Friday, June 29, 2012

Harper: "I don't want to be a Yankee"

If you had hopes that the Yankees would one day sign Bryce Harper, you may want to pull back the reigns a little. Apparently, he's pretty happy in DC:
“You look at Cal Ripken. You look at Derek Jeter. You look at all the greats that played for one team their whole career,” Harper said last weekend, sitting in the dugout at Camden Yards in Baltimore. “I want to be like that. I’ve always wanted to be like that. I’ve always wanted to play with that same team.”

“Having a community and fans like we do in D.C. that love our players, love everything about us, we deserve to give something back to them,” he added. “I want to do that. I don’t want to do anything else.”

Harper has told his father the same thing, that he wants to make Washington home and play here until he retires. “Bryce is as loyal as they come,” Ron Harper said. “He doesn’t care about nothing but winning a championship.”

...

Before the Nationals played the Yankees in mid-June, Harper told his father, “I don’t want to be a Yankee. I want to beat them.”
At least the Yankees won't have to fork up the $400 million it was estimated that Harper could get on the open market, so at least they can avoid that headache. That said, if Harper spends a few years in Washington and doesn't win, I wouldn't be surprised to hear he's had another change of heart.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rotation Update: Warren & Garcia to replace CC & Andy

https://twitter.com/BryanHoch/status/218075957490221057

UPDATE: Pettitte Has a Fractured Left Ankle... Out 6 Weeks

Here's an update via Bryan Hoch:
The news in the Yankees clubhouse has moved from bad to worse, as Andy Pettitte suffered a left ankle fracture in Wednesday’s start against the Indians and will miss a minimum of six weeks.
Just a terrible day for Yankees starters. Losing CC and Pettitte will be a very tough challenge for this team.

(Original post below)

Andy Pettitte was forced to leave today’s game vs the Indians in the fifth inning after getting hit on the lower left leg by a hard grounder. He tried to stay in the game but had to leave after throwing just one pitch to the next hitter.

With CC now headed for the DL, the last thing this team can afford is to lose another one of their top starters. Check back here for updates throughout the day.

CC Placed on 15-Day DL

The Yankees placed CC Sabathia on the 15-day DL today with a strained left adductor muscle. Here's a little more from the Daily News:
Sabathia said he felt it during his start on Sunday, but didn't tell the team until Tuesday. He gave up five runs - one earned - on nine hits and two walks in 5-2/3 innings against the Mets. It was the first time this season he didn't pitch six complete innings.
Girardi says that CC will likely only two starts and will be replaced in the rotation by Freddy Garcia who will start on Friday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Game 73: Yankees vs. Indians

Regular Season Game 73
YANKEES vs. INDIANS
First Pitch: 7:05 PM | TV: MY9 | Radio: WCBS

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (44-28)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Dewayne Wise CF
Chris Stewart C

Pitching: RHP Phil Hughes (7-6, 4.94 ERA)

INDIANS (37-35)
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Jason Kipnis 2B
Carlos Santana C
Michael Brantley CF
Johnny Damon LF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Jack Hannahan 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall DH

Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (4-6, 3.98 ERA)

Pedro Feliciano Throws 1st BP Session Since Surgery

https://twitter.com/eboland11/statuses/217673042602635264

Gardner Update

From Jon Lane:
Brett Gardner (elbow) will join the Yankees in St. Petersburg, Fla., next week during the series against the Rays to take dry swings, but is still not expected back prior to the All-Star break. Gardner will first play in rehab games when teams return to action with the goal for him to be activated at full strength. He suffered a second setback on June 10 while playing with with Single-A Charleston, so the organization will err on the side of caution.
No reason not to be cautious. With the Yankees currently holding onto the game's best record there is no reason to rush anything with Gardner.

Yanks Add Two Arms

MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Yankees have claimed 25-year-old pitcher Danny Farquhar off waivers after the right-hander was designated for assignment by the A's last weekend. Here's a little more fro MLBTR:
The pitcher posted a 2.97 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 20 Double-A appearances for Toronto's affiliate and pitched eight innings for the A's Triple-A squad this year.
And even more from YES including some info on Jonathan Meloan, who was also signed:
To make room for Farquhar on the 40-man roster, outfielder Brett Gardner was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

In addition to adding Farquhar, the Yankees officially announced the signing of pitcher Jonathan Meloan, who was inked late on Monday and also assigned to Double-A Trenton.

Meloan had been pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, where he was 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA and 11 saves and 36 strikeouts in 23 appearances. The 27-year-old has 17.2 innings of Major League experience, and was most recently in the Majors with Oakland in 2009; he missed all of 2010 after having Tommy John surgery, and spent 2011 in the A’s system at Double-A Midland.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cano Takes Lead in 2nd Base All-Star Voting

Robinson Cano now leads AL 2nd basemen in voting, overtaking Ian Kinsler in this week's updated voting tally. He now leads Kinsler by just under 100,000 votes.

