Friday, August 2, 2013

Alex Rodriguez Homers In Rehab Game

Alex Rodriguez quad muscle looked fully healed today as he went 1-2 with a home run in his first rehab game with the Trenton Thunder. A Rod played five innings at third base and fielded a couple of ground balls cleanly at the hot corner. Alex is expected to play seven innings in the field Saturday and could be back with the Yankees on Monday vs. the Chicago White Sox if he is not suspended.

Melky Mesa Sent To AAA, Thomas Neal Designated

Melky Mesa has been sent to AAA Scranton to make room for recently activated Curtis Granderson on the 25 man roster. Thomas Neal has been designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40 man roster for Granderson. Hopefully, although I cannot see it happening, Neal will clear waivers and go back down to AAA.

Game Thread: Yankees @ Padres 8/2

The Yankees and the Padres start a three game weekend inter league series tonight in the Yellow Stone of Major League Baseball, Petco Park. The pitching match up is CC Sabathia for the Yanks and Andrew Cashner for the Padres. CC Sabathia is 0-2 with a 10.93 ERA in his last three starts against the Twins, Red Sox, and Rays respectively. Cashner has won his last two starts and looks to build on that going forward for the Padres. Hopefully the Yankees can build on a big win against the Dodgers on Wednesday and streak towards a Wild Card spot.

Here is the Yankees lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Curtis Granderson LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Chris Stewart C
CC Sabathia LHP

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New York Yankees @ San Diego Padres 8/2

Welcome to August baseball Yankees fans the season in really in the stretch run now and it begins tonight when the Yankees travel to Petco Park to take on the San Diego Padres. The Yankees will send the big man CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with Andrew Cashner for the Padres. The game will be televised at 10:05 pm ET on YES and MLB TV.

Biogenesis Suspensions Will Be Announced Monday

And the soap opera goes on and on and on....

First we heard that the suspensions associated with the Biogenesis steroid fall out would be announced the week after the All Star Game and that did not happen. Most recently we heard that they would be announced this week sometime and that did not happen either. Then we heard that these would be handed down today, Friday, and now I bring to you the announcement that the suspensions will not be announced until Monday. Well that is if you believe anything that comes out of anyone's mouth that is associated with these shenanigans anymore because I don't personally.

The timing is convenient for Sunday or Monday because most teams will have right at or around 50 games left in the season and most players not named Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun are expected to receive 50 game suspensions. Either way I am beyond ready for this whole ordeal to be over, processed, and passed us so we can stop speculating and talking about it already.

Game 108 Lineup: Yankees @ Padres

It's a brand new series and this game is a chance for CC to start the game on the right foot. Here's the lineup!

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Curtis Granderson LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Chris Stewart C
CC Sabathia P

Some Notes:

-- To make room for Curtis Granderson on the roster, the Yankees have sent Melky Mesa down to the minors and have designated Thomas Neal for assignment.

-- Major League Baseball has announced that they will reveal the suspended players no later than Monday. Alex Rodriguez will face a suspension while Francisco Cervelli could also be punished.

Alex Rodriguez Rehab Update

[caption id="attachment_16342" align="alignright" width="300"]Alex Rodriguez went five innings with a home run in his rehab start in Trenton on Friday night Alex Rodriguez went five innings with a home run in his rehab start in Trenton on Friday night[/caption]

With the Biogenesis Report suspensions looming, you would think Alex Rodriguez would be worried. Well if he was, it didn't show. A-Rod played a rehab game today in Trenton earlier this evening with his future still uncertain on where he'll be on Monday: with the Yankees or at home due to a suspension?

Back to the rehab game, Alex Rodriguez looked like a player that wasn't bothered by his recent injuries, going 1-for-2 with a 2-run home run that left Arm & Hammer Stadium in Trenton. Alex Rodriguez also fielded two baseballs during the evening.

The first ball hit to him ricocheted off his glove, but he was able to recover it and throw to first for the out. The second ball hit to him was a ball in the hot corner that Rodriguez snagged and threw to first, looking as if the hip or his calf weren't nagging him.

Rodriguez walked in the first inning on five pitches, he homered in the third on a fastball that was down the middle of the plate and struck out in the fifth inning on a 2-2 change-up. After A-Rod's final AB, he went to the sidelines (while the game was still in the fifth inning) and started signing autographs, taking pictures and he even gave his bat to a fan. A-Rod made his way to the clubhouse which officially ended his night.

