The Yankees have lost another one of their starters for an extended period of time. Brian Cashman confirmed to Joel Sherman that CC Sabathia will be out until at least July due to his continued right knee problems. Just last night we heard Sabathia was going to see another doctor after receiving a cortisone injection and stem cell treatment from Dr. James Andrews a few days ago.
“It will be no sooner than six weeks from now,”said the GM to Sherman. “Our dialogue with Andrews has been good and the small sample of stem cell procedures, the results are very successful, but he has to be pain free before strengthening, so there is a way to go. Because he is a starter it will take longer. I have no idea how long it will be and if it will be successful. We are hoping it is six weeks to a Major League return.”
Sabathia, 33, has what Cashman called “degenerative change” in his right knee, referring to the cartilage. He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee after both the 2006 and 2010 seasons. Even the slimmed down version of Sabathia is a large man and he’s been coming down on that right knee — his landing leg — for a long time now. Joe Girardi said he is unsure if surgery will be necessary if the stem cell treatment doesn’t work.
“I have not been told that (surgery is possible), but I think you have to wait and see how all of this works,” said the manager to Chad Jennings yesterday. “I think any time you deal with a degenerative knee issue, at some point in your life something is probably going to flare up. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t tell you when that’s going to happen. When you have degenerative back (problems), it usually gets to the point where usually you have to have something done, so we’ll have to see.”
The Yankees are also without Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, so three-fifths of their Opening Day rotation is hurt. Nova is done for the year following Tommy John surgery and Pineda recently started throwing bullpens as part of his throwing program, but he is still several weeks away from returning from his back/shoulder muscle injury. David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and most recently Chase Whitley have stepped into the rotation and have been … hit or miss. Let’s put it that way. They have combined for ten starts and have completed five full innings of work only six times (combined 3.62 ERA and 4.08 FIP).
We already know the Yankees are open to trading for pitching — “Generally at this time of year, nothing materializes. We will keep an eye out to see if something does,” said Cashman to Sherman — because they’re always open to trading for pitching. Hal Steinbrenner has indicated a willingness to take on salary and increase payroll, which seems unavoidable if the team wants to lands a rotation upgrade. Expect a lot of Cliff Lee and Jeff Samardzija chatter over the next few weeks.
The Yankees have just about exhausted their internal rotation candidates, with Alfredo Aceves, Brian Gordon, and Shane Greene next in line to make starts (not necessarily in that order). Manny Banuelos might be an option in the second half, and, if worst comes to worst, they could always pull Adam Warren out of his setup role and stretch him back out into a starter. Putting Dellin Betances back in the rotation should be a non-option given his history.
Sabathia has been pretty awful both this year (5.28 ERA and 4.72 FIP) and since the start of last year (4.87 ERA and 4.21 FIP), but that doesn’t mean the Yankees are better off without him. Far from it. Phelps, Nuno, and Whitley are five and fly pitchers who drain the bullpen — Betances can throw two innings every other day for only so long — and the Yankees run of the risk of burning out their key relievers later in the season. They need to get some more length from their starters, including Hiroki Kuroda.
On the other hand, it’s possible Sabathia will come out of this ordeal as a better pitcher once he’s healthy. He’s shown he will pitch through pain in the past, most notably pitching on the torn meniscus in 2010, with the bone spur in his elbow in 2012, and after blowing out his hamstring mid-start last September. Who knows how long the knee was bothering Sabathia and how getting it taken care of will help him? If he was unable to land comfortably, it would explain some of his location issues, no doubt. We’ll find out eventually, I guess.
For now, the Yankees are stuck with the totally awesome Masahiro Tanaka, the inconsistent Kuroda, and three rolls of the dice in the rotation. Pineda will hopefully be back early next month and that will be a huge help based on the way he was pitching earlier this year. At the very least, Sabathia’s ability to take the ball every fifth day and soak up some innings will be missed, especially by the middle relievers who have to pick up the slack.
Via Marc Topkin: Fernando Rodney said the Yankees offered him a one-year contract over the winter. He received two-year offers from several teams and eventually took a two-year, $14M pact with the Mariners. Seems like the Yankees would have welcomed him aboard, but only on their terms.
