Montero to start in 2011?

"Yankees fan may get used to seeing this man behind the plate." Photo Credit: Stevens of the New York Daily News

This morning we learned via Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Jesús Montero will get a serious chance to leave spring training as the Yankees everyday catcher. According to Feinsand, the Yankees brass discussed Montero over the past two days during meeting at Yankee Stadium. Feinsand cites a source who claimed the plan is for Montero to catch approximately 100 games during the upcoming season, with Jorge Posada serving as a designated hitter and a backup catcher, along with Francisco Cervelli. Here’s the most interesting line from the Daily News’ article:

The front office believes that Montero is already a better defensive catcher than the 39-year-old Posada, who has struggled behind the plate – and to stay healthy.

The question is, do the Yankees really feel this way, or is this some kind of ploy to raise Montero’s value for possible trades? I think it’s both. I really do believe that the Yankees believe Montero, whose defense has been a huge question mark, is a more capable defensive catcher than Jorge Posada. Now mind you, that really isn’t a compliment. Still, even if the Yankees feel this way, there is no reason they wouldn’t want to make Montero appear more valuable to potential bidders, especially since the Yankees are in the market for pitching. I’m not saying that the Yankees will definitely trade Montero, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Overall, I would expect to see Jesús Montero take over the everyday catching duties at some point during the 2011 season, if not right out of spring training. I am truly excited to see him play in the Bronx.

Around the Horn: Montero, Aceves, Posada…

As the Yankees prepare to begin a road trip in Texas allow me to sum up some recent stories.

  • Alfredo Aceves, who has been recovering from a back injury, had a setback and will not be returning to the big league team this year. Surgery is not out of the question, and it would surprise me if he did not undergo surgery. Backs are a terribly tricky thing.
  • Yesterday, Joe Girardi said Damaso Marte probably won’t be back this year as well. As we learned earlier, he may need surgery.
  • While we are talking about surgery, Jesus Montero had an unexpected operation performed on his ankle yesterday. He was not in Scranton’s lineup yesterday which led people to believe he may be called up, but the truth was that he had an infection in his ankle. Montero underwent surgery yesterday to have the infection cleaned up. Don’t worry, the surgery seems to have been very minor, and while he will miss the rest of the minor league playoff season, he should be a candidate for a major league job next Spring.
  • Yesterday, we learned that Jorge Posada has been suffering from concussion like symptoms. Fortunately, he underwent some tests and the results were negative. Posada has been cleared to play, but I would expect him to take a few days off in Texas.
  • Coming off some recent struggles, Phil Hughes’ next start will be skipped, Dustin Moseley instead will be pitching this Sunday. Hughes will return to the rotation next Wednesday, and the Yankees say they only skipped him to deal with his innings limit. Still, it should be beneficial to give Phil Hughes a breather since he is not used to throwing this many innings.

Pondering the future of Posada

Tonight, Jorge Posada will be returning to the lineup after coming off a hairline fracture in his foot. For now he will start as the DH, and it appears that he may be the DH for the foreseeable future. According to Chad Jennings, Posada has been cleared to play, but has not been cleared to partake in catching drills. If he has not  even been cleared to begin catching drills, he certainly won’t be catching in a game soon. Before I say more, here are some quotes from Posada from today…

“I know that I can catch and I know that I can be out there,but a lot of circumstances have come. I’m going to have to be smart about it. If I’m in the lineup, I’m happy. I would like to catch here and there sometimes, but I understand what the future holds.”

“Knowing that the American League has a DH, yeah, it was on my mind. When you’re talking about guys that catch every day, you don’t see too many 38-year-olds catching every day. I understand what’s going on.”

“I’m not a DH yet.”

“Two or three weeks from now, I’m probably going to be 100 percent.”

"Pensive Jorge." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

It is hard to predict the future, but it is hard to see Posada catching too many games down the line. Sure, he’ll probably catch his share of games in what remains of the 2010 season. However, we should probably expect to see less and less of Jorge Posada behind the plate.

While the Yankees may be able to patch up the situation in 2010 with a mix or Cervelli and Posada catching, what will be in 2011? Will the Yankees go into next season with Posada slated as the everyday catcher? Will Francisco Cervelli shift into the role? Will Jesus Montero get a shot at it? Who knows?

