Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’

Spring Game 23: Yankees at Braves

disney post card frontHello from Walt Disney World’s ‘Wide World of Sports’ complex, where the Yankees are visiting the Atlanta Braves this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. There is no Yankees radio or TV coverage of today’s game; the Braves have a radio broadcast.

The Yankees are playing with a DH this afternoon; the Braves are not. Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (11-9-2)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Adonis Garcia LF
Jose Gil 1B

Ivan Nova RHP

Also scheduled to pitch: Danny Burawa, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral and Shane Greene.

BRAVES (8-12-3)
Jason Heyward RF
B.J. Upton CF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Evan Gattis C
Justin Upton LF
Chris Johnson 3B
Dan Uggla 2B
Andrelton Simmons SS
David Hale RHP

News and notes from Joe Girardi’s morning interview session in Tampa:

– Girardi said that he has seen an improvement in maturity this spring from Ivan Nova, who makes his fifth start of the spring today.

“I’ve seen a guy that’s come into spring training that, it seems like he realizes how good he can be,” Girardi said. “And I think that’s important. I think for all young players, there’s that doubt always a little bit: can I do this on a consistent basis? Can I do it start after start, or game after game if you’re a position player? Do I need to look over my starter? Is there someone always doubting what I can do? I think he’s realized that, you know what, I can be pretty good. He came back last year and was really good, and I think that was kind of the eye-opener for him.”

– Girardi has been very encouraged by Mark Teixeira‘s health.

“What I’ve been most pleased is, you look at this whole spring training and there’s never been a point where he was scheduled to work that he had to say, ‘I could use a day,’” Girardi said. “That’s really encouraging to me. Everything that he’s been scheduled to do, he has done.”

He added that there is no longer any apprehension with Teixeira or Derek Jeter‘s health.

“I think they pretty much put it to rest,” Girardi said. “Obviously you worry about your guys when they’re playing out there every day, but I haven’t seen anything to lead me to believe that they’re not going to be healthy this season.”

- Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno aren’t likely to start again this spring, unless it comes in a Minor League game. They’re running out of innings to go around, and players like CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka need to take those starts. Nuno will relieve David Phelps tomorrow in Fort Myers, and Warren relieves Sabathia on Friday against the Pirates.

- There’s no decision yet on the fifth starter, but Girardi has been encouraged by the strong spring from this group.

“I have confidence in our guys. I believe in what they’re capable of doing,” Girardi said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them do it on a pretty consistent basis. I believe that our rotation can be pretty good, I do. I think it can be really good. Obviously you have to avoid injuries. That always helps. With this competition for the fifth spot, these other guys have shown that, if we do have something to awry, that they can step in and do a pretty good job. I feel that we have a good rotation, we will have a good rotation, and we have depth.”

Girardi volunteered the names of Danny Burawa and Shane Greene, saying that they have “shown that they’re getting pretty close and they’re knocking on the door.”

- Girardi said they’ll “continue to discuss” using Alfonso Soriano as a backup first baseman, but they’re leaning more toward Kelly Johnson, who should get another start at first base this weekend.

“Kelly’s going to play a lot,” Girardi said. “I like what I’ve seen from him, and he’s going to play a lot.”

- Girardi said no decision has been made for a backup infielder at second and third bases. He carefully listed his candidates alphabetically so no one could read into it: Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte and Zelous Wheeler. Sizemore, by the way, has been out with a quad problem. Girardi said he could play by the end of the week. What you can read into that is that Nunez is, by no means, a lock to make this team.

- Brendan Ryan is still on track to play tomorrow against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. He has been out since the first week of March with a lower back/oblique issue.

Four homers, seven strong innings and one clean X-ray

Robinson Cano; Alfonso SorianoIN TWO PARAGRAPHS: Oh, there’s plenty to talk about tonight here in Canada. The Yankees hit four home runs, two of them coming as Alfonso Soriano joined the 400-homer club, and Andy Pettitte rolled back the clock with seven innings of scoreless, five-hit ball. But the most welcome news of the night came when Robinson Cano’s X-rays showed no break near the meaty part of his left hand, confirming that the Bombers had dodged a blow that would have been devastating to their playoff hopes.

That knowledge made it easier for the Yankees to relax and enjoy a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays. Alex Rodriguez hit career homer No. 651 and Mark Reynolds also went deep, and the Yankees scratched their heads over what exactly happened to Eduardo Nunez out there in the eighth inning. The tweaked right knee looked scary, but after Nunez stayed in the game, A-Rod asked the befuddled infielder who had shot him. Derek Jeter just shook his head and said, “Nuney, are you kidding?”

