Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’
NEW YORK — The brainstorming sessions started in the Yankees’ offices shortly after Brett Gardner was named as one of the five candidates for the American League Final Vote on Tuesday, with officials tossing around some creative ways in which the outfielder could campaign for a ticket to Cincinnati.
Gardner had a front-row seat to watch Nick Swisher’s over-the-top push to the All-Star Game in 2010, and though it was ultimately successful, it’s also not a recipe to fit all personalities. Gardner would prefer to let his numbers do the talking as he looks for his first career All-Star selection.
“You guys know me. I’m more of a low-key guy,” Gardner said. “I know the team’s going to do their part and hopefully some of my teammates step up. I don’t even have a Twitter account. I know they’re going to try to get me some votes. I’m going to focus on playing, helping us win games, and we’ll see how it turns out on Friday.”
Gardner hopes to join Swisher and Hideki Matsui (2004) among Yankees players who have made it to the All-Star Game via the Final Vote ballot. He has been given the Twitter hashtag #VoteGardy, but for now, the promotional rubber bald caps – just one of the team’s rejected ideas to pump the vote – will remain in storage.
Gimmicks may not be necessary. The 31-year-old Gardner is tied for third in the Majors with 60 runs cored, ranks fourth in the AL with 15 steals, is tied for fifth with 21 doubles and ranks ninth with a .373 on-base percentage. Entering play on Tuesday, he was the only AL player batting at least .295 with nine homers and 15 steals.
“I voted last night,” Yanks’ All-Star reliever Dellin Betances said. “Whatever we’ve got to do to get him in, he’s done a hell of a job. Obviously Jacoby (Ellsbury) went down for a while and he’s been in the leadoff spot doing everything he can, playing every day, stealing bases, robbing base hits, starting things up for the rest of the lineup. He’s done it all. I think we’ve got to get him in somehow.”
“I hope the New York fans come out. I would love to see Gardy make it,” Yanks’ All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “It would be really cool to have him with me there, and with Dellin, to represent the Yankees. So hopefully Yankee fans will come out to support him.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he believes Gardner is a deserving All-Star, and that it is “refreshing” to see his on-field performance to comprise his entire candidacy.
“This is a guy that wants nothing to do with self-promoting himself, making the All-Star team,” Girardi said. “He’s not going to be a part of a campaign, he’s just going to go out and play; go out and help us try to win.”
Some were surprised that Gardner was in a situation where he needed to lobby for more votes – his numbers compare favorably to the AL’s starting left fielder, Alex Gordon of the Royals. Gardner said that he hopes the Yankees’ widespread fan base and the New York media spotlight will help his cause.
“I do play for the Yankees. That’s got to count for something, right?” Gardner said. “That’s just the way I want it and like it, and is kind of the way I’ve always been. I’m not going to change who I am for this Final Vote deal for these couple days.
“I’m just happy; honored to be a part of it, happy to be mentioned alongside all these great players. If it works out I’d obviously enjoy going to Cincinnati next week and being a part of it.”
Here are the quick hits as the Yankees prepare to take on the Athletics this evening at o.Co Coliseum. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (4-1, 4.27) will be on the mound for New York and right-hander Jesse Hahn goes for Oakland. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.
With Ramon Flores in left field making his Major League debut, Brett Gardner gets a chance to return to his natural center field position. Gardner will play there when Flores is in the lineup, but Chris Young could also see reps in center while the Yankees wait for Jacoby Ellsbury to come back.
“I feel comfortable in center,” Gardner said. “I feel more comfortable there than I do in left field. I’ve obviously played left field every day and I’m becoming more comfortable over there, but I feel perfectly normal going back to center field. It doesn’t feel weird or like I’m playing out of position. I feel good.”
Gardner said that he didn’t give much thought to the defensive alignment after Slade Heathcott‘s injury.
“However they want to put us out there — whether C.Y. is playing or Flo, Slade, me, Jacoby, whoever, it doesn’t matter to me. Left field, center field, I feel comfortable,” Gardner said.
As for Ellsbury, there is no significant update to offer. He is back in New York and has been performing exercises in the Yanks’ swimming pool, but has not resumed baseball activities.
Jose Pirela is spelling Stephen Drew at second base tonight, and while Girardi said that he has not made any decisions about playing time beyond this game, Pirela might be making a better case for duty if he wasn’t hitting .200 (6-for-30). Girardi said that the sparse playing time may be an issue.
“It’s difficult for young players,” Girardi said. “That’s why a lot of times you see utility guys as older players that have experience because they’re just more familiar with it. You look at his at-bats and see how his at-bats are, and how he looks in the field and you make a judgment.”
