Banuelos, Mitchell strong in wins


  • Slade Heathcott, J.R. Murphy, and Kyle Roller have all been promoted from Low-A Charleston to High-A Tampa. I assume Heathcott and Roller are ready to play and will be activated off the disabled list soon. Finally, a reason to follow Tampa.
  • Going the other way are Kyle Higashioka and Kevin Mahoney, which sucks for them. Higashioka is hitting .268/.362/.463 this month and has homered in his last two games; dude didn’t deserve a demotion, not with his defense.
  • Kramer Sneed is scheduled to start for Charleston tomorrow in place of Nik Turley. That could mean promotion or injury.

In other news, Mark Prior threw in outfield today, his second time doing so in three days. It’s still unclear how much longer he’ll be on the disabled list though. Gus Molina also has a minor toe problem that has kept him out of the lineup for a few days, but it’s no big deal.

Triple-A Scranton (10-5 win over Norfolk)
Austin Krum, CF: 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB – threw a runner out at second
Kevin Russo, 2B: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB – four multi-hit games in his last ten contests
Mike Lamb, DH: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K – he’s going to play first and DH, primarily
Brandon Laird, 3B: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
Terry Tiffee, 1B: 2 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing) – Jorge Vazquez’s injury must be serious enough if they brought in him and Lamb
Jordan Parraz, RF: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K – I find it very hard to believe that’s just his fourth homer, seems like he’s hit much more
Greg Golson, LF: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
P.J. Pilittere, C: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB – day game after a night game, hence no Jesus Montero
Doug Bernier, SS: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Greg Smith, LHP: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 8-3 GB/FB – 51 of 81 pitches were strikes (63%) … picked a runner off first, which is no surprise, he’s got a dynamite move
Andrew Brackman, RHP: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0-1 GB/FB – 18 of 32 pitches were strikes (56.3%) … nothing’s working, sheesh
Josh Schmidt, RHP: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2-0 GB/FB – ten of 14 pitches were strikes (71.4%)
Randy Flores, LHP: 1 IP, zeroes, 1-2 GB/FB – eight of 13 pitches were strikes (61.5%)

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Keith Law on Williams and Gamel

Yesterday we heard Keith Law’s unflattering opinion of Cito Culver, but today he posted something on two other Short Season Staten Island hotshots: Mason Williams and Ben Gamel (Insider req’d). “Mason is loose-bodied and an above-average runner, but needs to get a lot stronger and to work on recognition of offspeed pitches — he struck out twice in ugly fashion on breaking balls,” said KLaw. “He glides forward when he strides, reducing his time to recognize non-fastballs, but there is some bat speed there and it’s a great baseball body.”

As for Gamel, Law said he “at least showed that he recognized the difference between a ball and a strike, but struggled with picking up the changeup, not a huge shock for a teenaged hitter with only ten games of pro experience to that point. He has good hip rotation but tries to get his arms extended on balls on the inner half, which is just going to result in a lot of weak contact or foul balls … The fact that he showed a clue at the plate (on a night when most of the lineup was flailing) is a real positive.” I like Gamel but he’s going to have a hit because his defensive value in the corner outfield figures to be small. Having a decent approach less than a month after your 19th birthday is a pretty good start.

Open Thread: The Giambino Returns

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

It’s been three years since the Yankees parted ways with Jason Giambi, but he’s coming back to the Bronx this weekend as a visiting player with the Rockies. Yeah, he came to Yankee Stadium with the A’s in 2009, but I think it’ll be little different now since some time has passed. Giambi hit .260/.404/.521 as a Yankee and is hitting .262/.361/.639 this year, and he’ll be Colorado’s designated hitter during the three game series. He was a big time personal fave, so I’m looking forward to seeing him one last time. I miss the taters.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. Very light baseball schedule today, though MLB Network is carrying a game (teams depend on where you live). That’s pretty much it, but use this thread to talk about whatever you want. Go nuts.

