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Yankees creeping closer to second Wild Card Spot

Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and the Yankees have a big task this September--get into the second Wild Card spot.

Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and the Yankees have a big task this September–get into the second Wild Card spot.

All right, let’s play a quick game. Raise your hand if on May 1st you thought this team was going to be in a position to take the second Wild Card spot in September with a lineup that didn’t have Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson or Mark Teixeira. Be honest, because from Twitter from May-July there were some pessimistic tweets about them.

It is September 1st. The Yankees are 3.5 games back for the second Wild Card spot entering play today and they have 27 games remaining. The Tampa Bay Rays have been fading recently, going 3-7 in their last ten games, playing the first Wild Card spot team the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees in their last 10 games are 7-3.  The team the Yankees need to keep below them in the Wild Card, the Baltimore Orioles are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Yes, the Yankees have been playing with the cards that have been dealt to them but it’s easier now, considering the Yankees have some power in the lineup.

Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have returned. The Yankees have traded for Alfonso Soriano. They claimed Mark Reynolds off waivers. The world (and the season) no longer falls on Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki‘s shoulders. They are now a small (but important) part of a large puzzle. The rotation has been getting quality work from Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte. Hiroki Kuroda is expected to turn it around after a dismal August, which could be because of fatigue. The bullpen has been flawless this year (well, majority of the bullpen). The Yankees pieces are all clicking together at the right time and if they keep playing the way they are playing, they have a legitimate chance to knock Tampa Bay out of the second spot and claim it for themselves.

Two weeks ago, the Yankees chances seemed slim. They had to hop over three teams to even get behind the Rays. Going into September…the Yankees hope to pass the Rays and get into postseason contention and prove all the naysayers wrong. This team could be good enough to get into the playoffs, but how far could they possibly go?

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Yankees First-Half Awards: Results

Will Brett Gardner take home BOTH the Defensive MVP and Offensive MVP award? Read to find out!

Will Brett Gardner take home BOTH the Defensive MVP and Offensive MVP award? Read to find out!

Welcome back Yankees fans! Now, on July 6th, I posted a poll about the Yankees First-Half awards. The poll had now closed and now it’s time to give the results.

DISCLAIMER: I was not allowed/couldn’t vote for anyone in any category in anyway. All of these votes are from you guys.  Now that we are perfectly clear, let’s start with the Pitching Category, shall we?

Who Is the Yankees Starting Pitcher MVP?

For this category, I listed the pitchers that have had either great or s0-so years. (Ivan Nova wasn’t added because he wasn’t in the rotation the entire half and Phil Hughes was plain terrible when I made the poll). So, here were your nominees for the Starting Pitcher MVP.

1) CC Sabathia

2) Hiroki Kuroda

3) Andy Pettitte

4) David Phelps

The Winner Is:

Hiroki Kuroda!

Hiroki Kuroda had a whopping 92% of the vote among Yankees fans. Andy Pettitte was second in the voting at 3% and CC Sabathia and David Phelps were tied with 2%. So pretty much Kuroda had this category in the bag.

Who is the Yankees Bullpen MVP?

Our next category takes us to the bullpen, where we have some of our top relievers that have outperformed above and beyond. (Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne and Adam Warren were not listed in this category because there was a specific category for them. We all know why Joba Chamberlain wasn’t nominated in any category, so that’s that.) Here were your nominees for Yankees Bullpen MVP.

1) Mariano Rivera

2) David Robertson

3) Boone Logan

The Winner Is:

Mariano Rivera!

Mariano Rivera had 85% of the vote, so it wasn’t shocking who won. It was shocking who came second. Boone Logan had 11% of the vote and David Robertson came in third with 4% of the vote. I would have figured more people would have voted for D-Rob. Interesting.

Who is the Yankees Bullpen Standout?

Here is the category where I listed some pitchers that weren’t in the other category. (Again, Joba is not in this category). These are some first time Yankees that have opened everyone’s eyes with what they could do. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen Standout.

1) Shawn Kelley

2) Preston Claiborne

3) Adam Warren

The Winner Is:

Preston Claiborne!

Preston Claiborne had 63% of the vote among Yankees fans while Shawn Kelley had 34% of the vote. Adam Warren finished last in this category with 2%. I was surprised with Warren getting the least amount since he has helped out the bullpen so much as well

Now we move on to the Defense Category. 

Who Is The Yankees Defensive MVP?

This category involved multiple players that have opened our eyes with their defense. Luis Cruz wasn’t added to this category because he came after I already made the poll, but we could give him a pat on the back for the great defense he provided. Here are your nominees for Yankees Defensive MVP:

1) Robinson Cano

2) Brett Gardner

3) Ichiro Suzuki

4) Jayson Nix

5) Vernon Wells

The Winner Is:

Brett Gardner!

