Results tagged ‘ Brian McCann ’

Many questions as Joe Girardi and the Yankees flip the calendar to 2016

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi signals to his players in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. The Yankees won the game 20-6. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his end-of-season press conference this morning at Yankee Stadium. The session ran approximately 35 minutes and covered a variety of issues, recapping the campaign, the early playoff exit and looking ahead to 2016.

There’s lots of questions with this Yankees roster — some which can be answered now, some which will be resolved over the course of the next four months. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a 2,500-word rundown of the most important topics that were covered today:

How do you evaluate your own performance?

“With the information in front of me being prepared and the discussions that I had with my coaches, I did what I thought was right every day. The bottom line is we didn’t win, so that’s going to be questioned. I understand that. Hindsight can be 20/20; could have done something different? In saying that, we’re not so sure that would have worked any better. That’s the bottom line. I did the best I could, is the bottom line. People thought that I could have done better and I understand that, so you live with it.”

On players wearing down in the second half:

“The one person I think you worry as much about as any on a club that’s an everyday player is always your catcher, especially if he’s an offensive catcher. What kind of numbers is he going to have in the month of September? I’ll evaluate what I did with Brian McCann this year and maybe see could you do a little bit different next year, that sort of thing, to physically keep him strong, because he’s a huge part of our offense.”

Dellin Betances posted

What happened with Dellin Betances?

“I think he became a little human, that’s all. It’s not like he had a 4.00 ERA in those months. He still pitched pretty well. I know he gave up a run the other day in the playoff game, but you look at the hit, you’re giving up a hit to one of the best hitters in the game, in a sense, when it comes to getting base hits. There were a lot of question marks on me on how much I used Dellin during the course of the season and was I using him more. Does anyone know how many pitches he threw this year compared to last year? I would bet not.

“Does anyone know that he was shut down about the last 10 days of September last year? He threw five more pitches in the regular season this year than last year. I was cognizant of his workload. I studied his workload the year he was in Triple-A and had so much success out of the bullpen. When I look at what happened to Dellin, he had a human month. We’ve seen other great relievers have a human month; really, really good relievers have a human month. When I look at our bullpen, I think a lot of questions were answered.”

How much of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner’s second-half issues were injury related?

“Ells felt good. He physically felt pretty good the second half. He did run into the wall and I think it affected his shoulder a little bit, but I would continue to ask him about it. And I know those guys would never make that excuse. Speed guys are going to get beat up as much as anyone. So in saying that, a thing with Brett Gardner, I’ll look at how I used him. Some of the months, he was so good it was unbelievable. And they’re always somewhere in between, usually, their tough months and their good months. But we try to get them rest. I think there was a point where Gardy had three days off in September and I tried to get him a couple of other days off. We try to get these guys rest.”

Were the Yankees right to hold on to their prospects in late July, rather than make a big trade?

“Well, I think when you look at the contributions they made, I think we made the right moves. I know David Price did extremely well in his 10, 12 starts over there. I know Johnny Cueto had some struggles over there. When I look at Severino’s body of work, I think we’re all pretty pleased with what we saw. We’re glad we kept him. I think when we look at Bird’s work, I think we’re pretty pleased and probably glad that we kept him. I look at other players, some of the players who finished in Triple-A – Aaron Judge we think is going to make a big impact, we feel that Gary Sanchez is going to make a big impact after the year that he had and the improvements that he made – so I think the organization made the right decisions not giving up if you want to call them your top prospects, your blue-chip prospects, just for a two-month rental. I think it might have been different in possibly trading those guys if it would have been someone you would have the next five, six, seven years and you knew you were going to be able to keep them.”

Jacoby EllsburyIs there fence-mending needed with Ellsbury after the Wild Card benching?

“There’s a lot of hard decisions that I have to make during the course of the season. At times I sat Gardy for Chris Young. At times I sat Ells for Chris Young. As far as fence mending, that’s to be determined, I guess, as I talk through things with players over the course of the winter. I had to make a decision, and as I told you, it wasn’t an easy decision. I went through all kinds of different scenarios and what these guys had done during the course of the season. It came down to a body of work during the course of the season against left-handers. That’s not an easy decision. Gardy has a pretty substantial contract as well. I have three outfielders that have pretty substantial contracts, and I did what I thought was the best at the time. Did it work out? No. But the question I’m going to get is, if you played Ells would it have been better? Would it have been three runs better? I don’t know that. None of us knows that. If I would have played this guy, would it have been better? That sort of thing. Only time will tell. I thought we had a great conversation that day, and I thought his attitude was great that day. He had the right attitude. No player wants to sit there. Even the guys who knew they didn’t have a chance to start don’t want to sit, they want to be out there, but that’s the way you want it.”

