Friday, February 15, 2013

New York Yankees Spring Training Notes 2/15

In what seems like is going to be a daily thing we bring you the latest in the Michael Pineda rehab from shoulder surgery last Spring Training. Pineda threw a 25 pitch bullpen side session today throwing all fastballs and apparently everything went well. Pineda reported no pain or set backs and everything felt and looked great according to Larry Rothschild.

Cesar Cabral also threw a 25 pitch bullpen side session while working his way back from a stress fracture in his left throwing elbow after almost making the team out of Spring Training last season. Cabral also threw all fastballs and came through the session with no set backs or pain and that is all you can ask for at this point.

CC Sabathia is scheduled to throw his first bullpen side session of the spring tomorrow as planned according to manager Joe Girardi.

Shawn Kelley Reports To Yankees Camp

Shawn Kelley has officially shaved his beard and reported to Yankees Spring Training camp after being traded for earlier in the week when the Yankees sent minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte to the Seattle Mariners. It was announced that he will wear #27 for the Yankees so he will have big shoes to fill after the clinic that Mr. Yankee Raul Ibanez put on last year. Welcome to the team Shawn!

YES To Televise 19 Yankees Spring Training Games

The Yankees television network, the YES Network, will televise a whopping 19 of their games this year during Spring Training. In these 19 games will be the Yankees exhibition game with Team Dominican Republic which will see the Yankees pitching facing Yankees 2B Robinson Cano. Also the YES Network will show the exhibition games with the Washington Nationals and the Army University baseball team. 

Here is the complete list:

2/24 vs. Toronto 1:00 pm
2/27 vs. Baltimore  1:00 pm
2/28 vs. Toronto  1:00 pm
3/1 vs. Philadelphia  1:00 pm
3/2 vs. Detroit  1:00 pm
3/3 @ Boston 1:30 pm
3/5 vs. Atlanta  7:00 pm
3/6 vs. Dominican Republic – 1:00 pm
3/9 vs. Atlanta  1:00 pm
3/11 vs. St. Louis  1:00 pm
3/13 vs. Philadelphia  7:00 pm
3/15 vs. Miami  1:00 pm
3/16 vs. Philadelphia  12:00 pm
3/20 vs. Boston 1:00 pm
3/21 vs. Minnesota 7:00 pm
3/24 vs. Tampa Bay  1:00 pm
3/26 vs. Houston  7:00 pm
3/29 @ Washington  2:00 pm
3/30 @ Army (West Point)  2:00 pm

Prospect Profile: Mark Montgomery


DOB 8/30/1990 Williamsburg, VA
School: Longwood University
5’ 11” 205 lbs.
Bats/Throws R/R
Drafted in 11th round of the 2011 draft by NYY

The Numbers: Montgomery has put up outstanding numbers since making his debut in Staten Island back in 2011. He pitched a total of 28.1IP between SI and Charleston to he tune of a 1.91 ERA and 1.165 WHIP. He racked up 15 saves while allowing 6.4 H/9, 4.1 BB/9, a .185 batting average against and struck out 16.2 per 9 innings, which resulted in 13 BB’s and 51 K’s on the season. In his first game in Charleston he proceeded to strike out five batters in one inning due to a couple of errant pitches. Mark continued his success in the 2012 season and even cut his walks down a little in the process. He started out the year with a promotion to Tampa and after 40.1 innings got his ticket to Trenton. His season totals resulted in 64.1 IP, good for a 1.54 ERA and .886 WHIP. Once again he saved 15 games, and in the process allowed 4.9 H/9, cut his walks down to 3.1/9, and a .157 average against. His 13.8 K/9 dropped slightly, but his K/BB improved to 4.5 in 2012. After a stellar 2012 regular season, Mark was ticketed to Scottsdale to pitch in the AFL. In what is generally considered a hitters league he continued to pitch well, throwing 10.1 innings of 2.61 ERA baseball. He allowed 5 hits and 3 earned runs in his 9 appearances, of which in his last outing he allowed 3 hits and 2 of those runs. He allowed his only other run and two hits in his first two games, the rest were zeroes. His trip to the fall leagues is a pretty good hint that he is not long for the minor leagues. That, and his numbers that rival that of fellow Yankee David Robertson and 2011 ROY Craig Kimbrel. Pretty good company I’d say.

