Thursday, March 7, 2013

New York Yankees Spring Training Notes 3/7

Derek Jeter traveled back to North Carolina to see the doctor that performed his ankle surgery, Dr. Robert Anderson, for a scheduled routine check up. Everything went fine and Jeter was cleared to resume all baseball activities including running the bases at full speed, his last real test of the ankle. Derek is expected back in Yankees camp tomorrow but still does not know when he will get into a real game.

Mark Teixeira told reporters today that his tendon in his wrist is not torn and he would not require surgery unlike Jose Bautista last season. Teix says it is just a matter of letting it heal and rest and he should be back at 100% for the Yankees in mid May.

Phil Hughes made 15 pitches off of flat ground from 60 feet today using his regular pitching motion. This is a minor step in his rehabilitation but it is a step nonetheless.  Boone Logan also threw 38 pitches off of flat ground from 60 feet  after feeling some discomfort in his pitching elbow. Again a small step but it is progress at the end of the day.

David Robertson played catch today for the first time since feeling some discomfort in his pitching shoulder. He expects to be in a game either Saturday or Sunday as long as there are no set backs obviously.

Clay Rapada's Turn For Injury

I'm at a loss here...

According to Joe Girardi, Clay Rapada has been shut down for 7-10 days with shoulder bursitis. With Boone Logan currently sidelined with an elbow issue, that means the Yankees top two lefty arms in the bullpen are shut down.

Mariano Rivera To Retire Following 2013 Season

We'll write about this more at length later, but for the time being I wanted to let you all know that Saturday morning Mariano Rivera will hold a press conference to announce that this is his final season.

Mo said before that if it wasn't for his injury last season that 2012 may have been it, so this isn't a real surprise. However, it's still extremely sad. Rivera is the greatest reliever of all time, and I feel so blessed to have seen him from his first year in MLB to his last.

Baseball Tonight Special On The Yankees Spring Camp

Here is a ESPN's Baseball Tonight special where they visit New York Yankees camp. It is worth the 10 minute watch even if it is ESPN, John Kruk, and Curt Schilling. Enjoy!

Exit Sandman: The goodbye tour begins for Mo

[caption id="attachment_15131" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Unfortunatley, all good things must come to an end and we must soon say goodbye to Mariano Rivera Unfortunatley, all good things must come to an end and we must soon say goodbye to Mariano Rivera[/caption]

The worst fear for Yankees fans is finally happening: Mariano Rivera is retiring after the 2013 season. He is set to formally announce his retirement on Saturday. Rivera, who is dubbed the "Best Closer in Baseball" will spend one last summer traveling and playing baseball, in hopes of winning his 28th World Series Championship with the Yankees.

Emotions are mixed. Some are fine with letting Mo finally hang up his cleats while some who have only seen Mo pitch in the closer role for  their young lives will have trouble letting go. I'll admit, I am one of those fans who will have trouble letting go of Mo.

When fans visit Yankee Stadium and the team leads and it's the 9th inning, fans anticipate hearing Metallica's "Enter Sandman", knowing a legend will emerge from the bullpen. Once Mo would get on the mound, that would be it. Game over for the other team.

For the past couple of seasons, I've joked around saying Mariano Rivera would drink from the fountain of youth, joking that he would never age and that he could pitch as the Yankees closer well into his fifties. But today, Mo proved to us that he is human and that all good things must unfortunately come to an end.

Mariano had been a staple of five World Series Championships: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. He's known as one-fourth of the "Core Four" sharing that same title with fellow teammates Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and recent retiree Jorge Posada. He gives fans hope, he gives the fans consistency and in return he has earned every baseball fan's respect. Whether they're a Boston Red Sox fan, a Philadelphia Phillies fan, a New York Mets fan or a San Francisco Giants fan. Mariano has the respect of everyone around him. He's the lead example of class, he's adored and he will be terribly missed once he hangs up his cleats for one final time.

I've had the joy and the pleasure of watching Mariano Rivera pitch over the years which is why it's hard for me to cope with the fact that in 8 months it would be time to say goodbye for one final time to the best closer in baseball. But when it's time to 'Exit Sandman', there won't be a dry eye in the house, and Yankees fans will be grateful of everything he's done for us. And for as long as we live, we will never ever forget him.

New York Yankees @ St. Louis Cardinals 3/7

The walking wounded New York Yankees will travel to play the St. Louis Cardinals today in Grapefruit League play as they continue their Spring Training camp. The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound this afternoon with him looking to build on his very impressive previous start where he threw two shut out innings. The game will be televised at 1:05 pm ET on YES.

