Monthly Archives: March 2012

Yankees hit 5 HR’s in 11-9 win vs. Astros

The Yankees traveled to visit the Houston Astros one last time in Florida before the season begins on Friday and the game turned into an absolute slug-fest as the Yankees were able to pour out 5 HR’s during the game.

Adam Warren was selected to have the start today, going 5.2 IP giving up 6R on 10H but the story was the Yankees offense. The Yankees hit 5 HR’s and there were 9 HR’s combined in a game that was ultimately shortened in the top of the 9th due to rain. Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez & Jose Gil each hit one HR while Dante Bichette Jr. (who filled in for Eduardo Nunez) had 2 HR’s, both on the first pitch.

Injury Update: Michael Pineda hit the 15 Day DL with shoulder tendinitis while Cesar Cabral had a stress fracture in his elbow and will most likely go on the DL.

WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow the Yankees will take a trip to Miami and have the honor of playing against the Marlins to work out the kinks of the new Marlins Ballpark. The game will be on YES Network at 1:10pm. If you are able to, this is a must not miss game.

Yankees Prospect Watch: Manny Banuelos

The monthly series continues with a Prospect Profile: this week it’s Manny Banuelos.

Manny Banuelos

Throws: Left

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 155

DOB: 3/13/91

* Our very own writer Fishjam ranked him the #2 overall prospect when his rankings came out which was before the Montero trade.  Here is what he had to say about him, “Had control issues in AA/AAA but most believe it’s just a matter of trying to be too fine as he has solid mechanics and repeats his delivery well. Threw a career-high 130 innings so will be in line for 150-160 this year and could be ready to pitch for NY in 2nd half.”

* Mike Axisa from River Ave Blues rated Banuelos number 1 for this year.  Here is what he had to say, “A strong showing in Spring Training fueled speculation that he could break camp with the big league team last season, but Banuelos was ultimately returned to Double-A to start the year. He was the fourth-youngest player in the Eastern League, though his trademark command and control were nowhere to be found. He walked 52 of the 422 batters he faced with Trenton (4.9 BB/9 and 12.3%), then walked another 19 in 34.1 IP after a late-season promotion to Triple-A (5.0 BB/9 and 12.3%). Banuelos walked more batters in 2011 (71) than he did in the three previous seasons of his career combined (66, or 7.4%). He did maintain a high strikeout rate though (8.7 K/9 and 21.7%), and aside from a blister issue in April, he took the ball every five days and logged a career best 129.2 IP.

Despite the walk troubles last year, the scouting report hasn’t changed. Banuelos still sits anywhere from 90-95 with his fastball, backing it up with a knockout changeup and a hard curve that has flirted with the low-80s. He generates swings and misses with all three pitches, and can be untouchable when he’s dotting the edges of the zone like he did from 2008-2010. Banuelos is the Yankees’ best left-handed pitching prospect in what feels like ages, which is kinda surprising given their long history of quality southpaws. A return engagement to Triple-A is in the cards, and a midseason call-up to the big leagues isn’t out of the question. Banuelos can be a worthy left-handed complement to Pineda and Nova, the club’s two young power right-handers at the big league level.

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Pineda to the DL

Pineda to the DL

by Matt S.

Yankees placed RHP Michael Pineda on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. An MRI revealed inflammation to Pineda’s right (throwing) shoulder. The injury will likely allow the Yankees to have Pineda spend some time in the minors or extended spring training. Freddy Garcia is set to open the season as the Yankees’ fifth starter.


Spring Training: 3/31/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Astros:

Eduardo Nunez, 3B
Curtis Granderson, CF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Mark Teixeira, DH
Raul Ibanez, RF
Francisco Cervelli, C
Chris Dickerson, LF
Doug Bernier, SS
Jose Gil, 1B

RHP Adam Warren

Start Time: 1:05pm
Field: Osceola County Stadium
T.V: None
Radio: KTRH (Houston Astros Radio)

Pregame Notes:

Michael Pineda & Cesar Cabral are scheduled to get MRI’s today. Pineda has soreness in his shoulder while Cesar Cabral had extreme pain in his elbow.

UPDATE: Michael Pineda is going to the DL with inflammation.

— Now that Pineda is on the DL, the Yankees rotaton is: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova & Freddy Garcia.

UPDATE: Cesar Cabral has a “significant elbow injury” and he is expected to be out for a while. Girardi wouldn’t specify what kind of elbow injury Cabral has and he wasn’t sure if Cabral would need surgery.

