Back spasms, bobbleheads and rain, oh my!

It has been an eventful day in Yankeeland. Okay, I’m lying, it has been an eventful past hour or so.

If you missed it, Carlos Carrasco was suspended for throwing at Kevin Youkilis and now there’s more news from the Bronx.

First up, Andy Pettitte‘s start on Sunday has been moved. Hiroki Kuroda will be pitching in his place. The reason? Pettitte’s back had been bothering him the past few days and it locked up on him last night.

I’ve had back spasms many times. They’re not fun. So the rotation for this weekend’s series against the Orioles will now be CC Sabathia tonight, Phil Hughes tomorrow and Kuroda on Sunday night.

Next, the Yankees are offering a pretty cool ticket package. From yankees.com:

The New York Yankees announced they have added four limited-edition collectible player bobblehead dates presented by AT&T to their 2013 promotional calendar. The set of four is the first series in a three-year collection of 12 Yankees bobbleheads.

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Quick Hit: Carrasco disciplined for throwing at Youkilis

Here’s the press release from MLB:

Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco has received an eight-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing at and hitting Kevin Youkilis of the New York Yankees in the top of the fourth inning of the Tuesday, April 9th game at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Joe Garagiola, Jr., Senior Vice President of Standards and On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.

Unless appealed, Carrasco is scheduled to begin serving his suspension during Cleveland’s home game tonight against the Chicago White Sox. If Carrasco elects to file an appeal, then the discipline issued to him will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.

 … Click here to read the rest

Wells Making Good Contact To All Parts Of The Field

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The last time I talked about Vernon Wells, I was optimistic about some of the changes he made to his swing. Considering the money the Yankees dished out for the left fielder, I’ll assume the organization felt the same way. Over the last few years, Wells has fallen from one of the top outfielders to someone close to negative value. His walk and contact rates decreased and his swings outside of the zone and strike outs increased.

When talking to the media this Spring, he said that he’d fallen into a bad habit of trying to hit home runs, and after looking at video from last decade, decided to change his swing so that he could go to all fields. This was somewhat surprising, considering Wells hasn’t gone to opposite field in a very long time. Over his career he has a 21 wRC+ to right field, and when you total it up, only 22% of his batted balls have gone in that direction.… Click here to read the rest

Please, Give Me More Rainouts

The Yankees made the road trip to Cleveland, but only played two of four games due to rain. Outside of their division, this means that the Yankees are going to have a headache double header to play at some point in the future, most likely in September. Axisa at River Ave Blues is a little bit worried:

Now here’s where things get really messy: it’s supposed to rain all day in New York tomorrow. The heaviest stuff is expected in the morning, but the forecast right now says the showers will continue through the night. Three consecutive rain outs (in two different cities) would be pretty crummy. Not only would the bombers have three postponed games to make up just two weeks into the new season, but you also have to worry about the hitters losing their rhythm and what not. The Yankees’ bats did some major damage on Monday and Tuesday and I really would like that to continue.

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Sherman Reports What Any Smart Person Already Knew About The Ichiro Deal

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

In a blog post yesterday Wednesday discussing the Yankees’ outfield situation, Joel Sherman dropped this juicy little note about the decision to re-sign Ichiro Suzuki this past offseason:

“There was not unanimity in the Yankees front office about bringing back Ichiro Suzuki, specifically on a two-year contract. In fact, there were executives who would have preferred to see that money (two years at $12 million) directed to Russell Martin instead.”

Sherman also wrote that the “top of the Yankees hierarchy” demanded that Ichiro be re-signed after his strong finish to last season, and if you start to put those pieces together it looks like this was another “Cashman vs. Ownership” front office battle in which Cash came out on the losing side.

From the beginning, the baseball-specific logic of re-signing Ichiro was questioned, and the business/payroll logic of the decision was brought into question after the deal was announced as a 2-year deal.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 9: Should Of Kept? (Rained Out)

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Tony Dejak, Associated Press

The weather report didn’t look good earlier today, but things are starting to lighten up in Cleveland. The tarp has come off the field at least once, even though the game will not start on time. But there looks to be a window sometime after 7PM, and no one wants to reschedule two games this early in the season. My guess is that they’ll get this game in, even if it’s rain shortened, and that means Phil Hughes will take the mound against ex-Yankee Zach McAllister.

McAllister was traded to the Indians as a player to be named later for Austin Kearns in late 2010. At the time of the trade, the thought of giving up McAllister for a utility player like Kearns was less than desirable. The right-handed starter was a 3rd round pick in 2006, and accumulated a very impressive ERA through 4 seasons of the minor leagues. In 2010, he struggled in Triple-A, and put up a 5.09 ERA with very little strike out capability.… Click here to read the rest

Hughes Shows A Dramatic Change In Fastball Movement In His Debut

One great thing about the beginning of the season is a fresh start, a clean slate, and we get a lot of players trying new things. For players like Vernon Wells, these changes show immediate success, but for others, like Albert Pujols or Mark Teixeira in 2012, the changes were counterproductive. The Yankees already have a few changes of their own, and yesterday I covered Ivan Nova‘s new sinking fastball. Today, I’d like to take a look at Phil Hughes.

Over the last few years, the ever-tinkering right-hander has blossomed from a four-seam, cutter, curveball pitcher into a much more balanced four-seam, slider, changeup, curveball starter. Some of these new pitches required new mechanics, and last year we saw him start to lower his arm angle. The dropoff in his arm slot created more depth to his curveball, moving it from a 12-6 to an 11-5. This approach also added some horizontal movement to his fastball.

One aspect of Hughes, and other homegrown Yankee pitchers, is that many of them don’t throw sinkers.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hits: Granderson, Teixeira, Rivera, Lineup

grandyCurtis Granderson removed his brace today, and was supposed to begin his throwing program, and indeed he did. It went really well according to the center fielder, and the plan is to swing a bat sometime this weekend. It looks like he’s on track to making his early-May return.

Speaking of early May returns, Mark Teixeira was somewhat glad that last night’s game was canceled, since it’s one less game he’ll miss. Last week, the first baseman said that his last doctor’s visit went well, and he’s now expecting to get back in early-May. Last night’s rain out will probably be made up on May 13th, so it’s good to hear that he’s planning to be back with the team at that point, considering the initial timetable had him returning in late-May to June.

Mariano Rivera is taking his farewell tour backstage, and meeting with the staff and fans from teams all around baseball. Today, he met with the people in Cleveland, and Chad Jennings has a video.… Click here to read the rest

What Nova Can Work On

As you probably know by now–thanks to last night’s canceled game thread–the Yankees will be skipping Ivan Nova‘s turn in the rotation, opting to go with Phil Hughes tomorrow; Nova will work out of the bullpen in between starts.

Nova struggled in his first start. Though he struck out five batters, he didn’t finish five innings, tossing just 4. in Detroit on the fifth. He also gave up four runs (all earned) and allowed seven baserunners (five hits, two walks). Something else of note, though, happened in that game and Mike explained it the other day: Nova was throwing a sinker at the Tigers’ batters. If we head over to BrooksBaseball and check out Nova’s player card, we can see that he threw the sinker 15% of the time, his third most used pitch behind his fastball (46%) and his curveball (25%). It would seem that goal number one would be for Nova to use that sinker when he’s brought in for a relief outing.… Click here to read the rest