Tagged: Alfonso Soriano

The Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays for their fourth loss in a row

Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda

The Yankees lost the the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Tuesday night for their fourth loss in a row. It was also their eighth loss in their past 10 games. Three out of their last four losses have been by one run.

There were only two highlights offensively for the Yankees. Derek Jeter’s double in the fourth (534) tied him with Lou Gehrig for most doubles in franchise history. Jeter is also currently second in runs scored, first in hits and first in steals in the 101-year history of the franchise being known as the Yankees.

Also in the fourth inning, with Jeter on third after Jacoby Ellsbury’s single, Jeter scored after Ellsbury’s stolen base because of an error by shortstop Ben Zobrist. They were in position to score more runs in the inning but Carlos Beltran flied out and Alfonso Soriano struck out after Ellsbury stole second off of David Price.

Hiroki Kuroda had his best start of the season as he pitched eight innings for the first time after allowing only two earned runs, one walk and striking out seven. Kuroda allowed nine hits, but the damage was limited as a result of only allowing two extra-base hits.

The first run that he allowed came off of a Logan Forsythe single in the fourth. The game-winning run for the Rays came off of a James Loney homer to right center in the sixth. Loney has enjoyed hitting against Yankees pitching this season and in previous seasons as .441 average against the Yankees this season, and he had a .341 average against them from 2011 to 2013.

Kuroda should have been able to get his sixth win of the season, but the offense was only 1-9 with runners in scoring position. Mark Teixeira, Beltran and Soriano were all 0-2 with runners in scoring position. Brian Roberts was 0-4 and is hitting only .125 in his last six games. He is not adding much at all to the offense right now, which means that it would make sense to bring up the impressive Rob Refsnyder from Triple-A Scranton. He could improve the offense in a similar way that Robinson Cano did in 2005.

Soriano, who is now playing part-time, has also not been giving the Yankees any average or power on offense since he has one hit in his last 12 at-bats and has combined for zero homers and three RBIs in the last 10 games that he has appeared in. Brian Cashman needs to add another bat and another starter before the trade deadline.

The Yankees will play the final game of their series against Tampa Bay at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Vidal Nuno will look to repeat the control he showed in his last start when he didn’t allow a run in 5.2 innings pitched. Ending their stretch of 15 consecutive games against the American League East with a win would be a lot better than the alternative. Jake Odorizzi will get the start for the Rays.


David Robertson, who has had a very good season except for his appearance on June 1 where he allowed five runs, is tied for fourth in the AL with 18 saves. He has a 2.93 ERA and an outstanding ratio of 48 strikeouts to only nine walks. He has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and has recorded multiple strikeouts in six of those games.

On Tuesday’s Off the Bat, which is a baseball show on MTV2, Robertson went to Union Square Park and made many peoples day better by giving Yankee tickets to random people who did and did not know who he was. He even gave free tickets to a Mets fan. Here is the video:


The bullpen, which has been a strength this season, allowed 4 runs in the loss to Oakland

The rainbow at Yankee Stadium after the storm ended.

The rainbow at Yankee Stadium after the storm ended.

Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics was delayed 1 hour and 12 minutes because of a heavy rainstorm, but the double rainbow that was over the stadium after the rain stopped was not able to wake up the struggling offense against Scott Kazmir. They lost 5-2 in 10 innings as a result of the offense scoring two runs for the third time in their last four games. Their only win in the last five games was when they scored three runs in a win over the Twins.

Mark Teixeira, who was playing in his first game since Saturday as a result his wrist keeping him out of the lineup again, drove in the two runs that the Yankees scored. His single to right in the first inning drove in Brett Gardner, and Teixeira’s 407-foot homer to left in the sixth gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. The offense could have scored more runs but they were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position.

Alfonso Soriano was 0-3 with three strikeouts while looking completely off balance at the plate. He does not have a hit in his last 15 at-bats, which has dropped his average all the way down to .226. He should get designated for assignment or at the very least not play for an extended period as a result of how he is hurting the offense.

Joe Girardi said that the offense needs to step up and was relieved to have Teixeira back in the lineup. “We have had different people in the lineup, everyone has had a shot, and will continue try to put out what we feel is the best matchups against certain people and we got to get it done,” Girardi said. “Obviously, as we have said all along, we have missed him (Teixeira) because he is a run producer and that is exactly what he did tonight.”

