Forgot your password?
Yankee4Life, March 17, 2014 in Baseball
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — An infield that has been propped up by a surprising walk-on gets a big-time scholarship part back Sunday.
And a bullpen that until Friday night was sterling will re-introduce itself to the closer on Tuesday night.
First, Mark Teixeira, then David Robertson will return to the Yankees.
After playing seven innings in the field and getting five plate appearances in an extended spring training intra-squad game Saturday at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Teixeira is expected to be activated from the disabled list and play against the Rays on Sunday.
“I hope so, I haven’t talked to anybody yet, and I’m usually the last one to know,’’ Teixeira said when asked about playing in his first game since April 4, when he strained a right adductor muscle lunging for a foul ground ball in Toronto.
After Saturday’s 16-1 loss to the Rays, Teixeira hadn’t been told he would be activated, but that was the plan.
Teixeira, limited to 15 games last season because of a right wrist problem that required surgery, has played in four games this season, hitting .250 (3-for-12) and looking for his first extra-base hit.
In addition to strengthening his right leg, Teixeira also took advantage of the downtime to work on getting his wrist stronger and becoming more comfortable with it.
“I’ve had a lot of good work in New York and here, so there’s nothing else for me to do,’’ Teixeira said.
Who will go to make room for the switch-hitting first baseman is an intriguing question. Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna and Scott Sizemore have options and can be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Nevertheless, Solarte, a minor-league free agent who played eight years in the minors with the Twins and Rangers and didn’t taste the big leagues, is batting .351 (16-for-64) with a homer and nine RBIs. The batting average is fourth in the AL and the nine RBIs tied him for the team lead with Carlos Beltran.
So, it’s safe to assume the 26-year-old Solarte won’t be banished. Anna is the best shortstop among the three, and that’s always an ability teams like to have in backup infielders. Sizemore is more of a second baseman/third baseman type who played first base for the first time Thursday night.
Kelly Johnson received the bulk of the playing time at first while Teixeira was out, but he was signed to be the left-handed hitting third baseman. Nevertheless, Solarte has been so good, manager Joe Girardi might ride the switch-hitter as long as he stays hot.
Robertson, who has been out since April 6 with a groin strain, faced five batters and gave up one hit in the same game in which Teixeira played seven frames in the field.
“I’m ready to pitch, spring training is over,’’ said Robertson, who is two-for-two in save chances and has worked three games. “Get ready for Tuesday at Fenway.’’
Right-hander Matt Daley, who was elevated from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to the big leagues Friday night, after the Yankees designated Cesar Cabral for assignment, is the leading candidate to be moved when Robertson comes off the DL.
“I felt great, my command was a little off but I didn’t give up any home runs and the balls in play weren’t hit very hard,’’ Robertson said. “It’s 11 a.m. and no one’s here, so it’s not exactly a real game situation.’’
That could drastically change Tuesday night at Fenway Park, when Robertson could be protecting a one-run lead with a runner on and David Ortiz at the plate.
Quick Yankee fans! Look at this picture and take it to memory because you never know when he'll get hurt again.
Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees singles to right field in front of catcher Ryan Hanigan #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning of a game on April 20, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Jacoby Ellsbury returns to Fenway Park for first time as a Yankee
After winning two championships with the Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury will step foot into Fenway Park in a Yankees uniform.
BOSTON — CC Sabathia knew it was coming.
The moment he signed with the Yankees in December 2008, he understood it would not be a popular decision with his old fan base in Cleveland. When the Yankees made their first trip to play the Indians in late May, the lefthander understood what was waiting for him.
Boos. Lots of them.
“You expect it,” Sabathia said.
What was the experience like for the former Cy Young winner?
“I didn’t get booed as much as I thought I would,” he said with a chuckle.
That isn’t likely to be the case Tuesday night when Jacoby Ellsbury makes his first visit back to Fenway Park, the ballpark he called home for seven seasons before taking $153 million from the Yankees in December. “When you sign here — especially coming from there — you have to expect it,” Sabathia said. “It’s not going to be a big shock.”
