Game 58: Tanaka Tuesday

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Oh man, there is a lot going on tonight. For starters, Masahiro Tanaka is making just his third home start of the season and his first in almost exactly two months due to his wrist/forearm injury. Secondly, Tanaka is squaring off against Max Scherzer in what will probably be the best pitching matchup of the season. Third, the Yankees have a six-game winning streak and need to keep that sucker going.

And finally, future Yankee Bryce Harper is playing his first game in his future home ballpark, Yankee Stadium. He’ll get to take aim at that short right field porch and then go to bed tonight dreaming about all those future home runs he’ll hit. Harper’s not as stupidly hot as he was the last time these two teams played, but he can still flick his wrists and hit the ball into the second deck. Hopefully it doesn’t happen these next two days. Here’s Washington’s lineup and here’s New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. LF Ramon Flores
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It has been cloudy and kinda rainy most of the day, but the sun came out not too long ago and it’s turned into a nice night. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Ivan Nova (elbow) is going to travel to New York to throw a bullpen session for pitching coach Larry Rothschild, then he’ll make a rehab start with Triple-A Scranton. The Yankees will then determine if he’s ready or needs another rehab outing.

All-Star Voting Update: MLB released their weekly All-Star Game voting update yesterday, and no Yankees are close to leading their respective positions. A-Rod is third among DHs and he’s closest. Fans in Kansas City are stuffing the ballot box, so unless MLB steps in or there’s a sudden shift in the voting, the All-Star Game will be Mike Trout and the Royals against the NL.

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Game 55: Back from the West Coast

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

That was a really uneven seven-game trip to the West Coast. The Yankees played poorly in losing two of three to the Athletics then had basically the best series ever while sweeping the Mariners. They pounded Felix Hernandez in the first game, had a dramatic ninth inning comeback in the second game, and watched Masahiro Tanaka dominate in his return from the DL in the third game. How could it get any better?

Thankfully, the Yankees are back home in the Bronx for a quick five-game homestand, starting tonight with the first of three against the Angels. The Halos had the best record in baseball a year ago but are kinda scuffling along this year. In fact, they have almost the same record as the Yankees. The Yankees are 29-25 and the Angels are 28-26. Anyway, here is Anaheim’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Garrett Jones
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. LF Ramon Flores
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

The weather is kinda crummy in New York. It’s been raining on and off all day, though there’s nothing more than some drizzle in the forecast tonight. That’s good. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending where you live. Enjoy the game.

Rotation Update: The Yankees are skipping Michael Pineda‘s next start to control his workload. He isn’t hurt and will start next Friday. CC Sabathia will start on normal rest Sunday in Pineda’s place. The Yankees had an off-day yesterday and have off-days coming up on Monday and Thursday, so they can skip Pineda without needing a spot starter. Big Mike has already thrown 70.1 innings this year and is on pace for about 220 innings. He threw 76.1 innings last year and a career-high 171 innings back in 2011, before shoulder surgery.

Injury Updates: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) ran some sprints, took dry swings, and played catch today, the first time he’s performed any baseball activity since getting hurt … Ivan Nova (elbow) will make his first official minor league rehab start with High-A Tampa on Monday, the team announced. He is scheduled for 80-85 pitches and will make at least one more start after that before returning to the team … Carlos Beltran (foot) is still day-to-day after fouling that pitch off his foot in Seattle. He may be available to pinch-hit tonight … McCann (foot) got some new orthotics and tested his foot in the bullpen this afternoon. He’s fine and back in the lineup.

Game 53: CC For The Series Win

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Fun Fact: The Yankees have won just one of their last six series. That was the sweep of the Royals last week. Their last series win before that came against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium back in early-May. It’s been a while. Last night’s series opening win against Felix Hernandez gives them two chance to win this series with the Mariners, but I hope they take care of business tonight.

