Results tagged ‘ All-Star Game ’

Circle Sept. 7: Jeter to be honored at Stadium

The Yankees will hold a special pregame ceremony to honor the career of Yankees captain Derek Jeter Sunday, Sept. 7. All fans in attendance at Yankee Stadium for the Yanks’ game against the Royals will receive a limited-edition commemorative coin that will recognize the occasion.

Further details about the ceremony will be announced at a later date. Fans interested in purchasing tickets should visit yankees.com/farewellcaptain.

Fresh from his 2-for-2 performance in the American League’s 5-3 victory in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Minneapolis’ Target Field, Jeter was back in the Yankees’ starting lineup for a record-setting appearance. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was his 2,610th start as a shortstop, the most for any player in major-league history at that position, surpassing the previous mark of Omar Vizquel.

Just another All-Star Game for Jeter

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MINNEAPOLIS — It was typical of Derek Jeter to take a matter-of-fact approach to the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field and not place any special significance of his last go-round among the top players of the game.

The FOX network that is broadcasting Tuesday night’s event had wanted to have a microphone on Jeter to record his throughs during the game. You know his answer to that, an emphatic no. Yankees fans would have been proud of Jeter’s appearance at Monday’s media session at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. While most players were dressed casually, there was Jeter in a power blue suit complete with tie. Classy, as usual.

“I don’t go into things with expectations,” Jeter told reporters. “I’m looking forward to playing the game, and I pretty much stopped it right there. I’ve always enjoyed All-Star Games, and I’ve always appreciated it, so I don’t think I’ll treat this one any differently. Everybody wants me to be so emotional all of the time, but I’m coming here to play the game, and everything else that comes with it, I don’t know.”

Opposing catcher Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers for one cannot wait to see what the reaction to Jeter will be.

“When he comes to the plate, you know he’s going to get a two-minute standing ovation,” Lucroy said. “I was telling my wife, ‘What am I going to do? It’s going to be awkward.’ I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my hands. I may drop everything and start cheering myself.”

Jeter has been pretty coy about this farewell tour stuff, not wanting teams to over-do it. He’s a different sort from Mariano Rivera, who basked in the glow of his farewell tour a year ago. Jeter just wants to go about his business. There is still baseball to play this year. He is still wearing a Yankees uniform. He is still ready to contribute on a daily basis.

I cannot believe that some writers criticized American League manager John Farrell of the Red Sox for batting Jeter leadoff in the game, claiming the Yankees captain was not deserving due to his .272 batting average. Give me a break. Have these people no sense of propriety. Jeter earned the spot not just for this season but for all 19 years that preceded it.

I would like to remind these critics that Jeter has had one of the best All-Star careers in the game’s history. He took a .440 average into Tuesday night’s game with five runs, one double, one home run and three RBI in 25 at-bats. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 game at Turner Field in Atlanta when he went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Later that year, he was the MVP of the Yankees’ World Series triumph over the Mets. His All-Star home run came in 2001 at Safeco Field in Seattle.

Farrell is not alone in his admiration for Jeter. Listen to what two other managers, AL coaches Ron Gardenhire of the Twins and Terry Francona of the Indians, had to say about Jeter to USA Today:

“Although he has kicked our butt a lot of times and knocked us out of the playoffs, I admire him so much,” Gardenhire said, referring to the Yankees beating the Twins, 12-2, in postseason games with Jeter at shortstop.

Added Francona, “That’s the single high point of being here, to watch him in person. I am thrilled. He represents what is good about this game.”

Chiming in was National League shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies: “He’s everything I always wanted to be. He’s why I play shortstop. He’s why I wear No. 2. And to be starting across the side opposite side of him in his final All-Star Game will definitely be cool.”

It was also typical of Jeter when asked his favorite All-Star moment not to pick a game in which he starred. He picked the 1999 game at Fenway Park in Boston when he was 0-for-1. What made it special to Jeter was that the All-Century Team was honored before the game.

“All those great players on the field, and I get a tap on my shoulder,” Jeter recalled. “It’s Hank Aaron. He said he was looking for me because he wanted to meet me. He wants to meet me? That’s one of the best moments on the baseball field that stands out for me.”

In the same vein, commissioner Bud Selig commented on Jeter during his annual question-and-answer session at the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s All-Star meeting at the Marriott City Center Hotel.

