Around the Horn: A-Rod to the DL, Nova recalled…

There have been some interesting stories developing around the Yankee Universe lately, here’s a quick breakdown.

  • A-Rod has become the most recent Yankee to hit the DL as he was placed on the 15-Day DL this afternoon according to Chad Jennings. A-Rod has been dealing with a calf injury, and after a few days of rest, the Yankees medical team decided he was ready to play yesterday. A-Rod did get the start at DH yesterday, but he had to leave the game early. The Yankees are claiming that A-Rod’s calf is in no worse shape than it was a few days ago, but it’s hard to believe that playing yesterday did not further aggravate it.
  • Also coming from Jennings, Ivan Nova is being recalled and will get the start for the Yankees on Monday pushing the other starters back a day. Joel Sherman actually broke this news this morning, but now it’s official. I love the idea to plug Nova into the rotation because the extra rest for the rest of the rotation will be well welcomed. It shouldn’t hurt to get the struggling Javier Vazquez some extra rest time, and extra rest for Hughes means he may be able to pitch longer into the season before he hits his innings limit. Although Marc Carig has quoted Brian Cashman as saying that Hughes’ innings limit won’t play a factor in the playoffs and that it will be “all hands on deck”, for what it’s worth.
  • Josh Norris has confirmed the rumors that Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances have been promoted to AA Trenton. Banuelos and Betances will join a rotation featuring Andrew Brackman, Adam Warren, and Hector Noesi. That’s a pretty fine rotation that Trenton has there.
  • Via NPB Tracker on Twitter, we learn that the Yankees have sent Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler to Japan to watch pitching sensation Yu Darvish. Darvish is only 24 years old, but he has really made a name for himself in Japan, and arguably in the U.S. as well. Darvish is not eligible to become an international free agent until after 2014, but his team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, have the opportunity to post him in which MLB teams would have the right to bid for the opportunity to negotiate a contract with Darvish. There seems to be no question of whether this will happen, it’s just a matter of when. And rest assured, once he is available, the Yankees will be in the Darvish sweepstakes.
  • You may have heard the news already, but the Yankees announced yesterday that the Cleveland Indians have selected AAA starter Zach McAllister as the player to be named later in the deal for Austin Kearns. McAllister may seem like a lot to give up for Kearns, but McAllister has really struggled in AAA this season and may no longer have fit in with the Yankees future plans.
  • 2010 HOPE Week ended yesterday with the Yankees helping out two sisters, Melida and Johanna Arias. I really enjoyed HOPE Week this year, along with last year, and I hope it has inspired others to help out the community.

Link Fiesta: Trade poll, Jeter’s struggles, and Alex: an “amazing teammate”

The Yankees are off today but that doesn’t mean your day can be Yankee-less. There are plenty of great blogs out there which make it easy to get your Yankee fill. Let’s check out some articles worth noting in the blog universe:

  • Our friend Tom of Friday Nite Yanks has a poll up asking Yankee fans which recent pickup they think will be most influential. I recommend that you vote and check out the results to see what fellow Yankee fans think.
  • Over at his blog, Curtis Granderson wrote about A-Rod and his 600th home run. Here’s some of what Curtis had to say about Alex:  “He is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. His drive and passion to win are above any individual accomplishments he could achieve. On top of all that, he is an amazing teammate.” I highly recommend that you check out everything Curtis had to say, it is really nice. I also recommend you regularly read his blog, if you do not already do so.
  • We all know Derek Jeter is not having a great season. He gets overlooked because he is Derek Jeter, but recently some blogs have been taking a deeper look at Jeter and while I may not agree with everything I definitely share some of the same opinions. Remember, some of these written prior to Jeter’s four hit game so don’t take game into consideration, not that one game matters that much anyway.
    • Rebbecca of This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes showed how Jeter has been one of the worst offense players on the Yankees this year.
    • Matt Imbrogno of TYU wrote about Jeter here and follows up his discussion here.
    • Moshe Mandel of TYU wrote about Jeter’s upcoming contract negotiations.