UPDATE ON CABRAL: Cesar Cabral had an MRI, an X-Ray and a CT Scan. Cesar Cabral fractured the tip of his elbow.

Enjoy the game everyone!

Morning Bits: Cashman, Pineda, Garcia

Good morning everyone! Today’s Yankees vs. Astros game is at 1pm today on Astros radio, so make sure that you tune in to watch! Here are the morning links!

— With the injuries of Michael Pineda & Cesar Cabral, Brian Cashman called it a “real bad day for us.”

— After Michael Pineda’s injuries, he may be losing his grip on a rotation job.

— Freddy Garcia pitched 6 2/3 innings in the minor league complex yesterday…and he’s not giving up a rotation spot without a fight.

Pineda struggles but Yankees top Phillies 13-9

Everyone knew that this start was supposed to be important for Michael Pineda. He needed to convince Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman that he should get a spot in the rotation. He needed to convince the media that his velocity wasn’t an issue. He needed to convince fans that he was capable of pitching in New York. At the end of the day, Michael Pineda only went 2.2 innings and gave up 6 runs on 7 hits.

Pineda left the game after getting hammered during the first 2 innings but the game took an interesting turn when Pineda confessed as to why he didn’t pitch well. Apparently, Pineda had soreness in his right shoulder hours before the game started. The issue? He didn’t tell the coaches or Girardi that he wasn’t feeling his best. Pineda is scheduled to get an MRI tomorrow to make sure that everything is okay.

THE GOOD: The Yankees offense woke up today. Dewayne Wise came in the game in the 7th inning and had 2 HR’s while Derek Jeter had a 2 for 3 night & Curtis Granderson had a homer off Jonathan Papelbon. Although Brett Gardner was 0 for 3 tonight, he did what Girardi wanted; get on base. Not only that, he swiped second and led Derek Jeter in a perfectly executed double steal. Clay Rapada once again looked sharp tonight and has not given up a run all Spring. Can we keep him Joe? I have a feeling he’ll do great in the bullpen.

THE BAD: Michael Pineda & Cesar Cabral both went down with injuries today. Pineda has soreness in his shoulder while Cesar Cabral has pain in his left elbow. He is going to get an MRI tomorrow morning as well, just to make sure everything is okay.

WHAT’S NEXT: Some of the Yankees will make one last trip to visit the Houston Astros. The game will not be on television but the game will be on Houston Radio so of course, expect coverage. Adam Warren is slated to start the game.

WHAT’S UP AHEAD: Joe Girardi hinted that Phil Hughes might have a spot in the Yankees rotation. Hughes was scheduled to pitch in the minor leagues which would line him up for the 4th spot in the rotation. When asked if he was in the rotation, Girardi let out a smile and said, “figure it out.” I’m taking that as a yes Joe. Nick Swisher is also slated to be in the Yankees lineup on Sunday when the team goes to Miami to play the Marlins in their new ballpark. Let’s imagine this as the New York Yankees version of Spring Break.

Spring Training: 3/30/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Phillies:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones DH
Justin Maxwell RF
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Michael Pineda

Start Time: 7:05pm
Field: GMS Field
T.V: YES Network

Pregame Notes

Nick Swisher played 5 innings today in the minor league complex and felt nothing in his groin. That is good news.

Ivan Nova is slated to pitch on Tuesday…which would line him up for the third spot in the rotation.

— Russell Branyon was released from his minor league contract, but signed a new one with the Yankees.

Have a good game everyone!

Projecting the 2012 Starting Rotation

With the “Chase for 28” continuing in 2012, the Yankees updated there pitching staff in hopes of heading above and beyond. With 7 pitchers competing for 5 spots (Sabathia, Kuroda, Pineda, Nova, Hughes, Garcia, Pettitte) it will certainly be an interesting year in the Bronx. Andy Pettitte is not slated to be ready until May which means that the Yankees rotation decision will be slightly easier until Pettitte returns. Here is how I see the 2012 rotation when the Yankees break camp next week.

1. CC Sabathia: CC Sabathia has already been named the Yankees 2012 Opening Day starter and since he is the ace, it makes sense that he goes first in the rotation. Sabathia had another fantastic season last year going 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA. Basing on observation, Sabathia has had an okay Spring but I see Spring Training as a time to get Sabathia ready for Opening Day. The Yankees would much rather see Sabathia locked in during the regular season than in Spring Training anyway.

