Results tagged ‘ Kevin Long ’
Carlos Beltran said that he was given no better than a 50-50 chance of playing the outfield again this season, but that coin flip has worked out in the Yankees’ favor. The veteran will play right field on Saturday, his first appearance there since May 11.
“I’m happy, of course,” Beltran said. “We have been looking forward for this, trying to put my arm in condition to be back in the outfield. It really took a while … right now, I just feel like it’s time.”
Beltran has a bone spur in his right elbow that will require surgery after the season, but the 37-year-old said that he has been throwing without discomfort.
The Yankees have been playing Martin Prado in right field since his July 31 acquisition from the D-backs, with Beltran limited to designated hitter duties. Beltran’s return to outfield play will increase manager Joe Girardi’s flexibility in putting together lineups.
“You can get more right-handed hitters in there today [against left-hander Drew Smyly],” Girardi said. “You get in long stretches and you can give other guys a DH day. We’ve got some long stretches coming up.”
Though his season stats are not up to expectations, Beltran has seen a jump in his numbers recently, which coincides with the improvement in his elbow. In 26 games since the All-Star break, Beltran posted a split line of .299/.355/.495, with five homers and 17 RBIs.
“I guess in the back of my mind sometimes I get caught up a little bit protecting it,” Beltran said. “At the end of the day, I just have to come and prepare myself and try to do the best I can. Once the game starts, I try not to think about it, but during batting practice and cage work and things like that I try to be smart and try not to do much.”
Beltran said that since his elbow issue is not a secret, he would expect the aggressive Rays to test his arm on Saturday.
“I’ve been playing catch and I’ve been throwing to the bases – second base, for the most part,” Beltran said. “I’ve been making throws where I feel like if that happened in the game, I could do that. It feels fine.”
Masahiro Tanaka threw 25 fastballs off a bullpen mound on Saturday morning at Tropicana Field, reporting no discomfort, and the Yankees right-hander is eager to begin snapping off breaking pitches in his next session.
“I think we’re heading in the right direction, so I feel good about that,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.
Tanaka is trying to avoid surgery to repair a partial tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka said that regardless of the Yankees’ position in the standings, he would want to come back and make a handful of September starts to gauge his progress.
“I think it’s important for the team to fight until the end of the season, so for me, if it would be possible, I’d like to contribute until the end of the season,” Tanaka said.
The Yankees are on board with that idea. Looking ahead to 2015, there is a great deal of uncertainty in their starting rotation, and it would be useful to know if Tanaka can realistically be counted upon.
“I think it’s important that we know that he’s healthy, and I think the only way you’re going to find out is if you get him in games,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Tanaka will travel with the team after Sunday’s series finale, continuing his rehab in New York. He has been an observer for the Yankees’ recent skid.
“Everybody’s doing their best to try to get a W, obviously,” Tanaka said. “So if I get a chance to come back, I’ll be on the same page with everybody else.”
The morale level has fallen in the Yankees’ dugout during their recent slide, according to hitting coach Kevin Long, who believes that several of the team’s players are pressing for results that aren’t coming.
“We need to get back to where we’re feeling good,” Long said. “That was only five or six days ago. These guys are going through a tough time. We’re going through a tough time. I only know one way to get out of this, and that’s to keep fighting, keep working, keep grinding, and I know the guys in this room will do that.”
New York has managed seven runs during the five-game skid, hitting .173 (28-for-161) overall and .064 (2-for-31) with runners in scoring position. They’ve struck out 46 times against eight walks.
“You’re always going to look down when you don’t score runs,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s the nature of the game. Guys are frustrated. I’ve said that guys are frustrated because they know that they’re capable of doing more. We want to play in October, and when you lose, you should be frustrated. You shouldn’t just blow it off.”
Long said that the Yankees’ goal is to be scoring five or six runs a game, which obviously they have not come close to achieving.
”Sometimes the pitching doesn’t allow you do that,” Long said. “Sometimes there’s days when I feel like we really should and we don’t do it. Against a Corey Kluber or [Alex Cobb], it’s understandable that the runs are going to be down.
”Not to throw Chris Tillman under the bus, but he didn’t have his best stuff [on Aug. 13]. That’s a guy where you want to capitalize and take advantage of it…. Some of those other guys we should be able to get to.”
Catcher Brian McCann (concussion) was eligible to be activated from the seven-day disabled list on Saturday, but the Yankees have decided to give him at least one more day to continue workouts.
Manager Joe Girardi said that he thought McCann looked “kind of lethargic” going through catching drills and batting practice on Friday, which was likely related to resting for several days after sustaining the concussion in an Aug. 8 game against the Indians.
