Tagged: Kyle Drabek

Yankee Bats Misfire As Jays Soar Past Bombers



TAMPA – Kelly Johnson led off the game with a triple and scored on a Yunel Escobar groundout and drove in Yan Gomes with a single in the third inning as Toronto beat New York 4-3 in Grapefruit League game on Tuesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Kyle Drabek (2-0) pitched five scoreless innings, giving up five hits and two walks while fanning five batters to earn the victory. Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (0-1) was touched for three runs on six hits and no walks and struck out five in six innings of work. Aaron Loup of the Jays earned a save despite giving up two runs (one earned) in the ninth inning.

The loss snapped an 11-game unbeaten streak the Yankees have compiled (8 wins, no losses and 2 ties) since March 14 when the Yankees lost a 7-5 decision to these same Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL.

The Yankees are 12-10 on the spring while the Blue Jays are 20-4.


  • Brett Gardner was 2-for-3 with an RBI in the game. His one-out single off reliever Francisco Cordero in the seventh inning drove in Chris Dickerson with the Yankees’ first run of the game. Gardner also stole a base, his fifth of the spring, which leads the club.
  • Lefty Clay Rapada, who is vying for a spot in the bullpen, pitched another scoreless frame in the ninth and struck out a batter. Rapada, 30, has not given up a run in 8 1/3 innings of work in nine spring appearances. He has given up just three hits and three walks and struck out 11.
  • If Rapada wins the job that means fellow lefty Cesar Cabral will not and he will have to be offered back to the Kansas City Royals. Cabral gave up an unearned run in the eighth inning on one hit and a walk. Cabral 23, has a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings over nine appearances. He has given up 11 hits and two walks and has struck out 12.
  • Eduardo Nunez came off the bench late and stroked an RBI single in the ninth inning as part of two-run rally that just fell short of tying it in the ninth. Nunez is a robust .375 this spring despite missing most of the first two weeks with a bruised right hand.


  • Some of the same issues that plagued the Yankees on Sunday against the Tigers cropped up again Tuesday – an inability to get runners across after the Yankees get on base. Drabek was not dominating in his five innings of work.
  • Sabathia was not as sharp as he would have liked to have been. But chalk it up to spring training. Sabathia has a 4.50 ERA this spring but it is doubtful that it truly indicates how he will pitch in the regular season. He will make one more start on Sunday before pitching the season opener on April 6 against James Shields and the Tampa Ray Rays in St. Petersburg, FL.
  • Robinson Cano took a rare 0-for-3 in which he failed to get a ball out of the infield. Cano is hitting .196 this spring but I doubt manager Joe Girardi is worried about his All-Star second baseman.


Outfielder Curts Granderson had to be scratched from the lineup on Tuesday due to a sore right elbow. Granderson will undergo a precautionary MRI exam on Wednesday but the injury is not considered serious. Granderson is hitting a red-hot .333 this spring with a home run and four RBIs.  . . .  Nick Swisher, who has been sidelined by a sore right groin since March 20, also was unable to play on Tuesday and is slated to take some at-bats on a minor-league game on Wednesday.  . . .  After the game, the Yankees optioned infielder Jorge Vazquez to minor-league camp. Vazquez hit only .091 this spring.  . . .  It was no surprise that Girardi named 37-year-old right-hander Hiroki Kuroda as the team’s No. 2 starter and he will face the Rays in the second game of the opening series on April 7. Kuroda also is scheduled to start on April 13 in the Yankees’ home opener against the Angels.


The Yankees take to the road to face the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Kuroda will be making his fifth spring start. Cano, Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez are scheduled to make the trip.

The Braves are scheduled to start 25-year-old right-hander Brandon Beachy.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN.


Yankees Strand 10 To Settle For Tie With Tigers



TAMPA – Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the first inning with his first home run of the spring. Little did the Yankees know but that would be the only run they would score all day against the Tigers.

