The Yankees have placed Ivan Nova on the 15-day DL with right triceps inflammation according to Dan Barbarisi. That’s pretty much the best case scenario. He left last night’s start with what was originally called elbow pain, but after the game he and Joe Girardi confirmed it was stiffness in the triceps and not the elbow.
Vidal Nuno has been called up to fill Nova’s vacated roster spot, and. Derek Jeter was moved over to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. David Phelps will replace Nova in the rotation and Nuno will work out of the bullpen. · (39) ·
12:27pm: Nuno has indeed been called up. No word on the corresponding roster move(s) yet, but you have to think it’s Nova to the 15-day DL and Jeter to the 60-day DL.
10:00am: According to farmhand Manny Barreda, the Yankees are calling up left-hander Vidal Nuno from Triple-A. The move suggests Ivan Nova is headed to the DL after leaving last night’s start with elbow pain. The team will need to clear a 40-man spot, with the easiest move being Derek Jeter to the 60-day DL.
Nuno, 25, has pitched to a 1.54 ERA (2.34 FIP) with 26 strikeouts and just two walks in 23.1 innings for Triple-A Scranton this month after putting himself on the map with a strong Spring Training. The finesse southpaw was scheduled to start today for the Triple-A squad, so he will be available to throw 80+ pitches in relief if need be. The Yankees signed Nuno out of an independent league back in 2011 and he’s done nothing but get outs since then, so the call-up is both a great story and well-deserved. · (46) ·
Pretty safe to say the Blue Jays were hoping for better than one win in their first five games against the Yankees. New York won the second game of the four-game set 6-4 on Friday night, once again coming from behind. They were only down one run for a half-inning through, so it’s the smallest possible comeback really. They all count though. Let’s recap…
- The Long Man: Ivan Nova left the game after two innings with right elbow pain, giving way to David Phelps for what might have been the best outing of his young career. The right-hander faced 15 batters and struck out a career-high nine, otherwise surrendering two hits (including a solo homer) and two walks in four innings of work. Phelps threw 77 pitches (44 strikes), including a career-high 12 swings and misses. He really stepped up in relief and is all but guaranteed to take Nova’s rotation spot if he misses any time.
- Six Runs, Six Different Ways: The Yankees scored six runs and only once did they score more than one run in an inning, and that was just two in the fourth. The attack was diverse, with an RBI fielder’s choice (Eduardo Nunez in the second), a sacrifice fly (Vernon Wells in the third), an RBI triple (Lyle Overbay in the fourth), a run-scoring wild pitch (Overbay scored in the fourth), a run-scoring passed ball (Robinson Cano scored in the eighth), and a solo homer (Brett Gardner in the eighth). Everyone in the lineup except for Nunez and Overbay reached base twice thanks to ten (!) total walks. Toronto pitchers threw 165 total pitches but only 85 strikes (52%).
- Leftovers: In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees lost Frankie Cervelli (fractured right hand) fir at least six weeks … David Robertson allowed a solo homer to Jose Bautista and Mariano Rivera allowed three ground ball singles (no runs), but otherwise those two plus Joba Chamberlain closed things out over the final three innings in relief of Nova and Phelps … Chris Stewart came off the bench to replace Cervelli and wound up drawing two walks and throwing out two attempted base-stealers. Neither was particularly close either.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will go for their third consecutive win on Saturday when CC Sabathia gets the ball against fellow lefty J.A. Happ. Make sure you check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game. If tonight’s attendance was any indication, there are plenty of good seats to be had.
At long last, RHP Jose Ramirez was activated off the DL and added to the Double-A Trenton roster according to Mike Ashmore. He is on a 75-pitch limit for the time being and he will join the rotation the next time through. Pitching coach Tommy Phelps said the team could go to a six-man rotation to accommodate him — there’s no obvious candidate to be taken out of the roster unless they move LHP Francisco Rondon back to the bullpen — but they’ll figure it out. LHP Jeremy Bleich was put on the DL with a sore left knee to clear a roster spot.