Right-hander David Phelps (inflammation in right elbow) is scheduled to resume throwing during the Yankees’ upcoming homestand. Phelps has been on the disabled list since Aug. 4.
Right-hander Andrew Bailey (recovery from right shoulder surgery) has had setbacks while rehabbing in Tampa, Fla. and is not expected to be able to help at the big league level this year, Girardi said. Bailey signed a Minor League deal with the Yanks in February.
On this date in 1948, Babe Ruth passed away at the age of 53. Ruth’s body was laid in state at the entrance of Yankee Stadium for the next two days. On this date in 2006, the Yankees broke ground on the construction of the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.
Kevin Long emerged from the coaches’ room after Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Rays, prepared to face the music after the Yankees’ season-high fifth straight loss and their ninth in the last 11 games.
The Yankees were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday, and though situational hitting has been one of their major concerns of the summer, it has been more difficult than anticipated to make progress in that department.
“You’re always focused on trying to do the little things, trying to score runs and trying to move runners and trying to get guys in,” Long said. “So that’s always a focus.”
Here is a rundown of the group interview that Long conducted in the Yankees’ clubhouse:
On the current issues with the Yankees’ hitters: “You’re obviously not scoring runs and you’re going to put some pressure on yourself. You’re going to try to do a little bit more. The guys are certainly well aware of what’s going on and they’re putting forth as much effort as they can. Just sometimes things don’t go the way you want them or you planned them.”
On being surprised by this, given the names in the lineup: “Yeah, it’s a little surprising. Certainly. You expect some of these guys in this lineup to perform, and at the end of the day and at the end of the year, you hope that those numbers are going to be where they should. I can tell you that they’re doing everything in their power to try to correct it. I’m doing everything in my power to try to correct it, and we’re just going to stay at it. There’s no simple formula. The work is positive and we’re working in the right directions. It’s just been tough.
What can a hitting coach do in this situation?: “You certainly can’t yell, scream or do any of that. It’s more about just staying the course and keep looking at video or maybe working on their swing or tee work, or doing flips or doing extra BP, all those things that you would normally do. Certainly that is something that we’ve really focused on and even you get away from that sometimes and you just see the ball. That’s all Beltran’s doing these last four games, and he’s been really good the last four games, so if he can continue to swing the way he has the last four. It looks like Brian McCann made a positive move today. You have to look at those things and you have to try to move forward on those, because we can’t get anything back that has already happened.”
On Yangervis Solarte needing to make adjustments: “When Solarte was swinging the bat well, he was very aggressive and he was swinging with authority. He’s just a little bit inbetween and a little bit unsure. We looked at his video and he’s a little hard to his front side and he’s just a little tentative. We’ll just stay at that.”
“I don’t think they’re pitching him any differently. He has taken some walks and for the most part swung at good pitches, but I’m sure he’s feeling it, just like a veteran would. He’s a rookie so someone like that will probably put a little more pressure on himself than maybe a veteran would.”
Encouraging signs from the rest of the lineup?: “Obviously, the top three have been pretty good all year, Jeet, Gardner and Ellsbury have swung the bat well. Ichiro has been pretty consistent all year. Teixeira has hit some home runs, driven in some runs. I think the biggest two we’re talking about is if McCann can do what he did today and Beltran — that’s four good games in a row where he’s really had good quality at-bats.
“We’ve kind of changed his routine and changed what he’s done as a DH to try to help that process become really active with him inbetween innings. Walking around, talking about things instead of just sitting in the video room and maybe thinking about an at-bat. So that’s been one adjustment that I think has moved in a positive way for us. So again I just hope that he continues on what he’s doing and McCann today was very positive.”
On Brett Gardner hitting for more power: “Gardy’s made adjustments every year he’s been in this league. He’s basically picked up where he left off last year. He’s an extremely confident individual who continues to get better and better, he’s a very aggressive hitter in the zone. He’s not late. He attacks fastballs and he doesn’t miss them. I think the consistencies of his mechanics in his swing have enabled him to this little power surge that we’ve seen.”
Ever think that maybe this is just what you have?: “It’s about winning games, and we need to do whatever we can to win games. Obviously offense has been an issue all season. These guys understand it, I understand it. We’ve got to turn it around somehow and you’ve got to believe the guys that are in the room, they’re the only guys that can turn it around. Again it’s not from lack of effort, it’s not from not wanting to do it, it’s just one of those things where we need these extra 80 games for guys to prove themselves. McCann is on a mission, Beltran is on a mission. Everybody needs to pick it up a little bit, including the Gardners, including the Ellsburys, and then these guys that have underperformed — they need to pick it up as well.”
