Results tagged ‘ Triple A ’

Five Rays homers cost Yanks shot at sweep

Michael Pineda endured a nightmare of a first inning Sunday that put a damper on a bright, sunshine day in which the Yankees were shooting for their first series sweep since Aug. 28-30 last year at Atlanta. Instead, they fell back into the cellar of the American League East and hobbled their way to Arlington, Texas, to begin an 11-day, nine-game trip that starts Monday night against a Rangers team that is tied for first place in the AL West.

Five pitches into Sunday’s game before a crowd of 40,931 at Yankee Stadium, Pineda had two outs and nobody on base. He then gave up hits to the next six batters, including two doubles and two home runs, as the aggressive Rays attacked him early in the count to put up a five-spot against which the Yankees brought little resistance in falling, 8-1.

The only positive for Pineda Sunday was that he managed to pitch through the fifth inning, which spared manager Joe Girardi of digging too deep into his already overworked bullpen. Masahiro Tanaka’s seven-inning start Saturday helped, but Girardi knew from the outset Sunday that he did not have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller available. This game turned out not to be the type in which either of the late-inning shutdown guys works.

Birthday boy Steven Souza celebrated turning 27 with two home runs, a two-run shot in the first and a solo blast in the fifth. Pineda also gave up dingers to Corey Dickerson following a two-out double off the top of the center field wall by Evan Longoria in the first inning and to Steve Pearce leading off the third. Logan Forsythe, who had three hits, joined the home run derby with Tampa Bay’s fifth of the game, a solo shot in the eighth off Nick Goody.

It was also Carlos Beltran’s birthday. The Yankees right fielder turned 39 but did not have as explosive a game as Souza. Beltran was 1-for-4. His first-inning single off eventual winning pitcher Drew Smyly was career hit No. 2,472 for Beltran, who tied Ted Simmons for 10th place among switch hitters. In ninth place at 2,605 is Tim Raines.

The day turned grimmer for the Yankees when Alex Rodriguez, who has driven in their only run with a two-out double in the fourth inning, could not bat when his turn came up again in the sixth. Girardi had to use the left-handed hitting Dustin Ackley as a pinch hitter against the lefty-throwing Smyly (although Ackley singled for his first hit of the season, in his eighth at-bat).

An MRI exam on Rodriguez’s sore left oblique was negative, but the situation shows the dilemma the Yankees are in with Aaron Hicks already out several days because of traumatic bursitis in his left shoulder. The Yanks have proved vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They are 2-5 against left-handed starters and are batting .225 with two home runs overall in 213 at-bats off lefties. Against right-handed pitching, the Yankees are batting .246 with 16 home runs in 358 at-bats.

The Yankees said that A-Rod will make the trip to Texas. But if he cannot play right away, and that is very likely considering how lingering oblique injuries tend to be, and with Hicks out as well, the Yankees lose two right-handed bats. Switch-hitter Nick Swisher, who was released by Atlanta and signed a Triple A contract with the Yankees, is playing for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but is not on the 40-man roster. The Yankees are not believed interested in dropping anyone off the 40-man roster at this time, which limits their options if they make an internal move for outfield and DH help. The best bet for a call-up would be outfielder Ben Gamel, who is hitting .300 with a .368 on-base percentage at SWB but alas bats left-handed.

The Yanks have known along that staying healthy is a challenge to a team with aging players. The upcoming trip that continues to AL East rival stops in Boston and Baltimore could be a major test for them.

Thank Heathcott for September callups

I doubt you will be hearing Yankees manager Joe Girardi gripe about the inequities in roster expansion in September, a favorite topic of his. Not after what happened Monday night, not after a player who was just called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre two days ago delivered the critical blow in what was perhaps the Yanks’ most improbable victory of the season.

This was a tale of two games, really, well, one inning and the other eight, actually. The Yankees were no-hit for seven innings, still scoreless after eight and facing a damaging loss to the Rays with two outs and nobody on in the ninth.

