Results tagged ‘ Jacoby Ellsbury ’

Winter reset: Projecting the Yankees’ Opening Day roster

The countdown to the Feb. 20 official report date for pitchers and catchers is on, and this is as good as time as any to hit the reset button and look ahead. Over the last several weeks, the Yankees have been busy assembling a roster that promises to be younger and more versatile than last year’s 84-win club.

Beginning with the relatively minor Nov. 12 deal with the Pirates, which swapped left-hander Justin Wilson for catcher Francisco Cervelli, general manager Brian Cashman has triggered six trades and pulled two major free agents off the board in Andrew Miller (four years, $36 million) and Chase Headley (four years, $52 million). It seems like just yesterday that Cashman was standing on the curb of a San Diego hotel, explaining why the Yanks were leaving the Winter Meetings empty-handed.

This week, they’ve also moved close to an agreement with infielder Stephen Drew; that deal is done, pending a physical, and will be worth $5 million plus incentives for the 2015 season.

Drew slots as the Yanks’ starting second baseman, forming a combination up the middle with Didi Gregorius. So much for that spring battle between youngsters Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, though it would serve them both well to come into Spring Training and play well. Depth could be important at both infield positions.

A lot can happen between now and April 6, something the Yankees know all too well, particularly in the starting rotation. Barring something wild like a push to bring in Max Scherzer, here is an early guess at how the Yankees’ 25-man roster could look on Opening Day:

Masahiro TanakaRotation (5): Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Capuano

No real surprises here, assuming they can all get through the spring without health issues. They’ll have to hold their breath on every Tanaka splitter for a while. Adam Warren is set to come into Spring Training as a starter and could also be considered here. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild floated the idea of a six-man rotation last year and it will be interesting to see if the Yanks kick that around, but for now, these are five solid choices they can go forward with. It’s important to note that Ivan Nova is expected to return from Tommy John surgery in May or June.

Bullpen (7): Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers, Chasen Shreve.

The Yanks believe their closer is already on this roster, so Joe Girardi can have some fun in the spring deciding between Betances and Miller. They could even go with co-closers based upon situations if they wanted, but my best guess right now is that Betances will close and Miller sticks in the setup role. Carpenter slides into Shawn Kelley’s old role and would handle the 6th or 7th innings. Rogers is a solid swingman option, while Wilson and Shreve would give the Yanks extra lefties in the pen.

Spring Training is a great time to evaluate bullpen arms, and the Yanks will have plenty of other names to look at. Shreve’s spot is probably the least secure of anyone on that list, and so a brief list of options who could fit here if they don’t begin the year in the Minors include (in no particular order) — Chase Whitley, Dan Burawa, Branden Pinder, Bryan Mitchell, Jose Ramirez, Jacob Lindgren, Nick Rumbelow and Gonzalez Germen. Andrew Bailey was also re-signed to a Minor League deal and is trying to regain his old form. 

Catchers (2): Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy.

Murphy will have to hold off Austin Romine for the backup role; Romine is out of Minor League options and the Yanks would lose him if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, but Murphy has seemed to leapfrog Romine in the organization’s view over the last year or so. Top prospect Gary Sanchez is slated to begin the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and could make his big league debut this year.

Mark Teixeira, Tony RandazzoInfielders (7): Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, Brendan Ryan, Garrett Jones, Alex Rodriguez.

The starting infield seems set, with Teixeira, Drew, Gregorius and Headley going around the horn. In particular, the Yanks expect that Teixeira will be stronger and more productive as he is further removed from surgery. Drew should fit at second base but gives the Yanks an option at shortstop if Gregorius flounders.

Ryan would be the 25th man on the roster. He provides a backup pretty much everywhere, assuming the Yanks keep him and intend to have Refsnyder and Pirela start the year in Triple-A (their 40-man roster is full and Drew hasn’t yet been added). 

Jones would be Teixeira’s backup at first base, has played some right field and could serve as the DH against right-handed pitching. They love the idea of showcasing his big left-handed power in Yankee Stadium. It’s anyone’s guess what the Yankees will have in A-Rod; they’re going in thinking that any production would be a bonus. At the absolute minimum, you’d hope that Rodriguez can be an effective DH against left-handed pitching (the Yanks think his ’13 struggles vs. lefties were a small-sample size aberration), but it’s not impossible to envision Rodriguez being moderately productive as a full-time DH and even playing a little third base.

Jacoby EllsburyOutfielders (4): Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Chris Young.

