New York Yankees: How many will be allowed to board the plane tonight?

The New York Yankees potentially have big problems ahead. They already have seven staff members, and potentially Glyber Torres infected with Covid 19. And tonight, they all have to board a plane for Baltimore, where there will be no social distancing. It would seem obvious that some staff will have to remain in Tampa.

The New York Yankee players took a vote as to whether they should play or not on Tuesday night. They voted to play, and the Yankees won the game 3-1. Last night there was no vote; they played and shut out the Rays. Tonight with this situation getting worse, it could be a different story. Much depends on whether the questionable results from shortstop Glebyer Torres and if they come back as positive.

Regardless of the results or if they play the game tonight, it has to be concerning that they will have to be in close quarters on the Delta charter to Baltimore tonight. They will be held up in the plane’s cabin for a little over two hours.

What is most concerning is what we don’t know. What’s really going on, and what is causing these infections to spread so quickly among staff that has all been vaccinated, that should be approximately 94% protected from the virus.

The concern among the team is at various levels. In preparation for him taking the mound tonight, Jameson Taillon choose not to use the training room to do his workouts. Instead, he did his workouts far out in the right field while being masked.

Although this is unclear, this became a problem late Sunday and Monday. If anyone tested positive up to that point, it is unknown, but apparently, everyone was allowed to board the plane for the three-plus hour flight to Tampa, Florida. Tuesday morning, 3rd base coach Phil Nevins’s positive test became known. Within hours there were more positive tests, and as of this morning, that has increased to seven, including 1st base coach Reggie Willits, 3rd base coach Phil Nevin, and pitching coach Matt Blake and 4 other unnamed support staff.

If Gleyber Torres comes back positive, he would be the first player to contract the virus while in Tampa, which opens up a whole can of worms on whether the Yankees play tonight or not and how they will go forward. MLB may have something to say about that as well.

Stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com as this story develops.

 

New York Yankees: Seven Yankee staff test positive for Covid 19

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Just when everyone was reassured that Covid 19 would be less of an issue, seven New York Yankee staff members have tested positive for the virus. What makes this more remarkable is that all are “breakthrough” cases, meaning that they have become infected after being fully vaccinated.

What concerns this writer is that with all of these guys being fully vaccinated, why has the virus spread so quickly through the group. Little has been revealed as to what vaccine they received and when they received it.

Although the New York Yankees say no players have tested positive, there is a mystery going on with Gleyber Torres, the Yankee’s shortstop who was left off the lineup last night in “an abundance of caution.” Apparently, all of the Yankee staff have been tested at least 3 times since arriving in Tampa. It seems as though Torre’s test was inconclusive. The Yankees are waiting for all the tests to be returned as of last night’s game.

Manager Aaron Boone has not commented on exactly what is going on with Torres, only saying, “We do expect that final ruling or whatever, potentially by tonight.” As of the end of the game last night, there was no further information available. If Torres is indeed infected, it could potentially cause big problems for the team going forward.

The New York Yankees were the first team in baseball to reach the 85% vaccination rate suggested by MLB to reduce some of the protocols. You have seen fewer players and staff wearing their masks in recent games and paying attention to the social distancing suggestions. That was not the case last night; all management and several players were masked when not on the field.

On Tuesday and Wednesday night, the player development coach was filling in as the first base coach. Boone’s bench coach Carlos Mendoza was on the field taking Phil Nevin’s place as third-base coach. Also notable absent last night was pitching coach Matt Blake. Blake is the third Yankee coach to be confirmed case of the Covid 19 virus. Boone said he is asymptomatic, as are six of the seven other virus cases.

Filling in for Blake was bullpen coach Mike Harkey who also manned the bullpen and has been seen talking to pitchers in the dugout, particularly Jordan Montgomery on Tuesday night. Blake, although not on the field, is still working with pitchers through text and Facetime.