Game 51: Memorial Day Matinée

After taking 2 out of 3 from the Indians at home, the Yankees look to make it 3 out 4 today against Mitch Talbot. Anyway, today is Memorial Day. Most people think of Memorial Day as a day when people get together and barbeque, and that’s great. But, let’s not forget what this holiday is really about. Memorial Day is about honoring and remembering all the people who have served the United States. I digress, here is the starting lineup via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

CF Curtis Granderson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

DH Juan Miranda

C Francisco Cervelli

LF Brett Gardner

LHP Andy Pettitte

"Go get them Andy!" Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

Miranda’s long journey

Chad Jennings had a great feature with Juan Miranda and how he got to where he is today. Originally from Cuba, he escaped to the Dominican Republic on his seventh attempt. Check out the article, it is just a great story.

Posada recovering

Jorge Posada seems to be quickly recovering from a hariline fracture in his foot. Everyday the Yankees seem more and more optimistic about Posada’s return. Here’s what Girardi had to say yesterday:

“If he feels good tomorrow you might even see him run on the field. If he’s OK to do that, we could have a player fairly soon.”

Has Teixeira really been that bad?

Obviously Teixeira had a poor April, but we just chalked that up to early season struggles. But now as we near the end of May, Teixeira’s average still sits at  .221 and the general feeling is that he has been pretty bad in May as well. However, that may not be the case. Take a minute to guess what his numbers are this month. Do you have something in your head? Okay.

In the month of May this year Teixeira has put up the following line:

AVG: .281 OBP: .364 HR: 6 RBI: 25

While those numbers are quite his normal numbers, they certainly aren’t bad. In addition, Teixeira has a .233 BABIP this season compared to his career .305 BABIP. If you are familiar with batting average on balls in play (BABIP) you know that when a player hits way under his career BABIP, he is usually experiencing bad luck.

Alex Rodriguez: “One class act.”

Because I know the media and many people will quickly forget this, I wanted to bring it up. After the game in which A-Rod lined a ball up the middle that hit Indians pitcher David Huff on the head causing him to go the hospital, A-Rod went to go visit Huff in the hospital but since he was already released A-Rod called Huff to check up on him. Huff really appreciated A-Rod kindness and had this to say:

“I’d like to thank the Yankees team doctors and our training for making sure i was ok. I’d also like to thank the NY Yankees security staff for taking care of my family, they were amazing. finally, to A Rod for contacting me on his way to the hospital, one class act. Everything is good. It was a little scary but I’m out of the hospital now and with my family. Thank you all for you concern and support.”

But we all know most people will forget this in a few days but if A-Rod steps on a bug it will be talked about for months.

A-Rod and Thames save Yanks from loss

Last night the Yankees defeated the Red Sox in a very exhilarating game. While I don’t want to waste all my time analyzing the entire game, I’ll try to break it down a bit.

This graph really shows how the momentum of the game really changed last night. First it was all Yankees, then all Red Sox, and then obviously back to the Yankees favor.

Pitching

If I had to sum the Yankees pitching last night up in three words, I’d say “not very good.” Fortunately, I’m not limited to three words.

Phil Hughes started last night’s game and only lasted 5 innings while giving up 5 runs and 2 home runs. He simply wasn’t very sharp. Although he threw a lot of strikes, they weren’t necessarily good strikes. In addition, it’s possible he didn’t have his best stuff. In the end, he didn’t pitch well, but he battled and that builds character and perhaps allows a pitcher to mature more than a dominating game does. I wouldn’t worry about Hughes yet, and remember young pitchers struggle.