Kazmir had 10 strikeouts and allowed those two RBIs by Teixeira before being taken out of the game with one out in the seventh, but Hiroki Kuroda had his best start of the season. Kuroda threw 6.2 innings while allowing one earned run and a season-low two hits. One of them was Brandon Moss’s first of two homers. It appeared that he would get his fourth win of the season, but Dellin Betances, who has been outstanding this season, lost the lead.

Betances’s strikeout to end the seventh drew a standing ovation from the crowd, but he unraveled in the eighth as he walked Albert Callaspo and gave up a game-tying RBI double to pinch hitter Stephen Vogt. Betances had previously only allowed one run in his previous nine appearances, while striking out 24 batters in those nine games, which has made him a very valuable pitcher in the bullpen for the Yankees.

Vogt was playing in only his second game of the season. After David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth inning, the game went into extra innings with the score tied at two.

Most of the fans had left at this point as many sections of the stadium had 10 or fewer people in them. They missed seeing the normally reliable Adam Warren gave up three earned runs in two thirds of an inning to raise his ERA from 1.71 to 2.53. Moss lead of the tenth with his second homer that would end up being the game winner, Jed Lowrie’s double passed Jacoby Ellsbury in center scored Yoenis Cespedes and Kyle Blanks’s single that scored Lowrie made the score 5-3.

The two, three and four hitters came to bat in the tenth for the Yankees but they were retired in order to end the game in front of a sparsely filled Yankee Stadium. There have not been many times when there were so few people at Yankee Stadium, but the struggling offense did not give much reason for hope.

The Yankees, 29-28 and third place in the AL East, will look to score more than three runs for the first time since the 7-4 win in St. Louis on May 28 when they play the second game of the series against the Athletics on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. Vidal Nuno, who allowed four runs in his last start, will pitch against righty Jesse Chavez (2.78 ERA).

Derek Jeter and Masahiro Tanaka led the Yankees to a win over the White Sox in the series finale

Jeter speaking at a Turn 2 Foundation event.

Jeter speaking at a Turn 2 Foundation event.

Masahiro Tanaka bounced back very well from his first loss of the season as he only allowed one earned run on five hits in 6.2 innings pitched in the 7-1 Yankees win in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox. Tanaka’s effective splitter and slider helped him strike out six and earn his seventh win of the season.

Tanaka was aware that he had to make some adjustments to improve on his last start. “I wanted the ball to go down, that is why I made some tweaks to my mechanics,” Tanaka said.

The Yankees split their six games in the Windy City. They had to win their previous two games to do so, and they broke their streak of winning their previous three games by only one run. It was a good sign that the offense produced 10 hits and that Tanaka was able to go deep in the game once again to give the bullpen a break.

Tanaka has now pitched at least six innings in every start this season and every start has been a quality start (six innings and three runs or less). He has struck out at least five batters in every start and has struck out at least seven hitters in eight of his 10 starts. He has an outstanding ratio of 79 strikeouts to only 10 walks in his rookie season.

The Yankees scored seven runs even though their 3-5 hitters went a combined 0-11 in the game. They got contributions offensively from everyone else as Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts all drove in runs and six different players scored runs. The wind appeared to help Roberts hit his second homer of the season in the eighth, and Alfonso Soriano had his first multi-hit game (2) since May 17, but the offensive star of the game was Jeter.

The Captain had four hits in five at-bats in his final game at U.S. Cellular Field. He had three singles and his first triple of the season. His four hits raised his average from .259 to .275. Jeter hit his stand up triple to deep right center past a diving Adam Eaton. He would score on a Andre Rienzo wild pitch to make the score 5-0 in the fourth. Rienzo allowed 54 pitches through two innings, which signaled that it would be a long afternoon for the White Sox.

“Everybody contributed, and it was nice to see,” Girardi said after the game.

If Jeter collects 74 more hits the rest of the season, which is realistic, he will finish in sixth place in the all-time hits list behind only Tris Speaker, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.

Before the game, the White Sox gave gifts to Jeter just like every team is doing after Jeter plays his last game in their stadium. He received dirt from the old Comiskey Field, a bench made of baseball bats that honored other Yankees legends and a $5,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation.

Conor Gillaspie’s single that drove in Tyler Flowers in the sixth was the only run the Yankees allowed. Adam Warren and Matt Daley pitched the final 2.1 innings and they both continued to be reliable options out of the bullpen. Daley hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances and Warren lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.55.

