Jeter prepares for final home opener

Derek Jeter 14

Derek Jeter‘s Farewell Tour has taken him from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada but the next stop of the Farewell Tour is a familiar one: 161st Street and River Avenue, Bronx, New York, home of the one and only Yankee Stadium. Tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m., Jeter will run out of the dugout for the final time on Opening Day, checking off another ‘last’ on Jeter’s list.

“It almost doesn’t feel like the season is underway until you get to your home opener,” Jeter said. “Especially missing last year, I’m looking forward to this one.”

The first pitch will be thrown out by both Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte which Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada will catch. The Core Four will be reunited once again, although this time it’s a bittersweet reminder of what inevitably has to come. Three-fourths of the Core Four have retired and the last member standing is slated to follow them into retirement following the 2014 season.

“I can’t tell you what’s going to happen,” Jeter said. “Fans have always treated me good throughout my career. I don’t know what it’s going to feel like, what the atmosphere will be like. I hope we have good weather, but I have no idea.”

Jeter’s career is already filled with memorable plays and moments, but tomorrow afternoon’s home opener will be another memory he hopes he can tell his future children about one day.

“There’s always something special about Opening Day,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “To know that it’s your last one, I think it will mean a ..read more

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Gardner goes yard as Yankees beat Blue Jays 6-4 for series win

Brett Gardner 20

Going into today’s game, the Yankees didn’t have a home run this season, which was slightly hard to believe. Well, if you had Brett Gardner in your pool as to who would hit the first Yankees home run of the season (I did), you’d be right. That home run made the difference as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-4 for the series win at the Rogers Centre in Toronto Canada.

The Yankees got all six of their runs in the first three innings off Toronto Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison as he worked 3.1 innings in  his start. In the first, Gardner walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground ball by Derek Jeter and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s RBI ground out. Jeter would later pull ahead of Paul Molitor for eighth place on the all-time hit list with 3,320. Kelly Johnson had a two-run double later in the first inning after Brian McCann walked and Alfonso Soriano was hit by a pitch. In the fourth, Brian Roberts walked, stole second and scored on a double by Yangervis Solarte. Gardner hit a two-run shot shortly after.

CC Sabathia had the start for the Yankees and had a slightly better outing than Opening Day, going six innings while giving up four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley each had a scoreless inning before handing the ball to David Robertson for his second save of the season.

What’s Next?

– It’s Opening Day at ..read more

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Sabathia aims for a bounceback start

New York Yankees CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia‘s last start didn’t go exactly to plan–he gave up six runs in the first two innings of work, giving the Yankees a loss on Opening Day. Today, he aims to bounceback from not only his Opening Day start, but also from his wretched 2013 season, one where he had an ERA of almost five.

Sabathia admits in his last start he was overexcited the first two innings before he settled down and pitched four scoreless innings. He said he now knows he has to relax on the mound so he can find his rhythm.

I think it was just a matter of relaxing,” Sabathia said of his Opening Day start. “I have to try to find a place in the middle where I can pitch good.”

There was one pitch Sabathia didn’t throw in the first two innings that he incorporated in the third, leading him to be more effective: The cutter. Sabathia learned the cutter from Andy Pettitte and has now added it into his repertoire. It was a good pitch for him which helped Sabathia keep the Houston Astros hitters off balance for the remainder of his start. If Sabathia wants to be successful, he has to throw the cutter for strikes and he has to show finesse. He’s no longer the power pitcher he once was and now has to rely on location to get hitters out.

Sabathia has struggled in recent years, but he has a good history with his opponent: He’s 14-4 in his career against the Blue Jays. It’s early in the season,  in fact, it’s only the first week, but Sabathia knows what’s on the line in this game. There’s a huge difference between the Yankees going back to the Bronx with a 3-3 record ..read more

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MLB, we have a problem: home plate rules aren’t clear

Francisco Cervelli 3

Before the season started, Major League Baseball enforced the rule of a catcher being unable to block the plate to prevent injury. Although they enforced the rule, today’s Yankees/Blue Jays game proved the rule wasn’t entirely crystal clear.

During the third inning of play, Francisco Cervelli tried to score from second base on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury. Cervelli was thrown out on the play but Joe Girardi believed Cervelli was safe and that catcher Josh Thole blocked the plate without giving Cervelli a chance to score. The umpires reviewed the play and later declared Cervelli out, but with Girardi’s limited knowledge about what the qualifications of blocking home plate are, it showed a major flaw in the new rule.

“I believe this is going to be the toughest overall for them to get right all the time,” Girardi said. “To me it’s a vague interpretation of what blocking home plate is, and I think it needs to be in writing. The way it was explained to us, if you are straddling the base in front, towards third base, that is considered blocking home plate.”

It appeared Thole left a small lane for Cervelli before he had possession of the ball, but the bigger problem at hand was the “out” call at home plate. Girardi asked if he was allowed to play the game under protest and Major League Baseball declined. Girardi felt Thole had blocked the plate to prevent Cervelli from scoring, and Cervelli was just as certain.

