Sunday, February 15, 2015

Romine preparing to compete for Yankees' backup catcher job

When Francisco Cervelli went down with a hamstring injury last April, the Yankees somewhat surprisingly called up John Ryan Murphy to replace him.

At the time, it seemed Austin Romine was the favorite to temporarily become the Yankees' backup catcher -- given that he had more big-league experience as well as a reputation as a better power hitter.

But after Murphy batted .284/.318/.370 in 32 games, the decision to instead use him actually looked rather smart, and it's safe to say Murphy is now the more likely one to win the job. That's not something Romine is letting get to him, though, and the youngster says he's only been focusing on himself as he prepares for spring training.

"I want it," Romine told The New York Daily News earlier this week. "I want to go out there and prove to them that I want it. That's why I'm [at the Yankees' minor-league complex 10 days] early and I just want to hit the ground running and go after it."

Romine and Murphy are set to compete for the role next month  -- with the victor becoming Brian McCann's substitute. The duo -- 26 and 23, respectively -- is beginning to grow older, so it's possible whoever misses out on the big league squad will have lost the opportunity to permanently join it.

But that's not a concept with which Romine's necessarily unfamiliar -- seeing as he's been afflicted by multiple injuries over the last few years. 

"It's been rough for me, because I know what I can do and I want to prove that I can do it," Romine said. 

Romine missed most of the 2012 season with a pair of bulging discs in his back, and suffered a concussion in September 2013 when he was hit in the mask by a foul ball. He only had a couple of short stints in the majors last year -- eventually playing in just seven contests.

But Romine is determined to get past all of that, and to again prove his worth to the Yankees. 

"That's why I came her early, to show them I can still do this, that I can hit up here and that I'm still a good catcher," he said.

ICYMI: Pete Rose Wants Back in Baseball

There is finally a little bit of hope for all those, including myself, that are in the camp that want to see Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from Major League Baseball lifted and who want to see the All-Time Hits King in the Hall of Fame. Bud Selig was very adamant about keeping Rose out of the game and the Hall but did seem to bend a little the last time the All Star Game was in Cincinnati. Rose was allowed in the ballpark for the festivities and will be allowed in the park in 2015 when the game is back in Cincinnati. With a new Commissioner of Major League Baseball there may be more hope in the Rose camp. Especially considering how socially acceptable baseball betting is these days and considering how easy it is to do Baseball betting at

Rose desperately wants to talk to new Commissioner Rob Manfred after Manfred was asked and quoted as saying that the Rose issue was something he would at least consider and discuss. Manfred did acknowledge that he never reviewed the case involving Rose and did not set a timetable in any shape or form but did acknowledge that he would be open to a meeting. However small the margin and the possibility for Rose there is still a chance… and that’s more than what he had with Selig. Optimism.

Listen, Rose bet on games as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds and was banned in August of 1989 and honestly it’s a crock. Rose’s Hall of Fame case is for his playing career, not his managerial career, first and foremost and Rose didn’t do anything different that “disgraced” the game. Rose’s job was to win games in Cincinnati, whether he bet on the game or not, and always bet on his team to win. Was it a crappy thing to do and against the rules? Absolutely, fine him, suspend him whatever. Ban him from baseball for trying to win games as a manager? What a joke. 

Yankees to Retire #46 on August 23, 2015

The New York Yankees will present Andy Pettitte Day at Yankee Stadium on August 23, 2015. Conveniently Andy's son, Josh Pettitte, broke the news on his Twitter account claiming that the team would be giving Andy a plaque in Monument Park and will be retiring his #46 jersey number.

Syndicated Sunday: A Different Yankees Prospects List

Originally seen on Pinstripe Alley. Click HERE for the original post. 

Here is a quick excerpt from the original article:

1. Rob Refsnyder - Has made the difficult transition from college outfielder to professional infielder, but even the most generous scouting reports call his defense a work in progress.

2. Jose Pirela - Rob Refsnyder's offensive potential has garnered more attention, but Pirela's .305/.351/.441 in Triple-A while playing nearly every position on the diamond is just as exciting to me, though there are questions about his defense as well.

3. John Ryan Murphy - Didn't show nearly the power I was hoping for this year. I had hoped that escaping the pitcher's paradise in Scranton would allow him to take a big step forward, but I was impressed by what I saw of his defense, and that means that one of Murphy or Francisco Cervelli is likely trade bait this offseason.

4. Manny Banuelos - This might be a make-or-break season for the slight southpaw. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, this is likely his last chance to prove he can make it as a starter. If the 2015 Yankees have anything close to the trouble keeping their starters healthy that they've had the last two seasons, Banuelos will certainly have the chance to prove himself.

