The Yankees had a good day on Sunday, winning two games in two different countries. In Tampa, Masahiro Tanaka helped the club to a 7-4 win over the visiting Braves. He allowed one run on three hits and two walks in 4.1 innings before hitting his pitch count, striking out six. Forty-four of his 74 pitches were strikes, according to David Lennon. Ichiro Suzuki, Eduardo Nunez, and Ramon Flores all went 2-for-3 while Brian McCann had a two-run double. Mark Teixeira went 0-for-2 with a walk. Dellin Betances had his first shaky outing of the spring, allowing a run on a hit, a walk, and a hit batsman in one inning of work. Here are the box score and video highlights for that game.
Meanwhile, in Panama, the Yankees responded to being no-hit on Saturday by holding the Marlins to one hit on Sunday, shutting them out 7-0. CC Sabathia retired 15 of 16 batters faced (five strikeouts), with the only exception being an error by third baseman Zelous Wheeler. I couldn’t get the online feed to work, so I have no idea how Sabathia actually looked as far as command and velocity, but Bryan Hoch says he was sharp. Carlos Beltran singled, Yangervis Solarte went 3-for-5, Frankie Cervelli went 3-for-3, and Gary Sanchez hit a homer. Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and Alfonso Soriano went a combined 0-for-9. David Robertson walked one in an otherwise perfect inning. Here’s the box score (no highlights) for that game, and here is the rest from camp.
- Another roster cut: Manny Banuelos has been optioned down High-A Tampa, the team announced. Brian Cashman said Banuelos may start the season with High-A Tampa rather than Triple-A Scranton because of the weather, but nothing is decided yet. There are still 58 players in big league camp by my unofficial count. [Chad Jennings]
- Ivan Nova, David Phelps, and Michael Pineda were among those to throw their scheduled bullpen sessions. Tyler Austin (wrist) took batting practice and is expected to get into a game this week. Brendan Ryan (oblique) hit and fielded grounders today, and is expected to have a full workout tomorrow. Russ Canzler (hip) is feeling better but he is still receiving treatment and has yet to resume workouts. [Jennings]
- Sabathia said he planned to speak to Mariano Rivera about his work-in-progress cutter while in Panama. Couldn’t speak to a better guy about the pitch, but I wouldn’t expect Sabathia’s to become lethal like Rivera’s just because they chatted. [Dan Barbarisi]
- And, in case you were wondering, the Yankees did bring a jersey to Panama for Rivera. They were lobbying him to play center field, but Joe Girardi said the jersey was so Mo could spend a few innings in the dugout. [Barbarisi]
This is your opening thread for the evening. If you missed Tanaka earlier or just want to see him again, YES is replaying this afternoon’s game at 7pm ET. MLB Network will re-air two games later tonight as well. Feel free to talk about whatever you like right here.
Looking for some Sunday morning reading? Here’s a great piece from Jorge Arangure on Shingo Horie, Masahiro Tanaka’s translator. Arangure goes into Horie’s background (he applied for the job despite having no translating experience), the relationship between the two men (they first met the day of Tanaka’s introductory press conference), and why Japanese players are given individual interpreters rather than sharing one. It’s really interesting stuff, so check it out. Comes with RAB’s highest level of recommendation. · (2) ·
It has been a little while, but we’ll finally get our third look at Masahiro Tanaka this afternoon. He was effective in his first two Grapefruit League appearances (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and his last outing was a simulated game, the first of his life. Tanaka threw 63 pitches in that four-inning simulated game last week, and today he’s scheduled for five innings or 75 pitches. We’ll get a nice extended look this afternoon.
The Yankees will be without Jacoby Ellsbury today after he was scratched from the lineup with minor calf tightness. Acting manager Rob Thompson told reporters he was scratched as a precaution and it is one of those “he would have played if it was the regular season” things. Ellsbury will not travel for tomorrow’s game either, so he will get two straight days off. Considering his game is built around speed, any kind of leg problem is worth keeping an eye on. Scratching him is a no-brainer.
