Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Judge thought game-tying homer had been caught when Phillies' outfielder jumped for it

Spring training baseball, especially early spring training baseball, is rarely exciting.

The starters -- still rusty from the winter -- usually struggle before coming out after a few innings, and the prospects who follow them are often even worse. Indeed, the last few frames of major-league exhibitions tend to involve very little offense, and it seems whichever team leads after the fifth already has a win locked up. 

Except for in Tuesday's contest between the Yankees and Phillies, of course, when Yankees' outfielder Aaron Judge surprised the Clearwater crowd with a game-tying three-run home run in the top of ninth.

"I thought he robbed it," Judge told NJ.com of the blast to left, which barely cleared the glove of leaping Phillies' defender Aaron Altherr. "[I thought], 'should I turn around or keep going?' So I just kept going and no one stopped me."

Judge's homer -- the first for the Yankees this March -- evened the score at five, and highlighted a four-run rally for New York in the at-bat. The Yankees -- after a Rob Refsnyder strikeout -- still failed to ever re-take the lead, but once the umpires decided against playing extras, they had at least salvaged a draw.

And since Judge has high goals for the upcoming season, one has to assume he's pretty pleased with such an outcome.

"I'm trying to make it as hard as I can for them to send me back across the street to the minor leagues," Judge said. "So doing whatever I can to help us win."

Judge's clutch shot will likely go down as one of the few memorable moments on the day for the Yankees, who had collected just three hits in their six turns on offense prior to it. A recurring trend for the Yankees all afternoon appeared to be a failure to work the count -- something particularly noticeable in the 0-for-3 performances of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.

But that didn't look to be much of a problem with Judge, who says he's trying to see as many pitches as he can during camp. 

"I was just trying to go out there and find a good pitch," Judge said.

Luis Torrens May Miss 2015 w/ Shoulder Injury

UPDATE: It's official, Torrens is gone for the season after tearing his labrum in his right throw shoulder. Torrens will undergo surgery tomorrow to fix the issue.

What could possibly be the best catching prospect in the New York Yankees system could miss the entire 2015 season due to a shoulder injury. Luis Torrens is only 18 years old and missed two months of the 2014 season due to a shoulder strain and his right throwing shoulder may now have to go under the knife to fix. It is encouraging that Torrens hit well in the final months of the season after the surgery as one of the youngest players in the New York Penn League but he rested and rehabbed last time, he didn't have surgery.

This cannot be good for a kid and his development in his age 19 season, he turns 19 in May, to lose an entire season so let's hope for the best but prepare for the worse.

Recap: Yankees 5, Phillies 5

Everything you need to know after the Yankees tied the Phillies, 5-5, in their spring training opener Tuesday in Clearwater.

Judge, Jury, Executioner: That seems to be the new home run line for Yankees outfield prospect Aaron Judge, who evened things up in the top of the ninth with a towering three-run shot to left off the Phillies' Mario Hollands. The blast followed an RBI single by Jake Cave and another knock by Slade Heathcott, helping Judge get his chance.

Strong Offense Early: The Yankees recorded five singles in this game's first two innings, scoring once when one from Jose Pirela drove home Chris Young in the first. Pirela's clutch RBI followed another hit by Garrett Jones, who made his team debut in the clean-up spot. 

Not a Great Day for the Big Name Youngsters: Luis Severino and Jacob Lindgren were two of the more recognizable names who threw in this contest, but when they took the field, neither exactly impressed. Severino surrendered four hits and two runs in his 1 1/3 frames, and Lindgren allowed two more hits in his two-out performance in the seventh. It should be noted that Lindgren, like Severino, was also on the mound when a pair of Philadelphia runs crossed, but due to a throwing error by Rob Refsnyder, they both went down as unearned.

A Good Start for a Possible Starter: Yankees right-hander Adam Warren certainly didn't blow anyone away during his solid two-inning start in this one, but did pitch well enough to keep the Phillies off the board. He induced four groundouts and two flyouts, and was in line for the win when he left.

