Archive for Spring Training
In his first Grapefruit League game in nearly two years, Michael Pineda struck out four and allowed a single in two scoreless innings of work against the Tigers on Friday night. The four hitters he struck out were Austin Jackson, Danny Worth, Rajai Davis, and Miguel Cabrera. Three legit big leaguers, including the best hitter on the planet. Not bad. Twenty-one of his 27 pitches were strikes.
According to Joel Sherman, Pineda’s fastball was clocked mostly in the 90-92 mph range with one 93. His slider was 80-82 mph. Not bad velocity following shoulder surgery but obviously not where he was sitting during his All-Star rookie season in 2011. “If I’m the Yankees, I’m pleased. Enough velocity. Sharp with slider and location. Appeared confident and aggressive,” said a scout to Sherman. So far, so good. Pineda’s next start will be Thursday’s game, which will air on YES and MLB.tv.
The Yankees are at home playing the Tigers tonight, but unfortunately the game will not be broadcast anywhere. Not on television, not on the radio, not online. That really bites because Michael Pineda is scheduled to come out of the bullpen to make his first Spring Training appearance in nearly two years, and I know lots of people (myself included) want to get a look at him. Sucks.
Hiroki Kuroda is getting the start, then David Robertson will come out the bullpen before Pineda. Alfonso Soriano is playing in right field for the first time not just this spring, but his entire career. He’s never played a game at the position before and given the current roster, he’s expected to split time there with Carlos Beltran this summer. Tonight is his first test as part of what amounts to a Spring Training crash course. You can follow the game on Gameday right here. Here’s the rest of the news from Tampa.
- Vidal Nuno (simulated game) and Adam Warren (bullpen) were among the pitchers to throw. Slade Heathcott (knee surgery) will hit off a tee for the first time tomorrow but he is not yet working out in the outfield. [Chad Jennings]
- Jose Ramirez (oblique) is getting better, but he is still receiving treatment and not scheduled to return to the mound anytime soon. Francisco Rondon (shoulder) will throw his first bullpen session tomorrow. [Marly Rivera]
- Robertson, Soriano, Beltran, Warren, Derek Jeter, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, and Dean Anna are among those who will travel to Panama for the exhibition games next weekend. Sabathia and Warren will start the two games. [Mark Feinsand, Jennings]
Here is your open thread for the night. As I said, tonight’s game is not being broadcast anywhere. Here’s the Gameday link one more time. MLB Network will re-air a different game later tonight and all five of the hockey and basketball locals are playing as well. Talk about those games or anything else right here. Enjoy.
Following a 90-minute rain delay, the Yankees got back into the win column with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Phillies this afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka made his second appearance (first start) of the spring, allowing a solo homer in three otherwise strong innings. He struck out one, walked zero, and recorded seven outs on the ground compared to one in the air. Pretty good day if you ask me.
In their first games of the spring, both Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Alfonso Soriano (flu) went 0-for-3. Soriano struck out all three times. Derek Jeter went 2-for-3 with a ground ball single and a line drive double, which were his first base hit and first ball hit in the air of the spring, respectively. Kelly Johnson had two more hits to continue his nice spring. Ramon Flores crushed a solo homer and had the go-ahead sac fly in the eighth, capping a rally created by Gary Sanchez (single) and Jose Pirela (double). Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from a rainy day in Tampa.
- Today was the first of the Yankees’ seven spring games with the expanded replay system, but there was some kind of electrical problem, so it wasn’t available. Go figure. The Phillies tried to challenge a play but couldn’t.
- CC Sabathia threw his simulated game as scheduled, presumably indoors given the weather. He unveiled a new cutter during the session, a pitch he learned from Andy Pettitte. “He showed me the grip for the cutter. I used it [Thursday] and I am going to take it into the game.,” said Sabathia. [George King]
- Manny Banuelos will throw an inning in Saturday’s game. It will be his first real game action in about 20 months due to elbow problems. Tyler Austin (wrist) hit off a tee as he works his way back from lingering soreness. [Chad Jennings]
- And, just in case you were worried, Joe Girardi confirmed that Carlos Beltran was scratched from this afternoon’s game because of the weather. He’s not hurt, they just don’t want him and knees on the wet outfield. [Bryan Hoch]
This is your open thread for the night. This afternoon’s Yankees game will not re-air anywhere, but MLB Network is showing Dodgers-Angels on tape delay later tonight, if you’re interested. The Nets are playing as well. Talk about whatever here. Go nuts.
This afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Phillies is no ordinary Spring Training game. Not even close. There is be a lot going on for the Yankees this afternoon, with Masahiro Tanaka‘s first start (second appearance) being the headliner. He is starting on a normal five-day schedule, his first time doing so, and because he’s starting, he’ll see mostly big leaguers. That’s kind of a big deal.
