Tanaka feels good, reports no fatigue or soreness following bullpen

As scheduled, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw in the bullpen this morning for the first time since dealing with fatigue in his arm late last week. He told reporters he felt fine following the 34-pitch session and reported no fatigue or soreness in his arm. Tanaka also reiterated that he still wants to pitch in a game this season to test out his elbow.

The Yankees have not yet announced the next step — I’m guessing they’ll wait a day or two to see how Tanaka feels before finalizing any plans — but reports indicate he could face hitters in a simulated game next. Although there only 22 games left in the season after today, there is still enough time for Tanaka to pitch in two simulated games and make two MLB starts with an extra day or two of rest mixed in at some point. The most important thing is that he feels good today. It seems this recent setback was nothing more than a little dead arm phase.

Billy Eppler named as candidate for Diamondbacks GM job

Yesterday morning, the Diamondbacks officially fired GM Kevin Towers in the wake of their massively disappointing season. (Towers spent 2010 working as a special advisor with the Yankees, so I suppose there’s a chance he could return to the team in some capacity. He and Brian Cashman are very close.) During a conference call with Nick Piecoro, D’Backs exec Tony La Russa named Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler as someone on their list of GM candidates.

Eppler was reportedly a finalist for the Padres GM job earlier this summer, though San Diego eventually went in a different direction. He was also the runner up to Jerry Dipoto for the Angels GM gig a few years ago. The Yankees gave Eppler permission to interview with the Padres and I have no reason to think they won’t allow him to speak with Arizona. He’s been with the Yankees since 2004 and was the director of pro scouting from 2005-11 before being promoted to assistant GM. It’s only a matter of time before Eppler becomes a GM, and with the Yankees likely to re-sign Cashman after the season, chances are that opportunity will come with another team.

Yankees have no answer for Shields, drop series opener 1-0 to Royals


Source: FanGraphs

Building off that awesome walk-off win over the Red Sox was a fun idea for a few hours. The Yankees had one of their worst offensive showings of the season on Friday night and dropped the series opener to the Royals by the score of 1-0. Let’s recap the loss:

  • Big Mike: Considering he was fighting his command and leaving the ball up in the zone early on, Michael Pineda pitched very well on Friday. He only run he allowed came after the usually reliable Chase Headley whiffed on a hard-hit ground ball, allowing Alcides Escobar to hustle a single into a double and eventually score on Norichika Aoki’s single up the middle. Pineda held Kansas City to the one unearned run on three singles in seven innings, walking none and striking out four. He retired the final eleven men he faced. It was obvious Pineda was not on top of his game in the first few innings but he figured out how to pitch effectively anyway. Very nice to see.
  • Shut Down: The Yankees grabbed their biggest win of the season on Thursday night and responded with three singles and a hit batsman on Friday. They did not have a runner reach third base all night and it wasn’t until Derek Jeter singled with one out in the ninth that they had a man reach base with fewer than two outs. The Yankees did put the tying man at second that inning — pinch-runner Antoan Richardson stole second — but Brett Gardner (swinging) and Carlos Beltran (looking) struck out to end the game. Thirteen of the final 14 men they sent to the plate made outs. James Shields was cruising and probably could have thrown ten innings if Ned Yost wasn’t so quick to go to his bullpen. The offense was completely overmatched.
  • Leftovers: Dellin Betances struck out one in his perfect eighth inning, giving him 124 strikeouts in 82 innings. The franchise strikeout record for a reliever belongs to 1996 Mariano Rivera (130 in 107.2) … David Robertson struck out two in a perfect ninth. Between Pineda and the two relievers, the Yankees retired the final 17 men they faced … Jeter, Headley, and Gardner (double) had the three base hits. No one on either team drew a walk. Coincidentally, both clubs went 3-for-30 with eight strikeouts at the plate … Pineda has a 1.80 ERA and the Yankees have somehow lost six of his nine starts … the Bombers lost a game without allowing an earned run for the first time since May 1996.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late games, the Yankees will end the night either four games (Tigers and Mariners lose) or five games (Tigers or Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 2.3% at this very moment. Brandon McCarthy and Danny Duffy will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon.

Cervelli down with “severe headaches,” Austin Romine to join Yankees

Francisco Cervelli is dealing with “severe headaches” and will not be available for the foreseeable future, according to Sweeny Murti. Insert joke about having to watch the offense here. Austin Romine will be called up to join the Yankees in the meantime. Cervelli has a history of concussions and, if I remember correctly, he did take a pretty hard foul tip to the face mask the last time he played. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. The brain is nothing to mess around with.

Game 139: Big Mike takes on the Royals

BIG MIKE IS HERE

Am I the only one who finds myself looking forward to Michael Pineda starts more than anything right now? I can’t be, right? I mean, Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy are cool, so is Hiroki Kuroda, but Big Mike is the star of the pitching show. He’s been awesome just about every time out this year. Hoping to see more of the same tonight. Here is the Royals lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. LF Brett Gardner
  4. DH Carlos Beltran
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 1B Mark Teixeira
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Ichiro Suzuki
    RHP Michael Pineda

It’s warm and humid in New York this evening, but the sky is clear and there is no rain in the forecast. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Martin Prado (hamstring) did some more running and baseball activities but obviously is not back in the lineup just yet. He said he hopes to be available to pinch-hit tonight.