Yankees reliever Clay Rapada is likely to begin the season on the disabled list as he returns from left shoulder bursitis.
Rapada threw 15 fastballs from the mound on Friday, but said that he needs to be able to pitch effectively three or four days in a row to help the big league club. Rapada believes he is about a week or two behind and expects to be ready in April.
“I can be a small piece to the winning puzzle, but if I’m not fully recovered I don’t want to set back the team more,” Rapada said. “If I can’t go back to back days, I feel like I’d put a lot more strain. I don’t feel like I’m very far off, but I don’t expect it to be long.”
Rapada, 32, was 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA in 70 appearances for New York last season, spanning 38 1/3 innings. Rapada’s injury figures to improve the chances of right-handers Cody Eppley or Shawn Kelley making the Opening Day roster, and Girardi also said that left-hander Vidal Nuno could be a possibility.
TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees captain Derek Jeter is not in the team’s lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Jeter was scratched from New York’s lineup on Tuesday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. because of stiffness and soreness in the area of his surgically repaired left ankle.
He was seen by Dr. Daniel Murphy on Tuesday in Tampa. Precautionary X-rays were negative, and a precautionary MRI revealed mild inflammation of the ankle. Jeter is considered day-to-day and had hoped to play in Wednesday’s game.
The Yankees continue to believe that Jeter will be in their Opening Day lineup against Boston on April 1. On Tuesday, manager Joe Girardi indicated that Jeter could be serving as the designated hitter and not playing shortstop when the Yankees begin the regular season.
Mark Teixeira returned to Yankees camp on Sunday morning and clarified that the injury he suffered this spring was to his right tendon sheath, which is a similar injury to the one that the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista had last season.
There had been some confusion because even though GM Brian Cashman said Teixeira and Bautista had similar injuries, the Yankees also said Teixeira’s injury was to the tendon, not the tendon sheath. In any event, Bautista rushed back from the injury and needed surgery, which is a mistake that Teixeira does not intend to repeat.
Teixeira said that while he’d love to be back in the eight to 10 weeks outlined by the Yankees, he also does not want to have a setback like Bautista’s, having learned a lesson from his own nagging calf injury last season. For the first time, Teixeira raised the possibility that he might miss all of May because of the wrist injury.
“This is one of those things I can’t come back too early,” Teixeira said. “We saw when I tried to play too early last year what happened. This is unfortunately, if I try to play too early, we could miss the whole season and we don’t want that. I don’t know if it’s going to be middle of May, end of May, beginning of June. I don’t know when it is, but I know that there’s a whole bunch of season left and the time that really matters is the playoffs.
“We have a great team, we have guys that are going to be able to pick me up when I’m gone. We have guys that can pick Curtis [Granderson] up when he’s gone. I think Curtis and I will be back around the same time and that’ll be a big boost to the club.”
Phil Hughes threw 26 pitches of live batting practice this morning on the main diamond at George M. Steinbrenner Field, saying that he felt good and it was exciting to finally be facing real hitters.
“I was a hair off with my command, but I sort of anticipated that, having not been in a somewhat adrenaline-filled pitching scenario,” Hughes said. “Other than that, I felt great. I felt like the ball was coming out pretty good, so that’s a first step.”
He reported no issues from the bulging disk that sidelined him earlier in camp. Hughes’ next outing will come in a simulated game on Monday and he believes there is still time to be ready for the Opening Day roster.
The Yankees trimmed their spring roster prior to tonight’s game, optioning outfielder Zoilo Almonte, infielder Corban Joseph and right-hander Adam Warren to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Almonte might be the most notable cut of the three. The Yankees had viewed him as a contender for their outfield mix and project him as a future corner outfielder. The urgency to rush the switch-hitting Almonte along was diminished by the Yanks’ signing of Ben Francisco this week.
Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz and Ronnier Mustelier are also alive in the competition for playing time.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees have signed outfielder Ben Francisco to a Minor League contract and will consider him for a roster spot this spring, general manager Brian Cashman said.
Francisco, 31, was granted his unconditional release by the Indians on Monday and quickly signed with New York. Cashman said that the Yankees had talked to Francisco over the winter about a non-roster invitation to Spring Training.
“He’s someone that’s going to compete for an extra outfielder’s spot,” Cashman said. “I think he’s definitely worthy for competition, so we’re going to take a look at him.”
Francisco is a career .257 hitter over six seasons with the Indians, Phillies, Blue Jays, Astros and Rays. He played last season with Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay, batting a combined .234 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 51 games.
He was having a good spring with Cleveland, stroking eight hits in 20 at-bats (.400), but Cashman said that his chances of contributing to the club had diminished because the Indians signed free agents Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.
“The circumstances and opportunities over there may have changed for him,” Cashman said. “Circumstances and opportunities here have opened up, so we’ll see what we see.”
Francisco will join the mix of competitors looking to fill in for the injured Curtis Granderson, as well as serve as a right-handed outfield bat off the bench. The Yankees have been strongly considering veterans Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz for those roles.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees’ injury-riddled spring took another serious hit on Wednesday, as the team announced Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira will miss eight to 10 weeks with a strained tendon in his right wrist.
Teixeira was evaluated on Wednesday by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser. Teixeira has been advised to have four weeks of complete rest in New York and will not rejoin the Yankees in Florida this spring.
Not great news today but you have to roll with the punches.Going to work my tail off to get back soon and help my #Yankees win #28.
