Monthly Archives: March 2012

Morning Bits: Pettitte, Joba, Granderson, Sabathia

Good morning all.  No small talk this morning let’s get right to the links….

* Andy Pettitte battles through rust and fatigue in bullpen session.

* Joba announced yesterday that he plans to pitch this season.

* Granderson is to have an MRI on his elbow today.

* Sabathia’s command was very sharp yesterday over six innings.

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Gardner has multi-hit game as Yankees fall to Blue Jays 4-3

With Opening Day rapidly approaching, CC Sabathia was slated to have one last long stretch start before his next outing was a quick one. Sabathia gave up 3 run in 6 innings pitched vs. Kyle Drabek & the Blue Jays in a 4-3 loss in Tampa.

In Spring Training, Sabathia takes the time to build pitch count and go longer in games so of course giving up 3 runs means nothing for the ace who has a locked spot in the rotation. David Robertson came in the game and after giving up a lead-off walk, he got the next 3 hitters; striking out one of them. Cesar Cabral easily got the first two batters but had issues getting the third out when Justin Maxwell‘s error & Chris Dickerson‘s blunder allowed the insurance run to score. Clay Rapada came in the 9th inning and had another scoreless inning.

Brett Gardner had his first multi-hit game of the Spring, going 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and a stolen base. Gardner was the only Yankees regular with 2 hits and was also the only Yankees regular who had an RBI. Gardner was also able to raise his average from .185 to .220 which probably means that Gardner is warming up for the 2012 season.

The big story of the game however was Curtis Granderson as he was scratched from the lineup with soreness in his elbow. Girardi said that Granderson will get a precautionary MRI  since Cashman says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Andy Pettitte threw a live batting practice to Nick Swisher today and Swisher said that the way Andy was throwing, it felt as if he never left. That’s a good sign for Andy Pettitte. Also some good news for Nick Swisher is that he will spend 2 days at the Minor League complex just to get some at-bats in. If his right groin feels better by Friday then he will be in the lineup.

ROSTER NOTE: Yankees IF Jorge Vazquez won’t get that part-time DH role if he was looking for it. Yankees just re-assigned him to minor league camp shortly after the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano & Russell Martin will make the trip to Orlando to play against the Atlanta Braves. The game tomorrow is a televised game on ESPN so if you are in front of the television, make sure to watch. First pitch is at 1:05pm.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Hughes, Pineda, Hayden Sharp, Joba, Cabral

Good afternoon all.  I spanned the Yankee Blogs and report back with an article from each.  Enjoy them.

* An A-blog for A-Rod has a great article about Phil Hughes and the perils of pitching well during a surplus.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue asks who your favorite Yankee pitcher of all time is.

* Bomber Boulevard recaps the roller coaster of the past week.

* Bronx Baseball Daily has the video of Bernie Williams playing with the Allman Brothers Band that I tweeted about last week.

* It’s about the Money Stupid mentions that Michael Pineda is not Phil Hughes.

* Lady Loves Pinstripes has the preview of the 2012 Twins.

* New York Baseball Digest writes why taking Cabral on the roster makes the most sense.

* Pinstripe Alley asks who are your favorite 2012 Yankee prospects.

* River Ave Blues has the 2012 season preview of the closer.

* Road to Yankee Stadium is looking under the radar at Branden Pinder.

* Sliding into Home asks you to not underestimate the value of a relief prospect.

* The Captain’s Blog wonders if Joba can bounce back from the latest injury.

* The Greedy Pinstripes has a twitterview with Yankee prospect Hayden Sharp

* The Yankee Analysts ponders Michael Pineda starting the year in AAA.

* Yanks Go Yard has an article about the the irreplaceable David Robertson.

* Zell’s Pinstriped Blog wonders if the Ibanez deal was a mistake.

Spring Training: 3/27/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Blue Jays

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez DH
Andruw Jones RF
Brett Gardner LF

LHP CC Sabathia

Start Time: 7:05pm
Stadium: G.M.S Field
T.V: YES Network
Radio: WCBS

Pregame Notes

Nick Swisher is not in the starting lineup. He is still resting a sore calf.

 If you haven’t already, Individual tickets for the Yankees are on sale now to the general public. Go to Yankees.com or call Ticketmaster for tickets.

