Fan Confidence Poll: March 23rd, 2015

Record Last Week: 3-3 (31 RS, 26 RA)
Grapefruit League Record: 12-8-1 (82 RS, 70 RA)
Opponents This Week: @ Nationals (Mon. on MLBN, MLB.tv), vs. Tigers (Tues. on YES, MLBN, MLB.tv), vs. Mets (Weds. on YES, MLBN, MLB.tv), @ Rays (Thurs. on MLB.tv), @ Phillies (Fri. on MLB.tv), vs. Orioles (Sat. on YES, MLBN, MLB.tv), @ Astros (Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the “Features” menu in the nav bar above or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

Open Thread: March 22nd Camp Notes

The Yankees were three-hit by Matt Harvey and the Mets this afternoon, losing 6-0. CC Sabathia allowed four runs on five hits in 2.2 innings, including three homers. One of the homers was an inside the park job when Jose Pirela crashed into the outfield wall. Sabathia struck out four and was again sitting in the low-90s, which was good to see. I’m not too worried he’s leaving fastballs up after a ten-month layoff. He needs to get that ironed out though, sooner rather than later.

Mark Teixeira, John Ryan Murphy, and Nick Noonan had the three hits, all singles. Chase Headley drew a walk. Teixeira also stole second base for some reason. That seems like an unnecessary risk on March 22nd given his injury issues. Scott Baker allowed one hit across 4.1 scoreless innings and Chasen Shreve allowed two runs on three hits in 0.2 innings. One of the two runs came on Eric Campbell’s solo homer. Campbell’s a righty hitter. Here’s the box score, here are the video highlights, and here’s the rest from Tampa:

  • While the Yankees were on Florida’s east coast, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran were back in Tampa getting at-bats in minor league camp. A-Rod went 2-for-5 and Beltran went 2-for-4 with a walk, if you’re interested. Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, and Chase Whitley were among the guys scheduled to throw bullpen sessions. [Bryan Hoch, Brendan Kuty]
  • Betances will pitch Tuesday and Wednesday, his first set of back-to-back games this spring. Joe Girardi continues to decline to name a closer, meanwhile. “It’s kind of on the backburner for us,” he when asked about a timetable to name a ninth inning guy. [Hoch, Chad Jennings]
  • And finally, Brett Gardner was offered Derek Jeter‘s old locker since he is the longest tenured homegrown Yankee. “I told (equipment manager Rob Cucuzza) I thought he should leave it vacant. But he said he can’t leave it vacant forever, obviously,” said Gardner. What does Girardi think about someone taking Jeter’s spot so soon? “It’s a locker.” Yup. [Ken Davidoff]

This is your open thread for the evening. If you want to see Sabathia’s outing for yourself, this afternoon’s game will be replayed on YES at 7pm ET and both SNY and MLB Network at 8pm ET. The Knicks are playing right now, the (hockey) Rangers players play a little later tonight, and there’s a whole bunch of college hoops on as well. You folks know what to do with these threads by now, so have at it.

Update: Jose Pirela suffers concussion after colliding with outfield wall

7:21pm: The MRI showed no neck or spine injuries, according to Mark Feinsand. Pirela has been released from the hospital. All things considered, he escaped without major damage. Good news.

3:48pm: The CT scan came back normal and Pirela is now going for a cervical MRI, according to Marly Rivera.

2:37pm: The Yankees say Pirela has a concussion and is heading to the hospital for a CT scan to determine the severity, according to Jack Curry.

1:30pm: Utility man Jose Pirela left this afternoon’s game against the Mets after crashing hard into the center field wall. He landed hard on the ground as well. Here’s the play:

Pirela was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off the field. Given the way his head hit the warning track, it sure looks like a possible concussion. The Yankees have not yet made any sort of official announcement though. Stay tuned for any updates.

The Yankees are getting a look at Pirela’s versatility in camp by playing him in left and center fields. He’s an infielder by trade but has played the outfield in the minors, so it wasn’t an entirely new experience for him.

Pirela, 25, came into the day 10-for-27 (.370) with three doubles and two triples in Grapefruit League play. He’s making a push for a bench spot.

