NEW YORK – Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda was forced to leave Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox with a contusion to his right middle finger. Additional tests, including an X-ray, will be performed.
Kuroda reached up and made contact with Shane Victorino’s hard line drive to open the second inning, which glanced off the hurler’s hand and landed in center field.
He was seen on the mound by manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, throwing several warmup pitches to prove he could stay in the game, but Kuroda’s command appeared to suffer as the inning continued.
Kuroda hit Jackie Bradley, Jr. with a pitch before inducing a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. A walk to Jacoby Ellsbury followed and Kuroda drilled Daniel Nava to force in Boston’s second run of the evening.
That was all that Girardi would see, as he removed Kuroda following his 41st pitch of the night. Kuroda was replaced by right-hander Cody Eppley, who was given as much time as needed to warm up because of the injury.
MLB.com’s Mark Newman has passed along some quotes from Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who appeared this afternoon at a Victoria’s Secret VS PINK event in Soho.
Having announced his new partnership with CAA and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation venture, Cano was asked: is he ready to celebrate?
“Not yet,” Cano said, with a grin. “We’ve got to focus on the games first and then we’ll celebrate, how about that? Yes, I’m excited, of course. When you make that kind of a decision, you have to really be with that kind of company.”
Cano was then asked if today’s news means he will stay with the Yankees, but said: “Right now, this is about Victoria’s Secret and not about contracts.”
VS model Jessica Hart, who was standing next to Cano at the time, said, “He’s diverting questions very well. I should take some lessons – you’ve been trained.”
Cano offered a terse “no” when asked if he would comment on Boras reportedly being caught unaware of his decision to switch agencies. Cano is expected to address his choice in more detail tomorrow at Yankee Stadium.
— Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano) April 2, 2013
NEW YORK – As he approaches what figures to be a lucrative contract payday, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has switched agents, leaving Scott Boras to sign with CAA Sports.
Cano’s marketing endeavors will be handled by Roc Nation, an entertainment company founded by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, while his baseball activities will be represented by a team of agents led by CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement released by CAA. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals.
“I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
Van Wagenen added in a statement: “Robinson Cano is an extraordinary all-around talent who has established himself as one of the game’s best and most consistent players. Our mandate is to minimize his distractions while helping him achieve his goals on and off the field in both the short and the long term. His immediate concern is continuing to show respect for the Yankees organization, his teammates and the fans.”
Cano had been with Boras since 2011, when he dismissed Bobby Barad, the agent who negotiated Cano’s current deal with the Yankees that expires after this season. Cano is set to earn $15 million this year, a club option that was triggered by the Yankees last October.
In late February, general manager Brian Cashman revealed that the Yankees had tendered a “significant offer” to Cano and Boras with the hopes of signing the four-time All-Star to an extension, but those negotiations did not appear to be moving quickly.
There really is something cool about Opening Day. Even after seven weeks in Tampa, I felt it coming up the subway steps at 161st Street yesterday afternoon — that little jolt of excitement that tells you this is for real, this one is going to count.
By the end of what became an opener that the Yankees would prefer to forget, there was a stiff wind battering the tri-colored bunting hanging from the rafters, cold rain falling from the sky and hot dog wrappers littering the outfield.
It wasn’t exactly the way the Yankees were hoping to begin 2013, but as they — and, I’m sure, someone in every losing clubhouse on Opening Day — said, it is just one game.
“I don’t think we expected to go 162-0,” said outfielder Vernon Wells, one of six Yankees to make his team debut on Monday. “We unfortunately lost the first one, but it’s one game. That’s why you play a lot of them. You learn from the good things, and you learn from the bad things, and move on.”
The Stadium was looking pretty empty when Brett Gardner fouled out at 4:47 p.m., securing an 8-2 victory for the Red Sox, but Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he couldn’t blame the paying crowd for heading for the streets.
“If I was a fan and it started to rain, I would run too,” Cervelli said. “It was cold, man. The weather changed in like one inning. but it’s not disappointing. It’s a long season, they always been really good with us and they support us through the whole season, playoffs, anytime. [They're] the greatest fans ever.”
