Gut Check Time For Phil Hughes

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) Cue the John Cena music, because Phil Hughes‘ time is up and his time is now.  In his 7-year professional career, Hughes has been a 1st-round draft pick, a top-flight Yankee prospect, a top 5 blue chip prospect in all of baseball, a future ace, a promising young arm, an injury-prone question mark, a dominant reliever, an encouraging project, an out-of-shape failure, and now a solid middle-of-the-rotation contributor.  He’s had enough ups and downs, changes to his role and pitching style, and injury problems to last an entire career and Continue reading Gut Check Time For Phil Hughes

Exciting group of prospects headed to the Arizona Fall League

While the Yankees prepare for September call-ups and their minor league affiliates’ seasons are ending and/or heading into playoffs, this does not mean the work ends for the Yankees’ prospects. The Arizona Fall League enters its 20th season with many of Major League Baseball’s top prospects, which include players like the Red’s Billy Hamilton, the Nationals Anthony Rendon and the Marlins’ Christian Yelich. The Yankees are sending some exciting prospects, who will play for the Scottsdale Scorpians, which will be managed by Carlos Mendoza, the current Manager for the Charleston RiverDogs. The Yankees have announced three position players that will head to Scottsdale, each looking to get some at bats after missing time to injury the last couple seasons.

Austin Romine (C) has been battling back issues the last couple years and was injured for most of the 2012 season. He has played in just 28 games so far this season, splitting time between rehab assignments in the Gulf Coast League and with Tampa before finally getting back to Empire State. He looks like he is starting to get back into the swing of things and, assuming he does not get called up, will benefit from the extra time in Arizona once the Empire State Yankees finish the International League playoffs. It has no doubt been a frustrating year for the Yankee backstop, who was surprised with a call-up last September and was battling for a spot on the major league roster prior to his injury. Hopefully a successful stint in Arizona will get him back on track, as the Yankees could use some help at catcher as they wait for some of the young prospects to advance.

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A-Rod could return as early as Monday

Alex Rodriguez will DH for the Tampa Yankees tonight, beginning the minor league rehab stint of his efforts to return from a broken metacarpal, and if everything goes well, A-Rod could be back in the big league lineup as early as Monday, according to Brian Cashman. “It’s possible,” Cashman said. “It all depends on how he feels.” Alex’s rehab seems to have gone pretty well so far; we haven’t heard of any setbacks and he was drawing praise from hitting coach Kevin Long after a recent batting practice schedule, so I suppose there’s no reason to think this is particularly unreasonable. A-Rod has been surprisingly healthy this year up until an errant changeup from Felix Hernandez caused the broken bone, so as long as he doesn’t have any pain there after his minor league games I don’t see any reason for the team to be overly cautious with him at this point.

As for what A-Rod can do to help the team right now, I think that’s impossible to say until he starts playing. As I’ve said before, I’m always leery of what hand/wrist injuries mean for hitters, especially power hitters, and it’s possible that there will be lingering effects for the rest of the season that will sap A-Rod’s productivity. If nothing else, he’ll balance the Yankees lineup a little bit and give them a little more flexibility off of the bench with Jayson Nix and Casey McGehee, when the latter returns. And the sooner he can get back the better, to be sure. Continue reading A-Rod could return as early as Monday

Aardsma returns to mound today

David Aardsma has already made one attempt to return to the big leagues in 2012, but that attempt ended with a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and the former Mariners’ closer was shut down and seemed to be done for the year. However, Erik Boland reports that Aardsma will return to the mound tonight, making a rehab appearance with Tampa, in the same game that Alex Rodriguez will begin his minor league rehab stint in. During that earlier stint it was easy to think of Aardsma returning and giving some depth to a bullpen that’s been using Cody Eppley as an important middle reliever for most of the year, but after Joba Chamberlain‘s struggles of late we should remember that most pitchers don’t return from Tommy John surgery at the top of their game. It won’t hurt anything if Aardsma is able to make an appearance or two for the Yankees in September, but I wouldn’t imagine he’ll be doing anything more than that at most. Continue reading Aardsma returns to mound today

Yankees to remain on WCBS in 2013

When ESPN Radio moved from 1050 AM to 98.7 FM, the general consensus was that they were prepared to back up the money truck to Yankee Stadium in order to pry their broadcast rights away from CBS Radio. By all accounts ESPN wants to get the rights to either Yankees or Mets games to anchor their summer programming, but if it’s the Bombers they’re after they’ll have to wait at least another season. That’s because, according to Phil Mushnick, the Yankees have agreed to continue broadcasting their games on 880 WCBS, at least for the 2013 season.