“He’s been FaceTiming a little bit. I’ve been texting with him about (Thursday) for my start, but for the most part, like not to say we don’t need him, we obviously do. He’s great to have around and he’s great at his job. But we have a lot of guys that kind of coach each other‚” Jameson Taillon said. “Like tomorrow, I’m sure Gerrit (Cole) will be right there with me every step of the way. We’ve got Harkey, we got (director of pitching) Sam Briend here today and our pitching staff talks amongst each other.”

No one knows how this will out pan out, but the writers and management of EmpireSportsMedia.com hope all the Yankees recover quickly and that it doesn’t affect the team or any other team this baseball season.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Corey can be the Yankees’ “Klubot”

The New York Yankees entered the game last night, not knowing what to expect from starter Corey Kluber; by the time the game was over, the Yankee fans knew that answer. Kluber was nothing short of brilliant in his fifth start of the season. I started this article long before the start of the game last night, and it was originally titled “It’s not time to give up on Corey Kluber.” After the game, I decided to change that title to “Corey can be the Yankees’ Klubot,” referring to the nickname he was given in this Cy Young years.

Last night we got just a taste of what Kluber can do for the Yankees.

The New York Yankees turned off the snooze button on January 15, 2020, and signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to bolster their starting pitching rotation. Kluber signed a one-year deal that will pay him $11 million. He will become a free agent again at the end of the year, after viewing a pitching demonstration for 25 teams at the Yankee’s director of player health and performance, Eric Cressey’s Florida facility, where Kluber had spent most of his offseason.

This was another one of general manager Brian Cashman’s low-risk signings that could have very high rewards. After having a relatively injury-free eight-year career with the Cleveland Indians, Kluber was hit by a comebacker near the end of the 2019 season. The hit caused a fractured right arm. He tried to come back before the end of the season, but his rehab, other than a couple of starts in the minors, would not allow it.  During the offseason, the Indians traded Kluber to the Texas Rangers. That didn’t work out well for Kluber or the Rangers as he pitched in only one game in 2020 after tearing a teres major muscle after just one inning.

Kluber dazzled scouts with his Florida demonstration and appeared very healthy. He commanded his pitches well, according to scouts, and flashed typical velocity for this point in the offseason. That performance caused the New York Yankees to take a chance on the then 34-year-old. They signed him just three days later. The Yankees didn’t sign Kluber blindly; they had been watching his rehab with Cressey very carefully.

It isn’t easy to make any determination as to how Kluber did in spring training because of the fact he hadn’t pitched in nearly two years. When the regular season rolled around, Kluber got his first start of the season on April 3, a good game for Kluber, but it was a 4 inning no-decision result. His next two games were not as good as he only went 2.1 and 4 innings in those games. Fans began to wonder if Kluber would return to form. But in his fourth start of the Young season, he went 4.2 innings, threw 91 pitches with a dozen flyouts, but even though he lost the game; he started to show sparks of the pitcher he could be.

One thing that is important to know about the 2 times Cy Young Award winner because even in his Cy Young years, Kluber has always been a slow starter in April. Last night we saw the rust fall off this once-best in baseball pitcher. He still has the stuff. He became the only second Yankee pitcher to pitch into the seventh inning. He earned his first win of the season, giving up only one run in 6.2 innings of work. He struck out 5, got 7 ground outs and 13 flyball outs. He lowered his ERA to 4.15.

Here are some important things to know about Corey Kluber:

  • His biggest strength as a premier pitcher is the number of different pitches he throws. He has a five-pitch arsenal.
  • Throughout his career with the Cleveland Indians, he had what was often described as “pinpoint control.”
  • His most successful is his breaking ball. MLB’s Statcast pitch-tracking system defines the pitch. It’s known simply as “Corey Kluber’s breaking ball.”
  • During his first Cy Young year, his four-seam and two-seam fastball sat in the mid-90s in 2014; it dropped into the low nineties during his second award year in 2017 to the low nineties. Last night he reached 94 mph.
  • He has had elite swing-and-miss rates; Yankee pitching coach Matt Blake says he is still demonstrating that.
  • As I said before, he is a slow starter in April and even May, but following that, his ERA for the remainder of the season is sub 3.00.
  • If Corey Kluber can return to the pitcher he’ was in 2014 and 2017, he can be every bit as good as Gerrit Cole, if not even better.
  • The Yankees need Kluber to build up and be at his best late in the season and the postseason when he and Cole can provide that one-two punch that can win championships.

