Results tagged ‘ Ramiro Pena ’
Sunday is Cinco de Mayo. The Yankees have had 12 Mexican-born players in franchise history – six position player and six pitchers – but none on the current active roster. The only Mexican-born player on the current 40-man Yankees roster is pitcher Manny Banuelos, who was born in Durango.
The most recent Mexican-born player with the Yankees was utility infielder Ramiro Pena, who played in 180 games for the Yanks from 2009-12. Pena is now with the Braves and is hitting .300, no less. The Yankees’ first Mexican-born player was also an infielder, shortstop Ruben Amaro, who was with the club from 1966-68. He is the father of current Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Other position players with the Yankees have been infielders Celerino Sanchez (1972-73), Aurelio Rodriguez (1980-81) and Carlos Rodriguez (1991) and outfielder Karim Garcia (2002-03). Garcia leads the Yankees with a .301 career batting average and six home runs in 156 at-bats. Among Mexican-born pitchers, righthander Alfredo Aceves is the franchise’s all-time leader in victories with a 14-1 (.933) career record with the Yanks from 2008-10. Other Mexican-born Yankees pitchers were lefthander Alfonso Pulido (1986), and righthanders Juan Acevedo (2003), Antonio Osuna (2003), Esteban Loaiza (2004) and Luis Ayala (2011).
After being successful in getting Ichiro Suzuki to bat in the bottom third of the order, Yankees manager Joe Girardi felt compelled to move Ichiro back into his familiar leadoff spot Wednesday as a measure in combating the loss of third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken bone in his left hand that is likely to sideline him from four to six weeks.
With A-Rod, who has alternated between third and fourth in the order, out of the lineup, Girardi re-worked it by dropping Derek Jeter from leadoff to second and Curtis Granderson from second to fifth with Robinson Cano in the 3-hole and Mark Teixeira at cleanup.
Taking Rodriguez’s place on the field was Eric Chavez, who batted seventh behind designated hitter Raul Ibanez. For the time being, Girardi will probably go with a platoon of the left-handed hitting Chavez and righty-swinging Jayson Nix at third base. Nix had been a utility guy, a role that now goes to infielder Ramiro Pena, who was recalled from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Pena flew to Seattle from Charleston, S.C., to join the Yankees, who were to return to New York on a charter flight after the game. That means Pena will cover almost 5,000 air miles in less than 24 hours. He could have some case of jet lag Thursday.
How deeply the Yankees will search into the third base market remains to be seen. Remember, they are committed to A-Rod for five more seasons after this one, so going out and trading for a front-line player with a salary to go with his status is problematical. Don’t forget, the Yankees went with a platoon of Ibanez and Andruw Jones in left field during most of Brett Gardner’s absence, and that worked out well. Perhaps Chavez-Nix will be the same.
Jeter, who hit his eighth home run in his first at-bat as a 2-hole hitter, is plenty familiar with the second spot in the order. Wednesday marked the 1,306th game in which Jeter has hit second. He has batted leadoff in 922 games, including 94 this season. He was doing a terrific job at the top of the order, batting .348 in 155 at-bats leading off innings, .413 in 92 at-bats leading off games and .308 in 403 at-bats overall. Before Wednesday, the only position in the order that Jeter hit this year other than first was seventh as a late-inning defensive replacement for Nix in Sunday’s 5-4, 12-inning loss at Oakland. The Captain was called out on strikes in his only 7-hole at-bat.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo Saturday, let’s take a look at Mexican-born players in Yankees history. There have been an even dozen – six position players and six pitchers – over the years, beginning with shortstop Ruben Amaro (1966-68) through to another infielder, Ramiro Pena (2009-11), the only Mexican player currently on the Yanks’ 40-man roster and playing shortstop at Triple A Empire State.
Other position players were third basemen Celerino Sanchez (1972-73) and Aurelio Rodriguez (1980-81), infielder Carlos Rodriguez (1991) and outfielder Karim Garcia (2002-03), who is the leading hitter among Mexican-born Yankees with a .301 average and 6 home runs in 156 at-bats.
Alfredo Aceves, now with the Red Sox, compiled a 14-1 record from 2008-10 with the Yankees, the biggest winner among Mexican-born pitchers, a list that also features Alfonso Pulido (1986), Juan Acevedo (2003), Antonio Osuna (2003), Esteban Loaiza (2004) and Luis Ayala (2011).
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.
It was not surprising that Derek Jeter did not play Sunday. With all eight games on the Yankees’ current trip to be played on artificial turf, manager Joe Girardi was wise to keep the Captain off the carpet at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Yanks move on to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., for a four-game set against the Rays starting Monday night, so expect Jeter to get a night off in that series as well.
