Today: RHP Phil Hughes (4-13, 4.91) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (7-4, 3.66). 1:05pm, YES/MLB Network
Tuesday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89) vs LHP Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99). 7:05pm, YES
Wednesday: LHP CC Sabathia (12-11, 4 .91) vs LHP Hector Santiago (4-8, 3.43). 7:05pm, YES
We updated our story from last night on MLB.com, but in case you missed it, the Yankees released the following statement this afternoon about Eduardo Nunez:
Please note that an MRI taken earlier today at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on Eduardo Nunez’s right knee was negative. Nunez is day-to-day.
Nunez was very concerned about a possible disabled list assignment when he left Rogers Centre last night.
It’s been a rough year for Nunez, who thought he’d get a chance to shine as the starting shortstop with Derek Jeter missing most of the year. But Nunez wound up falling victim to the injury bug as well and didn’t really distinguish himself much when he was in the lineup.
Also on the injury front, Robinson Cano was supposed to get treatment today at Yankee Stadium on his bruised left hand. Cano is hopeful that he will play Friday against the Orioles, but he’ll have to go through batting practice before the Yankees know for sure.
IN TWO PARAGRAPHS: Uh-oh. The Yankees shouldn’t be losing two of three games to the Blue Jays if they’re serious about making a real run at a playoff spot, but let’s focus tonight on Hiroki Kuroda, who suddenly is starting to look like he’s cooked as the innings pile up. This is three rough ones in a row, as Kuroda was pounded for seven runs (five earned) and nine hits in five innings. He has allowed 15 earned runs in his last 16 2/3 innings (8.10 ERA).
No, Chris Stewart’s two-run throwing error didn’t help, but obviously that wasn’t the only problem tonight. Edwin Encarnacion’s homer to left field was a bomb, and Kuroda left a pitch up that Brett Lawrie pounded for a two-run double. The final was 7-2, and it never really felt that close — I mean, Joba Chamberlain was warming up in the third inning with the Yanks down by seven. That’s about all you need to know.
MANAGER’S TAKE: “He’s struggling a little bit right now, but I mean, I looked up and [Felix] Hernandez in Seattle gave up I think nine runs today. These guys can’t be perfect. We need him to turn it around and I believe he will the next start.” – Joe Girardi
“As a starter, I think you take all of your 30-something starts as important as any starts. Especially after July, where you feel like you want to be better at your pitches. At the same time, I feel like you take it one game at a time. Every start is important, but to not have my stuff at this stage of the season is pretty frustrating.” – Kuroda
“It’s a big blow, especially the way Hiro’s been throwing. He hasn’t been really catching the breaks, and for me to do something like that and add on to the misery, it sucks. Hopefully it’s the last one of the year. Hopefully I can keep my head on straight, we can keep things rolling, brush off some wins, and get back to where we need to be.” -Stewart
“We’ve got to win games, that’s the bottom line. We’re playing the teams that we’re chasing for the most part. There are a couple teams, but we need to play well. We don’t have much room for error. Every game we play is important.” – Derek Jeter
This was the Blue Jays’ first series win vs. the Yankees. … New York is now 19-19 since the All-Star break. … Kuroda has allowed at least nine hits and five runs in three straight starts. … Eduardo Nunez (right knee) said that he’ll have an MRI on Thursday in New York. He’s concerned about the chances of having to go back on the disabled list. … Jeter had his first double of the year. It was career hit No. 3,311, placing him two behind Eddie Collins (3,313) for ninth place on the all-time list.
The Yankees have an off-day Thursday, and then it’s back to Yankee Stadium for a big Wild Card race showdown with the Baltimore Orioles. CC Sabathia (11-11, 4.81) gets the ball for the opener of a three-game series as the Birds will throw right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 3.77). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES and MLB Network.
Here are the early notes as the Yankees (70-62) and Blue Jays (59-74) prepare to meet here at Rogers Centre. Hiroki Kuroda and Todd Redmond are matching up for the 7:07 p.m. ET start:
There was a wheelchair waiting at Eduardo Nunez‘s locker this afternoon, as the Yankees were still giggling about his display in the eighth inning last night, crumpling to the artificial turf with a right knee injury. Nunez stayed in the game but left for a pinch-runner the next inning, and afterward, Joe Girardi was among those laughing about … shall we say … Nuney’s flair for the dramatic.