To see the entire voting result update, click on the "read more" link below:

2012 Old-Timers' Day Roster Announced



Here is this year's Old-Timers' Day roster that the Yanks released today:

(*Denotes First-Time Old-Timer)

Luis Arroyo
Jesse Barfield
Yogi Berra
Ron Blomberg
Dr. Bobby Brown
Homer Bush
Jerry Coleman
David Cone
Bucky Dent
Al Downing
Brian Doyle
Cecil Fielder
Whitey Ford
Oscar Gamble
Jake Gibbs
Joe Girardi
Rich “Goose” Gossage
Ron Guidry
Charlie Hayes
Rickey Henderson
Sterling Hitchcock*
Arlene Howard
Helen Hunter
Reggie Jackson
Tommy John
Pat Kelly
Don Larsen
Graeme Lloyd
Hector Lopez
Jill Martin
Tino Martinez
Lee Mazzilli
Stump Merrill*
Gene Monahan*
Diana Munson
Kay Murcer
Matt Nokes*
Paul O’Neill
Joe Pepitone
Lou Piniella
Willie Randolph
Bobby Richardson
Mickey Rivers
Aaron Small
Mel Stottlemyre
Darryl Strawberry
Tanyon Sturtze*
Ralph Terry
Joe Torre
Bob Turley
Roy White
Bernie Williams

The 66th Old-Timers' Day will be on Sunday, July 1, at Yankee Stadium when the Yankees host the White Sox. Ceremonies are scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m.

"Not bad for a bunch of chickens"


From Mike Mazzeo:
"Not bad for a bunch of chickens," Nick Swisher joked after the Yankees' 6-5 victory.

How long had Swisher been saving that one?

"I don't know. Maybe for a little bit," said Swisher, who delivered a 423-foot, three-run home run off R.A. Dickey to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead in the third inning.

So did the win have special meaning, given that Mets closer Frank Francisco had called the Yankees "chickens" before the series began?

"I don't really care about what other people say," said Robinson Cano, who blasted the game-winning, 440-foot bomb off Miguel Batista in the eighth. "You gotta go out there and play the game."
Always fun when the Mets (or any team) talks shit while in the process of losing 5 out of 6.... And here's one final note on the whole Francisco nonsense; the idiot is now on the DL with with a left oblique strain.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Game 71: Yankees @ Mets

Regular Season Game 71
YANKEES @ METS
First Pitch: 8:00 PM | TV: ESPN | Radio: WCBS


Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (42-28)
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Chris Stewart C
CC Sabathia LHP (9-3, 3.55 ERA)

METS (39-33)
Andres Torres CF
Ruben Tejada SS
David Wright 3B
Scott Hairston LF
Lucas Duda RF
Justin Turner 1B
Ronny Cedeno, 2B
Josh Thole, C
R.A. Dickey RHP (11-1, 2.00 ERA)

This Week In Yankees History (6/24-6/30)

This Week in Yankees History 

June 24th - June 30th

June 24th

1907 - Former Yankees C Rollie Hemsley (1942-1944) was born (1907-1942). On July 19, 1942, veteran MLB Catcher Rollie Hemsley was signed as a MLB free agent with the New York Yankees. He appeared in 174 games for the Yankees, hitting .262. In 1944, he was named to the AL All Star team. In 1944, he went into the military service. On March 25, 1946, he was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from the New York Yankees.

1908 - Charging the New York Highlander owners with refusing to spend money to build a winning team, Manager Clark Griffith resigns; Shortstop Kid Elberfeld replaces him following today's 6-6 tie game with the Philadelphia A's. The Highlanders fade fast and finished last in the American League with a club record of 103 losses.

1930 - The New York Yankees sweep their 2nd consecutive doubleheader from the Philadelphia A’s by scores of 10-6 and 11-1, as Yankees slugger Babe Ruth hits 2 more HRs and sets an MLB record with 8 HRs in 6 games.

1933 - New York Yankees signed veteran hurler George Uhle (1933-1934) after his release by the Giants. George would go 8-5 in 22 games with Yankees.

1934 - After being hitless in his last 21 at bats, New York slugger Babe Ruth hits a grand slam HR in a 5-0 Yankee win over the Chicago White Sox.