 The Yankees released Preston Mattingly (Don Mattingly’s son) along with Reegie Corona & Grant Duff.

– The Yankees home opener pitcher will most likely be Hiroki Kuroda.

– Girardi wouldn’t commit to an exact date of Andy Pettitte pitching in a game, but he would like to set the game vs. the Mets at GMS Field as a target date.

Enjoy the game everyone!  

UPDATE 7:05pm: Curtis Granderson has been scratched from the lineup due to elbow stiffness. Mark Teixeira will bat 2nd, Brett Gardner moves up and bats 8th while Justin Maxwell will bat 9th.

7:07pm: CC Sabathia starts the game giving up a stand-up triple to Kelly Johnson.

7:17pm: Blue Jays pull to a 1-0 lead on a Kelly Johnson triple and RBI groundout by Yunel Escobar.

8:23pm: Yankees trail 3-0 after 4 innings. Yankees have had scoring opportunities but have failed to capitalize.

9:15pm: Yankees get their first run of the ball game on a Brett Gardner RBI. Yankees now trail 3-1.

Time For Teixeira To Produce

As the Yankees move closer to opening day, there are more concerns and questions now than there were when spring training began. Joba Chamberlain‘s ankle fracture has made his future in baseball uncertain. Michael Pineda‘s lack of velocity and control in spring training has vastly scaled back his expectations for this upcoming season. Raul Ibanez‘ bat has looked about as quick as David Ortiz heading from first base to third base.

In reality, those situations will probably work themselves out.  While Joba’s return this season was highly anticipated, the Yankees still have one of the best bullpens in baseball.  If Pineda doesn’t turn out to be the shutdown number two starter that so many claimed he’d be after the trade? Well that’s ok also.  With Andy Petitte’s impending return to pinstripes sometime in May as well as how good Phil Hughes has looked this spring, the Yankees rotation will be fine.  Ibanez is only on a one year, one million dollar deal. If he doesn’t produce he can be released with very little lost in the gamble on him, and the DH slot filled with players like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter getting rest from playing the field.

One of the most pressing concerns for the 2012 season that doesn’t grab the headlines it should is Mark Teixeira and his declining batting average, on base percentage, and  struggles against the shift.

I’ll never forget where I was the day that I heard the Yankees had signed Mark Teixeira.  It was a couple of days before Christmas in 2008. I had just completed some last-minute Christmas shopping and it was snowing lightly. I had started driving home when an update came across the ESPN radio affiliate that I was listening to that said Texeira was going to be a Yankee. I almost ran into the car in front of me in shock.  After the signings of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett earlier that month, it appeared the Yankees would be unstoppable in 2009 with the addition of a player of Teixeira’s caliber.

We all know how that worked out. C.C. and A.J. did their jobs that season and after a slow start in April, Mark Teixeira rebounded with a near MVP regular season. The Yankees won the World Series and all three signings appeared to have been good ones.

2010 and 2011 rolled around and the perspective on those signings changed.  A.J. Burnett absorbed almost all of the headlines and rage from the mainstream media and fans during those two seasons. His inconsistency and failure to pitch to his contract value made him the ultimate scapegoat in New York.  By the time he was traded earlier this year, Burnett had been accused of everything but the Kennedy assassination.  Lost in the headlines and hype about Burnett’s performance the last two seasons was the serious decline in his fellow free agent classmate Mark Teixeira.

Read the rest of this entry

Morning Bits: Hughes, Pettitte, Pineda

Good morning all.  Not much news with no game yesterday.  Today’s game is at 7:05PM and can be seen on the YES Network.   Let’s get right to the links.

* The Daily News writer Mark Feinsand has a source that mentions that Hughes has locked up a rotation spot.

* The Star Ledger says Jamie Moyer knows the challenges Andy Pettitte will face.

* The Daily News is reporting that Pettitte will throw his next bullpen on Tuesday.

* Pineda is focusing on maturing not the radar gun reports mlb.com.

Is Pineda’s control & velocity really an issue?

