Gamel keeps hitting in Staten Island loss

Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams were named the Offensive Player of the Week for the Low-A South Atlantic League and Short Season NY-Penn League, respectively. So congrats to them. Mark Newman said there’s a chance Austin Romine will return from his back strain in “about a week,” but it’s hardly set in stone. Angelo Gumbs, meanwhile, is away from Short Season Staten Island because of a personal issue, so hopefully everything’s okay.

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 loss to Gwinnett)
Kevin Russo, 2B: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K
Chris Dickerson, LF: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
Jesus Montero, C: 0 for 5, 1 K – he did hit a ball to the warning track, so that’s a plus … UPDATE: it was two balls to the track, actually
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 1 for 4, 1 K
Mike Lamb, DH: 3 for 4, 1 RBI – 11 for his last 21 (.524)
Brandon Laird, 3B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch)
Jordan Parraz, RF, Greg Golson, CF & Doug Bernier, SS: all 1 for 3, 1 BB – Parraz and Bernier whiffed twice, Golson once … Golson also had a double and got picked off first
Greg Smith, LHP: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 6-4 GB/FB – 60 of 101 pitches were strikes
Josh Schmidt, RHP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2-5 GB/FB – 31 of 51 pitches were strikes (60.8%)

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2011 Draft: No contact between Yanks and 41st rounder Jeremy Rathjen

Via K. Levine-Flandrup, the Yankees have not had any contact or negotiations with 41st rounder Jeremy Rathjen since the draft. Rathjen, an outfielder from Rice, fell in the draft because he tore the ACL in his right knee this spring. He was expected to be a top five rounds pick before the injury, but was considered unsigned just before the draft. Rathjen is an intriguing power-speed talent that plays a legit center field, though he can have trouble making contact. The signing deadline is one week from today, so there’s still plenty of time for the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal if they choose.

Open Thread: Joe DiMaggio, in stamp form

In an effort to increase interest in stamp collecting (seriously), the U.S. Postal Service is launching a 2012 commemorative program featuring four baseball players “who were perennial All-Star selections and left an indelible impression on the game.” Joe DiMaggio (right, obviously) is the first to be released in preview form, and the remaining three will be announced in the coming days.

I’m not much of a collector, of anything really, but I do have a big cardboard box on the top shelf of my closet with every stupid little giveaway item I’ve ever gotten at a baseball game, Yankees or otherwise. I’ve got more calenders than I know what to do with, more hats than I could ever wear, more magnets than I could ever stick on my fridge. Is that weird? Typing it out makes me think it’s kinda weird.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing the Padres at home (Pelfrey vs. Stauffer), and you can also watch the Red Sox take on the Twins on ESPN (Wakefield vs. Baker). MLB Network will also be broadcasting a west coast game later on. Talk about whatever you like here, anything goes.

Injury Updates: A-Rod & Feliciano

The latest from Tampa…

  • Alex Rodriguez continued to increase the intensity of his workouts today, taking 57 swings in a situational hitting batting practice session. There’s still no firm timetable for his return, but there’s a chance he’ll start a minor league rehab assignment this Friday and I have no reason to suspect that’s changed after today.
  • Pedro Feliciano, remember him? He has resumed throwing bullpens after his latest setback and might actually be able to throw batting practice sometime next week. I’ll believe it when I see it, even though I won’t see it and will have to instead rely on people that did see it to tell me it actually happened.

This week’s annotated box score

The Yankees were on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball last night, so that means they’re the subject of this week’s Annotated Box Score by Sam Miller. This week he looked at retired numbers, wondering who the most deserving Yankee at each number would be if they wanted to retire all of them. He also tackled baseball Johnnys and more. Check it out, it’s a great and fun read as always.

Cory Wade, Secret Weapon

(Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s the same story every year. The Yankees start the season with a collection of seven relievers, and inevitably some guys are ineffective and/or get hurt. By the end of the season the bullpen corps looks a lot different than it did in April. Joba Chamberlain threw just 28.2 IP before Tommy John surgery ended his season, and Rafael Soriano threw just 15 IP before landing on the DL with a less severe elbow injury. Luis Ayala spent some time on the DL, and Bartolo Colon went from long-man to number two starter.

Through the first 113 games of the season, the Yankees have cycled through miscellaneous relievers like Buddy Carlyle, Amaury Sanit, Steve Garrison, Kevin Whelan, Jeff Marquez, Sergio Mitre, and Lance Pendleton, but only one has really impressed: Cory Wade. Signed to a minor league deal back in June, Wade surfaced with the big league team soon thereafter and gained Joe Girardi‘s trust in short order. He retired the first eleven men he faced as a Yankee, including six as part of two perfect innings in his second appearance, in extra innings against the Rangers.

Wade’s effectiveness has kept him around longer than the Carlyles and Sanits and Whelans of the world, and he’s turned into a bit of a secret weapon out of the bullpen during the second half. Consider that …

… he’s the new fireman.

In four of his last six appearances (including the last three), Wade has entered the game with at least one man in scoring position and often multiple runners on base. He’s allowed just one of the eight runners he’s inherited in that time to score, and on the season he’s stranded ten of the 11 runs he’s inherited. Wade’s a good fit for that role because he gets ahead of hitters (66.2% first pitch strikes, better than the 59.2% league average) and misses bats (9.6% swings and misses), plus he has a small (reverse) platoon split both this year and for his career. He’s not just a matchup guy. Injuries and hyper-effectiveness have moved David Robertson into a more prominent late-inning role, but Wade has quietly stepped in as Joe Girardi’s get-out-of-jams specialist.

… he’s the relief version of Freddy Garcia.

Like last night’s starter, Wade will lull hitters to sleep with his offspeed stuff because he has a below-average fastball. He’s thrown his heater (which has averaged 88.7 mph this year) just 44.6% of the time this season, instead relying on his low-80’s changeup and high-70’s curveball to do most of the work. We’ve also seen him drop his arm slot to throw a slider. It’s not the greatest arsenal in the world, but it works because Wade doesn’t have to go through the lineup multiple times. Unpredictability is a great thing, especially in short bursts.

… he’s flexible.

The Yankees have the ability to keep Wade around for a while should he continue to perform. The Dodgers non-tendered him after last season because he was having some injury problems, but Wade won’t be eligible for arbitration until after next season. That means he’s under team control for dirt cheap through 2015. As far as I can tell, he also has a minor league option remaining. That last part is unofficial though, so don’t hold me to it. Either way, Wade also gives the Yankees some roster flexibility for the bullpen.

* * *

Middle relievers tend to have very short shelf lives, even good ones. Wade has done a bang-up job for the Yankees so far, but it is only 20 IP and he’s a long way from establishing himself as a bullpen stalwart. For now, the Yankees will enjoy his unexpected production, using him to bridge the gap between the starters and Robertson/Soriano in the late innings.