JoVa homers two more times in SWB win

In case you missed it earlier, Dellin Betances will miss a start because of a blister. He’s not alone though, Manny Banuelos has also been placed on the DL with a blister issue. They’ve been replaced on the roster by Brian Anderson and Damon Sublett, and Kevin Millwood will start for Double-A Trenton over the weekend. Gary Sanchez is also hurt and on the disabled list, but the nature and severity of his injury is unclear. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, remember he dealt with some wrist issues last season. Nick McCoy took his spot on the roster.

The Yankees signed Cuban right-hander Reinier Casanova to a minor league deal. I don’t know anything about the guy other than what the B-R Bullpen says, so your guess is as good as mine. Oh, and Banuelos took some pitchers next to some farm equipment for The Sporting News. So hooray for that.

Update: The Yankees also signed outfielder Jason Place. He was Boston’s first round pick (27th overall) in 2006, one of those super-upside long-shot high school picks. He didn’t pan out (.234/.315/.390 career hitter) and they released him in Spring Training.

Triple-A Scranton (6-2 win over Buffalo)
Greg Golson, CF & Brandon Laird, 1B: both 0 for 4, 1 K – Laird is 4-for-30 now (.133)
Ramiro Pena, 2B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Jordan Parraz, LF: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
Jorge Vazquez, 3B: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – nine for his last 18 (.500) with four jacks
Justin Maxwell, DH: 2 for 4, 2 K, 1 SB – got picked off second
Dan Brewer, RF: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Jose Gil, C: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 PB
Doug Bernier, SS: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI
Amaury Sanit, RHP: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 HB – 36 of 62 pitches were strikes (58.1%) … emergency starter since Hector Noesi is in the Bronx
Josh Schmidt, RHP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2-0 GB/FB – 18 of 35 pitches were strikes (51.4%)
Buddy Carlyle, RHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1-0 GB/FB – 21 of 32 pitches were strikes (65.6%)
Eric Wordekemper, RHP: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3-2 GB/FB – 21 of 34 pitches were strikes (61.8%)

[Read more…]

Game 11: Show me something, Phil

In addition to being fabulous, Martin's nails help the pitcher see the sign. (via Martin's Twitter acct)

Phil Hughes‘ first two starts this season haven’t been good. In fact, they’ve been awful. He has the highest ERA (16.50) in baseball at the moment (min. two starts), and frankly he’s looked more like a career minor leaguer than a Major League caliber pitcher. He’s done work between starts to help try to find the missing velocity, but blah blah blah, the bottom line is he has to give the Yankees a chance to win tonight. If he can’t, then the next step might be a trip to the (phantom?) disabled list or the minor leagues. Here’s the lineup that will back him up…

Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF
Russell Martin, C

Phil Hughes, SP

The YES Network will carry this game starting at 7:05pm ET. Enjoy the game.

Report: MLB looking to expand instant replay

During the pivotal game 2 of the Yanks’ and Twins’ 2009 American League Division Series, Joe Mauer lofted a ball down the left field line. It bounced fair in front of Melky Cabrera and bounded into the stands. The umpire though called it a foul ball, and the Yanks went onto win that game in 11 innings. If ever there were an appropriate time for instant replay, that play was it.

Today, we learn that baseball is considering expanding instant replay. Per the Associated Press, video review could be expanded in 2012 to “include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines.” MLB umps would not review safe or not calls, and strikes and balls would remain under the purview of the home plate umpire. Outside of a nostalgic appeal for history, there’s no reason not to do that. Getting these calls right takes minimal effort, and should take paramount importance in the scheme of a nine-inning game often decided by a matter of inches.

Graphically charting the Yanks’ rotation

Courtesy of Craig Robinson/Flip Flop Fly Ball

Earlier this week, Craig Robinson at Flip Flop Fly Ball posted a chart of the Mariners’ 2010 rotation, and I fell in love. The Flip Flop Fly Ball artist broke out the months of baseball schedule into five-calendar-day rows, and he used color coding to show when each pitcher had the ball. He also produced a similar chart for the 1971 Orioles’ four-man rotation.

In one sense, the idea behind the chart is simple: If a team maximizes its best pitchers, their color should show up once per row. So if the 2010 Mariners wanted to get the most of Felix Hernandez and, in the early going, Cliff Lee, the light blue and dark purple would appear every week.

Click to enlarge.

I asked Craig to do the same for the Yankees last year, and he produced the chart excerpted above. You can view the entire thing by clicking on the image at right. I find this chart to be mesmerizing, and from it, we can draw a guarded conclusions. Had the Yankees stuck with a strict rest schedule for CC Sabathia, they could have coaxed three additional starts out of their ace last year. Because of off days and the desire to keep every other pitcher on target, CC “missed” his starts during the five days beginning May 24, August 2 and October 1.

Of course, that raises another question: Should the Yankees disrupt their other pitchers to make sure their ace gets as many innings as possible? On the one hand, I’m tempted to say yes. After all, Sabathia is that much better than the other Yankee hurlers, and he’s a workhorse. He can shoulder the innings, and he’s happy to take the ball. The AL East last year came down to one game, and it’s not a stretch to say that an additional three Sabathia starts could have given the Yanks the division crown.

On the other hand, these players need their rest. Sabathia could have made a total of 37 starts last year, but in today’s age of pitch counts and innings caps, that is probably an excessive number. If the Yankees want him fresh for the playoffs, they’re willing to give him a few extra days as the schedule dictates. That’s just the way the game is played.

Anyway, I found this chart to be a wonderful way to understand the way the pitching rotation shakes down over the course of the year. After Opening Day and before the playoffs, labeling pitchers based on their spots in the rotation is largely meaningless. When you’re done pouring over this one, check out Craig’s site. His infographics will soon be available as a book, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on that one.

Feliciano has torn shoulder capsule

Update (4/14/11, 3:51pm): Via Ben Shpigel, Feliciano has a torn shoulder capsule and is deciding whether or not he wants to try to rehab it or have season-ending surgery. Those of you with good memories will remember that Chien-Ming Wang had the exact same injury in 2009, and of course he still hasn’t come back. Ken Davidoff says Feliciano is heading to see Dr. Andrews for a second opinion next week, but there’s only so many ways you can say “yep, it’s shredded.”

Original Post (4/13/11, 10:23pm): Via Ben Shpigel, Joe Girardi said after tonight’s game that the MRI on Pedro Feliciano‘s shoulder was not good, simply calling it a “damaged shoulder.” It sounds like surgery is a possibility, which would presumably end his season before it even had a chance to began. Hopefully that’s not the case, but they have to brace for the worst. If only someone had warned them about the dangers of signing an over-worked, 30-something reliever to a multi-year deal. Maybe they’ll finally take the hint.