Archive for the ‘ Notes and Quotes ’ Category

Yankees Notebook for Sept. 10

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Last game: Rays 4, Yankees 3. Hiroki Kuroda turned in his shortest start of the season, and the decisive play in the game turned out to be a fifth-inning tag at home plate in which Stephen Drew was called out on a tag by catcher Ryan Hanigan.

At the Yankees’ urging, the umpires reviewed the call for a possible violation of Rule 7.13, which MLB had clarified earlier in the day via a memorandum sent to all 30 clubs. The call on the field was confirmed, Drew was out, and the Yankees went quietly the rest of the way against the Rays bullpen as the one-run lead held up.

My very quick take on that: Third-base coach Rob Thomson put the blame on himself for sending Drew in that situation, and he’s right, it was a terrible send. Now, Rule 7.13 or not, the throw was coming directly to home plate from left field, so I’m not sure where you’d want Hanigan to set up. It’s a clean baseball play that has worked that way for more than a century, and not to oversimplify it, but … Drew never touched home plate. He should be out, same way he’d have been in 2013, or in tee-ball, Little League or whatever level you want to talk about.

Joe Girardi said that he told his players to run the catcher over in the future. Mark Teixeira was pleased that the home plate collision rule seems to be going back to the way it was in ’13 and prior.

Postseason picture: With 20 games remaining on the schedule, the Yankees (73-69) open play tonight 5 1/2 games behind the Royals (79-64) and Tigers (80-65) for the second Wild Card, also needing to jump the Mariners, Blue Jays and Indians. They’d have to go 16-4 to get to 89 wins. Baseball Prospectus gives the Yankees a 0.7% chance of winning the Wild Card.

Headlines

Masahiro Tanaka threw 45 pitches in a simulated game yesterday at Yankee Stadium, and the organization seems to be getting excited about the idea that Tanaka will be able to return to make at least one start this season. It may not mean much in the standings by then, the way things are looking, but it’d be good for Tanaka’s peace of mind as he heads back to Japan for what the Yankees hope is a normal offseason. If you can’t count on Tanaka to be in the Opening Day rotation for 2015, you’d rather know that for planning purposes now.

The Yankees are adding an Appalachian League affiliate for 2015; say hello to the Pulaski Yankees. Brian Cashman and Reggie Jackson were in Virginia yesterday for the announcement. The Yankees haven’t decided if the Pulaski team will replace one of their two Gulf Coast League clubs or if it’ll be in addition to them. The Appy League could be a good landing spot for prospects who come out of the Draft from high school.

There is no timetable for Brett Gardner (abdominal strain) and Martin Prado (hamstring strain) return to the lineup.

Jamal Collier was at the Yogi Berra Museum for the unveiling of an exhibit honoring Pete Frates, one of the driving forces behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Derek Jeter played in his 2,730th career game, tying the New York Giants’ Mel Ott for eighth place all time among Major Leaguers who played all of their games with one team…also ties Ott for the most games by any player for a New York Major League Baseball team (credit: Elias).

They said it

“If I had to do it again, I’d probably do it the other way because of the outcome. It’s over and done with and can’t do [anything] about it, but like I said, just looking at the review, it was kind of hard. As a runner, in your mind, you can tell that what I saw was, there’s nowhere to go. The only other alternative was just old school way, knock him out.” – Stephen Drew

“Just a bad send. Just an error on my judgment. I take full responsibility for it. We’re all accountable around here. It just wasn’t a good decision. Nobody out, the middle of the lineup coming to the plate, I’ve got to stop him right there. I thought the outfielder was going a little bit further to the line, he came up and squared up pretty quick. I should’ve stopped him.” – Rob Thomson

“They sent out a memo today that you basically can [block the plate] if you have the ball in plenty of time. That’s been in the rule book forever, but you almost have to encourage the runner to run him over there and that’s what they’re trying to get away from. I wish they would just say it’s back to normal and if you go out of your way to run the catcher over, you’re suspended. You know, I almost feel like you have to instruct your runners to run the guy over because every advantage is almost to the catcher now.” – Joe Girardi

“We are in a crucial time right now, we are in must-win situations, and the fact that I couldn’t contribute is disappointing.” – Hiroki Kuroda

Up next

The Rays and Yankees play the second game of their three game series tonight. The scheduled starters are Chris Capuano (1-2, 4.40) for the Yankees and Jake Odorizzi (10-11, 3.84) for the Rays. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Here’s the game preview.

