Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Do the Yankees See In Andruw Jones?

            There is no measurable statistic that supports Andruw Jones’ spot on the 2012 New York Yankees roster. None.  There has to be something that I am missing so if somebody can explain it to me, I am all ears. More importantly though, someone needs to tell it to Girardi.  Don’t get me wrong, he was fantastic last year in his role. Against southpaws, Jones put up an OPS of .923 as well as an OBP of .384 in 126 at-bats.
            It is now September (almost October) 2012, and for the life of me, I cannot wrap my head around the reasoning behind him getting playing time. He should have been shown the door a long time ago but if he is still here on September 29th, I do not expect him to be cut with only one series left in the regular season. What the Yankees can do though is not put Jones on the postseason roster. It won’t excuse the ridiculous amount of leeway that he has received from the organization, but at least he won’t be able to hurt them when it matters most.
            Against lefty pitching, Jones is sporting an OPS of .713 to go along with an OBP of .297. Since the All-Star Break, those numbers turn into .524 and .262. Just for kicks, check out his numbers in September. If you don’t feel like it, .593 and .259. He has walked more than he has struck out but when you are putting up numbers like that, there is not even a way someone can say “Well at least, he has drawn a couple walks.” The more you break him down, the worse he looks, and that is not even taking his lack of hustle when he does play. On the rare occasion when he has to hustle, we’ve seen him strolling down to first seemingly without a care in the world. I know that is just pseudo-psychology on my part, but I am just sick to death of watching this guy play.
           I just cannot understand what the Yankee brass sees in this guy. I would kind of understand if he was a lifetime guy like Jeter or Posada but if the Atlanta Braves can let him walk, I don’t see why the Yankees can’t. Let Melky Mesa get some at-bats, he is an upgrade over Jones. His base running blunder aside, he has excellent speed, can swipe a bag, and play great defense while showing some good power. I would be fine with Chris Dickerson playing, I don’t really care who it is. When you consistently do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results that is insanity.
           The New York Yankees need to keep him as far away from the postseason roster as possible but I doubt that will happen. For some reason, they think that being a veteran trumps inexperience even if that veteran is completely useless.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Teixeira Played in Simulated Game on Thursday

From George King:
Because running is considered the biggest test for a lcalf problem, the news was positive Thursday out of Tampa where Mark Teixeira participated in a simulated game.

“He looked good, he ran about 75 to 80 percent,” said minor league head Mark Newman, who watched the workout. “He swung the bat well, hit some line drives.’’

According to manager Joe Girardi, Teixeira played an inning at first base but running will dictate when he returns.

“To me, the biggest test is running the bases,’’ Girardi said before the Yankees' 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays. “I think he can protect it a little bit in the field if he has to. Sometimes you get in a situation like he was in Baltimore and your mind tells you, ‘I got to go.’ ”


Girardi said Teixeira would play in another simulated game but wasn’t sure if it would be Friday or Saturday. While it’s likely he could join the Yankees during the four-game series against the Blue Jays, it’s more likely he will be back with the club Monday when the Yankees open a three-game series with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

”You would like to know that he is 100 percent,’’ Girardi said. “But I don’t think you are going to know until you get into an intense situation.’’
I wouldn't push things, especially with those games on the Tampa turf coming up. Save him for the Boston series and hope those three games are enough to get his timing back.

Nova May Have Pitched Himself Off The Postseason Roster

From Wallace Matthews:
Last October, when the New York Yankees needed one more win to extend their season another round, they asked Ivan Nova to get it.

This October, they may not even invite him along for the ride.

Thursday night, facing yet another golden opportunity to create some separation between themselves and the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees turned to Nova.

And as he had in the fifth game of the 2011 American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers, Nova turned to stone.

His frustrating, mistake-riddled performance, in which he allowed four runs and failed to last five innings, not only sliced the Yankees' margin over the idle Orioles in the AL East back to a single game, it also raised doubts about the value, if any, of including Nova on their postseason roster, let alone in the starting rotation.


The manager may have bigger fish to fry but that doesn't stop us from questioning whether Nova finally succeeded in not only pitching himself out of the playoff rotation, but right off the postseason roster.

Despite his supportive words, Girardi clearly doesn't trust him anymore in a big game -- he pulled him with one out in the third five days ago against the Oakland Athletics, and yanked him Thursday with two out in the fourth -- and his facial expressions tell you something his statements try to cover up.

Nova's maddening inconsistency is driving him bananas.

"He was big for us at the beginning of the year," Girardi said. "He ended up going on the DL, and after he had that great start against Tampa, we were hoping he could get on a roll. He hasn't."

