Results tagged ‘ Chris Dickerson ’
The end to Joba Chamberlain’s 2011 season became official Friday with the announcement that the relief pitcher will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation Thursday to repair a torn medial collateral ligament in Chamberlain’s right elbow.
Chamberlain’s youth (25) may work to his advantage, but the recovery period for Tommy John surgery is still around a year. The Yankees won’t project Joba’s return before the 2010 All-Star break.
On a less serious physical note, catcher Russell Martin was not in the starting lineup Friday night for the third consecutive game because of continued back spasms. Manager Joe Girardi said that there are no plans to consider placing Martin on the disabled list and bringing up another catcher at this time, or to consider using Jorge Posada behind the plate, except in dire emergency situations.
Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli was working with Girardi and bench coach Tony Pena, both former major-league catchers, on his throwing before the game. Cervelli has committed five errors in 13 games, compared to four errors in 49 games by Martin. Three of Cervelli’s errors came on bad throws in the last two games of the Red Sox series.
“It’s a mechanical issue,” Girardi said. “It’s a situation like with a pitcher that if your front shoulder flies out a little early, that ball is going to take off. It could even be just a second off and a catcher will have trouble controlling his throw. It’s a mechanical flaw that we have to correct.”
In a move designed to shore up the bullpen, the Yankees called up pitcher Kevin Whelan from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Triple A affiliate. Whelan, 27, was 1-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 18 saves for SWB. Dickerson batted .357 with two doubles and three RBI in 15 games and 14 at-bats for the Yankees. Whelan, a righthander, was acquired by the Yankees from the Tigers in the Gary Sheffield trade after the 2006 season.
Who would have thought that Mark Teixeira would be one of the healthiest guys in the Yankees clubhouse Wednesday night?
It looked mighty grim for Tex Tuesday night when he had to be assisted off the field by manager Joe Girardi and bench coach Tony Pena after being struck in the right knee by a pitch from Jon Lester in the first inning of Monday night’s 6-4 loss to the Red Sox. X-rays turned out negative, and just about everything else with Teixeira was positive.
Girardi got a text from Teixeira at 10 a.m. Wednesday that read, “I’m ready to go.”
In the clubhouse just before the start of batting practice, Teixeira, who wasn’t even limping, said, “I’m surprised at how good I feel.”
Normally, the pain of such an injury is worse the day after it happens; obviously, not this time.
The other medical news with the Yankees was not good. Reliever Joba Chamberlain was placed on the disabled list because of a strained right flexor muscle. The righthander had pitched with some tenderness in the right forearm for the past 10 days and felt Tuesday it was time to see the doctor. An MRI Wednesday revealed the ailment.
“I didn’t feel it when I pitched but after my arm would get tight,” Chamberlain said. “I had some treatment, ice and massage, but I just felt it was time to get something done.”
Chamberlain, who has a 2-0 record with a 2.83 ERA in 27 appearances totaling 28 2/3 innings, will do no throwing for 10 to 14 days, so this will not be the usual 15-day DL assignment. The Yankees are looking at being without him for three or four weeks.
Girardi was already dealing with the loss of Rafael Soriano (right elbow inflammation) with Chamberlain part of the restructured bullpen for the late innings. More of the load will now fall on David Robertson. Girardi also said that he needs lefthander Boone Logan and righthander Luis Ayala to help the Yankees get through this period.
The Yankees also optioned Hector Noesi to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, recalled Amauri Sanit from the Triple A affiliate and claimed Jeff Marquez off waivers from the White Sox. Sanit was with the Yankees for three games in May. Marquez was 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA for Triple A Charlotte. The righthander was originally in the Yankees organization and was part of the Nick Swisher trade with the White Sox after the 2008 season.
This was not really a demotion for Noesi, who pitched well (1-0, 1.76 ERA in 15 1/3 innings) but after having thrown six innings Tuesday night would not have been eligible to pitch again for four days. There is a good chance Noesi will be back with the Yankees sometime this season.
