Results tagged ‘ Russell Martin ’
Francisco Cervelli is considered the early front-runner for the Yankees’ starting catching job in 2013, nudging ahead of Chris Stewart, Austin Romine and Bobby Wilson as the club prepares to head to Spring Training.
The Yankees insist that it’s more likely than not that they’ve already got their Opening Day catcher on the roster, but plenty can change between now and Opening Day, as Cervelli learned the hard way last season. It’s fair to say he wasn’t exactly planning on spending so much time in places like Rochester and Batavia.
With that in mind, he told the Newark Star-Ledger’s Jeff Bradley in a telephone interview that he didn’t celebrate much when Russell Martin inked a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pirates.
“I was happy for Russell because it was a good deal for him,” Cervelli said. “But for myself, I’m not going to make any conclusions. I know I have a lot of work to do, and I am going to remain very focused on that work.
“The way I’m thinking, I’ve changed a little bit because of what happened last year,” Cervelli continued. “But I’m very positive and looking forward to being the starting catcher, but I don’t think too much about it. I keep my expectations low because a lot of things can happen. But I really want it and this is my dream. It’s always been my dream.”
And just because, this seems like a good time to drop in this Cervelli classic from the spring:
Inbetween practice jumps down the side of the Landmark Building in Stamford, Conn. on Friday, as preparation for the city’s upcoming Heights and Lights festival, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responded to Russell Martin’s decision to ink a reported two-year, $17 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cashman said that the Yankees had interest in retaining Martin this spring (offering him a three-year, $20 million deal, according to reports at the time), but the Yankees seemed to recognize that Martin’s departure was a very real possibility as they headed into the winter. Cashman said the Yankees never got around to making Martin an offer after the season, instead choosing to focus on pitching.
We will have full coverage on MLB.com later today, but here are some quick reaction quotes from the Yankees GM, who said the team may very well have their starting catcher on the roster right now in Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, Austin Romine or Eli Whiteside:
On the aforementioned group of replacement catchers:
“Listen, without a doubt, in terms of catching and throwing and running games, I’d line those guys up with some of the best catchers in the game on the defensive side, game planning and handling a pitching staff. The bats, a couple of guys have the potential to become everyday catchers because of their bats, if they develop. Other guys really are more backup oriented.”
On the blow of losing Martin to Pittsburgh:
“I like Russell Martin. I’m a big Russell Martin fan. But ultimately we have a lot of holes to fill and we have to be very careful how we spend our money. The market for Russell was aggressive, as it should have been, and again our focus has been our pitching. After that, I’ve got a lot of different holes to fill. We need to be careful how we allocate our remaining funds to make sure that we can fill all the holes. Now, I feel fortunate to have had Russell Martin for the two years that we had him, and I’m sorry to see him go. The Pirates got a really good one, but at the same time, I think we’ll find ways to cushion the blow like we always try to do.”
On if Martin’s departure creates another hole to fill:
“No, when he left for free agency, that was the hole. That hole has been there. This isn’t something that caught us off guard. It’s something we were very well aware of, and the agent was very honest with us, as well as the player, Russell. The best shot we took at retaining him was in Spring Training, and after that, obviously it became more difficult and now he’s moving on.”
On if the Yankees were willing to offer the three-year, $20 million deal again:
“No, we were prepared to do that in Spring Training. We never made an offer. … We never got to that point.”
On if the Yankees will play on the high-end catching market:
“At the end of the day, we have holes to fill. In the catching area, we do have placeholders there. We have people that can handle and run the game. The offense is an area that currently what the rest of our roster provides will be a downgrade from what we’re used to, but the most important aspect — listen, when Girardi was catching for us, he was a defense oriented catcher. We played him at the time ahead of a young Posada and an older Leyritz. They were more offensive oriented at those times, so it’s not like we haven’t gone with defensive oriented first situation. We transitioned from Mike Stanley to Girardi while Posada was being cultivated and growing still. We had Girardi, we had gone away from Leyritz who was offensive oriented. I only point that out because it’s not the first time we’ve been in this position, but it’s an acknowledgement that the offense that is provided off the roster at that position right now certainly isn’t what we’ve been accustomed to. The defense is special in our opinion, no matter what name we’re going after. If you want to throw Stewart’s name, Cervelli’s name, or Whiteside, who we claimed off waivers but recently designated. Romine is young and up and coming and had a very good Fall League; a lot of good things coming. He just missed a full year of Triple-A development, unfortunately. He’s back on track, he’s healthy. At the very least, that’s our fall back, but we are going to have to pursue a lot of areas on this club — the bench, right field, potentially catching. Maybe not. It’s possible that our catchers are right here on this roster, right now. That is very well possible and more likely than not, to be honest. We’ll see. Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait.”