The outfield is pretty locked in from left to right, assuming that Beltran’s elbow is healed and he can be more like the player he was in 2013 with the Cardinals. If he’s unable to play right field regularly, it will create major headaches with the DH spot. Young is capable of playing all three outfield spots and, as Ichiro Suzuki discovered over the last two seasons, there can be plenty of at-bats to be found in a role like that — even if it doesn’t appear that way early in the spring.

Pregame briefing: Masahiro Tanaka returns

Masahiro TanakaHello from Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees and Blue Jays will play the finale of their weekend series this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Yankees are clinging to faint hopes in the postseason race, but they’ll be getting a good look at their 2015 plans when Masahiro Tanaka heads to the mound to make his first start since July 8 in Cleveland, having rehabbed a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament.

The Yankees are curious about what they’ll have in Tanaka, and seeing him under big league conditions against the Blue Jays (and, if all goes well, probably the Red Sox at Fenway Park) could tell them a lot about if he can be counted on.

“I think it’s important for us as an organization and for him to see what we have moving forward, so I’ve been looking forward to this day,” Joe Girardi said.

There aren’t too many sure things in the ’15 rotation right now, so if Tanaka looks like he did in the first half, maybe that tempers the urgency to throw wheelbarrows of cash at guys like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer this winter.

You can watch on YES or listen on WFAN 660 AM/101.9 FM.

Other updates from the Yankees clubhouse:

  • Derek Jeter could play in all of the Yankees’ remaining games, Girardi said, especially now that he is swinging the bat well. Jeter is DHing this afternoon and comes in with three straight multi-hit games, one shy of his longest stretch of the season. Jeter is 6-for-13 with two runs, a double, a homer and two RBIs on his final regular season homestand.
  • Carlos Beltran (bone spur in right elbow) said that he has been encouraged to wait until after the season to have surgery. The recovery time is approximately 12 weeks, so in theory, waiting another week or so shouldn’t have much impact on his availability for Spring Training. He will have the surgery, that’s 100 percent, but perhaps he could help off the bench as a pinch-hitter in the last games of the year.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury (right hamstring strain) still hopes to get back on the field this year. He spent all day yesterday icing and said that he is working on a plan with the Yanks’ trainers. Girardi said that Ellsbury could probably pinch-hit before playing center field, but he’s probably not available today.
  • Mark Teixeira (right wrist tendinitis) will see a doctor after today’s game and said that he will ask about getting a third cortisone injection. Girardi said that Teixeira is not a player for him today.
  • Chaz Roe was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Tanaka, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list.

Mark Teixeira hoping for two healthy months

Mark Teixeira took on-field batting practice Monday for the first time since he sustained what the Yankees called a lower lat strain, and the first baseman hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

“I’m very happy,” Teixeira said. “The back spasms are gone, which I’ve been dealing with for a long time, so that’s really good. It’s good to see that the treatments worked and the time off helped, so hopefully they won’t come back.”

Teixeira has not played since July 20 against the Reds; he had a platelet-rich plasma injection and at the time, the team said that he would miss three to four days. It has been longer than initially anticipated, but Teixeira has at least been able to avoid the 15-day disabled list.

“I wasn’t expecting all the little annoying things that come up. That’s part of the game,” Teixeira said. “Hopefully this is it, and I have two healthy months to finish the season, but missing a couple of games here, a couple of games there, it’s never fun.”

Teixeira said that last season’s wrist injury made him consider his baseball mortality, and the fact that he could no longer play through injuries that he might have in his 20s.

“I’ve played through so many things. I can’t play through them anymore,” Teixeira said. “That’s just the fact of the matter. The guys ask me, ‘How did you play in Texas for five years, 100 degrees every night?’ I was young. I was a kid. I played through everything.

“You fouled a pitch of your leg, go get ‘em. Strain something in your back, go get ‘em. That’s just the way it is when you’re young. I can’t play through those things (now). I don’t think I would have had to miss games with back spasms.”

Teixeira said that maintenance will be a key for him, and that he’d prefer to play until something hurts rather than take precautionary days off. But it’s pretty much inevitable at this stage that sooner or later, there will be another issue to deal with; as he said with a smile, “Father Time is undefeated.”

“I was very lucky that I could play through those things and stay on the field as long as anybody,” Teixeira said. “But at a certain point, you hit a wall. I hit a wall last year and hopefully I won’t have a lot of these, but if they do pop up, it’s just harder to play through it.”