On his early expectations for this offense: “I don’t know — obviously more than what we’ve done. Are we capable of scoring 4-5 runs a game? I would say so. Even when we had the powerful offenses, I would think four runs a game was kind of that mark that you shoot for. Jeet said it a bunch of times: let’s win innings, try to score every inning. You start there instead of trying to maybe put up a four spot or five spot all in one inning.”
On drastic changes: “Oh, we’ve done all kinds of stuff. You always make adjustments and always make changes. Nobody here probably even saw what Brian McCann did today. If you just look at his stance, look for a toe tap today and see if you see one. That’s one of those things where if you look at video, you can say see, ‘Whoa, he did make an adjustment.’ You’ll see those adjustments from guys as they go along. They’ll continue to make those adjustments to try to help themselves be more consistent.”
The Yankees have spent most of the season proudly flexing their muscles and telling everyone that they’re a team built around home runs. It has gotten them this far, but now hitting coach Kevin Long is suggesting that if the Yankees want to hang some of that red, white and blue playoff bunting around Yankee Stadium, they may need to square up and drop a few down first.
Long believes that the Yankees may try having more of their hitters sacrifice runners over to get the flagging offense back on track. New York has been held to six or less hits in five straight games, something that hasn’t happened for them since Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 1990.
“Some of it has to do with some pitching and some quality pitches, but a lot of it has to do with — we’ve got to get back to the basics,” Long said. “We’ve got start doing some things. We might start having some guys bunt that you don’t normally see bunt. That might have to be the case right now, until we get it going.”
A perfect example, Long said, could have been the third inning of the Yankees’ 5-2 loss to the Rays. Derek Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but the Yankees were turned aside as Nick Swisher struck out and Robinson Cano hit into an inning-ending double play.
“Maybe we take a guy like Swisher in the third inning today, when it’s first and second with nobody out; maybe he bunts,” Long said. “We’re going to talk about that and we’re going to address some of those things, and we’ll see if we can’t turn it around.”
Long said that the Yankees need to try something other than sitting around and waiting for big home runs, and said the suggestion shouldn’t be taken as an indication of panic.
“It’s not desperation, it’s about playing baseball,” Long said. “In playoff baseball, Justin Verlander’s out there and it’s first and second. What are you going to do? That’s the way it is. You have to do these things. I think we need to get more in that mode right now, and hopefully that turns it around.”
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long knows Raul Ibanez well from their days together in the Royals organization, and after the team officially announced Ibanez’s signing on Tuesday, Long said that he is excited about the acquisition.
“He’s a perfect fit for us,” Long said. “His professionalism, the way he goes about it, he’s an RBI machine. He can hit. It’s a nice addition. What he brings to the table, he’s just a terrific human being who brings a professionalism about him that you don’t find out there every day. I’m glad we got him; glad we picked him up. He’s going to be a big help.”
The Yankees see Ibanez as their regular designated hitter against right-handed pitching, with Andruw Jones hitting mostly against lefties. Long said that he believes Ibanez has enough left in the tank to help the Yankees.
“He’s 39, he’s getting older, but there’s plenty of bat speed there,” Long said. “That’s what you look for, first and foremost. I haven’t seen him up close and personal, and we’ll see what he’s got when he gets here, but I fully expect him to be a big part of our offense.”
TORONTO — Greetings from north of the border, where Alex Rodriguez is out of the lineup once again with that nagging thumb but says he’s feeling more encouraged now than he has since first suffering the injury. Hitting coach Kevin Long suggested a new grip, one that has A-Rod separating his hands by about a half an inch so that his left thumb doesn’t make contact with his top hand, and the Yankees’ third baseman felt comfortable with it while taking live BP. Now, he’s thinking real positively about starting on Saturday.
“It’s the best I’ve felt in over a month, since the Mauer groundball, there’s no question,” Rodriguez said after coming off the field with seven rounds of BP under his belt. “It’s a good idea by Kevin, and we’ll just take this for a while and take it from there.”
Here are today’s lineup, with original Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil being scratched with a cut on his left finger.
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 3B
Jorge Posada, DH
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF
SP: LH CC Sabathia (19-8, 2.93 ERA)
BLUE JAYS (75-74)
Mike McCoy, SS
Eric Thames, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Adam Lind, 1B
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Kelly Johnson, 2B
SP: RH Dustin McGowan (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
Girardi on Cano, who returned to the lineup after being struck in the foot by a pitch on Wednesday: “That’s one thing I don’t think people talk enough about is Robbie’s toughness. We’ve seen him hit plenty of times where we thought he wouldn’t play the next day or even stay in the game, and he does.”