Andy Pettitte Retires
It’s the end of an era: The Yankees have announced that pitcher Andy Pettitte will retire after this season.
The team dropped the bomb in a news release today, hours before opening its final homestand of the season. The 41-year-old left-hander says he has exhausted himself mentally and physically and knows the time is right.
Pettitte holds the major league record with 19 postseason wins. His final start is scheduled for next weekend in Houston, his hometown.
Yankees close to trading for Alfonso Soriano?
It’s now clear that the New York Yankees aren’t a playoff club as currently constituted. Injuries simply have decimated the lineup. Thus New York reportedly is in very serious trade talks with the Chicago Cubs about acquiring former Yankee Alfonso Soriano.
Tim Naehring, a top assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, has been scouting Chicago players since Friday in Colorado. Naehring, considered one of the top evaluators in the game, followed the Cubs to Arizona, where they are playing a four-game series this week.
Soriano, 37, began his major league career with the Yankees in 1999. He was traded to the Texas Rangers for Rodriguez on Feb. 2, 2004, playing two seasons with the Rangers and one with the Washington Nationals before signing with the Cubs in November 2006. Following the current season, he has one year remaining on an eight-year, $136 million contract. Soriano also has 10-5 veto control of any trade the Cubs might want to make.
Soriano is batting .259 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs for the Cubs. Those 17 homers would be second to Robinson Cano’s 21 among Yankees, who have combined for 88 home runs. He has come on strong after a slow start, hitting 10 of those 17 homers in the last month. Soriano hit .262/.322/.499 (117 OPS+) with 32 homers last year, his best offensive season since 2008. He credits switching to a lighter bat for the increased production.
Coming into Monday’s game, the Yankees have gotten a .225/.267/.332 (62 OPS+) batting line from their left fielders and a .212/.297/.362 (80 OPS+) line from their DHs this season. Soriano could step in to fill either role.
The Cubs will pay the bulk of what is left on Soriano’s contract. He makes $18 million this year and the same for next season. Like they did in the Vernon Wells deal, whatever the Yankees pay will be laid out for the little more than the $6 million remaining Soriano’s contract this season. That way the Yankees aren’t on the hook for money next year when they want to get the payroll to $189 million. In return the Cubs will get a mid-level prospect. Soriano has said on numerous occasions that he would like to stay with the Cubs, although the temptation to return to New York and end his career where it began might be too great to resist.
Yankees star Derek Jeter back on disabled list
Derek Jeter’s comeback from a broken ankle lasted not even one full game, and now the questions are swirling on whether the team allowed him to come back too quickly.
The Yankees’ captain is back on the disabled list, this time with a grade 1 quadriceps strain. The move is retroactive to July 12. Because the move is retroactive Jeter is eligible to return on July 27, but that’s far from guaranteed. The grade 1 strain is the lowest possible grade, but at age 39 and given how much time he missed with the broken ankle who knows how quickly Jeter will heal this time around. Brent Lillibridge has been promoted from Triple-A to take Jeter’s roster spot for the time being. Lillibridge, a 29-year-old journeyman, has experienced a power surge in his brief stint with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He swatted seven homers in 23 games, with a 1.116 on-base plus slugging percentage.
After missing the first 90 games of the season Jeter returned from a broken ankle last Thursday, only to injure his quadriceps midway through his first game back. He said his quad tightened up during his third at-bat, and added he didn’t think this injury came from pushing too hard in his debut. Jeter used the All-Star break to rest up, hoping to avoid a return to the disabled list.
This is a huge loss as the Yankees have been struggling for more than a month and are falling further and further out of the playoff race. A healthy Jeter could really provide a boost for the Yankees’ offense, as Yankees shortstops are collectively hitting just .210/.268/.279 so far this season. In 159 games last season, Jeter hit .316/.362/.429.
Jeter joins Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis as Yankees stars who have come off the disabled list this year only to get hurt again. Now the Yankees will see what happens with Alex Rodriguez, who is scheduled to join the team on Monday for his first game of the season. New York begins a series against Boston on Friday night.
Alex Rodriguez expects to rejoin Yankees on Monday
Barring some kind of suspension that isn’t appealed — no chance — Alex Rodriguez will make his season debut on Monday with the Yankees if all goes according to play in his minor-league rehab the rest of this week.