Ever consider benching A-Rod in the Wild Card game and playing Chris Young in right field?

“Alex had been a guy who had been one of our more successful guys against left-handers during the season. No, I did not. I felt like Alex would have to have a big impact for us to win that game.

Expect to have your entire coaching staff back?

“We haven’t even talked about that. I haven’t even been in the office until today. As I said all along, it ends abruptly, it’s very difficult for me. it’s hard for me to watch the other games on TV. I haven’t even thought about that.

If A-Rod and Teixeira are healthy, how can Greg Bird fit on the 25-man roster?

“That’s not an answer I have for you now. I think you have to see how a team is constructed. He played extremely well for us, but I think you have to look at your club.”

With only three free agents (Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Chris Young), how can this team be better in 2016 without a big signing or trade?

“If you look at our club, if guys would have had some of the offensive numbers that they had in the first four months in the last two months, I think we substantially would have had more wins. I think it’s possible we would have won our division. I know that didn’t happen and those are reasons that we have to sort out as an organization, probably more me as a manager. If you look at that, we won 87 games. Our division winner won [93]. We had some guys that really had some tough second halves. If they had the same second half as the first half, I think it’s a much different story.”

Aaron JudgeCould Aaron Judge break camp with you?

“Anything’s possible. Sometimes it happens through an injury. My first opportunity was through an injury. And then I went down for 40 days and then came back. That was my opportunity. The one thing with a young player, though, is you don’t want a young player playing only once a week or twice a week when there’s still development that could take place, that would slow that down. That’s always the question that you have to answer. Is he going to thrive in that situation?”

Any chance Rob Refsnyder sees time in right field? Maybe John Ryan Murphy at the infield corners?

“I don’t really see Refsnyder necessarily going back to the outfield. I think we will continue to try to develop him as a second baseman. We believe that his bat is going to play. Could you toy around with playing Murph at a different position one day here? I think you could. I think he’s athletic enough to do it. I think you have to see the makeup of your roster before you necessarily start doing those things. I’m not opposed to doing that. You’ve seen me out of need sometimes do some things that maybe had some of you scratching your head. I never thought I’d put Carlos Beltran at first base, but when my option was him or Ichiro one night, I had to do it. I’m not opposed to doing anything if it has value and I think it’ll help us.”

CC Sabathia

What’s CC Sabathia’s 2016 outlook?

“I think when you looked at his last seven or eight starts, when you looked at his starts with his knee brace, I thought things got better. I did. I thought his ERA was substantially lower. He pitched much better. I think right now you view him as a starter. You see how he physically bounces back again. But I think right now you’re viewing him as one of our starters.”

Will you have to handle Masahiro Tanaka carefully again in ’16?

“If you look at his numbers, and I know it’s a small sample, there really wasn’t a difference when he went on normal rest and had the extra day. We had some physical concerns going into the season and I think we were trying to be proactive in that situation. But I thought he answered the bell pretty well going on normal rest. So that’s something that at times can really shake up your bullpen and shake up what you do. I think inserting a sixth starter every once in a while is not a bad idea, but it becomes somewhat of an up-and-down shuttle when you don’t do that and sometimes you don’t necessarily want to send someone down who’s in your bullpen.”

Should A-Rod even bring a glove to Spring Training?

“You know, I imagine that he’s probably going to be a DH moving forward. That’s something we’ll probably address in the winter as well, because you look at the makeup of your club and could you expect something, but it’s probably mostly DH.”

Rob RefsnyderWhy did you wait so long to give Refsnyder an opportunity?

“There were still some questions marks that had to be answered about him, about playing the position and that sort of thing, because he was young at it and there were shifts taking place and other things taking place and we wanted to make sure that he was completely aware of. The one thing that I’ve realized about playing the infield is that it’s so much different than it used to be. There are so many little things that you have to know. Every player with the exception of the first baseman has to be able to play on the other side of the diamond. That’s a big difference than what it was three or four years ago.

“By doing that (keeping Refsnyder on the big league roster in early August) we probably would have had to release someone, and we weren’t ready to do that. We looked at what Drew had done since the time that we had sat him down in Oakland for those three days. His numbers were pretty good after that. And he got hot at some times and the ballpark played favorable for him and he was playing extremely good defense, so we decided do stick with that. Drew got hurt again and it really allowed Ref to get another chance, and when he was given that chance he grabbed hold of it and ran with it and that’s why he stayed in there.

