SEATTLE — The Yankees planned on having David Carpenter handle important seventh-inning situations for them this season, but the right-hander was unable to find his footing that role and was designated for assignment on Wednesday morning.
Carpenter was cut loose in order to clear a roster spot for right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Carpenter, 29, was 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in 22 appearances for New York, including serving up a go-ahead RBI double to the Mariners’ Austin Jackson in the sixth inning of New York’s 5-3, 11-inning victory over Seattle.
“For whatever reason, he never got on a roll for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “At times, it was a struggle. He was someone that we expected to be a big part of our bullpen. He worked extremely hard, he was great in the clubhouse. It’s just unfortunate.”
Carpenter was acquired from the Braves along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in a New Year’s Day swap that sent left-hander Manny Banuelos to Atlanta. Carpenter owns a 3.73 ERA in 210 career appearances with the Astros (2011-12), Blue Jays (’12), Braves (2013-14) and Yankees.
“Sometimes it’s puzzling why things don’t happen,” Girardi said. “The guy worked and worked and worked; tried different things. We looked at a ton of different things to see if he was pitching different, sequences and everything. It really wasn’t a whole lot different. The only difference was, he wasn’t having success.”
Trimming Carpenter leaves the Yankees with five left-handed relievers, which is something of an oddity. In addition to closer Andrew Miller, the Yankees are carrying Chris Capuano, Jacob Lindgren, Shreve and Justin Wilson.
“The one thing is, our lefties have been successful in getting right-handers out,” Girardi said. “The bottom line is, if they get right-handers out as well as left-handers, you can deal with it. They’ve been pretty good at it.”
Girardi on Tanaka’s return: “I think there’s two things you look at. You look at his command and you look at the sharpness of his pitches. What you want to stay away from is obviously the long inning for him. Those are the two things we’re going to look at today. He’s probably built up to 80 pitches, 85 at the most. We’ll just watch him.”
Carlos Beltran had an X-ray after fouling a ball off his right foot last night, which was negative. Girardi said that he planned to give Beltran the day off anyway leading into Thursday’s off-day.
Girardi on Lindgren: “We’ve been pretty pleased with what he’s done, the way he’s pitched. He’s faced right-handers and it hasn’t seemed to bother him. He’s got a lot of movement, gets a lot of groundballs. That plays well for our park. Some of these bigger parks, you don’t worry about. But that plays well in our park.”
Girardi on the Triple-A relief options:
“We pay attention. You have some righties that have good stuff. [Jose] Ramirez has been up here. [Branden] Pinder has been up here. [Nick] Rumbelow’s another guy that they talk about. [Diego] Moreno’s another guy they talk about. I’m sure they’ll be watched closely because having all those lefties, I think at some point you’ll probably look for another right-hander, so I’m sure they’ll be watched closely.”
Here are the quick hits as the Yankees conclude their four-game series against the Athletics here at o.Co Coliseum. Right-hander Jesse Chavez (1-5, 2.44) has the ball for Oakland, facing right-hander Adam Warren (3-3, 3.91), who remains on the bubble as a starter with Masahiro Tanaka set to return on Wednesday.
Stephen Drew was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Sunday, as the veteran infielder searches for ways to escape his season-long slump.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi again opted to start Jose Pirela at second base over Drew, who is hitless in his last 20 at-bats and is batting just .157 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games this season.
“I told Stephen, continue to work,” Girardi said. “He’s trying to work on some things offensively. I’ve always said, whenever you play it’s an opportunity to open someone’s eyes. [Pirela], I thought swung the bat pretty good last night. I’m going to run him back out there.”
Girardi said that the 32-year-old Drew has been “pretty banged up” at times, but that the benching was not injury-related.
“This game sometimes, it’s a humbling game. I know that,” Drew said. “It’s not getting too high or too low, it’s just going out and playing every day. This year has definitely been frustrating at times. Besides these last couple of games, I’ve had some some productive at-bats, just no luck, so eventually it’s going to turn around for me.”