That’s not it, though. Mark Teixeira will also be playing in his first spring game after missing nearly all of last year due to a tendon sheath problem in his right wrist. He had surgery in early-July and has been slowly working his way back. With no obvious first base alternative in camp, Teixeira’s health and production is very important to the Yankees this season. Alfonso Soriano, who has been battling the flu, will also play his first spring game today.
But wait, there’s more. For the first time this spring, the Yankees will get a chance to try out the new expanded replay system. Each team will play a handful of “test” games with the new system — not every park has the proper equipment, so they can’t do it every game — and Joe Girardi said he plans to use the system as much as possible to get familiar with it. They’re going to have people checking replays and relaying information like they will during the season.
No, the bad news: it’s pouring in Florida. Pretty much the entire state, but especially the Tampa area. The Yankees are on the road to play the Phillies, but their complex in Clearwater is like, 15 minutes away. The weather will be a problem and there’s a good chance this afternoon’s game will not be played. I suppose they could wait it out, but it is Spring Training. They tend to pull the plug on these games quickly. The Yankees have bused over the stadium though, so here’s the starting lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- RF Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- DH Alfonso Soriano
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- 2B Brian Roberts
- CF Mason Williams
And on the mound is Tanaka for the second time this spring. His first outing was rather impressive and I think we all want to see some more.
Available Pitchers: RHP Bruce Billings, RHP Chris Leroux, RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Danny Burawa, and LHP Fred Lewis are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Preston Claiborne, LHP Cesar Cabral, RHP Brian Gordon, and RHP Chase Whitley also made the trip and are available if needed.
Available Position Players: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Corban Joseph, 2B Yangervis Solarte, SS Brendan Ryan, 3B Scott Sizemore, LF Ramon Flores, CF Antoan Richardson, and RF Adonis Garcia will come off the bench. C Francisco Arcia, 1B/C Jose Gil, C Gary Sanchez, C Peter O’Brien, and UTIL Jose Pirela are also available.
There is no YES broadcast of this afternoon’s game. The network usually doesn’t travel. The game can be seen live on both MLB Network and MLB.tv though, so if they do play, make sure you tune in. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET. Enjoy.
Update (1:05pm): I haven’t seen an official announcement yet, but the game is very obviously in a delay right now. A cancellation is sure to follow at some point.
Update (1:27pm): First pitch is currently scheduled for 2:30pm ET. How about that?
Update (1:58pm): Carlos Beltran has been scratched from the game. Ramon Flores will take his place in right field. I assume the Yankees don’t want him playing on the wet outfield.
Update (2:30pm): Game on! They have started played, which seemed impossible not too long ago.
Sounds the alarms, the Yankees have lost two games in a row. Oh, wait, it’s still Spring Training? Disregard. They lost 5-4 to the Rays this afternoon mostly because Robert Coello allowed four runs (two homers) in his one-third of an inning of work. That dude’s having a brutal spring (48.60 ERA). Adam Warren allowed a run in 2.1 innings while Dellin Betances chucked 1.2 scoreless frames. He’s up to 5.1 scoreless innings in camp, which is pretty much exactly what he needs to do to win a bullpen spot.
Here’s the box score. Eduardo Nunez had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double. Brett Gardner (1-for-3), Ichiro Suzuki (1-for-3), Kelly Johnson (0-for-2), Austin Romine (0-for-3), and J.R. Murphy (0-for-3) also played. Yangervis Solarte went 1-for-3 and lowered his spring batting average to .667. The Yankees didn’t send many regulars down to Port Charlotte for the game at all. Here is the rest from a slow day in Tampa.
- Mark Teixeira took some live batting practice but only saw five pitches and was pretty annoyed. Yesterday’s session was cancelled because no one was available pitch. “I thought I was going to get a lot more work the last few days, but I just do what I am told,” he said. [Chad Jennings, Andrew Marchand]
- Alfonso Soriano has a first base mitt and he’s been working out at the position. He doesn’t expect to play much there, it’s more about increasing his versatility in case of emergency. [Jennings]
This is your nightly open thread. This afternoon’s game will not be replayed anywhere but MLB Network will show the Dodgers and Reds live later tonight. The Knicks and Nets are both playing as well, ditto the (hockey) Rangers and trade deadline pickup Martin St. Louis. Talk about anything and everything right here. Enjoy.
According to George King, the Mariners had a scout on hand to watch David Phelps‘ second spring start last night. He got hit around pretty hard but held the Orioles to only one run in 2.2 innings, striking out two and walking one. Phelps is currently competing for the fifth starter spot, though Joe Girardi confirmed he will make the team in some capacity.
