IF Brendan Harris has been released from Triple-A Scranton, reports Donnie Collins. He’s already hooked on with the Rangers. Now that players are starting to get healthy, the Yankees don’t need as many filler types in the minors.
Triple-A Scranton (6-3 loss to Pawtucket)
- 2B David Adams: 0-4, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 E (throwing) — stuck in a 3-for-31 (.097) slump since being sent back down
- CF Melky Mesa: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
- LF Ronnie Mustelier: 3-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K — 12-for-19 (.632) during his five-game multi-hit streak
- C J.R. Murphy: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
- RHP Brett Marshall: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 2/5 GB/FB — 54 of 91 pitches were strikes (59%) … third time in his last four starts he allowed at least five runs
- RHP David Herndon: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 22 of 35 pitches were strikes (63%)
Utility man Jayson Nix had his left hand broken by an R.A. Dickey knuckleball in the second inning of Wednesday’s game, the Yankees confirmed. Although no timetable was announced, his season is probably over at this point. He initially remained in the game to run the bases before calling the trainer over and walking off the field.
Nix, 30, hit .236/.308/.311 (70 wRC+) with three homers and 13 steals (in 14 attempts) in 303 plate appearances this year. All three homers came off brand names as well: Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, and Mark Buehrle. Nix manned the three non-first base infield positions — he came into Wednesday first on the team in starts at third base (32) and second at shortstop (41) — and played much more than expected due to all the injuries. He missed almost the entire month of July with a hamstring strain.
With Nix out, the Yankees don’t have a backup middle infielder on the roster. Derek Jeter and his strained calf are still on the mend and a few days away, so they could have to turn to Alberto Gonzalez again. That would require a 40-man roster move, though I suppose Nix is a 60-day DL candidate. They could also call up David Adams and play without a backup middle infielder until Jeter is healthy. That’s rather risky given the Cap’n's continued health problems and Nunez’s recently barking hamstring. Nix was a nice utility man to have on the bench, he simply played way too much this year.
The Yankees swept a doubleheader yesterday and have won eight of their last ten games overall, possibly playing their very best baseball of the season in the process. It’s definitely their best offensive stretch, that’s for sure. They’ve scored at least eight runs five times in their last eight games after doing it five times in their previous 83 (!) games. It’s amazing what can happen when you add some legitimate Major League hitters to the lineup, ain’t it? Here’s the lineup that will face reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey:
- DH Brett Gardner
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- CF Curtis Granderson
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- 3B Jayson Nix
- C Austin Romine
And on the mound is right-hander Adam Warren, who is making the spot start necessitated by the doubleheader. It’s his first start of the year after 24 long relief outings (3.57 ERA and 4.66 FIP), and the team only expects him to throw four or so innings. Lefty David Huff, who was working as a starter with Triple-A Scranton, will back him up.
It’s pretty hot in New York but the forecast is clear. No threat of rain or anything. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Derek Jeter will play five innings at shortstop for Triple-A Scranton tomorrow night, Joe Girardi confirmed. Donnie Collins hears the Cap’n may remain with the RailRiders on Friday as well. Jeter has been playing in simulated games in Tampa as he works his way back from a calf strain. Given how quickly he hurt himself the last two times he came off the DL, the Yankees will probably take it a little more slowly with Jeter this time around. · (12) ·
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees used their contractual right to decline the Mariners permission to interview Brian Cashman for their GM vacancy back in 2008. Seattle eventually settled on Jack Zduriencik. “I’m a fan of Brian Cashman. We’re both Kentucky guys. He’s an astute baseball man, and I like him very much,” said Mariners president Chuck Armstrong.
Despite some very public disagreements, Heyman says Cashman and team ownership have no interest in severing an “overwhelmingly positive longstanding relationship.” Cashman is under contract through next year and reportedly does not want to leave New York, plus an official told Heyman his job is “secure.” I still think Cashman winds up being promoted to some other position (President of Baseball Operations?) after next season with assistant Billy Eppler taking over as GM. I feel like that transition has been in the works for a while now. · (39) ·
This has been nothing short of a nightmare season for Derek Jeter. After a brilliant 2012 campaign in which he led all of baseball with 740 plate appearances and 216 hits, the Cap’n has been limited to just five of the team’s first 125 games due to a string of leg injuries this year. First it was the broken ankle, next it was the strained quad, then it was the strained calf. One injury after another.
Jeter, who turned 39 two months ago, has been on the DL for 18 days with the calf problem now. After several days of taking batting practice and fielding ground balls down at the club’s complex in Tampa, he graduated to a simulated game on Monday and running the bases on Tuesday. Running sprints in the outfield is one thing, but running the bases — having to cut and change direction — is another. Running the bases is usually the final rehab step before a return to game action.
