Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have added Austin Romine to the active roster. Steve Garrison has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Frankie Cervelli is back in New York because of concussion symptoms and Russell Martin is out with a bruised right thumb, which is why Jorge Posada ended up behind the plate last night. Jesus Montero is starting at catcher this afternoon, but we should see Romine before long given all the injury troubles.
As expected, the Yankees have activated Rafael Soriano off the disabled list today. Steve Garrison was sent back to Double-A Trenton to clear a 25-man roster spot, but I have no idea what the corresponding 40-man move was. They did have an open spot earlier in the week, but Eric Chavez took that. Anyway, Joe Girardi said they plan to ease Soriano back into things, but who knows what that means.
Update: The official site says that Sergio Mitre has been placed on the 60-day DL, so he’s the 40-man move. He was sent for an MRI on his injured shoulder earlier today.
Via Josh Norris and Mike Ashmore, the Yankees have called up left-hander Steve Garrison from Double-A Trenton. This is certainly unexpected. No word on the corresponding move as of yet, but someone has to be hurt (Boone Logan?), no? Garrison had a 4.90 FIP in 46 IP for Trenton this year, though he missed a bunch of time due to a groin injury. You can learn everything you need to know about him here.
Update: Via Ken Davidoff, Garrison is taking the place of Sergio Mitre, who has been placed on the disabled list with some kind of illness. Sounds like a case of good timing for Garrison, because Lance Pendleton, Kevin Whelan, J.C. Romero, and Randy Flores have all thrown quite a bit recently. They took the fresh arm.
At the moment, the Yankees have eight players on the 60-day disabled list, which is the most I can ever remember them having at one time. Two of the 60-day DL guys are definitely done for the season (Joba Chamberlain, Colin Curtis), and one other almost certainly is (Damaso Marte). Given Brian Cashman’s recent comments about Pedro Feliciano (“we don’t expect him back this year,” paraphrasing), the lefty makes it four players that are likely to stay on the 60-day DL all season. That leaves four players expected to come back during the season that will require a 40-man roster spot opening.
The first one is easy, since Reegie Corona (fractured arm) could just be removed from the 40-man roster when his time on the 60-day DL is up. He’s been on the 40-man bubble for over a year now. That leaves Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, and Eric Chavez, all of whom will probably be back right around the All-Star break, if not sooner. Something’s got to give and relatively soon, so let’s dig around the 40-man roster and rank some of the spare parts by how likely they are to be cut from the roster. Let’s go with a scale of one through five, with five being very likely to get the axe.
Buddy Carlyle, RHP
Friday’s game was basically a microcosm of the Carlyle experience. He was staked to a seven run lead to start the ninth, and he allowed the first three men he faced to reach base, two on walks. That’s just not going to cut it. Carlyle’s an older guy (33) with unspectacular stuff and extreme fly ball tendencies (35.1% grounders in his career), which doesn’t exactly scream “keeper.” No offense to Buddy, but guys like him literally grow on trees down in Florida, somewhere along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando. DFAbility: Five
Chris Dickerson, OF
Dickerson is in the big leagues only because Chavez got hurt, and he’s been the quintessential defensive replacement/pinch-runner. Over the last 31 days, he has just four plate appearances (one double, three strikeouts) and zero starts, and he doesn’t figure to see much playing time anytime soon with Nick Swisher turning things around. We could lump Greg Golson in with Dickerson, since they essentially serve the same purpose and are both in their final option year. Dickerson is a lefty batter and has some more veteran presents, so maybe that gives him a little bit more of an advantage. Either way, he’s a guy that you can see serving a purpose down the stretch, especially when rosters expand in September. DFAbility: Two
Steve Garrison, LHP
A groin injury robbed Garrison of a month-and-a-half of the season, and he’s just now rejoining the Double-A Trenton rotation. He’s the only significant left-handed pitching prospect the Yankees have at the upper levels (aside from 20-year-old Manny Banuelos), so that alone is likely to save his job. Garrison also has a minor league option remaining for next year, and that works in his favor as well. I think he’s safe. DFAbility: One