“If you said two decades ago that this is the guy you wanted to be the face of baseball and being what this generation will remember, you couldn’t have written a script better,” Selig said. “I said to a friend of mine last night talking about Henry Aaron, ‘How lucky can you be to have an American icon like Henry Aaron?’ How lucky can this sport be to have an icon for this generation like Derek Jeter? He has just been remarkable.”

Jeter on top — where he belongs

MINNEAPOLIS — Credit Red Sox manager John Farrell with a sense of history and propriety. The man in charge of the American League All-Star squad did not think twice about who his leadoff hitter would be for Tuesday night’s game at Target Field.

Who else but Derek Jeter?

In his farewell season, Jeter was voted into the starting lineup by the fans, and the AL manager responded in kind by not dumping the Yankees’ captain at the bottom of the lineup where some think his .272 batting average belongs.

But while home field advantage in the World Series is at stake based on the outcome of the game, Farrell recognizes that the All-Star Game is about stars, and for the past 20 seasons none has shown as brightly as Jeter, who has earned the respect of opponents as much as teammates for the way he goes about his business.

Farrell acknowledged his decision was easy and designed “to celebrate a player who is not only a champion but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to — the way he has handled himself with class, with performance, no doubt a Hall of Famer. This will be a day that many baseball fans that are either in the ballpark or watching will remember as Derek’s last All-Star Game.”

Mariano Rivera went through something similar last year at Citi Field in Flushing. In that case, however, AL manager Jim Leyland of the Tigers had to guarantee that baseball’s greatest closer would get into the game near the end. With the AL the visiting team, Leyland knew he could not hold Rivera until the bottom of the ninth, a closer’s usual inning, because there may not have been one. And that was the case with the National League ahead entering the eighth, so that was when Leyland summoned Rivera.

Farrell was presented with a different situation — to honor one of the players in the starting lineup. He was correct to see that fans did not want to wait for Jeter to bat until perhaps as late as the third inning. I am predicting an enormous standing ovation for DJ when he steps to the plate for that first pitch from NL starter Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

“I have been in the big leagues for nine years and have never faced him,” Wainwright said. “I’m very excited about it, just to say I faced the best. And he is undoubtedly one of the best to ever play his position, one of the greatest Yankees of all time.”

The game will also reunite Jeter with his former keystone partner, Robinson Cano, who will start at second base and bat third.

Here are the lineups crafted by Farrell and NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals:

National League

Andrew McCutcheon, Pirates, CF
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, RF
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, SS
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 1B
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, DH
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, 3B
Chase Utley, Phillies, 2B
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers, C
Carlos Gomez, Brewers, LF
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, P

American League

Derek Jeter, Yankees, SS
Mike Trout, Angels, LF
Robinson Cano, Mariners, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 1B
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, RF
Nelson Cruz, Orioles, DH
Adam Jones, Orioles, CF
Josh Donaldson, Athletics, 3B
Salvador Perez, Royals, C
Felix Hernandez, Mariners, P

Tanaka sustains first severe setback with elbow pain

How many Yankees found themselves over the course of the first portion of the 2014 season asking this question:

“Where would be without Masahiro Tanaka?”

Let’s hope we don’t have to find that out. Yankees Universe held a collective breath Wednesday with the news that Tanaka returned to New York to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam on his right elbow after complaining of soreness there during the Yankees’ 5-3 loss Tuesday night at Cleveland. Tanaka allowed five runs and 10 hits, both season highs against him, in 6 2/3 innings.

For the time being, the Yankees are terming the injury right elbow inflammation. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list, which now makes four-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the DL. Ivan Nova is lost for the entire season. CC Sabathia may be also, and Michael Pineda won’t likely be back before August. Hiroki Kuroda, the only member of the Opening Day rotation still a member of the starting unit, better not walk under any ladders.

It is not yet time for Yankees fans to push the panic button despite the dire news. The club won’t know for sure what Tanaka’s issue is until the MRI is studied. The problem is that Dr. Chris Ahmad, the team physician, is attending a major orthopedist convention in Seattle, the same one that has prevented the noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews from examining Sabathia’s ailing right knee to determine if surgery is required.

Tanaka’s next scheduled start was to have been Sunday night at Baltimore, the Yankees’ final game before the All-Star break. The righthander was selected for the American League squad but was not expected to pitch in the game because of the Sunday start. It is unclear now whether he will go to Minneapolis for the game. The AL has replaced him on the roster with Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, which stinks. It should have been David Robertson.