1936 - New York Rookie CF Joe DiMaggio ties 3 MLB records in the Yankees 10-run, 5th inning against the Chicago White Sox, hitting 2 HRs for 8 total bases. With 2 doubles, he equals the modern MLB record of 4 long hits in a game.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Game 70: Yankees @ Mets

Regular Season Game 70
YANKEES @ METS
First Pitch: 7:15 PM | TV: FOX | Radio: WCBS


Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (41-28)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Ivan Nova RHP (9-2, 4.32 ERA)

METS (39-32)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda RF
Ike Davis 1B
Scott Hairston LF
Omar Quintanilla SS
Josh Thole C
Chris Young RHP (1-1, 3.06 ERA)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mets Closer Frank Francisco Calls Yankees "Chickens"

From Mike Puma:
At least somebody isn’t afraid to talk trash about a cross-town rival.

“I can’t wait to face those chickens,” Mets closer Frank Francisco told The Post when asked about playing the Yankees in this weekend’s Subway Series at Citi Field. “I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before.”

Before Francisco could elaborate on his “chickens” comment, after the Mets’ 4-3 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday, he buttoned up.

“I think I’ve said too much already,” he said.
Chickens? Really, Frank?

Hey Yanks, please sweep these bastards again.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yanks Sign Cuban Left-Hander

From MLB.com:
Left-handed pitcher Omar Luis Rodriguez, 19, and the Yankees have agreed on a Minor League deal worth an estimated $4-5 million, according to an industry source.

Rodriguez, who projects to be a starter, burst onto the international scene during the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship when he struck out eight batters during a complete-game, 144-pitch outing to eliminate Team USA in the semifinals. He led Cuba to a bronze medal and was named to the competition's all-tournament team.

The southpaw has to sign with a Major League club before July 2, or he will be subject to new CBA guidelines that will limit spending on international prospects to $2.9 million per team before penalties kick in.
From the little I've read about the left-hander he has low-90's fastball, and a yet to be fully developed curve and changeup. Scouts apparently also love his poise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Game 67: Yankees vs Braves

Regular Season Game 67
YANKEES vs. BRAVES
First Pitch: 7:05 PM | TV: MY9/MLBN | Radio: WCBS


Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (41-25)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C

Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.46 ERA)

BRAVES (35-32)
Michael Bourn CF
Martin Prado LF
Brian McCann C
Dan Uggla 2B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Chipper Jones 3B
Jason Heyward RF
Andrelton Simmons SS
Eric Hinske DH

Pitching: RHP Tim Hudson (4-3, 3.90 ERA)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Clemens Trial: Not Guilty On All Counts

From The Associated Press:
Roger Clemens has been acquitted on all charges by a jury that decided he didn't lie to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Jurors returned their verdict Monday after close to 10 hours of deliberation. The outcome brings an end to a 10-week trial that capped an expensive, five-year investigation into one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

The 49-year-old Clemens was accused of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally-televised hearing in February 2008. The charges centered on his repeated denials that he used steroids and human growth hormone during his 24-year career.

The verdict is the latest blow to the government's pursuit of athletes accused of drug use.
And the United States Justice system continues to be an embarrassment to all citizens of this great nation. Clemens cheated, he knew he cheated, and he lied about it to Congress. Somehow the painfully obvious was lost on these 12 idiots.

"Hey Rusty, I can't believe they bought it."

This Week In Yankees History (6/17-6/23)

This Week in Yankees History

June 17th - June 23rd

June 17th

1903 - Former Yankees P Benjamin “Big Ben” Shields (1924-1925) was born (1903-1982). Ben Shields went 3-0 in 6 games for the Yankees.

1917 - The Giants and Yankees played the 1st Sunday game in New York City for a war charity in front of 21,000 spectators at the Polo Grounds.

1918 - The New York Yankees play an 8-inning 5-5 tie with the Detroit Tigers, called because the team had to catch a train to Cleveland.

1936 - Red Ruffing of the New York Yankees set an AL record for pitchers by recording up to 10 total bases. Ruffing hit 2 HRs as part of a 4-hit day (2-singles), helping the Yankees to a 15-4 crushing of the Cleveland Indians.

1941 - Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees was credited with a hit in his 30th consecutive game when an easy grounder to shortstop bounced up and hit Luke Appling on the shoulder. The Chicago White Sox beat the Yankees by the score of 8-7.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

D-Rob Activated, Phelps Sent Down

The Yankees activated David Robertson from the 15-day DL today. To make room on the roster David Phelps was optioned down to Single-A Tampa. He will stay in Tampa until he builds up his arm strength and is then set to join the SWB Yanks starting rotation. Phelps went 1-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 13 games for the Yanks.

Gardner Could be Back in 3-4 Weeks

From Marc Carig:
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner could be back in three to four weeks, the club announced today, after doctors ruled out the possibility of a major injury that could have cost him his season.

Instead, two leading orthopedic surgeons confirmed that Gardner has a strained left elbow, a bone bruise, and joint inflammation, which have not fully healed.