Girardi said that Drew’s average on batted balls in play (BABIP) of .164 indicates that he has not been rewarded when hitting the ball hard. Drew’s overall batting average is the lowest of any qualified Major Leaguer; the second-lowest player, the Angels’ Matt Joyce, is 29 points higher at .186.
“I still think this guy’s too good of a player not to hit,” Girardi said. “We’ve seen him hit a grand slam. We’ve seen him hit three-run homers. We’ve seen him hit the ball out of the ballpark. We’ve seen him impact the baseball. To me, eventually it’s got to even out.”
Brendan Ryan, who has been sidelined since Spring Training with a right calf strain and subsequent setbacks, started a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Sunday with Class-A Tampa.
Ryan lined a double in his first at-bat for the Yankees’ Florida State League affiliate. Ryan sustained a Grade 2 strain of his calf while fielding a ball in an April 1 exhibition game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and is currently on the 60-day disabled list.
“Obviously he’s got to get some at-bats, because he really hasn’t had a Spring Training,” Girardi said. “He’s going to need some at-bats, be able to play a couple days in row, lengthy games, because you never know when you’ll be pressed into action for three or four days.”
Coming into the season, the 33-year-old Ryan was envisioned as the primary backup for shortstop Didi Gregorius. A slick fielder, Ryan batted .167 (19-for-114) with no homers and eight RBIs in 49 games for New York last season.
The Yankees returned right-hander Chris Martin from his Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday, reinstating him from the 15-day disabled list before optioning him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Girardi said that the club decided to keep the four left-handers in its bullpen – Jacob Lindgren, Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson – to prepare for a three-game series against the Mariners this week.
“He just has to pitch well and get on a roll. As we get some guys back, sometimes it gets a little bit crowded,” Girardi said. “What I would tell him is to be ready. When the phone rings, you want to be the guy.”
Martin, 28, pitched a perfect inning for the RailRiders in Saturday’s 6-1 loss to Norfolk, inducing three ground ball outs. He was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 15 appearances before being placed on the disabled list May 9 with right elbow tendinitis.
Just a day off for Brian McCann, but it’s tough to take his bat out of the lineup. McCann has a .385 AVG (10-26 AB) with four homers, 12 RBI and seven runs scored during an eight-game hitting streak. John Ryan Murphy is behind the plate. … Girardi waited until he checked with Carlos Beltran to fill out his lineup card. Beltran literally gave Girardi the thumbs-up to play him. … Alex Rodriguez has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .394 (13-33 AB) with five RBI and seven runs scored. His last ten-game hit streak was back in 2012. … The Yankees have lost 11 of their last 13 games in Oakland dating back to July of 2012. … The Yankees are currently the only team in the AL East with a record above .500. … Fun pitching matchup tomorrow in Seattle: Michael Pineda against his former club and King Felix Hernandez for the Mariners.
Luis Severino, regarded as the Yankees’ top prospect, is scheduled to make his Triple-A debut on Sunday for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders against the Norfolk Tides at 1:05 p.m. ET in Moosic, Pa.
Severino, 21, has been rated as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect by MLB.com. The right-hander was 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA in eight starts for Double-A Trenton to begin the 2015 season.
“Obviously, it’s a step closer,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The way it usually happens is if somebody goes down or somebody struggles, you talk about the guys in Triple-A before you talk about the guys in Double-A. He’s that much closer now, and so we’ll pay attention to what he’s doing.”
While in Double-A, Severino struck out 48 while walking just 10 in 38 innings, permitting a .227 opponent batting average. He was in big league camp with the Yankees this spring, impressing coaches with a live fastball and a solid changeup.
Here are the quick hits as the Yankees prepare to take on the Athletics this evening at o.Co Coliseum. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (4-1, 4.27) will be on the mound for New York and right-hander Jesse Hahn goes for Oakland. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.
With Ramon Flores in left field making his Major League debut, Brett Gardner gets a chance to return to his natural center field position. Gardner will play there when Flores is in the lineup, but Chris Young could also see reps in center while the Yankees wait for Jacoby Ellsbury to come back.