The Yankees will travel south to St. Louis and start a three-game series against the Cardinals on Memorial Day. The game will start at 4:05 p.m. EST and will be televised on ESPN.

Chase Whitley, who allowed one earned run in his first two starts, will pitch for the Yankees as they try for their third consecutive win. Michael Wacha, who is 12th in the National League in ERA and 6th in strikeouts, will get the start for the Cardinals.

Preview of the two-game series between the Yankees and Cubs at Wrigley Field

Alfonso Soriano playing for the Cubs

Alfonso Soriano playing for the Cubs

The Yankees will start their two-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field tonight at 8:05 p.m EST. After playing the Cubs, they will stay in Chicago to play the White Sox for four games, and then go south to St. Louis to play a three-game interleague set against the Cardinals. It is very rare that a team will play six games in a row in an away city.

The Yankees begin their brief series at Wrigley Field with a half-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East. The Yankees come into the series having won four of their previous five games.  The Tampa Bay Rays, who were expected to contend for first place in the division, are currently five games behind in last place.

The Cubs are in last place in the National League Central and are 10.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. However, the Cubs have won their previous two games.

Masahiro Tanaka, who is 6-0 with 66 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA, will get the start for the Yankees. The rookie is second in the AL in wins, fourth in the AL in ERA and first in the AL with a 0.97 WHIP. In his start on April 16 against the Cubs at Yankee Stadium, he pitched eight shutout innings and recorded eight strikeouts. His seven walks are also the fewest of any starting pitcher.

Jason Hammel, who is Chicago’s second best starter so far this season after Jeff Samardzija, will get the start for the Cubs. Hammel has a 3.06 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched. In his start last month against the Yankees, Hammel allowed three runs in seven innings, but got the loss as Tanaka did not allow any runs.

Tanaka, who has not lost a regular season game since the 2012 season in Japan, seems like he is poised to go 7-0 based on the weak Cubs offense. They are currently 25th in baseball in runs scored, 27th in batting average (.234) and 27th in on-base percentage.

The Yankees are currently third in baseball with a .264 batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th with 188 runs scored. Yangervis Solarte has come out of nowhere to lead the team in average (.313), RBI, (24) and on-base percentage (.387). Mark Teixeria has performed very well since coming off of the disabled list. His nine homers lead the team, and he didn’t hit his first one until April 24.

Tanaka is by far their most reliable starter right now with CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova all on the disabled list. Chase Whitley, who is taking Sabathia’s spot in the rotation, will start in the second game. In his MLB debut last week against the Mets he threw 4.2 shutout innings.

This will be Alfonso Soriano‘s first time playing back in Wrigley Field since the Cubs traded him to the Yankees on July 26 of last season. Soriano played the first six seasons of his career with the Yankees, so his career has come full circle.

The Yankees shutout the Mets as Chase Whitley pitched well in his major-league debut

Chase Whitley

Chase Whitley

In Derek Jeter’s final Subway Series game, the Yankees beat the New York Mets 1-0 at Citi Field on Thursday night as Chase Whitley pitched 4.2 shutout innings innings in his major-league debut. He walked two, gave up two hits and recorded four strikeouts while helping the Yankees split the season series with the Mets.

Joe Girardi could not have asked for much more from Whitley, who replaced Carlos Beltran on the active roster, and part of the reason he took him out when he did is because he knew he had Dellin Betances available to throw two innings. In seven games and six starts this season for Triple-A Scranton Whitley had a very good 2.39 ERA.

“To be in Scranton and then all of a sudden be here is unbelievable,” Whitley said after the game. Girardi was very satisfied and with how the rookie from Alabama stepped up in his first Subway Series. “I was impressed with what he did,” Girardi said. “To be able to control his emotions in a series like this is pretty impressive.”

David Robertson got his first save of more than one inning of the season, but Betances’s performance is the one that truly stands out. In the bottom of the sixth, Betances impressively struck out the three most powerful hitters in the Mets lineup – Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Curtis Granderson. He now has a remarkable 39 strikeouts and only nine walks in 22.1 innings pitched.

Girardi on Dellin Betances: “He has got a gift. He has got a very good fastball and a very good curveball.”

Catcher Brian McCann was impressed by the dominating reliever who went to high school in Brooklyn. “He is getting more confidence every time out,” McCann said. “He is starting to execute more now than he was earlier in the season.”

