Results tagged ‘ Boone Logan ’
Yankees fans need to hit the ballot box on a regular basis if they want the team to have a heavy representation in the All-Star Game July 16 at Citi Field. One of the drawbacks of the current, 10-game trip to the West Coast is that voting at Yankee Stadium is suspended for another week. Fans need to make their choices on Yankees.com or MLB.com while the team is away.
In the latest tally of votes, only one Yankees player is leading at his position, Robinson Cano at second base, and only one other, disabled shortstop Derek Jeter, is in the top five at his position. The injuries to first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and outfielder Curtis Granderson has hurt their chances to garner support.
A testament to Jeter’s popularity is that even though he has yet to play a game as he recovers from off-season left ankle surgery the Captain has received the fifth highest vote total among shortstops with 529,234 as of Saturday’s announced count. The current leader at the position is the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy with 1,231,843 that gives him a 185,958-vote lead over runner-up Elvis Andrus of the Rangers.
Since it was known at the start of the season that Alex Rodriguez would be out until after the All-Star break while recovering from left hip surgery he was not placed on the ballot at third base. Jeter had been expected back earlier in the season but sustained a crack in another area of the ankle that has extended his recovery period.
At second base, with 1,851,371 votes Cano has a lead of 744,422 over the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia. The other position leaders at this point are the Twins’ Joe Mauer at catcher; the Orioles’ Chris Davis at first base; the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at third base; the Red Sox’ David Ortiz at designated hitter and the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Orioles’ Adam Jones and the Tigers’ Torii Hunter in the outfield. Among the outfielders, the best the Yankees are doing so far is Ichiro Suzuki in 15th place with 477,870 votes.
Brett Gardner should have raised some attention with voters with his four-hit game Sunday in the Yankees’ 2-1 victory over the Mariners, always a plus in a game started by Felix Hernandez. The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner was not the losing pitcher. He left after seven innings with the score 1-1 as David Phelps, who went six innings for the Yankees, dueled him to a draw.
The finale of the four-game set in which the Yanks won three times ended up in the bullpen with the Bombers’ relief corps being superior, which is often the case. Boone Logan pitched a perfect, two-strikeout seventh. David Robertson (4-1) withstood a leadoff double and a sacrifice to post two straight strikeouts and strand the potential go-ahead run at third base in the eighth. After the Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, Mariano Rivera handled the bottom half for his 23rd save of the season and career No. 631.
With the muscle part of their order coming up small, the Yankees got major contributions from top and bottom. Cano, Teixeira, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, the 2-through-5 hitters, combined to go 0-for-14. Tex wore the golden sombrero (four strikeouts) but made an excellent defensive play in the ninth to get a key double play for Mo.
Suzuki, who was also hitless, walked to start the winning rally off Yoervis Medina. A textbook sacrifice bunt by Jayson Nix got Ichiro to second base from where he scored on a two-out single to left by Chris Stewart.
The Yankees’ run off Hernandez in the second inning was driven in by one of Gardner’s four hits. His quartet of knocks followed a three-hit effort Saturday night and topped off a big series for the center fielder. He had 9-for-17 (.529) with four doubles to raise his season batting average to .284, which leads the team. Gardner drove in one run and scored three. He has hit safely in 15 of his past 17 games, a stretch during which he has batted .365 in 63 at-bats.
Gardner’s hit scored Nix, who had a leadoff single and stole second base. Nix is also on a strong run. He has hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games that he has had an at-bat and is hitting .340 in 47 at-bats over that stretch. Nix, who is 8-for-8 in stolen bases, is batting a team-high .310 on the road with 12 runs and eight RBI in 26 games and 84 at-bats.
Andy Pettitte became the 45th pitcher in major-league history to get to 250 career victories (and the 24th in 70 seasons dating to 1944) with Saturday’s winning decision. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only six of that latter group of the most recent pitchers to enter the 250-victory circle did so with fewer losses than Pettitte, whose record is 250-145: Randy Johnson (250-130), Roger Clemens (250-136), Greg Maddux (250-140), Jim Palmer (250-142), Tom Seaver (250-142) and Mike Mussina (250-144).