MANAGER’S TAKE: “You’re extremely relieved. Obviously [Cano is] day-to-day and I don’t know what we have tomorrow. But the fact that there’s no break is a good sign. We haven’t had a lot of luck on our side when it comes to X-rays so we got some tonight.” – Joe Girardi

QUOTES…

“I was [scared] right away. I was hurt. I was pretty concerned. Mick asked me at first base if I thought it was broken; it was close to the bone. Maybe it missed the bone by an inch. Thank God it was nothing worse.” – Cano

“When I retire, I can think about what I did in the game. I’m very proud. The talent that I’ve got, God gave it to me. I never think I’m going to hit 400 homers in the big leagues with my size, but I think I work hard, try to get better every day. That’s what I’ve got.” – Soriano

“I just feel like everything’s working for me. My cutter is working good and I have a little bit better command of the outside corner. I’m just feeling  better. My sinker is sinking now when I throw it. When you throw that out there and you’re able to get some ground ball double plays, that’s huge. The biggest thing like I’ve said for several months, the pitches are doing what they’re supposed to and they’re cooperating right now. Hopefully they’ll cooperate the rest of the season.” – Pettitte

“These games are so important for us. I’m still so far away from [Willie Mays' 660]. Like I said, we need these wins like oxygen. One thing this team is going to do is leave it all out there for the next 30, 31 days, maximum effort. I like our lineup, the way we have lefty righty all the way through and we’re helping each other out.” – A-Rod

NOTES…

The Yankees are 13-2 this season against Toronto. The 13 wins are their most vs. the Jays in any single season. … Soriano is the seventh player to hit his 400th homer as a Yankee, joining a select group comprised by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield and A-Rod. … Soriano also became the sixth player in Major League history to reach 400 homers, 2,000 hits and 250 stolen bases, joining Mays, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds, Sheffield and A-Rod. … Derek Jeter had two hits. … Who’s playing second base tomorrow if not Nunez? Maybe Mark Reynolds. He played the ninth there, just his third big league inning at the position.

ON DECK

It’s the rubber game of the series as the Yankees give the ball to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 2.71) on Wednesday opposite right-hander Todd Redmond (1-2, 4.44). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES.

Soriano: “I love to do that. I love to steal bases.”

Evan Longoria, Alfonso Soriano, Rob ThomsonIN TWO PARAGRAPHS:  This was a win the Yankees needed badly. Alfonso Soriano made it happen, stroking an 11th inning double off Jamey Wright and taking advantage of the green light to steal third base, beating the throw in with a headfirst slide. Curtis Granderson lifted a fly ball to the outfield and Mariano Rivera locked down the save, preserving the Yanks’ 3-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Robinson Cano homered and drove in both of the Yankees’ runs off of Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb. Evan Longoria homered and had two RBIs against Ivan Nova, who held the Rays to a pair of runs on six hits despite tying a career high with six walks (one intentional). The Yanks averted a series sweep, settling for one game out of three in St. Petersburg. 

MANAGER’S TAKE:  “I mean, that’s a big play, being able to steal third there. It changes the complexion of that inning. And it’s a big double. The time before [in the eighth], he just missed hitting a homer foul, and maybe we don’t go quite as long if it stays fair. We got a lot of big performances out of a lot of people today.” – Joe Girardi

QUOTES…

Soriano: “When the team needs one and the pitcher gives it to me, I like to steal. That’s my game. It’s very important to help the team to win. I love to do that. I love to steal bases.”

Robinson Cano: “We needed a win so bad. Nothing you want less than to get swept here. Like I said, we lose the first two, and then we just go out there and fight the whole game.”

Curtis Granderson: “It’s very big. I think coming into it you’d like to get both series. Obviously we didn’t get a chance to do that, but winning both series means you’ve got a chance to win hopefully four out of the six games here. We still have an opportunity to do that going to Toronto. It’s definitely not going to be easy but we’re still on track. We’ve got to go ahead, rebound and take advantage of this one, and go on to tomorrow and try to get another one against [R.A.] Dickey.”

Ivan Nova: “I was pushing for that W. It’s not only the personal things. I want to pitch good every time I go out there. Even though I walked six guys; I don’t think it was that bad. I battled until the end and we got the win.”

NOTES…

Girardi huddled with Preston Claiborne in the clubhouse after the game. He’ll be the roster move to create space for Derek Jeter tomorrow. It may seem like a tough break for Claiborne, but he has certainly shown enough that he’ll be back soon after rosters expand on Sept. 1st.

Longoria homered in all three games of this series; his shot off Nova was the first Nova has allowed since Nelson Cruz hit one on July 22. The Yankees improved to 11-4 in their last 15 games, and are 5-5 in extra innings this year. New York’s starting 7 through 9 hitters (Lyle Overbay, Mark Reynolds, Chris Stewart) combined to go 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts today.

Cano improved to 7-for-19 (.368) lifetime vs. Cobb. A-Rod’s pinch-hit single in the 10th was the first of his career (1-for-15). Mariano Rivera’s 37 saves at Tropicana Field are the most ever by a Rays opponent and 27 more than the next highest total (10, Jonathan Papelbon).

