Quick updates to share:
The Yankees have made a roster move tonight at Tropicana Field, activating right-hander Ivan Nova from the disabled list and optioning right-hander Dellin Betances to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Nova will work out of the bullpen. Joe Girardi said there was some thought to having Nova replace Vidal Nuno as tomorrow’s starter, but the Yankees liked what Nuno showed during his start in Cleveland earlier in the month and want to stick with him.
Mark Teixeira said he will play in an Extended Spring game tomorrow – Kevin Youkilis will as well. Teixeira expects to join Double-A Trenton for rehab games on Wednesday and Thursday, and hopes to be activated after that.
Andy Pettitte played catch and will throw a bullpen tomorrow. He feels fine and hopes he’ll just need one simulated game to be ready for activation. Joba Chamberlain will throw 30 pitches in Extended Spring tomorrow and could be activated after that.
Also, Chris Stewart is back in the Yankees lineup tonight. Not much to report on Derek Jeter; he’s in New York rehabbing, according to Girardi.
Chris Stewart was just running the bases here at Tropicana Field, testing that left groin strain that has kept him out of the Yankees’ lineup since May 16 against the Mariners.
It was pretty basic stuff – Stewart ran a few times from home plate to first base, and once from first to third.
More telling: He did so in front of an audience that included Joe Girardi, Rob Thomson, Steve Donohue and Tony Pena, so you know the Yankees are taking this seriously. They’ve been essentially going with one catcher, Austin Romine, for longer than you’d like to.
Stewart’s goal was to be back in the Yankees’ lineup here against the Rays, and you’re not exactly putting him in the lineup for his wheels. As long as he doesn’t tighten up or feel a twinge – he looked fine leaving the field – one would think he could return to action tonight.
Good morning from sunny St. Petersburg, where the Yankees and Rays will open a three-game series tonight under the roof at Tropicana Field.
The Yankees are coming off a series loss in Baltimore where they played two extra-inning games, winning the first game of the series before dropping the last two. The Rays, who have found their bullpen to be a confusing weakness thus far in the season, meet the Yanks after losing two of three to the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Here are the pitching probables for the series at Tampa Bay:
Fri., 5/24 at Tampa Bay
RHP David Phelps (2-2, 3.83) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 5.24)
7:10 p.m. MY9 / MLB Net.
Sat., 5/25 at Tampa Bay
LHP Vidal Nuno (1-1, 1.13) vs. LHP Matt Moore (8-0, 2.29)
4:10 p.m. YES / MLB Net.
Sun., 5/26 at Tampa Bay
LHP CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.43) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (5-2, 2.73)
1:40 p.m. YES / TBS
News, notes and quotes — in case you missed it:
LYLE HITS IT A MILE: We checked in with Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay for the off-day. Overbay has done everything the Yanks could have asked and more, but now that Mark Teixeira is moving closer to rejoining the big league squad, he is hoping there is a way for him to co-exist on the roster with Teixeira.
One note I didn’t squeeze into the story – Overbay is renting a place in the New York suburbs for his wife and four children, and obviously buying isn’t an option. They’ve carved out a comfortable life as long as this lasts – “The kids need a yard to run around and be kids,” he said – but obviously there are no guarantees it’ll run through the entire season.
With Travis Hafner on the roster as solely a designated hitter, it makes it difficult to commit to carrying two first basemen in Teixeira and Overbay. Overbay has seven homers, 25 RBIs and a .753 OPS this season in 160 plate appearances – through nearly the same number of plate appearances last year, Teixeira had five homers, 20 RBIs and a .665 OPS.
Teixeira, by the way, could begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week – possibly Tuesday for Double-A Trenton.
PROGRESS FOR PINEDA: Michael Pineda threw five innings in an Extended Spring Training game on Thursday, coincidentally just as the Mariners were optioning Jesus Montero to Triple-A. Pineda is on track to make his Yankees debut this summer and has reportedly been clocked around 95 mph, which is a very good sign coming off labrum surgery.
You know, it was easy to crush the Yankees and deem the trade a failure when Pineda missed all of 2012, but there’s a reason baseball people say you need a minimum of three years to begin evaluating the returns on a deal. I’ll admit that I was skeptical considering the nature of Pineda’s injury, but it’s possible the Yanks might ‘win’ this deal in the end after all.
A healthy (and cost-effective!) Pineda would go a long way toward answering some questions in the Yankees’ future, especially with Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda a question mark to pitch beyond this year and Phil Hughes heading for possible free agency.
KURODA SORE, BUT SHOULD BE READY: We’ve mentioned this in a few places but continue to get questions about it, so… after taking a Manny Machado liner off his right calf on Wednesday night, Kuroda is expected to make his next start. Joe Girardi said he’d be “shocked” if Kuroda wasn’t able to take that turn in the rotation. That could come Tuesday against the Mets at Citi Field.