Gardner underwent platelet rich plasma therapy and took a cortisone shot today. Doctors have recommended three to four weeks rest for the outfielder, who has suffered two setbacks in his attempt to return from the injury, which landed him on the disabled list in mid-April.
The Yankees did more than enough to weather the injury storm that hit them earlier this year. Between the losses of Gardner, Mo and Robertson I thought the Yankees would be in trouble and I'm sure most of you felt the same way. Instead, the Yanks have won 16 of their last 20 and hold the AL's best record. Now, with Robertson back and Gardner on his way back, the rest of the league should be afraid, very afraid.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

D-Rob Set To Return on Friday

From Wallace Matthews:
Fresh off his second rehab appearance on Tuesday in Rochester, David Robertson is scheduled to rejoin the Yankees today in Atlanta, although he will not be activated until Friday's game against the Nationals in Washington.

"He's fine,'' Joe Girardi said. "We just want to make sure he feels OK, and if he is, we'll activate him on Friday.''
Great news for a team that seems to be hitting their stride. Matthews reiterated taht Soriano will remain in the closers role while Robertson will take over setup duties and for a team with the best record in the AL, I'd say that's the right move.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Game 60: Yankees @ Braves

Regular Season Game 60
YANKEES @ BRAVES
First Pitch: 7:10 PM | TV: YES/TBS | Radio: WCBS


Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (34-25)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Nick Swisher RF
Russell Martin C

Pitching: RHP Ivan Nova (7-2, 5.09 ERA)

BRAVES (34-26)
Michael Bourn CF
Martin Prado LF
Brian McCann C
Dan Uggla 2B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Chipper Jones 3B
Jason Heyward RF
Andrelton Simmons SS

Pitching: RHP Randall Delgado (4-5, 4.26 ERA)

Yanks Miss Out On Soler

Via MLB Trade Rumors:
Soler and the Cubs agreed to a nine-year deal worth approximately $30MM, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. At least three or four teams placed bids of $20MM plus, according to Heyman. Depending on how long Soler spends at the minor league level, the deal could cover all of his arbitration seasons and multiple free agent years.

Soler can opt out of his yearly salaries and file for arbitration once eligible, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains, this means Soler could earn more than $30MM with the Cubs.
The Yankees had been interested in Soler, but obviously did not have the winning bid.

Update On Pettitte's Hand

From Chad Jennings:
Andy Pettitte had his left hand wrapped after today’s game, but he said he felt fortunate. He was fortunate to get out of the sixth inning, and fortunate to leave with no real concern about making his next start.

“It’s swollen, and as soon as the swelling gets out, it’ll be fine,” Pettitte said. “It swelled up, got me up high on the hand, toward my fingers. It was hard to throw. I couldn’t really feel the ball. It swelled up immediately and I just had a hard time feeling the ball in my hand. … I probably should have came out.”

...

Pettitte had X-rays which showed no broken bones, but his hand was swollen throughout those final two outs.
Looks like the Yankees dodged another bullet.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Game 59: Yankees vs. Mets

Subway Series
YANKEES vs METS
First Pitch: 1:05 PM | TV: YES/TBS | Radio: WCBS

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (33-25)
Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.78 ERA)

METS (32-28)
Andres Torres CF
Jason Bay LF
David Wright 3B
Scott Hairston RF
Lucas Duda DH
Vinny Rottino 1B
Omar Quintanilla SS
Mike Nickeas C
Jordany Valdespin 2B

Jonathon Niese LHP (4-2, 4.11)

Kuroda Expect To Make Next Start

From Marc Carig:
Hiroki Kuroda had just finished a session on the exercise bike and a round of treatment. Sweat beads covered his brow. His left ankle and foot were naked. His gait had only a slight hitch.

The Yankees right-hander hasn’t been given a clean bill of health — manager Joe Girardi said he’ll need to see where he is in a few days — but he had the look of a pitcher who’ll be ready to take the mound for his next turn Wednesday in Atlanta.

X-rays were negative on Kuroda’s left ankle/foot, which got the worst of an encounter with a line drive off Daniel Murphy’s bat in Friday’s 9-1 victory over the Mets. Girardi yesterday described the injury as “some bruising on his heel.”
Good news. With the way the Yanks have been pitching recently the last thing they need is another injury, especially to a starter.

Gardner Not Expected To Return By All Star Break

From George A. King III & Mike Puma:
At this rate it would be viewed as a positive if the Yankees got Brett Gardner back immediately after the All-Star break.

For the second time in a month, Gardner experienced a problem following a minor league rehab game and nobody knows when the left fielder will be healthy enough to return to the big leagues this year.
Gardner last played for the Yankees on April 17 when he suffered a strained right (non-throwing) elbow.

“He woke up and had pain [Saturday],’’ manager Joe Girardi said of Gardner, who went 1-for-3 Friday night for Single-A Charleston. “He will see the doctor and that’s all I got for you until we find out what is going on. Obviously it’s a setback.’’

