Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Phil Hughes May Not Be Ready For Start Of Season

Joe Girardi acknowledged that Yankees starter Phil Hughes may not be ready to start the regular season after a back injury covering first base in Spring Training. When we first heard about this we were all told how minor this seemed and how the fact that it was in his upper back and not his lower back was a good sign and now we get this news. Phil Hughes has been working out in a pool and will continue to do so until the doctors give him the green light to start throwing the baseball again. Hughes needs to be stretched out to roughly 75 pitches before he could be deemed "ready" to start the regular season and that is projected to take him about four spring starts. Joe Girardi does not expect Hughes to start a game for at least a couple more weeks so time is definitely ticking away. The Yankees have the luxury to give Hughes the time he needs with both Ivan Nova and David Phelps currently healthy and ready to start but you never like to start the season without one of your guys.

New York Yankees Spring Training Notes 2/27

The Yankees took an ugly 10-7 loss today where Nik Turley got hit hard. Nik allowed five runs while surrendering three hits,throwing two wild pitches, and only getting one Orioles batter out before being removed. Not his brightest moment but he will improve I am sure. The Yankees have lost four straight Spring Training games and drop their record to 1-4.

The Yankees announced their next three starting pitchers for Grapefruit League play and they will all be Major League starting pitchers. David Phelps will make his second spring start tomorrow but I am unsure which split squad game that will be against. Hiroki Kuroda will make his first spring appearance on Saturday against the Phillies at George Steinbrenner Field. Ivan Nova will make his spring debut on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers in another split squad game.

Kevin Youkilis was told that he will not play again tomorrow in either of the Yankees split squad games. Kevin says he feels healthy enough to play but the Yankees are going with the better safe then sorry route with him after his oblique was sore this week.

Nick Goody is a Greedy Pinstripes follower on twitter and has nothing but good and optimistic news to talk about his sprained ankle. He thanks all of his followers for their prayers and told me directly that all of our prayers were being answered. It is great news that he is healing and is expected to be back on the field soon.

'Gardy's Party' continues but Yanks fall 10-7 vs. Orioles

We're five games into Spring Training, and after winning the first game, the Yankees lost four in a row, including today's debacle in which the Yankees have five errors on the day. Now, we're going to recap this game like one gigantic sandwich (thank you Family Guy for the idea). We're going to start off with something good, say what the Yankees did wrong and end with something good.

Something Good:

Brett GardnerIt's only been five games of Spring Training but Brett Gardner looked in top shape. As a matter of fact, he's one of the best hitters in Spring Training up to this point. Gardner went 1-for-2 with a walk, but the hit he had was a big one at the time. The Yankees were down 7-1 in the second. The bases were loaded, there were two out and Gardner came to the plate. Yankees fans were expecting a RISP fail, but Gardner delivered a three-run triple, giving the Yankees some life, and closing the gap at that point in the game. I don't know what Gardner did differently during the offseason, but he better keep it up.

Something bad:

Robinson CanoRobbie Cano has looked absolutely, positively lost. After hitting a HR in his first game of the Spring, Cano seems to be swinging at almost anything. Cano was 0-for-3, bringing his average down to .167. Now, we all know that Spring Training means nothing, but Robbie looked just as lost during the playoffs last season. So technically since October 3 of last season, he's looked lost. We're not going to worry just yet, but this is beginning to look frightening.

Yanks had five errors: Yes, this game was absolutely horrendous with the five errors in the game today. Now, we know it's a Spring Training game, but that was just really, really bad. Let's hope we never see something like that again. And I can almost bet you, this game won't be a Yankees Classic.

Nik TurleyNik Turley might of had nerves, which might of explained how he let eight of the nine batters in the lineup step to the plate in the first inning, allowing five runs before recording the first out of the game--who happened to be the eighth batter in the lineup. The Yankees had seen enough, took Turley out of the game and called in Cody Eppley who did a decent job, although he allowed two runs the inning after.

Something good:

Mark MontgomeryThe pitcher who could possibly be dubbed the "next David Robertson" certainly impressed after pitching a scoreless inning for the team. His breaking ball was pretty nasty and although he gave up a walk (he's human), he was able to easily get out of the walk. It was simply, magical.


The Yankees play a Split Squad tomorrow, where most of the starters will stay at GMS Field and a handful of players will go on a road-trip  The Yankees play both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros and both games will be televised  The Yankees/Blue Jays game will be on YES Network and the Houston Astros/Yankees game will be on Astro's television. Both games will be at 1:o5 p.m.

Baltimore Orioles Vs New York Yankees 2/27

The New York Yankees will look to end a three game Spring Training losing streak today when they take on the Baltimore Orioles in a split squad Grapefruit League game. The Yankees will send left hander Nik Turley to the mound to start against the Fighting Schowalters. The game will be televised at 1:05 pm ET on YES and will also be on MLB Network, although it will be delayed.