New York stranded 10 runners over 10 innings and had to settle for a tie with a Detroit split squad on Sunday in a Grapefruit League contest played at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL.

Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda recorded one of his best outings of the spring, giving up one run on five hits and two walks in five innings of work. But the Yankees did not give him much in the way of support.

The Yankees collected only five hits but they got some help from six walks and two hit batters to put plenty of runners on base to take the lead in the game. But much like the Game 5 loss of the American League Division Series against the Tigers, the Yankees could not collect a big hit with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-10 with RISP in the game.

Meanwhile, relievers Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Roberston, Clay Rapada and Manny Delcarmen each turned in a scoreless inning of relief against the Tigers to keep the game knotted.

Jeter’s home run in the first came off Tigers left-hander and starter Duane Below.

The Tigers tied it in the third inning when Danny Worth drew a leadoff walk and Ramon Santiago delivered a one-out RBI triple.

The Yankees remain 13-9 with two ties this spring. They have not lost a game in their last 11 spring contests. The Tigers are 14-4.


  • In Jeter’s second game back after being shelved by a tight left calf, he delivered a home run to right and double to left-center. Jeter is quietly hitting .348 this spring and the best news is he is driving the ball with authority and not squeezing weak grounders through the infield. Those who might have written Jeter’s baseball obituary at age 37 might have been a bit premature.
  • Pineda struggled at times in keeping the Tigers off base but he only gave up the one run. After Santiago’s triple, he struck out the next two batters as part of stretch where Pineda fanned four of the last eight batters he retired. Pineda’s velocity also was consistently at 93 miles per hour during his outing.
  • Brett Gardner led an outfield that recorded three assists on Sunday that helped keep the Tigers from scoring more runs. With speedy Austin Jackson on second in the first inning, Alex Avila stroked a lined single to Gardner in left. Gardner charged the ball on the hop and gunned Jackson out at the plate with a perfect throw. In the eighth inning, new left-fielder Jayson Nix caught Brent Wyatt’s line drive and gunned down Dixon Machado after he failed to retouch second base on his way back to first. In the ninth, center-fielder Dewayne Wise caught a Ryan Strieby liner and doubled off Tony Plagman at second base.
  • Robertson returned to action for the first time since he bruised his right foot in an accident at his home on March 7 and he showed no ill effects from the injury. Robertson struck out a batter and he benefited from Machado’s poor base-running on Wyatt’s line drive to pitch a scoreless eighth inning. Robertson said he felt good and he hopes to build upon it with his next outing.


  • Despite Jeter’s good day there was one striking negative: In the fourth inning, Jeter rolled out to short with the bases loaded. He was a part of an offense that sputtered all day when they had chances to take the lead. In the fifth inning, right-hander Collin Balester walked three batters. But Curtis Granderson was nailed by Avila attempting to steal second and Russell Martin hit into a fielder’s choice after Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira drew two-out walks.
  • In the seventh, it was no better for the Yankees against Brayan Villarreal. Doug Bernier was hit by a pitch and stole second. Granderson then drew a walk. However, Robinson Cano hit into a double play. After Rodriguez was hit in the ribs with a pitch and left the game as a precaution, Teixeira grounded out to short to end that threat.
  • In the second inning, the Yankees had Texeira on third and Martin at second with one out. However, Eduardo Nunez struck out looking and Gardner bounced out to the pitcher and spoiled that effort. So it was obvious that there was a lot of frustration with the offense on Sunday.