“I feel comfortable in center,” Gardner said. “I feel more comfortable there than I do in left field. I’ve obviously played left field every day and I’m becoming more comfortable over there, but I feel perfectly normal going back to center field. It doesn’t feel weird or like I’m playing out of position. I feel good.”
Gardner said that he didn’t give much thought to the defensive alignment after Slade Heathcott‘s injury.
“However they want to put us out there — whether C.Y. is playing or Flo, Slade, me, Jacoby, whoever, it doesn’t matter to me. Left field, center field, I feel comfortable,” Gardner said.
As for Ellsbury, there is no significant update to offer. He is back in New York and has been performing exercises in the Yanks’ swimming pool, but has not resumed baseball activities.
Jose Pirela is spelling Stephen Drew at second base tonight, and while Girardi said that he has not made any decisions about playing time beyond this game, Pirela might be making a better case for duty if he wasn’t hitting .200 (6-for-30). Girardi said that the sparse playing time may be an issue.
“It’s difficult for young players,” Girardi said. “That’s why a lot of times you see utility guys as older players that have experience because they’re just more familiar with it. You look at his at-bats and see how his at-bats are, and how he looks in the field and you make a judgment.”
Rehabbing right-hander Chris Martin threw one inning tonight for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and could rejoin the Yankees by the end of the week. The Yanks will also have to make a move on Wednesday to accommodate Masahiro Tanaka, and they have a pair of struggling right-handed relievers in David Carpenter and Esmil Rogers.
“We need a right-hander to step up for us to help Dellin (Betances) out in those situations when we don’t have him,” Girardi said. “Even to bridge the gap to those two guys, it’s important that someone steps up.”
Girardi said that he doesn’t mind keeping four left-handed relievers in Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren and Justin Wilson.
“I haven’t really found it to be a problem,” Girardi said. “It’s not very often that you have that, but sometimes you face a club with a lot of left-handers and it can be to your advantage. (The A’s) have got plenty of left-handers in their lineup. Seattle’s got plenty of left-handers.”
Heathcott was placed on the disabled list today and is flying back to New York to be seen by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. He is expected to miss more than 15 days and perhaps as much as a month.
The Yankees took note of Ramon Flores’ potential this spring, impressed by a fluid left-handed stroke that seemed to send the ball a long way with ease. Those good impressions helped promote the rookie to a big league clubhouse for the first time on Saturday.
Flores was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Slade Heathcott, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps. Flores immediately appeared in the Yanks’ lineup on Saturday against the A’s, batting seventh and playing left field.
“I’m feel I’m still dreaming,” Flores said. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and say, ‘Oh, I’m here in the Major Leagues!’ It’s been seven years in the Minors, working very hard to get here.”
The 23-year-old Flores, a product of Venezuela, had been on a recent tear with the RailRiders, going 15-for-44 (.341) in his last 11 games there. Overall, Flores was batting .294 (47-for-160) with four homers and 15 RBIs in 42 games.
“I think his ceiling is pretty high, offensively and defensively,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You can move him around a little bit defensively, but I’ll probably focus on left mostly. Just to give us good at-bats, I think that’s the important thing, and I really believe he has the ability to do that.”
With Flores slotted in left field, Girardi shifted Brett Gardner to center field, where he is expected to play while Jacoby Ellsbury mends a sprained right knee. Chris Young could also see reps in center field.
“I feel comfortable in center. I feel more comfortable there than I do in left field,” Gardner said. “I’ve obviously played left field every day and I’m becoming more comfortable over there, but I feel perfectly normal going back to center field.”
Flores said that he was in the middle of batting practice with the RailRiders when he was informed of his call-up. After spending the night in a Philadelphia hotel, Flores flew direct to the West Coast on Saturday morning, getting to the Coliseum around 11:30 a.m. PT.
With 23 walks against 28 strikeouts at Triple-A this year, Flores said that his plate discipline could help him to succeed against big league pitching.
“What I like to do at home plate is look for a very good pitch to try to connect,” Flores said. “I think that’s what helped distinguish me in the Minor Leagues, because I have a lot of patience and I try to wait for the right pitch. I just try to enjoy the game.”