The Derek Jeter end game

There were many times during the end celebrations of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte where I kept wondering what was going through the mind of Derek Jeter. The last remaining Core Four player of the now dead Yankees’ dynasty that began in 1995, he had just watched Pettitte and Rivera go out of the game pretty much on their own terms and in good form. Trying to get into the head of another person, especially a ballplayer, is dangerous business, but I kept wondering if Jeter wondered if he could go out on his own terms too.

Jeter will most certainly exercise his player option for 2014 and no doubt, that will be fine with the Yankees. Brian Cashman has already stated as much. The doubts occur if Jeter has anything left to offer. After four aborted attempts to return in 2013, Jeter only managed 17 games and wheels that could never get healthy.

As such, questions are obvious as to if Jeter can play at least semi-regularly again and how the Yankees would use him if he can.…

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Mark Montgomery Back To The DL

Mark Montgomery

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

At the end of last season, Mark Montgomery was the hands down top relief prospect in the Yankee system, a borderline top 10 organizational prospect overall, and on his way to breaking into the Major League bullpen sometime around now if not earlier.  After leaving his last appearance on Saturday with more shoulder problems, he’s likely done for the year and has become a much bigger question mark for next season rather than a possible bullpen answer.

Donnie Collins confirmed earlier this week that Montgomery was put back on the DL for the 3rd time this year, each of them shoulder-related.  This latest issue puts a fitting end to a disappointing season and continues the storyline I’ve talked up since last fall about Montgomery being overworked in 2012.  The story for a while has been that Montgomery didn’t come to spring camp in the best shape and the team has used that as an explanation for his diminished velocity and shoulder problems.  …

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Timing Of Latest Injury Setbacks Leaves Rotation Dangerously Thin

It was another poor outing for Phil Hughes yesterday, the poorest and shortest he’s had since his 0.2-inning meltdown against the Mariners in May.  In his last 3 starts, Hughes has completed just 12.1 innings and has given up 13 R (10 ER) on 19 H in those innings with 8 BB to just 6 K.  His leash with Joe has gotten shorter to the point that were it a literal leash it would probably be choking him to death as soon as he took the mound, and his inability to work efficiently and deeply into games is becoming a burden on the bullpen.  Hughes needed 71 pitches yesterday to retire just 8 batters.

Combined with the unadulterated putridity that has been CC Sabathia‘s last 4 starts, suddenly the Yankees are rolling with an even worse rotation than they had a few weeks ago.  The group that needed to turn things around in concert with the offense if the Yankees were going to make a serious playoff charge has become an alternating “all or nothing” collection of some of the best and worst pitching we’ve seen this season.  …

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On Early Rehab Returns

Michael Pineda has officially ended his rehab, but only technically. The starting pitcher will make his next start tomorrow night in Scranton, and I’m sure plenty of fans are disappointed about that. The stats look fine, Pineda was solid across his minor league rehab appearances, but the word around twitter and the media is that he could use some more work with his fastball control.

Realistically, Pineda never had a shot of returning to the major leagues after his rehab assignment. The right-handed pitcher has fallen victim to some fine print in the CBA, where the Yankees can option the starter to the minor leagues for a few weeks and regain a whole year of team control. As it stands, the team is not in any dire need of a starter, and calling him up to the big leagues is far from a need anyway.

But when it comes to position players, the Yankees need as much help as they can get.…

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Quick Hit: A-Rod Cleared To Start MiL Rehab Assignment

The Alex Rodriguez comeback trail took another important step forward today when the team announced he has been cleared to start his Minor League rehab assignment on July 1st.  The Daily News had the full story and comments from Cash on the situation, including the obligatory Biogenesis references, and it sounds like everything is progressing nicely for A-Rod.  He’s been running and fielding down in Tampa for a few weeks and started taking live batting practice last week, all without any reported pain or issues with his surgically-repaired hip.

Whether you’re an A-Rod supporter or A-Rod hater, there’s no denying that this is good news for the Yankees.  They’ve gotten a .246/.302/.337 batting line from their third baseman this season and are still incredibly weak and vulnerable against left-handed pitching.  A diminished A-Rod is still a significant upgrade over that type of production.  As with Michael Pineda, this rehab assignment will likely use all of the available 30 days.  Rodriguez hasn’t had any at-bats since last October and will need the reps, and the team will want to see how the hip and the rest of his body responds to playing regularly.…

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Pineda Makes His First Official Rehab Start Today

It was hinted at before his last ExST start on Monday, confirmed later in the week after he came through that outing without any further fingernail problems, and it will become a reality tonight.  Almost some 17 months after first being traded, Michael Pineda will throw his first in-game pitches in a Yankee uniform.

A Tampa Yankee uniform, sure, but that’s still good news for the guy who was brought in to be the king of hearts to CC’s ace.  Pineda will get the start for Tampa tonight against the Lakeland Flying Tigers and everybody will get their first chance to see how he looks pitching in a real game.  The reports on his bullpen, sim gam, and ExST game work have all been incredibly encouraging, with his velocity regularly sitting in the low-to-mid 90s range the last few times he’s pitched.  This somewhat surprising quick return of said velocity has added a hint of excitement to this rehab comeback, and with the Yankee rotation depth taking a few hits in the last 24 hours due to Wang’s opt out and Nuno’s injury, Pineda’s chances of moving right into the rotation are getting even better.…

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Quick Hit: Nuno Leaves MiL Start With Injury (Updated)

Don’t know if anybody saw this last night, but Vidal Nuno left his start for Triple-A SWB in the 2nd inning with an apparent injury.  He was cruising along with 4 strikeouts through 1.2 innings before throwing a pitch, calling the trainers out, and leaving the game without even throwing another pitch to test the injury.  There hasn’t been any update from the team or any writers on the nature of the injury yet.  I checked Donnie Collins’ Twitter and there was nothing, so if Donnie doesn’t know nobody knows.  The fact that Nuno called the training staff out and didn’t even try to throw another pitch makes it seem like it could be serious.  Hopefully it was just Nuno being cautious.

The Yankees lost one piece of organizational rotation depth yesterday afternoon when Chien-Ming Wang opted out to sign with Toronto.  They may have lost another last night if Nuno’s injury turns out to be something that keeps him out for an extended period of time.…

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Is There A Problem With The Yankee Training Staff?


(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Having left Saturday night’s game early with what was described as “dehydration” and reporting that he felt light-headed during pregame batting practice that day, I was a little surprised to see that Chris Stewart’s name was on the lineup card again Sunday night as the starting catcher. He had taken a ball off the mask the previous game and at first glance it sounded like he was suffering symptoms of a concussion. Sunday night, those symptoms were present again before the game and Stewart was scratched again for Austin Romine and sent to the hospital for further evaluation.

We’re still waiting to hear back on what that evaluation reveals, but if it is indeed a concussion and Stewart was misdiagnosed and allowed to play yesterday, that will be just another example of a slightly disturbing trend building with regards to the Yankee training staff. Not only are they seemingly letting things slide that should be bigger issues, they’re potentially putting players at risk by allowing them back on the field.…

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