Now, he has one start left this season, Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox in a game that in a perfect world really should be meaningless to everyone but him. And yet, there is every indication that it will wind up being important, and no guarantee that Nova will get the ball again.

"We'll see. We'll see," a tight-lipped Girardi said. "That's five days away. I have to worry about tomorrow."
At this point there's really no reason to start him once October rolls around. He hasn't been the same pitcher he was last year and the only consistency we've seen from his is consistent disappointment. I'm pretty comfortable throwing out a 4-man playoff rotation of CC, Pettitte, Kuroda and Hughes, although Hughes does scare me. But with that said, I'd even put David Phelps higher up on the pecking order than Nova.

As far as his start in Boston goes, to me that all depends on how important that game becomes. If it's a make or break game for the division I don't see how you can hand Nova the ball.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yankees Activate Brett Gardner

From Mark Feinsand:
Gardner was activated from the 60-day disabled list before Tuesday's game, giving the Yankees an experienced pinch-runner to use late in games during the final nine games - and potentially the postseason.

"I'm excited; it's something I've been ready for for a little while," Gardner said. "I kind of understand what my role is; I might not play for three, four, five days. As the game goes along, I'll try to get a feel for what kind of situation might pop up and I'll be ready to go."


With his arm healthy once again, the 29-year-old is hoping to make a positive impact on his team after being limited to nine games and 34 at-bats during the Yankees' first 153 contests.

Gardner has been hitting in the indoor batting cages with hitting coach Kevin Long, but he plans to take his BP to the field for the first time Thursday in Toronto.

"I feel like I could physically do it right now," Gardner said. "But as far as me feeling like I'm pretty ready, I would need a couple of days of BP on the field."

Gardner estimates that if he is able to hit on the field Thursday without any issues, he could be available to hit in a game by Sunday or Monday.


It remains to be seen whether he will be able to do much more than pinch-run and play late-inning defense, but even if he proves that he's ready to hit, Gardner isn't expecting to take over a starting spot in the season's final games.


Joe Girardi was uncertain whether Gardner would eventually serve in a larger capacity than pinch-runner or defensive replacement this season. Although the manager didn't rule it out, he didn't sound optimistic, either.

"I don't know how realistic it is that he could do more," Girardi said. "He's got to go through some BP, and he thing is, he's probably not going to have any game at-bats. That kind of makes it tough. It's something we'll continue to evaluate as we go on."
It would be great if he proved he was able to hit, but it seems unlikely. Either way, it will be a nice addition to have his speed and defense off the bench.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aardsma To Be Activated Today

Erik Boland reported last night that David Aardsma will be activated for tonight's game in Minnesota.
"When I first got hurt in 2010, it was devastating," Aardsma said. "I didn't know how to take it. It was the first time I'd really been hurt. Trying to come back, I was having little setbacks, other injuries happen.

"It's an amazing feeling to be back in here and knowing that very soon I'll be back on a mound again."
Aardsma, who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since September 19, 2010 thanks to Tommy John surgery, threw just 6.2 minor-league innings this season, going 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA, allowing 2 earned on 7 hits, walked 3, and struck out 8.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Girardi Says Gardner Will Be Activated.... Eventually

From George King:
The Yankees still haven’t activated Brett Gardner, who had right elbow surgery but is a candidate to work as a pinch runner and possibly a defensive replacement. The Yankees need to clear a 40-man roster spot for the outfielder.

“It’s going to happen. I just can’t tell you exactly what day,” Girardi said. “We’re just not quite ready to make the move yet.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Garnder Could Be Part Of Playoff Roster

From Bryan Hoch:
The Yankees are considering activating Brett Gardner as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, a transaction that could occur as soon as Wednesday.


"He can play defense if we needed him to play some defense," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's not going to be able to hit, but you have enough guys on your bench that if his spot came up in a crazy game, you could do something."

The Yankees would need to execute a 40-man roster move to activate Gardner, who played just nine games this season before injuring his elbow making a diving catch on April 17 at Yankee Stadium.

"I've been taking fly balls since the last homestand," Gardner said. "The last few days since the team's been home, I've been throwing to bases and running; obviously, keeping my legs in shape. My legs feel good, so I feel good."

Girardi said that Gardner's limitations wouldn't necessarily nix him from a potential postseason roster spot.

"I wouldn't say he's completely ruled out," Girardi said. "I'm sure it's something that, if you're sitting around the table, you would talk about it."

Gardner said that he is currently taking light swings with zero contact and is hoping to elevate to batting practice within the next two weeks. Hitting against live pitching, for now, is not an option.

"I think if the timetable works out, maybe the last few days of the season I could be ready for that, but there's no need in me even speculating on that," Gardner said.