Rodriguez is supposed to play another game tomorrow night and then his fate will be in the hands of Major League Baseball on Sunday night, with MLB making the decisions on Monday morning. Will A-Rod be in Yankees pinstripes Monday or will he be suspended (or banned) from baseball?

My Lineup For The Yankees Tonight Vs. San Diego

Curtis Granderson is expected back tonight in San Diego for the weekend series with the San Diego Padres so I wanted to take a shot at what I think the lineup will look like tonight against Andrew Cashner. I bombed the last lineup prediction so do not put much faith into this but it is what it is, so here it is.

1. Gardner - CF
2. Jeter - SS
3. Cano - 2B
4. Soriano - LF
5. Granderson - RF
6. Overbay - 1B
7. Nunez - 3B
8. Stewart - C
9. Sabathia - P

Alex Rodriguez To Take A Plea Deal?

Jon Heyman is reporting that Alex Rodriguez may take a plea deal.

The plea deal, which comes as no surprise, would keep ARod off of the field until 2015. However, considering the evidence they have, MLB believes that a 150 game suspension would be too light.

MLB may have a problem as the US Attorney's Office in Miami investigating Biogenesis, which could mean Anthony Bosch wouldn't be a witness for MLB since he wouldn't want to make himself look worse to the feds. So even a 150 game ban for Rodriguez could be difficult to obtain, which means MLB would be considered the "loser" in this fight.

Alex, as well as the others to be suspended due to their involvement with Biogenesis, reportedly have until Monday to make their decision on whether to accept or appeal.

Lyle Overbay Appreciation Thread

Where would the New York Yankees be this season without Lyle Overbay in the starting lineup? We were set to give the last spot on the bench to former Yankee Juan Rivera until the Red Sox let Overbay go right before Spring Training was over and it may have been the best thing that has happened to this team this season. Lyle Overbay has had clutch hit after clutch hit and has even outperformed a normal Mark Teixeira season in a lot of categories not labeled home runs. Matt Imbrogno from IIATMS and formerly of the Yankees Ananlysts had an interesting tweet this morning stating that Lyle Overbay has a 78 wRC+ in high leverage situations this season which tells you the whole story. Thank you Lyle for coming in and far exceeding anyone's expectations. Thank you for being a class act and a good teammate by not causing a stir when Mark Teixeira came back and took at bats from you. Rather than leaving the team or complaining you happily went to the outfield and found a way to help the team. Thank you Lyle for everything you have done for this team all season long and I just hope that we can repay you with a playoff run.

Kuroda the Unappreciated Ace

When people talk about the best pitchers in baseball Hiroki Kuroda's name does not come up often and it probably should.

Somehow,  Kuroda did not make the All-Star team this season, yet he could end up winning the Cy Young Award as a consolation. Obviously, with two months remaining in the season, it is to early to determine Kuroda’s Cy Young chances. However, what we do know is that Kuroda just pitched one of the best months of baseball in Yankees history and he has kept the Yankees in playoff contention.

Kuroda ended his stellar month of July by going head to head with the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw. He matched Kershaw by putting up zeroes for seven straight innings before the Yankees scored three runs in the ninth to secure the victory. It was the eighth time Kuroda held the opposition scoreless this season, which is the most of any pitcher in baseball. He had similar type performances in July against top pitchers John Lackey and Derek Holland when the Yankees had trouble scoring as usual.

Kuroda was 3-0 in July with a minuscule .55 ERA, and the Yankees needed every ounce of that to stay in contention. The Yankees were 4-1 in games started by Kuroda in July and were only 10-11 in all other games in the month. Six of those wins came on the first six days of the month. Kuroda pitched huge games in Boston, Texas and Los Angeles towards the end of the month when the Yankees were really struggling. All three teams have very powerful lineups, and Kuroda allowed only two runs over 21 innings against them with 15 strikeouts and only three walks.

Not only is Kuroda easily the best starter on the Yankees now, he might be the best starter in the AL this season. Kuroda is 2nd in the AL in ERA (2.38) behind Felix Hernandez and leads the AL in ERA + (169). His low win total (10) might hold him back in the eyes of some old-school  Cy Young voters who still believe that starting pitcher wins are a meaningful stat. What Kuroda has done with this pathetic offense has been even more impressive than if he was racking up a ton of wins. He has had to be almost perfect every time out to win games and he has almost lived up to that. He has not let the Yankees’ awful offense discourage him at all. Pitching under that kind of pressure makes it so much harder with so much riding on every pitch. One mistake could mean the ballgame. This makes Kuroda’s numbers seem even more insane.

