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Yankee4Life

Yankee News For Yankee Fans

581 posts in this topic

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New York Yankees Ichiro Suzuki dives back to first base ahead of a pick-off attempt throw to Seattle Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison, right, in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Seattle.

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Seattle Mariners' Logan Morrison, right, tosses his bat after striking out swinging as New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann, left, and home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski stand near in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in Seattle.

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 11: Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on June 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 11: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees singles in the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

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David Phelps silences Athletics as Yankees roll to 7-0 win

Phelps blanked Oakland for 6.2 innings in his best start of the season, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out four.

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David Phelps blanks Oakland for 6.2 innings in his best start of the season.

OAKLAND – Very little about Friday night’s matchup appeared to be in the Yankees’ favor.

Oakland featured the highest-scoring offense and the best record in the American League, while David Phelps was riding the longest losing streak of his career and was pitching in a place where the Yankees had lost seven straight over the past two years.

It was David vs. Goliath.

David won.

Phelps silenced the Athletics’ mighty bats while the Yankees’ resurgent offense busted out for a second straight night, disappointing the rare sellout crowd as the Bombers rolled to a 7-0 win, their first at the Coliseum in more than two years.

“It’s definitely one of the best starts of my career, probably,” said Phelps, who had lost four straight starts, posting a 6.57 ERA in the process. “Come in here against a team that’s first in its division with one of the best records in baseball. My biggest thing is going out and trying to give us a chance to win every time out.

“Our offense gave me a chance to be successful out there, so I tip my cap to them because they did a great job for me, giving me a cushion early on. They made some great plays behind me on the defensive side too.”

Phelps blanked Oakland for 6.2 innings in his best start of the season, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out four.

Six different Yankees drove in runs as the offense had its most productive night in more than two weeks. After going 12 consecutive games without topping the four-run mark, the Bombers have now scored 13 in the past two games, extending their winning streak to four games.

“That's the recipe for scoring a lot of runs,” Joe Girardi said of the balanced attack. “That's what you need to do at times. Through all this, the guys have kept at it. They've had their struggles but they've kept at it. We're hitting the ball hard.”

Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury opened the game with singles against Oakland ace Sonny Gray, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead on Ellsbury’s hit. That also extended the center fielder’s hitting streak to 17 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Mark Teixeira added a sac fly, pushing the lead to two runs. The Yankees went back to work in the second, tacking on a third run on Gardner’s second hit of the night, a single that scored Brian Roberts to make it 3-0.

"We have very good hitters one through nine, and it's fun when guys are swinging the bats well, putting good at-bats together,” Ellsbury said. “I think that was the key tonight, just getting some big hits with runners in scoring position."

Oakland went down in order in each of the first three innings as Phelps retired 10 straight batters to start the game. John Jaso drew a one-out walk in the fourth to give the Athletics their first baserunner, but Phelps sat down both Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss, leaving Oakland without a hit through four frames.

Gray settled in after his shaky start, retiring 11 straight Yankees between the third and sixth before Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield hit to snap the pitcher’s streak.

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Derek Jeter is congratulated by Brian McCann after he scores on a sacrifice fly by Mark Teixeira in the first inning.

Phelps issued a one-out walk to Jed Lowrie in the fifth, then Derek Norris broke up the no-hitter with a soft liner over Kelly Johnson’s head at third base, giving the Athletics a chance to get back into the game.

But Phelps got Andy Parrino to fly out to center then retired Kyle Blanks on a grounder to strand the two runners and keep the shutout alive.

“My biggest goals today were first-pitch strikes and leadoff outs,” Phelps said. “That negates big innings by just doing those things. You see what Chase (Whitley) did yesterday. He threw 24 of 29 first-pitch strikes, and it’s amazing. It’s what we strive to do. It’s always something I need to be trying to do.”

A double play helped Phelps erase a leadoff walk in the sixth, but after getting the first two outs in the seventh, Lowrie launched a double on the righthander’s 102nd pitch of the game, ending his night.

Dellin Betances extinguished any thought of an Oakland rally, retiring Norris to end the seventh. The Yankees broke the game open with four runs in the eighth, getting three straight RBI hits from the bottom three hitters in the lineup to ice the game.

“Phelpsie was great; that's as good as I’ve seen him pitch,” Teixeira said. “Moving the ball in and out of the zone, keeping them off-balance when he needed to. That was a team effort offensively, we played good defense; that’s just a good team win.”

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Now Teixeira has a sore rib cage? This guy is nothing but a waste of space.

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Now Teixeira has a sore rib cage? This guy is nothing but a waste of space.

How many different body parts has he injured since he joined the Yankees??

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How many different body parts has he injured since he joined the Yankees??

More than enough. And he's still got more to go.

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As Blue Jays come to Bronx, Yankees open 15-game stretch that will show if Bombers are contenders or pretenders

Masahiro Tanaka starts in the series opener Tuesday night as the Yankees welcome Toronto, who lead the AL East by 4.5 games.

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The Blue Jays will get a second crack at Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday. He shut the Blue Jays down in his first start for the Yankees, striking out eight over seven innings.

The trips to the West Coast are over, the week in Chicago is in the past, and the 10 games without the use of a designated hitter are finally done.

After spending six weeks roaming around the rest of the divisions in baseball, it’s time for the Yankees to get down to business in the AL East.

Tuesday, the second-place Yankees welcome the first-place Blue Jays to the Bronx for a key three-game set that also jumpstarts a string of 15 straight games against AL East opponents that could help determine whether the Yankees will spend their summer as contenders or pretenders.

“You don’t want to make too much of it, but it’s obviously an important period when you’re going to see the teams that we’re going to see,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s a huge stretch against East Coast teams. You have a chance to make up ground and put distance between other teams and yourself. I think it’s really important.”

The Yankees were 16-14 and tied for first place in the division when they embarked on their six-week journey around the league, and while their 19-19 stretch hasn’t knocked them into a Tampa Bay-sized hole — the Rays are a whopping 13games out — they enter the week 4.5 games behind Toronto.

The Yankees and Jays will meet six times in the next nine days, while the Bombers will also host the Orioles, Red Sox and Rays between now and July 2.

“Every stretch against AL East opponents is big, but it would be nice to take a couple series,” David Robertson said. “There’s definitely opportunity to separate yourself from the rest. You get hot, maybe mix in a sweep and win two or three series in a row, you can jump to the top.”

The Blue Jays were a trendy pick to win the AL East — and even the World Series — a year ago, having added players such as Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle to an already talented roster.

But injuries and inconsistency doomed Toronto to a 74-win, fifth-place season, leading many to predict another woeful season in 2014 for a franchise that hasn’t won more than 88 games or reached the postseason since its last World Series campaign in 1993.

A 13-17 start made those prognosticators look good, prompting some to ask when — not if — manager John Gibbons would be fired.

But the Jays heated up in May, riding the hot bats of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista and a rejuvenated Buehrle to a 25-7 stretch, turning a 3.5-game deficit into a six-game division lead.

“You knew how dangerous they were offensively,” Girardi said. “They went through some injuries last year just like everybody else. Sometimes it’s hard to overcome those. They’ve had a pretty consistent rotation, for the most part, this year. They’ve had some changes to make, they’ve had some guys that have gotten out to great starts. But we knew that they were very talented.”

How dangerous is Toronto’s offense?