Brian Gordon, RHP
Signed because the team needed a little pitching depth, Gordon has been nothing more than serviceable in his two starts and the Yankees even decided to use today’s off day to skip his turn in the rotation. I still think he’s a middle reliever at best, and frankly he falls into the Carlyle category of older fly ball guys with unspectacular stuff growing on trees in Florida. The only thing Gordon has on Carlyle is stamina; he’s stretched out and can throw 100 pitches if need be. That’s slightly more useful as the seventh guy/mop-up man in the bullpen. DFAbility: Three
Gus Molina, C
The Yankees only have three catchers on their 40-man, four if you want to count Jorge Posada as the emergency guy. Teams will usually keep that third catcher on the roster just in case, but the Yankees have Jesus Montero just a phone call away if they need a long-term fill-in. Gus is more of an up-and-down, short term guy. He’s not completely safe, but he’s also not the first guy on the chopping block. DFAbility: Three
Lance Pendleton, RHP
As far as I’m concerned, Pants Lendleton and Gordon are interchangeable, at least in terms of expected results. Pendleton is a little younger and has more minor league options remaining, but they’re basically the same guy when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it. DFAbility: Three
Kanekoa Texeira, RHP
Mini-Tex is currently on the disabled list in the minors for an unknown reason, but that doesn’t really stand in the way of being removed from the 40-man roster. He was horrific in his short time with Triple-A Scranton (19 baserunners, 13 runs in 4.1 IP) but that could have been related to the injury for all we know. That said, the emergence of Hector Noesi and the somewhat surprising usefulness of Cory Wade make Texeira expendable. DFAbility: Four
* * *
It’s also worth noting that Justin Maxwell will miss the rest of the season after tearing his labrum robbing a homerun in Triple-A, so I suppose the Yankees could always activate him off the minor league disabled list, promote him to the big leagues, then immediately stick him on the 60-day DL to clear a spot. Maxwell, his agent, and the union will love that because he’ll get to collect a big league salary and service time when he otherwise wouldn’t. I just can’t ever remember a team, nevermind the Yankees, doing that. It’s worth a mention though. Jeff Marquez’s shoulder issue is another wildcard; if the injury is serious enough to require a 60-day DL trip, well there’s another spot. I suppose they could also release him, Amary Sanit-style. Until then, Carlyle and Texeira should be looking over their shoulders.
- Right-hander Brian Anderson has been released. He had been on the Double-A Trenton disabled list with a biceps issue, though his performance when he did pitch was pretty good: nine strikeouts and just one walk in 7.1 IP.
- Mark Newman again said that Gary Sanchez is out with a “stiff lower back,” though he’s playing in Extended Spring Training. He is on the Low-A Charleston disabled list at the moment, and he’ll return there when healthy.
- Both Slade Heathcott (.376 wOBA) and J.R. Murphy (.385) will “probably” move up to High-A Tampa this summer. That’s a yes, though I was wondering if Heathcott’s brawl would slow down his schedule somewhat.
- Mark Prior is not throwing off a mound and is dealing with some kind of oblique/hip issue. Alan Horne (remember him?) is throwing in ExST, as is Brad Halsey. Graham Stoneburner, Jeremy Bleich, and Steve Garrison aren’t close to returning yet.
- David Adams is still having leg issues. It might be related to last year’s broken ankle, but the leg started bothering him after his one game played this year.
- When asked about who’s impressed in ExST, Newman responded with personal fave Bryan Mitchell. “He’s got electric stuff,” said Newman. “He’s got the stuff to be the next Banuelos, Betances. The high-end guy. That’s Mitchell.”
- Carlos Silva can opt out of his minor league deal in mid-June, so he could probably make another two or three or maybe even four starts for Triple-A Scranton before the Yankees have to make a decision about whether or not to call him up.
Via Marc Carig, the Yankees have reassigned Steve Garrison, Ryan Pope, and Eric Wordekemper to minor league camp. The first two are on the 40-man roster, so they were optioned down. I could be wrong, but I believe there are now 36 players left in big league camp, not counting the injured Frankie Cervelli, Reegie Corona, and Colin Curtis. Manny Banuelos is still there, which is kinda surprising.