“That’s the hope,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’ll see through the weekend. We started the 20-day rehab and once we felt he could complete the 20 days and be available to us in Texas. So let’s get through the weekend and see where he is at and see if he is major league able.”
Cashman said the Yankees could activate Rodriguez on Monday in Texas or give him an additional day off and push his first game to Tuesday. Rodriguez is working his way back from offseason hip surgery. While his ongoing minor-league rehab assignment hasn’t gone particularly well from a numbers standpoint, A-Rod did notch a long home run on Monday. A-Rod’s 20-day rehab stint will come to an end on Monday, at which point, the Yankees must either put him on the 25-man roster or return him to the disabled list.
“I feel good. What I’m happy with is I’m getting the barrel of the bat on the ball,” said Rodriguez. “I’m swinging at strikes. I’m getting the ball into the air to the outfield. I’m eliminating the ground balls. … “I never really paid that much attention to rehab statistics until this year. To me, getting the barrel of the bat on the ball is much more important.”
The 37-year-old slugger is coming off a 2012 season in which he put up a 113 OPS+ with 18 homers in 122 games. He has not played in a major league game since the 2012 postseason in which he went 3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts. He was pinch-hit for and benched during the playoffs.
Looming above all of Rodriguez’s future plans is the Biogenesis scandal. Rodriguez is expected to be suspended when the penalties come down. There is no set date when they will be announced, though they are expected at some point in the second half of the season. However, players’ association executive director Michael Weiner said the appeal process may take long enough that suspensions would not take place until 2014.
Yankees’ Derek Jeter will make season debut Thursday
Derek Jeter has been bugging Yankees general manager to let him play ASAP as Jeter rehabs from a broken ankle suffered in last year’s playoffs, and it apparently worked. Jeter surprisingly will be activated Thursday and in the lineup in the series finale against Kansas City — bet on the game at WagerWeb.
“After the game Wednesday night, after [Travis] Hafner got hurt, we looked at the weather patterns and I just decided to make the move for today. Derek was scheduled to DH in Scranton, so I figured, he could DH and sit around in the rain in Scranton, or he can DH and sit around in the rain in the Bronx. We chose the Bronx,” Cashman said.
Hafner suffered a bruise on the top of his left foot Wednesday when the pitching machine in the Yankee Stadium batting cage went haywire and fired one down and in. X-rays were negative. Cashman said Thursday morning he wasn’t sure whether Jeter, who has missed the entire season while recovering from a broken ankle suffered in last season’s American League Championship Series, would play against the Royals at shortstop or designated hitter.
Jeter played in four Minor League games while on a rehab assignment as he worked his way back. He has yet to play a full nine-inning game. On Wednesday, he saw seven innings of action and logged three plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. During his rehab assignment, Jeter tallied one hit in nine at-bats and drew four walks.
New York badly misses the Captain. If the season ended today, the Yankees would miss the playoffs for only the second time since the players’ strike of 1994. Jeter made his big league debut a month after that strike ended. He delivered a .316 batting average last year, and his 216 hits represented the second-highest total of his career.
The Yankees have used five shortstops this season. Combined they rank last in the majors in slugging (.283) and second to last in batting (.211). With the glove, the fill-ins’ .768 zone rating is 14th in the AL.
Yankees could activate Derek Jeter this weekend
All of the injuries are starting to catch up to the New York Yankees. They are now fourth in the American League East and have a negative run differential this season. Thus the team clearly would like to welcome back future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter as soon as possible. That could come Friday.
Jeter continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday. He started at shortstop after serving as the designated hitter on Sunday. He entered Monday 1-for-4 with a single and three walks over two games. Asked if he could return to the Yankees by this weekend, Manager Joe Girardi said, “There’s always a chance. You just have to see how he does the next three or four days.”
Jeter has been pleading his case to GM Brian Cashman.
“I’m trying to push to get there today, but I don’t think I can make it today,” Jeter said. “So it’s whenever they say. Really, I don’t know what else to say. I’d like to be there now, but I’m not. So as soon as I’m allowed to get up there, I’ll get up there.”
Jeter probably would like to face big-league pitcher before the All-Star Break, but the team could also use the All-Star Break after Sunday’s game on July 14 as a way to give Jeter some extra time to strengthen his ankle, which he broke in last year’s playoffs. The Yankees resume play on July 19 against the Boston Red Sox after the break. Jeter broke his ankle on Oct. 13 and had surgery. He played five spring training games, but a new break was discovered April 18. He has not played in a regular-season game this year.
