Top-30 Prospects Preview: How Far Has Manuel Banuelos Fallen?

Manuel Banuelos was the no-doubt top Yankee prospect entering this season, and held down the #2 spot, behind Jesus Montero, for a year before that. A lot of people, myself included, expect him to spend time on the Yankee roster down the stretch in 2012, and move on to a bright major league career. Instead, Banuelos had pretty much the worst possible 2012 season: after months of trying to rehab an elbow injury, Banuelos was shut down on August 6th after pitching just 24 innings. Banuelos was 21 years old entering this season, and impressive age for someone starting at Continue reading Top-30 Prospects Preview: How Far Has Manuel Banuelos Fallen?

Gardner to take live batting practice

Brett Gardner was supposed to be out for the season after having surgery on his elbow in July. Over the past week or so, however, there had been increasing rumors that Gardner could be activated from the disabled list to serve as a pinch runner and late innings defensive specialist, a possibility that Joe Girardi acknowledged was a matter of when, not if. Now, via Jeff Bradley, comes word that Gardner has been doing some hitting of late, and is scheduled to take live batting practice. Best of all? Gardner says he feels “great,” and apparently isn’t having issues with soreness or pain after his recent sessions in the cage.

Obviously this is pretty big news for the Yankees, as the fact that Gardner is doing these hitting drills has to at least open up the possibility that he’ll be able to hit as well as run and play defense when he’s activated, and that could be just the upgrade the Yankees need right now to give them an extra gear. Gardner will almost certainly have to shake off some rust at the plate, but his speed and defensive skills in the outfield will add a lot to this team, and that may even pale in comparison to what he could mean for the construction of the roster. If Gardner is able to play without restriction before the end of the season, the Yankees will be able to slot Nick Swisher in as a regular first baseman until Mark Teixeira is ready to return, and if Tex can get back in time for the postseason, they could then use either Tex or Swisher as the team’s regular DH with Ichiro Suzuki in right field, eliminating any semblance of a need to carry Andruw Jones and/or Raul Ibanez on the postseason roster.

Then again, Gardner has made it back into rehab games multiple times this season before suffering setbacks, so this sort of thinking is certainly getting ahead of itself a little bit until we actually see Gardner come through game action unscathed. It’s still big news though, and gives everyone a little bit more room to hope for a special October in New York. Continue reading Gardner to take live batting practice

Passing thoughts from a week off

I decided to take an impromptu week off from blogging last week which, in addition to giving me he unforgettable experience of working on a four year old’s first school homework project and getting my house cleaned down to the door hinges,more or less resulted in me watching a lot of baseball, both Yankees and otherwise. One thing I noticed very quickly: You watch games quite differently when you aren’t looking for angles to write about. So with that in mind, here are some loosely strung together thoughts and observations from the last few weeks.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Passing thoughts from a week off

This week in Yankees baseball

The New York Yankees have to assume that the Baltimore Orioles will just keep winning. That may happen or it may not, but as far as the team is concerned, just go ahead and assume that the Birds will keep finding ways to win. With a slim, one-game lead (in the loss column too), the Yankees basically have their fate in their own hands. They have to keep winning too. Theoretically, the team from the Bronx just finished a series with their last tough opponent of the regular season and finish the remainder of the season with the Twins, the Blue Jays and the Red Sox. Those three teams have a combined record of 199-259. While the old saw goes that on any given day, any team can beat any other team, the Yankees should beat these teams and should do so handily. The Orioles finish with the Blue Jays and Red Sox at home and a three game set against the Rays in St. Pete. Those last three games could be key.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading This week in Yankees baseball

Long Rest For Sabathia Cures His Troubles

Up until Friday night, CC Sabathia was in a rare slump. He hadn’t picked up a win in nearly a month, since August 24th, which is unacceptable at this point in the year. Considering the two DL stints, some members of the media questioned his health, and I think the legitimacy of that claim has only grown. The most recent time spent on the disabled list was due to elbow inflammation, and in just his second start back from that injury, he gave up 9 hits and 5 runs to the Blue Jays. In the next three games, he produced Continue reading Long Rest For Sabathia Cures His Troubles

Sloppy game brings the Yankees’ win streak to an end

Looking to sweep what had so far been a rather crazy series against Oakland, the Yankees sent Hiroki Kuroda to the mound. After two games of extra innings, Kuroda’s usual ability to go deep into a game would have been very welcome to New York, however, that is not how the game panned out. Kuroda struggled and bad plays in the field and at the plate led to a 5-4 Oakland win.

Kuroda got in trouble early, though he escaped what could have been a disasterous start. Stephen Drew hit a leadoff single to third, as Alex Rodriguez couldn’t make the throw in time. Kuroda came back and got the next two batters, but a double by Brandon Moss put two runners in scoing position. Jonny Gomes drew a walk and a wild pitch to Josh Reddick allowed Drew to score, giving the Athletics a 1-0 lead. He struggled again in the top of the second, when Josh Donaldson “singled” to short. Nunez made a great play on the ball and replays showed the throw beat the runner, but the umpire called him safe. A homer by Cliff Pennington put the A’s ahead 3-0.

The Yankees finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Robinson Cano drove the ball to left on what called a single due to a bobble by the Oakland left fiedler, though I thought they could have given Robbie the double. Nick Swisher followed with a bomb to right for the first Yankee runs of the afternoon. The Bombers kept the rally going, as Curtis Granderson hit a hard single off the right field walk and Russell Martin followed with a single on a soft grounder down the third baseline. Raul Ibanez then drove a fly ball that bounced on the right field line and got stuck in the corner and Granderson came around to tie the game. A groundout by Eduardo Nunez scored Martin and the Yankees took a 4-3 advantage. Oakland got a run back on a RBI single by Yoenis Cespedes in the top of the fifth, tying the game.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Sloppy game brings the Yankees’ win streak to an end

Yankees can’t hold lead, fall to the A’s

All good things must come to an end. That holds especially true for winning streaks. The Athletics snapped the Yankees seven game win streak Sunday, beating the Bombers 5-4. The Yankees let an opportunity slip away. The Orioles also lost in Boston. On the one hand this means that the Yankees hold on to their one game lead in the division. On the other hand, the Yankees need to put some distance between themselves and Baltimore. Any opportunity to do so needs to be seized. After Saturday’s marathon game the Yankees needed Hiroki Kuroda to give them length. He didn’t. Continue reading Yankees can’t hold lead, fall to the A’s