The Stuff:

Montgomery, like the two aforementioned pitchers, doesn’t have the stature of a big power pitcher, but uses a combination of a long stride and deceptive delivery to allow his FB to play up a bit. He generally sits in the low 90’s with it, and can hit 95-96 at times and it has a bit of late movement to it when he’s on. He delivers from a low three-quarter arm slot and has a bit of whipping action to it that keeps hitters off guard. Like Robertson, his FB gets in on batters quicker than his velocity suggests. In his second season of pro ball his command of the fastball got decidedly better, boosting his K/BB ratio and kept more runners off the bases. He can move his FB around the plate a bit setting up his best offering.

Mark’s knockout pitch, as most are aware of at this point is his slider. Mark spoke on YES network with Mark Curry about how he toyed with numerous different grips during catch and long toss before he settled in to what he’s throwing now and it’s paid off. It’s already been described as a major league ready pitch and is the reason he can strike out a batter and a half per inning. It’s a plus-plus pitch that is flat out nasty to right handers, who have a difficult time even getting the barrel on the ball and seldom lay off the pitch to begin with. Experimenting with all those different grips also lends to his ability to throw his slider a couple of different ways depending on the situation and which side of the plate the batter hits from. He can throw a hard late breaking ball for strikes in the mid 80’s as well as a more looping pitch with a more sweeping break that he can place out of the zone in an attempt to get hitters to chase. He also sports a changeup which is more of a show me pitch, but it does gives hitters one more thing to think about in the box. His focus fell away from the change as he moved to Trenton and into the playoffs, which is understandable. At that point it’s about getting outs and winning games. He hasn’t shelved it completely though and will continue to work on it, as it will only make him more dangerous.


Montgomery straight up attacks hitters. They have no choice but to stay back and wait for the slider which lets him get early calls with the four seam. His improved command gets him ahead in counts which allows him to go to one of his two sliders. It really isn’t fair; once he gets two strikes on a hitter they don’t stand much of a chance as he can take them out of the zone or hit the corners with a slider or come right back at them with a fastball. Having the changeup tossed in there every once in a while only adds to his effectiveness. Add to his pure stuff a deceptive delivery that keeps hitters off his fastball and an aggressive approach gives you a guy that could push his way to the back of the bullpen in a hurry. He may not be the 6’ 4” power pitcher that hits the high nineties all day, but his newly improved command, possession of a plus-plus pitch and feel for variations on his breaking ball and you have elite potential. From floor to ceiling you have a guy that gets injured and flames out to one who closes out All Star games. Such is the life of a ML pitcher, but who wouldn’t want that kind of chance?

Moving Forward:

Already named a FSL All Star, a MiL Organizational All Star and an AFL Rising Star Montgomery is on his way up, and quickly. He’s another one of Oppenheimer’s middle of the draft picks that has shined and it won’t be long before he’s striking out batters in the majors. Despite all his recent successes, Mark stays humble and while a ML debut is imminent, he continues to work hard every day to improve on his already impressive skill set. His confidence right now is at an all time high and he’s ready to take it to the next level. As much as I’m excited to see him in the BX, I wouldn’t mind seeing him get some AAA guys out before making his way up, and hey, keeping him in the minors for a few weeks keeps that service clock from ticking away and would give the Yanks a few more months of cost controlled time out of him. There are a couple of guys (Whitley, Perez) that could get a callup before him, but none so far have his potential.

Wang & Yankees Reunion?

"If you bring me back I'll promise to wear this outfit to the ballpark every day."

The Yankees are looking for another starting pitcher to add to the AAA rotation, in case they need somebody as a part-time fill in during the season (a strong possibility). The reason for that is that it's not ideal to pull up a young kid that's still developing to make a few spot starts in MLB. You'd rather leave that kid in the minors to get regular work, and let a veteran make those MLB appearances instead.

So the Bombers are keeping their eye on former Yankee Chien-Ming Wang. Spring Training pitching instructor Billy Connors was impressed with a recent workout by Chien-Ming, and will be watching Wang when he pitches for Team Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic.

Wang is looking for a Major League contract, but after missing all of 2010 and following that up with two lackluster seasons, he may have to settle for a minor league deal. In that case I'm okay with the team bringing CMW back, as there aren't any better options for that role available, but if it would cost a MLB contract then no way.