Brett Gardner quickly ran away (pun not intended) with this category with 69% of the vote. Robinson Cano came in second with 17% of the vote while Ichiro Suzuki came in third with 11% of the vote. Jayson Nix had 2% of the vote while Vernon Wells had 1%.

Onto the biggest award: The Yankees Offensive MVP

This is the final category of the awards. It also was the tightest race out of all the categories. I pulled up the Yankees best three offensive players throughout the first half and the winner…may shock you. Here are your nominees:

1) Robinson Cano

2) Brett Gardner

3) Ichiro Suzuki

The Winner Is:

Robinson Cano AND Brett Gardner!

I know what you’re thinking, how could BOTH of them win the Offensive Award? It was simple. The race was SO tight that by the time voting closed–they were tied. Both Gardner and Cano had 47% of the vote. Ichiro unfortunately was left in the dust with 7% of the vote.

And those are your winners for the Yankees First-Half Awards! Join me again in September after the regular season when we have 2013 Yankees Awards (awards that are for the entire year, instead of the first half).

Yankees First Half Awards Poll

Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are MVP's for the Yankees, but who will take home  the Offensive and Defensive MVP?

Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are MVP’s for the Yankees, but who will take home the Offensive and Defensive MVP?

With the All-Star break approaching us, it’s time to reward the Yankees on the team for their hard work that they’ve done for half of the year. It’s been a tough 3 months, but with a loss of many players, the Yankees are still in the hunt for a play-off spot (yes, I know it’s hard to fathom). So, with the first half of the season closing in, it’s time to have a poll on some deserving players who have went above and beyond in trying to help the Yankees. So here are the categories:

Yankees Offensive MVP:

The Yankees have been through a lot through the last 3 months of the season, some good, some bad, some terrible and some horrendous. However, for the Yankees there have been a few bright spots on the team. I had to find at least three players to be nominated for this award and with this lineup–it was very easy to make my decision. So thank you to the rest of the lineup for constantly struggling. Anyway, here are your nominees for Yankees Offensive MVP:

Yankees Starting Pitching MVP:

There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Yankees Starting pitching, but so once again it was pretty easy to find at least three (or four) nominees for this subject. So here are your nominees for Yankees Starting Pitching MVP:

Yankees Bullpen MVP:

The Yankees bullpen MVP was the hardest part to choose Yankees nominees (thanks for being so good guys). These nominees went above and beyond to protect the leads for the most part, and even shut down the opposing team’s offense. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen MVP:

Yankees Bullpen Standout:

Now, there are Yankees MVP, and then there are players that have joined the Yankees in the pen for the first time in 2013 and have shut down the offense. So this category is for those players. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen Standout:

Yankees Defensive MVP:

Now, there are some good catches…and then there are catches that leave the offense wanting to throw their helmets down on the floor in anger. Here are your nominees for the Yankees Defensive MVP for the first half of 2013:

Here are the polls, Yankees fans! You have until July 14th to get your votes in and I’ll have the winners posted up during the All-Star Break! You can vote as many times as you want for a player, so good luck and may the best player win.

Yankees Player of the Week

Zoilo Almonte 4

The Yankees had a very good week going 4-2 against the Angels, Dodgers and Rays. They salvaged their final game against the Angels after nearly blowing a 6-0 ninth inning lead and they hung on to win 6-5. They split a doubleheader against the Dodgers, but the night game was embarrassing as they got shutout by a bad pitcher in Chris Capuano.  Their offense futility continued the next night in an 8-3 loss to the Rays. However, they had two huge wins the last two days over Tampa Bay, as Zoilo Almonte gave them the spark they seemed to need. Yesterday’s win was one of the best of the year as Vernon Wells hit a bases clearing double to give the Yankees a 7-5 lead in the 7th inning after the Rays had gone up 5-3 on a Will Myers grand slam. This week’s nominees for Yankees player of the Weel are Mariano Rivera, Zoilo Almonte, Lyle Overbay and Ichiro Suzuki. 

Mariano Rivera- Mo had three saves on the week and he really started to use his two-seam fastball on righties a ton this week. He looks as nasty as ever. 

Zoilo Almonte- Almonte hit .625 on the week with a home run and 4 RBI. He has shown great discipline at the plate and has given the Yankees a much needed spark. He had three hits in Friday’s win and three RBI in yesterday’s win. 

Lyle Overbay- Overybay continues to get the job done in place of Mark Teixeira. He hit .318 with 4 RBI on the week. 

Ichiro Suzuki- Ichiro has hit better at the plate of late and hit .273 with 1 HR and 4 RBI on the week. Also, he made a few sparkling plays out in right field. 