The Yankees were able to score the only run of the game in the seventh as Alfonso Soriano hit a clutch two-out double to deep center to drive in McCann. Soriano was the only Yankee with two hits and now has two multi-hit games in his last five. Whitley was even able to single to right in his first career at-bat.

Robertson, Adam Warren and Betances pitched out of the bullpen and they all struck out two or more batters. Betances got his second win of the season after striking out six and not allowing a hit or a walk. After Eric Young Jr. grounded out to third, Betances struck out the next six batters that he faced.

Girardi likes the ability that his bullpen has to record strikeouts. “We have some power at the back end, and when you have that you are going to get strikeouts, and those are very important,” Girardi said.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Girardi have rightfully been showing more and more confidence in Betances, who was switched to pitching in relief last season, and he rewarded them tonight. In his two appearances before Thursday’s game, he combined to pitch 2.2 innings, allow one hit and strike out three. It seems that he is beyond his control issues that hurt him earlier in his career.

“I am just trying to make pitches,” Betances said after the game. “If I can get ahead I know I can try and put some guys away. Today is one of those days that I was able to do that. I am just happy we got the win. I grew up watching the Subway Series.” Betances added that Whitley is a good friend of his and is happy he pitched well.

Before the game,  the Mets honored Jeter with a No. 2 mosaic designed using subway tiles and donated $22,222.22 to his Turn 2 Foundation.

The Yankees (21-19), who are now a half-game behind the Baltimore Orioles in the closely contested Al East, will try for their third consecutive shutout when they start a three-game interleague series at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday at 7:05 p.m.

14 hits and solid pitching by Sabathia led to a 14-5 win over the Boston Red Sox

Yangervis Solarte scoring a run for the Yankees against the Houston Astros.

Yangervis Solarte scoring a run for the Yankees against the Houston Astros.

The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 14-5 at Fenway Park on Thursday as CC Sabathia pitched six innings and allowed only two runs while striking out eight batters. He has dominated in his last two starts after struggling in his first three.

Sabathia won his third game of the season and was helped by only allowing three hits. He struck out his 1,031st batter in this game, which puts him in 10th place on the Yankees all-time list.

“The two-seamer was good, the changeup was good and I was just trying to put up zeros,” Sabathia said. “With guys swinging bats like that you just want to get in the dugout as soon as possible.”

The Yankees won two of the three games in this series and have now won five of their first seven against the Red Sox.

The Yankees scored runs in six different innings, had five players have two or more hits and were helped by five Red Sox errors. The Yankees were led by rookie Yangervis Solarte, who was 2-5 (to improve his average to .310), and drove in a career-high four runs.

This is what Derek Jeter had to say about Solarte: “He has played extremely well. He has a lot of confidence and he seems extremely comfortable.”

Felix Doubront did not have it for the Red Sox as he threw 73 pitches before being taken out of the game with two outs in the third.

In the first inning, to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead, Alfonso Soriano’s double to deep right center scored Carlos Beltran.

After a wild pitch that bounced before it got to catcher David Ross, Brian Roberts advanced to second and Brett Gardner to third with no outs in the second. Yangervis Solarte’s double that was hit just past Brock Holt at third drove in Roberts and Gardner. To make the score 4-0, Doubront’s second wild pitch of the inning sent Solarte home from third.

The three runs that the Yankees scored in the second were off of only two hits. Dustin Pedroia’s error at second trying to convert a double play allowed Roberts to get to first.

Mark Teixeira led off the third with his first homer of the season. His homer bounced back onto the field after just clearing the top of the Green Monster. Roberts’s single to center scored Gardner after he easily stole second and third.

For the third run of the third, and seventh of the game, speed helped manufacture a run again as Jacoby Ellsbury’s single scored Roberts after he stole second.

In the bottom of the fifth, Sabathia retired Boston in order. One of his two strikeouts in the inning was getting Mike Napoli to go down looking. Sabathia is figuring out how to pitch with decreased velocity.

In the eighth inning, the Yankees scored their final run off of another Boston mistake. This time, Edward Mujica’s wild pitch allowed Roberts to score his fourth run of the game.

In addition to Solarte, Ellsbury had three hits and three RBIs against his former team, Jeter had two hits and two RBIs, Gardner had four runs scored and two steals and Roberts and four runs scored and a RBI.

After traveling back to New York, the Yankees, who are now 13-9 and in first in the AL East, will play the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Angels are 10-11.