Gardner will be examined by Dr. James Andrews tomorrow or Tuesday and see Dr. Timothy Kremchek on Thursday.

Gardner felt something on May 10 playing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Friday was his first rehab game since then.

When Gardner had the first setback, Girardi had an idea what would happen if a second one surfaced.

“I said if he had another one I thought it would be after the All-Star break [July 9-12],’’ Girardi said. “So there are concerns.’’
In other Yankees injury news, David Robertson will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday with the SWB Yankees.

Report: Jorge Soler Could Sign a Deal By Monday

From the NYPost:
According to an industry source, free agent outfielder Jorge Soler is expected to agree on a four-year deal before tomorrow.

The Yankees and Cubs have expressed strong interest in the 20-year-old, who some scouts believe is a better player than fellow Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, 26, who signed with the Athletics.

The Yankees don’t have Nick Swisher’s replacement in the system if he leaves via free agency and Soler would represent a smaller investment than chasing free agent Josh Hamilton.
Buster Olney said yesterday that the Yankees were one of the most aggressive teams in pursuit of the Curban outfielder.

Last week, the Yankees made a splash on the International FA market, agreeing to a $600,000 deal with Dominican pitcher Manolo Reyes. That deal is pending MLB approval because Reyes had some issues with his paperwork. You can read more about that signing here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Game 57: Yankees vs Mets


Subway Series
YANKEES vs METS
First Pitch: 7:05 PM | TV: MY9/MLBN | Radio: WCBS

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (31-25)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C

Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.82 ERA)

METS (32-26)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
Josh Thole C
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda DH
Daniel Murphy 2B
Scott Hairston RF
Ike Davis 1B
Jason Bay LF
Omar Quintanilla SS

Pitching: LHP Johan Santana (3-2, 2.38 ERA)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beyond the Box Score: The Trials & Tribulations of a Dominican Prospect

The pressure to make it to the Majors is something that you & I can never even begin to understand.  Whether you’re a highly touted prep player that is privy to the finest instructors money can buy or a hungry, young Dominican with hand-me-down equipment, a lot is on their shoulders.  As opposed to the former, the latter prospects have even more pressure because with the conditions that some of these kids come from; making it big is a way to pull their families out of poverty.  If they don’t make it playing baseball, there are not too many options for these kids. 

Not only do they have to deal with immense family pressure, there is also the issue of the rather unscrupulous behavior of Buscons.  With dreams of riches in Major League Baseball, these kids will do whatever it takes to make it.  Steroids are legal for purchase in the Dominican Republic, age falsification is rampant, and there have even been incidents where some have taken money from prospects’ signing bonuses.  It is bad enough that these kids have so much riding on them getting signed to professional contracts, these buscons are supposed to be trusted advisers.  Instead of grooming these young prospects, they are taking advantage of their desperation.  These “street agents” smell blood in the water every season and will attack with little remorse.

Now it would be extremely unfair of me to say that all of these buscones are the same, but recruiting and signing prospects in the Dominican is a shadier process then NCAA recruiting.  Charleston RiverDogs’ Right Fielder, Kelvin De Leon, was a victim, and ended up giving up a big chunk of his signing bonus to two men that he felt were looking out for his best interests.  Carlos Rios, former Director of Latin American scouting, and Ramon Valdivia, the Dominican scouting director, tricked De Leon into paying them $100,000 of his bonus.  He had no idea what was happening, and how could he?  At his age, I would have thought that it was perfectly normal as well.  Both men have long since been let go from their positions but the continuing problem of agents, buscons, and a who’s who of shady people that have no business being in these kids’ ear about what’s best for them, continue on in the Dominican. 

There is nothing wrong with agents trying to make money off of signing talented prospects because they see big bucks in their future.  There is protocol though, and swindling na├»ve young ballplayers out of their hard earned money is reprehensible.  To steal from people that desperately need that money…there just isn’t a word in the English dictionary to describe how terrible that is.  De Leon signed for $1.1Million in 2007, and yeah that is a lot of money.  But when you are looking to take care of your family as well as improve your own life while playing abroad, that can dwindle quicker than one would think.  The real life long security blanket is when he is finally about to ink that multi-year, big money contract.  He has a long road ahead of him but the good news for De Leon is that he definitely has the talent.  He will be as good as he wants to be because he possesses the physical tools to be an impact Major League player.  This kid is hungry, having success in the South Atlantic League, and I would not bet against him.

It’s almost an entire page into this article and I didn’t even get onto the topic I originally planned on tackling.  There is immense pressure on these prospects to perform, I was trying to help paint a bit of even a hint of what these kids have to deal with, and that’s before they even get onto the field.  The strong will excel in the Dominican Summer League and if they prove that they can hang with the cream of the crop on the island, they will usually get promoted to one of the short season rookie level leagues the following season.
          