Rookie left-hander Mike Montgomery will be on making him MLB debut for the Mariners, and although it seems like the Yankees stink against pitchers they’ve never seen before, they’re actual 7-1 against pitchers making their MLB debut dating back to 2011. The whole “they can’t hit pitchers they’ve never seen” thing stems from way back, like 2007-08. Anyway, just go win tonight. Two wins a row would be cool. Here is Seattle’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 2B Jose Pirela
  8. C John Ryan Murphy
  9. SS Stephen Drew
    LHP CC Sabathia

Typical Seattle weather tonight, so it’s cloudy and rainy. Looks like the Safeco Field roof will be open for at least the first few innings. Tonight’s game will begin at 10:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Ivan Nova threw five innings — three outside then two inside because it started raining — in an Extended Spring Training game today. His next start will be an official minor league rehab start with one of the affiliates, starting his 30-day clock.

Game 48: Oaktown

See? The Coliseum wasn't so bad before Mount Davis. (Baseball Feelings)
See? The Coliseum wasn’t so bad before Mount Davis. (Baseball Feelings)

Fresh off their three-game sweep of the Royals, the Yankees are back out on the road, this time traveling across the country for a seven-game West Coast trip. It starts tonight in Oakland, not far from CC Sabathia‘s hometown, and Sabathia happens to be on the mound tonight. Neat.

The A’s have the worst record in the league (17-32) but their run differential (-5) says they’re better than that. Their bullpen has really sabotaged their season. I wouldn’t assume this will be an easy series — is any series an easy series for these Yankees? — just because Oakland has such an awful record. They could sneak up on you. Here is the A’s lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. CF Chris Young
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s sunny yet cool in the Bay Area tonight. Temperatures are down in the 50s. No rain in the forecast though. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin just after 10pm ET (argh) and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Slade Heathcott was originally in tonight’s lineup but was a late scratch due to a sore quad … Ivan Nova (elbow) made another Extended Spring Training start today. He’ll make one more in a few days then head out on an official minor league rehab assignment … Chris Martin (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton on Saturday … in case you missed it earlier, Masahiro Tanaka is en route to join the Yankees. He’s expected to start early next week.

Game 41: Slade’s Debut

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This day has been a long-time coming. The Yankees selected Slade Heathcott out of a Texas high school with the 29th pick in the 2009 draft — the compensation pick they received for failing to sign Gerrit Cole in 2008 — and tonight he can finally say he’s a big leaguer. To say the road from Texarkana to the Bronx was rocky would be a massive understatement.

Heathcott, now 24, had a turbulent upbringing and hit rock bottom soon after being drafted, when he battled alcoholism and even missed a flight to Instructional League because he’d been out drinking. The Yankees sent Heathcott to Alcoholics Anonymous in April 2010, and while that helped him deal with his substance abuse issues, Slade’s body started to betray him. Multiple knee and shoulder surgeries limited Heathcott to 306 minor league games from 2010-14. He played nine last year due to knee problems.

Now, after being non-tendered in the offseason and returning to the organization on a minor league contract, Heathcott is with the Yankees, having impressed in Spring Training and again during his stint with Triple-A Scranton. It has been almost six years since the Yankees drafted Heathcott, and during those six years he went from multimillionaire first round pick to an underdog. Tonight, all the hard work finally pays off. He’s in the show. Give ’em hell, Slade.

Here is the Nationals lineup — Jordan Zimmermann is starting for Washington, not A.J. Cole, so boo to that — and here is the Yankees lineup. Heathcott is on the bench for his first game:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. CF Chris Young
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. RHP Adam Warren

It’s cloudy and cool in Washington, so not perfect weather, but there won’t be any rain. That’s coming tomorrow. The Yankees are getting out of town just in time. Tonight’s game will start a bit after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Roster Moves: As expected, Chase Whitley (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Heathcott, the Yankees announced. The team still has another 60-day DL candidate in Brendan Ryan (calf, hamstring) should they need another 40-man spot.