I’ll admit to having a bit of a dog in the fight: if the Yankees were to switch to ESPN Radio it would really muck up my summer weekends. The strength of WCBS’ signal (and that of WFAN, for that matter), is such that I can pick them up pretty consistently in one of my vehicles down in the Delmarva area, which comes in really handy when I’m out and about during the summer. Having the team go to FM radio would put a stop to that, however, and my understanding is that it would do the same for Yankee fans much closer to New York City than I as well. That’s why this topic has been so relatively interesting, the question of whether or not ESPN could offer the Yankees enough money to get them to give up the far reaching signal of their flagship station.

In the short run, this probably means we’re all stuck with Jon Sterling and Suzyn Waldman for at least another season. Sterling actually isn’t likely to go anywhere no matter who owns the team’s broadcasting rights, but Waldman seemed like a good bet to be replaced if the Yankees/CBS partnership ended. Continue reading Yankees to remain on WCBS in 2013

Here Come The Most Important Games Of The Year

Today is the last day of August. We’re down to one more month of baseball, 32 games in total. The Yankees have controlled the American League East since June 12th, and were once 10 games up in the standings. Now we’re down to just a 4.5 game lead to the Rays and a 3.0 game lead to the Orioles. Last year, it felt like every important game came down to the last day of the year, when the Rays and Cardinals overtook the Red Sox and Braves for the Wild Card position in a spectacular fashion. This year, the AL Continue reading Here Come The Most Important Games Of The Year

Dick Howser and the 1980 Yankees

Dick Howser was both a triumphant and tragic figure in Major League Baseball. And both of those realities were crystallized with the Kansas City Royals. And that is a shame. Because his greatest triumphs should have come with the New York Yankees. He started his playing days in Kansas City as a member of the Athletics in 1961. But he finished his career with the Yankees in 1968. A year later, he became the Yankees’ third base coach and manned that position for ten seasons, including the championship seasons of 1977 and 1978. After a year sabbatical coaching a college team in his home state of Florida, he became the manager of the Yankees in 1980. The team won 103 games. Unfortunately, such a strong season was ruined by a 3-0 sweep in the American League Championship Series against the Royals with George Brett at the pinnacle of his career. George Steinbrenner fired Howser. Instead of leading the Yankees for years to come, Howser instead became the manager of the Royals the following season. In 1985, those Royals won their one and only World Series under Howser. He would die less than two years later as the result of a brain tumor.

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The Farm Report: 8/30/12

Empire State beat Lehigh Valley 5-0:
Kevin Russo tripled to left in the first and Eduardo Nunez homered for the quick 2-0 lead. Cole Garner went deep in the second, for a 3-0 edge. The Yankees held that score through five and then added some insurance in the sixth. Ronnier Mustelier and Austin Romine hit back-to-back longballs, giving the Yankees a 5-0 victory. Russo went 2-4 with a run scored and a triple. Mustelier went 2-4 with a homer. Garner went 1-3 with a homer. Nunez went 1-4 with a homer and two RBIs. John Maine pitched seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and a walk, striking out five. Cory Wade and Ryota Igarashi both pitched a perfect inning in relief, with Igarashi picking up a pair of Ks. The victory clinched the division title for Empire State, who has put together quite an impressive season for a team that played the whole year on the road and lost many of their key players.

Trenton lost to New Britain 5-3:
The Rock Cats scored two runs in the top of the first on back-to-back singles by Chris Colabello and Josmil Pinto. Aaron Hicks hit a two-run homer in the fourth, giving New Britain the 4-0 advantage. Zoilo Almonte lead off the bottom of the inning for Trenton with a single to right and Addison Maruszak homered to center. Jeff Farnham drew a two-out walk and Walter Ibarra doubled him in, putting the Thunder behind by one run. The Rock Cats got one run back in the fifth and held on, defeating Trenton 5-3.

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Ain’t No Party Like a Link Drop Party – August 30th Edition

From “the” Bronx Alex Rodriguez and David Aardsma will begin rehabbing with High-A Tampa quite soon, though the latter is unlikely to be ready for the show until fairly late in the season (if that). Aardsma last pitched in the Majors on September 19 … 2010. Mike Ashmore (among others) spoke with Brian Cashman about both the Trenton Thunder and the Yankees as a whole. My favorite tidbit is Cashman’s line about prospects being suspects, and I have been pondering for what they are suspected. In the case of Betances, perhaps it is a Benjamin Button’d Daniel Cabrera (who is, Continue reading Ain’t No Party Like a Link Drop Party – August 30th Edition