Masahiro Tanaka has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right elbow, Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed. Tanaka flew back to New York on Wednesday for an MRI, and the team is waiting for club physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad to evaluate the results.
Tanaka had his worst start of the season last night against the Indians at Progressive Field, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss.
In the first question of his press conference following last night’s outing, Tanaka was evasive when asked what the problem was with his start, which might have been an indication of a problem.
“I do understand the reason why I was struggling today, but it’s really difficult for me to tell you why that was,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.
Tanaka’s next start was scheduled to come on Sunday against the Orioles in Baltimore; Girardi suggested that he could use Chase Whitley for that outing.
Catcher Brian McCann said that he thought the ball was coming out fine last night, it was just up in the zone.
“The only thing from yesterday is that his pitches didn’t have the same action that they did in the past. I didn’t notice anything,” McCann said.
“You just hope and pray that we get good news and it’s something minor,” said Brett Gardner, who was out of Wednesday’s lineup with a lower abdominal strain. “You worry about anybody, but he’s pretty special, what he’s been able to do the first half of the season.
“I don’t think anybody could tell by watching him last night, I don’t know how long his arm was bothering him or anything like that. He obviously wasn’t himself. Hopefully we get good news.”
Brian McCann’s first few months in a Yankees uniform have not lived up to his expectations, but the veteran catcher isn’t on board with the idea that he might just not be cut out to play in New York.
McCann awoke on Tuesday to a few text messages alerting him to a story in the New York Post, where Braves coach Terry Pendleton was quoted as saying that he thinks McCann “will never be comfortable” as a Yankee.
“I read the article. I disagree,” McCann said. “I absolutely love it here. I’ve got off to a slow start, but I absolutely love it here.”
Pendleton told the newspaper that he believed that McCann would wind up with either the Yankees or the Rangers this offseason. McCann jumped at the Yankees’ offer early in the winter, inking a five-year, $85 million pact.
“New York is not Brian,” said Pendleton, who said he thought McCann would be more comfortable in Texas. “That’s my opinion. I knew if he chose New York, there would be more than he expected or knew about. He’ll never be comfortable with that.”
Despite his Georgia roots, McCann said that adjusting to life as a Yankee has not been difficult.
“I really haven’t noticed a big difference,” McCann said. “It’s still baseball. It’s still you put a uniform on, you go out and put your best foot forward. That’s what I’m doing.
“It just hasn’t gone quite like I wish it would, but at the same time, we’ve got a whole half of baseball left. We’re in a pennant race and those are the things that I’m focused on.”
Pendleton said that he believes McCann’s contract has been “hanging over his head,” with his $17 million average annual salary ranking as the largest issued to a free agent catcher.
“Not at all,” McCann replied. “Not one bit.”
Pendleton also said that McCann has become a pull hitter over the last three or so years, but believes that he will be able to relax and get back to what he is capable of doing. McCann recently changed his batting stance, eliminating a toe-tap.
“If I’m sitting here hitting .300, this isn’t a story,” McCann said. “But I’m not, and at the same time, I feel like I’ve gotten some mechanical things ironed out. I’m back to attacking the baseball, and the last four or five games I’ve felt like myself.”
McCann said that he last spoke to Pendleton during Spring Training, and that he had not decided if he would call the former big league infielder to talk about the story.
“The only part of the article [that bothered me] that I’m not a New York guy, that’s the only part that I didn’t like,” McCann said. “I absolutely love it here and it’s been great so far.”
Carlos Beltran said that the swelling behind his right knee has improved, but the Yankees switch-hitter remained out of the lineup for a second straight game on Tuesday.
Beltran said that he could be available to pinch-hit, and that the Yankees were looking at Tuesday as a ‘safety day’ before getting him back on the field. Beltran has been limited to duty as a designated hitter since hyperextending his elbow in April.
“I woke up feeling better,” Beltran said. “I’m going to go hit BP and do everything today, just to go through the whole program. But I feel a lot better. Just being able to wake up feeling better, I feel good.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he hopes to have Beltran in the lineup on Wednesday.
Shane Greene celebrated his first big league victory on Monday, hurling six innings of two-run ball in a 5-3 win over the Indians, and it earned him another start. Greene is scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Orioles in Baltimore, with Chase Whitley moved to bullpen duty.
“It’s a combination of everything. He did a really good job last night,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Giving Whit a little break will help him and maybe re-energize him as well.”
Greene earned his first Major League win on the same night as Dellin Betances recorded his first Major League save on Tuesday. That marked the third time that has happened involving Yankees pitchers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Al Closter and Fritz Peterson did it in 1971, and Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren did it earlier this season.
Brandon McCarthy has joined the Yankees here in Cleveland, and judging by his Twitter feed, he’s having a little trouble picking out a new uniform number to wear.
*Kramer's moviefone voice* "well why don't you just tell me what number isn't retired"
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) July 8, 2014
McCarthy wore 32 with the A’s and the D-backs, which is retired by the Yankees for Elston Howard.
According to baseball-reference.com, McCarthy wore 20 with the Rangers (unofficially shelved for Jorge Posada), 55 with the White Sox (currently issued to David Huff) and also 41 with Chicago (currently issued to David Phelps).
The Yankees optioned right-hander Bruce Billings to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to create room on the active roster for McCarthy, who is scheduled to start tomorrow night against the Indians. I would assume he’ll be able to pick a uniform number by then.