It was only natural for attention to be focused on Mark Teixeira when he came off the disabled list late last week. The Yankees were floundering after a double series sweep by the Mets and stuck in a five-game losing streak, their longest of the season. Teixeira had been on the DL due to a right wrist injury the type of which pretty much wiped out Jose Bautista’s season a year ago with the Blue Jays.
Some Yankees fans were a bit too harsh on Teixeira as he struggled in his first two games with merely one hit in nine at-bats (.111) and seven strikeouts. One of the game’s most prominent switch hitters has been a notoriously slow starter during his career and even though the calendar switched over to June this past weekend it was very much like April for Teixeira.
Well, he is back to swinging as if he already had two months of major-league at-bats under his belt. One night after he gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead with his eighth career grand slam, Teixeira opened up a 4-0 advantage in the third inning Tuesday night with a three-run home run off Scott Kazmir. That makes seven RBI in two days for Tex. Beat that for production.
“I hope so,” Tex said after the game about whether he is ready to go on a roll. “I am trying not to get too high about it just the way I try not to get too low when things aren’t going well. The win is what is important. A three-run homer early is great for a starting pitcher.”
It was just the sort of run support David Phelps needed as he negotiated his way back from a dismal prior start against the Mets last week when he couldn’t get out of the first inning. The righthander rebounded with a one-hit shutout through six innings but with four walks to go with his seven strikeouts Phelps’ pitch count reached 102.
An infield single by Drew Stubbs in the third inning was the lone hit off Phelps, who lowered his ERA to 4.15. He nearly lost a shot at a winning decision when he walked the first two batters of the fifth, which resulted in a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Whatever the message was, Phelps received it as he set down the next three batters and followed with a 1-2-3 sixth.
“Even before Larry came out, Chris [catcher Stewart] told me to go for the center of the plate and let the ball behave however it does,” Phelps said. “The point was to throw more strikes.”
“He kind of ran the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Phelps. “He mixed everything up, and we didn’t have anything to show for it. We made him work. We took our walks. We couldn’t push any runs across. It’s rare that you get one hit and look up and see a bunch of pitches like that. He did a very good job of not giving in, mixing things up, elevating and cutting.”
The Elias Sports Bureau was at it again. Phelps became the first Yankees pitcher to throw at least six scoreless innings in a start immediately following a start in which he recorded one out or fewer since Jim “Catfish” Hunter in 1978. Hunter allowed six runs without getting an out July 27, 1978 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Indians and then tossed eight shutout innings in his next start Aug. 8, 1978 against the Rangers.
Things got a bit tight for the Yankees in the seventh inning when Joba Chamberlain was stung for a three-run home run by Stubbs after two were out. Boone Logan got the final out of that inning before David Robertson danced out of a two-on, none-out situation in the eighth aided by Nick Swisher lining into a double play. Mariano Rivera finished it off with a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 21st save.
Robinson Cano got a half-day off as the designated hitter with rookie David Adams getting his first start at second base. Both took a collar, however. Lyle Overbay had another quiet night in right field, at least defensively. He made some noise offensively with a double in the third and scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki.
The Yankees found a way to keep Lyle Overbay in uniform. Unfortunately for Brennan Boesch, it came at his expense. To create space on the 25-man roster for Andy Pettitte, who was activated from the disabled list to start Monday night’s game at Yankee Stadium against the Indians, the Yankees optioned Boesch to Triple A Scranton.
The move ended much speculation over the past week around the Yankees about who would go when Pettitte was ready to get back on the mound. There was some talk about optioning infielder David Adams and even perhaps a trade of Overbay, whose playing time was reduced with the return of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis off the DL.
But there was Overbay back in the lineup Monday night and playing right field, a position he had not played since early in his pro career in the minor leagues. Overbay has been a first baseman – and a good one – and occasional designated hitter as a major-leaguer and was a major fix-it at first base for the Yankees over the first seven weeks of the season as Teixeira was recovering from a wrist injury.
