The Yankees have won seven of their first eight games against the Blue Jays this year, which is pretty close to the best case scenario. Regardless of what happened elsewhere around the league, the Bombers had to take care of business against their division rivals if they wanted to compete despite all of the injury problems. They’ve certainly laid a beating on Toronto so far. Here’s the lineup the Yankees are running out there against right-hander Brandon Morrow…
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- DH Travis Hafner
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- RF Curtis Granderson – first career start in right
- SS Jayson Nix
- 3B David Adams
- C Austin Romine
And on the mound is the former Mat-Su Miner in the collegiate summer Alaska Baseball League, right-hander David Phelps.
It’s a little overcast in New York, but there’s no threat of rain or anything. The game is scheduled to start a few minutes after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Eduardo Nunez Update: Nunez (ribcage) is expected to start hitting in the batting cage in a few days. He’s eligible to come off the DL next Tuesday, but David Adams’ nice start and the recently acquired Reid Brignac means there’s no need to rush him.
12:39: Gonzalez has indeed been designated for assignment, the team announced. Brignac will join the team tomorrow, so they’ll be a player short this afternoon.
11:37: Another day, another infielder. The Yankees have acquired Reid Brignac from the Rockies for just $75k in cash, reports Jon Heyman. He’s basically free, at least in baseball terms. No word on the corresponding roster move(s), but I assume he’ll replace Alberto Gonzalez. The team has not yet officially announced anything.
Brignac, 27, was designated for assignment by the Rockies a few days ago. He’s the second infielder New York has acquired from Colorado this month, joining Chris Nelson. Brignac hit .250/.294/.375 (65 wRC+) before being cut, and his career line is .228/.270/.321 (60 wRC+) in 769 plate appearances. He won’t steal any bases or draw walks (career 4.9 BB%). You surely remember him from his time with the Rays from 2008-2012.
As a left-handed bat who grades out as an average or better defender at the three non-first infield positions, Brignac is a marginal upgrade over Gonzalez. He’s probably better suited to play shortstop everyday than Jayson Nix and the currently injured Eduardo Nunez as well, at least against right-handers. The Yankees should be all about marginal upgrades at this point, every little bit of help counts. No word on when he’ll join the team.
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees have not yet had contract extension talks with either Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman. Cashman is under contract through 2014, so that’s no big deal, but Girardi’s deal expires after this season. The Yankees do not negotiate new contracts until the current one expires thanks to their archaic team policy, and right now I have no reason to believe they won’t try to bring Girardi back after the season. The team is far exceeding post-injury expectations and the credit for that deservingly goes to the manager. If Girardi doesn’t return, my guess it will be his decision — wants a new challenge, another club makes a huge offer, burnout, etc. — and not the team’s. · (9) ·
RHP Rafael DePaula placed fifth on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. He’s struck out 69 of 159 batters faced this year (43.4%). Meanwhile, the Yankees have signed 3B Josh Bell according to Chris Cotillo. Bell, 26, was a big prospect just a few years ago, but he’s been done in by poor plate discipline and an 80 swing-and-miss tool. He’s just a warm body for the Triple-A roster, I’ll be surprised if we see him with the big league team at any point.
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Toledo in ten innings)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 0-5, 2 K
- RF Brennan Boesch: 1-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K – hopefully he gets a few games in at first base while down here
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 0-5, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) — nine hits in his last 41 at-bats (.220)
- 2B Ronnie Mustelier: 3-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI — drove in the go-ahead run in the tenth … seven hits in his last 16 at-bats (.438)
- DH Josh Bell: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K
- RHP Graham Stoneburner: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 4/9 GB/FB — 57 of 99 pitches were strikes
- RHP Sam Demel: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 29 of 51 pitches were strikes
- LHP Clay Rapada: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 11 of 17 pitches were strikes (65%)
The Yankees dropped their last two games to the Mariners, but Hiroki Kuroda made sure his team avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season. The right-hander allowed just two hits and one walk across eight scoreless innings on Friday night, leading the Yankees to their seventh win in eight games against the new-look (but still-awful) Blue Jays. Let’s recap…
- #HIROK: After former Yankee Melky Cabrera doubled to leadoff the game, not a single Toronto hitter made it beyond first base against Kuroda. He sat down 19 of the next 20 men he faced and threw only 20 of his 108 pitches from the stretch. This was Kuroda at his best — lots of weak contact and easy outs. When the Yankees needed a strong outing to spare their short bullpen and pickup a weak lineup, he was up to the task and then some. Love this guy.