The Mariners have been hit hard by injuries this spring. Co-ace Hisashi Iwakuma is sidelined with a finger sprain and top prospect Taijuan Walker is dealing with a shoulder problem. Manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed both guys will open the season on the DL, leaving the team with Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton, Brandon Maurer, and Scott Baker behind Felix Hernandez. Their need for another arm is obvious.
Seattle’s top trade chip is infielder Nick Franklin, who was pushed into trade chip status by the Robinson Cano signing. The 23-year-old switch-hitter hit .225/.303/.382 (90 wRC+) with 12 homers, six steals, and a 27.4% strikeout rate in his 412 plate appearance MLB debut last season. His defense is shaky — he’s already moved off short and is error prone at second — and more than a few people think he’ll have to drop switch-hitting and stick to batting lefty down the road. Baseball America (subs. req’d) said he “profiles as a solid regular who could play in a few All-Star Games” before last season.
The Yankees desperately need a young infielder and Franklin certainly fits the bill even though I’m not his biggest fan. I’d trade
four five years of Phelps for six years of Franklin in a heartbeat, but I suspect the Mariners are going to want another piece or two. Both the Mets and Rays have been talking to Seattle about Franklin — Tampa was reportedly on the verge of the deal, but then Jeremy Hellickson got hurt and they were reluctant to sacrifice pitching depth — so there is plenty of competition.
Of the various fifth starter candidates, the 27-year-old Phelps feels like the safest bet to be a productive big leaguer in 2014. In order to deal him, I think the Yankees would have to feel pretty good about Michael Pineda heading into the season and/or be open to signing a low-cost pitcher (Jeff Niemann? Jeff Karstens?) to replace the depth. Given their pitching situation, I’m guessing the Mariners would like to get a deal done sooner rather than later. That could work to New York’s advantage in trade talks.
In other news, King says both the White Sox and Brewers also had scouts on hand for last night’s game. Both clubs are looking for catching depth, something the Yankees can spare. Chicago has some infield depth to offer and we’ve already heard the Yankees will monitor Rickie Weeks this spring. Given the infield situation, the Yankees could swap Phelps+ for Franklin and a catcher for Weeks or one of the ChiSox infielders (or one of the Diamondbacks infielders). It doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other.
The totally meaningless Grapefruit League winning streak is over at four; the Orioles beat the Yankees 3-2 on Tuesday night. Here’s the box score. David Phelps was in “bend but don’t break” mode, getting knocked around pretty hard (five hits in 2.2 innings) but only surrendering one run. He escaped two on, no outs jams in both the first and second innings. Matt Thornton made his spring debut, throwing one pitch and retiring a lefty with a ground ball.
At the plate, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Derek Jeter went hitless in two at-bats. Ellsbury did draw a walk though, his fifth of the spring (only one strikeout). Carlos Beltran went 0-for-2 with a walk and a whiff. Frankie Cervelli opened the scoring with a solo tater and Spring Training superhero Yangervis Solarte plated another run with a single. Scott Sizemore went 1-for-2 in his spring debut and made a nifty diving stop at second base. Here’s the rest of the day’s news from Tampa.
- Brendan Ryan was hit by a line drive in the left hand while running the bases during batting practice. He was looked at and is fine, so much so that he played in tonight’s game. “It’s sore but okay,” he said. [Andrew Marchand, Erik Boland]
- Mark Teixeira did not take live batting practice as scheduled today because there was literally no one available to pitch. Vidal Nuno, Hiroki Kuroda, and Michael Pineda were among those to throw bullpens sessions. [Chad Jennings]
- Tyler Austin played catch and took dry swings today for the first time since being shut down when his wrist flared up. He said it felt better than expected following the workout. [Jennings]
- Ivan Nova and Phelps will start
Friday and SaturdaySaturday and Sunday, respectively. That means Nuno has been squeezed out of the spring rotation, at least for the time being. [Bryan Hoch]
The Yankees are on the road to play the Rays tomorrow afternoon, but that game will not be televised. Masahiro Tanaka will make his first start and second appearance of the spring on Thursday (CC Sabathia will throw a simulated game that day) while Michael Pineda will make his debut (in relief of Hiroki Kuroda) on Friday. Thursday’s game will be on television, Friday’s will not. For shame.
For the first time this year, the Yankees are playing a night game. Only six of their 31 Grapefruit League will be played at night and that seems low to me, but whatever. Day baseball is better anyway.
Derek Jeter is playing back-to-back games for the first time this spring, though he will only serve as the DH for the first few innings tonight. Two at-bats is my guess. The back-to-back games is something of a milestone following last year’s leg injury fiasco. David Phelps, who I still think is the front-runner for the fifth starter’s job, is making his second start of the exhibition season.