Hiroki Kuroda, after allowing three runs in 5.2 innings in his last outing, will get the start for the Yankees. C.J. Wilson will pitch for the Angels.

Pineda’s six shutout innings helped the Yankees win the nightcap against the Cubs

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda pitched his first game after the “pine tar/dirt” incident against the Red Sox, and he led the Yankees to a 2-0 win in the nightcap of the doubleheader. In six shutout innings, Pineda allowed four hits, had three big strikeouts and only one walk.

“Today is hard because it was cold, but today my changeup was working, and I am happy about that,” Pineda said.

The inning that Pineda showed the most poise and resilience was in the fifth. Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena both singled and advanced to second and third, but Pineda was able to retire Ryan Kalish via strikeout and Darwin Barney via fly out to prevent any damage.

Pineda, who is in his first season pitching after two injury-filled campaigns after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners, is pitching like when he was an All-Star as a rookie for the Mariners. After three starts, he has pitched 18 innings, has 15 strikeouts to only three walks, and a 1.00 ERA.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Masahiro Tanaka’s eight dominating innings helped the Yankees win 3-0. His splitter was working as he struck out 10 batters and only allowed two hits (both bunts) and a walk.

The last time the Yankees shutout both games of a doubleheader was in 1987 against the Royals, which proves this is a rare yet impressive feat.

“It just goes to show you how well our pitchers threw today,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When you can shut the other team down for 18 innings it shows you are doing something right.”

Yangervis Solarte, who came into the game tied for the league lead in doubles, was not able to drive Carlos Beltran home from third after he hustled to second after his grounder deflected off of Starlin Castro’s glove in the first.

In the bottom of the third, Derek Jeter, who missed the previous three games due to a tight quad, was stranded at second after his routine grounder went right under Darwin Bailey’s glove for an error.

The Yankees finally came through with runners in scoring position in the fourth. With Scott Sizemore on third, after recording his first hit as a Yankee, Brett Gardner (.283) hit a single past Anthony Rizzo at first that sent him home.

For Sizemore’s first RBI as Yankee he drove in Alfonso Soriano with a shallow two-out hit to left. Sizemore, who was out of baseball due to injuries the last two seasons, went 2-3. After Soriano’s two hits he is now hitting .300 in his past five games.

The bullpen only allowed two hits in three innings. Adam Warren picked up his first career save. Shawn Kelley was not available since his 22 pitches helped him record the save in Game 1.

Every player wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, and before the second game the Yankees dedicated a plaque in Monument Park to honor the late Nelson Mandela.

The Yankees, who have now won four games in a row, will have momentum when they play in Tropicana Field against the 7-8 Rays on Thursday.

Five homers and solid pitching by the bullpen helped the Yankees defeat the Red Sox

Brian McCann at his press conference at Yankee Stadium in December.

Brian McCann at his press conference at Yankee Stadium in December.

The Yankees evened up their record at 6-6 after Saturday afternoon’s 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox. This was their second win in three games against Boston.

Hiroki Kuroda picked up his second win of the season after allowing four earned runs in 6.1 innings. He would have only been charged with two earned runs but Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava scored on Mike Carp’s single after Matt Thornton came into the game.

Before being taken out of the game, Kuroda had five strikeouts and three walks and allowed a two-run homer to A.J. Pierzynski in the second. It wasn’t his strongest game, but Kuroda was able to impressively get out of trouble in the first, fourth and fifth innings.

The main takeaway from this game was that the offense truly came to life as all seven of their runs were scored via five homers. The Yankees lived up to their Bronx Bombers nickname. Their five homers were nearly as many as they had hit in their previous 11 games combined (seven homers). They had seven before today, but the Yankees now have hit a total of 12 homers.

They were led by Brian McCann, who smashed his first two homers as a Yankee. Carlos Beltran’s second homer of the season, in the first inning, drove in Jacoby Ellsbury. Alfonso Soriano, who now has nine hits in his last 22 at-bats, hit his second homer in the last two games and third of the season. To close out the team’s scoring, Kelly Johnson, who is playing first for the first time in his career as a result of Mark Teixeira’s injury, hit his third homer of the season in the eighth inning. McCann and Soriano hit back-to-back homers in the fourth off of Red Sox starter John Lackey.

