Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’

Quick hits: A-Rod embraces the silence

greetings-from-torontoHere are the early notes as the Yankees (69-62) and Blue Jays (59-73) prepare to meet here at Rogers Centre. Andy Pettitte and J.A. Happ are matching up for the 7:07 p.m. ET start:

I think we can all come up with a few reasons why there didn’t seem to be much celebration for Alex Rodriguez‘s 650th career home run last night. Yes, we’re in Toronto, and this place hasn’t exactly been a welcoming place for A-Rod in years past to begin with. Obviously Rodriguez’s appeal of a 211-game suspension and continued allegations of performance-enhancing drug use are also taking the luster away from his pursuit of Willie Mays.

But you know what? Considering the way A-Rod’s eventful month has gone, he really didn’t seem to mind slipping out the side door of the ballpark last night and shying away from the cameras. As he put it today, “Quiet is good.” Rodriguez said that he can’t spend time focusing on personal milestones at this moment because the Yankees “need wins like oxygen right now.” That’s a pretty good line; it’s true, and he’s also right in a lot of ways.

Alex Rodriguez, Andy PettitteCertainly, the relative silence coming from A-Rod’s camp seems preferable to the nuttiness of that weekend when Joe Tacopina went on a media tour while the Yankees tried to focus on a series at Fenway Park. Since Rodriguez’s appeal looks like it’s going to stretch into November or December, keeping the attention on the field for August and September is a solid plan. We’ll have plenty of time for the rest of it.

Girardi’s scouting report on Pettitte tonight: “He’s pitched better lately, which is important down the stretch here. I mean, it’s extremely important for us. I think his sinker has been better, his changeup has been better, and those are two pitches he relies on, and he’s going to need those, there’s no doubt about it. When you lose the feel for it, it becomes more difficult, but he’s been good.”

There has been speculation about Phil Hughes being skipped or losing his spot in the Yankees’ rotation, but Joe Girardi had no decisions to speak about on that front. Girardi only issued Hughes a lukewarm endorsement after last night’s loss, but there’s really no reason to believe they would announce a move so soon. I’m guessing they’ll use Thursday’s off-day to make sure Hughes doesn’t face the Orioles this weekend.

I should’ve mentioned this last night, but Girardi went to Vernon Wells as a pinch-hitter in place of Brett Gardner because he was looking for Wells to hit a home run. Wells struck out.

The Yankees will be represented by three position players in the Arizona Fall League: Tyler Austin, Peter O’Brien and Mason Williams.

My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Derek Jeter, in a last minute switch to the Captain. My original pick was Ichiro Suzuki, who is 4-for-7 lifetime vs. Happ, but he’s not in the lineup. Jeter is 4-for-8 lifetime vs. Happ. Streak is at zero after Robinson Cano went hitless last night.

Pettitte, Romine ready to take on the Astros

If you’re Austin Romine, strapping on the catching gear for your first big league start of the season, it has to be a reassuring sight to see Andy Pettitte’s name listed on the lineup card. Romine said he takes pride in going over the scouting reports with a fine-tooth comb, and I have no doubt he’ll be prepared with a back story for every one of the Astros’ hitters.

But still, Pettitte knows what his game plan should be and certainly is comfortable taking the wheel. With the Yankees trusting Romine and Pettitte to figure out the pitch-calling without any interference from the bench, Pettitte’s savvy is a nice fail-safe to have.

“Andy is pretty good about taking other players under his wing and letting them know what he wants to do,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s not going to get flustered out there if they don’t get in a rhythm right away. I think for that it works pretty well.”

Romine said that he spent the weekend catching guys in the bullpen after he was called up on Saturday, including getting re-acquainted with Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. As of a few hours before game time, Romine said he wasn’t feeling any butterflies as he prepared to get behind the plate in a Major League game for the first time since Sept. 2011.

“No, actually I’m really excited. I thought there would be some,” Romine said. “I’m sure when the game starts I’ll be a little more excited than normal. I’m really excited to get out there and take hold of this opportunity.”

Lineups and game information are available via MLB GameDay. 

Yankees ready for first full-squad workout

Hiroki KurodaIt felt like Penn Station at rush hour in the clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field this morning, as the group of 84 83 players in camp collided with the much-larger-than-usual media group assigned to chronicle the first full squad workout for the 2013 Yankees.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi cleared the room at 9:40 a.m. to take the stage for his introductory speech to the players, and Girardi said that he would probably stick to a basic script as he addressed the roster.

“The message is, let’s get better,” Girardi said. “I mean, that’s the bottom line. Let’s get prepared and let’s get better. That’s what we’re here for.”

With all of the pitchers and position players in camp, and exhibition games quickly approaching, the facility will be busy today. Hiroki Kuroda threw a bullpen this morning, and the main event will be the eight hitting groups will be rotating through the batting cage on the main field. I’m most interested to watch infield Group 1, comprised of Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner and Eduardo Nunez.

Jeter has been hitting in the batting cages across the street at the Minor League complex for a while, but he hasn’t taken many – if any – swings on the field this spring. Today also might be Jeter’s first attempt to run on grass or dirt, advancing from the treadmill, so that bears watching, as does any defensive work he might do.