DJ’s replacements did fine in his absence as the Yankees gained a split of the series against the Blue Jays with a 7-2 victory that got Phil Hughes his first winning decision of the season. Splits of four-game series always look positive after a team has lost the first two games, which is what happened to the Yankees.
Eduardo Nunez played errorless ball at shortstop and contributed a keep-the-line-moving single in the Yankees’ four-run fourth inning off Carlos Villanueva that sort of broke the game open. Nunez has played third base while Alex Rodriguez (right knee arthroscopic surgery) is on the disabled list. Ramiro Pena played third Sunday and drove in a run with a fly ball in the fourth.
The big hit of that inning was a two-run double by Curtis Granderson, who added a third RBI in the ninth to raise his season total to 68 taking over the club lead from Mark Teixeira, who has 66.
In Jeter’s leadoff spot was Brett Gardner, who finished off a terrific series by reaching base four times with three singles and a walk, stealing two bases and scoring three runs. Gardner has 10-for-16 (.625) on the trip with three doubles, three stolen bases and five runs. He has raised his season batting average from .265 to .286.
Among the more satisfying aspects of the Yankees’ victories Saturday and Sunday was that they did not rely on the long ball as none of their 21 hits in the two games was a home run.
Hughes resembled more the pitcher that won 18 games last year than the one who struggled in April and landed on the DL due to a dead arm. “A big step forward” was how Girardi described the outing by Hughes, who gave up two runs, four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings. The righthander had zip on his fastball and break on his curve. His next start will be on regular rest, which will be yet another test.
One of the weirdest defensive alignments occurred in the ninth inning against Teixeira, who sees the shift used against him many times when batting left-handed. Blue Jays manager John Farrell deployed a quirk to the maneuver by having third baseman Edwin Encarnacion hold the runner, Granderson, on at first base while first baseman Adam Lind played back. It had no effect on the game as Tex flied out to left field.
A lot of people seemed surprised that Derek Jeter was in the Yankees’ starting lineup Wednesday night. I was not among them. History shows that if DJ is healthy he plays.
Yes, we all know that it would be preferable for the Captain to get his 3,000th career hit at Yankee Stadium where the Yankees open a four-game set Thursday night leading into the All-Star break. Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated that he might rest Jeter now and then, which led many in the media that the shortstop might not play Wednesday night at Cleveland.
Jeter entered the game four hits shy of 3,000. He has had four or more hits in a game 37 times. Wednesday night was the 2,360th game of Jeter’s career. That means he has had at least a 4-hit game about 1.6 percent of the time, which made the odds pretty astronomical that he would get four or more hits Wednesday night.
And if he did, so what? The idea is for a manager to put the best lineup together he can on any given night to win the game. Jeter’s quest for 3,000 hits, which would be the first for a player in a Yankees uniform, is a big story but still a sidebar in the context of a season. The main objective is to win games, and no one believes that more than Derek Jeter.
One of the strangest questions I heard posed to Girardi before the game was what would he do if Jeter had three hits with at least one at-bat left in the game? Would he remove the Captain so he could delay No. 3,000 for the Stadium? Joe wisely demurred, but frankly, what else could he say?
Doesn’t it matter what the situation in the game is? If the Yankees are clinging to a one-run lead in the late innings, would it make sense to take Jeter out for defense and go instead with Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena? Not based on the way they have played in the field this season. Nunez has a nice career ahead of him, and Pena is a better fielder than he showed last weekend at Citi Field, but Jeter is the more reliable hand at the position these days.
The bottom line is that the Yankees have to try to win games first and let Jeter’s hits come when they do.
A couple of former Yankees combined to beat their old team Monday night at Cleveland in a 6-3 Indians victory that was a scoreless pitching duel for six innings between A.J. Burnett and the Tribe’s Josh Tomlin.
The key hits in Cleveland’s four-run seventh inning were an RBI single by Shelley Duncan and a three-run home run by Austin Kearns.
Duncan, son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, played in 68 games over the 2007, ’08 and ’09 seasons with the Yankees and batted .219 with 8 home runs and 24 RBI in 146 at-bats. Kearns was a mid-season acquisition by the Yankees last year and hit .235 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in 36 games and 102 at-bats. The second of those homers came Aug. 22, and was the last one he hit before Monday night.
An irony is that neither Duncan nor Kearns might have batted that inning had Alex Rodriguez or Brett Gardner been able to catch a foul ball near the left field line by Lonnie Chisenhill. There were two outs and a runner on second base with Burnett holding a 2-0 lead when Chisenhill hit the foul ball.
A-Rod, running with his back to the infield, seemed to have a beat on the ball, so Gardner sort of backed off, but the ball fell free. Chisenhill eventually walked, Burnett’s second base on balls of the inning. That brought up Duncan, who won a seven-pitch at-bat with a flare single to right that made the score 2-1. Burnett lost the lead when he grooved a 1-0 fastball to Kearns, who crushed the pitch and drove it through the wind blowing in from right field at Progressive Field.
