Tagged: Cody Ransom

Claggett coming up

By Jon Lane
George King is reporting that the Yankees will call up right-hander Anthony Claggett in time for tonight’s game as insurance for Sergio Mitre. The move make sense. In the event Mitre gets bombed again, Claggett will eat innings and “take one for the team” so Joe Girardi can avoid blowing out the entire bullpen with those four games against the Red Sox on tap. I hope Mitre is thinking about this and hope it’s burning him up. He’s the Yankees’ fifth starter because he’s the best of the worst, and neither the team nor the fans have too much faith in him right now.

Another of many reasons why it bodes well for Mitre to get it done tonight: Claggett was smashed for eight runs on nine hits (two home runs) in 1 2/3 innings of relief for Chien-Ming Wang on April 18, a game the Yankees lost to the Indians, 22-4.

Both King and Peter Abraham speculate Cody Ransom will be designated for assignment, for Claggett to be sent back to Scranton and Ramiro Pena to be promoted back to the big club.

3:57 p.m.
Abraham has confirmed that Ransom has been DFA’d.

You are what your record says you are


By Joe Auriemma
The Yankees are 27 games into the season and under .500. They already have two four-game losing streaks and are playing exactly like their record states. This team has problems and it’s the type of problems that won’t just disappear with the return of Alex Rodriguez into the middle of the order.

As was the case with last season, the Yankees already have had major injury issues. The loss of A-Rod was just the tip of the iceberg when they lost two of their big money relievers in Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte. Now Marte had not been good before he was injured, but he is an experienced pitcher. Bruney has not had a full season with the Yankees since his 58-game performance in 2007. He has been lights out every time he’s been in there and he seems to be what’s missing from what has been a subpar bullpen this season. There are many inexperienced arms out there that give up the big hit at the worst possible moment.

I never like to blame injuries, but it has ravaged the bullpen, the lineup and the bench. The Yankees lost A-Rod, then his replacement Cody Ransom went down, Xavier Nady has been out and then they lost their leading RBI man in Jorge Posada. To make matters worse, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui have been playing hurt and let’s not forget about Chien-Ming Wang, who was just putrid in three starts this season. Every team has injuries, but the Yankees’ situation is pretty bad.

Could the injury bug for the second straight season be blamed on age? Yes, I think the advanced age of these players has a lot to do with the injuries. The Red Sox and Rays have a pretty young core of players and they don’t seem to be going through this same problem over the last two seasons.

After the injuries and the bullpen issues, the Yankees have had a tough year defensively. That seems to be the difference between a lot of the upper echelon teams to how they are playing right now.

This team also is not manufacturing runs. They don’t move runners over and when they do, they don’t drive them in.

With all of this being said, the Yankees can still snap out of this with the talent that they have and win their share of ballgames. However, when you combine everything that’s going on with the team right now, it really is true, “You are what your record says you are.”

Starting lineups: April 14, 2009

yankees.jpgBy Jon Lane
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher LF
Jorge Posada DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Ramiro Pena 3B
Jose Molina C

A.J. Burnett P

rays.jpgRAYS (4-3)
B.J. Upton CF
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Pat Burrell DH
Dioner Navarro C
Ben Zobrist RF
Akinori Iwamura 2B
Jason Bartlett SS

Matt Garza P

Teixeira is back after missing three games with tendinitis in his left wrist. He had an MRI Monday in Tampa, which revealed no structural damage, and was prescribed stronger anti-inflammatory medicine.

Ramiro Pena gets his first career start to give Cody Ransom a blow. Ransom is batting .083 (2-for-24) in the Yankees’ first seven games.

Swisher lifetime as a clean-up hitter: 10-for-30 (.333) with a homer and nine RBIs in 11 games.

First game impressions

By: Joe Auriemma

It’s the middle of the fifth inning in the first game here at the new Yankee Stadium and I already have some first impressions of the game play at the ball park.

It’s only fitting that Derek Jeter got the first Yankees hit to start things off in the bottom of the first inning.

Robinson Cano, who hit the first home run in the new stadium in the bottom of the second, crushed that ball into the right field bleachers. The bleachers are more set back than in the other stadium, so to hit that ball halfway up in the stands is a big time shot. I told my colleague Chris Shearn that I thought, even thought the ball was a line drive, that it was hanging up in the air more than I remember from the other park.

When Hideki Matsui and Cody Ransom hit their home runs, I felt the same way. The ball is carrying and hanging in the air tonight. I remember that the other stadium it would only really do that when the weather got hot out.

I spoke with YES Network commentator John Flaherty who also made that same observation.