In other news, RHP Rafael DePaula ranked tenth on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. It’s a little early to start promoting people, but DePaula is a unique case because of his visa issues and all that. I can’t imagine he’ll be with Low-A Charleston much longer.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Columbus)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 0-4, 2 K — three hits in his last 21 at-bats (.143)
- CF Melky Mesa: 1-4, 1 R
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 2-4, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — came into the game in a 5-for-31 slump (.161)
- RHP Brett Marshall: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 6/3 GB/FB — 56 of 100 pitches were strikes, which I think makes him the first minor leaguer to hit the century mark this season … four or more walks in three of his four starts this season, which is not good
10:41pm: The MRI results are not back yet, Joe Girardi said after the game. Nova complained of stiffness after the second inning, up closer to his triceps rather than his elbow. He lobbied to stay in the game though, which seems kinda silly.
8:32pm: Nova left the game with pain in his pitching elbow, the team announced. He is heading for an MRI.
7:56pm: Ivan Nova left tonight’s start against the Blue Jays for an unknown reason in the third inning. The last batter he faced hit a hard-hit ground ball single back up the middle, but it didn’t appear as though the ball hit Nova. The trainer came out and left immediately, without throwing any warm-up pitches or anything. Stay tuned for updates. · (19) ·
Another one bites the dust. Frankie Cervelli will miss a minimum of six weeks after suffering a fractured right hand on a foul tip in the very first inning of tonight’s game, the Yankees announced. He will have surgery tomorrow and Austin Romine has already been pulled from the Triple-A Scranton game according to Donnie Collins, so it’s very safe to assume he will join the team tomorrow. No 40-man roster move will be required.
Cervelli, 27, was hitting .269/.377/.500 (144 wRC+) with three homers in 61 plate appearances on the young season. He also threw out two of four attempted base-stealers and had played reasonably well defensively. Cervelli pushed himself ahead of Chris Stewart on the depth chart and had unofficially taken over as the everyday catcher about two weeks ago. Even though he spent basically all of last season in the minors, this is a pretty significant loss for a team that didn’t have much offensive wiggle room to start with.
It goes without saying that I hope Stewart doesn’t take over as the starting catcher by default. Romine should play regularly and get a chance to play everyday if he shows up and hits. He came into today with a .341/.400/.415 (134 wRC+) batting line in 45 plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton. Considering that hand injuries can linger, the Yankees should be scouring the waiver and trade markets for catching help as well. The problem is that quality backstops are hard to find, so I wouldn’t expect any luck there.
I do 162 of these a year not counting Spring Training and the postseason. I’m allowed a cheesy headline once in a while.
Anyway, the Yankees will not be facing hard-throwing right-hander Josh Johnson tonight as originally scheduled. The former Marlin has a triceps issue and has been scratched, so former Yankee and slow-tossing left-hander Aaron Laffey will make the start instead. Talking about replacing someone with their polar opposite. The Yankees stink against lefties — last night’s beatdown of Mark Buehrle aside — but I’d much rather see them face Laffey than Johnson. No doubt about it. Here’s the starting lineup…
- CF Brett Gardner
- 3B Jayson Nix
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- C Frankie Cervelli
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- LF Lyle Overbay
- DH Ben Francisco
And on the mound is the man an awful lot on the line, right-hander Ivan Nova. His leash is getting shorter by the start and he absolutely needs to start pitching well if he wants to remain in the rotation. Everyone’s patience is starting to wear thin.
Lovely weather in New York tonight, great for baseball. The game is scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Mark Teixeira Update: Teixeira (wrist) is still limited to dry swings right now. He has not been cleared to hit off a tee or anything like that.