Rodney, 37, has a 3.12 ERA (3.08 FIP) in 17.1 innings as Robinson Cano’s teammate so far this year. Signing him would have allowed the Yankees to use David Robertson in some higher leverage seventh and eighth inning situations, but it also might have sent Robertson searching for a closer job when he becomes a free agent after the season. Rodney’s too much of a high wire act for me, but a one-year contract? No harm in that. · (6) ·
Record Last Week: 4-3 (33 RS, 30 RA)
Season Record: 23-20 (188 RS, 196 RA, 21-22 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, @ Cubs (two games, Tues. and Weds.), @ White Sox (four games, Thurs. o Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week opened with the 2014 edition of the Subway Series. They Yankees blew two three-run leads in Monday’s loss before being blown out the next day. Masahiro Tanaka threw his first MLB shutout on Wednesday and the Yankees eked out a 1-0 win in the series finale.
- The Pirates came to the Bronx for a three-game weekend set, but Friday night’s opener was rained out. The Yankees homered their way to a win on Saturday, then they held on for a win in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. The Pirates took the second game.
- Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) received cortisone and stem cell injections, but will see another doctor for a new treatment plan. Carlos Beltran (elbow) received two cortisone shots and is going to see Dr. Andrews this week. Michael Pineda (elbow) has thrown two bullpen sessions and could soon face hitters. Shawn Kelley (back) will start throwing this week. Ichiro Suzuki (back) has since returned to the lineup. Frankie Cervelli (hamstring) is continuing to rehab but is “not yet 100%.” Austin Romine (hand) has been placed on the Triple-A DL. Ty Hensley (hernia) has started facing hitters.
- The Yankees called up Chase Whitley to replace Sabathia in the rotation. Bruce Billings was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot and Beltran was placed on the 15-day DL to clear a 25-man roster spot. Zoilo Almonte was called up during the week as well.
- Hal Steinbrenner has indicated a willingness to take on salary at the trade deadline, and team is open to trading for pitching. They may reconsider Stephen Drew after the draft.
- The Yankees are one of five finalists for Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell. They are targeting several international amateurs for $1M+ bonuses for the July 2nd signing period.
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 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?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
A few hours after winning the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Yankees dropped the second game to wind up with a split. It’s hard not to get greedy and want a sweep after taking the first game, so the outcome was disappointing. The Pirates won the second game 5-3 but the Yankees still took two of three this weekend.
The Defense! My Eyes! The Goggles Do Nothing!
The defense in the second inning was as bad as you’ll see in MLB these days. Both teams too, not just the Yankees. In the top half, three of four Yankee infielders made a poor play and contributed to a Pirates’ run. First Yangervis Solarte fielded a ground ball at third and unnecessarily rushed the throw, which short-hopped Kelly Johnson at first. Johnson couldn’t scoop it out of the dirt, but I think an experienced first baseman would have. Maybe I’m wrong. Later in the inning, Brian Roberts flubbed the pivot at second on a potential double play ball, so instead of ending the inning, the Pirates had runners at first and third. He never had it in his glove so they could even say he botched the transfer. Chris Stewart came up with a two-out single to score the run, because of course.
Then, in the bottom half of the inning, right fielder Travis Snider flat out missed a John Ryan Murphy single that dropped in front of him. The ball got by him and rolled to the warning track, allowing Solarte to score from first and Murphy to make it to third base safely. Brendan Ryan followed with a surprise bunt attempt that hugged the third base foul line, at least until Gerrit Cole scooped it up, twisted around, and threw the ball over the first baseman’s head and into the right field. Murphy scored easily from third and Ryan wound up at second. Cole should have just eaten the ball. Terrible throw. He balked runners up to second and third later in the inning, but Roberts couldn’t make him pay. Four errors total in the second inning, two by each team. Extra outs for everyone!
These Are Not The Pitchers You’re Looking For
With an assist to some terrible Pirates base-running — Josh Harrison got caught between second and third following his two-out double in the fifth, and although he wasn’t tagged out, he ran way out of the baseline and the inning was over — Vidal Nuno was actually pretty good on Sunday. The first run he allowed was the result of the defensive hilarity, and the other two came from a two-run Yankee Stadium cheapie that looked like a routine pop-up off the bat from Starling Marte. Such is life. All things considered, I think the Yankees should be thrilled whenever they get six innings of three-run ball from Nuno, which they did on Sunday.
