Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’
Brett Gardner still hasn’t seen the huge, grinning picture of him that the Yankees video crew doctored to look like wrestler Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart, though he’s heard rave reviews about it from Nick Swisher, who just might be jealous that he doesn’t have a cool one like it.
In any event, they had a great opportunity to flash it for an extended period on Saturday, as Gardner blasted a grand slam – the first of his life, he believes, and certainly his big league career – to chase the Blue Jays’ Ricky Romero in New York’s 11-run third inning. It was Gardner’s fourth homer of 2010, and while he won’t be challenging for the American League lead anytime soon, Gardner does enjoy reminding people that he’s got some power in there.
“I think it’s always been there. I hit five in short-season in 2005 in  at-bats, so it’s not like I have a bunch of power. I think I have a little bit different approach at the plate now. I’m trying to be more aggressive and take some better swings. The last few years, I kind of got stuck in the mode of trying to trying to slap the ball the other way and run and get on base. I’m obviously not trying to develop into a home run hitter or anything like that. I’m just trying to use the whole field and be aggressive.”
Brett Gardner is wearing a wrap on his left thumb and is scheduled to have X-rays before tonight’s game at Camden Yards. He was disappointed to feel discomfort in the thumb this morning and says he does not expect the thumb to be broken – of course, Gardner admitted he didn’t expect to hear that last July, either.
Two quick notes before I hit the highway and head over to Blue Jays camp:
The Yankees have their outfield alignment set for Opening Night and the beginning of the 2010 season, officially deciding that Curtis Granderson will play center field and Brett Gardner will play left field.
Though the moves had been expected for some time, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that his choices had been set on Thursday, sending both players to start in their respective positions in a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla.
“They both did a very nice job in both spots,” Girardi said. “Grandy has played a lot of center field in his career, and so has Gardy. We just decided that we were going to go with Grandy in center, try not to move him around and put him in one spot.”
Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 (mild) left hamstring strain and may not play for the remainder of Spring Training.
Girardi said Thursday that Cervelli will be continually re-evaluated and is listed as day-to-day. With Opening Day approaching on Sunday, the Yankees will have to hope that the pinching sensation in Cervelli’s left leg can abate quickly.
“Right now, if I was to guess, he is not a DL guy,” Girardi said. “But we may not play him the rest of Spring Training.”
Cervelli felt something tweak in his left hamstring during Tuesday’s home game against the Blue Jays and was sent for a precautionary MRI on Wednesday, which revealed the strain.
Should Cervelli begin the season on the disabled list, it is possible that Mike Rivera – a veteran non-roster invitee who also battled a hamstring issue this spring – could head north with the club for Opening Night on Sunday at Fenway Park.
“I want to be there,” Cervelli said. “I think I will be there.”
That didn’t seem like a good consolation prize after he was charged with five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla. on Saturday, though, leaving a bases-loaded mess for Mark Melancon and watching the carousel progress.
“I just missed pitches,” Aceves said. “They’ve got good hitters. … I’m not happy with that.”
Regardless, this shouldn’t torpedo Aceves’ chances of helping the Yankees in 2010, at least not based upon Girardi’s glowing scouting report of the righty pre-game.
“He knows how to change speeds, he knows how to change eye level, read
swings,” Girardi said. “He knows how to pitch. He was a big part of our success last
year – 10 wins out of the bullpen. He held teams down and gave us a
chance to come back. I’ve always had a lot of confidence in him.”
Next up in the great fifth starter pitch-off is Phil Hughes, who throws in relief of A.J. Burnett tomorrow. Joba Chamberlain gets a start Monday against the Phillies in Clearwater, and then it’s really time to start hashing things out. Joe Girardi isn’t surprised that the decision is receiving so much attention.
“I think people are interested, that’s why,” Girardi said. “Once that’s set, then you
iron out your bullpen from there. There’s a lot up in the air because
you don’t know exactly who’s going to be in your bullpen because of the
fifth starter [competition].”
A-Rod on the scene: Alex Rodriguez had two doubles and two RBIs in three at-bats Saturday, continuing to heat up in Grapefruit League play.
“He’s starting to swing the bat,” Girardi said. “He’ll play again tomorrow. I talked to him today and physically he feels good. That’s obviously good to hear.”
Go, speed racer: Brett Gardner’s wheels earned him a bunt single on the first pitch of the game, and in the third inning, he tripled to the left-field corner – someplace you don’t usually see three-base hits from.
“That’s what speed does for you,” Girardi said. “I tell him all the time, just get on base, you can make things happen. He has that ability. We see him hitting the ball on the ground a lot harder, bunting for base hits. It’s great.”