The Yankees were also without catcher Russell Martin and designated hitter Jorge Posada, which left Girardi with a two-man bench of outfielders Andruw Jones and Curtis Dickerson.
Martin required treatment for a sore back, but Girardi said he could play in an emergency. Posada, who took over for Teixeira Tuesday night and had three hits and an RBI, was with his son, Jorge III, who underwent another surgery for craniosynotosis, a birth defect in which the bones in the skull do not fuse correctly.
Backup infielder Eduardo Nunez was in the starting lineup at third base as Alex Rodriguez was the designated hitter.
Did the Yankees ever need what they got from CC Sabathia Sunday? That is rhetorical question, of course. After two one-run losses, the second coming in a 12-inning game, the Yankees needed what the ace of a staff is paid the big money to do – to stop losing streaks and instill confidence.
Sabathia did all that and more as the Yankees salvaged the finale of the series and avoided being swept by a team with the weakest offense in the American League with a convincing 7-1 victory. Seattle proved resilient in the first two games by coming back from deficits each time and even winning Saturday night against the great Mariano Rivera, but the hole the Mariners got into this time was too deep against CC.
The Yankees had more hits with runners in scoring position (3-for-6) in the five-run third inning than they did in the first two games combined (2-for-16). That gave Sabathia a 6-0 bulge, and no lead ever appeared safer as he punished the Mariners for eight innings allowing only one run on a home run by Justin Smoak in the sixth.
The Mariners should be familiar with all this. Sabathia has pretty much had his way against the Mariners, particularly at Seattle. He improved his career record there to 8-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 10-4 with a 2.49 ERA against them overall.
The Yankees still had trouble generating an offense against Seattle’s improved bullpen, but it did not matter all that much Sunday. Their only run in 15 innings against the Mariners’ pen came in the fourth inning Sunday on a double by Curtis Granderson and a single by Mark Teixeira that swelled the Yankees’ lead to 7-0. These were the same two guys who became the first teammates to hit 15 or more home runs through the first 50 games since Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle 50 years ago. Granderson has 16 and Teixeira 15.
A home run by Nick Swisher in the second got the Yankees started, but the fifth-inning rally was marked by good situational hitting that the team has lacked as it has come to rely on long balls. A huge blow was a bases-clearing double by Andruw Jones, whose appearance in the lineup will be more on a regular basis. Jones subsequently scored on the first major-league triple from Eduardo Nunez, whose name will be showing up regularly as well against left-handed pitching.
The Yankees’ batting order will have a different look depending on the starting pitcher, which was evident Sunday as they faced a left-handed starter in the Mariners’ Jason Vargas, who they disposed of after three innings.
The continuing struggles of the switch-hitting Swisher and Jorge Posada have forced manager Joe Girardi’s hand. The duo is no longer guaranteed to be in the lineup. Posada, still hitless in 26 at-bats from the right side, has been benched against lefthanders as Girardi has various options at designated hitter, either by using Jones in that spot or what the manager did Sunday by playing Jones in the outfield and using Nunez at shortstop to provide Derek Jeter a half-day off as the DH. Girardi can also use Nunez at third base and give Alex Rodriguez a turn at DH.
Swisher’s home run was his first in 61 at-bats since May 7 and his first from the right side all year. He is batting .298 with seven RBI in 47 at-bats as a right-handed hitter but .174 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 115 at-bats as a left-handed hitter. If Swish doesn’t turn it around, there is a chance left-handed hitting Chris Dickerson could get some at-bats against righthanders. At this time a year ago, Swisher was batting .317 with nine home runs. He is hitting .210 with three home runs this year.
Girardi has made a bold move by benching Posada against lefties. He may do something similar with Swisher against righties.
Running Nick Swisher out there game after game hasn’t done much to get him out of a month-long slump, so Yankees manager Joe Girardi is giving the right fielder a couple of days to take stock in his situation and work on his swing. Swisher did not play Sunday against the Mets and was not in the starting lineup Monday night against the Blue Jays.