The Blue Jays entered the week ranked first in the AL in home runs (92), extra-base hits (224), slugging percentage (.435) and OPS (.764) and second in runs scored (329). The Yankees were no higher than 10th in any of those categories, ranking 14th in runs scored (270) and dead-last in extra-base hits (168).

“Up and down the lineup they have guys hitting the ball out of the ballpark,” Mark Teixeira said. “They stepped it up a little bit, and that’s why they’re a first-place team right now.”

Fortunately for the Yankees, they’ll send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound for Tuesday’s series opener. Tanaka made his debut in Toronto on April 4, allowing three runs (two earned) over seven innings to earn the win.

Toronto will become only the second team to see Tanaka for a second time. Although the Cubs slapped the righthander with his first and only loss when they got a second look at Tanaka, Girardi isn’t worried about his ace being at a disadvantage.

“They’re a very good lineup, whether you see them the first time or the fifth time,” Girardi said of Tanaka, who is 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA since his lone defeat. “They’re extremely dangerous so, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. My thought is he’s going to do fine; I wouldn’t think that he wouldn’t.”

STAR POWER: Even on a day off, Derek Jeter makes news, and possibly history. The Yankee captain is less than five million votes from becoming the all-time All-Star vote-getter, Major League Baseball said as it announced the latest All-Star voting totals Monday.

Jeter, who has 1,810,451 votes this year, now has 45,315,271 for his career. Ken Griffey Jr. is the all-time leader with 50,045,065. Jeter is also closing is on becoming the seventh player in history to be voted to start by the fans at least nine times.

He would join Cal Ripken Jr. (17), George Brett (11), Griffey (10), Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki and Ivan Rodriguez (9 each). This year’s All-Star Game will be held July 15 at Target Field in Minnesota.

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Masahiro Tanaka dominates Blue Jays as Yankees win opener with AL East-leading Toronto

Brett Gardner's two-run home run gives Tanaka all the run support he needs as Yankees gain a game in division race in opener of crucial stretch.

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Masahiro Tanaka (l.) picks up his 11th win of the season and that gets a pat on the back from the Captain, Derek Jeter, as the Yankees open a crucial series with the Blue Jays with a 3-1 win Tuesday.

Is Masahiro Tanaka the best pitcher on the planet?

Those were the words CC Sabathia used to describe his teammate Tuesday afternoon, and after watching Tanaka handle the first-place Blue Jays later in the day, there’s no reason to argue otherwise.

Tanaka became the majors’ first 11-game winner, allowing one run over six innings to lead the Yankees to a 3-1 win over Toronto.

“I told him after his last start that I was going to start leaving my glove in the dugout and just run out to left field,” said Brett Gardner, whose two-run homer in the third accounted for all the runs Tanaka needed. “All you need to do is get him a couple of runs and we’ll get the win and that’s what happened tonight.”

The righthander gave up five hits and walked two, striking out 10 for his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season. Tanaka (11-1) has thrown quality starts in all 14 of his big-league outings, while he lowered his league-best ERA from 2.02 to 1.99.

“It’s hard to say that his start isn’t as good as anyone who has pitched,” Joe Girardi said.

As usual, the only one who didn’t seem all that impressed by the pitcher’s outing was Tanaka himself.

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Brett Gardner’s two-run home run in the third inning gives Tanaka all the cushion he needs.

“Overall, I think my stuff wasn’t really there tonight,” Tanaka said through his translator. “All I was trying to do was to hang in there and try to keep the ball down as much as possible.”

Tanaka now ranks first or is tied for the AL lead in wins, ERA, WHIP, winning percentage and complete games, ranking in the top three in strikeouts and innings pitched. He has firmly cemented himself as the favorite to start the All-Star Game for the AL, not to mention as the early frontrunner for both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards.

“I don’t think it’s fair to expect that from anyone,” Girardi said. “I don’t care what your stuff is, I don’t care if you throw 110 (mph); what he’s done has been remarkable.”

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Tanaka strikes out 10 over six innings.

Dellin Betances fired a pair of scoreless innings, setting up David Robertson for his 17th save of the season. The win moved the Yankees within 3.5 games of the first-place Jays, who have lost 14 straight games at Yankee Stadium dating back to September of 2012. The two teams meet five more times in the next eight days.

This was Tanaka’s second time facing Toronto, which scored three runs (two earned) over seven innings against the righthander in his big-league debut — a 7-3 Yankees win — on April 4 at Rogers Centre. Before Tuesday night, only the Cubs had seen Tanaka twice, with Chicago handing him his lone loss on May 20 in their second meeting. Tanaka had given up a leadoff home run to Melky Cabrera to start his career, so it was déjà vu when Jose Reyes took Tanaka deep on the first pitch Tuesday.

“I think it was probably the first time in my career that I gave up a first-pitch home run to a batter,” Tanaka said. “I think just giving up that home run threw me off of my rhythm a little bit.”

The Blue Jays put two more runners on in the opening inning, but Tanaka struck out Dioner Navarro to end the threat, needing 22 pitches to get through the frame.

“I think the leadoff homer probably hurt them more than it helped them,” Gardner said. “It just made him mad, really, and when he gets mad he really battles and he doesn’t give in, doesn’t give them any pitches to hit.”

Righthander Marcus Stroman (3-2) set the Yankees down quietly in the first two innings, but Kelly Johnson doubled with one out in the third, setting up Gardner’s two-run shot off the bottom of the right-field foul pole. Tanaka made the one-run lead feel far more comfortable for the Yankees, retiring six of the next seven batters — five via strikeout, giving him 10 through five innings.

Tanaka got through a scoreless sixth with 104 pitches under his belt, handing over a two-run lead to the well-rested bullpen. “He’s been a big part of our success this year,” Girardi said, stating the obvious. “He continues just to grind out starts, make adjustments, give us distance — and he wins.”

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Yankees' Chase Whitley, without best stuff, aces AL East-leading Blue Jays

For a team whose lineup Whitley praised earlier in the week, the Blue Jays were certainly the ones marveling after the game. Whitley’s only struggles occurred in the fourth inning.

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Rookie Chase Whitley shuts down the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

Chase Whitley may not share the stardom that Masahiro Tanaka enjoys, but the Yankees aren’t complaining.

Whitley improved to 3-0 in giving the Bombers another five solid innings of work on Wednesday night at the Stadium, en route to the Yanks’ 7-3 win over the Blue Jays.

Joe Girardi always asks his starters to go as deep into the game as possible, and if that doesn’t work, he asks for them to exit the game leaving the Yankees with the best chance to win. That’s exactly what Whitley did — and has done in all of his seven starts.

The rookie righthander’s pitch count grew quickly — he had thrown 50 pitches after three innings — but, as usual, he managed to minimize the damage. Whitley credited his comfort level as the reason he is able to limit runs. And it's increased with every start.

“It’s like the first day of school,” Whitley said. “You’re nervous and then you get comfortable and as the school year goes on you get more comfortable.”

For a team whose lineup Whitley praised earlier in the week, the Blue Jays were certainly the ones marveling after the game. Whitley’s only struggles occurred in the fourth inning when he allowed two runs on three hits.

“You don’t see that very often from a rookie pitcher like that,” Blue Jays cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion said.

