Minors Recap, 6/29

Scranton shuts out Rochester, 5-0 (7 innings, game 1)

  • Ivan Nova was great in his AAA debut, giving up just 1 hit (a liner off SS Justin Bernier’s glove) and 3 walks in 5 2/3 shutout innings.  The talented 22 year-old seems to have figured things out this season, and he could be a September callup if he keeps this up.  Chad Jennings writes that Nova was sitting 93-94 with his fastball, which is a great sign.
  • Jonathan Albaladejo gave up a hit in 1 1/3 innings, with 1 strikeout.
  • Kevin Russo and Chris Stewart were 1 for 3.
  • Austin Jackson and Colin Curtis were 1 for 3 with a double.
  • Shelley Duncan was 2 for 3.
  • Juan Miranda was 1 for 2.
  • Eric Duncan was 1 for 3 with a 3-run homer.

Scranton stifles Rochester, 3-1 (game 2, 7 innings)

  • Romulo Sanchez started, and struck out 6 in 3 1/3 innings of 4-hit ball.
  • Paul Bush walked 2 in 2 2/3 hitless innings, and fanned 2.
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Quick Bits: Matsui, Molina, Matchups

Tyler Kepner brings us a few quick items to close out the day:

  • Hideki Matsui is expected to be the team’s DH tomorrow (Damon will likely be back in the lineup).
  • Jose Molina is on track to begin a rehab assignment next week, although nothing is confirmed as of now.
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And, the pitching matchups for the Mariners series are as follows (via LoHud):

Tuesday: RHP Brandon Morrow (0-3, 5.64) vs. RHP Joba Chamberlain (4-2, 3.81), 7:05, YES

Wednesday: LHP Jarrod Washburn (4-5, 3.22) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (7-3, 4.38), 7:05, YES

Thursday:

Final Analysis hd

LHP Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.79) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (7-4, 3.55), 7:05, YES

After spending 2 years in Seattle, I’ll finally get to see a game in the new Stadium (I’ll be there on Thursday). Interestingly, the last baseball game I saw was at Safeco Field and Jason Vargas was on the mound against the Red Sox.… Click here to read the rest

Trade Target: Bobby Jenks

Time for a bit of speculative fun.

From Phil Rogers (Chicago Tribune):

Teams looking to add pitching in midseason trades could be disappointed. There’s not a lot on the market, which could play to the White Sox’s advantage if they decide to deal Jose Contreras. They have a decision to make on Bobby Jenks — try to sign him to a long-term contract or listen to offers. They could get a lot if they moved him, with teams such as the Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets and Brewers looking to beef up their bullpens.

Jenks would be an interesting acquisition for the Yankees. He’s a good closer, despite his many inconsistencies. While his HR rate is up this year (1.6 HR/9 compared to 0.4 last year), his strikeout rate—K/9 of 9.0—has climbed considerably after falling each season since his debut season in 2005 (last year, his rate was a lowly 5.5).… Click here to read the rest

Olney On A-Rod, John Henry

Late last week, I brought up Buster Olney’s article on A-Rod’s struggles and the possible link to steroids. In the comments, I noted the following:

There is no reason to assume Alex just went off steroids. Either he went off in 2003, or he is still on some undetectable stuff. Why not treat a slump like a slump? They had no such questions when he started off with three hot weeks. Did he go off steroids 3 weeks ago?

In his chat earlier today, Buster was called out on his story and tried to defend himself:

Alfredo (New York City): You wrote a recent article citing scouts that claimed A-Rod was declining rapidly. Shortly afterward, he got two days of rest and has been on a tear ever since. Perhaps reports of his long-term decline are premature?
Buster Olney: Alfredo: I did not write that he was declining rapidly. What I wrote was that as A-Rod struggled, a question that was being asked increasingly was whether he is going to be a lesser player since he presumably doesn’t use steroids any more.

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Wang Using All Of His Pitches

This is a very interesting development, courtesy of Mark Feinsand:

To me, the best thing about Wang’s night was that his sinker wasn’t really very good. In fact, he was having enough trouble with it that he and Jorge Posada decided to stay away from it at times, throwing sliders and four-seam fastballs instead – and getting guys out with those pitches. Earlier in the year, they tried to force the issue with the sinker, figuring it would work itself out. Tonight? A better plan.
“When his sinker isn’t there, he has enough to go to that we can get people out,” Posada said. “The sinker is his pitch, but today he didn’t have it. We can’t just throw sinkers all day if it isn’t there.”

