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New York Yankees Pitching Update: Cashman Confusion Continues

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman is officially having a pani (short for panic attack)…. as MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Yankees have signed southpaw Greg Smith and right-hander Cory Wade to minor league contracts, according to the International League’s transactions page.

Reality is the only thing these two pitchers can do is make the Yankees average age drop a little, as Smith is 27 and Wade is 28 respectively.

Smith is a lefty, which the Yankees definitely are short of in the bullpen but he was let go back in 2010 after making eight starts for the Colorado Rockies. Smith went 1-2, with a 6.23 ERA and only threw 39 innings in total, which makes it understandable why he has not been in the Majors since. The Yankees bought his contract from the Grand Prairie Airhogs, an AAIPB team.

Wade has been tucked in the minors since making 82 appearances in relief for the LA Dodgers in 2008 and 2009. After posting a stellar 0.93 ERA in 2008, Wade struggled in 2009 and was sent down to the minors. He has been with the Rays since last winter, but his opt out clause allowed for him to sign with New York.

The reason I say Cashman might be in panic mode is because 32-year-old journeyman Brian Gordon, who was also signed a day ago, said that the Yankees told him to be ready and to mentally prepare himself to start on Thursday afternoon.

Oddly, when I checked the Yankees active roaster on MLB.com, not Gordon but Wad’s name had been added to the list.

So, I guess the idea that maybe Cashman brought in Wade and Smith to provide pitching depth in Triple-A can go right out the window.

It also means any hope of seeing one or two of the young prospects was never happening.

And where is he going to add Gordon to the 25-man roaster? Unless he put Wade on for 12-hours, which would be totally stupid.

This is all so weird because these guys were just inked a day ago and that is because Cashman is so steadfast in not letting some of the youngsters come up yet.

Why did he even invite any of them to Spring Training if he had no faith? Or is Cashman trying to keep their values as high as possible just so he doesn’t feel poor if some arm emerges prior to the July 31st trade deadline?

Who knows but when things start to get confusing like this regarding what is really going on, and when it involves the Yankees, usually it’s because something is.

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New York Yankees: Usual Panic Leads To Signing Pitcher Brian Gordon To Start Thursday Vs. Rangers

Brian Cashman

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The New York Yankees have many holes to plug with the recent plague of injuries, but the blank spot in the pitching rotation might be the biggest and hardest.

Finding a dominant arm to match a sidelined Bartolo Colon will be impossible. Colon has been a secret weapon that the Yankees have come to rely on. The hope of skipper Joe Girardi is that Colon will not be out more than the 15-days, which translates to about three starts.

My gut reaction was for the Yankees to look internally because like it or not, a door was kicked opened for GM Brian Cashman to finally put his hard work on display in the Bronx.

It was speculated for about a second that one of uber-talented Yankees pitching prospects that fans got a taste of in Spring Training could get promoted.

My pipedream was that Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances would get a chance, like the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants did with 21-year old Madison Baumgartner last season or like the Seattle Mariners have with 22-year old lefty Michael Pineda, who is keeping the club in contention this season.

Cashman slammed that door closed immediately on June 14th when he told NY Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand “That’s not even a consideration right now.”

So, the next logical choice would be 22-year-old Hector Noesi, who had appeared in relief four times in this past May for New York and posted a 1.76 ERA.

Noesi was being reported as the leading-candidate for Thursday’s start; that is until YES’s Jack Curry reported during Tuesday night’s game vs. the Texas Rangers that the Yankees signed Brian Gordon.

Curry said that the Yankees told Gordon’s agent that he should travel to New York and be prepared to start on Thursday afternoon in the final game against the Rangers. Gordon opted out of his minor-league deal with the Phillies triple-A affiliate because of this opportunity.

Gordon is a 32-year-old who has been in the Minors since 1997. Gordon came in and failed as an outfielder, so he switched to pitching and has been trying to work his way up to the bigs with his arm.

Gordon has never started in the majors and his only experience is a stint in relief with the Texas Rangers back in 2008. In the three appearances, Gordon posted a 2.25 ERA, facing 16 batters, over four innings and fanned just one.

Curry tried to shed some positive light on Gordon’s tough journey on his YES Blog and reported that Gordon’s approach would include the following:

Gordon stressed that he will throw strikes and he will use his repertoire of six pitches to keep hitters off-balance. Gordon throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a split-finger fastball, a slider, a curveball and a recently added cut fastball. The right-hander’s fastball hovers from 89 to 91 miles per hour.

All this says to me is that Curry’s puff piece makes you feel bad for Gordon but this is not a Lifetime movie and I am sure there are many Gordon-types that could rehash even harder journeys.

Obviously the same old broken record is still playing in the Yankees front office, that they don’t trust young talent over age at all.

What is the point in having such a deep farm system if the Yankees go into panic mode every time an opportunity arises to promote internally?

