Results tagged ‘ Vernon Wells ’

Yankees notes: Claiborne continuing impressive run

SEATTLE — Preston Claiborne has yet to issue a walk in his Major League career, a streak he kept alive in the eighth inning on Friday when he responded to a three-ball count by hitting the Mariners’ Kelly Shoppach with a pitch.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was reminded of an old story about Stan Williams, a pitcher who admitted to hitting batters with three-ball counts because his contracts with the Dodgers in the late 1950s and early 1960s had walk-related incentives.

Claiborne, obviously, has no such clauses in his Yankees deal. The rookie laughed and said that there was no such trickery at play in keeping that 13-appearance, 18 1/3 inning string alive.

“A few people have asked me that,” Claiborne said, with a wide grin. “No, I was just trying to get a ground ball. I just threw a two-seamer and it sailed on me. I’m sticking to it.”

The hit batsman did little to dull the terrific start to Claiborne’s big league career. The 25-year-old is proving that he can handle the pressure situations of the late innings, compiling an 0.49 ERA with 14 strikeouts – and, of course, no walks – out of New York’s bullpen.

“As a bullpen guy, as a reliever, I’d always try to come out and blow it by guys,” Claiborne said. “Sometimes I’d get punished for it, leaving balls up or whatever. I realized, pitching at the knee – you always look at all the examples of guys over the years, Hall of Famers who actually pitch and don’t just try and blow gas. Those are the guys that have success.

“I think my coming along and pounding the strike zone as much as I have is just testament to my upbringing within the organization because guys who throw strikes, they get results and they move up. If you walk guys, you won’t have success.”

Since 1916, Claiborne is the only Yankees pitcher not to allow a walk over his first 13 career outings. Girardi said that he has been impressed by Claiborne’s consistency and courage in throwing 3-2 changeups and 3-2 sliders.

“I know people have talked about his walks, but he’s not worried about that little thing: ‘I haven’t walked anyone,’” Girardi said. “He’s trying to get hitters out. Back-to-back, he’s been good. He really hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s been really good.”

Girardi believes Wells will come out of slump

SEATTLE — The reality of Vernon Wells’ offensive production, as manager Joe Girardi sees it, is likely somewhere in the middle of his scorching April and his recent struggles at the plate.

Wells got off to a hot start with the Yankees but has gone ice-cold, owning just four hits in his last 53 at-bats (.075).

“I think his timing’s a little off,” Girardi said. “It seems when he does hit a ball hard, they catch it. He’s struggling right now. We believe he’s going to come out of it. There’s no doubt he’s going to come out of it, but I just think he’s out in front of balls a little bit and it’s causing some issues.”

Girardi said that he still considers Wells an everyday player in the Yankees’ lineup, though Lyle Overbay’s transition from first base to right field has given him more options with how to align his outfield.

“I still consider Vernon an everyday player,” Girardi said. “Might I spell him with a day off with Overbay? Yeah, but I still consider Vernon an everyday player.”

Bombers bits

- Yankees left-hander Vidal Nuno was removed from his start on Friday at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre witha groin injury, according to manager Joe Girardi, who said that Nuno is expected to be placed on the Minor League disabled list.

- Kevin Youkilis entered play on Saturday having reached base safely in all 20 games that he has started in his career at Safeco Field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that matches David Ortiz of the Red Sox for the longest streak of reaching base in consecutive starts at Safeco Field.

- Earlier this week, All-Star selections were made in the Class-A Florida State League and Class-A South Atlantic League. Catcher Gary Sanchez and right-hander Shane Greene were selected from Class-A Tampa, while Class-A Charleston is represented by four players: right-hander Rafael DePaula, right-hander Gabe Encinas, left-hander Dietrich Enns and catcher Peter O’Brien.

- On this date in 1969, Mickey Mantle Day was celebrated at Yankee Stadium as Mantle’s No. 7 jersey was retired and a plaque was unveiled in his honor. The Yanks then swept a doubleheader from the White Sox by scores of 3-1 and 11-2.

Notes & quotes: Vernon gets a breather vs. O’s

Vernon WellsVernon Wells has enjoyed some success in his career against Orioles starter Freddy Garcia, going 7-for-16 (.438) with a homer and three RBIs, but manager Joe Girardi said he was willing to table those numbers because he believes Wells could use back-to-back days off after last night’s rainout.

“It just allows me to get Vernon a couple days off,” Girardi said. “I’m going to have to do some rotating a little bit with these guys. Anytime you can get an older guy two days off in a sense, it’s helpful. He played every day in that last long stretch that we had. He’s played a lot over the last 30 days. I figured it might just help him.”

Girardi has no concerns about CC Sabathia being ready tonight after being pushed back a day by rain.

“If you get two or three extra days, you worry a little bit,” he said. “He’s had extra days before. Hopefully it makes him a little bit stronger. These guys have been going at it pretty hard and we’re going to have another long stretch after this. It’s not such a bad thing.”

Speaking of time off, Girardi wonders if sitting out for most of 2012 might have made Mariano Rivera more effective.

