Results tagged ‘ Francisco Cervelli ’

Yankees and Rangers swap zeroes

Go figure this game. Two pitchers take the mound with identical 5.10 ERAs. Each has struggled a ton lately. The Yankees’ Chase Whitley was 1-3 with an 11.25 ERA in his previous five outings. The Rangers’ Nick Martinez, who pitched college ball at Fordham, was winless in seven starts since his only victory of the season May 24.

So what happened? Both pitched shutout ball over six innings.

It was a very positive sign for Whitley, who got solid support from his defense. Five of the seven hits he allowed were at the start of innings, usually a bad omen.

In the second inning, Leonys Martin got to third with none out on an error by third baseman Zelous Wheeler and a wild pitch, but Whitley kept the ball in the infield with two groundouts bookending a strikeout to strand Martin.

In the third, Daniel Robertson led off with a single and stole second base. After Shin-Soo Choo was called out on strikes, Robertson tried to steal third and was gunned down by Francisco Cervelli. Whitley finished off the inning by striking out Elvis Andrus.

Adrian Beltre followed Jim Adduci’s leadoff single in the fourth by grounding into a double play. In the fifth, Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, who doubled with one out, tried to score on an infield single by Robertson but was thrown out at the plate by Brian Roberts.

Whitley’s night was done after he gave up another leadoff hit in the seventh, a single by Beltre, but Matt Thornton and Adam Warren made sure the All-Star third baseman did not advance.

The Yankees had it even worse against Martinez, who held them to three hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings before Neftali Feliz, the former American League Rookie of the Year, followed with 1 2/3 hitless innings of relief. The Yanks did not get a runner past first base over the first seven innings.

Martinez, too, had helped from his defense. Martin in center field climbed the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center to rob Brian McCann of a potential extra-base hit in the second inning. The ball did not appear to be over the wall when Martin gloved it.

The zeroes kept piling up after the starters were gone. The Yanks did not get a runner into scoring position until one out in the ninth when Derek Jeter doubled into the left field corner. It was career double 535 for DJ, who replaced Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig as the franchise’s all-time leader in two-base hits.

Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to have lefthander Neal Cotts walk lefty-swinging Jacoby Ellsbury intentionally and go after Carlos Beltran, a switch hitter who would bat right-handed against Cotts. The curious strategy worked as Beltran grounded into a double play that sent the game into extra innings.

Yankees’ bats turn cold again

After seemingly breaking out of their offensive malaise with 13 runs total in their victories against the Twins Thursday night and Friday, the Yankees returned to meager production Saturday and went into extra innings.

They were actually fortunate to push the game that far because the one run they scored might have been a gift. Surely the winning run for the Twins in their 2-1, 11-inning victory was just that. A throwing error by Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli trying for an inning-ending double play sent Josh Winningham home from second base with the deciding run.

Before Cervelli’s wild throw, it appeared that Matt Thornton had worked out of the bases-loaded jam. Minnesota filled the bags on a pinch double off the right field wall by Chris Colabello, a one-out intentional walk to Winningham and when Oswaldo Arcia was hit by a pitch for the third time in his past six plate appearances.

Trevor Plouffe followed with a dribbler in front of the mound that was pounced on by Thornton, who made an underhand toss to Cervelli for a forceout. Cervelli turned to throw to first base, but his peg sailed over Mark Teixeira and down the right field line as Winningham trotted home.

Cervelli had not been in the original lineup but turned out to be a central figure in the game. Brian McCann was supposed to be the starting catcher and batting third but was scratched because of persistent pain in his left foot. X-rays were negative, but McCann is in a day-to-day situation.

One day after collecting eight extra-base hits, all seven of the Yankees’ hits were singles. Their run was scored with a measure of luck. With two out in the fifth inning, Ichiro Suzuki stole second base. Or did he?

Video replays appeared to indicate that Suzuki was tagged in the chest by shortstop Eduardo Escobar before reaching the bag. Yet the Twins did not call for a review. Manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected from the game earlier, so maybe there was a mixup in the dugout.

The Yankees took advantage of the break. Ichiro moved up to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a single to left field by Cervelli.

David Phelps was making that run look mighty large the way he was pitching. The righthander retired 11 batters in a row until Willingham ended the stretch leading off the seventh by driving a 1-1 fastball off the second deck in left field for his eighth home run.

That tied the score and took Twins starter Yohan Pino off the hook. The late-blooming (30) rookie righthander held the Yankees to three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings to keep pace with Phelps. Over his past five starts, Phelps is 2-0 with three no-decisions and a 3.16 ERA in that span covering 31 1/3 innings to lower his season ERA from 4.56 to 4.01.