Beat the Streak

I’m going with Brian McCann, who is 3-for-5 lifetime vs. Odorizzi. Current streak is at three after Jacoby Ellsbury homered last night.

No regrets for Derek Jeter as the finish line approaches

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Derek Jeter is well into the last third of what will be his final Major League season, and in case you were wondering, the Yankees captain has not felt the need to second-guess his decision.

“I think you just realize it. I don’t know if there’s necessarily a magic formula that tells you it’s time to retire,” Jeter said. “I just felt like this was the right time for me. I’ve done it long enough, I look forward to doing other things, so I decided this was going to be my last year.”

Jeter participated in a Spanish-language press conference on Friday at Yankee Stadium, touching upon many of the themes that have accompanied his last campaign. He said that the multiple standing ovations he has received at road stadiums have created his most treasured memories of the season so far.

“That’s been awesome. It’s been overwhelming for me,” Jeter said. “It’s not something that I expected. The way the fans have treated me everywhere I’ve gone has been above and beyond my wildest dreams.

“Especially when we’ve gone to some of these stadiums where I’m used to being booed, to have them cheering for you — that’s definitely the memories that I’ll take from this last season.”

As the Yankees fight to gain entry into the postseason, entering play on Friday trailing the Tigers by four games for the second Wild Card, Jeter’s personal focus has not changed.

“I want to win. That’s it. It doesn’t get any more complicated from that,” he said. “When you’re playing, you want to win. That’s the mindset I’ve always had, that’s the mindset I’ll have until my last game. I enjoy competing and when you compete you want to win. That’s the last thing I want to do.”

Jeter once again reiterated that he hopes to be part of an ownership group in his post-playing days, and that he would have no interest in being a manager, coach or general manager. Jeter also said that he does not expect to feel any pangs of regret when the Yankees take the field without him next spring.

“How am I going to feel when the team is in Spring Training in Tampa? I’m going to feel good,” Jeter said. “I won’t have to get up, I won’t have to work out, I won’t have to go to sleep at a particular hour. So I’m looking forward to it.”


Carlos Beltran was scheduled to resume swinging the bat on Friday as the Yankees hope to have him available for their lineup this weekend.

“He’s going to try to take some swings today,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We hope it works and then we get him in a game. It wouldn’t happen today, but he’s going to take some swings today.”

Beltran had a cortisone injection in his troublesome right elbow on Wednesday, his third cortisone shot of the year. This is likely a last-ditch effort to keep Beltran active; he has said that the elbow has a bone spur that will require surgery after the season.

Due in large part to the injury, which first started bothering Beltran in May, the slugger’s first season in pinstripes has been underwhelming. Beltran has batted .233 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs in 90 games this year, his first under a three-year, $45 million deal.


Girardi applauded his players for holding an impromptu hitters’ meeting before Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Astros. According to Chase Headley, the theme of the meeting was that “enough is enough” and the offense needs to show more life.

“I’ve said all along, these guys have worked hard and they’re trying to figure it out,” Girardi said. “Whatever it takes, it takes. They’re going to do whatever it takes to try to get better and try to be more productive. I am all for that.”


Yankees right-hander David Robertson rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Robertson’s next strikeout will give him 500 for his career, surpassing David Cone as the fastest pitcher in franchise history to reach that plateau, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Cone had 500 strikeouts in his first 486 1/3 Yankees innings; Robertson has pitched 376 career innings.


On this date in 1996, the Yankees claimed infielder Luis Sojo off waivers from the Mariners. Sojo would go on to win four World Series with the Yankees (’96, 1998, 1999 and 2000), and also appeared in the 2001 Fall Classic.

Carlos Beltran nearing return to outfield play

Carlos Beltran has not played the outfield since May 11, but the veteran’s throwing program has advanced to the point where he could be an option for Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

“I think I could probably do it in the real near future,” Girardi said.

Beltran has been limited to designated hitter duties because of a bone spur in his right elbow, but the 37-year-old has said that he would prefer to be able to help out on defense.

