Results tagged ‘ Kelly Johnson ’

Spring Game 23: Yankees at Braves

disney post card frontHello from Walt Disney World’s ‘Wide World of Sports’ complex, where the Yankees are visiting the Atlanta Braves this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. There is no Yankees radio or TV coverage of today’s game; the Braves have a radio broadcast.

The Yankees are playing with a DH this afternoon; the Braves are not. Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (11-9-2)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Adonis Garcia LF
Jose Gil 1B

Ivan Nova RHP

Also scheduled to pitch: Danny Burawa, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral and Shane Greene.

BRAVES (8-12-3)
Jason Heyward RF
B.J. Upton CF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Evan Gattis C
Justin Upton LF
Chris Johnson 3B
Dan Uggla 2B
Andrelton Simmons SS
David Hale RHP

News and notes from Joe Girardi’s morning interview session in Tampa:

– Girardi said that he has seen an improvement in maturity this spring from Ivan Nova, who makes his fifth start of the spring today.

“I’ve seen a guy that’s come into spring training that, it seems like he realizes how good he can be,” Girardi said. “And I think that’s important. I think for all young players, there’s that doubt always a little bit: can I do this on a consistent basis? Can I do it start after start, or game after game if you’re a position player? Do I need to look over my starter? Is there someone always doubting what I can do? I think he’s realized that, you know what, I can be pretty good. He came back last year and was really good, and I think that was kind of the eye-opener for him.”

– Girardi has been very encouraged by Mark Teixeira‘s health.

“What I’ve been most pleased is, you look at this whole spring training and there’s never been a point where he was scheduled to work that he had to say, ‘I could use a day,’” Girardi said. “That’s really encouraging to me. Everything that he’s been scheduled to do, he has done.”

He added that there is no longer any apprehension with Teixeira or Derek Jeter‘s health.

“I think they pretty much put it to rest,” Girardi said. “Obviously you worry about your guys when they’re playing out there every day, but I haven’t seen anything to lead me to believe that they’re not going to be healthy this season.”

- Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno aren’t likely to start again this spring, unless it comes in a Minor League game. They’re running out of innings to go around, and players like CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka need to take those starts. Nuno will relieve David Phelps tomorrow in Fort Myers, and Warren relieves Sabathia on Friday against the Pirates.

- There’s no decision yet on the fifth starter, but Girardi has been encouraged by the strong spring from this group.

“I have confidence in our guys. I believe in what they’re capable of doing,” Girardi said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them do it on a pretty consistent basis. I believe that our rotation can be pretty good, I do. I think it can be really good. Obviously you have to avoid injuries. That always helps. With this competition for the fifth spot, these other guys have shown that, if we do have something to awry, that they can step in and do a pretty good job. I feel that we have a good rotation, we will have a good rotation, and we have depth.”

Girardi volunteered the names of Danny Burawa and Shane Greene, saying that they have “shown that they’re getting pretty close and they’re knocking on the door.”

- Girardi said they’ll “continue to discuss” using Alfonso Soriano as a backup first baseman, but they’re leaning more toward Kelly Johnson, who should get another start at first base this weekend.

“Kelly’s going to play a lot,” Girardi said. “I like what I’ve seen from him, and he’s going to play a lot.”

- Girardi said no decision has been made for a backup infielder at second and third bases. He carefully listed his candidates alphabetically so no one could read into it: Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte and Zelous Wheeler. Sizemore, by the way, has been out with a quad problem. Girardi said he could play by the end of the week. What you can read into that is that Nunez is, by no means, a lock to make this team.

- Brendan Ryan is still on track to play tomorrow against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. He has been out since the first week of March with a lower back/oblique issue.

Digging in for the new year

I need to pack up the ornaments and stow the Christmas tree away for another year; space is, as always, at a premium when you live in New York City. This is a long way of saying that I know we’ve got some catching up to do, closing the book on the holidays and trying my best to stop writing 2013 on all of my checks.

Here’s what’s cooking:

Hall Calls

We’ll have new Hall of Famers to celebrate this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, but I wouldn’t expect any of them to be wearing Yankees caps in Cooperstown. Mike Mussina has a strong case and I think that he’ll eventually get in, as voters consider the fact that he won 270 games while pitching in the American League East in a performance-enhanced era of slugging. All that time, his strongest supplements seemed to be either Mountain Dew or something covered in chewy nougat.