Whitley exited the game after the fifth inning, having thrown a season-high 95 pitches. And despite leaving the game earlier than he would have liked, the righthander felt that he achieved a milestone.

“I think I fell behind some guys and today I wouldn't say I had my best pitches,” Whitley said. “This is the first time I had to bear down and battle without my best stuff.”

Whitley walked Melky Cabrera in the fifth inning, marking his first walk allowed in his last 133 batters faced. He also yielded five hits and struck out one.

Whitley’s success is no longer a surprise to Girardi, who said the team’s expectations from his debut to now have completely changed.

And with Whitley’s win, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the second Yankees pitcher in franchise history to start his career with seven consecutive games without a loss. The other: Tanaka.

CC HITS THE HILL

CC Sabathia (knee) threw off a mound for the second time this week and “felt good,” according to Girardi.

Sabathia is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday, when his pitch count will increase. His timetable for returning remains unclear.

“I can’t give you an exact time,” Girardi said. “You’re building up a starter, trying to build him up to 90 pitches.”

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Chase Whitley of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on June 18, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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New York Yankees' Alfonso Soriano hits a first-inning RBI single in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Chase Whitley delivers in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

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New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann throws to first on Munenoria Kawasaki's third-inning, infield dribbler in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees scores a run in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on June 18, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 7-3.

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New York Yankees Brian McCann hits a seventh-inning, three-run triple off Toronto Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

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For slumping Yangervis Solarte, single is worth the wait

Solarte’s chance came later in the blowout loss to the Blue Jays, as he entered the game in the eighth, when Joe Girardi gave some of his starters a rest.

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Yangervis Solarte snaps a long hitless streak in Monday's loss to the Blue Jays.

TORONTO — Yangervis Solarte watched from the bench Monday night as Kelly Johnson started another game at third base, leaving the 26-year-old to wait for his next opportunity to snap out of his career-worst 0-for-28 skid.

“That happens in baseball,” Solarte said before the game. “I know I did good for two months, but now I’ve had a week of doing bad. For me, I fight during every at-bat. I think every at-bat has been good; I see them on video and I feel good. I’m just going to keep going.”

Solarte’s chance came later in the blowout loss to the Blue Jays, as he entered the game in the eighth, when Joe Girardi gave some of his starters a rest. Solarte came to bat with two men on in the ninth and singled to center field to snap the hitless streak that dated back to June 8.

“I’m so glad that’s over,” a relieved Solarte said.

SAVING THE PEN

Long man David Huff was one of the few bright spots Monday, tossing 32/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball to help preserve the bullpen for Tuesday. Shawn Kelley pitched a scoreless eighth after Huff was taken out.

“(Huff) was great,” Girardi said. “He really saved the bullpen. We only had to use one other guy besides him, so our bullpen is pretty good shape.”

JETER TAKES A SEAT

Derek Jeter sat out the first game of the three-game set against the Blue Jays as Girardi took advantage of a night game-after-day game scenario to get the soon-to-be 40-year-old a little extra rest. With Jeter on the bench, Girardi used Carlos Beltran in the No. 2 spot for only the third time this season. . . . CC Sabathia will throw live batting practice in Tampa on Tuesday, an exercise he will likely repeat again a couple days later. Sabathia could be in a rehab game by the end of the week.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Vidal Nuno of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees makes a catch on a ball hit by Stephen Drew of the Boston Red Sox to end the second inning at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Kelly Johnson of the New York Yankees follows through on a fourth inning two run home run against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Brian McCann of the New York Yankees hits an eighth inning two run home run against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Vidal Nuno silences Red Sox bats while Kelly Johnson, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann homer in Yankees' 6-0 win

Nuno's win, his first since May 7, has to feel like sweet vindication. For the past week much of the back-chatter has been about whether the Yankees could afford to keep him in the starting rotation and why, given Thursday's off day, his turn was not being skipped.

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Vidal Nuno holds the Red Sox to just three hits on Friday night as he pitches 5 2/3 shutout innings in the Yankees' 6-0 victory.

Vidal Nuno finally ran into a lineup he could dominate.

The Red Sox are in a bad way, and Friday night might have been a measure of just how bad it is. They made Nuno, the struggling Yankees lefthander, look like ace Masahiro Tanaka. Nuno shut Boston out over 5.2 innings, and with the help of home runs from Kelly Johnson, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, the Yankees topped Boston, 6-0, before a sellout crowd of 48,522 at the Stadium.

Boston managed only three hits as it lost for the sixth time in eight games.

Nuno’s win, his first since May 7 and first ever in the Bronx, has to feel like sweet vindication. For the past week, much of the back-chatter has been about whether the Yankees could afford to keep him in the starting rotation and why,

given Thursday’s off day, his turn was not skipped. After all, Nuno had allowed 13 home runs at home this season.

“Pretty much it’s a confidence booster tonight, like to show that I can still belong here,” Nuno said. “It’s been a couple of weeks. It’s been a grind. . . . Every day has been tough lately, just knowing that my command wasn’t there.”

Joe Girardi bristled before the game when he was asked one last time why he hadn’t skipped Nuno to go with Tanaka, who pitches Saturday. His answer — “who should I start?” — wasn’t exactly a show of faith, but Nuno (2-4) rewarded it nonetheless.

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Brett Gardner celebrates with the newly turned 40-year-old Derek Jeter after belting a solo home run in the third inning.

He gave up just two hits and two walks and struck out five. He let only one Red Sox reach scoring position — Brock Holt, who doubled in the third inning — and got Dustin Pedroia to fly out and David Ortiz to ground out, ending the threat.

“He fights,” Girardi said of Nuno. “It’s not a guy that throws 95. It’s not a guy with a wipeout slider. It’s just a guy that goes out and competes and finds a way to get it done. He’s beaten a lot of the odds, in a sense, where he’s had to almost start over and come back (from a 2013 groin injury) and worked his way up. He throws strikes.”

But after a two-out walk to Ortiz on his 91st pitch, Nuno was lifted by Girardi and exited to a standing ovation. Dellin Betances finished the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh. Adam Warren retired the side in order in the eighth. Matt Thornton held a six-run lead in the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning.

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Brian McCann launches a two-run home run into the second deck in the eighth inning.

The Yankees got on the board in the first with a Derek Jeter single, a Jacoby Ellsbury double and a Mark Teixeira sac fly. The rest of the offense came on home runs as the Bombers got three for the fifth time this season and first time since May 17.

“It seems like we been hitting a few more, so I believe they’re going to come,” Girardi said. “We went through some times when they were up and down, but I really believe that these guys are going to contribute and put up numbers.”

Johnson’s two-run homer was followed immediately by Gardner’s blast, the Yanks’ first back-to-back longballs since May 2 against Tampa Bay. McCann hit a two-run shot in the eighth off lefthander Craig Breslow that landed in the second deck in right, his ninth homer of the season.

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Kelly Johnson rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning.

“That’s great: when you can put up crooked numbers in multiple innings it’s really important, and you can build your lead,” Girardi said.

“Those two tack-on runs are important there. It’s a big hit for Mac, and that’s what we want to see.”

Still Nuno was the story of the day and might have quieted the groundswell to seek another option — either David Huff or Warren — to fill that spot in the rotation until either CC Sabathia returns from the disabled list or the Bombers make an acquisition. The Yankees have 17 games in 17 days going into the All-Star break and Nuno is likely to make three more starts before he is replaced.

