Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Hirok Skip A Cause For Concern?

The big story to come out of last night’s rain-related postponement was Michael Pineda‘s return staying on schedule.  Rather than push everybody back in the rotation a day, the Yankees elected to keep Pineda slated for tonight’s start and moved Shane Greene back a few days to Saturday.  That sets up Brandon McCarthy, Greene, and Chris Capuano for the weekend series against Tampa Bay.

The smaller, but not insignificant, part of that story is Greene taking Hiroki Kuroda‘s spot in the rotation while Kuroda gets bumped back to Tuesday against the Astros.  Cash was quick to let it be known that the decision is not due to injury, but did tell Mark Feinsand that the team feels “he would benefit from the rest.”

Well what does that mean?  Is Hirok tired?  Did he say something to somebody after his last start?  Is there some kind of smaller injury that the team doesn’t want to disclose?  Those 2 declarations made back-to-back makes the situation seem sketchier than it needs to be.  …

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Ichiro’s roster spot

Ichiro Suzuki is not a player that is easy to categorize or capture in words of objectivity. He carries himself like a proud Japanese warrior from a different time. And despite the sometimes one-dimensional side of his hitting, he has had a great career. He is nearly the same age as Derek Jeter and should be venerated for the career he has compiled. Instead, he has become the last man on the New York Yankees’ 25-man roster and it is up for debate if he should even be in the pecking order at all.

Ichiro has not been a good player since 2010. He still shows flashes of his old self like when he joined the Yankees in 2012 and the first month of his 2014 season. The rest is a whole bunch of mediocrity that rests more on his reputation than on his play.

His 2014 is playing out very similarly to his 2013–except that it might be worse. He started both seasons being fairly productive and then tanked right about the same time.…

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Another Starter Bites The Dust, Now What?

Phelps vs BOS II

Courtesy of Getty Images

While him exiting the game after 2 wildly ineffective innings was the best thing for the Yankees last night, learning that David Phelps has been having elbow problems for the last few weeks was a big blow.  For a team that’s battled injuries in its rotation since early April and only recently re-established a sense of stability in that group, this was the last thing they needed to happen.  Phelps has pitched well for the better part of the last 2 months and now he’ll be out for a yet to be determined amount of time.  Once again, the Yanks will be sent into scramble mode to fill a vacated rotation spot.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s no damage to any of the ligaments in his elbow.  We found out late last night that Phelps has been feeling and pitching through discomfort in his right elbow for the last few weeks.  …

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Capuano To The Rotation, More Moves To Come

As many of you already know, Chris Capuano was added to the big league roster yesterday at the expense of Chris Leroux.  In a somewhat surprising decision, Joe announced that he would work out of the rotation rather than the bullpen.  Capuano is getting the start this afternoon while Shane Greene gets bumped back a day and Chase Whitley moves to the bullpen.

I call the decision surprising because Capuano had his greatest success this year out of the bullpen in Boston.  That said, he does have a solid track record as a Major League starter and he had pitched to a 2.79 ERA with 21 K in 19.2 IP over 4 starts in the Colorado system before being traded.  More than anything, I think this move was driven by the desire to get Whitley back to the bullpen as a way to manage his innings.  He’s closing in on 90 IP for the year, a mark he hasn’t reached since 2011 when he was still a full-time reliever.…

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Rolling the dice with David Robertson

Until today, there has been very little discussion of the impending free agency of David Robertson. Which seems strange considering that the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera has had a brilliant first go of it as the Yankees’ primary closer. To be frank, not a lot of discussion has...

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Is It Worth Calling Up Kyle Roller?

As far as grabbing headlines goes, last night’s extra-inning affair provided plenty of drama and a perfect opportunity for Chase Headley‘s “welcome to New York” moment.  As far as baseball goes, it once again showcased how pitiful this lineup is without Mark Teixeira in the middle of it.  The Yankees managed a mere 2 runs in 14 innings of play last night.  They’ve managed 4 over 23 innings in the last 2 games, and only 2 of those 4 were scored in 12.2 combined innings against no-name starters Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez.

Another baseball-centric storyline that got swallowed up by the Headley walk-off was Kelly Johnson leaving the game in the 11th inning with a groin injury.  Regardless of how you feel about his play, Johnson has been useful to the Yanks as a guy who can play multiple infield spots, bring some pop to the bottom third of the lineup, and act as Teix’s unofficially official backup at first base.  …

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The Chase Whitley Experiment Has To End In The Second Half

Whitley vs BAL

Courtesy of Getty Images

I can’t imagine there was a scenario where Joe envisioned things being so bad in his rotation this year that he had to use Chase Whitley as a regular member of it.  Even the worst of your average worst-case scenarios don’t get that bad.  When CC Sabathia joined Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on the DL in mid-May, that worst-case scenario came about in real life and the Yankees were forced to go to the Whitley well.  The move proved to be a good one for a while.  Whitley allowed 2 ER or less in 6 of his first 7 starts, 3 in the other, and gave the battered rotation a needed boost by eliminating walks and keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Right around the time that he got stretched out to a comfortable starter’s pitch count, however, the performance started to sour and sour in a hurry.  Whitley gave up 8 ER in only 3.1 innings against the Blue Jays on June 23rd, his first time facing a team for a second time, and followed that up by allowing 5 in 4+ innings against the Red Sox on June 29th.  …

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A Refresher Course On Zelous Wheeler, Newest Yankee Call-Up

Zelous Wheeler

Courtesy of the AP

It took 5 straight losses, 9 of 11, and dropping below .500, but the Yankees finally decided to make a move to attempt to help their floundering offense.  As first reported by Donnie Collins and later confirmed and elaborated on by Chad Jennings, last night Zelous Wheeler was called up from Triple-A to join the team in Minnesota.  He will be available for, and possibly playing in, tonight’s game.  No corresponding move has been announced yet, so we still don’t know who’s gone.  That may be something the team is still figuring out.  Because Wheeler needs a 25 and 40-man roster spot, there could be a couple of moving pieces here.

For those unfamiliar, Wheeler is a 27-year-old utility man who’s spent the entire season thus far in Triple-A after receiving a MiL invite to spring camp.  Drafted by the Brewers in the 19th round of the 2007 draft, Wheeler, like Yangervis Solarte before this season, has spent all of his 8-year pro career in the Minors.  …

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Reviewing The Yankees’ Options To Improve The Offense

Brian McCann

This guy sucks. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees lost for the 7th time in their last 9 game last night, and they lost again primarily because their lineup simply can’t score.  They’re the Beavis and Butthead of offensive production, and at the halfway point of the regular season it’s no longer a matter of waiting for guys to get healthy, get comfortable, or “come around”.  It’s a huge problem, one that’s been the biggest reason why this team is floundering around the .500 mark with one of the worst run differentials in MLB and one that needs to be addressed immediately.

Up to now, Joe has been hesitant to do too much with the lineup.  The last move of significance he made was demoting Alfonso Soriano to the bench and that happened weeks ago.  The front office has also been hesitant to make any moves, be they of the “shakeup” variety or the variety that actually helps improve the team.  …

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