2. Hiroki Kuroda: Hiroki Kuroda may be one of the rare cases where Spring Training would actually mean something since Kuroda is trying to fight his way to get a rotation spot. Last season with the Dodgers, Kuroda was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA. Kuroda had all the great stuff, but the Dodgers offense wasn’t potent enough to support his pitching. Now that Kuroda is in pinstripes, he should  have a better chance of a winning record due to the Yankees potent offense. Maybe the change in offense is working for Kuroda already. He already has his first 2 Spring Training career wins in a Yankees uniform.

3. Michael Pineda: Michael Pineda is one of the newest acquisitions of the Yankees in the famous Jesus Montero trade which sent the former Yankee #1 prospect to Seattle. Last season with the Mariners, Pineda was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA. The same issue with Kuroda was the same issue with Pineda; there wasn’t a potent offense to answer back to the great pitching that Pineda provided. Pineda has impressed quite a few in camp, but fans are worried about his fastball velocity. Pineda’s fastball velocity may not be there, but he has a pretty awesome changeup and that was a pitch that he learned this year before Spring Training games commenced.

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Morning Bits: Rotation, Pettitte, Girardi, Nova, Pineda

Good morning everyone today is the day most people look forward to as the weekend is now hear. A week from today is also the Yankees first regular season game against Tampa Bay.  Tonight the Yankees play the Phillies at 7PM.  The game will be televised on the Yes Network.  Pineda is on the mound tonight.  Will this be a showcase to see if he makes the team or will he be sent to AAA.   I’m sure most of you will be tuning in to watch.

Let’s get right to the links…..

* David Waldstein of the New York Times writes about how the Yankees are still uncertain about the rotation.

* Mark Feinsand of The Daily News has a piece on how Andy Pettitte is shaping up before making his spring game debut.

* Marc Craig of The Star Ledger mentions that Joe Girardi faces a host of possibilities for the pitching staff.

* ESPN New York has a nice video of Yogi and Guidry.

* Bryan Hoch of reports that Nova’s last outing helps his chances of making the rotation.

Enjoy these highlights of Pineda’s season from last year that I found on Youtube from user ItsZane.

Ibanez shows power, but Yankees fall to Orioles 4-3

For Raul Ibanez, the end of Spring Training has become a serious matter. After having an abysmal beginning to the Spring, Ibanez knew that he had to pick up the pace, or he just might lose his DH role.

Tonight Ibanez played left field while Curtis Granderson was eased back into the lineup as the DH, a move that won’t happen as much during the regular season. But in his left field Spring Training debut for the Yankees, Raul Ibanez had a good day at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a HR, his second of the Spring.

David Phelps had the start for the Yankees tonight and did well vs. the Orioles going 5 innings giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits without walking a batter. Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless 6th inning, Boone Logan pitched to 2 batters (he got them both) and D.J. Mitchell made a relief appearance tonight going 2 and a third innings all while giving up 1 run.

THE GOOD: Raul Ibanez had a good evening at the plate going 2 for 3 with 1 HR. Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez & Eduardo Nunez all had 1 hit apiece. Of course we have to mention Mariano Rivera here, who has went 28 straight innings without giving up a run (this dates all the way back to 2008).

THE BAD: Derek Jeter went 0 for 4 while Francisco Cervelli went 0 for 2. Defense was also an issue today as Alex Rodriguez had an E-5 and Derek Jeter had an E-6. Rodriguez’s error allowed a run to score.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Philadelphia Phillies will take the 20 minute ride to Tampa to face Michael Pineda & the New York Yankees. The game will start at 7:05pm on YES Network. Pineda will take on a pitcher fighting for a spot in the Phillies rotation, Michael Stutes.

Spring Training: 3/29/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Orioles:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Andruw Jones RF
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Francisco Cervelli C
David Phelps RHP

Start Time: 7:05pm
Field: GMS Field

T.V: YES Network

Pregame Notes

— Here is the order that the pitchers will pitch after Phelps: Mariano RiveraBoone LoganAdam WarrenD.J. Mitchell,Clay RapadaCesar Cabral and Mike O’Connor.

— Girardi mentioned that either David Phelps, D.J Mitchell or Adam Warren could make the team in a relief role in the pen.

Nick Swisher arrived at the minor league complex a little late today. No word on how Swisher did.