Observations from a Disastorous ST

[caption id="attachment_15113" align="aligncenter" width="475"]Tex's wrist injury leaves the offense punchless Tex's wrist injury leaves the offense punchless[/caption]

Spring Training is supposed to be an uneventful month of games where veterans get their work in, pitchers build up their arms and young players show off their skills. But for the Yankees, this ST has been a war of attrition. Injuries have now knocked out their two biggest power hitters for at least the first 5 weeks of the regular season and the team has little in the way of depth to help.

You can't blame Brian Cashman for the injuries to Granderson & Teixeira but he does bear some responsibility for the predicament they are in now.  Consider the following:

  1. By failing to acquire a MLB-caliber  hitting Catcher or a legitimate RH hitting OF, the lineup was lean to begin with and could ill-afford any losses.  I'd feel a lot better with a lefty power hitting Catcher like Pyrzynski and/or a strong RH hitting OF like Gomes or Soriano.

  2. By letting Eric Chavez leave via FA and not bringing in a solid replacement, the team has no legitimate hitter (or fielder) to step in at 3B or 1B much less one that hit .281 with 16 HRs in 313 ABs last yr with a 126 OPS+

  3. By bringing in a DH who doesn't even own a Glove, he further crippled the team's depth and eliminated a number of options.  Last year when starting LF Brett Gardner was lost for the season after 2 weeks, DH Raul Ibanez was able to step in and play a lot of LF enabling Girardi to use his best available hitter as DH or to use that slot to rest his aging veteran position players. This year, Travis Hafner will be clogging up that DH spot so he had better be a very productive hitter

I didn't intend to make this a bash Cashman article but I had to point out the poor construction of this roster. The injuries have allowed us to see what the team has in terms of veteran options and minor-lg depth.  So far, the young OFs have shown some promise while the vets have looked brutal.  In the infield, it seems there is no depth at the corner spots.  Here are some random observations on certain players and positions:

  • Melky Mesa & Zoilo Almonte have shown some skills.  Mesa is a very good OF who can play all 3 spots and Zoilo looks like a solid defender in RF.  Offensively, both have power but have the same problems with strikeouts.  I like Zoilo better as a hitter but they may make a decent platoon.  Juan Rivera is an absolute disaster in the OF and brings back memories of Marcus Thames.  I really hope he doesn't make the team because he isn't a good hitter and is a zero in the field. I haven't seen a lot of Diaz in the OF but I think I'd take him over Rivera.

  • Slade is the WildCard. I love his game but I don't know if it's right to bring him up for just 5 weeks. I like to see him stay healthy and hit the ball in AA before bringing him up

  • Ronny Mustelier can hit and looks serviceable in the OF.  He's played the IF before, i wonder if they could try him at 1B.  At this point they need to get guys who can hit on the team.  if Musty can play LF, RF and 1B and/or 3B he'd be a valuable asset with his bat.  I'd rather see him hit than Juan Rivera.

  • Dan Johnson & Corban Joseph have gotten a lot of time at 3B and both are butchers there. It's a shame that David Adams is hurt again because he'd have a legit chance to make the team if he proved he could play 3B.

  • Eduardo Nunez has looked good at SS.  He's gotten a lot of innings there and looks much more confident.  The work on his throwing motion seems to have helped and I think he has to get a lot of playing time this yr at SS and DH.

  • Jayson Nix is a solid utility-man and I'd rather play him at 3B than Johnson

  • The bullpen arms look great. They are deep there as usual. Joba looks strong and some young arms like Chase Whitley and Francisco Rondon have been impressive.  I was a little concerned with Mark Montgomery's last outing.  He had bad body language and his stuff lacked crispness. I thought they should have taken him out right away and I'm concerned he may be injured.  I hope I'm wrong.

  • Vidal Nuno has been a pleasant surprise. He's had several good outings and threw 4 no-hit innings against us yesterday with 4 Ks. He is aggressive and throws 4 pitches for strikes in any count. He'll be good depth in AAA this year and I wouldn't be scared to give him a start in an emergency.  With Warren and Brett Marshall, they have 3 solid starters at AAA and they are still looking for a veteran like CM Wang to stash in Scranton.

Spring Training 3/7/13 Lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Juan Rivera 1B
Francisco Cervelli DH
Matt Diaz LF
Chris Stewart C
Ronnier Mustelier 3B
Jose Pirela 2B
Addison Maruszak SS

Ivan Nova RHP

Start Time: 1:05 p.m
TV: None
Radio: St. Louis Cardinals radio (MLB Gameday)

Who's on First?, Couple of Tex articles, Robertson to rest stiff shoulder

mug3How's everyone feeling about the upcoming season now?   Let's get right into the links....

-- New York Times writer David Waldstein has the latest on the Tex injury.

-- Sports Illustrated has a nice article about the injury.

--Another injury to note is that David Robertson is skipping the trip to rest his stiff shoulder article provided by Andy McCullogh of The Star Ledger.