Not much an argument can be made against Zoilo Almonte this week, so he is your Yankees Player of the Week. Vote for your player of the week and discuss the week that was in the comments. 

Swisher Missed Badly

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

What kind of player do the Yankees need the most right now? A switch hitting, patient and versatile outfielder who can backup first base would be a really good answer to that question. Didn’t the Yankees used to have somebody like that for the last four seasons?

It was quite fitting that as Nick Swisher returned to the Bronx last night for the first as a Cleveland Indian the Yankees were experimenting with Lyle Overbay in right field.  Swisher signed a four-year contract worth $56 million with Cleveland this past winter, and he was one of the first casualties of the Yankees $189 million budget plan. The Yankees valued saving money over production in not bringing back Swisher and have paid for that decision in a big way this season.

The Yankees move to put Overbay in right field last night was a desperate attempt to get an average bat in the lineup. While Overbay performed as well as the Yankees could have hoped for with Mark Teixeira on the DL, he is not exactly lighting the world on fire this season with a slash line of .249/.294/.459/.752.

A lot of that has to do with his performance against lefties, but still Overbay is not the kind of bat the Yankees would have to go to this kind of lengths to get into the lineup in recent years. However, with the loss of Swisher, Ichiro Suzuki looking finished, and Vernon Wells regressing, it is hard to blame the Yankees for giving it a shot. Of course, if Swisher were still around it would not be an issue.

If the Yankees had adequately replaced Swisher his loss might not have been felt as hard as it has been this season. Giving a two-year contract to Suzuki was a disaster and it was mostly likely done for marketing reasons, as upper management thought Suzuki had a shot to get to 3,000 hits in a Yankees uniform. They willing took a lesser player in right field because of monetary reasons and are paying for it, which is something that would have been hard to imagine a few years ago with the Yankees. The same can be said for catcher as well, as Russell Martin is enjoying a very nice season in Pittsburgh.

Swisher was a model of consistency for the Yankees in his four years in the Bronx. He had an OPS+ ranging from 120 to 129 in all four years and wouldn’t you know he is at 127 this year, which would rank second on the Yankees this season. Before Mark Teixeira returned last week the Yankees had not had an at-bat by a switch hitter all season. They often have had to run a bunch of lefties stacked in the lineup on most nights because they have  had no righties to balance their lineup out. Also, even with Teixeira and Youkilis back, their lineup only runs about six deep with black holes in right field, shortstop and catcher. The Yankees have always been known for having a balanced and circular lineup, which certainly has not been the case this season, and a lot of that is because of Swisher’s absence.

Swisher is a great example of fans not being able to appreciate a player until he is gone. The same way fans used to complain about how the Yankees scored runs, even though they had one of the best offenses in MLB. Obviously, Swisher’s postseason struggles were well documented, but how much will that matter if the Yankees do not even make it there this season? He loved being a Yankee and had a very positive influence on the clubhouse, which was evident in the joy he showed in his return last night.

“It’s super exciting to be back here a couple of days,” Swisher told Howie Kussoy of the New York Post. “Just that atmosphere, that was a great thing to be a part of. Just being part of the whole tradition, obviously winning the World Series in ’09 was pretty cool. I think the mystique of being a Yankee was so great and something I was so proud to be a part of.”

The Yankees only rank 11th in the AL in runs, 10th in OPS, 11th in wOBA, and 13th in wRC+ as a team. Obviously, a lot of that has to do with injuries, but also willing playing lesser players for financial reasons at catcher and right field is a huge reason as well. Yankees right fielders this year have a -.5 WAR, .116 ISO, .262 wOBA and 70 wRC+, which is simply pathetic. As, the Yankees try to experiment a career first baseman in right field they can look across the field the next two nights and wonder what if.

Game 41 Lineup: Mariners vs . Yankees

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Curtis Granderson DH
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

LHP Andy Pettitte

- Ex-Yankee Hector Noesi will be on the mound for Seattle.  Aaron Harang was scratched.

- Andy Pettitte trys to right himself after a couple of rough starts

- Yankees called up Dellin Betances from Scranton and sent down Brett Marshall who was spent after throwing 108 pitches yesterday

- Jayson Nix gets his shot batting 2nd today.  Nix has had a very quiet season offensively but suprisingly, his .319 OBP% is 4th among healthy regulars behind Wells, Cano & Gardner.  Nix has hit 2nd 6 times this year and has hit .261/.293/.261 (6 for 23 with 5 Walks).  Not many Yankees have faced Noesi but Nix is 1 for 3 with a HR.

Opening Day is coming, so how’s the team shaping up?

Brett Gardner could be a valuable player in the Yankees lineup...