— Granderson is in the lineup. (Those who drafted Grandy Man in your fantasy league, rejoice).

— Girardi says that Andy Pettitte will throw another simulated game tomorrow. He would like to let Pettitte pitch in the final game of Spring Training vs. the Mets but again, it’s not set and stone.

Rafael Soriano pitched in a minor league game. Girardi wanted to hide Soriano from the Orioles since they are a division opponent.

— Yankees signed former Pirates 1B Steve Pearce today to a minor league contract which could give the Yankees a little wiggle room if they want to trade Jorge Vazquez.

— Just to keep tabs on the minor league, Corban Joseph has been shut down due to a shoulder injury. The team is waiting to hear news from the team doctor to see how long Joseph will be out.

Hiroki Kuroda will throw a side tomorrow.

Russell Martin isn’t playing in tonight’s game because he joined Ivan Nova to the minors to catch him. He batted in the lineup as well. No word on how he did.

— Ivan Nova’s official line just came in: 7IP, 7H, 3ER, 1BB, 5K, 1HR, 94 pitches, 63 strikes

Enjoy the game everyone!

Cashman built pitching depth by learning from past

Phelps would be starting for most teams in MLB

Brian Cashman has been GM of the Yankees since 1998 and we have seen him grow and evolve in the job over the years.  Like all GMs, he has made his share of terrible moves along with a lot of great ones.  Not many GMs stick with an organization over 14 seasons the way Cash has and I think his ability to adapt and learn from past mistakes has turned him into the solid executive he now is and enabled him to keep the position. Through trial and error, he definitely has developed the proper strategy to develop a winning pitching staff.

He has tried to import established veteran pitching through Free Agency and trades in the past only to see the majority of those moves fail and usually cost the team millions.  His 2 best pitching acquisitions were big-money FA deals for established aces Mike Mussina & CC Sabathia but even a team with the resources of the Yankees can’t afford to keep building its staff through Free Agency.  Not only are there less and less quality starters hitting the market, but the high volatility and fragility of pitchers makes the massive cost for these starters in years and money extremely risky.

Cashman has learned the best way to have good pitching is to develop it yourself.  And more importantly, due to the high volatility and injuries, he has focused on compiling as much depth as possible.  He has had his lieutenants Damon Oppenheimer (Director of Amateur Scouting) and Billy Eppler (Director of Pro Scouting & Assistant GM) on the lookout for low-cost, quality arms to stock the system creating a pipeline to supply the Bronx with fresh arms.  In interviews he’s said the club made a decision at the end of 2005 to go back to building the farm system. That led to the highly productive 2006 draft which netted 8 Major Lg pitchers and the team has been developing better ever since. Read the rest of this entry

Morning Bits: Pitching, Swisher, Closer Audition

Good morning all Yankees vs the Orioles tonight at 7:05 which will be on the Yes Network.   Enjoy the day and enjoy the game.  Now onto the links…..

* USA Today has a nice article on the Yankees take youthful, cost-conscious approach to pitching.

* Swisher has a busy day at the plate collecting four hits as he tested out his injured groin.

* Will the 2012 season be the year of the closer audition?

* Decision is near as Girardi will make his mind up soon about the rotation.

This Tweet should make some smile or cringe.!/npbtracker/statuses/184861311547617280

Kuroda looks sharp as Yankees and Braves tie at 5

By the way that Hiroki Kuroda was pitching, it almost had the atmosphere that the Yankees were playing a regular season game rather than a Spring Training game. Kuroda’s slider was perfect, he had good fastball command and looked like a true #2 starter.

Hiroki Kuroda went 7 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6. He did give up 1 HR but he was able to compose himself  and didn’t let the homer faze him. Cory Wade pitched an inning but gave up a run while George Kontos pitched the 9th and gave up 2 runs.

THE GOOD: Eric Chavez was the star offensively for the Yankees as he whacked in 3 RBI’s during the game. Eduardo Nunez had 2 hits while Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez & Robinson Cano each had 1 hit apiece.

THE BAD: Francisco Cervelli was 0 for 4 with a strikeout, Chris Dickerson was 0 for 3, Dewayne Wise was 0 for 3 and Justin Maxwell was 0 for 2.

Swisher Injury Update: Nick Swisher didn’t feel anything in his groin today while getting at bats at the minor league complex. He was 4 for 8 with a double, two walks and a homer. If he comes out good from it tomorrow then we can expect to see him in a game on Friday. Now that news is positively Swishalicious.