Top American baseball prospects get more exposure to a certain grind that I feel is overlooked when it comes to a player’s development.  Many of them travel alone to showcases and tournaments, which allows these players to get used to being away from home.  The same goes for college prospects, who are used to being away from home for four years.  I’m usually not one that harps on intangibles but used to being away from your family for an extended period of time is something that will help a prospect progress or flame out in Low-A ball.  Two years ago, Redlands East Valley pitcher Griffin Murphy’s father trained him to travel alone to showcases, and Murphy himself stated that by being able to fend for himself, helped him develop maturity and the ability to cope with being on his own.

Dominican ballplayers aren’t privy to this crucial part of developing as a person.  People tend to forget that these are teenage kids not only away from their families for the first time, but they are also abroad playing with players from all over the world.  They are not baseball machines with an on and off button.  You have to factor the human element in sports; it is an even more important detail when dealing with 16-17 year old kids from another country.  The kids they play against on a regular basis are direct competition to them ascending the minor league ranks, and they are usually just as good, more often than not, are even better.  The lucky ones who are promoted to the States are usually the big fish in a little pond with their respective teams.  Not only are they dealing much better competition, but they are also dealing with exposure to a different culture.  A lot of these prospects don’t speak English and rely on interpreters to assist them.  It has to be a lonely feeling because while they are away from their loved ones, they also can’t completely fend for themselves unless they learn the language.  That is easier said than done.
        
Why am I bringing all of this up?  I’m trying to help everyone understand that it’s not just baseball that these prospects from the Dominican have to deal with. I can never put myself in their shoes, and I won’t even pretend like I can.  What I can try to do is understand where they are coming from, what they have to deal with, and help educate everyone else on the subject by writing about them. I couldn’t imagine dealing with what these kids do at their young age and for that, they have my respect. 

             Twitter: @trevwolff

Game 56: Yankees vs. Rays

REGULAR SEASON GAME 56
YANKEES vs RAYS
First Pitch: 7:05 PM | TV: YES/MLBN | Radio: WCBS

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (31-24)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Jayson Nix LF
Chris Stewart C

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.68 ERA)

RAYS (31-25)
Elliot Johnson SS
Ben Zobrist DH
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Sean Rodriguez 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Jose Lobaton C
Matt Joyce RF
Drew Sutton 2B

Pitching: LHP David Price (7-3, 2.44 ERA)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Game 55: Yankees vs. Rays

REGULAR SEASON GAME 55
YANKEES vs RAYS
First Pitch: 7:05 PM | TV: YES/ESPN2 | Radio: WCBS

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (30-24)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C

Pitching: RHP Ivan Nova (6-2, 5.60 ERA)

RAYS (31-24)
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Matt Joyce RF
Ben Zobrist 2B
Hideki Matsui DH
Carlos Pena 1B
Sean Rodriguez SS
Jose Molina C
Will Rhymes 3B

Pitching: RHP Alex Cobb (2-1, 3.71 ERA)

Rivera To Have Surgery Next Tuesday

Mariano Rivera told the media today that he will have surgery on his torn ACL next Tuesday. Here's a little more on the story from Dan Martin:
The surgery will be performed at Hospital for Special Surgery by Dr. David Altchek. Rivera said he isn’t concerning himself with an exact timetable after the procedure.

“I don’t want to have that,” said Rivera, who learned that the clot was gone last week. “I don’t want to put in my mind a line. When the Lord permits it to be ready, it will be ready.”
And while he isn’t concerning himself with the possibility of returning this season, he hasn’t completely ruled it out.

“I don’t want to think about it,” Rivera said. “Again, miracles happen. I just have to be able to do what I was doing before. That’s what I want.”

Yanks Blame StubHub For Attendance Drop

From Josh Kosman:
Yankee Stadium attendance is down 3.6 percent so far this year — greater than the 3 percent drop last season — and the team is blaming StubHub for its gate woes.

“We believe there are serious issues with the StubHub relationship,” team president Randy Levine told The Post yesterday. “We are actively reviewing more fan-friendly alternatives for next year.”

The Bronx Bombers and other Major League Baseball teams have bellyached about StubHub for a couple of years — as more fans turn to the low-priced online reseller for tickets instead of buying directly from the team.

The Yanks and other teams claim tickets are priced too low on StubHub.

...

Compared with last season’s total average attendance, the Yanks’ 25-game average is off 9 percent.

Overall, MLB attendance is up 7 percent. Much of that is due to the Miami Marlins moving into a new stadium.

Plus, the Yanks had been the first or second best-selling MLB team through their first three seasons in the new stadium. This year they are only the fifth best-selling team.
To me, having plenty of affordable tickets is as "fan-friendly" as it gets, but I guess "fan-friendly" was a euphemism for something else.

