Friday, February 28, 2014

Yankees Thursday spring training notes

Derek Jeter made his debut in 1996 and Kelly Johnson now his teammate was in the eighth grade.  I

was a senior in high school and it is crazy how time passes by.  Johnson said he is now 32 and that

isn't even that young.  He said it is surreal, that he feels like he is back to being a rookie again. 

He said it is amazing to be playing next to him, he grew up watching him.  It was a comfortable

feeling for the Yankees and their fans to see Jeter back at shortstop and smiling again.  He was

0-2 and didn't have to make a play in the field but he looked good running and everything seems

to be fine.  He won't play on Friday but should be back in the lineup on Saturday and then just start

getting more into the flow of things.  David Phelps said he is the leader and it was nice having him

out there.  He said even on a pop up hearing him say who has it and good job Phelps, things like that.

Phelps in his first spring start got through two innings allowing a run.  He struck out four guys though

and didn't walk anyone.  He said his control was good and he was pleased with the outing. 

Phelps is off the radar a little although he will be a big part of the team either as a fifth starter or out

of the bullpen.  He doesn't get the attention of Michael Pineda or Mashahiro Tanaka and even joked

about that.  He said it has been nuts all the extra media to see him.  I think that is pretty funny and

it seems like a good group so far that is having fun.  They seem to be meshing together well and that

is a good thing.  We will have to see how it translates on the field but so far so good. 

Brian Roberts was the last of the regulars to make his spring debut and said the strangest part was

putting on a different uniform.  He said he has played against the Yankees a lot and staying in the

same division makes it easier.  Mark Teixeira will get into a game next week as he is taking it slow

coming back from a major wrist injury. 

Roberts said the basic same thing as Jeter.  That he isn't worried about anything injury wise, he feels

good and expects to play.  It doesn't mean that he will play all the time and I would have my concerns

most with him.  He hasn't played a full year in four years although last year is the most he has played

and he was healthy the whole second half so that is a good sign. 

Eduardo Nunez was feeling better on Thursday.  He said it was just bad salmon he ate on Tuesday

and not related to what Alfonso Soriano had.  Nunez had a good line about missing a week like

Soriano.  He said "A week, if I miss a week I don't make the team."  I agree though he is on the

bubble.  This is probably his last chance, he needs to make the team and play well and stay healthy.

I think he could be their third baseman with Kelly Johnson but the Yankees don't seem to feel the

same way. 

The New York Yankees lose in Grapefruit league opener

The New York Yankees were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday afternoon.  The

game was played at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida.  The final score was 6-5 as the Pirates

rallied late to get the victory.  Ivan Nova started for the Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann

and Carlos Beltran saw their first action as Yankees. 

Nova pitched 1 1/3 innings giving up two hits and two runs with two walks and a strikeout.  He threw 37 total pitches.  It was an ok outing, his control wasn't great especially early and he threw too many pitches.  His stuff wasn't too bad though for the first time out.  Bruce Billings pitched 1 2/3 innings giving up two hits, a walk and a strikeout, Dellin Betances pitched two innings giving up a hit and had two strikeouts and Chase Whitley pitched an inning giving up three hits and four runs with a walk.  Whitley took the loss.  Preston Claiborne pitched an inning giving up two hits and had two strikeouts and Cesar Cabral pitched an inning giving up a hit with a strikeout. 
Jacoby Ellsbury had a hit and drew two walks, Mason Williams had a hit and an RBI and Yangervis

Solarte had two hits and two RBI.  Solarte is a guy to keep an eye on as he may be able to help at

third base for the Yankees this year.  Brian McCann had a hit and an RBI, Ramon Flores is another

interesting prospect who had a hit and an RBI and Dean Anna had a hit. 

Williams hit a double and Solarte hit a homerun.  The Yankees were 2-6 with runners in scoring position and left three men on base.  Solarte and Maruszak each committed an error.  The Yankees will play Pittsburgh at home in Tampa on Thursday afternoon.  Derek Jeter will make his spring debut and David Phelps will make his first start of the spring.  Phelps is in the fifth starter derby, if he doesn't win the job I am sure he will be in the bullpen though in some capacity. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New York Yankees notes as exhibition games begin

Kelly Johnson played third base briefly for the Yankees on Tuesday.  He is getting acclimated there
but in reality it was last year when he was thrown into the fire.  He never played there but then he
was becoming Evan Longoria back-up.  This is what Johnson said "They just said, Hey lets go out and
get some early stuff and see how you look over there."  "I played that day, and I played like a week
straight .