Then, you guessed it, somebody walked, the play that starts so many inconceivable rallies. The somebody was Brett Gardner, who just as quickly put himself in scoring position with a steal of second base.

Rays righthander Brad Boxberger, zeroing in on what would have been his 35th save, instead sustained his sixth blown save as Alex Rodriguez doubled to right-center to tie the score. Suddenly the Yankees had life on what was previously a dead night. After Brian McCann was walked intentionally, Slade Heathcott wasted no time by swinging at the first pitch and driving a three-run home run to left field.

Slade Heathcott! Right, the same young outfielder who had not batted in a big-league game since May and who spent most of this season on the disabled list because of a quad injury and who was still on a Triple A roster before joining the Yankees Saturday as a, that’s right, September callup.

Rosters may expand from the usual 25 to up to 40 come Sept. 1. Managers such as Girardi have railed against this practice in recent years, but it was sure nice for the Yankees to have had Heathcott part of Monday night’s unlikely 4-1 victory.

This was a scoreless game for seven innings, a pitcher’s duel between starters CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Erasmo Ramirez of the Rays. Sabathia had arguably his best game of the season as he did not allow a run for the first time in his 26 starts over 6 2/3 innings.

Unfortunately, the Yankees didn’t get him any runs, either, nor hits until Carlos Beltran foiled Ramirez’s no-hit bid with a scorching single off the shoulder of first baseman Richie Shaffer leading off the eighth.

Pinch runner Rico Noel swiped second, but the Yankees failed to advance him further. Tampa Bay broke the scoreless tie and ended a 21-inning scoreless streak in the bottom of the eighth against Justin Wilson on a two-out, RBI double by Logan Forsythe, who reached third on Brendan Ryan’s second error of the game.

Caleb Cotham got a big third out with a strikeout of Asrubal Cabrera and was rewarded with his first major-league victory when the Yankees rallied in the ninth. Andrew Miller added an exclamation point to the victory by striking out the side in the ninth for his 33rd save.

Tex, CC vow to be back this month

Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia are determined to return to the Yankees before the regular season is completed. Tex joined CC on the 15-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to Aug. 27, which allowed the Yankees to recall pitcher Nick Rumbelow from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Teixeira, who is back on crutches while dealing with a right shinbone bruise, told reporters before the game against the Rays that he plans to return to the club at some point this month. General manager Brian Cashman said, “We are looking at weeks,” when talking of Teixeira’s time away, but the All-Star first baseman vows it will be only two.

“There’s progression now,” Teixeira said. “There’s going to be a build-up, from walking to jogging and running, making sure I can do everything. That’s why I’m back on the crutches, really letting the whole thing calm down and starting from scratch. Hopefully this weekend, I’ll be off the crutches and getting into walking again. There’s no permanent damage. It’s just a really bad bone bruise, worse than we first expected. It’s unfortunate, but hopefully we have two months of the season left, so there’s plenty of time for me to get healthy and come back.”

Sabathia, disabled since Aug. 24 because of inflammation in his right knee, pitched a four-inning simulated game, which impressed manager Joe Girardi, who said the lefthander is a candidate to return to the rotation Wednesday night against the Orioles.

“I felt good,” Sabathia siad. “No pain. I tested it pretty good as I would as if I was in a game, so I’m excited.”

The Yankees’ 13-8 victory over the Red Sox Wednesday at Fenway Park was the 800th of Girardi’s managerial career (722 with the Yankees since 2008, 78 with the Marlins in 2006 when he was the National League Manager of the Year). Girardi is one of 10 active managers with at least 800 victories. The others alphabetically are the Giants’ Bruce Bochy, the Mets’ Terry Collins, the Indians’ Terry Francona, the Pirates’ Clint Hurdle, the Cubs’ Joe Maddon, the Athletics’ Bob Melvin, the Angels’ Mike Scioscia, the Orioles’ Buck Showalter and the Royals’ Ned Yost.

