Results tagged ‘ National League ’

Yanks relying on Tanaka to halt slide

With the designated hitter rule not in effect in a National League park, Mark Teixeira was back at first base for the Yankees Wednesday night for Round 3 of the Subway Series that moved from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field.

This was a move probably not welcomed by the Mets, who had a field day for two nights at the Stadium in scoring 21 runs and banging out 24 hits, six of them home runs, two by Curtis Granderson.

Masahiro Tanaka was to be tested in the role as stopper of the rotation to try and halt this four-game losing streak and a six-gamer over the past two years against the Mets whom they usually dominate in this series. The Mets will treat their fans to the major-league debuts of pitching prospects Rafael Montero Wednesday night and Jacob deGrom Thursday night. deGrom was recalled from Triple A Las Vegas Wednesday to take the rotation spot of Dillon Gee, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a lat muscle strain.

Teixeira has been bothered by a tender groin that reduced his workload to a pinch-hitting assignment Monday night and the DH role Tuesday night. The Yankees need Tex’s presence in the lineup. He is batting .310 over his past 42 at-bats and has hit six home runs in his past 14 games. Teixeira leads the Yankees in home runs with seven and is tied for second on the team in RBI with 17 despite having played in only 24 games thus far this season.

Tanaka, who has a 5-0 record with a 2.57 ERA, is not the only Yankees rookie having an impressive season. How about Yangervis Solarte? The infielder who spent eight seasons in the minor leagues before getting a big-league shot with the Yankees continues to put up numbers.

Solarte entered Wednesday night’s game leading the American League in batting with a .336 average and ranked tied for fourth in the majors behind the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (.394) and Charlie Blackmon (.342) and the Phillies’ Chase Utley (.338) and even the Padres’ Seth Smith. Solarte also had a .412 on-base percentage, which was third in the AL, trailing the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo (.457) and the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (.433).

Solarte was leading the Yankees in runs batted in (22), the second-highest total among all major league rookies behind only the White Sox’ Jose Abreu (38). Solarte is one of only six qualifying hitters in the majors (and one of two in the AL) with a batting average of at least .300, an OBP of at least .400 and a slugging percentage of at least .500. He is batting .375 with four doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI in 32 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Hughes loses to former teammate Kennedy

Phil Hughes was expected to benefit from pitching in spacious Petco Park Sunday in San Diego. It did not turn out that way.

The righthander entered the game with a 3-2 record and 3.02 ERA on the road this year compared to 1-7 with a 6.02 ERA at Yankee Stadium. He may have well been in the Bronx the way Sunday’s start turned out for Hughes, who was paired against former Yankees teammate Ian Kennedy.

Hughes and Kennedy came up through the Yankees’ system together and were even roommates at one time. Kennedy was traded to the Diamondbacks as part of the three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson from Detroit to the Yankees. Hughes was an 18-game winner and an American League All-Star in 2010. Kennedy was a 21-game winner and finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2011. Yet both were involved in trade rumors this year. Hughes remained with the Yankees while Kennedy was dealt from Arizona to San Diego.

Making his first start for the Padres Sunday, Kennedy outpitched Hughes, who did not survive the third inning and remained winless in five starts since July 2. He put the Yankees in a 5-0 hole by the third inning while Kennedy pitched into the sixth to end his own losing streak that had stretched to 10 starts since June 1 (0-5, five no-decisions) with the 6-3 victory that gave San Diego the series and sent Hughes’ personal record to 4-10 with a 4.87 ERA.

The Yankees have gone a month since they won a series. Sunday’s loss brought them perilously close to a double-digit deficit in the AL East standings. The Yankees trail the first-place Red Sox by 9 ½ games and remain three games out of third place.

Hughes gave up five earned runs, six hits and three walks (one intentional) with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings, his second briefest outing of the season. The shortest was May 15 against the Mariners at the Stadium when he allowed seven earned runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning. Hughes was not nearly that bad, but he continued to have trouble finishing off hitters. Three of the runs off him came after two were out.

Kennedy (4-8) held the Yankees scoreless until two out in the sixth when he gave up two walks and two singles in succession that netted two runs. Granderson, who reached base four times with three walks and a single, drove in one of the runs with that hit.

The Yankees made it 6-3 on Austin Romine’s first career home run, a solo shot to left-center in the seventh off righthander Dale Thayer, but could not get any closer. Romine did not get the ball as a souvenir because someone in the Padres bullpen where it landed tossed it into the stands. Romine has been a bright spot for the Yankees of late. In his past eight games, the backup catcher has hit .476 with four doubles, one home run, four RBI and four walks in 21 at-bats to lift his season batting average from .132 to .213.