Injury Updates: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) said the injury is to the outside of his knee and he is wearing a brace. He’ll see the team doctor on Friday and they won’t know his timetable until then. For what it’s worth, Joe Girardi said the injury is “not something that requires surgery” … Ivan Nova (elbow) threw four innings and 42 pitches in an Extended Spring Training game on Monday. He’ll make another ExST start on Saturday and could begin an official 30-day minor league rehab stint after that … Ryan has resumed baseball activities in Tampa.

Injury Updates: Tanaka, Nova, Capuano, Ryan, Lail

Same. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Same. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

The Yankees and Rays continue their four-game series with the second game at Tropicana Field later tonight. Until then, here are some updates on injured Yankees, courtesy of Chad Jennings, George King, and Bryan Hoch.

  • Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session as scheduled this afternoon. It was his first time throwing off a mound since landing on the DL two weeks ago. Tanaka threw all of his pitches and everything went well. The Yankees are going to see how he feels tomorrow before determining the next step.
  • Ivan Nova (elbow) threw 33 pitches in an Extended Spring Training game earlier today. Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild were among those in attendance at the team’s complex in Tampa. “I was a little bit excited. It felt like I was doing too much. I guess I was trying to impress the manager and the pitching coach. I don’t know why,” said Nova, who will pitch in another ExST game on Monday.
  • Chris Capuano (quad) is scheduled to throw six innings and 90 pitches for Triple-A Scranton tonight. It’ll be his third and maybe last minor league rehab game. “We shouldn’t really need to see much more than that,” said Girardi. “We’ll make that determination on how he feels, but it’s possible (he could be activated for his next start), yeah.”
  • Brendan Ryan (calf, hamstring) was able to take batting practice yesterday. There’s still no firm timetable for a rehab assignment, let alone a return from the DL. Ryan started the season on the DL with a calf injury before pulling his hamstring a few days ago.
  • Brady Lail, who was hit in the head by a line drive in last night’s Double-A Trenton game, said he is fine on Twitter. Seems like he escaped with no major injuries, which is a minor miracle. Great news. That was scary.

Yankees have rotation help on the way with Nova not far behind Capuano on rehab trail

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Last night, left-hander Chris Capuano threw 72 pitches across 4.2 innings for Triple-A Scranton in his second minor league rehab start as he works his way back from a spring quad injury. Earlier this week Joe Girardi told George King they “would like to get (Capuano) to 90 pitches and see where we are at” before activating him off the DL, so Capuano figures to make at least one more rehab start before joining the Yankees.

Ivan Nova also continued his rehab from Tommy John surgery yesterday, throwing two innings in an Extended Spring Training game. Girardi told reporters everything went fine and Nova remains on track to join the team sometime in June. He could throw in another ExST game or two before beginning an official 30-day minor league rehab stint. Nova’s rehab has gone extremely well to date. No issues whatsoever.

Between Capuano and Nova, the Yankees have a pair of starting pitchers on the rehab trail and not too far from factoring into the MLB pitching staff. That doesn’t even include Masahiro Tanaka, who resumed throwing yesterday. It seems like Capuano will return first with Nova and Tanaka returning around the same time in a few weeks. Obviously lots can go wrong between now and then, but at least things are going well now.

Fitting them back onto the staff is a classic “worry about it when the time comes” situation. Chase Whitley has pitched well in his two starts yet we saw last year how quickly that can unravel. Adam Warren has pitched well enough in his first stint as a full-time starter but the numbers confirm what our eyes seem to be telling us — going through the lineup the second and third time has been a bit of a problem. Who knows what the rotation will look like in a week or two.

“It just gives us a lot more depth, which I think is really important during the course of a long season,” said Girardi to Vince Mercogliano yesterday, referring to Capuano and Nova moving closer to a return. The rotation has been fine overall, with the non-Michael Pineda starters typically doing just enough to keep the Yankees in the game. Capuano and Nova may or may not improve things, but at least they’ll give the Yankees options, something they’re running short on at the moment.