Yankees’ ‘Birdman’ flies high

Birdman won the Academy Award as Best Picture for last year, and the Yankees had their “Birdman” give an Oscar-winning performance Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in a 4-3 victory that completed a three-game sweep of the sinking Twins.

All four runs were driven in by rookie first baseman Greg Bird, who whacked a couple of two-run home runs off Ervin Santana. The initial homer, in the fourth inning following an infield single by Carlos Beltran, was the first of Bird’s major league career as was the curtain call urged on by the Stadium crowd of 38,086.

It provided a 2-0 lead for Nathan Eovaldi, who flirted with a perfect game for 5 1/3 innings before coming unglued somewhat in the sixth and allowed Minnesota to go ahead on two-out singles by Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe. Mauer singled with the bases full for two runs off a 3-2 fastball from Eovaldi, the one pitch of the 120 thrown by the righthander he wished he could have back.

“I tried to go middle-in,” Eovaldi said, “bad pitch selection.”

Plouffe’s hit was a dribbler between Eovaldi and third baseman Chase Headley that put the Twins ahead momentarily. Bird’s second homer, in the sixth following a walk to Beltran, returned the lead to Eovaldi, who protected it with a perfect seventh before Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances (eighth save) followed with scoreless innings that preserved the victory for Eovaldi, who ran his record to 13-2.

This has been quite a week for Bird, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a week ago and is hitting .333 with a double, two homers and five RBI. He started the winning rally Monday night, got his first major league RBI Tuesday night and his first homer Wednesday. He got the ball from his second homer because it landed in the Yankees’ bullpen. The first one wound up in the right field second deck.

“I don’t know yet,” he said about whether he can get that ball. “I’m just trying to do my job. It’s so much fun to come in here every day and hear what these guys have to say.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi described Bird as someone “with a slow heartbeat,” meaning that he does not get over-excited and keeps an even keel.

“Some players have to learn to slow the game down,” Girardi said. “That’s not the case with him.”

Bird concurred and said he inherited it from his parents, who were at the game seated in the terrace level behind first base. “I just like to be even-keeled and level-headed,” he said.

Bird got extra playing time during the series because regular first baseman Mark Teixeira has been sidelined with a badly bruised right shin. Bird does not play a position besides first base, but he might earn some more playing time if Girardi decides to sit Alex Rodriguez (0-for-3 Wednesday and hitting .131 in 61 at-bats in August) against some right-handed pitching and use Tex at DH to open up first base for Bird.

That is a consideration for the future. Bird was all about the present Wednesday, and what a present he gave the Yankees.

Yanks pluck another prospect from the minors

It has worked so far for Luis Severino. Maybe it will as well for Greg Bird.

It, of course, is being thrown into the major-league fire. Severino, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, has supplied two strong starts since his call-up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to help a rotation that is without Michael Pineda, who is on the 15-day disabled list and will make an injury-rehabilitation start Sunday at Double A Trenton.

Bird, one of the Yankees’ top hitting prospects, was recalled Thursday and was inserted into the lineup for the series finale at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Bird will play first base and bat seventh in manager Joe Girardi’s lineup. The move gives a break to Mark Teixeira, who has been struggling this month with a .175 batting average, two home runs and four RBI in 40 at-bats.

With the designation for assignment of Garrett Jones for the second time this season, the Yanks were without a legitimate back-up first baseman other than Brendan Ryan, who also fills in at the other three infield positions. Bird, who is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, is a pure first baseman who was batting .301 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 34 games at SWB following his July 4 promotion from Trenton where he hit .258 with six homers and 29 RBI in 49 games.

The Yankees certainly can use a jolt in the offense that has gone sour lately with only nine runs scored in the past six games, the last five of which have been losses to drop them out of first place in the American League East by one game to the Blue Jays, who won their 11th straight game Thursday on the eve of a three-game series against the Yankees at Rogers Centre.