Here is Corey Kluber’s story and how he got to the New York Yankees:  Kluber arrived on the baseball scene when the San Diego Padres drafted him in 2008. Like many pitchers, Kluber showed signs of brilliance but stumbled through his minor league years and ended up being traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2010.

But let’s start at the beginning. Corey Scott Kluber was born on April 10, 1986, in Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up in Coppell, Texas, where he played baseball for the high school there. Stetson University coaches recruited him after his performance drew their attention at the World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Florida.

His junior year was his last year with the Stetson Hatters, during which he registered a 12–2 win-loss record and a 2.05 ERA with 117 strikeouts. In 2007, he was named the Atlantic Sun Conference’s ‘Pitcher of the Year’ and was selected as a member of the ‘Ping! Baseball All-American Second Team’ and the ‘American Baseball Coaches Association All-Atlantic Region Second Team. That would be the end of his amateur career as the San Diego Padres drafted him.

After being traded to the Cleveland Indians, he was assigned to the Akron Aeros of the Class AA Eastern League and was added to their 40-man roster after going through the Winter Development Program. He made his Major League debut for the Indians on September 1, 2011. In August 2012, he was brought into the Indians’ rotation, and that began a career that could only be dreamed about.

Here are some career highlights: 2013, 11-5, ERA 3.85. Two back-to-back 14 strikeout games. 2014, 18-9, ERA 2.44. Two more back-to-back 14 strikeout games, player of the month. Cy Young Award winner. 2015, April an 18 strikeout game. Due to no run support, 9-16, ERA 3.49. 2016, 18-9, ERA 3.14. All-Star, Sporting News Starting Pitcher of the Year. 2017, 18-4, ERA 2.25. All-Star and second Cy Young Award. 2018, 20-7, ERA 2.89.  20 win season. September was hit by a comebacker. 2019, 2-3, in only 7 games, ERA 5.80, failed rehab. Traded. 2020 0-0, pulled shoulder after only one inning with the Rangers.

Now the New York Yankees hope the star can return to his previous greatness. If he can’t, they haven’t lost much, small dollars and only for a year, and they move on. If successful, they have a second Gerrit Cole on their hands and are on the way to a World Series. The only question then is if the New York Yankees sign him to a longer-term deal.
New York Yankee fans will be delighted to watch Corey pitch. One of the reasons he is so successful is that he is a five-pitch pitcher that can complete games. Kluber throws five pitches: a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, a breaking ball, and a change. His strikeout pitch is his dominant two-seam sinker. He has been a workhorse and will be unfazed by playing in New York as he is stoic on the mound and doesn’t lose his cool. By all accounts, he is also a nice guy and a good teammate.
Corey Kluber celebrated his 35th birthday on April 10th. Kluber and his wife, Amanda, have three children, named Kendall, Kennedy, and Camden. They reside in her hometown of Winchester, Massachusetts. Corey’s hobby is golf that he often plays with his father. In 2018, he and his wife launched The Kluber Family Foundation to help families with seriously ill and chronically ill children.
Kluber is one of the most stoic pitchers you will ever see on the mound, he is seldom fazed by defeat or victory, but after last night’s game, ace Gerrit Cole greeted Kluber in the dugout, and Kluber greeted him with an extensive smile. The two talked for some time. Make no mistake, the portrait of Corey Kluber will not be completed until this season’s end. We hope that portrait includes him holding the Yankee’s 28th World Championship trophy.
EmpireSportsMedia.com’s columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

Yankees’ pitching coach talks about length, balancing starters’ workloads and not overtaxing the bullpen

matt blake, New York Yankees

While the New York Yankees’ bullpen has been extremely impressive in the early going, the starting rotation hasn’t been able to replicate that success. Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery have been phenomenal, but Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and Domingo German haven’t been as good.