Girardi took the same approach last August to Curtis Granderson, who made a major turnaround after working closely with hitting coach Kevin Long. Granderson is still reaping the benefits of that period by leading the Yankees in home runs and runs batted in 45 games into the season.
Swisher was out early Monday taking extra batting practice. The availability of Chris Dickerson is one of the factors that allowed Girardi to make the move with Swisher now. The Yankees had opened the season with only one extra outfielder, Andruw Jones, who bats right-handed. Swisher is a switch hitter who has had more problems batting from the left side. Having Dickerson, who bats left-handed, afforded Girardi the option of giving Swisher time off without losing a lefty in the lineup against a right-handed starting pitcher.
“I’m trying to get him going,” Girardi said of Swisher, who is batting .214 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 145 at-bats. “I told him to take a couple of days – to take a deep breath and try something a little bit different. Players don’t like sitting down, but in the end this is the best for him at this time.”
In 26 games since April 20 when he was batting a respectable .273, Swisher has hit .178 in 90 at-bats as his season average has fallen 59 points.
“His leg kick has been off,” Girardi said about Swisher’s approach at the plate. “When that’s off, your timing is off and you don’t pick up the ball as well. That has been the case with Swish, especially left-handed.”
As a left-handed hitter, Swisher is batting .170 in 106 at-bats. He is a .333 hitter in 39 at-bats from the right side but with not much power (no home runs, .385 slugging percentage). Swisher hit 29 home runs in each of his previous two seasons with the Yankees but is on a pace this year to hit only eight. He made the All-Star team for the first time in 2010. That seems like a real long shot this year.
Swisher evened up his home-away totals last year (.287, 15 HR, 47 RBI at home; .289, 14 HR, 42 RBI on the road) after a lop-sided 2009 when he batted .268 with 21 homers and 55 RBI on the road but only .226 with 8 homers and 27 RBI in the first year of the new Yankee Stadium.
His numbers this year are the other way around. Swisher is batting .231 at home and .185 on the road, although the power numbers are about even (1 homer and 9 RBI away; 1 homer and 10 RBI at home). The Yankees go on a 10-day, 9-game trip to the three West Coast cities after this homestand ends Wednesday afternoon.
“Sometimes other people know what’s best for you,” Swisher said. “I’m a competitor. I expect a lot out of myself.”
Maybe the time away is what Swisher needs. In the meantime, the Yankees will go with a hot hand in Dickerson, the Triple A call-up who entered play Monday night batting .500 (4-for-8) with three RBI.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record here (does anyone remember what that was?), but I have been concerned all year about the Yankees’ relative silence at the plate in the late innings.
You have read it here more than once that the franchise that was responsible for the coinage of the phrase, “five o’clock lightning,” (yes, I’ll explain that, too) had become so meek offensively in the latter third of games.
That is what made the seventh inning rally in Sunday’s Subway Series finale against the Mets at Yankee Stadium so uplifting and encouraging and game winning.
This was beginning to appear as one of those games where the Yankees hit a ball over the fence and nothing else. Curtis Granderson homered in the first (his 16th, unbelievable; he didn’t get to 16 home runs last year until Sept. 2) off Mike Pelfrey, who tamed the Yankees after that through the sixth and seemed well in control of a 3-1 lead.
The Yankees’ track record in such situations had been grim. They were 1-14 in games when they trailed after six innings. Not much five o’clock lightning. OK, what that is all about is this: back when the Yankees were called “Murderers Row” and the “Bronx Bombers,” back in what my kids used to call the “black and white days,” the starting time for games at the Stadium was 3 p.m. (no night games back then, remember). Come 5 o’clock, or sometime in the sixth or seventh inning, the Yankees would start unloading against a tired pitcher, hence, five o’clock lightning.
Sunday’s game, the first in daylight for the Yankees after 12 consecutive night games, had a 1:05 p.m. start, so the seventh-inning resurgence was more like “3:30 lightning.” And how about this: not a home run in sight.
The Yankees banged around Pelfrey and three Mets relievers with another commodity that has been lacking – hits with runners in scoring position, five in seven at-bats, including 4-for-4 with the bags juiced. Over their previous five home games, the Yankees were 4-for-33 (.121) in clutch situations.