Rehabbing right-hander Chris Martin threw one inning tonight for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and could rejoin the Yankees by the end of the week. The Yanks will also have to make a move on Wednesday to accommodate Masahiro Tanaka, and they have a pair of struggling right-handed relievers in David Carpenter and Esmil Rogers.
“We need a right-hander to step up for us to help Dellin (Betances) out in those situations when we don’t have him,” Girardi said. “Even to bridge the gap to those two guys, it’s important that someone steps up.”
Girardi said that he doesn’t mind keeping four left-handed relievers in Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren and Justin Wilson.
“I haven’t really found it to be a problem,” Girardi said. “It’s not very often that you have that, but sometimes you face a club with a lot of left-handers and it can be to your advantage. (The A’s) have got plenty of left-handers in their lineup. Seattle’s got plenty of left-handers.”
Heathcott was placed on the disabled list today and is flying back to New York to be seen by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. He is expected to miss more than 15 days and perhaps as much as a month.
The Yankees took note of Ramon Flores’ potential this spring, impressed by a fluid left-handed stroke that seemed to send the ball a long way with ease. Those good impressions helped promote the rookie to a big league clubhouse for the first time on Saturday.
Flores was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Slade Heathcott, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps. Flores immediately appeared in the Yanks’ lineup on Saturday against the A’s, batting seventh and playing left field.
“I’m feel I’m still dreaming,” Flores said. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and say, ‘Oh, I’m here in the Major Leagues!’ It’s been seven years in the Minors, working very hard to get here.”
The 23-year-old Flores, a product of Venezuela, had been on a recent tear with the RailRiders, going 15-for-44 (.341) in his last 11 games there. Overall, Flores was batting .294 (47-for-160) with four homers and 15 RBIs in 42 games.
“I think his ceiling is pretty high, offensively and defensively,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You can move him around a little bit defensively, but I’ll probably focus on left mostly. Just to give us good at-bats, I think that’s the important thing, and I really believe he has the ability to do that.”
With Flores slotted in left field, Girardi shifted Brett Gardner to center field, where he is expected to play while Jacoby Ellsbury mends a sprained right knee. Chris Young could also see reps in center field.
“I feel comfortable in center. I feel more comfortable there than I do in left field,” Gardner said. “I’ve obviously played left field every day and I’m becoming more comfortable over there, but I feel perfectly normal going back to center field.”
Flores said that he was in the middle of batting practice with the RailRiders when he was informed of his call-up. After spending the night in a Philadelphia hotel, Flores flew direct to the West Coast on Saturday morning, getting to the Coliseum around 11:30 a.m. PT.
With 23 walks against 28 strikeouts at Triple-A this year, Flores said that his plate discipline could help him to succeed against big league pitching.
“What I like to do at home plate is look for a very good pitch to try to connect,” Flores said. “I think that’s what helped distinguish me in the Minor Leagues, because I have a lot of patience and I try to wait for the right pitch. I just try to enjoy the game.”
The fun of the Yankees’ so-called “Stache Squad” evaporated somewhere on the charter flight between Kansas City and Washington, with five losses in six games suggesting that someone should break out the razors.
Most of the Yankees were clean-shaven as they reported to Nationals Park on Tuesday, with Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Stephen Drew and Dellin Betances among those saying goodbye to their once-lucky soup-strainers.
“It wasn’t going to last forever,” Gardner said. “Just a couple of guys talked about, maybe it was time. Maybe we’ll start another one back at some point.”
Gardner was the ringleader of the Yanks’ mustache craze, which found its roots in a three-game sweep of the Rays at Tropicana Field from April 17-19.
Since 1973, the Yankees have had a well-known facial hair policy that only permits hair above the lip. Pushing it to the limit, the Yankees won 18 of their next 24 games, grabbing possession of first place in the American League East.
“We had fun with it while it lasted,” Teixeira said.
There could be a few more players grabbing the after-shave. Andrew Miller, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka were among those clinging to the mustaches on Tuesday afternoon, but the clock seemed to be nearing midnight for those too.
“I’m not going to be the only one,” Miller said.
Tanaka will begin his Minor League rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, an outing in which the Yankees right-hander is expected to throw three innings or 45 pitches.
Tanaka threw 29 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday at Nationals Park and reported no issues. He has been on the disabled list since April 29 with right wrist tendinitis and a right forearm strain, and will face Durham at 6:35 p.m. ET.
“Very much looking forward to it,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “Good progress. Should be OK.”
Because Tanaka is throwing only 45 pitches on Thursday, it appears likely that he will need more than one rehab start. Girardi has said the Yankees would like Tanaka to be ready to throw at least 90 pitches in a big league game, and pitchers typically add about 15 pitches per outing.
“Let’s just go a start at a time,” Girardi said. “We know that we have to build him back up some. He has not been out that long, so he’ll go three and 45 and then we’ll decide what’s next.”
