Thursday, February 21, 2013

Michael Pineda Pleads No Contest To DUI Charges

Michael Pineda has plead no contest to DUI charges that stem back from August of 2012. Pineda will have to serve 50 hours of community service, be on probation for up to a year, attend a DUI school, and pay up to a $500 fine after entering his plea in a Tampa courtroom on Wednesday.

New York Yankees Spring Training Notes 2/21

The Yankees and Joe Girardi were playing mind games with us today as they played alternating outfielders during pop fly drills today. Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Ichiro Suzuki all saw time at all three outfield positions and alternated position every few pop flies. Long story short we still do not know if Gardner will be our center fielder this season or if it will be Curtis Granderson. When Girardi was asked who would start in center in the Grapefruit League opener to try and get a hint of what is to come Girardi reported that it would be Melky Mesa... so much for that.

Girardi touched on the schedule of players and the World Baseball Classic as well today when talking to reporters. Girardi reported that Robinson Cano would play in six of the first eight Yankees Spring Training games before leaving for the WBC and Mark Teixeira will play in five of the first eight games. Melky Mesa will see some early playing time as he is committed to the Dominican Republic team for the WBC and Francisco Rondon and Gil Velasquez should also get early playing time before leaving camp for the WBC.

Mark Montgomery came through his work out today with no problems or set backs and still is scheduled to throw a bullpen side session tomorrow. Phil Hughes back also is said to be feeling good so the Yankees back injuries seem to be minor and progressing so good news all around.

Girardi announced that Vidal Nuno will start the third game of the spring because the regular starting pitchers
will not see action until March. I figured it would be Nik Turley or Brett Marshall because they have already faced live hitting but Nuno works too.

Dan Johnson, continuing his quest to be this years Eric Chavez, took drills at third base for the third straight day. Speaking of third base Yankees prospect Corban Joseph also worked with Kevin Youkilis at third base today and it seems like it was on bunting drills. Joseph is a second basemen by trade and Dan Johnson is more of a first basemen and designated hitter type.

Saying "No" To Kyle Lohse

"Don't worry... I'll be back soon."

Despite the fact that Phil Hughes is having some back issues, according to Joel Sherman, the Yankees have no interest in Kyle Lohse.

In the past two years Lohse has a nice ERA of 3.11, but what bothers me most about Kyle is the fact that he doesn't miss any bats (5.72 K/9). If it wasn't for the fact Hughes' back doesn't seem to be a big problem, and the team could easily fill the bottom two spots in the rotation without Phil (Nova and Phelps), then I wouldn't mind Kyle on the cheap. But not only are we talking about a Scott Boras client (guys that rarely come cheap), but signing Lohse would cost a 1st round draft pick too.

So in my opinion this is good news.

Brett Gardner Will Play Some CF In Spring Training

Brian Cashman has informed Jack Curry that Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner will alternate between leftfield and centerfield during Spring Training, and the Yankees will determine where each player fits best later.

Spring Training Notes 2/21/13: Gardner and Granderson switch outfield positions

[caption id="attachment_14909" align="alignright" width="300"]Brett Gardner could be the Yankees CF on Opening Day--if Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman like what they see Brett Gardner could be the Yankees CF on Opening Day--if Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman like what they see[/caption]

Good evening everyone and welcome to another Spring Training report! As we know all winter, there had been speculation about if Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson would switch positions when the 2013 season began. As of today, Joe Girardi is toying with the idea of having Gardner and Granderson switch during Spring Training.

"If we're going to experiment, now's the time." Girardi told

Curtis Granderson had been repeatedly asked about the impending switch, causing the outfielder confusion. Granderson went to Girardi, wondering if there was fuel under the fire and apparently, there was. Girardi stressed to Granderson that none of the changes were permanent, and Granderson told the same thing to the media, along with the idea that he loved to play center field.

"I'd love to play center." Granderson told the media. "That's what I've been playing. At the same time, I want to play, in general. No matter where it happens to be, that's where i want to be at."

So is Granderson disappointed or upset with the move?

"Not at all." Granderson said. "I'm playing. If I get benched, that's a different story. But I'm still playing."

To stress how differently this could feel for Granderson, he's only played 22 games in LF in his entire career. The last time he played LF was in 2007.  However, the switch seemed to make sense to the fans and of course to Brian Cashman.

"We have to decide whether it weakens us, or it makes us better." Cashman told YES analyst Jack Curry. We understand how Joe Girardi feels about the situation, we understand how Curtis Granderson feels about the situation and now we understand how Brian Cashman feels about the situation. But how does Brett Gardner feel about the situation?

"If we went out there and played right now, I'd go to center, I'd go to left, whatever. It doesn't really matter to me. I feel comfortable in either one of those spots." Gardner told New York Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand.

Did Gardner expect to be flip-flopped with Granderson in the outfield this season?

