Results tagged ‘ Rafael Soriano ’

Yankees’ Soriano off to see Dr. Andrews

Yankees right-hander Rafael Soriano has been sent for another MRI examination and will be sent to see Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, as the reliever had to cut short a flat ground throwing session on Monday after feeling more soreness in his pitching elbow.

“I’m more concerned now,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I really thought that we would have him getting ready to possibly go out on a rehab assignment shortly and that doesn’t seem to be the case now.”

Soriano signed a three-year, $35 million contract to serve as Mariano Rivera’s primary setup man. With Soriano out, the Yankees have patched together their late-inning mix by asking more of Dave Robertson and Joba Chamberlain, as well as Luis Ayala.

Joe’s plan for Soriano: Keep pitching

Rafael Soriano was imported to New York at a substantial cost to serve as Mariano Rivera’s setup man, and a poor April isn’t about to change that.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said last night that he has no plans to alter anything with his late-inning relief situation, which will continue to have Soriano manning the eighth innings more times than not.

“You’ve got to fight your way out of it,” Girardi said. “You keep using the guys. You get them on track. I haven’t lost any confidence in Rafael Soriano. This is a very good pitcher that just happened to give up a two-run homer.”

Soriano missed time recently with a sore lower back, though he said that wasn’t an issue on Tuesday, when he served up a go-ahead blast to the White Sox’s Paul Konerko. But he did say that it has been difficult moving into a setup role after saving an American League-leading 45 games for the Rays last season.

“It’s not easy for me,” Soriano said. “I’m trying to figure it out, how that I can do the same that I did last year. I’m struggling right now. I’ll take it and forget about it, and come back tomorrow.”

Alex Rodriguez said after the game that he believes Soriano is feeling out an adjustment process to New York, and Girardi said that he believes Soriano is equipped to get through it.

“It’s a different animal here,” Girardi said. “Some guys come in and the transition is easy. Other guys, it can be difficult. I haven’t found the transition to be really difficult for him, I just think at times he hasn’t thrown great this year. I haven’t seen anything to tell me he can’t handle it.”

Girardi also rejected the suggestion that Soriano might not adapt to the pressure of pitching in pinstripes.

“Let’s not forget that he closed 45 games in this division last year,” Girardi said. “It was a tight race. There was pressure in our division the whole year.”

Soriano’s likely not available for the Yankees tonight, having pitched on back-to-back nights.

Mariano Rivera arrives at Yankees camp

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera arrived for the team’s Spring Training on Thursday, following a two-day absence to attend to family illnesses in New York.

“The good thing about it is I know what I have to do,” Rivera said. “I know what it takes and what I have to accomplish. I’m not worried at all.”
Rivera joined the rest of the Yankees’ pitchers for their morning workout and said he needs to speak to pitching coach Larry Rothschild to decide when he will throw off a mound for the first time. 
He said he respected and understood Andy Pettitte’s decision to retire. Rivera said he also had a difficult time leaving New York on Wednesday evening.
“It’s hard. One of my kids (Jaziel), the little one, was attached to my hip, crying,” Rivera said. “It’s hard. A lot of people don’t see that part of the game, leaving your family. Being detached from your family is hard.”
Rivera added that he was not consulted – as had been reported – on the Yankees’ decision to sign setup man Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35 million contract. The right-handers have lockers next to each other this spring.
“I don’t know Soriano much at all,” Rivera said. “I have seen him, talked to him a little bit, but I don’t know much. I will get to know him better this time and work together and get to know him. It’s going to be an interesting year.”

Yankees notes: Joba, Boston, Jeter and more

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It was a busy Wednesday morning in the Bronx, as the Yankees introduced Rafael Soriano to the New York media, a signing that Brian Cashman acknowledged makes the team better but one that he had still vocally opposed because of the contract value and a lost first-round Draft pick.

  

Meanwhile, Joe Girardi revealed that he hears Andy Pettitte has started throwing – just in case – and Scott Boras said that he plans to continue talking with the Yankees about Andruw Jones.

Then, just for good measure, Cashman acknowledged that he indeed had several discussions about bringing Carl Pavano back to the Yankees, looking for someone to upgrade a rotation that still figures to include both Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre if the season started today.

Pavano signed a two-year deal with the Twins later in the day, but like we said, it was a busy morning. Here are some of the other tidbits that might have been overlooked:

Cashman: “Joba’s in the bullpen, for the 200th time” – a.k.a., The Debate is Over

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Joba Chamberlain will be in the bullpen and there is no chance of him starting for the Yankees in 2011, both Cashman and Girardi said.

Here’s Girardi’s explanation: “I think Joba is going to be an important part of our bullpen. For me, I like to shorten the game as much as I can. He has a chance to be an outstanding reliever for us and I think his second half was better than his first half. I think we could really have a close down bullpen where the game gets really short. When you’re called upon to pitch, your inning is just as important. If you give up runs in the sixth, you never get to the eighth. Sometimes in the seventh you might face a tougher part of the order than the eighth.”

