Nightly Notes: Bird, Cano, Moncada

Robinson Cano 24

Here are some baseball notes to get you by during this chilly Saturday evening.

— Good news for Greg Bird: he was named the Arizona Fall League MVP earlier this afternoon. He hit .313/.391/.556 with six homers in 26 games during the Arizona Fall League. He’ll be back in Trenton next season but the Yankees are projecting he’ll be in the Majors at some capacity in 2016.

— Former Yankees second basemen Robinson Cano fractured his toe during the MLB All-Star game in Japan. He’s done for the series and he’ll be out for the next 3-4 weeks. The Mariners said Cano should be ready by Spring Training.

— Yoan Moncada has declared free agency earlier today, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Moncada still has to be cleared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control. If the Yankees are able to nab Moncada, they would have to do it this summer.

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Video: Hideki Matsui career highlights

It’s been an extremely quiet day in Yankee-land, so I decided to go through the Yankees vault on YouTube to pick out some video. Today in 2005, the Yankees signed Hideki Matsui to a four-year extension, which went right to 2009. It was a pretty good contract extension for the Yankees since it ended with a World Series ring, right?

To honor Matsui and his previous contract extension, I found a video of his career highlights which might have the 2009 World Series clips in there somewhere. So watch and enjoy.

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Yankees & Girardi hope to take a page from KC Royals bullpen

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The biggest strength the Kansas City Royals had during their 2014 playoff run was their young and talented bullpen. It was the pen that was able to hold down the fort against the Athletics, the Angels and the Orioles and it was the pen that propelled the Royals to a Game 7 showdown against the San Francisco Giants. If you were wondering, Joe Girardi was impressed with the Royals and he hopes the Yankees can find a way to copy the Royals success. But it’s going to have to start with the team getting younger.

“I think it’s important,” Girardi said Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. “And I think we’re trying to do that. I think you see us trying to make moves to do that, yeah.”

Watching the Royals success in the postseason pretty much left a sour taste in Girardi’s mouth, and he wished his team could have capitalized like the Kansas City Royals did.

“It shows you how close you were to possibly being a World Series team, which even makes it hurt more,” Girardi said. The Yanks finished the regular season with five fewer wins than the Royals’ 89. Of course, who knows if the Yankees could’ve gotten through the Angels and Orioles in the playoffs. Probably not.

“You think about, we were four games back in the wild card, so you look at maybe five games where you could have scored maybe 10 more runs, maybe two runs a game, with all the one-run games. That could’ve been us. That’s hard. That’s hard for me

“And we need to right the ship.”

It wasn’t the Yankees, and now they need to make some moves this offseason to bolster their pen with arms. But will David Robertson return as the closer? ..read more

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Nightly Notes: Burnett, Drew, Rondon, Stanton

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It’s been an incredibly quiet day in Yankee-land and that’s saying a lot considering Francisco Cervelli was traded, Alex Rodriguez continued to pop-up in the headlines and Chris Young was dubbed the fourth outfielder earlier this week. So lets end the night with some flyaway notes around the league.

— Ex-Yankee A.J. Burnett is going to Pittsburgh…where he’ll be greeted by a other ex-Yankees. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Burnett signed a one-year, $8.5 Million deal to pitch for the Pirates. He reportedly turned down a lot more money from the Philadelphia Phillies and admitted he liked the atmosphere in Pittsburgh. He joins other ex-Yankees Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart (you could add Russell Martin in there if he re-signs with the team).

Burnett said he’d like to end his career with the Pirates, which I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened after the 2015 season.

— The Yankees are still searching for a shortstop and all the signs seem to point to Stephen Drew. However, it’s possible the Yankees aren’t the only team that has their eyes on Drew. The New York Mets possibly could use Drew’s services after experiencing a hole at shortstop as well. The Yankees banking on Drew short-term wouldn’t be the worst idea. There just isn’t anything in the market shortstop-wise this season. Plus, Drew would be a low-risk, high-reward signing.

— If anyone remembers the name Francisco Rondon, then this is going to be important: he signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves. He ..read more

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Tyler Austin to rest 2-3 weeks after knee injury

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Last week, Tyler Austin was involved in a collision with fellow Yankee prospect Greg Bird, which ended with him being rushed to the hospital with some sort of injury. It turns out Austin had a knee injury and will need to rest for the next 2-3 weeks in order for it to heal completely.