The last time Ellsbury was at Fenway, he was helping the Red Sox beat the Cardinals to win the World Series, his second championship since breaking into the league in 2007.
But no matter how important he was to those two title runs — he hit .348 during those two postseasons — the sight of Ellsbury in enemy colors will likely override any good feelings that might still exist within the Fenway faithful. “You can’t think about what they’re going to do,” Ellsbury said. “In this game, you can really only focus on what you can do, not worry about all that other stuff that you can’t control. We’ll see what happens. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life; nine years in an organization, drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field.”
Ellsbury got his first taste of the other side of the rivalry last week when the Yankees took three of four from the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. But as we’ve seen in the past, going back to your old stomping grounds with “New York” on your jersey is an entirely different situation.
“I’m sure he’ll go through a lot of emotions; that’s where he grew up,” Joe Girardi said. “I’m sure there’ll be mixed reviews. That’s because he’s a great player.”
In 2006, Johnny Damon turned in his red socks for pinstripes, infuriating the fans that viewed him as the face of the 2004 World Series “Idiots” team that ended the Curse of the Bambino.
When Damon stepped to the plate for his first Fenway at-bat in a Yankees uniform, the jeers from the crowd were deafening. Damon’s response? He stepped out of the box and tipped his cap to all four sides of the ballpark.
“There were still some cheers,” Damon said. “The little number of people clapping for me, I wanted to respect them. They understood the business part of it and they understood what I brought to Boston. I wanted to show my appreciation to the fans that got it.”
Ellsbury has tried to downplay the significance of returning to Boston, saying all the right things about the organization and its fans. Ellsbury argued he and Damon weren’t as similar as people think, as he was drafted by the Red Sox and spent his entire career there before this season.
“I can’t compare it with other guys’ situations, but I’m definitely aware of it,” Ellsbury said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen how passionate they are. I think they’re all wondering what’s going to happen.”
The anger toward Damon was hardly a surprise after the free-agent-to-be had said months earlier, “There’s no way I can go play for the Yankees.”
Ellsbury never made any such statements, and while some fans might be upset with him for defecting to the Yankees and taking $153 million from the team they lovingly refer to as the “Evil Empire,” it should be noted that the Red Sox made no attempt to bring him back after last season. Few people have been booed as much by the Boston crowd as Derek Jeter, who was standing in the on-deck circle when Damon made his return. He figures Ellsbury will receive a similar reaction, one that shows the impact he made during his time with the Red Sox.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be the whole stadium booing him,” Jeter said. “He helped the team win. You’re always going to have people that boo, but even when they boo, they still have respect for what you’ve done.”
Masahiro Tanaka will get his first taste of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry when he takes the mound Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
BOSTON - With most of the attention being heaped on Jacoby Ellsbury's return to Fenway Park, it's easy to forget that there's another Yankee making his first appearance as a visitor in Boston.
Masahiro Tanaka didn't pitch in the four-game series against the Red Sox earlier this month in the Bronx, but he'll be on the mound Tuesday night for the opener of this week's three-game set.
"I've seen the two teams play and I understand there is a certain rivalry between the two teams going into the game," Tanaka said through a translator. "I'm sure the fans will be heated up a bit and it should be a good experience going up on the mound that day and I'm very much looking forward to it."
According to Tanaka, the biggest baseball rivalry in Japan is the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, though he admitted his former team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, weren't part of a rivalry that can match the intensity of Yankees-Red Sox. "I'm sure he's looking forward to it," Girardi said. "There's curiosity, probably a lot of things that go through his mind. But everything so far, he's handled pretty well."
David Robertson (groin) is expected to be activated from the DL before Tuesday's game. Girardi has said Robertson will be inserted back into the closer's role. RHP Bryan Mitchell was optioned to Double-A Trenton to open a roster spot for Robertson. … The Yankees optioned RHP Matt Daley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday after designating him for assignment Sunday.
