It appears the Yankees have lost one of their starters for an extended period of time. Ivan Nova has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the Yankees announced. Yes, that is the Tommy John surgery ligament. He will be re-evaluated in New York tomorrow, during the team’s off-day.
Nova, 27, left yesterday’s start with a sore elbow and was sent for tests. He reportedly did not complain of any pain, and it wasn’t until he shook him arm following a pitch that Joe Girardi and the rest of the staff took notice. Nova tried to talk his way into remaining in the game but that wasn’t going to happen. “It’s hard. I don’t even know what to tell you guys. I’m so sad right now that I’m not going to be pitching,” he said to Erik Boland.
This is Nova’s fourth arm injury in the last four years. He suffered a forearm strain during the 2011 postseason, shoulder inflammation in August 2012, and triceps inflammation last April. Nova is a breaking ball heavy pitcher, throwing his curveball and/or slider at least 31% of the time the last three years. That’s usually bad news for the elbow.
Nova may try to rehab the injury but that rarely seems to work. Chad Billingsley and Matt Harvey both tried to rehab partially torn UCLs only to wind up having Tommy John surgery, for example. There has been a lot of talk recently — from people like Dr. James Andrews, not schmucks like me — about the elbow reconstruction rehab process being too aggressive these days. The prescribed rehab time is 12-18 months, so if the Nova does need surgery, we might not see him again until the 2015 All-Star break.
It’s unclear who will replace Nova in the rotation right now. Vidal Nuno is making a spot start today and thanks to tomorrow’s off-day, he’d line up perfectly to replace Nova. David Phelps is another option, but he isn’t stretched out. Adam Warren has settled into a one-inning setup role and it’s tough to see him moving into the rotation. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen though. Triple-A starters include veterans Bruce Billings, Al Aceves, and Chris Leroux. We’ll see. Either way, Nova probably isn’t returning anytime soon.
Does this game really need a recap? I’m not quite sure what there is to say after a beatdown like that. The Yankees got buried by the Rays on Saturday night, allowing 16 runs on 16 hits and five walks. Five of those hits were homers, including two by Wil Myers and two by Ryan Hanigan. Yes, the same Ryan Hanigan who hit four homers with a .063 ISO from 2012-13. It was that kind of night.
This game had it all. There was the ol’ intentionally walk one hitter (James Loney) and give up a homer to the next (Myers) move, which has always been a personal fave. A throwing error on the would-be third out — a throw that probably would have been scooped by an experienced first baseman — extended an inning by a whopping 22 pitches, which was fun. A position player (Dean Anna) pitched. Oh, and the Yankees were shut down by Chris Archer again. They only had three base-runners (all hits) and the final 13 men they sent to the plate made outs.
Then there’s Ivan Nova, who pitched horribly for four innings (eight runs on eight hits and a walk, including four homers) before leaving the game with a sore elbow. He went for an MRI tonight but the results are not expected to be available until tomorrow. Nova has been pretty terrible so far this year and it all seems to be control-related, and poor control is a common symptom of elbow problems. This is a hope for the best, prepare for the worst situation. Whoever replaces Nova in the rotation — I can’t remember the last time a pitcher had a sore elbow and didn’t miss at least one start — is far from a lock to perform better.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays have outscored the Yankees 27-2 in the last 13 innings of this series. Geez. Spot starter Vidal Nuno will look to stop the bleeding Sunday afternoon against fellow soft-tosser Cesar Ramos. Nuno vs. Ramos. AL East baseball. Get excited.
11:12pm: Preston Claiborne will also be called up according to Dan Barbarisi. So someone is going down no matter what, even if Nova is placed on the DL.
10:59pm: The Yankees are calling up right-hander Bryan Mitchell, according to Josh Norris. The move is being made to help bolster a bullpen that has been run into the ground the last two days, obviously. The only question is whether Matt Daley or Dellin Betances will be sent down as the corresponding move. I guess Ivan Nova (elbow) could go on the DL as well.
Mitchell, 23, was scratched from his scheduled start with Double-A Trenton on Saturday, so he’ll be good for 80+ pitches tomorrow, if not more. He has a 5.14 ERA (2.06 FIP) in three starts and 14 innings for the Thunder this season, and he struck out 12 in six innings last time out. Mitchell has never pitched in Triple-A and has only made four starts above Single-A, so I assume this is just a temporary measure. He will likely go back to the minors in the coming days. · (33) ·
Update: The second game of Low-A Charleston’s doubleheader is over and has been added to the recap.