Joba Chamberlain was released from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, FL., on Sunday four days after he suffered an open dislocation of his right ankle in a trampoline accident. General manager Brian Cashman echoed manager Joe Girardi’s assessment that there was a possibility that Chamberlain could return to pitch this season. Chamberlain had Tommy John surgery last summer and was not expected back to the Yankees until June when the injury occurred last week. Chamberlain will wear a non-weight-bearing cast for six weeks and then will be fitted for a weight-bearing walking boot.  . . .  Although Rodriguez left the game Sunday after being struck in the left ribs on a pitch from Villarreal, Girardi said he expects Rodriguez being able to play on Tuesday.  . . .  Girardi also said he hopes to get Nick Swisher back into the lineup on Tuesday. Swisher has only had two at-bats since he injured his left groin on March 14.  . . .  After the game on Sunday, the Yankees optioned Ramiro Pena to Triple-A Empire State and reassigned outfielders Colin Curtis and Cole Garner, catcher Jose Gil and pitchers Kevin Whelan and Delcarmen to minor-league camp.


The Yankees are enjoying their second off-day of the spring on Monday. They will return to action at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ace lefty CC Sabathia will make his fourth Grapefruit League start. The Blue Jays will start right-hander Kyle Drabek.

Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

This report was delayed by technical difficulties.


Yankees’ Position On Garza Should Be Cautious

Reports indicate that the New York Yankees are among a handful of teams interested in acquiring Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza.

It is no secret that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is seeking another starting pitcher and the Cubs, under the direction of new team president Theo Epstein, are seeking a bevy of young prospects on which they can build a foundation for their future.

One report indicated they are “seeking the moon.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that the Yankees and Americam League East rivals Toronto and Boston are in the mix of trade talks. There are rumors that the Detroit Tigers might be willing to part with 20-year-old pitching prospect Jacob Turner for Garza. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com first reported that the Miami Marlins, seemingly not through after signing free agents Jose Reyes and Mark Buerhle, have also made inquiries about Garza.

One reason Garza, 28, is attracting attention from A.L. East clubs is his 23-15 record with a 3.34 ERA in 56 games against teams in the division. Garza was 10-10 with a career-low 3.32 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings for the Cubs in his first season in the National League in 2011.

Garza is currently under contract through the 2013 season and he is expected to receive about $9 million and $10 million through arbitration for the 2012 season.

Would this be a good move for the Yankees?

On the surface it seems that it could be just the move they could make to add a starting pitcher who would likely slot as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter and it would allow the Yankees the opportunity to rid themselves of mercurial right-hander A.J. Burnett, who will turn 35 on Tuesday.

Garza has a career record of 52-54 with a 3.83 ERA. The odd thing is that he never fared well against the Yankees in his three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 12 games (11 starts) he was 1-10 with a 4.48 ERA. However, against the Red Sox he was 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 19 games.

He also has pitched 184 or more innings in his last four seasons with a 44-41 record. On paper, and perhaps in reality, he is a better option and more reliable as a starter than Burnett.

That said the prime targets the Cubs are looking for to build around is young pitchers. The Yankees have a slew of them, including 25-year-old Phil Hughes, 24-year-old Ivan Nova and 24-year-old Hector Noesi, who have reached the majors. In addition, they have D.J. Mitchell, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos who have all reached the Triple-A level.

However, the Cubs certainly will not part with Garza and settle for a package that did not include either Banuelos or Betances. Epstein is not a fool, though his own perceived self-worth and burgeoning ego does sometimes cloud his judgment. The Victor Marrinez fiasco and the John Lackey signing comes to mind.

The Yankees do have a lot of other pieces they can offer at other positions such as backup infielder Eduardo Nunez, third baseman Brandon Laird and outfielder Mason Williams, which might tempt the Cubs to settle for Phelps, a Notre Dame alum, instead. There also is the specter of Jesus Montero sitting out there and Epstein would definitely like to see him play on the North Side.

Cashman must play this one very carefully in order to not overspend for what is essentially a .500 pitcher and a No. 3 starter. As such, why part with top minor-league prospects like Banuelos, Betances and Montero?

At the same time, the Marlins, Tigers and Blue Jays have even more of a need for starting pitching and they seem to be pretty determined to get it. The Tigers offering Turner gives Epstein the wedge to use to get the Yankees to throw Banuelos into the deal. The Marlins also can offer an attractive package of young players.