Jacoby Ellsbury #22 of the New York Yankees walks up to the plate for the first time at Fenway Park since signing with the Yankkes against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Fenway Park on April 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
New York Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury crosses home plate to score on a single by Derek Jeter during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, April 22, 2014.
Jacoby Ellsbury #22 of the New York Yankees runs to second base after hitting an RBI double in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Fenway Park on April 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Fenway Park on April 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Carlos Beltran accepts congratulations from Mark Teixeira after scoring a run in the first inning of the Yankees' 14-5 victory over the Red Sox Thursday night at Fenway Park.
BOSTON — After watching the Red Sox commit five fielding errors Thursday night at Fenway Park, you wonder how they transfer food from their plate to their mouths.
With a chance to cop two wins in a three-game series against their AL East blood rivals, the Red Sox handed the Yankees a 14-5 victory, witnessed by 37,356 disappointed customers.
When the Yankees weren’t reaching base on mistakes, they were advancing around the bases courtesy of three wild pitches and a dozen walks — five of which were issued by first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp, who worked the ninth inning of the ugly affair.
Though five of the 14 runs were unearned, the Yankees did rake Red Sox hurlers for 14 hits and presented CC Sabathia with a 7-0 bulge to start the home third inning.
Sabathia overcame control issues in the first four frames when he hit two batters and walked three. But the early ditch Felix Doubront and the leaky defense created was too deep to climb out of.
“We scored some runs early and I tried to put up zeroes,’’ said Sabathia, who gave up two runs, three hits, walked three and fanned eight. The last five strikeouts were looking.
The victory pushed the Yankees’ record against the defending World Series champions to 5-2 and ended a road trip that opened against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., with a 4-3 record.
“Two tough clubs, Tampa and here,’’ manager Joe Girardi said.
Of course, losing No. 3 starter Ivan Nova for the year because of Tommy John surgery and Michael Pineda for 10 games to his pine tar suspension took some of the luster off the winning record.
“The important thing is 4-3,’’ Girardi said. “We have to replace Nova and somebody has to step up.’’
Yangervis Solarte stopped a 0-for-14 skid with a two-run double in the second inning and finished 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Jacoby Ellsbury (3-for-6) drove in three runs. Derek Jeter (2-for-5) had two RBIs and Brett Gardner and Brian Roberts scored four runs each. Mark Teixeira homered for the first time this season in the three-run third off Doubront.
Up 12-2 entering the home seventh, Girardi summoned right-hander Shane Greene for his major league debut but had to replace him with Adam Warren with the bases loaded, one out and two runs in.
The three Red Sox runs in the inning were unearned because of a fielding error by Jeter.
To get David Robertson his first game action since April 6, Girardi used his closer for the final three outs.
Though they acknowledged it’s nice to beat the Red Sox, Jeter and Ellsbury weren’t ready to throw dirt on them.
“They’re the team to beat, bottom line,” Jeter said. “They won the championship. They’re the defending champions, so they’re the team to beat.
“It’s good that we’ve played them well now, but we’ll see them again. I’m sure they’ll be ready for us.”
Ellsbury, who played a big part in the Red Sox winning last year’s World Series, said he understands what capturing two of three means.
“It’s obviously early in the year, but any time you can take away wins from a team like this, it’s huge,” Ellsbury said. “They’re the world champions. I feel like this division’s always a dogfight. Every game matters. Hopefully we can keep playing well.”
If the Yankees find other teams as accommodating as the Red Sox were Thursday, it would make it easier.
Farm system products John Ryan Murphy and Dellin Betances came up big in Saturday's win.
Each and every win means a great deal in the American League East, maybe even more so this April as the five teams feast upon one another and keep it compact from top to bottom.
