Monday, March 9, 2015

Recap: Yankees 4, Rays 3

Michael Pineda cruised through two shutout innings and Nathan Eovaldi followed him up with a nice three more Monday as the Yankees won their third straight game over the Rays, 4-3, in a matinee featuring many of their big-league arms.

Pineda's Preseason Debut: Pineda tossed a pair of stress-free frames in his first start of the spring -- striking out two and giving up a hit. He induced three consecutive groundouts in a quick top of the second, and used just 25 pitches in total.

Eovaldi Shows Improvement: Eovaldi looked a little rusty in his last outing on Wednesday, but seemed to have better control this time around. He surrendered just three singles over three innings -- keeping the Rays off the board while recording five strikeouts.

A-Rod Drives in a Run: Alex Rodriguez has hit solidly over the first week of March, and continued that trend with a 2-for-3 performance against a trio of Rays pitchers. He singled twice off right-handers Nathan Karns and Brandon Gomes -- plating a run in the second -- and flew out to deep center off Jordan Norberto later on.

Good Signs from the New Bullpen Pieces: Despite each letting a baserunner reach scoring position on the afternoon, new Yankees relievers David Carpenter, Justin Wilson and Chris Martin all managed to throw scoreless innings -- with Carpenter and Wilson both fanning one and Martin two. Martin -- in pitching the ninth -- also earned the save, but had to work his way out of a man-on-second, one-out jam to do so.

Offense Early, Offense Late: Two batters after Rodriguez's RBI single in the second, the Yankees crossed home again on a routine chopper from Didi Gregorius -- their last run until the seventh. They circled the bases twice more on hard-hit knocks by center fielder Slade Heathcott and first baseman Greg Bird in that at-bat -- bringing their lead up to a comfortable 4-0 at the time. 

Next Up: The Yankees will hand Chase Whitley the ball Tuesday when they face off with the Orioles in Sarasota -- a matchup in which lefty Wei-Yin Chen is set to pitch for Baltimore. The entire Yankees' starting infield is expected to make the trip for the 1:05 p.m. contest, joined notably by rotation candidate Esmil Rogers.

ICYMI: Yankees Preaching “Competition” This Spring but I’m Not Seeing It

The New York Yankees and specifically manager Joe Girardi is singing from the roof tops about his excitement for the 2015 season and his new roster of stars. Girardi claimed that this year’s spring training camp will showcase possibly more competition than he has ever seen in a Yankees camp but frankly, I’m not seeing it. You’re preaching to the choir Joe and you’re lying on top of it.

Only mediocre teams claim they have tons of competition in camp while the solid to great teams are pretty set come January 1st, let alone March 7th. Barring injuries of course the Yankees have taken a sharpie to their 25 man roster and filled in the catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, right field, and DH position. The team also has five starting pitchers basically etched in stone (barring injuries of course) and five or six of the bullpen positions with Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, David Carpenter, Esmil Rogers and Adam Warren with Wilson being the tight rope walker. The Yankees bench will consist of Garrett Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Chris Young and Brendan Ryan leaving 24 of the 25 roster spots basically set.

Where’s the competition? Unless of course Girardi is banking on injuries and will evaluate talent from the minors to fill those holes now which sounds good in theory but has proven time and time again to be something the Yankees manager is unwilling to do. We know what happens when an injury happens and it won’t be a young guy coming up. It will be Garrett Jones at first base when Teixeira needs a day. It will be Brendan Ryan or Alex Rodriguez at third base when Chase Headley needs a break. It will be Chris Young rotating in the outfield to keep everyone fresh. It will be Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge watching Young from the minor leagues and it will be Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela watching Drew, Ryan and company from Scranton. It will be Kyle Roller watching Jones and it will be Eric Jagielo watching to see if A Rod still has it in the infield.

There is no competition so don’t pretend like there is. 

Spring Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The New York Yankees will return home to George M. Steinbrenner Field to play host to their AL East rivals in the Tampa Bay Rays in their latest game in the Grapefruit League. New York will watch as Michael Pineda makes his spring debut for the team. Pineda will be piggybacked by fellow rotation mate Nathan Eovaldi in the contest.

Nathan Karns, whoever that is, will make the start for the Tampa Bay Rays. Enjoy the game family!

Most Popular Article of the Week: 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. 

Yadier Alvarez Establishes Residency in Haiti

The latest pitcher to defect from Cuba and head over to the major leagues is named Yadier Alvarez and he has taken the next step in his dream to play in the United States. Alvarez, who will turn 20 years old in September, has established residency in Haiti this week and may have now found a loophole to sign with teams during this international signing period if he so chooses.

Alvarez actually missed the deadline to register for this signing period because he was still in Cuba at the time as the deadline passed on May 15, 2014 and looks like to be eligible for the 2015-2016 signing period. Alvarez could conceivably use the loophole he found and attempt to become eligible this time around to keep teams like the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Angels and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the running for his services.

Alvarez is said to be seeking a waiver to avoid the lengthy delay through MLB's rule that states that players may seek a waiver with "a compelling justification for his failure to register." I call being under the communist rule of a Cuban dictator a pretty compelling justification but that's just me. For what it's worth MLB had yet to grant a Cuban player this waiver but there has to be a first time for everything and maybe this first time can work out in the Yankees favor for once.

TGP Daily Poll: Michael Pineda's Debut Goes Flawless

Michael Pineda makes his spring training debut on Monday and will go two innings of flawless baseball. No hits, no walks, no runs, no HBP's.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Quick Hit: Andrew Miller's Slider

This is Andrew Miller's mid-season full on pennant race slider with the Baltimore Orioles last season.

This is Andrew Miller's slider at the beginning of March, still nasty. Just something for us to look forward to all season long at the end of the Yankees bullpen.

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/9: A Rod's Hip Surgery Part One

On this day in 2009 Alex Rodriguez had an 80 minute arthroscopic surgical procedure to repair torn cartilage in his right hip. The Yankees third basemen expects to return to the lineup in May and will need a more extensive operation in the offseason and would have another surgery, this time on his left hip, before the 2013 season.

Also on this day in 1961 the New York Yankees announced that they would be leaving their spring training home in St. Petersburg, Florida to move to Fort Lauderdale by 1963. The Yankees owners also encouraged the new yet to be named New York National League franchise, now known as the Mets, to play its home games at the Polo Grounds and to not consider Yankee Stadium.