Results tagged ‘ Joba Chamberlain ’
The string of strong starts for the Yankees against the Rangers in the four-game series ended Thursday as Ivan Nova struggled over 5 2/3 innings and left the game trailing, 4-0. Nova had stopped a five-game winless streak in his previous start, but he was not as sharp this time out.
Yet it was the bullpen that was at greater fault for the Yankees’ failure to complete a four-game sweep as Texas saved face with a 10-6 victory. Nevertheless, taking three of four games pushed the Yankees over the Rangers for the best record in the American League and served notice on Texas that a third consecutive trip to the World Series has a treacherous pathway through New York.
The Yanks’ pen will have to do better than it showed Thursday, however. The Yankees overcame the deficit Nova created and actually took the lead before Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain let it get away. The Rangers struck for eight runs over the last four innings against four relievers.
Chamberlain had the roughest outing. He allowed two earned runs, four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Cut him some slack because Chamberlain is coming back from Tommy John shoulder surgery and an injured ankle. The rust shows. Opponents are batting .448 against Joba, whose ERA is 9.00.
Nova’s most impressive inning was the third when he worked himself in and out of trouble. He loaded the bases on a double by rookie Mike Olt and walks to Elvis Andrus and Michael Young, not a smart thing to do with Josh Hamilton coming up. But Nova struck out Hamilton on three pitches, the last a mean curve in the dirt, got Adrian Beltre to ground into a fielder’s choice with third baseman Casey McGehee getting a force at the plate and struck out David Murphy.
The Rangers had gotten to Nova early. A single by Young, a double by Hamilton and a single by Beltre gave Texas a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Nova faced another bases-loaded situation in the sixth but did not escape this time.
The Texas rally began with one of those dreaded fly balls to left field at Yankee Stadium during day games. Andruw Jones lost sight of Hamilton’s drive in the blazing sun, and the ball fell for a leadoff double. Nova worsened matters by hitting Beltre with a pitch. A single by Murphy scored a run, and after a sacrifice and an intentional walk the bags were full.
Nova got an out on a force play at third base but a run scored. When he walked Olt, the 9-hole hitter, to load the bases again, manager Joe Girardi made the move to Cody Eppley, who retired Andrus on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
The Yankees got Nova off the hook, however, as they batted around in the bottom of the sixth in putting up a 5-spot to take the lead. Rangers lefthander Derek Holland entered the inning with a one-hit shutout working but he could not survive the onslaught that befell him. As many rallies do, it began somewhat quietly on an infield single by Ichiro Suzuki, who advanced to second on an infield out.
Derek Jeter got the Yanks on the board with a single to center, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Jeet took second on the throw to the plate and was able to score on a single to center by Nick Swisher, who got his ninth RBI of the series. After Mark Teixeira struck out, Jones atoned for his misplay at the top of the inning by driving a first-pitch slider down the left field line for a two-run home run that tied the score.
McGehee also hit the ball hard to right-center, but it looked like the third out until Olt, playing right field, dropped the ball for a two-base error. Russell Martin abruptly greeted reliever Tanner Scheppers with a single to center that scored McGehee to put the Yanks ahead.
Too bad it did not last very long.
Phil Hughes was working on a terrific streak of retiring batters hitting with runners in scoring position before Miguel Cabrera’s two-run double in the fifth inning knocked him out of Tuesday night’s game.
Opponents were hitless in 23 consecutive at-bats with runners in scoring position against Hughes over his past five starts. The Tigers’ two runs off Hughes in the fourth inning were on a home run by Cabrera and a double by Jhonny Peralta that scored Brennan Boesch from first base. The 22nd straight out Hughes got with a runner in scoring position was Alex Avila on a grounder to first that stranded Peralta.
All that ended in the fifth as Hughes struggled with a lofty pitch count. Singles by Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson gave the Tigers runners on first and third. Hughes made it 23 straight batters retired with runners in scoring position when Omar Infante lined out to shortstop Derek Jeter. But Cabrera followed with a liner into the left-field corner for a two-run double and a 4-2 Detroit lead.
