Results tagged ‘ Hiroki Kuroda ’

Empty-handed at Winter Meetings, Yankees ready to deal

Brian CashmanWith a backpack slung over his shoulder, Brian Cashman stood on the sidewalk in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt and didn’t mince words in recapping his uneventful stay by the surf in San Diego.

“I didn’t do anything,” Cashman said. “We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we’ve got a long way between now and Opening Day. We’ll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive, and just wait and see.”

The Yanks tried to join the frenzy at a wild Winter Meetings, but their experience will be remembered more for who they lost. It was a week in which the Yankees watched David Robertson take a four-year, $46 million deal from the White Sox, then learned that Brandon McCarthy had scored a four-year, $48 million pact from the Dodgers.

In both cases, the Yankees declined to extend a proposal, other than the qualifying offer that Robertson turned down last month. In Robertson’s case, they decided that they’d rather have the package of Andrew Miller on a four-year, $36 million deal and a compensatory Draft pick, giving them a few extra dollars to spend. As for McCarthy, Cashman said that he “figured the market would take him at a level that we couldn’t play on.”

Thus, the Yankees’ needs are exactly what they were five days ago. Here’s a handy recap of how we covered the team’s business at the Winter Meetings:

Andrew MillerDay 1: Miller joined the beat reporters on a conference call and said that he feels capable of handling the closer’s role, though that opportunity did not come up in his talks with the Yankees and he plans to accept any role that manager Joe Girardi hands to him. Now tracking the Yanks’ Hot Stove moves as an interested observer, Miller said he feels that New York’s bullpen already looks formidable on paper.

“I think I can get three outs at any point in the game, wherever that may be,” Miller said. “Whatever it is, it’s fine with me. I want to win. I want to shake hands and high-five at the end of the game more than anything. If I have to get two outs in the sixth, there’s value in that.”

Cashman and the Yankees contingent arrived just before noon and sequestered in their suite for conversations with teams and agents. Sometime during the day, Cashman met with agent Scott Leventhal and told him that the Yankees would not bid on Robertson. Word of Robertson’s agreement with the White Sox then moved through the hotel lobby around midnight.

Joe GirardiDay 2: Girardi checked in at the Winter Meetings and said that even with the loss of Robertson, he believes that his club won’t have trouble holding late leads next season.

“We feel that our bullpen is going to be very strong again,” Girardi said. “We feel like we have a number of great arms. I’m not really worried about that because of the arms we have down there, and I feel like we’ll have a very good bullpen.”

With Miller and Dellin Betances potentially in line to jump into the closer’s role, Girardi also mentioned Justin Thomas, Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley as options to help out in a closer-by-committee situation. The Yanks would prefer to have a set closer by Opening Day. Cashman revealed that he publicly kept the Yankees in Robertson’s mix following the Miller signing to help him maximize his free agent value.

During the week, Cashman confirmed that he spoke to several teams about trades that hit dead ends. Among them — the A’s for Jeff Samardzija, the Dodgers for Dee Gordon, the Tigers for Rick Porcello and the D-backs for Wade Miley. In Porcello’s case, Cashman says that he obviously didn’t have a player like Yoenis Cespedes to offer; in Gordon’s case, the Dodgers were already moving forward in talks with the Marlins.

“I just said, if you see any fits, let me know,” Cashman said.

Prior to last week’s Didi Gregorius trade, the Yanks had also talked to the Phillies about Jimmy Rollins. One minor note from this day – earlier reports that the Yankees hired Marcus Thames as an assistant hitting coach are said to be false, according to Cashman. In fact, Thames was never interviewed. The search to replace Kevin Long and Mick Kelleher is taking a back seat to pursuing trades and free agents.

Scott BorasDay 3: Following the news of Jon Lester choosing the Cubs over the Red Sox, Scott Boras took his annual place as the center of attention at the Winter Meetings (hey, I’m in this photo!) and attempted to dangle Max Scherzer in front of the Yankees’ eyes.

“I can’t predict what the Yankees are going to do,” Boras said, “but I can tell you that a guy like Max fits into their starting rotation to develop a World Series-caliber set that is similar to what they’ve had in the past when they won.”

Cashman replied: “Good, that means he likes the four we’ve got!” Yankees people still state that they do not plan on issuing another nine-figure pitching contract; industry people are saying they aren’t so sure about that.