Veterans Need to Step Up Without Granderson


With Curtis Granderson out for the next 10 weeks, everybody has been wondering who will replace him. There are a wide range of candidates from veterans Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz to younger players like Ronnie Mustelier, Zolio Almonte, Melky Mesa and Thomas Neal. No matter who fills in for Granderson, they will not replace his power or productivity. They just need whoever the replacement is to be a serviceable player for about a month until Granderson gets back. The key to surviving without Granderson is more about the other players in the lineup stepping up, rather than who Granderson’s replacement will be or what that replacement does.

Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner have to be healthy and productive until Granderson returns around the beginning of May. You could throw Derek Jeter in there as well, but you don’t really know what to expect in April from him coming off his broken ankle.

Cano and Texeira have the ability to carry the Yankees when they are hot. If either one of them have a red hot April, the Yankees should not miss Granderson too much. Both players are playing for their respective countries in the WBC, so maybe that will help them get off to a fast start, as they will be having at-bats in a competitive situation early. This could particularly help Teixeira, as he has been a notoriously slow starter in April throughout his career.

Cano and Teixeira were keys for the Yankees season to begin with because of the losses of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez. Now the pressure on them is ratcheted even more in April without Granderson. Cano just needs to repeat his season from last season, but Teixeira needs to improve on his,

The Yankees need Teixeira to get back to the elite version of himself, rather than the very good, but not elite player he has been since 2009. His batting average will probably never be around .300 again, but an average around .275 with his power and RBI production would be great. His walk % was a career low 10.3% last season, which is something Teixeira should also improve on. They need his OPS back around .900 and his wOBA back around .400. Those numbers are more important than the batting average.

While Cano or Teixeira getting hot in April could help carry the Yankees without Granderson, Hafner and Youkilis could help a great deal in a short period of time. They will never have the same production as Cano or Teixeira over the full season, but the point here is that they only need a few people to get hot for a month without Granderson. Hafner and Youkilis have those capabilities.

First of all, Hafner and Youkilis must be on the field, as those two have combined to take an astonishing nine trips to the DL over the last three seasons between the two of them. Youkilis already was scratched from yesterday’s game due to a sore oblique, although it does not appear to be serious.

When healthy, Hafner had four outstanding seasons for Cleveland from 2004-2007, but since then the highest number of games he has played in a season is 118. Hafner still has solid power and the short porch in right field should be very inviting for him. He could easily get on a power surge in April to help offset some of Granderson’s lost power.

Youkilis does not have the power that Hafner does, but he can certainly get hot and be a key player for the Yankees without Granderson. He had two warning track fly balls and a line out to third in Sunday’s spring training game, so it appears he might be seeing the ball well early. Youkilis made some swing changes with Kevin Long over the winter, so it will be interesting to see how they impact him early in the season. Youkilis already has the responsibility of replacing Alex Rodriguez, but he has to be apart of the puzzle that replaces Granderson in April as well. Youkilis had a terrible year for him last season, but he is not far removed from solid production in 2011 (.258/.373/.459/.833) and elite production in 2010 (.307/.411/.564/.975), so hopefully he can get back to something close to either of those years again.

Gardner and Ichiro will have to step up in April for the Yankees to field a competitive outfield. It’s obviously extremely early, but Gardner and Ichiro are hitting .667 in their two Spring Training games. Their speed will be counted on more than ever, as will their defense to help prevent runs because the Yankees will not score as many. They can create runs via stolen bases and hit-and-runs, which the Yankees will need to do without Granderson. As the probable leadoff hitter vs. righties, Gardner will also have to keep his OBP at a very good rate.

The Yankees have a small margin for error this season, so they will have to keep afloat without Granderson. Brian Cashman has shown patience in these situations in the past, so he is unlikely to go out and overpay somebody to replace Granderson for a month.  Granderson leads MLB in home runs the last two years, so nobody they replace him with will be capable of putting up his numbers. They will need the established players on their team to step up their performances in April to compensate for the loss of Granderson.

Dellin Betances Will Start In AAA As Starter In 2013

Brian Cashman has confirmed that Yankees prospect Dellin Betances will start the 2013 season in the starting rotation for the AAA affiliate Scranton Rail Riders team. Dellin will join Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, Vidal Nuno, and Shaeffer Hall in the rotation for the Scranton team. Dellin will be entering his age 24 season and will be looking to bounce back after a horrible 2012 season where his ERA was well over six in both AA and AAA and had a FIP pushing six in both affiliates as well. This will use up Dellin's final minor league option so this year is a make or break year for Dellin in pinstripes because he would have to pass through waivers to go to the minors starting in 2014.

