3 (THREE) KEYS TO DEREK STAYING HEALTHY

New York Yankees: 3 Keys to Derek Jeter Staying Healthy This Season

By

(Featured Columnist) on February 27, 2013

Hi-res-159423806_crop_650x440 Al Bello/Getty Images

For the New York Yankees, the 2012-2013 offseason hasn’t been very kind.

Between the Alex Rodriguez saga continuing and the re-signing of older players, the Yankees don’t look like a fresh team in the hunt for a championship.

Derek Jeter’s injury in the playoffs last season was simply the icing on the cake for the aging team.

Now in 2013, Jeter’s return and continued success against both pitchers and Father Time is vital to New York’s success.

Keeping Jeter healthy and productive this year is of the utmost importance for New York, because without Jeter, it loses the rest of the starting left infield and its leadoff hitter.

Although Jeter isn’t back completely for spring training, he continues to rehab from a broken ankle.

Here are three key factors to Jeter making it through all of 2013.

A Healthy Ankle

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Al Bello/Getty Images

First things first—that ankle has to heal. Jeter broke and had surgery on the ankle in October, which is around four months ago.

Even though Jeter has said he wants to start on Opening Day, he has to be sure that he is at 100 percent. If Jeter comes back too early and re-injures his ankle, it can sink New York’s season.

In-Season Rest and Relaxation

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Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Last season manager Joe Girardi already began subscribing to the “R and R” approach while dealing with the aging left side of the infield.

Jeter was the designated hitter 25 times, in order to give his legs a break. Girardi will need to continue this style of putting Jeter at DH.

Although there is no way of knowing if Jeter has another year of hitting above .300 with over 200 hits, his importance to the team hasn’t waned.

To protect both Jeter and the team, Girardi will need to provide solid amounts of rest for the 38-year-old shortstop.

Capable Backups

Jayson Nix was a solid utility player for New York in 2012.
Jayson Nix was a solid utility player for New York in 2012.
Elsa/Getty Images

Directly connected to extra rest and relaxing for Jeter is his backups and whether they are good enough to eat up innings while Jeter sits.

If Girardi is confident in the guys filling in for Jeter, he’ll be more inclined to rest Jeter (see the pattern?). The more rest Jeter gets when he needs it, the fresher he will be when he is needed most.

As Eduardo Nunez struggled with errors last year, Jayson Nix made his case to be Jeter’s set backup. Last year at shortstop Nix had a .983 fielding percentage, almost 50 points higher than that of Nunez.

No matter who the Yankees pick up or whom Girardi decides to be Jeter’s backup, they must be reliable.

New York’s success will come in big part from Jeter, and if he can’t rest enough during the year because of shaky play from back ups, the Yankees may be in trouble.

EDB

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UPDATES ON MO’S RECOVERY

Mariano Rivera Injury: Updates on Yankees Star’s Recovery

By

(Featured Columnist) on February 28, 2013

Hi-res-7058272_crop_exact The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Mariano Rivera is well on his way to returning for the 2013 MLB season, as the New York Yankees reliever pitched an inning in a simulated contest Thursday morning.

According to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, Rivera took to the mound and tossed 18 pitches, while also doing his first fielding work of spring training.

The 43-year-old began throwing to batters a week ago, but was untested with his glove. He was required to make three plays in the inning, covering first on a bunt, fielding a bunt towards first and stopping a dribbler near the mound.

Rivera underwent surgery on a torn ACL on his right knee a bit over 10 months ago and seems to be rehabilitating at a pace he is pleased with. He told the gathered media in Tampa (via Matthews):

“That’s what I wanted to do, field some bunts, go after some balls in between first and the mound, and just plant and throw. It feels good, guys, it feels real good. It was perfect.”

If Mo continues his progress, he should be ready in time for Opening Day. It will be his 19th season in the big leagues, but the legendary closer will likely still be a force to be reckoned with.

Hi-res-6205408_crop_exact Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In 1,051 appearances—beginning all the way back in 1995—Rivera pitched 1,219.2 innings, struck out 1,119 batters and recorded 608 saves.

