An IIATMS/TYA Public Service Announcement: Line Drives Up The Middle

Attention, pitchers.  Has this ever happened to you?

KurodaInjury

That’s Hiroki.  He’s 38 years old and he pitches for the New York Yankees.  Last night he found himself in the most perilous position a pitcher can be in.  He had a line drive coming right at him, and as he ducked out of the way he put up his bare hand to try to stop the ball.  In doing so, he made an already dangerous situation potentially more dangerous, both for him and his team.  Hiroki could have seriously injured his pitching hand trying to make a play like that, and in the process seriously injured his team’s chances of maintaining a strong starting rotation and winning baseball games.  Hiroki’s not the first pitcher to do this, but his case brings about the perfect opportunity to remind all pitchers out there about the safe, correct way to handle this situation.

What Hiroki should have done was not even bother trying to put any hand up in the first place.  … Click here to read the rest

Red Sox Add Insult To Injury In 7-4 Loss

Hiroki Kuroda was supposed to save us, but we got even more injury news tonight. He didn’t start today’s game particularly strong, but after taking a line drive to the throwing hand in the second inning, he completely lost his control. Kuroda gave up a walk and two hit by pitches almost immediately, and gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead before Joe Girardi gave him the hook. At the moment, he’s being diagnosed with a contusion to his middle finger, but X-Rays are being taken.

Cody Eppley came into relieve Kuroda, and immediately earned an inning ending double play to get out of the BB/HBP mess. Girardi left Eppley in for the third inning, but a number of well placed groundballs made it through the infield. Eppley gave up 4 earned runs in his 1.1 inning of work, but he didn’t look that terrible. The right-hander drew 5 ground balls, 1 strikeout, and 1 line drive, but the ground balls just couldn’t find fielders.… Click here to read the rest

Hiroki Kuroda Pulled From Game With Hand Injury

Surprise, another injury alert. During tonight’s game, Shane Victorino hit a line drive up the middle and Hiroki Kuroda tried to barehand it. It seemed to only graze his fingers, and after walking a batter and hitting two, Joe Girardi pulled him from the game. No word yet on the severity, but I’m sure he’s going for X-Rays as you read this. I will update this as soon as word gets out on the diagnosis. Hopefully it was just numbness, and I’m sure the cold weather didn’t help. If it’s broken fingers, things are going to get interesting in a bad way.

UPDATE (8:28 PM): The Yankees are diagnosing Kuroda with a middle finger contusion and sending the pitcher for X-Rays right now. Hopefully it’s just a bruise and nothing is broken. I’m assuming his return time depends on the severity of the bruising, so his timetable could be anywhere from making his next start to a DL stint.

UPDATE (10:50 PM): Joe Girardi says that Kuroda is “OK”, and the finger is just bruised.… Click here to read the rest

Mark Teixeira Eyeing A May 1st Return Date

Positive injury news! Mark Teixeira met with his doctor on Monday to have his brace removed, and seemed optimistic about swinging a bat earlier than expected. During tonight’s game, Meredith Marakovits reported that the first baseman is now eyeing a May 1st return thanks to the positive news. Teixeira should be cleared to begin swinging after his next doctor’s visit in a little more than a week, and we’ll know more about how realistic his early return stands after that meeting. Getting Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix out of this lineup early would be extremely helpful, since Teixeira’s versatility at the plate and defense at first is sorely missed.… Click here to read the rest

Game Two: Hiroki!

(AP)

(AP)

The Yankees took a good beating in their first game of the season, but that was against a tough left-handed starter. As I explained in my post earlier today, the Yankees are weak against southpaws without Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez. Fortunately, the team will face very few lefties, and only David Price stands out in that group.

The team will face their first right-handed starter today, Clay Buchholz. Here’s the somewhat improved lineup for tonight’s game.

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

On the mound, we have Hiroki Kuroda. He had a great Spring, and should do great things against this Red Sox lineup. The only problem tonight is the weather, and Weather.com has the first pitch temperature at 43 degrees. Not awful, but with windchill it feels like 34 degrees.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Have A Light Schedule Against Left-Handed Pitchers In April

After losing Alex Rodriguez to hip surgery this offseason, the Yankees made a point of finding a right-handed hitting third baseman to counter left-handed pitching. In 2012, the team struggled against lefties, while Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson regressed against same side pitchers. The organization made a point of finding some right-handed bench players, but Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera did not pan out.

When Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter were expected to miss opening day, you could start to see the panic in the Yankees’ moves. Ben Francisco and Vernon Wells were the best two options, and now on Monday we were left with an opening day lineup that was hard to look at. Eduardo Nunez batted second, Francisco was your DH, Jayson Nix found himself at third base, and Kevin Youkilis was batting cleanup with Wells as his protection. Against lefties, the Yankees’ lineup is nothing short of a mess.

Fortunately, Jeter should return sometime in April. Meanwhile, Teixeira is growing more optimistic about his wrist injury, and could start swinging a bat with two hands in a couple of weeks.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Unconditionally Release Clay Rapada

Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Joe Girardi has announced that the Yankees have unconditionally released Clay Rapada. We knew previously that Rapada was a victim of the 40-man roster crunch, but for those holding out hope that he’d clear waivers, the Yankees didn’t even try. The left-hander pitched to a 2.82 ERA last year, and held left-handed batters to a .186/.263/.255 triple slash. As good as he was against same side hitters, Rapada is useless against right-handers.

The Yankees currently have Boone Logan in the bullpen, who can pitch to all hitters. The organization also has a number of left-handed relievers in their system, including Cesar Cabral, who is on the same recovery schedule as Michael Pineda. Rapada’s recent injury troubles were also a concern going forward.

Rapada was very successful in his stint with the Yankees and I would assume the team plans to offer him a Minor League deal, but he shouldn’t have a huge problem latching on to a Major League team as a productive LOOGY.… Click here to read the rest

Tonight’s Lineup Versus The Red Sox

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

On the mound: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Clay Buchholz

This is the first look we get at the Yankees’ lineup versus right-handers. I’ll have a post coming up on the topic at 5:00 PM, but as you can see, the Yankees are more suited to play against right-handed pitchers. If Vernon Wells finds himself struggling to hit early on, the Yankees can slide Brennan Boesch into a corner outfield spot as well.

The game starts at 7:05 PM on YES and ESPN2.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hits: Draft, Boras, Injuries

Jim Callis at Baseball America has a copy of the 2013 Bonus Pools. The Yankees, who have 12 picks in the first 10 rounds, have a total of $7,957,400 to spend on. This amount ranks 8th in all of baseball, behind the Twins, and in front of the Diamondbacks. Most of this money is due to owning the 26th, 32nd, and 33rd overall picks, which should each be worth a little less than $2 million each. The point of this new system is to deter big market teams from spending big money on players later in the draft, and thus increasing the prices of amateur free agents altogether. This year, the Yankees have found a way to match the bonus pool of small-market and losing teams, but at the price of losing Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano.

Scott Boras isn’t very happy about Robinson Cano switching agencies. One unnamed agent had some unkind things to say about Cano’s decision, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Boras’ team that released this, as he has a strong grip over the media.… Click here to read the rest