The Yankees got the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning against Padres closer Huston Street (21 saves), but pinch hitter Vernon Wells struck out.

It was a day filled with bad news for the Yankees. An MRI on Derek Jeter’s troublesome right calf revealed a Grade 1 strain which may result with the captain going on the disabled list again. Also, pitcher Michael Pineda reported stiffness in his surgical right shoulder after his two-inning stint for Triple A Scranton Saturday night and may have to be shut down.

Jeter out of lineup with right leg issues

Derek Jeter’s move up the ladder of the all-time hits leaders will be stalled the rest of the weekend because of issues with his right calf and quadriceps. Jeter was not in Saturday night’s starting lineup for the Yankees against the Padres and he won’t be there again Sunday, either. With no designated hitter in place in a National League park, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had no way to get Jeter into the batting order.

Girardi commented after Friday night’s 7-2 loss that Jeter was not operating at 100 percent. The skipper said the right leg has been troubling Jeter since last Sunday when he came off the disabled list in dramatic fashion and hit a first-pitch home run in his first at-bat. Jeter started both games in Los Angeles earlier in the week but came out of the second game for a pinch runner.

Friday night, Jeter had a single in four at-bats, made an awkward slide into third base and committed a throwing error. Jeter said afterward that he was fine. Do you expect him to say anything otherwise? With 3,308 career hits, Jeter is five behind Eddie Collins (3,313) for ninth place on the career list and 11 back of Paul Molitor (3,319) for eighth place. DJ needs one more RBI to tie former teammate Bernie Williams for sixth place on the Yankees’ all-time list.

Eduardo Nunez, who made his first start of the season at third base Friday night, was back at shortstop in the Captain’s place Saturday night. Girardi said that Jeter could be used as a pinch hitter, but the manager sounded as if he preferred to avoid that. The Yankees move on to Chicago and American League rules Monday.

“I’m definitely giving it two days,” Girardi told reporters in San Diego. “My hope is that we don’t have to DL him. My goal is to get him back in there Monday, get him in there against the White Sox and see how he does.”

Cano knocked out of All-Star Game; Mo honored

How bad has the Yankees’ luck been this year? In terms of health, I mean. The disabled list has been almost as crowded as the dugout. Even in the All-Star Game, the Yankees could not stay healthy.

Robinson Cano, the American League second baseman and one of the few Yankees regulars to stay on the field all season, made an early exit Tuesday night from Citi Field. Cano, the second hitter in the AL order, came up after a leadoff double by the Angels’ Mike Trout and was struck on the side of his right knee by a 96-miles-per-hour fastball from Mets righthander Matt Harvey.

Cano winced in pain and tried to stay in the game. He went to first base but after Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera struck out Cano came off the field and was replaced by pinch runner Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. As Cano walked off the field, he had a friendly exchange with Harvey.

“He said, ‘My bad,’ ” Cano said. “I said, ‘No problem.’ I know he don’t want to hit nobody. It’s part of the game, so what can you do?”

This is just what the Yankees did not need. Managers across baseball watch the All-Star Game with trepidation and hope one of their players does not get hurt. Harvey, the National League starting pitcher who pitched two scoreless innings, said, “I feel bad. I didn’t mean to hit Cano.”

X-rays on Cano’s knee were negative.

“It’s a little tight, but I’m walking good,” Cano said. “You want to play the game and enjoy the nice city in New York with the fans, but that’s part of life. Got to get it better and take it easy. Yeah, I’ll be good for Friday.”

“Obviously, the last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said. “As [Cano] was walking by, I was trying to get his attention as he was going to first. He then came off the field, and I apologized and made sure that he was okay. I think he understood that it wasn’t intentional.”

Cano had been enjoying himself at the All-Star Game as opposed to a year ago at Kansas City when he was the target of booing from local fans because as captain of the AL Home Run Derby squad he did not name the Royals’ Billy Butler to the team. Cano got revenge Monday night as a player he promoted for the Home Run Derby team even though he was not on the All-Star squad, Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, won the competition.

Not surprisingly considering the Yankees-Mets rivalry, Cano was booed by most people in the Citi Field crowd in pregame introductions. Conversely, Mariano Rivera was accorded a healthy ovation. In a lot of ways, Mo is his generation’s Yogi Berra, the one Yankee that even fans who hate the Yankees like.