Besides not having a ton of wins, another reason that Kuroda has flown under the radar is that he does not have the power stuff or the strikeout numbers (6.38 K/9) that some other top pitchers have. With Kuroda’s 2.55 BABIP you might say that he is getting a little bit lucky, but if you watch Kuroda pitch batters have a very tough time of squaring the ball up against him, and he does not allow a lot of hard contact (8.9% HR/FB%).

Keeping the ball on the ground has always been a key for Kuroda throughout his career and this year is no different (46.6% GB%). Batters have a tough time differentiating Kuroda’s sinker, splitter and slider. They have been unable to tell what pitch is coming out of Kuroda’s hand, thus all the weak contact. Combine that with Kuroda’s excellent control and you get the kind of season that he is having. Batters have only hit .171 this season against Kuroda’s slider and .153 against his splitter with a 9.51% Whiff %.He is not blowing his fastball by everybody like some pitchers can, but he is just as effective with his style of trying to generate weak contact on the ground with the majority of his pitches moving downward.

Kuroda has been one of the few positives for the Yankees this season. If the Yankees do make the playoffs, it would most likely be as a wild card and Kuroda would be the pitcher that they would turn to in the one game playoff. The Yankees would have to feel pretty good about their chances in that game. For a pitcher who was not supposed to be able to handle the AL East, Kuroda has become one of the best free agent signings in Yankees history. That is a pretty select group.

The Yankees had better hope that they can convince Kuroda to come back for another season next year, as he has always talked about going back to Japan for his last season. Losing Kuroda would be a void that they would be unlikely able to fill. Maybe, he will be appreciated more if he leaves.

Ownership Is Still Calling The Big Shots In The Bronx?

Has anything really changed in the Bronx since we had a Steinbrenner change back in the late 2000's? We all know and loved George Steinbrenner for his fiery attitude, his love for the game and winning, and his willingness to do whatever it took to do that. Many of us worried when Hank and Hal, George's two sons, were given the reigns of the team as George stepped down with ailing health but has all that much changed? 

"That's cute, wanna see my other three?" - Brian Cashman
The Alfonso Soriano deal was reported as "close" for nearly a week before it was made official and it seemed like the next day that we learned this was an ownership pushed move. This is the third reported incident where Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who's job description includes acquiring and trading players as well as signing free agents, was against a trade or acquisition that ended up happening anyway. Let's look at these three incidents and see if Brian Cashman was right and should not be getting the flack that he has or if Hank and Hal should just stay behind the scenes and write the checks. 

"Brian Cashman better want me I've been sitting outside the stadium in a car for a week!" - Alfonso Soriano

Brian Cashman wanted.... to sit on his hands? I don't know it doesn't look like he wanted anything.

Hank/Hal Steinbrenner wanted Alfonso Soriano for Corey Black

It is no secret that the Yankees offense has been almost non existent for much of the season and severely lacking power, especially from the right side of the plate. Enter Alfonso Soriano who was a Yankees second basemen 10 seasons ago and is back now as their every day left fielder and designated hitter. While Soriano may not be the 40/40 flirt he used to be he is still the best right handed hitting option we have with the acquisition. The best part of it is the Cubs will be paying the bulk of Sori's salary making him paid for what he is, a pretty good player that fills a role and a need. 

I love the Soriano deal even though we lost Corey Black, a personal favorite of mine, because it makes the team better and does not sacrifice the future. Notch one in the column for Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. 

"3,000 Hits = Money" - Hal Steinbrenner

Brian Cashman wanted Russell Martin & Nate Schierholtz

Hal/Hank Steinbrenner wanted Ichiro Suzuki on a two year deal worth $13,000,000.

This signing was, in my opinion, solely made for money making purposes and less for the on the field product. Sure Ichiro still has it and can be productive but no more productive then say a Nick Swisher who we let walk via free agency. Ichiro was signed not only to keep out foot in the Japanese market but also to watch Ichiro chase 3,000 hits in pinstripes. While Ichiro has hit near .300 after a slow start and has stolen bases while playing solid right field what we could have had may have been better. Nate Schierholtz has put up similar triple slash numbers with more home runs and more RBI's for the Chicago Cubs. Mix in with that the offensive hole we have behind the dish and the potential of having Russell Martin back behind the dish makes this a questionable move for the ownership.

