Mike Scioscia

Following a successful seven-game road trip, the Yankees return home to the Bronx to kick off a nine-game homestand tonight. The first of three teams to visit is the Angels, who have won just seven of 22 games at the new Yankee Stadium. The Halos used to give the Yankees fits but that really isn’t the case these days.

What Have They Done Lately?
Mike Scioscia’s team has split the first six games of their nine-game trip to the East Coast. They just took two of three from the Nationals in Washington and were a spectacular blown save away from a sweep (four-run ninth!). The Angels are 10-11 with a +17 run differential overall. That’s actually the second best run differential in the league.

At 5.3 runs per games with a team 111 wRC+, Scioscia’s club has been one of the very best offensive teams in baseball so far this season. They are without two key players in OF Josh Hamilton (thumb) and OF Kole Calhoun (ankle) right now. That’s their cleanup and leadoff hitters, respectively. Both were off to strong starts and will be out for several weeks. They aren’t returning this weekend.

Trout. (Leon Halip/Getty)

Trout. (Leon Halip/Getty)

The Angels are led by the best player in baseball. New Jersey kid OF Mike Trout (172 wRC+) is still amazing and not in anyway underperforming this year. He’s amazing. 1B Albert Pujols (171 wRC+) leads the league with eight homers and is having a great year, but he isn’t all the way back to being his old self. This version is hitting .284 with a .351 OBP. The old Pujols hit like .330 with a .440-something OBP. He’s still super dangerous though. These two bat second and third in the lineup and will be scary as hell all weekend.

Yankees killer 2B Howie Kendrick (121 wRC+) is off to a nice start, as is the catching tandem of C Chris Iannetta (114 wRC+) And C Hank Conger (97 wRC+). OF Collin Cowgill (178 wRC+ in limited time) has done a fine job filling in during the injuries. Former Yankees OF/DH Raul Ibanez (46 wRC+) and OF Brennan Boesch (61 wRC+ in very limited time) have had poor starts, ditto SS Erick Aybar (71 wRC+) and 3B David Freese (21 wRC+). Freese has been losing playing time to 3B Ian Stewart (102 wRC+ in limited time) lately. OF J.B. Shuck (44 wRC+) and IF John McDonald (160 wRC+) fill out the bench and have played sparingly.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. LAA) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (vs. NYY) (GIFs)
Of all the big money pitching contracts handed out in recent years, I think Wilson’s get the most undeserved crap. He has been a steady and reliable horse for the Halos. The 33-year-old comes into tonight’s start with a 4.21 ERA (3.92 FIP) in four starts this year, pairing an excellent strikeout rate (9.82 K/9 and 26.4 K%) with good ground ball (46.4%) and walk (3.16 BB/9 and 8.5 BB%) totals. Righties (.344 wOBA) has roughed him up a bit this year, but not lefties (.294 wOBA). Wilson throws five pitches pretty frequently: low-90s fastball, upper-80s cutter, mid-80s changeup, low-80s slider, and upper-70s curveball. That’s a lot of different looks at different velocities. He took a pounding in his first start but has been solid since.

(Leon Halip/Getty)

(Leon Halip/Getty)

Saturday: LHP Vidal Nuno (No vs. LAA) vs. LHP Hector Santiago (vs. NYY) (GIFs)
Santiago, 26, is a local guy from Newark. He has a 3.68 ERA (4.17 FIP) in four starts this year after being acquired from the White Sox in the three-team Mark Trumbo trade over the winter. As usual, his strikeout (8.18 K/9 and 21.1 K%) and walk (4.91 BB/9 and 12.6 BB%) rates are high while his ground ball rate (29.5%) is low. Righties (.321 wOBA) have hit him harder than lefties (.285 wOBA). Santiago is best described as a three and a half pitch pitcher. He uses low-90s four and two-seam fastballs to set up his low-80s changeup, and every once in a while he’ll bust out a mid-70s screwball. Click the link for the requisite GIF. Santiago’s first two starts were rough, but the last two have been very good.