Should there be an opportunity for Chasen Shreve to face Bryce Harper this week, you might see a couple of smiles exchanged. That would be a rare reaction for the Nationals slugger to get from an opposing pitcher, considering his recent offensive tear.
The Yankees left-hander said that he has known Harper back to their high school years, when Harper was already smearing on eye black and wowing scouts, then earning national attention as he landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16.
“The first time I met him, it was in a scout tournament and we were playing on the same team,” Shreve said. “He came from football practice to one of our practices. He had the cutoff sleeves and the big face paint. I met him, he was a really nice guy. I thought he was more of a football player than a baseball player. When he played, he was just unreal. He played hard; he’s always played hard.”
Shreve and Harper teamed as a battery for one season with the College of Southern Nevada — “He was a good catcher; great arm,” Shreve said — and watching from afar, Shreve said that he believes Harper has been able to handle the hype that surrounded him from a young age.
“Everything you see bad about him just gets magnified that much more,” Shreve said. “I remember we were playing at CSN and they kept picking over (to first base) and just smacking the crap out of his helmet, just hitting him in the helmet like three times in a row.
“Then he ended up hitting a home run and points in their dugout, and it got blown up that he did it for no reason. It always happened like that. Everything got magnified, no matter what he did. I think he has handled it well. You can’t be perfect.”
Teixeira was in the lineup after being hit on the right big toe by a pitch Sunday. He joked, “I might have the red light a little more than usual at first base.”
Alex Rodriguez is on the bench for the first of two games against the Nats, which will be played with National League rules. Girardi said that he’d like to get A-Rod at least one at-bat per game, but he isn’t strongly considering playing him in the field.
“I’m sure he’d much rather be in there than having all this time off, but he understands the situation,” Girardi said. “It is what it is. We’ll go day by day. That’s what happens when you become a DH. It becomes harder to get in games when you’re in a National League park.”
This might have been tough to believe just a few weeks ago, but Girardi said he had a difficult time taking Carlos Beltran out of the lineup to play Chris Young against left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
“He’s been playing well and he’s been swinging well,” Girardi said. “You get in a situation where you’re coming off an off day, your two guys at the top have done a great job against left-handers, Chris Young has done a great job against left-handers. But Carlos has been playing extremely well. In this long run, these two days might not hurt him, but it was hard to take him out today.”
Chase Whitley had Tommy John surgery today in New York. Dr. Chris Ahmad performed the surgery, with an expected recovery time of 12 to 18 months.
“It all went well,” Girardi said. “The way I understood it, there were only a few fibers left, so maybe he had a couple pitches left and it would have been completely gone. It was the right choice on his part.”
The Yankees will open a four-game series with the Orioles tonight at Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is making his sixth start of the season, with right-hander Chris Tillman on the mound for Baltimore. This is a quick homestand for the Yanks, who will then hit the road to see the Rays, Royals and Nationals.
Here are the quick updates from the Yankees clubhouse:
Masahiro Tanaka made 50 throws at 60 feet this afternoon, his first activity since being placed on the disabled list with a right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis.
“He’ll throw again tomorrow and then we’ll just continue to progress to where we stretch it out, it becomes long toss, then it becomes flat ground and then it becomes a bullpen,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Tanaka did not speak to reporters today, but he is expected to do so tomorrow. Girardi said that he feels that the Yankees have enough pitching to get by until Tanaka’s expected return in June, noting that Ivan Nova and Chris Capuano are on the mend as well. Capuano is scheduled to throw five innings tonight for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“It would be great to get Tanaka back in the timetable they talked about earlier,” Girardi said. “Then it just gives us a lot more depth, which I think is important over the course of a long season.”
Why keep running Stephen Drew (.167) out there? Girardi was asked that question and alluded that there is more than meets the eye with the second baseman, who is coming off a 2-for-18 road trip.
“We look at the at-bats. Obviously, we look really deep into it,” Girardi said. “It’s not just what the average is, and his hits have been productive. I know he’s had a little rough go of it the last 20 at-bats, but I mean, that happens to a lot of hitters. But I told you before that, I thought he hit the ball much harder than what he had, the luck that he had had. He lined out again last night. We’re going to keep running him out there.”
Anyone else like the chances for Alex Rodriguez‘s 661st home run tonight? Rodriguez is a .500 hitter and has a 1.400 slugging percentage against Tillman, homering three times in 10 at-bats.
The Yankees are not planning to use a sixth starter this turn through the rotation. Adam Warren, Chase Whitley and Michael Pineda are listed as the probable starters for the final three games of the Orioles series, so CC Sabathia is tentatively scheduled to take the ball Monday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Baltimore will start Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris in the final three games of this series.
Brett Gardner (stiff neck) “felt much better today,” Girardi said. Gardner sat out last night’s series finale at Rogers Centre.