Overall I love Ichiro but I think I would have rather have Nate Schierholtz and Russell Martin for a season then two seasons of Ichiro, 3,000 hits or not. I'd rather win than make money because usually the two go hand in hand for me. Notch one in the belt for Brian Cashman. 

Notice who is missing from this photo?
Brian Cashman wanted... nothing... again

Hank/Hal Steinbrenner wanted Rafael Soriano for three years and $35,000,000 with multiple opt out clauses.

Rafael Soriano struggled in his first season as a Yankees player and fell out of the good graces of Joe Girardi rather quickly. Soriano finished 2011 with a 4.12 ERA with only two saves with a 1.297 WHIP pitching mostly the 6th and 7th innings for the Yanks. The next season we would see Mariano Rivera tear his ACL in his knee shagging fly balls in Kansas City and Soriano take over as the closer leading the Yankees to 42 saves with a 2.26 ERA and a much better 1.167 WHIP. Soriano also netted us a draft pick when we offered him a qualifying offer only for him to sign with the Washington Nationals for the 2013 season. 

Overall I would say that with all the #untuck 'ing we did in 2012 this deal looked awful when we first signed him but ended up being a win in the ownership column.

Maybe all the Brian Cashman haters should please sit down, shut up, and pay attention. Maybe the ownership should either trust the man that they signed to be their general manager or fire him, keep their noses out of it, and continue to write the checks. Maybe we should all just get used to the fact that this is not a George Steinbrenner run team anymore as much as that pains me to say and maybe that is okay because sometimes change can be good. The problem is we're not seeing any kind of change in the Bronx and the Yankees ownership and brass is still running the show they are just being sneaky about it these days and I despise secrets. Shape up or ship out and I mean now.


Green Jackets Take Double Header From Charleston

GreenJackets Sweep Thursday’s Doubleheader

Charleston dealt two tough losses by Augusta

AUGUSTA, GA – The Augusta GreenJackets kicked off a six game, four day series against the Charleston RiverDogs with two close wins on Thursday sweeping a doubleheader from the Dogs. Augusta took game one 2-0 and game two 5-4.

With the losses, the RiverDogs fall to 22-17 in the second half and 61-46 overall. Charleston stays in second place behind the Lexington Legends. With the win, Augusta improves to 20-18 in the second half and 58-49 overall.

In game one, Charleston’s woes at the plate with runners in scoring position did them in. In game two it was three costly errors.

The first game was a suspended contest from July 7th that was resumed on Thursday in the bottom of the third inning with the GreenJackets leading 2-0 and the bases loaded with two outs. John Brebbia started on the mound for the RiverDogs and struck out Chuckie Jones to keep it 2-0 and send the game to the fourth.

After loading the bases with nobody out in the top of the fourth, Charleston was unable to score any runs. The RiverDogs went on to strand two runners in the sixth and seventh innings and came up short falling 2-0.

Brebbia was great for Charleston with a final line of 3.1 innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, and two strikeouts. Evan Rutckyj, who started the game way back in early July, got tagged with the loss. His record now standsat 9-7.

Jorge Bucardo tossed four scoreless innings in relief to collect the win for Augusta and go to 1-0.

Game two was a better showing offensively for both clubs with the GreenJackets scratching across one more run to squeak out the win.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when after a hit by pitch, a single and a walk loaded the bases with one out, Travious Relaford hit a hard groundball right back to the pitcher Brett Gerritse. Gerritse fielded it cleanly and threw home to start what looked like it might be a 1-2-3 inning ending double play. Unfortunately for Charleston, the throw was a bit off-target, everybody was safe, and the GreenJackets went up 1-0. A single, another error, and a sacrifice fly made it 4-0 by the time the inning was over.

In the top of the fifth, the RiverDogs bounced right back and tied it 4-4 on four walks and three big hits. Charleston stranded a couple runners and had an out recorded on the basepaths or it could have been an even bigger inning.

Fast forward to the bottom of the sixth inning, and Augusta got the go-ahead run aboard on an error by Reymond Nunez. A clutch, two-out RBI single from Shawn Payne put the GreenJackets up 5-4, and they never looked back. The Dogs went 1-2-3 in the seventh to end the game.

Both starters were better than their final lines with Gerritse allowing four runs, only two earned, on six hits and two walks for Charleston. Joan Gregorio tossed four innings and allowed two runs on two hits and four walks while striking out five before leaving due to an injury. Neither starter factored in the decision.

Derek Varnadore got the tough luck loss for Charleston after allowing one unearned run on just one hit to fall to 0-4. Mason McVay picked up the win to move to 2-3 with 2.1 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed.