Alfredo Aceves was the first one out the bullpen and he promptly served up a solo homer to Harrison to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead in the seventh. It was a terrible pitch up in the zone that deserved to be destroyed. Matt Thornton retired Pedro Alvarez to end the eighth and was then left in to face the right-handed Jordy Mercer in the ninth for reasons unknown. Of course he doubled to the wall and that led to an insurance run. Preston Claiborne needed 22 pitches to get the final two outs in the ninth, one of which was a sac fly by Stewart to score the insurance run. Pretty strong case to be made that the Yankees used their four worst pitchers in each this game. Kind of amazing they only allowed five runs, really.
The Yankees failed to come through in prime run-scoring opportunities more than once. First, Brett Gardner led the game off with a triple and managed to get himself picked off at third with one out. Stewart caught him wandering two far off the bag with a snap throw. That hurt. Getting a run — even just one — that early in the game would have been nice with Nuno on the mound. The Pirates have been scuffling and making them play catch-up right away would have changed the complexion of the game.
The Yankees’ best chance to tie the game in the late innings came in the seventh, when Roberts doubled to right with Gardner on first. He was held up at third — the replay made it seem as though it would have taken a perfect relay throw to get him at the plate, but I thought it was the right call to hold him at third with the molten hot Mark Teixeira due up — and eventually stranded when Teixeira broke his bat and popped out to end the inning. In hindsight, damn why didn’t they send him. Alas.
The eighth inning rally wasn’t particularly close to producing a run because Harrison made a spectacular diving catch to rob Solarte of a sure double for the first out of the inning. Derek Jeter was standing on first following a pinch-hit leadoff single (ten-pitch at-bat against hard-throwing lefty Tony Watson) and if Harrison misses the dive, there’s a pretty good chance he would have scored. Alfonso Soriano came off the bench against the lefty and struck out three pitches, swinging and missing on three fastballs. Hero swings. He was up there with one thing on the mind. Ichiro Suzuki struck out and that was that. Harrison’s great play changed everything.
Solarte really knows about the break out of a slump, huh? He came into the game riding an 0-for-13 skid (with three double plays, yikes), but he snapped out of that with a ground ball single in the second, then he clubbed a long solo homer into the right field bleachers to tie the game in the sixth. Solarte also had a double taken away from him on that play by Harrison. The slump was more bad luck than bad at-bats. Hard-hit balls right at people, not a ton of strikeouts and weak contact. He’ll be fine.
In case you were holding out hope that Jeter would be removed for defense in the late innings going forward, he took over at shortstop after pinch-hitting in the eighth while Ryan moved over to first. Ryan had never played first base in his eleven-year professional career. So yeah, Jeter’s the shortstop hell or high water this year. By the way, Ryan is already the seventh player to play first for the Yankees this year. The team’s single-season record is 12 different first baseman in 2008.
Umpire Bob Davidson managed to annoy both teams on Sunday. First he botched the check swing call on Teixeira’s would-be hit-by-pitch in the first game, then he made some weird signals when Harrison was out of the baseline in the fifth. Davidson just points at stuff. The ball, the player, whatever. Same happened when Roberts misplayed the double play ball in the second. No one knew if he got the out before bobbling the transfer or what. No one knows what Davidson’s calling. Terrible.
Gardner, Roberts, and Solarte had two hits apiece, one single and one for extra bases. They went a combined 6-for-12 with a double, a triple, a homer, a walk, and a strikeout. The rest of the lineup went 4-for-23 (.174) with one walk and nine strikeouts. Considering the house money lineup the Yankees ran out there in the second game of the doubleheader, that isn’t surprising.
Following the doubleheader, the bullpen and the rest of the Yankees get a much-needed off-day in Monday. They are in Chicago all of next week and open a two-game series against the Cubs on Tuesday night. Masahiro Tanaka and Jason Hammel will be the pitching matchup. It will be the first time Tanaka faces a team for a second time this year.
CC Sabathia will see another doctor to formulate a new treatment plan for his injured right knee tomorrow, Joe Girardi announced following today’s doubleheader. “Is it going to be a 15-day DL? No. It’s going to be more than that, I can tell you right now,” said the skipper.