Sunday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. LAA) vs. RHP Garrett Richards (vs. NYY) (GIFs)
The Angels have a young back of the rotation and Richards has been the standout so far. The 25-year-old has pitched to a 2.52 ERA (2.91 FIP) in his first four starts with very good strikeout (8.64 K/9 and 24.2 K%) and grounder (51.7%) rates. He does walk too many (5.04 BB/9 and 14.1 BB%), which has been an issue in his previous three big league seasons. Richards has a reverse split early this year — righties have a .301 wOBA, lefties a .201 wOBA — and he’s essentially a two-pitch pitcher, relying on a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider. He’s throw a handful of upper-70s curveballs per start, but that’s it. No changeup to speak of. The Athletics roughed Richards up two starts ago, but otherwise he’s allowed two runs in his other three starts combined.

Frieri. (Harry How/Getty)

Frieri. (Harry How/Getty)

Bullpen Status
The Angels were off yesterday, so Scioscia’s bullpen is as rested as can be right now. RHP Ernesto Frieri (8.80 FIP) melted down big time on Wednesday but remains the closer. RHP Joe Smith (2.33 FIP) and RHP Kevin Jepsen (3.57 FIP) have been the primary setup guys. LHP Nick Maronde (0.69 FIP in very limited time) is Scioscia’s only lefty reliever.

The rest of the team’s bullpen is … an interesting mix. RHP Yoslan Herrera (4.03 FIP) last pitched in the big leagues in 2008 before being called up a few weeks ago. RHP Fernando Salas (4.58 FIP) closed for the Cardinals for a few months back in 2011 but has been derailed by control problems. RHP Michael Kohn (3.71 FIP) is just a guy named Michael Kohn. Can’t find anything interesting about him. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees bullpen, then check out Monkey with a Halo for some Angels analysis. The Angels blogosphere really leaves something to be desired now that True Grich seems to be dead.

Categories : Series Preview
Comments (44)

Got a dozen questions for you this week, including a bunch about prospects. We’re starting to get an overwhelming amount of questions each week — I had over 50 marked for consideration this week — and I’m trying to answer as many as I can each Friday. Don’t take it personally if yours is not included. Keep sending them in.

Aaron Judge and Michael O'Neill. (Moultrie News)

Aaron Judge and Michael O’Neill. O’Neill is 6-foot-1. (Moultrie News)

Brendan asks: If some of these prospects stay hot (Aaron Judge), when is the earliest we could expect a call up?

Judge is the one guy who I think will get moved up sooner rather than later. The Yankees said they started him with Low-A Charleston because he didn’t play at all after signing last year and they wanted to take it slow, but now that he’s showing no rust and is raking, a quick move up to High-A Tampa is in order. As for other everyone else, I think we’re still a good two months or so away. The season is young and most promotions don’t come until midseason, after each league’s All-Star Game.

Toki asks: Now that Dante Bichette Jr. is hitting (SSS), who has the higher ceiling among Bichette and Eric Jagielo?

Jagielo, no doubt. It would still be Jagielo for me even if Bichette had hit well these last two years. I have less questions about Jagielo’s all-around offensive game as well as his defense. Maybe Bichette will have a higher offensive peak if it all works out, but I think Jagielo projects to be the better all-around player and it really isn’t all that close. Bichette’s been great this year, but three weeks do not erase the last two years.

Upstate Yanks asks: When are we going to see Mark Montgomery come up? Could be a future late-inning guy no?

Probably in the second half and yes. I actually think I ranked him too high in my Preseason Top 30 — Danny Burawa jumped him on the depth chart before getting hurt — and I’m not quite as bullish as I was last year at this time. The slider still misses bats though, and has long as that continues to happen, he’ll project to be a late-inning arm.

Glenn asks: I know he’s only been in the system a short time but it always seems like Caleb Smith is putting up nice numbers. Is there potential in him for the future?

