Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’

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.”

A-Rod riding the bench as Yanks arrive at Fenway

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez walked up Fenway Park’s ancient dugout runway on Friday afternoon and spotted a clear spot on the bench, asking a bystander if that was for him. Told that it was, he pushed through a crowd of reporters and took that seat, where he would begin the Yankees’ first trip to Boston of the season.

With Yankees manager Joe Girardi sending out a lefty-dominant lineup against Red Sox right-hander Justin Masterson, Rodriguez’s chase to tie Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list remains paused for at least a few more innings.

“I think in the course of 162 games, Joe is being very diligent about spreading it out,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes it’s tempting to play 10 in a row or 12 in a row – I know I want to, perhaps Joe sometimes may want me to – but he’s much smarter than me, so I trust him.”

Rodriguez said that Girardi sent him a text message about the lineup before the team arrived at Fenway on Friday afternoon. Rodriguez has 659 career homers, one shy of Mays’ lifetime total of 660.

“He’ll wait one day, but I do want to get it out of the way,” Girardi said. “As much as a player you try not to think about it, it’s impossible. The sooner we get it out of the way, the better.”

In 302 at-bats at Fenway Park as a Yankee, A-Rod has hit 14 homers (one for every 21.6 at-bats). Overall, in his career with the Yankees, Rodriguez has averaged one homer for every 15.6 at-bats).

“Fenway’s one of my favorite places to play,” Rodriguez said. “I started my career here when I was 18 years old. It was the first time I put on a big league uniform. I had my parents here, my mother, my brother and my sister. So I have some very fond memories. Say whatever you want about Boston; Fenway and the Boston fans have a great appreciation and love for history.”

Jose PirelaJose Pirela has joined Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and went 1-for-4 with a RBI and a walk against Charlotte on Thursday. He was a candidate to join the big league team earlier this week, but Masahiro Tanaka‘s injury allowed the Yankees to recall infielder Gregorio Petit from Triple-A instead.

Returning from a concussion sustained by colliding with the center-field wall during a March 22 Spring Training game, Pirela is just 2-for-18 in the Minors.

“I think he is doing better,” Girardi said. “It’s something that we have discussed about what we might possibly do with him or not do with him, but obviously I think at-bats are important. He was out a month. You’ve got to get him some at-bats and some real game situations playing different positions.”

Girardi said that infielder Brendan Ryan (right calf strain) batted in an Extended Spring Training game on Friday in Tampa, where the Yankees have scheduled left-hander Chris Capuano (right quadriceps strain) to throw four innings or 60 pitches on Saturday for Class-A Tampa.

“Everything that he’s doing is going in the right direction,” Girardi said. “You think about 60, 75, 90 (pitches) and then you go from there.”

Right-hander Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery rehab) will throw one inning or 20 pitches in an Intrasquad game. Right-hander Jared Burton (oblique) is also scheduled to throw an Intrasquad inning.

Didi GregoriusAfter a shaky beginning to his tenure as Derek Jeter‘s successor, both defensively and offensively, the Yankees believe they are seeing some encouraging signs from shortstop Didi Gregorius.

Gregorius has quietly strung together eight hits in his last 29 at-bats (.275) entering Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park and has appeared to slow the game down in the field, where he has been drilling with infield coach Joe Espada.

“His first order of business is defense, and I think we’re starting to see what he can do,” Girardi said. “He’s made some really nice plays, and that’s encouraging. I think he’s going to be productive.

“As a hitter, I’m not saying he’s going to hit 30 home runs, but I think he’s going to do all right swinging the bat. And that has gotten better the last week or so, so just continue to go in the right direction.”

Andrew MillerHere’s a great Andrew Miller stat, courtesy of MLB Network:

Miller last allowed a hit off a slider on August 22. Since then opponents are 0-for-41 with 32 strikeouts against the 167 sliders Miller has spun. They have missed 50 times out of 79 swings during that time frame (63.3% miss percentage).

As you know, Miller is eight for eight in save opportunities. He has not allowed a run while striking out 20 in 11 1/3 innings as a Yankee.

“Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope it’s not much.”

