Tuesday morning Yankees news and notes 3/12/13

Good morning Yankee fans. It’s Tuesday March 12, 2013 and here are some news and notes for you.

The Yankees are traveling to Charlotte Sports Park to take on the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon. Right hander Ivan Nova gets the start.

Here’s the lineup:

Eduardo Nunez SS
Jayson Nix 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Juan Rivera 1B
Francisco Cervelli C
Melky Mesa CF
Thomas Neal LF
Zoilo Almonte RF
Corban Joseph 2B

Also making the trip to Port Charlotte:  Bobby WilsonDan JohnsonWalter IbarraGil VelazquezRonnier Mustelier, and Slade Heathcott and relievers Brett Marshall, Matt Tracy, and Josh Spence.

According to Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees blog, Larry Rothschild doesn’t want to go public with Phil Hughes‘ throwing schedule. Rothschild wants Hughes to focus on one thing at a time and he also gave another explanation as to why he hasn’t revealed much.

“It just slipped my mind,” Rothschild said.

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Ronnier Mustelier’s Big Chance

Ronnier Mustelier, Cody Asche

I don’t know if it’s my newfound rooting interest in him or the Yankees calling up every recently retired corner infielder like a desperate dude who needs a date to his 10-year high school reunion that’s influencing this, but it certainly seems to me like there’s been a red carpet of opportunity rolled out for Ronnier Mustelier in the wake of Mark Teixeira‘s injury.  He’s gotten a lot more playing time at the hot corner in the six days since Teix’s strained tendon was diagnosed, and had Cash himself confirm that the Yankees were looking at him as a potential option at third.  If you’re on the wrong side of the roster-making fringe as Mustelier was, hearing the GM say your name is like music to your ears.

Mustelier has played in every game since Teix’s injury, something he couldn’t say prior, and he’s had a few starts at third base.  He hasn’t dazzled in the six games he’s played, going just 2-12 at the plate with one run scored and RBI apiece, but he has sprinkled in little dashes of what he brings to the table offensively with a triple, a BB, and a stolen base.  …

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Quick hit: More cuts were announced after today’s game

The Yankees made some more cuts after today’s game.

Via Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees blog

· Optioned and LHP Francisco Rondon, RHPs Dellin Betances and Brett Marshall, and C Austin Romine to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

· Optioned LHPs Manny Banuelos and Nik Turley, RHP Jose Ramirez and OF Ramon Flores to Double-A Trenton.

· Reassigned RHP Chase Whitley, C J.R. Murphy and 1B Luke Murton to minor league camp.

The last three were “reassigned” only because they aren’t on the 40-man roster and can’t be optioned. That’s the only difference.

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Vidal Nuno Finally Turning Heads

(Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

(Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

With all the bad news about injuries, some of the positives of Spring Training have been overlooked. We’re only a few weeks into the pre-season, but the team’s young pitchers have looked incredible. Some of the stand outs include David Phelps(who’s given the team 14.0 innings with 10 hits and 1 run), Ivan Nova (5.0 innings with 4 hits and 1 run), and Jose Ramirez (9.0 innings with 4 hits and no runs). The first two have been competing for a starting position this March, and Jose Ramriez is a rising Yankee prospect, so early success wasn’t exactly unexpected. What’s come as a surprise is Vidal Nuno, who’s pitched 11.1 innings, given up 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and 15 strike outs.

Despite the obscurity, Nuno has been very successful in the minor leagues. Just two years ago, the Yankees took a flyer on the Independent League pitcher at the age of 23. In 2011, he put up a 1.24 FIP in Low-A, than a 2.80 FIP in Charleston.…

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Spring Training Game 14: Yankees 4, Cardinals 0

The Yankees beat the Cardinals 4-0 today thanks to strong starting pitching by Hiroki Kuroda and a two-run home run by Kevin Youkilis – his first of Spring Training. Kuroda pitched four innings, gave up three hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. Youkilis finished 1-2 with two RBI.

Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, and Shawn Kelley all pitched scoreless innings and Dellin Betances pitched in – pun intended – with two scoreless innings.

Corban Joseph had two hits, Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner each had one and Derek Jeter played again, as DH, and was hitless in two at bats.

And in exciting news, the Yankees did not commit an error and as far as we know, everyone made it out pain free.

Tomorrow, they take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Ivan Nova is scheduled to start against Alex Cobb.

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Quick hit: Francisco is on his way to Tampa

Joel Sherman just reported that the Yankees have signed Ben Francisco and that he is on his way to Florida. Francisco, who will be competing for an outfield spot, was just released by the Cleveland Indians.

Francisco played with Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay last year and batted .234/.282/.402/.684 in 51 games.

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Today’s Yankees news in a nutshell

So this is what’s dominating the baseball world today: The fact that the Yankees are so desperate for players, they’re trying to coax people out of retirement.

I was really hoping Cashman was just trolling the beat writers but it seems he wasn’t and that he was actually being serious. But why stop with Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones? Why not try to get Scott Brosius and Bernie Williams back?

If the Yankees could bring someone back from retirement or, as a goof, bring someone back from the dead, who would you want to see?

Personally I’d want to see Mickey Mantle.

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How long can the Yankees maintain austerity?

There’s an increasing sense among some writers that the Yankees may not make the playoffs this season. For my part, I disagree. Anything is possible, but the Yankees still have excellent pitching and a solid lineup. If postseasons were decided in March the 2011 Red Sox would have won the World Series. Could the Yankees miss the playoffs? Sure. Then again they could also take home the crown. This is why we play the games.

But, imagine for a second that the Yankee austerity budget backfires. Imagine if the Yankees don’t make it to the postseason this year. How long would that be sustainable? The organization has made no secret of its desire to get the team’s payroll under $189 million to gain the 2014 luxury tax benefits. The purpose of this is to make money, lots and lots and lots of money.

It makes sense as a business strategy. The Yankee payroll tax will reset at a lower level.…

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Will Chavez’s death bring baseball “sweatshops” back to Venezuela?


In case you don’t pay even a cursory amount of attention to world news: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died of cancer last week. The controversial (yes, I hate that euphemism too) leader was best known as the most visible figure in the South American socialist movement, largely due to his fondness for loudly and prominently criticizing the United States government in the harshest of terms. His death and political divisions in the country are likely to create quite a bit of turmoil in Venezuela as various factions strive to seize control in the vacuum of power, and Major League Baseball sits among those who will watch with intense interest in the future direction of the nation that boasts more major league players than anyone other than the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

In recent years Chavez, a huge baseball fan, had been attempting to exert some control over MLB franchises’ academy system in Venezuela. In particular, Chavez wanted to levy a 10% tax on MLB for the signing bonuses the players received, and require MLB to pay to educate the players and give them job training outside of simply playing baseball, as noted by Dave Zirin at The Nation just after Chavez’s death:

He told MLB that they would have to institute employee and player benefits and job protections.

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