Just think if one turned into the next big thing, it would be well worth at least a shot with a few of the above average arms to at least try.

Guess we might never know…until they are wearing another team’s uniform.

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New York Yankee Fan’s Sign Dedicated To Michael Kay’s Wife

While at the Yankee Stadium Tuesday night, witnessing the 12-4 blowout of the Texas Rangers by the Bombers, there was a fan who stood holding up a sign above his head for innings at a time.

Since I couldn’t read it through the on and off rain showers, so I attempted to take a picture to see what was so important. Well, the camera came through and I just had to share it.

The sign was basically telling YES Broadcaster Michael Kay to shove-it, because this fan was looking for Jodi Applegate who happens to be the new bride of Kay.

Can’t decide if this is just weird or a tad stalker-ish?

What do you think?

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New York Yankees: The Cashman Rules

HISTORY OF THE “RULES”:

It would be almost impossible for any New York Yankees fan to forget about the infamous “Joba Rules” and “Hughes Rules”.

GM Brian Cashman gave the impression that these rules were set guidelines for rookie pitchers Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, with the intent to make their transition’s smooth, while allowing them to develop efficiently to elude injuries.

It definitely included a fixed innings limit, but my doubts started when Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News reported that neither Cashman, nor skipper Joe Girardi would confirm the number of innings Joba was allowed to pitch in 2009.

Ackert’s closing line was: There were no real answers coming from the Yankees Thursday. “You’ll have to stay tuned,” Cashman, said.

From what I saw neither Joba nor Hughes ever was allowed to pitch pass the fifth or sixth innings due to these supposed limitations, regardless of how either was pitching that day.

Another pattern that formed was if either Joba or Hughes got into trouble early in a game, they were immediately yanked and what I thought the majority of the time was too soon.

Experiencing failures is what builds character, grows confidence; not babying the person who makes the mess by having someone else clean it up every time.

Looking back, all the fuss was more for the Yankees who constantly did what they perceived good for the team, not what was best for the Joba or Hughes, and you can also add Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy to the list.

Kennedy was traded because they Yankees grew unfairly impatient and now they are kicking themselves because Kennedy star is now shining brightly.

PROOF IS IN THE RESULTS:

How are Kennedy, Joba and Hughes doing today?

Ian Kennedy was traded in December of 2009 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the three-team Curtis Granderson deal. Kennedy is having a career year, posting a 7-2, with a 3,23 ERA, threw a complete game and has gone 100 innings in total over 14 starts. He is finally turning into the pitcher the Yankees were hoping to see, but impatience got in the way of growth and the D-backs are the recipients.

Phil Hughes was stellar in 2009 coming out of the bullpen, playing a big part the team’s success. In 2010, Hughes won a spot back in the rotation, went on the win 18 games and named to his first All-Star team. Following playing in the 2010 All-Star Game, Hughes started to decline in the second-half of the season, but that he got more run support than any other MLB starter covered up just how bad it was. This season, Hughes couldn’t hide his lack of speed and control any longer. In three starts he went 0-1, with an ERA of 13.94, with just three strikeouts and batters were hitting just shy of .400 against him. Since, Hughes has been on the DL in hopes of waking-up what has been diagnosed as a “dead arm.” Whether Hughes can be effective is TBD.

Joba Chamberlain went from struggling as starter into the bullpen in 2011, where he was kicking butt posting a 2-0 record, with an ERA of 2.83 in 27 appearances. Suffering from some what was thought to be mild elbow discomfort, a pre-cautionary MRI revealed he needed Tommy John surgery. Joba won’t be pitch till about two months into 2012 season. This was a huge blow for the Yankees, who have the majority of the bullpen on the DL already.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW:

Upon hearing of Joba’s bad news a week ago, only leads to the fact that innings limits should be thrown out the window. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: The Cashman Rules’ »

Home-Stand From Hell: Injury Update On New York Yankees Captain

The New York Yankees home-stand nightmare continued on Monday night in the fifth inning.

On a hit fly out, Captain Derek Jeter suffered obvious calf pain in his right leg as he was running out of the batter’s box. Jeter immediately went straight down the stairs into the clubhouse with the Yankees trainer, Gene Monahan and that was enough to send Yankee Universe into panic mode.

Now, Mark Feinstein at the NY Daily News and Reuters Newswire are reporting that the MRI results are confirming that Jeter has a Grade I calf strain.

Earlier in the first inning, Jeter got a hit, moving him just six shy of making history as the first New York Yankee to ever reach 3000 hits and 28th in the history of the game.

Jeter and Yankee fans were hoping to see the Captain accomplish this moment at home. Before the injury Jeter had the remainder of Monday’s 1-0 loss against the Cleveland Indians, as well as a three-game set against the Texas Rangers to try and do this at home, in New York.

My guess is Jeter will not play in the Rangers series at all, but could be back in the Yankees line-up in a week.