The Blue Jays are reportedly dangling former No. 1 prospect Kyle Drabek and four others including Anthony Gose and Deck McGwire.

So the bidding on Garza seems pretty serious, not to mention intense.

Cashman, at some point, might walk away if the deal will cost the Yankees too much of their future for such a short-term return. Garza could walk after two seasons and that would hurt a lot if Banuelos or Williams went on to become stars for the Cubs. That is the tradeoff Cashman must weigh before making too big an offer.

Garza is certainly worth the effort into inquiring into his availability and what the Cubs might be seeking in return. But caution is the ever-present watchword. Once the price for him goes too high, Cashman must be willing to fold his hand and walk away from the poker table.

The great poet Kenny Rogers once said, “You got to know when to fold them.” My guess is Cashman knows this full well.


A.J., Yankee Bullpen Leave Blue Jays Wanting In Bronx


Frustration can be a fickle friend. On Friday, the Yankees squandered chance after chance to catch up to the Blue Jays and lost. On Saturday, the baseball cleat was on the other foot.
A.J. Burnett (4-1) pitched six solid innings to run his Yankee career record to 9-1 in April and the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen trio successfully protected a 5-4 lead the final three innings as New York edged Toronto at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees got to Kyle Drabek (2-3) for five runs on seven hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings and held an early 5-2 lead. Unlike most of the season, the Yankees built their lead without needing a home run.
RBI singles by Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson and a sacrifice fly by Derek Jeter scored three runs in the second inning. Eric Chavez, playing in place of a resting Alex Rodriguez, added an RBI single in the third and Brett Gardner finally chased Drabek with a bloop opposite-field single to left.
When Burnett left after six innings clinging to a one-run lead, the Yankees’ trio of Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera blanked the Blue Jays the rest of the way on just two hits. Rivera notched his ninth save of the season.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 15-9 and they hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Blue Jays are 13-14 and they are in third place 3 1/2 games out.

  • Burnett actually pitched better than his ledger showed. He gave up four runs on nine hits and no walks and he fanned four. However, a run he gave up in the first inning came on a misjudged fly ball off the bat of leadoff hitter Rajai Davis that went over Curtis Granderson’s head for a triple. Davis immediately scored on an Yunel Escober groundout. 
  • Martin’s RBI single in the second inning gave him 19 RBIs on the season to go along with six home runs. In his injury-plagued 2010 season, Martin had only five home runs and 26 RBis in 331 at-bats for the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins injured, Martin is an early favorite to start as the catcher for the American League in the 2011 All-Star Game.
  • Taking advantage of bases-loaded situations was something the Yankees did not do on Friday. They were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. But on Saturday, Jeter hit a sacrifice fly to drive in one run with the sacks full in the second. An inning later, Gardner’s dying quail single scored another run with the bases loaded. The Yankees were 4-for-9 in RISP situations on Saturday.
  • Give Soriano some credit. After struggling mightily all of April, the former Rays’ closer looked to be in 2010 form in his one inning of work. He retired Escobar, Jose Bautista and hot-hitting Juan Rivera. He only gave up a scratch single to Adam Lind with two out.

  • Jorge Posada looks completely lost at the plate. He was 0-for-3 with a walk and he is now 1 for his last 28 at-bats. His average is an anemic .125. On the positive side, Posada hit a sharp liner to left that Rivera ran down to rob him of a possible double.
  • Jeter did produce a sacrifice fly to score a run but he has failed to get a hit in his last three trips to the plate with the bases loaded — once on Friday and twice on Saturday. He flew out to right in the third inning with the bases loaded off reliever Jason Frasor. The ball was hit deep enough but a slow Posada was on third at the time and the Yankees did not want chance him getting thrown out by Bautista, who has an excellent arm.
  • Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner were called out on strikes during the game. However, most of that was not because of the Blue Jays’ pitchers but a very generous outside corner strike zone by home-plate umpire Wally Bell. Many Yankees complained about Bell’s strike zone and Bell had to admonish the Yankee bench to quiet down at one point during the game.

