Thursday, March 26, 2015

Recap: Rays 6, Yankees 5

Adam Warren basically clinched the fifth spot in the Yankees' rotation, tossing 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball as the Yanks fell to the Rays, 6-5, Thursday in Port Charlotte.

Warren Good Again: Warren wasn't necessarily sharp during his fifth preseason outing, but did get the outs when he needed to. In all, he struck out five, walked one and gave up four hits on the day -- limiting the Rays to an Evan Longoria solo shot in the second.

Big Hits From the Usual Guys: Yankees outfielder Slade Heathcott cracked a run-scoring double in the second off Jordan Norberto -- plating the first run of the game following a walk to Rob Refsnyder. Ramon Flores also added to his RBI total with a two-run double off Kevin Jepsen in the fourth -- putting the Yankees up 3-1 at the time.

Ramirez Struggles: Jose Ramirez's rough spring continued when he surrendered two in the bottom of the fifth -- blowing the seemingly-comfortable lead Warren had left with earlier. Ramirez allowed each of the Rays' first four hitters to reach in the frame, but escaped with the tie intact after inducing a pair of flyouts. 

Martin Struggles: Indeed, it wasn't until the next inning when Chris Martin surrendered a Desmond Jennings solo home run that the Rays grabbed the advantage -- their first of the afternoon. Jennings' high fly to left was just one of two runs for the Rays in the turn -- the other coming on a Martin wild pitch three batters later.

Gregorius Keeps Hitting: Throughout all of the Yankees' pitching troubles, though, Didi Gregorius made sure to record a couple of hits -- an infield single in the fifth and an RBI double in the seventh. Gregorius is now 4-for-9 since Tuesday, having logged a double in three straight contests.

Next Up: The Yankees will head to Clearwater Friday when they take on the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET -- a matchup you can see live on TCN. Michael Pineda is set to get the nod for the Pinstripes opposite youngster Aaron Nola -- Philadelphia's top pitching prospect who is expected to start the year at Double-A.

Yankees Release Jared Burton

The New York Yankees have released Jared Burton from his minor league deal today thus ending his comeback attempt with the team. Burton has thrown four scoreless innings this spring allowing just one hit and striking out two before an oblique injury ended his spring. Burton faced a ton of stiff competition for one of the last bullpen spots in the Yankees bullpen but the injury really derailed his chances and ultimately got him released. That or the mustache.

Who Wins the Fifth Starter Job?

The New York Yankees re-signed Chris Capuano this season to give the team some stability and a known commodity and insurance policy for the 2015 season, and then he went and got hurt and threw a monkey wrench into the entire plan. With Capuano out the Yankees have hosted a fifth starter spring competition that has showcased Esmil Rogers, Bryan Mitchell, Scott Baker and Adam Warren vying for the spot in the rotation. If you look at and believe in the stats you have one clear cut winner right now on paper in Warren and one guy who has the veteran presence that Joe Girardi is always looking for in Rogers. So who wins it? I know no more than everyone reading this (unless Girardi or Brian Cashman are reading, hi guys) so I left it up to our Twitter followers.

We do a lot of these because I truly believe in the SOCIAL part of social media so if you’re reading this and you want to get involved then follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Below are what our almost 3,000 followers think will and should happen regarding the fifth starter job this season. Agree, disagree or if you feel like I left a candidate out please let me know in the comments section below, enjoy!

Spring: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 3/26

The New York Yankees will continue their great spring training this afternoon by facing off with one of their American League East rivals in the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees are at the top of the Grapefruit League amongst the leaders coming into play this afternoon after multiple walk off victories in the past week or so. The games between these two teams, even without Joe Maddon, David Price and others, are always entertaining even in the spring so be sure to check out the game if you can. You never know, Shelley Duncan may slide into second base with his spikes up again and start a brawl in the spring.

The Yankees will send Adam Warren to the mound to face off with the Rays starter Kevin Jepsen. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on Sun Sports South in Tampa. 

Who Wins the Backup Catcher Job?

Possibly the most interesting competition this spring is the competition for the backup catcher position, and not for the reasons you may think. Heading into camp it was almost a foregone conclusion that John Ryan Murphy would win the job over Austin Romine this spring and would backup Brian McCann when the team heads north for Opening Day. Many believed on various blogs and Twitter that Romine would simply be kept on the spring roster until the last possible second to better his chances of clearing through waivers since he is out of options so the Yankees could stash him back in Triple-A without the 40 man roster obligation. A monkey wrench was thrown into those plans when the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres showed interest in acquiring Romine and now the team may be rethinking their original stance on their backup catcher this season.

Murphy has a minor league option remaining while Romine does not so the team could conceivably start the season with Romine on the bench and Murphy down in Scranton. This would give the team, and other teams, more time to evaluate Romine before making a decision on his future. Romine could come out and hit the ball well, because his defense has never been questioned, and increase his trade stock or stick with the team making the Yankees look like geniuses. Romine could also come out and stink up the place offensively and would be easier to pass through waivers and keep in the organization a month or two into the season when most teams have their rosters fairly set.