"I know what my role is. I'm obviously excited to do that. I realize with that sort of thing, I might not play for a week. It just depends on how the games go and what kind of situations pop up, but I'm ready if they need me."

Gardner said that he has been able to practice bunting, dropping 60 to 80 bunts one recent afternoon, but Girardi said that wouldn't likely be a useful skill in games since opponents will know Gardner that isn't permitted to swing the bat.
Gardner can certainly be a weapon as a base stealer/defensive replacement come playoff time, but I'm not sure it's worth the roster spot. I guess we'll have a better idea once the playoff roster is named, if they do make the playoffs.

Day-Night Doubleheader Tomorrow

As I'm sure you know by now, tonight's Yankees-Jays game has been rained out and the two teams will play a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday. Andy Pettitte will start game one, which will start at 1:05 p.m., and David Phelps will get the ball for the nightcap.

Heyman: Soriano Likely To Opt-Out After Season

From Jon Heyman:
There is a good chance Rafael Soriano will invoke his opt-out clause following a season in which he has been a savior for the Yankees, people familiar with the situation say.

Soriano has a clause that allows him to walk away from the Yankees after this season rather than stay and make $14 million for 2013, and opting out would enable him to try to obtain a multi-year deal to close elsewhere or possibly lengthen his Yankees commitment. If he opts out, he receives a $1.5 million buyout, making the difference between staying and going $12.5 million.

Soriano would be a setup man with David Robertson to all-time great closer Mariano Rivera if he returns next year. After saving 37 games in 40 opportunities, presumably he would be a hot player as a free agent, as Jose Valverde is the only comparable closer due to become a free agent. However, the closer market has been somewhat inconsistent lately.

Yankees people believe they have a very solid relationship with the quirky Soriano and aren't convinced he would exercise the opt-out clause when $14 million is a significant salary. It's also possible the sides could work out a multi-year deal, in which Soriano would set up in 2013 then close after that.
Heyman then goes on to remind us that one of the Yankees "great goals" is to get that payroll under the luxury-tax threshold, which is $189 million. If the Yankees stick to their "great goals" than I assume if Soriano opts-out his Yankee career will be over.

That said, everything changes is Mo decides to hang up the spikes. If he does retire, than this becomes a no-brainer for the Yankees. And honestly, even if he doesn't retire, I'd like to see the Yankees bring Soriano back. First of all, he's a great insurance policy, and second, he's better than any other setup option the Yankees have, even if he's going to cost $12-$15 million per.

What do you think? Should the Yankees resign Soriano even if he opts-out?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pettitte May Return For 2013

From Brian Heyman:
The 40-year-old lefty was effective before getting hurt, going 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA. But he isn’t sure yet about coming back for another season.

That said, the injury has at least ensured the possibility of a return by the postseason’s all-time winningest pitcher.

“I hate it,” Pettitte said. “I wish I knew what I was going to do next year. But I’ll get to the offseason and think about it and try to figure out if this is something I want to do again or not.

“I can probably say that when I came back, I thought there was no chance that I was coming back (next season), that this was a one-year deal. But getting hurt and only having (about) 60 innings right now when you were hoping to have a couple hundred innings under your belt, it definitely gives me the option to consider coming back again next year, that’s for sure.

“I’m hoping to get a lot of work still this year. So we’ll what happens as this year continues on.”
I don't know about you, but I would be very happy to have Pettitte back for one more season.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pettitte Will Start Tuesday vs Toronto

From Wallace Matthews.
Joe Girardi just announced Andy Pettitte would return to the Yankees' rotation for the first time in more than two months on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
Matthews also reports that David Phelps will move to the bullpen.

“I’m looking forward to being back and trying to help this club do what we want to do, and that’s get to the postseason,” Pettitte said.

We're looking forward to it, too.

Jeter: "I'm Playing"

From Dan Martin:
Derek Jeter called the bone bruise in his left ankle a “non-issue” last week at Tampa Bay.

That’s more difficult to believe now since he was forced to leave last night’s 5-4 win over the Red Sox after aggravating the injury in the eighth inning.

Still, the shortstop said he would be back in the lineup tonight at Fenway Park.

“I don’t talk about injuries,” Jeter said. “I’m playing, so it’s not an issue."


“It’s really not that bad,” Jeter said. “I told them I was all right, but we had some extra guys. … I told them I was fine, but they told me to put ice on it. That was basically the extent of the conversation.”
If it was any other player I'd expect them to at least miss a few games, but it's Jeter, and I think we've all watched enough of this guy's career to trust what he says.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jeter Leaves Games With An Ankle Injury

Of all the unthinkable events that could befall the Yankees in this final stretch run, an injury to Derek Jeter is probably the most unthinkable of all.