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What about Nuno's last start?

Pretty safe to say nobody saw that coming!

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What about Nuno's last start?

Pretty safe to say nobody saw that coming!

I'm happy for him. I like all our young players and hope they continue to get a chance. I have no use for those overpriced SOB's like Sabathia and Teixeira.

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Everytime you show your love for Teixeira, it hurts me... :sorry:

Could you hate Cristiano Ronaldo instead? :diablo:

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Could you hate Cristiano Ronaldo instead? :diablo:

I hardly know anything about him to have an opinion of him. I have no use for soccer.

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Yankees hang on for dear life in 6-5 win over Twins, as Brian Roberts has four-hit game

Chase Whitley surrenders four runs in three innings, but long man David Huff salvages the day for Yankees, who move to 13-3 at Target Field

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Brian Roberts has a big day at the dish and tags out Minnesota's Brian Dozier here as the Yankees get a much-needed victory, something that comes pretty easily at Target Field.

MINNEAPOLIS — There’s nothing like the sight of the Twins to get the Yankees going again.

The Bombers jumped out to a five-run lead, then held on with the help of six solid innings by the bullpen to take a 6-5 decision from the Twins in a holiday matinee Friday at Target Field.

Brian Roberts went 4-for-5 with three doubles and a triple, setting a career-high with nine total bases. His first-inning double helped spark a three-run rally, while his second-inning double set up Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-run hit, capping another three-run frame.

“We need wins, so anytime that you can feel like you’re contributing is good whether it’s one hit or four hits or whatever it is,” Roberts said. “That was a fun game to be a part of.”

Chase Whitley was unable to do much with the run support, allowing four runs over three innings, but David Huff (2-0) was perfect in three innings of long relief, turning a two-run lead over to the big arms at the back of the bullpen.

“It’s always big when the bullpen can pick up six innings and get us the win,” said David Robertson, who recorded his 20th save in 22 opportunities. “It was a tough game today. We grinded hard, the hitters did their job, got us a bunch of runs, and we were able to hold it for them.”

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Mark Teixeira (r.) knocks in a run and scores one in Friday's win.

For the second straight game, nearly the entire lineup was involved in the scoring, as seven different players either scored a run or had an RBI.

“We’ve said all along that these guys are good hitters and eventually it’s got to turn,” Joe Girardi said. “The last two days we’ve swung the bat really, really well.”

The Yankees have won seven straight games here and are now 13-3 in 16 games at Target Field since it opened in 2010. They’re 29-11 overall in the regular season against the Twins since the beginning of 2009.

The Yankees were feeling good after their seven-run outburst Thursday night, but Girardi tinkered with the lineup for Friday’s matinee.

Derek Jeter, Brian McCann and Zelous Wheeler were given the day off, while Roberts, Francisco Cervelli and Kelly Johnson were penciled into the lineup.

The moves worked out right away as Brett Gardner led off the game with a triple to left-center against Kyle Gibson, and he would score on Roberts’ double to right for the game’s first run. Mark Teixeira followed with a one-out double to center to drive in Roberts, then after a passed ball moved Teixeira to third, Carlos Beltran lifted a sac fly to right to give Whitley a 3-0 lead before he took the mound.

Brian Dozier put the Twins on the board with a leadoff homer to left-center, but the Yankees went back to work against Gibson in the second.

Cervelli led off with a double to left, then Johnson moved him to third with a groundout to first and Brendan Ryan’s sac fly to center brought home the Yankee catcher to move the lead back to three. Gibson walked Gardner and gave up a double to left to Roberts, before Ellsbury’s two-run single to right-center pushed the lead to 6-1.

“Hitting is contagious, and I think it goes both ways,” Roberts said. “When guys start struggling, everybody starts struggling. A couple of guys start hitting and it can kind of roll.”

Chris Colabello homered to right against Whitley to start the second, then the Twins scored twice in the third — on Osvaldo Arcia’s triple to center and Trevor Plouffe’s single to center — to pull within two runs.

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Chase Whitley struggles again for the Bombers.

Girardi wasn’t taking any chances after that inning, sending Huff in for Whitley, who was charged with four runs on eight hits and a walk over three frames.

Huff gave the Yankees just what they needed, tossing the three perfect innings to get the lead to the back end of the pen. Adam Warren and Dellin Betances combined for a scoreless seventh, but the Twins scored a run against Betances in the eighth — on Colabello’s groundout to second — to move within a run. Then Teixeira made a diving stop on Eduardo Escobar’s hard grounder to get Betances out of the jam.

“That’s a huge play or we’re in a tie ballgame and it’s a much different game,” Girardi said. “Just a great play by Tex.”

Robertson threw a scoreless ninth for his eighth straight save since his June 1 implosion against the Twins.

“It’s definitely a lot better feeling when we win a couple games instead of losing I don’t know how many in a row,” Robertson said. “Everyone’s relaxed a little bit. Now we’ve got to start winning more.”

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Season and career could be over for Yankees lefthander CC Sabathia as knee surgery looms

After making his second minor-league rehab start Wednesday night, Sabathia woke up Thursday with swelling in his knee. Sabathia will visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on July 14

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CC Sabathia's future could be in doubt as lefthander needs to pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews.

MINNEAPOLIS — CC Sabathia’s season appears to be over. But a bigger question looms for the big lefthander: Is it possible he’s thrown the last pitch of his career, too?

Sabathia will visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on July 14, when the orthopedist is expected to recommend surgery on the pitcher’s ailing right knee. Andrews is not available to see Sabathia next week, though given the bleak outlook — at least as far as 2014 is concerned — there doesn’t seem to be a rush to get Sabathia examined.

After making his second minor-league rehab start Wednesday night, Sabathia woke up Thursday with swelling in his knee. He was sent for another MRI, and while Joe Girardi said the test “didn’t reveal anything new,” the fact that Sabathia’s knee had essentially returned to square one was discouraging.

“I’m sure surgery is possible,” Girardi said. “They’ve got to talk about it and determine what’s next.”

Asked whether he believes Sabathia’s 2014 season is over, Girardi nodded.

“I think that’s probably fair to say,” Girardi said.

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CC Sabathia made a rehab start on Wednesday and then has knee swell up next morning.

Amid reports that Sabathia — who turns 34 on July 21 — could be facing the dreaded microfracture surgery, Girardi didn’t discount that option.

“That’s always a possibility when you have a degenerative knee,” Girardi said. “That could be one of the steps. I’m not exactly sure if he was to have surgery what it’s going to be. That’s for them to determine, but that’s always a possibility. And that’s a surgery that a lot of players don’t want to hear that they need to have. It’s a pretty long rehab.”

Grady Sizemore — Sabathia’s former teammate in Cleveland — underwent the procedure in 2010, one of the few baseball players to have microfracture surgery. The procedure has been more common in the NBA; players such as Jason Kidd, Greg Oden, Tracy McGrady and Amar’e Stoudamire — a close friend of Sabathia’s — have had the surgery.

Many of those athletes never performed to their previous level — or even played at all — after the surgery. Would microfracture surgery mean the end of Sabathia’s career?

“I think it’s too early to predict that,” Girardi said. “Whenever you have degenerative issues that cause surgery or things like that, there’s always a little question, yeah.”