After the wheelchair was a big hit, three Yankees scampered out to the turf with athletic tape to create a body outline of where Nunez hit the field last night. This was all shaping up as a fun pregame note until Nunez was unable to get through batting practice. Scratched from the starting lineup, Nunez will be replaced at second base tonight by Mark Reynolds, who is making his first big league start at the position.
Reynolds did play the ninth inning there last night, marking his third big league inning there, and he’s standing at second base trying to get a cram session in as I write this blog post.
Robinson Cano, as expected, is not in the Yankees’ lineup. His hand is still swollen after being hit by that pitch last night. They’ll shoot for Friday against the Orioles.
Injury updates on some Yankees you might have forgotten about: Zoilo Almonte and Travis Hafner are progressing to tee-and-toss. They’re both expected to rejoin the team after rosters expand Sept. 1. Also, Michael Pineda has moved up to side sessions and David Phelps is about to start throwing again. There’s still a shot of them helping the Yanks out of the bullpen this year. Girardi didn’t have much info about Vidal Nuno and didn’t seem to feel like he was an option to help in September.
My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Alex Rodriguez, who has homered in back-to-back games. He has never faced Redmond; none of the Yankees have. Streak is at one after Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 last night.
IN TWO PARAGRAPHS: Oh, there’s plenty to talk about tonight here in Canada. The Yankees hit four home runs, two of them coming as Alfonso Soriano joined the 400-homer club, and Andy Pettitte rolled back the clock with seven innings of scoreless, five-hit ball. But the most welcome news of the night came when Robinson Cano’s X-rays showed no break near the meaty part of his left hand, confirming that the Bombers had dodged a blow that would have been devastating to their playoff hopes.
That knowledge made it easier for the Yankees to relax and enjoy a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays. Alex Rodriguez hit career homer No. 651 and Mark Reynolds also went deep, and the Yankees scratched their heads over what exactly happened to Eduardo Nunez out there in the eighth inning. The tweaked right knee looked scary, but after Nunez stayed in the game, A-Rod asked the befuddled infielder who had shot him. Derek Jeter just shook his head and said, “Nuney, are you kidding?”
MANAGER’S TAKE: “You’re extremely relieved. Obviously [Cano is] day-to-day and I don’t know what we have tomorrow. But the fact that there’s no break is a good sign. We haven’t had a lot of luck on our side when it comes to X-rays so we got some tonight.” – Joe Girardi
“I was [scared] right away. I was hurt. I was pretty concerned. Mick asked me at first base if I thought it was broken; it was close to the bone. Maybe it missed the bone by an inch. Thank God it was nothing worse.” – Cano
“When I retire, I can think about what I did in the game. I’m very proud. The talent that I’ve got, God gave it to me. I never think I’m going to hit 400 homers in the big leagues with my size, but I think I work hard, try to get better every day. That’s what I’ve got.” – Soriano
“I just feel like everything’s working for me. My cutter is working good and I have a little bit better command of the outside corner. I’m just feeling better. My sinker is sinking now when I throw it. When you throw that out there and you’re able to get some ground ball double plays, that’s huge. The biggest thing like I’ve said for several months, the pitches are doing what they’re supposed to and they’re cooperating right now. Hopefully they’ll cooperate the rest of the season.” – Pettitte
“These games are so important for us. I’m still so far away from [Willie Mays' 660]. Like I said, we need these wins like oxygen. One thing this team is going to do is leave it all out there for the next 30, 31 days, maximum effort. I like our lineup, the way we have lefty righty all the way through and we’re helping each other out.” – A-Rod
The Yankees are 13-2 this season against Toronto. The 13 wins are their most vs. the Jays in any single season. … Soriano is the seventh player to hit his 400th homer as a Yankee, joining a select group comprised by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield and A-Rod. … Soriano also became the sixth player in Major League history to reach 400 homers, 2,000 hits and 250 stolen bases, joining Mays, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds, Sheffield and A-Rod. … Derek Jeter had two hits. … Who’s playing second base tomorrow if not Nunez? Maybe Mark Reynolds. He played the ninth there, just his third big league inning at the position.