- Early Runs: Mark Buehrle has had a rough go of it in the AL East, and Yankees jumped on him early for a one-run lead. Brett Gardner saw Melky’s leadoff double and raised him a leadoff triple, then came in to score on Robinson Cano‘s ground out. Jayson Nix plated an insurance run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth, then the Bombers blew it open with a three-run seventh. Austin Romine‘s two-strike double opened the floodgates, plating one run and setting up two more. That third time through the order did in Buehrle.
- Leftovers: Preston Claiborne finished things off with a scoreless ninth, though he did put men at second and third before recording the final out … David Adams continued to impress with a 2-for-4 night that included a ground-rule double and two runs scored … Romine and Gardner had two knocks apiece while Nix didn’t have an official at-bat, instead walking twice and hitting two sac flies … the 3-6 hitters went a combined 1-for-16 with a walk and five strikeouts … for the fifth time in the last six games, the Yankees did not hit a homer … in case you’re wondering, the Rangers are the only other team in baseball without a three-game losing streak.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees remain atop the AL East by one game over the Red Sox and two over the Orioles. They’ll send David Phelps to the mound on Saturday afternoon against Brandon Morrow. Check out RAB Tickets for last minute … well, tickets.
The Yankees just lost two of three to Mariners, only their fifth series loss in 14 tries this year. Two of their series wins have come against the Blue Jays, who are in town for another three games starting tonight. Come Monday, one out of every four games the Yankees have played this year will have been against the new-look Jays.
Toronto is still stuck in last place in the AL East, but they’re playing way better than they were a few weeks ago. They’ve won four straight and seven of their last ten, and the offense has scored at least ten runs in each of their last three games. The Yankees are going to have to be at their best to win a third straight series against their division rivals to the north. Southpaw Mark Buehrle is on the bump, and here’s the lineup he’ll face…
- CF Brett Gardner
- SS Jayson Nix
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- DH Ben Francisco
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- 3B David Adams
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- C Austin Romine
Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will be on the mound for the Bombers. The game is scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on My9. Enjoy.
Travis Hafner Update: Hafner (shoulder) took batting practice and said he’s available to pinch-hit. If a right-hander was on the mound, he would have started.
The Yankees have placed left-hander Andy Pettitte on the 15-day DL with a strained left trap. He left last night’s start with what was described as tightness. Fellow southpaw Vidal Nuno has been recalled from Triple-A to take the roster spot.
Pettitte, 40, was “pretty spasmed up” according to Brian Cashman. He’s pitched to 3.83 ERA and 4.12 FIP in 49.1 innings so far, numbers that are basically vintage Andy. He missed a start with lower back tightness a few weeks ago, but the trap is up higher, between the neck and shoulder blade. The 25-year-old Nuno has throw eight shutout innings with the big league team his year, include five in a spot start against the Indians earlier this week. · (13) ·
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.
Jordan Paroubeck | OF
Paroubeck attends Sierra High School in San Mateo, California, and he’s had a pretty great hitting coach this spring: Barry Bonds. His father is a childhood friend of the seven-time MVP, so he’s received private lessons all spring. Paroubeck is committed to Fresno State.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 lbs., Paroubeck is a standout athlete with loud tools. He’s a switch-hitter with a quick and easy swing from both sides of the plate, and he’s shown very good power potential as both a righty and a lefty. I’m sure Bonds has been in his ear about the value of plate discipline and waiting for his pitch as well. Both Paroubeck’s speed and arm are above-average at the moment, allowing him to steal bases and be an asset in center field. He could slow down and wind up in a corner down the road, but that move is not imminent. Paroubeck is raw and needs plenty of refinement, but his upside is quite enormous. There are some more videos available on YouTube.
