The Yankees will scatter to the winds for the All-Star break after this afternoon’s game against the Twins. Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera will represent the team in the festivities across town at Citi Field, while everyone else will reconvene to open a three-game series in Boston on Friday evening.
With the first half of the season about to fade into the rear-view mirror, manager Joe Girardi said that his Yankees — holding a 51-43 record and six games back in the American League East entering play Sunday — have gotten through their schedule in decent shape.
“I think our guys have done probably about as well as we can do,” Girardi said on Sunday morning. “There’s some games that I thought we had a chance to win, a hit here or a hit there, we might have won some games. I’m very appreciative of what they’ve given us and we’ll continue to try to press on.”
Expectations were lowered coming into the season after the Yankees downgraded their offense, and injuries to players like Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis and Francisco Cervelli did nothing to help that. But despite a cast of replacements, Girardi said that he does not think the Yankees have exceeded their limits.
“I don’t think so,” Girardi said. “I told you, I expected to win with this group and that’s what they’ve done, and we’ll continue to try and do it.”
The Yankees just sent out this one-paragraph statement from Derek Jeter, who did not meet with the media this afternoon here at Yankee Stadium:
JULY 12, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT FROM DEREK JETER
“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else you want me to say. I worked hard to get to the point of rejoining the team yesterday. It’s not how you draw it up, but hopefully I’ll be back out there soon and help this team win some games.”
Derek Jeter felt his right quadriceps tighten up late in the Yankees’ 8-4 win over the Royals, according to manager Joe Girardi.
Jeter is being sent for an MRI but told Girardi he should be able to play tomorrow.
“I felt good up until that point. We’ll see. … I hope it’s not a big deal,” he said.
Girardi said he’d be more inclined to DH Jeter rather than play him at shortstop if he’s available. Jeter said it happened during his third at bat.
The Yankees are “aggressively pushing” trades involving Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, citing an American League executive.
Rosenthal’s source hears that the Yankees are talking about deals involving both players, but that nothing is close.
Both Chamberlain and Hughes are eligible for free agency after the season. In Chamberlain’s case, if the Yankees can make a trade from their bullpen depth to help acquire any sort of offensive improvement, it might make a world of sense for general manager Brian Cashman.
Michael Young sounds like a nice fit, but Rosenthal later tweeted that the Phillies are not one of the teams pursuing Chamberlain.
Chamberlain, as you’ll recall, was unhappy this spring about being slotted into a middle relief role. He’d likely welcome the chance to shine again as a setup man or even a closer — and, if a team is really daring next year, Chamberlain could even go to camp competing to be a starting pitcher. The Yankees won’t touch that argument again.
Hughes is also primed for a big winter payday at the head of an otherwise thin free agent starting pitcher crop — the comparison that has been tossed around quite a bit has been Edwin Jackson’s four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs. The Yankees still have the dual objectives of signing Robinson Cano to a long-term deal and getting their payroll as close to $189 million as possible, so if they accomplish both, there may not be room for a Hughes deal too.
There should be a decent trade market for Hughes, who has been a solid big league starter but seems to have been hurt by his early ace hype — remember Jason Giambi dubbing him “Pocket Rocket,” as in a smaller version of Roger Clemens? With Hughes’ fairly inconsistent track record in New York and well-examined propensity for giving up home runs, it has been suggested that a change of scenery (maybe to a larger National League ballpark) could be in the cards.
The Yankees have shipped Derek Jeter’s equipment to the Bronx, reports the New York Post’s George A. King. Can the captain be far behind?
Jeter is scheduled to play in another Minor League rehabilitation game tonight for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but the Yankees appear to be preparing for the 39-year-old to make the jump back to the big leagues — perhaps as soon as this weekend.
They can obviously use whatever help Jeter might be able to provide; the Yankees have lost three straight games going into tonight’s matchup with the Royals, mustering just one run in each contest.
Jeter, of course, has not played in a big league game since Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series. He is working his way back from two fractured bones in his left ankle.
Eduardo Nunez has been activated from the disabled list and is starting at shortstop this afternoon for the Yankees against the Orioles here in the Bronx. Nunez had a good day yesterday for Double-A Trenton and the Yankees felt he’d be ready to make the jump into action.
In a corresponding roster move, right-hander David Phelps has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that an MRI taken yesterday showed the strain, and Phelps will be shut down from throwing for 10 days.
Girardi also announced that Hiroki Kuroda will start on Sunday against the Orioles. Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova have been listed as the probable starters for Monday through Wednesday against the Royals.