That was all for Hughes, who toiled for 102 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. It was the briefest outing for Phil since he also went 4 1/3 innings June 20 at Yankee Stadium in a 10-5 loss to the Braves. He had previous success at Comerica Park (3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four career starts), but not this time. Hughes did not walk a batter and struck out three but gave up eight hits.
Cabrera has been a thorn in the Yankees’ side over the years. In 38 career games against the Yanks, Cabrera is batting .370 with 10 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 37 RBI in 138 at-bats. This year, the Detroit third baseman is batting .355 with four doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI in 31 at-bats against the Yankees.
The Yankees came close to taking Hughes off the hook with a ninth-inning rally that eventually fell short as the Tigers held on for a 6-5 victory, their sixth in a row. The Yankees’ second loss in two nights at Detroit was their 12th in the past 18 games and eighth straight loss in one-run games.
It would have been a very satisfying finish if the Yankees had completed the comeback. There is no more annoying situation to watch in baseball than Jose Valverde closing out a game. He is the anti-Mariano Rivera, taking forever to deliver the ball and going through all sorts of gyrations. Why it is that umpires let him get away with all that stuff is beyond me to comprehend.
So to see him have to sweat through what should have been a cookie of a save was a pleasure. The key at-bat was a nine-pitch duel won by Raul Ibanez, who walked with two out to push Eric Chavez, who had singled with one out, into scoring position and bringing the potential tying run to the plate.
Ichiro Suzuki, whose run-scoring double in the seventh was his first hit with a runner in scoring position since joining the Yankees, got another clutch hit with a single to center to score Chavez. Russell Martin ripped a double to the wall in left to score Ibanez and make it a one-run game.
Third base coach Rob Thompson did the smart thing to stop Ichiro at third because left fielder Quintin Berry got to the ball quickly and returned it to the infield swiftly. Five years ago, a coach might have sent Ichiro but not now. Curtis Granderson had a chance to put the Yankees ahead but popped out and is now 0-for-10 in the series against his former team.
An eight-inning run the Tigers scored off Joba Chamberlain proved vital. It came on a two-out single by Dirks, Detroit’s 9-hole hitter who had three hits and two RBI.
The Yankees had 11 hits, but only one in 12 at-bats from the first third of the order – Granderson, Jeter (who got the hit) and Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher had two doubles and a single. Chavez, moved up to the 5-hole after a three-hit game Monday night, had two more hits, including his 11th home run. Suzuki had his first multi-hit game for the Yankees.
The only question Wednesday seemed to be if the rain that fell lightly but persistently for several innings would wash away all the scoring the Yankees had done over the first three innings. The day after blowing a 5-0, first-inning lead in an embarrassing loss to the Orioles, the Yankees had their offensive motor on full throttle and despite a somewhat shaky outing by Phil Hughes were able to avoid being swept by their closest pursuers in the American League East.
Two runs in the first inning, two more in the second and a whopping seven in the third had the Yanks cruising away toward an eventual 12-3 victory.
The Yankees’ lineup had a different look. Newest import Casey McGehee, who was obtained by Yankees Tuesday in a trade from the Pirates, was at first base spelling Mark Teixeira, who is sidelined by a sore left wrist. McGehee drove in the Yankees’ 12th run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and also walked twice and scored two runs.
Ichiro Suzuki made his first start in left field in 10 years and had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 44,593 buzzing with a wall-climbing catch in the sixth inning to take a potential extra-base hit away from Mark Reynolds.
“The last time I played left field was in the last game [Game 5] of the Division Series that the Mariners lost to the Yankees in 2001,” Ichiro recalled. “With the field larger, I can use more of my range. I just have to get used to it.”
Asked why he played left field instead of right field in that 2001 playoff game, Suzuki smiled and said, “You’ll have to ask Lou,” meaning Piniella, then the Seattle manager.
Joba Chamberlain, fresh off the disabled list, made his first appearance in 14 months and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Unfortunately, the first batter he faced, J.J. Hardy, hit a home run on a ball that Ichiro couldn’t prevent from reaching the seats. Chamberlain showed signs of rust as he was touched for two runs, four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings.
“It was a day with a lot of emotion for him,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought he would be over-pumped up, but he threw strikes and didn’t try to over-throw.”
Hughes allowed nine hits in his six innings but only one run. The Orioles had runners in scoring position in each of Hughes’ innings but failed repeatedly in those situations. They were hitless in 11 such at-bats and stranded nine base runners. For the game, they were 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.
Meanwhile, the Yankees had a field day with runners in scoring position, which has not been the case much of the year. They had seven hits in 10 at-bats in the clutch over the first three innings in building a 10-run lead. Curtis Granderson started the scoring with his 29th home run in the first inning, and Robinson Cano ended the seven-run third with his 24th homer of the season and ninth career grand slam.
That inning could have been worse for Baltimore except for center fielder Adam Jones’ dazzling grab of a deep drive by Suzuki. By the seventh inning, Orioles manager Buck Showalter began substituting freely, giving the game the look of a spring training exercise.
The Yankees’ 15-hit attack included three hits apiece by Derek Jeter, now batting .316, and Jayson Nix and two hits each for Granderson, Cano and Nick Swisher. With 10 of the Yanks’ previous 12 games having been decided by three runs or less, including six one-run games (all losses), they were in need of a good laugher.
“Even without some guys who are hurt, this offense is capable of scoring a lot of runs,” Girardi said.
July was a schizophrenic month for the Yankees. Halfway through it, they were riding high with a 10-4 record and bound to extend their major-league record for winning Julys to 20, five more than any major-league team.
They then went into a tailspin that resulted in nine losses over the last 13 games of the month to finish at 13-13, their first non-winning record in July since 1992. Tuesday night’s game was the month in microcosm. The Yankees blew a 5-0, first-inning lead and lost to the Orioles, 11-5.
At the end of play July 18, the Yankees had opened a 10-game lead in the American League East, the widest of any first-place club in the majors this season. Over the past two weeks, 4 ½ games of that lead have been shaved off as Baltimore trails now by only 5 ½ games. The Yanks did not have a four-game losing streak for three months and have had two in the past two weeks. The four-game losing streak at home is their longest since a six-gamer May 11-20 last year.
“We’re not playing well; there’s no doubt about it,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve come back from these stretches before and need to do it again.”
Normally, a 5-0 lead is pretty safe in the hands of Ivan Nova, but not the way he has pitched lately. The righthander gave it all back and then some as the Orioles responded with a seven-run second inning on the way to taking a 9-5 lead by the fifth, Nova’s last inning. It was an ugly line for Nova (nine earned runs and 10 hits in five innings), whose ERA bloated from 4.08 to 4.53.
“Most of the year he has been good with runners on base but not this time,” Girardi said. “He just didn’t have good stuff.”
Nova, who won five straight starts from late May into mid-June, has won one game in eight starts since June 17. Over that stretch, he is 1-3 with four no-decisions and a 5.29 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. He is winless in his past four starts with two no-decisions and a 7.54 ERA in 22 2/3 innings.
The Yankees have done a solid job all year overcoming injuries to Brett Gardner, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez. Chamberlain returned to duty Tuesday night, and the Yankees received good news on Mark Teixeira, who is nursing a painful left wrist but could be back in the lineup sometime this weekend.
Without Tex and A-Rod, the lineup looked pretty short yet the Yankees batted around against career pin cushion Chris Tillman for a five-spot in the first inning. Tillman got off the canvas, however, and held the Yankees to two hits over the next four innings to come away with the victory and leaving the Yanks to sigh, “Bring on August.”
For a change, the Yankees received good news on the health front. First baseman Mark Teixeira, who was forced out of Monday night’s game because of a sore left wrist, underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital that revealed no structural damage.
Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser diagnosed the condition as inflammation in the left wrist. Tex was treated with a cortisone injection and will be reevaluated in three days.
“Huge relief” was manager Joe Girardi’s reaction to Teixeira’s situation. “I was preparing for the worst. For Tex to come out of a game you know it had to be painful. We’ll know a lot more about when he can play again Friday.”
The Yankees were concerned enough about Teixeira’s condition that they traded for a corner infielder, Casey McGehee. The Yankees acquired McGehee, 29, from the Pirates in exchange for relief pitcher Chad Qualls. McGehee was in Chicago Tuesday and not expected to arrive in New York in time for the Yankees’ game against the Orioles Tuesday night.
The Yankees were also hoping Joba Chamberlain would get to Yankee Stadium in time for the game. The reliever was supposed to pitch on injury rehabilitation at Double A Trenton but was notified en route to head back to the Bronx. He will replace Qualls in the bullpen.
“McGehee can play some first base for Tex who will be lost for a few days and some third base for Alex [Rodriguez] who will be lost for a few weeks,” Girardi said. “Having him here will help us have more flexibility at DH.”
Derek Jeter was in the designated hitter role with Ramiro Pena getting a start at shortstop. Nick Swisher took over for Teixeira at first base with Eric Chavez playing third. Ichiro Suzuki, who will eventually move to left field, remained in right field for Swisher, who was in the field for the first time in a week after recovering from a strained left hip flexor.
McGehee (pronounced ma-gee) was batting .230 with 13 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 35 RBI in 265 at-bats for the Pirates. He played in 77 games at first base and nine at third. A right-handed batter and thrower, McGehee finished fifth in the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the year voting 2009 when he hit .301 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI for the Brewers. He drove in 104 runs the next year and hit .285 with 23 home runs but slumped to .223 with 13 homers and 67 RBI last year. Pittsburgh acquired him from Milwaukee Dec. 12, 2001 for pitcher Jose Veras, who pitched in 106 games for the Yankees from 2006-09 and compiled an 8-4 record with a 4.43 ERA in 103 2/3 innings.
Qualls, 33, is 2-1 with a 4.89 ERA in 43 relief appearances combined with the Phillies and the Yankees. The righthander came to the Yankees July 1 in a trade for a player to be named and cash considerations and was 1-0 with a 6.14 ERA in 7 1/3 innings.
Despite what Yankees fans may have read or heard in various media outlets, Andy Pettitte did not suffer a setback in his rehabilitation from a fractured left fibula. At the time of his injury June 27, it was noted that Pettitte’s recovery would take six to eight weeks. I wrote that day that the most generous timetable would be that he might be back around Labor Day.
None of that has changed. Pettitte had been throwing off flat ground and was told recently by doctors to hold off on that to allow more time for the bone to heal. Andy was overenthusiastic about a quick comeback when he rejoined the Yankees on their previous homestand, but that was just wishful thinking.
Pettitte is 40 years old. His bones are 40 years old. It takes more time for any injury to heal at that age. The healing process isn’t always smooth. There can be detours along the way, which is where Andy is right now.
“I would not call it a setback,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It is just part of the healing process. We are still looking at the same timetable.”
The press crew tends to go overboard with these injury updates. Recently, Mariano Rivera said in a radio interview that he would be back on the mound before this season ends. Rivera at 42 is even older than Pettitte. That is not going to happen, either. Rivera is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The operation took place June 12, a full month after Mo was taken off the field at Kansas City writhing in pain. Rivera says he wants to pitch again, and there is a good chance that he will but not in 2012.
The most positive news involving a disabled Yankees player is that of Joba Chamberlain, who is scheduled to pitch again Tuesday night for Double A Trenton and could be back with the Yanks as soon as next week. Then again, he is not in his 40s.
The media seems to be paying an inordinate amount of time these days asking questions about players who are not on the Yankees’ 25-man roster. Every day, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi field questions about Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Brett Gardner and Joba Chamberlain.
Injury updates are part of the business, of course. Checking in on CC Sabathia while he was on the 15-day disabled list made sense, but the other guys are not close, so what is all the attention being focused on them?
Rivera went on the radio the other day and said it was his goal to pitch again this season. This is news? Mo told that to everybody he talked to when he attended Old Timers’ Day nine days ago. The likelihood of that is another story. He is still rehabilitating his right knee from surgery and is not anywhere near ready to start throwing again.
Girardi tried to sound optimistic, but as manager he has to be realistic, too. He pointed out that Rivera usually makes eight to 10 appearances during spring training to be ready for the regular season and that he would need to do something similar before returning. Once September rolls around, Girardi reminded, most minor-league seasons are over, so where would Mo go?
Chamberlain has started throwing off a mound, which is encouraging, and there is a good chance that he will be back before season’s end, but, again, it is not as if it will be a matter of days. As for Gardner, he keeps coming up sore after the day after simulated games. Girardi was asked if come September Gardner could be used as a pinch runner or defensive replacement since the outfielder’s problems stem from throwing. Girardi acknowledged that was possible, but does anyone expect a player so limited to be part of a post-season roster? Besides, surgery remains a possible option for Gardner, the sooner the better if it proves necessary.
Reporters keep asking Pettitte about how quickly he can return as if they have forgotten he has a broken leg, a 40-year-old one at that. The timetable is still the same for Pettitte, who should be back sometime around Labor Day if all goes well.
Despite all these injuries, the Yankees have opened a large lead in the American League East. In the time Sabathia spent on the DL, the Yanks jumped 6 ½ games in the standings. What does all this mean? Not much, except leave us let nature take its course.
The news about David Robertson’s foot injury was a relief. Other injuries to Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Freddy Garcia and Eduardo Nunez proved to be the usual aches and pains sustained during spring training. The Joba Chamberlain situation is far more dire.
Chamberlain required surgery Friday on a severely dislocated right ankle, an operation of life-threatening urgency because of the blood loss resulting from the trauma. What ramifications this will have on the relief pitcher’s season remains to be seen, but it appears clear that the Yankees will not be able to count on him for some time, perhaps not at all in 2012.
“A significant injury” is what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called it.
The stunning circumstance occurs to a player who was making a satisfactory recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow that has kept him inactive since last June. Chamberlain was not expected to start the season for the Yankees, but he had made sufficient enough progress that Cashman and manager Joe Girardi were encouraged that the popular righthander could be a factor in the first half.
Now this. Since Chamberlain was to have stayed in Tampa after the Yankees broke camp, his trip to the disabled list does not affect the pitching staff at this point. Robertson and Rafael Soriano remain in line to handle the setup role in front of Mariano Rivera. Yet you can’t have too many arms, and Chamberlain coming back to bolster the bullpen in May or June was a very nice thing for a general manager and manager to think about when reinforcements are always welcome.
Chamberlain’s injury is also a reminder of how athletes need to be careful off the field. All that was known Friday was that Chamberlain was with his son at a play area in Tampa. Sounds innocent enough, but accidents can happen anywhere. At this point, the Yankees are more concerned about Chamberlain’s condition than for the reason for it.
It was not the happiest of birthdays for Yankees infielder Ramiro Pena, who turned 26 Monday while being in the hospital. Pena underwent an emergency appendectomy and had to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Pena’s injury leaves the Yankees a bit skinny in the infield. They recalled Brandon Laird from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but his flight to Tampa was delayed so the Yankees were short-handed in the opener of the four-game series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. With Alex Rodriguez on the DL after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Eduardo Nunez is playing regularly at third base, so Pena had been the Yankees’ utilityman in the infield.
There has been something of an epidemic of appendectomies this year. Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday and White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn had their appendixes removed earlier this season. While recovering from rotator cuff surgery, Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain also had an appendectomy.
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.