ON DECK

The Yankees will try to keep the momentum rolling Monday when they travel Nord des Lignes to meet the Blue Jays in Toronto, sending Phil Hughes (4-12, 4.88) to the mound against R.A. Dickey (9-12, 4.49). First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. ET. The Yanks are 11-1 vs. Toronto this season and need one more win to match their most ever in a single season, accomplished in 1995, 2004, 2005 and 2009.

Alfonso Soriano ready to try the pinstripes back on

Welcome back, Sori -- here pictured alongside Derek Jeter hearing Gloria Estefan's 2003 World Series National Anthem.

Welcome back, Sori — here pictured alongside Derek Jeter as they listen to Gloria Estefan sing the National Anthem at the 2003 World Series.

Alfonso Soriano said goodbye to his Cubs teammates on Thursday in Arizona, then boarded a red-eye flight here to New York. If the deal was 99 percent completed last night, as we hammered out in those stories from Arlington, it’s 99.99999 percent done as I type this right now.

The only remaining hurdle was Major League Baseball approving the transaction due to the money involved, and that’s just a formality at this point. Soriano is going to be in pinstripes this weekend, and the YES Network’s Jack Curry has already reported that Soriano will be issued his old uniform No. 12, having negotiated it away from Vernon Wells.

Update — it’s now 100 percent official. Soriano is batting cleanup for the Yankees tonight vs. Tampa Bay.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter made sure to point out he was not speaking for the front office this week in Texas (these days in Yankee-land, it’s best to parse your words carefully when speaking publicly, a fact Jeter knows very well) but he also left little doubt that Soriano would be welcomed back into the clubhouse quite easily.

“Everybody knows how I feel about Sori,” Jeter said. “I said it when we traded for Al — he’s someone that you develop a relationship with and you miss them when they leave. We had a great relationship. … He had a lot of power, stole a lot of bases. Sori did a lot when he was here. He was pretty exciting.”

The Yankees are reportedly surrendering Class-A pitcher Corey Black in the deal, and the Cubs are picking up all but about $6.8 million of the approximately $24.5 million Soriano is owed through 2014, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. About $5 million of that is expected to count toward next year’s payroll for the Yankees.

“I’ve changed a lot,” Soriano said yesterday. “I have a lot of memories with the Yankees, and how those players treated me and how they treated people, and that’s what I took with me. Now, I go back, and it makes me more excited because I’ve learned a lot about baseball, and I learned a lot personally.

“Those veteran guys like Mariano [Rivera], Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Bernie [Williams], those guys helped me a lot,” he said. “I used to be a rookie, and those guys treated me very well, like a professional, and that’s what I learned, and that’s what I tried to give wherever I go.”

At age 37, Soriano may not be as electric as he once was, but this is sure to be a popular move with the fan base. It also can’t hurt a lineup that has desperately needed some added production, particularly against left-handed pitching, an area where Soriano has actually done quite well this year.

“He’s been a productive player over his career, there’s no doubt about it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said this week. “He’s been an exciting player, a guy that could steal 40 bases, a guy that could hit 40 home runs. He’s been a good player.”

Yankees and Cubs continuing Soriano discussions

Alfonso SorianoAt age 37, Alfonso Soriano may not be what he once was, but there’s little question that he could help the offensively-challenged Yankees. It’s not surprising, then, that the Yankees and Cubs are discussing a deal that would bring Soriano back to the Bronx.

The discussions are believed to be in the early stages, and nothing is imminent. The Yankees clearly would take Soriano, especially if the Cubs are willing to pick up a large chunk of his remaining salary, and Chicago would be looking for one or two Minor League prospects as they continue to sell off pieces of their team in advance of the July 31 Trade Deadline.

What would Soriano offer the Yankees? For one thing, a quality bat against left-handed pitching, something they sorely need. Here’s one notable chunk from the story posted above:

New York has been particularly vulnerable against left-handed pitching, one area at which Soriano has excelled this season, batting .280 (33-for-118) with six homers, 13 RBIs and an .820 OPS.

The Yankees’ team OPS against left-handers is .649, which ranks 28th in the Majors; only the White Sox (.640) and Nationals (.621) have been weaker against southpaws.

I could see a scenario where Soriano plays some outfield while helping to push the struggling Travis Hafner out the door. It is remarkable that there’s a situation where the Yankees might have Soriano and not Alex Rodriguez for the rest of the season, but that also would be premature. We’ll have more updates as this develops.

TONIGHT: Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.57 ERA) has the ball for the Yankees. Alexi Ogando (4-2, 2.93 ERA) is going for the Rangers. First pitch here at Rangers Ballpark is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Here’s the Yankees lineup: Gardner 8 Ichiro 9 Cano 4 Overbay 3 Wells DH Nunez 6 Lillibridge 5 Mesa 7 Romine 2 Hughes RHP

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