Saturday Links: Leyritz, Tommy John Surgery, Tulowitzki

The Yankees and Royals continues their series with a dreaded Saturday night game (man I hate those) later today. Until then, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time.

Jim Leyritz invited to Old Timers’ Day

For the very first time, Jim Leyritz has been invited to Old Timers’ Day, according to George King and Steve Serby. Apparently Leyritz ran into Jennifer Steinbrenner over the winter and that got the ball rolling. “I don’t want to think the Yankees define who I am, but I spent 11 years there, it was my family. To be back and part of that family, I can’t tell you what it means to me. I am so pleased it’s finally happening,” said Leyritz.

Leyritz hit one of the biggest home runs in franchise history in Game Four of the 1996 World Series, when he tied the game with a three-run shot off Mark Wohlers in the top of the eighth. That homer altered the course of two franchises. Of course, Leyritz has had ugly off-the-field issues since the end of his playing career, most notably facing DUI and manslaughter charges following an accident in 2010. He was acquitted and ended up serving one year probation, plus he settled a civil suit with the family of the woman who was killed for six figures.

Yankees lend their arms to Tommy John surgery research

Over the last year or so, the Yankees have been bit by the Tommy John surgery bug like just about every other team. Last April they lost Ivan Nova to the zipper, Masahiro Tanaka is trying to avoid surgery for his partial ligament tear, and a few days ago Chase Whitley suffered an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery. Top prospects Ty Hensley and Domingo German had their elbows rebuilt earlier this year as well.

In an effort to help find a way to reduce torn elbow ligaments, the Yankees and several other teams have participated in biomechanical research conducted by MLB and American Sports Medicine Institute, according to Mike Vorkunov. Here are the details:

Last March, in eight spring training camps around baseball, including the Phillies and Yankees, 80 pitchers — 40 with no history of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction and 40 with one — were stamped with 23 reflective markers and threw 10 fastballs at full effort as 10 cameras tracked and analyzed their movement.

It was the first attempt by Major League Baseball, the players association and ASMI to learn if there was a bio-mechanical underpinning to pitchers that eventually had to have Tommy John surgery and those that had avoided it to that point.

The study found no link. The results were hardly dispositive and the research itself was just an initial step for the group.

Another study — this one spanning five years — started this spring and will monitor pitchers with five organizations fresh out of the draft. The Mets are participating in that but it’s unclear if the Yankees are as well. “That the elbow ligament, when it tears, is the end result of multiple processes. We’re not going to find one unifying theory. My guess is it’s multiple factors,” said Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s chief medical officer. The league is also looking into less invasive ways to repair a partial tear, like Tanaka’s. Check out the article, some interesting stuff in there.

Tul-oh no! (Victor Decolongon/Getty)
(Victor Decolongon/Getty)

Tulowitzki will not request a trade from Rockies

Well this is interesting. Troy Tulowitzki told Thomas Harding will not request a trade from the Rockies after meeting with his agent a few days ago. “Whatever happens on the Rockies’ end happens, but for me to sit here and try to force my way out of here, that’s not the case,” said Tulowitzki. “I don’t think it’s fair to my teammates and the relationships I’ve built here to take that route.” (Tulowitzki left last night’s game with a quad injury, by the way.)

I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist, but I get the feeling there is much more going on here behind the scenes. Perhaps Tulowitzki asked the Rockies for a trade but agreed to not make it public, not only to avoid bad PR, but to also avoid killing the team’s leverage in trade talks. If other clubs know Tulowitzki demanded a trade out of Colorado, they’re going to make nothing but low-ball offers. The Rockies’ hands would be tied. The Yankees supposedly don’t have interest in trading for Tulowitzki, but, either way, my guess is this will not be the last time his name pops up in some sort of trade rumor.

Surprise! Infield shift usage is up in 2015

This should come as no surprise. According to Pat Graham, use of the infield shift is up considerably around baseball this year. It’s up nearly 33% (!) in fact. The Rockies and Diamondbacks, two teams with new GMs after not being known as very stat savvy in recent years, have increased their shift usage the most from 2014 to 2015. The Yankees used the shift as much as any team in baseball last year and the same is true this year. They seem to get burned by it constantly, but who really knows? Shift usage and success is very tough to evaluate based on the little freely available data we have.

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Game 74: Old Timers’ Day

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Speaking from experience, Old Timers’ Day is an event best experienced live and in person. Television doesn’t do it justice. There are so many great players — all-time greats in some cases, a few of the best players the game has ever seen — and fan favorites all in one place. It’s really amazing to watch from a seat in the ballpark.

Of course, the Yankees are pretty much the only franchise in sports that can pull off an event like this. Old Timers’ Day will be extra special this year because, following the baseline introductions, the Yankees will dedicate a plaque in honor of Goose Gossage to Monument Park. Tino Martinez’s plaque was unveiled yesterday and later this summer Paul O’Neill and Joe Torre will be honored.

The full roster of Old Timers can be seen right here. Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon will be among those making their debuts and I’m sure they’ll get huge ovations, especially Matsui. Jorge Posada is still holding out and will not make his Old Timers’ Day debut today. Bummer. Mike Mussina is skipping this year too. Another bummer. Still plenty of awesome players and favorites to go around though.

The ceremony and baseline introductions start at approximately 11:30pm ET. All of it can be seen on YES. The Yankees and Orioles are scheduled to play their game at 2:05pm ET. There is no lineup yet, so I’ll update the post once it’s made available. Enjoy the ceremonies and the game.

