Carlos Beltran out of lineup with swollen knee

Hello from Cleveland’s Progressive Field, where the Yankees and Indians are set to open a four-game series this evening. Here are the quick hits from this evening’s notebook:

Brian McCann, Carlos BeltranCarlos Beltran was held out of the Yankees’ lineup on Monday after the switch-hitter reported mild swelling in the back of his right knee, according to manager Joe Girardi.

Beltran is scheduled to be seen by the Indians’ team doctor at Progressive Field on Monday, but Girardi said that the Yankees have not planned any other tests.

“We’re going to give him a day off. I’ll find out later on if he’s available to pinch-hit,” Girardi said. “He’ll see their doctor today and see what they think. Not a lot, but just a little bit.”

Beltran has eight hits in his last 30 at-bats, raising his average to .216 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 61 games.

“He’s been swinging the bat better,” Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s a switch-hitter that we put between our lefties and has power. He’s a run producer. It is something that we’ll miss tonight. Hopefully we get him back in there tomorrow.”


For Derek Jeter, return visits to the facility now known as Progressive Field will always produce memories of Opening Day 1996, which teammate David Cone would later refer to as Jeter’s “coming-out party.”

Jeter hit his first Major League home run, a fifth-inning solo homer off the Indians’ Dennis Martinez, and contributed a sharp catch on an Omar Vizquel pop-up in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory that afternoon.

“Your first Opening Day is pretty memorable, pretty special,” Jeter said. “I was excited for that day. We got snowed out the day before, so we had to wait a while; it seemed like we had to wait forever to get that first one underway.”

Earlier this year, Jeter said that he ranks that April 2, 1996 contest as one of his two favorite Opening Days; the other was the Yankees’ 1996 home opener, better remembered as the Andy Pettitte snow game against the Royals.

“I like playing here. I like this stadium,” Jeter said. “I’ve always liked coming here and playing. We’ve had some great battles with some really, really good Cleveland teams. They beat us in ’97, we came back and beat them in ’98. I enjoy coming here. It’s a nice stadium and the fans have always been great.”


Dellin BetancesWhen Dellin Betances reported to Spring Training, the Yankees had hoped that the hard-throwing right-hander would be able to put it all together, but it was a late March outing against the Blue Jays that made Joe Girardi really believe it was happening.

As Girardi recalled on Monday, a March 23 outing at George M. Steinbrenner Field made the Yanks’ coaches take notice. Betances entered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, leaving them that way by striking out Jose Bautista looking and getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to left field.

“He came in the bases loaded and was dominant,” Girardi said. “I thought, ‘You know what, maybe it’s clicking.’ … You could see that there was deception there and they didn’t see the ball real well off of him.”

Betances was named as one of the Yankees’ three All-Stars on Sunday, joining Derek Jeter and Masahiro Tanaka. He has a 1.61 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 37 appearances, and was selected to the squad by the player vote.

“It’s crazy, man,” Betances said. “I worked hard this offseason, had a lot of guys that helped me. I just felt ready coming into the spring. My job was to make the team, but now to be here on this day, to be an All-Star this year, I’m honored.”


Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was acquired in a trade from the D-backs on Sunday in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno, is expected to join the Yankees on Tuesday. McCarthy is scheduled to make his Yankees debut against the Indians on Wednesday.


Girardi said that he believes closer David Robertson (2.93 ERA in 26 appearances, 21-for-23 in save opportunities) deserved to be selected as an All-Star, and Girardi hopes that there is still time for that to happen.

“Obviously there’s always people that have to bow out,” he said. “I’ve said it all along; if you like people that strike people out in key situations, he’s pretty good at it. You take away his one outing against Minnesota, his numbers are as good as anyone’s in baseball. And from a strikeout ratio, even better.”


Right-hander Michael Pineda has progressed to playing catch at 90 feet. The Yankees hope to have him throw from a mound by the end of this week, with a mid-August return to the big leagues standing as his best-case scenario.

Yankees acquire Brandon McCarthy from Arizona, designate Alfonso Soriano

Prior to today’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:

· Acquired RHP Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for LHP Vidal Nuno.
· Selected RHP Bruce Billings to the 25-man roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
· Designated OF Alfonso Soriano for assignment.

