Saturday, March 14, 2015

Recap: Blue Jays 1, Yankees 0

Caleb Gindl singled home the game's only run and Daniel Norris hurled 3 1/3 shutout innings Saturday as the split-squad Yankees fell to the Blue Jays, 1-0, in a pitching-dominated matinee in Dunedin.

Rogers Makes Strong Case for Starting Job: Yankees rotation candidate Esmil Rogers kept the Blue Jays off the board for three frames, striking out three while allowing four hits. He never managed to retire the Jays in order, but thanks to an outfield assist by Brett Gardner in the first, it didn't ultimately matter.

A-Rod's First Road Game: Alex Rodriguez's first appearance away from Steinbrenner Field went nicely -- with Rodriguez fielding two balls on defense and going 1-for-3 in 5 1/2 innings of play. His hit was a long single off the right-field wall in the top of the fourth -- an offensive turn in which the Yankees would eventually strand the bases loaded.

Martin Gets Out of Trouble: Yankees bullpen candiate Chris Martin surrendered a double to Dayan Viciedo in the Blue Jays' half of the fourth, but was otherwise solid in an inning of work. Martin struck out two and induced a Dalton Pompey groundout to leave Viciedo at second -- helping him rebound from a rough last outing against the Red Sox.

Gindl Breaks Scoreless Tie: The Yankees' pitchers refused to give up anything through the first five innings, but the weight of Toronto's numerous threats finally got to them in the bottom of the sixth. Indeed, the aforementioned Gindl drove in the Blue Jays' lone run with a single off Tyler Webb in that at-bat, a fly ball to center that plated Steve Tolleson from second.

Yankees' Late Rally Falls Short: After Eric Jagielo got hit by a pitch and Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole let a ball get passed him, the Yankees had the tying run at second with nobody out in the top of the ninth -- a seemingly-ideal situation to even it up. Following a pair of unproductive outs, however, they were put in a hit-or-lose situation, and once pinch runner Tyler Wade was easily thrown out at home trying to score on a bobbled grounder, their comeback attempt was officially failed.

Next Up: The Yankees will head back to Tampa Sunday for a 1:05 p.m. ET meeting with the Phillies -- airing only on WFAN radio. Nathan Eovaldi will get the nod for New York opposite Philadelphia's Sean O'Sullivan -- Eovaldi's first start since the Yanks' home opener March 4.

Yankees Release Mat Gamel

Mat Gamel's tenure in a Yankee uniform lasted around a week as on March 8 New York signed him and today they released him. Gamel was signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training and was barely in camp a week before the Yankees had seen enough apparently.

Gamel has missed the last two seasons with two separate ACL tears and was thought to finally be healthy heading into 2015. I guess not.

Recap: Yankees 4, Tigers 1

Michael Pineda tossed three shutout innings and Andrew Miller struck out two in a scoreless top of the fifth Saturday as the Yankees beat the Tigers, 4-1, in an afternoon split-squad game at Steinbrenner Field.

Pineda Stays Hot: Pineda faced the minimum through his three frames of work, retiring eight of nine hitters while striking out four. He picked off Andrew Romine after the latter walked in the third -- recording the putout himself following a rundown.

Miller Cruises: Miller got hit pretty hard his last time out against the Red Sox, but at least in this one, seemed to have better control of all of his pitches. He sat down three straight Tigers with a couple of strikeouts in a perfect fifth inning, lowering his ERA on the preseason to 2.25.

Gregorius' RBI: Didi Gregorius continued to hit the ball well with a run-scoring sac fly in the Yankees' half of the third, his second RBI in the last week. Gregorius' drive to deep right traveled as far as the warning track, and let Mason Williams jog in routinely from third.

Betances Struggles: Dellin Betances surrendered two ground-rule doubles and balked in the fourth inning, giving up the Tigers' lone run in the contest on a Josh Wilson groundout. The two extra-base knocks he allowed came courtesy of major-leaguers Rajai Davis and Nick Castellanos, and were strangely not accompanied by any strikeouts.

Teixeira Breaks the Tie: Batting with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees took a 3-1 advantage on a Mark Teixeira fielder's choice and a Dixon Machado throwing error -- putting them ahead rather comfortably going into the last three innings. It looked like Machado would have easily doubled up Teixeira with an accurate delivery to first base, but the ball was flung to the dugout wall instead as a second run crossed home. 

Next Up: The Yankees will take the field in Tampa again Sunday when they host the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET -- airing only on WFAN radio. Nathan Eovaldi will get the nod for New York against Philadelphia's Sean O'Sullivan -- Eovaldi's first start since the Yanks' home opener March 4.

What to do with Austin Romine

The New York Yankees have three players that are out of options entering Spring Training camp 2015 and two of them are all but guaranteed roster spots. Esmil Rogers and Ivan Nova are out of options while Austin Romine is in a battle with John Ryan Murphy for the backup catcher spot with the big league club. What should the Yankees do with Romine who is expected to lose the competition to Murphy? That’s a tough question to answer right now unfortunately.