Update (11:53am): Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup for this afternoon’s game:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. DH Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Kelly Johnson
  8. 2B Yangervis Solarte
  9. RF Ichiro Suzuki
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui will make Old Timers’ Day debuts this year

Both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will make their Old Timers’ Day debuts later this month, the Yankees announced. That’s going to be a lot of fun. Former right-hander John Montefusco will make his Old Timers’ debut as well. The full roster of Old Timers can be seen right here. The usual cast of characters will be there.

Old Timer’s Day is June 22nd this year, so not this coming Sunday, the following Sunday. The Yankees will be unveiling the second of four new Monument Park plaques that day, this one in honor of Goose Gossage. Tino Martinez’s plaque will be unveiled one day earlier. Plaques for Paul O’Neill and Joe Torre are coming later this summer. Torre is having his number retired as well.

Sunday Night Open Thread

The 67th annual Old Timers’ Day went off without a hitch this afternoon; in fact it went so well that the Old Timers’ Game lasted five innings. I can’t remember it ever lasting more than three innings, but apparently all the Old Timers’ felt good and time was plentiful, so they just kept going. That was pretty fun. Pat Kelly can still hit a little bit. I wonder if he has the arm for third base these days? Anyway, a slideshow of Old Timers’ Day photos are above. Enjoy.

Here’s your open thread for the night. The Rangers and Cardinals are your ESPN Sunday Night Game (Tepesch vs. Wainwright), and that’s really it. Talk about that game or anything else here. Have at it.

Game 75: Old Timers’ Day

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

There isn’t another team in sports that can pull off an event like Old Timers’ Day, at least not on the same scale as the Yankees. Hall of Famers, bench players, solid regulars, and a whole bunch of World Champions will be on the field today as the team celebrates its history. The awesomeness of Old Timers’ Day doesn’t translate well across television — it really is an event everyone should experience in person at least once. I highly recommend it.

The full roster of Old Timers can be found right here. Among the first timers are Orlando Hernandez, John Flaherty, and Andy Phillips. I am most looking forward to seeing El Duque again; hopefully he pitches in the Old Timers’ Game. Jorge Posada will not be making his debut this summer, but it’ll happen eventually. I am definitely looking forward to it.

The ceremony and baseline introductions start at 11:15am ET with the Old Timers’ Game to follow. All of that can be seen on YES. The Yankees and Rays are scheduled to start at 2:05pm ET, which you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy all of it.

Update (11:34am): Here is the lineup for Yankees-Rays, which is identical to yesterday’s:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  3. 2B Robinson Cano
  4. DH Travis Hafner
  5. 1B Lyle Overbay
  6. LF Zoilo Almonte
  7. SS Jayson Nix
  8. 3B David Adams
  9. C Chris Stewart

The roster move has not been announced yet, but Ivan Nova will be summoned from Triple-A to start the game. The rotation was thrown out of whack by Tuesday’s rainout.

Injury Updates: Mark Teixeira (wrist) was checked out by the doctor yesterday but has not yet been cleared to resume any kind of activity. They’ll re-evaluate again soon and go from there.

Roster Move (12:04pm): Thomas Neal has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton to clear a spot for Nova. He went 2-for-11 (.182) in four games with New York after being called up last week, but Almonte has since zoomed passed him on the outfield depth chart. The Yankees currently have a 13-man pitching staff and a three-man bench, but it seems likely Nova will be sent down following the spot start.

Friday Night Open Thread

The Yankees announced their plans for Old Timers’ Day yesterday afternoon — Chad Jennings has the details — and one name stuck out from the roster: Orlando Hernandez. El Duque will make his Old Timers’ debut next weekend, and I haven’t been this excited since Mike Mussina made his debut a few years ago. Hernandez was the best and I can’t wait to see the leg kick one more time.

Here is your open thread for the night, or at least until the regular game thread comes along in a few hours. The Mets are playing the Cubs (Jackson vs. Marcum), plus MLB Network will air the Giants and Braves (Bumgarner vs. Medlen). No NHL or NBA action tonight, unfortunately. Talk about either of those games or anything else here. Have at it.

Game 78: Old Timers’ Day

(Photo Credit: Flickr user bump via Creative Commons license)

I’ve always felt that Old Timers’ Day is one of those events you have to attend in person to really appreciate. Watching on television is fun and all, but you can’t really appreciate the gravity of the situation. I was at the 2007 event, which was Paul O’Neill’s first year back. The chants for him were just unbelievably loud, and then you had Don Mattingly and his chants. Then Reggie Jackson. Then Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra. It was amazing and having watched on television the last four years just isn’t the same. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s much more enjoyable in person.

Anyway, this year’s crop of newcomers is headlined by retired and long-time trainer Gene Monahan, as well as Sterling Hitchock, Matt Nokes, and Tanyon Sturtze. Jorge Posada will not be there this year, but he won’t stay away forever. Most guys take a few years off before coming back. The full roster of Old Timers can be found right here.

The Old Timers’ Day festivities start at 11am ET and can be seen on YES. The series finale against the White Sox will follow at 2:05pm ET, and you can watch that on YES locally and TBS nationally. I’ll add the lineup once it’s posted. Enjoy.

Update: Here’s today’s lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
DH Raul Ibanez
3B Eric Chavez
Russell Martin
LF Dewayne Wise

RHP Phil Hughes