As the MLB’s all-time saves leader, Mo is a surefire Hall of Famer once he retires and will be remembered as one of the most feared pitchers in history.

The 12-time All-Star had his 2012 campaign cut short when he was preparing to catch a routine fly ball against the Kansas City Royals on May 3. He underwent surgery for the torn ACL shortly after on June 12.

Many initially thought that it may be the end of his storied career, but the five-time World Series winner vowed to return for another season.

Barring any setbacks in spring training, it seems he is going to keep that promise.

MORE ON CANO CONTRACT

Yankees have made “significant offer” to Robinson Cano

TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees have made a “significant offer” to Robinson Cano, according to general manager Brian Cashman, hoping to lock the All-Star second baseman into a contract extension before he reaches free agency.

Cashman confirmed on Thursday that an offer has been presented to Cano and agent Scott Boras. There have been negotiations between the two sides in recent weeks, but Cashman declined to comment further on the state of the talks.

Earlier this month, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner had said the team was “willing to consider a significant long-term contract” to keep Cano in pinstripes, but Steinbrenner did not publicly acknowledge an actual offer had been made.

“I thought Hal announced that we made a significant offer, and we’ve had a few conversations,” Cashman said. “I thought I was restating Hal’s stuff. If I said a little more, that’s all I’m saying.”

Cashman would not say when the offer was made, or if it has been rejected by Cano and Boras.

Cano, 30, is entering his final season under contract with the Yankees after his $15 million club option was picked up in October. A two-time Gold Glover and four-time Silver Slugger, Cano batted .313 with a career-high 33 homers and 94 RBIs last year.

The move represents a departure from the normal stance of the Yankees, who have waited for contracts to expire before opening negotiations on a new deal, as they have done with shortstop Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera in recent years.

“Usually it’s applying to older guys – [age] 37, 38, 39,” Cashman said. “We have a policy. Since we’re the team, we have the right to change our minds: especially ownership.”

Boras typically prefers to bring his clients to the open free agent market, and it has been speculated that Cano could seek a contract of eight to 10 years at $20 to 25 million per season if he reaches free agency.

Cano has said numerous times that he does not want to discuss his next contract at this point of the year.

“It’s not about the money, but like I’ve said, I don’t want to go into details right now,” Cano said recently. “I’m just focused on playing the game and just helping the team win another championship.”

Cashman pointed out that the Yankees have made extension offers before deals expire in the past; New York reportedly offered catcher Russell Martin a three-year, $20 million deal last March, which was rejected.

“It’s not like it’s a country club, and here’s the code of conduct that you can’t deviate from,” Cashman said. “We’ve had a history of doing things a certain way, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it that way every day.

“Whatever conversations and however you want to define them with Robbie, it isn’t something new or different, because we did it with Russell last March.”

CASHMAN: A-ROD WILL NOT IMPACT CANO

GM: A-Rod won’t impact future talks

Updated: February 24, 2013, 4:40 PM ET

ESPNNewYork.com

Brian Cashman was one New York Yankees official who did not want to sign Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million contract after the 2007 season.

But it appears Cashman won’t hold that unfortunate investment against his pending free agent, Robinson Cano.

Speaking on “The Ian O’Connor Show” Sunday morning on ESPN Radio, the Yankees general manager also said he still expects Rodriguez — recovering from his second hip surgery — to return “at the All-Star break,” and called the latest allegations that the star third baseman used performance-enhancing drugs “a very concerning story for everybody within this industry.”

Ian O’Connor Show

Brian Cashman comments about recent allegations of PED use by Alex Rodriquez.

More Podcasts »

Cashman declared Derek Jeter, recovering from ankle surgery, “100 percent healthy” and on schedule for an Opening Day start, and pronounced his roster good enough to contend for a championship.

Cano is the best player on that roster, and the Yankees have opened negotiations with his agent, Scott Boras, in the hope of cutting a deal before the second baseman hits free agency in the fall.

