Quick hit: A-Rod hits home run #656, now four away from tying Mays

Alex Rodriguez is now four home runs away from tying Willie Mays after hitting a bomb to deep left field off Orioles starter Bud Norris in the fourth inning of tonight’s game.

No, seriously, he hit that ball really far.

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Quick Hit: How About Chris Martin?

Chris Martin vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

It was barely a footnote in last night’s loss, but Chris Martin came out of the bullpen to relieve CC Sabathia and turned in a solid outing.  Clean inning of work, couple strikeouts, an efficient 11 pitches, it was the type of inning we’d usually expect from Dellin Betances but have yet to see in his setup role.  With those struggles being the main bullpen headline thus far, I think it’s worth giving a quick shout out to Martin for the excellent job he’s done in middle relief.

After last night’s appearance, Martin has now pitched 4.2 innings in 5 games.  He’s given up 2 earned runs on 2 hits, all accumulated in his shaky 4th appearance against Boston over the weekend, and struck out 6 while walking only 1.  Not too shabby for a 28-year-old late bloomer who just got his first taste of big league ball last year in pitcher-unfriendly Colorado.  He’s shown the ability to throw his fastball with velocity (mid-90s 4-seamer) and movement around the strike zone, and he’s used his good command to pound that strike zone and work from ahead in the count consistently.…

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Quick Hit: Nova To Face Live Hitters Today

I wanted to touch on this briefly before I forgot and the news cycle moved on.  Via Marly Rivera yesterday, Ivan Nova is scheduled to throw live batting practice down at the Tampa complex today.  It will be his first time facing live hitters since his Tommy John Surgery last year.

I haven’t seen specifics on a planned pitch count, who he’ll be facing, and what he’ll be throwing, but I would assume he has no pitch type restrictions if he’s progressed to this point.  Nova has been throwing his offspeed stuff in bullpens for about a month now.  This will be another significant milestone reached for Nova on his way back from TJS.  If he comes through today OK, the Yankees can start thinking about a timetable for getting him into some Extended ST games and then a MiL rehab assignment.

June has been the projected target for his return to Major League game action, but with the spike in early elbow and shoulder injuries for pitchers, it wouldn’t shock me if the Yankees took a more careful approach with Nova.  …

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Quick hit: Looking at some heat maps, or in this case, cold maps

The Yankees’ bats are cold right now.

How cold? Their slashline as a team is .191/.305/.348/.653. Yikes.

I thought it would be cool (or in this instance, cold) to look at their “heat” maps so far. Please keep in mind this is a tiny sample size and things will hopefully change as the season progresses. If not, we’re in for a long and sad trip.

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Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley have a hit from each side of the plate.
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Carlos Beltran has one hit from the left side:
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Hopefully these maps will improve by next week but with Boston coming in for three games this weekend, I’m afraid we will still be seeing a lot more blue than red.

[Heat maps courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info]

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Quick hit: Vote for the Yankees’ “Franchise Four”

MLB has a new promotional campaign and they want you to be a part of it. It’s another vote fan but with a twist. This time around, each team’s fan base will cast votes on their Franchise Four. MLB wants the fans to, “Vote for the four most impactful players who best represent the history of the Yankees.”

With the Yankees’ rich history and tradition, we certainly have a lot of players to choose from and the eight they picked are all worthy candidates.

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The vote is open until May 8 and the winners will be unveiled at this year’s All Star game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

And just so you know, there is also a write-in vote, in case there’s a player you think should be among the choices for Franchise Four, but who wasn’t part of the original selection.

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JUST KIDDING!

The choice between the original eight is actually kind of tough. I can pick three right away but then that last one is a bit tough.…

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Quick Hit: Andrew Miller Says Hello

Miller vs TOR

“Huzzah!” Courtesy of the AP

It’s just one game, it’s a super small sample size, yeah yeah yeah.  I get all that.  But when Dellin Betances is scuffling and people are ready to hit the panic button on him, you couldn’t have had a better Yankee debut than Andrew Miller did last night.

10 pitches, 8 strikes, 2 groundouts, a swinging strikeout, 1-2-3, ballgame over, Yankees win.  He was firing some mean looking mid-90s fastballs, he snapped off a few nice sliders, and he looked very much like the pitcher he was last year.  If Joe really is planning to use both he and Betances as co-closers to start the year, Miller definitely made the better first impression in terms of handling the role.

Welcome to New York, Andrew.  Good to have you here.

Hellooo

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Quick hit: Romine clears waivers

I’m actually surprised no one wanted Romine and that he made it through the waiver period without being picked up. There were some reports in Spring Training that the Phillies were interested in him.

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An Attempt at Pragmatism with Tanaka

In case you missed it, Masahiro Tanaka was not very good on Monday, on the heels of deciding that rest and rehabilitation was the best course of action for his torn UCL. It was kind of a big deal last Summer, and has remained a big deal through today … and will quite probably remain a big deal until he is given a clean bill of health (regardless of whether it stems from surgery). And if you listened closely during Monday’s broadcast, you could hear Tommy John being whispered on the wind.

Repetition and facetiousness aside, I do understand the concern. Tanaka is the team’s best pitcher by a significant margin, and he was arguably the best pitcher in the American League prior to his injury last season. The Yankees grandest dreams rest heavily on his elbow. And for this, I am on the verge of advocating surgery.

Now, I do not suggest surgery lightly. The Yankees doctors are far more qualified to make that decision than anyone that is currently writing about Tanaka, and this can accurately be described as a fool’s errand.…

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Quick hit: Girardi says he’ll use closer by committee to start the season

So it looks like the Yankees won’t have a closer just yet.

From Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk:

Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that he’ll begin the season without a set closer, instead splitting the ninth-inning duties between right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Andrew Miller based on matchups and game situations.

From the Lohud Yankees blog:

“My thought has been more like with a power lefty who strikes out a lot of guys and a power righty, the lineups just might match up where one day he’s the eighth inning guy and then one day he’s the ninth inning guy a little bit better,” Girardi said. “… I think you start managing who you’re going to use (in the ninth) in about the sixth inning, because you try to prepare them.”

Oh this will be fun. I cannot wait for the overreactions from everyone when one or both guys have a hiccup in the early part of the season.…

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