Thursday, September 3, 2015

Yankees Off Night Open Thread

The New York Yankees are off tonight so that means we leave you with an off day open thread to end your evening. New York is set to come home this weekend and play host to the Tampa Bay Rays with the possibility of ending their season. Tampa may not leave the Bronx mathematically eliminated from the American League East and Wild Card contention but a sweep could really put a damper on the team’s playoff chances. Why worry about tomorrow today though, right? Tonight we rest and recharge physically and mentally because we, and when I say we I mean the team and the fans, won’t have many more off days this season.

With this off night open thread I leave you with a song out of my own personal collection. I, for some reason, watched the MTV Video Music Awards this past weekend and was quickly reminded of why I stopped listening to the radio and watching these things. Two songs did catch my eye and I have since added them to my iPod, Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us” and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”

Enjoy them both and the rest of your evening. 

Meet a Prospect: Austin Romine

One of the latest September call ups to come out of the Yankees farm system was catcher Austin Romine, a familiar face to most Yankees fans. Romine feels like he has been inside the Yankees farm system forever, and in terms of prospects I guess he has been since he’s exhausted all his minor league options, and will benefit this month from the Yankees preference to call up a third catcher every September. It looked set in stone that Gary Sanchez was set to make his first trip to the big leagues in 2015 before a hamstring injury possibly ended his season last week opening the door to the Bronx once again for Romine. Can he take advantage of the opportunity and show some of the promise and poise behind the plate that once made him one of the best Yankees prospects in their farm system?

Austin Allen Romine was born on November 22, 1988 in Lake Forest, California to a family that has baseball running through their veins. Austin’s father, Kevin, played Major League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox from 1985 to 1991 while his brother, Andrew, is currently a shortstop inside the Detroit Tigers organization. Romine began his push towards the majors by attending El Toro High School in Lake Forest where he played alongside current Colorado Rockies infielder Nolan Arenado on the school’s baseball team. Romine heard the Yankees come calling in the second round of the 2007 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft and quickly signed on with New York.

Romine climbed all the way to become the Yankees 4th best prospect according to Baseball American in 2009 and the team’s 2nd best prospect in 2010 as he began to garner recognition across the league for his play. Romine was named the Florida State League Player of the Year in 2009 and capped that off with an All-Star Futures Game appearance in 2010 which both led to the young catcher competing for the backup catcher’s job in spring training 2011. Romine did not win the job out of spring but was called up to Triple-A in September of that season before making his Major League debut just two weeks later.

Romine could not build on the momentum he built during the 2012 season after missing most of the campaign with two bulging discs in his back. Romine was back in the Major Leagues in 2013 after an injury to Francisco Cervelli on April 26, 2013 and spent most of the season with the big league club before suffering a concussion in September of that season. Romine had not done enough to win the job from Cervelli during spring training camp in 2014 and was sent back to Triple-A where the over-grooming began for the young catcher. Romine was called up again during the 2014 season but lasted just a week before being sent back to Scranton to make room for starting pitcher Shane Greene. Romine spent the entire 2014 bouncing back and forth between Scranton and the Bronx before being designated for assignment by the club before the 2015 season.

Romine was off the 40 man roster and down in Triple-A trying to earn his way back to the Major Leagues after losing out on the backup job in spring training to John Ryan Murphy. It looked as if Romine had lost his job to injury when the Yankees called up Gary Sanchez late in the 2015 season to replace him but Romine stayed on the roster and Juan Graterol drew the short straw and the free ride off the club’s roster. Romine has worked hard all season and will finally be rewarded for it as a September call up for the Yankees this season. Much like his entire career this call up could be entirely temporary, he could get designated for assignment when Sanchez is deemed healthy and presumably called up, but if history is any indicator of the future Romine will work his tail off and make the best of this call up like he has with every other opportunity he has had in his career. Welcome back Austin, go get em!

Yankees Off Day Walk up Music Recommendation

The Yankees can't have too many more off days this season because we are just about out of walk up music recommendations for the team. When I go to the New York Yankees Ballpark Music page on I only see one more player or instance that we haven't used, and we will use that one today. Brendan Ryan, Mr. Mustache, walks up to the plate at Yankee Stadium every single night with the song "Breathe and Stop" by Q-Tip playing in the background.