Before Thusday’s games, Yankees’ starters not named Cole had combined for a 6.06 ERA, and if we take Montgomery’s 3.27 ERA, it would be even worse. Needless to say, Kluber, German, and Taillon haven’t been able to provide length, either, overtaxing the bullpen.

The Yankees’ relievers have a 1.84 ERA, which is the best mark in the junior circuit. And it has been a team effort, well beyond the usual names: Lucas Luetge, Nick Nelson, and Jonathan Loaisiga have also contributed.

The Yankees and the balancing act of pitching workloads

Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake knows it’s still early in the season, but he also knows that it’s important to preserve the health and effectiveness of the relief corps.

“It’s something we talked a lot about in the preseason as an organization of how we want to prioritize these innings,” Blake told MLB.com. “Obviously, we have a lot of question marks just in general about the durability of the rotation given the last couple of years.

“The onus was to protect the pitch count early on. On the back side of it, you don’t want to overexpose the bullpen. It’s a long season for them too. Early on, some starters held to some pitch counts was by design, and there were some long innings involved there. We have probably gotten the bullpen more work than ideally we would like, but it’s something we are well aware of. As the turns keep coming around, the [starters] will keep getting built up and we’ll pull back on some of the innings.”

Judging by Blake’s words, the Yankees expect their pitchers, including Kluber and Taillon, to slowly ramp up and pitch more innings as the season advances.

Yankees’ pitching coach discusses plans for the rotation

matt blake, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have managed to build an impressive collection of talent in their rotation. Behind proven ace Gerrit Cole, they have newcomers Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, returning Domingo German, plus homegrown starters Jordan Montgomery, German, Deivi Garcia, and Clarke Schmidt.

However, there is just no way to deny that more than half of those guys are severe injury risks. Kluber has suffered a litany of injuries in the last two years, while Taillon, German, Schmidt, Montgomery, and German are all Tommy John surgery survivors.

Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake is well aware of the risk attached to the group as a whole. In a conversation with Sweeny Murti of WFAN, he talked about the subject at lenght.

The Yankees, according to Murti, will need between 800 and 900 innings from their starters in 2021.

“Obviously there are certain guys like Cole, you know he knows what it’s like to take the ball every fifth or sixth day and get 180 to 200 innings,” Blake said.

What to expect from the Yankees’ new guys

Kluber may have only pitched 36 2/3 frames in the last two seasons, but he was a workhorse before that, topping 200 in five consecutive years.

“I think the hard part is you don’t want to just go in blind and say we’re going to get 200 innings from all these guys,” Blake said. “That’s not realistic.”

When asked whether expecting around 150 innings from Kluber in 2021, the Yankees’ coach said “that’s probably somewhat reasonable”.

With Taillon, the 150 threshold should again serve as a good benchmark, but it may be lower or higher depending on how the pitcher is feeling. He is coming from his second Tommy John procedure.

“I think you just kind of add and subtract based on if they’re going deeper in games or getting out early, or if they need to skip a start or something,” Blake noted. “I think it’s just being rational and realistic about where these guys are coming from, and knowing that their most value is going to come if we can get to a point where we’re playing in October.”

The Yankees, if they want to keep everyone healthy come playoffs time, will need to get creative and use their depth: Garcia, Schmidt, Nick Nelson, Michael King, Nestor Cortes, Jhoulys Chacin, or Asher Wojciechowski could find themselves starting a game or two.

“I think there’s a volume of arms that can kind of pick up some innings in bunches,” Blake said. “I think it’s just trying to figure out in what order does that happen and how many times in a row do they take the ball.”

