Spring Training Game Thread: Mitchell’s Last Chance?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

By all accounts, the competition for the fifth starter’s spot is a two-man race between Adam Warren and Esmil Rogers. This afternoon’s start against the Nationals might be Bryan Mitchell‘s last chance to make some sort of statement and force his way into the fifth starter conversation. Or maybe his last chance to remain in the conversation for a big league roster spot in general, rotation or bullpen.

Mitchell has allowed four runs on eighth hits in four innings so far this spring, striking out four and walking one. The 23-year-old could use some more Triple-A time to work on his command, though I doubt he sees it that way. He wants to earn a big league job this spring, or at least make a good enough impression that he’s the first one called up when an extra starter is needed. If someone in Mitchell’s position isn’t thinking like that, then what’s the point of showing up to camp?

Today’s reason to watch: Mitchell, mostly. He needs to have a great outing to push his way into the fifth starter’s race and I’m not even sure that will be enough. An okay outing definitely won’t cut it. There’s also a nice crop of prospect power relievers slated to come out of the bullpen this afternoon. Chasen Shreve is scheduled to pitch again after pitching yesterday, making this his first set of back-to-back games in camp. Also, Bryce Harper’s playing for the Nats. That’ll be fun.

The Yankees are all the way on the other side of Florida to play the Nationals in Viera. Many of the minor leaguers who played in yesterday afternoon’s game stayed in a hotel last night rather than bus all the way to Tampa last night and back to Florida’s east coast again this morning. Here is Washington’s lineup and here is Joe Girardi‘s starting nine:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Chris Young
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. 1B Garrett Jones
  5. DH John Ryan Murphy
  6. SS Brendan Ryan
  7. RF Aaron Judge
  8. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  9. 3B Nick Noonan
    RHP Bryan Mitchell

Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Dan Fiorito, SS Cole Figueroa, 3B Jonathan Galvez, LF Tyler Austin, CF Ramon Flores, RF Slade Heathcott, and DH Eddy Rodriguez will be the second string off the bench. IF Ali Castillo and C Kyle Higashioka are the extra players.

Available Pitchers: RHP Kyle Davies, RHP Jose Ramirez, LHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Nick Rumbelow, and LHP Chasen Shreve are all scheduled to pitch after Mitchell. RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Kyle Haynes, RHP Cesar Vargas, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.

It’s pouring in Tampa, so it’s a good thing this game is on the other side of the state. There is a chance of rain in Viera though, meaning the game could be sloppy, delayed, or even cancelled. We’ll just have to wait and see. If they do play, this afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin 1:05pm ET and you can watch live on both MLB Network and MLB.tv. Neither will be blacked out in the team’s home market. Also, if you’re in the Nationals’ market, you can watch on MASN. Enjoy the game, y’all.

Padres have interest in Austin Romine, who hasn’t done enough to claim backup catcher spot

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Through the first three weeks of Grapefruit League play, Austin Romine has not forced the Yankees to consider using him as the backup catcher when the regular season begins in two weeks. Romine was going to have to have a huge spring for the team to take him north instead of John Ryan Murphy and it simply hasn’t happened.

Romine, 26, comes into today having gone 4-for-21 (.190) with one double this spring, and the Yankees have given him the opportunity to show what he could do. Romine has basically the same number of plate appearances as Murphy this spring (23 to 24) and he’s caught more innings (48 to 44). Only Brian McCann has seen more playing time among catchers.

All that playing time was both an opportunity and a showcase. Romine had a chance to show the Yankees he was a better option to back up McCann than Murphy as well as show other teams he was worth a spot on their roster. We heard the Phillies have interest in Romine ten days ago and now George King reports the Padres have interest as well.

San Diego’s interest in Romine makes sense — the Padres just lost backup catcher Tim Federowicz for the season with a knee injury that turned out to be more severe than expected. Derek Norris is the only healthy catcher on their 40-man roster, and while they do have ex-Yankee Wil Nieves in camp as a non-roster player (yes, Nieves is still playing), they surely want to add another backstop.

As I said when we learned about Philadelphia’s interest two weeks ago, the Yankees are unlikely to get much in return for Romine at this point. Fringe big leaguers who are out of minor league options don’t have much trade value. None of San Diego’s out of options players figure to be realistically available, so any trade sending Romine to San Diego would probably bring a marginal prospect or cash to the Bronx. Such is life.

Opening Day is still two weeks away, so there’s no rush to trade Romine. There’s plenty of time for a catching injury to strike and change the trade market. That includes the Yankees — McCann or Murphy could go down unexpectedly and clear a roster spot for Romine. For now, Romine hasn’t forced the Yankees to seriously consider him for the backup catcher job, making a trade before the start of the season likely.

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.