Enjoy the song and enjoy the off day! We're back to work tomorrow night in the Bronx.

Meet a Prospect: Andrew Bailey

One of the latest September call ups to come out of the Yankees farm system was right-handed relief pitcher Andrew Bailey. Bailey’s story is one of triumph and overcoming adversity as he hasn’t reached the Major Leagues in over two full seasons now as he battled back from a shoulder injury. Bailey has been inside the Yankees organization since early on in the 2014 season and the team has been extremely patient while rehabbing him back onto the mound. The Yankees patience and Bailey’s hard work has finally paid off as he’s back on the mound and back in the majors with the New York Yankees so it’s finally time to meet a prospect, veteran Andrew Bailey.

Andrew Scott Bailey was born on May 31, 1984 in Voorhees, New Jersey where he spent his high schools days at Paul VI High School in Haddon Township, New Jersey. Bailey stayed local for his college years as well when he attended Wagner College in Staten Island, New York where he played college baseball. Bailey did enough to garner the attention of MLB scouts while at Wagner and was selected in the sixth round, 188th overall, in the 2006 MLB First Year Players Draft by the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics wasted no time getting Bailey acclimated to his professional career as the team immediately started him in Double-A fresh out of the draft. A season and a half later the Athletics had Bailey representing them in the Arizona Fall League as a member of the Phoenix Desert Dogs and by 2009 he was pitching out of Billy Beane’s bullpen on Opening Day.

Bailey once again wasted no time putting himself on the map as he represented the Athletics in the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis while breaking the Athletics rookie save record with his 24th save of the season. Bailey finished his rookie campaign with 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA earning the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year Award in November. Bailey’s name was on the map, which is never a good sign for a young player on a team run by Billy Beane, and he was traded to the Boston Red Sox before the 2012 season along with Ryan Sweeney for Josh Reddick and two minor league players. Bailey lasted until April of 2012 before learning that he would require reconstructive surgery on his right thumb. That thumb kept Bailey out of action until August 14, 2012 limiting the right-hander to just 15.1 innings.

Bailey was injured once again for Boston in 2013 but this time he suffered a shoulder injury that would cost him the entire 2013 season after getting into just 30 games and compiling eight saves. Bailey had torn his capsule in his shoulder and damaged the labrum in his throwing shoulder which sent him for an immediate surgery to repair the arm on July 24th. The Red Sox non-tendered Bailey making him a free agent after 2013 and the New York Yankees came calling on February 22, 2014 signing Bailey to a minor league deal for not only the 2014 season but the 2015 season as well. Signing a player to a two year minor league deal was relatively unheard of at the time but New York apparently had confidence in his shoulder and his ability to work himself back from the career threatening injury.

Bailey suffered numerous setbacks in 2014 which kept him out of the entire season forcing New York to sign him to a new minor league deal for the 2015 season. Bailey was invited to spring training and almost made Joe Girardi’s bullpen out of spring training before another set of setbacks forced him back down to the minor leagues. Bailey is finally healthy and finally ready to show himself, the team that took a waiver on him and the rest of the league that he’s back and back with a vengeance. Welcome back Andrew and welcome to the Yankees family, officially. We’re glad to have you. 

What's Your Favorite Girardi-ism?

We all know, love and admire the Yankees legend Yogi Berra, sometimes for better or worse. We've all heard of Yogi-ism's and some of the off the wall things the former Yankees catcher has said in his 90 years and counting on this Earth, some are funny and some just make you wonder. Quotes like "it's getting late early" or "no one goes to that place anymore, it's too crowded" or my personal favorite "if you come to a fork in the road, take it" will likely forever follow Berra and are unlikely to be replicated again in that magnitude. The closest we as fans of today have may be Yankees current manager Joe Girardi who has had a few quotes that have become custom to his press conferences as well. What are your favorites? Twitter Poll, Go!

"I wasn't hired to put on a farewell tour." 

"He just needs a day." 

“You want to protect these young kids. He had a good day, and you want to give him a day to feel good about himself.” 

“I actually thought he threw very well.” 

“I kicked it around in my head. It's basically just been a thought in my head. I haven't spoken to him about it.” 

