RHP Chien-Ming Wang will join the Triple-A Scranton rotation on Friday, the team announced. He had been working and getting stretched out in Tampa these last few weeks. I think it’s just a coincidence he’ll be lined up on the same day as Andy Pettitte, who is battling a back issue. Wang last pitched on Saturday and Friday gives him the typical extra day of rest.
Triple-A Scranton (1-0 win over Rochester)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
- CF Melky Mesa: 2-4, 1 3B
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 0-2, 2 BB — got picked off first … 12 walks in ten games after 25 walks in 106 games last year
- RF Thomas Neal: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 19 of 32 pitches were strikes (59%) … 12 strikeouts in seven innings so far
- RHP Cody Eppley: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 11 of 19 pitches were strikes (58%)
I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of baseball as a coping mechanism over the years, and the last 36 hours or so are no different. Anytime something tragic happens like what happened in Boston yesterday, I turn to baseball. I used to just watch it or read about it, maybe play a video game once upon a time, but nowadays I just write. I don’t know what else to do. As my pal Carson Cistulli put it: “Baseball is not a distraction, it’s a reason to be alive.”
The Yankees return to the field tonight following their third off-day in the last six days, but at least this one was scheduled. The other two were unplanned. The Diamondbacks are in the Bronx for the first interleague series of the year and the third time overall since the 2001 World Series, another time baseball helped me cope. I know I wasn’t alone back then. Here’s the lineup that will face right-hander Brandon McCarthy…
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Robinson Cano
- 3B Kevin Youkilis
- DH Travis Hafner
- LF Vernon Wells
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is #42 for a night, Ivan Nova. Oh yeah, the Yankees are honoring Jackie Robinson this evening after having yesterday off.
Tonight’s game is scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Andy Pettitte Update: Pettitte (back) threw 40 pitches in the bullpen this afternoon and said everything went fine. He expects to start on Friday, but the Yankees haven’t made anything official yet. They probably want to see how he feels the next few days before making anything final.
Mark Teixeira Update: Teixeira (wrist) will see a doctor at some point this evening for his latest checkup. He’s been simulating swings and running the bases hard, though he has yet to be cleared to swing a real bat. Tex has been doing everything but that, it seems.
The Yankees released right-hander David Aardsma just before the start of the season, but it wasn’t until late last week that he signed a minor league contract with the Marlins. Dan Barbarisi wrote about Aardsma’s life during those two weeks between the release and the new contract, two hectic weeks that were filled with unofficial workouts, canceled plans, and waiting for phone calls. It’s definitely not a side of the game we think about all that much. It’s a great piece and gets RAB’s highest level of recommendation. Check it out. · (19) ·
The 2013 amateur draft will be held from June 6-8 this year, and between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Kyle Devin | C
A Massachusetts kid who attends Lynn Classical High School just north of Boston, Devin played for the Yankees Area Code Games team last summer. In one game during the showcase, he threw out five attempted base-stealers while picking up two singles and a walk at the plate. He’s committed to Stony Brook.
Devin, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 lbs., stands out for the power in his bat and the power in his arm. The left-handed swinger puts on big power displays in batting practice and shows a very strong arm from behind the plate. The rest of Devin’s game is very raw — he didn’t start catching until his sophomore year — including his offensive approach and general receiving and footwork at the catcher position. Power at the plate and throwing strength are two skills you can’t teach though, and they’re what will get Devin drafted in June.
Neither Baseball America (subs. req’d) nor Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Devin as one of the 50 best prospects in the draft class in their most recent rankings, and in fact he didn’t even crack Baseball America’s list of the top 200 high school prospects. Devin is a definite project and the lack of polish is just too much to ignore. The Yankees do generally love players with his skillset though, meaning a catcher who hits for power (especially from the left side) and offers arm strength. Devin certainly seems like someone they could target in the later rounds of the draft.
We all knew the Yankees were going to rely on their pitching staff this year, especially early in the season. That’s why it was bummer to watch the starters allow a combined 15 runs in 23 innings during the first five games of the year (5.87 R/9). They’ve rebounded to allow just 11 runs in 39.1 innings in the last six games (2.52 R/9), but none of those last six starts were made by Ivan Nova.
Nova, 26, nibbled his way to four runs in 4.2 innings against the Tigers last week, putting himself in hitter’s counts and long at-bats all afternoon. The Yankees used last week’s rainouts to skip his turn, a move that wasn’t unjustified given not only his first start of the season, but also his second half a year ago. Nova was pretty dreadful down the stretch, remember. He will get the ball tonight in the series opener against the Diamondbacks on nine days rest.
“I always worry about starters the first time through to begin a season,” said Joe Girardi to Mark Feinsand following Nova’s first start. “I think they can get a little excited, they can get a little hyped up. Position players go through it for one day; for a pitcher, if you’re the second starter, it builds up a couple days. Third starter, it’s more, fourth starter it’s even more. I don’t judge them too quickly on their first starts, because that’s a concern. For him, it’s consistency down in the zone.”
Regardless of whether it’s consistency down in the zone or strike-throwing in general or something else entirely, Nova might be starting to run out of rope. He allowed 55 runs in his final 72 innings last summer (6.88 R/9) and by the time late September rolled around, Girardi went from not giving him a chance to work out jams (2.1 and 4.2 innings in his final two starts) to not giving him the ball entirely, skipping Ivan in favor of David Phelps in Game 161 with the division title on the line. Add it all together and it doesn’t seem like the team has a ton of faith in him at the moment.