Brett Gardner could be a valuable player in the Yankees lineup…

In a little less than three weeks, the Yankees will begin their home-opener against the Boston Red Sox with CC Sabathia on the mound. However, this year’s Opening Day lineup might be a little different than what we’re used to due to all of the injuries the Yankees were plagued with during the 2013 season. The Yankees are missing Curtis Granderson (broken forearm), Mark Teixeira (strained forearm) and Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery) in their offense which is sure to look like the ‘Robinson Cano Show’ for the first month and a half. But with still some time to go, just how are the Yankees shaping up as they prepare for the season?

Lineup:

The Yankees lineup has many question marks after losing so many players to free agency and injuries. The bats of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez will be with different ball clubs, while we will most likely have to wait for Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson to return to their post in early to mid-May. However, the lineup hasn’t looked as puzzling as it did when Spring Training started. The Yankees proved that they can manufacture runs by using a key element that they possess: speed. Players like Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez are capable of getting on base, going station to station on their own before a key teammate has to drive them in with an RBI. Speed will play an important part this season since the Yankees have lost over 100 home runs than in season’s past. But just because the Yankees are relying on speed, it doesn’t mean we should start calling them the ‘Bronx Bunters’. They will still find a way to hit home runs with Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira making their way back into the starting lineup.

Starting Pitching:

Throughout the course of Spring Training, the starting pitching has been one early glimpse of how our starters will perform during the 2013 season. It looks as if they left off from last season. Hiroki Kuroda looks to be in mid-season form, David Phelps has a 0.63 ERA 14 Spring appearances  Ivan Nova has an ERA of 1. Andy Pettitte has still proven that his pitches are effective although he’s the oldest starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. And as expected, there is no concern over CC Sabathia, whatsoever. The starting pitching looks to be one of the Yankees strong points like it was in season’s past. Let’s hope that the pitching can carry the Yanks this season.

Bullpen:

...while Mariano Rivera could be a dynamic piece to the Yankees bullpen

…while Mariano Rivera could be a dynamic piece to the Yankees bullpen

The Yankees bullpen was another one of their key pieces that helped define the Yankees last season. With pitchers such as David Robertson, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and Joba Chamberlain, it seemed like an easy task to get the ball to the 9th inning before handing it off to the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera. Last season’s bullpen dynamic was different since there was no Mariano in the bullpen due to an ACL injury, giving the Yankees a glimpse of what it would look like if Mariano Rivera wasn’t there. With Rafael Soriano, the Yankees were able to still close games with a dominant force but this year there is no Rafael Soriano. Mariano Rivera plans to retire after the 2013 season, which gives Yankees fans one last look of the greatest closer before he hangs up his cleats and says goodbye to the game. The bullpen is expected to be a strong part of the Yankees once again, and from Spring observations, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shawn Kelley and David Phelps get spots in the bullpen. With both of their arms this spring, the Yankees bullpen could become an iron gate to prevent runs from scoring.

There’s only 17 days until Opening Day so from now until Spring Training is over, it would be a good time to start watching the games to see who has a legitimate shot of making the team. And from what I’ve seen all Spring so far, there are quite a few who have a chance to go north.

“Experienced” players will decide the outcome of 2013

Turning 39 years old this June, Derek Jeter has re-iterated over the past few years that age is simply just a number to him and the rest of his veteran teammates.

Of course, most baseball minds have thought otherwise, saying as they have in prior offseasons that this upcoming season will be the season the old guard finally breaks down and prevents the Yankees from making the playoffs.

“I’ve heard it before,” Jeter told the New York Post in response to the skepticism. “Regardless of how old anyone is, it’s our job to come here and be ready to play and help us compete. We’ve been able to do that pretty successfully over the years. Our plans don’t change.”

It’s definitely great to hear The Captain having that mindset, and he’s right. With the old age and doubt at its highest, the Yanks have won consecutive division titles and made two ALCS appearances in three years. Mind you, the reason there was even a chance for a pennant last October was thanks to a 40-year old carrying the team on his back in the late innings – Raul Ibanez.

So whether it’s the experience factor, fate, plain luck, or some other reason, time nor age has phased this Yankees team. They have remained just as big a threat to win the World Series as they were when Robinson Cano was a teenager in the late nineties.

Without saying its a problem, however, the oldest guys on the roster must do the un-expected once again to keep the Yanks at the top of the American League’s totem pole.

That may have been stating the obvious, but the team is definitely centered around a group of extraordinary, extra-old veterans who somehow have kept up with the rest of MLB over the past decade. Jeter (38), Andy Pettitte (40), Hiroki Kuroda (38), Ichiro Suzuki (39), and Mariano Rivera (43) are absolutely essential parts of this year’s ball-club. As I said, it’s not too often players their age are still in the game, let alone performing at a high level.

