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.

Andrew Brackman’s Resurgence

In 2007 the Yankees selected Andrew Brackman with the 30th overall pick of the MLB Draft. Brackman only fell down to the Yankees because teams were afraid to risk taking a pitcher who would need Tommy John Surgery. However, when the opportunity to land a potential ace arose, the Yankees jumped on it. In 2007 they signed Brackman to a 4 year deal which guaranteed $4.5M in addition to his $3.55M signing bonus and an automatic 40-man roster spot. Shortly after, Andrew Brackman underwent Tommy John Surgery. Brackman would not pitch again until 2009 when he struggled with the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs, as expected by a young man recovered from major surgery. A few people were actually ready to give up on the then 23-year-old with outstanding potential. However, in 2010, Brackman began the season with the Tampa Yankees but since then has been promoted to Double-A Trenton Thunder and has arguably regained his top prospect status, if you think he ever lost it.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander  Brackman actually struggled a bit at the start of 2010 with Tampa, but picked it up and was promoted to Trenton in late June. Frankie Piliere of Fanhouse says that Brackman has topped out at 97 mph this year and has consistently maintained a velocity of 92-96 mph.  Brackman is not an all fastball guy though. He has a swing-and-miss curveball and an average change-up which can improve. Piliere said that he has been impressed with how comfortable Brackman looks with his mechanics, even though he can struggle at times. Overall, Brackman has looked impressive this year. I highly recommend you read Piliere’s full scouting report on Brackman.

Andrew Brackman is still a couple of years, at least, from being a part of a major league rotation, but it’s hard not to be excited about what the future holds for the flame throwing giant.

Game 75: Yankees at Dodgers

The Yankees have split the first two games in this series against the Dodgers (which has been way overblown by the media) and tonight they look for the series win against Clayton Kershaw. Here is the starting lineup via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

CF Curtis Granderson

LF Brett Gardner

LHP Andy Pettitte

"Joe Girardi and the Yankees will say farewell to Joe Torre and the Dodgers tonight." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

Interleague coming to an end…

Tonight the Yankees will play their final game against a National League team in 2010 except of course if they make it to the World Series. Since the Yankees will be returning to American League style baseball and rules, I’d have to imagine we will see a roster move coming up. The Yankees could of course stick with their current bench of Colin Curtis, Chad Huffman, Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli. However, it wouldn’t be out of proportion to think that a move may be made. In addition, I’d love to see Mark Melancon or Jonathan Albaladejo brought up to help out the bullpen.

Eiland returning…

Marc Carig reports that pitching coach Dave Eiland will return to the team on Tuesday after taking time away for personal reasons. It seems many people have liked blaming any recent pitching issues on Eiland’s absence so I guess that is finally over. Anyway, I hope all is well with Dave’s personal life and I am glad to have him back.

Brackman makes AA debut…

Just the other day I mentioned that the Yankees planned to promote Andrew Brackman to Double-A in the near future and it has happened. Brackman made his Trenton debut yesterday and pitched respectably, not that numbers mean much in the minors. Mike Ashmore has excellent coverage of Brackman’s start which includes over 1000 words worth of info, 5 exclusive photos, and 12 exclusive videos. You really should check it out.

Culver debuts

2010 draftee, Cito Culver, already has two games of professional baseball under his belt (and one hit). How’s that for signing extremely quickly? Anyway, the Daily News has a great article on Culver. It’s definitely worth the read.

"A-Rod will have to say goodbye tonight to Manny for the forseeable future." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

Off Day Musings (2nd Edition)

It’s been a while…

State of the Yankees

  • Since June 8th, the Yankees have gone 10-5 against the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Mets, and Diamondbacks.
  • The Yankees are in first place in the AL East with Boston and Tampa Bay tied for second place at 2.5 games behind the Yankees.
  • The Yankees have the best record in baseball at 45-27. That’s a .625 winning percentage and at this rate the Yankees would win about 101 games.

Brackman Rules!

Andrew Brackman, one of the Yankees top prospects, is finally starting to meet expectations. The Yankees drafted Brackman knowing that he would need surgery and he pitched poorly in his first full professional season last year. This year, however, he seems to be improving. He’s been throwing a nasty slider at 87 mph, and has improved his BB/9 from 6.4 in 2009 to 1.4 in 2010. In addition, he has kept up an impressive 8.4 SO/9. According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees plan to promote Brackman from High-A Tampa to AA Trenton before the All-Star Break.

Hughes Rules?

In order to keep Phil Hughes’ innings under control, the Yankees are skipping his next start on June 29th. So far the Yankees have handled Hughes’ innings much better than they handled Joba’s innings. The general feeling is that Hughes is capped at 170-180 innings, so expect for him to be skipped a few more times around.

Albaladejo Reinvented…

You remember Jonathan Albaladejo, don’t you? Well he’s been reinventing and improving his game down in AAA this season and has really become a new and better pitcher. I truly hope the Yankees give him an opportunity to prove himself again at the big league level, it’s not like Chan Ho Park or Boone Logan are blowing the world away. Make sure you check out Mike Axisa of RAB’s post about Albaladejo.

Happy Birthday!

Phil Hughes turns 24 years old today, it’s hard to believe he is still so young.

What’s Next?

The Yankees should be enjoying this off day in Los Angeles and tomorrow they will take on Joe Torre and the Dodgers.  You can bet the media will blow this series way out of proportion. It should be fun!