Rivera. He was available to pitch, but only in an emergency. Cessa is on medication and doing fine now. He’s available tonight.

Chapman Update: Aroldis Chapman pitched in his first Extended Spring Training game this afternoon, according to Erik Boland and Bryan Hoch. He threw 15 pitches in a perfect inning, striking out two, and his fastball was up to 98 mph. OF Carlos Vidal, OF Jared Mitchell, and OF Estevan Florial were the unlucky minor leaguers who had to face him. Chapman is eligible to return May 9th.

Blue Jays Roster Update: Earlier today the Blue Jays called up ex-Yankees farmhand Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher. Maybe we’ll get to see him tonight or tomorrow. That should be fun. Righty Arnold Leon was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot.

Update: Yankees sign Nick Swisher to minor league deal

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

April 13th: Swisher’s minor league deal is official, reports Mark Feinsand. That means he passed the physical, which was no sure thing given his recent knee issues. Apparently three other teams were after him too. Feinsand says Swisher will join Triple-A Scranton and be in the lineup tomorrow.

“We believe in having depth in our organization,” said Joe Girardi to reporters the other day. “Swish was a good player, and has been a good player for a long time. If one of our guys was to go down, we don’t necessarily have a true first baseman. Swish is a guy that could do that, or he could play the outfield.”

April 9th: The recently released Nick Swisher is working out in Tampa and expected to sign a minor league deal with the Yankees, the team says. Swisher was released by the rebuilding Braves during Spring Training because they had no place for him on their roster.

“The fact they let me come out here and work is great. It keeps me in the game, keeps me going strong, and I appreciate that. This place is like family,” said Swisher to Mark Didtler earlier today. “I still feel like I can do this.”

Swisher, 35, is primarily a first baseman these days after having surgery on both knees back in 2014. His mobility in the outfield is pretty much gone. Greg Bird is out for the season following shoulder surgery, and the Yankees currently have Chris Parmelee as first base depth in Triple-A.

Assuming the deal gets done, Swisher figures to head to Triple-A Scranton for a few weeks to show he’s healthy and productive. Chances are his contract will include some kind of opt-out date in which the team either has to call him up or cut him loose. That’s pretty standard in these situations.

Swisher has hit .204/.291/.326 (75 wRC+) the last two years. His $15M salary is being paid by the Indians and Braves, so the Yankees or any other team can sign him for a pro-rated portion of the league minimum. Low cost, no risk.

Swisher was super productive during his time with the Yankees from 2009-12, but right now expectations are low. He hasn’t been good since leaving New York.

Two starts into 2016, Masahiro Tanaka is pitching much differently than last year

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

All things considered, last night’s start was neither great nor terrible for Masahiro Tanaka. He could not get the Blue Jays to chase his offspeed stuff out of the zone — his 38.2% chase rate from 2014-15 was the best in baseball — which led to a ton of pitches early. Tanaka was able to grind it out and finish the night having allowed two runs in five innings.

Two things are clear now that Tanaka is two starts into the new season. One, he is not throwing as hard as last year. His velocity is down across the board compared to last April, both on average and at the high end.

April 2014: 93.5 mph average, 96.7 mph max
April 2015: 91.4 mph average, 94.1 mph max
April 2016: 90.6 mph average, 92.0 mph max

There was a lot of talk last season about Tanaka’s velocity being down following his elbow injury, but PitchFX shows his average fastball was identical both years (92.7 mph) and his maximum velocity was pretty close as well (96.7 mph to 96.3 mph). His fastball was down last April. By the end of the season, it was right where it was supposed to be.

This year his velocity is down even more. Tanaka figures to add velocity as the season progresses because pretty much every pitcher adds velocity as the weather warms up, so we just have to wait to see whether he can get his fastball back to where it was the last two years. For now, Tanaka is not throwing as hard as he did last two years.

The other thing we’ve seen out of Tanaka in his two starts so far is a heck of a lot of moving two-seam fastballs. I said I couldn’t remember him ever throwing that many two-seamers following his first start, and he was at it again last night. Look at his pitch selection (via Brooks Baseball):

Masahiro Tanaka pitch selectionTanaka threw his four-seamer and sinker (two-seamer) both roughly 20% of the time back in 2014. Last year it was 19% and 14% in favor of the four-seamer. This year? Tanaka has thrown 30% sinkers and only 3% four-seamers. He’s thrown five four-seam fastballs in his two starts. Five. Tanaka has clearly put the straight four-seamer in his pocket and is emphasizing his sinker so far.