The Yankees had their Welcome Home Dinner last night, where Lou Piniella was honored. They’ll enjoy an off-day today and get back to work tomorrow against Boston at 7:05 p.m. ET. Here’s all the Opening Day coverage you need to catch up on yesterday’s action:
- Game story: CC Sabathia had another rough Opening Day outing and sparked some concerns with his velocity, which mostly sat around 89 mph. He doesn’t sound worried, and neither do the Yankees. The new-look offense went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
- Alex Rodriguez appeared briefly outside the Yankees clubhouse – the first time I’ve seen him in person since Game 4 of the ALCS – but decided not to take part in the pregame ceremonies. Rodriguez said that he didn’t need to be introduced to feel like he was part of the team. A-Rod said his rehab is going well and is trying to draw inspiration from those counting the Yankees out this year.
- Mike Bauman writes that the Yankees still believe they can get the job done without their bold-faced names. Bauman also writes that A-Rod didn’t seem to have much to say.
- One piece of good news: Mark Teixeira was in New York for a doctor’s visit and received clearance to remove the brace from his right wrist. He’s encouraged this means a mid-May return is in play.
- Kevin Youkilis is a little bit tired of talking about wearing the pinstripes. The transition period is over for him; he’s a Yankee, not a Red Sox, and he wants everyone to accept it.
- Where was Derek Jeter yesterday? Playing catch on a back field in Tampa, Adam Berry writes. Jeter is essentially starting over after his recent setback, and it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll be able to re-join the big league club. The Yankees won’t activate Jeter until he proves that he can play in back-to-back games at shortstop, so this could take a while.
- Mariano Rivera shagged fly balls in the outfield yesterday, his first time since you-know-when. Everything went fine, but the Yankees didn’t have a reason to use Rivera on his final Opening Day.
- Best laugh-out-loud thing I saw all day: Ichiro Suzuki’s Robert DeNiro impression on the centerfield video board. I wish I had a clip to share, but I don’t. Just watch for it this season.
- Joe Girardi had a little trouble figuring out how his lineup should look against left-hander Jon Lester. Fun note from the Elias Sports Bureau — this was the first Opening Day Yankees lineup without a switch-hitter since 1992.
- The Yankees and Red Sox paid tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and those affected in Newtown, Conn. Also, Constantine Maroulis’ rendition of the National Anthem garnered mixed reviews, from what I could see on Twitter (and in the press box). I really didn’t mind it, but then again, I thought he was pretty good when I saw him in ‘Rock of Ages.’
The Yankees technically have until 3 p.m. ET today to file their Opening Day roster to Major League Baseball, but there really isn’t much mystery to that deadline. Barring a last-minute, shock-the-world acquisition, we know what the 25-man roster is going to look like.
As Joe Girardi promised several times this spring, he actually did need until the exhibition against Army to iron out his final calls, but those were locked in when the Yankees coaching staff told Cody Eppley and Adam Warren that they had made the club.
Girardi had thought that he might need that long to also decide on first base and an extra outfield spot, but Lyle Overbay had the inside track on a one-man race late in camp. The Yankees pretty much made their calls when they released Juan Rivera back in Tampa, telling Rivera that Ben Francisco and Overbay were making the team. Brennan Boesch is also going to be on the club as a backup outfielder.
At some point today, the Yankees will also announce a group of disabled list assignments, but there won’t be any surprises there — Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada will all begin the season on the 15-day DL.
With those moves in the works, here is how the Yankees’ Opening Day roster should look when game No. 1 of 162 is underway tomorrow afternoon in the Bronx:
Starting pitchers (5): CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, David Phelps, Ivan Nova
Relief pitchers (7): Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Shawn Kelley, Cody Eppley, Adam Warren
Catchers (2): Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart
Infielders (5): Robinson Cano, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Youkilis.
Outfielders (5): Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco.
Designated hitter (1): Travis Hafner
And speaking of Opening Day — what do you need to know if you’re planning on attending the game, or watching on TV? Here’s a quick rundown of what the Yankees have planned:
Gates will open to fans with valid tickets beginning at 11:00 a.m., with festivities slated to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. with the introduction of both teams on the baselines. The Yankees ask their fans to please budget ample time when planning their trip to the Stadium and urge their fans to use public transportation.
