Archive for May 1st, 2010

Will Colin Curtis soon be roaming LF at Yankee Stadium?

Update: Curtis Granderson has been diagnosed with a grade II groin pull strain. According to sportsinjuryclinic.net, a grade II strain is a moderate tear that can involve anywhere from 10% to 90% of adductor muscle  fibers. The injury ensures that Granderson will miss at least 15 games, although as much as a month is possible.

In the sixth inning of today’s game, Curtis Granderson pulled up lame while running from first to third on Brett Gardner’s single. Although the results of an MRI are still pending, early indications are that a DL stint is forthcoming.

Although he had been struggling, losing Granderson not only weakens the lineup, but also compromises the defense. Because Randy Winn’s roll on the team has almost been reduced to observer status, Thames is the likely choice to play LF. The defensive fallout from that move could be considerable. Regardless of the revised alignment, the Yankees will need to call up a reinforcement.

Greg Golson and Chad Huffman are the only two outfielders in the minors who are currently on the 40-man roster. Both right-handed hitters have been struggling, however. In 59 PAs, Huffman has a line of .204/.232/.436, while Golson is hitting .275/.296/.478 in 71 PAs. Golson, who has limited major league experience, also adds an element of speed as well as more experience in centerfield.

Should the Yankees decide that Granderson’s absence will be long enough to warrant an addition to the 40-man, two other likely candidates for a promotion are Scranton’s David Winfree and Colin Curtis.

Curtis, a lefty like Granderson, has been one of Scranton’s more productive early season hitters. In 67 PAs, he is hitting .339/.434/.441.  Curtis has also been playing mostly LF, another factor that could be in his favor. Unfortunately for Curtis, on April 29, he was placed on the 7-day minor league disabled list with an ankle injury. If the Yankees decide to promote a bullpen arm before addressing their outfield situation, Curtis could return to action in time to gain the promotion. If not, Winfree, a right-handed batter and right fielder, could get the nod. In 77 PAs, Winfree is hitting 300/.350/.486.

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Things continue to get worse for Javier Vazquez, who now has 4 of the Yankees 8 losses.

What started as a referendum on Javier Vazquez ended with even more questions about the curious managing of Joe Girardi. Despite a stirring sixth inning comeback, Javy’s poor pitching and Girardi’s managerial blunders were eventually too much for the Yankees overcome.

After retiring the first two batters of the game, Vazquez surrendered a HR to long-time nemesis Andruw Jones. The long ball was Jones’ sixth career blast against the Yankees righty (a seventh would be forthcoming). As has been a pattern with Vazquez, Javy allowed the blast to force him out of the strike zone. He walked the next batter on four pitches and then in the second essentially loaded the bases because of his unwillingness to challenge the White Sox hitters. Vazquez was able to wiggle out of that jam with only one run, but in the third Jones belted his second HR of the game. The Yankees tried to scratch back with one run in the third, but Vazquez gave that back and more in the fourth when he surrendered a two run HR to Mark Kotsay. Vazquez wouldn’t retire another batter in the inning, but was spared further damage by Sergio Mitre’s fine relief appearance.

Despite the gloom surrounding another miserable effort by Vazquez, the Yankees rallied for a run in the fifth and four in the sixth. The uprising in the sixth was capped off by a two run HR by Nick Swisher, his first of the season at Yankee Stadium. During the rally, the Yankees did get a bad break when Curtis Granderson was forced to leave the game with a groin pull. Granderson left the Stadium to undergo an MRI, so a DL stint is most likely on the horizon.

Despite all of the frustration from Vazquez’ awful performance and Granderson’s injury, the Yankees still had a 6-5 lead. At that point, however, Girardi started the wheels of over management that eventually doomed the game. Just as he did on Tuesday in Baltimore, Girardi lifted an effective pitcher to go with the struggling duo of Dave Robertson and Damaso Marte. Even worse, he had Robertson intentionally walk the go-ahead runner to set up a Marte versus Pierzynski matchup. So, not only did Girardi fall into the same left-on-left trap, but this time he actually created it. Pierzynski’s two-run double ensured that Girardi paid the price for his folly. (more…)

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Andy Pettitte’s evening began with two well placed bloopers by Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham, which was a little disconcerting considering that everything this season seemed to be falling just right for the Yankees’ lefty. A hanging slider to Paul Konerko confirmed that change in karma, as the major league’s home run leader upped his total to 11.

Derek Jeter prepares to turn a 95mph fastball from Matt Thornton into a game winning triple (Photo: Getty Images).

In the bottom of the first, the Yankees immediately jumped on Sox’ starter Freddy Garcia. Alex Rodriquez ripped an RBI double that snapped a 0-19 drought, and then Robinson Cano followed with a rocket single past second base that plated another run. With Arod on third and Cano on first, Nick Swisher slashed a groundball toward first base. Konerko tagged the bag and then fired to second to nab a sliding Cano. The putout occurred before Arod had a chance to cross home, so the tying run was nullified. Had Cano simply stopped in the baseline, the run would have counted and the game would have been knotted at three. After the inning, first base coach Mick Kelleher had a quick conversation with Cano, who then immediately realized the mistake he had made. As Jeter trotted out to his position, he gave Cano a consoling gesture.

Another mental error in the top of the second inning allowed the White Sox to add a fourth run. With runners on first and second and no outs, Alexei Ramirez hit a one hopper to Arod, who missed an attempted tag of Donny Lucy as he crossed in the base path. Arod did force Pierre at second, but failing to get the lead runner or immediately go for two made the eventual sacrifice fly possible. (more…)

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