“We have been forced to be creative because of all the injuries,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Lyle is willing to do anything. We don’t expect him to be a Gold Glove right fielder. The area here at the Stadium is small.”
The Yankees decided to keep Adams, who started at third base Monday night, because he can support Youkilis at that spot and also give Robinson Cano a day at DH on occasion. Adams was primarily a second baseman in the minors but filled a more urgent need at third base since his call-up May 15.
Speculation had fallen on Adams, who has two options left, instead of Overbay, who would have had to be designated for assignment. It is doubtful that he would have passed through waivers considering his productivity (eight home runs and 29 RBI in 178 at-bats), and the Yankees would have lost a player without getting anything in return. Overbay borrowed a glove from relief pitcher Boone Logan to man the new position.
Like Adams, Boesch also had options remaining, so he was the odd man out for the second time this season. It was a bit of an unkind cut for Boesch, who had 5-for-8 (.625) with one double, one home run and three RBI in three games since his May 25 recall that raised his season average to .275 with three home runs and eight RBI in 51 at-bats. Boesch had also been the Yankees’ best pinch hitter at 3-for-9 (.333) with one home run and four RBI.
Overbay found himself in the defensive position that had been manned primarily the previous four seasons by Nick Swisher, who made his return to the Stadium as the Tribe’s first baseman. Swish was treated to a standing ovation from the Stadium crowd in his first at-bat in which he was called out on strikes for the last out of the first inning. The bleacher creatures also accorded a roll-call chant in the bottom of the inning for Swisher, who was always one of their favorites.
Grace Cashman, daughter of Yanks general manager Brian Cashman, did a nice job singing the National Anthem before the game.
The rain that was expected before Sunday night’s game didn’t start falling until after the fifth inning. After David Ortiz led off the sixth with his 10th home run to push the Red Sox’ lead to 3-0 and Mike Napoli singled, rain came down hard during Stephen’s Drew at-bat and after he flied out to left field play was interrupted.
For the second straight start, the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda was paired with an unbeaten opposing starter. Last Tuesday night at Citi Field, it was the Mets’ 5-0 Mike Harvey in a game the Yanks eventually lost in the bottom of the ninth inning on the first blown save of the year by Mariano Rivera. Sunday night Kuroda was pitted against Boston’s 8-0 Clay Buchholz, who has mounted a Cy Young Award candidacy in the early going.
The Yankees managed two measly singles off Buchholz in the first five innings as their offensive malaise continued. Kuroda had a stretch of 10 consecutive scoreless innings end in the fourth as the Red Sox scratched out a run on successive singles by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and an infield out by Mike Napoli for his sixth RBI of the series.
The Red Sox jolted Kuroda with leadoff home runs in the fifth and sixth, respectively, by Jose Iglesias, his first of the season, and Ortiz. The two home runs in successive innings equaled the total Kuroda had allowed in his previous four starts covering 24 2/3 innings.
Play resumed but only momentarily. Boone Logan took over for Kuroda and finished the top of the sixth. Andrew Miller was announced as the Boston reliever for Buchholz but did not throw a pitch as another thunderstorm hit merely four minutes after the resumption of play. Back came the tarp. The crew got the infield covered in time as a storm of somewhat violent proportions resulted in cascades of water soaking Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox’ 3-0 victory in the rain-shortened game was the seventh loss in the past eight games for the Yankees, who have totaled 15 runs over that stretch for an average of only 1.88 runs per game. By taking the series, 2 games to 1, Boston increased its lead in the American League East to three games over the Yankees, who dropped into third place, a half-game behind Baltimore.
The only good news for the Yankees was that catcher Chris Stewart found out that he does not have a concussion. Stewart was scratched from the starting lineup because of light-headedness and underwent a CT scan and other tests at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Stewart’s status will be re-evaluated Monday when the club also has a decision to make about how to create space on the 25-man roster for Andy Pettitte, who is expected to come off the disabled list to start the opener of a three-game series against the Indians.
The cleaver finally came down on Ben Francisco, the least productive of Yankees hitters this season. Francisco, who was used at designated hitter and in the outfield, was designated for assignment Sunday as the Yankees needed to create roster space for pitcher David Huff, whom they claimed off waivers from the Indians. Francisco batted .114 with one home run and one RBI in 44 at-bats and never seemed to get untracked.