It marked the second straight game when a fielding miscue factored in a Yankees loss. An error by shortstop Ramiro Pena proved costly in the Yankees’ 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Mets Sunday at Citi Field.
Curtis Granderson made it a one-run game in the eighth with his 23rd home run, but Corey Wade gave up his first runs as a Yankee in eight games in the bottom half when he gave up a single to Travis Hafner and a home run to Carlos Santana.
It was a whole different game over the first six innings. Tomlin, who improved his record to 10-4, had a no-hitter through six that was broken up by Mark Teixeira’s leadoff single in the seventh. Nick Swisher followed a one-out, infield single by Robinson Cano with a double to left-center for two runs. The Yankees failed to get Swisher home as Jorge Posada and Russell Martin both grounded out.
Burnett entered the seventh working on a two-hit shutout with both hits by All Star Game-bound shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. A.J. seemed more upset after the game about the two walks in the seventh rather than the two hits. He was right, too. Those hits became productive for the Indians because of the walks.
It was a disappointing return for Derek Jeter, who was hitless in four at-bats and remains at 2,994 for his career.
The absence of Derek Jeter finally showed in the Subway Series. The Captain seemed like an afterthought for most of the weekend as attention centered on Eduardo Nunez and deservedly so. Nunez had 7-for-8 (.875) with 3 doubles, 1 home run and 2 RBI for the Yankees in their victories Friday night and Saturday.
Nunez did a solid job, especially offensively, while DL was on the DL. In 17 games and 59 at-bats since June 14, Nunez hit .339 with a .381 on-base percentage, a .525 slugging percentage, 5 runs, 5 doubles, 2 homers, 7 RBI, 4 walks and 4 stolen bases. He also committed four errors and had a few adventures on the bases, but for the most part earned his teammates’ praise and a vow from manager Joe Girardi to work him into more games over the second half.
As impressive as Nunez was, there was still a sense that the Yankees missed the qualities Jeter brings to the table, chiefly reliability. I know I sound like a broken record about this, but when it comes to defense I have heard managers and coaches over the years talk about how important it is for an infielder to make the routine play consistently.
Jeter has been criticized in recent years for a decline in range at shortstop, but boys and girls, he makes all the plays an infielder is supposed to make, is always in the proper position on cutoffs and makes runners think twice about challenging his strong arm.
This all came to mind as I watched the Yankees lose Sunday’s Subway Series finale due in large part to an error by a shortstop not named Jeter. It wasn’t Nunez, who was scratched because of a tight hamstring. There was a lot of that going around this series. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes came out of Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, too.
Ramiro Pena played shortstop for the Yankees Sunday and made two errors. Left fielder Brett Gardner came to his rescue in the ninth inning by charging the ball that got through Pena for his first error and making a strong throw to the plate to prevent what would have been the winning run from scoring.
Gardner nor any other Yankees outfielder could do anything about Pena’s second error. It came in the 10th on a bobbled grounder that should have been the third out but extending the inning and loaded the bases. Jason Bay’s single to right field prevented the Yankees from a sweep and ended their seven-game winning streak.
Such an inning is a reminder of how differently a game can be without Jeter’s presence. He was to play Sunday night for Double A Trenton on injury rehabilitation and is expected to rejoin the Yankees Monday at Cleveland and resume his quest for 3,000 career hits.
This was a tough loss for the Yankees, considering the cross-town rivalry and how close they came to pulling off the sweep. They were one strike away with Mariano Rivera on the hill, but Ronny Paulino punched a single to right to tie the score. Rivera’s first blown save against the Mets in 12 years started with a two-out walk to Bay, very uncharacteristic for Mo.
The Yankees will also have Phil Hughes back in the rotation at Cleveland. He is scheduled to start Wednesday night in place of Ivan Nova, who was optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It was not an easy call for the Yankees. Nova pitched well (8-4, 4.12 ERA), but so have Bartolo Colon, who had six shutout innings in his return start off the DL Saturday, and Freddy Garcia, who got a hard-luck no-decision Sunday.
The Yankees want to keep Nova on a starter’s regimen at Triple A rather than have him pitch out of the bullpen for them. Optioning a young player to the minors while he is performing well in the majors can be tricky. The key is for Nova not to take it as a demotion and keep pitching with the same determination and effectiveness.
The Yankees were not happy about having to play two games Wednesday in Cincinnati. They agreed to play the dual-gate doubleheader rather than lose an off-day Thursday, but to their thinking the Yankees and Reds should have played Tuesday night instead of being rained out.
Conspiracy theories were rampant, especially since the Reds’ scheduled starter, Johnny Cueto, was down with a stiff neck, and although it rained all day in Cincinnati the weather cleared up after 6 p.m., an hour and 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.
