Game 99: Bullpen Game

(Tom Pennington/Getty)
(Tom Pennington/Getty)

In the interest of self-preservation, the Yankees are pushing everyone in their rotation back a day and using a spot sixth starter tonight. Except there’s no spot starter. It’s going to be a bullpen game — Chris Capuano and Adam Warren are expected to throw roughly 50 pitches each, then the rest of the relievers will take over from there. It’s not ideal, but there aren’t any other options right now.

On the bright side, the Yankees have won eight of ten games since the All-Star break and have a nice little seven-game lead in the AL East. The division looked wide-open coming into the season and we all kinda waiting for some team to got hot and run away with things, and would you believe it, that team ended up being the Yankees. Still a lot of season left though. Seven games is a nice lead but a guarantee of nothing. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Chris Young
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Brendan Ryan
    LHP Chris Capuano

It was another disgustingly hot day in Arlington — not that the weather in New York has been any better — and the temperatures will again be in the 90s for tonight’s game. Gross. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm ET and for some reason the game will air on FOX Sports 1. Not YES, not WPIX, FOX Sports 1 only. Weird. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Diego Moreno was called up from Triple-A Scranton and Nick Goody was optioned down, the Yankees announced. Moreno had been working as a starter for the RailRiders — though he’s not yet stretched out beyond 55 pitches or so — and is better able to give length tonight if necessary.

Injury Update: Ivan Nova said he expects to throw his regular bullpen session and make his next start after leaving last night’s game with “arm fatigue.” Apparently he’s been told it’s common for a dead arm phase to follow Tommy John surgery.

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Yanks send Branden Pinder and Diego Moreno to Triple-A

Pinder. (Presswire)
Pinder. (Presswire)

Following this afternoon’s win over the Phillies, the Yankees sent right-handers Branden Pinder and Diego Moreno to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. Stephen Drew will be activated off the paternity list to fill one spot. The other? That’s unclear at the moment.

Pinder, 26, has allowed three runs in 10.2 innings across multiple big league stints this year. Moreno, 27, allowed two runs in an inning today and threw a scoreless inning in his only other outing. Those two have been part of the bullpen revolving door the last few weeks.

The Yankees were carrying eight relievers and are now down to six with Chris Capuano and Bryan Mitchell capable of going multiple innings. (Mitchell gets to stay, interestingly.) Danny Burawa, Chris Martin, and Jose Ramirez are all on the 40-man roster but can’t be called back up yet because of the ten-day rule.

Joe Girardi has indicated the Yankees may carry a six-man bullpen while using a six-man rotation these next few days, so perhaps a position player is coming up. It can’t be Ramon Flores because of the ten-day rule. Maybe Gregorio Petit? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. Intrigue!

Game 70: Big Mike and the Phillies

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees open a three-game series with the punchless Phillies this evening — Philadelphia has baseball’s worst offense in terms of runs per game (3.10) and wRC+ (75) — and they’re sending Michael Pineda to the mound. Last time out Big Mike took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Marlins. There is no such thing as a guaranteed win in baseball, but man, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel good going into this game.

Anyway, the Yankees got blown out by the Tigers on Sunday and that sucked. They had won four straight before that though, and this series with the Phillies is a great opportunity to shake off the blowout and pile up some wins. The Yankees have to take care of business this series. The Phillies are terrible and they need to beat teams like this to remain in the hunt in the AL East. The division is too close to give away series to bad teams. Here is Philadelphia’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 1B Garrett Jones
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. LF Chris Young
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Michael Pineda

It’s a gorgeous day in New York. Just perfect for baseball. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch live on WPIX. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira is out of the lineup with a stiff neck. It’s been bothering him on and off for a week or so now. Teixeira went for an MRI today and Joe Girardi said he expects him to be back in the lineup in a day or two … Andrew Miller (forearm) will play catch on Wednesday.

Roster Update: In case you missed it earlier, Ivan Nova will start Wednesday and the Yankees will temporarily shift to a six-man rotation … as expected, both Nick Rumbelow and Diego Moreno were called up from Triple-A Scranton. Jose DePaula and Danny Burawa were sent down yesterday.

All-Star Update: MLB released the latest AL All-Star Game voting update today, and the good news is it is no longer Mike Trout and the Royals. Now it’s Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and the Royals. No Yankees are remotely close to the top spot for their positions. No non-Royals other than Trout and Cabrera are, basically.

Yankees option Burawa and DePaula, planning to call up Moreno and Rumbelow

Rumblin' Rumbelow. (Presswire)
Rumblin’ Rumbelow. (Presswire)

Following this afternoon’s game, the Yankees announced they have optioned righty Danny Burawa and lefty Jose DePaula to Triple-A Scranton. Both made their MLB debuts this afternoon and, uh, they did not go well. The team says they anticipate calling up righties Diego Moreno and Nick Rumbelow on Monday.

Moreno, 28, was originally acquired in the A.J. Burnett trade with the Pirates a few years ago. He has a 2.27 ERA (2.61 FIP) with decent strikeout (21.2%) and walk (5.8%) rates in 35.2 innings with the RailRiders this season. Moreno is a classic fastball/slider reliever and the Yankees seem to like him. Brian Cashman has mentioned him as a call-up candidate a few times the last two years.

