Here’s a very cool video that is now live on MLB.com, as CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano discuss Jackie Robinson’s impact and enduring legacy. Today, as you probably know, is Jackie Robinson Day; on this date in 1947, Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier by taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. As Major League Baseball has done since 1997, all players on the field today will wear No. 42 in Robinson’s honor.
There may be no big league baseball in New York on this day, as neither the Yankees or Mets are in action within the city limits, but the Yankees will pay tribute by having all of their players wear No. 42 tomorrow. Joe Girardi said yesterday that the teams don’t necessarily need to be on the field to honor Robinson’s impact.
“I think you can honor Jackie Robinson without playing baseball in New York,” Girardi said. “I’ve talked about taking my kids to see the movie. I mean, that’s honoring Jackie Robinson, because I want them to know what this man went through and what his legacy is, and how important he has been to our country. I think there’s a lot of ways that you can honor someone without necessarily playing a game.”
Judging by the weekend box office numbers, Girardi wasn’t alone in planning to see ’42.’ Having seen it recently, I can highly recommend that idea. It’s an excellent film and any baseball fan would enjoy it.
The Yankees are 3-0 this season in series finales, a record they’ll try to improve tonight as the Yanks and Orioles wrap up their three-game weekend set here at Yankee Stadium.
Robinson Cano is back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup as the Yanks face left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, with Vernon Wells bumped up to the No. 2 spot. Ben Francisco is also taking over for Travis Hafner in the DH spot, stepping into his role as the DH against lefties, but Girardi said he had to keep Lyle Overbay at first base in the lineup because Eduardo Nunez isn’t ready to return from his wrist injury.
If Nunez was in the lineup, Girardi said he would’ve shifted Kevin Youkilis to first base and played Jayson Nix at third base. Hiroki Kuroda is on the hill for the Yanks in tonight’s 8:05 p.m. game, televised on ESPN.
Curtis Granderson is in New York for a checkup on his right wrist and shagged fly balls today at Yankee Stadium, and he’s also taking part in a charity event at a Brooklyn high school tomorrow morning.
We’ll have those updates on Yankees.com shortly, but I wanted to pass along Granderson’s scouting report on Derek Jeter’s progress since updates have become a bit scarce — even Joe Girardi has stopped asking for Jeter’s daily progress report, saying, “I’m not going to actively seek it out every day. It’s kind of a pain in the rear end.”
That seems to suggest that Jeter isn’t close to getting into any games, and Girardi said he didn’t know what Jeter did today. But Granderson offered a more encouraging take on how the captain has looked down at the club’s Minor League complex in Tampa:
“He’s looking good. Our schedules don’t always mix, but the one day which was a physically difficult day for us, he was taking batting practice that day and the ball was going all over the place. He was driving it well to left field, to right field, to center field, and I got a lot of work that day out there shagging when him and his group were hitting. That’s a good sign. In terms of all his throwing and running and all that good stuff, I don’t see that all the time, but I did see his hitting that day and it all looked really good.”
The triple play that the Yankees turned last night was, depending on who you talked to, a thing of beauty, an incredible rarity or a display of poor baserunning by the Orioles.
Actually, maybe it was all three. You just don’t see the old 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 very often — this was the first one in Major League history. It was the Yankees’ first triple play at home 1968, when they turned one at the old Yankee Stadium against the Twins (Dooley Womack to Bobby Cox to Mickey Mantle, hit by Johnny Roseboro). The Yankees also turned one back in 2010 at Oakland (Alex Rodriguez to Robinson Cano to Nick Johnson on a grounder hit by Kurt Suzuki).
Even Joe Girardi’s kids appreciated the rarity of last night’s events, the Yankees manager said.
“I haven’t looked at it on replay. I saw it live so I do remember what happened,” Girardi said. “It’s interesting. My kids commented on it. My son [Dante] said it was awesome when I got home and then my daughter [Lena] said something, my six year old: ‘The triple out was really cool, Dad.’ So, I thought that was kind of neat. They knew that it was a rare occurrence and you’re not going to see it every day.”
Phil Hughes and Jason Hammel are today’s starting pitchers for the 4:05 p.m. ET game between New York and Baltimore, the second game of a six-game homestand.
The Yankees and Indians were rained out for the second consecutive day on Thursday at Progressive Field, prompting Joe Girardi to question how teams’ schedules are set for the early part of the season.
Girardi’s Yankees won the first two games of the series against the Indians before inclement weather forced the postponements of contests on Wednesday and Thursday. No makeup dates have been announced, and this is the Yankees’ only scheduled trip to Cleveland this season.