Spring Training 2/27/13 Lineup

Brett Gardner LF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Juan Rivera DH
Dan Johnson 1B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Slade Heathcott CF
Chris Stewart C
Corban Joseph 3B

LHP Nik Turley

Start Time: 1:05 p.m.
T.V.: YES Network

Morning Bits: Joba want's to be a starter, Nunez to stay at SS, No Damon return and more....

mug3Good morning all let's get right to the links....

-- David Waldstein of The New York Times writes that the Yankees don't plan on moving Nunez nor bringing back Damon.

-- Let's see how much this will be talked about this week.   Wallace Matthews writes that Joba want's to start.   He feels he has the pitches to be a starter.

-- Hal Bodley of writes that it's a season of uncertainty for the New York Yankees this year.

Since J.R. Murphy had that homerun yesterday I went with a video of him this morning.   This is from last year from the YES NETWORK.  ENJOY.

Meet A Prospect : Eduardo Nunez

Eduardo Michelle Mendez Nunez was born on June 15th, 1987 in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic and spent his High School years at the American Military Academy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. With a 6'0" 185 lb frame you can see why the New York Yankees signed Eduardo as an amateur free agent back in 2004. He was known as the heir apparent to Derek Jeter at one point, granted that was 357 errors ago, so the the potential is there especially with the bat. Eduardo is not eligible to be a free agent until after the 2018 season so barring a trade the Yankees and their fans should get to see plenty of Eduardo before his time is up in pinstripes.

When Nunez signed in 2004 the Yankees introduced him to his childhood idol, Derek Jeter, and told him that he would be the eventual replacement for the Yankees captain. The Yankees brass showed extreme confidence in Eduardo from the start and it showed in that press conference. Eduardo would not make his professional debut until the 2005 season with the Staten Island Yankees while putting up a triple slash of .313/.365/.427 and his bugaboo consisted of 28 errors. Eduardo would split time between Charleston and Tampa in 2006 putting up a combined .214/.261/.308 with 37 errors in the field. Eduardo would split the 2007 season with the same two teams improving both his triple slash to .251/.305/.306 and dropping his error total to 33 in the field. 2008 would see Eduardo spend the entire season in Tampa putting up a triple slash of .271/.305/.383 and lowering his errors to a then career low 19 errors. Eduardo would spend the 2009 season with the Trenton Thunder putting up a career high .322/.349/..433 but the fielding side got the better of him once again while he committed 33 more errors in the field. Eduardo would make it all the way to Scranton in AAA in the 2010 season putting up a triple slash of .289/.340/.381 with only 14 errors in the field across three infield positions.

Eduardo Nunez would be called up in August of that 2010 season replacing Lance Berkman while he was placed on the 15 day disabled list. On August 19th he would make his major league debut replacing Derek Jeter in the seventh inning fouling out in his only plate appearance. Two days later on August 21st he would get his first major league hit as he hit a go ahead RBI single and a week later he would hit his first major league home run and steal his first base against the Chicago Whitesox. All told in 30 games for the Yankees Nunez hit .280 with one home run, seven RBI's, and scored 12 runs. Nunez would not see the minor leagues in 2011 as he won the teams utility infielder job out of Spring Training while occasionally filling in for injured stars like Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez. In 112 games Nunez hit a .265/.313/.385 with a team leading 20 errors

Nunez would start the 2012 season with the Yankees as well straight out of Spring Training and started at a blistering pace with a .294 average but also had four errors in only 58 chances in the field. After making two errors in a single game against the Tampa Bay Rays the Yankees decided to send Nunez down to work on being a short stop only rather than being a utility infielder. Nunez spent time with three different minor league affiliates in 2012 including the Gulf Coast Yankees, the Tampa Yankees, and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees while rehabbing a broken thumb injury. In 41 minor league games in 2012 he only committed five errors and they were all at short stop for the Scranton team. Nunez was called back up to the Yankees big league club when rosters expanded on September 1st and played occasionally until the playoffs. Nunez was added to the American League Divisional roster but left off the Championship rosters but replaced Derek Jeter after he fractured his ankle against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. Although the Yankees would be swept out of the playoffs Eduardo Nunez had a shining star kind of moment when he hit his first career post season home run off Justin Verlander.

Eduardo once again looks to come out of camp with the Yankees on the big league roster, hopefully with his mental blocks in the field behind him. As a short stop and second basemen only the Yankees roster looks a lot less flexible than it normally does but I think Nunez has the ability to hit for a high average and hit for power in the middle of that infield so whatever it takes to get his head on right. I look forward to seeing that million dollar smile more in the 2013 season.