RHP Michael Pineda (courtesy of Associated Press)

Michael Pineda came into camp on February 19 hoping that he could win a spot in the New York Yankees rotation. With approximately a week and a half until Opening Day, Pineda has drawn up concern among fans and writers. Of course we all know that Michael Pineda has not been in New York for long and is not accustom to someone over-analyzing his every move in every outing but hey, this is New York, the center of the media zoo.

In Pineda’s last couple of starts, he has shown promise. He has shown why he was so powerful in Seattle but there was an issue with all his outings; control. In an excerpt from Andrew Marchand’s article on ESPN New York, he explains how velocity isn’t his only issue, but also control:

The major concern for Michael Pineda’s spring has been velocity, but that has masked another problem for the talented, young starter thus far — a lack of control. For the fourth time in five outings, Pineda could not last the ideal amount of innings in his start Sunday because he threw too many pitches.

After 87 pitches and five innings Sunday, he was out of there.

The fact that Pineda’s fastball stayed at 90-92 throughout his start, with the occasional 93 or 94, is still a definite concern if he is going to be a dominant starter. But, right now, he trends toward a four or five to begin the season because he may have an inability to go deeper into games and dominate. He looks like a 12-to-14 win guy with around a 4.00 ERA.

Read the rest of this entry

Phil Hughes pitching update

Phil Hughes pitching update

By Delia E.

1:39pm: Phil Hughes had went through 2 scoreless innings at the minor league complex. He pitched a 1, 2, 3 second inning and the final out was a broken bat pop-up that he caught while heading to the dugout.

So far so good.

1:47pm: Hughes gave up a solo HR followed by a quick ground out. He allows 2 runs in the third inning. Keep in mind, Hughes is just getting his work in.

1:55pm: Hughes finishes three innings trailing 2-1 to the Philadelphia High-A team. His catcher is Francisco Cervelli. Not everyone can have the day off today.

2:53pm: Hughes finished the 6th inning 20 minutes ago with his fourth strikeout.  Hughes threw 91 pitches and is most likely done.

Tempered Enthusiasm for Pettitte’s Return

I was on the road to NYC for a Knicks game March 16th when I heard the shocking news about Andy Pettitte’s return. I was listening to Joe and Evan on WFAN and they had Sweeny Murti on at the time. Evan saw on Jack Curry’s twitter account that the Pettitte was coming back and he was so surprised he had to make sure it was Jack Curry’s actual account.  That is how surprised I was as well. Growing up Pettitte was one of my favorite Yankees and will always treasure the moments he gave the Yankees. From out dueling John Smoltz in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series to winning every clinching game in the 2009 playoffs and everything in between Pettitte has been one of the best clutch players in Yankees history. His #46 should and will eventually go to Monument Park.  He should and will receive Hall Of Fame considerations. While I would love to see him do it again there can be negatives that result from his comeback.

It is very hard for GM’s in sports to make decisions when feelings and sentiment are a big part of it. I am a huge Green Bay Packers fan and they had an issue a few years back that can relate to this Pettite comeback. Legendary Packers QB Brett Favre retired following the 2007 season in which he lead the Packers to the NFC Championship Game. So much like Pettitte he retired with something left. He wanted to return to the Packers during training camp in 2008.  However, the Packers were ready to move on with Aaron Rodgers and Packers GM Ted Thompson had a difficult decision to make. Ultimately, he told Favre the Packers had moved on and he traded him. Rodgers lead the Packers to a championship in 2010 so the move was successful.  The point is GM’s have to make decisions without sentiment like Thompson did with Favre. Thompson was hated on hugely in the aftermath by fans including me. I could not understand how Thompson could do that to Favre, but the Packers won long term. Also, Favre was a lot bigger in Green Bay than even Andy is here in New York.  Now would I want to be the one to tell Andy Pettite no? Goodness no, but the job of the GM is to make those tough calls. I am not suggesting they should have told him no since the risk is minimal in terms of money. However, maybe guaranteeing him a spot like they did was not the wisest idea. There is no reason with the depth of this Yankees pitching staff that he should not have to earn it. Read the rest of this entry

Morning Bits: Joba, Rodriguez, Betances

Good morning all.  Back to the grind with another work week.  Look for pitchers to go deeper this week and to see more of the regulars in the lineup.

Let’s get right to the links…..

* Joba has been released from the hospital and Girardi sees a comeback in the future.