“Halfway, I saw part of the plate,” Cervelli said. “And then he blocked the plate a little bit, and then I had to go straight, but I couldn’t visualize home plate. … I was supposed to ..read more

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Pineda shines but offense can’t score as Jays blank Yanks 4-0

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda made his first start in two seasons and looked outstanding, but the Yankees were unable to give him offense as they fell to the Blue Jays 4-0 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Pineda went six innings giving up one run on five hits while striking out five in his first start since September 21, 2011. Vidal Nuno pitched to a batter in the seventh inning before being lifted for David Phelps. In a 1-0 game in the eighth inning, Phelps gave up a solo shot to Melky Cabrera and a two-run home run to Jose Bautista.

The Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and were unable to do any damage against Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey. Francisco Cervelli went 2-for-3 on the day while Yangervis Solarte, who continues to impress the Yankees, also went 2-for-3. On the other end of spectrum, Alfonso Soriano is 0-for-16 to begin the season, the longest hit-less drought of his career.

What’s Next?

CC Sabathia will take the mound with hopes of  bouncing back from his last start, where he gave up six runs in the first two innings. Drew Hutchison will take the mound for the Blue Jays. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. the game will air on the YES ..read more

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Mark Teixeira goes on the DL with hamstring strain

Mark Teixeira 6

Four days into the season, the Yankees have put their first everyday player on the disabled list. Mark Teixeira was sent to the DL with a hamstring strain, although the Yankees haven’t sent him to get an MRI as of yet. Teixeira expects to be back within the next fifteen days, but this wasn’t the start he envisioned when he vowed he’d bounce back from his wrist surgery. In fact, Teixeira was furious with the prognosis and even admitted to almost letting his anger get the best of him.

“I wanted to break everything in this clubhouse last night when I came in here, but I respect the Blue Jays organization more than that,” a dejected Teixeira said. “It was really frustrating. I felt like I did everything offseason and this spring to get my body in position to play all season.”

Despite Teixeira being put on the DL, Girardi said it’s not serious and it was more of a precautionary move.

“We don’t think it’s a bad strain,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously we’ll have a test on Monday when he gets back, but we just felt it was in the best interest of him and us to put him on the DL, that way he doesn’t keep testing it and make it worse.”

Teixeira’s injury impacts players such as Kelly Johnson, Yangervis Solarte, Francisco Cervelli, and Dean Anna.

“He’s [Kelly Johnson] our first baseman now,” Girardi said. With Johnson moving to first base, Solarte is now the primary third basemen–at least until Teixeira returns.

“I can put Anna (at third base) too if I feel like he needs the day or we like the matchup a little bit better, ..read more

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Tanaka solid in first start as Yanks win 7-3 over Blue Jays

Masahiro Tanaka 16

It was an inauspicious start to Masahiro Tanaka‘s career in the Major Leagues. He gave up three runs in the first two innings and it left many fans wondering if Tanaka had his prized pitch, the splitter. But he was able to give the Yankees seven effective innings and in the end he surely didn’t disappoint as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 7-3 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Tanaka went seven innings giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out eight. After the second inning, Tanaka retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced. Matt Thornton and Dellin Betances pitched the eighth inning and Betances came out for the ninth. Unfortunately, Betances didn’t have the command, forcing Girardi to go to the bullpen to get his closer David Robertson. Robertson retired the final three hitters of the game to shut the door and give the Yankees their second win of the season.

The offense came out of the gate in the first inning against Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan with a Carlos Beltran single to score Jacoby Ellsbury and a Mark Teixeira single to score Brett Gardner. Teixeira would later leave the game in the second inning with a strained hamstring. Yangervis Solarte, who was making his second start of the season, had a two-run double in the fourth inning, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Brian McCann followed with an RBI single scoring Ellsbury. Brett Gardner had his second RBI of the season in the eighth as ..read more

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Mark Teixeira leaves game with hamstring injury

Mark Teixeira 5

Well, it took three games but the Yankees unfortunately have their first injury of the season.

Mark Teixeira exited the game in the second inning of tonight’s game with a hamstring injury.  The diagnosis of the injury is a “strained hamstring”, meaning Teixeria could possibly see time on the DL.

Teixeira had a Grade 2 strain during the 2010 ALCS against the Texas Rangers and didn’t do any baseball activities for 6-8 weeks. I’m not a doctor, but I saw the video of the Grade 2 strain and compared it to the hamstring strain tonight. I believe Teixeira has a Grade 1 strain but I’ll have more news on Teixeira’s injury after the game.

UPDATE

According to Erik Boland of Newsday, Teixeira hasn’t had any testing on his hamstring. Joe Girardi says if Teixeira was to have testing, it would be done on Monday when the team goes to New York for the home opener. It’s pretty easy to imagine Teixeira won’t play for the rest of the weekend, possibly longer.

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