“Before Drew got hurt, if you remember, there was a 10-day period that he was as hot as anyone on our team, and we were thinking, ‘OK, if he continues to play like this.’ It was unfortunate he got hurt but it opened up a chance for Ref and he took advantage of it.

Why did Gardner stop stealing bases after mid-June?

“There is no answer. Part of it is he wasn’t on nearly as much the second half and teams pay attention to him obviously a lot. But that’s something that probably needs to be addressed because we need that out of him. And that’s something that you look at. Physically, he never really complained about his legs. But physically, sometimes where a guy doesn’t steal as much, maybe they don’t physically feel as good, they’re not going to tell you, they’re not going to ask out of the lineup. The things like I said I gotta look at. As an organization, you have to look at the optimal number of days that you play a guy in a sense to get the most out of him and for him to be the most productive.”

Masahiro TanakaDo you need to add a big-time ace, or is Tanaka your guy?

“In looking at Tanaka, I think he’s a top of the line rotation pitcher. Is he a 1, is he a 2? I don’t know. But I think Sevvy has a chance to be a top-line rotation [pitcher] and I think to me, the most important thing is that during the course of the season, we have five starters that can compete every day and give you a chance to win. That’s the most important thing. Really, to be safe, you better have six or seven.”

Do you need a right-handed bat? 

“We lost a big right-handed bat is what happened to us I think really against lefties a lot. We expect to have Tex back and healthy. And that adds a big right-handed bat. Depending on who your second baseman is, that could add a substantial bat, too, which changes our club.”

What happened to Chasen Shreve?

I think Shreve has a chance to be better because of the struggles he went through and probably learned a lot about himself. For the first five months this guy was really good and was a huge part of our bullpen. And that’s what I’m going to look at. The sixth month, yeah, we gotta figure out what happened. Mechanically there were probably some things that got a little bit off and we gotta teach him and help him get back to his mechanics when things get off, in a sense, but I think it has a chance to really help him.”

“We’re all playing at being the last team standing”

The Subway Series continues this afternoon here at Citi Field, as Carlos Beltran’s three-run homer has put the Yankees in front early against Noah Syndergaard. Michael Pineda is on the mound for the Bombers.

Playoff picture: The Yankees (80-66) trail the Blue Jays (85-62) by 4 1/2 games in the American League East. Toronto hosts the Red Sox this afternoon. The Yankees lead the Astros (77-71) by four games for the first Wild Card spot.

Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 98.8 percent chance of making the postseason, and just a 5.6 percent chance of winning the division.

“We want to be the division champs,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We want to get that definitive first series that you can qualify for, but it’s not the only way to accomplish the dream. The dream isn’t supposed to stop at Wild Card or division title. It’s supposed to be that last team standing.”


Clubhouse report

New York Mets fans jeer at New York Yankees relief pitcher Chasen Shreve (45) as he leaves the field in the seventh inning where he gave up a two-run home run to Juan Uribe in a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, in New York. The Mets won 5-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

The underbelly of the Yankees’ bullpen has appeared softer down the stretch, reducing the impact of what has been trumpeted as one of the team’s strengths. Despite that swoon, manager Joe Girardi said he retains confidence in late-inning arms like Chasen Shreve.

“I still have a lot of belief in Shreve,” Girardi said on Saturday. “I know he’s had his struggles recently, but this guy has pitched really well for us this year. You look at his body of work, not necessarily a snapshot of time and obviously he’s important to us.”

No decision has been made regarding Masahiro Tanaka, who could be asked to pitch on Wednesday at Toronto in what would be his third consecutive start on four days’ rest.

“I think it’s a little bit early to ask, just because it’s a quick turnaround,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he feels [Sunday] when he plays some catch and maybe does some flat ground.”

While it puts the Yankees at a disadvantage to have Alex Rodriguez on the bench, Girardi reiterated on Saturday that Rodriguez is not an option to play the field. The Yankees had Rodriguez work out at first base earlier this month at Fenway Park and did not like what they saw.

“Let’s not forget that he’s 40 years old, and trying to run him out there for defense, it’s probably not going to be a ton of range,” Girardi said. “It’s something that he’s not comfortable doing. … [In Boston], it just didn’t look right, so we decided not to do it. He doesn’t look comfortable. As much as we thought that maybe it might work, it just didn’t work.”

MLB Network’s three to watch

Steven Souza Jr., Brian McCannSyndergaard is 7-1, 2.15 ERA (17 ER / 71 IP) in ten starts at Citi Field. Meanwhile, he’s just 1-5, 4.47 ERA (29 ER / 58.1 IP) on the road.