Oh yes, absolutely. Smith might be the best sleeper in the organization right now. The Yankees grabbed him out of Sam Houston State with their 14th round pick last year, gave him $100k, and he has a 1.78 ERA (~2.24 FIP) with a 26.7% strikeout rate in 65.2 pro innings. That was before yesterday’s 13-strikeout performance. The walks are a bit high (9.2%) but Smith is a big lefty (listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs.) with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and two legit offspeed pitches (low-80s slider and changeup). Is he the next Randy Johnson? No, but there’s legit MLB potential there.

Dan asks: Peter O’Brien is hitting the cover off the ball, what are the chances he gets called up to AA this year? Since he seems to be completely blocked at C, do you see the Yankees moving his position? Same questions for Gary Sanchez: if his bat can make an impact in the next couple of years, is there any chance they try him out at a different position, because he’s blocked by McCann? Do you see him being promoted to AAA this year?

O'Brien. (Presswire)

O’Brien. (Presswire)

O’Brien to Double-A will definitely happen at some point. That will be one of the midseason promotions I mentioned earlier. He’ll eventually move off catcher because he’s a pretty bad catcher, not because he’s blocked. O’Brien worked out at third base last year but that didn’t work. They’re giving right field a try early this year. I assume first base is next. As for Gary Sanchez, he should stay behind the plate as long as possible regardless of Brian McCann and whoever else is ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s way more valuable there. Let him develop behind the plate and worry about where he fits into the MLB roster when the time comes. If nothing else, staying behind the plate makes him more attractive to other teams in trades. As for the promotion to Triple-A Scranton, yeah I think that will happen later this summer.

Jack asks: Among the following 4: a) would you rank the most likely (if any) to succeed as a major league regular, and b) has the ability to stick at 3B at the majors: Jagielo, DBJ, Andujar, Austin.

To answer the first question, I’d rank them Jagielo, Tyler Austin, Miguel Andujar, and Bichette. I had Austin over Jagielo in my Preseason Top 30 but they were right next too each other (almost interchangeable) and Austin has dealt with some injury problems in recent weeks. As for sticking at third base, I’d have them Jagielo, Andujar, Austin, and Bichette. I’m not married to the order of the last two and I wouldn’t argue Bichette over Austin. Jagielo and Andujar are legit third baseman. The other guys are maybes at the position who are better off elsewhere.

Paul asks: Too early, I know, but so far the only Yankees worthy of All-Star berths are Masahiro Tanaka and maybe Jacoby Ellsbury, right? Nobody else is standing out to me. Who do you think the fans will vote for? Derek Jeter seems like a good shot considering he’s Jeter and has avoided falling on his face. Anyone else?

I think Jeter will win the fan vote by a mile at shortstop. Who will take votes from him? Jose Reyes? That’s the only other reasonable candidate and he’s hurt all the time. The current AL shortstop landscape is a wasteland. Jeter has hit well this year and I think he’ll go to the All-Star Game. Tanaka and Ellsbury are both worthy right now — Ellsbury’s not a maybe for me, he’s been too good to be on the bubble — and I think Carlos Beltran will get some consideration, though there are always a ton of qualified outfielders. McCann also has a shot, especially if his recent offensive surge is a sign he’s getting back to being himself at the plate. The AL catching crop is weak, though Jason Castro and Matt Wieters are legitimate alternatives.

Matt asks: Could the Yankees look to make a deal with the Cubs for Starlin Castro, being that he had sort of a rocky season last year with the organization, and the presence of their prospect Javier Baez (though he is struggling now) seemingly on the way? Obviously depending on how he performs, what do you think it would take to get a deal done for Castro at the end of the season?

Yes, I think so. Obviously it depends how he rebounds from that disaster last year. Castro isn’t a shortstop — I don’t know what he is, really. Maybe a second baseman? — and he’s a hacker at the plate, but he has some power and speed. He also just turned 24, so he’s still very young with the potential for improvement. The contract is scary if you don’t think he’ll rebound (owed $49M through 2019), but that’s the Cubs’ problem. I’m interested but I want to see what happens this year. There haven’t been many players like Castro traded over the years, so figuring out what it would take to get him is mighty tough. How do you value him? As a future star or just an okay infielder?