The Yankees shouldn't blame StubHub for their problems drawing fans and then take it out on those fans by ridding the market of those affordable tickets. There are reasons the fans no longer want to go to games, but StubHub is not one of them. Maybe knocking down a piece of American history to put up a billion-and-a-half dollar knock-off wasn't necessary. Maybe steadily pricing the average fan out of most of the good seats was also mistake. And maybe combining those things with a new penny-pinching approach to free agency was the worst move of all, if of course selling tickets was the goal.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Game 54: Yankees vs. Rays

REGULAR SEASON GAME 54
YANKEES vs RAYS
First Pitch: 7:05 PM | TV: YES/MLBN | Radio: WCBS

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (29-24)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez DH
Russell Martin C

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-2, 3.49 ERA)

RAYS (31-23)
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Ben Zobrist 2B
Hideki Matsui RF
Sean Rodriguez 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Luke Scott DH
Jose Molina C
Elliott Johnson SS

Pitching: RHP James Shields (6-3, 3.95 ERA)

Yanks Sign Ricky Orta

https://twitter.com/eddymk/statuses/209981889958789120
In 85 minor league games (all in Double-A or lower) the 27-year-old is 14-18 with a 4.37 ERA. In 267.2 innings he's allowed 152 runs on 254 hits, walked 102 and struck out 272.

"Remote Chance" Gardner Returns for Subway Series

According to Andrew Marchand, injured outfielder Brett Gardner took five at-bats in an extended spring training game today and Girardi sounded pleased with the results saying "all went well." Marchand went on to say that there is a "remote" possibility that Gardner could return during this weekend's Subway Series vs. the grossly overachieving Mets. Girardi wants to give Gardner tomorrow off and then have him play a few days in a row before making any decisions.
"Everything is pretty good right now,'' Girardi said. "We'll just have to see how he does. It's possible (he could play this weekend), but we'll just have to see how it goes.''"

Jeter Leading AL Shortstops in All-Star Voting, 2nd Overall

From Marc Carig:
Derek Jeter is the top vote-getter among American League shortstops, according to Major League Baseball, which issued its first All-Star Game balloting update. At nearly 1.7 votes, Jeter ranks second only to the Rangers' Josh Hamilton (nearly 2.6 million) in overall votes.

Jeter, who is batting a team-high .336, leads the AL with 75 hits.

Center fielder Curtis Granderson (1.4 million) ranks behind Hamilton among outfielders and joins Jeter as one of two Yankees would have earned a starting spot if voting ended today. The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

First baseman Mark Teixeira and second baseman Robinson Cano rank second at their position in fan voting, behind Prince Fielder of the Tigers and Ian Kinsler of the Rangers.
Jeter deserves all the votes he gets after rebounding from a mostly disappointing 2011 campaign.

In other all-star game news, Robinson Cano has been named captain of the AL Home Run Derby squad and said he's hoping Granderson will join him. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp will be captain of the NL squad.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

This Week in Yankees History (6/3-6/9)

This Week in Yankees History

June 3rd - June 9th

June 3rd

1929 - The New York Yankees released veteran 1B George “Tioga” Burns (1928-1929). George Burns played briefly with the New York Yankees in 1928, before finishing his long MLB career with the Philadelphia A’s in 1929. In 1915 with the Detroit Tigers, he beat out fellow rookie Wally Pipp for the Tigers 1st base job, Pipp was sent to the Yankees in a trade.

1932 - New York Yankees 1B Lou Gehrig hit 4 consecutive HRs in a game, he narrowly missed a 5th HR, stopped by a great catch by an A’s outfielder. His Yankees teammate Tony Lazzeri hits for the cycle as the Yankees beat the Philadelphia A’s by a score of 20-13. The Yankees set a MLB record for total bases with 50; both teams set a still-standing record for extra bases with 41.

1933 - After giving up 11 runs to the Philadelphia A’s in the 2nd inning, the New York Yankees rebound in the 5th inning with 10 runs, as they out slug the A’s by the score of 17-11. In the 8th inning, Babe Ruth will cap off the Yankees comeback with a 3-run HR.

1941 - At Cleveland Stadium, Yankees starter Red Ruffing shuts out the Indians 2-0. Ruffing allows 8 Tribe hits in the complete game victory. He is now 5-3 for the 1941 AL season. Al Milnar takes the loss for Cleveland. Buddy Rosar and Frank Crosetti lead the Yankees hitting attack, driving in 1 run apiece.