As expected the Yankees activated Francisco Cervelli from the 15-day disabled list and optioned veteran catcher Gustavo Molina back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Cervelli, who suffered a broken bone after fouling a ball off his right foot in spring training, is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Sunday.  . . .  Rodriguez was given the day off on Saturd
ay after he left seven men on base in Friday’s game. He will be back in the lineup on Sunday.  . . .   With Burnett’s performance on Saturday, the starting pitchers have recorded an ERA of 1.94 (10 earned runs in 46 1/3 innings) over the last seven games.

The Yankees have not lost a series at home this season and on Sunday they will have to beat the Blue Jays to keep that record intact.
The Yankees will start 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (1-2, 5.82 ERA), who is coming off his best start of the season. He pitched a career-best 6 1/3 innings against the White Sox and he left with a 2-1 lead. But the bullpen could not hold it. Nova is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in his brief career against the Blue Jays.
Toronto will call on veteran right-hander Jesse Litsch (2-1, 3.86 ERA). Litsch pitched six solid innings in a 10-3 victory over Texas on Tuesday. He gave up three runs on seven hits. He is 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.

Blue Jays Pound Yankee Pitching En Route To Rout

Just like a New York street crime scene where the the police officer tells onlookers to move along because their is “nothing to see here” is the most apt description of Friday’s loss to Toronto by a New York split squad.
Adam Lind and Jose Bautista each homered and the Blue pounded out 17 hits and drubbed the Yankees at Florida Auto Exchange Field in Dunedin, FL.
Blue Jays starter Kyle Drabek (1-0) was credited with the victory and Yankees right-hander David Phelps (0-1) took the loss.
The Yankees’ spring record falls to 6-8-2 while the Jays improved to 6-7.
  • Curtis Granderson smashed his third home run of the spring, a solo shot to right off Drabek in the third inning. Granderson also reached base in the first on an error, stole second and later scored on a Nick Swisher single. Granderson is hitting .348 this spring.
  • Ramiro Pena is considered the best bunter on the team and he proved it in the first inning by placing a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Granderson to third base to set up Swisher’s RBI single.
  • Jesus Montero continues to show off his cannon of a right arm this spring. In the fifth inning he picked Edwin Encarnacion off third base with a laser-like throw to Jorge Vazquez. Montero is only hitting .136 but manager Joe Girardi said he is more pleased with Montero’s improvement on defense.
  • Ivan Nova struggled in his third start of the spring but he was not awful either. Nova gave up five hits and two walks for two runs in three innings of work. A walk in the first inning cost him a run on a sac fly by Bautista. In the third inning, Bautista tagged Nova with a solo home run.
  • The same cannot be said of David Phelps and Romulo Sanchez. They were disgustingly awful. They followed Nova and combined to give up nine hits, three walks, six runs (five earned) and three wild pitches. Neither were expected to make the team anyway but Phelps may lose an assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Sanchez may be released outright.
  • The Yankee offense again took the day off. They managed only six hits against the Blue Jays. On Wednesday night, the Yankees had 10 hits in a victory over the Pirates. In the last three games, the Yankees have scored five runs on 16 hits.
The Yankees are back on the road in Viera, FL to face the Washington Nationals. A.J. Burnett will be making his third start of the spring. He will be opposed by John Lannan.
Game-time was 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will be telecast on tape delay by the MLB Network at 7 p.m.