The Twins did not do very well reviewing umpires’ calls. They did not challenge the Ichiro steal. In the 10th inning, they disputed an out call at second base after Sam Fuld had been picked off first only to have it verified by a video review.

The Yankees got a runner in scoring position in the top of the 10th when Derek Jeter singled to right with two out. That stopped a 0-for-14 slump for the Captain, whose 3,397th career hit was also his 2,539th single. Jeet stole second base but was stranded as Brian Roberts, who had four extra-base hits Friday, grounded out.

Before the game, Jeter received a nice parting gift from the Twins. Second baseman Brian Dozier presented DJ with the last second base bag used at the old Metrodome. Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, now a Twins coach, on behalf of the organization gave Jeter a $10,000 donation to his Turn2 Foundation. A year ago, the Twins came up with the cleverest gift Mariano Rivera received in his farewell tour, a rocking chair made of bats broken by Mo’s legendary cut fastball.

Yanks back to winning ways outside division

After going 6-9 in a 15-game stretch against American League East opponents, the Yankees were probably glad to play someone in another division, and who better than the last-place Twins in the AL Central who are currently without Joe Mauer on the disabled list. Despite some bad news surrounding the club, the Yankees ended a season-high five-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory Thursday night and celebrated the Fourth of July by taking a 6-1 lead in the first two innings Friday and hanging on to win, 6-5.

The disturbing news is that the Yankees are not likely to get CC Sabathia back this season. The lefthander was shut down after his injury-rehabilitation start earlier this week for Double A Trenton and has an appointment with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., July 14 to determine whether he will need surgery on his right knee. If so, Sabathia will be out for the remainder of the season.

That is a cruel blow, considering that one of the pitchers who had shored up the rotation in CC’s absence, Chase Whitley, had another rough outing Friday. The righthander, who had pitched well in his first seven starts, failed to get past the fourth inning for the third straight start. He lasted only three innings and allowed four runs and eight hits, including two home runs.

Whitley was treated to a sizeable early lead as the Yankees scored three runs apiece in the first two innings with a six-hit (five for extra bases) barrage against Kyle Gibson. The Twins closed to 6-4 by the third before David Huff put a clamp on things. The lefthander retired all nine batters he faced over three innings and earned the winning decision. Huff may also have put himself in position to get a shot at starting.

It sure won’t be Triple A righthander Alfredo Aceves, who was the other piece of bad news for the Yankees. He was suspended by Major League Baseball for violation of the drug policy.

Derek Jeter was given July 4 off and batting in his customary 2-hole was Brian Roberts, who had a stellar game. Roberts collected three doubles and a triple for the first four-extra-base-hit game of his career. Francisco Cervelli, starting in place of ailing Brian McCann (sore left foot), had three hits, including two doubles. Mark Teixeira also doubled, and Brett Gardner tripled to open the game.

The Twins made it a one-run game in the eighth and had the potential tying run at second base with two outs in the ninth before David Robertson struck out Chris Parmelee looking to notch his 20th save.

Robertson also saved Thursday night’s victory for Masahiro Tanaka, who improved his record to 12-3, over former teammate Phil Hughes. An old problem for Hughes, the long ball, came into play. He lost a 2-0 lead in the fifth by serving up a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran. Zelous Weaver, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday to replace the farmed out Yangervis Solarte, also homered that inning. He added a single and scored a second run in the Yankees’ three-run seventh to round out an impressive major-league debut.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wheeler became only the sixth Yankees player over the past 40 years to get a home run as his first major-league hit, joining Andy Phillips (2004), Marcus Thames (2002), Alfonso Soriano (1999), Dan Pasqua (1985) and Joe Lefebvre (1980). Elias also pointed out that Beltran has now homered in 38 different ballparks in his big-league career, the second-most among current players only the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (39). The major-league record is 45 by Sammy Sosa.