And yet, it happened in the eighth inning of tonight's game against the Red Sox when Jeter came up lame after grounding into an inning-ending double play.

Jeter had rolled the ankle last week in Tampa but continued to play on it, but after hobbling into the outfield -- he appeared to injure himself on the step after he crossed the bag -- Jeter agreed to leave the game after a brief conversation with Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue.
Jeter hasn't looked good running the bases in a while, so it would appear that whatever he had been nursing just got much worse. Hopefully he doesn't have to miss that much time. We all know how important he's been to the team this year, and losing him could be devastating.

They're Even A Disaster Off The Field

From the NY Post:
Even the Yankees’ team bus had a bad night.

After last night’s 4-3 loss to the Red Sox, the Yankees were pulling out of a Fenway Park parking lot when their driver crashed the bus into a gate protecting the entrance, breaking a window.

According to bystanders, glass was shattered into the bus, but nobody was injured.
Seriously, can things get any worse for this team?

CC Feels Like He's Letting Everyone Down, And He Is

From Chad Jennings:
“Just all location,” Sabathia said. “I’ve pitched with velo down before. It’s just a matter of me not making pitches. … I feel like I’m letting everybody down, not going out and making pitches I need to make and getting outs and pitching with a lead. We had a 2-0 lead (on Saturday) and I come right back and give it up. That’s not me. Hopefully I can correct this thing and go out and pitch well next time.”
Letting everyone down is even an understatement with the way he's pitched recently. Since July 21st, when the Yankees were 57-37 and 7 games up on the O's in the division, Sabathia is just 3-2 with a 4.15 in 8 starts, and more importantly, the team is just 3-5 in those games. Which isn't the type of performance you want from your $23 million per year "Ace" down the stretch of a season. Not coincidentally, the Yankees have also falling 7 games in the standing since that point.

If the Yankees are going to hold on and win the division, or even make the playoffs, CC is going to have to start earning his salary.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tex Out 10-14 With Calf Injury, Yanks Call Up Melky Mesa

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Teixeira Headed for MRI on Monday

From Bryan Hoch:
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is scheduled to have a MRI on his ailing left calf Monday in New York and probably won’t be available to play in this week’s series against the Red Sox, manager Joe Girardi said.

Teixeira reaggravated his calf strain on the ninth-inning dive into first base on Saturday against the Orioles. The Yankees are hopeful that Teixeira isn’t back to the original level of injury and that a few days of rest might get him back into the lineup, but they’ll know more after the MRI.

Girardi admitted that there is concern that Teixeira could be out for the rest of the season.

“There’s part of me that wonders that,” Girardi said. “There’s basically three and a half weeks, and if it does go back to square one, then I really wonder.”
At this point I'm really starting to believe that all these injuries will just be too much for this team to overcome. I hope I'm wrong, but nothing that has happened since the All-Star break gives me much confidence.

Harper: CC Comes Up Small, Again

From John Harper:
The Yankees have had worse nights during this stretch in which their 10-game lead, not to mention their aura of superiority, has disappeared. But this was surely the most ominous night of them all.

And not because they got jobbed by first base umpire Jerry Meals. Yes, replays showed that Mark Teixeira was easily safe diving into first base to beat a double-play throw on the final play of the game, and, yes, the game should have been tied.


Yet down deep the Yankees have to know even a call like that wasn’t as significant, in terms of where they’re headed, as the inability of CC Sabathia to deliver on a night when they badly needed a gem.

But it wasn’t just that he failed to pitch like an ace. The truth is that from a Yankee perspective, Sabathia was painfully ordinary. And that sure feels ominous.

With a fastball that has clearly lost some explosiveness, Sabathia is vulnerable these days, relying on his changeup and slider more than ever. That makes his margin for error considerably smaller, and so when he made mistakes on Saturday night, the Orioles made him pay dearly.

Three home runs later, the concerns about Sabathia linger. He gave up five runs in 6 1 ⁄ 3 innings, as his ERA rose to 3.56, and he just hasn’t been dominant since dealing with a groin pull and some elbow soreness, injuries that twice landed him on the disabled list.

Even Joe Girardi, who protects his players at all costs, admitted Sabathia hasn’t been the pitcher the Yankees expect him to be.

“He’s struggled a little bit this year,’’ he said. “He hasn’t gotten on the roll we’re used to seeing him get on.’’

And let’s face it, the Yankees aren’t going anywhere if this is all Sabathia has to offer the rest of this season.
I completely agree, and if you're are an honest fan I don't see how you can't. The Yankees need CC to be the ace he's supposed to be and he just hasn't been that guy. The Yankees have now lost 5 of the last 8 games CC has started.