As it turned out, however, the two games in one day proved a blessing for the Yanks. It allowed manager Joe Girardi the opportunity to rest a couple of veterans, first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, in the afternoon game. This put a bat in Jorge Posada’s hands, which was a good thing, and a glove on Ramiro Pena’s left hand, which was not such a good thing.
Let’s concentrate on the positive, shall we? The toughest thing about inter-league play for an American League club is that it loses one of its regular players, the designated hitter, which is prohibited in National League parks. Posada had gotten three plate appearances in the first four games of the trip to Chicago and Cincinnati just at the time when he was getting hot at the plate.
Getting back in the lineup Wednesday as the first baseman, Posada ended up getting the biggest hit of the game, a two-run home run into the teeth of the wind blowing in from right field in the sixth inning that unlocked a 2-2 score. The timing of the hit was ideal, coming directly after the Yankees had lost a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when the Reds scored two unearned runs off Freddy Garcia, who had another solid outing.
Both runs were the result of two of the three errors Pena made in the game, a nightmare of a performance from a player known for dependable defense. The two errors in the fifth were on wild throws. Pena actually struck Drew Stubbs in the head with his toss to first base. After a single to left by Edgar Renteria moved Stubbs to third, he scored when Pena’s peg to the plate bounced off the chest protector of catcher Francisco Cervelli. Renteria got to third base on the play and was able to score on Fred Lewis’ sacrifice fly to center.
Pena’s third error also came against Stubbs on a grounder between the infielder’s legs in the seventh. Pena got to atone for that one, however, on the next play by starting a double play against Renteria, who was last year’s World Series hero with the Giants.
But the big atonement job was that of Posada, who put Garcia in place for the victory with one inning apiece of strong relief from David Robertson and Mariano Rivera (19th save). Posada’s seventh home run of the season was his first in nearly two months. It ended a drought of 126 at-bats and 145 plate appearances since April 23 at Baltimore.
Yet even without an abundance of long balls, Posada has turned around his season offensively over the past two weeks. In 13 games and 39 at-bats, Posada has hit .436 with a .590 slugging percentage, three doubles, one home run and six RBI. He has raised his season batting average over that time from .169 to .227.
And there is something about wearing a glove that brings out the best in Posada. He is batting an even .500 (6-for-12) with two doubles, a homer and four RBI in games where he has played first base. Just the same, Jorgie will be glad to get off this NL trip and get back to Yankee Stadium so he can get into the lineup as the DH on a regular basis.
Shades of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the Yankees have two players battling each other for the home run title. With his 31st career multi-home run game, Mark Teixeira moved into a three-way tie with teammate Curtis Granderson and Blue Jays right fielder Juan Bautista for first place in the American League homer race.
Teixeira connected from both sides of the plate Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-4 victory over the Rangers. It marked the 11th time he has done that, tying Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Chili Davis for the most in major-league history. Since the other two are retired, Teixeira has a good chance to take sole control of this record at some point.
That Teixeira is a contender for the home run title is no surprise. He tied the Rays’ Carlos Pena for the league lead in his first year with the Yankees in 2009 with 39 and his as many as 43 one year, in 2005 for the Rangers. Bautista, of course, led the AL a year ago with 54 homers, so he is no stranger to this activity.
But Granderson? Sure, he has shown muscle at the plate in the past. He had a career-high 30 homers in his last year with the Tigers in 2009 and despite a slow start with the Yankees a year ago managed to swat 24. That Granderson is already at 21 a month before the All-Star break is simply amazing.
Tex and Grandy are on a 52-homer pace. The Yankees haven’t had a player hit more than 50 homers in one year since that magical season 50 years ago when Maris slugged 61 and Mantle 54. The 1961 Yankees hit 240 home runs, which stood as the major-league record for 35 years.
With five more jacks, the 2011 Yankees have 103 in 66 games. That’s a pace of 252, which would top the club record of 244 in 2009, the first season of the new Yankee Stadium.
All four Yankees infielders homered in this one, an oddity in itself and especially because two of those infielders were not Alex Rodriguez, who was the designated hitter, or Derek Jeter, who is on the disabled list. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez and third baseman Ramiro Pena joined Teixeira and second baseman Robinson Cano in the home run derby.
The Yankees have been particularly powerful against the Rangers this year with 22 home runs, including six by Granderson and four by Teixeira, in eight games. Granderson did not go deep Wednesday night, but he made an outstanding defensive play in the sixth inning by throwing out Yorvit Torrealba at the plate from center field.
It was a close game at that point, the Yankees holding a 6-4 lead. Had Torrealba been safe, it would have been a one-run game with the potential tying run on third base and Josh Hamilton up. That can get lost when the score turns into 12-4, which happens when a lot of batted balls go over the fence.