* Alex Rodriguez was hit with a 95mph pitch yesterday.

* ESPN has a nice article of the unsung heroes of spring training.

* The Star Ledger has a Q & A with Yankee prospect Dellin Betances.

Phillies Have Interest in Ramiro Pena, Roster Moves

Phillies Have Interest in Ramiro Pena, Roster Moves

by Mike D.

 According to George King of the NY Post, the Phillies are interested in the Yankees’ utilityman Ramiro Pena. Chase Utley has suffered injuries with both knees and the Phillies are looking for infield help. Pena really doesn’t have a whole lot of value as a trade chip - so if he does get traded, don’t expect much in the way of return.

The Yankees have also made some roster moves, via Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News. Pena has been optioned to Triple-A, and Manny Delcarmen, Colin Curtis, Jose Gil, Kevin Whelan, and Cole Garner have all been reassigned to minor league camp. The Yankees active roster now sits at 31, so we’ll be seeing more roster moves in the coming days.

Pineda looks strong as Yankees and Tigers tie at 1 in 10 innings

The Opening Day lineup (minus Nick Swisher) took the field at George M. Steinbrenner Field as Michael Pineda took the mound. It wasn’t only a big day for Pineda, but it was a big day for David Robertson who returned after 2 and a half week since bruising his foot in a freak accident at his home.

Pineda looked strong as the game went on, going 5 innings with 1 run on 5 hits with 2 BB and 4 K’s.  Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless inning, but gave up a hit, Rafael Soriano had a scoreless inning, David Robertson had a scoreless inning with 1 hit, Manny Delcarmen had a perfect inning and Clay Rapada as well had a perfect inning with 1 strikeout.

The only offense for the Yankees came from Derek Jeter in the 1st inning on a lead-off homer. The Yankees had runners on almost all afternoon but the Yankees had trouble hitting with RISP.

Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch in the ribs during the 7th inning and was immediately taken out. Rodriguez is expected to be fine and tests will be done in the meantime.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees have an off-day tomorrow so there will be no baseball, but Phil Hughes will get his work in by pitching in the Minor League camp. The Yankees return to prime time on Tuesday as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays. The game will be on YES Network and first pitch will be at 7:05pm.

Making The Leap To The AL East

When the Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda in January to a one year deal worth ten million dollars my initial thought was that the money would have been better spent on a bat. Nothing I’ve seen this spring from Kuroda has changed my mind.

Kuroda has pitched four seasons in MLB with the Dodgers and put up solid, but not stellar numbers.  His lifetime ERA is 3.45 but it is important to note that his ERA was compiled while pitching the majority of his games in the weak hitting NL West in very pitcher friendly NL West ballparks.  Kuroda’s lifetime ERA in 68 2/3 innings pitched against AL teams is 4.33

As you can see, Dodger Stadium ranked 22nd last year in park factor. Only Arizona (5th) is a hitter’s ballpark in the NL West.  Petco and Candlestick ranked 28th and 30th in park factor.  The rule of thumb that many use in predicting the movement in an NL pitcher heading to the AL is to add .50 to his ERA. I use this rule as a guideline but in Kuroda’s case I could see his ERA jumping as much as a full run.  Kuroda’s lifetime ERA in 68 2/3 innings pitched against AL teams is 4.33, almost a  full run higher than his lifetime ERA vs all teams.    Kuroda is heading from the pitching friendly NL West ballparks to the very hitting friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, which was 6th in park factor in 2011. The AL East possesses only one pitching friendly park in the form of the Trop (29th in park factor).  Fenway (3rd in park factor), Rogers Centre (4th in park factor), and Camden Yards (12th in park factor) are hitter’s paradises where fly balls often land in the seats.

The transition from the NL West to the AL East is the most extreme jump in difficulty that a pitcher can make in MLB.  Kuroda tied for 8th in the NL last year in HR’s allowed with 24. If he allowed 24 HR’s in the pitching friendly confines of Dodger Stadium and the NL West then just how many could he give up in the hitting friendly parks that are Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Rogers, and Camden?  Right-handed pitchers are extremely vulnerable to allowing left-handed home runs to Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right and to say I’m pessimistic about the impact Kuroda will have on the Yankees staff would be a gross understatement.

