Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rapada, Cabral, & Pineda Injury Updates

Michael Pineda is still rehabbing his shoulder surgery and threw 35 pitches in his third live batting practice session this year. Cesar Cabral is still rehabbing a fractured elbow and threw a scoreless inning in an extended spring training game today. Clay Rapada is still rehabbing shoulder bursitis and threw 25 pitches today in a simulated game down in Tampa, Florida. Cesar Cabral is probably the closest to getting into games that matter soon as he is expected to start his 30 day rehab assignment window pretty soon. Clay Rapada is expected to join the AAA Scranton team soon and Michael Pineda still looks to be on track for a June return.

Mark Teixeira & Andy Pettitte Injury Updates

Mark Teixeira got news today as he was cleared to begin swinging a bat today, albeit dry swings, so that is a pretty big step. Mark expects himself to take 20 steps from both sides of the plate before he can take swings off of a tee. Mark still has to take soft toss batting practice and actual batting practice before even thinking about coming back, making May 1st less and less of a reality, but he is getting there and the Yankees aren't missing him as much as we thought they would.

Andy Pettitte also got some good news after having his last two starts pushed back due to back spasms. Andy threw a bullpen for the second straight day and has been pronounced healed from the spasms. He is scheduled to make his next start on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Game Thread: ARI @ NYY 4/17

The Yankees will host game two of this three game set with the Diamondbacks tonight on MY9. Feel free to use the comment section of this post to talk with us about the game or follow us on twitter @GreedyStripes and talk with us there.

1. Gardner CF
2. Wells LF
3. Cano 2B
4. Youkilis 1B
5. Francisco DH
6. Cervelli C
7. Boesch RF
8. Nunez SS
9. Nix 3B

P CC Sabathia 

Arizona Diamondbacks @ New York Yankees 4/17

The Yankees and the Diamondbacks will continue their three game series tonight with the second game tonight at Yankees Stadium. The Yankees will send their big man and their ace CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with Wade Miley. The game will be televised at 7:05 pm ET on MY9. Buy your Yankees tickets for tonight's game here.

Game 15 Lineup: Diamondbacks vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. D-Backs:

Brett Gardner CF
Vernon Wells LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Francisco Cervelli C
Brennan Boesch RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Jayson Nix 3B

CC Sabathia LHP

Cano Carrying Yankees

On a night where his idol Jackie Robinson was honored Robinson Cano proved yet again why players will eventually be looking up to him.  Cano hit a three- run home run in the fourth inning off Brandon McCarthy that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead that they would never relinquish.

That at-bat proved that not only does Cano have all the physical tools in the world, but he has it mentally as well. With Cano on-deck, McCarthy struck out Brett Gardner on a 3-2 changeup and the same situation arose with Cano. He was looking changeup, McCarthy threw a terrible one that got the middle of the plate, and Cano hit an absolute rocket deep into the right-center bleachers. The 3-2 changeup that Cano hit out was the fourth consecutive changeup of the at-bat and he knew from Gardner's at-bat to look for it again on 3-2.

With the injuries to Mark Texeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, Cano was going to have to lead the Yankees through April and so far he has. Obviously, he has had help in the lineup from Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner among others, but the Yankees did not start winning until Cano got going. Youkilis, Wells and Hafner hit well when the Yankees were losing, but they are not capable of carrying a team like Cano is.

“When Robbie got going, we got it going as a team, manager Joe Girardi told George A. King III. “When he got hot our offense took off.”

Cano is now hitting .327 with 4 home runs, 9 RBI and a 1.042 OPS. His wOBA (.438) and his wRC+ (181) are also outstanding. The Yankees are 6-1 since Cano turned his season around in April and it is no coincidence. He has overcome his struggles from last postseason and early in the season to become the player we know him to be.

Why was he struggling? Well, ESPN’s Mark Simon wrote about how teams were pitching him. It was written back on April 5th,  but it is still relevant today.  At that point in the season Cano was 2-for-15, and teams were having success pitching him away. Of the 59 pitches he had seen to that point, 43 of them were either on the outer-third of the plate or off the plate away. That is a total of 73 percen,t and in the playoffs last season, Cano saw those pitches 66 percent of the time. Cano was 3-for-40 in the playoffs and 28 of those outs came off of pitches to that area.

Cano was getting to anxious trying to pull these outside pitches. The Red Sox even shifted him like they would for Mark Teixeira during the opening series off the season, which we had never seen before with Cano. He turned it around on April 8th in Cleveland, as he hit an opposite field homer and double and he has not looked back ever since. I cannot upload it here, but his heat map on ESPN shows that he is now handling the outside pitch better.  Also, Cano’s spray chart for this season clearly shows that he has hit the ball to all fields and he is going the other way at least just as much as he is pulling the ball.

The double edged sword of all of this is of course Cano is an impending free agent and the more he continues to hit like this the more his cost goes up. Hopefully with Cano leaving Scott Boras for Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports the Yankees can work out an extension before the year is over. With Mariano Rivera retiring and Derek Jeter’s time dwindling down the Yankees will need a new face of the franchise and it appears Cano will be headed that way if he stays.

This Day In Yankees History 4/17

On this day in 1951 Mickey Mantle took his first at bat of his Major League career as he grounded out to second base. He would go 1 for 4 in a 5-0 shut out of the Boston Red Sox.

On the same day in 1951 Bob Shepard would announce the lineup for the first time for the New York Yankees. The first player he ever announced was Dom DiMaggio who was the brother of Yankees star Joe DiMaggio and the Red Sox lead off hitter.

On this day in 1976 George Steinbrenner named Thurmon Munson the Yankees captain. Thurmon would be the first Yankees captain since Lou Gehrig in 1935.