Pineda on DL; could be out one month

The Yankees’ rotation suffered a severe blow Thursday night as Michael Pineda, who had been scheduled to start against the Rangers at Arlington, Texas, was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right forearm flexor muscle. This is an injury similar to the one sustained by closer Andrew Miller, who was sidelined for nearly a month, from June 10 to July 7.

CC Sabathia was to start on regular rest in place of Pineda, who has a 9-7 record with a 3.97 ERA. Manager Joe Girardi pushed back the starters one day in the rotation hoping to give them extra rest. So much for that.

Meanwhile, the availability of starting pitchers in the trade market lessened with the deals that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers and David Price to the Blue Jays. The Yankees have been reluctant to swap any of their top prospects for pitching help. The non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. Friday.

The Yanks did add a player Thursday, versatile reserve outfielder Dustin Ackley, who was obtained from the Mariners in exchange for two minor-leaguers, pitcher Jose Ramirez and outfielder Ramon Flores.

Ackley, 27, batted .215 with 22 runs, eight doubles, one triple, six home runs and 19 RBI in 85 games and 186 at-bats this season for the Mariners. In 584 career games over five major-league seasons with Seattle, the left-handed batter has hit .243 with 42 homers and 201 RBI in 2,012 at-bats. A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., who was a University of North Carolina teammate of Yankees pitcher Adam Warren, Ackley has played second base (282 games), left field (207), center field (71), first base (18) and right field (2) in the majors.

Ramirez, 25, made three relief appearances for the Yankees this year and was not involved in a decision with a 15.00 ERA in three innings. The righthander was 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA in 11 career games totaling 13 innings with the Yankees.

Flores, 23, made his big-league debut with the Yankees in 2015 and batted .219 with three runs and a double in 12 games and 32 at-bats. The left-handed batter had three stints with the Yankees (May 30-June 10, June 21-23 and July 3-8). At Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Flores hit .286 with 43 runs, 11 doubles, seven homers and 34 RBI in 73 games and 276 at-bats.

8 1/3 hitless innings by Yanks’ bullpen a club record

The Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official statistician, reports that the Yankees’ bullpen in Tuesday night’s 21-5 victory over the Rangers set a club record with 8 1/3 hitless innings – 5 1/3 by Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Diego Moreno, who earned his first big-league victory, and 3 by Adam Warren, who was credited with his first save of the season.

The previous mark was seven innings done three times. The prior major-league bullpen with at least 8 1/3 hitless innings was that of the Brooklyn Dodgers Sept. 9, 1953 at Cincinnati. Moreno and Warren combined to retire 25 of the last 26 batters, including the final 19. Coupled with Monday night’s four hitless innings in a 6-2 Yankees victory, their relief corps has pitched at least four hitless innings in consecutive games for the first time in team history.

In his third career game, Moreno worked the longest hitless relief stint in the majors since the Indians’ Jake Westbrook threw seven perfect innings April 10, 2004 at Cleveland against the Tigers. It was the first hitless relief appearance of at least 5 1/3 innings by a Yankees reliever since Bob Shirley went six hitless frames Sept. 21, 1986 at Detroit and just the 10th since 1914.

The Yankees’ 21 runs were the most by a major league team since May 30, 2012, also at Texas, by the Mariners, 21-8. It was the most runs in a game by the Bombers since a 22-9 victory Aug. 25, 2011 at Yankee Stadium against the Athletics and only the 17th game all-time with at least 21 runs in franchise history. The Yanks equaled their most runs all-time against the Rangers of Aug. 23, 1999 in a 21-3 crushing at Texas.

The Yankees had a season-high 19 hits, their most hits since Aug. 13, 2013 at home against the Angels, also 19 hits. It marked the second time this season that seven different Yankees starters had multiple hits. The other time was June 20 at the Stadium against the Tigers, also seven. Six different Yankees starters had at least two RBI, marking the fifth time in the past 60 years that at least that many had multiple RBI and the first time since Aug. 4, 2007 at home against the Royals six.