(Update: He has been issued No. 38.)
By the way, if you’re not already following McCarthy on Twitter, get on that. You’ll also want to check in on his wife, Amanda, who had this reaction to Sunday’s trade:
Haha @BMcCarthy32 you have to shave that nasty thing growing on your face! I WIN
— Amanda McCarthy (@Mrs_McCarthy32) July 6, 2014
Hello from Cleveland’s Progressive Field, where the Yankees and Indians are set to open a four-game series this evening. Here are the quick hits from this evening’s notebook:
Carlos Beltran was held out of the Yankees’ lineup on Monday after the switch-hitter reported mild swelling in the back of his right knee, according to manager Joe Girardi.
Beltran is scheduled to be seen by the Indians’ team doctor at Progressive Field on Monday, but Girardi said that the Yankees have not planned any other tests.
“We’re going to give him a day off. I’ll find out later on if he’s available to pinch-hit,” Girardi said. “He’ll see their doctor today and see what they think. Not a lot, but just a little bit.”
Beltran has eight hits in his last 30 at-bats, raising his average to .216 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 61 games.
“He’s been swinging the bat better,” Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s a switch-hitter that we put between our lefties and has power. He’s a run producer. It is something that we’ll miss tonight. Hopefully we get him back in there tomorrow.”
For Derek Jeter, return visits to the facility now known as Progressive Field will always produce memories of Opening Day 1996, which teammate David Cone would later refer to as Jeter’s “coming-out party.”
Jeter hit his first Major League home run, a fifth-inning solo homer off the Indians’ Dennis Martinez, and contributed a sharp catch on an Omar Vizquel pop-up in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory that afternoon.
“Your first Opening Day is pretty memorable, pretty special,” Jeter said. “I was excited for that day. We got snowed out the day before, so we had to wait a while; it seemed like we had to wait forever to get that first one underway.”
Earlier this year, Jeter said that he ranks that April 2, 1996 contest as one of his two favorite Opening Days; the other was the Yankees’ 1996 home opener, better remembered as the Andy Pettitte snow game against the Royals.
“I like playing here. I like this stadium,” Jeter said. “I’ve always liked coming here and playing. We’ve had some great battles with some really, really good Cleveland teams. They beat us in ’97, we came back and beat them in ’98. I enjoy coming here. It’s a nice stadium and the fans have always been great.”
When Dellin Betances reported to Spring Training, the Yankees had hoped that the hard-throwing right-hander would be able to put it all together, but it was a late March outing against the Blue Jays that made Joe Girardi really believe it was happening.
As Girardi recalled on Monday, a March 23 outing at George M. Steinbrenner Field made the Yanks’ coaches take notice. Betances entered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, leaving them that way by striking out Jose Bautista looking and getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to left field.
“He came in the bases loaded and was dominant,” Girardi said. “I thought, ‘You know what, maybe it’s clicking.’ … You could see that there was deception there and they didn’t see the ball real well off of him.”
Betances was named as one of the Yankees’ three All-Stars on Sunday, joining Derek Jeter and Masahiro Tanaka. He has a 1.61 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 37 appearances, and was selected to the squad by the player vote.
“It’s crazy, man,” Betances said. “I worked hard this offseason, had a lot of guys that helped me. I just felt ready coming into the spring. My job was to make the team, but now to be here on this day, to be an All-Star this year, I’m honored.”
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was acquired in a trade from the D-backs on Sunday in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno, is expected to join the Yankees on Tuesday. McCarthy is scheduled to make his Yankees debut against the Indians on Wednesday.
Girardi said that he believes closer David Robertson (2.93 ERA in 26 appearances, 21-for-23 in save opportunities) deserved to be selected as an All-Star, and Girardi hopes that there is still time for that to happen.
“Obviously there’s always people that have to bow out,” he said. “I’ve said it all along; if you like people that strike people out in key situations, he’s pretty good at it. You take away his one outing against Minnesota, his numbers are as good as anyone’s in baseball. And from a strikeout ratio, even better.”
Right-hander Michael Pineda has progressed to playing catch at 90 feet. The Yankees hope to have him throw from a mound by the end of this week, with a mid-August return to the big leagues standing as his best-case scenario.
Prior to today’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:
· Acquired RHP Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for LHP Vidal Nuno.
· Selected RHP Bruce Billings to the 25-man roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
· Designated OF Alfonso Soriano for assignment.
Here’s the official announcement on the McCarthy trade from the Yankees:
JULY 6, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
YANKEES ACQUIRE RHP BRANDON McCARTHY FROM ARIZONA
The New York Yankees today announced they have acquired RHP Brandon McCarthy and cash considerations from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for LHP Vidal Nuno.
McCarthy, 30, is 45-60 with a 4.21 ERA (899.0IP, 941H, 421ER, 232BB, 616K) in 193 games (139 starts) over nine Major League seasons with Chicago-AL (2005-06), Texas (2007-09), Oakland (2011-12) and Arizona (2013-14). Originally drafted by the White Sox in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, the 6-foot, 7-inch California native was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA (109.2IP, 131H, 61ER, 20BB, 93K, 15HR) in 18 starts with Arizona in 2014.
Nuno, 26, was 3-7 with a 4.78 ERA (98.0IP, 52ER, 32BB, 69K, 17HR) in 22 games (17 starts) over two seasons with the Yankees (2013-14). He was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent on June 18, 2011.