Now is it fair to doubt them, with all they’ve done in each of their careers? No. But people will, and have some reason to do so. To think that these players can lead the team through a six-month season and still have it in them to keep it up [hopefully] in October is a lot to ask. It’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t consider it the most likely scenario.

I refuse to say this will be the year the Yankees’ age finally catches up to them, as each year in thinking that they surprise me and win the division. They are not too old to compete, but we’ve seen in the past few seasons the team dominating in the regular season, and just running out of gas come October. Things could change between now and September, but a realistic take on the 2013 Yankees is that they have the talent to return to the postseason. But their efforts to win in the postseason may again derail their quest for a 28th title.

Yanks drop both split squad games vs. Blue Jays, Astros

Ir seems to me that things aren’t turning out the way the Yankees planned during Spring Training. However, we have to remember a couple of things before we get crazy about the standings (which we shouldn’t be doing).

1. The Yankees Major League starting pitchers haven’t even been in a game so far.

2. The Yankees hitters have only went about 5-6 innings before getting taken out.

3. It’s Spring Training. Almost everyone’s rusty.

However, it would be nice to see the Yankees win a game or two. Let’s break down the good (and bad) that came out of each game. That seems like an easier way to recap the split-squad games.

Blue Jays vs. Yankees

Gardner & Ichiro are locked in: If the season started today, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki wouldn’t mind. At all. Both of them as of right now are easily the best hitters on the team, with both of their batting averages over .500. Gardner went 1-for-3 today, now successfully hitting in four-straight games. Ichiro also had a 1-for-3 day, extending his hitting streak. It’s nice to know that out of the gate the two speedsters are ready for the 2013 season. Now if everyone else behind them can catch up, that would be great.

Clay Rapada is unstoppable (and undefeated): Clay Rapada had the quickest 1-2-3 inning, that if you went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and come back, the inning would be over due to his sheer brilliance on the mound. There’s also an interesting fact that YES gave about Rapada: He’s been in 148 games and his overall record is 8-0 in the Majors. That means that Clay Rapada has never lost a game in his Major League career. Never. Ever. Just judging by today’s game, I would already have a nice roster spot for Mr. Rapada. He looked in mid-season form.

Chris Stewart ejected: Chris Stewart only had one at-bat. And that one-at bat would be the last at-bat that he would have on the day. He hit into a bang-bang play at first base. YES instant replay showed Stewart’s foot touched the bag before the ball went into the first baseman’s glove. However, Marty Foster called him out. Stewart said something and then was ejected from the game, making him the first ejection of the Spring. Just so you know, Spring Training ejections don’t happen very often, so that must mean Marty Foster in in mid-season form.

David Phelps pitches strong: David Phelps had another strong outing, going 3 innings, giving up 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Phelps’ future with the Yankees could be either one of two things at this point: he could either be in the rotation, taking the 5th spot from Ivan Nova, or he could be in the bullpen, helping out in later innings. I don’t see him going back to the minor leagues, at all.

Yankees vs. Astros:

Melky Mesa has great game: The young CF looks to be in the front running of who could take Curtis Granderson‘s job for the next 4-6 weeks after the big day he had at the plate. The young CF went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI’s on the day. I wonder what John Sterling’s HR call would be for the young OF if he ever had a chance to play on the big league club–and if he homered.

Nunez helmet won’t stay on: Another day, another chance to see Eduardo Nunez‘s helmet fall off his head. Just as I had hoped that Nunez would be able to keep the helmet on while running down the first baseline, it came off when he hit a lead-off single in the first inning. Maybe someone should add a chin strap or get him a helmet like Francisco Cervelli‘s. That way it can’t come off.

Cervelli’s strong day behind the plate: Speaking of the young catcher, Cervelli had a great day behind the plate, throwing out two runners who were attempting to steal. Offensively, he went 0-for-3. Maybe it didn’t help that Chris Stewart was ejected because judging by what happened today, it looks like Cervelli took the lead in the catching competition.

Marshall has a good start: Another Brett on the Yankees ball-club had a great day as well, and his name is Brett Marshall. Through three innings, he struck out three and only allowed one hit. Now that is some impressive numbers from the young starter, who is one of the few players actually impressing this Spring Training.

WHAT’S NEXT:

– The Phillies will take the drive from Clearwater to Tampa in order to play the Yankees at GMS Field tomorrow. Robinson Cano is expected to be in the lineup tomorrow and Saturday before leaving on Sunday for the World Baseball Classic. The game will be at 1:05 p.m. on the YES Network.