Herbie Rides Again download

Wang’s sinker looked very good against Atlanta, but it was evident from the outset last night that he did not bring his sharpest stuff to the mound. The fact that he could pitch a solid game without using his sinker too often suggests that he is becoming less of a one trick pony.… Click here to read the rest

What to do with Molina

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From Joel Sherman (NY Post):

Also, the Yanks continue to mull what is their best roster construction when Jose Molina returns from the DL. They love the energy and defense Francisco Cervelli has brought, but wonder if holding three catchers is prudent since they are not prepared yet to make Jorge Posada more of a full-time DH.I floated the possibility to a few Yankee officials of following the Met path: The Mets liked how Omir Santos played while Ramon Castro and starter Brian Schneider were on the DL, so when it was time to activate Castro, the Mets decided to trade him instead (to the White Sox) and commit to Santos as the backup. Could the Yanks look to deal Molina rather than activate him and commit to Cervelli as the backup? Yankee officials say there are no current plans to do that.

I think holding 3 catchers is a waste of roster space. For the past few days I’ve wondered why the Yankees don’t consider moving Molina if they like Cervelli as much as they say they do.… Click here to read the rest

Phillies keeping an eye on Wang (just in case)

Interesting tidbit via MLBTR. Apparently, the Phillies have scouted Chien-Ming Wang in the hopes that the Yankees may make him available. Here’s what Jim Salisbury over at the Philidelphia Inquirer had to say about the Phillies’ search for a starting pitcher.

They want pitching. Starter or reliever? “Doesn’t matter. They’re looking for anything they can get,” a rival scout said. The Phils will get one. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. spent so much time talking to teams last week that it looks as if he has a BlackBerry growing out of his ear. The Phils have been all over Boston’s Brad Penny – “I’ve seen Penny three times, and every time the Phillies have had someone there,” a scout said – but the Red Sox might hold on to him in the wake of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s trip to the DL and John Smoltz’s shaky outing Thursday. They’ve kept tabs on Jarrod Washburn and Jason Marquis, but will resurgent Colorado want to deal Marquis?

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Minors Recap, 6/28

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Scranton falls to Rochester, 6-2

  • Kei Igawa started, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, and striking out 3.
  • Austin Jackson was  1 for 3 with a walk and his 2nd home run of the season.
  • Colin Curtis was 0 for 4.
  • Shelley Duncan was 1 for 4.
  • Juan Miranda was 1 for 3 with a walk.
  • PJ Pilittere was 1 for 4.

Trenton defeated by Reading, 8-3

  • Jason Stephens started, and gave up 2 runs on 6 hits in 3 innings, while fanning 3.
  • Amaury Sanit struck out 2 in a perfect inning of work.
  • Reegie Corona was 1 for 3 with a homer and a walk.  He is putting together a nice season, batting .301 with an .836 OPS, which is solid for a middle infielder.
  • Eduardo Nunez was 2 for 4, raising his average to .314.
  • Jorge Vazquez was 0 for 4.
  • Jesus Montero, catching, was 2 for 4 with his 1st AA home run, a bomb to dead center.
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It's Promotion Season

A number of Yankee prospects have been promoted to higher levels in the last week or so.  Ivan Nova has moved up to AAA, and Jeremy Bleich has moved up to Trenton to take his place.  In the lower minors, Pat Venditte got a long-deserved promotion to Tampa, along with David Adams and Dan Brewer.

Nova has been great this season for Trenton, with a 2.36 ERA, and a 2.47 GO/GO ratio.  Hopefully he can continue his success at AAA.  Bleich has been solid but not spectacular for Tampa, with a 3.40 ERA.  Brewer had a .903 OPS for Charleston, and Adams had one of .779.  Venditte, as we know, was superb for Charleston, posting a 1.47 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP, with 40 strikeouts against 2 walks in 30 2/3 innings pitched.  Some other guys who might be due for promotions soon include Zach McAllister (who has torn up AA), Melky Mesa (who is hitting for major power in Charleston), and Jorge Vazquez, who has raked in AA (though he is probably blocked by Juan Miranda and Shelley Duncan).… Click here to read the rest