Results tagged ‘ A.J. Burnett ’

If Phil is right, do the Yankees need Ubaldo?

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — That’s the question I’m pondering from St. Pete, just a few hours before the start of a four-game series against the Rays and just a few hours removed from a very convincing start by Phil Hughes.

Hughes looked awfully close to that 18-game winner from 2010 against the Blue Jays on Sunday, when he notched his first win and first quality start, retired eight of his final nine hitters he faced and registered just 80 pitches through six innings. He could’ve gone longer, but Hughes (pictured left by The Associated Press) went deep enough to make a very important point — he looks like an effective starting pitcher again.

Over the All-Star break, the right-hander worked with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on better aligning his stride towards the plate and adjusting his curveball grip. That grip gave him a much sharper breaking ball he was able to use as a reliable No. 2 pitch to offset his four-seamer (one that consistently sat in the 92- to 93-mph range and got better as the game wore on).

Now, the question: If Hughes truly is back, and he’s the 2010 version again, do the Yankees need Ubaldo Jimenez?

Here’s the thing about Jimenez: Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd doesn’t really have to move him. It reminds me a lot of the situation with Padres closer Heath Bell in recent years. Jimenez is under club control for a while (signed through 2012 with two additional club options thereafter), he’s awfully affordable (making no more than $8 million through 2014) and his stock is rather low (Jimenez is 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 18 starts this year — though he does have a 2.56 ERA since the start of June).

Since the Rockies are 9 1/2 games out of first place and the starting-pitching market is weak, it’s not surprising they would shop him. But considering all the above-mentioned factors, it’s no wonder Colorado seeks the sun and the moon for the services of Ubaldo (pictured right by the AP).

MLB.com colleague Thomas Harding says the Rockies are at least listening to offers for Jimenez, but a deal remains unlikely. Peter Gammons, meanwhile, put the chances of a deal at 10 percent. We all know how quickly things can change as the non-waiver Trade Deadline draws closer, though.

With regards to the Yankees, the names that have surfaced as potential pieces to a deal are the likes of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova and Jesus Montero (though SI.com is reporting today that Montero wouldn’t be the centerpiece of the potential trade, since the Rockies don’t view him as a catcher).

Now, if Hughes is right, then the Yankees would have an in-house rotation of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Hughes at the top, with the final spots going to any two between Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Nova.

Would they still need Jimenez to make a return trip to the playoffs? And would it be worth it to give up what the Rockies would want in return?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

Some links from the series finale in Toronto …

* Efficient Hughes looks strong in first win

* Yankees Notebook, on Gardner, Dickerson, Teixeira and A-Rod

* Yankees intend to push Rays down standings

Alden 

Yanks have a rotation decision: Burnett No. 2 starter

A.J. Burnett will be the Yankees’ No. 2 starter and Phil Hughes is the No. 3 starter, Joe Girardi confirmed today.

Girardi said that it was their plan all along to have Burnett following CC Sabathia in the rotation, but they wanted to use the spring to evaluate the pair of right-handers.
“It’s what we brought him here to do,” Girardi said of Burnett, who was 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA last season for New York.
Burnett lines up to make his first start April 2 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium; Hughes follows him the next day against Detroit.
Earlier in the day, Burnett said he’d accept whatever decision was made. 
“It shows they have faith in what they brought me here to do,” Burnett said. “Either way, just give me the ball.”
  • The Yankees have sent Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances to Minor League camp. Brackman will start the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; Betances will begin at Double-A Trenton.
  • Russell Martin was in New York’s original lineup today but Girardi decided to rest him after he took a beating catching Burnett’s four innings yesterday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, starting Austin Romine instead. Martin is fine physically and will catch Sabathia tomorrow against the Phillies in Clearwater.
  • Ivan Nova will pitch a simulated game tomorrow at George M. Steinbrenner Field. 
  • In case you’re looking ahead, Manny Banuelos will pitch on Monday against the Rays in Port Charlotte behind Bartolo Colon.
  • As I sit here in the press box writing this blog post, Dante Girardi is taking batting practice off his dad. He belted one homer into the right-field party deck (OK, so he’s hitting with a metal bat from shallow right field. Still, that’s not bad for 8 years old!).

A.J.’s barn, Joba’s pen and more

Some additional notes from today’s event in Washington Heights, where the Yankees moved 19-year-old right-hander Leonel Vinas from “Hank’s Yanks” to the Gulf Coast League Yanks, and Brian Cashman said once again that they’re preparing for ’11 without Andy Pettitte:

  • A.J. Burnett knows his rebound is important. He’s remodeled a barn at his Maryland home into an indoor pitching facility and is expecting new pitching coach Larry Rothschild to drop by for about a week next month. Cashman said:
“We need A.J. to come back to his previous form, there’s no doubt about it. I believe he will, but we need that to happen, too. We signed A.J. not to pitch toward the back of the rotation, to be a front of the rotation starter. That’s what his abilities are, that’s what he’s capable of doing. That’s what we expect. I believe you’ll see that again, but that means a lot of hard work. I know he’s up for it. I’ve talked to A.J. several times now and met with him in person in Maryland. He knows the responsibility he has to us and this fan base. He’s committed.”