“I thought we had a very good day. Pitchers were able to throw with hitters standing in.” 

“We'll just kind of wait to see how he feels. If he says he is ready to go, he's ready to go.” 

“I thought he threw better than the score indicated. We didn't make some plays behind him and that's when things happened.” 

“We have a plan for what we're doing.” 

“With our guys, it shouldn't be a problem. They're probably too young to shave anyway.” 

Keep them going Joe and maybe one day down the road we will have your quotes on the side bar of our blog right next to Yogi's. Enjoy the off day and this little fun post we had Yankees family.

Meet a Prospect: James Pazos

One of the latest September call ups to come out of the Yankees farm system was left-handed relief pitcher James Pazos. We started really hearing about Pazos last August when the Yankees let Matt Thornton go to the Washington Nationals on a waiver claim when Brian Cashman touted Pazos, among others, as potential replacements for Thornton. We all know how that worked out, the Yankees instead threw a combination of Josh Outman and Rich Hill out there instead of Pazos, Tyler Webb or Jacob Lindgren, but Pazos is finally going to get his time to shine this month. Pazos was added to the 40 man roster before the Rule 5 Draft and is ready to open some eyes as a September call up this season, no better time to Meet a Prospect: James Pazos.

James Manuel Pazos was born on May 5, 1991 in Gilbert Arizona where he attended and played high school baseball for Gilbert High School. Pazos had an impressive arm in high school and was even drafted in the 40th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball First year Players Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays before declining to sign. Instead Pazos headed to Chandler-Hilbert Community College to continue his amateur baseball playing career and after just one year he transferred to the University of San Diego.

It was when Pazos was a member of the Toreros that he caught the eye of a scout inside the New York Yankees organization and was drafted in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Pazos was immediately assigned to the Staten Island Yankees in 2012 and began the 2013 season there as well before earning a promotion to the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs. Pazos was a Yankees representative in the Arizona Fall League after the 2013 season and rode the momentum all the way through High-A Tampa with the Tampa Yankees to Double-A where he finished his 2014 season with the Trenton Thunder.

Pazos began the 2015 season with the Thunder before earning a promotion to the highest level of the minor league system, Triple-A. Pazos has pitched well as a member of the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and has earned a 40 man roster spot before having to be protected this winter by the Rule 5 Draft. Pazos is now ready to make an impact and make the Yankees feel good about their decision to protect the lefty, and I think that he will. Welcome to the family James, it’s finally your time to shine. 

Weekly Check In: Slade Heathcott

Slade Heathcott was not one of the original September call ups as he battles a nagging quad injury. Heathcott has played as recently as Sunday with the injury so this doesn't seem to be a season threatening injury thankfully it looks more like a move to have a warm body at Triple-A as the Scranton RailRiders head into the playoffs. When the Triple-A playoffs end Heathcott, again if healthy which is never a guarantee with him unfortunately, will likely be headed back up to the Bronx so we may as well check in on him while we still can.

Heathcott spent time on the disabled list again this season but finally reached the Major League level after tearing up the Triple-A level. Heathcott is a speed and defense first outfielder with limited power and batting average but he plays with his heart and leaves it all out on the field and sometimes that's enough.


Brett Gardner Bobble Legs? Yes Please

The first 500 fans through the gate Saturday, get a TY Brett Gardner Bobble Legs!  
(one per person, while supplies last)

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/3: MLB Instant Replay Is Born

It took until the 2008 season for Major League Baseball to listen to the screams and get instant replay and wouldn't you know it, Alex Rodriguez was in the middle of the first controversy with replay. A Rod hit a towering fly ball that bounced off the Tropicana Field catwalk behind the foul pole in left field that was immediately called a home run. The Rays catcher Dioner Navarro disputed the call and two minutes and fifteen seconds later the umpires upheld the call on the field.

Also on this day in 1961 Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle become the first pair of teammates to each hit 50 home runs in a single season. Mantle hit his 50th against the Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game at 5-5. Mantle finished the 1956 season with 52 home runs as well so this was his second 50 home run season.

Finally on this day in 1947 the Yankees beat the Red Sox 11-2 by hitting 18 hits in the game, all singles. Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Henrich led the barrage at Fenway Park with four hits each in the Yankees victory.