Granderson Injury Update: Curtis Granderson had an MRI today and the results came back negative. Girardi has listed Granderson as “day-to-day.”

Signing Update: The New York Yankees announced two signings during the game today. Yankees sign DH Jack Cust to a minor league deal and C Craig Tatum. Yankees believe that Jack Cust will be good insurance for AAA while the Yankees claimed Tatum off of waivers from the Diamondbacks for catching depth.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees head back to Tampa where they will play the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow. D.J Mitchell will get the start while Ivan Nova will pitch in a minor league game. Expect a decision about the Yankees rotation in the coming days.

Is It Hard To Manage Big-Market Teams?

I’ve always been fascinated with the managing side of Major League Baseball. Whether it was Torre of Girardi at the helm, I imagined myself in their shoes, and how difficult a job it would be. Or, would it be?

Something I’ve come to think of over the past few years, is that I don’t know if it really is a difficult job to manage a big-market team like the Yankees or Phillies. Perennial contenders and annual spenders in free agency, who restock and retool their roster to the best of their ability year after year. The manager doesn’t need to lift a finger in building the team, and when it does come together, it seems he doesn’t need to say or do much for the team to perform.

We’ve all talked about Joe Torre’s incredible-turned-ugly tenure with the Yankees, and how he went down as one of the best skippers of the 20th Century. But in reality – and I am a Torre fan – his success was because of what was given to him, not for what he did. Buck Showalter and Gene Michael had already set the Yanks up for glory before Torre even got a phone call from George Steinbrenner. The Core Four, which at the time was much larger including guys like Bernie, O’Neill, and David Cone, were already on the team. Tino Martinez would be signed to a big contract to replace Don Mattingly, and New York was already coming off a playoff appearance in 1995.

And what do you know, Torre led the Yankees to the World Series championship in ’96, ending an 18-year title drought. “Clueless Joe” was now the talk of the town, and a well-respected skipper. Add three more titles to his resume, and some, maybe most people now think of him as a sure-bet Hall of Famer.

The thing that I am really stumped about, is was it really hard for Torre to manage one of the best dynasties in sports history? Think about how great the Yankees were in the 90’s. Who really built the team? Showalter, Michael, and eventually Cashman who re-tooled for the 98, 99, and 2000 championships. Is it a stretch to say regardless of the skipper, the Yanks would have had similar success? I don’t think so.

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Spring Training: 3/28/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Braves:
Eduardo Nunez SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C
Dewayne Wise CF
Chris Dickerson LF
Justin Maxwell RF

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

Start Time: 1:05pm
Field: Champion Stadium (Disney Field)

Pregame Notes

— Joe Girardi said that he might make a final decision about the rotation in the next “three to four days”. Some of the things that Girardi has been paying attention to was Ivan Nova‘s fastball, Michael Pineda‘s changeup, Phil Hughes‘s cutter and Freddy Garcia‘s workload.

CC Sabathia will get the ball on Sunday when the Yankees travel to Miami (that includes Mariano Rivera) to play against the Marlins in their new ballpark. After CC, everyone will get one more chance to pitch before the regular season begins.

Curtis Granderson will go and get an MRI this morning  and the results should be in by the end of the game.

— Girardi believes that it’s likely that the Yankees will carry another lefty when they break camp next Thursday. The competition comes down to Cesar Cabral & Clay Rapada. To be honest, I’d like Rapada. Never seen him pitch this good before.

— The Yankees will  carry 12 pitchers when they head to Tampa to play the Rays next Friday.

— Two players from the minor league camp will join the Yankees as they head to Disney World: Tyler Austin & Cito Culver. Only difference is that Austin is scheduled to play while Culver is not.

— D.J Mitchell will start the game vs. the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow while David Phelps will pitch after him. Ivan Nova will pitch in a minor league game.

— Here are today’s available pitchers: Hiroki Kuroda, Cory Wade, Adam Warren, George Kontos, Cesar Cabral, Juan Cedeno, Cory Arbiso, Ryan Flannery and Pat Venditte.

MLB Note: The 2012 Season has already been underway for the Seattle Mariners & the Oakland Athletics in Japan. Mariners won the home opener at around 9 in the morning by the  score 3-1 in 11 innings. Tomorrow’s game is on MLB.TV and first pitch is at 6:04 am.

Enjoy the game everyone!