Thursday Morning News And Notes (And Bad Offensive Numbers): 8/27/15

This was supposed to be a post about how bad the Yankee offense has been over the last few weeks and me finally giving in and accepting that they’ve regressed and are really this bad now.  But I knew the minute I stepped into the shower this morning that I wasn’t emotionally ready to do that, so instead we’re going to recap some of the smaller stories from the last 2 days and I’ll mix in some bad offensive stats to at least acknowledge that reality.  Fair?

– The official diagnosis is in on CC Sabathia‘s right knee and it’s about as positive as it could have been.  There is no new damage in the knee, no tears or anything like that.  It’s simply the continuation of the degenerative condition that’s existed there for a while and there’s nothing that will require surgery.  That leaves the possibility open for Sabathia to return this season, and he did say he would be open to working out of the bullpen if/when he came back.  …

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Looking At The Short And Long-Term Implications Of CC’s Latest Knee Injury

While we’ve all been calling for CC Sabathia‘s removal from the starting rotation for some time now, I don’t think any of us were rooting for an injury to be the reason he got removed.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened yesterday and now the Yankees are left to scramble again to keep their pitching staff whole while Sabathia is likely to hit the DL and ponder where he goes from here.

The condition of Sabathia’s right knee has been a red flag all year, with 2 drainings having already taken place and a cortisone shot administered recently.  In Andrew Marchand’s article on the injury yesterday afternoon, Sabathia himself basically admitted that he’s been protecting the knee all season and that his decision to say “screw it” and pitch as hard as he could without focusing on protecting it was the reason for his recent uptick in velocity.  There’s a lot of moving parts to this latest setback, so let’s break it down in terms of short and long-term effects to make it more manageable.…

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BREAKING: CC Sabathia Leaves Start With Right Knee Injury (UPDATED)

CC Sabathia has exited his start this afternoon after apparently injuring himself on a pitch in the top of the 3rd inning.  He struck out the batter on a fastball with the pitch and looked uncomfortable as he completed his delivery and came off the mound.  Joe and the trainer came out to check on him immediately and he left the game with little discussion.

It was hard to tell what the injury was watching replays of the pitch.  Sabathia didn’t appear to land funny on his bad right knee and he didn’t grab at anything or strain his body in any way.  Whatever it was, it had to be pretty serious, as CC has pitched through knee and hamstring injuries before.  As poorly as he’s pitched this year, he has been better lately working on extra rest and the Yankee rotation is already a man down without Pineda.  Further injuries to the rotation do not help, even if they happen to the weakest link of that rotation.…

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Pineda Update: Throws 4.2 Innings For Triple-A SWB

Michael Pineda made his second MiL rehab start last night, pitching for Triple-A SWB and pitching much more like the guy we’re used to seeing.  On a pitch count of 65, Pineda threw 62 in 4.2 innings of 1-run ball.  He gave up 3 hits, struck out 3, and didn’t walk a batter, working low 90s with his fastball again and throwing much sharper offspeed stuff than he did in his previous start.

Via Chad Jennings, Pineda threw 10 more pitches in the bullpen after coming out of the game, so he did reach 72 total pitches on his count.  Joe wouldn’t commit to a next step when speaking with the media after the Yankees’ loss, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that next start came with the big league club.  If Pineda’s good for 90-ish pitches, that could get him through 6 innings and that would be good enough working in a 6-man rotation turn with roster expansions around the corner.…

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Pineda Update: Throws Three Innings In First Rehab Start

While the rotation continues to get by just fine without him, Michael Pineda took another step towards rejoining that rotation last ngith by making a rehab start with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.  He worked 3 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits while walking none and striking out none.  He threw 42 pitches, 30 of which were strikes.