(Justin K. Aller/Getty)

Samardzija. (Justin K. Aller/Getty)

New Guy asks: Now that Ivan Nova is out for a while, what would it take to make Jeff Samardzija a Yankee? I’ve always liked him and he is always liked to trade rumors. Are you interested?

I was about a year ago, but Samardzija didn’t improve much (if at all) last season and this year is more of the same. His strikeout rate this year is actually way, way down, but it is still very early. Samardzija strikes me as a classic “whole is less than the sum of the parts” guy, like Edwin Jackson and A.J. Burnett. The stuff says he should be an ace and you keep waiting for him to turn into an ace, but he leaves you waiting and waiting. All while he’ll show enough flashes to keep you interested. Samardzija is affordable ($5.345M in 2014, free agent after 2015) and he’s a fine mid-rotation horse, but he’s already 29 and I’m not sure how much longer you can wait for him to live up to the potential. The Cubs are marketing him as an ace and he just isn’t that.

Josh asks: You just did a piece of the Yanks trying to make a move for Cliff Lee. What do you think about Kyle Kendrick. Younger, and would come a lot cheaper. Hasn’t had a great start, but maybe they could buy low.

I’m not a fan of Kendrick. He’s a solid back of the rotation type who limits walks and gets grounders, but he is surprisingly expensive ($7.675M this year) and I’m not sure an upper-80s sinker/low-80s changeup righty is someone I trust in the AL East. I’d rather give David Phelps a try before giving up prospects for Kendrick. Lee is (still) an elite pitcher and I’m not a fan of cutting corners when it comes to those guys. Play the price and add a true difference maker. No one gets upset over traded prospects in October.

Joe asks: Watching the Yankees so far this season, they are definitely going 1st to 3rd and 2nd to home A LOT more than previous years. Was wondering if you could do a comparison between this year and previous years.

Sure can. These numbers do not include last night’s game (couldn’t wait around for Baseball Reference to update overnight), but here are the team’s first-to-third numbers (small sample size, yadda yadda yadda):

1st to 3rd Opps. 1st to 3rds 1st to 3rd % Overall XB%
2014 40 16 40% 48%
2013 275 65 24% 35%
2012 280 78 28% 37%
2011 287 71 25% 38%
2010 328 87 27% 38%

Joe is correct, the Yankees have absolutely been going first-to-third more often this season. They’ve been taking the extra-base in general — score from second on a single, score from first on a double, etc. — more often as well. The league average for taking the extra-base is around 40% and the Yankees were a bit below that the last few years. This year they are well above-average.

The reason for the improvement is pretty obvious. Ellsbury, Yangervis Solarte, Kelly Johnson, and Brian Roberts are quicker than the guys they replaced, and both Jeter and Beltran are very smart base-runners who make up for their lack of speed with instincts. I think their first-to-third and overall extra-base rate will come down a bit as the season progresses just because guys will start to get tired and stuff like that, but they should still be quite a bit better than the last few years. Between all the defensive shifts and better base-running, this is a new breed of Yankees baseball.

Categories : Mailbag
Comments (24)

It’s amazing how the mood changes from one night to another in this game. Wednesday night’s loss might have been the worst game of the season because of the Michael Pineda ejection and everything else, but the Yankees rebounded with blowout 14-5 win over the Red Sox in the series finale on Thursday.



Theme of the Series
These three games had a common theme: one team was just terrible defensively. The Red Sox kicked the ball around on Tuesday, the Yankees returned the favor on Wednesday, and then the Red Sox did it again in this game. The Bombers scored their first inning run after Xander Bogaerts flubbed a a hard-hit grounder hit right at him — tough play but one I think a big league shortstop should make — allowing Carlos Beltran to reach first base. Alfonso Soriano doubled him in with two outs as the next better.

In the second inning, the Yankees took advantage of the new transfer rule — Dustin Pedroia bobbled the ball and couldn’t complete the double play — as well as two wild pitches and hard-hit ball third baseman Brock Holt couldn’t reel in. The wind also helped them out by pushing a Beltran foul pop-up just out of the reach of Mike Napoli, extending the at-bat. Two pitches later, Felix Doubront uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch. The big hit was Yangervis Solarte‘s two-run double down the left field line. It was a great at-bat, nine pitches with three foul balls in a full count. After the first two innings, the Yankees were up four-zip and Doubront had thrown 52 pitches.