“I don’t think you can come to cold weather cities [in April] if you’re only going to go there once,” Girardi said. “I think you’ve got to stay within your division first.”
Thursday’s game was scheduled as a 7:05 p.m. ET game and officially announced as postponed at approximately 9 p.m.
“I know teams want night games and I understand that,” Girardi said. “But if you would’ve had a day game today, it gives you a longer window to play the game.”
Girardi said that he expects the two games to be made up as a day-night doubleheader on May 13, a mutual off-day for New York and Cleveland, but that has not been finalized or officially announced.
“I don’t think there’s anything else you can do,” Girardi said.
Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes said he never warmed up on Thursday and will now be assigned to the bullpen for a few days. CC Sabathia will start as scheduled against the Orioles on Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Ivan Nova had been scheduled to start on Wednesday against the Indians and is also will be in the bullpen behind Sabathia on Friday, when more inclement weather is in the forecast.
“We’ll just keep everyone on target as much as we can, as many guys as we can,” Girardi said. “The other two guys, I know it’s tough, but it’s what we’re going to do.”
Hughes said he that will be in the bullpen on Friday and Saturday, and is lining up to pitch next Tuesday against the D-backs in New York. He had no issues with how Thursday’s game was handled.
“We’ve gone through rain delays before,” Hughes said. “You just have to sit it out and wait. Everybody was looking at the radar and it didn’t look good. We were just kind of holding tight and hoping we would get a window in, but obviously that didn’t happen.”
Based upon the weather information the Yankees were getting last night, Joe Girardi seemed to think there was no way that there would be baseball tonight at Progressive Field.
Guess what? The skies seem to be clearing over Cleveland, so Phil Hughes and Zach McAllister may get to pitch tonight as the Yanks and Indians wrap up a four-game series that was shaved to three games by last night’s rainout.
It’s raining, but the Indians say the game is scheduled to start at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET.
Hughes is feeling better after battling a stomach virus yesterday and should be able to get on the mound; if not, Ivan Nova is on call out of the bullpen.
The forecast still isn’t wonderful, but it’s improving, and we’ll keep you posted if they’re able to get on the field. Girardi said that his feeling is “once the rain starts, it’s probably not going to stop,” so we’ll see what happens.
- A few notes to pass along — Curtis Granderson posted a photo to his Facebook page showing that the brace has been removed from his right wrist and that he has been cleared for non-baseball activities. Girardi said that Granderson resumed throwing on Thursday. … Mark Teixeira will have his right wrist looked at by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser on Friday in New York and believes he’ll be cleared to start swinging a fungo bat. … Derek Jeter had the day off down at the Yanks’ training complex.
The Yankees decided to keep their rotation on track after Wednesday’s contest against the Indians was rained out, naming Phil Hughes as their scheduled starter for Thursday and skipping Ivan Nova.
New York and Cleveland are planning to play their originally scheduled 7:05 p.m. ET contest on Thursday. No makeup date for Wednesday’s postponed game was immediately announced, but manager Joe Girardi suggested that May 13 – an off-day for the Yanks following their road trip to Colorado and Kansas City – could mark a possible return to Progressive Field.
Hughes has been fighting a stomach virus, but his health is improving enough that the Yankees are comfortable planning on giving him the ball for Thursday’s game.
“He feels better,” Girardi said. “If he doesn’t feel good enough to make his start, it will be Nova.”
Girardi said that the plan is to have Nova, who was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, available to pitch out of the bullpen for a few days and then slot him in to rejoin the rotation next week.
“I know that CC [Sabathia] and company have to pitch every five days,” Nova said. “I understand that part and I’ve just got to be ready when they tell me to go out there.
“I feel really good when my day to pitch is coming. All I want to do is go out there and pitch. Now I’ve got to wait five more days. It’s going to be like, for me, a month.”
The Indians are planning to start Zach McAllister as originally scheduled in Thursday’s game.
Girardi said that he did not want to push his rotation back because Monday’s off-day would create a scenario where Andy Pettitte would receive seven days of rest. Girardi acknowledged that Thursday’s forecast for the Cleveland area is also ugly.
“We’re going to probably get banged tomorrow too,” Girardi said. “Hopefully we don’t.”
Robinson Cano connected for his third home run in the last two games and Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was ejected after drilling Kevin Youkilis in the back as the Yankees opened up an early seven-run lead on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona didn’t appreciate the ejection and made that clear to home plate umpire Jordan Baker, but there’s not much they can do about it now. The way Carrasco was pitching, he wasn’t long for this one anyway.