Sabathia has two years and $48 million remaining on his contract beyond this season, plus a $25 million vesting option that kicks in automatically as long as he doesn’t experience any left shoulder injuries. It’s unclear whether that option would still vest if he didn’t pitch at all in 2015 or ’16 because of the knee issue.

He suffered through a tough 2013 season, going 14-13 with a career-high 4.78 ERA as he returned from offseason elbow surgery and learned to pitch with diminished velocity.

He seemed to have turned a corner by spring training, but he was repeatedly victimized by one bad inning in each start this season, going 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in eight outings before landing on the DL with right knee inflammation on May 11.

Following a visit to Andrews in mid-May, Sabathia was given a cortisone shot and a stem-cell injection to treat what was described at the time as “degenerative changes” to the knee, but the Yankees had been hopeful he would return to the rotation after the All-Star break, which would have given the pitching staff a much-needed jolt.

“That’s a tough blow; everybody wants CC back,” David Robertson said. “He’s the ace of our staff. I know (Masahiro) Tanaka has been amazing, but CC has been our horse. He’s been the guy we’ve depended on for years. To lose him for the rest of the season, if that’s what it comes down to, will be extremely tough for us. It seems like something like this happens every year, but you don’t think it’s going to be CC because he’s so dependable and tough.”

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Brian Roberts of the New York Yankees hits an RBI double against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on July 4, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins 6-5.

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Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees hits a two-run single against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning of the game on July 4, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins 6-5.

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Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees makes a catch of the ball hit by Trevor Plouffe of the Minnesota Twins as teammate Mark Teixeira looks on during the eighth inning of the game on July 4, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins 6-5.

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Chris Parmelee of the Minnesota Twins reacts to striking out to end the game as Francisco Cervelli of the New York Yankees celebrates the win on July 4, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins 6-5.

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Meh...I always feel bad for a fellow athlete getting injured. No matter how grossly overpaid and underperforming he is at this point in his career.

Unfortunatly this is good news for the Yankees. He won't be pitching for them this year and let's face it, he wasn't himself when he did. I do hope he gets his health back, if not for baseball, but for his life.

This whole 'let's change your unfit body and turn you into an athlete' thing, to me, is the origin of all his heatlh issues over the past couple of years. You don't mess with something that's working! And now there's the result.
Maybe his body would've broken down anyways, we'll just never know. But why did they have to mess with it in the first place?!

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Meh...I always feel bad for a fellow athlete getting injured. No matter how grossly overpaid and underperforming he is at this point in his career.

Unfortunatly this is good news for the Yankees. He won't be pitching for them this year and let's face it, he wasn't himself when he did. I do hope he gets his health back, if not for baseball, but for his life.

This whole 'let's change your unfit body and turn you into an athlete' thing, to me, is the origin of all his heatlh issues over the past couple of years. You don't mess with something that's working! And now there's the result.

Maybe his body would've broken down anyways, we'll just never know. But why did they have to mess with it in the first place?!

I agree. He was useless to the Yankees last year and this year (3-4, 5.28 ERA) so if he is out for the remainder of the season I won't shed any tears. Maybe he can go find Rodriguez and they can hang out.

I don't know if losing weight was the start of his knee problems. If anything that should have helped him.

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The Yankees traded lefthander Vidal Nuno (2-5, 5.42 ERA) to Arizona for right handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy (3-10, 5.01 ERA) today.

I only had two comments about this. First was that I didn't give a **** and second why couldn't the Yankees have thrown in Francisco Cervelli ?

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The Yankees traded lefthander Vidal Nuno (2-5, 5.42 ERA) to Arizona for right handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy (3-10, 5.01 ERA) today.

I only had two comments about this. First was that I didn't give a **** and second why couldn't the Yankees have thrown in Francisco Cervelli ?

And Soriano was DFA'd! Wow. I'll comment on these matters along with Sabathia's injuries tomorrow. I had a Jiu-Jitsu competition today, I'm beat.

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So, now that I'm rested:

McCarthy is not so bad, but will he really be an upgrade over Nuno? I guess he was better before being hit by that live drive a couple of years ago, but the Yankees tend to prefer to sign players after they've had some kind of major injury. (ie: Beltran, Roberts)
In my opinion, Nuno isn't that bad. In fact, if he was just a spot starter I wouldn't mind having him, but as a regular starter, he's way out of his depth.

As for Soriano, I have to give credit for the Yankees on this one. Brought back last year, he was one of the few bright spots of 2013. He made us believe just for a second. They did the right thing this year by giving him a chance to recapture some of that magic, and letting him go now that's evident that the magic isn't coming back. If they held on to him, chances are he would've hit some more homers and made us smile every now and then. But he would've probably struck out 200 times and played some horrible defense, so those hypothetical homers would have most likely been meaningless.
Fun while it lasted, sorry to see you go, but it's time.


Back to Sabathia:

CC's capabilities as a pitcher depend on the torque and tension that his enourmous body produces. If you've been repeating the same motions for over 20 years - in fact his job depends on the very capability of reapeating the same motions - your ligaments, tendons, muscles and everything else, will adapt and be prepared for such. Specially if you've been performing and depending on those motions while your body was growing up.

Now, for someone a regular Joe, losing weight and getting in shape an all that might be a great idea.
In my opinion, what it did for Sabathia's body was change the dynamic of his motions. Now, these motions are being performed by muscles that have become different, that produce different tensions and torques, which would cause more stress on his ligaments, joints and bones, specially in the ones he's more dependent on, such as knees and elbows.
His excess weight would probably have cause it's own wear and tear issues, but I believe he'd be able to deal with those better than with the type of injuries he's had over the past couple of years, when the project 'Let's get CC fit' started.

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So, now that I'm rested:

McCarthy is not so bad, but will he really be an upgrade over Nuno? I guess he was better before being hit by that live drive a couple of years ago, but the Yankees tend to prefer to sign players after they've had some kind of major injury. (ie: Beltran, Roberts)

In my opinion, Nuno isn't that bad. In fact, if he was just a spot starter I wouldn't mind having him, but as a regular starter, he's way out of his depth.

I don't know if he is an upgrade but considering how much more the Yankees would have had to pay for Samardzija they are better off having McCarthy and hoping for the best.

As for Soriano, I have to give credit for the Yankees on this one. Brought back last year, he was one of the few bright spots of 2013. He made us believe just for a second. They did the right thing this year by giving him a chance to recapture some of that magic, and letting him go now that's evident that the magic isn't coming back. If they held on to him, chances are he would've hit some more homers and made us smile every now and then. But he would've probably struck out 200 times and played some horrible defense, so those hypothetical homers would have most likely been meaningless.

Fun while it lasted, sorry to see you go, but it's time.

Yeah, he was a bright spot but I never believed in this guy once. I never liked him because of his laziness and still have not understood why the Cubs gave him that huge contract.

CC's capabilities as a pitcher depend on the torque and tension that his enourmous body produces. If you've been repeating the same motions for over 20 years - in fact his job depends on the very capability of reapeating the same motions - your ligaments, tendons, muscles and everything else, will adapt and be prepared for such. Specially if you've been performing and depending on those motions while your body was growing up.

Now, for someone a regular Joe, losing weight and getting in shape an all that might be a great idea.