Ryan Galla at CAA Sports currently projects the 2014 Super Two cutoff at two years and 119 days of service time, which is typically written as 2.119. The Super Two cutoff dropped with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so more players will qualify. Super Two players get four years of arbitration-eligibility rather than the usual three. (h/t MLBTR)
According to the service time info at Cot’s, Eduardo Nunez is expected to finish the season at 2.117 if he doesn’t get optioned to the minors at some point, so only two days short of the projected cutoff. Even though he’s been a bench player for most of his big league career, the difference between qualifying and not qualifying as a Super Two is a couple hundred grand in salary next year. It’s not insignificant. The projected Super Two cutoff is not final and can change over the next few months depending on roster movement around the league. · (7) ·
1. YES had an interesting graphic displayed during last night’s game. It showed which teams had the lowest batting averages in the American League versus left-handed pitching. As you may have expected, the Yankees (.199) were number two on this dubious list, trailing only the offensively inept Mariners (.189). What you may not have known, was that among the five worst lefty hitting teams, three teams came from the AL East. Trailing right behind the Yankees are the Red Sox (.215) and the Blue Jays (.220). The White Sox (.243) round out the bottom five.
We knew this would be an issue coming into the season given the configuration of the lineup. However, as is so often the case, we are either unaware of dismissive of the rest of the league’s struggles in relation to our own. Ideally, the Yankees simply would not have such drastic splits. However, seeing as they do, it’s of some comfort to know that some of their divisional rivals are experiencing the same dilemma. Perhaps, to some degree, this makes one of the Yankees more noticeable vulnerabilities a bit less alarming at the moment. Obviously, it’s still a problem the team should look to address as quickly as possible. You know their competition will look to as well.
2. Yesterday was a pretty gratifying win. Hiroki Kuorda didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept the team in the game. We saw some displays of power from both likely and unlikely contributors, and of course we enjoyed the perks of a dominant bullpen. On top of that, the Yankees managed a come-from-behind win (against a lefty no less). Ideally, the Yankees won’t get into the habit of trailing the other team. However, it’s good to know that when they do they can muster up some resilience occasionally. We’ve seen them come from behind several times this year already – a few times against the Diamondbacks and against the Rays if memory serves. These early season wins are especially gratifying while the team is navigating through all the injuries.
3. How about Robinson Cano? Turns out he’s pretty good. He looked lost at the plate against the Red Sox and Tigers in the first two series of the season. Since then, well … he’s been himself. He’s now batting .322/.372/.632 (.424 wOBA, 171 wRC+). He’s tied for fifth in all of baseball in home runs (with seven), and trails only Chris Davis and J.P. Arencibia in the American League (with eight). Not too shabby, especially considering his position. What is interesting though, is that his K% is a few percentage points higher than his career norms in the early goings of the season. That said, I would certainly expect that to normalize as the season progresses a bit further (but we’ll keep an eye on it nevertheless). If the Yankees are going to have any kind of sustained success this season, they’ll need Robinson’s bat to remain hot — especially if some of the other overachievers begin to slow down.
4. Since it’s Friday and I’m feeling frivolous, let’s take a quick pit stop into the world of arbitrary and meaningless observations. Yesterday was my 29th birthday and the Yankees won, which was perfect. I remember telling my wife that it had seemed like forever since the last time the Yankees won on my birthday. Well, as it turns out, that wasn’t too far from the truth. The last time they won on the 25th of April was 2006. Since 1984, they’ve gone 9-16 (there were five off days since that time). So there’s that.
Got six questions this week, so I tried to keep the answers reasonably short. The Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the way to go to send us questions, comments, links, complaints, whatever.
Brad asks: With the Dodgers recent injury bug to their rotation and the news of Derek Jeter being out until late July at the earliest, would it make sense to swap Ivan Nova to LA for perhaps Mark Ellis and a reliever?
Yes and no. The Dodgers started the year with eight legitimate starters for five spots, but they’ve since traded Aaron Harang and lost Zack Greinke (collarbone), Chris Capuano (calf), and Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery) to injury. Behind Clayton Kershaw they have Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ted Lilly, and rookie Stephen Fife. I’m sure they’re in the market for a fill-in starter.