The Braves are down from Orlando for this afternoon’s game and they’re going to be a nice test for Tanaka. Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Ryan Doumit, Dan Uggla, Andrelton Simmons, and both Upton brothers are in their starting lineup. Right-hander Julio Teheran will be on the mound. Here is the Yankees’ starting lineup:
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- LF Ramon Flores
- DH Peter O’Brien
- CF Mason Williams
- 2B Ali Castillo
SP Masahiro Tanaka
Available Pitchers: LHP Matt Thornton, RHP Dellin Betances, RHP Shawn Kelley, and RHP Shane Greene are also scheduled to pitch. RHP Caleb Cotham, LHP Aaron Dott, LHP Tyler Webb, and SwP Pat Venditte are the extra arms.
Available Position Players: C Francisco Arcia, 1B Kyle Roller, SS Carmen Angelini, 3B Rob Segedin, LF Ben Gamel, and RF Taylor Dugas will all come off the bench. C Austin Romine, 1B/3B Zach Wilson, and 2B Rob Refsnyder are also available.
In addition to the game against the Braves, the Yankees are also playing the Marlins in the second game of the Legends Series down in Panama this afternoon. I don’t have a lineup for that game, but CC Sabathia is starting. That game will start at 2pm ET and you can watch right here (h/t @PanamaHitek). As for the game in Tampa, the weather is great (little cloudy with temperatures in the 70s with no threat of rain) and first pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET. You can watch that game live on both YES and MLB.tv. Enjoy.
Alright, now this is pretty funny. The Yankees were no-hit by four Marlins pitchers in the first game of the two-game Legends Series down in Panama tonight. The final score was 5-0. I don’t have the box score handy, but you can find it on MLB.com. They Yankees are never going to win the Grapefruit League World Series at this rate. · (8) ·
The Yankees lost 2-1 to the Orioles this afternoon and they’ve now won just one of their last seven Grapefruit League games. If you ask me, that means the team is doomed. (It doesn’t.) Vidal Nuno had a nice little start, allowing just one hit and one walk in four scoreless innings. He struck out three. Danny Burawa gave up a solo homer to Chris Davis and Mark Montgomery allowed a run on a double, a wild pitch, and a sac fly.
Brian Roberts had a good day at the plate against his former club, going 2-for-3 with two singles. I don’t know if he’ll be healthy or hit much this year, but Roberts has consistently had long at-bats both this spring and throughout his career (career 9.8 BB% and 3.98 P/PA). That’s a pretty good trait for a number eight or nine hitter. Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3 and both Kelly Johnson and Austin Romine went 0-for-2 with a walk. Ramon Flores had a nice spot start with a single and a double in two at-bats. Francisco Arcia accounted for the team’s only run with a solo homer. Here’s the box score, here are the video highlights, and here’s the rest from an otherwise slow day in Tampa.
- Larry Rothschild seemed to indicate Masahiro Tanaka will start the fourth game of the season, both as a way to give him extra rest early in the season and also split him up with Hiroki Kuroda, since they have similar styles. Tanaka, meanwhile, said the MLB ball gives his splitter “more bite compared to balls in Japan,” which is something he’s still adjusting to. [Wally Matthews, Brendan Kuty]
- There were no workouts scheduled for the guys who did not travel to play the Orioles this afternoon. Eduardo Nunez is fine after being spiked in yesterday’s game and could have played today, though he wasn’t scheduled to travel. Brian Roberts fouled a ball of his foot yesterday and is fine; he played six innings this afternoon. Russ Canzler received treatment today after being scratched from yesterday’s game with hip stiffness. [Chad Jennings]
- The Yankees are playing the Marlins at 9pm ET in Panama tonight and the game is not on any of the normal television networks. It will air on TV Max if you get that channel and it may be broadcast online right here. Not sure if it actually will though. Thanks to @Mikhel2 for the heads up.
This is your open thread for the night. This afternoon’s game will not be replayed anywhere but MLB Network will air both the Red Sox-Phillies and Dodgers-White Sox live later tonight. The Nets, Devils, and Islanders are all playing tonight as well. Talk about anything and everything right here.
In an Insider-only piece, ESPN ranked all 30 teams based on what amounts to the health of the franchise going forward. Strength of the Major League roster and farm system were considered, ditto the team’s finances, management, and roster flexibility. The Red Sox top the rankings with a score of 89.1 (out of 100) while the Marlins bring up the rear at 20.4. The Cardinals (82.3) are the only other team over 76.