The 23-year-old Rumbelow was New York’s seventh round pick in 2013 — he’ll be the first player from their 2013 draft class to reach MLB — and he has a 3.31 ERA (2.58 FIP) in 35.1 Triple-A innings this year. His strikeout (28.7%) and walk (4.9%) rates are good, though he fanned more batters (34.1%) while climbing from Low-A to Triple-A last year. Rumbelow is a fastball/curveball guy.

Neither Moreno nor Rumbelow is on the 40-man roster but that’s not much of a problem. The Yankees currently have one open 40-man spot and they say they’ll transfer Sergio Santos (elbow) to the 60-day DL to clear the other spot. They can can slide Jacob Lindgren (elbow) to the 60-day DL when Ivan Nova is ready to return, whenever that is. Probably sometime within the next few days.

Judge, Severino, Bird, Lindgren, Refsnyder headline Spring Training invitees list

Refsnyder. (MiLB.com)
Refsnyder. (MiLB.com)

Two weeks from tomorrow, pitchers and catchers will report to Tampa for the start of Spring Training 2015. Baseball’s getting closer, folks. On Thursday, the Yankees officially announced their list of Spring Training invitees, a list that runs 66 (!) players deep.

As a reminder, everyone on the 40-man roster automatically goes to big league Spring Training, because duh. Here’s the 40-man roster and here are the 26 non-40-man roster players who have been invited to big league camp, which include some of the Yankees’ top prospects:

POSITION PLAYERS
C Francisco Arcia
C Trent Garrison
C Juan Graterol
C Kyle Higashioka
C Eddy Rodriguez
1B Greg Bird
1B Kyle Roller
IF Cito Culver
IF Cole Figueroa
IF Jonathan Galvez
IF Nick Noonan
IF Rob Refsnyder
OF Jake Cave
OF Slade Heathcott
OF Aaron Judge

PITCHERS
RHP Andrew Bailey
RHP Scott Baker
RHP Jose Campos
RHP Nick Goody
LHP Jacob Lindgren
RHP Diego Moreno
LHP James Pazos
RHP Wilking Rodriguez
RHP Nick Rumbelow
RHP Luis Severino
LHP Tyler Webb

Obviously the biggest names here are Judge, Bird, Severino, Refsnyder, and Lindgren, five of the team’s very best prospects. Lindgren, the Yankees’ top pick in last year’s draft, has a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster. So does Refsnyder, but he has more bodies ahead of him on the depth chart. I can’t see any scenario in which Judge, Severino, or Bird make the roster out of camp.

Bailey has been rehabbing from shoulder capsule surgery for nearly two years now and appears to finally be healthy. Could he step in and close with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller working as setup men? Bailey has closer experience, you know. Graterol, Figueroa, Galvez, Noonan, Baker, and the two Rodriguezes were added a minor league free agents for depth this winter. The rest are farm system products. Guys looking to put themselves on the map for a midseason call-up.

Teams always need extra catchers to help catch all those early-Spring Training bullpen sessions, which is why the Yankees are bringing five non-roster backstops to camp in addition to the four catchers already on the 40-man roster. The last bullpen spot is up for grabs — it could be more than one if Adam Warren and/or Esmil Rogers are needed to help the rotation — so camp is a big opportunity for these pitchers, especially guys like Rumbelow, Webb, Goody, and Pazos, who aren’t top prospects.

Minors Notes: Defenders, Zagurski, Free Agents

(Layne Murdoch/Getty)
Lillibridge. (Layne Murdoch/Getty)

The Arizona Fall League season begins on Tuesday — the Yankees are sending seven players (roster), most notably OF Mason Williams, OF Tyler Austin, and LHP Vidal Nuno — while the various Caribbean winter leagues are still about a week away. Those rosters have not yet been released. Here’s a smattering of minor league notes for the time being:

  • In a subscriber-only piece, Matt Eddy looked at the best defensive players in the minors at the four up-the-middle positions. OF Mason Williams ranked 12th (out of 20) among center fielders by Eddy’s method while OF Slade Heathcott was an honorable mention. C Gary Sanchez was eighth among catchers thanks in part to his 45.9% success rate at throwing out attempted base-stealers. He “receives 80 throwing grades [on the 20-80 scale] from some scouts.”
  • LHP Mike Zagurski was removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Triple-A Scranton, reports Andy McCullough. He refused the assignment and elected free agency. The Yankees have one open 40-man spot now. Zagurski, 30, spent most of the year in Triple-A but was actually with the team in September. He appeared in one game and allowed two runs.
  • RHP Jim Miller, IF Alberto Gonzalez, and UTIL Brent Lillibridge all elected free agency, according to Eddy. None of the three were on the 40-man roster but they all played for the big league team at one point or another this summer. Gonzalez appeared in 13 games, the most of the bunch.
  • The Yankees have re-signed C Jose Gil, RHP Diego Moreno, and LHP Francisco Rondon, among others, to minor league contracts, reports Eddy. They became minor league free agents after the season. Moreno came over in the A.J. Burnett trade and Rondon, while still fringy, is the best prospect of the bunch.