Rivalry weekend continues as Yankees host Sox

We’ve got a quick turnaround here at Yankee Stadium following last night’s ninth-inning theatrics, as the Yankees and Red Sox prepare to face off for the second game of this three-game weekend series. Nathan Eovaldi and David Price comprise the pitching matchup, linking back up after they faced off in the Sunday night showdown at Fenway Park.

Eovaldi was knocked around for six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings that night, but the Yankees put up six runs on Price, who battled to stay in the game for seven innings and got the win in Boston’s 8-7 victory. Clearly the Yankees will be looking for a better performance today from Eovaldi, who is one start removed from taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Texas.

“NOW BATTING FOR THE YANKEES”

CLUBHOUSE REPORT

There are no plans to place Jacoby Ellsbury (right hip tightness) on the disabled list, but Joe Girardi said that he expects it to be a couple of days before Ellsbury will play again. It sounds like you can rule him out for the Red Sox series and maybe for Monday vs. Kansas City, also known as Aroldis Chapman Day.

Who’s the Yankees’ closer this afternoon? Great question. They don’t have Dellin Betances, who has appeared in three straight games, and Andrew Miller has to be gassed after his four-out save last night. I suggest the Wheel O’ Closers. Just tryin’ to help.

Speaking of Chapman, he will meet the media tomorrow at 4 p.m. here at Yankee Stadium. He has been pitching in chain-link baseball down in Tampa and I’m sure he can’t wait to face some big league hitters. Girardi reiterated today that Chapman will be the Yankees’ closer.

CC Sabathia spoke and said that his groin strain doesn’t feel quite as severe as his last one, which cost him three weeks. Sabathia is still hopeful that he will only miss the minimum 15 days. Ivan Nova is taking his spot in the rotation in the meantime.

QUOTE TO NOTE

“[Girardi] wouldn’t let me go back out. I just figured I would say something after the game. I wasn’t going to say anything after the game either, but then I came in and it was sore, so I felt like I needed to get some treatment.” – Sabathia, on why he didn’t tell the Yankees immediately about his groin injury. 

STAT SO?

MLB Statcast has some good stuff on Aaron Hicks’ home run last night. The distance was recorded at 446 feet and its exit velocity was 107 mph. It was the longest homer hit by a Yankee this season.

Chase Headley is still looking for his first extra-base hit of 2016, entering play on Saturday with 84 plate appearances. The next-most plate appearances without an extra-base hit this year: the Angels’ Rafael Ortega (56), who was optioned to the Minors on Friday.

ON THIS DATE

1999: Two Japanese-born starting pitchers faced each other for the first time in Major League history, as the Yankees’ Hideki Irabu went up against the Mariners’ Mac Suzuki. Both pitchers worked scorelessly into the fifth inning before the Yankees scored three runs en route to a 10-1 victory.

Andrew Miller wins wild showdown with David Ortiz

Red Sox Yankees Baseball

Cough, cough. Little dusty in here. Been a while, huh? Hello again. We’ll try not to stay away so long again.

Here are some links from our coverage of last night’s game, a 3-2 Yankees victory over the Red Sox in the Bronx.

The victory was the Yankees’ second in three games (wow!) and improved their record to 10-17.

Yanks prevail after Papi milestone, meltdown

Miller escapes ninth-inning jam for 6th save

Known for arm, Hicks makes impact with bat

Ellsbury day to day with strained right hip

CC placed on DL; Nova slides into rotation

A-Rod diagnosed with Grade ‘one-plus’ hamstring strain

2009 Yankee Phil Coke returns to provide bullpen depth

 

Yankees gathering for first full squad workout

Yankees Spring Baseball

The 2016 Yankees will be on the field as a unit for the first time this morning at George M. Steinbrenner Field, with manager Joe Girardi addressing the squad just before they lace up to be on the main diamond at 11:30 a.m.

“It’s good,” Girardi said. “[Wednesday] was a little bit different just because you didn’t really have the entire group on the field or in the room at the same time, but it was good to see them filter in.”

Handshakes and hugs all around, as the gang’s pretty much all here: the only Yankee not to report so far has been infielder Ronald Torreyes, who was delayed with a visa issue. He is expected in camp today.

Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with our Spring Training coverage on yankees.com for the last several weeks – if not, shame on you! Here’s some morning reading to catch you up from the official report date for pitchers and catchers:

Cashman: “More likely” Yankees hold on to Gardner, Miller

Brett Gardner

While the Yankees continue to attempt to shake up their roster and the upcoming Winter Meetings with a significant swap, general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that the club will probably hold on to Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller, two of their most appealing trade chips.

“I think it’d be more likely that we keep them than move them,” Cashman said. “I say that recognizing that if somebody wants to ring a bell that I’ve put out there, then that could happen as early as tomorrow. But if I’m predicting anything, I’d predict that they would be here, not somewhere else.”

Cashman spoke between rappels down the side of Stamford’s 22-story Landmark Building, joined by MLB.com correspondent Lindsay Berra, Fox 5 sports anchor Duke Castiglione and FOX News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth as they prepared for Sunday’s ‘Heights and Lights’ winter celebration.