Teixeira, Ichiro, Murphy provide offense as Yanks fall to Phillies 4-3

Spring Training is Spring Training so the Yankees losing three in a row shouldn’t be that alarming, especially since the Yankees placed all their minor leaguers in during the 6th inning. However, if you’re a fan, you’d like to see more than one win come from the Yankees so the Yankees are going to have to try and go back to the drawing board to figure out what they have to do to win tomorrow. But instead of talking about how the Yankees lost, let’s take a look at some positives from today’s game.

Mark TeixeiraTeixeira provided the Yankees with an early lead in the ball game, hitting an RBI double that scored Ichiro Suzuki. Teixeira was 1-for-3 on the day, but we’ll take the RBI.

Ichiro SuzukiIt looks as if Ichiro and Brett Gardner are having their own little competition. After Gardner had a three-hit day yesterday, Ichiro answered back with a three-hit day of his own. He also showed hustle and was a thrill to watch as he ran around the bases. Typical Ichiro.

David RobertsonDavid Robertson made his Spring debut today and proved that he still had it, pitching a scoreless inning although he gave up a walk. I would say Robertson is in mid-season form if he can have constant 1-2-3 innings.

Joba ChamberlainJoba Chamberlain (along with his unpopular mustache) made his Spring debut as well, also working a scoreless inning although he gave up the first hit for the Phillies to Ryan Howard. Still, it was a good outing. He also made sure to ruffle some feathers when he said that he believes he could be a starter again.

J.R Murphy: J.R Murphy came into the game during the 7th inning, but he made a lasting impression during the end of the game when he hit a towering 2-run HR to give the Yankees at the time a 3-1 lead. He then doubled in the 9th while the Yankees were trailing 4-3 yet he just missed his second HR of the game.

HONORABLE MENTION

Eduardo NunezNunez went 0-for-3 today, I know–but at first he gave some fans a warm and hearty laugh when his helmet fell off after showing some hustle to first base. The warm and hearty laughter soon turned into annoyance after his helmet fell off another two times, making us wonder if Nunez might want to consider getting a new helmet size.

WHAT’S NEXT: 

– Tomorrow the Yankees will play the Baltimore Orioles at GMS Field at 1:05 p.m. only on YES Network.

Spring Training Notes 2/19/13: Hughes, Montgomery, Ichiro, Gardner, Phelps, Teixeira, Cano

Phil Hughes

There are a lot of notes from a lot of players today, so let’s skip the chit-chat for today and review everything that went on in Yankee camp.

Phil Hughes has been shut down by the Yankees for a few days after experiencing soreness in his upper back. However, according to Girardi, we shouldn’t worry too much about Hughes’s injury since its in the upper part of his back.

“It’s upper back, up here by his shoulder blades, so we’ll see how he is in a couple of days. The good thing is he was ahead of where he probably would normally be at this time which helps. You’re usually more concerned about the lower lingering. But until it’s gone, it’s going to linger. That’s like, a Yogi-ism.”

– After experiencing discomfort in his back, Mark Montgomery played catch today. Montgomery was also throwing to hitters earlier in Spring Training, and the Yankees should expect to get the young pitcher back soon.

Ichiro Suzuki is known for his behind his back catches when he’s shagging fly balls in the outfield, and Brett Gardner wanted to see it for himself. After the media spotted Ichiro making a catch from behind his back, they went to Gardner who was in the outfield with him during outfield drills, and Gardner admitted that he was the one who told Ichiro to do it, with a smile on his face.

“It’s my fault.” Gardner laughed. “I told him to do it.”

Gardner is already one-up on Joe Girardi, since Girardi has heard of the catches but never had seen one in person. I guess all he has to do to see one is ask Ichiro. Honestly, Ichiro sounds like a lot of fun to be around.

– Joe Girardi chose David Phelps as the starter for Saturday’s game (which is not televised). Adam Warren will pitch in Sunday’s game (which is televised on YES).

Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano are preparing for the World Baseball Classic, meaning that they both would leave camp earlier this year. Robinson Cano is leaving camp March 2nd while Mark Teixeira is leaving camp March 3rd. That gives both players to get in some Yankees games before heading out and representing their country. Don’t worry Yankees fans. Robinson Cano will be back on March 6th when Team Dominican Republic plays the Yankees at GMS Field. Should be a lot of fun.

Spring Training Notes 2/18/13: Jeter, Cano, Gardner, Ichiro

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Before today, the last time Joe Girardi saw Derek Jeter on a baseball diamond was in Game 1 of the ALCS, where he had to carry him off the field due to him shattering his ankle. Today was a friendlier and warmer sight for the team to see, Jeter warming up with his teammates, getting in shape for the season as if everything was normal. Well, almost normal. Derek Jeter still can’t run the bases and can’t run around the field like the rest of his teammates. However, that’s not slowing down the Captain, as he’s progressing o get back on the field.

