Archive for Spring Training
For the first time this season, the Yankees are in a National League park for an interleague series. That means no designated hitter and lots of so-called strategy. The Yankees open a three-game set against the Brewers tonight, their first trip to Milwaukee since 2005. The last time they visited Miller Park, Alex Rodriguez hit his 400th career homerun (video). How about that?
What Have They Done Lately?
The Brew Crew come into this series with a 22-13 record and a +13 run differential. That’s the second best record in the game. They have hit the skids of late though, losing their last two games, four of their last five, and six of their last eight.
Manager Ron Roenicke’s club has a team 90 wRC+ and averages 3.97 runs per game, so it’s a below-average attack. That surprised me. For some reason I thought they were better. OF Ryan Braun (156 wRC+) is currently on the disabled list with an oblique problem and he is not eligible to return until next week. OF Carlos Gomez (147 wRC+) is healthy, but the appeal of his three-game suspension (stemming from a brawl with the Pirates) will be heard today, so he figures to miss at least one game this weekend. His rematch with Brian McCann will have to wait.
With Braun and potentially Gomez out, the Milwaukee lineup is headlined by C Jonathan Lucroy (117 wRC+), who is one of the most underrated players in the game. He’s a stud both at and behind the plate. 3B Aramis Ramirez (81 wRC+) is off to a really slow start, but you’ll hear him referred to as an “RBI Guy” anyway. Former Yankees 1B Lyle Overbay (79 wRC+) and 1B/3B Mark Reynolds (115 wRC+) are kinda sorta platooning at first, though Reynolds is seeing more and more time given his strong start (and Overbay’s poor start).
2B Rickie Weeks (78 wRC+) has been relegated to the bench in favor of 2B Scooter Gennett (97 wRC+). OF Khris Davis (75 wRC+) has a hilarious 35/1 K/BB, and SS Jean Segura (69 wRC+) simply hasn’t hit since about last June. He got off to such a great start last season but just stopped hitting all together. OF Logan Schafer (63 wRC+) has been playing regularly with Braun out. C Martin Maldonado (208 wRC+), OF Caleb Gindl (1 wRC+), and IF Jeff Bianchi (8 wRC+) fill out the bench and have been varying degrees of useful in limited time. It’s worth noting the Brewers have hit 36 homers this season, the fifth most in baseball. Miller Park is a big-time hitter’s park.
Friday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. MIL) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (vs. NYY) (GIFs)
Gallardo, 28, has rebounded from the worst season of his career wonderfully: 2.47 ERA (3.63 FIP) in seven starts and 43.2 innings, with excellent walk (2.27 BB/9 and 6.1 BB%), homer (0.62 HR/9 and 7.0 HR/FB%), and ground ball (51.8%) rates. He isn’t striking out many guys though (5.36 K/9 and 14.4 K%), and righties (.307 wOBA) are hitting him harder than lefties (.273 wOBA). Gallardo has reinvented himself as a two-seam fastball pitcher, using it more than ever before at the expense of his four-seamer. Both pitches sit in the low-90s. He also throws a mid-80s slider and an upper-70s curveball. Gallardo doesn’t have much of a changeup at all.
Saturday: LHP CC Sabathia (vs. MIL) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
Many Cardinals reclamation project pitchers fail to sustain their success elsewhere, but Lohse is the exception. The 35-year-old has a 2.72 ERA (3.25 FIP) in seven starts and 46.1 innings this year thanks to strong strikeout (8.16 K/9 and 22.0 K%), walk (2.33 BB/9 and 6.3 BB%), and homerun (0.78 HR/9 and 8.3 HR/FB%) rates. The grounder rate (39.8%) isn’t anything special. Lefties have clobbered Lohse this year (.372 wOBA) and righties haven’t touched him (.210 wOBA). An upper-80s sinker and low-80s slider are his two main pitches, though he’ll also throw an upper-70s changeup and a mid-70s curve. Lohse is really good, very Hiroki Kuroda-ian. Mixes it up, throws anything at anytime. His days of trying to throw fastballs by everyone are long gone.
