Yankees add Romine to roster, cut Garrison

Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have added Austin Romine to the active roster. Steve Garrison has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Frankie Cervelli is back in New York because of concussion symptoms and Russell Martin is out with a bruised right thumb, which is why Jorge Posada ended up behind the plate last night. Jesus Montero is starting at catcher this afternoon, but we should see Romine before long given all the injury troubles.

More Yankees on my tablet, please

It was mid-February, and we were jonesing for some baseball. At Bloomberg headquarters we got a close approximation. In 2010 Bloomberg decided to expand into the sports realm, offering a products for both consumers and professionals. To help spread the word, they held an all-day event to introduce their fantasy baseball and Pitch f/x analysis tools. As expected they both impressed. In 2011 Bloomberg was ready for a update, and again they invited Ben, Mike, and me, among many other blogging and media types, to their headquarters for another day of baseball in February. This time around, we got something out of it.

One feature they touted frequently was the implementation of their pro tool — the Pitch f/x analysis — on the iPad. They had developed an app that players could use at their lockers, at their hotels, or really any place when they had some free time. The app gave them not only information on hitters they would face, but also information on themselves. They could, for example, pull up a screen that would list every cutter they threw on the season. They’d not only see the Pitch f/x information on said pitch, but also videos of every instance. As you can imagine, the three of us salivated over the possibilities.

Of course, the app was not available to us. It was marketed to teams, and they paid top dollar for this level of analysis. Even if Bloomberg made it available to other entities, RAB clearly could not afford that type of application. But it did spark an idea. As we broke for lunch, Ben, Mike, and I huddled together to talk about how the tools they introduced — particularly the free fantasy ones — could help us at RAB. Only that’s not where the conversation went. Ben gets all the credit here, because he was the first one to blurt it out: “We should get iPads.” I wasn’t about to say no to that. Nor was Mike. And so, while in Arizona for Spring Training, we each picked up an iPad on launch day. I can’t speak for Mike or Ben, but it has changed the way I watch baseball.

By combining the MLB At Bat 11 app with my MLB.tv subscription, I’m able to watch any game, at any time, on my iPad. This works greatly when I’m already watching the Yankees game. It allows me to keep up with other games around the league at the same time. If Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw are going head-to-head at the same time a Yankees game is on, it’s no issue. Yankees on the TV, Dodgers-Giants on the iPad. Keeping up with the division rivals has been easier, too. In fact, MLB.tv on my iPad has essentially been my Red Sox tube. What better way to keep up with the rivalry than keeping tabs on the other side?

Beyond that, the At Bat app offers condensed games and tons of highlight clips, all of which load almost instantly. If I did miss a game, well, I didn’t really miss it. This works for the Yankees, too. I can jump right into the condensed game if I happened to miss it the night before. It takes just 15 minutes, and most of the action gets chronicled on the condensed game. Highlights, too, allowed me to keep up with the entire league and, for the first five months of the season, write my daily recap column on FanGraphs.

There is only one downside to all this, though: I want more ways to watch live Yankees games. Yes, this is an issue because of broadcast and rebroadcast rights. YES doesn’t want to lose TV viewers, because they then lose ad revenue. Since it’s more difficult to track people who are watching mobile devices, they clearly prefer I watch it through my cable subscription. But that doesn’t always play. See, the iPad is a portable device. It doesn’t just live in my living room. It goes to friends’ houses and on plane and train rides. And yet, unless I happen to be traveling outside of the Yankees broadcast area, I can have this big, beautiful tablet and no way to watch the Yankees on it.

There are some solutions. For instance, my cable provider, Cablevision, has an app that allows me to watch TV right on my iPad. Yet that’s still restrictive. It only works on my home WiFi network, meaning I can only watch those games at home. There are uses for that, of course; during day games I can just prop up my iPad and watch at my desk (which faces away from the TV) while I work. It also allows me to work a bit later in the evenings if necessary. But it doesn’t help me when at a friend’s house who doesn’t have cable. Really, it doesn’t help me watch the Yankees when I’m out of the house.

Recently I’ve been playing with the BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet PC competitor to the iPad, as a review unit. While it’s not as pretty as the iPad, it does offer a number of advantages. For starters, it’s a ton smaller than the iPad, meaning it’s more portable. I can see toting this around town, on train rides, at coffee shops, etc. Yet there is no way to watch baseball on the PlayBook. The screen is great, and video, even streaming video, renders very well on its 7-inch screen. But there is no At Bat app, never mind one for my cable provider. That’s a bit disheartening.