Here’s the official announcement on the McCarthy trade from the Yankees:

JULY 6, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

YANKEES ACQUIRE RHP BRANDON McCARTHY FROM ARIZONA

The New York Yankees today announced they have acquired RHP Brandon McCarthy and cash considerations from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for LHP Vidal Nuno.

McCarthy, 30, is 45-60 with a 4.21 ERA (899.0IP, 941H, 421ER, 232BB, 616K) in 193 games (139 starts) over nine Major League seasons with Chicago-AL (2005-06), Texas (2007-09), Oakland (2011-12) and Arizona (2013-14). Originally drafted by the White Sox in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, the 6-foot, 7-inch California native was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA (109.2IP, 131H, 61ER, 20BB, 93K, 15HR) in 18 starts with Arizona in 2014.

Nuno, 26, was 3-7 with a 4.78 ERA (98.0IP, 52ER, 32BB, 69K, 17HR) in 22 games (17 starts) over two seasons with the Yankees (2013-14). He was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent on June 18, 2011.

Zelous Wheeler called up, Yangervis Solarte optioned to Triple-A

Yangervis Solarte, who was a bright spot for the Yankees through the first seven weeks of the season but has been mired in a terrible offensive funk since, didn’t make it to the charter flight yesterday.

With just three hits in his last 41 at-bats, Solarte has been replaced on the active roster by Zelous Wheeler, who was in camp this spring with the Yankees and has been with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Here is the news release from the Yankees:

Following Wednesday’s game, the Yankees optioned INF Yangervis Solarte to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Earlier today, the Yankees signed INF Zelous Wheeler to a Major League contract and selected him to the 25-man roster.

To make room for Wheeler on the 40-man roster, INF Dean Anna was designated for assignment.

Kevin Long: “I’m doing everything in my power to try to correct it”

Kevin Long emerged from the coaches’ room after Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Rays, prepared to face the music after the Yankees’ season-high fifth straight loss and their ninth in the last 11 games.

The Yankees were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday, and though situational hitting has been one of their major concerns of the summer, it has been more difficult than anticipated to make progress in that department.

“You’re always focused on trying to do the little things, trying to score runs and trying to move runners and trying to get guys in,” Long said. “So that’s always a focus.”

Here is a rundown of the group interview that Long conducted in the Yankees’ clubhouse:

On the current issues with the Yankees’ hitters: “You’re obviously not scoring runs and you’re going to put some pressure on yourself. You’re going to try to do a little bit more. The guys are certainly well aware of what’s going on and they’re putting forth as much effort as they can. Just sometimes things don’t go the way you want them or you planned them.”

On being surprised by this, given the names in the lineup: “Yeah, it’s a little surprising. Certainly. You expect some of these guys in this lineup to perform, and at the end of the day and at the end of the year, you hope that those numbers are going to be where they should. I can tell you that they’re doing everything in their power to try to correct it. I’m doing everything in my power to try to correct it, and we’re just going to stay at it. There’s no simple formula. The work is positive and we’re working in the right directions. It’s just been tough.

What can a hitting coach do in this situation?: “You certainly can’t yell, scream or do any of that. It’s more about just staying the course and keep looking at video or maybe working on their swing or tee work, or doing flips or doing extra BP, all those things that you would normally do. Certainly that is something that we’ve really focused on and even you get away from that sometimes and you just see the ball. That’s all Beltran’s doing these last four games, and he’s been really good the last four games, so if he can continue to swing the way he has the last four. It looks like Brian McCann made a positive move today. You have to look at those things and you have to try to move forward on those, because we can’t get anything back that has already happened.”

On Yangervis Solarte needing to make adjustments: “When Solarte was swinging the bat well, he was very aggressive and he was swinging with authority. He’s just a little bit inbetween and a little bit unsure. We looked at his video and he’s a little hard to his front side and he’s just a little tentative. We’ll just stay at that.”

“I don’t think they’re pitching him any differently. He has taken some walks and for the most part swung at good pitches, but I’m sure he’s feeling it, just like a veteran would. He’s a rookie so someone like that will probably put a little more pressure on himself than maybe a veteran would.”