“He has been diagnosed with a bone bruise (in his left knee),” assistant general manager Billy Eppler said in an email. “There is no damage to his meniscus or any ligament issues. He will rest for the next 2-3 weeks.”

Austin has had a history with injuries: last season he only played in four AFL games due to a nagging wrist issue. The Yankees concern about Austin’s knee is minimal.

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Afternoon Notes: Cashman, Cervelli, Wilson, Yang

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The Winter GM Meetings ended yesterday evening and it was a productive three days for the Yankees. They signed a fourth outfielder, signed a left handed reliever with minor league experience and traded away one of their many catchers for another left handed pitcher.

— Brian Cashman admitted this year’s GM Meetings had to be the busiest one in recent years. The Yankees are still looking for a shortstop, but they were able to fill some holes. The signing of Chris Young basically cemented the idea Ichiro Suzuki was no longer needed in the Bronx and the trade involving Francisco Cervelli pretty much makes John Ryan Murphy the favorite to win the back-up catching position.

— Speaking of the Cervelli/Justin Wilson trade, Cashman announced the trade took two years in the making. Both teams would visit the idea in the past but nothing substantial would come from it. This week, they were able to get a deal done. Brandon McCarthy chimed in on the subject saying ‘Cervelli is a stud’. You now have to wonder, is McCarthy going to break Yankees fans hearts and sign with the Pirates now?

— For those keeping track, left handed Korean pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang is expected to be posted on Monday. Yang could be considered as a No. 3 starter and the Yankees could see him as rotation ..read more

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Andy Pettitte advises Alex Rodriguez to “get everything out”

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte knows what it feels like to be caught using performance enhancing drugs. Sure, the reason he used them was a completely different reason from how Alex Rodriguez used them, but the feeling of being caught has been there for the both of them. The same situation, but with different outcomes; Andy Pettitte admitted his wrongdoing and apologized, earning sympathy and forgiveness from majority of the Yankees fan base. Alex Rodriguez continued to lie about his PED use until reports from the DEA confirmed Rodriguez admitted to using steroids under oath.

So with the truth of Rodriguez using PED’s surfacing around Major League Baseball, what does Andy Pettitte think Rodriguez should do?

“Just get everything out,” Pettitte said of Rodriguez while attending the 12th annual Safe At Home Foundation gala. “You know what I’m saying? Everything has to be out, or it seems like something’s always chasing you around. That’s just the best way to do things, I think, the easiest way to do things.”

You’ve heard of the saying, “the truth shall set you free”, and in Pettitte’s case it worked for him. Rodriguez on the other hand is going to have a tough time earning redemption considering he’s lied about it for so long. But the only thing Rodriguez can do at this point is apologize to the fan base for lying about it for so long. There’s no use in denying it, especially with the truth out in the ..read more

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Report: Cuban INF Yoan Moncada impresses during workouts

Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada worked out in front of 60-70 scouts on Wednesday in Guatemala and according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Moncada left all of the scouts incredibly impressed

Moncada ran a 60-yard dash, took batting practice and played infield at three positions. Because Moncada is under 23, he’ll fall under the international signing guidelines, which means if he receives a bonus, the money would come from a team’s international bonus spending pool.

More from Mayo:

He reportedly looked better at third and second than he did at shortstop, with enough arm from any infield position. Moncada swung the bat well from both sides of the plate, showing plus raw power both ways. The only negative was that he didn’t face live pitching, hitting only off of a BP pitcher. When asked to grade out Moncada’s tools based on this workout, in combination with previous reports, one scout gave the following grades:

Hit – 60 Power – 60 Speed – 70 Arm – 60 Field – 50

“Moncada had a great workout showing his five-tool potential,” one scout in attendance said. “He is in great shape. Unfortunately, he was not able to hit off live game pitching. We will need to see him off of live pitching to command the top dollars they are looking for.”

It’s still uncertain which teams are in the Moncada sweepstakes, but you’d have to think the Yankees are a possibility, considering they need infield depth in the ..read more

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