Results tagged ‘ Masahiro Tanaka ’

Game 6: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Masahiro TanakaThe Yankees wrap up their season-opening homestand tonight as Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound for his second start of the year. Clay Buchholz is on the hill for the Red Sox, who are trying to sweep the Yankees in the Bronx for the first time since 2011. The Yankees come into the evening having led in just one of their 55 innings this year, a quite alarming statistic indeed.

“I think it’s an important game,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You don’t want to start the season 1-5, be 1-5 on your home field where your club is supposed to be built around, and 1-5 in your division. You don’t want those things. It’s really important. I don’t know if after 162 games you’ll look back and say, this is the most important game of the year, but I think it’s important.”

Here’s what you need to know from the Yankees’ clubhouse:

  • Here yesterday, gone today. Matt Tracy was DFAed to make room for Kyle Davies.

    Here yesterday, gone today. Matt Tracy was DFAed to make room for Kyle Davies.

    The Yankees made a roster move this afternoon, summoning right-hander Kyle Davies from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Davies, 31, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011, when he was with the Royals. He’ll serve as the long man while he’s here. Left-hander Matt Tracy, who made his big league debut yesterday, was designated for assignment.

  • There will be plenty of attention on Tanaka’s radar gun readings, but it’s worth noting again that his average fastball speed was 90.3 mph on Opening Day, while he topped out at 93 mph. That represents only a slight drop-off for Tanaka, whose average fastball velocity was 90.8 mph in 2014. More notable is that he threw just 27 fastballs of his 82 pitches. He’s ready to approach 100 pitches tonight.
  • Girardi on what to watch for from Tanaka: “I think the key is strikes with his offspeed, and using his fastball effectively. That’s the key with him, and that’s been the key since he’s been here. That’s what you look for.”
  • Several of the Yankees were out early this afternoon working on bunt drills. Didi Gregorius seemed to be especially active, and Girardi said that there are certain times where they’d like to bunt against the shift. Couldn’t hurt; the Yanks are hitting .193 as a team through five games.
  • The Yanks need to clean up their act defensively. They lead the Majors with eight errors through five games, including three yesterday vs. Boston.
  • Mike Napoli homered off Tanaka twice in six at-bats last year — including the “What an idiot!” homer here, which I suspect is one of the reasons Tanaka wanted to shelve his four-seamer — but Napoli is hitless in 17 at-bats to start the season.
  • After tonight, the Yankees play 25 of their next 35 games on the road. That’s a good reminder to pack my suitcase. Good thing we did the laundry this morning.

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (4-1)
Mookie Betts cf
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz dh
Hanley Ramirez lf
Pablo Sandoval 3b
Mike Napoli 1b
Shane Victorino rf
Xander Bogaerts ss
Ryan Hanigan c

Clay Buchholz rhp

YANKEES (1-4)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Carlos Beltran rf
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Alex Rodriguez dh
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew 2b
Didi Gregorius ss

Masahiro Tanaka rhp

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: Last home series for Derek Jeter

Hello from Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees and Orioles will play the first game of their four-game series this evening at 7:05 p.m. ET. The Yankees are still mathematically alive, so this series has meaning, but it looked as though it might carry a whole lot more a month or two ago when the Yanks were talking about mounting a run for the division crown. The Orioles can clinch home field advantage in the AL Division Series tonight, so that’s something.

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

Other updates from the Yankees clubhouse:

  • The Yankees have claimed outfielder Eurys Perez on waivers from the Nationals, and he’ll be with the team tomorrow. Perez gives the Yanks another bench player who can play all three outfield spots and pinch-run, which could come in handy since Jacoby Ellsbury’s hamstring is keeping him out of action. Girardi said that Ellsbury still has some blood at the top of the hamstring, so he’s unable to run.
  • The Yanks designated left-hander Josh Outman for assignment in a corresponding move; on his way out the door to make room for Perez. Outman stopped by Derek Jeter’s locker and asked for three autographed baseballs.
  • Jose Pirela will make his Major League debut tonight as the Yankees’ designated hitter, meaning the Yankees will have used 57 different players in 2014. That shatters the club record of 56, which was set all the way back in 2013… and that tells you a lot about these last two years. If Perez gets in, they’d have used 58.
  • Masahiro Tanaka was “all smiles” today, according to Girardi, and that means he is on track to pitch Saturday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
  • Mark Teixeira (right wrist) had a cortisone injection, his third of the year, and hopes to be in the lineup tomorrow against Baltimore.
  • Carlos Beltran (elbow) is still feeling discomfort and probably isn’t available tonight.
  • CC Sabathia (right knee) played catch on Monday, the first time he has done so since having knee surgery in July … at least, officially. Sabathia admitted he has been playing catch and tossing around a football recently out of boredom, but at least now he doesn’t have to sneak around.

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.

Carlos Beltran returns to the outfield: “I just feel like it’s time”

Carlos BeltranCarlos 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.”


Larry Rothschild, Masahiro TanakaMasahiro 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.

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