Within such a fierce competition, certain victories produce a surplus of positive energy for an organization. When David Robertson secured the Yankees’ 4-3 triumph over the Angels Saturday at Yankee Stadium, such a win went onto the docket.
The Yankees prevailed because rookie catcher John Ryan Murphy delivered his first major-league home run, as well as his first multi-hit game (he had two) and multi-RBI game (three). And because pitcher Dellin Betances, no longer a rookie, threw well enough to record his first career win.
Roster depth always proves imperative to survive this division and qualify for the playoffs. The Yankees lacked it last year. They have possessed it so far this young season, surprisingly so, and their much-maligned farm system earned a gold star Saturday.
“Those kids have worked really hard and persevered through the journey to get to contribute in New York,” Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ scouting director, wrote in a text message. “I’m very proud of them and happy for the scouts and coaches who helped them.”
Oppenheimer and the Yankees drafted Betances in the eighth round of the 2006 draft, when Joe Torre still managed the big-league club and Bernie Williams still played for the team, and signed him for $1 million. Three years after that, Murphy came aboard in the second round and signed for $1.25 million.
Also in the summer of 2009, Betances underwent Tommy John surgery, the lowest point in a grueling path upward. Last year, frustrated by Betances’ continuing struggles, the Yankees converted him from a starter to a reliever, and he made the 2014 club in spring training.
Murphy’s road to the majors has been smooth by comparison — he earned the call-up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when backup catcher Francisco Cervelli went on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring — and he put his longtime minor-league teammate in position for his milestone with some early hitting. The 22-year-old came up to bat in the bottom of the second with the Yankees trailing, 1-0, and with the bases loaded and two outs. Angels starting pitcher Hector Santiago balked in Mark Texieira from third base to tie the game at 1-1, and then Murphy punched a two-run single into right field, scoring Brett Gardner and Brian Roberts for a 3-1 Yankees lead.
After the Angels tied the score with two runs in the fourth against starter Vidal Nuno, Murphy slammed a fifth-inning, leadoff, first-pitch homer to left-center against Santiago that gave the Yankees a 4-3 edge.
“I wanted to be aggressive,” Murphy said. “Not playing a lot, I want to be aggressive when I do play. That was a good fastball to hit.” He got the ball back from the fan who retrieved it in return for three autographed balls, some conversation time and a tour of the Yankees’ clubhouse.
“He had a really good day,” manager Joe Girardi said of his No. 2 catcher.
Betances was the pitcher of record at that juncture, after relieving Nuno in the top of the fifth with Mike Trout on first base, one out and the reinvigorated Albert Pujols at bat. Following a balk, Betances retired Pujols on a grounder to shortstop and Howie Kendrick on a pop fly to Roberts, then picked up three more outs before Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton and Robertson finished the work shift.
“It feels good,” Betances said. “I believe in myself.”
“I’m happy for the kid. He’s been through a lot,” Girardi said. “He’s had to change roles. He’s had to fight to get here. He’s thrown the ball extremely well for us. Probably today was the toughest situation we put him in so far. And he responded extremely well.”
Throw in Nuno keeping the Yankees in the game, and it marked a good day for organizational depth. Throw in Robertson’s save, and it served as a model day for the club’s drafting and development.
No one would deny the Yankees’ farm system experienced an absolutely brutal 2013, and that contributed significantly to the major-league team’s October respite. Saturday marked just one day, just one win.
Nevertheless, in a season that has felt like a fresh start for this organization, it felt, quite simply, like a day that never would have worked out last year. And an encouraging sign things can work out differently this year.
Dellin Betances of the Yankees pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
Most of the W's in Dellin Betances' career have been questions. When will he be able to command his pitches? Will he be able to make the transition to the bullpen? Why isn't he progressing to Yankees stardom more quickly?
Betances answered some of those questions Saturday with his first big-league W (as in win), pitching two scoreless innings in the middle of a 4-3 victory over the Angels. He was the first arm out of the bullpen, entering in a critical situation with one on, one out, Albert Pujols at the plate and the score tied at 3 in the fifth.