Ichiro Suzuki also has a home run and Brett Gardner picked up a two-run single for the Yankees, who are leaning on Andy Pettitte to hold the big advantage and deliver New York’s third consecutive victory. There’s a much smaller crowd on hand here in Cleveland after yesterday’s Opening Day festivities, and the way things are going, the tally of those in attendance will probably thin a little bit more as we head into the late innings.
There might be a few double-takes here at Progressive Field this afternoon, as we all get a look at some very familiar names in strange new uniforms. By now, we’re used to seeing Travis Hafner in his new Yankees colors, but that probably isn’t the case for the sellout crowd expected on hand here for the Indians’ home opener.
By contrast, it’s still a little odd to see Nick Swisher yukking it up taking ground balls at first base in Cleveland red and blue, and also strange to see Terry Francona perched atop the back of the Indians’ batting cage. Jason Giambi in an Indians warmup doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, either, but we’ll all get through this together.
Swisher met with the media this morning here in Cleveland and was his usual self, wearing a t-shirt that said “Awesome Amazingness” — surprise, surprise, Swisher boasted that he had designed it himself. While he said that he has moved on and is happy to be with the Indians (he signed a four-year, $56 million deal in December), Swisher acknowledged with a little prodding that it “hurt” not to receive an offer from the Yankees after last season.
“That team was amazing. The city was amazing,” Swisher said. “You guys [media] were amazing to me. My teammates were so great to me, and when you are in a place for four years, that’s a long time in baseball. You develop some relationships. Sometimes when you leave, that’s not exactly what you want to do sometimes. But the way that Cleveland has come in and approached the situation and treated me like a king over here, I just could not be more honored to be putting the uniform on for them every single day.”
Hafner received a standing ovation during his last at-bat for the Indians in 2012 and said that he was not sure it would be his last with Cleveland. The Indians did show some late interest in bringing him back, but by then Hafner had already made up his mind that he was going to head to the Yankees and try to assault the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium.
“Not every roster can have a full-time DH,” Hafner said. “There was some interest on both sides but I wasn’t exactly sure how it would play out, if there would be space or whatever. The opportunity with the Yankees came up, I talked to a lot of people and it seemed like a great fit for me with the ballpark and the franchise and having a chance to play with Hall of Famers and really good leaders. It’s something I was looking forward to.”
There will be a cool pregame ceremony here in which several Indians will receive ceremonial first pitches from their fathers. Taking part will be: Terry and Tito Francona, Sandy Alomar Jr. & Sr., Nick and Steve Swisher, Michael and Mickey Brantley and Zach and Steve McAllister.
First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. ET Lineups for both teams and expanded game information is available via MLB GameDay.
There is always a lot of attention on pitch velocities, especially when they correspond with any hint of trouble, but Joe Girardi said that he won’t be glued to the radar gun readings when CC Sabathia takes on the Tigers this afternoon.
“This is typical for CC,” Girardi said. “In the seasons that we’ve had, his velocity in April is not the same as it is in June, July, August. That’s been his DNA. I can’t tell you how high it’s going to go, but I know it’s going to go up. I believe it’s going to go up, just like it did last year.
“There were a lot of pitches he threw 89, 90 mph early in the season. But I think, because of what he went through last year, I think people are paying closer attention to it. But this is not abnormal for CC.”
Sabathia has said numerous times that he does not get caught up in marquee pitching matchups – a lesson he learned the hard way in his young Indians days, when he tried to match Pedro Martinez pitch-for-pitch and wound up heading to the showers early – but this promises to be a good one with Sabathia and Justin Verlander locking up. Girardi said his hitters don’t need any reminders about the mission here today.
“They know what they have to do,” Girardi said. “The thing about Justin is, he has four swing-and-miss pitches. You have to be patient on him. You have to hope he’s having a hard time commanding a few early in the game, because once he gets on a roll, he’s pretty tough.”
There was a nice pregame ceremony to honor Mariano Rivera. Tigers manager Jim Leyland shook hands with Rivera behind home plate and unveiled the team’s gift to the retiring 43-year-old, a photo display of Rivera pitching at both Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park. The display also included glass bottles containing dirt from the pitcher’s mound at both ballparks. Rivera doffed his cap to the cheering crowd and raised both hands in appreciation, offering Leyland a hug.
The Yankees and Tigers are underway. Lineups for both teams and expanded game information is available via MLB GameDay.