Asked if the 10-year deal with Rodriguez would shape talks with Cano, Cashman said, “There’s only so much you can spend, but we’ll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we’re doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex.

“[Cano] is a tremendous player, one of the best players in the game, and via free agency there will be a select number of teams that will have interest in him. I can’t say everybody, because the contract demands that he’ll have will eliminate a number of teams right off the bat. But every team would want a Robinson Cano on it. How many teams can afford a Robinson Cano, we’ll see.”

As for Rodriguez, named in a Miami New Times report among the major league players who allegedly received PEDs from a South Florida anti-aging clinic, Cashman said the three-time MVP should return in July as something less than the offensive force he used to be.

“I think obviously the days of the perennial MVP candidate may be over,” Cashman said. “But we haven’t seen that the last number of years regardless. … Since he had the [first] hip surgery on the other side [in 2009], what we have gotten from him was an above-average player at third base. … When you factor in age and everything of that nature, there’s going to be certainly a regression. I’d say an above-average player at that position when he comes back is the hope.”

More On The Yankees

Want to get the scoop on everything in pinstripes? ESPNNewYork.com has you covered. Blog

Cashman also addressed the allegations that Rodriguez and other players received banned drugs from the Biogenesis clinic.

“It’s a very concerning story for everybody within this industry,” he said. “It has allegations towards people obviously in the game and involving people outside the game. So Major League Baseball is doing a full-court press, as they should, to determine the validity of that story. … If there’s truth to the story, then obviously people need to be accountable. And if there isn’t truth to the story, then the Miami New Times people should be accountable.”

Rodriguez, who admitted to prior PED use in 2009, has denied the allegations.

Asked if he believed Rodriguez’s denial, Cashman told O’Connor, “I’m not in a position to really comment on it. I don’t know what is or isn’t away from our ballpark, so I couldn’t say either way. I have no knowledge.”

Cashman spoke hopefully of his 38-year-old captain, Jeter, and of the team he assembled around him.

“I deem him 100 percent healthy,” Cashman said. “I don’t think we’ll see him in games for about another 10 days, and we’ll probably start DHing him and then eventually shortstop, but we have a program that’s lined up to have him ready for Opening Day. We’re just being careful for somebody coming off a broken ankle. … He is fine, he is lined up, and he will be the Opening Day shortstop.”

CASHMAN: YANKEES MADE SIGNIFICANT OFFER TO CANO

Cashman: Yankees made “significant offer” to Cano

The Yankees are not just willing to make an offer to Robinson Cano, they’ve already put one on the table.

General manager Brian Cashman said today — first on a radio interview, and then to a group of writers — that the Yankees made a “significant offer” to Cano. Previously, Hal Steinbrenner had indicated that the Yankees were willing to make an offer, but Cashman made it clear that an offer was already extended.

Cashman wouldn’t say when the offer was made. He also wouldn’t say whether it’s been rejected or remains on the table. It’s been unusual for the Yankees to make mid-contract offers, but Cashman said that’s not necessarily an organizational rule.

should home plate collisions be banned

Mets prospect at center of debate: Should home-plate collisions be banned?

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Baseball was the only sport Travis d’Arnaud’s mother would let him play. The reason was simple: baseball was safe.

“She’s really protective,” said the Mets’ prized catching prospect at his locker Wednesday.

Marta d’Arnaud was right. Baseball is considered a safe sport. Except perhaps for one position: catcher. Home plate is where most of the sport’s brutal collisions take place. And catcher happened to be the position where d’Arnaud became a star prospect.

Now, the California native is becoming a test case in an era of developing concussion awareness. He’s never played a big-league game, yet he’s a crucial piece of the Mets’ future plans. And because of both his promising future and a recent past filled with injuries and a concussion, d’Arnaud is suddenly at the center of a sport-wide debate: Should home-plate collisions be banned?

Travis d’Arnaud’s injury history makes the collision discussion an interesting one. (USA Today Sports)Mike Matheny, the Cardinals manager and a former catcher himself, came out in favor of a rule change earlier this week, stating a runner should be tagged rather than blocked as is the case at the other bases. That triggered a league-wide discussion about one of baseball’s most thrilling plays. The home-plate collision brings to mind exciting moments like Pete Rose ramming Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game, but also frightening incidents like Buster Posey suffering a season-ending broken ankle in a play at the plate in 2011.