"Not really." Gardner said. "I've heard rumblings the last couple of years and it hasn't happened. I'm sure they'll (Yankees management) will look at whatever they need and make that decision, but I'm prepared for it."

In the meantime, the Yankees will test the move out in Spring Training, in order to see if it will work, but I believe switching Granderson and Gardner in the outfield is the right idea. Do you?


-- Speaking of Gardner and Granderson, they along with Ichiro decided to play a trick on the beat writers at Spring Training today. While they were doing their normal routine, Gardner suddenly went to right field, Granderson went to center and Ichiro went to left, causing many of them to become confused. Ichiro then moved to center field and Granderson joined Gardner in right. When LoHud Yankees tweeted that he figured Gardner, Granderson and Ichiro were messing with them, it turns out according to Brett Gardner, he was right.

"We noticed a couple of you guys noticed when we were out there." Gardner told LoHud. "So we tried to move me to right and Ichiro to center so you guys would really figure something weird was going on."

I'm beginning to think the Yankees need to be careful when they put Ichiro and Gardner together. Those two together have been hilariously dangerous this Spring.

-- Mark Montgomery is feeling a lot better in his back and went through drills with no issues. He's scheduled to have a bullpen tomorrow.

-- Whose starting in Center Field on Saturday for the Yankees? "Melky Mesa." Girardi said. Not sure if he was joking, but it would make sense to put Mesa in a game or two. He's playing in the World Baseball Classic (which I was sadly told is not going to be on MLB.TV).

Exclusive Interview with Ty Hensley

Michael Tyler Hensley was born on July 30th, 1993 in Edmond, Oklahoma. In his senior year at Sante Fe High School Ty struck out 111 batters in only 55.1 innings, while posting a 1.52 ERA and earning Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year honors.

Ty's father, Mike, played in the St. Louis Cardinals system up until Tommy John surgery cut his career short. Instead, Mike went on to coach baseball at Kansas State. Hensley's father isn't the only big-time athlete in the family, as Ty's brother Jacob is looking to tear things up too.

At 70-92 in 1990, I'm sure the St. Louis Cardinals would have liked Mike's help at the MLB level.

After being drafted, Hensley was ready to sign a $1.6 million deal with the Yankees, however there was an "abnormality" found in his pitching shoulder. But it didn't seem to be that big a problem, as the 1st rounder still received a signing bonus of $1.2 million.

Ty only threw 12 innings for the Gulf Coast Yankees last season, and at 19 years old will look to move quickly through the Yankee farm system.

I was lucky enough to speak with Ty on the phone, and he answered a few questions.

Bryan: What do think of blogs like The Greedy Pinstripes? Do you read them or shy away from them for whatever reason?

Ty: They're actually kind of fun. You're going to get negative publicity, but that's the way it is. There's a lot of positive that goes with that, and you have to embrace it all. When it comes to doing interviews with them, I think that if someone wants to take the time to interview me then I like to take the time to help them out.

Bryan: So I hear you were your high school's QB as well as a star baseball player. Any colleges recruit you?

Ty: I had a couple of Division 1 offers, one of which came from Vanderbilt... who I visited during my junior year of high school. However the coach at Vanderbilt got fired soon afterwards, so that wasn't much of an option any longer. 

"Raise your hand if you'd rather be playing baseball!"

Bryan: Did you ever think of playing college football?

Ty: I did think of playing football, but I had to ask myself "where's my passion at"? 

Bryan: Having grown up around professional and college baseball, do you find other ballplayers coming to you for advice?

Ty: I'd say so, especially guys I've known the majority of my life as they know my dad's background and what he's passed down to me.

Bryan: Your brother, Jacob, isn't a bad athlete himself. I know siblings can be competitive, so would you rather play with him or against him?

Ty: We'd love to be going against each other in Game 7 of the World Series. We try to bring out the best in each other. However he may be a big-time football player as he's 6'6" tall and weighs 245 pounds.

Bryan: You used to catch in high school. Any desire to put on the equipment and squat behind the plate again?

Ty: I was actually a catching prospect my freshmen and sophomore years, and could have been drafted as such. However I would have had to go to college first. As for doing any catching now they have me stay away from that stuff.

I wonder if he'd be an improvement over Chris Stewart or Francisco Cervelli.

Bryan: I read that you like playing Call of Duty. Any good stories or rivalries with fellow players around video games?

Ty: My teammates and I actually play a game called Zombies, which can go for 3+ hours at a time. There have been many times in which coaches have had to tell us to get some sleep.

Bryan: I read you like For Love Of The Game, which is also one of my favorite movies. What are some of your other favorites?

Ty: I'm kind of old school when it comes to movies. I mean, on top of liking more recent movies like Remember The Titans, I love Bull Durham and Hoosiers. As far as genres I'm a big comedy guy, Family Guy being one of my favorite TV shows.