The Yankees dropped to 13th with a score of 51.6. They have progressively fallen from second (79.6) before the 2012 season to fifth (65.9) before last season to 11th (53.8) after last season. From what I see, the Yankees held steady in the Major League talent, financial, and management categories while dropping in farm system and roster flexibility. Makes sense. These rankings don’t really mean anything, but by far the easiest way for New York to climb will be improving their minor league system. · (27) ·
This afternoon’s game is going to be one of the most Spring Training-iest games we may ever see. The Yankees are on the road in more ways than one — half the team is in Panama and the other half is supposed to travel to Sarasota to play the Orioles. Except most of the regulars who stayed in Florida will not made the hour-long bus trip south. The travel roster for today’s game is as diluted as it can possibly get.
On the mound is left-hander Vidal Nuno, who is making his first Grapefruit League appearance in about two weeks. He’s been throwing simulated games and bullpen sessions, but other pitchers have been drawing the Spring Training starts. It’s pretty obvious at this point Nuno is at best a long shot for the fifth starter’s spot. He could still win a bullpen job, sure, but I think an assignment to Triple-A Scranton to serve as the designated sixth (or seventh) starter is in the cards.
The Orioles’ lineup isn’t much better this afternoon. In fact, their outfield alignment from left to right is former Yankee Steve Pearce, Nelson Cruz, and Delmon Young. Yes, Nelson Cruz is playing center field. That’s as bad a defensive outfield as you’ll ever see. Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon is scheduled to throw an inning in today’s game after having his spring debut delayed by visa trouble. The Yankees had some interest in him over the winter. Here’s the lineup acting manager Rob Thomson is sending out there:
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- C Austin Romine
- LF Ramon Flores
- CF Mason Williams
- DH Kyle Roller
- SS Carmen Angelini
- 1B Francisco Arcia
That is some lineup. As bad as some of last season’s lineup were, they were never that bad. Nuno will be on the bump and he’s scheduled for four innings or 60 pitches, whichever comes first.
Available Pitchers: RHP Brian Gordon, RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Diego Moreno, and RHP Joel De La Cruz are all scheduled to pitch. Moreno was part of the A.J. Burnett trade and De La Cruz was reported the pitcher Brian Cashman wanted to send to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano instead of Corey Black. RHP Shane Greene, RHP Manny Barreda, RHP Graham Stoneburner, RHP Branden Pinder, and RHP Charley Short are also available if needed.
Available Position Players: C Peter O’Brien, 1B Zach Wilson, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Cito Culver, 3B Rob Segedin, LF Ben Gamel, CF Jake Cave, and RF Taylor Dugas will be the second string off the bench. C Wes Wilson, UTIL Ali Castillo, and IF Dan Fiorito also made the trip.
The weather in New York is just gorgeous today, as is the weather in Sarasota. No clouds, temperatures in the low-70s, no threat of rain. Perfect day, pretty much. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch live on MLB Network and MLB.tv, or MASN if you’re in the Baltimore area. There is no YES Network broadcast. Enjoy the game.
The Yankees blew an early three-run lead and lost to the Twins by the score of 7-3 this afternoon. Jacoby Ellsbury (double), Brian Roberts (double), and Mark Teixeira (single) start the games off with hits, then Minnesota’s staff retired 26 of the final 29 batters they faced. The only exceptions were walks to Teixeira (one) and Ramon Flores (two). The final eleven Yankees to bat made outs.
David Phelps was alright, allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in four innings. He struck out four and was both up in the zone and running deep counts a little too much. Not the most efficient outing. Manny Banuelos was all over the place, walking two and allowing two (bloop) hits in one-third of an inning. He was charged with four runs to raise his spring ERA to 63.00. Dellin Betances was excellent again, inheriting a bases loaded, one-out jam and escaping with a strikeout and ground out. He then tacked on another scoreless inning and retired all five batters he faced. Here’s the box score and the video highlights, and here’s the rest from camp.
- The Yankees contingent in Panama took a tour of the Panama Canal today. George King has a story on the tour with a bunch of photos. The Yankees will play a pair of exhibition games against the Marlins at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City this weekend, though I still have no idea of those games will be on television anywhere.