  • Joba Chamberlain will be in the bullpen for 2011 and the future. Cashman told a reporter to “bite your tongue” when it was suggested that Chamberlain might be called in to fix the rotation problems, and later explained:
“His stuff plays so much more significantly out of the ‘pen. We’ve given him the opportunity to show what he can do out of the rotation, and the velocity dropped. It’s just not the same stuff.”

  • Food for thought: Even if Pettitte says he’s done pitching before the Yankees get to Spring Training, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he could “unretire” – hey, Roger Clemens did it – if the Yankees rotation cries out for him. The GM wouldn’t shoot down the suggestion outright, saying, “I don’t want to speculate on stuff like that. I guess we’ll see where we’re sitting in May.”
  • The Yankees were never close on a deal with Kerry Wood, who wound up taking much less than everyone expected to go back to the Chicago Cubs. Here’s Cashman one more time:
“We never got close because, in talking to his agents, it was going to cost $5.5 million a year or more on a multi-year basis. We weren’t interested in that level. But they said that it was what it was going to take. When we saw he signed with the Cubs at $1.5 million, I called right away and said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ They said the Yankee price was the Yankee price; no different than the Red Sox price or the White Sox price. The bottom line is, he moved his family from Phoenix to Chicago and he’s going to be a Cub for life now. This had a lot to do with non-baseball related stuff, too. I can understand that.”

  • Alex Rodriguez saw Dr. Marc Philippon after the season and was given a clean bill of health on his right hip. The Yankees expect no problems with him being ready for the spring. 

A.J. looking forward to ALCS start

101110burnett.jpgA.J. Burnett will get back on the mound tomorrow at Yankee Stadium, pitching about five simulated innings as he prepares for his upcoming start in the American League Championship Series.

“I’ve been looking forward to it, hoping they’d give me a shot, and they did,” Burnett said. “Now it’s my job to get ready for it.”
Burnett said that he could “probably not” make up for his 10-15 season with a handful of playoff starts, but he is looking forward to being able to help the team again.
“Those numbers aren’t going to go away. But that’s in the past,” Burnett said. “This is October and whatever happens in the future is what counts. … To be honest with you, I really don’t want to look back. I put that behind me the best I can and I’ve been positive here every day waiting to get my shot. I’m ready to help.”
The Yankees have said that they believe Burnett can turn his year around, and there was a wall of solidarity behind him in the clubhouse today.
“He’s just been inconsistent, but the stuff is still in there,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He knows that he’s probably going to pitch this series and he’s excited about it. There’s that twinkle in his eye again. We’re looking for him to step up and pitch well for us.” 
Burnett has been just throwing light 15 to 20 pitch bullpens recently, because he wasn’t sure if he’d be needed to pitch in relief during the AL Division Series. It turned out he wasn’t called upon in the sweep of the Twins, and it sounds like he’s looking forward to trading his bullpen seat for one a little closer to the action.
“It was different. At the same times, you’re in the games,” Burnett said. “You’re watching, you’re cheering. You want to get in, but you understand. It was definitely a different view, but the same feeling, no doubt.”

Will one last start be enough for A.J. Burnett?

092710aj.jpgYankees fans, raise your hands if you feel extremely confident with A.J. Burnett on the mound for a potential postseason start. Anyone?

Burnett said he was “frustrated” after taking this spanking by the Blue Jays on a Rogers Centre mound he used to call home, and with just one regular season start left before the Yankees need to decide how best to use Burnett, the clock is running out for adjustments to be made.
“I’m not going to let this bother me,” Burnett said. “It’s a rough night tonight, but I had a couple to deal with before this one. We’ll go again in five days. I’m not going to quit, I’m going to keep going at it. I’ll come here tomorrow with a good attitude and start working.”
Working with pitching coach Dave Eiland, Burnett said, at not grooving fastballs down the middle and hanging his breaking balls, to start. Already looking ahead to his next outing against the Red Sox, Burnett said he could hit the mattress tonight knowing his preparation had been done right, but he acknowledged the execution was lacking.
 
Still, Burnett said he expects to be included by Joe Girardi if and when the Yankees finally secure a postseason berth and can begin planning their pitching rotation for the American League Division Series.
“Joe’s going to make the decisions on his own,” Burnett said. “I can get in a groove. He saw what I did last year in the postseason. Everyone says the season doesn’t matter here, the postseason does. There you go. 
“… Last year is last year. That’s my answer to all the postseason questions. It’s tough to deal with at any stage. It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing. I constantly tip my hat to the bullpen guys, they slam the door every time I pitch.”
  • With a postseason berth still out there to be locked up, the Yankees will indeed start CC Sabathia tomorrow against the Blue Jays. 
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