Sabathia Pitches Gem To Clinch Yankees’ Playoff Invite

GAME 158

At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
                                     — Etta James

As Alex Rodriguez’s throw hit Mark Teixeira’s glove to retire Toronto’s Lyle Overbay with the 27th out on Tuesday night, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief coming from the Yankee coaching staff as they hugged in the Rogers Centre visitors’ dugout.
“Whew!” pretty much sums up what the Yankees had to go through to clinch a playoff spot. Now that the team had it, there was no wild celebrations (unlike the screaming banshees of the Tampa Bay Rays did in St. Petersburg, FL, earlier in the evening). It was a very subdued celebration.
The reason is that bigger prizes are still left undecided: the American League East title, the best record in the American League and home-field advantage in the playoffs are still within reach. The Yankees will celebrate then.
But CC Sabathia pitched masterfully into the ninth inning, Mariano Rivera recorded the final two outs and the Yankees played “playoff-style little ball” all evening to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays and eliminate the Boston Red Sox from any chance to make the playoffs.
With all that accomplished, the Yankees could shake off the fact they had lost 14 of their last 21 games coming into the game and focus on the goal of the 28th world championship.
Sabathia (21-7) pitched much like he did last season when he led the Yankees to their first championship in nine years. He also pitched much like he has done this season in leading the Yankees to their 15th playoff berth in the last 16 seasons.
Sabathia gave up a solo two-out home run to Travis Snider in the third inning, which halved the Yankees’ lead to 2-1 at the time. He also gave up a one-out, opposite field single to Vernon Wells in the seventh inning. And that was pretty much all of the Blue Jays’ offense through eight innings.
Sabathia also walked Jose Bautista with two outs in the first inning.
But he struck eight and only allowed six balls to reach the outfield through the first eight innings.
He started the ninth, but Snider touched him for lined single to right and Yunel Escobar coaxed Sabathia’s second walk. After Sabathia retired Bautista on a deep fly to center-field, manager Joe Girardi, playing it safe, replaced the tiring left-hander with Rivera.
Rivera retired Vernon Wells on a sharp liner to left and Overbay’s grounder to A-Rod closed it out for the Bronx “Little Ballers,” such was they way they played on this night.
The Yankees scored their six runs without the benefit of a hit. They used three sacrifice flies, scored a pair of runs on infield grounders and one scored on a bases-loaded walk.
Derek Jeter led the “assault,” if you can call it that, with two hits, a walk, three runs scored and an RBI on a fielder’s choice.
Jeter scored in the first on an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly off rookie Jays starter Kyle Drabek (0-3), the son of former Yankee pitcher Doug Drabek who was making only his third major-league start. 
Jeter scored another run in the third inning without the benefit of a hit. He walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and Nick Swisher bunted him over to third. Teixeira followed with a sacrifice fly to score Jeter.
The Yankees scored another in the fifth when Brett Gardner stroked a one-out triple and he slid home on Jeter’s grounder to Edwin Encarnacion at third. Encarnacion’s throw to the plate and the tag by catcher John Buck was just late and Gardner was ruled safe by home-plate umpire Mark Carlson.
The Yankees added two runs in the eighth inning and a single run in the ninth inning as they loaded the bases and threatened to blow the game wide open in both frames.
Instead, they settled for a bases-loaded walk to Alex Rodriguez in the eighth that scored Jeter again. Robinson Cano followed a sacrifice fly to score pinch-runner Greg Golson.
In the ninth, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs on a pinch-hit single by Marcus Thames, a walk to Curtis Granderson and a sac bunt attempt by Gardner that Encarnacion  allowed to roll down the line and hit the third base bag for a single.
After Jeter was fanned by reliever Casey Janssen, Golson scored pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez with a groundout to Encarnacion at third. It was Golson’s first major-league RBI and it closed out the scoring for the night.
Now most the pressure is off. The Yankees have achieved their first goal. They have a few very important goals left in the four games that remain: Win their 14th divisional crown in the past 15 seasons and clinch the best record in baseball.
With the Rays’ victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, the Yankees trail the Rays by a slim half-game in the American League East. They also trail the Rays by a half-game for the best record. The Central Division Minnesota Twins, who lost to Kansas City on Tuesday, trail the Yankees by 1 1/2 games.
If the Yankees overtake the Rays and clinch home-field for the AL playoffs they will celebrate. But not until then.