Later in the day, Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki will also take turns handling the media in the tent outside the stadium, so we should have more updates to share then.

Spring is here: Yankees pitchers and catchers report

George M. Steinbrenner Field

George M. Steinbrenner Field is open for business, and while we’re still waiting to hear the first official crack of the bat, these words should be enough to warm your afternoon wherever you are — Yankees pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa today.

CC Sabathia meets the media in the Yankees dugout on Tuesday.

CC Sabathia meets the media in the Yankees dugout on Tuesday.

The players went through the usual gauntlet of physical tests and checked out their locker assignments – with 84 names on the invited list, the Yankees have had to build a few new ones in the clubhouse – before heading out for the day. The real work begins tomorrow, with the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.

“Everybody talked about the guys that we didn’t sign, but talk about the guys we have coming back,” Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. “Hiro (Hiroki Kuroda) coming back, Andy (Pettitte) coming back, we’ll get Mo (Mariano Rivera) back for a full year. I think we already had the pieces here in place to compete and try to win a championship. We’ll just go with what we’ve got.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his first press conference of the spring, and the big news was again about Alex Rodriguez, as Girardi revealed that A-Rod will not be reporting to camp with the Yankees’ position players.

Instead, Rodriguez will be continuing his rehab in New York, which should limit some of the potential distractions that were expected to go along with MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis case.

Girardi said that he believes the Yankees “could win 95 games and get to the World Series,” and said that “if other clubs want to think we’re vulnerable, that’s OK, but I love the character in that room and the way they find ways to win games.”

Want video? You got it.

Here are some of the other quick hits from Girardi’s session with the press:

  • Girardi is not concerned about the health of Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. He is, however, curious how the Yankees will find their designated hitter against right-handed pitching. Eduardo Nunez, Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera appear to be the early options.
  • Girardi called the spring “a test” for Francisco Cervelli, who must block out the distraction of the Biogenesis investigation while also competing for the Opening Day catcher job.
  • Austin Romine should be able to help the Yankees at some point during the season, Girardi said, but he doesn’t know exactly when. Romine said that he intends to make the roster out of Spring Training, but the Yankees have him ticketed for Triple-A right now.
  • Girardi said Cervelli, Stewart and Romine should be able to be as good as Russell Martin was defensively.
  • Michael Pineda is throwing in camp, but Girardi said he doesn’t expect to see him in a game this spring. The Yankees have been saying that Pineda’s best case scenario is to pitch in the big leagues by May or June.
  • Girardi said he’s not worried about his lame duck status as the Yankees’ manager, saying that he’s only concerned with the next 162 games and getting to the World Series. The Yankees will likely hold off until after the season to open contract talks with Girardi.

Mariano Rivera still wants that inning in center field

Mariano RiveraThere were several light moments during last night’s charity event to benefit Yankees radio engineer and producer Carlos Silva, but one that sticks out concerns Mariano Rivera and his not-so-secret desire to play center field for an inning in a big league game.

A fan brought the topic up during the Q&A portion of the evening, and I was a little surprised to hear it — I assumed that’d been put to rest by last year’s injury in Kansas City. Yankees manager Joe Girardi answered the question fairly, pointing out that the only scenario where they’d even consider it would be a bad one for the Yankees — it’d have to be late in the season and already apparent that the team wasn’t going to the playoffs, since they wouldn’t risk losing their closer (again) with any chance of a World Series on the line.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a better response, laughing and saying that Rivera killed those plans for himself by crumpling on the warning track at Kauffman Stadium last May.

“My answer is, you saw what he did. He can’t play center field,” Cashman said, laughing. “The guy is an old man! He blew his knee out!”

That doesn’t mean Rivera has completely given up on the idea; brought on stage seconds later, he announced that we all haven’t heard the last of him in center field.

It should go without saying by now, but this Rivera guy doesn’t give up easily. Here’s how Girardi and Cashman handled the question:

More newsy notes from last night:

  • Cashman said that the Yankees invited Hideki Matsui to Spring Training as a celebrity guest instructor, but Matsui declined because his wife is expecting a child. By the way, Jorge Posada – fresh off his appearance at Women’s Fantasy Camp – has hinted that he’ll be attending.
  • Girardi said that there is “no formula” for how the Yankees will handle their catching, but they’re holding firm that it’ll probably be from the group of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine. The Yankees don’t view Stewart as a starting catcher, but Girardi said that he could see Romine – who remains slated to begin the year at Triple-A – playing in New York for “a substantial amount of time” in the near future.
  • Cashman likened Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams to former big league outfielder Otis Nixon with a little more power, which is a comparison I hadn’t heard before. He also said that Mark Montgomery has a real chance to land at the big league level this year, wielding a nasty slider that could have him help in a David Robertson-type role.
  • Cashman on why the Yankees were so quiet on the free agent market: “This market, this winter, was bad.”
  • Cashman on what he liked about adding Travis Hafner: “Big hairy monster. I keep saying that, but none of those guys have a lot of hair. He’s the profile we like; on-base percentage with power from the left side. He’s not someone that when he’s coming to the plate, a pitcher is going to be too comfortable facing, especially in our ballpark.”
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