Jeter, Colon, Chavez continue rehab in Tampa

Derek Jeter, Bartolo Colon, and Eric Chavez are continuing to progress in the rehab for their various injuries down in Tampa. Jeter threw for the third straight day but has not been cleared to start running, which is what really matters when it comes to his calf issue. He’s expected to increase his workouts in the coming days. Colon was able to run sprints in the outfield for the first time since injuring his hamstring, and he has continued to play long toss as well. He’s scheduled for a bullpen session tomorrow. Chavez ran the bases for the first time today, going from home to first about a half-dozen times today. He’s been hitting for a while now, but this is the first time he’s run on anything more than a treadmill. Great news for all three but especially for Colon and Chavez, who have started testing their leg/foot injuries.

Montero’s early-June benching due to lack of “energy”

Jesus Montero‘s two game hiatus earlier this month came because the organization felt his play lacked “energy,” says Andrew Marchand. “It is all in becoming a first-rate professional and he is still in the middle of that process,” said Mark Newman, who basically runs the farm system. Triple-A Scranton hitting coach Butch Wynegar added that he thinks Montero “is almost bored here in Triple-A.” My opinion is well known: get the kid the big leagues, like yesterday. Forcing someone to change their behavior almost never works, and there’s a very simple solution here. Just do it.

Austin Romine headed to Futures Game for second straight year

Rosters for the 2011 Futures Game were released today (USA, World), and the only Yankees farmhand headed to the game is Austin Romine. He participated in last year’s game as well. The eligibility rules are weird and I can never seem to nail them down, but it’s something like a maximum of two players per club and no one can go more than twice (which disqualifies Jesus Montero). Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos simply haven’t pitched well enough to make the game, same deal with Gary Sanchez on the position player side.

Romine is currently on the disabled list with a concussion, but he has resumed baseball activities and is expected back within a week. He’ll be ready in plenty of time for the Futures Games, which will be played the Sunday before the All-Star Game (July 10th) in Arizona. Romine is hitting .298/.362/.421 with a .356 wOBA this year, and is on pace to finish with careers highs in many offensive categories.

A portrait of Russell Martin’s season

(From Flickr user spablab via Creative Commons license.)

It’s been a while since we said, “Thanks Ned!” with any real enthusiasm. We, at least most of us, still appreciate Russell Martin‘s contributions t the team, but once he tapered off after a hot start we slowed our thanks to the GM who let Martin walk. Even with his performance for the past five or six weeks he ranks sixth among catchers with a .344 wOBA, and fifth with 1.8 WAR. But some of that luster has worn off, and it’s easy to see why when we look at how his numbers have trended.

There’s a noticeable drop-off in the past month, thanks to Martin going 9 for 60 with just one extra base hit, a homer (.150/.278/.200). This is also right around the time that Martin started getting a bit banged up. Since then — June 8th was the first day he sat out with the back injury — he’s gone 5 for 25 with no extra base hits and five walks. While can’t necessarily connect the injury and the performance, it does seem to have affected his numbers. This is both good and bad. Good, in that if he recovers physically so should his numbers. Bad, because back injuries are no joke and we’re not sure if he will make a full recovery this season.

Really, this post should have come first, followed by Mike’s Jesus Montero post. Montero can benefit the Yankees in a number of ways right this moment. He can take on the right-side DH duties (when Girardi doesn’t feel that A-Rod needs a half day) and he can take over Cervelli’s spot as the backup catcher. More importantly, he can play more often than Cervelli, both to the effect of getting his bat in the lineup and spelling Martin a bit more frequently. He might not get the at-bats of a full-time player, but it will be somewhere close. And those at-bats at the majors could aid his development more than continuing to spin his wheels in AAA.

Even with his recent slump, Martin has been an excellent addition to the Yankees. He produced early in the season with some unexpected power, and even after that dropped off he’s helped at the plate by taking tons of pitches and drawing more than his share of walks (14.9 percent walk rate since his two-homer game in Baltimore). He figures to help the Yankees the rest of the way, and perhaps into next season. If he’s hurt then Montero can come up and help keep him rested, and if he’s just regressed then Montero can help increase production from the catcher spot. Either way, we can still appreciate Martin while appreciating the team’s top prospect at the same time.