That is the least of the Yankees’ concern at this point. Tanaka, their prize signing in the past off-season, had proved to be every bit as effective on this side of the Pacific Ocean as he was back home in Japan where he was 24-0 last year.

In his first 14 starts for the Yankees, Tanaka was 11-1 with two no-decisions and a 1.99 ERA. He has come down to Earth somewhat in the past four starts in which he is 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Tanaka has nonetheless placed himself in contention for the AL Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards by leading the league in victories with his 12-4 record, tied for first in complete games with three and ranking second in ERA at 2.51.

Now it is matter of watch and wait to see how serious the injury to Tanaka is. As for the answer to that question, well, figure it out: the Yankees were 13-5 in games started by Tanaka and 31-39 in games started by everyone else.

Jeter moves up on All-Star lists

Derek Jeter’s election as the American League’s starting shortstop in next week’s All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis marks the ninth time in his career that he has been voted in the fan balloting to start the game. He received 3,928,422 votes, which raised his career total to 47,433,242, second only to Ken Griffey Jr., the all-time leader with 50,045,065 total votes.

This year will mark the 14th All-Star appearance for Jeter as he passed former teammate Mariano Rivera and Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio into third place on the franchise list behind two other Hall of Famers, Mickey Mantle (20) and Yogi Berra (18).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jeter is the only active player to be named to the All-Star Game with his current team at least 14 times. The record for All-Star Games by a player for only one team is 24 by Hall of Famer Stan Musial with the Cardinals. Hank Aaron was on 25 All-Star Game rosters — 24 with the Braves and one with the Brewers. Willie Mays played in 23 All-Star Games with the Giants and one with the Mets. The AL record is 19 games by Ted Williams with the Red Sox and Cal Ripken Jr. with the Orioles.

The other two Yankees on the AL squad are newcomers to the process, pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances. This will be the first time the Yankees have had two rookies attending the All-Star Game.

These are all good choices, but I think more consideration should have been given to David Robertson and Brett Gardner. Rivera used to be an automatic choice. D-Rob isn’t at Mo’s level yet, but he has easily been one of the best closers in the league and leads AL pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings. Gardner got lost in the abundance of outfielders, but he has been the Yankees’ steadiest offensive player and remains the league’s top defensive left fielder.

Gardner got hits in his first two at-bats Monday night at Cleveland and has reached base safely in 22 straight games with a plate appearance since June 13. It is the longest such streak for the Yankees since Robinson Cano reached base safely in 26 straight games in 2012 from June 20 to July 20. It also matches Gardner’s longest such streak from 2009. He has hit safely in 18 of those 22 games.

Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki with three singles apiece Sunday at Minnesota became the third pair of teammates each in their 40s in major-league history to get at least three hits in the same game, joining the 1928 Philadelphia Athletics’ Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker and the 2006 San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds and Moises Alou. Elias also pointed out that notes Saturda, Jeter and Suzuki became the first pair of 40-year-old teammates with a stolen base in the same game since Bonds and Omar Vizquel for the Giants in 2007.

Prior to Monday night’s game at Progressive Field, the Indians organization paid tribute to the team’s late TV/radio personality Mike Hegan, who died last Christmas Day of a heart condition at the age of 71. Hegan was originally signed by the Yankees in 1961 and played for them in two separate stints. He was the son of former Indians All-Star catcher Jim Hegan, who later was a bullpen coach with the Yankees.

Mike Hegan spent 12 seasons in the majors and had some distinctions. With the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969, he hit the first home run for that franchise and made the AL All-Star team. The Pilots lasted only one season in Seattle and moved in 1970 to Milwaukee and became the Brewers.

Hegan was a member of the Oakland A’s team that won the first of three straight World Series in 1972 before returning to the Yankees. Mike was the last player to bat in the original Yankee Stadium Sept. 30, 1973 in a loss to the Tigers. By the time the Yankees opened the renovated Stadium, Hegan was back in Milwaukee. I was working in Detroit in the 1970s and was at Tiger Stadium covering the Sept. 3, 1976 game when Hegan hit for the cycle.

After his playing days, Hegan went into the broadcast booth with the Brewers for 12 seasons before returning to his hometown Cleveland and working Indians games for 23 seasons. A heart ailment forced him into retirement after the 2012 season.