The Yankees said that there was less urgency to rush Beltran back into the outfield because of their July 31 acquisition of Martin Prado from the D-backs, but Girardi is concerned about making sure that Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are not fatigued.

“He’s definitely feeling a lot better. It’s something that we’ll talk about pretty soon here,” Girardi said.


Masahiro Tanaka has taken his rehab on the road, making 50 tosses at a distance of 90 feet on Monday at Camden Yards, and the Yankees right-hander is said to be pain-free.

“So far, so good,” Girardi said. “He’s not throwing pitches, but he’s at 90 feet and he let it go a little bit today.”

Tanaka’s next step would be to increase his throwing distance to make some tosses at 120 feet, something that Girardi said could happen as soon as Tuesday.

After that, Girardi said, “I think you start thinking about flat ground and after that flat ground you start thinking about a mound. I don’t have a date for that.”

Tanaka is aiming for a September return to the Yankees’ rotation and hopes to avoid surgery to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.


The Yankees selected right-hander Chris Leroux to the 25-man roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday. Following Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland, the Yankees optioned right-hander Bryan Mitchell to Triple-A.


Yankees catcher Brian McCann (concussion) “felt better” on Sunday, according to Girardi. Currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list, McCann could have another concussion test on Tuesday, and may be cleared to resume baseball activity after that.


Monday marks Derek Jeter’s 2,707th game with the Yankees, which ties the Royals’ George Brett for ninth place on the all-time list of players who have played all of their games with one team. Next on the list is the Giants’ Mel Ott (2,730).


The Eastern League announced Monday that Double-A Trenton infielder Greg Bird was been selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week for the period of Aug. 4 – Aug. 10. Bird hit .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles, three home runs, eight runs scored, three RBI, four walks and a 1.000 slugging percentage in six games for the Thunder last week.


On this date in 1929, Babe Ruth hit his 500th career home run off the Indians’ Willis Hudlin at Cleveland’s League Park. Also on this date in 1980, Reggie Jackson hit career homer No. 400 off Britt Burns of the White Sox.

David Robertson impressed by Dellin Betances’ breakout season

Dellin BetancesOne of the best compliments that you could give to David Robertson’s season is that Mariano Rivera’s name has not come up very often, but just as much, the new closer has enjoyed watching Dellin Betances’ explosion into a premier setup man.

Even Robertson, having a fine year in his own right, was wowed by Betances’ appearance on Saturday at Fenway Park. The stadium scoreboard clocked two of Betances’ eighth-inning fastballs at 101 mph.

“How could you not have fun watching that?” Robertson said. “He threw 101. Wow! I’m lucky if I hit 93 and he’s pumping it in at 101.”

Betances’ 13.22 strikeouts per nine innings in 48 relief appearances (spanning 65 1/3 innings) are the highest mark in the Majors this season, as the right-hander has learned how to harness his two-pitch repertoire into terrific results.

“I definitely think he’s exceeded [expectations],” manager Joe Girardi said. “We knew he had great stuff. We knew this would be a year he had never really experienced before, in a sense, if he got on a roll. And that’s what he’s done.”

Robertson said that Betances’ electric stuff stands out, but there is still learning on the job. Betances was developed as a starting pitcher before being transitioned to the bullpen in the Minors back in 2012.

“You do have to get used to that workload,” Robertson said. “It takes a little bit of time. Obviously you need to figure out your body first; that was my biggest key. When I’m throwing 70 or 65 appearances a year, some of them come on back-to-back-to-back days, you have to be ready to say when we play catch, just play a little bit.

“You just know that your arm feels good and you can go out there and do the job you’re supposed to do.”


Masahiro TanakaThere will be a significant checkpoint in Masahiro Tanaka’s recovery on Monday, when the right-hander is scheduled to report to Yankee Stadium and could play catch for the first time since his right elbow injury.

Monday marks the three-week point from the date that Tanaka received a platelet-rich plasma injection, which the team hoped would promote healing of his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

“We’ll see tomorrow what everyone wants to do with him, but as we said, three weeks is the mark,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He feels good, so we’ll see what we do.”

Tanaka, 25, saw team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Friday in New York and no issues were reported.