It was a beautiful sight for the sore eyes of manager Joe Girardi, who before the game had said, “I don’t care how we score runs.”
This time, the Yankees did so in bunches, beginning with Derek Jeter’s bases-loaded single that tied the score and ran his career hit total to 2,975, just 25 away from as magic a number as there is in baseball. Then, get this, the slugger Granderson, the left-handed version of Jose Bautista, put down a bunt to advance the runners. Let’s see Bautista do that when the Blue Jays come to town Monday night.
“I was trying to get a lead,” Girardi said. “I thought it was a good time to put the bunt on.”
That prompted the Mets to walk Mark Teixeira, filling the bases for Alex Rodriguez and hoping he would hit a double-play ball. As Pete Seeger wrote, “When will they ever learn?” Instead, A-Rod hit a dribbler to third for a hit that scored the go-ahead run.
Rodriguez is 6-for-8 (.750) with three home runs and 19 RBI when batting after Tex has been intentionally walked. Mets manager Terry Collins said he wasn’t aware of those numbers and would have walked Tex anyway even if he knew. Cue Pete Seeger.
Now the Yankees had the Mets where they wanted them. Robinson Cano singled in a run to keep the line moving that was briefly interrupted when Jorge Posada was called out on strikes on a questionable third strike on a pitch in the dirt. Brett Gardner, who began the rally with a single, doubled in two runs, and Chris Dickerson plopped a well-placed single to left for two more runs.
Rodriguez had his second four-hit game in a week and is batting .481 with three homers and 10 RBI in 27 at-bats over his past six games. Jeter continued feasting on Mets pitching, running his hitting streak against the Mets at the Stadium to 25 games. The Captain has the highest batting average (.381) against the Mets of any opponent with a minimum of 150 at-bats. DJ’s run in the seventh was career No. 1,713, pushing him past Hall of Famer Cap Anson into 23rd place on the all-time list.
The result was that the Yankees won bragging rights in New York until the teams meet again in July at Citi Field. Mets fans can whine about playing without David Wright and Ike Davis, but the Yankees didn’t have Phil Hughes or Rafael Soriano, either. What the Yankees had was late life in their bats, a modern, Technicolor, high definition version of five o’clock lightning.
I was kidding earlier in the week when I suggested that Alex Rodriguez would cancel a visit to his hip surgeon after he hit two home runs in a game at Tropicana Field and followed that with four hits in the 15-inning game at Camden Yards.
Well, it turns out that A-Rod did cancel his doctor’s appointment. After all, nothing the doctor could say would make Rodriguez feel better than breaking out of a cold spell at the plate. He kept it up Friday night with a double to right-center off the Mets’ R.A. Dickey leading off the second inning.
The Yankees eventually loaded the bases with two outs as Jorge Posada walked and Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch, but they came away empty as Brett Gardner grounded into a forceout at third base.
Speaking of doctors, outfielder Curtis Dickerson reacted well to memory tests two days after he was beaned in Baltimore and is day-to-day. Phil Hughes was to be examined by team physician Chris Ahmad and could throw off a mound sometime this week.
One night after it took the Yankees 15 innings to score four runs, they put up a five-spot in the very first inning Thursday night at Baltimore. Of their 15 hits Wednesday night into Thursday morning in the 4-1, 15-inning victory, the Yankees had 14 singles, but they didn’t have a single in their first-inning assault in the series finale.
The Yankees used three extra-base hits, two walks and a hit batter to jump out to the 5-0 lead. A lot of people at Camden Yards were still looking for their seats while the Yankees scored two runs quickly on a double by Derek Jeter, a triple by Curtis Granderson and an infield out by Mark Teixeira.
Orioles starter Brad Bergesen caught Alex Rodriguez looking at a third strike for the second out but allowed the Yankees to fill the bases by hitting Robinson Cano with a pitch and walking Russell Martin and Jorge Posada. Nick Swisher, who had not driven in a run with a two-out hit all year, made up for lost time with a double off left fielder Felix Pie’s glove to clear the bases.