Today’s Yankees transactions:
=Returned from rehab and reinstated SS Eduardo Nunez from the 60-day disabled list
=Placed RHP David Phelps on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain (retroactive to 7/5)
=Transferred 1B Mark Teixeira to 60-day disabled list
Also, SS Derek Jeter will begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in their 7:05 game vs. Lehigh Valley. RHP Michael Pineda is scheduled to start for the Railriders.
We have a new leader in the clubhouse for ‘Most Creative Mariano Rivera Farewell Gift.’ In a pre-game ceremony tonight, the Minnesota Twins gave Rivera a rocking chair made out of broken bats. According to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, several of the bats were broken by Rivera himself over the years, including one of the Kirby Puckett models.
The Twins also made a $10,000 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation. The chair was Gardenhire’s idea, according to the Twins. (Photo credit: @Twins)
Phil Hughes and Samuel Deduno make up the pitching matchup tonight here at Target Field as the Yankees try to make it two in a row after winning last night’s series opener with the Twins by a 10-4 final. It’s gorgeous here in Minneapolis, and while I never really had a problem with the Metrodome, nights like this are exactly why the Twins wanted to get back outdoors.
Here’s what’s cooking with the Yanks:
- Alex Rodriguez is, as you surely know, on the field with the Class-A Charleston Riverdogs against the Rome Braves in Charleston, S.C. He hit into a 5-4-3 double play in his first at-bat. Eduardo Nunez is also in Charleston on a Minor League rehab assignment, since the weather has been so poor in the Tampa area. I’m curious to know what kind of big league dinner spread A-Rod is going to spring for tonight.
- Jayson Nix has been added to the list of the injured and walking wounded. Nix felt his right hamstring grab legging out his ninth inning double last night, and while the Yankees believe Nix might be able to play on Wednesday, this leaves them with a two-man bench (Austin Romine & Vernon Wells). At least Wells has shown he can play the infield in an emergency; don’t be surprised if that needs to happen again.
- Speaking of Wells, he was out for early batting practice. He said that he and hitting coach Kevin Long have been working on having Wells use his backside more at the plate and not relying so much on his hands.
- Mark Teixeira had surgery to repair the torn tendon sheath in his right wrist on Monday in New York. See you in Spring Training, Tex.
- Robinson Cano was spotted taking right-handed swings in the batting cage underneath Target Field this afternoon, making very loud contact against hitting coach Kevin Long, and it was a strange sight. Cano said that he always takes a few cuts from the right side of the plate to loosen up his right oblique; pretty impressive stuff nevertheless considering I can barely swing the bat from my natural side.
- The Twins are honoring Mariano Rivera tonight. He had an event with longtime Twins employees and fans in the owner’s suite this afternoon but it was closed to the media. They’ll have an on-field ceremony before first pitch.
Andy Pettitte needs one strikeout to tie Whitey Ford’s franchise record of 1,957 strikeouts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and he’ll try for that punchout and several more tonight as the Yankees open a four-game series against the Twins at Target Field.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series here in Minneapolis as the Yankees try to snap a five-game losing streak that has seen them dip into fourth place in the American League East, 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox:
July 1: LHP Andy Pettitte (5-6, 4.22) vs. LHP Scott Diamond (5-7, 5.40), 8:10 p.m. ET
July 2: RHP Phil Hughes (3-7, 4.82) vs. RHP Samuel Deduno (4-2, 3.32), 8:10 p.m.ET
July 3: LHP CC Sabathia (8-6, 4.15) vs. RHP P.J. Walters (2-4, 6.03), 8:10 p.m. ET
July 4: RHP David Phelps (5-5, 4.95) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 3.00), 12:10 p.m. ET
BALTIMORE — Brett Gardner’s name has not yet appeared on any of the All-Star balloting updates for the American League roster, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi is hoping that oversight will be corrected.
“I think he’s worthy of being on the All-Star team,” Girardi said. “I think he’s had a great first half defensively, offensively. He’s played every day. I believe he’s an All-Star.”
Gardner, 29, entered play on Saturday batting .288 with seven home runs, 29 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 79 games for New York, coming back from a season in which he was limited to just 16 games due to a right elbow injury.
He has hit safely in 26 of 32 games since May 24, batting .331 (41-for-124) over that span. Gardner has posted a .347 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage entering play on Saturday.
The only Yankees outfielder to rank near the top of any previous All-Star balloting update this season was Ichiro Suzuki, who clocked in at 15th among outfielders in each checkpoint. Robinson Cano has led AL second basemen at each checkpoint.