By the way, expect Sabathia to get a massive ovation tomorrow night. He’s beloved in Milwaukee for what he did in 2008. Dude started four games in 12 days down the stretch and threw a 122-pitch complete game against the 97-win Cubs on the final day of the season to clinch the Brewers’ first postseason berth in 25 years. Ridiculous.
Sunday: RHP David Phelps (vs. MIL) vs. RHP Matt Garza (vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
Garza, 30, is a familiar face after all his time with the Rays. He has a 4.93 ERA (3.74 FIP) in his first seven starts and 42 innings with the Brewers, and the peripherals are okay: 7.50 K/9 (18.9 K%), 3.00 BB/9 (7.6 BB%), 0.86 HR/9 (8.5 HR/FB%), and 42.6% grounders. Lefties (.366 wOBA) have roughed him up pretty good so far this year. Righties (.281 wOBA) … not so much. Garza is almost exclusively a low-to-mid-90s fastball/mid-80s slider pitcher at this point. He throws a handful of mid-80s changeups and mid-70s curveballs per start, but not nearly as many as he used to. It’s worth noting Garza has been dealing with a thumb issue (jammed it during an at-bat, hooray DH!) and has his last two starts were up and down.
The Brewers were off yesterday, so their heavily used bullpen was able to get some rest. RHP Francisco Rodriguez (1.05 FIP) has been dynamite this year, as have setup men RHP Tyler Thornburg (2.12 FIP) and LHP Will Smith (2.19 FIP). Smith might be the most dominant lefty specialist in the game right now. He’s held same-side hitters a .146 wOBA with a 46.2% strikeout rate. Crazy. K-Rod, Thornburg, and Smith are three of only 12 pitchers to appear in 18 games so far this season.
The rest of the bullpen includes RHP Brandon Kintzler (6.58 FIP), RHP Rob Wooten (4.96 FIP), and LHP Zach Duke (1.84 FIP). The Brewers are also carrying Rule 5 Draft pick LHP Wei-Chung Wang (8.81 FIP), who jumped from rookie ball (!) to MLB. Roenicke never uses him. Wang has appeared in only five games (seven innings) this year and they have all been super low leverage emergency mop-up situations. They basically roll with a six-man bullpen and a 24-man roster. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees relievers, then check out Disciples of Uecker and Brew Crew Ball for everything you need to know about the Brewers.
Spring Training is technically over, but Michael Pineda did not join the rest of the Yankees on their trip to Houston last night, instead staying behind in Tampa so he could throw in a minor league game this morning. According to Erik Boland, Pineda struck out eight and allowed one run on three hits and three walks in six innings. It was his final tune-up before his first start of the regular season next Saturday, his first MLB start in more than two years.
Here is your open thread for the night. The regular season (re)starts tonight with the Dodgers and Padres on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at 8pm ET. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy is your pitching matchup. The (hockey) Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are also playing. Talk about anything you like right here. Enjoy.
Spring Training is over. The Yankees’ final Grapefruit League game was rained out this afternoon, and the team is leaving for Houston this evening. Well, some of the team. A bunch of guys are staying behind for the night and will fly out on their own tomorrow. Veterans have it good like that.
The Yankees finished the spring 17-12-2 with 128 runs scored and 106 runs allowed. They hit .250/.314/.359 with 20 homers as a team, the seventh fewest in baseball. Oh well. Those stats are all washed away when the regular season begins against the Astros on Tuesday. The Yankees will have a workout at Minute Maid Park on Monday. Here is 2014′s last round of camp notes:
- In case you missed it, Yangervis Solarte beat out Eduardo Nunez for the final bench spot. Dean Anna was given the other bench spot yesterday.
- Because of the rainout, everyone who was scheduled to pitch this afternoon instead threw simulated games inside. That includes starter Ivan Nova, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Matt Thornton. Michael Pineda will remain in Tampa and pitch in a minor league game tomorrow. [Chad Jennings]
- The Yankees announced their final round of roster cuts: Nunez, Cesar Cabral, and Shane Greene were optioned to Triple-A Scranton while Zelous Wheeler, Antoan Richardson, Adonis Garcia, Matt Daley, and Jose Gil were reassigned to minor league camp. The roster is down to … wait for it … 25 players.