The Yankees obviously have a couple of options, the first being to let him have the backup catcher job while sending Murphy to Triple-A to start the season. This is of course the unlikeliest of the options and the most foolish of the options as the team should bring the best team north to start the season in April. The second option is to attempt to pass Romine through waivers at the very end of spring in hopes that everyone has their rosters set and aren’t willing to guarantee him a 25 man roster spot. The problem with this is starting catching is becoming more and more harder to find and there isn’t the plethora of suitable backups that we used to see some five to ten years ago so Romine would likely be picked off the waiver wire and had for little to nothing.

The third option is to trade the young catcher and the Philadelphia Phillies have already reportedly shown interest. Carlos Ruiz is the starting catcher in Philadelphia for sure but the backup catcher picture with the Phillies is not as set in stone. Do the Phillies have anything the Yankees would be interested in though is the question. I won’t pretend to be an expert in the Philadelphia farm system just because I googled it on the internet but I do know a thing or two about their major league roster. The team is in total rebuild and while I want no part of Ryan Howard or Chase Utley the team has more than a few players out of options as well that put them in the same boat the Yankees are in right now with Romine. Yours for mine?

Looking at the quick list of players the only one I see that is worth acquiring and realistically available to acquire is Phillippe Aumont. Aumont is 26 years old and may be clicking in your head because he was a part of the Cliff Lee trade a few years back. Aumont struggles with command like many pitchers who are 6’ 7” and 240 lbs. but strikes out more than 11 batters per nine innings (in the minor leagues) and can hit 99 or 100 MPH on his fastball. He is the type of bullpen piece the Yankees love and a trade may already be in the works. A relief pitcher for a catcher seems familiar, see Justin Wilson for Francisco Cervelli, but at this point it may be the best the Yankees can get for Romine

Spring Game Threads: New York Yankees Split Squad Schedule

The New York Yankees played their first two night time Spring Training games on Thursday and Friday against the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox and now will play another set of split squad games this afternoon inside the Grapefruit League. In the first game the team will play host to the Detroit Tigers for the first time this spring at home in George M. Steinbrenner Field. In the second contest the other split squad will travel to play a road game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Detroit game will be broadcasted on the YES Network while the Toronto game will be shown locally in Toronto on SNET. One of the games is surely going to be on MLB TV but honestly I don’t know which one.

The starter for the game against Detroit will be Michael Pineda and the game will begin at 1:05 pm ET. The second game will begin at 1:07 pm ET and will showcase Esmil Rogers starting for the Yankees. Go Yankees x2!!

Masahiro Tanaka Looked Good and All But…

Masahiro Tanaka made his spring debut on Thursday night in George M. Steinbrenner Field when the New York Yankees played host to the Atlanta Braves and looked like the Masahiro Tanaka of old. Tanaka looked to have zero restrictions from the elbow as he placed every one of his 18 pitches wherever he wanted to whenever he wanted to. His velocity looked great, topping out at 94 MPH, for where he is at in this stage of the spring and more importantly he had no issues with the elbow that day or the next day. While the impressive and quick work will keep the Jon Heyman’s and the Peter Gammons and the Buster Olney’s at bay for the next four days us as Yankees fans should temper our expectations for Tanaka.

Tanaka didn’t exactly go rogue when he decided to skip the Tommy John surgery and instead opted to rest and rehab the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka spoke to four highly respectable doctors who reiterated the same prognoses including Dr. James Andrews. While there have been success stories in Adam Wainwright you are still merely delaying the inevitable. Tanaka’s elbow could last the rest of his career and his elbow could blow out tomorrow when he is flushing the toilet.

That’s the scariest part of it all Yankees family, we’re really in uncharted territory. Even in the success of Adam Wainwright he still eventually had the surgery so you just never know. Tanaka could pitch the rest of his seven year contract and be just fine, he could make it to his opt out date and have it blow out, or it could require the surgery tomorrow. I’m not saying all this to scare everyone I just don’t think I personally will be getting too comfortable with Tanaka until he is no longer in pinstripes because you just never know. 

The Big Five

Five years ago today at 1:41 AM in Jasper, Georgia my best friend was born, my son Evan. Today my son turns the big five and his life is ready to change, hopefully for the better. This is the year he starts school, makes new friends, rides the bus, and God willing sees his first live Yankees game. So to my best friend, my pride and joy, and one third of my heart…. Happy Birthday little buddy.

We’re having a pizza and game room party at the local pizza shop and it’s a Minecraft themed party if you guys want to show up and bring a gift. If not you will just have to root on the Yankees without me.

Have a great day everybody!

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Will Win Two Games on Saturday

The New York Yankees have another pair of split squad games on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers and at the Toronto Blue Jays. Last time the team had a pair I predicted one victory, today I predict a Yankees sweep in the Grapefruit League.

Vote in out prediction polls on

Will Ferrell Wants to Play for the Yankees

Will Ferrell wants to play for the New York Yankees.... yeah that makes one of us Anchor Man.

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/14: YES Network for Free!

On this day in 2003 Cablevision agreed to a one year interim deal to offer the Yankees YES Network to New York Yankees fans for a fee, ending a bitter and costly year long feud. This essentially made the YES Network a premium channel instead of a basic cable channel preventing the company from forcing every subscriber to pay for the channel whether they wanted it or not. The rest, my friends, is history.

Also on this day in 1961 the New York Mets landed former Yankee general manager George Weiss out of retirement to become the team’s first president. Weiss had been the Yankees' general manager from 1947-1960 before retiring.