It’s the rubber game of the series as the Yankees give the ball to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 2.71) on Wednesday opposite right-hander Todd Redmond (1-2, 4.44). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES.
The Yankees have the results of Robinson Cano’s X-ray, and now they can breathe a sigh of relief. Cano’s left hand shows no fracture, and he’s considered day-to-day with a contusion (bruise).
You would imagine that Cano might sit out tomorrow’s game with an off-day coming up on Thursday, but considering what might have been, that’s very welcome news for the Yanks. We’ll have more from the clubhouse later tonight.
TORONTO — Alfonso Soriano officially joined the 400 home run club on Tuesday, connecting for the milestone blast off Blue Jays’ left-hander J.A. Happ during the Yankees’ game at Rogers Centre.
Soriano homered in his first two plate appearances of the evening to become the seventh player to hit his 400th homer as a Yankee, belting a three-run blast to left field in the first inning off Happ before following up with a solo shot in the third inning.
The homers were Soriano’s 10th and 11th since joining the Yankees from the Cubs in a July 26 trade, marking his sixth multi-homer game of the season and the 36th of his Major League career. He has 28 overall for the year.
“His numbers have been pretty good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Tuesday’s game. “What he’s done here in the month of August, I’m sure people are talking about it. There’s baseball left in this guy, and he can have a really good year.”
Soriano started his big league career with the Yankees in 1999 and hit 98 homers for New York before being traded to the Rangers in the Feb. 2004 deal that brought Alex Rodriguez to the Bronx.
He hit 64 home runs in his two seasons with Texas, then enjoyed a 46-homer campaign with the Nationals in 2006 before signing as a free agent with the Cubs, where Soriano slugged 181 of his career home runs.
Soriano can claim some select company in slugging his 400th homer in a Yankees uniform. The other six players to have done so are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield and A-Rod.
TORONTO — The Yankees have managed to stay in the postseason chase despite numerous injuries to star players this season, with one of their constants being the presence of second baseman Robinson Cano.
That is now officially in jeopardy, as Cano was hit on the left hand by a 90 mph J.A. Happ fastball in the first inning of New York’s game on Tuesday at Rogers Centre. He was diagnosed with a left hand contusion, but was sent for precautionary X-rays.
Cano doubled over in pain and smashed his helmet several times into the turf after the plunking, attended to on the field by manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue.
After a lengthy discussion, Cano stayed in the game and was on base when Alfonso Soriano crushed a three-run homer to left field on Happ’s next pitch. Cano then gathered his bats and headed for the clubhouse, where X-rays will surely be taken.
An American League All-Star this year, Cano is hitting .305 with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs in 131 games. He was replaced by Eduardo Nunez at second base for the bottom of the first inning.
It could be the Yankees’ second costly hit-by-pitch this season from the left-hander Happ, who also fractured Curtis Granderson’s right forearm with a pitch during the Yankees’ first exhibition game of Spring Training on Feb. 24.
Here are the early notes as the Yankees (69-62) and Blue Jays (59-73) prepare to meet here at Rogers Centre. Andy Pettitte and J.A. Happ are matching up for the 7:07 p.m. ET start:
I think we can all come up with a few reasons why there didn’t seem to be much celebration for Alex Rodriguez‘s 650th career home run last night. Yes, we’re in Toronto, and this place hasn’t exactly been a welcoming place for A-Rod in years past to begin with. Obviously Rodriguez’s appeal of a 211-game suspension and continued allegations of performance-enhancing drug use are also taking the luster away from his pursuit of Willie Mays.
But you know what? Considering the way A-Rod’s eventful month has gone, he really didn’t seem to mind slipping out the side door of the ballpark last night and shying away from the cameras. As he put it today, “Quiet is good.” Rodriguez said that he can’t spend time focusing on personal milestones at this moment because the Yankees “need wins like oxygen right now.” That’s a pretty good line; it’s true, and he’s also right in a lot of ways.