Boone Logan followed Hughes and in one inning of work he allowed a home run to Victor Martinez. Logan may impress people with his velocity, but upon further look it’s clear his control is awful. There are tons of people who throw hard, but unless they can control the ball they aren’t very valuable. So far, Logan has fallen into that category. In addition, Logan (a lefty) has actually been worse against lefty batters this year than righties (not to say he has been good against righties). In my opinion the Yankees would be better off having Mark Melancon in the bullpen instead of Logan.

Chan Ho Park came in after Logan. Fresh off the DL Park looked good in his first inning of work. However, in the eight inning Park allowed 3 runs on 2 home runs. He looked very fatigued, and this was expected considering he hasn’t pitched multiple innings in over a month. I think in normal circumstances with the bullpen more deep, Girardi wouldn’t have turned to Park for two innings. I wouldn’t worry about this appearance at all, just remember his stamina is low coming of the DL and it certainly showed last night. Once he gets built back up he should return to form.

Damaso Marte took over for Park in the eight and got good results. In 1.2 innings of work Marte allowed no runs on 1 hit and 1 walk.

Javier Vazquez came in to get the last out in the ninth as it appeared Marte was tiring. Javy did the job, and actually picked up the win. Considering he only threw 4 pitches, Javy is still in line for his Friday start.

Offense

The Yankees scored 5 runs of Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning of last night’s ballgame, but they cooled down after that. Through the second to eight inning the Yankees only picked up 2 more runs. Going into the ninth inning the Yankees trailed 9-7. Would there be any late inning heroics like there were in 2009? Yes. With a man on and facing Jonathan Papelbon, Alex Rodriguez crushed one to left field to tie up the game. Then with Francisco Cervelli on base, Marcus Thames came up to the plate looking dead red. And he got red and took it deep to left for a walkoff home run. Ballgame over, time for pie! I don’t know about you but I never get tired of these unreal endings.

"A-Rod watches his home run leave the park." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

"The look of pure happiness on Marcus Thames' face last night has to make you smile." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

“Catching up with the blogging world”

Check out Matt Vereb’s exclusive interview with Nick Swisher. You can really see how nice a person Swisher is, plus Matt asks some good questions like “Who’s your best friend on the team?” I won’t spoil the answer, go check it out!

P.S. If there is a game tonight, you’re welcome to use this post to discuss it.

A-Rod leads Yankees to 8-4 Victory

After losing four out of their last five games, The Yankees defeated The Minnesota Twins tonight with the help of Alex Rodriguez. Let’s break it down…

Pitching

Allan James Burnett started tonight for the Yankees and he went 6.2 innings while only allowing 3 runs (2 earned). He wasn’t great as he walked 4 batters and only struck out 4 batters, but he held the damage to a minimum. Damaso Marte followed Burnett with two outs in the 7th inning, and with the Yankees leading 3-2 Marte gave up an RBI single to Joe Mauer and an RBI double to Justin Morneau. Marte did manage to escape the 7th inning, however. Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch the eight with the Yankees leading 7-4 and he struck out the side. PitchFX clocked Joba’s fastball in at an average of 95 MPH tonight with the high at 96, for those of you wondering. Chamberlain was awarded the winning pitcher for his effort. In the ninth, some guy named Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 inning and that was the end of the story.

Hitting

The Yankees offense had been kind of stagnant lately, but it seemed to awaken tonight. In the bottom of the 4th, with the Yankees down 1-0, Brett Gardner hit a solo home run. Later in the inning Robinson Cano doubled to score Mark Teixeira. In the bottom of the fifth Mark Teixeira doubled to score Brett Gardner. Then the big blow came in the bottom of the seventh when Alex Rodriguez came up to the plate with the bases loaded and The Twins leading 4-3. On the second pitch of the at bat Matt Guerrier gave Alex a pitch to hit and A-Rod took advantage of it depositing it into left field for a grand slam. The Yankees then led 7-4 and would never look back, but Francisco Cervelli tripled in the eight to score Juan Miranda just for fun.

Here's one of those cool Win Probability graphs for you.