The only minus to Gardner’s day was a pickoff after that bunt single, as Astros catcher Humberto Quintero made a snap throw to first base behind the left-handed hitting Nick Johnson and caught Gardner leaning.
- Notes & quotes: Assistant trainer Steve Donohue’s report on OF Curtis Granderson was “minor stiffness” in his right hand. He’ll play Sunday vs. Detroit … It’s still too early on a decision for OF Jamie Hoffmann (3-for-23, .130) vs. OF Marcus Thames (3-for-28, .107) in that battle to be the right-handed hitting 25th man on the bench. “We’ve still got time with that,” Girardi said. “That we’re not in such a big hurry to make.”
Yes, I went there. Now you’ll be hearing John Sterling in your head the rest of the day. You’re welcome.
Anyway, the newest Yankee got on the horn with the Associated Press‘ Janie McCauley out in the Bay Area, where Randy Winn still calls home. But soon enough it will be New York, and Winn said that he is looking forward to getting started with the Bombers in Spring Training.
“They’re the World Series champions from last year and I have a chance to
compete and get some playing time,” Winn said. “I
thought it was a great fit, being a versatile guy who can play all three
outfield positions and can hit anywhere in the lineup.”
The AP story brings up an interesting point – not only will Winn be challenging Brett Gardner for playing time, but he can also serve as a mentor for the speedster. For all the hand-wringing that Winn isn’t Johnny Damon, he has still compiled a serviceable big league career and should be able to help the Yankees as at least the fourth outfielder.
Hey, speaking of Winn and former Giants, Rich Aurilia isn’t ready to retire and wants to play with his buddy on the Yankees — or so he tells Andrew Baggarly. What say you, fans?
Back from a brief mid-winter respite wandering the streets of New York, and still there has been almost no movement on the Johnny Damon front.
Wednesday’s news brings us this article from Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, who relays a note from a friend of Damon’s as saying that the outfielder has actually considered retirement with no offers trickling in. Here’s the exact blurb:
A friend of Damon’s recently said, “Johnny is completely in the family mode right now” and has considered that option. It’s still hard to believe that, in the wake of a 24-home run campaign in 2009, and hitting .364 against the Phillies in the Series, Damon actually would quit.
Give him credit for not panicking. In a text message to the New York Times on Tuesday, Damon wrote: “I’m sure things will work out somewhere.” Chances are, however, he never thought he’d be in this kind of predicament so late in the off-season.
The thought is that the Yankees only have about $2 million remaining to address their needs, so Damon – who made $13 million in ’09 and, via Scott Boras, was seeking the same for 2010 – may have overplayed his hand. Our Mark Bowman blogged that the Braves seem an unlikely fit, and Jason Beck notes the Tigers also haven’t expressed interest in Damon.
As this continues to drag on toward Spring Training, perhaps Damon will be forced to buckle at some point and accept far less than he’d ever thought would be waiting for him after a career year. The Yankees would love to have him back, so don’t rule them out, but only at their price.
If not, as I wrote yesterday in the Inbox, I really do believe the Yankees would be just fine with Brett Gardner in left field. Put it this way – they wouldn’t miss the playoffs because of it.
It’s worth noting that Damon also quietly considered retirement after the ’07 season, when his injuries made it miserable and painful to play, but those maladies had softened in the two years that followed. Hey, there is always the wrestling ring if Damon chooses that route.
Reposting this from the MLB.com Hot Stove Blog:
Despite heavy fan speculation to the contrary, the Yankees are
stressing the point that they will not get involved with a bid for a
big ticket left fielder.
“No chance on Matt Holliday, no chance
on Jason Bay,” a Yankees official told the New York Daily News on
Monday. “Zero. None. Underline it.”
To take the point further,
the Yankees’ budget for left field is so tight, the newspaper reports
that they would not have matched the offer the Giants made for Mark
DeRosa – $12 million over two years. Yankees general manager Brian
Cashman told MLB.com on Monday that even Xavier Nady, coming off Tommy
John surgery, is asking too much for New York’s budget.
same appears true for veteran Jermaine Dye, and Johnny Damon has
already acknowledged that he does not fit into the Yankees’ payroll
If the season started today, the Yankees would be
preparing to go with Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann in left field.
The Daily News suggests that the Yankees are also considering cheaper
free agent options like Reed Johnson or Jerry Hairston, Jr. to add to
“There’s plenty of time,” the official told the
newspaper. “There’s no hurry. And there are a ton of outfielders out
there. We are just tweaking at this point. We’ll sign an outfielder
between now and spring training.”