The injury interrupted a terrific debut season for Tanaka, who was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in his first 18 big league starts, earning selection as an American League All-Star. He was hurt in a July 8 start against the Indians in Cleveland, and is hoping to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery.

When the injury was diagnosed last month, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the best-case scenario of the prescribed rehab program would get Tanaka back on a Major League mound in six weeks.

It seems more likely, though, that Tanaka would return in September if he does make it back to the Majors in 2014. There is a long road ahead; essentially, what would be a second Spring Training for Tanaka.

“It’s not starting all over, because he’s been built up (stamina-wise),” Girardi said. “But it’ll be probably 60 feet, and then 60 and 90, and 90 and 120, then flat ground and bullpen and probably a rehab game.”


Michael PinedaMichael Pineda could be two starts away from re-joining the Yankees’ big league rotation.

Pineda worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings in a Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Syracuse on Sunday, scattering three hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

“He threw the ball pretty well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re pleased with the progress that he’s making and we’ll take another step.”

The right-hander, who has not pitched in the big leagues since April 23 because of a strained teres major muscle behind his pitching shoulder, tossed 58 pitches (37 for strikes).

Pineda’s next rehab start will come on Friday for a team yet to be determined, and he will throw about 75 pitches. Girardi said that Pineda would likely make one rehab start after that, increasing to 90 pitches, and then would be considered big league ready.

“At that point, you would feel from a pitch count he’s ready to join us,” Girardi said.


The Yankees were briefly concerned when Betances slipped on the mound in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 6-4 Yankees win over the Red Sox. He was fine, but it probably won’t be the last time you see the 6-foot-8 hurler overstride; Betances said that it can be difficult for him to keep his mechanics intact, but he’s working on it.

“I think I told you guys, it’s going to happen more than once and I’m sure it will happen again,” Betances said. “I slipped a little bit, and I tried to hold myself with the glove and I wasn’t able to do that. I just tried to make it look as good as possible, but it was not good.”


Carlos Beltran entered play on Sunday hitting .375 (21-for-56) with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 15 games since July 18, a sign that the discomfort in his right elbow has been manageable.

“I think he’s just being the player that we thought he would be,” Girardi said. “It was just a matter of time, but I’m sure (the elbow) has something to do with that, and maybe getting used to the brace as well.”


On this date in 1959, Yogi Berra connected for his first and only All-Star Game home run. The third-inning blast off the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale helped to lead the American League to a 5-3 victory at Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum.

Martin Prado: “I think everybody dreams to play for the Yankees”

Martin PradoMartin Prado is on his way to Boston’s Fenway Park, where the Yankees plan to use him as their starting right fielder beginning on Friday. Arizona dealt the veteran to New York in exchange for Minor League slugger Peter O’Brien and either a player to be named later or future cash considerations.

Thanks to MLB.com’s Adam Lichtenstein and Steve Gilbert, who are with the D-backs in Arizona and passed along Prado’s reaction to the trade.

Reaction: “I was getting a haircut, and I saw a missed call, and I called back, and it was [Arizona GM Kevin Towers] just letting me know I got traded to the Yankees. I wasn’t surprised. There’s a lot of trade rumors and stuff, but i wasn’t paying attention to that. And it finally happened, and I think it’s just hard to believe how quick I got traded from the Braves and now I got traded again, but that happens. This is a sport where it’s a business, and you never know where you’re going to be next year or the next day.”

“There’s way harder things out there in life than being traded to another team.”

Memorable moments in Arizona: “The support of the fans and how they were willing to let me know how, even in the struggles and bad times or good times, they were there every day. … I felt like in the short period of time, I was part of this family. Unfortunately, I’m heading a different way.”

Hearing from any Yankees: “The only call I had was Brian McCann. I played with him in Atlanta. We chatted for a little bit.”

Being in a pennant race: “I’m just looking forward to trying to find myself in a good position to play baseball. I felt like I’ve been up and down all this year, so now in a new place, we’ll see how things are going to go.”

On the Yankees: “I think everybody dreams to play for the Yankees. And I never expected that in my career.”

On playing outfield: “It happened to me in the past. I played outfield. … I don’t think there’s something that surprised me. Whatever they got me to play, whatever they want me to play, I have to be there, and I’m going to be there for my teammates.”

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