CC Sabathia, who usually pitches well against the Orioles, must have loved going to the mound with a five-run lead, especially since the Yankees averaged 3.2 runs per game in the lefthander’s starts. The big lead made it easy for CC to take care of business by planting a pitch in the back of Nick Markakis with two out and none on in the first.
Now I am not suggesting that Sabathia did that on purpose, but Cano had been hit in the top of that inning and the night before Chris Dickerson took one off the helmet from Mike Gonzalez, who was ejected and before Thursday night’s game apologized to Dickerson. Yankees pitchers have to make sure opposing pitchers don’t take target practice against Yankees hitters is all I am saying.
Bergesen started in place of Jeremy Guthrie, who was originally scheduled to start but had to pitch in relief in the 15th inning in the previous game after Gonzalez was ejected because the Orioles had run out of relievers. The Yanks knocked Bergesen out of the game in the fourth with two more triples – by Brett Gardner and Jeter – and Teixeira belted his 10th home run off Chris Jakubauskas.
Teixeira was the designated hitter as Posada put on a glove for the first time this year and started at first base for the first time since July 10, 2008 in an inter-league game at Pittsburgh. Jorgie had a good night at the plate with an RBI double and two walks.
The Yankees didn’t have a single until the fifth when Cano led off with one and scored on two more by Martin and Swisher.
The only question for Sabathia at this point was whether the game would continue as a steady drizzle turned conditions slippery. The umpires kept the game going, which was good news for the Yankees, who certainly did not want to lose Sabathia to a lengthy rain delay. Once CC got through the fifth with the Yankees’ lead swollen to 10-0, the game was official.
Sabathia kept putting up zeroes against the Orioles and extended the string of scoreless innings by Yankees starters to 19 1/3. CC struck out nine batters and walked none in eight innings and improving his career record against the Orioles to 16-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 157 2/3 innings and 10-1 with a 2.73 ERA at Camden Yards in 85 2/3 innings.
A 13-2 blowout to complete a 3-1 trip was just what the Yankees needed as they head home to play the Mets this weekend.
As well as Bartolo Colon was pitching for the Yankees Wednesday night, it was easy to forget that they were lucky to have the lead. An old-fashioned pitchers duel was ongoing at Camden Yards between a comeback-minded veteran in Colon and a young lion in Orioles lefthander Zach Britton.
An unearned run was all that separated the two hurlers through seven innings. Colon added a scoreless eighth by striking out the side and leaving the potential tying run on third base. With Mariano Rivera in the bullpen, manager Joe Girardi’s call to remove Colon after eight innings despite his throwing only 87 pitches seemed automatic because with Mo a save usually is.
Not this time. One-out singles by Adam Jones and Nick Markakis gave Baltimore runners on the corners with one out. Vlad Guerrero’s conventional first-pitch hacking produced a game-tying sacrifice fly that sent the game into extra innings and left Colon with as unkind a no-decision as possible.
Colon has been a godsend for the Yankees, who lost Phil Hughes to arm fatigue a month ago and would have been in deep you-know-what if the Dominican righthander hadn’t pitched like he did in 2005 when he won the American League Cy Young Award with the Angels.
It doesn’t get better than what Colon did Wednesday night – unless he had won, that is. Over one stretch, he got 14 consecutive outs, beginning with a quick-reflex move on a liner to the mound that he turned into a double play. Colon had Orioles hitters so stymied that five of his seven strikeouts were looking. That has been a constant for Colon this year. Of his 48 strikeouts, 27 have been on called third strikes.
I risk giving away my age here to say that there was a time that I like to think was not too long ago (but I know it really was) when a pitcher on the sort of role Colon was on would finish what he started. Yet considering that Colon is coming off surgery and the Yankees have the best closer who ever lived, turning the ninth over to Mo can hardly be criticized.
What the Orioles’ comeback emphasized was that their starting pitcher had been pretty good as well because the Yankees didn’t get much off him except for a run that was fueled by a busted pickoff play at second base in the fourth inning. The Yankees were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base in the seven innings against Britton.