Should Pineda Pitching Differently?

I don't get it, what's so funny about the longest bone in the arm?

Yesterday we posted an update regarding Michael Pineda's rehab, and a friend of mine (who is not a Yankee fan, and therefore has an outsider's perspective) had an interesting response... particularly to the part where it was mentioned that Pineda's mechanics have not seemed to change since the injury.
Let me get this straight, Pineda had major shoulder surgery on presumably an injury, presumably caused by damage created throwing since he is a pitcher. He has emerged to throw with the same exact delivery as he had pre-surgery and this is a good thing? Shouldn't we be able to logically presume that there is a mechanical flaw in his delivery somewhere that is placing pressure on the shoulder? Otherwise why would he need surgery?
Before sharing my response I wanted to point out that throwing a baseball upwards of 95 mph, or with as much break as MLB pitchers generate, is not healthy for the shoulder. Steve Silverman, a blogger at, points out that "when the shoulder moves, it is the result of four small muscles pushing, pulling and rotating the shoulder. These four muscles are small and they make up the rotator cuff. When placed under stress or used improperly, these muscles can be damaged or torn." I don't recall anybody saying that Pineda's mechanics were in some way improper, or add excess stress to his shoulder, so I'm filing his injury under "it happens". I don't believe Michael's torn labrum is the result of a mechanical flaw in his delivery, as my friend says, so I see no reason to change it.

Here's my actual response to my friend...
Good point. But on the flip side, if his delivery were different, then there's no way at all to know how he'll throw when healthy. At that point we could have a totally different pitcher. Might as well see what he can do the same way and hope the surgery was done in such a way that it prevents further damage.
I feel the same way about my friend sometimes.

Say Pineda changed the way he threw, and due to those changes he couldn't generate as much velocity on his fastball or break on his slider... then who knows the type of pitcher he'd be? My guess is that he wouldn't be an ace-caliber pitcher, and may not be effective at all. I mean, have you ever heard of a pitcher of that high caliber changing his delivery, and still being a pitcher of that high caliber? Might as well take the chance on Michael getting hurt again... right?

It's a heartless way to think, but unlike with CC Sabathia the Yankees won't lose much should Michael Pineda go out there later this season and messes his shoulder up again... maybe this time permanently.

So far the Yankees have paid Pineda $528,475 (it may be lower as I'm not sure if a player on the 60-day DL makes his MLB salary). Let's say he gets the same amount this season, as it's unlikely he gets a raise for being out all of 2012. In his first appearance of the season, and first in pinstripes, Michael blows out his shoulder and is lost again for the season. In the offseason it's learned that his shoulder is beyond repair, and his career is prematurely over with. In that case the Yankees would have spent a little over a million dollars, which is more than an acceptable loss for a team that has spend 2/3 of a billion dollars on payroll in the last three years.

"You ready to talk about me again?"

Some may point out that the Yankees would have lost Jesus Montero for nothing as well. My response to that comment would be simple... that chapter in the Yankees' history is over. I still hear bloggers and other Yankee fans whining about the team dealing away Montero, but he's gone... get over it. At the time of the trade it made sense, as the Yankees lacked young ace-like pitching talent in the minors (at least in the upper level), and didn't have a position for Jesus with the big club. Playing around with "what if" scenarios can be fun, but the bottom line is that at the time of the trade it made sense. Although, if you want to play the "what if" game, then I can point out the fact that young ace-like pitching isn't even reaching free agency anymore, so trading for one of those guys is necessary (see Felix Hernandez, and soon Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw). And with the new CBA teams are willing to spend more, so the Yankees may never get a chance to sign a CC Sabathia again.

Again it's a heartless way to thing about things, but if Pineda is lost because he came back and threw the same way as when he got injured, then the team isn't out a whole lot.

Fox To Broadcast Eight Yankees Games This Season

Fox has announced that they will be broadcasting eight New York Yankees games this season. I do not know how I feel about this because on one hand as a misplaced Yankees fan that was forced to move to metro Atlanta Georgia I live when the Yankees are nationally televised. On the other hand the Yankees just plain out suck when they play on Fox, especially day games, for whatever reason. Anyway it is what it is so here is the scheduled lineup.