In my opinion, we’ve probably seen the last of Posada’s days as an everyday catcher. I’m not saying he’ll never catch again. I think he might share the dish 50-50 with Francisco Cervelli in the rest of 2010. But, for now, the DH spot is pretty much vacant because of Nick Johnson’s absence so Jorge can fit right into it. However, down the line, I can’t say I know what will happen.

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.

May 22-29 In Review

This past week I’ve been away from blogging because I haven’t found the time. Anyway, I wanted to take a quick look at what has happened in Yankee land lately.

May 22nd 3-5 loss to the Mets

May 23rd 4-6 loss to the Mets

May 24th Off day

May 25th Game pushed back in Minnesota to the next day

May 26th 1-0 win against the Twins in completion of suspended game; 3-2 win against the Twins

May 27th 2-8 loss to the Twins

May 28th 8-2 win versus the Indians

Notes

  • Curtis Granderson was activated yesterday after being on the DL since May 1st. He played yesterday but Girardi is trying to ease him back in so he is getting today off.
  • Randy Winn was designated for assignment to make room for Granderson on the roster. Was it the right move? I expected Kevin Russo to be sent down to AAA. I’m not saying it was a bad move, I just was surprised by it.
  • Jorge Posada is ready to begin movement exercises and could be hitting off a tee in a few days.
  • Chad Gaudin is back, and making room for him on roster is Boone Logan who was sent down to Scranton. I for one I happy to see Gaudin back with the Yankees and happy to see Logan out of the major league bullpen.

It's great to have Granderson back in center.

Injury Bug Hitting Yanks Hard

Lately it seems like the Yankees can’t even go a game without someone getting injured. Building injuries like this can really hurt a team, but let’s hope the team pulls through them. Let’s take a look at each injured player.

Chan Ho Park

Park strained his right hamstring on April 15th and has been on the 15-day DL since then. Fortunately, it looks like he may not be there much longer. According to Chad Jennings, Park through 45 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. This is big step in his recovery, and if all goes well with Park I would expect him back in a week or so.

Curtis Granderson

Granderson was placed on the 15-day DL on May 1st with a grade 2 strain of his left groin. I’ll turn it over to Will Carroll of “Under The Knife” to describe Granderson’s injury…

The Yankees will be without Granderson for about a month with a Grade II groin strain. That’s a reasonable time frame no matter which way you go with the estimate. On one side, you could be optimistic and say that Granderson’s conditioning and strength will help him get back in two to four weeks. On the other hand, caution and some normal setbacks could push it to four to six weeks. There’s not really much more here to clarify; Granderson has a simple groin strain. Until he begins to jog or run, probably mid-month, we won’t know anything new.

I could see Granderson being out for quite a while because he is a player who really relies on his legs and the Yankees won’t want to rush him back and risk a much worse injury.

Jorge Posada

Posada has been staying on the bench lately with mild calf strain. According to Chad Jennings, Posada said yesterday that he expects to play today. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees give some extra time to recover.

Mariano Rivera

Rivera has sat out since April 30th with stiffness in his left side, but he appears to be ready to return to action. He was available last night out of the bullpen, although he didn’t see any action. He did however throw in the bullpen during the game, so it seems as if he is not really an issue anymore.

Andy Pettitte

Pettitte last pitched May 5th before he had to prematurely leave that game with stiffness and mild inflammation in his left arm around his elbow. Whenever you hear news like this about a pitcher you have to be worried. Fortunately, the Yankees have so far deemed Pettitte healthy enough not to put him on the DL. Pettitte is scheduled to miss his next start and for now Sergio Mitre will take his spot in the rotation. Hopefully Mitre will only have to make one start and then Pettitte will go back into the rotation.

Nick Johnson

Johnson left last night’s game with a sore right wrist and is headed for the DL. Johnson is scheduled to undergo tests today in New York, and we will hopefully know more after then. Johnson’s right wrist is the same wrist that he injured in 2008 and kept him out for most of the season. Hopefully this isn’t as serious.

