Spring Training Record: 9-14 (92 RS, 107 RA)
Spring Training Schedule This Week: Mon. OFF, @ Phillies (Tues. on ESPN), vs. Red Sox (Weds. on YES and ESPN), vs. Twins (Thurs. on YES), @ Twins (Fri.), @ Tigers (Sat.), vs. Rays (Sun. on YES)
Top stories from last week:
- The Yankees added two new outfielders last week: left-handed hitting Brennan Boesch (one-year, $1.5M plus incentives) and right-handed hitting Ben Francisco (minor league deal). Matt Diaz was released.
- Injury News: Mark Teixeira (wrist) has an injury to his tendon sheath and there’s a 70% chance he will not require season-ending surgery. Phil Hughes (back) threw live batting practice and will throw a simulated game on Monday. Boone Logan (elbow) threw a simulated game over the weekend and could appear in a game next week. Clay Rapada (shoulder) isn’t scheduled to appear in a game anytime soon and could miss the start of the season. Michael Pineda (shoulder) has resumed throwing sliders as he rehabs from shoulder surgery. Slade Heathcott (knee) is out indefinitely with patellar tendinitis. Ronnie Mustelier (contusions) is day-to-day after running into a camera well.
- Among the players the Yankees had interest in last week in the wake of the injuries: Derrek Lee, Scott Rolen, and Chipper Jones. Lee already told the team no and the other two are also very unlikely to happen. Carlos Lee’s agent contacted the team as well. The Yankees didn’t like what they saw out of Bobby Abreu in winter ball and they haven’t contacted Aubrey Huff.
- The Rangers have been scouting Joba Chamberlain, but there’s no indication a deal is imminent or even being discussed.
- Gary Sanchez topped Baseball Prospectus’ list of the top ten Yankees prospects.
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The Yankees knocked the
Braves Pirates around this afternoon, with Melky Mesa delivering a grand slam for the big blow. Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Youkilis, and Brennan Boesch all had two hits as well, including a double and a homer from Youkilis. Ivan Nova allowed four runs in five innings, easily his worst outing of the spring. He and David Phelps remain neck-and-neck in the fifth starter’s race, at least in theory. That competition could have been rigged from the start. David Robertson tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
- Boone Logan (elbow) threw a simulated game yesterday and said he still feels something in his elbow, but it’s not pain. Just some inflammation that doesn’t bother him while pitching. He hopes to pitch in a game next, but another simulated game could be on the docket first. [Chad Jennings]
- Clay Rapada, meanwhile, is still shut down with shoulder tendinitis and there is no timetable for him to get back into a game. He might not be ready in time for the start of the season, and the same goes for Logan at this point as well. [Jennings]
- OF Slade Heathcott has been reassigned to minor league camp, meaning the Yankees are unofficially down to 52 players in big league camp. Matt Diaz was released earlier today. Heathcott is dealing with patellar tendinitis and there’s no word on when he might return to the field. [Jennings]
- The Yankees are off on Monday and it sounds like it will be a full day off. No scheduled workouts other than Phil Hughes‘ simulated game and miscellaneous bullpens for rehabbing players, stuff like that. Adam Warren will start against the Phillies in Clearwater on Tuesday afternoon, a game that will be broadcast on ESPN and MLB.tv but not YES.
Here is your open thread for the evening. The Nets are playing and Puerto Rico and Japan are meeting in a World Baseball Classic Semifinals game (9pm ET on MLB Network). The winner of that game advances to Tuesday’s championship game against the winner of Monday’s Dominican Republic-Netherlands game. Talk about any of that and more right here. Enjoy.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus posted his list of the top ten Yankees prospects late last week (subs. req’d), a list C Gary Sanchez unsurprisingly tops. OF Mason Williams is second and RHP Jose Ramirez sneaks in at three, with Parks saying the “fastball is an impact major-league offering, with plus (to plus-plus) velocity and good life … one source called the changeup a future 7 pitch.” You can click the link to see the rest of the top ten even if you don’t have a subscription.
As for prospects on the rise, Parks lists OF Ben Gamel (“fluid swing from the left side of the plate and good gap pop”) and 3B Dante Bichette Jr. (“[for] a guy that slugged .331, Bichette has plenty of backers”). The list of the team’s top ten players under the age of 25 is exactly the same as the top ten, which is odd. RHP Michael Pineda should be in there somewhere despite the shoulder injury — I’d take him in his current state over a completely healthy Rafael DePaula (#10) pretty easily. Eh, whatever. To each his own. · (23) ·
We have our first outfield competition casualty. The Yankees have released Matt Diaz according to multiple reports from Tampa. He has been in camp on a minor league deal.