Bryan: Your starting for the Yankees in an interleague game, meaning you're going to be hitting. What's your at bat song?

Ty: "Die Young" by Ke$ha

"Yeah, let's move on with the interview..." 

Bryan: Sticking with the music thing, tell me some of your guilty pleasure songs.

Ty: Well, looking at songs that have recently played on my iPod, there's some stuff from Fall Out Boy. When it comes to music, to me, it's all about the beat and they have some catchy songs.

Bryan: I read that you're a fan of Chipotle.

Ty: I actually had it for dinner tonight. I only had a protein bar this morning, and no lunch, so I was starving by the time I had dinner so I pigged out a bit. I ended up eating a burrito bowl, a quesadilla, along with chips with guacamole.

Bryan: I love reading about athletes giving back, for example Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation or CC Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation. So I have to ask you how the Be Edmond Project is going?

Ty: It's going really well, as we've had a lot more donations as of late. We're actually getting close to our goal of $40,000 in order to build an app. Along with news about Edmond, including things like sports scores and school closings, the app will have phone numbers and other information for kids in need of any kind of help. Kids can be shy and therefore want to keep things confidential, and this way they can get what they need without needing to be face to face with somebody.

Please click here and find out how to donate. Let's help Ty and Be Edmond achieve that $40,000 goal.

Bryan: One more question... would you like to coach, like your father did, once your playing career is over?

Ty: I could see myself being a coach, as I believe I have a good knowledge of the game, but I don't think I'd do that. However, it's a long ways away, so you never know. I was going to study engineering if I went to college, as I'm a big math and numbers guy, so it's possible that I'd end up teaching later in life.

Bryan: Well thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, and on the phone no less. Have a great night, and I hope to see you in Yankee Stadium in the near future.

Ty: Thanks. I appreciate the phone call... have a good night.

I have to admit that I was pretty nervous doing this interview. It's one thing to submit questions in writing to a professional athlete, but to actually speak with them can be extremely nerve-racking. However Ty was great, and the longer I spoke with him the more I loosened up and was able to chat with him like a friend. There have been quite a few times in which I've mentioned that I don't follow really follow prospects, but after speaking with Ty I'll be keeping track of his progress for sure. And in a few years we may be interviewing him again as a member of the New York Yankees.

Morning Bits: $189, Romine, Gardner, Hughes and more..

mug3Good Morning all.  Lot's of interesting articles today.  Let's get going....

-- Wallace Matthews ponders if the Hughes injury is serious will the Yankee pull the trigger on Kyle Lohse.

-- Wallace Matthews also writes that Hal might be ready to open his wallets and ditch the $189 million plan.

-- Adam Berry of has the full story on Hughes and his back problem.

-- Berry also has many Yankee Tidbits in this article such as Cano, Joba almost plunking Nunez,  Pineda's DUI, and some quotes from the players.

-- New York Times writer Scott Cacciola has a nice article on Brett Gardner.

Here is a video from The Yes Network on Austin Romine

Meet A Prospect : Francisco Rondon

Francisco Rondon was born on April 19th, 1988 in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic. With a 6'1" 160 lb frame throwing the ball from the left side you can see why the Yankees signed him as a free agent way back in 2006.

While spending his first five seasons in A Ball or lower the Yankees and their fans were starting to consider Rondon a bust before his breakout 2011 season. Way back in 2006 when Rondon signed he started in the Dominican Summer League for the Yankees and would spend both the 2006 and 2007 seasons there putting up a combined line of 5-4 with a mid 3.37 ERA in 88 IP while striking out 72 batters for a 1.43 WHIP. The next three seasons from 2008-2010 he would spend a full season in the Gulf Coast League, for the Staten Island Yankees, and for the Charleston Riverdogs respectively putting up less than impressive numbers in all three seasons. Entering the 2011 season the Yankees decided to demote Rondon back to Staten Island and it benefited Rondon while he put up a perfect 6.2 IP before the Yankees decided to move him back up to Charleston. While in his second run with Charleston Rondon would put up a 2-3 record with a 4.67 ERA but lowered his WHIP to 1.356 and struck out 42 batters in only 32 IP.

Rondon spent time with three of the Yankees minor league teams in 2012 including the Tampa Yankees, the Trenton Thunder, and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (now known as the Rail Riders). While with the three upper levels of the Yankees system Rondon put up a pitching line of 5-0 with a 3.93 ERA in 44 games and 71 IP. While he had an impressive 80 K's he had a not so impressive 1.465 WHIP so it was sort of surprising, for myself anyway, that the Yankees added him to the 40 man roster and protected him from the Rule 5 draft this season. The time is now because he holds a very valuable slot on the 40 man and looks to start the 2013 season in Scranton so keep an eye out for him late in this season in the Bronx.

ETA : Late 2013