It was the Yankees’ largest margin of victory since a 21-4 triumph July 22, 2007 against the Rays at the Stadium. The Yanks had 11-for-21 (.524) with runners in scoring position, their most hits in clutch situations since Aug. 3, 2001 against the White Sox at Chicago when they had 11-for-16 (.688).

The 11 runs in the second marked their highest-scoring inning and most hits since scoring a 12-run, 10-hit first July 30, 2011 in the second game of a doubleheader at the Stadium against the Orioles. It was also the highest scoring inning in the majors since Aug. 19, 2013, when the Rangers scored 11 runs in the third inning at home against the Astros. The Yankees began the inning with eight consecutive base runners, including seven hits. Elias reported that it was the first time the Yankees scored as many runs without a home run in an inning since April 11, 1987 at Kansas City (12 runs and 11 hits in the seventh).

The bottom of the lineup had another big night. The Yankees’ 5-through-9 hitters in the starting lineup went 13-for-26 (.500) with 10 runs, four doubles, one triple, one home run, 15 RBI and 3 walks. It was the first time that the Yankees’ last five starters in the batting order each had at least two RBI since Sept. 11, 1949 in the first game of a doubleheader at home against the old Senators. The last major league club to do it was the Giants Aug. 14, 2000 against the Mets at Shea Stadium. The previous time the bottom five spots in the Yankees’ starting lineup had at least 15 RBI in a game was April 18, 2005 against the Rays at the Stadium. In the past three games, the Yankees’ 6-9 hitters are 24-for-54 (.444) with 18 runs, five doubles, two triples, four home runs, 26 RBI and five walks.

Chris Capuano, who started for the Yankees and gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning, was designated for assignment. The lefthander, 36, had a 0-4 record with a 6.97 ERA in 16 appearances, including four starts.

Old-Timers’ party goes on to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

The Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate will include a Yankees Legends Game Sunday at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa. After the 69th Annual Old-Timers’ Day takes place Saturday at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees Legends Game Sunday at PNC Field will honor 1978 World Series champion Brian Doyle. A portion of the proceeds from Sunday’s event will benefit the National Parkinson Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Interestingly, the Yankees will honor Willie Randolph with a plaque in Monument Park as part of the Old-Timers’ Day program. Doyle got his time on stage with the Yankees during the 1978 World Series when he played second base for an injured Randolph and batted .438 with a double and two RBI in the Yanks’ six-game triumph over the Dodgers.

The game itself will include Yankees Legends playing against each other. Additionally, the winners of an online auction to benefit Parkinson’s research will also receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of participating in the game. The festive atmosphere will be rounded out with a Father’s Day barbeque, live bands and post-game activities, including field access for games of catch, whiffle-ball, and photos in the team dugouts.

“Our top priority, in our first season as an ownership group, was to establish a stronger connection between the New York Yankees and the communities of Northeast Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey,” RailRiders co-managing owner David Abrams said. “This event is our way of thanking our fans by enabling them to see their Yankees heroes and interact with them in an intimate setting, while sharing a special Father’s Day with their families.”

“The idea for the event came after my friend Brian Doyle announced that he had Parkinson’s disease,” RailRiders’ co-owner Grant Cagle said. “Our partnership with the New York Yankees has made this game possible, and we are glad that so many former Yankees are showing their support for Brian by joining us for the day.”

More than 20 Yankees Legends are confirmed for the events, including Bucky Dent, Tommy John, Roy White, Charlie Hayes, Gene Michael, Ron Blomberg, Jesse Barfield, Jeff Nelson, Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd, Oscar Gamble, Jim Coates and Hector Lopez. Additional Yankees participants will be announced in the coming weeks. For a full list of alumni participants, please visit swbrailriders.com.

Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. in advance of the 2:05 p.m. first pitch. Ticket prices:
Bleachers / Lawn – $10
Field Reserve – $20
Infield Box – $30
Mohegan Sun Club Level – $40
VIP Tickets – $150 (includes game ticket and pre-and post-game lunch and VIP reception with Yankees Legends).