Just whenever Longoria needed something, a day off or a DH day."  He went on to say that as an

infielder in the big leagues you kind of know and have an eye on other positions.  He said the one

thing that stood out to him about third base was you don't have as much time to throw over to first.

He said at second your mechanics don't have to be perfect but at third they do because you have

less time. Johnson said that Mick Kelleher, Willie Randolph and minor league coach Jody Reed have

all been helping him at third.  Yankees camp is light on true third baseman so he fits in but he said

he had one of the best teachers last year in Longoria.  I would agree with him on that one, he is one
of the best players in the league. 

Alfonso Soriano was able to hit and workout in the morning.  He said that he was feeling much
better according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News.  Ozzie Smith has teamed up with Budweiser

to try and make Opening Day a national holiday.  They need 100,000 signatures in 30 days and then
it will be brought to Washington D.C. to try and make it a law.  I think it is pretty cool and you

should check it out if you haven't already.   It is on and  The Yankees
played their first exhibition against major leaguers on Wednesday afternoon.  They played in

Bradenton against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Eduardo Nunez was the starting shortstop on Wednesday but was scratched with a stomach bug.  It

sounds like the Yankees have it going around as he is the second one to have it now.  Soriano was
the first and he is just starting to workout and feel better.  The Yankees decided to give Soriano five

days of workouts before putting him in a game.  He is only on day two so by the weekend he should
be ready to go.  Nova started on Wednesday and wasn't great but he wasn't horrible.  He already

has trust in his new catcher Brian McCann.  McCann went out to talk with him in the first inning and

let him know what he was seeing.  Nova said he listened and he told him I am not going to shake

you much as you have a plan and I trust you know what you are doing.  I think McCann will have a

huge impact on the Yankees both offensively and defensively.  Jose Ramirez who is a pitching

prospect is the latest spring training injury.  He felt his back tighten up warming up in the bullpen. 

There are no change of plans with Derek Jeter.  He is expected in the lineup on Thursday and to play
about five innings at shortstop.  Brian Cashman again shot down any thought of someone like

Stephen Drew.  He said we have spent our money and only things that are cost effective.  So either

a trade for infield help or a waiver claim, I tend to agree with this.  I don't think they are lying about

it.  I think if anything, they could make a trade but they could also do that at midseason if things

aren't working. 

Ellsbury reached base three times on Wednesday and didn't try to steal.  He stated that was
intentional. He said he does try and save them for the regular season.  Yangervis Solarte was the
standout of Wednesday.  He is a guy to keep an eye on as he may be able to help at third this
season.  They have Johnson and Nunez for there right now but Johnson is also the backup first
baseman and probably second also.  It isn't an ideal situation so someone else may have a chance to
open up eyes and get their shot in the infield.  Chase Whitley had a rough outing taking the loss and
being charged with all four runs in the seventh inning.  Dellin Betances pitched two scoreless innings
and had two strikeouts and no walks.  He is a guy who I think will make the team in the bullpen and
could have a big impact. 

The first televised game of the spring is on Thursday afternoon.  It is a 1:00PM start on YES and from
Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  You should see most of the regulars for about half of the

game.  David Phelps gets the start in the game and Adam Warren will start on Friday.  The fifth

starter derby really starts to heat up. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New York Yankees win exhibition opener 8-3 over Florida State University

New York Yankees win exhibition opener 8-3 over Florida State University

The New York Yankees defeated the Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday afternoon. The final score was 8-3 and the game took place at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Vidal Nuno started the game for the Yankees and threw two scoreless innings. The only Yankees regulars who played were Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli and Kelly Johnson. The players who had the best days were John Ryan Murphy. He used to be J.R. Murphy but now goes by the name of John Ryan. He had two doubles and an RBI. Jose Gil and Ramon Flores each had two hits also. Flores hit the first homerun of the spring for the Yankees. Brendan Ryan had a hit and an RBI, Dean Anna had a hit and Yangervis had a hit and an RBI. Corban Joseph had a hit and an RBI, Gary Sanchez had an RBI and Zoilo Almonte had a hit.

Nuno got the win pitching two scoreless and giving up a hit. He walked none and struck out three. Nuno kicked off the fifth starter derby and David Phelps and Adam Warren will get their turns in the next couple of days. Nuno was in a no-win situation here, if college kids hit him around it wouldn’t look good and if he did well he is supposed too. He did well and that is better then not pitching well. Brian Gordon pitched two innings giving up four hits and no runs with a strikeout. Shane Greene pitched two innings giving up three hits and three runs with a walk and a strikeout. Bryan Mitchell pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and Francisco Rondon pitched an inning giving up a hit with two strikeouts.