Lou Piniella, who will be honored with the “Pride of the Yankees Award” at the 2013 Homecoming Dinner following the Opening Day game, will throw out the Opening Day ceremonial first pitch. He will become the 12th former Yankees player to receive the Opening Day honor.
The Yankees and the Red Sox will stand together in dedicating the 2013 Opening Day game to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, their families and the greater community of Newtown. Pregame ceremonies will feature joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence, during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims’ names will be recognized on the center-field video board.
The Yankees and Red Sox will also wear a special ribbon on their uniforms for Opening Day to honor those lost and those affected by the tragedy.
Constantine Maroulis, Tony nominee and star of the Jekyll & Hyde Broadway musical scheduled to open on April 5, will sing the national anthem. In addition, a giant American flag will be unfurled by 75 West Point Cadets.
During the seventh-inning stretch, Alli Mauzey of the Broadway hit Wicked will perform “God Bless America.”
Should be a fun afternoon at the ballpark. We’ll have all the coverage on yankees.com.
Derek Jeter said today that he has accepted the reality that he will not be on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster. Jeter will instead continue his rehab in Florida when the team goes north.
“Pretty much, that looks like what’s going to happen,” Jeter said. “I told you guys all along, my goal was to be ready on Opening Day and I didn’t reach it. It’s disappointing.”
Jeter is expected to only receive treatment today and will not be on the field. He said that he does not want to circle dates on the calendar, but general manager Brian Cashman has said that the new goal for Jeter is April 6 — the first date he will be eligible to be activated.
“As hard as it is sometimes, you have to try to look at the big picture,” Jeter said. “My goal was to be ready Opening Day, but the goal also is to be ready for the season. I pushed it to try to get to Opening Day and it didn’t work out, but I still have to be ready for the majority of the season.”
While we wait for the Vernon Wells trade to be officially announced (it’s expected to go through today, pending approval from the Commissioner’s Office) …
Chien-Ming Wang said that it felt just like old times on Monday as the right-hander tugged on a Yankees cap to go through the paces of a workout at the club’s Minor League complex.
Wang returned to the Yankees last week, having shown enough promise during his World Baseball Classic stint with Chinese Taipei to warrant a Minor League contract. He is expected to start the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“It’s like back in the day,” Wang said through an interpreter. “This was my first team, this is where I started. I feel great.”
Wang played catch and took fielding practice at the club’s Himes Avenue complex across the highway from George M. Steinbrenner Field. He said that he will throw a bullpen on Wednesday and selected the Yankees from a group of “four or five” interested clubs, all of whom offered Minor League deals.
“It was an easy decision for me, because I never wanted to leave,” Wang said.
Wang had a terrific run with the Yankees, including back-to-back 19-win seasons in 2006 and 2007. Right now, he’s organizational depth with no guarantees of appearing in the Bronx, but you know the old saying about never having too much pitching — especially when you think about CC Sabathia coming off elbow surgery, Hiroki Kuroda coming back after setting a career high in innings pitched and Andy Pettitte about to hit age 41.
If you set the over-under on Wang’s 2013 Major League starts at four, I think I’d take the over right now.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees may not have not seen much of Vernon Wells over the last few seasons, but as they eye an Opening Day lineup that suddenly seems lacking in star power, they’re ready to give him much more of a look.
The Yankees and Angels are closing in on a deal that will fit the 34-year-old outfielder for pinstripes, sources have confirmed to MLB.com, and the trade could be completed as soon as Sunday evening.
The transaction will involve the Angels taking on a large majority of the $42 million Wells is owed through the 2014 season, which is a matter still under discussion between the clubs. The Yankees are expected to only surrender a low-level Minor League player in exchange.
“I’m not at liberty to have any conversations publicly about it yet, but I know what you’re asking,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “There’s a lot of I’s to dot and T’s to cross to get to a finish line when you’re doing something.”
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed that the two sides are talking, but declined to go into detail.
Wells has a full no-trade clause, but was coming into the season as the Angels’ fifth outfielder behind Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Josh Hamilton and designated hitter Mark Trumbo.