I’m not going to put too much stock into the ball carrying right now until I get more of a sample throughout the season. However, if this trend does continue, this could become a very good hitters park.

Now in the top of the sixth, Mariano Rivera has come into the ballgame for his first ever appearance in the new park. Rivera, who came into his signature song Enter Sandman by Metallica, got a very big ovation from the crowd and with every pitch, flash bulbs continue to light up the stadium.

The 2 Live Stews

zone80.pngHere’s audio of my appearance on Sports Radio 790 in Atlanta, talking A-Rod, the WBC and CC Sabathia with The 2 Live Stews.

Tonight’s lineup vs. Reds (YES HD, 7 p.m.)
Brett Gardner CF
Johnny Damon LF
Xavier Nady RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C
Juan Miranda 1B
Angel Berroa SS
Ramiro Pena 2B

Some random takes about the Yankees and around the league:

  • Maybe the idea of Brett Gardner as the Yankees’ everyday center fielder is not so crazy after all, writes John Harper. The Yankees’ Brett the Jet, is batting .381 (6-for-21) with a team-leading three home runs, four RBIs, six runs scored and two stolen bases in eight games. Conversely, Melky Cabrera is batting .278 with two homers and two runs scored. Of course, there remains a ton of time in Spring Training, and Gardner may easily flame out by April, but here and now he provides elements the Yankees need and Joe Girardi loves: hustle, guts and grit.
  • Anthony McCarron is following Francisco Cervelli’s ride with Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, which knocked Canada out of the tournament and plays tonight in an elimination game.Cervelli received nice compliments from hitting coach Mike Piazza. Yet I still wonder why he chose to play in the tournament instead of trying to make a lasting impression on the Yankees. Jorge Posada’s shoulder issues won’t have closure until he proves he can resume the full responsibility of a starting catcher. Besides, he turns 38 in August and his contract runs out after the 2011 season. It’s never too early to start thinking about the future. It’s not Jose Molina and it may not be Jesus Montero. 
  • Incidentally, I’m enjoying the WBC. And I’m now a fan of Juan Carlos Sulbaran. Pitching for the Netherlands, the Reds’ 19-year-old Single-A prospect came on in the sixth and whiffed Ivan Rodriguez on three nasty pitches. Later, Sulbaran got Carlos Beltran to ground out with the bases loaded on a 3-2 pitch. It’s do or die for the upstart Dutch team tonight when they face a Dominican Republic group out for revenge, but win or lose, Sulbaran will be around for a long time. Years from now, a Reds rotation of Sulbaran, Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez and Homer Bailey will be scary good.
  • Don’t look now, but Angel Berroa is 9-for-18 with two homers and five RBIs in eight games. Cody Ransom is 6-for-20 (.300) with an RBI in eight games. Berroa, though, has played all of one game at third base (in 2007) and has hit no higher than .270 since being named AL Rookie of the Year in 2003. Ransom’s the guy to play third in Alex Rodriguez’s absence. He’s more versatile and reliable for the long haul.

Monday musings

pettitte_250_030909.jpgBy Jon Lane
Andy Pettitte his spring debut this afternoon against the Blue Jays. Pettitte and the Yankees, as you know, were at a stalemate before compromising on a one-year deal worth $5.5 million with an additional $6.5 million in bonuses.

Not that Pettitte will rebound from a down season to win 20 games like Mike Mussina last year, but he will be better now that he’s healthy and free from the HGH admissions that weighed heavily on his mind.

Furthermore, having won in New York, Pettitte offers an invaluable intangible to CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and the Yankees’ young arms. His wisdom, experience and insight will become especially valuable late in the season and the take here is that Pettitte still have a few big games left in him.
Today’s lineups
Brett Gardner CF
Melky Cabrera LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Jorge Posada DH
Nick Swisher RF
Jose Molina C
Angel Berroa 2B
Justin Leone 3B
Ramiro Pena SS

The center field derby
Brett Gardner: 6-for-18, 2 HRs, 5 R, 2 SB
Melky Cabrera: 4-for-15, 0 HRs, 2 R, 0 SB

Don’t look now
Phil Hughes’ Grapefruit line: 7.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts, including three hitless innings on Sunday (two walks, four strikeouts).

Andrew Brackman was optioned to Single-A Charleston. J.B. Cox, George Kontos and Kanekoa Texeira were reassigned to the Yankees’ Minor League camp.

Alex Rodriguez is undergoing hip surgery this morning. Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record tracks the A-Rod stock market.

Cody Ransom is getting his share of press. This column by The Record‘s Ian O’Connor is an absolute must-read. This alone makes you want to root for Ransom.