The third inning was more of the same, though Mark Teixeira led it off with a solo homer on a really, really high fly ball. It seemed to hang up in the air for about ten seconds before hitting off the flat top of the Green Monster. A weak Brett Gardner grounder went right through Doubront’s legs — it was initially called a hit, but the official scorer came to his senses and later changed it to an error — and two stolen bases later, Gardner scored on Brian Roberts‘ single. Roberts stole second uncontested and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s two-out double. That made it seven-zip. The Red Sox opened the door for New York all night with bad defense. Kinda like they did on Tuesday and the Yankees did on Wednesday.



No Fastball? No Problem
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like CC Sabathia has gained a few pounds since Spring Training. Am I wrong? He was downright svelte in camp, but now he’s got a pitch of a belly. Anyway, the big lefty continued his transformation from power pitcher to finesse guy on Thursday night, holding the Red Sox to two runs on three hits and three walks in six innings. Seventy-one of 106 pitches were strikes, including a dozen swings and misses.

One terrible 0-2 pitch to Jonny Gomes in the third inning stands out as Sabathia’s biggest mistake. He had a chance to get out of the inning right there, but instead Gomes doubled and made it a two-run inning rather than a one-run inning. Sabathia settled down after that and retired ten of the final 12 men he faced. The two exceptions were a hit batsman and an infield single. Six of those ten outs were strikeouts. Here is the PitchFX Breakdown from Brooks Baseball, but the data will change overnight. Some of Sabathia’s fastballs were classified as changeups because of his, uh, lack of velocity.

As I wrote earlier this week, this season Sabathia is throwing more sinkers and busting righties inside more often than he had in recent years. I saw that again in this game, but we’ll have to wait for the final PitchFX data in the morning to confirm. That’s kinda the classic veteran adjustment, making the ball move more and making the hitters move their feet more. We’ve seen it in previous starts and we saw it again in this game. This is a guy going through a transformation right before out eyes. CC is a different pitcher this year.

Blown Open
Things got out of hand in the seventh inning when the Yankees made this one a real laugher. Solarte snapped out of his 0-for-14 slump with his double in the second, and in the seventh he poked a two-run single to right field. Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to right to score another run, and Derek Jeter put a bow on it with a two-run single. All of that happened with no outs and a(nother) Red Sox error contributed to that rally. They made five on the night and could have been charged with one or two more. A wild pitch and some more general defensive hilarity led to the Yankees’ 13th run in the eighth, and position player Mike Carp walked in the 14th run in the ninth. Baseball!



Congrats to Shane Greene for making his big league debut in the seventh inning. He had no idea where the ball was going — only eight of 23 pitches were strikes — and put four of the five hitters he faced on base. He was lifted from the game in the middle of an at-bat with the bases loaded. Probably not how he dreamed it would play out all these years. That’s alright. Greene will get another chance to show what he can do. Eventually.

Adam Warren and David Robertson finished off the game after Greene. Robertson had not pitched since coming off the DL on Tuesday and he’d thrown one total inning in the last three weeks or so. That inning came in an Extended Spring Training game last Saturday. He needed the work. Glad was able to make his first appearance in a few weeks with a big league. You never quite know how a guy will pitch after such a long layoff.

One night after Pineda was ejected for failing to hide his pine tar, pitchers for both teams really struggled to locate the ball. Overall, the clubs combined for 18 walks, four wild pitches, two hit batsmen, and only 59% strikes. With extra attention naturally being paid to any sort of foreign substance, it was almost like the pitchers were looking for something to help them get a better grip in the cold.

There was a ton of offense tonight so I’m not even going to attempt to recap it here. Click the box score link below. I do want to point out that Beltran went 1-for-6 with a double, only because it was his 37th birthday. Oh, and the Yankees drew 12 walks while striking out only twice. Yeah, a bunch of those were Carp and his knuckleball in the ninth, but still. That’s pretty ridiculous. Oh, and Brian McCann played first base in the ninth inning. First time he’s ever played the position.