I’ve always been open to trading Nova, but Ellis wouldn’t work because he can’t play any position other than second base. Jerry Hairston Jr. would be a better fit, maybe even Luis Cruz if you think he’s better than his -52 wRC+ suggests. Los Angeles has a ton of relievers, good ones too, so there would be a fit there. I don’t like the idea of trading Nova for a utility man and a reliever though, even if it would fill two fringe roster needs. I’d rather use him as the second or third piece in a package for an impact player and instead trade prospects for infield and bullpen help.
Isaac asks: Would the Yanks ever consider extending Brett Gardner before he hits free agency? If so, what kind of deal makes sense? Does Carlos Gomez’s extension with the Brewers work as a baseline?
I think there’s a small possibility they would, but Gardner strikes me as a year-to-year guy because of his injury history. The thing that worries me most is that he’s going to be 30 this summer, and he’s the type of player who will lose his value very quickly once his speed starts to slip. I don’t really want to be on the hook for that decline.
The framework of Gomez’s deal actually works very well. His new four-year pact covers his final arbitration year and three free agent years for $28.3M total, and his $4.3M salary in 2013 should be similar to Gardner’s salary next season. An $8M average value for the following three years is reasonable. Gomez is several years younger with more power (and more raw tools in general), but he hasn’t had the same kind of success as Gardner. The Brewers bought potential. Eight million bucks a year for Brett’s age 31-33 seasons seems fine, I just worry about a quick descent into uselessness if the speed slips.
Tarik asks: Do you think Al Aceves‘ release was motivated by behavioral issues that just weren’t made public, or did Brian Cashman just not think he’d recover well from his injury? (Had to shorten the question, sorry Tarik.)
After seeing how things have played out the last 2+ years, I definitely think Aceves’ nutcase ways played a role in the team’s decision to release him. The back and collarbone problems likely contributed as well, but someone with the Yankees screwed up there. He healed just fine in time for Opening Day after the club’s doctors said he would miss the first few weeks.
I’m guessing the Yankees did a better job of keeping any behavioral incidents under wraps than the Red Sox have, or maybe the veteran clubhouse just did a better job of keeping him in line. Hell, maybe Aceves was on his best behavior with New York because he was a rookie back then. We don’t really know. It’s easier to understand why they released him nowadays, but I still can’t help but wonder if they could have found a trade partner.
I think that’s possible but unlikely. The Yankees love athletes first and foremost, and Flores is a bat first player. A bat first player who has yet to show much power at that. Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams both provide a ton of value in the field, more than they do at the plate really, while Tyler Austin is simply a better hitter. I like Flores a lot — I didn’t rank him fifth on my preseason top 30 prospects list out of boredom — but he’s clearly behind the other guys for me. He’s underrated, but I would hope the team doesn’t value him more than their other outfield prospects.
Mark asks: Are you in favor of bringing up Zoilo Almonte? If we’re going to get zero production from Ben Francisco as an extra outfielder – why not bring someone up who can at least provide defensive and base running value. Shame that Thomas Neal got hurt.
Not particularly, no. Almonte’s off to a really great start this year (125 wRC+) and he’s drawing a ton of walks (20.5%), but the book on him is that his left-handed swing is ahead of his right-handed swing. That’s typical and it’s just a repetition thing because there are way more righty pitchers than lefties. His splits since the start of 2010 — .267/.324/.433 against lefties, .282/.349/.487 against righties — bear that out.
The Yankees should absolutely be looking for a Francisco replacement, though. Neal was probably the best internal candidate, but he just went down with a hamstring injury. Melky Mesa is back to his super high strikeout ways, so he’s not really a big league candidate at the moment. I guess that makes Zoilo the top option by default, especially since Ronnie Mustelier is still sidelined. Mustelier would immediately become the top choice once healthy.
Celebrate! I don’t think the Yankees would dump Chris Stewart in favor of Romine, but I expect them to promote both Sanchez and Murphy at midseason. Romine and Murphy would just have to share catching and DH duties — Murphy can also squeeze in a few games at third base — at the Triple-A level for a few weeks. It’s not ideal but hardly the end of the world.