NEW YORK – Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda was forced to leave Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox with a contusion to his right middle finger. Additional tests, including an X-ray, will be performed.
Kuroda reached up and made contact with Shane Victorino’s hard line drive to open the second inning, which glanced off the hurler’s hand and landed in center field.
He was seen on the mound by manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, throwing several warmup pitches to prove he could stay in the game, but Kuroda’s command appeared to suffer as the inning continued.
Kuroda hit Jackie Bradley, Jr. with a pitch before inducing a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. A walk to Jacoby Ellsbury followed and Kuroda drilled Daniel Nava to force in Boston’s second run of the evening.
That was all that Girardi would see, as he removed Kuroda following his 41st pitch of the night. Kuroda was replaced by right-hander Cody Eppley, who was given as much time as needed to warm up because of the injury.
MLB.com’s Mark Newman has passed along some quotes from Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who appeared this afternoon at a Victoria’s Secret VS PINK event in Soho.
Having announced his new partnership with CAA and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation venture, Cano was asked: is he ready to celebrate?
“Not yet,” Cano said, with a grin. “We’ve got to focus on the games first and then we’ll celebrate, how about that? Yes, I’m excited, of course. When you make that kind of a decision, you have to really be with that kind of company.”
Cano was then asked if today’s news means he will stay with the Yankees, but said: “Right now, this is about Victoria’s Secret and not about contracts.”
VS model Jessica Hart, who was standing next to Cano at the time, said, “He’s diverting questions very well. I should take some lessons – you’ve been trained.”
Cano offered a terse “no” when asked if he would comment on Boras reportedly being caught unaware of his decision to switch agencies. Cano is expected to address his choice in more detail tomorrow at Yankee Stadium.
— Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano) April 2, 2013
NEW YORK – As he approaches what figures to be a lucrative contract payday, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has switched agents, leaving Scott Boras to sign with CAA Sports.
Cano’s marketing endeavors will be handled by Roc Nation, an entertainment company founded by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, while his baseball activities will be represented by a team of agents led by CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement released by CAA. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals.
“I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
Van Wagenen added in a statement: “Robinson Cano is an extraordinary all-around talent who has established himself as one of the game’s best and most consistent players. Our mandate is to minimize his distractions while helping him achieve his goals on and off the field in both the short and the long term. His immediate concern is continuing to show respect for the Yankees organization, his teammates and the fans.”
Cano had been with Boras since 2011, when he dismissed Bobby Barad, the agent who negotiated Cano’s current deal with the Yankees that expires after this season. Cano is set to earn $15 million this year, a club option that was triggered by the Yankees last October.
In late February, general manager Brian Cashman revealed that the Yankees had tendered a “significant offer” to Cano and Boras with the hopes of signing the four-time All-Star to an extension, but those negotiations did not appear to be moving quickly.
There really is something cool about Opening Day. Even after seven weeks in Tampa, I felt it coming up the subway steps at 161st Street yesterday afternoon — that little jolt of excitement that tells you this is for real, this one is going to count.
By the end of what became an opener that the Yankees would prefer to forget, there was a stiff wind battering the tri-colored bunting hanging from the rafters, cold rain falling from the sky and hot dog wrappers littering the outfield.
It wasn’t exactly the way the Yankees were hoping to begin 2013, but as they — and, I’m sure, someone in every losing clubhouse on Opening Day — said, it is just one game.
“I don’t think we expected to go 162-0,” said outfielder Vernon Wells, one of six Yankees to make his team debut on Monday. “We unfortunately lost the first one, but it’s one game. That’s why you play a lot of them. You learn from the good things, and you learn from the bad things, and move on.”
The Stadium was looking pretty empty when Brett Gardner fouled out at 4:47 p.m., securing an 8-2 victory for the Red Sox, but Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he couldn’t blame the paying crowd for heading for the streets.