Ryan hit an RBI double in the second to make it 1-0 Yankees. In the third Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Yankees. Solarte hit an RBI single, Murphy hit an RBI double and a wild pitch scored another run. The Yankees had a 5-0 lead. Florida State scored three runs in the top of the sixth to make it a game at 5-3 but then the Yankees pulled away again. The Yankees scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a Corban Joseph RBI single and an error scored another run. In the eighth the Yankees added a final run to make it 8-3 and that was the final score.

The Yankees will head to Bradenton to open the grapefruit league schedule on Wednesday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ivan Nova will get the start and Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Bruce Billings, Preston Claiborne, Matt Daley, Chris Leroux, Jose Ramirez and Chase Whitley are listed as relievers. The Yankees will look to win their second in a row before returning home on Thursday for the first televised game of the spring. Thursday will also mark the debut of Derek Jeter in his final season.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New York Mets spring training notes

New York Mets spring training notes

The Mets as always are getting criticism right now. They signed Chris Young to a one year 7.5 million deal in November. Nelson Cruz just signed with Baltimore for one year and eight million. There were a lot of Mets fans that wanted him and I can see their frustration. They didn’t know in November though that Cruz would come down, he was looking for a five-year deal at the time.

Terry Collins the manager said on Saturday that he liked Ike Davis swing. He believes it is more quite and flat, which creates better backspin on the ball. He said this “I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen.” He went on to say that his swing is completely different then last year. Ike Davis had a tough year and then went through a winter of being in constant trade rumors. He is still a Met and maybe that is a good thing. If he just focuses on baseball and gets it back he will be a valuable asset to the Mets. If he does well they may be able to trade Lucas Duda and Davis can be the first baseman for a long time and help anchor the infield.

Matt Harvey tossed a baseball for the first time since his surgery on Saturday. It doesn’t mean much as there is no way he will be playing this year but good to see for them. He made about 20 throws to the bullpen catcher. He was roughly standing 60 feet away and was being watched by many fans, media and cameras. Harvey told reporters “It was awesome. Everything felt amazing; I’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a tough process with how things felt today. But I’ve got to stick with it and move forward.”

The Mets catchers have been told to not block home plate regardless of the new rules or not. The Mets offered Stephen Drew a one year 9.5 million dollar deal but he is still looking for more. Maybe they can agree to that with an option, I don’t know what other options he really has at this point.

New York Yankees spring training news and notes

New York Yankees spring training news and notes

The New York Yankees continue to work out down in Tampa, Florida. They signed right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal on Saturday night. He had shoulder surgery in July and won’t be ready until around mid season. This is a good low risk signing. He is 29 years old and the former closer of the Oakland Athletics. He last played for the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees will begin their exhibition schedule on Tuesday at home against Florida State University. Jameis Winston the heisman trophy winner and championship quarterback is on the team. The first televised game is on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Yankees haven’t had any significant injury concerns so far this spring. Alfonso Soriano has been out with the flu. There are a couple other minor injuries but not to anyone on the big league roster. Manny Banuelos faced live hitters for the second time this spring. Joe Girardi said he looked good. He hasn’t pitched in a year since Tommy John surgery so there was some rust. There is an outside shot that he joins the big league team out of spring training. If he does it would be as a second lefty out of the bullpen. The most likely scenario is he starting at AAA and working his way up to the big leagues by the end of the season.

David Phelps threw a simulated game on Saturday and Girardi said he will break camp with the team but he isn’t sure in which role. Phelps can start for them, he can be a long man, and he can be a short man out of the bullpen. He will do something the Yankees just aren’t sure what yet. My guess is he will be the sixth starting pitcher and short man out of the pen. I believe Michael Pineda will be the fifth starter and Adam Warren the long man.

The Orioles signed Nelson Cruz to a one year and eight million dollar deal today. They also just signed Ubaldo Jiminez so they are getting better. The Yankees probably have the toughest division and it continues to get tougher. Eduardo Nunez played in only five winter league games this year. He said he focused on training instead and worked out with Robinson Cano this winter. He worked on all aspects of his game. I think he has his last real shot now; he can be the third baseman and show the Yankees that he will be important to them going forward. The games he did play were designed to help him with his timing. He was working on not rushing his throws etc.

Jorge Posada is in camp as a guest instructor, he showed up on Saturday morning. It was photo day for the Yankees on Saturday.


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