Joe Girardi actually challenged a wild pitch in that second inning. The umpires ruled the pitch hit Beltran in the foot, which would have loaded the bases with one out. But getting it overturned meant a wild pitch and the runner scoring from third. Bases loaded for the cleanup hitter would be cool, but you always take the guaranteed run. No brainer at the time since it was so early in the game.

Five of the Yankees’ last seven games have been decided by at least six runs. That seems weird. The Bombers took two of three in Fenway Park and went 4-3 on the seven-game trip through Tampa and Boston.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are heading home for a nine-game, ten-day homestand. Mike Trout and the Angels are in town this weekend and will send C.J. Wilson to the mound in Friday night’s opener. Hiroki Kuroda will be on the bump for the Bombers. If you want to catch that game or any game on homestand, RAB Tickets can get you in the door.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (81)

Excellent news! lol j/k. Both OF Tyler Austin and C Gary Sanchez are hurt. Details:

  • Austin was placed on the Double-A Trenton DL with a groin strain. He hurt himself stealing a base last night. No word on the severity or how long he will be out. [Mike Ashmore, Josh Norris]
  • Sanchez was held out of today’s game with some kind of hand soreness. Thunder manager Tony Franklin said it was precautionary and he could play tomorrow, but we’ll see. [Nick Peruffo]

Triple-A Scranton (6-5 loss to Buffalo)

  • 3B Scott Sizemore: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • DH Zoilo Almonte: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 K, 1 CS — hit a three-run homer as part of their spirited four-run rally in the ninth, but ultimately they fell just short
  • RF Ramon Flores: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP David Herndon: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 26 of 38 pitches were strikes (68%) … with both RHP Bruce Billings and RHP Shane Greene getting called up today, he made the emergency start
  • LHP Fred Lewis: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing) — 13 of 21 pitches were strikes (62%)
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GB/FB — 19 of 31 pitches were strikes (62%) … 12/4 K/BB in ten innings so far
  • RHP Matt Daley: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 19 of 31 pitches were strikes (62%) … 14 strikeouts in seven innings at this level

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (42)
(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

These last two games have been polar opposites. Almost everything went right in Tuesday’s win and then almost everything went wrong in last night’s loss. I guess I shouldn’t expect any differently from these two teams. The Yankees have split the first six games of this seven-game trip through Tampa and Boston, so tonight’s road trip finale is the difference between an okay trip and a meh trip.

Thanks to Michael Pineda‘s pine tar related suspension, the Yankees will play the next ten games with a 24-man roster. They made a series of roster moves this afternoon and appear to be going with a three-man bench and a full seven-man bullpen for the time being. That makes sense. The bullpen was worked hard last night because of Pineda’s early ejection and you’d rather run out of position players than pitchers if push comes to shove. Here is the Red Sox lineup (Shane Victorino was activated off the DL) and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Alfonso Soriano
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. LF Brett Gardner
  8. 2B Brian Roberts
  9. 3B Yangervis Solarte
    LHP CC Sabathia

Like last night, it is cool, cloudy, and very windy in Boston. No rain though, and that’s the most important thing. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm ET and you can watch the game on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Notes: In case you missed it earlier, Ivan Nova will indeed have Tommy John surgery. He has been transferred to the 60-day DL … righties Shane Greene and Bruce Billings were called up while righty Preston Claiborne and infielder Dean Anna were sent down.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (524)
  • Yankees call up Shane Greene and Bruce Billings

    4:20pm: Yep, Anna and Claiborne were sent down and Nova was moved over to the 60-day DL, the Yankees announced.

    3:48pm: The Yankees have called up right-handers Shane Greene and Bruce Billings from Triple-A Scranton. Based on the lineup card, Preston Claiborne and Dean Anna were sent down in corresponding moves. Greene was already on the 40-man roster and I assume Ivan Nova was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a spot for Billings.