Yoenis Cespedes has 17 HR and 42 RBI in just 44 games with the Mets, although he is hitless in his last 13 AB with six strikeouts. Cespedes tied with Chris Davis for the most HR in baseball since the start of August with 17 HR in that span.

Brian McCann was also not in the starting lineup Friday with a lefty on the mound and a day game on Saturday. He’s batting just .111 (2-18 AB) with no XBH in his last 6 games.

On this date

2011: Mariano Rivera records a perfect ninth inning in the Yankees’ 6-4 win over the Twins, his 602nd career save, surpassing Trevor Hoffman’s previous Major League record of 601.

Quote to note

“[The goal is to] win the American League, get into the World Series and win the World Series. It doesn’t necessarily matter which way we go, as long as we finish that off. There might be some accomplishments that everybody in the game can be proud of at a certain level when and if they ever get tagged out, but we’re all playing at being the last team standing, so that’s our interest level.” – Cashman, on winning the AL East vs. the Wild Card

Adam Warren returning to Yankees’ rotation tonight

Adam Warren

Hello from Tropicana Field, where the Yankees will continue their three-game series with the Rays tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Adam Warren is on the mound for the Yankees, making his first start since late June as he returns to the rotation and takes the spot of the injured Nathan Eovaldi.

Jake Odorizzi — also known as Brian McCann’s personal punching bag … we’ll get to that — is getting the starting nod for Tampa Bay. The Yankees have won nine of their last 11 road games, and five of eight games this year at Tropicana Field. The Rays have lost 13 of their last 20 games. 

Playoff picture: The Yankees (79-64) trail the Blue Jays (82-61) by three games in the American League East. Toronto opens a series tonight against the Braves at Turner Field. The Yankees lead the Rangers (76-67) by three games for the first Wild Card spot.

Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 97.6 percent chance of making the postseason and a 12.4 percent chance of winning the division.


Clubhouse report

Alex Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee, but he is playing through it. MORE

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Warren should be able throw 65 to 70 pitches today, and the entire back end of the Yankees bullpen (Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances and Justin Wilson) should be available with Dellin Betances getting the day off Monday.

Jacoby Ellsbury remains at the top of the lineup despite his 0-for-21 skid. Girardi said that he saw some encouraging signs from Ellsbury’s swings last night, and wasn’t tempted to dislodge Ellsbury from the leadoff spot.

The Yankees haven’t set their rotation beyond tomorrow, when Luis Severino will pitch. Girardi said there are no health concerns that they are waiting on.

Jake LaMotta is here! The ‘Raging Bull’ watched batting practice from the field in front of the Rays dugout.

MLB Network’s three to watch

Yankees Rays Baseball

Brian McCann has hit .647 (11-for-17) with three doubles, a triple, three homers and two walks in his career against RHP Jake Odorizzi. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McCann’s 1.471 slugging percentage vs. Odorizzi is the highest of any current AL hitter vs. any current AL pitcher (min. 15 at-bats).

Alex Rodriguez is slugging .735 with five home runs and nine RBIs over his last 10 games.

Evan Longoria, who was batting .394 (13-for-33) with four homers over the first nine games in September, is batting .083 (1-for-12) over his last three games. 

Stat so?

Left-handed hitters have an OPS of .614 against Odorizzi compared to right-handed hitters, who have an OPS of .714.

On this date

Bob Meusel tied a still-standing Major League record with three sacrifice flies in the Yankees’ 6-4 win at Cleveland’s League Park. Don Mattingly is the most recent Yankee to accomplish the feat, doing so on May 3, 1986 vs. Texas.

Quote to note

“I mean, you could think about [sitting Ellsbury], but it’s a pretty hard guy to take out of your lineup. Because hitting, it turns around pretty quickly. We have 19 games to go. He’s extremely important to our lineup. So it’s hard to sit Ells.” — Girardi

Brian McCann feeling better, returns to lineup

Brian McCannNEW YORK — Brian McCann hopes that a new pair of orthotics will help ward off a painful arch condition and allow him to stick in the Yankees’ lineup.

McCann gave the thumbs-up to get back behind the plate on Friday after catching a side session in the bullpen, testing out his new gear. McCann had an MRI taken on Thursday in New York after being forced to leave Wednesday’s 3-1 win over the Mariners in Seattle.

“It only flared up when I caught,” McCann said. “Walking around, it didn’t flare up, but once I got in my squat and moved around — that’s what we’ve been waiting for today. I went out there and it didn’t flare up.”