By this point, the Yanks had checked in with free agent closers Sergio Romo and Jason Grilli. There was also an Alex Rodriguez update – A-Rod was seen in Miami by strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Krause, who issued a positive report. Rodriguez is heavier than his listed playing weight of 225 pounds, but Cashman said there has been progress.

On the third base front, the Yankees continued to talk to Chase Headley. The switch-hitter is reported to have a four-year, $65 million offer in hand from an undisclosed team, and if that is true, the Yankees are unlikely to match it. Cashman said the Yanks are ready to roll with Martin Prado at third base if it comes to that, giving Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela a crack at the second base job. They could also go after the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie. Boras mentioned that Stephen Drew is willing to sign as a second baseman.

Cashman also reaches out to Hiroki Kuroda’s agent, Steve Hilliard, who tells the Yankees that Kuroda has not reached any decisions about 2015. Kuroda is said to be once again entertaining thoughts of retirement, though Cashman has said that he expects Kuroda to pitch next season.

News of McCarthy’s deal with the Dodgers breaks late in the evening. Cashman soon confirms that the Yankees didn’t make him an offer. I file a fun story about Eric Chavez’s new front office/coaching gig.

The Yanks’ only pickup of the meetings? The reported Minor League signing of infielder Nick Noonan, a move that has not been announced by the club.

Day 4: The quiet Winter Meetings conclude with the Yankees idle in the Rule 5 Draft, opting to keep their three vacant 40-man roster spots clear for future trades and free agent signings. They also do not lose any players. Rumors briefly connect the Yanks to free agent Ervin Santana, who signed a four-year deal with the Twins.

The Yanks’ adjoining suites on the 29th floor are vacated; the room service bill is likely substantial. In wrapping up the meetings, assistant GM Billy Eppler said that the Yankees’ attitude has been one of patience rather than frustration.

“You always want to walk out of here with something to show for it, but when you make headway in certain arenas, it makes you feel like you’ve been able to drill down on some things that hopefully will present themselves in the coming days,” Eppler said.

Yankees’ rotation appears to be set

Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan NovaThe Yankees have set their likely starting rotation for the season-opening series against the Astros in Houston, which projects to send Masahiro Tanaka out for his big league debut on April 4 against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed to reporters on Monday that the club has scheduled CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova for starts in the April 1-3 series in Houston. That would permit Tanaka to fly ahead of the team and be waiting to start on April 4 at Rogers Centre.

Tanaka, 25, signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees this past offseason, and he has posted a 3.00 ERA in four spring outings, spanning 15 innings. The Yankees have been mindful of easing him into the workload of a five-man rotation after Tanaka pitched once per week for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.

By lining up to pitch the Yanks’ fourth game of the year, Tanaka would gain an extra day of rest his third time through the pitching order. The decision also splits up Kuroda and Tanaka, as Girardi has noted that their pitching styles are similar.

If the Yankees can stay on rotation, Tanaka would line up to make his first Yankee Stadium start on April 9 against the Orioles, then be back on the mound in the Bronx for the April 15 game against the Cubs.

Girardi said that the Yankees have also reached a decision on their fifth starter, but he was not prepared to announce it publicly “because we haven’t talked to everyone involved.”

“I would love to tell you everything, but I haven’t talked to the guys and it’s not fair,” Girardi said.

An official announcement is expected on Tuesday, but it is believed that Michael Pineda won the job after going 2-1 with a 1.20 ERA in four spring games (three starts). In 15 innings, Pineda permitted three runs (two earned) and 14 hits, walking one and striking out 16.

Girardi said that “it’s possible” the Yankees could keep all three of the rotation runner-ups in the bullpen to begin the season. David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno have also been in competition to serve as the fifth starter.

“The important thing to me is taking what we feel is the best 12 guys,” Girardi said. “It’s something we’ve got to talk about a little bit [Tuesday].”

The manager added that the Yankees are close to naming the backup to starting catcher Brian McCann. Francisco Cervelli is believed to be well in the lead, having batted .455 (15-for-33) with four home runs and seven RBIs in 13 spring games.

“That’s another thing we may wait to announce, but we’re pretty sure of what we’re going to do,” Girardi said.

In other updates, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (sore right calf) is scheduled to play in a Minor League game on Tuesday at the Yankees’ Himes Avenue complex, and infielder Brendan Ryan (pinched nerve) received treatment on Monday.

Girardi has said that if Ryan is unavailable to play on Tuesday, he would likely begin the season on the disabled list, opening a spot on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster for another backup infielder.