“I already said to myself I’m good to go.” Jeter said. “There’s steps along the way, but there’s always steps along the way in the offseason before you play. You run the bases. You go first to third. You make different plays in the field. Those are all things you have to do, so I have to progress to that, but I don’t have to convince myself that I’m ready.”

The good news? Derek Jeter’s ankle feels great. And it should feel great: his ankle has bolts and screws inside to prevent it from breaking again.

Robinson Cano spoke to the media today after working out with his teammates, and the questions that were mostly asked was about the Biogenesis report. Cano’s name isn’t in the reports, but two of his closest friends Alex Rodriguez & Melky Cabrera‘s were, the latter being suspended 50 games last season after testing positive for PED’s.

“They are still my friends.” Cano said to the media. “You have to be with your friends through the good times and bad. I have to stay with my friends. I don’t have any reaction. I would say that’s a personal matter and to let them handle that.”

– And the award for the most clever yet innocent remark of the day goes to…Ichiro! As we all know, Derek Jeter made the back cover of the New York Post over the winter where it infamously showed him “out of shape.” Ichiro said what was the most clever, funny and innocent comment I’ve heard all Spring.

“Jeter was not the eater the media portrayed him to be.” Ichiro said. “That was good to see.”

– And the last tidbit of the day goes to none other than Brett Gardner. Gardner didn’t speak to a crowd of reporters like the others, bu he did disclose that he would prefer to play his natural position (center field). However, he’ll help anyway he can help the team, even if that means him playing in left field while Curtis Granderson patrols center.

Spring Training Notes 2/17/12: Jeter, Teixeira

Photo courtesy of Lohud Yankees

Photo courtesy of Lohud Yankees

Derek Jeter just heard of Kevin Youkilis making the back of every paper in New York City with his “I’ll always be a Red Sox” comment. Andy Pettitte suggested it would be a good idea for Jeter to start some controversy to get everyone’s mind off of Youkilis.

“Pettitte just told me. He told me to say something controversial in this press conference so that I can get Youkilis off the back pages.” Jeter said. “I’ll let him have it. Welcome to New York.”

Jeter then became serious while throwing in some quips now and again about how hard he was working to get into shape. He then poked fun of the New York Post cover where Jeter was considered “overweight.”

“It’s going to be a little harder to to get back in shape–in baseball shape. The Post is here. Gotta say baseball shape.” Then Jeter’s conference got down to business. Where was he in his Spring Training schedule?

“I’m on Mo’s schedule.” Jeter quipped. “Five innings and I’m done. But I’m not concerned with re-injuring the ankle. I know I won’t play be playing when they start playing in a week. You can write that down. I’m not playing in that game. I don’t necessarily think you need all of Spring Training to get ready. I don’t know exactly the date I’m going to play, but it will probably be somewhere there after a couple of weeks.”

The most interesting part of the whole conference? Derek Jeter thought that sitting on his couch for 5-6 weeks was boring and this was the “worst offseason ever”. 5-6 weeks on the couch doing nothing sounds like a dream to me.

– Along with Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira spoke to the media today and basically disclosed what he wanted to do this season.

“Stay healthy and have fun.” Teixeira said.

Teixeira had also done his workouts earlier since he is slated to play in the World Baseball Classic on March 1st. He figures that the World Baseball Classic will help him with not slumping in April, which sounds like a good idea. Teixeira also spoke about his offensive approach this season.

“There’s really no reason for me at this point in my career to try and start things differently. I’ve had such a successful career playing to my strengths. Now that being said, I want to be the best at what I do well, and that’s hitting home runs, driving in runs and playing Gold Glove defense. I know if I do those three things, I’m going to help my team. At the end of the day, that’s why I’m here. I’m here to help my team win. Not put up certain types of numbers.”

Last question. Was it strange not seeing Alex Rodriguez in camp?

“There’s 90 guys in here right now.” Teixeira said. “Even if he was here, I’m not sure I’d see him.”

Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, Travis Hafner and Curtis Granderson all reported to camp today and took their physicals. They all passed, don’t worry.

– Backtracking  to Ichiro, he was reportedly wearing one ‘glittery’ hat. He came into camp this morning with a Yankees hat but the Yankees logo had glitter on it instead of the normal logo.

Joe Girardi made it clear that Travis Hafner would be the Yankees DH against right handed hitters and wouldn’t take the field unless he was a backup first baseman. Girardi also said that Jeter could possibly DH against left-handers as the season begins, allowing Eduardo Nunez to play shortstop.

Spring Training Notes 2/12/13: State Of The Yankees Address

Photo taken by Mark Feinsand of the Daily News

Photo taken by Mark Feinsand of the Daily News

Today may be the State Of the Union Address for the United States of America, but today was the State of the Yankees Address live from the minor league complex by none other than the Yankees manager Joe Girardi (who might I add is in the final year of his contract). Girardi covered a plethora of topics but one of the biggest topics that Girardi covered was Alex Rodriguez. Here’s some notes and news from today.