— Mark Teixeira (@teixeiramark25) March 7, 2013
Teixeira was diagnosed with an ECU tendon sprain, which is a similar injury to the one that Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista suffered last season at Yankee Stadium. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that surgery will not be required.
Teixeira told the team he felt a pop in his wrist while hitting off a tee with Team USA’s World Baseball Classic squad on Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz. He was scratched from the lineup and flew to New York for further tests to reveal the severity of the strain.
With Teixeira expected to be out of the lineup until the middle of May, the Yankees suddenly have a new lineup headache to contemplate, having already lost slugger Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks to a fractured right forearm.
“Two of the guys that you probably expected to hit in the middle won’t be there Opening Day,” Girardi said. “We’ll put it together. We have 3 1/2 weeks to decide.”
Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman said that the team will be evaluating both first basemen and third basemen as the spring continues, since Kevin Youkilis offers versatility in having played both first and third bases during his career.
“He provides flexibility,” Cashman said. “The problem is, if you move Youk, we need someone to play third. Youk can do first, it’s a layup, he’s great at it. But we’d need a third baseman, that’s the problem.”
The Yankees have been taking a look at Dan Johnson at both infield corners, and could also consider Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez at third base. Girardi said that he is ready to consider “everyone who’s in camp.”
“Third base is difficult,” Cashman said. “First base is always an easier position to fill than third.”
While Juan Rivera has played some first base, Cashman said that the Yankees look at him more as an outfielder. Cashman also ruled out the idea that Travis Hafner – who has not played first base since 2007 – would do anything other than serve as a designated hitter given his lengthy injury history.
“He’s a field goal kicker, which is fine,” Cashman said. “I know what I got, and I want him to be that, but he hasn’t picked up a glove in seven years. I’m not making fun of him, he’s just someone that is an amazing hitter but he has a history of injuries. We’re not going to put him in a position by trying to put a glove on him to get him hurt. He’s our DH.”
Cashman said that his staff must use the rest of the spring to evaluate what is in camp with the Yankees, as well as to make phone calls and explore what is available elsewhere.
He did not mince words, however, about a general lack of optimism that the Yankees will be able to find better options outside the organization than what they already have assembled in camp.
“It’s not the time of year to make any move,” Cashman said. “Usually movement takes place after the [June First-Year Player] Draft, unless people are trying to cut garbage.”
This isn’t the kind of report the Yankees were hoping to get about Mark Teixeira’s time with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Teixeira had to be scratched from Tuesday’s lineup for an exhibition against the White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., and an MRI has revealed a strained right wrist.
The Yankees said Teixeira will be further evaluated in New York on Wednesday by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad along with Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser.
Manager Joe Girardi said in Tampa that he has spoken to Gene Monahan, who is serving as the trainer for Joe Torre’s club. X-rays were taken, which were negative.
“He was taking swings in the cage and felt something in his hand or wrist,” Girardi said.
The injury will force Teixeira to leave the Classic. Initial estimates are that the strain will cost Teixeira seven to 10 days, but Girardi said that if the injury proves serious, their in-house candidates to play first base include Juan Rivera, Dan Johnson and Kevin Youkilis.
Teixeira tweeted the following on Tuesday evening:
— Mark Teixeira (@teixeiramark25) March 6, 2013
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t escape unscathed from his parachute jump with the Army Golden Knights on Monday, but said that he still considered the event to have been an “awesome experience.”
Cashman’s first jump with the Golden Knights went perfectly at the Homestead Air Force Base, and the GM agreed to go back up for a second jump. That one didn’t go quite as well, and Cashman felt a pop in his ankle upon landing. X-rays revealed he suffered a broken right fibula and a dislocated right ankle, and Cashman is scheduled to have surgery on Monday evening.
“I’m in great spirits, and it was an awesome experience,” Cashman said in a statement released by the Yankees. “The Golden Knights are first class. While I certainly didn’t intend to raise awareness in exactly this fashion, I’m extremely happy that the Wounded Warrior Project is getting the well-deserved additional attention.”
Cashman was participating in the event to help raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“It’s an opportunity to do something that a lot of people don’t do or will ever do, so that’s awesome,” Cashman said last week. “It’s called living. But it’s not on my list of something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m kind of excited for the opportunity to do it, but at the same time, big-time nervous about doing it.”
When Curtis Granderson returns to the Yankees’ outfield, he will do so as the center fielder, manager Joe Girardi confirmed on Sunday.
Girardi told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that he has decided to abandon the experiment of playing Granderson in left field with Brett Gardner moving to center field. Granderson is sidelined until May with a fractured right forearm.
“We don’t really have the chance to work on it,” Girardi said. “It’s just something that I’ve thought about. I don’t know how many games he would have in his rehab coming back, and that’s a concern for me. So I want him to be comfortable wherever he’s at, because his bat’s real important to us.”
Girardi added that if the Yankees take outfield prospect Melky Mesa on the roster to begin the season, he would play Mesa in center field and have Gardner in left field.
“Hypothetically, if Mesa’s the guy that goes, he’s played mostly center field,” Girardi said. “So Gardy would have to move to left in that situation.”
The Yankees are also considering Zoilo Almonte, Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera and Ronnier Mustelier among their choices to fill in for Granderson in April. If those players were in the lineup, Gardner would have to play center field with Ichiro Suzuki in right field.
“Until I sort out what we have, it’s going to be kind of difficult to determine how we do it,” Girardi said.