Huff gives the Yankees another lefthander to work out of the bullpen with Boone Logan and as a long reliever, which may be important these days with starters Hiroki Kuroda (bruised right calf) and David Phelps (bruised right forearm) on the mend. Huff has an unsightly 15.00 ERA in three appearances this season. Yankees fans may recall that Huff was beaned by a line drive to the box by Alex Rodriguez in a 2010 game at Yankee Stadium.
He told reporters before Sunday’s game at St. Petersburg, Fla., “The last time I talked to you guys was the day I almost had my head taken off. I’m just super excited to be here, and I’ve got to embrace it.”
The Yankees’ 4-3, 11-inning victory Saturday night in which they trailed, 3-1, with two outs in the ninth inning was the first time they won a game in which they had two outs and the potential tying run not yet at bat since a 9-8 walk-off victory June 5, 2008 over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, won on a pinch-hit home run by Jason Giambi. It was also the Yankees’ second victory this season when trailing after eight innings. They had just one such triumph last year (1-58) in the next-to-last game of the season Oct. 2 against the Red Sox at the Stadium.
The return of Brennan Boesch from Triple A Scranton gives the Yankees their best pinch hitter back. They are hitting only .167 with two home runs and five RBI in 24 at-bats in the pinch. Boesch as a pinch hitter is 3-for-9 (.333) with one of the homers and four of the RBI. His most recent pinch hit was an RBI double as part of Saturday’s ninth-inning rally.
Of the Yankees’ 60 home runs, 20 have tied the game or given them a lead with six of those coming in the seventh inning or later. Lyle Overbay’s 11th-inning, go-ahead homer was the first extra-inning jack by a Yankees hitter to give them the lead in a road game since April 11, 2012 by Nick Swisher at Baltimore. Overbay became the second Yankee to do so at Tropicana Field, joining Jorge Posada Sept. 14, 2010, a 10th-inning solo shot off Dan Wheeler in an 8-7 victory.
The Yankees scored more runs in the second inning Friday night at Kansas City than they scored in each of the three games of the recent series at Coors Field. The Denver yard is supposed to be hitter-friendly, yet the Yanks were shut out in one game and scored three runs in each of the next two games. In the second inning at Kauffman Stadium, supposedly a pitcher-friendly facility, the Yankees exploded for four runs off Wade Davis on a pair of two-run home runs by Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Go figure.
This was the sort of game expected in Denver. The Yankees broke out for 16 hits, half of them for extra bases, to produce an 11-6 victory, Joe Girardi’s 500th as Yankees manager.
The Royals closed to 4-3 in the bottom of the second as Phil Hughes fell victim to the long ball, which he had avoided in his previous three starts. It came from an unexpected source, too. Jayson Dyson ended Hughes’ 23-inning homerless stretch and a two-year homerless streak of his own with a two-out, three-run blow that was the outfielder’s first home run since 2010 and only his second in 473 career at-bats.
Hughes, who was 1-0 with three no-decisions and 1.93 ERA over his past four starts, was not as effective this time out. A two-run double by Alex Gordon in the fifth inning tied the score at 5, but the Yankees came to Phil’s rescue by putting up a five-spot in the sixth. They chased Davis with a double by Suzuki and a single by Jayson Nix and then did their usual damage against Bruce Chen.
The lefthander has found a home with the Royals, his 10th club, the past few years, but wherever he has been the Yankee have given him trouble. He has a 2-6 career record against them and had his ERA climb to 6.87 in 77 1/3 innings against the Yankees after they had their way with him in this game as well.
Overbay, who had quite a night (4-for-5, five RBI), knocked in his fourth run of the game with his second double. Chris Nelson got his first two RBI since joining the Yankees with a single. He scored on a triple by Brett Gardner, who came home on a single by Robinson Cano as the Yanks went 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the inning.