1950 - The New York Yankees sweep the Chicago White Sox by scores of 3-1 and 6-3 in a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. In the 1st game, Yankees starter Tommy Byrne picks up his 6th victory of the 1950 AL season, holding the White Sox to 1 run with 9 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.
Phil Rizzuto and Hank Bauer each going 3 for 4 at the plate, lead the Bronx Bombers hitting attack. The Scooter drives in 2 Yankee runs, while Hank Bauer gets 1 RBI. In the 2nd game, Fred Sanford picks up his 3rd victory for the Yankees with relief help from Yankees Closer Joe Page, who picks up his 9 save of the season. Bill Wight takes the lost for the White Sox. Joe DiMaggio goes 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs including a HR in the game

1968 - The New York Yankees turn their 21st triple play in their team’s history, but lose to the Minnesota Twins by the score of 4-3. With the bases loaded and the go-ahead run already across the plate, Yankees P Dooley Womack catches a lined shot by Twins C Johnny Roseboro, who threw to Bobby Cox at 3B and then watched in awe as when Cox’s throw to 1B Mickey Mantle was in time to complete the triple-play.

Wow

https://twitter.com/MLBNetworkRadio/statuses/209381466600243201

Girardi Believes Joba Will Pitch This Year

From Roger Rubin:
With reliever David Robertson and outfielder Brett Gardner close to beginning minor league rehab assignments, Joe Girardi is asked daily about their progress. On Saturday he brought other, unexpected, rehab news: reliever Joba Chamberlain is throwing pitches from halfway up a mound. And Girardi believes the righthander will return and contribute for the Bombers this season.

“I believe he’ll be back,” Girardi said. “I am no doctor, no rehab therapist, but just knowing Joba I believe he’s going to be back for us this year.”

Chamberlain was working his way back from Tommy John surgery when he suffered a freak right ankle injury in March. It was called an “open dislocation” where the bone was exposed and there was considerable bleeding, although he claimed both of those aspects were untrue.

The righthander is using a small brace on the ankle and isn’t yet throwing 100%. Girardi said Chamberlain’s mobility isn’t to the point where he can run a sprint, but still can do mound work. He will have difficult tests to pass if he is to make good on his spring training vow to play this year.

“I think his arm is going to be fine,” Girardi said. “I think it’s going to be can he tolerate the pounding you go through as a pitcher — having to cover the base, when you land (and) when you push off? Those are the hurdles he’s going to have to clear.”

Why does Girardi believe Chamberlain will make it back? “Most people I wouldn’t have, but (with) Joba I did,” he said. “When it comes to pain thresholds and a lot of things I’ve seen this kid get through, not many people have done it.”
We'll see what happens, but to me this is just blind optimism from the manager.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Soriano Expected to Remain Closer After D-Rob Returns

From Jon Heyman:
The Yankees intend to keep Rafael Soriano as the closer even after David Robertson's return from the disabled list, people familiar with their thinking suggest.

Soriano has been brilliant as the Yankees' third choice to close and is six for six in saves with an overall ERA of 1.96 now. Robertson, the Yankees' shutdown set-up man, would resume his set-up duties upon his return, which is expected to be in about two weeks. Robertson has a strained left oblique muscle.

Robertson has been brilliant for the Yankees as their eighth-inning guy, but one scout said, "He didn't look quite as comfortable closing games.'' Robertson was the initial closing choice after Mariano Rivera was lost with a freak knee injury.
I am 100% in favor of this decision. Closing is all about comfort level and Robertson was not comfortable in that role. On the other hand, Soriano has done it before, and as he's already shown, he can handle the job.

Yanks Targeting Matt Garza

From Jon Heyman:
If the Yankees decide they need a starter at the trade deadline, and it's loooking more likely they might, the pitcher that interests them most is Matt Garza of the Cubs.

The Red Sox also could have interest in Garza, which could result in another showdown between baseball's biggest rivals. That would also represent a big benefit to the Cubs.

Yankees people like the fact Garza is battle-tested in the American League East after acquiring too many pitchers from the National League who haven't been able to make a seamless transition to the A.L. The Yankees seem to have little interest in Brewers stars Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum or the other top Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, as they have concerns about Greinke in New York and Marcum and Dempster in the A.L. Even though Marcum pitched pretty well for the Blue Jays, the Yankees are concerned about his low radar readings in the A.L.

A backup plan to Garza for the Yankees could be Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, who the Yankees pursued at last year's deadline. Last summer the Yankees offered to pay $21 million of what's left on Rodriguez's deal, which now amounts to $33 million through 2014 if he's traded (the '14 option becomes a player option if he's dealt).
After going 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA last year for the Cubs, Garza is 2-3 with a 4.22 over 9 starts this year. In 2010, his last season in the AL, Garza won 15 while posting a 3.91 ERA for Tampa. Rodriguez has gotten off to a much better start this year. Through 11 starts with Houston, he's 4-4, with an impressive 2.49 ERA.