Girardi on Alex Rodriguez:

“There really isn’t a lot to talk about. My concern is for him to get healthy. This club is used to having what people might call distractions.”

Girardi hasn’t spoken to Alex Rodriguez about the PED topic and has confirmed that Alex Rodriguez will not be in camp this spring. Instead, Rodriguez will rehab in New York.

Girardi on the 2013 team:

“We’re going to have to find a different way to score runs. Our offense is going to be different but I believe [we're going to score runs].”

Girardi also believes that the Yankees are going to win 95 games and the World Series. “There’s a lot of talent in this room. If we play up to our capabilities, I believe we’re a very good team.”

Girardi’s biggest concern:

Girardi’s biggest concern is finding a right-handed DH bat before the actual season begins.

Girardi on Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki:

As of today, Brett Gardner will be in LF, Curtis Granderson will be in CF and Ichiro Suzuki will be in RF. There’s no plans on moving Gardner and Granderson as of yet, but it could change as he discusses it with his coaches.

Girardi on concerns of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera:

He doesn’t have any concerns on both Yankees who are coming off of injuries.

MORE AROUND YANKEES CAMP

Austin Romine came into camp thirteen pounds lighter and his back in very good shape. He believes he sees an opportunity.

CC Sabathia is also 100% after having elbow surgery over the winter. He says that the surgery was a relief and he now has complete mobility of his elbow. Sabathia also lost a lot of weight, now weighing in at 290. His first bullpen session will be on Thursday.

– We also have new locker arraignments and numbers in Yankees camp. Here they are:

-Travis Hafner takes Nick Swisher‘s old number and will now wear #33. Hafner’s locker is now next to Youkilis, formerly vacated by Eric Chavez.
-Francisco Cervelli will now wear #29, formerly worn by Rafael Soriano.
-David Phelps changed his number to #35. Mike Mussina used to wear #35 back in the day as did Michael Pineda last season (who we never saw during the season).
-Michael Pineda will now wear #43. His previous number was #35.
-Kevin Youkilis wears #36 and now has Nick Swisher’s old locker.
- David Aardsma will now wear #34.
- Matt Diaz will now wear #22.
- Dan Johnson will now wear #27.
- Juan Rivera will now wear #54.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees release Chris Dickerson; Jeter out of his boot

After being designated for assignment for the second time in his short career with the Yankees, today it had been announced that Chris Dickerson had been released. Dickerson quickly became a fan favorite, but the issue that the Yankees see with him is that he hits left-handed. It’s an issue because Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki are all left-handed–and there’s no more room for another left-hander on the roster. Since this was his second designation, the Yankees placed him on release waivers instead of out righting him to Triple-A. Every other team had been watching the Yankees closely with the Chris Dickerson saga, so it’s only a matter of time before another team signs him.

In Other News:

– Brian Cashman confirmed today that Derek Jeter is out of his walking boot and is down in Tampa working out. Jeter is expected to be ready by Opening Day but the beginning of Spring Training is extremely questionable.

Yogi Berra is still contemplating whether to join Twitter, but he did tweet from @Yogi_Museum–which has caused a fan frenzy.

– Mark your calendars  Spring Training begins in exactly one month from today. The first official workout for pitchers and catchers will take place on February 13.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees close in re-signing Andy Pettitte

Looks like the Yankees are beginning to get the ball rolling in this offseason game, and this time Andy Pettitte has control. According to Buster Olney, Andy Pettitte had decided to pitch for the Yankees in the 2013 season. According to Joel Sherman, the contract is rumored to be between $10-$11 Million for one year. Pettitte had confirmed when the season ended that he was going to take about a month before he decided what he planned on doing and that it would happen definitely after Thanksgiving. Pettitte started working out a couple of days after Thanksgiving, leading the Yankees fanbase to believe that Pettitte wanted to return.

In Other News:

Mariano Rivera revealed that he also wanted to pitch in 2013, but the Yankees haven’t officially signed him as of yet. The deal should happen sometime this week before Winter Meetings next week.

– Despite rumors last night, the Yankees have not re-signed Ichiro Suzuki to a contract. As a matter of fact, the Yankees and Ichiro haven’t even come close to an agreement! If the Yankees end up signing Ichiro then that will close the chapter on the Nick Swisher saga.

Russell Martin is reportedly looking for a 4 year deal for $9-$10 Million PER year. I seriously doubt that the Yankees will succumb to Martin’s demands. Then again, is it Martin that wants the contract or his agent?

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