Strictly in baseball terms, the Yankees can get back with Ransom at third base for a month or so. He’ll be that much more valuable to the team once Rodriguez returns.

A few updates from Peter Abraham:

Andy Pettitte’s line: 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 31 pitches

Dan Giese gave up a solo home run to Russ Adams in the third.

Brett Gardner’s hot spring continues. Gardner went yard with a two-run shot (his third of the spring) to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the third. Melky Cabrera was hitless in two at-bats entering the fifth.

Gardner later reached first on a bunt single and was moved to third on Cabrera’s two-out base hit. However, Cabrera got caught between first and second and Gardner, breaking for home, was tagged out. Gardner is 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Cabrera finished 1-for-3 before he was replaced in left field by Austin Jackson.

The news was not so good for Ian Kennedy. The right-hander got tagged for five runs on five hits in two innings, including Travis Snider’s solo homer with one out in the sixth. 

The A-Rod verdict

By Jon Lane
Alex Rodriguez will have arthroscopic hip surgery on Monday and is expected to miss six to nine weeks. According to Peter Abraham, it will be a less invasive procedure, so instead of missing at least four months, the goal is to get the surgery done, rehab, return around late April-early May and have the full repair after the season.

Dr. Marc Philippon will perform the surgery in Vail, Colo., where Rodriguez will remain for several weeks, and stated in a Sunday morning conference call he is 85-90 percent certain A-Rod won’t have a setback this season.

From the sounds of it, Brian Cashman and the Yankees deserve credit for their thorough research and the exploration of every option. In this case A-Rod won’t suddenly break down and the Yankees will have him back much sooner than later. As far as a band-aid, look for Cody Ransom see the bulk of the time at third unless Cashman plucks someone like a Mark Grudzielanek off the scrap heap. The good news is this does not necessitate a major move for a high-priced veteran (Adrian Beltre, Scott Rolen).

A-Rod out? Now what?

arod_250_030509.jpgBy Jon Lane
So A-Rod is reportedly having hip surgery that will keep him out of action from anywhere between six and 10 weeks.

Whoa boy.

Alex Rodriguez, thus far the polarizing flavor figure of 2009, is apparently facing another round of adversity. But let’s be fair. I am not a doctor. I am nothing close to a medical expert, so I am not going to even attempt to figure out a connection between a cyst, hip surgery and steroids. We’re talking strictly baseball here and it’s the way it should be.

Here’s what’s known and been reported:

A link to the ESPN/ESPNdeportes report, which quotes A-Rod’s older brother, Joe Dunand, saying that immediate surgery was recommended. “It’s a big blow for the whole family. Alex is destroyed,” Joe told Enrique Rojas. A source close to this added that the surgery is scheduled for Monday, March 9, in Colorado.

According to Jack Curry, a club official said there would be an announcement about Rodriguez’s situation later today. This morning, wrote Peter Abraham, Joe Girardi claimed he didn’t know anything about this situation. Pete Caldera added Girardi was going to speak with general manager Brian Cashman to learn more.

However this turns out, look at it this way: This was discovered now, not in August or September. And if it’s more or less than 10 weeks, A-Rod will be back and in position to make significant contributions to the 2009 Yankees.

Anyone who suggests that the Yankees are better off without A-Rod has no clue. In five seasons with the Yankees – do not bring up steroids and not even the postseason since Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS – Rodriguez has averaged 42 home runs, 123 RBIs and 119 runs scored while batting .303 and winning two AL MVP Awards. You try replacing those numbers. Furthermore, who’s batting cleanup? Who is protecting Mark Teixeira? The last thing the Yankees can afford is a slow start, but this offense is suddenly drained of a major power source.

Here are some of the names being bandied about as possible stopgap replacements.

Cody Ransom
Angel Berroa
Eric Duncan
Blake DeWitt
Corey Koskie
Adrian Beltre
Bill Hall
Mark Teahen

The simple solution is to stay within the organization. Ransom, 33, has been in and out of the Majors with three teams since 2001 and batted .302 in 33 games with the Yankees last season. Most people will be clamoring for a “name,” but acquiring for a “name” costs both money and players and the Yankees won’t do anything stupid just to acquire a band-aid. And in just speaking with Joe Auriemma, he reminded me how the Yankees handled Derek Jeter missing 43 games with an injured shoulder in 2003. He’ll have more later on Erick Almonte and how the Yankees can go about weathering this storm.

Why not Ransom? He’s the best athlete on the Yankees.

Why not Duncan? Well, the Yankees’ first-round pick in ’03 wasn’t invited to the big-league camp. He’s been working out at the team’s Minor League complex, but the window of opportunity may be shut.