Spring Training Game Thread: Meet the Mets

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees will be on the east coast of Florida for their next two games, including this afternoon’s match with the Mets in Port St. Lucie. It’s a brand name pitching matchup too: CC Sabathia vs. Matt Harvey. Surely Sabathia is pumped to Harvey, right? “Not really. He’s not on my team. I’m curious to see how Tanaka looks. That’s my guy,” he said to Chad Jennings. Right answer!

Today’s reason to watch: Sabathia vs. Harvey! But mostly Sabathia, who is making his second official spring start and is probably slated to throw three innings and 45 pitches or so. His first Grapefruit League start was a mixed bag — his first inning was excellent, his second not so much — and he said his changeup in particular was not cooperating. So let’s see if Sabathia irons that out this afternoon.

The Mets are playing all of their regulars this afternoon other than Daniel Murphy, who is nursing a hamstring injury. It’ll be a nice test for Sabathia by mid-March standards. Here’s the Mets’ lineup card and here is Joe Girardi‘s starting nine:

  1. SS Didi Gregorius
  2. 2B Stephen Drew
  3. 3B Chase Headley
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Garrett Jones
  6. C John Ryan Murphy
  7. DH Brendan Ryan
  8. CF Jose Pirela
  9. LF Ramon Flores
    LHP CC Sabathia

Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Nick Noonan, 3B Cole Figueroa, LF Jonathan Galvez, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Aaron Judge, and DH Kyle Higashioka will be the second string off the bench. C Eddy Rodriguez, IF Dan Fiorito, and 1B/OF Tyler Austin drew the short straws and had to make the four-hour bus trip to be the extra players.

Available Pitchers: RHP Scott Baker, RHP Jose Ramirez, LHP Chasen Shreve, and RHP Chris Martin are scheduled to follow Sabathia. RHP Nick Rumbelow, LHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Nick Goody, LHP Tyler Webb, and RHP Danny Burawa are the extra arms.

The weather is nice in Port St. Lucie this afternoon. Mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid-to-high-80s but not oppressive humidity. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:10pm ET and can be seen on both YES and SNY locally as well as MLB.tv nationally. There’s no local blackout for MLB.tv. Enjoy the game, folks.

Open Thread: March 21st Camp Notes

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Thanks to a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees walked off with a 3-2 win over the Astros this afternoon. Eddy Rodriguez doubled in two runs to tie the game and Jake Cave sealed the win with a sacrifice fly. Carlos Beltran went 1-for-3, Mark Teixeira went 2-for-3, and both Brian McCann and Didi Gregorius went 1-for-2. Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Chris Young, and Stephen Drew were all hitless.

Michael Pineda started and allowed two runs on four hits in 3.2 innings. Both runs and three of the four hits came in the first inning. Pineda struck out six. Justin Wilson (1.1 innings), Andrew Miller (one inning), and Andrew Bailey (one inning) each struck out two and did not allow a run. Jacob Lindgren fanned one and allowed a hit in his scoreless inning. The bullpen allowed one hit, one walk, and struck out eight in 5.1 innings. Here’s the box score — the game wasn’t on television so are no video highlights available — and here’s the rest from Tampa:

  • Jose Ramirez was optioned to Triple-A, the Yankees announced. He’s officially out of the running for a bullpen spot. By my unofficial count, there are still 47 players in big league camp.
  • Bryan Mitchell and Masahiro Tanaka are starting Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Nathan Eovaldi, Esmil Rogers, and Mitchell were among the pitchers to throw bullpen sessions. [Sweeny Murti, Brendan Kuty, Chad Jennings]
  • The next two games are on Florida’s east coast, so the minor leaguers making the trip will play both games and stay in a hotel rather than ride the bus back and forth to Tampa. [Jennings]

This is your open thread for the evening. All the local hockey and basketball teams are in action except the Knicks. MLB Network is replaying some games tonight (not the Yankees) and of course there’s March Madness as well. Talk about whatever.

Weekend Links: Jeter, Matsui, Betances, Game 162, Cuba, In-Market Streaming

(Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

The Yankees are playing the Astros at 1:05pm ET this afternoon (Michael Pineda vs. Dallas Keuchel), but there will be no video broadcast of the game. No YES, no MLB.tv, no nothing. Lame. So, on this day with unwatchable Yankees baseball, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time.