4/6 1:00 pm ET

New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers

6/1 7:15 pm ET

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees

6/15 7:15 pm ET

New York Yankees @ Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

6/29 7:15 pm ET

New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles

7/16 8:00 pm ET

2013 MLB All Star Game from Citi Field

7/20 4:00 pm ET

New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

8/17 4:00 pm ET

New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

9/14 1:00 pm ET

New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

Spring Training Notes 2/15/13: Youkilis, Chamberlain, Pineda

When your a famous ball player (or a famous anything) one of the main rules of stardom is not to search yourself on the internet to prevent what people are saying about you. It could be spiteful, it could be hurtful, it could be someone taking something you said completely out of context and publishing it as if you're a bad person. Option number three happened to Kevin Youkilis, the brand new Yankees third baseman. Youkilis yesterday made a comment about how he will always be a "Red Sock." The next thing he knew, he was being written about in every gigantic publication from the New York Daily News to ESPN. After reading the ESPN article last night, Youkilis cleared the air for reporters as he discussed what he actually meant by his comment.

"The whole thing for me, I look at it, when I was saying it, it was more like a baseball card." Youkilis said. "When you look at it, there's going to be nine seasons or whatever (with the Red Sox) and that's why I said it. But in context of what I said, if you read it as 'I'm always a Red Sock,' it looks bad. But it's not that way. I'm a Yankee today, and I'm excited. I'm proud to be a Yankee, and I'm proud for Opening Day and playing against the team that I spent all those seasons with. Trust me, if you know my personality and know who I am, it doesn't matter what team's along the way. I want to beat everyone. I want to beat the Red Sox because I want to start out with a win at Yankee Stadium."

Not only did Kevin Youkilis address the media about his comments but he also made nice with Joba Chamberlain, and it looks like the two became buddies. Their first conversation of the spring? They talked about mustaches. Chamberlain is growing out a mustache and wants Youkilis to do the same. Today the two new teammates gave each other a handshake.

"Tomorrow we'll hug." Youkilis said.

-- Michael Pineda had a side session earlier this morning and threw 25 pitches (all of them fastballs). He said he felt good and he's still on track to return in June.

-- Do you guys remember this pitcher named Cesar Cabral, who was a Rule 5 draft pick, slated to take a bullpen spot last season, only to hurt his elbow forcing the spot to go to Clay Rapada instead? Well he threw a 25 fastball side as well, and could be scheduled to return in May.

-- The Yankees writers have all been following the Washington Nationals camp, waiting to see how Rafael Soriano is doing adjusting to his new team. The problem is...he never showed up to camp, prompting another edition of "Where In The World Is Rafael Soriano." The answer? The Dominican Republic having a visa issue. Nationals say that he should be in camp over the weekend, which would give everyone a chance to continue to keep an eye on him.

-- And some somber news for another former Yankee. Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher left the teams workouts to attend his mothers funeral in Ohio. Condolences go out to Nick Swisher and his family.

-- And finally, do you plan on watching a Spring Training game this season but don't know what channel its on? Yesterday, I made the 2013 Spring Training schedule for the Yankees, including the channels for which game will be broadcast. If you have (or are planning to get) MLB.TV 2013, then you're in luck since you'll get to see most of the games this Spring. Here's the complete list of games, times and channels.

Greedy Pinstripes Exclusive Interview W/ Corey Black

The Greedy Pinstripes are proud to present to you our latest exclusive interview, this time with Yankees starting pitcher Corey Black. Corey was drafted by the Yankees in the 2012 MLB First Year Player's Draft in the 4th round and spent time with the Gulf Coast Yankees, the Staten Island Yankees, and the Charleston Riverdogs last season. Going on two years removed from Tommy John Surgery we are really starting to see the full extent of Corey's potential especially in how he can dial up the radar guns with his fastball. We want to thank Corey for taking the time to do this interview and for being a Greedy Pinstripes follower, @GreedyStripes, on twitter. Follow Corey on twitter @ CblackCSC13 and follow him all season long for the Yankees minor league affiliate teams. 

The Greedy Pinstripes: Was your dream as a child always to be a baseball player? If not then what did you want to be when you grew up?

Corey Black: My dream was always to be a baseball player and if that didn’t work a pro at another sport
TGP: What team did you root for growing up as a kid?