The Yankees have won seven straight games at Target Field, dating to Sept. 26, 2012. They are 13-3 all-time in that yard. . .It was Roberts’ first four-hit game since Aug. 14, 2009 for the Orioles against the Angels and the second time this season he has fallen a home run short of a cycle. The other time was April 17 at Tampa Bay (single, double, triple). . .Since entering the majors in 2003, Teixeira has the highest batting average among all players against the Twins (.371 in 272 at-bats). He is a .364 hitter in nine career games and 33 at-bats at Target Field. . .Cervelli had three hits in a game for the first time since Aug. 6, 2011 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Yankees played the Twins on the Fourth of July for the second straight year and the eighth time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Yankees are 5-3 in those games. They swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in 1964 by scores of 7-5 and 2-1 and were swept in a doubleheader at old Metropolitan Stadium in 1967 by scores of 8-3 and 7-6. The Yankees also won, 3-2, in 1985 at Yankee Stadium and 9-5 at Target Field last year. They lost, 6-2, at the Stadium in 2007. . .The Yankees played on the road on the Fourth of July for the fourth straight year, the first time they have done that in franchise history. . .They are 31-27 on the Fourth of July in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

D-Rob called on to avoid sweep at Toronto

Joe Girardi wasn’t taking any chances Wednesday night. The manager wanted to avoid being swept in Toronto as the Yankees had done to the Blue Jays last week at Yankee Stadium. Toward that effort, Girardi did not hesitate to have David Robertson work a five-out save to salvage at least one victory in the three-game series.

The Yankees came back from Tuesday night’s sloppy loss to turn back the Blue Jays, 5-3, and end a four-game losing streak. The Jays jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Jose Reyes hit the first pitch from Hiroki Kuroda for a home run, but the Yankees attacked Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison for four runs in the third and held the lead with solid ensemble work from the bullpen.

Kuroda earned his first victory in five starts since May 28, although he had not pitched that poorly (3.33 ERA) during the four-game stretch in which he had two losses and two no-decisions. The Japanese righthander gave up two runs on a two-out single by Melky Cabrera in the fifth that made it a one-run game but worked out of trouble in the sixth and departed with one out and a runner on first base in the seventh with the Yankees up by two runs.

Shawn Kelley gave up a single to Reyes but then got Cabrera on a fly to right. Girardi brought in lefthander Matt Thornton to face lefty-swinging Adam Lind. During the at-bat, Anthony Gose and Reyes, two of the fastest players in the major leagues, pulled off a gutsy double steal. Thornton got the job done, however, as Lind hit the ball right back to the pitcher for the third out.

Adam Warren started the eighth, but when he gave up a one-out single to Dioner Navarro Girardi summoned Robertson. D-Rob had not pitched in a week and was plenty strong. He finished off the eighth with two strikeouts, then got another punchout to start the ninth before inducing two ground balls for his 18th save.

The Yankees were only 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and had two runners thrown out trying to steal but got key hits when it mattered. Getting a rare start behind the plate, Francisco Cervelli doubled home the Yanks’ first run in the third inning. The first of Jacoby Ellsbury’s three hits was a two-out single that sent home Cervelli. Mark Teixeira followed with his 14th home run to make the score 4-1.

After the Jays closed to 4-3, the Yankees scored a run without a hit in the seventh on two walks, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly by Teixeira.

The Yankees can now exhale Thursday, their first day off after playing for 23 straight days. It is also Derek Jeter’s 40th birthday. He and his teammates could surely use the rest.

HOPE Week: Friends of Jaclyn

Manager Joe Girardi, pitchers David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, David Phelps and Matt Thornton; catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki surprised Jaclyn Murphy, a student at Marist College, and three young children who are participants in the Friends of Jaclyn program, Wednesday as part of the Yankees’ HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) initiative.

Ryan Tucker, 12, and Quinn Ostergren, 4, who are cousins, and Sean Callahan, 11, were with Murphy and began their day by having lunch with the players and coaches at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan.

As honorary team members in the afternoon, the Yankees held a press conference to welcome them to the team in the Yankee Stadium press conference room. The children were given their own lockers in the clubhouse and suited up in Yankees uniforms before joining their new teammates for a variety of batting practice activities. After being on the field for pregame ceremonies, the Murphy, Tucker, Ostergren and Callahan families and Friends of Jaclyn representatives were guests of the Yankees for their game against the Blue Jays.

Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and given a 30-percent chance of survival when she was nine years old. When the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team learned about what Jaclyn was going through and about her passion for lacrosse, the Wildcats “adopted” her as an honorary member of the team. Later that spring, Northwestern won its first national championship in school history. Girardi is a graduate of Northwestern.

“Everything that they were doing for Jaclyn impacted her health — I know that for a fact,” her father, Denis Murphy, said. “I realized I had to do that for other kids.”

Thus began Friends of Jaclyn, a foundation created to improve the quality of life of pediatric brain tumor patients by pairing them with collegiate and high school sports teams. One such child is Tucker, a diehard Yankees fan who began his battle with cancer when he was three years old. Ryan’s 4-year-old cousin, Quinn, Ostergren is also battling cancer and has already undergone two surgeries in addition to chemotherapy treatment.