All fans will receive a commemorative game ticket as well. Father’s Day barbeque commences at 3:30 p.m., and costs $25 for adults, $12 for children under 12, and is free for children under 2.
To purchase tickets or for more information, please call (570) 969-BALL (2255), buy online at ticketmaster.com or via the RailRiders website at swbrailriders.com.

Yanks stay tied for 1st despite 2-7 trip

Yankee Stadium will sure look good to the Yankees after this trip. The trek ended with a thud Wednesday night as the Yanks could not add on to a 2-0, first-inning lead and lost, 3-2, to the Nationals on an unearned run in the seventh inning.

The two-game sweep by Washington made it three losing series on the trip for the Yankees, who dropped three of four to Tampa Bay and two of three to Kansas City. The Yankees were 2-7 on the trip and have lost eight of their past 10 games on the road. It did not seem that long ago that the Yankees had an 11-4 road record. It is now 13-12.

Adam Warren gave up solo home runs to Ian Desmond in the first inning and Tyler Moore in the fourth but was hurt by a misplay in the infield in the seventh and compounded it with two walks.

An error by third baseman Chase Headley, his ninth of the year, began the seventh, and the batter who reached, catcher Wilson Ramos, came around to score on a single by Denard Span off lefthander Justin Wilson, who relieved Warren after pinch hitter Dan Uggla walked to load the bases.

Uggla’s at-bat proved as critical as Headley’s boot. Uggla swung at the first pitch and hit a foul pop down the right field line. Carlos Beltran pursued the ball from right field but pulled up as he moved into foul ground and the ball fell free. Given new life, Uggla drew a walk that continued the rally.

After giving up two runs in the first inning, Nationals righthander Jordan Zimmermann allowed no runs and three hits through the seventh. The Yankees did no damage against relievers Matt Grace or Drew Storen (12th save), either. Washington’s bullpen held the Yankees scoreless with three hits in seven innings in the series.

The Nats even spotted the Yanks their best player when Bryce Harper was bounced from the game in the fourth inning by plate umpire Marvin Hudson for beefing about a strike call.

The victory gave the Nats sole possession of first place in the National League East over the Mets, who lost at home to the Cardinals. Despite the tumbling journey in which they lost Jacoby Ellsbury to the 15-day disabled list and Chase Whitley to Tommy John surgery, the Yankees maintained a portion of first place in the American League East with the Rays, who lost at Atlanta and are even with the Yanks at 22-19.

The Yankees have a much-needed open date before resuming play Friday night at the Stadium against the Rangers to start a Memorial Day weekend series. Yankees fans who want to see how Masahiro Tanaka is doing in his injury rehabilitation can do so by viewing his start for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Durham. Coverage on the YES Network begins at 6:30 p.m.

Tanaka to be disabled for at least a month

The Yankees passed out Masahiro Tanaka bobbleheads to customers Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. That will be the closest to the real thing that Yankees fans will see of the Japanese righthander for at least a month.

Tanaka has a mild strain of the right forearm that will result in his being placed on the 15-day disabled list. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Tanaka would be shut down entirely for seven to 10 days and that the conservative course of action would keep him away from the team for a month.

The pitcher complained of soreness in his right wrist. An MRI revealed tendinitis in the wrist but also the forearm strain. On the positive side was that there was no change in the condition of his right elbow.

Tanaka had been scheduled to start Wednesday’s matinee at the Stadium in the finale of the three-game series against the Rays. Michael Pineda will start on regular rest instead.

Cashman indicated that Chase Whitley, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre to start Wednesday night and pitched well (5 IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1K, 1WP) would remain in the rotation. Infielder Gregorio Petit, who had been optioned to SWP to make roster space for Whitley, is likely to return.

Just when the Yankees were making some strides, they suffer this blow. Tanaka was 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA and 24 strikeouts in four starts totaling 22 1/3 innings.

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