5. Greg Bird - Played only 27 games in Trenton during 2014, but his performance so far in the Arizona Fall League has to bring extra expectations. If Mark Teixeira gets hurt again, or if the Yankees find themselves again struggling to get adequate production from the DH spot, could Bird be a fix?

ICYMI: Staten Island Yankees Announce Coaching Staff

Here's the press release from the team:


STATEN ISLAND- As Spring Training approaches, the Staten Island Yankees have received their 2015 field staff as assigned by the New York Yankees:

Pat Osborn – Manager
Osborn enters his second season in the New York Yankees organization after leading the Gulf Coast League Yankees2 to a 35-25 record while winning their division in 2014. Before joining the Yankees, Osborn served as the manager for the independent Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs from 2011-2013. After his collegiate playing career at the University of Florida, Osborn was taken in the second round of the 2002 draft by the Cleveland Indians. Osborn began his pro career in the New York-Penn League, playing a total of 54 games in 2002 and 2003 with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The new Baby Bombers skipper played six seasons in the minors for the Cleveland Indians (2002-2007) and Houston Astros (2007) organizations. After leaving affiliated ball, Osborn played for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs from 2008-2010, where he eventually took over as manager. Osborn follows 2014 manager Mario Garza as the second consecutive Florida Gator to don the pinstripes in Staten Island.
Butch Henry – Pitching Coach
After playing seven seasons in Major League Baseball, Henry took his first coaching position as a roving pitching instructor for the Sarasota Reds (GCL) in 2004. In 2005, Henry became the pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds Rookie affiliate, Billings Mustangs. Following his two seasons in affiliated ball, the Texas native made his way back to his hometown of El Paso to become the manager of the El Paso Diablos of the independent American Association. Henry was skipper of the Diablos from 2006-2010, earning 2007 Manager of the Year in the American Association and being inducted into the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. As a player, Henry was selected in the 15th round of 1987 draft by the Cincinnati Reds right out of high school. He went on to play seven seasons in MLB with five teams: Houston Astros (1992), Colorado Rockies (1993), Montreal Expos (1993-95), Boston Red Sox (1997-98) and Seattle Mariners (1999). Henry posted a 33-33 record with a 3.83 ERA during his career, but one of his most notable achievements came at the plate. In 1992, Henry became the only player in MLB history to record an inside-the-park home run for his career hit.
Ty Hawkins – Hitting Coach
Hawkins returns to Staten Island as the team's hitting coach for a 10th consecutive season. Hawkins guided the Baby Bombers to a New York-Penn League-best 52 home runs in 2009 and a league-high in batting average and runs scored during the team's championship run in 2006. Hawkins has also coached for AA Trenton (2005), Single A Tampa (2004), Single A Battle Creek (2003), Single A Greensboro (2002) and Gulf Coast Yankees (1999-2001). The hitting coach also spent time coaching at the collegiate level with Vanderbilt and Illinois. Hawkins played his college ball at Old Dominion, helping the team reach the NCAA Regionals in 1990. Ty also appeared in 69 minor league games in 1991 for the New York-Penn League's Erie Sailors and the Midwest League's South Bend White Sox.
Eric Duncan – Defensive Coach
This will be Duncan's first season coaching in professional baseball after serving as a volunteer coach at Seton Hall for the last three years while pursuing his degree in political science. The former Baby Bomber was drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round, 27th overall, in the 2003 draft.  Duncan returns to Staten Island after a short stint with the Baby Bombers in 2003. In only 14 games with Staten Island in 2003, Duncan drove in 13 runs while batting .373 with two home runs, four triples and five doubles. The highly touted prospect earned the honor of Arizona Fall League MVP in 2005, a year that featured future MLB stars Matt Kemp, Joey Votto and Adam Jones. In 2006, Duncan was named Top Rookie for the New York Yankees in Spring Training. The New Jersey native made it as high as AAA in his career playing for four different organizations: New York Yankees (2003-09), Atlanta Braves (2010), St. Louis Cardinals (2011) and Kansas City Royals (2012).
The Staten Island Yankees are the Single A-Short Season Affiliate of the New York Yankees and play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. The Staten Island Yankees are six-time New York-Penn League Champions (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011). For more information, visit

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: #14

Prospects Month is in full swing and we're already up to our 14th best prospect in the farm system, Eric Jagielo. Honestly I am not as high on Jagielo as most people are, and I know you cannot tell by his ranking, but this in my eyes is a make or break season for him. I know how crazy that sounds in his third professional season but he was exposed for much of the 2014 season and I can see his stock plummeting with a repeat in 2015. 