- Hiroki Kuroda and Shawn Kelley threw their scheduled bullpen sessions. Tyler Austin (wrist) took regular batting practice for the first time and Brendan Ryan (oblique) both hit and fielded grounders. [Chad Jennings]
- Eduardo Nunez got spiked on a take-out slide but told Jack Curry he is fine during an in-game interview. He said he should be able to play tomorrow.
This is your nightly open thread. This afternoon’s game will be replayed at 7pm ET on YES, plus MLB Network will air some different games later tonight. All three of the local hockey clubs are playing as well. Talk about anything you like right here.
Via Anthony Castrovince: Shin-Soo Choo confirmed the Yankees gave him 21 hours to accept their seven-year, $140M contract offer back in December. The team then pulled it off the table and signed Carlos Beltran for three years and $45M. I dunno, seems like if you give a prominent free agent less than a day to mull over an offer, you weren’t all that serious about signing him in the first place. Eh, whatever. Having two outfielders locked up for seven years probably isn’t a good idea anyway. · (52) ·
I can’t think of another high-profile trade that went as bad as quickly as the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda blockbuster two years ago. Both teams have gotten nothing from the deal — an especially painful nothing considering the opportunity cost of trading a top prospect or then-23-year-old starter — as all four players involved have either disappointed or gotten hurt. Some have done both. The trade has gone so wrong for both sides that it’s actually kinda fascinating.
That is all about to change, knock on wood. Michael Pineda, who showed up to his first camp with the Yankees overweight and was arrested to DUI soon thereafter, is finally healthy following a May 2012 procedure to repair a torn labrum, the kind of injury that can derail a promising career. The now-25-year-old made his first Spring Training start of 2014 yesterday and looked very much like an effective pitcher, striking out five of eleven batters faced in 2.2 scoreless innings. He also looked pretty rusty, but that is to be expected after such a long layoff.
“The best thing is, my shoulder is feeling great. When my shoulder is feeling good, I can pitch, I can compete. I’m happy with that,” said Pineda to Mark Didtler following yesterday’s start. His fastball velocity is more upper-80s/low-90s right now, a far cry from the mid-to-high-90s he showed with the Mariners three years ago, but it is only March and he should add a few ticks as the season progresses. That he is already touching 93 is promising. As a fastball-slider pitcher, velocity is pretty important to Pineda.
Now for the kicker: we have no idea what to expect out of Pineda this summer. He looks good now, but how will he look facing actual big leaguers every fifth day? What happens once he get 50 or 100 or 150 innings under his belt? Can he hold his stuff for 100+ pitches per start? These are all questions we can’t answer. Remember, the Yankees said they expected Pineda back last June. That didn’t work out. They can’t count on him for anything. Whatever he provides has to be treated as gravy.
And yet, if the season started today, I’m pretty sure Pineda would be the fifth starter. He’d have to be, right? He’s healthy and throwing well enough, plus he has the highest ceiling of the fifth starter candidates by frickin’ far. Actually, forget about ceiling. Pineda might be the best pitcher for the 2014 season out of the lot, nevermind 2015 and beyond. I also think there’s a “let’s finally get something out of this trade” line of thinking as well. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but I do think that mentality exists.
Even though he’s on a staff with an unknown in Masahiro Tanaka and the enigmatic Ivan Nova, Pineda is the biggest wildcard in the rotation heading into 2014. Probably on the entire roster, really. He could be a non-factor like the last two seasons or he could be their best pitcher. Well, maybe not. That’s probably a stretch. Pineda could wind up being their second best starter though, legitimately too. Not in a “everyone else fell apart so he’s number two by default” way. That ability is there. It’s just unclear if we will actually see it this summer.
The Yankees sunk a ton of money into Tanaka this winter to be the future of their rotation, but that does not lessen Pineda’s importance to the franchise going forward. It would be a big blow to the organization if he is unable to re-establish himself this season. The farm system doesn’t have much impact pitching on the immediate horizon and free agency is becoming a less effective to build a roster with each passing year. Pineda can still be rotation solution in both the short and long-term, but until he shows he’s up to the task, the Yankees can’t count on him.