It’s the Mets’ preference that d’Arnaud avoid that kind of impact altogether.

The Mets have been careful not only with d’Arnaud, but also in their comments about this issue. On Wednesday morning, when d’Arnaud was asked about any instruction to avoid collisions, d’Arnaud said, “I haven’t been told anything.” A short time later, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said there had been no edict for d’Arnaud. “We don’t have a firm position,” he said. “It’s something we’re looking at.” After that afternoon’s game, d’Arnaud’s position coach, Bob Geren, said any decision to tell d’Arnaud not to block the plate is “an ongoing discussion.” Then, manager Terry Collins told reporters he had instructed d’Arnaud not to block the plate.

[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

“I said, ‘Trav, I know you’re a tough guy and I know it’s baseball,’ ” Collins told reporters Wednesday. “‘But if you want to play for the next 15 years, the last thing we need is to have you reinjure your knee.'”

In a conference call Wednesday, Alderson addressed the issue further: “Terry has said, ‘Look, get out of the way.’ Whether that will be permanent with him or permanent with all of our catching prospects or something [fellow Mets catcher] John Buck will adopt … I don’t know. But I think it’s an issue we have to address globally, rather than just in the case of Travis d’Arnaud. And to some extent we have an obligation to treat everyone the same way. ‘Travis, you’re really valuable to us, don’t do this, don’t do that, everybody else take the risk, because you’re not that good.’ I don’t think that’s an organizational approach we want to take.”

Then there’s the question of what exactly avoiding collisions means in a practical sense. It’s clear the Mets don’t want their young star seeking contact in the minors, especially considering he’s never played a big-league game, but that doesn’t mean let the runner score. Geren is teaching d’Arnaud and all of his catchers to allow a pathway – specifically, let the runner see the plate – but remain in position to make a tag. Geren believes that when a runner can see the plate, he’s more likely to slide rather than bowl over a catcher and risk an injury. “The days of standing in front of the plate,” Geren says, “are close to over.”

That, however, assumes a run-of-the-mill play at the plate. Which rarely happens. The runner might make a huge turn. The catcher might have to rush to get into position. The throw might be up the third-base line, directly in the path of the oncoming runner. There’s a lot to think about already in a situation like that, especially if you’re an up-and-coming catcher. Then there’s perhaps the most dangerous instance: when the catcher is simply standing at the plate, waiting for the ball to arrive with a runner bearing down on him.

And although everyone’s frightened of what happened to Posey in 2011, there’s also another safety issue to consider. What if someone like d’Arnaud is the one trying to score? If a collision is banned, he (or any other base runner) may avoid the impact and get injured. It might be safer to lower a shoulder than to dive at a catcher’s shin pads or spikes.

[Also: Brandon McCarthy returns, says protective headgear options for pitchers need improvements]

“Sometimes it’s the only way to get to the plate,” says Mets third-baseman David Wright. “I’d prefer to run him over as a way to save myself from getting hurt.” That sentiment is echoed by Indians manager Terry Francona, who is not in favor of a ban. “I don’t think people have thought it through enough,” he told reporters recently. “You’re going to get more base runners injured.”

All of this puts Alderson in a funny spot. He’s not only the one who made the trade for d’Arnaud, he’s also the chairman of Major League Baseball’s rules committee. So he has a vested interest not only in the integrity of the game but the integrity of a team that needs d’Arnaud to live up to his potential. He said he traded for the 24-year-old because he looked at the Blue Jays roster and “saw him as their best prospect at a position we needed.” The only con? “His injury history.”

Buster Posey was injured after a collision with Florida Marlins center fielder Scott Cousins …That history is unfortunately long. In 2010, it was a bad back, which his father, Lance, says Travis first tweaked doing a deadlift. In 2011, it was a concussion and a torn thumb ligament sustained receiving a pitch. In 2012, it was a torn knee ligament that ended his season. And that was suffered, ironically, when he tried to break up a double play. In fact, d’Arnaud was first put behind the plate as a boy because the catcher on his father’s team got hurt. There was even talk in the Blue Jays organization about moving d’Arnaud to third to protect his longevity, though that’s not an option in New York because of Wright.

It’s not as if d’Arnaud doesn’t already have pressure on him. He was traded for a Cy Young Award winner not once (for Dickey) but twice, as he left the Phillies in a deal that included Roy Halladay. He’s in baseball’s biggest media market, on a team that has a history of beloved catchers including the late Gary Carter and d’Arnaud’s childhood hero, Mike Piazza. He said the feeling of getting his first hit as a Met this spring was “indescribable,” and only to be topped by the first hit he gets in New York. (He’s not expected to start the season in the majors.) He also admits he’s been trying “not to overthink it” at the plate.

“Maybe at first I was a little too rushed,” he said Wednesday. “I’m no longer trying to hit the ball 600 feet.”

The Mets aren’t expecting him to win them a World Series this year. They just want him to get them into a position to win a World Series over the next few years. And that might require rethinking what position he’s in when there’s a play at the plate.

“It’s almost like he’s getting used to the injuries,” Travis’ father, Lance, said Thursday morning. “But that better be the last one.”

MLBPA VISITS CHEAPSKATE HAL’S YANKEES

MLBPA head visits Yanks’ camp

Weiner speaks about PEDs and team payroll

Feb 27, 2013   |

 

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York

Yankees reliever Mark Montgomery throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Orioles Wednesday. / Kim Klement/USA today

Written by
Chad Jennings

TAMPA, FLA. — Yankees fans aren’t the only ones with reason to hope Hal Steinbrenner breaks from his plan to cut payroll. The players association would also prefer that the Yankees’ owner continues to spend big money.

“I imagine Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that,” MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner said. “But like a lot of things, I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Weiner is seven stops into his annual team-by-team spring-training tour. He met with the Yankees on Wednesday, and it’s hard to imagine Yankees camp being just another stop along the way; especially given the recent reports linking Alex Rodriguez to performance-enhancing drugs and given the Yankees’ unusually quiet offseason in preparation for getting below the luxury-tax threshold next season.

“We knew when we negotiated the last basic agreement that there were certain incentives built in for the Yankees to drop their payroll,” Weiner said. “If the Yankees decide to drop their payroll to (take advantage of those incentives), I’m not concerned, because they’re dropping their payroll to put themselves in position to greatly increase their payroll the next year. That incentive was understood.”

Of greater concern, Weiner said, is the most recent series of performance-enhancing drug allegations. Rodriguez is the most notable name attached to a shady Miami clinic called Biogenesis, but Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli has also been connected to the clinic (though with no direct link to PEDs).

“It is a concern that more names are seemingly attached to this story,” Weiner said.

In the wake of the Biogenesis reports, several players – including Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira – have spoken out against performance-enhancing drugs and in favor of the game needing to do what it can to find and punish cheaters. Weiner said that sentiment has been noticeable in his meetings with teams throughout baseball.

“There’s no mistake as to where the sentiment of the players are,” Weiner said. “Mark is right, they are sick of this issue. If there is something going on, whether it’s in Miami or otherwise, they want us to get to the bottom of it.

“… The thinking of both the union and the commissioner’s office this offseason when we made changes was – this is a fairly standard tenet of criminal justice, as well – that the best way to deter conduct is to make it more likely that you’re going to get caught. Increasing the severity of the penalties has limited usefulness if people think they’re going to get away with something.”

Teixeira said the same, that in the fight against steroids, it makes more sense to focus on better testing than on increased punishment.

“(Suspended) 50 games and your name being tarnished, that’s a heck of a penalty for any player to have their name dragged through the mud,” Teixeira said. “That’s a tough penalty. I think the problem is guys think they can get ahead of (the testing procedure). So I would rather fix the science than just say, you’re banned for life the first time.”

COMPETITIVE A.L. EAST BRACES FOR SHAKEUP

Competitive AL East braces for shakeup

After years of predictability, all five teams have legit shot at first place

Matthew Leach By Matthew Leach | Archive 2/27/2013 7:07 P.M. ET
Justice on Orioles’ chances00:04:31
MLB.com executive correspondent Richard Justice breaks down the Orioles’ chances of repeating their 2012 success and their bright future

TAMPA — The division that set the standard for sameness is virtually unrecognizable these days.

Just a decade ago, the American League East race was the most predictable competition in sports. From 1998 through 2003, the five East teams finished in exactly the same order, every single year. Six straight seasons with the Yankees on top, the (Devil) Rays on the bottom, and the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles in order in between. It was baseball’s version of a caste system.

Even over the past decade, there wasn’t a lot of upward (or downward) mobility. Last year marked the first time since 1998 realignment that Boston and New York weren’t both in the Top 3 at the end of the year. From 1998-2011, the Orioles finished in fourth or fifth every year but one. The Blue Jays finished in third or fourth in all but two of those seasons.

As the 2013 campaign approaches, though, that predictability is gone. Last year offered a taste, but this year might bring full-on chaos. And that’s great news — unless you’re a Yankees fan.

All five teams could finish in different positions than they did a year ago. Every club in the division has reason to think it can finish first. Every team in the division has reason to fear a flop. You want wide-open? You’ve got it.

The defending champion Yankees have big worries in their lineup and smaller ones in their pitching staff. The Orioles, last year’s second-place finishers, made no major upgrades in a division where nearly every other team was active. The Red Sox and Blue Jays, at the bottom last year, have heavily reworked rosters. The third-place Rays’ biggest move was to trade a front-of-the-rotation starter in a package for a hitter who has yet to take a Major League at-bat.

The Blue Jays are the darlings of the division, but they know that nothing is guaranteed.

“People say, ‘Oh there’s this window, all these teams are down,'” said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos. “And I do believe this, you could have said it about us last year, that we’re down. And now all of a sudden we make all of these trades and people think we’re not down.”

If Toronto is the buzz team, New York is the anti-buzz team. The Yanks lost Nick Swisher and Russell Martin over the winter. They’ll do without Alex Rodriguez for much of the season. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are returning from major injuries, and Curtis Granderson just suffered one to boot. Andy Pettitte is 40, Hiroki Kuroda is 38 and Phil Hughes has a bad back.

And yet…

The Yankees always seem to be written off, and they just about always win. They still have Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Jeter, and they should have Granderson back before the season is a third over. They have CC Sabathia and a deep bullpen. And they won 95 games last year.

“We’ve got guys who can step in,” said outfielder Brett Gardner. “We’ve got some good depth. We’ve got veterans that have been there, done that before. We’ll be fine. We’ve got a good pitching staff, and we’ll play good defense, and [Granderson] will come back in May and probably still hit 40 [home runs].”

As for the Red Sox, who became a punch line last year, they won 90 games two years ago. They added an army of hitters to bolster a lineup that cratered last year. Their bullpen is improved and their rotation has questions, but also promise. It might not work. But you don’t have to squint too hard to see how it could go very well.

Tampa Bay? The Rays keep chugging along. Trade acquisition Wil Myers could boost their offense, but he also probably won’t start the season with the big club. They’ll miss James Shields, who fetched them Myers, but no team is better suited to withstand the loss of a starting pitcher. They don’t have to get a lot better after winning 90 games, but then again, it’s unclear whether they did get better in the short term.

And there are those perplexing O’s, who rode an almost impossible record in one-run games to their first playoff berth in 15 years. They had perhaps the least active winter of any team in baseball, and as such are hearing a lot of skepticism. For the record, they’re fine with that.

“People that play the game know that ‘they say’ is the biggest liar,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I know what they say about us. We’re supposed to be in last place. That’s all right. Our guys, they’re used to that environment.”

