Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New York Yankees Wednesday notes

Here are the Wednesday Yankees notes.  The team lost their third straight game today.  They lost 4-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays.  Who really cares though, it doesn't mean anything, they just want to get in shape and avoid any major injuries.  It isn't like the old days where the Boss wouldn't be too happy right now.  He didn't like to lose no matter what time of the year it was and especially not to Tampa Bay or the New York Mets.  Here are you notes from me and also some from Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees blog.

Finally, a pitcher who’s not working on a changeup.

Hiroki Kuroda throws fastballs and cutters, curveballs and sliders, but he doesn’t throw a change. And the Yankees don’t want him to. Kuroda’s out pitch is a splitfinger, which some pitchers use much the same way as a changeup.

“He doesn’t necessarily need to throw one because of that,” Joe Girardi said. “… His split is different from what some of our other guys have. I know he’ll throw his share of cutters as well. He starts with the location of his fastball, but I really like the split. I think if you look at the couple of strikeouts today, they were both very good splits. That’s a different look.”

Freddy Garcia has been effective with a splitfinger, but it’s not an especially common pitch these days. It’s been effective for Kuroda, and Russell Martin — who caught Kuroda in Los Angeles — has been talking about the effectiveness of that pitch since camp opened. Kuroda said he was happy with it today, and happy that he was able to mix all of his pitches in his first spring outing.

“Usually it takes the full spring training before everything is to the level I need it to be in the regular season,” he said. “… The most important thing that I wanted to accomplish was a feeling for the real game, and I think I was able to do that, so I’m happy.”

 Before today’s game, Rafael Soriano told the coaching staff that he felt ready to pitch in a game. In the past, Soriano has been opposed to pitching against division opponents in spring training. “For whatever reason he wanted to pitch today, so I didn’t ask any questions,” Girardi said. “I think it’s good for him to get out there, and I was pleased with what I saw.”  I think he has a better idea now of what he needs to do in New York and he has adapted himself to that.  I think he is going to be very good for the Yankees this season and probably opt out next year unless Rivera retires and he can become the Yankees closer, he may stay then. 

 Soriano struck out two batters in a scoreless inning. Boone Logan also had two strikeouts in an inning, and Cory Wade threw a scoreless frame with one hit and no strikeouts.
That is a good day for some of the regular bullpen pitchers.

 Martin is the Yankees early spring leader in stolen bases. He’s swiped two bags. Chris Dickerson is the only other Yankees player with one.

 Derek Jeter bobbled a ground ball for his first spring training error. Jayson Nix threw a ball away for his second. … Colin Curtis had an outfield assist, throwing to Nick Swisher who relayed to third base for an out that ended the sixth inning. … Clay Rapada pitched a scoreless eighth inning and stayed in to face a lefty to open the ninth. He struck out the lefty before giving way to Kevin Whelan for the final two outs. Rapada is trying to make the team as a left-handed specialist.

 Eduardo Nunez hit with a tee and soft toss today, and he’ll take light batting practice tomorrow, but he’s still not ready to get in a game and won’t play tomorrow. Nunez said his bruised right hand is still “a little bit” sore, but he’s been able to do full fielding drills with no problem. Today he was working out at third base, making the throw across the diamond from foul territory.

 Mark Teixeira had a regularly scheduled day off. His thumb — which he jammed making a tag yesterday — is fine.  He will be back in there soon, maybe even tommorrow. 

Girardi on Yogi Berra’s arrival in camp: “I felt like camp started today. Yogi’s here. It’s great to see… Just kind of puts a smile on everybody’s face. Things pick up around here a little bit. Really good to see.”  Everyone loves Yogi and he does liven up camp.  The team loves to see him. 

 It was announced today that the Yankees Triple-A affiliate officially will be called the Empire State Yankees this season. There’s even a slightly modified logo. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre stadium is being rebuilt, forcing the team to play all of it’s games on the road, including multiple “home” games in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Batavia. The team is expected to return to its home stadium — and it’s original name — next year.  I think this is a good move since they won't be in Scranton/Wilkes Barre at all this season.  They will be back there next year and should have a beautiful new facility to call home.  I am looking forward to seeing it next year. 

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