There are clear conflicts here that prevent me from watching baseball wherever I want. YES has the exclusive rights to broadcast most Yankees games, and they need to make money. If they’re not making money off me watching on my tablet, they have little reason to allow that type of usage. At the same time, I already pay a hefty monthly cable and internet bill, and I’m not inclined to pay too much more for the same viewing privileges on different devices. Hence, consumers and broadcasters are at something of a stalemate. Nothing seems to make sense for both sides, and so we maintain the status quo.

It has become pretty clear that tablet computers will play a large part in our lives for the next few years. They provide entertainment in ways that other devices cannot. Yet, at the same time, given current broadcast regulations, it can be difficult to get the most out of these devices. The ability to watch the Yankees wherever I am makes a tablet that much more valuable. Hopefully these forces will move broadcasters closer to consumers and perhaps create offerings that allow us to watch the Yankees on our tablets while still in the YES home area. It’s really all I want for Christmas.

Cervelli headed back to NY, Romine may join team tomorrow

Update (12:22am): Via Bryan Hoch, Cervelli is headed back to New York and is unlikely to rejoin the team on the road trip. It sounds like Austin Romine will join the team tomorrow. If he does, a 40-man roster move will have to be made.

Original Post (6:26pm): Frankie Cervelli stood his ground and was involved in not one, but two collisions at home plate on Thursday, but he hasn’t been in the lineup since. After being a late scratch last night, Cervelli was again scratched from tonight’s starting lineup because of concussion symptoms according to Marc Carig.

Concussions are no joke, so expect Frankie to sit out until he’s 100% ready to go. That means we might see Jesus Montero start a game behind the plate sooner than expected. Joe Girardi spoke about Montero’s unfamiliarity with the pitching staff, but he did catch Ivan Nova in Triple-A last season and has caught Freddy Garcia both in the bullpen and during his rehab assignment a few weeks ago. We’ll see what happens there, but the important thing is that Cervelli gets healthy. The brain is nothing to mess with.

No offense, no win: Yanks drop fourth straight

Do I hear four? Yes, I do hear four losses in a row. Let’s recap…

  • Once again, the Yankees offense didn’t bother to show up. The picked up just four hits and not a single walk, and over their last 25 innings they’ve scored exactly one run (Jesus Montero‘s solo homer on Friday) and had just four batters get beyond first base. Four! Dan Haren is the first pitcher to throw a first complete game shutout against New York this season, and I don’t think he even broke a sweat. It was a thorough dismantling of a team of a team that couldn’t bring someone home if they were a high school quarterback in their dad’s BMW.
  • CC Sabathia wasn’t great or even good (13 baserunners in six innings), but one run in six innings is a very winnable game. He needs to get back to being on a normal five-day schedule very soon because he just hasn’t been right since this whole six-man rotation thing started. I can totally see Sabathia being the kind of guy that thrives on too much work rather than not enough.
  • Best part of the game was easily Jorge Posada‘s return to catching. Russell Martin suffered a bruised right thumb courtesy of a foul ball and Joe Girardi presumably didn’t want to lose the DH by putting Montero behind the plate, so in same Posada. Sure enough, he threw out the first (and only) baserunner that attempted to steal. For a guy that hadn’t caught a competitive inning in eleven months, he didn’t look half bad.
  • The Rays walked off with a win against the Red Sox, so the lead in the wildcard shrunk to seven games while the lead in the division remained at 2.5 games with 18 to play. Here’s the box score, here’s the FanGraphs stuff, and here’s the standings.

Good news: Martin’s x-rays came back negative, but Montero will catch Sunday as the regular backstop gets a few days to rest his bruised digit. Meanwhile, the Yankees will try to salvage the series when Freddy Garcia gets the ball against Ervin Santana at 3:35pm ET.

Martin leaves game after taking foul tip to right hand

Update (11:28pm): It’s being called a bruised right thumb right now, and Martin is being taken for x-rays. Cross your fingers.

Original Post (9:57pm): Russell Martin left tonight’s game after taking a foul ball to his right (bare) hand. They bandaged him up, but Martin was unable to throw the ball back to the pitcher during the before-inning warm-ups, so he was lifted. Jorge Posada took over behind the plate, his first catching action of the season. We’ll update the post with more as it comes.