- Masahiro Tanaka was named the 2014 James P. Dawson award winner as the best rookie in camp, the team announced. Previous winners include Vidal Nuno, David Phelps, Manny Banuelos, Jon Weber, and Brett Gardner.
- Brendan Ryan (back) will begin swinging a bat underwater on Monday. Brian Cashman already confirmed he will not be ready when his 15-day DL stint is up and there’s a chance will be out until early-May. [Mark Didtler]
- Joe Girardi said today’s lineup will likely be the Opening Day lineup, meaning Gardner will bat seventh and Kelly Johnson will bat ninth. [Joel Sherman]
Here is your open thread for the evening. MLB Network is showing a few live Spring Training games throughout the night, plus both the Devils and Islanders are playing. There’s also college basketball on somewhere. Talk about whatever you like here.
At long last, Spring Training is finally over. The Yankees will play their final Grapefruit League game this afternoon after six successful weeks, successful in the sense that they suffered no major injuries or controversies. Part of that is Alex Rodriguez being away, obviously. Masahiro Tanaka has acclimated well, Michael Pineda looks healthy, Dellin Betances and some other youngsters were impressive … yeah, pretty good six weeks.
Jacoby Ellsbury returns to the lineup for the first time in 15 days, though he has been playing in minor league games all week. By all accounts his tight calf is a non-issue at this point and he will be ready for Opening Day. Starting the first year of a seven-year contract on the DL wouldn’t have been the best first impression. Ivan Nova will make his final spring tune-up appearance before getting the ball in the third game of the regular season on Thursday.
The Marlins are back in Tampa following last night’s game — they probably never left, their Spring Training home is four hours away in Jupiter — and they’ve got a representative lineup. Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and former Yankee Casey McGehee are all playing. Right-hander Tom Koehler is on the mound. Here is Joe Girardi‘s final starting lineup of the spring:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- SS Derek Jeter
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- LF Brett Gardner
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Kelly Johnson
RHP Ivan Nova
Available Pitchers: RHP David Robertson, RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP Matt Thornton, RHP David Phelps, RHP Adam Warren, and RHP Matt Daley are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Danny Burawa, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.
Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Jose Gil, 2B Yangervis Solarte, SS Dean Anna, 3B Eduardo Nunez, LF Zelous Wheeler, and RF Adonis Garcia will be the second string off the bench. C Roybell Herrera, SS Carmen Angelini, OF Ichiro Suzuki, and OF Antoan Richardson are also available.
Now, the bad news: it’s supposed to rain in Tampa this afternoon and continue pretty much all night. There’s a good chance the game will be cancelled because no one is sitting through a postponement for the final spring game. What that means for Ellsbury and Nova, I have no idea. I’m guessing Nova will throw inside in the batting cage. If they do play, and I hope they do, you can watch live on YES and MLB.tv. Enjoy what is hopefully the last meaningless Yankees game of 2014.
Update (1:05pm): First pitch has been pushed back to 1:15pm ET.
Update (1:13pm): The game has been cancelled. Spring Training is over.
The Yankees shut out the Marlins by the score of 3-0 on Friday night, in their second-to-last Spring Training game. They were being no-hit until Kelly Johnson doubled leading off the eighth. Masahiro Tanaka is the story of the night; he struck out ten in six innings, allowing three hits and zero walks. Pretty awesome. He and Hiroki Kuroda combined for 14 strikeouts. Here’s the box score.
The Yankees are playing the Marlins in their second-to-last Spring Training game tonight, but the game will not be televised. Oh well. You’ll be up to your eyeballs in Yankees baseball starting next week, so enjoy the last few days before the start of the regular season. Here is tonight’s lineup card, if you’re interested. Here are the day’s notes from Tampa:
- In case you missed it earlier today, Joe Girardi announced that Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno have won the final two bullpen spots. Al Aceves was signed to a minor league deal to help replace the minor league rotation depth.