Robinson Cano

Cano was hit by a pitch from Josh Beckett on his left knee. Cano left the game shortly after with a bruise on his knee but is not scheduled for any further testing. Don’t expect Cano to play today, but for now it doesn’t look like he’ll be out for an extended period of time.

Roster Moves

With injuries usually come roster moves, and we should be seeing some moves today. While I can’t say for sure what the Yankees will do, I think they will call up Kevin Russo to be the backup infielder with Ramiro Pena as the starting second baseman for now. If the Yankees want to play it safe in the outfield they could recall Greg Golson who was sent down before yesterday’s game. While players usually have to wait 10 days in the minors before they can be called up again, with Nick Johnson going on the DL the Yankees can bring Golson right back up if they wish. If they decide to the call up Golson then he would take Johnson’s roster spot, and they could send Boone Logan or David Robertson down and use that spot to call up Kevin Russo.

"Call Doctor Robert, we need his help."

Update

Kevin Russo has indeed been called up. Robinson Cano is back in the lineup today as the DH according to Chad Jennings. Jennings also reports that Nick Johnson has a torn tendon in his wrist, I’m no doctor, but I’d expect him to be out for a few months if this is the case.

2nd Update

Looking back at Jennings’ post, it appears he has changed Nick Johnson’s torn tendon, to Nick Johnson’s inflamed tendon. That’s good news.

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.

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 124: Yankees at Red Sox

Tonight’s game is the final game of this series, and happens to be a rubber match. All I can hope for is that tonight’s game is better than yesterday’s game. Here is the starting lineup via Peter Abraham:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon – After the way Damon has played left field this year, I shouldn’t be happy to see him out there, but I am because he is still better than Eric Hinske

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, CC Sabathia

“Why can’t we be friends?”

In yesterday’s game it was pretty clear that AJ Burnett and Jorge Posada where not on the same page. Peter Abraham seems to think the blame should go to Burnett, while I disagree, here is what Pete Abe had to say:

By no means do I think Posada and Burnett work particularly well together because they don’t. But when asked about pitch selection, Posada put it well.

“I just make suggestions,” he said. “It’s up to the pitcher to throw the pitch he wants. He’s the guy in charge.”

Look at Burnett’s history. This is a stubborn guy who tends to blow up at times and let games get away from him. That is who he is. He kept saying after the game how good he thought his curveball was. From what I saw, the Red Sox were hammering that pitch, just like they have all season.

Burnett’s a two-pitch guy with an occasional change-up. It’s not like any catcher has a lot to pick from.

Burnett may be a stubborn guy, but that is a good thing because you don’t want an indecisive pitcher on the mound for you. Posada on the other hand, can not be stubborn, which I think he is. If Burnett has his mind made up on a curveball, and Posada calls for a fastball and convinces Burnett to throw a fastball, Burnett is not going to throw that fastball with great confidence, which usually means it won’t be a good pitch. Obviously something needs to be fixed between these two guys. If I were Girardi, I would have them both sit down and discuss a game plan for how they are going to work together in the future, and Burnett should be in charge. The last thing Yankee fans want to see is Jose Molina catching game 2 of a playoff series because Burnett and Posada don’t get along. How do you feel about this? Do you think it is Burnett’s fault, Posada’s fault, or both? Please comment.

Comedic relief

Taking the rubber game

Late yesterday afternoon, Robinson Cano hit a walk off single in the 11th to finish off a series with the Blue Jays, and to finish off the series win.

Walking Wounded

Yesterday’s game was a really tough game in which a few Yankee players got knocked up pretty bad. Jeter was hit by a pitch on his foot, and he would later leave the game, but X-Rays were negative. Jorge Posada took the luxury of trying to block 4 wild pitches, being crossed up on a fastball (he thought it was a curveball), and having a ball fouled off his bare hand. Alex Rodriguez also is part of the Walking Wounded club, he got hit by a pitch on his elbow but the ball missed his elbow pad and hit him flush. He would stay in the game, but that was only because the Yankees had no bench players left. Fortuantly, X-Rays were negative on A-Rod’s elbow.

First Impression

Chad Guadin made his Yankee debut yesterday, and it was a good one. He went 2 scoreless innings, and picked up the win. It looks like the Yankees plan to have Gaudin start on Sunday, and push Joba back a few days.