The Orioles are in Tampa for tonight’s game after making the short trip up from Sarasota. As you might expect, their roster for the road night game is not exactly brimming with projected big leaguers. Jemile Weeks, Delmon Young, and starter Wei-Yin Chen are pretty much the only names casual fans may recognize. Here is Joe Girardi‘s starting lineup:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Derek Jeter
- RF Carlos Beltran
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Eduardo Nunez
- C Frankie Cervelli
- SS Brendan Ryan
- 1B Russ Canzler
- LF Yangervis Solarte
And on the mound is the right-hander Phelps, who is likely scheduled for something like three innings or 45 pitches, whichever comes first.
Available Pitchers: LHP Matt Thornton, RHP Brian Gordon, LHP Cesar Cabral, RHP Chris Leroux, RHP Chase Whitley, and RHP Preston Claiborne are all scheduled to pitch. This will be Thornton’s spring debut. RHP Bruce Billings, RHP Graham Stoneburner, LHP Jeremy Bleich, and SwP Pat Venditte are also available if needed.
Available Position Players: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Scott Sizemore, SS Dean Anna, 3B Zelous Wheeler, LF Ramon Flores, CF Mason Williams, RF Antoan Richardson, and DH Brian McCann will all come off the bench. Sizemore will be making his spring debut. C Jose Gil, C Peter O’Brien, C John Ryan Murphy, IF Corban Joseph, UTIL Jose Pirela, OF Adonis Garcia, and UTIL Addison Maruszak are all available as well.
The forecast for Tampa tonight calls for cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper-60s but not rain, thankfully. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and the game can be seen live on YES, MLB Network, and MLB.tv. Enjoy.
Via the AP: Orlando Hernandez has joined the Yankees as a Spring Training minor league pitching instructor. The 48-year-old retired in 2011 and last pitched in the big leagues in 2007. This will be El Duque’s first coaching gig as far as I can tell and he’s slated to remain in Tampa for several weeks. Since he’s working with minor leaguers, I wonder if Hernandez will stick around for all or part of Extended Spring Training as well.
This past weekend, in his first outing of the spring, CC Sabathia chucked two scoreless and relatively uneventful innings against the Phillies. Uneventful unless you were watching the radar gun, of course. Sabathia topped out at 88 mph with his fastball on Saturday and sat mostly in the 86-88 mph range, which is far below what you want to see, even on March 1st. And everyone did see it thanks in no small part to the Michael Pineda velocity fiasco of 2012. The radar gun has become a focal point in Spring Training.
“My fastball is what it is. If it gets better, it will. If it’s not, it won’t. I can pitch. I’m fine. As long as I’m healthy I’ll be good,” said Sabathia to Chad Jennings after Saturday’s game because what is he supposed to say? No this is terrifying and I don’t think I’ll ever be effective again? C’mon now. It takes a lot of confidence and a certain level of arrogance to be an elite pro athlete, and part of that is never doubting your own ability despite signs of decline. Of course Sabathia is unconcerned about his fastball.
I am concerned about Sabathia’s fastball, however. Well, concerned isn’t the right word. I’m keeping my eye on it. That’s better. I wanted to go back and compare CC’s early spring velocity to past years, but there’s a bit of a problem: there isn’t any Grapefruit League pitch data out there. We’re limited to MLB.tv archives and the YES Network gun because there’s no PitchFX. Sabathia did not appear in a YES broadcast game until the middle of March in both 2012 and 2013, so we can’t even compare early spring velocities. We’re stuck lumping it all under a big “Spring Training velocity” umbrella. Here’s what we’re left with:
Sabathia did not pitch in a YES televised game in Spring Training 2011, so we can’t go back any further. I’m not sure how useful anything from pre-2012 would be anyway.
Just to give you an idea of how unprecise this is, Sabathia had one fastball clocked at 94 mph in the 2013 start and another clocked at 57 mph (!) in the 2012 game. I can buy 94 mph, but the most relevant thing is that he was consistently in that 89-90 range with a handful of 91s during the five-inning outing. I can’t buy 57 mph, but again, Sabathia was regularly in that 89-92 range with a smattering of 93s back in 2012. That’s what’s important.
Sabathia’s velocity in his first televised Spring Training game, as questionable as it may be given the source, was right in line with his PitchFX recorded April velocity in both 2012 and 2013. He held that Spring Training velocity through the season’s first month before adding another tick or two in the summer months, after the weather warmed up and he got into midseason form. That alone makes you want to see Sabathia get his heater closer to 90 mph this month.
Because of who he is and how important he is to the 2014 Yankees, Sabathia is going to be under the microscope this spring. His first outing was less than encouraging because his fastball was a little short, but it was only March 1st. I want to see how he looks after another outing or two before getting … well … concerned. I don’t think the fastball he showed on Saturday is full freakout worthy, but as much I hate Spring Training velocity watches, I don’t think we can simply sweep it under the rug just because it’s early-March either.