Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are looking everywhere for left-handed bullpen help, but they’re “probably not” interested in Royce Ring. Ring just opted out of his minor league contract with the Mariners and pitched with the Yankees briefly last season. Boone Logan has improved over the last ten days or so and Pedro Feliciano is now throwing (lightly) off a mound in Tampa, but they can’t really count on him coming back. Certainly not anytime soon.
Via Pedro J. Briceño, the Yankees have signed Dominican third baseman Miguel Andujar for $750,000. The 16-year-old was considered one of their top targets during this international free agent signing period, and is said to have “good bat speed, an advanced righthanded swing and has shown the ability to hit both fastballs and offspeed pitches.” Here’s some video.
The Yankees have won seven in a row including the last two against the Mets, so it’s time to get greedy and finish off the sweep before heading to Cleveland. R.A. Dickey flummoxed them with the knuckleball once already this season (one run in six innings back in May), but hopefully seeing for the second time will do the trick. Here’s the lineup…
First pitch is scheduled for 1:04pm ET, but that’s not going to happen. The tarp is still on the field, so there will be some kind of delay. How long? Your guess is as good as mine. Whenever the game does start, you’ll be able to watch on YES locally or TBS nationally. Enjoy.
The Yankees announced that they have sent Ivan Nova to Triple-A Scranton and recalled Lance Pendleton. That’s a definite precursor to Phil Hughes rejoining the rotation this week (likely Wednesday), Pants Lendleton just gives them an extra bullpen arm in the meantime. It’s not fair, but dems the breaks. Nova will continue to work as a starter and will inevitably be needed later this season, so we’ll see him again.
Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson will start the All-Star Game at their respective positions thanks to the fan voting. Alex Avila surged past Russell Martin in the voting last week, so he’ll (deservingly) start behind the plate. Adrian Gonzalez will start at first, David Ortiz at designated hitter, and Grandy will be flanked in the outfield by Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista.
Update: Ortiz, captain of the AL Homerun Derby squad, has asked Mark Teixiera will join him on the team. Adrian and Bautista are confirmed as the other two participants, but Tex has yet to accept.
Update Part Deux: Mariano Rivera was named to the All-Star pitching staff but CC Sabathia was not. Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander made the team but are scheduled to start next Sunday, which would make them ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game. They’ll be replaced on the roster, though CC is scheduled to pitch that day as well.
Update Part Three: Martin makes it as a reserve. So six total Yankees are heading to the desert in a week. It’s A-Rod‘s 14th All-Star selection, Jeter’s 12th, Mo’s 12th, Cano’s third, Martin’s third, and Granderson’s second. Congrats to all.
First things first, no I have no idea if the start of the game will be delayed, but Joel Sherman heard from the Mets that the rain will keep up until 2:30pm ET or so. So yeah, there figures to be some kind of delay at some point. The tarp has been on the field all morning and the players did all their pregame stuff indoors.
Secondly, Eduardo Nunez will not play today because his hamstring tightened up yesterday as he ran out his first double. Joe Girardi doesn’t believe it’s anything serious, especially since he continued to hit the snot out of the ball after first feeling it, and there are no tests scheduled. He just doesn’t want to play him on the wet grass, so Ramiro Pena will get the start at shortstop. There was a late report today, so Girardi’s still waiting to talk to everyone to make sure they’re okay before settling on a lineup. No reason to believe anyone besides Nunez is hurt, just standard operating procedure.
- Bartolo Colon felt fine after yesterday’s start, so that’s good news. Day-after soreness is always the concern when a guy comes back from an injury. Bart told Girardi he could start today, but not tomorrow. Love him.
- Girardi did not talk to Derek Jeter last night, but he heard everything went well in his first rehab game with Double-A Trenton. He’ll talk to him today to see how he feels. There’s no plan in place for Jeter should Trenton get rained out today, that’s something they’ll discuss if it comes to it. Girardi said he doesn’t expect to alter Derek’s rest schedule once he does come back, and he has no issue with him playing in the All-Star Game if he’s healthy.