CAPTAIN JAVA: Anthony DiComo, MLB.com’s Mets reporter, passed this story on to me and it’s good for a chuckle. Apparently the New York Post’s photographers caught Derek Jeter exiting a Greenwich Village Starbucks carrying a cup with ‘Philip’ scribbled on the side.
So what? An alias for the captain? Perhaps, though it’s possible Jeter just has another addition to the long list of erroneous Starbucks names. (Mine are usually something subtle like “Brian,” “Ryan” or “Brayan,” but I’ve seen Connie get turned into “Pawnee.” True story.)
Phil Hughes seems to think it might have been for him. Here’s what he tweeted this morning:
I could go for a venti iced myself. We’ll have more non-coffee updates for you tonight from the Trop.
BALTIMORE — Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda left Wednesday’s start against the Orioles in the third inning with a bruised right calf, the team announced.
Kuroda had been struck on the calf by a Manny Machado line drive in the second inning and received attention on the field by head athletic trainer Steve Donohue and manager Joe Girardi.
After tossing several warmup pitches, Kuroda remained in the game and retired the next batter to end the inning, but his command appeared to be off when he returned in the third.
Adam Jones opened the third with a double to right field and Chris Davis followed with a single, which sent Donohue and Girardi back to the mound. After a brief meeting, Kuroda was removed, having thrown 55 pitches (35 for strikes).
Kuroda entered Wednesday’s start with a 6-2 record and 1.99 ERA but was charged with five runs on eight hits in two-plus innings after Preston Claiborne surrendered a three-run homer to Matt Wieters immediately after replacing Kuroda.
Phil Hughes said that he had a few sleepless nights after the worst start of his professional career, a nightmarish outing last time out against the Mariners in which he surrendered seven runs and was not able to escape the first inning.
“You lay in bed and you think about things; what could have gone differently for you and what you could have done better,” Hughes said. “It’s tough. It’s tough any way you slice it. I’m looking forward to taking the ball [tonight] and hopefully getting back on a good streak.”
Hughes said that he found in his bullpen that he was on the side of the ball a little bit, which was causing his fastball to run back over the middle of the plate. Hughes tends to pitch up in the zone anyway – he’s a fly ball pitcher and that lends itself to home runs at times – so he really must hit the corners to be effective.
“It’s all fastball command, really,” Hughes said. “The days that I’ve had good command of my fastball, I’ve been able to work everything off that. Those have been the good ones. The bad ones, I’m falling behind and trying to figure something out.
“When the fastball is there and I’m locating it, I have a good chance to be good that day. If not, I think I need to do a better job of recognizing that earlier and throwing more off-speed pitches to try to counter-balance that.”
Miguel Gonzalez has the starting nod for the Orioles, and the action gets underway tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Vernon Wells has enjoyed some success in his career against Orioles starter Freddy Garcia, going 7-for-16 (.438) with a homer and three RBIs, but manager Joe Girardi said he was willing to table those numbers because he believes Wells could use back-to-back days off after last night’s rainout.
“It just allows me to get Vernon a couple days off,” Girardi said. “I’m going to have to do some rotating a little bit with these guys. Anytime you can get an older guy two days off in a sense, it’s helpful. He played every day in that last long stretch that we had. He’s played a lot over the last 30 days. I figured it might just help him.”
Girardi has no concerns about CC Sabathia being ready tonight after being pushed back a day by rain.
“If you get two or three extra days, you worry a little bit,” he said. “He’s had extra days before. Hopefully it makes him a little bit stronger. These guys have been going at it pretty hard and we’re going to have another long stretch after this. It’s not such a bad thing.”
Speaking of time off, Girardi wonders if sitting out for most of 2012 might have made Mariano Rivera more effective.
“The big difference is he’s had a lot of save opportunities,” Girardi said. “He’s on pace to be in 70 games which is not totally unusual for a reliever. You can say, and I’m a big believer, an arm only has so many bullets in it. Sometimes a year off is not the worst thing in the world.”
Injury updates from Tampa: Mark Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a double and walk in a simulated game … Kevin Youkilis is taking batting practice and ground balls and could be activated when the Yankees return to New York … Alex Rodriguez is taking ground balls but is still being talked about as returning after the All-Star break … Eduardo Nunez is taking dry swings and ground balls … Ivan Nova threw 3 2/3 innings in a simulated game. … Derek Jeter is out of his walking boot but isn’t doing much else.
Here in Baltimore, Chris Stewart hit off a tee and felt OK, but Girardi doesn’t think he’s ready to get in a game yet. He’s just an emergency catcher tonight behind Austin Romine, who is making his third straight start.
Mark Teixeira was in New York for one day last week, helping to escort Prince Harry around town before returning to continue working out in Tampa, Fla. But while he was in the city, Teixeira said that he is still optimistic that he’ll be playing big league games for the Yankees before the month of May is over.
Teixeira announced on Monday via Twitter that he has stepped into a batter’s box against live pitching – it sounds like it happened in Extended Spring Training, and Joe Girardi will hopefully be able to provide the details later today. In any event, it seems to be another step in the right direction.