How do I know this?

I don’t; and I am absolutely NOT asserting otherwise regarding Jeter’s condition, other than it is a Grade I calf strain and I wanted to learn about it.

Still, it is the Captain so I did some research on the web to find out what and how severe this injury can be regarding limiting of activity etc.

Here are two must-reads, which helped me attempt to remotely understand what is going on with the Captain:

First checkout, Dr. Jonathan Cluett, a top orthopedic surgeon’s article on About.com called Calf Strain – – A Common Sports Injury that gives a complete rundown of typical calf strain. Dr. Cluett defines a Grade I, which is what Jeter was diagnosed with as:

Grade I Calf Strain: Mild discomfort, often-minimal disability. Usually minimal or no limits to activity.

Second, I went to the Hospital For Special Surgery’s website, as the doctors for most pro-teams reside there.

I found that this 2010 article, Muscle Injuries: An Overview by Lawrence V. Gulotta, MD, gave a more detailed explanation of strains and here is his definition of Jeter’s type of diagnosis:

Grade 1: Mild damage to individual muscle fibers (less than 5% of fibers) that causes minimal loss of strength and motion. These injuries generally take about 2-3 weeks to improve.

Who knows if this correlates at all to Jeter’s injury, but it looks as if the Captain will miss some games but he is said to be getting reevaluated Tuesday morning, so more will be shared after that. Continue reading ‘Home-Stand From Hell: Injury Update On New York Yankees Captain’ »

New York Yankees: Odds Not Good Of Jeter Reaching 3000 Hits In The Bronx

How Have Things Been Going At Yankee Stadium?

Since returning home, the New York Yankees have not had much luck.

After being swept by the Boston Red Sox, reliever Joba Chamberlain found out that he needed Tommy John surgery. The next day, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was added to the Yankees ever-growing disabled list initially for just 15 days, but with a strained left hamstring and being 38-years-old it could take Colon longer, as it is a tricky injury to heal.

In the wake of a second Red Sox embarrassment in a month, the Yankees decided to play baseball again and the perfect time for the stumbling Cleveland Indians to come to the Bronx for a four game set.

The Indians had a hot start about two seasons too early. Now that reality has set in and the Tigers and White Sox have woken up the Indians reign atop the AL Central is about to end.

The Yankees have smacked the Tribe around, winning three in a row, and hoping to complete a four-game sweep on Monday night. The Yankees need to stay in the hunt, as they stay two games behind Boston and don’t want that gap to grow.

There are four games left in this home-stand, one remaining against the Tribe, followed by three games against the Texas Rangers and all eyes will be on the Captain Derek Jeter.

As any sports fan knows, Jeter is seven hits (2993) away from joining the elite 3000-hits club. Jeter’s name will be added to a list that dons just 27 other players in the history of the game, but what makes this more meaningful is he will be the first Yankee to do it.

How badly do Jeter, his teammates and especially the Yankee fans want the Captain to get his 3000th hit at home?

To say severely would be an understatement, because it should really happen in the Bronx where Jeter has played his entire career and in front of the city that worships him.

In addition, Yankee Stadium could use a boost because unlike in the past, “home” has not been much of an advantage in 2011 like it has in the past.

After Thursday afternoon’s match-up against the Rangers the Yankees hit the road for some inter-league play against the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, so it is now or never for the Captain.

Can Jeter get seven hits in four games to reach 3000 at Yankee Stadium?

Well, forecasting the mental aspect is something Jeter himself probably doesn’t know, but why not try to see if history equates into predicting the future.

Looking back on September 2009, when Jeter passed Lou Gehrig for most Yankee hits, he went cold for three games in a row, at home and all three were team wins before he tied it.

Here is a quick reference chart I made after reading stats on my favorite stats site BaseballReference.com:

DATE HITS TEAM RESULT
September 6, 2009 3 2715 8-14 vs. Blue Jays (L)
September 7, 2009 (1) 0 2718 4-1 vs. Rays (W)
September 7, 2009 (2) 0 2718 11-2 vs. Rays (W)
September 8, 2009 0 2718 3-2 vs. Rays (W)
September 9, 2009 3 2721* 4-2 vs. Rays (W)
September 11, 2009 2 2723** 4-10 vs. Orioles (L

*ties record on 3rd hit ** breaks record by 2 hits

The above shows that the Captain is human and got nervous at four hits away, but once that passed he did it without a hitch. So, if this indicates anything his 3000th hit will happen Saturday, June 18th in Chicago.

Please note that comparing breaking Gehrig’s record is a far-fetched measure to what will happen this week with Jeter. You have to realize that it is not common for a player to have one milestone in his career, so with Jeter having one less than two years ago is remarkable.

Without question this accomplishment should overwhelm the Captain because it is that monumental. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Odds Not Good Of Jeter Reaching 3000 Hits In The Bronx’ »