Next Up: The Yankees and Phillies will meet again tomorrow at George M. Steinbrenner Field -- with first pitch set to come at 1:05 pm ET. Nathan Eovaldi is set to pitch for the Yankees and Kevin Slowey for the Phillies -- a matchup likely to be overshadowed by Alex Rodriguez's return to New York's lineup.

I’m Not Worried About 2015, Here Is Why

The New York Yankees head into the 2015 season with more question marks than certainty facing the team leaving many of the fans begging for new acquisitions or players to fill the void in case of injury. While everyone is screaming about how the sky is falling I am sitting back on my couch drinking my Starbucks without a care in the world. I’m not worried a bit about the 2015 season and I’m here to tell you why, depth.

The difference in this season and say the 2014 season or other seasons where New York fought the injury bug is that the team actually has depth in the farm system and at the minor league levels. While the fan base is worried about CC Sabathia’s knee and Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow and Michael Pineda’s shoulder I am sitting back reminding them all about what Chase Whitley did for the team last year or that the team still has Bryan Mitchell, Adam Warren and possibly the rotation savior in the second half Luis Severino within striking distance of the major leagues.

While everyone is worried about the health of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, the abilities to hit the ball from Stephen Drew and the effectiveness of Carlos Beltran I am simply sitting back remembering that Robert Refsnyder is offensively ready for the major leagues, Jose Pirela already had a cup of coffee in the show, Tyler Austin has played both hot corners and the outfield and is on the 40 man roster, Kyle Roller is still around and still possesses the 30 home run power that had me screaming for his call up in 2014 and Garrett Jones is a more than suitable backup at first base and right field.

The Yankees have depth finally and help from the farm system. If we have another year of the injury I’m not even worried. Either these players I have outlined above will help the team on the field or help another team on the field after being traded for the pieces the Yankees need. Either way Yankees family the sky is not falling so stop acting like it. 

Here Comes The Judge!*

In the bottom of the 9th inning of today's game vs. the Phillies, Aaron Judge hit a game-tying three run home run. That was all the offense could muster, though, leading to the game ending in a tie. But that's hardly why I'm writing, despite a broken hand making doing so extremely difficult.

Judge split his time last year, almost exactly in half, between single-A Charleston and single-A+ Tampa. He had a combined batting line of .308/.419/.486, which included 17 bombs in 131 games. I'm not sure what level he'll end up in this season, but either way I believe the 22 year old will be ready to jump into the Majors in 2016. Which means we'll no longer see the name "Carlos Beltran" in the lineup with the number "9" next to it.

Will that mean Beltran is the new regular DH while ARod is relegated to a bench role or released? Will Beltran be the highest paid 4th outfielder in MLB? Will the Yankees release Carlos? Or... will Beltran be dealt away this season?

Maybe I'm overreacting to a silly Spring Training home run, but I think that dinger is the first of many this year and for years to come.

*sorry for the silly title. I let me inner John Sterling shine through.

New York Yankees @ Philadelphia Phillies 3/2

Welcome back baseball, we missed you. Hopefully Elsa has been arrested for a while and we can get back to warm weather and the Yankees. Today the New York Yankees start their Grapefruit League schedule with a road contest against the Philadelphia Phillies. Not that Spring Training games mean much but the Phillies lost to a College Baseball team from Tampa late last week so that bodes well for the Yankees in this one.

Adam Warren will start the game for New York and will go two innings or around 30 pitches, whichever comes first, and will be followed by a pitching group led by Luis Severino and Jacob Lindgren. Andrew Bailey, although he has thrown five bullpen sessions, will not be available for the game for the Yankees unfortunately.

It’s Game one of the spring schedule so enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your day. As always, Go Yankees!