In my opinion, what it did for Sabathia's body was change the dynamic of his motions. Now, these motions are being performed by muscles that have become different, that produce different tensions and torques, which would cause more stress on his ligaments, joints and bones, specially in the ones he's more dependent on, such as knees and elbows.

His excess weight would probably have cause it's own wear and tear issues, but I believe he'd be able to deal with those better than with the type of injuries he's had over the past couple of years, when the project 'Let's get CC fit' started.

I never looked at it this way. You're probably right.

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Alfonso Soriano released by Yankees, who trade Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy

The struggling outfielder was designated for assignment before Sunday's 9-7 win over the Twins to make room for pitcher Bruce Billings. Soriano hit just .221 with six home runs in 67 games this season.

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Alfonso Soriano struggles to find a groove in 2014 as a platoon player in the Yankees’ crowded outfield.

MINNEAPOLIS — With a .500 record more than halfway through the season, something needed to change for the Yankees.

Sunday, those changes began to be made.

The Yankees traded Vidal Nuno to Arizona for veteran righthander Brandon McCarthy, then designated Alfonso Soriano for assignment, ending the slugger’s second tenure in pinstripes.

“It’s been kind of a tough day,” Joe Girardi said.

Things got better for Girardi as he watched his team batter Ricky Nolasco for six runs over the first two innings before holding on for a 9-7 win against the Twins. The Yankees won three of four at Target Field this weekend, improving to 14-4 here since the ballpark opened in 2010.

Jacoby Ellsbury smacked a three-run homer to highlight a four-run second inning as the offense awoke from its weekend slumber, having scored only one run over its previous 18 innings. Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 with two RBI.

Hiroki Kuroda (6-6) earned the win, allowing four runs over 5.2 innings. Minnesota pulled within three runs by the eighth, but David Robertson collected his 21st save despite allowing a run in the ninth.

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Brandon McCarthy, 30, is 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA for the Diamondbacks this season.

The Yankees scored 22 runs in their three wins during the series.

“It just gives us a little boost to know that we still have it in us,” Mark Teixeira said.

Girardi called the Soriano move “extremely difficult,” noting that the 38-year-old has “been a great Yankee and a great player.”

Soriano was one of the hottest hitters in baseball after the Yankees acquired him from the Cubs last summer, hitting 17 home runs with 50 RBI in 58 games. But he hit .221/.244/.367 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 67 games this season, starting 31 games in the outfield and 25 as the designated hitter. He had only one multi-hit game after May 26, batting .145 (8-for-55) with no home runs in 20 games.

“It’s a guy that came in and did a tremendous job for us last year,” Girardi said. “He’s had his struggles this year. He’s a guy that is used to playing every day and there weren’t everyday at-bats for him, so maybe it was harder for him to get going. We’re not sure. But that was the move we made.”

Soriano’s struggles against righthanders (.204/.228/.336) turned him into a platoon player, giving Ichiro Suzuki most of the playing time in right field after Carlos Beltran was forced into DH duty because of an elbow injury.

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In 14 starts for the Yankees this season, Vidal Nuno is 2-5 with a 5.42 ERA.

“His struggles against righthanders have been pretty evident,” Girardi said. “Defensively Ichiro is better. So it’s kind of a catch-22.”

Soriano never figured out how to keep his swing sharp in limited playing time, leaving him unable to find a rhythm at the plate. “Soriano’s like family to me, I played with him for a long time,” Derek Jeter said. “Sori’s had a tremendous career here in New York; he’s done a great job. It was difficult for him this year. Any time you talk about a player who’s used to playing every day not playing every day, it’s hard to be productive. I feel for him, I’m going to miss him, but I’ll be in touch with him. He’s like a brother to me.”

Soriano declined to speak with reporters after receiving the news Sunday morning, but he told ESPN Deportes the move “was to be expected” and that he had already had discussions with his agent about “how I was being used in the game and how I didn’t feel comfortable.

“I am calm, and I believe that it was a good decision by the team,” Soriano said. “I’m glad that now that I have been released I will have the opportunity to decide what I want to do next, and the team can go ahead and find someone to do the job I was unable to do.”

The Nuno-McCarthy trade could have bigger implications for the Yankees, who are trying to bolster a rotation already missing three of its five regular starters.

Nuno was 2-5 with a 5.42 ERA in 17 games (14 starts), averaging a shade over five innings per start. With Chase Whitley also struggling to provide length, the Yankees are hoping the 30-year-old McCarthy can give them the innings they desperately need.

McCarthy is 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts for the Diamondbacks this season, though he’s won his past two starts in impressive fashion.

“I feel like I’m in a good place now,” McCarthy told reporters in Atlanta. “I’ve kind of changed up the way I’m attacking recently, and there are some positives I’ve started to see. I still feel like I’ve thrown the ball well this year.”

McCarthy has averaged more than six innings per outing, posting seven quality starts for Arizona. He will slot into the rotation on Wednesday against the Indians.

“McCarthy is an experienced starter that we expect to pitch well for us and give us distance,” Girardi said. “I know he’s had his struggles, but he seems to have turned it around. He has a good arm and we need him to help us.”

A source said Brian Cashman had been after McCarthy for weeks. Arizona will pay $2.05 million of the $4.1M remaining on McCarthy’s deal, though the Yankees will pay his $1 million reassignment bonus.

McCarthy, who signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal with the D-Backs prior to 2013, will be a free agent at season’s end.

On Sept. 5, 2012, while with the A’s, McCarthy took a line drive to the head off the bat of the Angels’ Erick Aybar. While he managed to get back on his feet, he subsequently underwent surgery for two hours to relieve cranial pressure after CT scans revealed he suffered an epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion and a skull fracture.

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And Tanaka to the DL because hey, why not!

Jesus...

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And Tanaka to the DL because hey, why not!

Jesus...

Pack it in and load up the trucks. This season's done.

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Hours after Masahiro Tanaka injury news, Jacoby Ellsbury’s home run delivers 14-inning Yankees win over Indians

In his Yankee debut, Brandon McCarthy settled down after the first inning, holding the Indians to one run over the next 5.2 frames, giving the Yankees the length they hoped for when they traded for him.

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Jacoby Ellsbury gives his temmates reason to smile with a 14th inning home run as the Yankees top the Indians 5-4 just after learning All-Star rookie Masahiro Tanaka is headed to the DL.

CLEVELAND — At least the Yankees had something to smile about Wednesday.

Hours after learning that Masahiro Tanaka was headed for the disabled list with a right elbow injury, Jacoby Ellsbury launched a solo home run in the 14th inning to lift the Yankees to a 5-4 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.

Ellsbury’s home run ended an eight-inning scoreless duel as the two teams were tied at 4 after the fifth, only to post one zero after another for nearly three hours.

“Our bullpen pitched unbelievable to give us a chance to win that game,” Ellsbury said. “It was a nice team win.”

Chase Whitley (4-2) earned the win with two scoreless innings in his first big-league relief appearance. David Robertson closed it out in the 14th for his 22nd save in 24 chances.

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Brandon McCarthy, making his Yankee debut, talks with Joe Girardi in the seventh inning.

Mark Teixeira belted a pair of home runs against starter Josh Tomlin, but he also committed a throwing error in the first inning that led to three unearned runs against newcomer Brandon McCarthy, making his first start for the Bombers.