As a result of all those sinking two-seamers, Tanaka’s ground ball rate is up to 57.1% in the super early going. His grounder rate was 47% the last two seasons. Two starts is nothing. It’s just neat to see this all making sense. Tanaka appears to be throwing more moving fastballs, the PitchFX data confirms what our eyes are telling us, and the result is more grounders, which is exactly what you’d expect.

Now, why is Tanaka throwing more two-seamers? That’s a different question. He was very home run prone last season (1.46 HR/9) and may have made the adjustment in an effort to keep the ball in the park. Also, let’s not forget Tanaka had a bone spur taken out of his elbow in October. He may feel more comfortable throwing the sinker than cutting loose with the four-seamer right now.

The Tanaka we’ve seen these first two starts is quite a bit different than the Tanaka we saw the last two years. His velocity is down relative to the last two Aprils and he’s sinking his fastball much more often, presumably intentionally. These changes are not necessarily a bad thing. He does have a 3.38 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP after two starts, after all. I think we’d all take those numbers across a full season.

Tanaka’s two seasons and two starts as a Yankee have been eventful, if nothing else. He’s rarely been bad — like bad bad, not last night bad — and yet he has not been truly dominant since before the elbow injury in 2014. Tanaka is not throwing as hard as he did last year and he is throwing way more sinking two-seamers. Is this is a two-start blip, or simply the latest new version of Tanaka?

2016 Draft: Opening Thoughts

(Paige Calamari/Getty)
(Paige Calamari/Getty)

The 2016 amateur draft will begin roughly eight weeks from now, on June 9th. The three-day event starts on a Thursday this year rather than the usual Monday. The draft has started on a Thursday before and it’s kinda annoying because it spills over into the weekend. I prefer to have it early in the week, but that’s just me.

As usual, MLB Network will broadcast the First Round, Supplemental First Round, Competitive Balance Round A, Second Round, and Competitive Balance Round B live on Day One. Seventy-seven picks will be made that day. Rounds 2-10 follow on Day Two, then the draft wraps up with rounds 11-40 on Day Three.

The Yankees did not gain or lose any picks this year as a result of draft pick compensation, so they’ll make two picks during the MLB Network broadcast: their first (No. 18) and second rounders (No. 62). Everything moves to the league conference call after that. The conference call moves quick. The draft broadcast? Not so much.

Our draft coverage this year is going to be the same as previous years. I see no need to change something that isn’t broken. We’ll highlight individual prospects with short profiles — here’s the profile I wrote for RHP James Kaprielian last year — rather than group players together into larger posts. I used to do that. The individual posts work better.

There is a lot of great draft reporting nowadays, so our guesswork is at least somewhat educated. The Yankees were connected to Kaprielian an awful lot prior to the draft last year. Ditto three years ago with 3B Eric Jagielo. The element of surprise is what makes the draft fun though. Here are some Yankees-related thoughts on this year’s amateur draft.

Draft Tendencies

This is, incredibly, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s 11th draft with the Yankees. It still feels like he just got here. Sheesh. We’re all old and going to die soon. Anyway, over the last ten drafts, the Yankees have had some very clear tendencies in their draft philosophy. Three stand out:

  1. College Players. This one is fairly new, actually. Years ago Oppenheimer & Co. were all about the shoot for the moon picks. The raw high-upside guys like RHP Andrew Brackman and OF Slade Heathcott. Now they lean towards polished college players because they’ve had more success developing them.
  2. Cape Cod League Success. This has been a constant since Oppenheimer arrived. The Yankees like players (both pitchers and position players) who have had success in the Cape Cod League. The Cape is the premier collegiate wood bat summer league, so it’s the best against the best.
  3. Southern California. SoCal is a baseball hotbed, so targeting players from that area is understandable, but Oppenheimer is also a USC guy, and he’s stayed close to home. Over the last three drafts, six of the eleven players the Yankees took in the top three rounds were from Southern California.

This is not to say the Yankees are a lock to draft a college player from SoCal who has had success on the Cape in the first round in a few weeks. It’s just that when you’re looking at possible targets, guys with one or three of those traits are a pretty good place to start. The Yankees go to these wells often.

Try For A High School Bat Again?