Joe Girardi has more of an inside track to the Yankees’ trade rumor scene than the average observer, but the manager said that he prefers to give general manager Brian Cashman his space to work, rather than get excited about moves might happen.

“We talk on a daily basis anyway during the course of the day, so it doesn’t really change much,” Girardi said. “I know he’s always trying to improve our club, and I’m not going to keep bothering him and take up his time when there’s things he’s doing.”

Cashman has said that he has more work to do in what has been a busy July; upgrading starting pitching is a focus, but various media reports have also connected the Yanks to discussions of some level for outfielders Marlon Byrd (Phillies), Chris Denorfia (Padres), Alex Rios (Rangers) and Josh Willingham (Twins).

Girardi often says that he has to worry about the 25 players in his clubhouse, but he does regularly communicate his views on the roster and specific needs to Cashman, something that will continue even after Thursday’s non-waivers Trade Deadline.

“I try not to get excited, because as I always say, it takes two teams to really want to do a deal,” Girardi said. “And do I expect it? I never expect to get new people. I always think, ‘This is who we’ve got, this is who has to get it done.'”


The Yankees recalled outfielder Zoilo Almonte from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday, immediately inserting the 25-year-old to play left field and bat ninth against the Rangers.

It is Almonte’s third stint with the big league club this year, where he has batted .160 (4-for-25) with one homer. Almonte was batting .281 in 75 games at Triple-A, leading the RailRiders in homers (16) and RBIs (57).

In a corresponding roster move, the Yankees designated left-hander Jeff Francis for assignment, reducing the number of active pitchers on the staff to 12.

Francis was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two relief appearances, spanning 1 2/3 innings. He was acquired from the Athletics with cash considerations for a player to be named later on July 11.


Jacoby Ellsbury received a day off for rest on Monday against the Rangers. Ellsbury had played in all 10 of the Yanks’ games coming out of the All-Star break, batting .289 (11-for-38) with a double and two homers on the homestand. He said manager Joe Girardi told him about the day off on Sunday’s flight to Texas.


Masahiro Tanaka (partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament) stayed back in New York to continue receiving treatment at Yankee Stadium. Aug. 4 will mark three weeks of full rest since the right-hander received a platelet-rich plasma injection.

“We’re still waiting for that three-week mark. Nothing’s really going to change until the three week mark,” Girardi said. “He’s staying back and doing treatment every day. He feels better and better. You just kind of wait to see where you are after three weeks.”


Carlos Beltran (bone spur in right elbow) has increased to throwing at 100 to 120 feet. The Yankees are hopeful that Beltran, currently only a designated hitter, could return to play some outfield after this road trip.


Michael Pineda (strained muscle in upper back) is scheduled to throw three innings or 45 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. The Yankees are hopeful that Pineda can rejoin the big league roster in mid-August.

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’ Jacoby Ellsbury ready to test sore right calf

So… did that Panama trip really happen? It seems like such a blur. I’m glad they let me back through customs.

Here’s an early update on Jacoby Ellsbury from George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa:

TAMPA, Fla. — Jacoby Ellsbury is looking forward to getting reacquainted with some of his old Red Sox teammates on Tuesday, but as he guards a sore right calf, he won’t be having any of those conversations between the white lines.

“We just want it 100 percent,” Ellsbury said. “It’s just one of those things that when I step on that field … it’ll be fine when I play in that game. That’s how we want it.”

Ellsbury was scratched from Sunday’s lineup and had a full day of rest on Monday. He said that he plans to have a normal day of hitting, running and throwing workouts on Tuesday, and was not certain if he would be available to play on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to say yet, just because I haven’t talked to them,” Ellsbury said. “I’m going to go hit, throw, hit off the tee – just kind of do my normal routine. I’ll go stretch out in the weight room and report back to them.”

Ellsbury was pleased to hear that several familiar faces would be in the visiting dugout for Tuesday’s game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Boston’s travel roster for the game includes Jackie Bradley Jr., Jonny Gomes, David Ross and starter Felix Doubront.

“Yeah, it’ll be a little different looking across,” Ellsbury said. “I’ll see a lot of familiar faces; obviously the coaches will make the trip, so I’ll see a lot of those guys and say hello to them. It was a great time, a great seven years that I spent there.”

Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million deal with New York in December, will have another opportunity to play against his former club this spring. The Yankees are traveling to play the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. on Thursday.

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