“We strive to create relationships that provide love, support and friendship,” Friends of Jaclyn executive director Erin Perkins said. “These children are nothing but loved by their teammates. Being adopted, in many cases, will be their only chance to be part of a team.”

Friends of Jaclyn celebrated its 500th adoption in May. Even though his daughter has been cancer-free for nine years, Denis Murphy continues to devote all of his time to the foundation. Having witnessed what the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team did for Jaclyn during her darkest days, he believes he has discovered the best medicine of all.

“Nothing—no chemotherapy, no pill, no drug—is more powerful than love and support.”

Yanks’ bench growing short with injuries

The Yankees went with an eight-man bullpen to get through the four-game series against the Red Sox, but it left them with a shallow bench that was pretty hollow in Sunday night’s finale when injuries mounted.

Francisco Cervelli, who started at first base, had to come out of the game in the fourth inning when he hurt his right hamstring trying to avoid hitting into a double play. A DP call was overturned through replay, which so infuriated Red Sox manager John Farrell that he was ejected for arguing the call, the change of which gave the Yankees a run for a 3-1 lead.

Meanwhile, Cervelli was exiting the field as Ichiro Suzuki took over as a pinch runner. Suzuki stayed in the game in right field with Carlos Beltran, who hit a two-run home run in the third inning, coming in to play first base for the first time in his major-league career. Other than an occasional game as a designated hitter, Beltran has only played the outfield.

With Mark Texeira on the disabled list, Kelly Johnson has played first base, but he was needed at third base Sunday night because Yangervis Solarte had to play second base with Brian Roberts nursing a sore back. Dean Anna was at shortstop for Derek Jeter, who was out with a tight right quad.

Once Ichiro got in the game, it left the ailing Jeter and Roberts as the only position players on the bench. And with Cervelli gone, the Yanks were without their backup catcher. Manager Joe Girardi told the ESPN crew that his third-string catcher was Anna, “although he doesn’t know it yet.”

Yanks keep playing ‘Who’s on first?’

With Mark Teixeira on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has to look elsewhere for a first baseman. The Yankees do not have a pure first baseman as a back-up to Teixeira. Girardi had used Kelly Johnson there for two games, the fourth and fifth at the position for Johnson in his major-league career.

Eyebrows were raised a bit in the Yankees’ clubhouse Tuesday when the lineup showed Francisco Cervelli at first base. Yes, that Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees’ back-up catcher. Cervelli had a good spring training with the bat so Girardi wants to find ways to get him in the lineup. With the Yankees having called up Austin Romine, another catcher, from Triple A Scranton, Cervelli can be used while still having the safety net of a back-up catcher available.

Cervelli, who has been taking grounders at the corner infield spots during batting practice, was realistic about his new role. He told Suzyn Waldman on her WFAN Radio pre-game show that he thought about calling Don Mattingly to get his permission to play the position the current Dodgers manager manned so well in his playing days with the Yankees.

Cervelli was tested in the second inning when Ryan Flaherty bunted to the right side for a single that gave the Orioles runners on first and second with none out. Cervelli did his job fielding the ball, but neither pitcher Ivan Nova nor second baseman Brian Roberts rushed to cover first base. Nova and Flaherty atoned for the situation by collaborating on a pickoff of Steve Lombardozzi at second base on the next play.

The Yanks have been utilizing players in various roles in the early going. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that for the first time in franchise history the Yanks did not have a player start the first six games of the season. The previous team to have that situation were the Tigers in 1980.

Pineda impressive in 1st start since 2011

Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays falls into the crying shame category for the Yankees. They received a splendid effort from Michael Pineda in his first major-league start since 2011 and have nothing to show for it.

R.A. Dickey pitched a game out of his 2012 National League Cy Young Award season with the Mets and the Toronto bullpen withstood heavy challenges in the late innings as the Yankees sustained their first shutout of the season.

I need to come clean here that I was not in favor of the Yankees’ trade for Pineda from Seattle two years ago. I thought Jesus Montero showed a lot of promise, at least from the offensive side, as a future catcher and that Hector Noesi had been a useful pitcher out of the bullpen. Pineda made the American League All-Star team in 2011 as a rookie but had a major falloff in the second half of that season, and I was skeptical when he became available through a trade. When Pineda showed up in camp out of shape in 2012 and suffered a torn right labrum that required surgery the deal sure seemed like a bust.

That shows you what I know and also how you cannot analyze a trade right away. Look at the situation now. Montero is no longer in the Mariners’ plans and is an overweight designated hitter in Triple A. Noesi was designated for assignment this week.