Okay, so even after all of that, I wonder if the Yankees will look for a high school bat with their first round pick this summer. Several reports indicated they wanted a prep bat with their first rounder last year, but all the guys they liked were off the board by time their pick rolled around, so they went with Kaprielian.

According to MLB.com, seven of the top 30 draft prospects this year are high school hitters. It’s nine of 30 according to Keith Law (subs. req’d). There are definitely some interesting prep bats this year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees will like them as much as the guys they liked last year, of course. I’m just saying. If Oppenheimer and his staff want to find a high school bat this year, there are some nice options available.

Avoid Injured Players?

Injuries have already cut through the top of the draft board. Florida LHP A.J. Puk (back) and Oklahoma RHP Alec Hanson (forearm) were the top two college starters in the draft coming into the spring, but their stock is down now due to injuries. Florida HS LHP Jesus Luzardo, a consensus first round talent, had Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago.

The Yankees have steered clear of injured players the last few drafts, choosing to minimize their risk. “We’re going to go with guys that are healthy. That’s something that’s more interesting to us than going with guys that aren’t,” said Oppenheimer last year after taking Kaprielian over the more highly regarded LHP Brady Aiken, who was coming off Tommy John surgery.

Given the current draft system, I think there are very few instances where taking an injured player in the first round makes sense. There’s just too much risk and too much draft pool space attached to that one pick. I thought Aiken was worth the risk last year because he was a legitimate No. 1 overall talent when healthy, but I didn’t see his medicals and it’s not my neck on the line.

I don’t see any prospect in this draft class that I think is worth taking in the first round if he’s hurt. (I mean a serious injury like Tommy John surgery. If a guy misses two weeks because he pulled his hamstring running to first, that’s not a huge deal.) Even New Jersey LHP Jason Groome, the consensus best prospect available, is not a truly elite draft prospect like Aiken. He’s No. 1 almost by default. I expect the Yankees to again stick to healthy players in 2016.

Small Bonus Pool

The Yankees have a $5.77M draft bonus pool this year, eighth smallest in baseball. That’s because they finished with a top ten record last year and didn’t add any picks through free agent compensation. There’s only so much pool manipulation — take college seniors in rounds 7-10 to save money, etc. — you can do to save space with that small a bonus pool.

Even in 2014, when they surrendered a bunch of picks to sign free agents (Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury), the Yankees still managed to massage their bonus pool and hand out a huge bonus. RHP Austin DeCarr received a $1M payday, nearly double his slot value as the team’s third rounder. I would be surprised if they didn’t find a way to give out one big overslot bonus this year.

Four truths about the Yankees six games into 2016

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

If you’re reading RAB, you’re probably not new to this baseball thing. You know the season is still very young — the Yankees have played 3.7% of their 2016 schedule — and you know much of what happens in the first week of games doesn’t mean a whole lot. Outside of injury, I’m not sure anything you see the first week of the season should drastically change your outlook.

That doesn’t mean the first week is meaningless though. Last week Grant Brisbee wrote about the incontrovertible truths of Opening Day. All those little things we saw around the league in Game One that we know are true. The Diamondbacks are going to be holding their breath each Zack Greinke start for the next six years, for example. So, following Brisbee’s lead, I present four incontrovertible truths about the Yankees six games into 2016.

The regulars are going to rest. A lot.

The Yankees and Joe Girardi have been talking about this since last season, and so far they have been true to their word. Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran all sat last Friday simply because the Yankees had played three days in a row and had a day game following a late arrival into Detroit. That was the first real sign the team is committed to this plan.

Furthermore, Girardi told Ken Davidoff he was already looking ahead to Sunday’s postponement when using his bullpen Saturday. “It was one of the reasons I was willing to use the bullpen the way I did … Because I really, in my mind, never thought we were going to play (Sunday),” he said. The likely postponement and Monday’s off-day meant it was okay to use Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller with a four-run lead.

The season is still very young and the Yankees are already going out of their way to rest their important players. Once we move past the schedule weirdness of April and get into the day-in, day-out grind of regular season baseball, the rest will only be more frequent and deliberate. Who knows whether this will actually help the Yankees avoid a second half fade. They seemed to determined to find out.

The starters are not going to pitch deep into games.