Injury Updates: Tex, Pettitte, Nova

- To make that blown call on the final play of last night's game worse, Mark Teixeira re-injured his left calf and will likely miss Sunday's series finale against the O's.

- In better news, Andy Pettitte threw a simulated game on Saturday and apparently everything went smoothly. Here's a little more on Pettitte from Dan Martin:
“I felt good, it was a good day,” Pettitte said after the session. “It was another step in the right direction. I am trying to push it as far as I can with feeling a chance of injury.”

Pettitte is expected to have the ankle examined tomorrow in New York and could be cleared to run, which is one of the final hurdles he must clear before he rejoins a beaten-up rotation.

Barring a setback, the lefty would be able to field bunts and cover first base the next time he takes the mound, which should be in Boston this week. That session should last roughly 60 pitches and may be his final rehab appearance
- Ivan Nova came off the DL last night and instead of being inserted into the rotation the Yankees decided to to put him in the bullpen.
“He is in the bullpen for now. Our bullpen has been used a lot,’’ said Joe Girardi, who as of Friday had not made a decision on who would start today. “We will put him down there for now and then we will make some decisions.’’

Asked if Nova was a candidate to take David Phelps’ start Wednesday in Boston, Girardi danced.

“We are not that far ahead,’’ Girardi said. “With these tricky weather conditions, I am not sure what we are going to need.’’

But at some point, Nova is going to start.

“We have always considered him a rotation guy,’’ Girardi said. “He is not a guy who has pitched out of the bullpen a lot. Our concern was to get him back healthy.” I had the rotation set — that’s Freddy. We didn’t know what we were going to have in Nova.’
Personally, I'd much rather see Nova get back into the rotation over Freddy, but the Yankees seem to like to make bad moves all of a sudden.

Screw You, Jerry Meals

OK, we've all seen the play, and if not, you can above. To make matters worse, here's what crew chief Mike Winters said after the game:
“We looked at a replay. The replay we had, honestly, was not a very good angle and inconclusive. That was just a very, very close play. Until I see a definite replay, I really can’t give you any more than that.”

“We saw a replay and from where I’m sitting, it’s inconclusive. It’s very close. That’s a very close play.”
No, moron it was not very close, not at all. Like John Sterling said, "he was safe by a lot".

Here's what Tex and Girardi had to say about the play:
Mark Teixeira

“Pretty sure the game was televised so everyone saw what it was. It was just a terrible call. It happens.”

“Very frustrating. It started in the eighth inning. We could have had a big inning there and a questionable call on me as well. And in the ninth, sometimes you wonder if the umpires are just trying to get out of there. They don’t want you to make a comeback, they want to go home, because those are terrible calls. It is what it is, but we’re out there fighting, I’m out there playing on one leg and I wish it would have gone my way.”

“It wasn’t even that close, that’s what’s disappointing. We’re out here battling, we’re scratching and clawing for every win, and it wasn’t close. I’m not one to complain about calls, but that was bad.”

“I’m probably going to get fined, but I don’t care, really, because I’m out there fighting. We’re out there fighting. When you’re battling like we’re battling and I’m out there on one leg and they can’t get a call right, that pisses you off. It really does.”

Joe Girardi

“It’s not a bang-bang play. He’s safe. He’s clearly safe. Jerry missed it. You hate to lose a game that way, but he missed it.”

“It’s extremely frustrating. The way we battled back, down in the seventh, get a run in the eighth and you have a chance to tie the ballgame, it’s frustrating. It’s a shame.”

“They’re going to watch it and they’re going to know they missed it.”
Sadly, Joe, they did not know that, or at least they refused to admit it. What else can I say? These umpires suck.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Beyond the Box Score: An In-Depth Interview with Ceri Gamel, mother of Yankee prospect Ben Gamel & Milwaukee Brewer, Mat Gamel.

Trevor Wolff:
With Mat already being a professional ballplayer by 2005, at what point did you realize that Ben had the same potential? 

Ceri Gamel
I think that the professional interest that Mat received during his year at Chipola [College] came as such a surprise to us.  We had honestly never even considered that he might have the opportunity to play professional baseball.  Ben had always been a pretty good player and I think we had really just hoped that both boys could play through college.  Ben’s sophomore year of high school his team won the State Championship and he had a great season.  I think that may have been when I thought he could possibly have the chance to play professional ball as well. 

Trevor Wolff:
You told me that the draft scenarios with Mat & Ben were “very different”, would you be able to elaborate on that? What was it like on draft day ’05 & ’10 for the family? 