Jeter, Matsui To Participate In Home Run Derby For Charity

Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui will square off in a Home Run Derby at the Tokyo Dome tomorrow to help raise money to support children affected by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region in 2011, reports the Associated Press. There will be over 600 participants in the event, including a group of baseball players from the Tohoku region, which was hit hardest by the disaster.

“(Derek) will make an enormous contribution to this event. He is a tremendous human being and was a great teammate and I’m sure the kids will be thrilled to see someone of his stature,” said Matsui to the Associated Press. Jeter and Matsui will also hold a baseball clinic for kids. Some photos of Jeter at sumo matches made the rounds a few days ago and I figured he was just on vacation. Great work by Jeter and Matsui to get together for charity. Hopefully some video of the Home Run Derby pops up soon.

The Deception & Dominance Of Betances

Owen Watson put together a really great article looking at an underrated part of Dellin Betances‘ game: his deception. We all know he throws high-90s with a nasty breaking ball, but his release point and delivery is incredibly consistent for both pitches, so hitters don’t get any sort of hint of what’s coming. This GIF is pretty great:

That’s two pitches laid over one another. One pitch is a 98 mph fastball (taken), the other an 82 mph curveball (swing and miss). Dellin’s delivery and release point are the same and both pitches look identical out of his hand. It’s basically impossible to tell whether a fastball or breaking ball is coming before the hitter’s brain has to tell his body to swing or not, hence all those called strikes he was getting on curveballs last year. They look like high fastballs out of the zone and hitter gives up.

Yankees Hired New Nutritionist This Offseason

The search for a competitive advantage extends beyond the field of play these days, with teams looking for ways to keep their players healthier through improved diet and rest. The Yankees hired a new nutritionist this offseason named Cynthia Sass, according to David Waldstein, and her job is to provide the team with the best possible diet and persuade players to eat it. “We’re trying to build a more perfect beast,” said Brian Cashman to Waldstein.

Teams typically provide players with two meals per day — breakfast and lunch for day games, lunch and dinner for night games — but they can’t force players to eat them. Sass, who spent the last eight years with the Rays and had previously worked with the Phillies and New York Rangers, has added healthy alternatives to the daily menu and will educate players, then adjust the menu based on their preferences. “I’m not there to shove it down their throat,” she said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. The goal is to make the best foods for athletes always available. If they want more of it, we’ll provide it.”

The Yankees have had nutrionists over the years — every team has — but the goal this winter was the refocus their efforts in hope of gaining a competitive advantage. The team also hired former minor league pitcher John Kremer as their “high performance science director” to coordinate the nutritionist, food preparation, medical staff, trainers, coaches … basically everyone who impacts team performance. Teams haven’t necessarily ignored the diet of their players, they just haven’t done as much to optimize it as you’d think. Sass was hired to do that for the Yankees.

MLB Schedules Every Game 162 At Same Time

In an effort to boost the drama and excitement of the final day of the regular season, MLB has scheduled Game 162 for every team at the exact same time this year, writes Bill Shaikin. All 15 games on October 4th — yes, the season ends October 4th — will begin at 3pm ET. The Yankees will be in Baltimore playing the Orioles that day.

“If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” said MLB COO Tony Petitti to Shaikin. “If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day.”

Last year the NL Central and second AL Wild Card spot came down to Game 162. The Pirates lost to the Reds, giving the Cardinals the division title and allowing St. Louis to scratch Adam Wainwright later that afternoon so he could start him in Game 1 of the NLDS. That sort of situation won’t happen this year. I love this idea and as a baseball fan I hope the final day of the regular season is pure chaos. Hopefully the Yankees are involved somehow.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

MLB Likely To Play Exhibition Game In Cuba In 2016

Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed to Brian Costa the league is likely to play a Spring Training game in Cuba next season. MLB has been in talks with the government about returning to the island as the two countries work to rebuild their relationship. MLB last played a game in Cuba in 1999, when the Orioles played the Cuban National Team.