Pineda was scheduled for either 3 innings or 45 pitches, whichever came first, so he reached his desired work level last night.  According to the reports I saw on Twitter, he was mostly low 90s with his fastball and he touched the mid-90s on a few pitches.  Talking to Nicolas Stellini after the game, Pineda expressed confidence in the fastball but added “I need to work on my slider and my changeup.”  That’s not uncommon for a pitcher who’s had his normal throwing routine interrupted and nothing that can’t be worked out with another rehab start or 2.

As for that next rehab start, I imagine it will come sometimes later this week.  …

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Pineda Update: First Time Back On A Mound Goes Well

Here’s some good news.  Michael Pineda threw from the mound for the first time since hitting the DL yesterday as scheduled, and reportedly came through his 25-pitch session feeling good.

Via Chad Jennings, Pineda said he threw at about 75-80% yesterday, but clarified that it was not because of any issues with his forearm.  “I never throw 100 percent in the bullpen.  But I can tell when the arm feels good, and when the arm feels something’s wrong, you know?”

The next step for Pineda is a 35-pitch bullpen session scheduled for Thursday.  Joe said he would likely throw all his pitches in that session, and it sounds like a rehab assignment could come after that provided Pineda makes it through this next bullpen without issue.

Things are definitely progressing ahead of schedule for Pineda right now, and I think that has to be taken as a good sign.  He only missed about a week of throwing activity and he’s back on a mound less than 2 weeks after going on the DL.  …

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Monday Afternoon News And Notes: 8/10/15

Rough weekend of games and an off-day today.  Let’s catch up on some other stories.

– If you hadn’t already heard, Greg Bird was named International League Batter of the Week earlier today.  He hit .348 with 5 XBH and 10 RBI last week, and his Triple-A slash line is up to .295/.353/.516.  Would be fun to see him get a September call up.

Via Andy Martino, the Yankees are one of a few teams following Chase Utley as he plays in MiL rehab games.  Martino named the Cubs, Dodgers, and Yankees are the teams “most likely to pursue” Utley if Philly decides to shop him.  Utley has been terrible this year and is clearly in a steep decline.  Not sure he’s the answer at second, even if he comes at a minimal cost.

– Missed this when it was first announced last week, but Mason Williams had his rehab work shut down and had season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday.  …

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Quick Hit: Dustin Ackley’s Back Injury And The Short-Term Problem It Causes

Didn’t get to this yesterday, but the Yankees’ lone trade deadline acquisition turned into an early loss when Dustin Ackley was put on the 15-day DL with a right lumbar strain in his back.  An MRI revealed a herniated disc and Brian Cashman told reporters he expected Ackley to be out for 20-30 days.

Ackley hadn’t had much of a chance to make an impact since being acquired.  He was 0-3 in his still short Yankee tenure, but him hitting the DL does put the Yankees in a tough spot with their bench.  They’re only rolling 3-deep for the time being after jettisoning Garrett Jones to clear roster space for Ackley.  They’ve recently activated Slade Heathcott off the DL and assigned him to Triple-A, but he isn’t eligible to be recalled to the Majors until next Monday.  If the Yankees aren’t comfortable sticking with a 3-man bench until then – and chances are they aren’t after Brian McCann tweaked his knee last night – they may have to call up someone like Jose Pirela or Tyler Austin to fill in temporarily.…

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Tuesday Morning News And Notes: 7/21/15

Yesterday was an off-day and I’m staring down the barrel of another long day of professional development training today, so the creative juices aren’t exactly flowing.  Here are some updates on the goings on around Yankeeland instead.

– The early trade deadline target rumors are in, courtesy of Jon Heyman, and they’re what you would expect them to be for the Yankees: a starting pitcher, a righty bat, and a righty reliever.  I have to imagine reliever is lowest down on the priority list with the return of Adam Warren to the ‘pen, but the Yanks have been good at finding and acquiring undervalued relief talent over the years.

Via Chad Jennings, top prospect Aaron Judge has missed the last few Triple-A games with what Cash called “some minor stuff”.  Take that news however you want.

– On the positive side, Mason Williams has started playing catch again and it sounds like his shoulder has finally started getting better.  …

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