Reymond Nunez was 2-4 with an RBI, and DanielAldrich had a base hit and two walks to pace Charleston offensively in game two.

Game three of this six game, four day series against Augusta is Friday night at 7:05 in Augusta. LHP Daniel Camarena (3-5, 4.83 ERA) will be on the mound for Charleston and the GreenJackets will start RHP Chris Stratton (7-3, 3.15 ERA). Fans can listen to the game live locally on ESPN Radio 910AM or online at

Box Score game 1:

Box Score game 2:


Thunder Offense Nuetralized In 3-1 Loss

Press Release - August 1, 2013
Thunder Offense Neutralized in 3-1 Loss

TRENTON, NJ – With the headlines Thursday night surrounding Alex Rodriguez’s impending rehab appearance Friday, the Thunder lost 3-1 to the Harrisburg Senators.
Making his first start since June 12th (DL, lower body injury), Matt Tracy returned to toss 3.0 innings on two-run ball. In his 13thstart (14th appearance), he allowed four hits and a pair of runs while striking out four on 44 pitches. After allowing runners to reach second and third base with two outs in the 3rd inning, but then a bloop single to right field by Harrisburg’s Justin Bloxom plated a pair of runs for an early 2-0 lead.

Jeremy Bleich, who was originally scheduled to be Thursday’s starting pitcher, entered in the 4th inning in a 2-0 game and allowed an unearned run. He completed four innings without allowing an earned run while striking out four.

The only run of the ballgame for Trenton came when they were trailing 3-0 in the 5thinning. Jose Pirela singled to right field and advanced to second base on a bobble by Harrisburg right fielder Destin Hood. The next batter was Andrew Clark and his single to left-center field scored Pirela easily from second base to bring the Thunder back to within a pair of runs. Harrisburg pitchers retired 13 of the final 14 batters they faced to slam the door on Trenton’s comeback hopes down the stretch.

The Thunder begin a three-game series Friday against the Reading Fightin Phils at ARM & HAMMER Park with Rodriguez beginning a rehab appearance with Thunder. This is the second time this season Rodriguez will appear on the Thunder roster, following his two-game stint from July 15-16 at Reading in which he went 2-for-7 with a home run.
The ballgame begins at 7:05 p.m. and features RHP Mikey O’Brien (5-6, 4.11) for the Thunder facing LHP Jesse Biddle (4-11, 3.89). Limited tickets still available or by calling the Thunder Ticket Office at (609)394-3300. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 6:45 p.m. 

TRENTON, NJ – A bloop single down the left field line scored a run for Bowie in the 6thinning and doomed Trenton in a tightly-pitched 3-2 loss to the Bowie Baysox Sunday.
The Thunder trailed 2-0 in the 2ndinning after Zach Nuding allowed two singles and a double with the bases empty and two outs. Trenton responded by tying the game in the 4thinning with a pair of two-out runs of their own.
With Kyle Roller at second which reached with a walk and Slade Heathcott at first base who bunted for a base-hit, Ali Castillo stroked a single to center field to bring home Roller. Heathcott advanced to third base on the throw, but Castillo got hung up between first and second base in a rundown. While Castillo extended the rundown, Heathcott broke for the plate ahead of the throw from the first baseman Aaron Baker to score what would be the final run of the game for the Thunder.
Those two runs allowed Nuding off the hook, as he earned the no-decision after leaving with 105 pitches over five innings. He allowed two runs- both earned- on five hits and two walks while striking out five. His record remains at 1-5 with an ERA now at 3.28.
The Thunder hit the road for eight straight games- four at Richmond and four at Bowie- the first of which comes Monday at 6:35 p.m. The game features RHP Mikey O’Brien (2-0, 1.64) against RHP Omar Javier (3-0, 4.05) for Richmond. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:20 p.m.


This Day In New York Yankees History 8/2

On this day in 1979 the Yankees Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash as he was learning how to fly the Cessna Citation I/SP jet and clipped a tree. The Yankees catcher was taking classes for two years before the fatal crash so he could travel back to his family in Ohio when not playing for the Yankees.

On this day in 2009 Melky Cabrera hit for the cycle against the Chicago White Sox to become the first Yankees player to do so in 14 seasons.

On this day in 2011 Mark Teixeira hit a home run in the same game from both sides of the plate for the 12th time in his career setting a new major league record. Teix passes Eddie Murray and Chili Davis with the historic set of home runs.