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Jagielo:
Eric Jagielo, 3B Video: Jagielo is a pretty straightforward prospect: he has plus power from the left side and the hope is he’ll have a 50 bat and 50 defense at third base, but both are a little fringy right now for scouts. If it all clicks, he’s an above average regular and those two tools hold at fringy or below average, he’s a borderline 45/50 FV first baseman.  Jagielo was the first of three first round picks in 2013 (26th overall) as he was the most advanced at the time, but the two chosen behind him (Judge and Clarkin) were upside plays that have both played well so far. Jagielo had a scare in instructs after being hit in the face by a fastball, breaking a bone, but every indication is he’ll be fine and ready for Spring Training.

14. Eric Jagielo
15. Jake Cave
16. Austin DeCarr
17. Tyler Wade
18. Juan DeLeon
19. Dante Bichette Jr. 
20. Domingo German
21. Slade Heathcott
22. Nick Rumbelow
23. Jose Ramirez
24. Ramon Flores
25. Gosuke Katoh
26. Chasen Shreve
27. Taylor Dugas

28. Johnny Barbato

Meet a Prospect Cole Figueroa

Spring Training is ever so close ladies and gentleman, it’s so close you can almost taste it. Last season the team brought so many players to camp that players had to share jersey numbers, remember that? Anyway this year there will be 67 players in camp including a fresh new face over from the Tampa Bay Rays in Cole Figueroa. Let’s meet him.

Stephen Coleman Figueroa was born on June 30, 1987 to parents Cindy and Bien Figueroa and spent his college career at the University of Florida playing on the Gators baseball team. Figueroa was the starting shortstop for the team and impressed many teams there including the San Diego Padres who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB First Year Players Draft. Figueroa was also drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 Draft but elected to not sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, seems like that was a good decision for him.

Figueroa hoped that his father’s baseball blood, Bien is a former major league player with the St. Louis Cardinals, would translate to a great career with the Padres but the team traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays on December 17, 2010. San Diego received Jason Bartlett while trading Figueroa, Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell to Tampa. Figueroa saw his first major league at bat on May 22, 2014 after the Rays called him up and recorded his first major league hit on May 23, a walk off RBI double against the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the 9th inning.

That to date is the highlight of Figueroa’s career as he is now a member of the New York Yankees and will fight for a position and a bench spot with the team in Spring Training. Go get ‘em Cole!

Looking at the 2015 Draft: 14th Best Prospect

Continuing our look at the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft we take a look at the #14 ranked prospect expected to enter the draft. As always we will include the mini scouting report from as we introduce the #14 prospect, Nick Plummer. Plummer is an outfielder and a Senior from Brother Rice High School in Michigan.

FYI this is who, and of course a lot can change between then and now, I want the Yankees to take with that #16 pick if he is still available this June. This guy would be a perfect fit for both the team and the stadium in the Bronx. 

Here is the write up from

couting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

A relative unknown at the beginning of the summer showcase circuit, Plummer thrust himself into first-round discussion with standout performances at the East Coast Pro Showcase and the Area Code Games. His stock took a hit when he struggled at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in October, but he still should become the first Michigan prep position players taken in the top three rounds since Billy Killian in 2004.

Plummer has a chance to be a plus hitter for both power and average. He has a quick left-handed bat and a mature approach, hitting gap to gap while doing a nice job of recognizing pitches and refusing to chase them out of the strike zone. He shows average to solid speed and can steal an occasional base.

Some scouts think Plummer has the instincts to stay in center field even though he's not a plus runner, while others think he's destined for a corner. If that happens, his arm will fit better in left field than in right. Wherever the Kentucky commit winds up, he's one of the most dangerous high school hitters in this Draft.

14. Nick Plummer
15. Trenton Clark
16. Ian Happ
17. Phil Bickford
18. Mike Nikorak
19. Kyle Cody
20. Cody Ponce
21. Riley Ferrell 
22. Chris Betts
23. James Kaprielian
24. Jake Lemoine
25. Beau Burrows
26. Richie Martin
27. Kyle Tucker
28. D.J. Stewart

ICYMI: Greg Bird Hits a Bomb, Wins an MVP

In case you guys missed it I am here to remind you as we continue Prospects Month and count down to Spring Training. Remember when Greg Bird hit an absolute bomb in the Arizona Fall League All Star Game that's not really an All Star Game? Bird won the MVP Award of the game, which makes you wonder if it's really an MVP Award or whether it's an "everyone gets a trophy for showing up" award, with this towering home run. Enjoy a glimpse of the future.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/15: RIP Cory Lidle

On this day in 2007 the Yankees announced that the team would wear black armbands on the left sleeve of their uniforms in memory of late teammate Cory Lidle. The 34 year old right handed pitcher died when his plane crashed into a 52 story high rise apartment building in Manhattan last October.

Also on this day in 1931 the Yankees renamed their spring training site in St. Petersburg to Miller Huggins Field to honor their late manager.