In that event, Girardi has said that he would take two of three from the group of Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna and non-roster invitee Yangervis Solarte, all of whom could serve as a backup to shortstop Derek Jeter.

Yankees officially bring back Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki KurodaNow there are three guarantees for the Yankees rotation, as Hiroki Kuroda has joined CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. Kuroda’s contract is for one year and $16 million, representing a $1 million raise over last year’s salary.

Here’s the Yankees’ official press release.

The New York Yankees today announced they have signed right-handed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year Major League contract, extending through the 2014 season.

Kuroda, 38, went 11-13 with a 3.31 ERA (201.1IP, 74ER) in 32 starts with the Yankees in 2013.  He made nine scoreless starts, the most such starts among all American League pitchers and second-most in the Majors behind only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (10).

Kuroda is one of just four American League starters to post sub-3.33 ERAs in each of the last two seasons (3.31 in 2013 and 3.32 in ’12), joining the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the White Sox’ Chris Sale and the Angels’ Jered Weaver.  Since joining the Yankees prior to the 2012 season, he has tossed at least 7.0 scoreless innings in 14 of his starts, tied with Kershaw for most in the Majors over the two-year stretch.

Prior to joining the Yankees in 2012, Kuroda spent his previous four seasons with Los Angeles-NL (2008-11), going 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA (699.0IP, 268ER) in 115 games (114 starts).  Among pitchers who changed leagues during the 2011-12 offseason, his 16 wins in 2012 were tied with the Pirates’ A.J. Burnett for second-most in the Majors behind only Washington’s Gio Gonzalez (21).

A native of Osaka, Japan, Kuroda became the fourth Japan-born player and third such pitcher to appear in a Major League game for the Yankees, joining outfielder Hideki Matsui (2003-09), left-handed pitcher Kei Igawa (2007-08) and right-handed pitcher Hideki Irabu (1997-99).  Since Kuroda’s Yankees debut, right-handed pitcher Ryota Igarashi (2012) and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (2012-13) have also played for the club.

Over his six Major League seasons, Kuroda has gone 68-70 with a 3.40 ERA (1,120.0IP, 423ER) in 180 career appearances (179 starts).  He has made at least 30 starts and tossed more than 180.0 innings in five of his Major League campaigns (all but his injury-shortened 2009 season).

Among all Japan-born pitchers ever to play in the Major Leagues, his 3.42 career ERA is the lowest all-time among pitchers who have made 75-or-more career starts or pitched at least 500.0 innings, while his 68 wins and 840 strikeouts trail only Hideo Nomo’s career totals of 123 wins and 1,918 strikeouts.

Originally signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent on December 18, 2007, Kuroda spent 11 seasons (1997-2007) pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japanese Central League. In 271 appearances (244 starts) for the Carp, he went 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA (1,700.1IP, 697ER). 

Kuroda: It’s “pretty frustrating” right now

Hiroki Kuroda, of Japan,, Larry Rothschild, Chris StewartIN TWO PARAGRAPHS: Uh-oh. The Yankees shouldn’t be losing two of three games to the Blue Jays if they’re serious about making a real run at a playoff spot, but let’s focus tonight on Hiroki Kuroda, who suddenly is starting to look like he’s cooked as the innings pile up. This is three rough ones in a row, as Kuroda was pounded for seven runs (five earned) and nine hits in five innings. He has allowed 15 earned runs in his last 16 2/3 innings (8.10 ERA).

No, Chris Stewart’s two-run throwing error didn’t help, but obviously that wasn’t the only problem tonight. Edwin Encarnacion’s homer to left field was a bomb, and Kuroda left a pitch up that Brett Lawrie pounded for a two-run double. The final was 7-2, and it never really felt that close — I mean, Joba Chamberlain was warming up in the third inning with the Yanks down by seven. That’s about all you need to know.

MANAGER’S TAKE: “He’s struggling a little bit right now, but I mean, I looked up and [Felix] Hernandez in Seattle gave up I think nine runs today. These guys can’t be perfect. We need him to turn it around and I believe he will the next start.” – Joe Girardi

QUOTES…

“As a starter, I think you take all of your 30-something starts as important as any starts. Especially after July, where you feel like you want to be better at your pitches. At the same time, I feel like you take it one game at a time. Every start is important, but to not have my stuff at this stage of the season is pretty frustrating.” – Kuroda

“It’s a big blow, especially the way Hiro’s been throwing. He hasn’t been really catching the breaks, and for me to do something like that and add on to the misery, it sucks. Hopefully it’s the last one of the year. Hopefully I can keep my head on straight, we can keep things rolling, brush off some wins, and get back to where we need to be.” -Stewart