Except for Thornton, who allowed Kuroda’s inherited runners to score, the bullpen’s execution was flawless. Dellin Betances pitched to one batter but was not credited with recording an out as a result of McCann throwing out Carp, who was trying to steal second. Adam Warren, who has been pitching with better command and increased velocity out of the bullpen than he did as a starter, and Shawn Kelley combined for two perfect innings. Kelley rebounded well from getting the loss against the Orioles on Wednesday, after allowing two runs, to retire the side in order on 14 pitches.

David Robertson, should be able to return from the disabled list on April 22, which is the day he is eligible to return, but their bullpen should be in good enough shape until then based on the overall effectiveness of Kelley, Warren and Betances.

Except for his shaky outing on Wednesday, Kelley has only allowed one hit in five other appearances. The New York native Betances, who was previously a top starting pitching prospect before flaming out and switching to the bullpen, has struck out eight batters while allowing one hit and zero runs in 4.1 innings. Warren is on a real hot streak as he has allowed zero runs and only two hits in five innings this season (six appearances), and he ended last season not allowing a run in his last 6.2 innings.

The effectiveness of those three relievers could potentially make the bullpen an imposing one after the return of Robertson because they can that fit into defined ninth, eighth and seventh innings roles. Another positive sign is that based on the lineup that the Yankees have, combined with the eventual return of Teixeira, the Yankees should see many more games the rest of the season like Saturday’s with multiple homers than ones with no homers like earlier in the season.

Ivan Nova will get the start for the Yankees on Sunday night and the left-hander Felix Doubront will start for Boston. They both struggled in the previous start. Doubront allowed five runs in 2.2 innings pitched and Nova allowed seven runs in 3.2 innings pitched. Nova will look to regain his form from July, August and September of last season when he located his pitches and ERAs of 2.03, 2.08 and 3.90.

Brett Gardner was honored at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner for his charitable efforts

Brett Gardner doing an autograph signing at Duane Reade in NYC.

Brett Gardner doing an autograph signing at Duane Reade in NYC.

Brett Gardner was awarded for his charitable efforts at last night’s 34th annual Thurman Munson Awards at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The Awards remembers the late, great Yankees captain and catcher, Thurman Munson, who played for the team for 11 seasons, which included two World Series championships, before tragically dying while trying to land his plane at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport during the 1979 season.

The AHRC New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with disabilities, benefits from the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. “The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that support programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City.”

In Gardner’s speech at the gala, he talked about the significance that Munson’s picture has. “It was a picture of Thurman on the field completely dirty,” Gardner said. “I can’t help but think that that picture is placed there for a reason. It is not necessarily to show the young kids that walk in and out of that door this is the way to play the game, but is also to show the young kids that walk in and out of the door this is how you are supposed to live your life. I know that a lot of the young kids that come in an out of that complex, some of them 16 or 17 years old coming over from the Dominican or Puerto Rico or maybe Venezuela or Mexico for the first time, and they see his picture there. As something that has been there a long time, I don’t know if you have been inside those hallways, but it is something that you will really find special.”

According to Bryan Hoch, Gardner makes frequent visits to ailing children at the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital during the season. It is outstanding that Gardner takes time out of his day to do this. He was also honored based on his success on the baseball field for the Yankees this past season.

Gardner has also been in the news recently because he gave his opinion on the major Jacoby Ellsbury signing. He said he was “surprised” at first, but that only makes sense because they have similar playing styles and Gardner was coming off a successful season. Gardner had 24 steals, 10 triples and a career-high 33 doubles last season. Gardner will look to improve on his 24 steals and .273 average.

“I look forward to playing beside him and learning from him and got a feeling he knows a thing or two about some pitchers – especially in our division – and pushing each other and getting the best out of each other,” Gardner said at the Munson Awards (according to Matt Ehalt of ESPNNY). “Go in, play hard, and I’ve played left field before and I’ve played center field, and I’m sure if they needed me I could slide over and play right field, too. Whatever it takes to help the team win and I’m sure they’re going to put our best team on the field.”

Gardner should definitely be able to learn from Ellsbury about when to be more aggressive when stealing bases. Ellsbury had 52 steals last season, and a career-high 70 steals in 2009, so he should definitely have some words of wisdom for Gardner, who is talented but less accomplished than Ellsbury.

This is great to hear from Gardner because he is willing to play any position that will help the team the most. Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract in December, will be the everyday center fielder. The best decision would be to have Gardner play left, Alfonso Soriano be the Designated Hitter and then Carlos Beltran would round out the outfield as the right fielder. Based on the speed of Gardner, Ellsbury and to a lesser extend Beltran, this outfield has the potential to be the best defensive trio in the league.