The news isn’t all positive for New York. Curtis Granderson is nearly six weeks removed from undergoing surgery on his fractured left pinky finger, but he still hasn’t progressed to swinging a bat. He won’t be back before the end of July now. Granderson injured his hand after being hit with a pitch on May 24 against the Rays, which was just his eighth game of the season after missing the first month and a half with a broken arm suffered in Spring Training. He’s batting .250 with a home run, an RBI, five runs and a stolen base in 28 at-bats this season.
Yankees in market for first baseman with Mark Teixeira out for season
The chances of the New York Yankees reaching the playoffs, much less winning the World Series, took a huge blow on Wednesday when it was announced that first baseman Mark Teixeira would indeed undergo season-ending surgery on his wrist.
Texieira, who missed most of the season, had been given a cortisone shot for his ailing right wrist the week before, but he still wasn’t feeling any relief. On Wednesday, his fears were realized. An MRI confirmed the tear of the tendon sheath in his right wrist had not adequately healed, and team doctors recommended Teixeira undergo season-ending surgery to repair it.
“It’s definitely not what we wanted,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We thought that the shot would get him through, but we decided that he needs surgery and we’re going to have to do without him.”
The two-time All-Star originally suffered the injury, a torn tendon sheath, back on March 5 while preparing to play in the World Baseball Classic. He missed the first 53 games of the regular season, made his debut on May 31 and played in 15 games, batting .151 with three home runs and 12 RBIs. The 33-year-old has been quite durable during his major league career, averaging 150 games per season in his 10 years prior to 2013. He attributed the injury to overuse.
“Four to five months of rest/rehab, and then the doctor expects me to be 100 percent in six months,” Teixeira said, meaning he should be ready by spring training next season.
Teixeira still has three years left at $22.5 million per season on his contract, meaning the Yankees will be paying $47.5 million next year just for Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
The news cleared up one of the Yankees’ many questions, as the Bombers are still waiting to see when — or in some cases, whether at all —Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and others will be back to help lift the struggling lineup.
Brian Cashman figures to look for a right-handed-hitting complement to backup first baseman Lyle Overbay between now and the July 31 trade deadline, with Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Michael Young of the Phillies among the potential targets.
Overbay had only 14 at-bats between May 31-June 14, a two-week break that served the 36-year-old well physically. He resumed his role as the everyday first baseman when Teixeira landed back on the DL, and while he admitted that he isn’t the player Teixeira is when healthy. Overbay is batting .239 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs, but he’s batting just .208 in June.
Yankees in trouble with Teixeira likely back to DL?
The New York Yankees overachieved early this season in leading the American League East despite missing several injured stars. Well, things are starting to catch up to the Yanks. Curtis Granderson is back on the disabled list and now it appears Mark Teixeira also will return there.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman thinks it is likely that Teixeira will go on the disabled list again because of his injured right wrist. Cashman, who will make the decision, said that after Teixeira received a cortisone shot for the inflamed tendon in the wrist, the slugger would not play for the Yankees for about a week at minimum.
“I don’t know that it’s been right since he’s been here, honestly,” hitting coach Kevin Long said of Teixeira, who returned to New York this weekend for further tests on the wrist. “A big part of his routine is doing tee work, and he hasn’t been able to do that. It definitely affects him from the left side, not the right side. The right side is fine, but the left-handed part where you kind of go like that (bending at the wrist) in the last minute, he’s not able to execute.”
It was just a few days ago that Teixeira said he felt good and thought his at-bats were getting better, but his switch-hitting numbers told a worrisome story: Teixeira was hitting .278 from the right side – the swing that primarily uses his uninjured left wrist – but only .086 as a left-handed hitter.
Cashman said Teixeira doesn’t yet need season-ending surgery, but the GM wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility. Teixeira, 33, is hitting .151 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 15 games. He went 3-for-31 (.097) over his last nine games before pulling himself from Saturday’s game because of weakness in his wrist. Lyle Overbay is replacing Teixeira at first, but Overbay is struggling as well.
When Teixeira suffered the torn tendon sheath in early March, doctors told the Yankees there was a 70% chance the injury would heal without surgery. Given that an operation would have knocked him out for all of 2013, the decision not to send him for surgery was easy. If Teixeira does go on the DL, he’ll join fellow Yankees Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Granderson, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez and Michael Pineda.