CB: Growing up in SD I was always at Padres games
TGP: Favorite player(s) growing up?

CB: Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr
TGP: Your biggest inspiration when it came to baseball?

CB: My mom was always pushing me to never give up on my dreams
TGP: Best college memory? Doesn't have to be baseball related.

CB: Being named SSAC Pitcher of the year
TGP: What is the hardest part of coming back from a Tommy John surgery?

CB: The set backs with dealing with an injury are always the worst. Surrounding yourself with people that push you to come back is what helped me
TGP: Favorite moment as a Yankees prospect?

CB: Being around all these soon to be Hall of Famers at big league camp
TGP: Who was the best prospect in the Yankees system that you ever played with?

CB: Its hard to pick one out because everyone in this organization is here for a reason
TGP: Do you keep in touch with any other current or former Yankees prospects or coaches?

CB: Ive only been here for a short amount of time so the people I am around are usually the people I associate with
TGP: Hardest part of being a prospect?

CB: Exceeding the expectations I put on myself
TGP: Were you always a pitcher? Did you ever want to try another position?

CB: I didn’t pitch until college. I was always a utility player mainly a shortstop & 3rd baseman growing up
TGP: With almost a strike out per inning would you consider yourself a strike out pitcher or more of a control pitcher?

CB: Last year I tried turning myself into a control pitcher because in college I walked way too many people and wouldn’t be able to get into later innings. Looking back as the walks went down the strike outs started rising. So yes I do think I am a strike out pitcher
TGP: Do you think you are better suited as a starter or a future reliever in the Major Leagues?

CB: I try not to think about that. I just do as I’m told and I go out and pitch
TGP: Over/Under 2 times you get called Francisco Arcia this spring?

CB: Over! Way over
TGP: Most famous person in your cell phone?

CB: Bryce Harper
TGP: Most embarrassing song/artist in your ipod?

CB: Bye bye bye –N SYNC

I want to thank Corey once again for taking the time to do this interview for us. You're always an awesome guy on twitter and we really appreciate you. By the way Corey can we get Bryce Harper's phone number?

Morning Bits: Hughes & Joba, Catching situation, Pineda & Betances

mug3Good morning all and happy Friday.   Hope you all have a nice weekend.   Let's get right to the links...

-- The New York Times has a nice article about how Hughes and Chamberlain face a pivotal season as they are both going into free agency.

-- Another good article by the NYT is about the Yankee catching situation.

-- John Harper of The Daily News writes that Cashman is still counting on Pineda & Betances as young arms for the future.

Meet A Prospect : Melky Mesa

Melquisdec Mesa was born January 31st, 1987 in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. This will be Melky's third season under 40 man roster and Rule 5 Draft protection and he has done nothing to disappoint the Yankees brass thus far. He has impressed so much that he recently has been promoted to AAA Empire State Yankees but this will be a make or break season for him in my eyes. With a 6'1" 190 lb frame he should be ready to start filling in physically and filling in for the big league club come mid season if we have an injury or two. 

Melky has shown, although raw, some amazing power and even more amazing plate discipline at such a young age in the Yankees system. Melky Mesa has the potential to be a five tool player with great defensive ability and a cannon for an arm, out of this world speed, raw power and discipline at the plate, and even hit for average. He has not quite lived up those expectation yet but he was signed as a 16 year old IFA in 2003 so he has some more time to go. The question is whether the Yankees will wait out his "Jekyll and Hyde" kind of offensive spurts. In 2009 Melky was named to the SAL All Star Game while playing for the Charleston Riverdogs and even participated in the Home Run Derby. In the 2010 season he was named the Class A Advanced Florida State League while playing for the Tampa Yankees. 

Melky Mesa made his Major League debut last year with the Yankees as a September call up when he pinch ran in the 14th inning against the Oakland Athletics.  Alex Rodriguez hit a single up the middle after Derek Jeter bunted Melky over to second base but he missed third base causing him to have to back track and prevent the winning run from scoring. Melky saved his first hit for October in true Yankees fashion as he got an RBI single off of Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey. While Melky will be in camp for the Yankees this season I see very little possibility for him to make the team out of Spring Training but will be one of the first in line should we need to call up an outfielder. Watch out for Melky Mesa in 2013. 

ETA: 2013