The best was yet to come for Mo. To guarantee that Rivera would pitch in the game, AL manager Jim Leyland of the Tigers put him in the game in the eighth inning. After all, if the NL had gone ahead in the bottom of the eighth and held the lead then there would have been no bottom of the ninth.

Rivera was treated with another standing ovation as he trotted to the mound to his usual entrance song, “Enter Sandman,” by Metallica. When he reached the rubber, Rivera was the only player on the field as the players from both sides stood on the top steps of the dugouts and joined the crowd in showing their appreciation to the game’s all-time saves leader who is calling it a career at the end of this season at the age of 43.

It was quite a sight. Mo acknowledged the applause by removing his cap and waving to each portion of the crowd. Mariano retired the side in order and was given the game ball by first baseman Prince Fielder after the third out of the inning. It was a more pleasant final appearance at Citi Field than the May 28 Subway Series game when he sustained his first blown save of the season in a stunning loss to the Mets.

Mo Mariano Rivera (USA Today photo)

“I wanted to pitch in the game and in baseball anything can happen,” Rivera said of pitching in the eighth instead of the ninth. “The plan worked out perfectly. This was right up there with winning the World Series. To do this in New York with all the fans here and all the players and the coaches and the managers standing in the dugouts. . .that was priceless.”

There turned out to be a bottom of the ninth inning as the AL had a 3-0 lead. Rangers closer Joe Nathan worked the ninth and can always say he earned a save in a game after Mariano Rivera had pitched, which had not happened since 1996 when Mo was the setup man for Yanks closer John Wetteland.

Rivera was voted the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player and was able to thank the fans and told them it was a “privilege” to pitch in front of them all these years. Let’s face it, fans, the privilege was ours to watch him.

YU members may ask D-Rob a question & vote

Got a question for David Robertson? As an exclusive membership benefit, Yankees Universe members are being given the opportunity to ask the Yankees reliever a question. Just hit the “Ask Joe a Question Now” link.

The Yankees will randomly select questions and conduct an interview with Robertson. The answers will be posted on the members-only section of Please submit your question by 5 p.m. Thursday, July 18.

While you’re at it, you can hit the “Vote for David Now” link to support his candidacy in the All-Star Game American League Final Vote competition among five players seeking the last spot on the roster for the July 16 game at Citi Field.

With one day remaining, Robertson is still in second place in the balloting. Beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, you can use the hashtag #HighSocksForVotes on Twitter. Each hashtag will then count as a vote. You can still vote on and The Nationals are supporting Robertson, and the Yankees are supporting Washington shortstop Ian Desmond in the National League Final Vote voting. Desmond wore his socks high last night in honor of D-Rob:


The Yankees are encouraging everyone to vote for Desmond #DesiIn13 as well. Voting ends at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Girardi bats pitcher 8th in inter-league lineup

The Yankees’ starting lineup Wednesday night at Denver’s Coors Field had an unusual look. Not only was a pitcher in the batting order in accordance with National League rules but also said pitcher, David Phelps, was in the eighth spot rather than the traditional 9-hole for pitchers.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s reasoning was pretty sound. With Robinson Cano batting second, someone other than the pitcher, in this case rookie catcher Austin Romine, gives the Yankees an additional hitter in front of Cano after the first time through the order. Girardi also wanted to avoid stacking left-handed batters near the bottom of the order because the Rockies have quality relievers from the left side.

It is not entirely uncommon for pitchers to bat somewhere in the lineup other than ninth. Good hitting pitchers such as Wes Ferrell, Warren Spahn, Bob Lemon, Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Don Larsen and Earl Wilson occasionally batted higher in the order than ninth. In more recent years, Tony La Russa often batted a pitcher eighth and a position player ninth in his time with the Cardinals.

Can Derek make the All-Star team?

Do not be surprised if Derek Jeter earns a spot on the American League All-Star squad even though he probably won’t play an inning of baseball before the game, which is scheduled for July 16 at Citi Field in Flushing.

The Captain is extremely popular with fans all over the country. Just last year, he received more than 4.4 million votes, the third highest total of any AL player. Only Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista were ahead of him, and no other shortstop was within three million votes of Jeter.

Jose Reyes, in his first year in the AL with the Blue Jays after being traded from the Marlins, might have threatened Jeter’s hold on the All-Star vote at shortstop. But Reyes is also out for three months with an ankle injury, so his chances of overtaking the Captain seem out of the question now.