- There’s still no plan in place for the starting rotation beyond tomorrow’s game, which A.J. Burnett will definitely start. Phil Hughes lines up to pitch tomorrow, but they still haven’t decided if they’ll activate him or have him make one more rehab start. The All-Star break is a consideration in that if they activate him this week, he’ll have to sit for another ten days almost immediately, but Girardi said that’s not necessarily a bad thing because Hughes has been rehabbing pretty hard. They’re likely to get this allsorted out by the end of the day, but no promises.
- Part of the reason why they’ve waited so long to make the decision is a) these things tend to take care of themselves (i.e. injury), and b) everyone is pitching well. Girardi feels there is no wrong decision to be made for that reason, everyone’s performing well, especially of late.
- As for Jose Reyes, he is having his MRI this morning and Terry Collins did not have an update during his pregame press conference. They’ll have one soon, but for now Angel Pagan takes over as leadoff hitter. Reyes won’t play again until he’s 100% healthy though, hamstrings are tricky and the last thing they want him to do is re-aggravate the injury and
kill his trade valuemiss more time.
Update: Lance Pendleton just walked into the clubhouse. His name and 25 others are listed on the roster sheet, so there’s a move coming. Also, same lineup as yesterday, just Pena in for Nunez.
Over at The Process Report, Chris St. John recently examined a few select offensive statistics for the Tampa Bay Rays. In particular St. John keyed in on strikeout rate, line drive rate, and pitches per plate appearance. He contrasted each player’s current 2011 numbers with their career numbers (and didn’t include the 2011 numbers in the career numbers). This is a worthy exercise as we’re at a point in the season where plenty of statistics find a large enough sample size to stabilize. I’ve followed his lead using two basic plate approach statistics: walk rate and strikeout rate. Like St. John, I’ve excluded the 2011 numbers from career totals. I’ve also calculated strikeout rate using plate appearances, rather than at-bats, as the denominator. Fangraphs uses at-bats, but plate appearances is a more helpful and logical choice. Data is current through Friday morning, and we’ll kick it off with walk rate.
The two big movers up are Granderson and Swisher. Swisher in particular is notable given his slow start. Despite a low BABIP and poor power numbers, particularly from the left side, Swisher is currently posting the best walk rate and on-base percentage of his entire career. As a result, he’s assembled offensive numbers well above league average, albeit in a depressed offensive environment league-wide. This is good to see. Swisher has had a rough go of it this year, a year which in essence represents a contract year, and even though he’s found himself on the short end of the stick luck-wise he’s still been able to maintain his patience at the plate. Plate discipline is both talent and skill, and Nick Swisher has both.
On the down side is Jorge Posada. It’s not terribly hard to read the between the lines on this one. As he gets older and his bat slows down it would seem logical that Posada would find more pitchers challenging him in the zone. His slow start, no matter how much it was founded on ill-fortune, likely did nothing to discourage this. Despite the dip, it’s worthy to note that his walk rate is still above league average.
Don’t be confused by the color scheme change. Green is still good, and red is still bad. Here we see Jeter, Teixeira and Swisher lopping off a decent amount of strikeouts against their historical averages. The cynic would argue that Jeter is striking out less because he’s grounding out to second on the first pitch more. Jeter is actually seeing more pitches per plate appearance this year than in years past, but perhaps more work in this area is required to draw conclusions. It’s also nice to see Swisher reduce his strikeout rate. Peripherals-wise he’s having a very respectable year. It’ll be easier to believe it as the results continue to follow.
On the other side, Martin and Cano are striking out more than they have in the past. Granderson is also striking out more, but no one’s complaining about his year whatsoever. Ultimately, these guys are only halfway through their season and have plenty of time to sort things out at the plate. There’s nothing extremely problematic here, aside from the burr in the saddle that is Robinson Cano‘s plate discipline, and in one respect (Nick Swisher) this data is tremendously encouraging. Will this data hold, or regress to career norms? Time will tell.