Even after a strange balk that he still didn't understand after the game, he remained focused and got Pujols to ground out before Howie Kendrick popped up to end the inning.
"He had a huge day for us," Joe Girardi said. "Probably today was the toughest situation we've put him in so far, and he responded extremely well."
Those who have been around Betances during his mostly minor-league career are not surprised to see the Yankees' confidence in him growing almost as big as his imposing 6-8, 260-pound frame.
"I've always known he's had great stuff," fellow reliever Adam Warren said. "He's got the best stuff of us out there. Now he's starting to command the ball, so it's scary how good he can be."
Added John Ryan Murphy, who caught Betances Saturday: "When he's in the strike zone, he's unhittable. He's in the mid-90s and has that breaking ball. When he's doing that, he's going to have a lot of success."
It was Betances' eighth scoreless appearance in nine games this season. After he got out of the fifth, he posted two strikeouts in the sixth and left a runner on first after a walk. He struck out J.B. Shuck to open the seventh before allowing a single to Collin Cowgill that prompted Girardi to move on to the next arm from the bullpen.
Betances said he didn't receive any souvenirs from his first win. No scorecard, no game ball, no commemorative dirt from the mound. Anyway, he seemed more jazzed by another first: Murphy's first major-league home run, a drive to left on the first pitch of the fifth that broke a 3-3 tie.
After landing on the fan side of the leftfield wall, the baseball found its way to Murphy's back pocket in the postgame clubhouse. "He definitely did the job today, and I'm so happy for him," Betances said.
Murphy said he tried to be aggressive in his at-bats because he gets so few of them. He was at the plate for all four of the Yankees' runs; a bases-loaded balk followed by a two-run single in the second and then the mid-game game-winner.
"It's special," Girardi said of Murphy's homer. "And it even means more because we win the game by one run and what he did, so he'll never forget it. It's a great moment for him."
That Betances' first career victory came out of the bullpen was, he said, "kind of weird." He'd been a starter for most of his career and was pegged early in his tenure with the Yankees as a future golden arm. But like those exciting young pitchers who preceded him -- Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes -- his inconsistency led him to be a reliever.
"He's had to change roles and fight to get here,'' Girardi said, "and he's thrown the ball extremely well."
It's a role to which he is still adjusting.
"Every time I go out there, the experience helps me," Betances said. "A lot of the guys have given me good advice in the bullpen, and even the starters. For me, it's just having the confidence and the faith and thank God everything has gone well."
It's gone so well that in the not-so-distant future, Betances could be the guy who comes into games not in the fifth but in the seventh or even eighth.
Perhaps, one day, even the ninth.
"I'm just trying to do my job every time my name is called," he said with a meekness that does not match his moxie on the mound. "That's all I can do. Whatever role they put me in, I'm just trying to do the best I can at that situation."
Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 27, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.
New York Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki hits a run scoring ground out in the fifth inning their baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, April 27, 2014, in New York.
John Ryan Murphy celebrates his sixth-inning home run Saturday, his first in the big leagues.
For years we have been hearing about the catching prospects that were supposed to make the Yankees set at the position for the future. Except Jesus Montero was traded, and has been a bust in Seattle; Austin Romine hasn’t hit enough to stick in the big leagues; and Gary Sanchez is still only 21-years-old, even if it seems he’s been in the organization for a decade.
Now along comes John Ryan Murphy, the one catching prospect who didn’t get much hype.
He made a splash on Saturday with three RBI and his first major-league home run, but for years he was so anonymous that somewhere along the way the Yankees started referring to him as J.R. And it wasn’t until last winter that he worked up the courage to ask that he be called John Ryan, as he had been all of his life.
“During the offseason my parents wanted me to say something,’’ Murphy said on Sunday, “so I did.’’