Encouraging signs from the rest of the lineup?: “Obviously, the top three have been pretty good all year, Jeet, Gardner and Ellsbury have swung the bat well. Ichiro has been pretty consistent all year. Teixeira has hit some home runs, driven in some runs. I think the biggest two we’re talking about is if McCann can do what he did today and Beltran — that’s four good games in a row where he’s really had good quality at-bats.

“We’ve kind of changed his routine and changed what he’s done as a DH to try to help that process become really active with him inbetween innings. Walking around, talking about things instead of just sitting in the video room and maybe thinking about an at-bat. So that’s been one adjustment that I think has moved in a positive way for us. So again I just hope that he continues on what he’s doing and McCann today was very positive.”

On Brett Gardner hitting for more power: “Gardy’s made adjustments every year he’s been in this league. He’s basically picked up where he left off last year. He’s an extremely confident individual who continues to get better and better, he’s a very aggressive hitter in the zone. He’s not late. He attacks fastballs and he doesn’t miss them. I think the consistencies of his mechanics in his swing have enabled him to this little power surge that we’ve seen.”

Ever think that maybe this is just what you have?: “It’s about winning games, and we need to do whatever we can to win games. Obviously offense has been an issue all season. These guys understand it, I understand it. We’ve got to turn it around somehow and you’ve got to believe the guys that are in the room, they’re the only guys that can turn it around. Again it’s not from lack of effort, it’s not from not wanting to do it, it’s just one of those things where we need these extra 80 games for guys to prove themselves. McCann is on a mission, Beltran is on a mission. Everybody needs to pick it up a little bit, including the Gardners, including the Ellsburys, and then these guys that have underperformed — they need to pick it up as well.”

On his early expectations for this offense: “I don’t know — obviously more than what we’ve done. Are we capable of scoring 4-5 runs a game? I would say so. Even when we had the powerful offenses, I would think four runs a game was kind of that mark that you shoot for. Jeet said it a bunch of times: let’s win innings, try to score every inning. You start there instead of trying to maybe put up a four spot or five spot all in one inning.”

On drastic changes: “Oh, we’ve done all kinds of stuff. You always make adjustments and always make changes. Nobody here probably even saw what Brian McCann did today. If you just look at his stance, look for a toe tap today and see if you see one. That’s one of those things where if you look at video, you can say see, ‘Whoa, he did make an adjustment.’ You’ll see those adjustments from guys as they go along. They’ll continue to make those adjustments to try to help themselves be more consistent.”

Teixeira, Ellsbury out of Yankees’ lineup

Mark TeixeiraMark Teixeira was out of the Yankees’ lineup on Wednesday after having fluid drained from his left knee, but manager Joe Girardi said that he expects the first baseman to be ready to play on Thursday against the Twins at Target Field.

Girardi said he is not concerned about the issue knocking Teixeira out of the lineup for an extended period. Teixeira had the knee drained after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Rays.

“He’s played with this,” Girardi said. “We really believe he’ll be back in there tomorrow.”

The Yankees’ lineup was also without Jacoby Ellsbury; Girardi said that Ellsbury is “kind of beat up” and needed a day off leading into a road trip that will take the team to Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore before the All-Star break.

“He should be back in there tomorrow, too,” Girardi said. “He’s just overall sore, a little bit sore all over. He needs a day.”

Girardi used Kelly Johnson at first base and slotted Ichiro Suzuki in center field, marking Ichiro’s fourth game in center field this year. Girardi said that he chose to do that instead of disrupting Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano.

“I just decided that you move one guy instead of moving all the guys around, you know?” Girardi said. “Ich has been mostly playing right. Soriano has been mostly playing right, and Gardy’s been mostly playing left.

“So instead of moving all three guys or moving two guys to a different position, you move one. And you put your two fastest guys. They’re probably going to have a lot of right-handed hitters so you put your two fastest guys there.”

  •  Derek Jeter was in the lineup on Wednesday, a day game after a night game, and manager Joe Girardi said that he will have to pick a spot to give the 40-year-old shortstop a breather in the near future.

    “He’s going to get (a day off) here soon,” Girardi said. “He swung the bat good again last night. As long as his body feels good, and I feel he’s moving around, I’m going to keep playing him. He’s been productive for us. I’ll pick a day here pretty soon, though.”

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