Further adding to my skepticism on this signing were the reports last season approaching the trade deadline that Kuroda did not want to pitch on the East Coast.  It was only this December that Kuroda and his agent stated that Kuroda “would be willing” to pitch on the East Coast.  I don’t buy that Kuroda’s strong opposition to pitching on the East Coast changed due to anything other than the East Coast teams being the only candidates who appeared willing to pay him what he was seeking in salary.  If he didn’t want to pitch in the East last year then why would his mindset be any different this year?   New York is a hard place to pitch if your heart isn’t into it all the way.

Some recent attempts at moving to the AL East by pitchers who had been pitching in the National League were not at all successful.  The last time the Yankees brought in a starting pitcher from the NL  was in 2010.  The disastrous trade of Melky Cabrera, and Arodys Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez still causes many Yankee fans to get nauseous.

Kevin Brown and Jaret Wright anyone? You can add those two to the list of pitchers who came to the Yankees from the NL with great expectations and failed to live up to their contracts and hype.

While it’s not unrealistic to imagine Kuroda having a solid season in the pinstripes this year, any expectations beyond that should be tempered to reflect the reality that he will be taking a step up in class.  If Kuroda is able to eat innings and keep his ERA in the area of 4.00-4.50 he should give the Yankees plenty of opportunities to win games that he starts.

Spring Training: 3/25/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Tigers

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones DH
Eduardo Nunez RF
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Michael Pineda

Start time: 1:05pm
Stadium: G.M.S Field
T.V: YES Network
Radio: WCBS

Pregame Notes

– Once again it is almost the Yankees Opening Day lineup with the exception of Nick Swisher. Swisher reveals that he doesn’t know when he’s going to come back but he’s not going to rush it.

 Mariano Rivera is slated to pitch after Michael Pineda today as well as David Robertson. Let’s see if Robertson is ready!

Enjoy the game everyone!

Morning Bits: Nova, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Ibanez

Good morning everyone and happy Sunday to you all. To get started, all of us at Yankees Fans Unite would like to wish one of our writers Matthew B. a very Happy Birthday! Let’s hope  the Yankees win against the Tigers today! Onto the morning links: 

– One of my favorite articles from Matthew B. was about A.J Burnett’s effect with the Yankees. (Keep in mind, this article was written before Burnett was traded).

– Phil Hughes, Michael Pineda & Freddy Garcia have been mentioned as the possible odd man out of the rotation, but should we start adding Ivan Nova’s name into the equation?

– Except for Andy Pettitte, the New York Post reports the Yankees have done a poor job stocking up on southpaws

– Joba Chamberlain believes that he could be back on a mound in July. We kind of wish that Brian Cashman could be just as optimistic.

– After 2 and a half weeks of playing in a Yankees uniform, Raul Ibanez finally  has his first major hit of the Spring;  A 2 run blast that paved the way for a Yankees 4-2 win in 10 innings.

Garcia shuts down Tigers as Yankees beat Tigers 4-2 in 10 innings

In game 1 of this 2 game set, the Yankees traveled to visit the Detroit Tigers in a 2011 ALDS rematch. Freddy Garcia & Max Scherzer turned the game into a pitchers duel with the Yankees & Tigers getting to the 7th inning in an hour and 35 minutes since the first pitch until the game got interesting.

Freddy Garcia made it through 4.1 IP with 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 BB & 4 K’s,Kevin Whelan took over for Garcia and pitched a perfect inning, Boone Logan went through 0.2 IP with 1 K , D.J Mitchell went 3 innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits with 3 BB & 1 K. Cesar Cabral came in the 10th and pitched a perfect inning to get the save.

Raul Ibanez who did not have a good Spring, had a 2 run homer in the 7th inning off Max Scherzer who had a no hitter going until Colin Curtis broke it with a single. Mark Teixeira singled before the homer. The Tigers were able to tie the game in the 9th but the Yankees rallied and won the game on a RBI double by Dewayne Wise that scored Justin Maxwell & Bill Hall.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees will play Game 2 vs. the Tigers but this time at Steinbrenner Field. Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, Russell Martin & Curtis Granderson are slated to be in the lineup. Michael Pineda will get the start.

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