That was after his first exposure to the big leagues last September, during which Murphy made a strong impression. So much so that when Francisco Cervelli went down with a hamstring injury 10 days ago, the ballclub called him up instead of Romine, even though Murphy was hitting under .200 at the time.
“We know what kind of player he is,’’ Joe Girardi explained.
Above all else, of course, he’s a backup, because the Yankees signed Brian McCann last winter after growing tired of waiting for the catching pipeline to produce results.
And Sanchez is still regarded as the high-ceiling prospect, with the type of home run power to potentially make him a star someday.
If not with the Yankees, at least one scout can see John Ryan Murphy as a starter for another team, which could make him a trade chip for the Yankees if they seek added depth for their depleted starting rotation.
But suffice to say, Murphy has opened some eyes around the Yankees, and scouts from other organizations say he has the all-around game to be a capable starting catcher in the big leagues. At least one scout also made the case that Murphy could well be a trade chip at some point this season, if the Yankees need a starting pitcher now that they’ve lost Ivan Nova for the season.
“Some team might see him as a guy who could start for them,’’ the scout said. “He’s solid with the bat and behind the plate.’’
The Yankees say he’s got some veteran savvy even at 22, calling pitches based on swings he’s reading from hitters, doing the little things to help a pitcher.
“He’s got a feel,’’ said Joe Girardi. “He’s a student of the game.’’
Maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that he majored in baseball in high school — so to speak, anyway. Murphy attended high school at the IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he worked on preparing for a baseball career every school day, either in the speed-and-conditioning room or on the field.
“It’s kind of like a college schedule,’’ Murphy said. “You have classes in the morning, you go to lunch, and then it’s baseball every afternoon.’’
Murphy said young athletes come from all over the world to attend the academy, and for many it can’t be an easy decision, giving up a normal high school existence in pursuit of athletic excellence. For Murphy the decision was made easier by the fact that he grew up in Bradenton, primarily because his mother, Caroline, was the admissions director for the IMG Academy. In fact, Murphy said his mother has been at IMG “since Day 1,’’ having been recruited by famous tennis instructor Nick Bollettieri to help launch the academy that began with tennis and eventually branched out to other sports.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes John Ryan Murphy’s (l.) feel for the game.
Murphy explained that his mom, a Cuban native, grew up in Puerto Rico, where her father belonged to a tennis club where Bollettieri taught. That eventually led to him asking her to come work for him when he opened his tennis academy.
So Murphy was exposed to it early, and though he said his parents gave him the choice of going there or to a normal high school, by then he loved baseball enough to want to take the opportunity.
“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,’’ he said. “Maturity level, I was ahead of other high school draft picks because of the way IMG prepares you. With the staff they have there, the experience in baseball, it’s like a college.’’
Whatever prepared him, Murphy has "a feel,’’ as Girardi said, that shows itself in subtle ways. On Saturday, in a big situation, when he wanted Howie Kendrick to think Shawn Kelley was going to throw a two-strike slider, he smacked his glove on the ground, perhaps convincing the hitter a down-and-away slider was coming.
“Sometimes you try to trick ‘em,’’ Murphy said with a smile.
Kendrick didn’t bite on the fastball, but he did strike out swinging chasing the slider that followed. Maybe Murphy’s savvy was a factor.
Maybe he’ll be here for awhile.
Mark Teixeira hits his second home run in four games on Sunday night.
So far the new additions to the Yankees lineup this season have not disappointed. Whatever wistful feelings accompanied the departure of Robinson Cano to Seattle have been softenly quickly by the impactful arrivals of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. And now there may be one more arrival – not a new one – who could be every bit as important.
Mark Teixeira turned on a 95 mph fastball from the Angels’ Garrett Richards on Sunday night and planted it in the second deck in right field for his second home run in four games. The ball was crushed much like he used to crush them during his first three seasons in pinstripes, when he averaged 37 homers and 114 RBI.