There’s plenty of analysis of his pitching career in the link I posted, so let me just share an anecdote here. Remember when Joe Girardi tried to ban sweets from the clubhouse in 2008? No one howled louder, or more often, than the Moose. I remember him sneaking in a few Krispy Kreme doughnuts and devouring them at his Yankee Stadium locker with satisfaction, something that still makes me laugh to this day. I believe the voters will eventually come around on Mussina, but not on the first ballot.

Don Mattingly got a contract extension with the Dodgers, but isn’t expecting a call this afternoon. Roger Clemens has said, quite accurately, that everything from here on is out of his control.

Who’s on third? I don’t know.

No, really. I don’t know. If we time-warped to April right now, I suppose the Yankees would have to go with Kelly Johnson at third base, but that’s a depth chart that still looks very much incomplete. They’d like to find someone to platoon with Johnson, and Mark Reynolds would make a lot of sense for that (Michael Young, I suppose, but less so). That market seems to have been slow-moving. I don’t expect Alex Rodriguez’s suspension to be completely thrown out by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, not with the fireworks of last month, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it be knocked down from 211 games to a lower number. That announcement could come any day now.

Gardner scores a Thurman

Brett Gardner is among those who will be receiving Thurman Munson Awards on Feb. 4 in New York; former Yankees David Cone and Jim Kaat are also on the list. In this awards and dinner season, you’ll also want to consider attending the New York BBWAA dinner on Jan. 25.

Talkin’ Tanaka

In case you missed it, former Yankees pitcher Darrell Rasner spoke to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti this week about his experiences pitching with Masahiro Tanaka. The Q&A is definitely worth your time. You can expect the Tanaka sweepstakes to heat up very soon, though I suspect the bidding might go all the way down to the Jan. 24 deadline.

I never knew I needed to have an 1989 Topps Jake Taylor card, but I do.

And a friendly reminder, as I stare out the window and consider if it’s worth upgrading to a North Face jacket: Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 14.

Mark Teixeira: “I’m close to 100 percent”

Teixeira - MSKCC 2I had a nice chat with Mark Teixeira recently for a holiday feature about his childhood Christmas memories, a story you can read here.  Of course, we also talked a little baseball. Here are some of the highlights:

On the Yankees’ offseason so far:

“I’m really happy with the moves. We had plenty of holes to fill, unfortunately, but when you can go get Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran before Christmas – even guys like Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson, I think can be huge pickups for us. I’ve played against Brian for 11 years; I’ve played with Kelly in Atlanta, so I know what kind of quality guys they are. They’re going to fit in great with our clubhouse. I think they’re going to do a great job on the field as well. I’m really excited.”

On his rehab from right wrist surgery: 

“I’m close to 100 percent. I feel like I’m healed. I wish I was a little bit looser; my wrist is going to be tight for a while because of the way the surgery was performed. They had to kind of tighten everything up to make it secure. It’s still a little bit tight, but that’s why I’m doing rehab every day and doing exercises every day. I’ll start swinging a bat in January and that will also help loosen it up.”

On if there are any doubts about being ready for Opening Day:

“I don’t have any doubts. I have to prove to myself that I’m 100 percent and I hope I’ll be 100 percent next month. You won’t really know until you go out and play that first game in Spring Training. When someone throws a 95 mph fastball in on your hands, if I can turn on that pitch and have no tightness or no pain, then I know I’m OK.”

On his Yankees wishes for 2014:

“I would love for us to round out our pitching staff, both in the starting rotation and the bullpen. If we add a couple more pieces, I think we go into 2014 with a great shot. I know Cash has worked really hard and I give him a lot of credit for what he’s done so far. I wouldn’t mind unwrapping a present after Christmas with a couple more guys on the pitching staff and we’ll be ready to roll.”

On expecting the ’14 Yankees to be a championship-caliber club:

“That’s obvious. Even based on last year, I don’t think anybody’s expectations have changed. I’d be remiss to talk about the last time the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs, what happened in that next season. Hopefully that happens again. I’m very confident that we’re going to go into the season with high hopes and we’ll see what happens.”

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