“If I was a fan and it started to rain, I would run too,” Cervelli said. “It was cold, man. The weather changed in like one inning. but it’s not disappointing. It’s a long season, they always been really good with us and they support us through the whole season, playoffs, anytime. [They're] the greatest fans ever.”
The Yankees had their Welcome Home Dinner last night, where Lou Piniella was honored. They’ll enjoy an off-day today and get back to work tomorrow against Boston at 7:05 p.m. ET. Here’s all the Opening Day coverage you need to catch up on yesterday’s action:
- Game story: CC Sabathia had another rough Opening Day outing and sparked some concerns with his velocity, which mostly sat around 89 mph. He doesn’t sound worried, and neither do the Yankees. The new-look offense went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
- Alex Rodriguez appeared briefly outside the Yankees clubhouse – the first time I’ve seen him in person since Game 4 of the ALCS – but decided not to take part in the pregame ceremonies. Rodriguez said that he didn’t need to be introduced to feel like he was part of the team. A-Rod said his rehab is going well and is trying to draw inspiration from those counting the Yankees out this year.
- Mike Bauman writes that the Yankees still believe they can get the job done without their bold-faced names. Bauman also writes that A-Rod didn’t seem to have much to say.
- One piece of good news: Mark Teixeira was in New York for a doctor’s visit and received clearance to remove the brace from his right wrist. He’s encouraged this means a mid-May return is in play.
- Kevin Youkilis is a little bit tired of talking about wearing the pinstripes. The transition period is over for him; he’s a Yankee, not a Red Sox, and he wants everyone to accept it.
- Where was Derek Jeter yesterday? Playing catch on a back field in Tampa, Adam Berry writes. Jeter is essentially starting over after his recent setback, and it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll be able to re-join the big league club. The Yankees won’t activate Jeter until he proves that he can play in back-to-back games at shortstop, so this could take a while.
- Mariano Rivera shagged fly balls in the outfield yesterday, his first time since you-know-when. Everything went fine, but the Yankees didn’t have a reason to use Rivera on his final Opening Day.
- Best laugh-out-loud thing I saw all day: Ichiro Suzuki’s Robert DeNiro impression on the centerfield video board. I wish I had a clip to share, but I don’t. Just watch for it this season.
- Joe Girardi had a little trouble figuring out how his lineup should look against left-hander Jon Lester. Fun note from the Elias Sports Bureau — this was the first Opening Day Yankees lineup without a switch-hitter since 1992.
- The Yankees and Red Sox paid tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and those affected in Newtown, Conn. Also, Constantine Maroulis’ rendition of the National Anthem garnered mixed reviews, from what I could see on Twitter (and in the press box). I really didn’t mind it, but then again, I thought he was pretty good when I saw him in ‘Rock of Ages.’
NEW YORK – Mariano Rivera laughed and said he knew the question was coming. Hours before the Yankees and Red Sox opened their regular seasons at Yankee Stadium, the all-time saves leader confirmed that he indeed did shag fly balls in the outfield.
“I was waiting for that one,” Rivera said. “Yes, I did. It felt good. I didn’t go full strength, but I will at some point. It feels good. I will continue doing it, like I said. I won’t change anything. It happened and you just have to move on.”
It has been a long road back for Rivera from last May 3, when he crumpled to the warning track at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium in pursuit of a batting practice fly ball, tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament.
The injury interrupted Rivera’s plans of retiring after the 2012 season, and he has now made his decision public to call it a career after he and the Yankees are done in 2013. Rivera said that what will be his last Opening Day has not felt very different than the others, but he has certainly heard the pleas that have filtered in from the grandstands.
“The fans definitely don’t want me to retire,” Rivera said. “They want me to continue. Players, not too much interacting; I was in Spring Training on Field 3 so I didn’t see them too much. During the season, it might happen. Again, it’s a decision that was made based on what I have left, what I need to give, and just move on.”