A right wrist injury that ultimately required surgery limited Teixeira to just 15 games last season. He hit his first homer this year from the right side on Thursday in Boston. It was encouraging, but the concern always has been how his power would recover from the left side. He said Sunday’s blast felt like a pre-surgery swing.
Ask what encouraged him most, Teixeira said, “I was not protecting it. You look at the swings last year when I was trying to play through my injury.
They were long. They were loopy. (I was) coming around the ball, letting go with one hand and protecting it.
“That swing tonight was a two-handed short, quick swing on a 95 mph fastball inside. That’s a good sign.”
Slowing his comeback was a hamstring injury that landed him on the DL just three games into the season. That, too, looked pretty good as he scored the team’s first run by going from first to third after a walk and scoring on a groundout.
“My legs are getting better. (Being in) baseball shape is different than regular shape. . . . It’s a different kind of feeling,” Teixeira said. “My legs feel pretty good right now. There’s still a little while to go.”
In 11 games thus far he is hitting .229 with two homers and five RBI and has a .386 on-base percentage.
“I’ve been pretty pleased with the at-bats he’s given us. He’s been patient and taken his walks. He’s a little bit behind most of the guys,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s what we’re used to Mark doing: getting big hits and big RBI.”
Teixeira said before Sunday’s game that the wrist isn’t at full strength yet, but that it’s coming and that he expected power hitting to come along as it gets there. “My wrist will keep getting stronger all year and it’s exciting,” he said. “It will make my swing more compact and powerful.”
GRIPPING NEWS: The Yankees will try to keep suspended righthander Michael Pineda sharp by having him pitch a simulated game somewhere on Tuesday and a bullpen session Friday before he comes back to face the Angels in Anaheim next Monday.
He’s on a 10-day suspension after being caught with pine tar on the Fenway Park mound last Wednesday.
After Pineda threw a bullpen session on Sunday, Girardi said the righty needed to “see live hitters somewhere” on Tuesday. “We should be able to keep him sharp, I hope,” he said.
Given the Southern California weather, it’s expected Pineda will have no trouble gripping the ball.
RYAN RECOVERING: Infielder Brendan Ryan, on the DL since the season opened with a cervical spine injury, began a minor-league rehab assignment Sunday by going 2-for-5 for Single-A Tampa.
Girardi said the goal is to get him about 50 at-bats before he can return to the roster.45
Michael Pineda, Jacoby Ellsbury
After watching injuries wreck their 2013 season almost before it started the Yankees are again dancing with the MRI tube before April turns to May.
Ivan Nova is done for the season due to Tommy John surgery that was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. Tuesday, the same day Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched from the starting lineup with a left-hand problem and Michael Pineda pulled himself from a simulated game in Tampa.
Following a MRI exam in Tampa, Pineda was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle on the right side of his back which is dangerously close to the shoulder area. Pineda, who missed the last two seasons following shoulder surgery, is expected to be out three or four weeks according to general manager Brian Cashman.
Since Pineda is serving a 10-game suspension for loading his neck with pine tar last week in Boston, he can’t be placed on the disabled list until Monday when the sentence ends.
“The good thing is that it’s not his shoulder,’’ Girardi said of Pineda’s injury. “He threw the first inning and felt a little stiffness and pulled himself.’’
As for Ellsbury, the team’s leadoff hitter and center fielder, Girardi said “His hand has been sore the last couple of days. He had a test [Monday] and the test came back good. “There is no structural damage, it’s just sore.’’
Girardi said there wasn’t one moment when Ellsbury injured the hand he uses on top of the bat.
“It’s been bothering him for a few days and he has been playing through it,’’ Girardi said of Ellsbury, who was 1-for-10 in the previous three games.
“Knowing what [weather] is in front of us [Wednesday] I might give him two days [off].’’
Heavy rains are predicted Wednesday. If the Yankees can’t play Wednesday they have plans for a one-gate doubleheader Thursday with the games starting at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Brett Gardner, who missed Sunday night’s game with a bruised left foot, started in center field and batted first in Tuesday night’s 6-3 loss to the Mariners. He went 2-for-5.