    Greene, 25, was scheduled to start for the RailRiders tonight, but he has been up and down so much this year that he hasn’t been able to get stretched out. He’s only thrown 2.2 innings in 2014. Billings, 28, started for Scranton four days ago and is fully stretched out — he could throw 100+ pitches tonight if need be. The Yankees ran through their bullpen last night following Michael Pineda’s ejection, so this gives them a pair of fresh arms. It appears they’ll go with a three-man bench during Pineda’s suspension. (They aren’t allowed to replace him on the roster.)
    · (41) ·

(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

Michael Pineda has been suspended ten games for having a “foreign substance on his person” during last night’s game, MLB has announced. Thanks to Monday’s off-day, he will only miss one start. The suspension starts immediately unless he files an appeal sometime between now and the first pitch of tonight’s game.

This suspension is not like Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension. The Yankees will not be able to call up a player to replace Pineda and have to play with a 24-man roster for the next ten games. What can you do. The rules are the rules. Pineda does get paid during the suspension (only drug suspensions are unpaid), though I’m not sure if he still accrues service time.

Hopefully Pineda does not appeal. There is a ton of evidence against him — video plus he admitted to using pine tar following the game — and the odds of getting the suspension overturned or reduced are tiny. Let’s get this thing out of the way early in the season rather than having the appeal hanging over the team for weeks on end.

David Phelps is the obvious candidate to make the spot start, but the Yankees could always call up one of the veterans from Triple-A. I guess it depends on whether Phelps is needed out of the bullpen over the next few games. We’re a few days away from worrying about that. Pineda’s rotation spot doesn’t come up again until next Saturday, against the Rays. He is eligible to return the following Monday. Pineda made a dumb mistake and now he has to face the music. That’s all there is to it.

Update: Pineda told reporters he will accept the suspension and begin serving it tonight. “I made a mistake,” he said, stating the obvious. Seems like appealing would have been pointless. Glad he didn’t.

Categories : News
Comments (80)

Got some spare Joe Girardi-related notes lying around, all stemming from last night’s game and the whole Michael Pineda pine tar incident. Away we go…

Yankees file protest, MLB investigating ESPN camera

During the game, Girardi “pushed” a remote ESPN camera that was filming Pineda in the tunnel while he was talking to pitching coaching Larry Rothschild and trainer Steve Donohue. The video is above. According to Erik Boland and George King, the Yankees formally protested to MLB because the camera was snooping around in what was supposed to be a private area. The league is investigating.

“What frustrated me is that the camera is meant for the dugout and Michael was already out of the game so I don’t want it down in our tunnel. It’s a private area and it has been clearly stated that it is for the dugout, not for the tunnel and conversations that happen between players and coaches,” said Girardi. “If I was really going to tear up the camera I would have torn it up but I was just trying to get it from being in the tunnel … I think MLB is going to have a problem with ESPN.”

I didn’t realize the camera was designated for the dugout and field only when I wrote last night’s recap, so I take back what I said about Girardi likely getting fined. I get that ESPN was trying to find a juicy shot, but if the tunnel was off limits, Girardi was absolutely right to turn it around. I don’t know what can come of the protest — this is not the same as protesting a play on the field — but hopefully the league puts the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader in Sports back in line.

Girardi may talk to MLB about changing foreign substance rules

The use of pine tar or other foreign substances has been universally supported around baseball, including by the Red Sox following last night’s game, but Pineda made the mistake of being so obvious about it. Girardi told Jorge Castillo he will consider talking to MLB about changing the substance rules so that pitchers can legally use something to help their grip.

“That’s something I’ll talk about with Major League Baseball,” said Girardi. “You’re at the highest level. You want safety. I’m going to talk with Major League Baseball.”

The thing that really stands out to me is that hitters are okay with pitchers using pine tar. Both Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski said they were fine with it as long it was well-hidden. If everyone within the game is fine with pitchers using something to improve their grips and no one is being harmed in any way, I don’t see why some kind of substance shouldn’t be approved. Let the whole process be transparent, have pitchers declare the substance and get approval from the umpires before the game. Makes sense to me.

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