Ceri Gamel:
Well, it wasn’t so much the day, but the whole process.  With Mat being away at school, we would go to as many games as we could, but we didn’t attend every single game. So when scouts started leaving paperwork in his locker it was very exciting but we still didn’t have the sense that he might get drafted.  Chipola [College] went to the state championship that year and that was where we began to believe that this could actually happen.  It was our first contact with the scouts.  With Ben being in high school, the scouts started doing home visits early in the fall of his senior year, so we had much more contact with them than we did with Mat.  Both draft days were really nerve wracking for me, but the boys were really relaxed-Mat was playing wiffle ball with Ben and some friends in our yard when he got his call from the Brewers and Ben was fishing when he got the call from the Yankees.  It still blows my mind!

Trevor Wolff:
2008 was an incredible year for Mat. He was elected to the Futures Game & got his first call-up to the Brewers when rosters expanded. When did you find out that your son was going to be a Major League ballplayer, and how would you be able to describe the emotions upon receiving the news?  The feeling when he got his first Major League hit must have been indescribable. 

Ceri Gamel:
I’ll tell you, the Futures Game was in the old Yankee Stadium that year-it was just incredible walking into that place! Then you look around and you see your son wearing a USA jersey with his name across the back shagging fly balls in the outfield-it was just surreal, it literally made me dizzy.  When he got his first call up we went to Milwaukee, again, just an unbelievable feeling.   People at Miller Park tailgating at 4:00-just such an incredible environment-such great fans! We stayed in Milwaukee Friday and Saturday and Mat did not play in any of the games while we were there. We returned to Jacksonville on Sunday and watched him get his first Big League hit on TV!  We were screaming and going insane. You could tell Mat was a little overcome too and the crowd gave him a standing ovation-just so amazing! His first hit came on September 7, his Dad’s birthday. What a great present.  We have the ball in a case in our living room.

Trevor Wolff:
With his older brother being in the Majors & having gone through the Minor League grind, how do you think that helped prepare Ben for that life? 

Ceri Gamel:
I think Ben actually living through the years that Mat was in the minors gave Ben the best preparation in the world.  He had no misgivings about what the life of a professional ball player is like.  He knew it was a hard job that required a lot of you both physically and mentally.  And that you play every day.  I feel that as a parent, this helped me in my heart and head when Ben got drafted.  I knew that he knew exactly what to expect of minor league life.

Trevor Wolff:
How strong was the Yankees’ interest in Ben on draft day? Was it a pleasant surprise or did you have a feeling that it was going to be the Yankees all along?

Ceri Gamel:
I felt that the Yankees were among the teams that had shown the strongest interest in Ben because of the personnel that they had sent to watch him play.  But it was a very pleasant surprise to all of us when they did draft him.  I mean, just thrilling.

Trevor Wolff:
Was the plan always for Ben to sign out of high school or was it going to take the right situation (offer, team, etc.) for it to happen? I know he was prepared to attend Florida State.

Ceri Gamel:
Florida State has always been Ben’s dream team/school.  He committed to them right away early in his junior year of high school.  Being able to play at FSU was a dream come true for him.  As it became more apparent that he could get drafted, we had conversations regarding realistic projections of where teams might take him in the draft.  I think it definitely had to be the right situation.  For Ben, signing with the Yankees was the right decision.  He has never regretted it for one second. 

Trevor Wolff:
There has been something that I have always been curious about, and I never have gotten an answer. It has nothing to do with Mat or Ben but how do you see the Dominican players coping with the American culture? Every player is on their own but at least American players have the opportunity to communicate regularly with their families, and sometimes they even get to games. Do the families all rally together to make them feel more comfortable if need be?

Ceri Gamel:
When we visited our kids we tried to include whoever wanted to go eat or hang out with us.  In general, I think that the players from the DR kind of become family and stick together.  I know Ben lived in the same complex that the Dominican players lived in, in Charleston.  They all hung out together, went fishing, and played video games just like the other players.

Trevor Wolff:
The last word is all yours. Is there anything at all that you want to say about what the Gamel clan has experienced over the eight combined years of professional baseball with Ben & Mat?

Ceri Gamel:
It has been incredible, something that we could never have predicted or imagined. We got to experience Mat’s first big-league opening day this year in Milwaukee and that was just thrilling.  You are so happy and proud!  Everywhere we have been with both boys, the fans have been so incredible and supportive and welcoming. 

As a parent, of course you love the walk-off wins, the home runs and home runs that your kid robs someone of.  But what makes me the proudest is when someone tells me what a great kid I have and how they took the time to sign their kid’s glove or talk to them.  I honestly could get teary eyed every time that happens
Having a son play a sport professionally, you definitely have highs and lows, but you have to remember that your son is literally living a dream.  So for however long it lasts you should try to embrace every minute of it. 