David Phelps, who is scheduled to start Wednesday night against the Mariners in Pineda’s place, is the likely candidate to start Monday night in Anaheim.
“I would assume he would do that,’’ said Girardi who expects Phelps, who has been in the pen since Opening Day, to be able to throw 70 to 75 pitches. Phelps has worked nine games in relief. The 57 pitches he threw April 23 in Boston while following Pineda, who was ejected, are the most Phelps has thrown this season.
Phelps knows his job remains somewhat undefined.
“I’ve been doing this my whole career, so it’s nothing new,” said Phelps.“I’ve learned to enjoy pitching out of the bullpen. But obviously, this is where I want to be.”
With Pineda headed for the DL, Phelps could be in the rotation for a while.
Alfonso Soriano needs eight hits for 1,000 in the AL. With 1,077 hits in the NL, Soriano would become the seventh player all-time with at least 1,000 in each league. If Soriano gets to 1,000 hits in the AL he would become the first player in history to record 1,000 hits, score 500 runs, drive in 500 runs, hit 100 homers and steal 100 bases in each league.
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira #25 homers in the 2nd inning during game action between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
For the first few weeks of the season, the Yankees’ rotation appeared to be their greatest strength.
Now that Ivan Nova has been lost for the year following Tuesday’s Tommy John surgery and Michael Pineda will miss the next three or four weeks with a strained muscle in his upper back, the Yankees will need their hitters to help carry the load.
So Mark Teixeira might be finding his power stroke at the perfect time.
Teixeira homered in Tuesday night’s loss to the Mariners, his second straight game with a long ball and his third home run in the past five games.
“It tells me I’m getting better; I’m getting close,” Teixeira said. “When you start driving the ball, you know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s a good sign.”
Teixeira is hitting .231 in 12 games, continuing a recent trend during which he has posted a .248 batting average since the beginning of the 2010 season.
Despite the low average, Teixeira’s on-base percentage is a respectable .346 during that stretch, including a .375 mark so far this season. While his home run ratio is roughly the same as it’s been his entire career — he has averaged 36 homers per 162 games since 2010 compared to 37 for his career — his .480 slugging percentage during the past four-plus seasons is 45 points lower than his career mark of .525.
Teixeira is only 2-for-10 during the first four games of the current home stand, but both hits have left the yard. He’s also reached base at a .429 clip, showing patience at the plate as he gets back into the swing of things following a stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
“I think he’s feeling more comfortable as he’s getting at-bats,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought if you look at the season, it got interrupted when he went on the DL for two weeks. He’s swinging the bat well, he’s being patient and he’s walking. He’s doing the things that he needs to do, that we’re used to seeing from Mark. I do think he probably feels more comfortable up there.”
Teixeira’s surgically repaired right wrist may have benefited from his trip to the DL, and while he admits that he will “have to keep up with it” when it comes to maintenance, the wrist itself no longer appears to be an issue.
“Still a long way to go; still haven’t played that many games,” Teixeira said. “I’d like to get better obviously, but the last couple of days I’ve put some good swings on balls, and it’s good to see the ball getting out of the park and driving it. It’s a good sign.”
Wednesday’s game against Seattle was postponed due to rain and rescheduled for Monday, June 2 at 7:05 p.m.
Hiroki Kuroda will face lefty Roenis Elias Thursday night, meaning the Yankees won’t have to face Felix Hernandez in this series as originally scheduled.
Fans holding paid tickets for Wednesday’s game may use them for the June 2 rescheduled game or exchange them for any regular-season game at Yankee Stadium within 12 months, subject to availability.
You can post now and register later.
If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.
Pasted as rich text. Restore formatting
Only 75 emoji are allowed.
Your link has been automatically embedded. Display as a link instead
Your previous content has been restored. Clear editor
You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.