Hughes was toast one batter after yielding a long solo homer to right by Mike Moustakas in the bottom of the sixth. The bullpen was a bit thin after five relievers worked in Thursday’s rain-delayed victory. Shawn Kelley was nothing short of brilliant by striking out the first five batters he faced and six of seven. Boone Logan added two more strikeouts in a perfect ninth. Nine of the Royals’ last 11 hitters struck out.
Ichiro had 3-for-5 to raise his career batting average at Kauffman Stadium to .377, the highest of any opposing player in the park’s 40-year history. This place may not be so pitcher friendly after all.
That vulnerability the Yankees once showed against left-handed pitching appears to have worn away. Their 5-4 victory over the Astros Wednesday night improved the Yanks’ record to 8-3 in games started by left-handed opposing pitchers, including their past five at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have won six of the past eight games against left-handed starters.
Nevertheless, they continue to seek ways to bolster their lineup against lefties. After the game, the Yankees announced that they had acquired infielder Chris Nelson from the Rockies in a deal for cash considerations and/or a player to be named. Nelson, 27, was batting .242 in 66 at-bats for Colorado but apparently was available because Nolan Arenado was seeing more playing time at third base. Nelson was a .301 hitter with nine home runs and 53 RBI in 2012. He bats right-handed, can play third base and second base, although defense is not his strong suit. Nelson is expected to join the Yankees Friday night when they open a three-game series against Oakland.
The Yankees cleared space on the 40-man roster for Nelson by assigning catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken right hand) to the 60-day disabled list. They will have to make a move for the 25-man roster when Nelson is activated, most likely returning infielder Corban Joseph to Triple A Scranton.
With all their injuries, the Yankees have had to use left-handed batters against left-handed pitching, and it has worked out. Travis Hafner walked and scored in the second inning, and Robinson Cano belted his eighth home run in the third.
Lyle Overbay doubled, walked twice and made an alert base-running maneuver that led to the deciding run. In the sixth inning with the score 4-4, Overbay was on first base and Eduardo Nunez on third with one out when Ichiro Suzuki, another lefty swinger who had two hits, hit a grounder between first and second. Overbay stopped in the baseline and forced second baseman Jose Altuve to throw to first base while Nunez sprinted home before the Astros could complete the double play by throwing out Overbay in a rundown.
“It takes a heads-up play like that to prevent the double play from happening,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That is what veterans do. They don’t get frazzled by situations.”
Neither did the Yankees’ bullpen. David Phelps was okay in his start (four runs, eight hits, one walk, five strikeouts, two hit batters in 5 2/3 innings), but Boone Logan (2-1), David Robertson and Mariano Rivera (11-for-11 in saves) combined for 3 1/3 spotless, two-hit innings with four strikeouts.
It got a big scary for Mo in the ninth when rookie outfielder Brandon Barnes led off with a line single to right. Matt Dominguez hit the ball hard, too, but Cano made a back-handed stab and got an unassisted double play by tagging Barnes, who was running on the play. Rivera reared back and fired three strikes past Marwin Gonzalez to end a stretch of 16 consecutive dates of games in which the Yankees went 11-5 and won four of the five series.
Okay, it is time now to forget all this stuff about how the American League East is not just about everybody chasing the Yankees and the Red Sox. After a lot of talk in pre-season publications that the division will have a different look and that the traditional rivals aren’t the teams they used to be, well, take a lot at the standings. The reconstituted Red Sox are in first place, and the pieced-together Yankees are right behind them.
The Blue Jays? The team that brought to Toronto all that star power from the Marlins trade plus the acquisition of last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner (R.A. Dickey) and the signing of last year’s NL batting champion, Melky Cabrera (I don’t care what Bud Selig says; Cabrera had the highest batting average in the NL in 2012), is at the bottom of the AL East with the third worst record in the major leagues.
The Yankees kept Toronto in its place with their first four-game sweep of the Jays at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 18-21, 1995, which was the rookie season of Mariano Rivera, who made it 9-for-9 in saves this year by wrapping up Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Dickey. That makes it both of last year’s Cy Young Award winners that the Yankees beat in a week’s time. They defeated the Rays’ David Price, the 2012 American League winner, five days earlier at St. Petersburg, Fla.