“No matter what happens before the game, in between the lines, whether it’s nine or 14 innings — we’re just going to keep playing hard,” Teixeira said when asked about the Tanaka news. “That’s the only thing we can do. Don’t feel sorry for ourselves; go out there and try to win games.”

McCarthy settled down after the first, holding the Indians to one run over the next 5.2 frames, giving the Yankees the length they hoped they were getting when they dealt Vidal Nuno to Arizona for the tall, lanky righthander.

McCarthy, who was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in Arizona this season, allowed four runs — one earned — on nine hits and one walk, striking out three over 6.2 innings in a no-decision.

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Mark Teixeira blasts one of his two home runs.

“More or less, it’s the way I’d like to pitch, where if I’m sharper the results can be much better,” McCarthy said. “But I’d love this to be as bad as it is.”

Teixeira’s homer to right in the fourth put the Yankees on the board, then after Brian McCann made it a one-run game with a sac fly in the fifth, Teixeira drilled his second homer in as many innings to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. It was the 37th career multi-homer game by Teixeira, his first since July 13, 2012.

Carlos Santana tied the game with an RBI single to right in the fifth, the last run that crossed the plate until Ellsbury’s blast thanks to Shawn Kelley, who worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 10th.

“That’s a tough game to lose for either side,” Joe Girardi said. “Both bullpens did an exceptional job. It came down to one big hit.”

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Yankees minor league prospect Rob Refsnyder has potential - and patience

Refsnyder doesn’t sound like a 23-year-old kid on the verge of making it to the big leagues for the first time. Instead he oozes maturity as he speaks about his sudden climb through the Yankees’ system

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Rob Refsnyder is swinging hot bat on farm and, showing poise beyond years, may get promotion.

MOOSIC, Pa. — Rob Refsnyder is aware that he has become the talk of the Yankee organization, and many fans as well, lately, as the breakout player in the ballclub’s minor league system and perhaps its starting second baseman next season.

For that matter, his bat may get him to the Bronx before then. The need for offense is such that GM Brian Cashman sent word here a few days ago to have Refsnyder start playing some outfield, in case the Yankees decide to call him up soon.

Yet Refsnyder doesn’t sound like a 23-year-old kid on the verge of making it to the big leagues for the first time. Instead he oozes maturity beyond his years as he speaks about his sudden climb through the Yankees’ system and keeping it all in perspective.

“I enjoy every moment here," Refsnyder said Monday before the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Railriders were rained out. “I think that’s maybe why I’ve been successful in some pressure situations. I kind of stay in the now and don’t get caught up in the other stuff.

“I’ll enjoy it my first time there — it’ll be something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. But it still feels kind of a long ways away."

Perhaps it makes sense that Refsnyder would have a worldly perspective, considering his background. As a South Korean native who was adopted by a Southern California couple and flown to this country at 5 months old, he has endured racial taunts on the ballfield over the years.

From playing on national junior teams to college at Arizona to small towns in the minors, Refsnyder said he heard it from the fans in various ballparks. The verbal abuse in the 2012 College World Series from U. of South Carolina fans was such that Refsnyder tweeted he’d never live in that state.

Yet after the Yankees drafted him out of Arizona, he wound up playing for their Class A team in Charleston, and admitting he was “foolish for generalizing about the entire state.

“It’s just something you deal with," Refsnyder said on Monday. “I’m sure (Derek) Jeter has had to deal with it.

"I don’t let it affect the way I look at things. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a greater experience being adopted. I couldn’t have asked for greater parents."

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Refsnyder makes things happen offensively.

As he spoke on Monday, Refsnyder referenced his parents repeatedly, as well as a sister who also was adopted from South Korea, as being his biggest influences, instilling values that are reflected by a work ethic and intangibles that stand out to baseball people.

Indeed, everyone from coaches here to scouts to Yankee executives comment on his baseball smarts and dedication as qualities that have helped him adapt and succeed in pro ball so far. That may even explain why, as Refsnyder referenced, he has often had a flair for the big moment, such as earning MVP honors when Arizona won that College World Series two years ago.

“Being around him for the first time, he’s impressed the hell out of me, I’ll tell you that," Railriders hitting coach Butch Wynegar said on Monday.

“Kevin Long called me about 10 days ago to ask me about him and I said, ‘Kev, you’re going to love this guy. He’s a smart hitter, he’s coachable, great makeup.’ Everything a coach or manager would want out of a player."

Now it appears he has a dangerous bat as well. Refsnyder’s numbers in Class A didn’t dazzle anyone, but between Double-A and Triple-A this season he is hitting .333 with 41 extra-base hits, including 11 home runs, and a .402 on-base percentage.

Refsnyder said the jump in power numbers is the result of what he calls “a huge swing overhaul," for which he credits Double-A hitting coach Marcus Thames.

“I was working underneath the ball," said Refsnyder. “Marcus was pretty frank: he said ,‘This isn’t going to work.’ So we went back to the drawing board. He stood me up a little more upright, redid my posture at the plate, and that helped me get more direct to the baseball.

“I think that really helped me on the inside pitch this year, and I think that’s why my power numbers have sparked a little bit. I’m able to get to some of the pitches I wasn’t able to last year. "

Refsnyder was also influenced last year by Alex Rodriguez, a player whose swing he admired while growing up in Southern California.

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Refsnyder converts to second base after being an outfielder in college.

“A-Rod was the staple for a righthanded hitter," said Refsnyder. “You’d go to any batting cage, any guy showing film of hitting, and A-Rod’s swing would come up.

“I got to watch him and talk to him about hitting approach when he was rehabbing in Tampa. Whenever he was in the cage he always had a plan, a purpose. His swing was so short and direct. As a guy whose swing wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I took a lot from watching him."

Whatever the factors, Refsnyder has put it all together this season and may prove to be the type of surprise the Yankees need coming out of their farm system next season, if indeed he can play second base at the big-league level. He was an outfielder in college who was converted by the Yankees because they didn’t think he’d hit enough to be a corner outfielder.

“It’s been a grind learning the position," Refsnyder said. “But now I love it there."

Yankees superscout Gene Michael, here on Monday, said he believes Refsnyder can play second in the big leagues. “I haven’t seen anything I don’t like," he said.

For now, however, the Yankees’ need for power in the outfield is such that Refsnyder will start playing games in the outfield this week.

“I’m not presently looking to call him up, but he’s demanding that we pay attention,” Cashman said. “If he came up here (in the coming weeks), it would likely be in the outfield."

One way or another it appears his time is coming. However, Refsnyder seems unfazed.

“I just stay in my routine," he said. “The guys always make fun of me because I’m always in the cage but I think, for me personally, that’s how I get better, through swings and hours in the cage.

“I’ll let everybody else worry about all the other stuff."

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Starter Brandon McCarthy of the New York Yankees pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 9, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees runs the bases on his solo home run during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 9, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Catcher Brian McCann of the New York Yankees throws to first during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 9, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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New York Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury watches his solo home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano in the 14th inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Cleveland.

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Rookie righthander Shane Greene dazzles as Yankees defeat Orioles, 3-0

Greene, a 15th-round draft pick out of Daytona State JC, allowed four hits and a two walks while striking out nine over 7 1/3 innings.

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Shane Greene does his job, only allowing four hits during a scoreless 7.1 innings.