Rivera said that he also has not given much thought to what Opening Day will be like for him and the Yankees next season. Rivera has been a staple in pinstripes for nearly two decades, but he promised that when the day comes that he is not present, there will be no regrets.
“I can’t think about tomorrow,” Rivera said. “Next season I’ll be home. I really don’t think like that. My mind doesn’t go that far. It’s in the present and what I have to do now. I don’t know about tomorrow. Now is what I have to think and this is where I am. I have to enjoy this one and see what happens tomorrow.”
Alex Rodriguez made his first public appearance in a Yankees uniform since Game 4 of the 2012 American League Championship Series on Monday, rejoining his team for Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.
Rodriguez was on hand as the club prepared to open the regular season against the Red Sox. He was absent for all of Spring Training, having mostly stayed in New York while recovering from left hip surgery.
“We’re in the very beginning, I would say stage one, in this recovery,” Rodriguez said. “The recovery is going very well. I’ve been devoting 100 percent of my time and my focus into getting back and playing and helping this team win a title.”
Rodriguez is not expected to be ready to play at the big league level until after the All-Star break. Speaking with reporters outside of the Yankees’ clubhouse, Rodriguez said that he did not know if he would take part in the traditional Opening Day player introductions.
“I haven’t checked, but I don’t need to be introduced to feel like I’m part of this team,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll tell you what, when I get introduced, I want to be on the field and not look back.”
Rodriguez confirmed that he has spoken with investigators from the Major League Baseball Players Association, but declined to comment further on his involvement with Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation into the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
Records obtained by the Miami New Times indicated that Rodriguez was a client of proprietor Anthony Bosch; via a spokesperson, Rodriguez has said that the records are “not legitimate.”
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Rodriguez said. “I know you’ve got to ask that question. We put out a statement and we definitely stand by that.”
Rodriguez said that he is not concerned about being hit with a possible suspension by MLB, and also declined to address reports that the Yankees had looked into ways to void his contract following the Biogenesis story. Rodriguez has five years and $114 million remaining on his deal with New York.
“Again, I don’t want to look into that,” Rodriguez said. “I want to really focus on this great Opening Day and the great game of baseball, and the great season that the Yankees are hopefully going to have.”
Rodriguez said that “hindsight is 20/20″ about the possibility that he could have had his left hip checked sooner, and said that he expects that he will be able to return as a productive player at the big league level when his rehab is complete.
“I think it can be very high,” Rodriguez said. “When I found out after the season was over about the big tear in my left hip, it was a bit of a relief to realize and understand what happened at the end of last year. I was able to go in and fix it and rehab. I think once I’m mended and back to being 100 percent there’s no reason why I can’t play at a very high level.”
He said that it was difficult to stay in New York this spring, which Dr. Bryan Kelly and the Yankees agreed was the best course of action.
“Missing Spring Training obviously [stinks],” Rodriguez said. “It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow. I love the game of baseball and being around my teammates. I’m just glad I’m here on Opening Day to give them support because it’s going to be a special year.”
Rodriguez added that he believes many preseason prognosticators are forecasting incorrectly when it comes to the Yankees.
“I think this year is a very special opportunity. This is my 10th year here in New York and it’s the first time we’re being predicted to finish in last place,” Rodriguez said.
“That’s exciting. It’s a year of opportunity for our team, a year of opportunity for me. I love when people say you can’t do this, you can’t do that, you’re old. I find it a great challenge.”
Here is the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup:
The Yankees technically have until 3 p.m. ET today to file their Opening Day roster to Major League Baseball, but there really isn’t much mystery to that deadline. Barring a last-minute, shock-the-world acquisition, we know what the 25-man roster is going to look like.
As Joe Girardi promised several times this spring, he actually did need until the exhibition against Army to iron out his final calls, but those were locked in when the Yankees coaching staff told Cody Eppley and Adam Warren that they had made the club.