RHP Danny Burawa has been placed on the DL for an unknown reason, according to Donnie Collins. He had a wild (four walks in 1.2 innings) and extended (51 pitches) outing on Thursday. Burawa missed the entire 2012 season with a torn oblique.
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Lehigh Valley)
- CF-RF Ramon Flores: 0-4, 1 K
- 2B Jose Pirela & 1B Russ Canzler: both 2-4, 1 R — Canzler doubled and struck out
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 R
- 3B Adonis Garcia: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
- C Austin Romine: 0-3, 1 PB
- RHP Bruce Billings: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 1 Balk, 7/6 GB/FB — 67 of 104 pitches were strikes (64%) … picked a runner off second
- RHP Jim Miller: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 20 of 22 pitches were strikes (91%) … guess he’s the new closer with RHP Matt Daley in the big leagues
10:05pm: Nova left the game with right elbow soreness and tests are scheduled, the Yankees announced. That … doesn’t sound good.
8:52pm: Ivan Nova left tonight’s game in the middle of the fifth inning with some kind of injury. Joe Girardi and the trainer came out to visit him in the middle of the bat, and even though Nova tried to talk them into remaining in the game, he was removed. Replays showed him shaking his arm following his last pitch. Nova has had triceps (2013), shoulder (2012), and elbow (2011) issues in recent years. Stay tuned for updates. · (20) ·
The five-game winning streak came to an end last night thanks to a rather spectacular bullpen meltdown. Oh well. That’s going to happen from time to time. The Yankees have lost consecutive games just twice this season — first two games to the Astros then two games to the Orioles — and to avoid their third set tonight they will have to overcome what feels like a pitching disadvantage.
Ivan Nova has been New York’s worst starter this season — it feels like he has not had a single easy inning yet — but his last start was his best, so hopefully he’s heading the right direction. Rays righty Chris Archer has been good this year but his last start was his worst, a seven-run beatdown. He crushed the Yankees in three starts last season, though that was completely different lineup. I’m not sure his history against the Bombers means much of anything. Here is the Rays lineup and here is Joe Girardi‘s lineup:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- LF Brett Gardner
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
- 1B Kelly Johnson
- 2B Brian Roberts
- SS Dean Anna
RHP Ivan Nova
It is warm, humid and raining in St. Petersburg. The Tropicana Field roof will take care of all that though. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Mark Teixeira Update: Teixeira (hamstring) played seven innings in an Extended Spring Training game this morning, his third straight day of game action. He is eligible to be activated off the 15-day DL tomorrow and he insists he is ready.
David Robertson Update: Robertson (groin) threw 16 pitches and faced five batters in an ExST game. He is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Tuesday and the expectation is that he will indeed be activated.
Rotation Update: As expected, Joe Girardi confirmed Vidal Nuno will start tomorrow’s game. There’s a pretty good chance he will then be shipped to Triple-A Scranton before the team’s next game to clear a rotation spot for Robertson.
According to Chad Jennings, infielder Scott Sizemore confirmed he has a minor league option remaining. That could come into play when Mark Teixeira is activated off the 15-day DL, either tomorrow or in the coming days. Since he was called up to the MLB team, the May 1st (and August 1st) opt-out in Sizemore’s contract goes away.
Sizemore, 29, is 4-for-12 (.333) with two doubles in four games since being called up a few days ago. With Yangervis Solarte tearing the cover off the ball and Dean Anna needed as the backup shortstop, Sizemore sure seems like the obvious candidate to go down to Triple-A whenever Teixeira is ready. If he is, I imagine it won’t be the last time we see him this year. Useful player to have in the organization. · (42) ·
Interesting quote from CC Sabathia tonight: “I think the chemistry on this team is really good as opposed to the past couple of years.” Hm.
— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) April 18, 2014
When I read that quote, my first thought was that Sabathia was talking about Alex Rodriguez. How could you not think that? Were Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera the bad eggs? Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain? Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher? If the Yankees had a chemistry issue in recent years it isn’t unreasonable to think A-Rod was the root cause given all his off-the-field nonsense. The man is a living, breathing distraction and it is no doubt tiresome.
