Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

Thursday’s camp notes: Youk “always a Red Sock”

Kevin Youkilis, David OrtizIt’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.

The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.

This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”

Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.

“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window — it’s not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”

That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.

Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…

“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”

Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:

  • Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
  • Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
  • As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
  • Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
  • Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
  • Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”

Champagne on ice at Yankee Stadium

It’s all in front of the Yankees now. They maintained control of their own destiny with last night’s thrilling 4-3, walk-off win over the Red Sox, as Raul Ibanez hit a game-tying, pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning and rolled the game-winner through the left side of the infield in the 12th inning.

For the Yankees, it’s suddenly so simple as they head into a most meaningful Game 162 — take care of business and beat Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox, then enjoy being in as American League East champions, spraying bubbly all around their posh clubhouse.

If they don’t, well … there’s a myriad of possibilities the Yankees want no part of. Ready for this? Here’s a helpful primer on the American League East that I’m passing along –

AL East: Either Baltimore or the Yankees will win the division and the other team will win a Wild Card spot.

  • The Yankees clinch the division if they beat Boston OR Baltimore loses to Tampa Bay. Either outcome clinches the division for N.Y.
  • The Yankees can clinch home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, and would face the Wild Card team in the ALDS, if they beat Boston, OR Baltimore loses to Tampa Bay AND Texas beats Oakland. If the Yankees lose, both Baltimore AND Oakland must also lose for the Yankees to clinch; the Yankees hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rangers by virtue of winning their season series, 4-3.
  • If Baltimore beats Tampa Bay AND the Yankees lose to Boston, then the Orioles would host N.Y. in a tiebreaker game on Thursday, October 4, at a time TBD (Andy Pettitte is on line to start for the Yankees). The winner would be the AL East champion and the loser would play in the AL Wild Card Game.
  • Baltimore cannot secure home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, because even if they win the AL East, both Texas (5-2) and Oakland (5-4) hold the tiebreaker over them by virtue of winning their head-to-head season series.

So, like I said, that’s a jumble the Yankees want no part of trying to figure out. As I mentioned on Twitter last night, Yankees traveling secretary Ben Tuliebitz may be the hardest-working man at Yankee Stadium right now; Ben has booked hotels and flights for every remaining possibility, and probably some that have already come off the board. I know my potential travel situation is a mess; I can’t imagine his is all that much more organized.

“I think if there were maybe two scenarios, it might be easier to look ahead,” Joe Girardi said yesterday. “Because there’s been so many, you drive yourself crazy. I’m concerned about what we’re doing and then you just go from there. Wherever Benny tells us that we’re going, that’s where we’ll just get on a plane and go.”

Considering all that, the Yankees’ mission tonight is simple. Win, celebrate, and let everyone else figure the rest out.

Game 161: Yankees vs. Red Sox

The tarp has been removed and we’re scheduled to begin on time at Yankee Stadium, which is good because absolutely no one wanted to deal with a day-night doubleheader to end the regular season.

For the Yankees, who begin today one game up on the Orioles in the American League East and holding a magic number of two to clinch the division, controlling their own destiny from here on out is the key.

“It means that you don’t have to worry about someone helping you out,” Joe Girardi said. “If you go out and win tonight, go out and win the next night, you know that you can win the division. We don’t have to rely on anyone else.”

Here are tonight’s lineups, as the Yankees send David Phelps to the mound expecting 75 to 95 pitches –

RED SOX (69-91)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Daniel Nava LF
Cody Ross RF
James Loney 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Ryan Lavarnway DH
Pedro Ciriaco 3B
Jose Iglesias SS

Jon Lester LHP (9-14, 4.94)

YANKEES (93-67)
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Curtis Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez DH
Ichiro Suzuki LF

David Phelps RHP (4-4, 3.34)

Game 160: Yankees vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (69-90)
Pedro Ciriaco 2B
Daniel Nava LF
Cody Ross RF
Mauro Gomez 1B
Ryan Lavarnway DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Danny Valencia 3B
Che-Hsuan Lin CF
Jose Iglesias SS

RHP Clay Buchholz (11-7, 4.22)

YANKEES (92-67)
Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Eric Chavez 3B

LHP CC Sabathia (14-6, 3.42)

Teixeira: Sox swap shows baseball is “all result business”

As the Yankees were winding down from their 3-1 win over the Indians last night in Cleveland, the clubhouse televisions were tuned to coverage of the wild deal in the works between the Red Sox and Dodgers that figures to send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira – who considered signing with the Red Sox before inking his big deal with the Yankees for the 2009 World Series-winning season – shared his thoughts on the rumors with reporters:

What’s your reaction to the trade reports?
“It’s interesting. It just shows that it’s an all result business and the Red Sox aren’t used to not making the playoffs. You have three really good players that might be on the move and I guess it’s all null if it doesn’t happen. But if you’re not winning, you’ve got to find something else to mix it up.”

As a player with a big money deal, are you surprised to see Crawford and Gonzalez being moved?
“Yeah. One of the reasons that I didn’t sign with Boston was they don’t offer full no-trade clauses. I would hate, personally as a father and a husband, I would hate to uproot my family here in New York and get traded somewhere else. That’d be devastating. I could play baseball anywhere, really, but to have to uproot your family — that would be really tough. And Boston doesn’t give full no-trade clauses. This is what could happen.”

Ever regret that decision not to sign with Boston?
“I have never once questioned my decision to come here. This is the most amazing place to play baseball. Living in New York is unbelievable. But I’ll be honest with you, a no-trade clause helps because your family can set roots. You know that if you have a bad game, they’re not going to trade you. You know that even if your team might have a bad stretch, they’re not going to look at you as, ‘Oh, you’re the reason why. We’re getting rid of you.’ This is a tough business and whether that trade goes through or not, just the fact that they’re talking about getting rid of three guys they committed to just shows that it’s all about winning. It’s not show-friends, it’s show-business.”

Think these drastic changes could help Bobby Valentine?
“I really don’t know him that well. I worked out at his facility, I see him once or twice an offseason and we small talk about baseball. I really don’t know him that well, so I really don’t know. He’s got a great facility. I love working out there. I really do.”

What’s it like to be traded like that?
“I was in a different situation where I was about to be a free agent anyway and I was kind of a hired gun for two stretch runs. It’s a little different for me. It’s flattering, it actually is, because the team wants you to help them make the playoffs or make a run in the playoffs. Like I said, if I was to get traded now – which isn’t going to happen – it would completely rock my world because of my family. That’s the tough part. I don’t know what family situation these guys are but that would be my No. 1 concern.”

If you hadn’t been traded, would you feel so strongly about no-trade clauses?
“Maybe not, actually. Maybe not. I know how difficult it is to uproot your family. I tell people, the last two years before free agency, I was a gypsy. I lived all over the plate. So it’s not easy, it really isn’t, and that was one of the big reasons that I wanted a full no-trade clause.”


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