Girardi had thought that he might need that long to also decide on first base and an extra outfield spot, but Lyle Overbay had the inside track on a one-man race late in camp. The Yankees pretty much made their calls when they released Juan Rivera back in Tampa, telling Rivera that Ben Francisco and Overbay were making the team. Brennan Boesch is also going to be on the club as a backup outfielder.
At some point today, the Yankees will also announce a group of disabled list assignments, but there won’t be any surprises there — Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada will all begin the season on the 15-day DL.
With those moves in the works, here is how the Yankees’ Opening Day roster should look when game No. 1 of 162 is underway tomorrow afternoon in the Bronx:
Starting pitchers (5): CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, David Phelps, Ivan Nova
Relief pitchers (7): Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Shawn Kelley, Cody Eppley, Adam Warren
Catchers (2): Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart
Infielders (5): Robinson Cano, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Youkilis.
Outfielders (5): Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco.
Designated hitter (1): Travis Hafner
And speaking of Opening Day — what do you need to know if you’re planning on attending the game, or watching on TV? Here’s a quick rundown of what the Yankees have planned:
Gates will open to fans with valid tickets beginning at 11:00 a.m., with festivities slated to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. with the introduction of both teams on the baselines. The Yankees ask their fans to please budget ample time when planning their trip to the Stadium and urge their fans to use public transportation.
Lou Piniella, who will be honored with the “Pride of the Yankees Award” at the 2013 Homecoming Dinner following the Opening Day game, will throw out the Opening Day ceremonial first pitch. He will become the 12th former Yankees player to receive the Opening Day honor.
The Yankees and the Red Sox will stand together in dedicating the 2013 Opening Day game to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, their families and the greater community of Newtown. Pregame ceremonies will feature joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence, during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims’ names will be recognized on the center-field video board.
The Yankees and Red Sox will also wear a special ribbon on their uniforms for Opening Day to honor those lost and those affected by the tragedy.
Constantine Maroulis, Tony nominee and star of the Jekyll & Hyde Broadway musical scheduled to open on April 5, will sing the national anthem. In addition, a giant American flag will be unfurled by 75 West Point Cadets.
During the seventh-inning stretch, Alli Mauzey of the Broadway hit Wicked will perform “God Bless America.”
Should be a fun afternoon at the ballpark. We’ll have all the coverage on yankees.com.
Yankees left-hander Boone Logan was struck by a line drive off the bat of the Pirates’ Jose Tabata in the seventh inning on Thursday and left the game.
Logan was hit near his left hip or midsection with the liner. He walked slowly after the ball and threw to first base, but too late to retire Tabata.
He joked that the ball hit him in “my fat” and said that he expects to pitch tomorrow against the Nationals.
The Yankees envision Logan as a lock to be in their bullpen, and he could be the club’s only left-hander with Clay Rapada set to begin the season on the disabled list. The Yankees also are considering carrying left-hander Vidal Nuno, a non-roster invitee, to begin the season.
The Yankees will wrap up the Florida portion of the spring this afternoon at 1:05 p.m., closing out the Grapefruit League slate at George M. Steinbrenner Field with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Joe Girardi is using the contest as an opportunity to take a look at Ichiro Suzuki in center field, and there’s really no reason to think that Ichiro can’t be a serviceable backup for Brett Gardner at that position. That probably doesn’t bode well for Melky Mesa’s chances of making the squad.
Most of the Yankees arrived at the ballpark dressed in suits and ties, and the clubhouse looked like the luggage section of a department store this morning. The team is flying north after the game, heading to Washington for tomorrow’s 2 p.m. exhibition with the Nationals. They’ll then travel to West Point to play the Army Black Knights in an exhibition on Saturday, which Girardi has had written on his calendar for most of the spring as taking place at 14:26 military time.
Here are this afternoon’s lineups:
Starling Marte LF
Garrett Jones RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Russell Martin C
Clint Barmes SS
Jeff Locke LHP
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Vernon Wells LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jayson Nix SS
Francisco Cervelli C
Hiroki Kuroda RHP