Twitter: @trevwolff

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cashman on Yanks Recent Struggles

From Chad Jennings:
Before last night’s win put the Yankees back into sole possession of first place in the American League East, general manager Brian Cashman provided a pretty blunt assessment of what the Yankees had been doing for the past seven weeks and what they planned on doing for the next month.

“We’re just not playing up to the best of our abilities, that’s all,” he said. “It’s a collection of stuff like that. You can talk about it all you want, but it’s not about where we were, it’s where we’re going to be. We intend to win the American League East.”


“This stuff happens,” Cashman said. “It’s not easy when you’re going through it, but we’re better than the way we’re playing recently. We look forward to proving that out. I’m not embarrassed that we’re in a pennant race because there’s a lot of good teams here. We expected to be in one all year. I’m a little more surprised, to be honest, that we pulled 10 games up for a period of time.”


“When you’re talking about age, age implies veterans,” Cashman said. “We’ve got a lot of veteran leadership here. These guys have been through a lot over the course of their careers. A lot of them have tasted a lot of success, and certainly at times, they’ve had to deal with failure. All that stuff will serve you well when you’re running into struggles.”


“The security blanket is over,” Cashman said. “The only way to do anything about that is to try to separate yourself from the pack again. We’ve done it once. Why can’t we do it again?”
Cashman calling it like it is, which is nice. The win yesterday was even nicer. Maybe it can be a start of a good stretch that can propel them back into form as the season comes to its close.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hal Frustrated As Yankees Fall Into 1st Place Tie

From Ken Davidoff:
When Hal Steinbrenner attends a Yankees game, his presence doesn’t set flares around a 10-mile radius, as was the case with his late father. He flashed a smile Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, even as his ballclub continued the sort of meltdown we haven’t seen in this franchise’s rich history.

But don’t confuse Hal Steinbrenner’s relatively easygoing nature with a lack of competitive spirit, or with a lack of a desire to see a strong return on his family’s massive investment.


“We’re all frustrated,” Steinbrenner repeated. “The fans are frustrated. I know that. We all expect great things out of these guys. We’ve had injuries all year long. We’re not the only team, but we’ve had our share. Each time, they push through.

“The fans and my family, we expect them to push through now. I’m sure they will. But it’s a little frustrating, no doubt.”


Given that the worst-case scenario — missing the playoffs altogether — becomes a greater reality with each passing day, I asked Steinbrenner whether the jobs of general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi were at stake.

“No, not at all,” he said. “Look, you start to get back into it, and someone else gets hurt. [Aug. 27], when Tex [Mark Teixeira] goes down [with a left calf injury], look, that’s got to be hard. They’re looking forward to Alex [Rodriguez] coming back, and then boom, Teixeira goes down.

“And then a few days ago, [Curtis] Granderson, we were worried [about his right hamstring]. He’s back. They’ve got to keep grinding. They’ve got to keep pushing. They will. They know what’s expected of them.”
So here the Yankees sit, a frustrated owner, a frustrated fan base, and a tie with the freaking Orioles atop the AL East. Not a great time for us Yankees fans.

Still, with plenty of games left on the schedule, a handful against the Orioles and Rays, the Yankees will have every chance they need to put this ugly stretch behind them and win their division. If they can't, than I think we can all agree that they don't deserve to be in the playoffs anyway.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday's Lineup: Granderson is Back

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Jayson Nix 2B
Chris Dickerson RF
Chris Stewart C

RHP Freddy Garcia

Curry: Cano Needs To Show More Effort

From Jack Curry:
Cano is an excellent player, the best player on the Yankees. He has the sweetest swing on the team, a swing that he perfects in early afternoon sessions with hitting coach Kevin Long. He has the most dependable glove on the team, too, a second baseman who plays with panache and who has a powerful arm that makes other infielders envious.

But Cano, for all of his talents, was the central figure in two plays that hurt the Yankees in Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays. After Cano lashed a low liner to third in the eighth, he took one step out of the batter’s box and stopped running. While that can happen to any batter, it shouldn’t happen. It also happens too often with Cano, whether it’s a low liner to third or a slow roller to second.

Once Cano stopped, he was doomed. Elliott Johnson, who isn’t Brooks Robinson, didn’t catch the liner. He dropped it, retrieved it and then made an errant throw to first. But Johnson still managed to get the out when first baseman Carlos Pena moved up the line to collect the ball and tag Cano. Failing to run to first is always a mistake, but Cano’s actions were magnified because he would have been safe if he didn’t hesitate.

“That happens,” said manager Joe Girardi. “Guys think a line drive is caught and they kind of freeze.”

A few minutes later, Cano was in the forefront of another play that exasperated the Yankees. With a runner on second and two outs, Chris Gimenez tapped a grounder to the second base hole. Cano moved toward his left to field the ball, but it somehow trickled under his golden glove. Cano didn’t dive. He stretched for the ball and missed it by a few inches. Cano later said that he felt something in his hip “grab” and that impacted his pursuit of the ball.