All those warning signals that went up when the Yankees started 1-4 out of the gate seem silly now that they won 14 of their past 19 games with contributions coming from just about everyone on the roster, particularly from some guys other clubs couldn’t wait to rid themselves of.
Take Sunday, for example. The Yankees had only four hits, but two of them were home runs off Dickey by Brennan Boesch and Lyle Overbay. During spring training, the Yanks signed Boesch after he was released by the Tigers and Overbay after he was released by the Red Sox. The Angels were willing to eat more than half of what was left of the sizeable contract of Vernon Wells, who has batted .379 with three homers and six RBI in seven games against Toronto this year, six of them Yankees victories.
Overbay entered the game with a 1-for-14 (.071) career mark against Dickey but ended up going 2-for-3. His third homer of the season, a two-run shot in the seventh with two out, turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead that was held up by the relief work of Boone Logan, David Robertson and the great Rivera. The long ball has haunted Dickey (2-4, 4.54 ERA), who has yielded five home runs in 36 innings.
The Yankees came from behind in all four games of the series and won two games by one run apiece and the other two by two runs each. They are 9-1 in games decided by two runs or less, 4-0 in one-run games and 14-1 when holding opponents to four runs or less.
Phil Hughes remains winless this season despite a good, six-inning outing in which he gave up seven hits and a walk (intentional) with nine strikeouts. One of the two runs he allowed was the result of three soft, two-out singles in the fourth. Hughes was once again plagued by an elevated pitch count (111), but for the first time since Aug. 7 last year he did not give up a home run in a start at Yankee Stadium. He had allowed a total of 10 homers over his previous six starts at the Stadium.
Rivera now has the highest saves total in one month for his career and has converted 32 saves in a row at the Stadium since the start of the 2011 season. Overall, the bullpen has been sensational. Over the past six games, the relief corps has held opponents to three earned runs, three walks and 11 hits in 17 innings with 24 strikeouts and a 1.59 ERA.
And, remember, the Yankees are doing all of this with five regulars out of the lineup. Francisco Cervelli last week joined Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira on the disabled list, and Kevin Youkilis with an ailing back may not be far behind. This should have been the time that the Yankees were the most vulnerable, but they have stayed near the top of the division standings while the Blue Jays have stumbled to the bottom.
The tightness in the scores of this series indicated that Toronto was not exactly blown away by the Yankees, but the losses continue to mount with a 9-17 record looking fearfully like a team pretty much buried before the first month of the season is completed. The Jays can moan all they want about the loss of All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, but the Yankees have shown that injuries to key players do not have to be crippling.
There was good news and bad news about the Yankees’ player transactions before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. The bad news was that catcher Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken right hand and will be sideline for six weeks. The good news was that although pitcher Ivan Nova was also assigned to the DL his injury (inflammation of the right triceps) is not as serious as had been feared, a possible elbow strain.
So there were two new faces in the Yankees clubhouse. Catcher Austin Romine was recalled from Scranton and pitcher Vidal Nuno had his contract purchased from the Triple A affiliate. To create room on the 40-man roster for Nuno, the Yankees transferred Derek Jeter to the 60-day DL. The Captain is not due back for another three months anyway.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi sounded relieved that the injury to Nova was one that should heal in a short period of time. Nova pointed to a spot above the elbow where he felt tightness while pitching in the early innings of Friday night’s 6-4 Yankees victory over Toronto. He mentioned the stiffness to Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild after the second inning. When Nova hit the first batter he faced in the third and allowed a single to the next, Girardi did not hesitate to remove him and have an MRI done to check out the area.
Nova said the area stiffened up only when he threw curves, but that is his chief weapon, so the Yankees were wise to act quickly on his behalf. David Phelps, who had nine strikeouts in four innings of relief Friday night and earned the winning decision, will take Nova’s spot in the rotation for the time being.
Romine, who was assigned uniform No. 53, was not in the starting lineup as Girardi went with Chris Stewart, who had a good game Friday night by drawing two walks and throwing out two base runners. Romine was kept busy before the game, however, by working with Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte in bullpen sessions.