Diaz, 35, went 6-for-30 (.200) in camp with no extra-base hits, and by releasing him now the club gave the right-hander hitter two weeks to find a new job before the season. Ben Francisco and Juan Rivera look like very strong candidates to make the team right now, especially Rivera given his ability to play first base in the wake of Mark Teixeira’s injury. · (36) ·
Updated (11:20 a.m.): The news on Mark Teixeira grew considerably worse this morning as the Yanks’ slugger returned to Tampa with his diagnosis. What had originally been called a strained right wrist is in fact an injury to his right tendon sheath, he told reporters. The Yanks’ first baseman isn’t going to rush back and discussed the possibility that he could be out until early June, nearly a month longer than first expected.
Later on, Brian Cashman explained that Tex’s injury is, according to Chad Jennings, a “partially torn sheath with a stable tendon.” A full recovery without surgery occurs in approximately 70 percent of cases, and Cashman said Teixeira would miss the season if he had surgery.
“This is one of those things I can’t come back too early,” Teixeira said. “We saw when I tried to play too early last year what happened. This is unfortunately, if I try to play too early, we could miss the whole season and we don’t want that. I don’t know if it’s going to be middle of May, end of May, beginning of June. I don’t know when it is, but I know that there’s a whole bunch of season left and the time that really matters is the playoffs.”
Early June could be the Yanks’ best-case scenario as tendon sheath injuries are very difficult to treat without surgery and the subsequent recovery time. When the slugger first announced his injury, Ken Rosenthal profiled tendon sheath injuries. Mark DeRosa tried to come back too soon from such an injury and required two surgeries that have sapped him off his power. Jose Bautista tried to avoid surgery as well but had to succumb to the knife last September.
On the other hand, David Ortiz suffered a similar injury in 2008 and missed 50 games. He slugged .529 after he returned from the injury, but that’s a rare case. The same year, Nick Johnson missed most of the season with a tendon sheath injury. If Tex ultimately needs surgery to retain his power as Bautista did, the Yanks will have to find a way to fill for one of their power bats at a time when first basemen are not readily available on the market.
7:32pm: Let’s just use this for tonight’s open thread as well. Go nuts.
12:25pm: Sorry for the late post, but here’s your thread for today’s games. Hiroki Kuroda is pitching right now on YES and MLB.tv — Brennan Boesch is playing — and later today the other half of the team will be playing on the road against the Braves. That one starts at 5pm ET and can be seen on MLB.tv only. Enjoy. · (149) ·
Via Dan Barbarisi: Andy Pettitte discussed his own future in the wake of Mariano Rivera announcing his intent to retire following the 2013 season. “It’s been a special run that we’ve all been on here—me, him, and (Derek Jeter),” Pettitte said. “In a sense I feel like it’s a run that should all end close together … It’s just weird — it’s like saying, do you think you could see yourself around here without Derek and Mo? Well, no, not really. But then you think, well, (Jorge Posada’s) out, he’ll be out two years this year. The game goes on. Life goes on.”
Pettitte, 40, has already said he is undecided about pitching beyond this season. He told Barbarisi he believes he can figure handle pitching for another few years physically, but he will need to adjust as his velocity slides and stuff like that. Regardless of what the upcoming free agent pitching classes looked like, the Yankees should be open to signing Pettitte to one-year contracts for as long as he’s willing to pitch. There’s a trust factor there — I doubt Andy would continue to pitch if he stunk, got hurt, or just didn’t think he could be effective anymore. · (22) ·
The Yankees beat the Marlins this afternoon, rebounding nicely from yesterday’s shellacking at the hands of the Blue Jays. CC Sabathia allowed two runs on eight hits in five innings, his first real game action of Spring Training. By all account his surgically repaired elbow held up just fine and he will make another start in a few days. That’s the big story of the day, obviously.