“I couldn’t bend over,” Cano told reporters. “It was grabbing.”

While it is difficult to criticize a player who may have injured himself on a play, Cano had to figure out a way to smother that ball, keep it in the infield and prevent the go-ahead run from scoring. Attend any Little League game in any city and, inevitably, you will hear a coach yelling, “Knock it down infielders.” The Yankees wanted Cano to knock the ball down and keep the score tied, 3-3, but he didn’t succeed.

“I thought he was going to get there,” Girardi said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t and that’s why we lost.”
Here's some visual evidence of Cano's laziness, and as the announcers correctly point out this clip, Robbie has got to get down and at least knock down the ball there. If he does, who knows, maybe the Yankees actually win the game. I'm sure he's not lying about the injury, but even a hurt he could easily have gotten on the ground for that one.

I'm a big Cano fan, but this is one area of his game that drives me nuts. The sad part is that this is is nothing new for Robbie. We've all heard people call him lazy over the years, and it's becoming harder... well, nearly impossible to defend at this point. Maybe Cano will wake up one of these days and realize he can't just survive on talent alone.

Updates on Tex & Granderson

From Pete Caldera:
Mark Teixeira (sore left calf) was due to take BP on the field for the first time in a week and said he’s targeting Thursday’s series opener at Baltimore for his return.

Curtis Granderson (tight right hamstring) could be in the lineup tomorrow night, according to manager Joe Girardi.
With the lead down to one, it's pretty obvious that all these injuries finally caught up with the team. Getting these guys back should help, but with the way they've been playing (with or without them) let's just hope it's not too little too late.

Cano Questionable For Tomorrow's Game With Hip Injury

From Mark Feinsand:
Robinson Cano felt his left hip grab at him during the decisive play in Monday’s game, leaving the second baseman questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Rays.

Cano said his hip “felt a little tight” as he tried to make a play on Chris Gimenez’s grounder through the hole, impeding his ability to bend over for the ball. He was seen wearing a big ice pack on his hip after the game, as he spent an extended amount of time in the trainer’s room.

“Right when I tried to bend, my left foot just came straight up and I felt my hip,” Cano said. “It’s tight right now. Hopefully nothing bad or anything.”

Cano said he was a little worried about the injury, though he was hopeful that he would be back in the lineup Tuesday.

“It was grabbing; I didn’t hear anything pop, thank God,” Cano said. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
With the way this team is pissing away the division another injury might just be the straw that broke the camels back. But like I say in all these all too frequent injury updates, let's hope it's nothing serious.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A-Rod Could Make His Return In Tampa

From George King:
If Alex Rodriguez makes it through today’s game for the Single-A Tampa Yankees without a setback, look for the third baseman to come off the disabled list tomorrow and play against the Rays.

“It’s definitely a possibility he could join us in St. Petersburg,’’ Joe Girardi said after the Yankees’ 4-3 victory over the Orioles yesterday at the Stadium.

Rodriguez, who played third base last night, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his two games with Tampa. He handled his only chance at third when he fielded a soft grounder.

Rodriguez played in the field for the first time last night since July 24.

Granderson's MRI Shows No Strain, Sprain or Pulled Muscle

From George King:
Used to hearing bad news when a player heads for an MRI exam, the Yankees received a positive report Saturday about Curtis Granderson’s right hamstring.

Granderson left Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Orioles after two innings for what was called a tight right hamstring. The test revealed no strain, sprain or pulled muscle.

“They said it was tendinitis where the bone and joint come together,’’ said Granderson, who felt the leg on the run from the dugout to center field at the start of the game.
King also reported that while Girardi was relieved with the news, he doesn't think Granderson will play on Sunday. The next three games will be in Tampa, on turf, so there's probably a good chance he misses at least a couple of those as well.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Yankees Call Up Six

With the rosters expanding today, the Yankees have called up six minor leaguers. Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson, Adam Warren, Cory Wade, and Justin Thomas are all with the team today. To make room for Dickerson on the 40-man, Ramiro Pena was designated for assignment.

I assume there will be more moves as the minor league season comes to a close.

Granderson Left Today's Game With a Tight Hamstring

Curtis Granderson was forced to leave Saturday’s game against the Orioles due to tightness in his right hamstring. The injury seemed to occur when Grandy struck up in the 2nd on a checked swing. He's now headed to the hospital for a precautionary MRI.

Let's hope it's nothing serious and he doesn't miss any games. The Yankees haven't been playing too well (as you know) and they really can't afford another injury, even with the expanded rosters.