Free agent updates for the Yankees

Here is Brian McCann!

Here is Brian McCann!

Since the GM meetings just wrapped up in Orlando, FL, it makes sense that a lot of news has come about concerning who the Yankees are close to signing, will likely sign, or are rumored to sign.

Brandan Ryan, who played in 17 games for the Yankees in September after being acquired from the Mariners on September 10 as a result of injuries, said that he liked his time with the Yankees and is interested in returning. He was not eligible to play in the postseason since he came to the team after August 31. Ryan, who will be entering his eighth season after playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and Marines, is an excellent defensive shortstop but a weak hitter. According to Joel Sherman, Ryan is “close” to re-signing for a low contract with the Yankees and would not prevent them from signing a better player like Stephen Drew or Johnny Peralta.

Bringing back Ryan would make sense if the are able to sign Peralta as well. Since the Yankees need to prepare for Alex Rodriguez being suspended for the whole season, even though the ruling might not come until the end of December, the Yankees can’t have the situation repeat itself where they virtually got zero production from third base before Rodriguez returned from his injury. Ryan would make sense to have as a defensive back-up to Derek Jeter at shortstop, and Peralta, who can play shortstop and third base, is a reliable fielder and is coming off an All-Star campaign.

Peralta received a 50-game Biogenesis suspension, which started on August 5, but he has served his time and is now a desired free agent. The Mets are interested in him as well, after having a secret meeting with him on November 13, which makes it necessary for the Yankees to act swiftly so they are not beaten to him by their cross city rivals. After only playing in 107 games in 2013, Peralta had a .303 average, 11 homers, 53 RBI and 50 runs scored. His career high in homers is 24 and his career high in RBI is 89. His price tag will likely be driven down since he is coming off of a suspension.

The Yankees are also interested in Kendrys Morales, who has had a number of solid seasons for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Mariners. As of November 13, he is the most recent free agent to join their list of targets which includes Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, among others. Morales hit 23 homers and 80 RBI in the pitcher friendly Safeco Field last season, but he might be most remembered for hitting a game winning grand slam on May 29, 2010 and following that by stomping on home plate during the celebration which caused him to fracture his lower left leg. This foolish injury would end his season and would cause him to miss the 2011 season as well because of complications from the injury.

Morales, if signed, would be a DH and back-up to Mark Teixeira at first base. However, a more important signing is that of Brian McCann. After not brining back Russell Martin after the 2012 season (Martin helped the Pirates reach the playoffs for the first time since 1992) the combination of Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and Chris Stewart left a lot to be desired offensively from the catcher position. Stewart, who had been a back-up catcher in previous seasons, played in 109 games and had a .211 average with only four homers. The lackluster season was not really his fault because he was in a position that he was not suited for.

If the Yankees sign McCann they will be solid defensively behind the plate and would drastically improve offensively. He has hit 20 or more homers in every season since 2008 and has very respectable .277 average for his nine-year career. McCann, who is very intense, has not been the most durable recently since he only played 102 games last season and has not played in more than 128 games since 2010.However, besides the last two seasons, he has always played more than 120 games, which is solid for a catcher.

Romine, who played as the season progressed last season, would fill in well as a back-up to McCann.  Jorge Posada, who was a great Yankee catcher who helped them win four World Series titles, said that: “Being here in the American League will help, having him DH and keeping him off his legs a little bit. I think that would be a great signing.”

The other player that the Yankees are going to heavily pursue in the coming days in Carlos Beltran. He would be able to be the third piece to an outfield that would also include Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano. That would make sense because if another outfielder was not signed they would be left with Vernon Wells or Ichiro Suzuki for the third spot, and they are both over the hill. According the Daily News, Beltran has at least six teams interested in him. Beltran is the top outfield free agent after finishing with 24 homers and 82 RBI and in 2012 at age 35 he slugged 32 homers.

Some negative news was revealed today as Masahiro Tanaka of Japan, who some scouts have said is better than Yu Darvish, will apparently not wind up in the MLB this season because talks between the MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball have hit a standstill regarding the new posting system. This hurts the Yankees since they need another solid pitcher since they currently have CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and unknowns after that. They need to hope that Hiroki Kuroda decides to come back to the team and not return to Japan and that Michael Pineda is healthy and pitches like he did for the Mariners as a rookie.