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Yoan Moncada Rant You All Knew Was Coming

Somehow I forgot to do this yesterday like I normally do so we are doing the Tuesday Edition of the Most Popular Article of the Week where I ranted and raved about the New York Yankees losing out on the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes. Enjoy, again. 

You guys read my stuff and you know I tend to pour my heart into subjects that I truly feel passionate about. With that said I think you all were waiting and knowing that this rant about the Boston Red Sox signing Yoan Moncada was coming, right?

Moncada ended up signing with Boston for $31.5 million which equates to $63 million after penalties for going over the International Free Agents cap. When you consider that any team that blows past the cap like the New York Yankees and now the Red Sox have they cannot sign an IFA for more than $300K for each of the next two seasons. New York always spends in the International market and cannot for the next two seasons so signing Moncada for $63 million this season would really only equate to $21 million annually spread across three years, also known as chump change for New York.

I’ve always been under the impression that you bring in the best possible players and then you find a spot in the field and in the lineup for them. It doesn’t matter, to me, if Robert Refsnyder looks like the next Babe Ruth in Triple-A, it’s Triple-A for a reason. If they both work out, great, and if they don’t then at least you have a backup plan. It’s also worth mentioning that Moncada is 19 years old. If he’s “blocked” at second base see if he can play shortstop, or first base, or third base, or the outfield, or catcher or something. He’s young, agile, versatile, and teachable while still a year or more away from the big leagues anyway.

My plan, and I urge you all to follow me in this plan, is to hit the Yankees in the pocket. I’m not going to see any Yankees games this year. I’m not buying the YES Network this year. I’m not planning on buying any new Yankees merchandise or memorabilia. They will get my MLB TV money and that’s it. If the team cannot justify to me, the consumer, that their ticket prices and merchandise prices and YES Network subscriptions (which I know they have basically sold out of) then I cannot justify shelling out major dollars to see the team live. I can’t do it. I’m not going to spend hundreds of dollars to go see Andrew Miller, Didi Gregorius, or an over the hill CC Sabathia or Carlos Beltran. I would for Masahiro Tanaka or Michael Pineda and I damn sure would have for Moncada, but you had that chance and you blew it. It’s time to hit them in the pockets.

And notice that I waited almost a full day to post this. I am not shooting off from the hip and I am not letting my emotions or anger write this. I am calm, I am level headed and I know what I am saying to be true and factual. I hope that you fall in line and follow me. Rusney Castillo and now this…

Can We Finally Let Minnie Minoso Into The Hall of Fame?

First and foremost I want to start by saying that our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the late Minnie Minoso, he died at age 92 last week and will be truly missed. From Minoso’s first at bat, which was a two run home run, to becoming the first black player in Chicago to his death Minoso played the game and his life his way, the best way, and it’s a shame that the man is not in the Hall of Fame. It’s also a shame that many borderline cases like his don’t get picked up by the veteran’s committee until after their death but that may be, and should be, the case with Minoso.
Minoso played 12 of his 17 major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox hitting .304 with 135 home runs and 808 RBI. Minoso did enough to win over Chicago and had his #9 jersey retired in 1983 while also receiving the honor of having a statue modeled after him outside of Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field. The problem with Minoso’s Hall of Fame push was that he did everything well but not especially great. He could hit for average, he could hit for power, he could field, he could bunt, he could steal bases, he got on base, he created runs, etc. etc. etc.

Minoso was a nine time All Star, won three Gold Gloves in left field, is currently 9th on the All Time hit by pitch list with 192 HBP and finished in the Top 4 of the MVP voting four separate times although never winning the award. Minoso fell victim to dominant Yankees teams in the AL and never got a chance to showcase his talents in the postseason and never realized his lifelong dream of making the Hall of Fame, a wrong that needs to be righted as soon as humanly possible. We’ll now finish this post with a word from our President, Barack Obama:

For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be "Mr. White Sox."
The first black Major Leaguer in Chicago, Minnie came to the United States from Cuba even though he could have made more money elsewhere. He came up through the Negro Leagues, and didn't speak much English at first. And as he helped to integrate baseball in the 1950s, he was a target of racial slurs from fans and opponents, sometimes forced to stay in different motels from his teammates. But his speed, his power – and his resilient optimism – earned him multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves in left field, and he became one of the most dominant and dynamic players of the 1950s.
Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie's quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.

Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and fans in Chicago, Cleveland, and around the world.

TGP Daily Poll: Adam Warren Pitches Two Scoreless Innings Today

The return of the Greedy Pinstripes Daily Poll on Knoda just in time for Spring Training.

Adam Warren will start the Yankees spring opener on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies and will pitch two scoreless innings, or 30 pitches whichever comes first, to set the tone for New York in 2015.

Vote in our prediction poll on knoda.com

RiverDogs to Host Auditions to Sing National Anthem on March 10

Three celebrity judges to assist in the selection process

CHARLESTON, SC – Darius Rucker. Elise Testone. Mark Bryan. Eddie Bush. What do these four artists have in common?

They’ve all performed the National Anthem in front of thousands at a Charleston RiverDogs game. This season, the RiverDogs are offering you the opportunity to do the same, and join the ranks of these famous voices, by performing the Star-Spangled Banner prior to a game at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park during the 2015 season.

The Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees will host auditions for those wishing to perform the Star-Spangled Banner on Tuesday, March 10, from 4-7 pm, behind home plate at The Joe. If inclement weather persists, the rain date for the auditions is slated for Thursday, March 12.

Whether you are a talented vocalist or can play the Star-Spangled Banner via instrument, patrons are invited to be creative yet respectful and perform our National Anthem in whatever fashion they choose.

For the first time, the RiverDogs have solicited the assistance of three local radio personalities to serve as celebrity judges at the audition. Charlie James from WTMA, Sparkle from 95SX and Bill West of Nash FM 96.9 will help with the selection of the singers and performers.

"This is one of our more popular events of our off-season, and reminds us that the baseball season is fast approaching," said RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. "Our National Anthem tryouts always draw a large number of talented individuals and groups. Having the three celebrity guest judges on hand adds a special and exciting element this year. Maybe we’ll discover the next superstar right here in Charleston."

Auditions are open to performers of all kinds and ensembles of nine or less. Groups of 10 or more are asked to partake in the RiverDogs Group Anthem Program at www.riverdogs.com.

Everyone is asked to audition regardless of whether they have performed at a game in previous seasons or not. Those auditioning must fill out an audition form that can be found at www.riverdogs.com. Forms must be filled out and submitted to communityrelations@riverdogs.com prior to the audition day.

Please note that by auditioning, it does not guarantee a spot and also being chosen for the Audition Pool does not guarantee a game due to the overwhelming popularity and strength of performers in the area. In the past, the RiverDogs have routinely had more qualified performers than available game dates.

For additional information on the auditions, please contact Haley Kirchner at (843)723-7241 or at communityrelations@riverdogs.com.

The RiverDogs, the Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, begin their season on April 9 with a seven-game homestand that features the Lexington Legends (April 9-12) and the Augusta GreenJackets (April 13-15). Ticket information may be secured by contact the box office at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. If you can’t make the games, remember that RiverDogs baseball can be heard throughout the season on the flagship radio home, WTMA 1250AM.

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/3: Baseball 2015 is Officially Back

Just as a reminder, not that I have to remind you, the Yankees Grapefruit League schedule starts TODAY as the team travels to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Adam Warren is starting the game while Jacob Lindgren and Luis Severino, among others, are expected to pitch. With that said…

On this day in 1997 the New York Yankees signed a 10 year contract with Adidas. The licensing agreement with the sportswear company, my favorite in case you were wondering, put Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at odds with the baseball establishment. We all know George was never scared to ruffle a feather or two.