Sabathia, 33, has “degenerative change” in his twice surgically repaired right knee. He recently received a cortisone shot and stem cell treatment in an effort to promote cartilage growth (or slow down cartilage decay, I’m not sure), and I guess that isn’t working. It seems more and more likely that Sabathia is going to be out a while, which makes Michael Pineda’s return from his shoulder injury all the more important. · (12) ·
After a long day of Yankees baseball, this is your open thread for the night. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Tigers at the Red Sox (Anibal vs. Peavy), though both the NHL and NBA playoff games are already over by now. Talk about that game, this afternoon’s doubleheader, or anything else right here. Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Pawtucket)
- CF Adonis Garcia: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 K — 26-for-62 (.419) during his 15 game hitting streak
- RF Ramon Flores: 2-5, 1 2B — three doubles in his last four games
- DH Scott Sizemore: 0-5, 4 K — 50 strikeouts in 122 total plate appearances this season (41.0%)
- 1B Kyle Roller: 1-3, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 K, 1 HBP
- SS Dean Anna: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- RHP Zach Nuding: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/7 GB/FB — 50 of 81 pitches were strikes (62%)
- SwP Pat Venditte: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 5 K — 17 of 27 pitches were strikes (63%) … this isn’t his Triple-A debut (seven games in 2012), but that’s one hell of a first impression at this level for 2014
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — only nine of 22 pitches were strikes (41%)
The Yankees and Pirates were rained out Friday night, so they will make up that game as part of a rare single admission doubleheader today. Rare for the Yankees, that is. The team’s last single admission doubleheader came way back in 2004. Since today’s second game will start roughly 30 minutes after the first game ends, let’s lump them both together in one game thread. That makes life easier.
Hiroki Kuroda is starting the first game this afternoon, and, as has been the case pretty much all season, the Yankees really need him to get his act together and not only provide quality innings, but bulk innings as well. David Phelps, Chase Whitley, and Vidal Nuno are essentially five and fly pitchers who drain the bullpen, so Kuroda needs to soak up some innings both today and every fifth day, especially since Dellin Betances is not available this afternoon after throwing two innings yesterday.
The Yankees have called up righty Jose Ramirez to be the 26th man for the doubleheader and he got the call almost by default. The only other pitchers in the minors and on the 40-man (and healthy) are Shane Greene, Manny Banuelos, and Bryan Mitchell, all of whom have pitched multiple innings recently and would have been on short rest today. Ramirez missed the first few weeks of the season with an oblique injury and has not thrown more than 1.1 innings or 30 pitches since being activated, so he can’t give the team much length. By rule, he must go back to the minors immediately after the doubleheader. Here is the Pirates lineup for Game One and here is the Yankees lineup for Game One:
- DH Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- 2B Yangervis Solarte
- 3B Kelly Johnson.
- LF Zoilo Almonte
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It’s a gorgeous day in New York. Couldn’t ask for better doubleheader weather. Game One is scheduled to begin a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live. Enjoy the game.
Update (4:28pm): The Yankees took the first game of the doubleheader earlier today by the score of 4-3. It seems unlikely Adam Warren (pitched each of the last two days) and David Robertson (four-out save in Game One) will be available in Game Two, but the rest of the bullpen should be good to go. Here is the Pirates lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Brian Roberts
- DH Mark Teixeira
- 1B Kelly Johnson
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
- LF Zoilo Almonte
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- C John Ryan Murphy
- SS Brendan Ryan
LHP Vidal Nuno
There are a few more clouds in the sky right now than there were earlier today, the weather will be fine for the game. First pitch is tentatively scheduled for 4:35pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy, again.
And just like that, the Yankees have won four straight games. They hung on for a 4-3 win over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, in the first game of their doubleheader. The Yankees have allowed four runs total in their last four games.
Early Runs … Then Nothing Else
The start of the first game was outstanding. The Yankees managed to load the bases with no outs against Charlie Morton in the first inning despite not hitting the ball out of the infield — Brett Gardner walked, Derek Jeter bunt singled, and Jacoby Ellsbury was hit by a pitch. Mark Teixeira continued to turn the clock back to 2009 with a two-run single to right-center, then Brian McCann plated another run with a single to center. The Yankees were up 3-1 before making their first out.