- Jacoby Ellsbury (calf) went 2-for-5 in a minor league game today. He ran the bases and played center field, saying afterwards that everything went fine. Girardi said Ellsbury will play in tomorrow’s Grapefruit League finale. Brendan Ryan (back), meanwhile, will not be ready when his DL stint ends, Brian Cashman confirmed. [Jorge Castillo, Joel Sherman, Bryan Hoch]
- Michael Pineda threw a bullpen session today and will stay behind in Tampa to pitch in a minor league game on Sunday. He’ll join the team in Houston before making his first start next Saturday. Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka will both pitch tonight, their final tune-ups before the season. [Chad Jennings]
- Manny Banuelos will not open the season with Triple-A Scranton. He’ll instead be assigned to High-A Tampa because they can better monitor his return from Tommy John surgery there, plus the weather will be warmer. He’ll move up after a few weeks. Aceves, Chris Leroux, Shane Greene, Bruce Billings, and Brian Gordon will start the year in the Triple-A Scranton rotation. [Joel Sherman]
- Tyler Austin (wrist), Slade Heathcott (knee), Greg Bird (back), and Jose Campos will all be held back in Extended Spring Training to make up for the time they lost this spring. Campos isn’t hurt, he was just brought along slowly in camp and needs more work before starting the season. [Josh Norris]
Here is your open thread for the night. MLB Network will air the Mets and Blue Jays live (from Montreal!) tonight, plus the Knicks, Nets, and (hockey) Rangers are all playing. Talk about anything and everything right here.
The Yankees played their final road game of the spring this afternoon, beating the Pirates 4-2. CC Sabathia threw 44 pitches across four innings in his final tune-up, allowing three hits with no walks and no strikeouts. He finishes the spring having allowed three runs on 13 hits with a 16/3 K/BB in 21 innings. His next start will be Opening Day, Tuesday in Houston. David Phelps had a rough two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the two runs, but Dellin Betances, Vidal Nuno, and Adam Warren all threw scoreless innings.
At the plate, Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez both went 3-for-4, all singles. Zoilo Almonte went 3-for-3 with a double. Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann both went 0-for-3, though Teixeira drew a walk. Bench candidates Yangervis Solarte and Dean Anna were both hitless in four trips to the plate. You could definitely tell the end of Spring Training is close because there was a ton of first pitch swinging. Guys are ready to get out of Florida. Can’t blame ‘em. Here’s the box score, here are the video highlights, and here’s the rest from Tampa.
- The Yankees announced a big round of roster cuts this morning: Preston Claiborne and Zoilo Almonte were optioned to Triple-A Scranton while Russ Canzler, David Herndon, Jim Miller, Scott Sizemore, Yoshinori Tateyama, Danny Burawa, Chris Leroux, and Fred Lewis were reassigned to minor league camp. Herndon is expected to opt-out of his contract by Sunday. There are now 34 players left in big league camp by my unofficial count.
- Jacoby Ellsbury (calf) worked out today and will play in games Friday and Saturday. It’s unclear if they will be regular Grapefruit League games or minor league games. If he plays in a regular spring game, they won’t be able to backdate a DL stint if he suffers a setback. [Dan Barbarisi, Jorge Castillo]
- Phelps, Warren, Nuno, Betances, and Cesar Cabral are all scheduled to pitch again on Saturday, their final tune-ups before the season. The roster is expected to be announced tomorrow and at least one of those guys won’t make the bullpen. [Chad Jennings]
This is your open thread for the evening. Both YES (7pm ET) and MLB Network (right now) will replay this afternoon’s game, plus MLB Network will show the Giants and Athletics later tonight. They’re playing in AT&T Park, so teams are starting to return to their cities. The Islanders and Devils are playing as well. Talk about anything and everything right here.
There are only three Spring Training games left, so everyone is pretty much ready to go. The pitchers, like today’s starter CC Sabathia, will throw light tune-up sessions more than full “working on something” starts. In fact, Sabathia is only scheduled for 45-50 pitches today. These last few days are about staying sharp and not getting hurt, not building pitch count or anything like that. The real work is already done. These are the last low-stress games the team will play for months.