“To the extent that we can play a role in helping the United States government effectuate a change in policy, that we’re following their lead and we’re acting in a way that’s consistent with what they want us to do, that’s an honor for us,” said Manfred to Costa. “The combination of their input and where we are in our calendar for 2015 makes the most likely point in time to be Spring Training of 2016. It’s not a three-day exercise to play a meaningful exhibition game in Cuba. You need a little lead time to get that done, to put everything together, to be able to broadcast it in the way that it deserves.”

It’s unclear right now if MLB would play a single exhibition game in Cuba or several. In the past the league has played two games when playing overseas, though traveling to Cuba is much easier than traveling to, say, Taiwan, like the Dodgers did in 2010. Anyway, the Yankees are baseball’s most recognizable and marketable team, so I suspect they will be given consideration for the game(s) in Cuba next spring. Imagine the Yankees vs. Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers or Jose Abreu and the White Sox with Orlando Hernandez throwing out the first pitch. That would be fun.

In-Market Streaming May Be On The Horizon

According to Josh Kosman, MLB will soon announce a deal allowing fans to stream games online in each team’s home market. So New Yorkers will be able to watch the Yankees and Mets on their iPad or laptop instead of sitting in front of a television. The particulars (cost, etc.) aren’t known yet, but Kosman says teams with their own networks will require fans to subscribe to the network to stream online. You won’t be able to simply purchase MLB.tv and watch the Yankees, you’ll have to subscribe to YES through their cable provider. That’s better than nothing, I guess.

Open Thread: March 20th Camp Notes

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees wrecked the Tigers this afternoon, beating them 11-2 thanks to a six-run first inning against Alfredo Simon in Lakeland. Alex Rodriguez (solo) and Rob Refsnyder (two-run) both went deep while Brett Gardner, Jonathan Galvez, and Slade Heathcott tripled. Brendan Ryan went 1-for-3 with a double in his Grapefruit League debut after dealing with a back problem for a few weeks. Brian McCann also went 1-for-2 with a walk.

Adam Warren started and took a firm hold on the fifth starter’s spot with five innings of one-run ball, striking out three and scattering four hits. Chase Whitley threw three scoreless innings out of the bullpen and is a long shot for the fifth starter’s job, but we shouldn’t forget about him either. One more pitching injury thrusts him into a more prominent role. There are no video highlights of this afternoon’s game because there was no broadcast, but here’s the box score and here are the rest of the day’s notes from Tampa:

  • The Yankees announced another round of roster cuts today: Tyler Austin, Danny Burawa, and Jose DePaula were all optioned to Triple-A while Mason Williams was optioned to Double-A. Wilking Rodriguez was reassigned to minor league camp as well. There are still 48 players in big league camp by my unofficial count.
  • Dellin Betances threw a simulated game this afternoon. His last two Grapefruit League outings were shaky and a simulated game better allows him to work with coaches and tweak his mechanics than a regular game. Ivan Nova, Jose Ramirez, and Vicente Campos threw bullpens today. [Brendan Kuty, Chad Jennings]
  • Joe Girardi remains non-committal about his Opening Day starter. Both CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka line up to pitch that day — Sabathia if he stays on a regular five-day schedule for the rest of spring, Tanaka if he stays on a six-day schedule as planned — and Girardi says they’ve yet to make a decision “because we haven’t got them built up enough to feel comfortable that they’re ready to go.” [Bryan Hoch, Jennings]
  • Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) told reporters yesterday he feels better and is “fully confident” he will be ready in time for Opening Day. The Yankees say they won’t worry unless he isn’t ready to return to game action by April 1st, five days before the start of the season. [Bryan Hoch]
  • The Yankees will be on Florida’s east coast the next two days, so A-Rod and Carlos Beltran will stay behind in Tampa and get a bunch of at-bats in minor league games. Alex is coming off his suspension and Beltran is coming back from offseason elbow surgery. [Mark Didtler]
  • Ty Hensley was among those to pitch in minor league camp today, which is great news. He was viciously attacked over the holidays and had his jaw wired shut, but he’s recovered well enough to return to game action. Great news. [Josh Norris]

Here is your open thread for the evening. MLB Network is showing the Reds and Giants live later tonight, if you’re desperate to see some baseball. The Devils, Knicks, and Nets are all playing and you’ve got a full slate of March Madness to watch as well. Have at it.

Update: Apparently there is one video highlight from today’s game. Here’s A-Rod’s homer: