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): Joe Girardi says that Kuroda is “OK”, and the finger is just bruised. He’s day-to-day and the team won’t know if he’ll make his next start until later on in the week. Guess that’s good news compared to what we’re used to. Continue reading Hiroki Kuroda Pulled From Game With Hand Injury

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.
Continue reading Mark Teixeira Eyeing A May 1st Return Date

Game Two: Hiroki!

(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. It’s only going to get colder form there, so hopefully this isn’t an extremely long game.

The game starts at 7:05 PM, and you can catch it on YES or ESPN2. Continue reading Game Two: Hiroki!

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. It’s possible that both of these lefty-killers are back by May, but one month of losses can be the difference between making the playoffs or playing golf in October. To see the left-handed pitchers they’ll face in April, I’ve compiled a schedule of probable starters, assuming each opposing team maintains their rotation.

scheduleapril

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Yankees Unconditionally Release Clay Rapada

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.
Continue reading Yankees Unconditionally Release Clay Rapada

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.
Continue reading Tonight’s Lineup Versus The Red Sox

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. Meanwhile, Joel Sherman spoke with Boras, who stated that Cano renewed his contract on March 20th of this year, and was under the impression that Cano was happy with his representation. Boras will likely be fighting for money/compensation from Cano’s next deal. He also speaks about how Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine requested extension negotiations this offseason.

As if the injury news wasn’t ridiculous enough, last year’s first round pick, Ty Hensley, will undergo hip surgery to correct a bone impingement. He’ll be out 2-3 months, but at least it has nothing to do with his arm. Injuries happen when you draft young pitchers, and with three first round picks in the upcoming draft, it would be interesting to see if this has any influence on the team’s decisions. Thanks to the budget, the Yankees could use some talent at the major league level as soon as possible, so drafting college players may be in the works. Chad Jennings over at LoHud has a complete roundup of the injuries to the Major League team, and when these players are expected back. Jennings also provides some updates. Continue reading Quick Hits: Draft, Boras, Injuries

Quick Hit: Ty Hensley Out 2-3 Months After Hip Surgery

If you were getting tired of all the positive news on the gaggle of injured Major Leaguers, here’s something negative on the MiL front to balance things out.

As first reported by George King of The Post, 2012 1st round pick Ty Hensley will be out for 2-3 months after having surgery today to correct a bone impingement in his right hip.  You might remember that Hensley was reported to have an abdominal strain earlier in spring camp, and according to Senior VP of Player Ops Mark Newman this was the cause.

The good news is that this injury has nothing to do with the shoulder abnormality that was discovered during Hensley’s pre-draft physical last year, and with Hensley likely ticketed for SS Staten Island or the GCL it may not have much of an effect on his ability to pitch this season.  But it’s still disheartening to know that the injury bug isn’t done biting in the organization.  Mike Eder will have more on this story later today. Continue reading Quick Hit: Ty Hensley Out 2-3 Months After Hip Surgery

MLB Needs To Tweak Free Agency

Almost under our noses, the economics of baseball profoundly changed. The most overt changes came during the 2011 CBA negotiations, where two big developments happened: draconian amateur spending caps were implemented, and a $189 million salary + other stuff soft cap was implemented. But more importantly, the success of MLB Network, MLBAM, and other negotiated TV deals brought scores of millions of dollars of equally-divided revenue to major league teams.

The result is something that looks like a fairly level playing field. Roughly half of MLB teams now have payrolls over $100 million, and several others have the capacity to spend more if need be. Teams are taking that extra payroll room and spending on big extensions for home-grown players. You know who these players are, but some recent monster extensions include Justin Verlander, Joey Votto, Elvis Andrus, etc.

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