Three members of the 2012 Yankees have been nominated as finalists for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, as voted upon by Major League managers and coaches — Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira.
The winners will be announced during the 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® Announcement Show on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, at 9pm ET on ESPN2.
Martin is listed among the catchers with the Tigers’ Alex Avila, the White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski and the Orioles’ Matt Wieters.
Teixeira’s competition is at first base with Adrian Gonzalez, nominated for his time with the Red Sox, and the Royals’ Eric Hosmer.
Cano will contend at second base with Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley.
The Yankees had a conversation with Russell Martin around the All-Star break, telling him to pitch his offensive numbers out the window and start over. His stat lines were too badly damaged by a sluggish start to be of much use, and so the Yankees wanted Martin to hit the reset button.
The back of Martin’s baseball card will not be pretty next year, no matter what happens in September, but a hot month just might help the Yankees when they need it most. Martin’s three-run homer last night keyed a five-run fourth inning for New York and the backstop is showing that he has stored up some good luck from the first five months of the season.
“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Martin said. “Really, I feel good. It’s hard to describe. I feel like I’m seeing the ball well, feel like I’m taking good swings. Offspeed pitches, fastballs, whatever – I’m just seeing it.”
Martin said that the first five months of the season were a grind, but he feels like he has been swinging the bat better for the last month or so. He added that his body and the calendar are telling him two different things, which is a good thing for the Yankees.
“I’m not really worn out,” Martin said. “I’ve got give credit to Joe [Girardi] for resting me adequately and got to tip your cap to Stewie [Chris Stewart]. He’s been doing a great job when he’s behind the plate. I feel great. It doesn’t feel like September at all. I’m used to feeling a lot worse than I do right now actually.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi clashed with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the third inning of the New York’s 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday, displeased with the strike zone Randazzo was calling for starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Ivan Nova.
“I didn’t care for some of the strikes early in the game, and we were talking back and forth and he looked at me and stared at me,” Girardi said. “I don’t get it. When the inning’s over, walk the other way. It’s pretty simple.”
Asked if he was surprised that Randazzo allowed Girardi to stay in the game despite what seemed to be a heated exchange, Girardi replied, “I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think I really said anything that wrong.”
Yankees catcher Russell Martin – who has had his own issues with umpires this year – declined to criticize Randazzo’s zone.
“It looked like was a bit generous, but he was pretty consistent on both sides,” Martin said. “Verlander just seemed like he was hitting those spots more than we were.”
Girardi said that Randazzo walked down the first-base line after the top of the third inning and stared into the Yankees dugout. Bench coach Tony Pena moved to hold Girardi back, but Girardi broke free.
“I threw Tony off me pretty easy. If I want to go, Tony’s not going to hold me back,” he said.
Russell Martin has homered four times in his last six games and is batting .342 (13-for-38) over his last 12 games, boosting his average from .173 to .216. He spoke after Sunday’s game about a slight adjustment he has made at the plate:
“I’m starting to feel dangerous at the plate; more confidence. It definitely feels good. I felt a little bit lost early in the season but now I feel like I’m better. …
“I just backed off the plate a little bit. I felt like I was getting tied up inside and I felt like I was starting to pull off the ball early with my stride. Now I kind of just evened out my stride and I feel like I’m ready to drive the ball the other way more with more ease. I was fighting to do it before.”
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has worked with Martin, but said the idea of backing away from the plate a few inches was all Martin’s doing:
“It really helped him. Once he backed off the plate, it took care of his stride direction and it’s really opened up the outer half of the plate. It’s kept him on the ball. Obviously right field has helped him quite a bit at our place, but that being the biggest adjustment, it’s really helped him.”
Long said that Martin didn’t seem to be as frustrated by his sub-Mendoza Line performance earlier in the season as you might have suspected.
“Not as bad as you’d think. He wasn’t tearing things up. He was frustrated a little bit, but he kept believing that all his hard work … everything he’d done through the winter and up to this point … was going to pay off. It’s starting to show real good signs, especially this month. He’s been on fire.”
Ivan Nova started against the Blue Jays’ Triple-A lineup on Thursday in Tampa and allowed three runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five. He threw 63 of 94 pitches for strikes, and catcher Russell Martin said he came away pleased.
“He’s been progressing,” Martin said. “He’s been getting more and more consistent as we go along. I think he’s going to have a great year; that’s my personal opinion. He went above expectations last year with what he did, so he’s got maybe a little bit more pressure on him to try to do that again.
“If he keeps the same attitude, that’s what I recognized from him last year the most – his intensity on the mound. He’s a guy that wants the ball and never backs down. He wants to stay out there that extra inning. That’s what I want to see from Nova.”
All three of Nova’s runs allowed came in his final two innings of work (two in the seventh inning and one in the eighth).