We’ll have a full rundown on MLB.com & Yankees.com shortly, but here are some quick hits from Friday’s chats:

Cashman’s expectations for the Winter Meetings: “Everybody is waiting for [Zack] Greinke to sign and [Jason] Heyward to sign and [Darren] O’Day to sign – I read that O’Day is holding up the relief market. On the free agent side, once guys start coming off the board you start seeing some things take place and move faster, but it’s hard to predict. It’s really hard to predict. It’s like the trade deadline: usually there’s just a flurry of activity. It’s been very, very, very busy with conversations. Doesn’t mean it will lead to anything. I’ve had so many conversations – it feels like more this winter than any winter – but I’ve only made one move which is the [Aaron] Hicks-[John Ryan] Murphy swap, and that’s because despite every conversation, either my opponents I’m dealing with or clearly myself are not willing to match. It might be good enough for me but not good enough for them, and vice versa. So we’ll keep running through it.”

Cashman on Ivan Nova’s value: “I think he’s an asset. If you see the marketplace out there too, the asset becomes even more valuable. At the very least a one-year guy that’s on his free agent drive, that’s healthy, that you know will give you 200 innings, and he’s probably going to wind up to have his best performance as he enters the free agent market so he can put himself in a great position to secure the best contract he possibly can. … As of right now, he’s valuable to me, no doubt about it, unless somebody makes me think otherwise. One thing I can write down: Who’s more likely to give me 200 innings next year? I would easily say Nova.”

Cashman on the Red Sox signing David Price:  “I wasn’t surprised. The rumor was the Boston was going to get him at all costs. That’s what you read, and that’s what happened.”

Cashman on the chances of signing a big free agent: “I think in terms of any significant, newsworthy type of acquisition, it’d be more likely to be on the trade front than a free agent signing. That doesn’t mean there won’t be something out of a free agent signing. But if you’re playing the odds, the odds are more likely for us to either make a trade, or not do anything. But we’ll see.”

Cashman on meeting with free agents in Nashville: “I don’t know if I’ll meet with any free agents. I definitely won’t meet with any free agent players. I’m not averse to meeting with agents, but I’m a big believer in having a productive use of my time, so I could just as easily have a phone conversation, rather than having to set up a sit-down meeting. I know the landscape I’m operating in, so I’ll just try to have to have a phone conversation rather than try to navigate that hotel.”

Cashman on Gary Sanchez as the backup catcher: “He’s going to take a significant run at it. I’m not promising him the position, but he’s clearly continued his domination of development, which has pushed him into the mix, and made me comfortable enough to trade from that area of depth, and move murphy to Minnesota. I didn’t want to move Murph. But the Hicks acquisition fits our needs as we move forward better. Gary gave us the comfort to move from an area of strength. And we still have Romine, so right now the competition would be between Romine and Sanchez, and if something presents itself between now and then.”

Injury updates: “[Mark Teixeira is] out of his boot. He’s, I’d say, healthy. He’s walking around, doing activities. I can’t say if he’s running yet or not so I can’t give you an update on that. [Masahiro] Tanaka is reporting for Japan this week at some point. He finished his physical therapy at the Hospital for Special Surgery under the tutelage of Dr. [David] Altchek. I think he’s scheduled to fly off to Japan sometime in the next week. He’s got a throwing program, so he should be good to go in the spring, but I’m sure we’ll be careful with him nonetheless.

“[Nathan Eovaldi] finished his rehab off and he was ready to pop on the roster if we were fortunate enough to get to Kansas City. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. So no, no concern. He’s got a normal winter routine that he can execute.”

“You’ve got to look at every avenue you can to improve your club”

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Photo: New York Yankees

Joe Girardi was at Yankee Stadium this morning, joining David Cone and broadcaster Michael Kay along with more than 250 volunteers to help the USO create comfort packages for active duty service members.

While taking a 10-minute break from the assembly line, Girardi met with several reporters for a wide-ranging discussion, touching upon many of the topics that will develop over the weeks to come. Here are some of the highlights:

On general manager Brian Cashman saying he is ‘open to anything’:

“I think we’re always trying to figure out ways to improve the club. Sometimes it’s not necessarily through the free agent route, it can be through trade routes. We had some success in the trades that we made last year in acquiring Didi [Gregorius] and acquiring Justin Wilson and how big of a role that they played in our club. I think we’re going to continue to look at that. Obviously I like the guys on our club. I love how hard they played for us, but the goal is to win and win a World Series. I think when you talk about that, you’ve got to look at every avenue you can to improve your club.”

On needing a right-handed bat if they don’t retain Chris Young:

“I think balance is extremely important in a lineup. Obviously we had switch-hitters in the lineup. We lost a big one in Tex down the stretch. That was something that hurt us against left-handed pitching. I think a right-handed bat can help.”