“I thought when we had him up here in 2011 that he could be a major-league catcher,” Girardi said. “But he hurt his back last year and missed a lot of time, so we felt he would be better served by playing regularly in the minors rather than being a backup here. He will get a chance to show what he can do.”
Romine batted .333 with one home run and four RBI in 14 games and 42 at-bats at Scranton. Nuno’s arrival gives Girardi a second lefthander out of the bullpen to go along with Boone Logan. Nono, who was assigned No. 34, was also off to a good start at Triple A with a 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA. He allowed 13 hits and only two walks with 26 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
So where is Russell Martin these days? Oh, that’s right; he took off for Pittsburgh as a free agent in the past off-season because the Pirates came up with a second year in their contract offer. Good for him; I hope he is happy.
I was thinking about Martin during the Yankees-Blue Jays game Sunday at Toronto when Chris Stewart hit a home run in the third inning and threw out Melky Cabrera trying to steal second base in the fifth.
I do not mean to pick on Martin as much as those who kept reporting all winter about how the Yankees blew it by not conceding to the catcher’s contract demands and would regret it. Look at what Stewart and Francisco Cervelli have done so far this year. Does anyone miss Russell Martin all that much?
The Cervelli-Stewart tandem was treated in a few media outlets as some sort of joke during spring training, but the duo have been a major part of the Yankees’ good start that hit a bump Sunday with an 8-4 loss. Stewart was involved in all the Yankees’ scoring innings. He got the Yanks on the board with his first home run of the season, began the two-run rally in the fifth with a single and bunted Jayson Nix to third base with one out in the sixth that preceded the sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner that gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead at that point.
In the first two games of the series – both Yankees victories – Cervelli was behind the plate and had 3-for-8 (.375) with two doubles and two runs scored. He has gotten the bulk of the playing time of the two catchers, with 42 at-bats to Stewart’s 17, but manager Joe Girardi insists that they are sharing the position. However the breakdown, the catching situation has been in good hands.
Cervelli and Stewart are batting a combined .322 with a .525 slugging percentage, three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI in 59 at-bats. Martin? He is hitting .216 with a .353 slugging percentage, three doubles, one home run and three RBI in 51 at-bats. Again, not to pick on the guy, but I cannot remember just when it was that Russell Martin became the second coming of Thurman Munson, which seemed to be an off-season theme in some circles.
Martin had two decent seasons with the Yankees. Last year, he showed renewed power (21 home runs) and had some memorable game-winning hits, including a huge homer against the Mets, but hit .211 for the season. Now I realize that the seamheads who adore the boutique stats don’t make much of batting average anymore, but .211 is still .211, which is not good by any measure.
Stewart had his hands full Sunday with another erratic outing from Ivan Nova, who threw 101 pitches but was gone after giving up a walk and a double to the first two batters in the sixth that the Jays turned into a four-run inning with RBI hits off relievers Boone Logan and David Phelps to regain the lead they would not relinquish again.
The leadoff walk in the sixth was to Toronto designated hitter Adam Lind. I do not know what the Yankees’ scouting report was on Lind, but they sure pitched to him carefully in the series. Lind had five plate appearances and walked in every one, including all four times he stepped to the plate Sunday.
It was nonetheless a positive series for the Yankees, who move on to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a three-game set against another American League East rival, the Rays, who swept the Athletics over the weekend at Tropicana Field.
Despite being booed loudly and repeatedly in the city where he was once a favorite, Vernon Wells will miss Toronto. He had quite series, going 7-for-15 (.467) with a double and two home runs. He also made the defensive play of the game Sunday in the third inning with a fence-climbing catch in left field to rob Edwin Encarnacion of a potential run-scoring, extra-base hit and begin a rally-killing double play.
Gardner also found Toronto to his liking, as usual. He had 5-for-14 (.357) in the series with a double, a home run, a stolen base, two runs and two RBI. Gardner is a .370 career hitter at Rogers Centre with 18 runs, six doubles, six triples, one home run and eight RBI in 30 games.