Maybe “they say” will be right, and the O’s will falter. Maybe their manager will be right, and they’ll soar again. The fun of it is, they’re both possible. The old predictable AL East is nowhere to be found in 2013.

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE YANKEES 2/28/13

Around the Empire: New York Yankees News – 2/28/13

By on Feb 28, 6:00a 22

Chris McGrath

Union Boss on PEDS, Payroll, and Working for Cheap – nj.com

For a More In Depth Coverage – LoHud

Michael Weiner, the MLBPA Executive Director came to Yankees camp to discuss topics from Johnny Damon, as well as other players, playing for free, the reduced Yankee payroll, and PED issues. He knew that the new basic agreement would lead to more incentives for the Yankees to drop payroll, so it was something they expected. He believes that, while testing isn’t perfect, if you cheat you’ll eventually get caught.

A Yankee Fire Sale? – The Yankee Analysts

If the Yankees see the 2013 season as a lost cause they need to be prepared to trade their impending free agent assets. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and others can all obtain a decent package of prospects and the Yankee Analysts provide comparable trades involving free agents-to-be and their prospect hauls from the last few seasons.

A Look at Branden Pinder – The Yankee Analysts

The Yankee Analysts take a look at Yankee relief prospect, Branden Pinder, and go over his career in the system and how he can improve to one day join the major league team.

Matt Diaz and the Six Year Splinter – ESPN

Wallace Matthews chronicles the journey of Matt Diaz from a splinter in 2006, through two different surgeries, to finally being healthy and looking for a spot on the 2013 Yankees. Diaz is ready to step up on place of the injured Granderson and he speaks about his new understanding about what being a Yankee means.

The Alex Rodriguez World Series Ring – Fangraphs

It turns out that the Word Series ring that A-Rod’s cousin, Yuri Sucart is selling is not just a replica, but is actually a duplicate that Alex Rodriguez had made for him. The ring being sold was not the story, because that happens all the time, but it was the idea of an active player and A-Rod having a ring sold and put to auction.

Replacing Granderson – YES Network

The YES Network targets Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa and Ronnier Mustelier as the likely candidates to fill in for the injured Curtis Granderson. Players like Rob Segedin and Adonis Garcia are also seen as candidates for the team. The team would move Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki to accommodate the player and put him where he is most comfortable. The player could also be a veteran and doesn’t even necessarily have to be on the 40-man roster.

Quick Hits:

Budget Call Out: Mark Feinsand says he’ll believe it when he sees it when discussing the Yankees’ intention to get under the $189M mark.

Spring Rotation: Hiroki Kuroda will start on Friday, Ivan Nova will start on Saturday, and Andy Pettitte will throw a simulated game on Sunday.

MO THROWS SIMULATED GAME AND MORE

Yankees’ Rivera throws 1st simulated game

The Associated Press – 1 hour 29 minutes ago

 

  • New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera throws in the bullpen during a workout at baseball spring training, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera throws in the bullpen during a workout at baseball spring training, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt …

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was all smiles after throwing 18 pitches Thursday in his first simulated game since knee surgery last spring.

”I feel good,” Rivera said. ”I feel real good. Getting stronger and stronger.”

The 43-year old pitched one inning against Yankees’ minor leaguers. He also fielded and covered first base.

”That’s what I wanted to do, field some bunts, go after some balls in between first and the mound,” Rivera said.

Rivera pitched in nine games last year, his season ending when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3. He had surgery on June 12.

Rivera is a 12-time All-Star with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 in the postseason.

”He’s throwing the ball right where he wants to, and to be able to that in February is amazing,” Yankees ace CC Sabathia said.

Sabathia, likely to start the season opener against Boston on April 1, threw 46 pitches over two innings during his initial simulated game. The left-hander had offseason left elbow bone spur surgery.

”No problems,” Sabathia said. ”Feel good. Threw everything, so I’m excited. I felt better today just commanding the baseball. I’ll keep working, and hopefully get better each time out. I’m excited I don’t have that little pain in there anymore.”

Sabathia expects to have a bullpen session in a few days.

”I’m getting antsy to get into a game,” Sabathia said.