Asked if there was some physical reason the Yankees wouldn’t consider starting Chamberlain, Girardi answered, “No, not necessarily. It’s probably hard to bounce back and forth all the time. Then you end up with an innings limitation again. I think it’s really important that you have an awesome bullpen and I think he can be a big part of that. … We just decided at this point that’s where he fits the best and that’s where we’re going to put him.”

Responding to a similar question, Cashman said, “I think we’ve seen over time now that his stuff plays so much better as a reliever than as a starter … As a result of everything leading up to and including last spring.”

A reporter then tried to float the case that Chamberlain’s numbers as a starter compared favorably to what Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre might provide.

“He’s in the bullpen,” Cashman said.

Did Boston’s big winter push the Soriano deal?

Cashman said he never heard that the Yankees needed to react to Boston’s moves specifically, but Hal Steinbrenner felt that there needed to be an upgrade of some kind for the fan base. The decision went beyond just the baseball operations department, he added.

“I think [Steinbrenner] just felt we needed to do something, regardless,” Cashman said. “That’s how it was conveyed; ‘We’re not going to go into Spring Training without us doing something big.’ And this is big.”

Will Soriano fit in the clubhouse? Sure, Girardi says

There have been whispers that Soriano has had trouble with previous managers, including being upset with coming into non-save situations and being asked to pitch more than one inning. You would think that will be different with Mariano Rivera in New York.

Girardi said that reputation won’t be a problem, as he wants to “give everyone a clean slate” and tries to get to know each of his players as much as possible.

Are the Yankees a better team today?

Girardi figures the ’11 team is better than the one that walked off the field after Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS. “I think we’ve added to our bullpen, added another left-hander (in Pedro Feliciano), and I think we’re a better club because we’ve been through it,” he said.

More pitching on the way?

There has been buzz on the Hot Stove about the Yankees potentially showing interest in the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga – he of the imperfect Jim Joyce game – who was designated for assignment. He’s easily one of the more appealing options out there, given the marketplace.

Regarding another possible upgrade to the rotation, Cashman said: “I hope so. The starter might have to come from within. Hopefully we have some of these young kids answer the bell for us. In the meantime, we’ll still keep our eyes and ears open to the remaining market, which is very limited.”

He added: “It’s a difficult market to choose from. Listen, if you’re still on the board, there’s a reason for it.”

Captain leading off

As of this moment, Girardi says he has Derek Jeter penciled in to be the Yankees’ leadoff hitter. Hitting coach Kevin Long has said that he’d like to use Spring Training to experiment with different combinations.

Yanks boast shutdown bullpen by adding Soriano

Was this a classic case of misdirection by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, or did the team’s thinking suddenly change within the last 24 to 48 hours? 
Either way, the Yankees will head into 2011 boasting one of the best bullpen combinations in the game, agreeing to terms with free agent right-hander Rafael Soriano on a three-year, $35 million contract. 
The move gives closer Mariano Rivera a top setup option, effectively replacing Kerry Wood, and also a potential future successor — assuming Soriano sticks around, as the deal contains opt-out clauses after the ’11 and ’12 seasons. 
The signing came less than a week after Cashman told the Westchester (N.Y.) Journal-News that he would not give up a first-round Draft pick to the Rays as compensation for signing Soriano. 
“I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman told the newspaper. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.”
But you know what they say – actions speak louder than words, and this morning, Soriano is a Yankee. We know his numbers are good, with an American League-leading 45 saves in ’10 for the division-winning Rays. 
But here are a few fun things you might not know about the Yankees’ new setup man:
He really, really likes ‘Sweet Caroline.’ As in, the Neil Diamond song and Fenway Park eighth-inning fan anthem. 
“The first time I heard that I [was] with Seattle in ’02,” Soriano said in August. “I [saw] everybody going crazy singing that song in Boston. Every time I pitched the eighth, I [heard] the words. I like it, I like it. It makes me feel good.”
So good – so good?
He’s extremely confident – and, apparently, crushes breakfast.
“I think he absolutely feels like he’s the man,” Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey said. “But I can remember as far back as Spring Training saying that he [exudes confidence even] at the breakfast table. And he really does. The scowl and the cocksure attitude are not just a ploy for the ninth inning. That’s the way that he walks around. I think that’s more of his personality than it is a game-time mechanism for him to get up for the ballgame.”
He has mysterious gestures on the mound, and won’t tell you what they mean. 
I’ll let MLB.com’s Bill Chastain explain:
When Soriano enters the game, he bends over and uses his right index finger to scribble something in the dirt on the backside of the mound. He then removes his hat, appearing to read some message on the underside of the brim. When asked what he is doing in either case, Soriano smiled.
“That is for Soriano,” he said. “I keep that for me. That would be something that’s mine. A lot of people ask me about it. That’s mine, I don’t [tell anyone].”
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