Keith Law (subs. req’d) and Baseball America ranked Paroubeck as the 52nd and 62nd best prospect in the draft class in their latest rankings, respectively. He’s a little bit of a project just because he’s so raw, but anytime you have a true switch-hitter with power potential from both sides of the plate to go along with defensive skills, he’ll get drafted in the top round or two. The Yankees adore up-the-middle athletes and they have three early picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd), but I think grabbing Paroubeck with their second rounder (66th) would be ideal. He might not last that long though.
Chris Stewart is day-to-day with a left groin injury after leaving last night’s game. The MRI came back clean, so he’ll avoid the DL and instead rest a few days. He is available in an emergency. Austin Romine will hold down the fort until Stewart is ready to return to the lineup. · (15) ·
Chris Nelson‘s brief tenure in pinstripes has come to a rather unceremonious end. Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez continue their respective paths to recovery. All of this adds up to a golden opportunity for rookie third baseman David Adams to showcase his skills for fans and scouts alike.
Adams, who was drafted in the third round by the Yankees back in 2008, has had some positive moments during his time in the minors. In 2012 he hit .306/.385/.450 (.377 wOBA, 133 wRC+) over 383 plate appearances with the Yankees AA affiliate after missing substantial time during the couple years prior. Up until a few nights ago when he got the call from the Yankees, he was hitting a fairly gaudy .316/.407/.490 (.407 wOBA, 153 wRC+) over 113 plate appearances in AAA. What’s more, the kid managed to get a hit during his big league debut and doubled in a run in his second game. Unfortunately, as I alluded too in Thursday’s RAB Live Chat and in the post’s title, my expectations for Adams are fairly tempered. Here’s why I think yours should be too.
1. It’s really hard to succeed in the Major Leagues in general. It’s really, really hard to sustain success once you do succeed. It’s especially hard for a young (and in this case, non-elite) prospect to join a MLB franchise and immediately have an impact with sustained success — especially when said player knows he’s probably a stopgap (though with Youk and A-Rod, the timetable may prove more substantial). This first point is kind of obvious, but I feel as though it’s still a point we fail to remember all too often regardless of the player’s pedigree.
2. Offensively, Adams displayed an advanced approach at the plate with good gap power during his time in the minors. He won’t be facing minor league pitchers anymore though. He’ll be facing experienced arms, and he’ll have to make the necessary adjustments as his weaknesses get exposed. This is not to say he can’t or won’t have an effective bat, just that we shouldn’t be overly surprised if his production deflates. One need only remember Jesus Montero for an example of an offensively potent minor leaguer who has been unable to adjust. Small mechanical flaws become big points of vulnerability. It happens, and it happens more often than not.
3. Adams was recruited as an above-average second baseman defensively. The ankle injuries have robbed him of his mobility, so much so the team moved him to third (although that may have also been partially influenced by A-Rod’s injury), where’s he’s also viewed as defensively mediocre if not substandard. If Adams struggles at the plate, his defense will be that much more important, and unfortunately for him, that much more scrutinized. The Yankees cannot afford to have a black hole in the line up — they’ll need Adams to prove himself capable at least in this department.
Note by Mike: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Adams’ defense so far. He’s no Adrian Beltre, but he’s been rock solid. At this point he’s probably the best defensive third baseman in the organization.
4. The injuries scare the crap out of me, quite frankly. Basically, since joining the organization, Adams has had a hell of a time staying on the field. Aside from showing dubious durability, he’s missed valuable developmental time — so much so the Yankees released him altogether to make room on the roster for Vernon Wells. In fact, at one point, he was playing four games in a row with a day off on the fifth during his time in the minors. The daily grind won’t get any easier with the Yankees. If he’s going to obtain a contract with a Major League team, he’s going to need prove himself capable of staying on the field — a trait often underappreciated.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to come across as completely bearish on Adams. As I noted above, he does have a solid approach at the plate, and the team will give him every opportunity to succeed. Plus he seems like a fun player to root for. Frankly, I hope he proves me dead wrong and thrives because that’d be awesome; it’d give the team options to consider on a lot of different levels. The point I’m trying to make here is that we shouldn’t endorse one of our home grown kids too heartily until he has some time to establish himself — honestly, the same should probably be said about all prospects in general.