“There’s a plan in place. I’m not gonna reveal the plan until we get there … The fact that he’s running the bases is a positive sign for me,” said Joe Girardi to Dan Martin earlier this week while discussing Jeter’s progress and a possible return date. As for rejoining the club in Tampa for their upcoming weekend series against the Rays, Girardi offered a simple “I’m not sure.”
It goes without saying the shortstop position has been a black hole for the Yankees this season. Eduardo Nunez, who the team so desperately wants to show he’s a capable everyday player, has hit a meager .244/.301/.377 (71 wRC+) with shaky defense and plenty of injury problems of his own. Other fill-ins like Reid Brignac and Luis Cruz were sub-replacement level. WAR isn’t the holy grail of player valuations, but I don’t think too many people will argue with the AL-worst -0.9 fWAR the Yankees have gotten from the position this year. If anything, they might be getting off easy. The team’s shortstops have been awful.
Jeter, on the other hand, isn’t awful. At least I don’t think he is. He might be awful for a few weeks after coming off the DL, it happens, but that would be more of a surprise than anything. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Jeter to repeat last year’s .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) performance, not after missing all this time (rust!), but I think it’s completely reasonable to expect something better than the .221/.279/.293 (54 wRC+) line the Yankees have gotten from his replacements. That doesn’t mean they’ll actually get it, the Cap’n could always stink for no apparent reason, but I would expect it.
On the field, Jeter will be a huge upgrade over the team’s current shortstops. That’s not really much of a question at this point. And you know what else? Something about the Yankees just feels different when Jeter isn’t around. It’s hard to explain and yet I know you know exactly what I mean. The team give off a different vibe when he’s in the lineup — the offense feels more capable and I have a greater sense of confidence in the lineup overall. What know I mean? Does that feeling resonate with the players and have a tangible on-field impact? I have no idea. I just know the Yankees with Jeter are better than the Yankees without Jeter.
Thanks to yesterday’s doubleheader sweep over the Blue Jays, New York has won four straight games and eight of their last ten. They’ve shaved two games off their deficit in the second wildcard race during that time, passing the Royals in the process. Now there are only three teams ahead of them. That’s still a daunting task, no doubt about it, but things are heading the right direction. Getting Jeter back — hopefully this weekend or shortly thereafter — and adding him to a lineup made deeper by the recent Alfonso Soriano trade and activations of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson will be the final realistic upgrade the Yankees could make this year. Their postseason odds are small, but the Cap’n could be the final piece of the puzzle that helps them make a strong push down the stretch.
Via George King & Dan Martin: Owner Hal Steinbrenner held a meeting with the Yankees’ scouting and development staff to discuss the club’s lack of upper level minor league talent on Monday. It’s unclear who was in attendance aside from Brian Cashman, but it’s likely VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman, amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, and international scouting director Donny Rowland were there according to the NY Post scribes.
Outside of Preston Claiborne and maybe Austin Romine, the Yankees have had pretty much no internal solutions for their various roster holes all year. They had to go outside the organization for help following nearly every injury, and the more recent injuries to Vidal Nuno (groin), David Phelps (forearm), and Michael Pineda (shoulder) mean the club doesn’t have anyone to replace the generally ineffective Phil Hughes. Their inability to develop prospects — I’m not sure any team gets less out of more from their system — has been a long-standing problem and a big reason why the Yankees look to be in poor shape going forward. They simply haven’t produced any viable young players beyond a few relievers in the last five years. · (263) ·
Two games, two wins, one day. That’s pretty rad. A few hours after coming back from a four-run deficit in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays, the Yankees came back from a much more modest one-run deficit (twice) before walking off with a 3-2 win in the nightcap.
Remember what I said earlier about needing unexpected contributions to make a serious run at a playoff spot? This game is exactly what I was talking about. Toronto southpaw Mark Buehrle, who has been mostly awful against the Yankees in his long career, held New York in check for the first 6.2 innings before surrendering a game tying solo homer. Who hit the homer? Utility infielder Jayson Nix. Contribution: Unexpected.
Nix didn’t stop there though. Two innings later, with the winning run on third, he provided the walk-off single to left against another veteran left-hander, this time Darren Oliver. Mark Reynolds deserves props for setting up the rally with a leadoff walk, as does pinch-runner Ichiro Suzuki for stealing third with one out. An Eduardo Nunez sacrifice bunt was mixed in there as well. Between drawing a two-out walk in advance of Chris Stewart‘s go-ahead homer in Game One and both the game-tying homer and walk-off single in Game Two, Nix had one helluva day at the plate. This guy, man. He’s just a baseball player. That’s what he is.