Through six games, exactly one starter has completed six full innings in an outing. That was CC Sabathia over the weekend. Here are the innings and pitch counts for the six starts made by the five starters so far:

April 5th: 5.2 innings, 87 pitches (Masahiro Tanaka)
April 6th: Five innings, 87 pitches (Michael Pineda)
April 7th: Five innings, 94 pitches (Nathan Eovaldi)
April 8th: Five innings, 95 pitches (Luis Severino)
April 9th: Six innings, 90 pitches (CC Sabathia)
April 12th: Five innings, 92 pitches (Tanaka)

Apparently no one comes out of Spring Training fully stretched out these days, so the Yankees are still easing their starters into things in the early going. (The cold weather in New York and Detroit didn’t help either.) Eventually these guys will be allowed to throw 100+ pitches. (I think.) That should lead to more starts of six or more innings.

That said, the lack of length from the starters is nothing new. Last season Pineda (5.95) and Eovaldi (5.72) both averaged fewer than six innings per start. So did Severino (5.67), and even when you subtract his one disaster start against the Blue Jays, he still averaged exactly six innings per start. Sabathia led the staff in innings despite averaging only 5.77 innings per game. Tanaka was the staff workhorse at 6.42 innings per start.

Eovaldi has never pitched deep into games, and while Pineda has shown the ability to do so on occasion, he doesn’t do it consistently. Girardi usually doesn’t let Sabathia go through the lineup a third time unless he’s really cruising (or the bullpen is really short), and Tanaka has been handled with kid gloves since his elbow injury. Severino? He’s just a kid and the Yankees don’t want to overwork him.

Only 88 times in 162 games did the Yankees get at least six innings from their starters last season. That was the eighth fewest in baseball and third fewest in the AL. The same staff is back this year, only with Severino replacing Ivan Nova and Adam Warren. Unless Eovaldi or Pineda suddenly figure out a way to be efficient, the Yankees are again going to ask their bullpen for 10-12 outs most nights.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Shreve is back in the Circle of Trust™.

Either due to fatigue or some other reason, Chasen Shreve crashed hard down the stretch last year. He was basically unusable in close games. Yet when Spring Training opened, Girardi talked about Shreve like he was one of the regular relievers, and there was no indication his roster spot was in jeopardy. A dominant spring (10 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) assured he was going to be on the roster.

So far this season Shreve has appeared in four games, and all four appearances came in fairly big situations. Look at when Girardi has brought him into the game:

April 5th: Sixth inning, runner on first, two outs, score tied.
April 7th: To start the seventh inning, score tied.
April 9th: Seventh inning, runner on second, two outs, Yankees up four. Miguel Cabrera (!) due up.
April 12th: To start the seventh inning, Yankees up by one.

That April 9th game really drove home that Shreve has a place in the Circle of Trust™. The Yankees had a comfortable lead, but Cabrera was due up with a chance to cut the lead in half — he had homered the previous day, remember — and Girardi still brought in the lefty Shreve. That’s the kind of situation where using Betances wouldn’t be so crazy. Instead, he went to Shreve, who got Miggy to ground out harmlessly to third.

The Yankees are going to be without Aroldis Chapman for another three weeks and four days, and Girardi has entrusted Shreve to be his No. 3 reliever behind Betances and Miller for the time being. And being the No. 4 guy when Chapman returns is no small thing either, not with the Yankees opted to build the team around their bullpen.

The Yankees will miss Teixeira when he’s gone.

I am a big Greg Bird fan and I’m glad the Yankees have him around as the long-term solution at first base. His shoulder injury really sucks. Hopefully it’s a bump in the road and not something that derails his career. Bird looks very much like someone capable of holding down the job for the next decade.

As good as Bird is — or at least projects to be — he does not combine high-end offense with high-end defense like Mark Teixeira. Very few do. I count seven first basemen you can comfortably project to be above-average on both sides of the ball: Teixeira, Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, and Brandon Belt. All All-Stars, basically, because one-dimensional doesn’t really fly anymore.

Teixeira is no longer the hitter he once was, but he’s still really good, mostly thanks to his power. He has very few peers defensively. We see it every game with his scoops and the way he makes tough flips to the pitcher at the bag look routine. Dustin Ackley goes out and plays first for an afternoon, flubs two tough plays, and it stands out like a sore thumb. Bird’s glove is below even Ackley’s at this point.

I have no idea what will happen with Teixeira following the season. He’s going to be a free agent and the Yankees are skewing younger, but Bird’s injury threw a wrench into things. Whenever Teixeira is gone, either this offseason or next or the one after that, the Yankees are going to miss his two-way play. His glove is close to impossible to replace.