I answered a question about Xavier Nady in today’s Inbox as follows:
Why wouldn’t the Yankees look at Xavier Nady for left field? They
would get a right-handed bat with good power who can handle New York.
Is his injury still a factor or is he looking for more than the Yankees
want to pay?
– Pete N., Syracuse N.Y.
Right now, it appears the hold-up would be more financial than
physical. General manager Brian Cashman said on Monday that Nady’s
price is above the Yankees’ current budget, which explains why they
have not been seriously linked to him while some other clubs have.
Remembering that Scott Boras is Nady’s agent and we all know where that’s taking them in the Johnny Damon situation, it makes sense that the Yankees are playing the ‘not interested’ card. After all, you’re looking at a position player who is coming off his second Tommy John surgery. That’s a big question mark and if the dollar signs are large as well, it might not be a match.
So where are the Yankees going to head from here? It’s looking more and more like Mark DeRosa is off the table, taking a physical with the Giants, and I just don’t know if all that Jermaine Dye talk was serious.
So… Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffman, eh? As of Dec. 28, that’s where it is. Stay tuned.
Brian Cashman spent more than 20 minutes on a conference call with the Yankees’ beat reporters this evening, beginning by discussing Javier Vazquez – the first player traded for twice by the Bombers since Jeff Nelson, for whatever that’s worth. Here are the short hops on the state of the Yankees updates, as we summarize the new landscape:
No second half thoughts: Cashman said that Vazquez’s second half of ’04 was not a major concern as the Yankees pulled the trigger on this trade.
“He’s a tremendous pitcher that has a long career of success and durability,” Cashman said. “Really, the second half of ’04 – which was poor – cannot erase the long success that he’s had as a Major League pitcher, both in the American and National Leagues.
“When you sit down and listen to the scouts and have them describe his abilities, and look at his production and how he’s performed, he is one of the better pitchers in the game. We look forward to having him join our staff.”
Back end rotation ripple: Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes will now be in competition for the fifth spot in the rotation, “and whoever loses that competition either goes to the bullpen or goes to Triple-A.” Don’t forget, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre have to be considered in that mix too. Toss Zach McAllister and Ivan Nova in as well.
“The main focus of what we’ve done today was to solidify, strengthen
and deepen our rotation,” Cashman said. “We went with a three-man staff
as we went for the jugular in the World Series. This staff, if it can
stay healthy, is a lot better equipped right now as we move forward to
not be in a position to have to give the ball on short rest to someone
Dollars and sense for left field: Last winter was “once in a lifetime” in terms of budget. The Yankees have Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann right now to play left field, in what Cashman called “an evolving situation.” They could upgrade (of course … and I’d be very surprised if Gardner is actually the Opening Day left fielder at Fenway Park), but Cashman downplayed the idea of getting a big-dollar free agent like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.
“I will continue to look at any remaining piece, but it won’t be a big
piece,” Cashman said. “Any speculation about some high-end player who has big ability
and dollars attached on a large scale would be inappropriate.”
It sounds a lot like even Johnny Damon’s offer (two years, $20 million) could be too much. What about the Yankees’ offer of two years and $14 million for Damon? Does Scott Boras dare let his client take a pay cut of $6 million per year to play where it seems like he wants to be?
If not, maybe Mark DeRosa fits? Jermaine Dye’s name was out there in reports too. By the way, the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson to play center field, so don’t get too creative penciling Gardner into center.
“Pitching, pitching, pitching, and then left field”: Remember that quote from the Winter Meetings? You know, before the Yankees traded for Granderson (OK, and to be fair, before they re-signed Andy Pettitte too). Here’s a little more on the rationale for the Vazquez trade, and why it was OK to subtract Melky Cabrera.
“Trying to strengthen the rotation with quality pitching is harder to do than trying to find someone to play left field,” Cashman said. “Left field is an important portion of the team, but the pitching market is a lot thinner. There might be a lot of choices out there, but the amount of quality choices out there is certainly a smaller list on the pitching front.”
Turning the power down: I was among those who wondered what Granderson will do in Yankee Stadium, given that he hit 30 homers last year playing half his games in Comerica Park, not nearly the launching pad he’ll call home in the Bronx. Turns out, the GM isn’t looking for a whole lot more in terms of power production from the Grandyman.
“Curtis Granderson is not going to hit 40 home runs here,” Cashman said. “He’s going to be someone who’s going to track fly balls down in the outfield for us, he’s going to hit anywhere from 20 to 30 home runs. We know he’s got some power from the left side for us. He’s going to provide solid defense and great athleticism on the basepaths, and complement the rest of his teammates around him.”