For what it’s worth, Sabathia clarified his comments to Wally Matthews yesterday — “It just seems like the team is having more fun this year than last year. We added a lot of good guys, Mac, Jacoby, Carlos. It’s just a good group of guys this year” — and it seems like he was referring to all the roster turnover they dealt with last season. I imagine it’s tough to develop chemistry when you have a new shortstop every week and a revolving door of faces in the clubhouse. Would Sabathia really take a veiled shot at A-Rod like that?
Anyway, I bring this up because the Yankees have placed a renewed emphasis on character and good clubhouse guys in recent years. They’ve admitted as much. It started back during the 2008-09 offseason, then they brought in Sabathia and Swisher, among others, and it has trickled down into their scouting and development staff. Strong makeup is definitely something the team emphasizes and they should. Every teams wants players who are good people and hard workers. I imagine it’s a tough thing to scout but it’s not impossible.
The value of good team chemistry is unknown. It is absolutely a good thing, there’s no denying that, but how much does it actually help a team win? I don’t think we’ll ever be able to put a number on it despite some, uh, weak attempts. Chemistry is a chicken or the egg question, really. Does winning comes from good chemistry or does good chemistry come from winning? I think the answer is both. You need a strong group of guys as a foundation and when the wins start to pile up, the chemistry improves. At least that’s my opinion as a layman. Talent is extremely important as well, obviously. Chemistry only goes so far.
Baseball is all about commitment. The 162-game season is a real grind and these guys practically live with each other from February through October. If they don’t get along well, the team is almost doomed from the start. There are exceptions to rule, sure, but by and large teammates have to get along well for a club to be successful. When you have new faces in the clubhouse every week like the Yankees did last season, that chemistry is tough to build. The team added some great players and high-character guys this winter, and in addition to on-field production, one of the most important things they added was stability.
11:49pm: The Yankees just announced that Cabral has indeed been designated for assignment. Matt Daley was called up from Triple-A Scranton as the corresponding move. The Queens native had 13 strikeouts in five innings for the RailRiders.
11:43pm: Via Marly Rivera: Cesar Cabral was designated for assignment following tonight’s game. He failed to retire any of the six batters he faced tonight, including three hit batsmen. It was ugly.
There is no word on the corresponding roster move just yet, but it’s worth noting Danny Burawa threw 51 pitches last night and Mark Montgomery has pitched in each of the last two days. Fred Lewis and Al Aceves both pitched tonight as well. Not sure who is getting called up. Maybe Matt Daley? Here is our Bullpen Workload page for your perusal. · (55) ·
It was bound to happen eventually. The Yankees came into Friday’s game with five straight wins and the bullpen with 17 consecutive scoreless innings. Both streaks came to crashing halt with an ugly come-from-ahead 11-5 loss to the Rays. Let’s recap the carnage:
- If You’re Going To Blow It, Might As Well Really Blow It: Even without David Robertson, the Yankees’ bullpen had been very strong over the last two weeks or so. They got their collective asses kicked on Friday, with five relievers combining to surrender eight runs on nine hits and one walk in 2.1 innings. Ugly. Adam Warren was on the mound for the biggest blows in the seventh and poor Cesar Cabral failed to retire any of the six batters he faced. Not coincidentally, five of the six were righties. He also plunked three batters. Let us never speak of this meltdown again.
- Early Runs: It looked like the Yankees were headed for another laugher, scoring three runs on Scott Sizemore‘s bases-clearing double in the second inning to jump out to early 3-0 lead. Brett Gardner plated another run with a ground out two batters later, then Alfonso Soriano singled in the fifth run later in the game. Five runs is enough to win most nights. This was not most nights.
- Kuroda’s Grind: “Not having it” was a common theme for the pitchers on Friday. Hiroki Kuroda battled his command and his trademark splitter was non-existent all night, and the result was three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He only struck out two. With his splitter not working, Kuroda had nothing to go to in two strike counts and the Rays worked him hard. Hrmph.
- Leftovers: All eleven Rays runs scored with two outs. Ridiculous … Jacoby Ellsbury was the only Yankee with two hits, though Soriano and Yangervis Solarte both singled and walked … the Yankees only had two hits after the ineffective Erik Bedard was knocked out of the game in the fourth … Ichiro Suzuki made an excellent running grab in the ninth that ultimately meant nothing.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Sometimes, the bullpen is just going to melt down spectacularly. What are you gonna do? These same two teams will play the third game of their four-game series on Saturday night — yes, a stupid Saturday stupid night game — when Ivan Nova squares off against Chris Archer.