“I have to look at it like a regular start … If I start doing anything differently, I’ll be in trouble,” said Nova to Dan Martin. “It’s tough when you’re not pitching good and you don’t get a chance to go out there for a lot of days. It’s a little bit frustrating … But I have to fight. I don’t think they’re worried about me and I don’t think they should be worried about me.”
Nova threw an extended bullpen session on Friday in an effort to stay sharp, but his issues extend beyond just staying sharp. His stuff is plenty good, but adjustments have to be made and his command needs to be refined. Perhaps working backwards and using the breaking ball earlier in counts would help, who knows? Given how CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have rebounded while Phil Hughes struggles and Andy Pettitte is sidelined with old man back, Nova is suddenly an important part of the rotation. Getting things straight and soon, as in tonight, is very important for the Yankees going forward.
Via the AP: Derek Jeter has scaled back his workload has he rehabs from left ankle surgery/setback in Tampa. He took five rounds of batting practice in addition to fielding 21 ground balls and running in straight line yesterday, compared to fielding many more balls and running the bases last week.
Jeter, 38, did not do any rehab work over the weekend, which Brian Cashman confirmed to Andrew Marchand was planned. I don’t think this qualifies as a setback since he’s still doing some baseball activity, but it’s not terribly encouraging that the Cap’n had to reduce his work lately. I think we’ve all been expecting him to ramp it up a little more, if anything. Either way, it sounds like Jeter is still a long ways off from returning, and that’s not good news. · (78) ·
This Yankees were off on Monday and will open their first interleague series of the season tonight, as the Diamondbacks come to town for a three-game set. Counting the currently injured Derek Jeter, only five players from the 2001 World Series remain active in the big leagues: Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Randy Choate, and Alfonso Soriano. That’s it. Doesn’t that series seem like it was just yesterday? Where does the time go…
1. The Blue Jays designated Casper Wells for assignment yesterday, the second time the right-handed hitting outfielder has been cut loose in the last two weeks or so. He’s a useful player — career 132 wRC+ against lefties (in limited time) with solid defensive numbers — who has gotten overrated the last year or two, which tends to happen when part-timers have some success. That said, I think he’s an obvious upgrade over Ben Francisco and someone the Yankees should try to acquire given their general vulnerability against left-handed pitchers. At least four teams claimed Wells off waivers from the Mariners according to Jason Churchill, so the Bombers aren’t going to be able to acquire him that way. They’ll have to go out and make a trade with a division rival to make it happen. Tough to see it getting done.
2. Speaking of that vulnerability against southpaws, the Yankees lucked out quite a bit with their early season schedule. After seeing Jon Lester on Opening Day, they saw nine straight right-handed starters before the Orioles threw Wei-Yin Chen on Sunday. It would have been eleven straight right-handed starters if not for the two rainouts in Cleveland. That won’t happen very often and the Yankees are lucky it did so early in the season. Things will change though, they’re scheduled to see two lefties during the D’backs series (Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin) and a total of five lefties in the next eight games (Mark Buehrle, Matt Moore, and David Price are the others). I won’t call any stretch of games in April a “defining stretch,” but these next eight days will play a big role in how well the Yankees can stay in the hunt before their players start to get healthy.
3. I’m not going to lie, Andy Pettitte’s back trouble has me pretty worried. The combination of his age and the fact that he hasn’t had a full season in four years has me thinking nagging injuries could be the norm this summer. I mean, it took two whole starts before something started barking. Maybe the back will be a one-time thing or maybe he’ll have to have starts pushed back due to aches and pains all year, but I feel like carrying two long-ish men in the bullpen (Adam Warren and David Phelps) is more of a necessity than a luxury right now. Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova certainly contribute to need that as well.
OF Slade Heathcott is still day-to-day with his neck strain, according to Mike Ashmore. Given his injury history and all-out style of play,”day-to-day” actually seems like an apt nickname. 2B Angelo Gumbs was placed on the DL today as well, hopefully for nothing involving the elbow.
Triple-A Scranton (10-1 win over Rochester)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 3-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI — had just three hits in his previous 20 at-bats (.150)
- 3B David Adams: 2-5, 2 R
- CF Zoilo Almonte: 4-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB — seven hits in his last seven at-bats
- C Austin Romine: 3-3 — left the game due to injury in the fifth, but I don’t know what happened … hopefully it was just a foul tip and not the back or anything
- RF Melky Mesa: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 RBI
- LHP Vidal Nuno: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 65 of 99 pitches were strikes … I feel like “Hopalong” would be a good nickname, “Hopalong Nuno”
The Yankees are off today, but baseball seems kinda pointless given everything that is going on in Boston right now. I hope all you from the area or you have friends and family in the area or whatever … I truly hope everything is okay. This is horrifying. Please keep everyone in your thoughts and forget about baseball tonight. Focus on what’s important. · (155) ·
Via Dan Martin: There is still no timetable for Curtis Granderson and his fractured right forearm to resume swinging a bat. “Swinging was something that could happen,” he said yesterday. “The timetable of when is still to be determined. After further consultation with the doctors and trainers, they decided to make sure I’m good throwing before I start to swing.”
Granderson, 32, was cleared to resume throwing last week. Because he missed all but of five pitches of Spring Training, he figures to need a longer than usual minor league rehab assignment. This won’t be a two or three day thing, he might need a week or ten days to prepare for the season. Maybe more. Joe Girardi said a May 1st return date is probably a little optimistic, but once Granderson is given the okay to start swinging a bat, they’ll have a much better idea of when he’ll be able to return to the lineup. · (13) ·