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Pineda, Yankees try for the sweep

Michael PinedaHaving clinched their first series victory of the season in last night’s 9-0 blowout, the Yankees will try for the sweep this afternoon as they send right-hander Michael Pineda (1-0, 5.11) to the mound against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay will counter with right-hander Matt Andriese (0-0, 3.86). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on WPIX.

“Within our division, I think it’s really important, and to try to get on a roll here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We have a lot of games in the next 30 days. That’s important as well. To get back to .500 would be good.”

Here are some of the quick hits from a rather quiet Yankees clubhouse:

  • Girardi’s take on Pineda: “We all feel good when Michael is on the mound. He works quickly, he gets quick outs, he has pitched extremely well. He’s got outstanding stuff and hopefully he gets deep into the game today.”
  • Carlos Beltran “feels weak,” Girardi said, as he continues to deal with a bad cold. The Yanks hope to have him back tomorrow in Detroit. He may be able to pinch-hit today.
  • There has been no decision on whether Tanaka will start Thursday in Detroit or Friday against the Mets. Part of the equation is seeing how the weather holds up tomorrow in Detroit, where rain is expected. That would set up a split doubleheader later in the week, since this is the Yanks’ only trip to the Motor City.
  • Girardi’s reaction to Grant Balfour being designated for assignment by Tampa Bay: “He’s been a good pitcher for a long time. I know he had a rough outing and I know he’s went through kind of a difficult spring with his father, but it’s the nature of the game. It’s hard. When you’re going through tough times, it’s difficult.”
  • Since joining the Yankees last Sept. 2, 17 of Chris Young’s 28 hits have gone for extra bases, including last night’s grand slam.
  • Alex Rodriguez might have sat today if Beltran was healthy, but Girardi said that “his at-bats are good, so there’s nothing that tells me he’s physically tired. If I see something, I’ll make an adjustment.”

On this date in 1960: Roger Maris made his Yankees debut on Opening Day at Fenway Park. He set the tone for what would become the first of two consecutive AL MVP seasons, going 4-for-5 with two homers, a double and four RBIs in an 8-4 Yankees win.

Here are the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Alex Rodriguez dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew 2b
Garrett Jones rf
John Ryan Murphy c
Didi Gregorius ss

Michael Pineda rhp

RAYS (6-6)
David DeJesus dh
Steven Souza Jr. rf
Asdrubal Cabrera ss
Evan Longoria 3b
Desmond Jennings cf
Allan Dykstra 1b
Brandon Guyer lf
Tim Beckham 2b
Rene Rivera c

Matt Andriese rhp

A-Rod carrying the Yankees’ lineup

Yankees Rays BaseballComing off last night’s two-homer, four-RBI performance, Alex Rodriguez has been promoted to the No. 3 spot in the Yankees lineup as they play the middle game of a three-game set tonight at Tropicana Field.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 7.00 ERA) is on the mound for New York, with right-hander Jake Odorizzi (2-0, 0.61 ERA) getting the call for Tampa Bay. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and can be heard on WFAN.

Here are the quick hits you need to know:

  • Here’s a great stat that showcases just how good A-Rod’s first 10 games have been: He is batting .344 (11-for-32 AB) with four homers and 11 RBIs. The rest of the Yankees are hitting a combined .209 (67-for-320).
  • Rodriguez’s response: “Let’s see if you can do this for six months. Anyone can do it for 10 games. Let’s just see what happens.”
  • Brett Gardner (right wrist) returns to the lineup to make his first start since Monday. Joe Girardi said that he’ll watch Gardner closely on check-swings and swings and misses, but Gardner would have batted last night if his spot had come up. 
  • Carlos Beltran is out of the lineup with chest congestion, and Joe Girardi isn’t sure if Beltran will be available Sunday either. Apparently there has been a bad cold going around the clubhouse; first-base coach Tony Pena has gotten hit worse than anyone. I’m buying some Emergen-C on my way back to the hotel tonight.
  • Reverse split alert: Because Odorizzi is a rare right-hander who is tougher on left-handed hitters, Didi Gregorius is getting the night off. Gregorio Petit is making the start at second base, with Stephen Drew handling the duties at shortstop. Chris Young takes over in right field.
  • Brian McCann is batting .500 (5-for-10) with two homers lifetime vs. Odorizzi.
  • Chris Capuano was in the clubhouse this afternoon and will throw a 45-pitch bullpen session tomorrow. His target date is probably late May, with Ivan Nova right behind him. Girardi confirmed that the Yankees plan to stretch Capuano and Nova out as starters.
  • The Yankees came into today tied with the Orioles for the most homers in the Majors this season, with 16.
  • A-Rod thought it was hilarious that people on social media keep talking about the white gunk on top of his helmet. It’s just rosin, he says.
  • We hardly knew you, Matt Tracy. He was claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins this afternoon. In addition, Joel De La Cruz was outrighted off the Major League roster and onto the roster of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Here are the lineups… first pitch at 7:10 p.m. ET:

Masahiro TanakaYANKEES (4-6)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Alex Rodriguez dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Chris Young rf
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Masahiro Tanaka rhp

RAYS (6-5)
David DeJesus dh
Stephen Souza Jr. rf
Asdrubal Cabrera ss
Evan Longoria 3b
Desmond Jennings cf
Allan Dykstra 1b
Logan Forsythe 2b
Brandon Guyer lf
Rene Rivera c

Jake Odorizzi rhp

Warren kicks off Yankees’ series at the Trop

Adam WarrenThe Yankees continue their grand tour of the American League East this evening as Adam Warren gets the ball for the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Nate Karns draws the start for Tampa Bay. The Rays took the season series against the Yankees in 2014, winning eleven of the 19 meetings.