Derek Jeter singled and played shortstop again, and his surgically repaired ankle is doing a-okay. Also good news. Travis Hafner and Frankie Cervelli both launched homers, the first of the Grapefruit League season for both. Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson both threw an inning, with Roberson allowing the runner he inherited from Joba to score. Jose Pirela went 2-for-3 off the bench with two triples, so that’s cool. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
- Ronnie Mustelier crashed into the railing around the camera well in this afternoon’s game, and he has “multiple contusions to both legs” and will be reevaluated again tomorrow. He’s not going for x-rays but will take tomorrow off and target a return to the lineup on Tuesday following Monday’s off-day. [Dan Barbarisi]
- Slade Heathcott has patellar tendinitis — that’s a knee issue unrelated to the thumb problem he dealt with a week or two ago — and there is no word on when he might return to the field. Sigh. [Chad Jennings]
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) and Cesar Cabral (elbow) threw another round of 35-pitch bullpen sessions this morning, including sliders and changeups. So far, so good. [Jennings]
- Boone Logan (elbow) will throw live batting practice tomorrow. He’s been sidelined by a nagging elbow issue in camp and has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game. [George King]
- Tyler Austin and Mark Montgomery were named the 2012 Kevin Lawn Player and Pitcher of the Year, the team announced. It’s a minor league thing, obviously. Past winners include Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine, Austin Jackson, David Phelps, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy.
- The Yankees are playing a pair of split squad games tomorrow. Hiroki Kuroda & Co. will face Phillies at home while David Phelps heads to Disney to face the Braves along with Cervelli, Jayson Nix, Nunez, Matt Diaz, Ben Francisco, and Melky Mesa. The home game will be on YES and MLB.tv (12pm ET), the road game on MLB.tv only (5pm ET).
Here is your open thread for the evening. The big game of the night is USA-Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic (7pm ET on MLB Network), an elimination game where the loser goes home and the winner goes to the semifinals in San Francisco. Ryan Vogelsong and former Yankees farmhand Nelson Figueroa is your pitching matchup. The Devils are also playing, but talk about whatever you like here. Enjoy.
7:14pm: The Yankees have officially announced the signing, so it’s a done deal. Boesch will be in camp tomorrow. Michael Pineda was moved to the 60-day DL to free up a spot on the 40-man roster.
4:58pm: Another day, another outfielder. The Yankees have agreed to sign Brennan Boesch to a Major League contract worth $1.5M with $600k in plate appearance-based incentives, according to Jon Heyman. The club will need to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate the Scott Boras client, who was released by the Tigers earlier this week. That’s not an issue though, both Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral are 60-day DL candidates. Boesch was dealing with an oblique issue earlier in camp and probably has to pass a physical before the contract is official.
The 27-year-old Boesch hit .240/.286/.372 (77 wRC+) with 12 homers in 503 plate appearances for Detroit last season. One year earlier he managed a .283/.341/.458 (117 wRC+) with 16 homers in 472 plate appearances before tearing a ligament in his thumb and needing surgery. The Yankees are presumably hoping the further he gets away from surgery, the more his production will increase because Boesch doesn’t steal, is a total hacker, and is a terrible defender. He has a slight reverse split (110 wRC+ vs. 92) despite having a much higher strikeout rate (23.3 K% vs. 17.9) and a lower ISO (.134 vs. .162) against lefties, though it could be a sample size issue since we’re talking about 374 plate appearances against southpaws over three years.
The one thing Boesch will give the Yankees is flexibility. He has at least one minor league option remaining and can be assigned to Triple-A Scranton without a problem whenever Curtis Granderson‘s forearm is healthy. Because he only has three years of service time, the Yankees will also control him as an arbitration-eligible player through 2016 as well. Always nice to have that extra layer of control and know the player is more than a rental if he actually proves to be useful.
I don’t think the Yankees signed Boesch to a big league contract only to send him down before Opening Day, so he’s a safe bet to make the roster as Granderson’s replacement. Either full-time or as part of a platoon, I’m sure he’ll be in there regularly. Hopefully the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium helps boost Boesch’s power output while his defense doesn’t completely negate any value he provides. Decent depth pickup but nothing special. One (or maybe two) dimensional player who fills a need created by injury.
Via Joel Sherman: The Yankees scouted former Yankee Bobby Abreu during his winter ball stint in Venezuela. The didn’t like what they saw and have obviously decided to pass. Remember, they tried to acquire him from the Angels for A.J. Burnett last offseason.
Abreu, who turned 39 on Monday, went 8-for-41 (.195) with three doubles and a triple in eleven winter ball games, drawing nine walks against ten strikeouts. He managed a .242/.350/.342 (97 wRC+) line in 257 plate appearances for the Angels and Dodgers last season, his fourth straight year of declining production. Bobby can still draw a walk like few others (14.4 BB% in 2012), but his power had disappeared (.108 ISO since 2011) and he absolutely can’t hit lefties (79 wRC+ since 2011). He also doesn’t steal many bases anyway and he was a terrible defender when he was playing in the Bronx five years ago. Abreu worked out at first base for some teams this winter, but he’s shown all the symptoms of age-related decline and I don’t want the Yankees to be his employer when he finally crashes. · (13) ·