An Alfonso Soriano strikeout and a hard-hit Yangervis Solarte double play ended the rally, but the Bombers scored their fourth run when Gardner doubled in Kelly Johnson in the second inning. The double was all speed and hustle. Most players are held to a single on that play. After that though, Morton settled right down and retired 16 of the final 17 men he faced. The one exception was a Zoilo Almonte single, and he was picked off first base immediately. Morton faced the minimum after allowing seven of the first ten batters he faced to reach base.
Good Kuroda, Bad Kuroda
Neil Walker started the afternoon with a monster solo homer in the first inning, but Hiroki Kuroda got into a groove and retired the next nine men he faced before escaping a bases loaded, two outs jam in the fourth. The fifth inning was a bit of a mess thanks to a Tony Sanchez leadoff homer and a Clint Barmes (!?) double, which gave Pittsburgh two runs to cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-3 and put Kuroda on the ropes. He hung around for another inning and finished the day with the bare minimum quality start: six innings, three runs.
During that stretch of nine straight being set down, Kuroda looked like the good version of himself, dotting the corners with his fastball and getting hitters to reach for offspeed stuff out of the zone. He caught way too much of the plate in the fifth inning — Pedro Alvarez fouled off a middle-middle meatball before striking out to end the inning, a pitch he could have hit into the third deck — and looked more like the Kuroda who has struggled for most of the season. Getting through six innings was important in the first game of the doubleheader.
I get the feeling Joe Girardi was not willing to use David Robertson in both games of the doubleheader, so it made sense that he went to his closer for the four-out save with a one-run lead in the first game, especially with the off-day coming on Monday. Robertson fanned Starling Marte to strand Andrew McCutchen at second base as the tying run to end the eight inning — Marte was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, swinging and missing eight times out of 17 pitches — and then he retired the side in order in the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances. Turns out the elite setup man is a pretty good closer, huh? Weird. Matt Daley (two outs), Matt Thornton (one out), and Adam Warren (one base-runner, two outs) helped navigate the seventh and eighth innings. The bullpen will be a little short in Game Two, but preserving the lead in the first game had to be the priority.
Teixeira got hosed in the sixth inning, when he took a Morton curveball to the left knee. Rather than being awarded first base, third base ump Balkin’ Bob Davidson said he swung at the pitch. Replays showed he wasn’t even close to swinging. Didn’t even go halfway around. Terrible call. Teixeira struck out a few pitches later and said either “thanks a lot, Bob” or “good job, Bob” as he walked off the field. The knee seems to be fine.
I was surprised Girardi went to Thornton to face Travis Snider with two outs and the bases empty in the seventh inning, only because Alvarez was due up in the eighth and it was obvious Snider was going to lifted for a pinch-hitter. It all worked out in the end, I just expected Girardi to save his only lefty for one of the premier left-handed power hitters in baseball in the one-run game.
The Yankees did not have a base-runner after Zoilo’s single/pickoff combination. Morton and lefty reliever Tony Watson combined to retire 19 of the final 20 players New York sent to the plate. Gardner had the double while Jeter, Teixeira, McCann, Johnson, and Almonte had one single apiece. Gardner drew his walk and Ellsbury was hit by a pitch. Johnson also stole a base. That’s it. That was the offense.
The Yankees and Pirates are playing a single admission doubleheader on Sunday, so Game Two is minutes away/being played right now. Vidal Nuno and former Yankees first round pick Gerrit Cole is the pitching matchup.
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) received a second cortisone injection and will see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on Tuesday. The second opinion was apparently always scheduled, but the second injection indicates the first isn’t helping much. It’s looking more and more likely Beltran is heading for surgery.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) threw a 28-pitch bullpen session this afternoon as scheduled, and everything went fine. He will rest the next two days, then throw a 30-40 pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Big Mike will start facing hitters after that, presumably in live batting practice or a simulated game.
- Shawn Kelley (back) will play catch on Monday and Tuesday, throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, then make a minor league rehab appearance on Friday. He hopes to be activated off the 15-day DL and rejoin the team next Sunday.