Jeter likely Yanks’ lone starter in All-Star Game

It is looking very much like the Yankees will have only one player in the starting lineup for the All-Star Game July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Not surprisingly, Derek Jeter is the leading vote getter at shortstop for the American League. Although the White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez is having a better season statistically, he trails the Captain by more than 589,000 votes. DJ is not underserving. He is one of baseball’s most popular players, and the All-Star Game is after all the fans’ game. It is extremely doubtful that Ramirez could make up the gap in a week’s time. The All-Star Game rosters will be announced Sunday.

It would mark the second consecutive season that the Yankees would have only one starter. Second baseman Robinson Cano was in the AL starting lineup last year at Citi Field. The Yankees had two starters in the previous seven All-Star Games after having only one in 2005 at Detroit. The last time they had more than two was in 2004 at Houston when they had three — Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Alfonso Soriano was the Most Valuable Player of the game that year, his first season with the Rangers after the A-Rod trade.

Jeter entered play Monday night batting .275 with two home runs and 19 RBI. Meanwhile, Ramirez is hitting .298 with nine homers and 38 RBI. It is not all about statistics, however. There is also the matter of star power, which Jeter certainly has.

None of the other Yankees on the ballot is close to a starting berth. Masahiro Tanaka would likely be among the candidates to start the game except that his final start before the break barring a change in the rotation is scheduled for the Sunday before the All-Star Game, which would make him ineligible for the game yet he could be named to the squad.

The best chance for any other of Jeter’s teammates to join him in the Twin Cities would be out of the bullpen. David Robertson and Dellin Betances are having seasons worthy of All-Star consideration.

Girardi awarded for sticking with Nuno

It would not have surprised anyone if Yankees manager Joe Girardi used Thursday’s open date to skip over Vidal Nuno in the rotation. The lefthander has struggled over the past six weeks as an emergency starter in the Yankees’ injury-riddled rotation. With Thursday’s open date, the Yanks’ first off day in 24 days, Girardi could have sat down Nuno and kept the rest of the rotation on schedule.

Fans of Masahiro Tanaka would not have minded that, either, because by starting Friday night the Japanese righthander would have put himself in position to pitch in the All-Star Game. As it is now, while he may be named to the American League squad Tanaka is doubtful to be able to pitch in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minneapolis’ Target Field because barring rainouts his final start before the break would be Sunday, July 13, at Baltimore.

Despite fielding many questions about Nuno’s place in the starting unit, Girardi reiterated that his rotation will have no change, at least not for now. So Nuno took the mound Friday night against the Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series in front of a full-house crowd of 48,522 at Yankee Stadium and came up with his best start of the season.

Nuno pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks with five strikeouts to earn his first winning decision in nine starts since May 7 and end a personal four-game losing streak. As recently as two starts ago at Oakland, Nuno was pounded for eight earned runs in three innings as his ERA skied to 5.90. He dropped it to 5.42 Friday night with all the zeroes he put up on the scoreboard.

There is still much room for improvement for Nuno, but this was a positive start toward that end. He limited the defending World Series champions to a single by Jonny Gomes in the second and a double by Brock Holt in the third. When he walked David Ortiz with two out in the sixth, Nuno was replaced by Dellin Betances, who along with Adam Warren and Matt Thornton preserved the shutout.

Mark Teixeira gave Nuno a 1-0 lead in the first inning against righthander Brandon Workman on a sacrifice fly. The Yankees broke open the game in fourth with a pair of home runs, a two-run blast by Kelly Johnson and a solo shot by Brett Gardner back-to-back. They pushed the score to 6-0 with another homer in the eighth, a two-run bomb into the second deck in right field by Brian McCann off lefthander Craig Breslow.

It was a great way to start the weekend. And by not toying with the rotation, Girardi created a dream matchup Saturday night at the Stadium with Tanaka opposing Jon Lester.

2 Yanks prospects named to Futures Game

Two Yankees farmhands were named to the 2014 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game that will be played Sunday, July 13, at Target Field in Minneapolis, two days before the All-Star Game.

Catcher Pete O’Brien was named to the U.S. Team roster. In 72 combined games with Class A Tampa and Double A Trenton, O’Brien is batting .263 with 25 home runs and 54 RBI in 278 at-bats. Pitcher Luis Severino, a righthander from the Dominican Republic, was named to the World Team roster. He is 3-3 with a 2.99 ERA in 15 combined starts and 72 1/3 innings with Class A Charleston and Class A Tampa.