Phinally, A Good Start
These last few weeks and months have been pretty disastrous for Phil Hughes, so bad that the Yankees had won just four (!) of his previous 16 starts coming into Tuesday night. Most of that was his fault, of course. It’s not like Phil has been lights out this year. Needless to say, getting six innings of two-run ball — no homers! — out of him in the second game of the doubleheader was a pleasant surprise.
Rajai Davis created the first run with his legs while Vernon Wells contributed to the second with his defense. Davis singled, stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch in the first inning. Wells was unable to cut off a Munenori Kawasaki gapper that rolled to the wall for a triple in the fifth. Obviously the ball into the gap is on Hughes, but I surprised to see it get all the way to wall. A sac fly brought home Kawasaki later in the inning.
All told, Hughes allowed the pair of runs on six singles, one triple, and two walks in those six innings of work. He struck out six and, get this, generated eight ground ball outs compared to four in the air. What the hell is that about? The eight ground ball outs tie a season-high, which Hughes has done on three other occasions. By Game Score (54), it was Phil’s best outing in six second half starts. Fair to call this an unexpected contribution? I think so.
Is there anything more enjoyable to watch than a locked in Robinson Cano? After a 4-for-4 showing in the afternoon, Cano went 2-for-4 in the nightcap and plated the Yankees’ first run with a two-strike, two-out single to left in the third. He also made a few stellar defensive plays on balls hit up the middle. When Robbie gets hot, he gets best hitter in the world hot. That’s what he is right now.
How about Austin Romine? He went 3-for-3 with a double and scored the team’s first run on Cano’s single. One of Romine’s two singles was off the wall and maybe two feet from being a homer to right as well. It was one of those “he hit it so hard he was held to the single” jobs. Between Stewart in the first game and Romine in the second, New York’s catchers went 4-for-7 with a double and a homer on Tuesday. Unexpected contribution? Unexpected contribution.
Unsung hero: Preston Claiborne, who was with the team for the day as the doubleheader’s 26th man. He replaced Hughes with a man on first and no outs in the seventh, then retired five of the six men he faced to chip in two scoreless innings with a short bullpen. Romine threw out an attempted base-stealer for the other out. Those were two pretty big innings to bridge the gap between the Hughes and Mariano Rivera, who tossed a scoreless ninth. Mo pitched in both ends of the doubleheader.
Cano, Nix, and Romine combined for seven of the club’s eight hits. The four through seven hitters went 0-for-13 with two walks — one intentional and one unintentional. Alex Rodriguez had his worst game since coming off the DL, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a rally killing double play in the eighth. After being outrageously hot last week, Alfonso Soriano is suddenly in an 0-for-15 slump. As you probably remember from his first stint in pinstripes, Soriano is insanely streaky. He’ll come out of it soon enough.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some nerdier stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either five games (Athletics lose) or six games (Athletics win) back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. New York did, however, move passed the Royals in the standings with the two wins, so there are only three teams ahead of them in the race now. If the Angels manage to beat the Indians, they’ll move ahead of Cleveland by percentage points as well. Cool Standings has the Yankees postseason odds at 10.5%. Progress. Glorious progress.
Same two teams on Wednesday night, the middle day of this four-game, three-day series. Adam Warren is making the spot start in place of Andy Pettitte — the Yankees need to use a spot starter at some point in the next four days because of the doubleheader, so they’ll get it out of the way and give the veteran starters an extra day of rest in the process. Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey will be on the bump for Toronto. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live.
Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Lehigh Valley)
- 2B David Adams: 1-5, 1 K
- CF Melky Mesa: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 CS
- C J.R. Murphy: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B — nice game but he has struggled overall in August (.623 OPS), maybe he’s tiring a bit late in the year
- RF Ronnie Mustelier: 3-4, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing) — fourth straight multi-hit game
- RHP Chase Whitley: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 4/5 GB/FB — 48 of 70 pitches were strikes (69%) … very nice spot start … he’s got three pitches, so he’s not a total fish out of the water in the rotation, but the bullpen is definitely his long-term future
- RHP Dellin Betances: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/2 GB/FB – 25 of 40 pitches were strikes (63%) … 66/22 K/BB in 53.2 innings as a reliever at this level
Adam Warren will start Wednesday night’s game, Joe Girardi announced. The Yankees will need to use a spot starter at some point in these next four days because of the doubleheader, so they’ll get it out of the way tomorrow. Andy Pettitte will pitch Thursday, pushing Hiroki Kuroda back to Friday’s series opener against the Rays. · (9) ·