He grinned and said, “Possibly,” when reporters in Tempe, Ariz. asked him if he had approved a trade.
“It’d be a huge change,” Wells said of joining the Yankees. “I don’t think it’s ever easy saying goodbye, but at the same time, if this were to happen, it’s a good group of guys over there. I’ll just get to know a new family.”
The Yankees suddenly find themselves in a position to offer Wells a healthy amount of at-bats, at least early in the upcoming season. Curtis Granderson is not expected to play until early May because of a fractured right forearm, and the Yankees have been looking for a right-handed outfield bat for some time.
Juan Rivera, considered a leading contender for that right-handed outfield job, might now be the regular first baseman with Mark Teixeira lost to a strained right forearm until at least the middle of May.
The Yankees signed Ben Francisco to a Minor League deal after he was cut loose by the Indians this month, but Francisco – as well as Brennan Boesch, a lefty-hitting outfielder who was released by the Tigers – can be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre by the Yankees.
Wells has enjoyed a nice spring with the Angels, batting .361 (13-for-36) with four homers and 11 RBIs, and several Yankees seemed excited about the prospect of his addition.
“He’s a veteran, a leader, a good guy who’s got power and can play the outfield real well,” Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis said. “I’ve always respected Vernon as a player. It’d be great. I never complain about getting guys on a team. I always find good things guys can do on a team. If he were to come here, I bet he’d do a good job helping us try to win.”
Teixeira took to Twitter to voice his support of the trade, writing, “Vernon Wells joining the #Yankees? Great guy who will be a big addition to our club.”
Wells, who plans to retire after the 2014 season, had been accepting of his limited role this spring with the Angels and said he still has something to offer a big league lineup.
“My offseason was geared towards getting back to what I’m capable of doing,” Wells said Sunday. “That was my goal coming into spring — the work I put in the offseason, the work I’ve been doing in Spring Training was to get my swing back to where it’s supposed to be. That’s short and through the ball. When I can do that, I can still put up the numbers that I’m supposed to be putting up.”
With the Blue Jays from 2002-10, Wells posted a .279/.330/.478 slash line, won three Gold Gloves and made three All-Star teams. But he hasn’t been able to duplicate that success since coming to Anaheim in a January 2011 deal that saw the Angels send Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to Toronto while picking up $81 million of the $86 million owed to Wells.
Wells hit 25 homers in 2011, but posted the lowest batting average (.218) and on-base percentage (.248) in the Majors. He batted .244 with six homers in the first two months of 2012, then missed the next two months with thumb surgery and, with Trout producing, hardly played the rest of the way.
“We haven’t seen him a lot the last two years, just because he was hurt some, and we don’t see the Los Angeles Angels much,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I know when he was in our division, he was a very good player. A very good player.”
TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will not play in a Minor League game on Sunday, the club has confirmed.
General manager Brian Cashman told Newsday that Jeter was “sore” after grounding out four times in a Minor League game as a designated hitter for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.
Cashman is expected to address Jeter’s situation further within the hour.
Jeter said upon reporting to George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday that he did not know what his plan would be going forward.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said that he needs to see Jeter play in back-to-back games without soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle before the team would seriously consider having him on the Opening Day roster.
In order to preserve their ability to backdate his injury for disabled list purposes, Jeter has been told that he will not play in another Major League game this spring. If the Yankees begin the season with Jeter on the disabled list, he would be eligible to be activated on April 6.
Derek Jeter will get back into the batter’s box today, testing his surgically repaired left ankle as the designated hitter in a Minor League game at the Yankees’ Himes Avenue complex.
The Yankees captain took batting practice and fielded ground balls with infield coach Mick Kelleher this morning at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and said that he does not know how many at-bats he is scheduled to get. Jeter did say that he has grown weary of answering questions about his health.
“I will not address how anything feels anymore,” Jeter said. “It’s good. It’s not broken. Some things, you’ve got to work through, like I told you. It’s really pointless to sit here and say each and every day, ‘How’s it feel? Does it feel better?’
“It’s pointless. Some days are good, some days are bad, but you’ve got to work through it. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Jeter’s game action is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. this afternoon.