McCann said that he was worried the condition might have been something that forced him to the disabled list, so Friday’s developments were welcome news for him and the Yankees. McCann said that he has worn the same orthotics for about three years and it was time to get them updated.

“You hope that the orthotics correct the problem,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “From time to time — kind of like a pair of glasses, in a sense – your prescription changes a little bit. And I think a lot of it has to do with being a catcher and being in the position that he’’s in (with) his feet.”

McCann is batting .248 with eight homers and 33 RBIs this season.

Stephen Drew: “Eventually it’s going to turn around for me”

Here are the quick hits as the Yankees conclude their four-game series against the Athletics here at o.Co Coliseum. Right-hander Jesse Chavez (1-5, 2.44) has the ball for Oakland, facing right-hander Adam Warren (3-3, 3.91), who remains on the bubble as a starter with Masahiro Tanaka set to return on Wednesday.

New York Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew runs to the dugout during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Monday, April 20, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Stephen Drew was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Sunday, as the veteran infielder searches for ways to escape his season-long slump.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi again opted to start Jose Pirela at second base over Drew, who is hitless in his last 20 at-bats and is batting just .157 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games this season.

“I told Stephen, continue to work,” Girardi said. “He’s trying to work on some things offensively. I’ve always said, whenever you play it’s an opportunity to open someone’s eyes. [Pirela], I thought swung the bat pretty good last night. I’m going to run him back out there.”

Girardi said that the 32-year-old Drew has been “pretty banged up” at times, but that the benching was not injury-related.

“This game sometimes, it’s a humbling game. I know that,” Drew said. “It’s not getting too high or too low, it’s just going out and playing every day. This year has definitely been frustrating at times. Besides these last couple of games, I’ve had some some productive at-bats, just no luck, so eventually it’s going to turn around for me.”

Girardi said that Drew’s average on batted balls in play (BABIP) of .164 indicates that he has not been rewarded when hitting the ball hard. Drew’s overall batting average is the lowest of any qualified Major Leaguer; the second-lowest player, the Angels’ Matt Joyce, is 29 points higher at .186.

“I still think this guy’s too good of a player not to hit,” Girardi said. “We’ve seen him hit a grand slam. We’ve seen him hit three-run homers. We’ve seen him hit the ball out of the ballpark. We’ve seen him impact the baseball. To me, eventually it’s got to even out.”

Brendan RyanBrendan Ryan, who has been sidelined since Spring Training with a right calf strain and subsequent setbacks, started a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Sunday with Class-A Tampa.

Ryan lined a double in his first at-bat for the Yankees’ Florida State League affiliate. Ryan sustained a Grade 2 strain of his calf while fielding a ball in an April 1 exhibition game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and is currently on the 60-day disabled list.

“Obviously he’s got to get some at-bats, because he really hasn’t had a Spring Training,” Girardi said. “He’s going to need some at-bats, be able to play a couple days in row, lengthy games, because you never know when you’ll be pressed into action for three or four days.”

Coming into the season, the 33-year-old Ryan was envisioned as the primary backup for shortstop Didi Gregorius. A slick fielder, Ryan batted .167 (19-for-114) with no homers and eight RBIs in 49 games for New York last season.

Brian McCann, Chris MartinThe Yankees returned right-hander Chris Martin from his Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday, reinstating him from the 15-day disabled list before optioning him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Girardi said that the club decided to keep the four left-handers in its bullpen – Jacob Lindgren, Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson – to prepare for a three-game series against the Mariners this week.

“He just has to pitch well and get on a roll. As we get some guys back, sometimes it gets a little bit crowded,” Girardi said. “What I would tell him is to be ready. When the phone rings, you want to be the guy.”

Martin, 28, pitched a perfect inning for the RailRiders in Saturday’s 6-1 loss to Norfolk, inducing three ground ball outs. He was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 15 appearances before being placed on the disabled list May 9 with right elbow tendinitis.

Just a day off for Brian McCann, but it’s tough to take his bat out of the lineup. McCann has a .385 AVG (10-26 AB) with four homers, 12 RBI and seven runs scored during an eight-game hitting streak. John Ryan Murphy is behind the plate. … Girardi waited until he checked with Carlos Beltran to fill out his lineup card. Beltran literally gave Girardi the thumbs-up to play him. … Alex Rodriguez has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .394 (13-33 AB) with five RBI and seven runs scored. His last ten-game hit streak was back in 2012. … The Yankees have lost 11 of their last 13 games in Oakland dating back to July of 2012. … The Yankees are currently the only team in the AL East with a record above .500. … Fun pitching matchup tomorrow in Seattle: Michael Pineda against his former club and King Felix Hernandez for the Mariners.


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