Meanwhile, Pineda has emerged after two years of rehabilitation as a possible force in the Yankees’ rotation. He nailed down a starter’s role in training camp and got another stamp of approval Saturday despite taking the loss. The righthander’s fastball clocked consistently in the mid-90-mph range as he scattered five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five in six innings.

Pineda left the game with the score 1-0 Toronto, the run coming on a flare single to left field by Jays catcher Josh Thole in the second inning. The Yankees thought they tied the score an inning later, but a disputed play at the plate went against them. Francisco Cervelli, running from second base with two out on a single to center field by Jacoby Ellsbury, was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by Colby Rasmus.

Or was he? Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t think so and challenged the call by plate umpire Dana DeMuth. The replay unit in New York supported DeMuth’s call, but Girardi was not satisfied and said after the game that he still felt strongly that Thole had blocked the plate without the ball, which is against the new rules regarding plays at the plate designed to prevent collisions. Girardi is correct in his view that this area will be the toughest for the replay crew to monitor.

In the end, the play proved inconsequential because the Blue Jays broke the game open in the eighth inning against reliever David Phelps, who gave up a solo home run to Melky Cabrera, a double to Rasmus and a two-run blast by Jose Bautista. The Yankees were 1-for-11 (.091) with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners, including seven in the last four innings.

The Yankees have yet to hit a home run through five games, their longest drought at the start of a season since 1975 when they were shut out in homers the first six games.

No action for Yanks as trade deadline passes

The non-waiver trading deadline came and went at 4 p.m. Eastern Wednesday without the Yankees making a swap. Despite rumors throughout the day regarding Phillies infielder Michael Young, who reportedly waived the no-trade clause in his contract to clear a possible deal to the Yankees, nothing came of it.

“We had a lot of conversations with a lot of organizations,” general manager Brian Cashman said on a conference telephone call with Yankees beat writers, “but we didn’t get anything that would lead us to deal. We will have to contend with what we have right now unless we find ways to improve it. It wasn’t a deep market at all, and obviously what I was offering wasn’t enough.”

So for the time being, the addition of outfielder Alfonso Soriano will have to suffice. Cashman alluded to the impending return from the disabled list of outfielder Curtis Granderson maybe as early as Friday night at San Diego will serve as a major addition akin to a big trade. Cash is also holding out hope that corner infielder Kevin Youkilis, who is recovering from back surgery, may be back sometime in September.

The GM was less optimistic about a return of catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has soreness in his right elbow while recuperating from a broken right thumb and will be examined by Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist, this week.

“None of this information is positive,” Cashman said. “We’re running out of time and it’s looking like he’s done for the year.”

Jeter back on the shelf at least through All-Star break

APJeet Derek Jeter (AP Photo)

Derek Jeter officially became a part of the Yankees’ 2013 season Thursday. And following in the gingerly footsteps of Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, Jeter took a big step back after making a step forward off the disabled list.

The Captain hasn’t been put back on the DL yet. The Yankees have decided to wait out the All-Star break to see if the Grade 1 strain of Jeter’s left quadriceps improves with rest. The goal now is to have DJ back in harness by July 19 when the Yanks start the post-break schedule against the first-place Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Jeter will sit out this weekend’s three-game series against the Twins after which he will have four more days during the All-Star break to allow his condition to heal. General manager Brian Cashman said before Friday night’s game that the DL remains an option that the Yankees hope they will not have to use as they were forced to with the re-injuries of Granderson, Teixeira and Youkilis. In addition, catcher Francisco Cervelli had a setback during his rehabilitation from a fractured right hand.

Jeter missed 91 games while recovering from surgery to repair a fractured left ankle and a broken bone in another part of the same ankle. He was activated Thursday and went 1-for-4 in the 8-4 victory over the Royals at Yankee Stadium but had to come out of the game because of the quad injury sustained as he tried to beat out an infield single.

There is no idle gear in Jeter’s game, so such an injury is not all that surprising for a player who just turned 39 and has not played a game of nine innings in 10 months. Before wondering if the Yankees made a mistake in bringing Jeter up too early, be mindful that the injury could just as well have occurred if he had played that day at Triple A Scranton. Again, Jeter knows no other way to play but full throttle. Now he is forced to back off once more.

“It’s frustrating,” Jeter said. “I don’t know what else you want me to say. I worked hard to get to the point of rejoining the team. It’s not how you draw it up, but hopefully I’ll be back out there soon and help this team win some games.”

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