Their failures in the clutch continued into extras before they finally broke loose in the 15th to win, 4-1. Not surprisingly considering the venue, it was Robinson Cano who got the big hit, a two-run double that helped the Yankees put a positive touch on this marathon that took 4 hours and 56 minutes to complete.
Cano, who had the Yankees’ only extra-base hit to go with their 14 singles, extended his hitting streak at Camden Yards to 17 games dating to May 1, 2010, batting .431 with 6 doubles, 2 home runs and 15 RBI in 72 at-bats. Since the start of 2009, Cano has hit .446 with 37 runs, 14 doubles 11 home runs and 35 RBI in 41 games and 166 at-bats against the Orioles.
The Yankees were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position before Cano’s double, which came off Mike Gonzalez, a lefthander who then skulled Chris Dickerson with a pitch that dented his helmet and raised a welt next to his left eye.
Plate umpire Dan Bellino ejected Gonzalez, who was the last pitcher in the Baltimore bullpen so manager Buck Showalter had to use Jeremy Guthrie, who had been scheduled to start Thursday night, to finish the 15th. Games like this tend to shrink rosters. Girardi had to use a pitcher, A.J. Burnett, as a pinch runner for Dickerson and Eduardo Nunez moved from shortstop to right field for the bottom of the 15th.
Determined not to use Joba Chamberlain or David Robertson, Girardi coaxed four innings from Hector Noesi, who had a memorable major-league debut in earning his first victory that he will never forget. The rest of the Yankees won’t, either, not even Colon.
Now that’s the way to put an end to an extended losing streak. The best thing about the Yankees’ 6-2 victory over the Rays Tuesday night to stop the six-game slide, the franchise’s longest losing streak in four years, was that so many players contributed to a winning effort in so many ways.
It was truly a team effort. Only Curtis Granderson, who had 0-for-5, failed to lend a hand, but he deserves to be cut some slack considering how consistent and powerful he has been with the bat all year. It says something about the rest of the Yankees that they didn’t need Granderson to pull this one out.
Ivan Nova gave up one run, on a home run to Elliot Johnson, and pitched into the sixth inning. With Rafael Soriano placed on the disabled list because of an inflamed right elbow, the bullpen needed to pick up the slack and did so. David Robertson faced a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the sixth and handled it magnificently by striking out B.J. Upton and Casey Kotchman.
After Robertson swayed a bit with two walks, Joba Chamberlain shut the door that inning and tagged on a scoreless eighth. Mariano Rivera came into the game in a non-save situation in the ninth to get the final out, so you know how important manager Joe Girardi considered this game.
Girardi’s faith in his pen may be why the Yankees did not replace Soriano on the 25-man roster with another relief pitcher but instead with outfielder Chris Dickerson, who traveled all day from Pennsylvania to Florida and did his part with an RBI single while spelling Nick Swisher, out due to a stomach virus.
On the day Harmon Killebrew, his predecessor as the American League record holder for home runs by a right-handed batter, died, Alex Rodriguez bashed two homers in successive at-bats, as many as he had in his previous 100 at-bats. Home runs Nos. 620 and 621 were great signs from A-Rod, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Monday night after a 2-for-12 series last weekend against the Red Sox. Maybe Alex is on his way.
Jorge Posada showed life in his swing with a double and a single. Brett Gardner had three hits and scored two runs. Derek Jeter had an infield hit for an RBI. Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Russell Martin had a single apiece. Eduardo Nunez scored as a pinch runner for Posada and added a run-building sacrifice bunt.
Another favorable aspect was that the Yankees scored four of their six runs after the sixth inning. For the third straight game, they hit a quality starter hard, this time James Shields following the Rays’ David Price Monday night and the Red Sox’ Jon Lester Sunday night. This time, though, the Yankees kept up the attack against the opponent’s bullpen. The Yankees had 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position in those last three innings to give their own bullpen working room.
It all worked enough to send the Yankees off to Baltimore working on a winning streak.