BALTIMORE – It was a crushing blow for the Yankees this past week when ace Masahiro Tanaka was lost for a minimum of six weeks to an elbow injury. Joe Girardi suggested that perhaps this dark cloud could come with a silver lining in the form of someone stepping up to prove he belongs in the Bombers’ starting rotation.

That someone could be Shane Greene.

The rookie righthander was brilliant on Saturday against the Orioles, carving them up through 7.1 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory before a sellout crowd of 46,667 at Camden Yards. The Bombers moved back within four games of the O’s in the AL East.

Greene, the Yanks’ 15th-round draft pick in 2009 out of Daytona State, a junior college, allowed four hits and a two walks while striking out nine. In his two turns since replacing struggling Chase Whitley in the rotation, Greene is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA. In his first big league start on Monday he beat the Indians in Cleveland with six innings of two-run ball.

He said the experience has been “a dream come true.”

Said Girardi: “He’s stepping up, that’s for sure. To be able to come and face two really good lineups ... and keep the ball in the ballpark, you’re throwing the ball pretty well. He’s earning starts is what he’s doing.”

The Yankees expected to rely on some rookie starting pitching this season in the form of Tanaka, but not as much as they’ve had to. They had no choice because of injuries to Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda.

Greene’s win Saturday makes the Bombers 19-4 in road games where they’ve sent a rookie pitcher to the mound this season. The stat might sound inflated because of Tanaka’s dominance in the first half, but a dozen of those wins are from other pitchers.

“Everybody’s a big-leaguer here, everybody can do the job,” catcher Francisco Cervelli said. “Just because we lost big names it doesn’t mean the other guys cannot do it. We’ve just got to work, have a good plan and come ready to win every game."

After Greene after got the first out in the eighth, David Huff replaced him and gave up a Nick Markakis single, but Shawn Kelley came out of the bullpen to get the last two outs in the inning. David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.

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Derek Jeter is thrown out at home plate as Orioles catcher Nick Hundley applies the tag in the third inning.

One day after the first four hitters in the Yankees’ batting order were an aggregate 1-for-19, the quartet of Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira went a combined 4-for-14. Jeter, Ellsbury and Teixeira each drove in a run.

There was potential for more offense but the two innings where the Bombers scored ended with runners being thrown out at the plate. Teixeira’s double to right scored Gardner in the third, but Jeter was thrown out trying to score a second run on the hit. In the seventh, Jeter and Ellsbury had run-scoring singles, but Ellsbury was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a Brian McCann single.

Greene got the nervousness of starting a big-league game out of his system on Monday and was very much in control from the beginning on Saturday. He retired the first 10 Oriole batters and didn’t allow a hit until Manny Machado’s single through the left side with two out in the fifth.

“He had control of the game pretty much the whole time, so it was exactly what we needed,” Jeter said. “It’s good. Anytime guys go down to injury, it gives other guys opportunity. When you have those opportunities, you need to make the most of it. He’s done that.”

The few times that Greene found trouble, he resolved it by making big pitches. With runners on the corners and two out in the fifth, he struck out Nick Hundley. With two on and none out in the sixth, he got O’s star Adam Jones to hit a slider into a double play.

“I made some bigger pitches (today). I think that was the key,” Greene said. “When I say big pitches, I mean a big-situation strikeout or a big-situation double-play ball.”

Many in the Yankees organization are high on Greene, and Girardi said that when he had an excellent spring training this year “we were really excited about him and what he could possibly do for us.

“We felt he would help us at some point this year,” the manager added, “and the time is now.”

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David Robertson has given Yankees no worries at closer

Entering Sunday night’s game against Baltimore, Robertson had blown only two save opportunities in 25 chances, had struck out 16.3 batters per nine innings and had a 2.76 ERA that’s skewed much higher by two clunker outings.

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The Yankees are adjusting just fine with life after Mariano Rivera thanks to David Robertson, who will become a free agent this winter.

BALTIMORE — David Robertson hasn’t spent much time this season dwelling on the whole “Replacing Mo” narrative, unless it was answering questions about taking over for the retired Mariano Rivera back in spring training or in the first few weeks of April.

And it’s a testament to how well he’s pitched that it’s never been an issue since. Entering Sunday night’s game against Baltimore, Robertson had blown only two save opportunities in 25 chances, had struck out 16.3 batters per nine innings and had a 2.76 ERA that’s skewed much higher by two clunker outings.

By comparison, Rivera blew three of his first six save chances after he became closer in 1997 and nine total.

“I don’t know how you could expect someone to do any better than he’s done,” Joe Girardi said of Robertson. “Going into it, there’s going to be whispers whenever he blows a save or has a bad day, and I think he’s handled that great.

“I can think about maybe one or two days that he’s had that he really didn’t do the job that people expect you to do and be perfect. And he’s handled those great. I don’t know how you could have a much better first half than what he’s had.”

As Robertson heads off into his All-Star break — he probably should be on his way to Minneapolis to be in the All-Star Game, but he’s going to enjoy down time with his family — it’s worth noting that he is thriving in an important season for his own career.

The 29-year-old Robertson is a free agent for the first time after the season and he looms as a significant part of a crucial winter for the Yankees, who also have to find Derek Jeter’s successor, more starting pitchers and a second baseman.

Do the Yankees bring Robertson back or do they feel that the emergent Dellin Betances offers a cheaper closing option?

None of that is on Robertson’s mind now. “I try not to worry about it because, to be honest with you, it’s so far away right now,” he said. “I’m more focused on what we’re doing here.

“This offseason, my numbers from this year are going to count, so why focus on what’s going to happen then instead of what’s happening now?”

Asked if he wants to be back, he says, “Yeah. We’ll see what happens. There haven’t been any talks, so we’ll see.”

Is that something he’d rather put off until after the season? “It’s not my call,” he said, a reference to the Yankees’ usual policy of waiting until after the season to deal with their free agents.

“There’s just been zero talks. When the offseason comes, it comes and we’ll hear what other teams and everybody else wants to say.”

Robertson’s pitching has been saying plenty. His K/9 ratio is the best of his career and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 5.9, also the best mark of his career. “Everybody loves the strikeout, huh?” Robertson said. Then he laughed and added, “I like the first-pitch ground ball to second base, but I can’t get them!”

In recent years, he’s reduced the number of walks he allows, a development he credits to maturing as a pitcher.

“I know what I’m trying to do,” he said. “Now there are times I’ll walk a guy and I won’t mean to, but the majority of my walks this year, I’ve been OK with it. I can think of four guys (out of his 10 walks in 32.2 innings) I walked I didn’t mean to. The others I was like, ‘If I walk him, I walk him.’ ”

Without Robertson’s two blown saves — a May 23 loss to the White Sox and a June 1 loss to the Twins — his ERA would be 0.85.

“Obviously, there are two games I would like to have back,” he said. “As a bullpen pitcher, you’re going to get hit around. It happens.”

Robertson takes a similar simple approach to replacing a legend, Rivera.

“He’s not here, so somebody’s gotta do it,” Robertson said. “I haven’t really thought about it much. I just think of it as doing the same thing I’ve been doing since I came to the Yankees. I was throwing the eighth inning for a long time and I’m trying to do what I did then in the ninth.

“The only difference is when I get my three outs, that’s the game. I don’t get them, we lose.

“I try not to overthink anything.”

After a strong first half in a new, high-pressure job, Robertson’s outlook is working just fine.

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