Heading into spring training it appeared that the Yankees had the bullpen all figured out. Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Pedro Feliciano, and one of the long man candidates potentially composed one of the best Opening Day bullpens the Yanks have had in years. But, as happens so often, some of them got hurt. While they all might be fine by Opening Day, they won’t remain that way all year. The Yankees will likely go through about a dozen relievers at various points. In today’s preview we’ll take a look at some of the ones near the top of the list.
A move to the bullpen last year did Pope good. Before that he was a middling starter who appeared to have little hope of cracking the big league rotation. A move to the rotation might have revived his career with the Yankees. It impressed them enough that they added him to the 40-man roster. That status alone could put him atop the list for a bullpen call-up. He’s probably not a future setup man or anything along those lines, but with some progress this year he could turn into a serviceable middle reliever.
The recent spate of bullpen injuries could benefit Sanchez, who previously appeared the odd man out. He’s out of options, so if he doesn’t make the big league team they’ll have to place him on waivers. Since basically every team could use bullpen help, especially expected second division teams, it’s easy to envision someone taking a chance on him. The Yanks might avoid that situation if one of their relievers starts the season on the DL — and the team decides that Sanchez is a better overall option than Sergio Mitre.
I just wrote about Sanchez earlier this week, so for a more complete take check out that.
The Yankees keep bringing back Mitre. Two years running they’ve non-tendered him, only to bring him back on a non-guaranteed contract. So apparently he likes it in New York, too. Unfortunately, he hasn’t proven much during his tenure with the team. In 2009 he was still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and last year he missed time with an oblique injury and otherwise wasn’t much used.
Since he has apparently gained the Yankees’ favor, I thought that he’d break camp as the long man. But as spring progresses we’ve seen indications that suggest otherwise. As we noted earlier this week, some scouts are convinced the Yanks will let Mitre go at the end of spring training. They do have a number of options for that last spot, and Mitre seems behind everyone in the competition. If he does make the team expect much of the same from 2010. That is, sparse usage in mop-up duty.
The Yankees and Prior are on the same page, in that they both expect him to open the season at AAA to help him build up strength with an eye on a possible big league return. The most important aspect of Prior is that he’s none of the guys he has been in the past. That is, he’s not the phenom ace who led the Cubs to the 2003 ALCS. Nor is he the injury prone schlub who hasn’t pitched a big league game since 2006. He appears to be in decent health now, and his repertoire has necessarily changed.
If Prior stays healthy there’s a good chance he makes it back to the bigs in a relief role this year. It’s hard to say what he’ll do, because we don’t know what kind of pitcher he’ll become as he redevelops his game.
Last September the Yankees claimed Garrison off waivers from the Padres, though it was too late for him to get into a minor league game. He’s not much of a prospect, but he is left-handed and on the 40-man, and therefore will get plenty of shots to crack the big league club, especially in relief. Mike wrote a profile of Garrison earlier this spring. An interesting note: if he starts the season at AA, he’ll be playing in front of his hometown crowd. He was born in Trenton, NJ.
In the early days of camp Brackman seemingly impressed just as much as his fellow Bs. His groin injury cost him about a week, which is a big deal early in the spring. He pitched only 2.2 live innings before heading down to minor league camp, but that doesn’t necessarily say anything about his closeness to the bigs. At some point he could take some turns in the rotation, but later it’s also possible that he breaks into the majors as a reliever.
His current arsenal certainly profiles well out of the bullpen. He features a 93-95 mph fastball that he keeps low in the zone, and an above average curveball. Baseball America notes that he also added a “nascent slider that shows potential,” but he’ll probably need to develop his changeup, something he’s struggled with, if he’s going to find success in the rotation. Without that he might be ticketed for the bullpen in the long-term. He might be ticketed there in the short-term, too, though that might not come until later in the season.
It’s tantalizing to imagine him in the bullpen come August. That 93-95 mph fastball could reach the upper 90s, and his curve could prove a devastating knock-out pitch. While ideally he progresses throughout the season and enters the rotation at some point, Brackman the reliever could provide plenty of value on his own.