The Yankees are making the hour-long trip south to Bradenton to play the Pirates this afternoon. Pittsburgh is playing most of their regulars, including Starling Marte, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, former Yankee Russell Martin, and former Yankees farmhand Jose Tabata. Righty Stolmy Pimentel, who I wrote about as a possible trade target not too long ago, is on the mound. Here’s the starting lineup as the competition for the final bench spot winds down:
- CF Ichiro Suzuki
- 3B Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- LF Zoilo Almonte
- 2B Yangervis Solarte
- SS Dean Anna
- DH Zelous Wheeler
- RF Adonis Garcia
LHP CC Sabathia
Available Position Players: C Jose Gil, 1B Corban Joseph, SS Carmen Angelini, LF Ben Gamel, and CF Antoan Richardson will all come off the bench. C Roybell Herrera, C Radley Haddad, UTIL Addison Maruszak, UTIL Jose Pirela, and OF Mason Williams are also available.
Available Pitchers: RHP David Phelps, RHP Adam Warren, and LHP Vidal Nuno are all scheduled to pitch after Sabathia. LHP Cesar Cabral, RHP Dellin Betances, LHP Fred Lewis, RHP Graham, Stoneburner, RHP Manny Barreda, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Shane Greene, LHP Aaron Dott, and SwP Pat Venditte are the extra arms.
It has been raining for most of the morning in Bradenton but it is expected to stop very soon if it hasn’t already. There might be a short delay, if anything, but it looks like they’ll have no trouble getting in a full nine innings. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and you can watch live on both YES and MLB.tv. Yeah, this is one of the rare YES road games. Enjoy.
The Yankees blew a six-run lead this afternoon, dropping their fourth-to-last Spring Training game to the Blue Jays by the score of 10-6. Brett Gardner (0-for-1, two walks), Derek Jeter (1-for-2, one walk), Carlos Beltran (2-for-3), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-2), Kelly Johnson (1-for-2, one walk), and Brian Roberts (1-for-3) all had productive days at the plate. Frankie Cervelli went 0-for-3 and Dean Anna went 1-for-2 with a walk. He has quietly been very good the last week or so.
Preston Claiborne took another beating in a spring full of them, allowing six runs on two singles, two doubles, a walk, and a hit batsman. He recorded zero outs. “The stuff has not been the same for whatever reason,” said Joe Girardi to Chad Jennings after the game. I wonder if Claiborne is near the front of the designate for assignment line. Chris Leroux allowed his first runs of the spring (two of ‘em) in a three-inning stint. Fred Lewis got roughed up for two runs on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Dellin Betances struck out one in a perfect innings of work. Here is the box score, here are the video highlights, and here’s the rest from Tampa.
- Jacoby Ellsbury (calf) went 1-for-4 with a walk in a minor league game, the Yankees announced. He played five innings in center field and said he felt great. Brian Cashman said Ellsbury will play one more minor league game before returning to regular Grapefruit League play. They fully expect him to be ready for Opening Day. [Dan Barbarisi, Wally Matthews]
- David Robertson, meanwhile, allowed one run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning in a minor league game, according to the team. It was the first time he pitched on back-to-back days this spring. Both David Phelps and Adam Warren will come out of the bullpen in tomorrow’s game. Girardi said the bullpen decision will be announced tomorrow or Friday. [Chad Jennings]
- Brendan Ryan (back) will definitely start the year on the DL, Cashman said. Soriano’s right shoulder is barking, and apparently it has something to do with missing so much time due to the flu earlier in camp. It only bothers him when he throws and it hasn’t kept him out of games. [Barbarisi, George King]
- Roster move: Austin Romine was optioned down and sent to minor league camp, so Cervelli is officially the backup catcher. By my unofficial count, there are still 44 players in big league camp. [Jorge Castillo]
Here’s your open thread for the night. This afternoon’s game will be replayed on MLB Network tomorrow morning at 9am ET. They’ll carry the Rays and Orioles live tonight. The (hockey) Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are playing as well. You folks know how these work by now, so have at it.
The Yankees are across the bay in Dunedin to play the Blue Jays this afternoon, their fourth-to-last Grapefruit League game. A handful of regulars will play in the day game following the night game, and Chris Leroux is making the spot start as the rotation gets lined up for the start of the regular season. Here are the Yankees and Blue Jays lineups. This afternoon’s game is available on MLB.tv only, not YES or MLB Network. Talk about it here if you’re watching.