Good stuff from Anthony McCarron in today’s New York Daily News on new Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. McCarron reached Bombers catcher Russell Martin, who offered good reviews of their time together with the Dodgers and said that he’s excited to have Kuroda as a batterymate again.
“He can pitch, man,” Martin said in a recent telephone interview. “When he’s really on, his splitty is on. It gets him out of trouble. He can throw his fastball at 94 or 95 (miles per hour), though he’s mostly at 92 or 93, so it’s impressive. His slider is different, a really short break. It’s not a strikeout pitch, but it gets a lot of balls off the end of the bat, and his splitty is nasty against lefties or righties.”
Martin mentions to McCarron that in 2008, the Dodgers had Kuroda wear an Elvis Presley outfit to take part in an ‘American Idol’-themed rookie hazing.
“He performed in front of all the guys and embraced it,” Martin said, chuckling at the memory. “He was a veteran from Japan, but he put his ego behind him and had fun with it. I don’t know if he knew all the lyrics, but he got after it.
“That’s who he is — quiet at first, then you get to know him and he’s hilarious and then on the mound it’s total focus and concentration. He was a great teammate, I love that guy and I was extremely happy that we’ve got him now.”
“Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” Martin said. “They’re coming up next, so it’ll be fun.”
Asked why he felt so strongly, Martin responded, “Because I hate the Red Sox.”
A career National Leaguer before this season, Martin said that his first season in pinstripes played the biggest part in his disdain for the team’s AL East rivals.
“Of course it’s this year,” he said. “They are fun to play against just because they have a quality team and are gritty and play hard and stuff, but I’d love to see them lose. … I guess it just comes with the territory, you know? When you wear the pinstripes, you just kind of learn to be that way, I guess.”
Martin shrugged when asked if avoiding a possible meeting with the Red Sox in the ALCS was behind the motivation for his comments.
“They’ve given us a hard time all year,” Martin said. “I don’t think we’re scared of them or anything. We’ll see what happens. If we play them, we play them. We just have to beat them.”
Suffice it to say, Martin is looking forward to being on the field against Boston beginning on Friday.
“It’s good baseball. These teams are going to be fighting for it. It’s going to be fun to be the spoiler,” Martin said.
For the record, Martin said with a grin that he doesn’t hate the Rays or the Angels.
TORONTO — Joe Girardi didn’t expect his bullpen to log so many innings so quickly into the second half. But two games removed from the All-Star break, the Yankees’ skipper already finds himself needing a long, bullpen-saving start from ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees’ relief corps logged 7 1/3 innings on Thursday, then three more on Friday. In that span, five different relievers were used, with Sergio Mitre going twice. Because of that, Mitre won’t be available today, and there’s a good chance neither will Hector Noesi, who’s two days removed from pitching 3 1/3 frames.
“It happens during the course of the season and you just have to prepare for it,” Girardi said. “You need some distance out of your ace today, and that’s the bottom line. And I think we’re covered. But if something were to happen to CC in the first inning, then it’d be a little tough today.”
Lucky for Joe, Sabathia is one of the best second-half pitchers in baseball.
Or perhaps the best.
In terms of second-half performance from 2006-10, Sabathia leads all Major League starters who qualify in ERA (2.64), wins (41) and strikeouts (490). For his career, the burly left-hander has a 3.67 first-half ERA and a 3.31 second-half ERA. Now, he’ll be looking to get the Yankees back on track after they dropped back-to-back games, and look to snap the Blue Jays’ five-game winning streak.
A lot of the talk pregame, once again, centered on signs. Russell Martin claimed the Blue Jays were picking up his signs on Thursday. Then last night, Girardi opted to go with multiple signs even with nobody on base, which led to a lot of mound trips and some confusion that may have taken Freddy Garcia out of rhythm (though nobody really used that as an excuse). Pregame today, Girardi vaguely addressed the issue of teams taking other measures besides their own baserunners to pick up signs, saying: “Sometimes we have inclinations that things might be happening in certain ballparks. We’re aware of it, and we try to protect our signs.” Blue Jays skipper John Farrell then denied that any of that is going on at Rogers Centre.
More on that soon.
For now, here are the lineups, with Jose Bautista still out for the Blue Jays and day-to-day with a sore ankle. It’s looking like he won’t play on Sunday, either. Curtis Granderson has the day off from the turf, and Martin gets a blow behind the plate with the quick turnaround …
Pitching: LH Sabathia (13-4, 2.72 ERA)
Pitching: LH Ricky Romero (7-8, 3.09 ERA)
Some links from last night …
* Garcia bested on night to forget for Yanks
* Yankees Notebook, with stuff on Nunez’s learning curve, Jeter’s popularity and Colon’s health
* Martin blames himself if Blue Jays knew signs