Swisher ailing

Nick Swisher left today’s game with a strain in his left biceps which has been bothering him lately. fortunately, according to Chad Jennings the MRI came back negative.

New Look

So, as you can see 161st Street looks a little different, haha! This design obviously isn’t set in stone, I just didn’t feel like working on it anymore today, so please any suggestions to make it better would be great. By the way, I’ve noticed that depending on the size of your computer screen you may or may not see the full background image. Larger screens will display the blue background with pinstripes running down it, smaller screens will only display the blue background (because the pinstripes are cut off). Either way, let me know what you think about it.

Off Day Musings (2010 1st Edition)

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House”

Earlier today, the remaining Yankees from the 2009 World Series Champions team visited the White House. President Obama and the Yankees celebrated last year’s championship, but focused on Yankee tradition rather than wins and losses. I feel President had an excellent speech today discussing the Yankee’s tradition and service, while throwing in some humor occasionally. Here is an excerpt of a few of my favorite things he said, but to read the whole speech head on over to www.whitehouse.gov

Now, it’s been nine years since your last title -– which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans.  I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that.  (Laughter.)  The Cubs, for example.  (Laughter.)  But this is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all — and more often than not, you guys get pretty close.  Of course, if I had Rivera, I’d get pretty close, too.  (Laughter.)  My White Sox would get close every year.  That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love — and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.  (Laughter.)  For a White Sox fan like me, it’s painful to watch Mariano’s cutter when it’s against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side.  Although I do remember 2005, people -– (laughter) — so don’t get too comfortable.  (Laughter.)

(snip)

But what people tend to forget -– especially after watching their teams lose -– is that being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance; as much about who you are as what you do.  Being successful in New York doesn’t come easy, and it’s not for everybody.  It takes a certain kind of player to thrive in the pressure cooker of Yankee Stadium -– somebody who is poised and professional, and knows what it takes to wear the pinstripes.  It takes somebody who appreciates how lucky he is, and who feels a responsibility for those who are less fortunate.

President Obama went on to talk about Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter in particular. Make you check out everything he said.

Chris Garcia undergoes Tommy John surgery

Via Josh Norris we find out that Yankee prospect, Chris Garcia, underwent Tommy John surgery on April 20th. This is Garcia’s second Tommy John surgery in a four year period. This guy has sort of been forgotten the past few years because of his inability to stay healthy, but he was considered one of the best arms in the Yankee system and if he can stay healthy after this last surgery, he could easily retake his spot as one of the top Yankee prospects.

“Take your time”

David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal recently took a look at how long it took current Yankees to round the bases when they hit a home run. Out of all the current Yankees, A-Rod took the longest to round the bases last year, and Curtis Granderson was the fastest. As Biderman points out, most of A-Rod’s home runs are no doubters so he usually knows he doesn’t have to run hard. On the other hand, someone like Derek Jeter or Curtis Granderson may not always hit no doubters so they have to run fast just in case the ball doesn’t clear the fence.

Yankees Open Up Home for 2010

Earlier today the Yankees opened up Yankee Stadium for the 2010 season as they defeated the Angels 7-5. It was an enjoyable game, but I don’t know what was the bigger story: the pregame ceremonies or the actual game. Here are some pictures  from today’s event in the House That George Built…

To me the highlight of the day was when trainer Gene Monahan, who has been away from the team battling cancer, received his ring before everyone else got their rings.

Another incredible moment was when Hideki Matsui joined the present-day Yankees on the field and received his ring. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee.

The entire ring ceremony was great, including this handshake Jeter and Yogi have created.

It was also great to see A-Rod finally get his long deserved World Series ring.

I could post pictures all day of all the great moments created today, but since that is unpractical, I’ll just leave you with a picture of the man who put the time and effort, selflessly poured his money into the team, and has been the most dedicated owner in all of sports. Without this man, today would not have happened.