Certainly, the relative silence coming from A-Rod’s camp seems preferable to the nuttiness of that weekend when Joe Tacopina went on a media tour while the Yankees tried to focus on a series at Fenway Park. Since Rodriguez’s appeal looks like it’s going to stretch into November or December, keeping the attention on the field for August and September is a solid plan. We’ll have plenty of time for the rest of it.
Girardi’s scouting report on Pettitte tonight: “He’s pitched better lately, which is important down the stretch here. I mean, it’s extremely important for us. I think his sinker has been better, his changeup has been better, and those are two pitches he relies on, and he’s going to need those, there’s no doubt about it. When you lose the feel for it, it becomes more difficult, but he’s been good.”
There has been speculation about Phil Hughes being skipped or losing his spot in the Yankees’ rotation, but Joe Girardi had no decisions to speak about on that front. Girardi only issued Hughes a lukewarm endorsement after last night’s loss, but there’s really no reason to believe they would announce a move so soon. I’m guessing they’ll use Thursday’s off-day to make sure Hughes doesn’t face the Orioles this weekend.
I should’ve mentioned this last night, but Girardi went to Vernon Wells as a pinch-hitter in place of Brett Gardner because he was looking for Wells to hit a home run. Wells struck out.
The Yankees will be represented by three position players in the Arizona Fall League: Tyler Austin, Peter O’Brien and Mason Williams.
My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Derek Jeter, in a last minute switch to the Captain. My original pick was Ichiro Suzuki, who is 4-for-7 lifetime vs. Happ, but he’s not in the lineup. Jeter is 4-for-8 lifetime vs. Happ. Streak is at zero after Robinson Cano went hitless last night.
IN TWO PARAGRAPHS: How much length is left in Phil Hughes’ leash? That’s the big question tonight, and Joe Girardi only gave Hughes a lukewarm endorsement. No, Hughes wasn’t terrible, and an Ichiro Suzuki error surely dented his line a bit, but the Yankees seem to be running out of patience. Hughes allowed five runs (three earned) and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings to a Blue Jays team that is very clearly playing spoiler, and Toronto posted a 5-2 victory over New York on Monday at Rogers Centre.
Hughes’ record fell to a nightmarish 4-13 with the loss, but the Yankees have been reluctant to make a change in their rotation because they haven’t been sure there are better options in the system. David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno all could’ve been in that mix, but injuries have taken them out of the running. Maybe David Huff (3 1/3 hitless innings with five strikeouts) has vaulted into play. Just because they haven’t talked about it doesn’t mean they won’t.
MANAGER’S TAKE: “Right now [Hughes is] in our rotation. We haven’t talked about taking him out of our rotation. I think he had a walk that scored; a couple walks hurt him today. We didn’t make the play behind him and it looks a lot different if it’s three runs in five innings.” – Joe Girardi
Ichiro: “If I could’ve just gone straight home from right field, I would have. I was that embarrassed.”
Hughes: “It’s been very difficult. Every time I feel like I make some progress the last couple times out, it seems like you have these hiccups and it’s the way the whole season has gone. It’s been difficult, it’s been a struggle. I guess every time you have one of these outings I try and look at the positive. I still have the opportunity to pitch in big games where it really matters and that’s all I can do. I can’t get down on myself or negative all the time. I just have to stay confident and aggressive every time they give me the ball.”
Derek Jeter: “All the games are important, but Toronto’s got a good team. They’re not just going to lay down and let us walk all over them. They have a lot of pride over there, they have a great team. Remember, coming into this season, they were supposed to run away with the division, so they have a good team. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t figure out the knuckleball today.”
Two milestones – Alex Rodriguez hit his 650th homer and Brett Gardner picked up his 500th career hit in the loss … Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 with a walk and double play. … A-Rod has 35 homers at Rogers Centre, the most by any Blue Jays opponent. … The Blue Jays snapped a streak of 10 straight losses to the Yankees.
The Yankees give the ball to Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26) on Tuesday opposite the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10) in a matchup of lefties. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES. The Yankees have lost three of their last four games after carrying a five-game winning streak into this road trip.