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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
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.
Ichiro Suzuki: It 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 Robertson: David 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 Chamberlain: Joba 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.
Eduardo Nunez: Nunez 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.
– Tomorrow the Yankees will play the Baltimore Orioles at GMS Field at 1:05 p.m. only on YES Network.
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.
– 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.
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.
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.”
– 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.
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?
Good morning everyone. Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving break and of course the great deals of Black Friday. Let’s enjoy this wonderful Sunday before we have to head back to school and work tomorrow by starting off with some Yankees news. Here are your morning links!
– According to ESPN New York, Ichiro Suzuki is willing to wait for the Yankees to offer him a contract. According to his agent, Ichiro would like to appear in Pinstripes for the 2013 season. With no right fielder and not a lot of options yet, the Yankees could always re-sign Ichiro…or they could re-sign Swisher. Take your pick.
– In other news, Russell Martin wants to eventually get rid of the catchers mask–and play shortstop for the World Baseball Classic. If Martin’s shortstop dreams do come true, that will be great to watch. Considering the World Baseball Classic won’t have Derek Jeter this year, I say why not?
Good evening Yankees fans. Today is one of those days where we ask ourselves–”Is it February yet?” Anyway, onto tonight’s notes that circle around Yankees baseball!
– The Yankees announced today that they have made qualifying offers to Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. The bigger question here is–why didn’t the Yankees make an offer to Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin? Do they plan on letting them go? We’ll find out more as the “Off-Season Saga” continues. (BTW, the Yankees would get a draft compensation pick if either of the three sign elsewhere).
– Speaking of Russell Martin, the Yankees did not make him a qualifying offer. Martin can still sign with the Yankees but they won’t get compensation for him if he goes to another team.
– The Yankees also announced that they plan on keeping Rule 5 pitcher Cesar Cabral for the offseason. They want him to come back to Spring Training and compete for the job in the bullpen. Last season, Clay Rapada beat out Cabral for the job (mostly because Cabral fractured the tip of his elbow) but this season Cabral would have to make the team or he gets sent back. A loophole however is if Cabral makes the team, he doesn’t have to spend the whole year on the team. He can be optioned to the minor leagues at any point during the season.
– And finally, Michael Pineda–might miss the entire 2013 season. There’s no information as of yet but tune into MLB Tonight on MLBNetwork to find out why. (And for those who hate the Red Sox, David Ortiz might be out the entire season as well). MLB Tonight airs at 6pm. Check your cable provider for which channel.
– ESPN New York explains how Ichiro Suzuki and Yankee Stadium are a mutual fit. So, will Ichiro come back to the Yankees in 2013?
– The Yankees are considering looking into Torii Hunter and according to Brian Cashman, age at this point doesn’t matter. So if age isn’t a factor right now, is Brian Cashman going to start signing 50-year old men to play for the Yankees?
– Today the Yankees are hosting a blood drive at Gotham Hall from 10:00 a.m to 4:oo p.m. The first 300 donors will get a voucher for two tickets to a 2013 New York Yankees home game.