Jeter leading at SS in All-Star voting

Derek Jeter had to skip the All-Star Game last year at Citi Field because he was recovering from left ankle surgery. He may get back to the Midsummer Classic this year at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The first American League All-Start voting results were released Tuesday, and there was the Captain in his usual spot leading all shortstops in the balloting. Jeter had 602,525 votes in taking the lead at his position over the White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez, who had 472,537.

Jeter’s total was the third highest overall in the Al voting behind only outfielders Mike Trout (764,007) of the Angels and Jose Bautista (675,290) of the Blue Jays. The third outfielder in the balloting was the Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury with 417,452. Right behind him was teammate Carlos Beltran, currently on the disabled list, with 401,101.

No other Yankees player is leading at his position, but Brian McCann is the runner-up at catcher behind the Orioles’ Matt Wieters. Alfonso Soriano ranks fourth among designated hitters, Mark Teixeira fifth among first baseman and Brett Gardner 11th among outfielders.

“I would love to see it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Jeter making the All-Star team. “I think he has played extremely well. I know the young man Ramirez has played extremely well. I understand [Jeter] is third overall in votes and that is a great thing. He has meant a ton to this game.”

Jeter, a 13-time All-Star playing in his final season, entered play Tuesday night batting .273 with one home run and 10 RBIs. Ramirez has the stronger numbers at .320, seven homers and 36 RBI.

DJ is going to need the support of Yankees fans to maintain his lead, but as the standing ovations he has received throughout the major leagues on his farewell tour attests he may get plenty of support outside New York as well.

All-Star balloting begins

Heading into the nine-game homestand that began Friday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Angels, Ichiro Suzuki was the Yankees’ leading hitter with a .371 batting average and Yangervis Solarte was tied with Carlos Beltran for the club lead in RBI with 13. If Yankees fans want Ichiro or Solarte to play in the All-Star Game in July, they are going to have to write their names in on the ballots that became available at major league ballparks Friday night.

Suzuki and Solarte were the odd men out of Yankees players on the American League ballot. Solarte, a rookie, is no surprise. Ballots are made up before the season starts, so rookies who get off to the sort of start Solarte has get short shrift. Solarte has played third base mostly. Representing the Yankees at that position is Solarte’s platoon partner, veteran Kelly Johnson. The other Yankees infielders on the ballot are Mark Teixeira at first base, Brian Roberts at second and Derek Jeter at shortstop.

Ichiro, a 10-time All-Star who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, lost his regular right field job to Beltran and is doing a splendid job off the bench. Suzuki last made the AL All-Star team in 2010. The other Yankees outfielders on the ballot with Beltran are Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.

Alsonso Soriano, who has played left field and right field, is listed on the ballot with the designated hitters. The catcher is Brian McCann, another former All-Star Game MVP (2010 at Angel Stadium) for the National League with the Braves.

This year’s All-Star Game will be July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Also Friday night, former Yankees player Ron Blomberg, Major League Baseball’s first designated hitter, took part in a special meet-and-greet session in the SAP Suite Lounge prior to the Yankees.

On Wednesday, April 30, the Yankees will launch the 2014 “Best Selling Author Series” in the SAP Suite Lounge. International best-selling author Harlan Coben will be present to interact with fans. With more than 60 million books in print worldwide, Coben’s novels have collectively reached No. 1 on the “bestsellers list” in more than a dozen countries. The Newark, N.J., native will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to that night’s game against the Mariners, whose arrival in town next week will mark the return to the Stadium of Robinson Cano.

The Yankees will partner with MELA Sciences to host a free skin cancer screening for all ticketed guests Sunday, May 4, prior to that day’s game against the Rays. The screenings, which cover exclusively the arms and face, will take place on the Main Level behind the plate (Sections 217-223) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and take less than a minute to complete.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Friday, April 25 – Yankees vs. Angels, 7:05 p.m.

Herbs Seed Packet Night, presented by Keep America Beautiful, to first 18,000 guests in attendance.

Friday, May 2 – Yankees vs. Rays, 7:05 p.m.

Yankees Ear Buds Night, presented by The Dannon Company, Inc., to first 18,000 guests in attendance.

Saturday, May 3 – Yankees vs. Rays, 1:05 p.m.

Yankees Cap Day, presented by Hess, to all guests in attendance.

For information on parking and public transportation options to Yankee Stadium, please visit yankees.com.

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