Here are the quick hits from the Yankees clubhouse:

  • Brett Gardner (bruised right wrist) took batting practice this afternoon and said that he is hopeful of getting back on the field, possibly tomorrow. Joe Girardi said that Gardner should be available to pinch-run or play defense, and the Yanks are encouraged that he’ll be back soon.
  • Andrew Miller is 2-for-2 in save opportunities, but Girardi again refused to name him as the closer. “We’ll let it play out a little bit and see how this works out. Obviously in this situation, you would think about against Tampa – because they have so many right-handed hitters in the lineup – that you’d use Dellin (Betances) more for four or five outs more than you would Miller.”
  • Girardi said the Yanks are considering using a sixth starter at some point as they kick off this stretch of 30 games in 31 days. The upcoming series at Detroit would be their earliest possible opportunity. Girardi mentioned Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley as likely candidates. They could also use Esmil Rogers.
  • Masahiro Tanaka, who makes his third start of the season tomorrow, said that “arm strength is something you build throughout the season, so that’s what I’m trying to do right now.” He rejected the suggestion that he should have thrown more in Spring Training, and Girardi said the Yankees brought Tanaka along slowly because they wanted to be cautious and try to get 30 to 32 starts out of him.
  • More on Tanaka from Girardi: “His average velocity is down less than a mile than it was last year. As far as throwing him more in Spring Training, look, we were going to make sure that he was ready to go. I think that because it’s a long year and we want him to make 32 starts. We didn’t necessarily want him to make six starts and be more ready his first start and that’s all we’ve got.”
  • Ivan Nova threw 20 pitches of live BP today in Tampa, his second time doing that. Girardi said that Nova will next throw a simulated game and his first game action has been tentatively outlined for May 1.
  • Brendan Ryan did not accompany the team to Tampa. He’s expected to get down here next week.
  • Jose Pirela batted against Chris Capuano this week and is expected to get into Extended Spring Training games on Monday.

Here are the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Chris Young LF
Didi Gregorius SS

Adam Warren RHP (0-1, 1.69)

RAYS (6-4)
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Evan Longoria DH
Desmond Jennings LF
Allan Dykstra 1B
Logan Forsythe 3B
Tim Beckham 2B
Bobby Wilson C

Nathan Karns RHP (1-1, 4.97)

Video: The Zen of Yogi

Another winner from the Yankees On Demand crew, who are doing some great work this season. Joe Girardi’s class is in session…

Game 5: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Pirates Yankees BaseballDerek Jeter’s go-to coffee order, whether he was on his way to Yankee Stadium or wandering around Manhattan, was always a venti ‘Red Eye’ from Starbucks. I bring this up not to shill for free java — though, I mean, if you absolutely insist? — but because the coffee consumption here at the ballpark has skyrocketed following last night’s 19-inning epic with the Red Sox.

That one went into the books as the longest home game in Yankees history at six hours and 49 minutes (not including a 16-minute ‘light delay’ in the 12th inning), and the second-longest game in Yankees history. The only one longer was a seven-hour contest on June 24, 1962 against the Tigers in Detroit, which the Yankees won 9-7 in 22 innings — but, of course, they didn’t have a light delay.

“The one thing about the game is, you get used to being tired, because of the schedule that we keep,” Joe Girardi said. “You get in from cities at 4 o’clock in the morning and play the next day. It’s just part of the game. As much as you don’t want to get used to it, you get used to it.”

Adam Warren will make his first start of the year this afternoon after winning the Yanks’ fifth starter competition in Spring Training. Joe Kelly has been activated from the disabled list and will start for Boston. Alex Rodriguez is making his first career appearance at first base. Here’s what else you need to know from the Yankees’ clubhouse, where I spotted quite a few cans of Red Bull being passed around:

  • Thanks for the 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, Chasen Shreve, but he loses the numbers game and is rewarded with an option to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “It stinks,” was how Girardi put it, but that’s baseball. The Yankees have signed left-hander Matt Tracy to a big league contract and added him to the active roster.
  • The Yankees weren’t planning to take on-field batting practice anyway today, so the official report time for players was set at 11:30 a.m. Most of the guys got here with time to spare, but there were quite a few bleary eyes in the clubhouse.
  • Alex RodriguezGirardi’s original plan was to give A-Rod today off, but 19 innings of ball changed that. Rodriguez played 11 of those innings, going 2-for-5 as the designated hitter before exiting for a pinch-runner, but he was on his feet a lot less than guys like Mark Teixeira.
  • Warren was sent home in the sixth or seventh inning last night to get his rest. The Yanks also started sending their relievers home after they were out of the game. As it is, Girardi said he doesn’t expect to be able to use Esmil Rogers today and will have to check with David Carpenter.
  • I spoke to Garrett Jones, who would’ve been the Yanks’ next pitcher if the game had gone any further. He said that he hasn’t pitched since 1999, when he was a high school senior, but he was gearing up to face David Ortiz in the 19th inning. Asked for his pitching scouting report, Jones laughed and said, “Straight fastball and a dirty changeup. I might have mixed in a curve to Big Papi.”
  • Brian McCann’s right knee is a little sore after getting clipped with a foul tip last night, but Girardi doesn’t anticipate it being a problem. Catchers are tough, man.

The caffeine is kicking in. Let’s do this. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (3-1)
Brock Holt cf
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz dh
Mike Napoli 1b
Pablo Sandoval 3b
Allen Craig rf
Daniel Nava lf
Xander Bogaerts ss
Ryan Hanigan c

Joe Kelly rhp

Brett Gardner lf
Chris Young cf
Carlos Beltran dh
Alex Rodriguez 1b
Chase Headley 3b
Garrett Jones rf
John Ryan Murphy c
Didi Gregorius ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Adam Warren rhp


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