Masahiro TanakaThere was disappointment in Masahiro Tanaka‘s eyes on Wednesday morning, according to manager Joe Girardi, one day after the right-hander learned that he will miss at least a month with a strained right forearm and tendinitis in his right wrist.

For the moment, the Yankees believe that Tanaka’s current injury does not represent a precursor to Tommy John surgery, but they recognize that possibility. Tanaka will refrain from throwing for seven to 10 days and is not expected to travel with the team.

“Any time you have to shut a pitcher down, there’s concern,” Girardi said. “With what happened last year, I can’t tell you if they’re related or not, but you’re going to think about it. You’re going to think about a lot of different scenarios. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope it’s not much, but we’ll deal with it either way.”

The Yankees plan to keep right-hander Chase Whitley in rotation, coming off a season debut in which he held the Rays to a run over five innings and picked up the win in a 4-2 victory. To replace Tanaka on the active roster, infielder Gregorio Petit was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“It’s going to be tough,” Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia said. “It’s going to be up to us to pick up the slack. Hopefully he comes back healthy and ready to pitch.”

There could be additional help on the horizon. New York also has left-hander Chris Capuano and right-hander Ivan Nova rehabbing and aiming to rejoin the club in late May and early June, respectively. By that time, Tanaka could be back on the big league mound, but perhaps not.

“The one thing I’ve tried to stress to our starters is, don’t try to make up for someone else’s absence,” Girardi said. “Just do what you can do.”

Tanaka’s injury has prompted commentary that the Yankees should have dispatched the hurler to have Tommy John surgery after sustaining a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament last July 8 in Cleveland.

Following that injury, Tanaka was examined by Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad, Los Angeles Dodgers team doctor Neal elAttrache and Mets team physician David Altchek. His results were also sent to noted specialist James Andrews for consultation, and all four doctors recommended the Yankees should rehabilitate Tanaka’s injury using platelet-rich plasma injections rather than rush into surgery.

“I am a manager. I am not a doctor, so I don’t understand the mechanics of all that,” Girardi said. “As I said yesterday, there’s going to be speculation. Are they related? I can’t tell you that. I don’t know; could be, it may not be. It could just be something came up from his bullpen. Who knows? The thing is, we’ve got to deal with it, and we will.”

Petit walked back into the Yankees’ clubhouse Wednesday morning, his equipment bag slung over his shoulder, and said that he never quite made it to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Petit said he spent most of Tuesday on his couch and would have packed up to meet the RailRiders on Wednesday before Tanaka’s injury put him back on the roster.

Brett Gardner and Brian McCann got the day off Wednesday against left-hander Drew Smyly. Girardi said the only pitcher in his bullpen that he’d probably stay away from is Esmil Rogers, who pitched 2 2/3 innings last night.

Girardi said that he wouldn’t mind if Alex Rodriguez hit homer No. 660 this afternoon rather than bringing some extra drama to the weekend series at Fenway Park.

“It just might crowd our clubhouse a little bit more if he doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter either way,” Girardi said. “I’d prefer that he does it with two or three guys on today and gets it over with.”

Jacoby Ellsbury out of lineup; Chase Whitley preparing to start Tuesday

Jacoby Ellsbury spent Sunday afternoon receiving treatment on his tight right hip and will watch the final game of the Subway Series from the bench, as manager Joe Girardi hopes to have the centerfielder’s services on Monday against the Rays.

“He was better. He was going to try today, he went through treatment and he was getting loose, and I just said, ‘You know what? I was going to give you a day off one of these next few days anyway, the next four,'” Girardi said. “I think it’s kind of silly if he would have to leave in the middle of the game so shut him down.”

Ellsbury went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the Mets and made a highlight reel catch in the fourth inning, charging to the gap in left-center field for a sliding grab near the warning track that robbed Eric Campbell of an extra-base hit.

“His hip got a little tight yesterday,” Girardi said. “I don’t know if it’s from one of his sliding catches that he irritated it on, but I just decided, let’s give him today and I’ll give him about 48 hours to see if he could play tomorrow.”