“The big difference is he’s had a lot of save opportunities,” Girardi said. “He’s on pace to be in 70 games which is not totally unusual for a reliever. You can say, and I’m a big believer, an arm only has so many bullets in it. Sometimes a year off is not the worst thing in the world.”

Injury updates from Tampa: Mark Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a double and walk in a simulated game … Kevin Youkilis is taking batting practice and ground balls and could be activated when the Yankees return to New York … Alex Rodriguez is taking ground balls but is still being talked about as returning after the All-Star break … Eduardo Nunez is taking dry swings and ground balls … Ivan Nova threw 3 2/3 innings in a simulated game. … Derek Jeter is out of his walking boot but isn’t doing much else.

Here in Baltimore, Chris Stewart hit off a tee and felt OK, but Girardi doesn’t think he’s ready to get in a game yet. He’s just an emergency catcher tonight behind Austin Romine, who is making his third straight start.

Yankees and Rays meet at Tropicana Field

Hello from inside the dome at Tropicana Field, where the Yankees and Rays will open a three-game series tonight. We’ll have updates from the clubhouse later this evening, including a check on if Kevin Youkilis will be in New York’s lineup after taking Sunday off on the turf up in Toronto due to back stiffness.

Update – yep, Youkilis is in:

Yankees lineup at Rays: Gardner 8 Francisco DH Cano 4 Youkilis 3 Wells 7 Cervelli 2 Boesch 9 Nunez 6 Nix 5 Sabathia LHP

Here is a selection of the information from the Yankees’ official game notes:

AT A GLANCE: Today the Yankees will play the first game of a three-game series at Tampa Bay… is the fourth game of a six-game road trip which also included a three game series at Toronto (went 2-1)… went 4-2 on their recent homestand from 4/12-18 against Baltimore (2-1) and Arizona (2-1)… following this road trip, will return home for a 10-game homestand vs. Toronto (4/25-28), Houston (4/29-5/1) and Oakland (5/3-5).
>Are 9-3 since 4/7 after starting the year with a 1-4 record… are tied for the fourth-best record in the AL.

RECENT RUN: The Yankees have gone 9-3 over their last 12 games dating to 4/7… over the stretch, Yankees batters are hitting .293 (128-for-437) with 26 doubles and 21HR (tied for MLB HR lead), outscoring their opposition 71-40… Yankees starters have posted a 2.85 ERA (79.0IP, 25ER) — fourth best in the Majors and second-best in the AL over the stretch — with 21BB, 63K and an 8-1 record.

GARDY PARTY: OF Brett Gardner has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games since 4/7… over his last 10 games since 4/9, is batting .341 (15-for-44) with 7R, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1HR, 8RBI and 4BB… has also hit safely in each of his last eight games and with a hit tonight at Tampa Bay, would tie Kevin Youkilis for the longest hitting streak by a Yankee this season (9G, 4/1-12).

COMFY CONFINES: OF Vernon Wells went 7-for-15 with 4R, 2HR and 3RBI over the three-game series at Toronto this weekend (4/19-21)… pplayed in 1,393G with Toronto from 1999-2010, batting .280 (1,529-for-5,470) with 789R, 223HR and 813RBI.

BECAUSE THE NIGHT: Yankees pitchers are 7-2 with a 2.68 ERA (84.0IP, 25ER) in nine night games this season… are 3-5 with a 5.58 ERA (71.0IP, 44ER) in eight day games in 2013.

Mariano Rivera: He’s human

mariano 91809.jpgThere are few things in sports today as automatic as seeing Mariano Rivera holding a baseball in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and nobody on base. Thanks for coming, arrive home safely. Right?

Wrong. Mike Sweeney launched a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center field, eluding the racing grasp of Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki slugged a Rivera cutter into the right field seats to celebrate his second walk-off hit in as many games. Rivera threw two pitches, both were hit very hard, and the Yankees lost.

“I wish I could bring it back and make my pitches, but it’s done,” Rivera said. “I just have to move forward.”

That was typical Mo cool, looking at it in the matter-of-fact viewpoint that can only be obtained by having been there and done it in the biggest spots baseball can present. But Rivera was very forthcoming when asked if this had been the best run of his life, a career-high string of 36 consecutive save opportunities converted until the Mariners celebrated last night.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Rivera said. “I know the numbers maybe show that,
but it would be impossible for me to say that. I’m throwing whatever
I’m throwing right now. Before, I used to throw harder. It’s totally
different. Am I more mature? Yes. But not strong like back then,
meaning velocity.”

Still, Rivera had allowed one run in his last 33 innings of work. That’s nothing to sniff at.

“That’s a pretty incredible feat,” Johnny Damon said. “Hopefully this means he’s not going to give up another run until March.”

Our buddy Steve Lombardi of WasWatching.com chips in with the following stat — Ichiro joins Marco Scutaro, Bill Mueller, and Bill Selby as the only batters to
hit a regular season, bottom of the 9th inning, walk-off homerun off
against Rivera.

Vernon Wells also hit a walk-off homer against Rivera – but it was
in the 11th inning of a tie game. Suzuki, Scutaro, Mueller and Selby
all did it in the ninth, with their team trailing. Suzuki, Scutaro, and Selby all did it after two-outs. Mueller did it after one out. Links to the games can be found here
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