How weird would it be for Jeter to win an All-Star spot without having played a game? Well, go back to 1989. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt retired in late May while batting .203 in 148 at-bats. The All-Star balloting was only a week old, and yet when it was over Schmidt was voted onto the National League squad as the starting third baseman, even though he had not played for six weeks. You could say that at least Schmidt played as many as 42 games, but then again, he was not very good in many of them. The future Hall of Famer was invited to the game that year at Anaheim Stadium and took a bow, but his place in the NL starting lineup was taken instead by the Mets’ Howard Johnson.

So don’t bet against Jeter.

Baylor named to Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

Former Yankees outfielder and designated hitter Don Baylor, now the hitting coach for the Diamondbacks, was not at the series finale Thursday night at Yankee Stadium because he was in Denver to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in a banquet at the Denver Marriott City Center.

Stan Williams, who pitched for the Yankees and served them as a pitching coach, was also part of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 along with Steve Atwater (football), Adam Foote (hockey), Don Cockroft (football) and Steve Jones (golf).

Baylor, 63, was named the first manager in Rockies history Oct. 27, 1992 and posted a 440-469 (.484) record over six seasons. In 1995, he earned National League Manager of the Year honors from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after leading Colorado to its first postseason berth in franchise history as the NL wild card.

Baylor spent three seasons (1983-85) with the Yankees during a 19-year career in the majors that included an American League Most Valuable Player performance in 1979 with the Angels.

Spring training schedule announced

The Yankees announced their 2013 spring training schedule that features 33 games, 17 of them at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.

The Yankees will play their first spring game at 1:05 p.m. Feb. 23 against the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Yanks’ first spring home game will be at 1:05 p.m. Feb. 24 against the Blue Jays.

Due to the World Baseball Classic tournament, the 2013 spring schedule will begin nine days earlier than last year. It marks the earliest start to the Yankees’ spring training game schedule in at least 65 years. In addition to 16 Grapefruit League games, the Yankees will also be home against the Dominican Republic’s WBC team Wednesday, March 6.

Home opponents include each of the Yankees’ four American League East rivals – the Blue Jays Feb. 24, the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. March 20, the Rays at 1:05 p.m. March 24 and the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. March 27. The schedule also contains four home night games with 7:05 starting times against the Braves March 5, the Phillies March 13, the Twins March 21 and the Astros March 26. Houston is moving to the AL next year after 51 seasons in the National League.

The Yankees will also be home against the Cardinals March 11, which will mark St. Louis’ first visit to Tampa since 2006. The Miami Marlins will make their first trip to Tampa since 2005 with a 1:05 p.m. game March 15.

Season tickets for 2013 Yankees spring home games are on sale at or Individual-game spring tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Steinbrenner Field box office, online at or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

For ticket information, fans may call (813) 879-2244 or visit

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 12, with their first workout scheduled for Feb. 13. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 17, with the club’s first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb.18.

This will be the Yankees’ 18th spring training at Steinbrenner Field. The complex was renamed for the Yankees’ longtime principal owner March 27, 2008, following two unanimous resolutions supporting the change issued by the Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council. The resolutions cited Steinbrenner’s many charitable donations to youth activities, hospitals and the arts, and recognized his numerous extraordinary contributions to the area.

2013 schedule out; Yanks-Mets down to 4 games

Major League Baseball released its preliminary schedule for the 2013 season Wednesday. It reveals the change in inter-league play based on the Astros’ move from the National League Central to the American League West that will create two 15-team leagues and require inter-league play on a daily basis.

What that means to the Subway Series is that instead of two three-game series, the Yankees and the Mets will play consecutive two-game sets May 27-28 at Citi Field and May 29-30 at Yankee Stadium. This is a good idea. Six games each year was at least two too many. Remember, in the first two years of inter-league play the New York clubs played one three-game series, in 1997 at Yankee Stadium and 1998 at Shea Stadium. The downside is that there can be a series split, which would take away the reward of bragging rights.

The Yankees will open the season with at home against the Red Sox for the first time since 2005. The Yanks are 18-11-1 in 30 previous Opening Day games against Boston, including a 4-4 game due to darkness in 1910 at old Hilltop Park. The Yankees will play 19 of their first 32 games at home.

The other inter-league matchups for the Yankees will be against the NL West with home games against the Diamondbacks April 16-18, Dodgers June 18-19 and the Giants Sept. 20-22 and road games at Denver May 7-9, Los Angeles July 30-31 and San Francisco Aug. 2-4. The Dodgers’ visit will mark their first regular-season games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will have inter-league games in every month of the season.

The Astros will come to the Stadium as an AL team for the first time April 29-May 1. The Yanks will end their season with a three-game series Sept. 27-29 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.


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