Game 133: Yankees at Orioles

Tonight with their ace on the hill the Yankees look for the sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. Here is the starting lineup via Pete Abe:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Nick Swisher – You are used to see “Mark Teixeira” in this spot, right? Don’t worry, supposedly Mark is just getting a day off.

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

2B Robinson Cano

CF Melky Cabrera

RF Eric Hinske

C Jose Molina – It has become blatantly obvious that Jose is CC’s personal catcher, yet many such as Pete Abe keep denying it and just say that Posada is just getting a day off and it happens to occur when CC is pitching.

And on the mound, the aforementioned CC Sabathia

Notes:

  • In case you are wondering, River Ave Blues says that September call up, Mike Dunn, is wearing number 31.
  • A-Rod may not need 2nd hip surgery. I’m not a doctor by any stretch of the imagination, so my opinion on this is “whatever the doctor says.” I’ve seen a few people argue that if he doesn’t get the 2nd surgery he may never be 100%, which seems plausible to me, but most people are saying that if there is you can avoid going under the knife, you should because no surgery is 100% guaranteed to work, especially hip surgery. That sounds even more plausible to me.
  • To me safety always comes first, but it may not always be the most stylish option!

Game 127: Rangers at Yankees

Last night Andy Pettitte and the Yankees defeated the Rangers by the score of 9-2, but don’t be deceived, it wasn’t a one-sided game, until the bottom of the 7th when the Yankees scored 5 runs, it was a 4-2 ballgame. Andy Pettitte was strong through 7 innings allowing only 2 runs and striking out 7, and Brian Bruney and Phil Coke came in the finish off the game. Today the Yankees have a quick turn-around as they play a day game. Here is the starting lineup:

SS Derek Jeter

LFJohnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

CF Melky Cabrera

C Jose Molina

And on the mound, AJ Burnett

Injury Updates

  • Alex Rodriguez – Obviously he is okay as he is in the starting lineup, but as you may know he fouled a pitch off his left foot last night during the 8th inning and left the game in the 9th. However, he is okay, he just has a bruised foot.
  • Jorge Posada – In the 8th inning last night Posada was hit in the left ring finger by a foul ball, and immediately left the game. Supposedly, this re-aggravated an injury he suffered a couple weeks ago. Posada underwent x-rays which were negative, and he is day-to-day. Look for him to get a few days off since the Yankees have a 6 game lead and probably don’t want to risk further injuring Posada.

Is Phil Hughes still with the Yankees?

So far this month(which is now 26 days old) Phil Hughes has pitched a whopping 8 innings. I don’t really understand why the Yankees aren’t using him, but his innings limit is not the problem (he has plenty of innings left since the Yankees moved him to the bullpen). I understand the Yankees want to be careful with him, and they might not want to use him in unnecessary situations, but they have to if they want to keep  him loose and ready to pitch in a big spot.

Game 116: Yankees at Mariners

Last night the Mariners fell to the hand of the Yankees Hideki Matsui and CC Sabathia. Matsui went 4-5 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s, and Sabathia went 8 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. Anyway, tonight the fun continues as the Yankees play the second game of this series at 10:10pm eastern time. Here is the starting lineup that will face Ryan Rowland-Smith:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

DH Hideki Matsui

C Jorge Posada

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

3B Jerry Hairston Jr.

CF Melky Cabrera

And on the mound, Andy Pettitte

I’m no doctor, but…

Can a person really get back spasms from being hit on the elbow with a baseball? Well supposedly that is what A-Rod has and that is why he is not playing tonight. Okay, whatever, I really don’t care if the spasms are from the hit by pitch.

Make up your mind already

Remember when the plan was to have Mitre pitch Saturday and then Gaudin on Sunday? Well, supposedly that is out. Now the Yankees plan to have Joba Chamberlain pitch on Sunday, and Gaudin start on Wednesday, with Joba’s next start not coming until August 25.