Greetings from the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, where the Yankees and Orioles will open a three-game series tonight at Camden Yards. The weather is getting a little bit warmer and there’s a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast, which I must say syncs perfectly with most of the experiences I’ve had here in Charm City over the years.
After being washed out yesterday against the Mariners in the Bronx, CC Sabathia will go through the paces of his routine once more and prepare to face the Orioles’ lineup. He’ll be opposed by a familiar face in veteran Freddy Garcia, and the Yankees should have no trouble absorbing the scouting report on Garcia, knowing full well that he’ll throw the kitchen sink of junk at them tonight in hopes of putting Baltimore in position to win.
Here are the pitching probables for the series against the Orioles:
Monday, May 20, 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards
CC Sabathia, LHP (4-3, 3.19 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia, RHP (0-2, 5.51)
Tuesday, May 21, 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Phil Hughes, RHP (2-3, 5.88 ERA) vs. Miguel Gonzalez, RHP (2-2, 4.58 ERA)
Wednesday, May 22, 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Hiroki Kuroda, RHP (6-2, 1.99 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel, RHP (5-2, 5.72 ERA)
Fan favorite and current YES Network broadcaster David Cone will be “pitching” in to help a good cause on Sat., May 18, when he slides behind the bar at Foley’s NY Restaurant and Pub for “A Perfect Evening With David Cone.”
Cone will be pouring beverages and signing autographs to benefit the YAI Network (www.yai.org - an inaugural Yankees HOPE Week honoree) and their Manhattan Day Hab facility from 7-9 p.m. ET. There is no cover charge.
All money raised from autograph, auction and raffle sales, plus half of the proceeds from the bar, will be donated to YAI’s efforts in “seeing beyond disability”: to ensure that men, women and children with developmental and learning disabilities have access to the support and services that they need to live productive, independent, and healthy lives.
Foley’s NY is located at 18 West 33rd Street in New York, opposite the Empire State Building.
Autographs will be available for a charitable donation of $20 each. There will also be a limited number of 8×10 photographs available for sale at a price of $5, representing Cone’s July 18, 1999 Yankees perfect game as well as his years across town with the Mets.
NEED MORE REASONS TO STOP BY?
In addition to Cone’s appearance, there is a terrific raffle and several exciting surprises on deck for the event. Raffle tickets will be sold for $10 each (with a special deal of three for $20), and we can now reveal some of the great prizes that people will be bringing home from Foley’s NY on Saturday night:
- Autographed Joe Girardi Major League Baseball (donated by the New York Yankees)
- Autographed Matt Harvey Major League Baseball (donated by the New York Mets)
- “The Ultimate Bleacher Creature Experience” – two tickets to a Yankees home game, two t-shirts and the chance to lead ‘Roll Call’ (donated by “Bald Vinny” Milano and the Bleacher Creatures)
- Two tickets for a Hornblower Manhattan cruise (donated by Hornblower Cruises & Events)
- Two tickets to a New York Mets home game (donated by MLB.com)
- Michael Kay “CenterStage” Package: Four tickets to an episode taping, officially licensed show mugs and a Michael Kay autograph (donated by the YES Network)
- One-year subscription to Yankees Magazine and a 2013 Yankees yearbook (donated by Yankees Publications)
- Waterford Crystal New York Yankees cap
- “It Ain’t Over” Gift Package - Includes family membership to the Yogi Berra Museum, free admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Brian Doyle and Don Mattingly autographed baseballs and more!
(donated by the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center)
Plus, two lucky patrons will have the opportunity to bring home these great big-ticket items:
- Legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera autographed Louisville Slugger bat (How rare is this? Usually he’s seen breaking these)
- Four tickets to a New York Mets home game, including passes to watch batting practice on the field (generously donated by the New York Mets)
We’ll be able to reveal more great items later in the week, and I want to thank Shaun Clancy at Foley’s NY and all of the wonderful people who have helped make this event a reality over the last several months.
It has been a pleasure and an honor to assist in bringing Cone and the YAI group together with Foley’s for this great event, and I’m looking forward to having some fun for a great cause. I hope we’ll see you there on Saturday night!
NEW YORK – Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte was forced to leave his start against the Mariners on Thursday after 79 pitches with an apparent undisclosed injury.
Pettitte appeared to stiffen and wince after throwing his final pitch, a swinging strikeout of Kyle Seager for the second out of the fifth inning.
UPDATE: Pettitte has a tight left trapezius muscle in his upper back, according to the Yankees.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi dashed to the mound and held a fairly lengthy conversation with Pettitte, who shielded his mouth with his glove. Pettitte jogged off the field and was relieved by Shawn Kelley.
Pettitte allowed two runs and four hits in his outing against Seattle, with three walks and five strikeouts. He entered play on Thursday with a 4-2 record and 3.83 ERA in seven starts.