If the Yankees go that route then you have to wonder what it does to Murphy and his confidence. We have seen it too many times before that this Yankees regime keeps prospects down in the minor leagues too long, Jesus Montero needs an ice cream sandwich, and they seemingly get bored, discouraged, uninterested or all of the above. Murphy showed a great talent and knack for the game last year and at least an adequate bat with room to grow, something I have never seen from Romine at the major league level, and would have to be somewhat discouraged if sent down. I’m not saying simply trade Romine just for the heck of it, especially after already trading Francisco Cervelli this offseason, but a trade may be better for all parties involved. Romine would get a fresh start and an actual opportunity while Murphy continues to develop into a MLB catcher behind McCann in the Bronx. It’s a win, win for all in my book, the problem is nobody’s ever read my book.

Who Wins the Closers Job?

For the first time in a very, very long time the New York Yankees are seemingly having a competition in spring training to determine who their closer will be. As far back as the 1996 season John Wetteland was going to be the closer for the Yankees and starting in 1997 all the way to the end of the 2013 season the guy closing out games for New York was Mariano Rivera. Last season was the first season without Rivera but no matter what the Yankees said to keep his arbitration numbers down David Robertson was the new Yankees closer but this season there are two very viable and equally inexperienced closers for the Yankees to choose from in Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Who do they chose?

Much has been made of the control and velocity for Betances this spring but many haven’t done the research before screaming that the sky was falling. Last spring training, and Joe Girardi confirmed this in a YES Network interview during one of the games that Betances pitched in, Betances was only hitting 92-94 MPH on the gun and was not as crisp and absolutely dominant as he was when he was in mid-season form in the Bronx. Granted Betances was better in 2014’s spring camp but all in all these starts and stats mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Betances is a big guy and will likely struggle with his mechanics and control his entire life but with a good pitching coach in Larry Rothschild I don’t believe this is the finished piece we will see in April, let alone June, July or in September.

Miller has little closing experience but has been pitching in the American League East for a few seasons with the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles most recently so the adjustment shouldn’t be as drastic as with most free agent pitchers. Miller has looked as lights out as ever this spring with healthy strikeout numbers while showing an ability to get both left handed and right handed batters out. Miller looks like the more polished and ready pitcher at this point in the spring and has the veteran mindset to close out games anywhere, even in the Bronx.

Call me crazy but if I’m Joe Girardi I am giving the ball to Miller as my closer to start the season. I’d rather have Betances coming in and actually saving a game, just without the stat, in the sixth, seventh or eighth inning with the ability to go multiple innings rather than tying him down and saving him for one inning at a time. I know the same was said about Mariano Rivera after the 1996 season but Betances is not Rivera, no one is Rivera, and I’d rather take advantage of his young and fresh fireballing arm as often as we safely can and you cannot do that just one inning at a time. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Will Finish First in Grapefruit League

After the New York Yankees walked off against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night the team leapfrogged into first place in the Grapefruit League this spring. That’s where the team will finish Spring Training, not that it matters, at the top.

Vote in our prediction poll on

The BYB Hub is Gearing Up for the 2015 Season

When Robert Casey sends me a text message, an email, a DM on Twitter, a smoke signal, whatever it always gets my full and undivided attention. The guy is a king and is too humble to realize it and that’s what makes him great as a blogger and even better as a father. When Casey approached me about the BYB Hub I was ecstatic and honored to be a part of it and as the Hub gears up for the 2015 season I am excited to bring you an update about it.

The Hub, if you haven’t read one of these posts or one of our tweets before, is a place where the up and comer in the blogging world to be heard. For the longest time the guy who blogged as a hobby or the girl who wanted to step into the ring with the gorillas had no voice and were generally ignored for a long time, I was there so trust me, but that is no longer the case. Whether you have one blog post or 1,000,000 your work can be showcased for free on the BYB Hub alongside our blog, Bleeding Yankee Blue, Yankees Unscripted (Chris Carelli’s awesome blog), and others. It’s not just Yankees related material either there is a very well done Red Sox blog called Section 36, an Oakland Athletics blog, and even a blog dedicated to Dutch players in Major League Baseball.

If you’re starved for new and original content, if you have to know everything going on with your team, if you’re looking for a new site to read or you’re a site that needs to be read and heard then the BYB Hub is the place to start. To join you can contact Casey on Twitter (@BleednYankeeBlu) or you can always send us a shout as well (@GreedyStripes) and I will make sure the message gets to where it needs to go.

Enjoy the day everyone and check out the Hub as we gear up towards the 2015 season. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/26: Casey Stengel is Arrested

On this day in 1957 Yankees manager Casey Stengel is arrested and released on a $50 bail after allegedly cursing and kicking a newspaper photographer during an exhibition game in St. Petersburg.

Also on this day in 1951 Mickey Mantle hit a home run estimated at 650 feet in an exhibition game against the University of Southern California at Bovard Field. Mantle, a rookie, also had a single, triple, and another home run in his first ever Yankees West Coast trip.

Finally on this day in 1936 the New York Yankees signed future Hall of Fame pitcher Red Ruffing to a deal worth $12,000.