“We’ve got to win games, that’s the bottom line. We’re playing the teams that we’re chasing for the most part. There are a couple teams, but we need to play well. We don’t have much room for error. Every game we play is important.” – Derek Jeter

NOTES…

This was the Blue Jays’ first series win vs. the Yankees. … New York is now 19-19 since the All-Star break. … Kuroda has allowed at least nine hits and five runs in three straight starts. … Eduardo Nunez (right knee) said that he’ll have an MRI on Thursday in New York. He’s concerned about the chances of having to go back on the disabled list. … Jeter had his first double of the year. It was career hit No. 3,311, placing him two behind Eddie Collins (3,313) for ninth place on the all-time list.

ON DECK

The Yankees have an off-day Thursday, and then it’s back to Yankee Stadium for a big Wild Card race showdown with the Baltimore Orioles. CC Sabathia (11-11, 4.81) gets the ball for the opener of a three-game series as the Birds will throw right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 3.77). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES and MLB Network.

Yanks split twinbill with Dodgers, look ahead to showdown with Rays

The Yankees split their doubleheader with the Dodgers on Wednesday, winning the first game 6-4 behind strong performances from Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda.

They then flopped in the nightcap, as Phil Hughes allowed five runs in six innings and the Yankees mustered just three singles against Chris Capuano and two relievers in a 6-0 loss.

We’ve recapped all of the day’s action in story form on MLB.com and Yankees.com, of course, but here is a quick rundown of  what you might have missed in the deluge:

  • It was exciting to get an in-person look at Yasiel Puig. He’s just as fun to watch as advertised, and I wish he played in the American League East so we could see it more regularly. The Yankees and the Dodgers both disagree with me on that point, I’m sure.
  • Mariano Rivera bested the intriguing rookie in a ninth-inning battle to end the first game.
  • Lyle Spencer compared Puig to Ichiro Suzuki very nicely: “Ichiro improvises cool jazz. Puig is hard rock, charged by electricity.” When Puig stepped in against Adam Warren in the seventh inning, I wasn’t even able to manage to say, “I don’t like this matchup for Adam Wa…” before Puig flicked his wrists and hit an opposite-field homer. He’s special.
  • Joe Girardi said that he has not given any thought to removing Hughes from the rotation, but acknowledged the struggles we’re all seeing. “I think it’s location for him, location of his fastball, and staying out of long counts,” Girardi said.
  • Zoilo Almonte made his big league debut, grounding out as a pinch-hitter for Austin Romine in the ninth inning of the second game. Joe Girardi had said that he planned to give Almonte a start in the second game, as well as against one of the Rays right-handers, but obviously changed his mind between games. Almonte is the Yankees’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB.com.
  • Robinson Cano was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the second game, and Girardi was a bit mystified why that happened. “He took too wide of a turn, and I’m not really sure why he took such a wide turn, but he did,” Girardi said.
  • Austin Romine’s troubles at the plate continue, but with Francisco Cervelli not expected back until the middle of July, Girardi said that he can keep trotting Romine out as his backup catcher. “I think he’s done a pretty good job behind the plate,” Girardi said. “He’s struggled offensively, there’s no doubt about it. Early on he was hitting some balls hard and he wasn’t having a whole lot of luck. But he’s done a pretty good job for me behind the plate.”
  •  Jason Kidd threw the ceremonial first pitch for the nightcap.
  • The Bleacher Creatures twice serenaded Dodgers manager Don Mattingly with chants of “Don-nie Base-ball,” and Mattingly doffed his cap both times.

The Yankees have lost six of their last eight games as they head into a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. Here are the pitching probables, game times and local television information:

Thur., 6/20 vs. Tampa Bay: LHP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 3.95) vs. LHP Matt Moore (8-3, 4.12), 7:05 p.m. YES

Fri., 6/21 vs. Tampa Bay: RHP David Phelps (4-4, 4.08) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (4-7, 5.02), 7:05 p.m. MY9

Sat., 6/22 vs. Tampa Bay: LHP CC Sabathia (7-5, 3.93) vs. TBD, 1:05 p.m. YES/MLB Net.

Sun., 6/23 vs. Tampa Bay: TBD (Ivan Nova?) vs. RHP Chris Archer (1-3, 5.03), 2:05 p.m. YES/TBS

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40,113 other followers

%d bloggers like this: