Results tagged ‘ Larry Rothschild ’
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.
When the manager comes to the mound during an inning with the pitching coach and a trainer, it is never a good sign for a pitcher. That is what happened in the fifth inning Thursday night when Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild and Mark Littlefield didn’t like what they saw after Andy Pettitte struck out the first two batters.
Video replays after the strikeout of Kyle Seager showed Pettitte grimacing. Girardi did not want to take chances with his 40-year-old lefthander and removed him after a brief conference. Shawn Kelley got all the time he needed to warm up and finishing the inning by striking out Kendrys Morales. The diagnosis on Pettitte was a tight left trapezius, a muscle that spans the neck and shoulder.
Pettitte said the area was tight all game but stiffened to the point that he could get no extension after the fourth inning. Between innings, he got a massage from Littlefield and felt better, but the tightness came back on the first pitch he threw that inning to Jason Bay.
“It’s frustrating,” Pettitte said. “I wanted to give us some length after we got a short start [Phil Hughes] Wednesday night. I hope it’s just a spasm that settles down.”
It was something of an uneven outing for Pettitte, who was touched for two runs and four hits with three walks, five strikeouts and a wild pitch in 4 2/3 innings. By leaving the game with the score 2-1 Mariners, Pettitte was not in position to have a chance for his 250th career victory. The Mariners hung on for a 3-2 victory to take the series, 2 games to 1. The Yankees were outscored, 18-8, by the second worst offense in the American League and came out of the series hobbling.
“I didn’t feel like I was real sharp,” Pettitte said. “It has been a real battle the past four starts.”
It was a rough night all around for the Yankees’ battery. Catcher Chris Stewart tweaked a groin running the bases in the seventh inning and was replaced by Austin Romine. Stew underwent an MRI after the game. The Yankees were hopeful about the result because Stewart had told Girardi he didn’t hear a pop. Keep your fingers crossed. With Francisco Cervelli already on the disabled list, the Yanks are running out of catchers.
Pettitte’s counterpart, Mariners starter Hector Noesi, also made an early exit and did not qualify for a winning decision. Noesi, who was an emergency starter for Aaron Harang (back spasms) and on a moderated pitch count (79), was replaced by Oliver Perez after Stewart singled David Adams, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth, to third base with one out. Perez got out of the jam with a strikeout of Brett Gardner and an infield pop by Jayson Nix.
Noesi, who was 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA for the Mariners last year, has not won a game in more than a year. The righthander has lost nine straight decisions since his most recent victory May 6, 2012, 5-2, over the Twins. What proved the deciding run was a home run to center off Kelley by Michael Morse, who had a damaging series (7-for-11, 4 runs, 1 double, 2 home runs, 2 RBI).
Despite the homer by Morse, Kelley pitched well with five more strikeouts in two innings. He has struck out 12 of the past 17 batters he has faced and 30 overall in 17 1/3 innings. Among the other few positives for the Yankees was Ichiro Suzuki ended a 0-for-22 slump with a seventh-inning single and Curtis Granderson getting three hits and stealing a base.
The Yankees provided some drama in the ninth when Brett Gardner singled with one out off Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen (11th save) and stole second and third. Girardi could not use Travis Hafner, still bothered by left shoulder tendinitis, as a pinch hitter so Jayson Nix hit for himself and struck out. Robinson Cano had the last crack and grounded out.
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.
The Yankees’ string of quality starts in postseason play came to an abrupt and painful end in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series when Phil Hughes was forced to come out of the game while pitching to his third batter in the fourth inning. It marked the first time in this postseason that a Yankees starter did not pitch into the seventh inning.
Hughes allowed only one run – on a home run by Tigers designated hitter Delmon Young – in three-plus innings, so the ERA of the Yankees’ rotation did not grow much, from 2.33 to 2.68. But the early exit pushed manager Joe Girardi into his bullpen far sooner than he anticipated. The Yankees used four pitches before the fifth inning was completed.
Yankees starters had averaged 7 2/3 innings pitched in the first seven postseason games. Except for the home run, Hughes had pitched fairly well. He walked Andy Dirks, the batter after Young homered, but got ahead 0-2 in the count on Jhonny Peralta before his back acted up. Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild made a visit to the mound and decided they could not entrust so crucial a game to a hurt pitcher.
Eric Chavez, who started at third base over Alex Rodriguez, committed an error in the fifth that proved costly. Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove winner, could not handle a spinning grounder by fleet Quintin Berry on the short hop. Miguel Cabrera made the Yankees pay for the miscue with a double to right-center off David Phelps that made the score 2-0.
Chavez atoned for his boot the next inning with a splendid, back-handed stop of a hot shot by Cabrera with the bases loaded to start an around-the-horn double play that ended the threat. The twin killing illuminated third base coach Gene Lamont’s conservative call to stop Omar Infante at third base on a single by pinch hitter Avisail Garcia preceding the Cabrera at-bat.
The Yankees’ rotation is slowly headed back to full strength. Ivan Nova, who has been out since Aug. 23 with right rotator cuff inflammation, will start Saturday at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. Andy Pettitte will follow suit by making his first start since June 27 Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.
The return of Nova and Pettitte during the homestand that begins Friday night against the Rays with CC Sabathia opposing David Price moves Freddy Garcia and David Phelps to the bullpen, which further strengthens the staff.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s announcement Thursday night at Boston about Pettitte came as something of a surprise. The lefthander, who has been disabled for 10 weeks while recovering from a fractured left fibula, pitched a simulated game before Wednesday night’s game and was expected to toss another such game over the coming weekend. Pettitte argued that if was going to throw another 75 pitches he might as well do it in competition.
Considering the tightness of the American League East, the Yankees can use all the help they can get. When Pettitte went on the DL, the Yankees had a five-game lead that would double by July 18, but entering play Thursday night they were a half-game behind the Orioles. Following a meeting among Girardi, Pettitte, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Steve Donohue, the Yankees made the decision on Pettitte, which will allow him to make four starts over the final three weeks of the regular season.
“Whether it’s later in the week or whatever, it’s a rush job anyway,” Pettitte told reporters. “I feel 100 percent and I’m being honest with them. I need to get out there and get in a big league game. I just want to go to battle with these guys.”
Andy Pettitte was back in uniform Friday and even went through a light workout at Yankee Stadium before the game by throwing off flat ground playing catch with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Despite a fractured left fibula, Pettitte has been able to keep his arm in shape by regular throwing. Until recently, he needed to use a chair to rest his left leg while he sat in another chair to throw. Now he is able to throw standing up after removing the brace he wears for protection.
The timetable is still another six weeks of rehabilitation. Pettitte is hopeful to get back on the mound before Sept. 1.
“I’m antsy,” Pettitte said. “If you’re not able to pitch, you at least want to go out, go for a run, get a good sweat going, because you’re used to that. But patience right now is what I’m doing to stay in shape.”
The Yankees will have to do without their staff ace for at least the next couple of weeks. CC Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday reluctantly. Sabathia, who took part in a HOPE Week celebration in a suite at Yankee Stadium before Wednesday’s game against the Indians, did not want to go on the DL but accepted the Yankees’ cautious approach.
The lefthander, who has a 9-3 record with a 3.45 ERA, has a strained left adductor muscle, which is near the groin. General manager Brian Cashman said that Sabathia likely would not have been disabled had the injury occurred in a September pennant stretch but at this point in the season “it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Sabathia soreness in the area during his past start Sunday night against the Mets at Citi Field when he failed to pitch into the seventh inning for the first time this season. He did not tell Yankees manager Joe Girardi or pitching coach Larry Rothschild of the condition because he did not consider it serious. Sabathia did a full bullpen session Tuesday and still felt discomfort, so he finally told the Yankees about it.
Sabathia’s next start was to have been Friday night at the Stadium against the White Sox, an assignment that was to go to Freddy Garcia. The righthander began the season in the rotation but was sent to the bullpen April 29 when his record was 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA. Garcia was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in nine relief appearances spanning 15 innings to lower his season ERA to 6.91.
But Freddy had to pitch Wednesday as Girardi was forced to go to the bullpen early after starter Andy Pettitte came out of the game in the fifth inning after being struck in the leg by a line drive. Another option for Friday night might be righthander Adam Warren, who is 5-5 with a 3.55 ERA at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“There is no doubt we are going to miss him,” Girardi said of Sabathia. “We have a pretty experienced club. We lost the greatest closer of all time [Mariano Rivera]. We were able to respond. We lost our setup guy [David Robertson], and we were able to respond. We were without Alex [Rodriguez] for the first couple of months a couple of years ago and were able to get through that. We just have to fight through it. Our belief is it is only going to be two starts.”
You must have heard the expression dozens of times over the past 24 hours that A.J. Burnett would be on a short leash as the starter for the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. No surprise there, of course, considering how erratic and unreliable Burnett has been the past two seasons.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave an indication of just how short that rope was Tuesday night by having Cory Wade warm up in the bullpen in the first inning. Burnett walked the bases loaded (one walk was intentional), which made the skipper nervous enough to be prepared for an early hook.
A.J. was visited on the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild but got an even bigger boost from center fielder Curtis Granderson, who made a sensational running catch of a drive by Don Kelly for the third out of the inning. That was the beginning of the Yankees’ support for their teammate.
They gave Burnett a 2-0 lead in the third on Derek Jeter’s double to center off Tigers starter Rick Porcello that scored Jorge Posada, who was hit by a pitch, and Russell Martin, who singled up the middle. Those were the first two RBI in the series for the Captain, who had come to bat with 14 runners on base before he knocked anyone in.
Jeter came up with two runners aboard again in the fifth and attempted a sacrifice, a good play since there were no outs. A remarkable play by third baseman Wilson Betemit ruined it all. He broke back to third on the bunt and had to reach across his body to glove Porcello’s throw that was to Betemit’s left and somehow he tagged the bag before Martin arrived with a head-first slide. Let’s hope Eduardo Nunez was paying attention. The rookie had problems several times in that situation when he filled in for Alex Rodriguez at third base.
Even though Jeter didn’t advance the runners, they came around to score anyway on a double by Curtis Granderson and a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez, who still does not have a hit in the series but has driven in three runs.
Burnett has a history of not shutting down opponents the inning after the Yankees score, and when Austin Jackson led off the fifth with a single it seemed a here-we-go-again moment. But the Yankees turned a double play behind A.J. on a grounder by Ramon Santiago, and Burnett got Delmon Young on a pepper shot to come away unscathed.
Girardi let Burnett start the sixth, a questionable move considering Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, Detroit’s two most productive hitters, were the first two batters, but Burnett retired both on balls hit in the infield. After Kelly singled, Burnett was relieved by Rafael Soriano. One run in 5 2/3 innings for Burnett, find me a Yankees fan who would not settle for that.
There are times to retaliate for infractions of unwritten rules and times not to. One time definitely not to do it is at the start of a late inning in a game of importance in which you are trailing. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey took precisely that time to take revenge against Francisco Cervelli, and it helped the Yankees get a run.
Cervelli obviously ticked off Lackey and his catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, not only for the home run the Yankees’ backup catcher hit in the fifth inning but also because he stomped on the plate and clapped his hands when he reached home. This is a big no-no in the game of be careful not to show up the opposition.
Lackey did not waste any time. The next time he saw Cervelli as the leadoff hitter in the seventh with the Yankees leading 4-2 the righthander hit him in the back with a pitch. The dugouts emptied, and there was the usual jawing and finger pointing but no punches were thrown. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was furious enough to get himself ejected for his behavior.
Lackey’s maneuver fulfilled the macho code but proved foolish because it eventually cost the Red Sox a run. A passed ball by Saltalamacchia got Cervelli to second base, and he crossed to third when Bret Gardner beat out an infield single on a sacrifice attempt. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play, but Cervelli crossed the plate, so just what did Boston gain for retaliating so soon?
The Yankees and Red Sox still have two more games left in this series and another series left in the regular season Sept. 23-25 at Yankee Stadium, plenty of time to make Cervelli pay for his indiscretion. What Lackey did Tuesday night was just foolish, to the Yankees’ benefit.