New York Yankees' Brett Gardner, right, is congratulated by Alex Rodriguez after scoring against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. Gardner scored on a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

On Brett Gardner’s lingering injuries:

“You can look at it, he got hit in April I believe it was and that’s when it first started. May, June, July were all great, and he comes out and has that day against Toronto. Obviously everyone is dealing with something and you try to balance. It’s like, all these things that come across my desk on a daily basis, you’re saying, ‘OK, is this guy healthy enough to play? We need him out there.’ Those are things that you have to balance. It wasn’t just Brett. There were a number of guys that we had to deal with during the course of the year. Pitchers that we had to deal with, position players. You just try to balance it the best way you can.”

On talking to CC Sabathia:

“I have. He sounds great. Obviously I’m proud of how he stepped up and went and got help. He was pitching really well at the end of the season for us. Hopefully this continues to help and he has a great season for us next year.”

On the chances of Sabathia not being one of the starters:

“If he’s pitching the way he was at the end of the year, I don’t see that. I see him in our starting rotation. Obviously there’s going to be a number of people that are vying for those five spots. We have [Masahiro] Tanaka coming off that little minor elbow surgery that he’s coming off of that we’re going to have to deal with and see where he’s at. We expect him to be back on time. We were in a situation last year where we had to watch innings for certain guys. If he’s pitching well, he’s going to be in our rotation.”

On surprise over Tanaka’s surgery:

Masahiro Tanaka“He really didn’t have a lot of treatment on it, no. Guys sometimes, adrenaline can get them through a lot of different things. Like I said, guys are used to feeling some things during the course of the season and they play through it. That’s just the way it is. There’s a number of players at the end of the year that you don’t really hear a whole lot about that go have surgery, just to get some things tidied up. It didn’t keep him from making a start, it was never an issue. It really never came across my desk that he was having a lot of problems. It wasn’t what I expected at the end of the year. I didn’t go into the last week of the season saying I knew he needed surgery, because I didn’t.”

On Alex Rodriguez’s World Series TV experience:

“I think he did a good job. It’s not easy. The first time you do it, it’s actually somewhat stressful. And in an arena where he’s usually comfortable, at a ballpark, it’s a whole lot different when those lights go on and you’re expected to say something that’s insightful and not embarrass yourself, so I think he did a good job.”

On the Mets:

“I think they did a tremendous job, and their young players stepped up and pitched extremely well. Their offense got hot at the right time of the season. You don’t necessarily need motivation from outside sources. Our guys are motivated from within the organization, extremely motivated from within, and that’s why we put the uniform in.”

On if New York is a Mets city now:

“That’s always going to be a debate. Every year that’s going to be a debate. The bottom line is, we live in a great baseball city. That’s the bottom line. You have two teams that, there are high expectations moving forward, which I think is great. The play on the field determines which team is playing the latest and which team is talked about the most.”

On Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder at second base:

“We’re going to have to see how the roster shakes out. I thought Ref did a pretty decent job at the and of the year for us. Especially when he didn’t play for 18 or 19 days, which was really pretty amazing. Lets just see how the offseason goes and we’ll go from there.”

Justin WilsonOn the Francisco Cervelli-Justin Wilson trade, one year ago:

“I think one of our strengths of our team was our bullpen and Cervy, if he was here, he would have gotten playing time but then again, Brian McCann would have been our everyday catcher. So, I think it worked out well for both clubs. Justin Wilson was extremely important to us and was a big part of our strength. We felt if we had the lead after six innings we were going to nail it down. And it wasn’t necessarily I couldn’t just shuffle those guys and put them in any order; they all did the job, so, it worked out well for both clubs.”

On Gary Sanchez, and the Yanks’ catching situation:

“I’m watching. My thought is it will be [Brian] McCann and [John Ryan] Murphy, but who knows what’s going to happen in the offseason, what you decide to do. The young man (Sanchez) had a really good year, made a lot of improvements. Played extremely well in the Fall League, off the charts, so I mean it’s something that we’re going to look at. It’s something that if you have an everyday catcher, you have to weigh the idea: do you want him to play once or twice a week or do you want him to continue to develop his traits? That’s something we’ll have to look at.”

On improving for 2016:

“We were one of 10 teams that made the playoffs. You look at our series with the Mets — and I know it’s during the regular season — and Kansas City, we played pretty well against those clubs. Kansas City, obviously, you look at their club, they played extremely well, but there are going to be changes there. So, yeah, I think we have to make a few tweaks and stay out of that one-game playoff so your whole team can take effect.”

On avoiding the one-game Wild Card playoff:

“I think that’s how we thought last year. I don’t think that’s going to change. I never said: let’s just get in. I really wanted to win our division because there are too many things that can go wrong in a one game playoff, that’s the problem. So, it will be to win our division.”

On the bullpen, and any possibility of dealing Andrew Miller:

“You would like to keep everything intact, but I think you have to weigh: does whatever we do make us better? And if we feel it makes us better, I think we have to do it. Yes, that was a strength of our club, those guys pitched extremely well and were dominant and if we had the lead after six innings, we won ballgames. If we feel it would improve our club, I’m sure we’ll try to make a deal.”

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