Chase WhitleyChase Whitley is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start on Tuesday as the Yankees will incorporate a sixth starter to their rotation, part of a strategy in navigating a stretch that sees them play 30 games in 31 days.

Girardi said that the team is planning on having Adam Warren start on Monday against the Rays and then will summon the 25-year-old Whitley for Tuesday’s game, giving Masahiro Tanaka an extra day before he takes the ball on Wednesday.

“Now, could something happen to change that? Yes,” Girardi said. “I don’t know what it would be, but those are our intentions.”

Whitley had a strong spring but was sent to the Minors so he could continue starting, allowing him to be stretched out for this opportunity. In three starts for the RailRiders, Whitley is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA, allowing 13 hits, six walks and 13 strikeouts in 17 innings.

Girardi’s take on Stephen Drew‘s season so far: “From the plate, he’s been productive and he’s had some really big hits for us during the course of the season. I look up and I’m shocked when I see what he’s hitting (.176), because I think he has swung the bat a lot better than that. I think those numbers will continue to go up as time goes on because I think his at-bats have been pretty good.”

Could Alex Rodriguez be pressing as he sits two homers shy of tying Willie Mays on the all-time home run list?

“I haven’t sensed it. I thought he hit some balls really well in Detroit,” Girardi said. “It’s not the easiest park to hit balls out in. Trying to pick left-center and center is probably not a good idea there. I haven’t sensed it yet, but if it was, I’d sit down and talk to him.”

Some numbers from the Yankees’ media relations crew: Mark Teixeira leads the Majors in Isolated Power (.475), is second with eight homers and tied for second with 18 RBIs.… with 12 extra-base hits, holds the AL lead and is third in the Majors… with a .729 SLG, is fourth in the AL and fifth in the Majors… with a 1.085 OPS, is fifth in the AL and eighth in the Majors.

Of his 15 hits this season, 12 have gone for extra bases (4 doubles, 8 homers) … 11 of his first 12 hits this season were extra-base hits, joining Adam Dunn (6 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers for the Reds in 2005) as the only Major Leaguers since 1900 to have at least 11 of their first 12 hits go for extra bases, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Brendan Ryan (calf strain) is scheduled to begin playing Extended Spring Training games next week, Girardi said.

Support the ‘stache: Brett Gardner sparks hairy situation

Mark Teixeira, Brett GardnerThe fuel for the Yankees’ recent winning streak can be traced to a moment of inspiration in a bathroom mirror at Tropicana Field. At least, that’s how Brett Gardner tells the story.

Gardner is leading the charge behind a sprouting band of mustaches in the Yankees’ clubhouse, most of which have been permitted to take root while the team has reeled off seven wins in eight games going into Saturday’s Subway Series game against the Mets.

“It’s been going a little longer than you would think,” Gardner said. “It takes me a while to get it going, but ever since Tampa we’ve just been playing good. I kind of stuck with it and some other guys followed suit.”

Gardner has convinced Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Garrett Jones, Brian McCann, Esmil Rogers and Mark Teixeira, among others, to grow some facial hair as a show of team unity. The Yankees’ long-standing policy permits growth above the lip.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of thought behind it, to be honest,” said Gardner, who said that his is the result of eight days’ growth. “We can’t grow beards, but we can grow a mustache. CC (Sabathia) is like four years ahead of everybody.”

Mark TeixeiraMost of the results have been patchy; Teixeira chuckled and said that his is coming in slowly but surely, while Gardner said that Rogers has produced the best results. Of his thin growth, Ellsbury said, “I’m just trying to stay warm.”

The Yankees agreed that Betances’ mustache was the weakest so far; suffice it to say, it will not remind anyone of Jason Giambi’s 2008 ‘Support the ‘Stache’ All-Star Final Vote campaign anytime soon.

“I have no facial hair; I’m still a baby,” said Betances, 27. “I’ve never tried to grow a mustache. Mine is the worst one.”

Gardner said that he is trying to convince Alex Rodriguez to join the mustache club, and asked reporters to apply some pressure. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Gardner has tried to rope him in as well.

“I thought about it,” Girardi said. “He has asked me about it, so we’ll see. I have to answer to someone at home.”


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