New York Yankees News/Rumors: What we don’t know about the 2021 season could fill volumes

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees, like all MLB teams, will go into the 2021 season with many unknowns. The only thing we know is that we know nothing! After a spring training cut short, a summer camp, and a season reduced to just 60 games, what effect will that have on pitchers and players as we advance into the 2021 season? It will be most difficult for pitchers to go into the season not having a regular routine for the past 16 months.

Getting away from players for a moment. How do you plan for a season that you aren’t sure will even take place?  The coronavirus right now is ravaging the country unchecked and doesn’t appear to be relenting. It appears that a vaccine is in the future, but will it be available widespread in time for spring training? Many experts say no. The average person may not be able to go through the two shots by July 4th. It may be over 90% effective, but without long term trials, we really have no guarantee that will be true, and if it is, how long immunity will last.

With so many health questions to be answered, it will be difficult for strength and conditioning coaches to plan to have players ready, particularly pitchers.  Last year, Eric Cressey was hired by Brian Cashman to be the New York Yankees director of performance (including all facets of conditioning), gets it. Cressey is a coach for Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu, along with seven Cy Young Award-winning pitchers.

“Because these athletes are so competitive and care so much, they tried to maintain their best throwing programs,” says Cressey. “But while the innings are a way to see what we’re encountering from one year to the next, we really don’t know how much serious throwing each pitcher did between the March shutdown and the July reopening. I know of pitchers who bought pitching mounds and threw off of them. I know one pitcher who bought a mound, set up a screen and threw into the screen as if it were a game. I have a feeling that’s one of the reasons there were so many injuries. Now we don’t know how much each pitcher really threw from February to October.

“So,” Cressey advises, “be prepared to calibrate and recalibrate several times in the next few months. The industry cannot afford a rash of injuries.”

Another consideration is the bullpen; baseball managers won’t be able to use the bullpen like they did this season if we do, in fact have a 162 game season upcoming. The bullpens will be burnt out before the All-Star break, here again, if there is one. The means that pitching coaches will have to condition their starters to go much deeper into games, risking even more injuries.

“Most teams will probably go into the spring with caution,” says Yankee pitching coach Matt Blake. “We all will probably have to make adjustments. We have to be prepared for injuries, hopefully minor. But that is going to entail developing a lot of starting depth.”

For hitters, it is less of a problem as they can ramp up more quickly. But considering what happened this year in spring training with Severino, Paxton, Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez, the Yankees will have no idea what shape players will be after only playing 60 games this year. After so little work this season, it is not out of the question that all teams may face more injuries than ever as they go deeper into the 2021 baseball season. For the New York Yankees, that’s hard to imagine having so many injury-prone players.

The other aspect of what to expect for the 2021 season is what actions the teams will take with free agents during this offseason. How much will they be willing to give up, and how much money they will spend on players that may or may not play a 162 season. This is especially true of the New York Yankees, who lost more money than any other team this past season.

So, what we do know is that we know little about what the 2021 season will bring. We also know it will have a dramatic effect on this offseason. Although the hot stove is heating up, most decision-makers will likely not make many decisions early, waiting to get a clearer picture of what 2021 might hold later in the offseason.

 

 

New York Yankees: Interview with pitcher coach Matt Blake on the Yankee pitchers

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone

Last night the New York Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake sounded off on the status of all the Yankee pitchers. Meredeth Marakovitz was most interested in the status of Yankee starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.  She asked if he pitched a bullpen session, and if so how did it go?  Blake responded that he did, and it went better than we expected with 30 pitches with a higher intensity than we expected.

Pitching coach Matt Blake added that he was around 88, 91mph, and he saw he saw all his pitches, so it was really encouraging. It was a very crisp first bullpen so that we feel very good for where he is at. We hope that he will go full bullpen then face full hitting players early next week.

When asked where he thought Masahiro Tanaka was, he stated that he was processing the hit that hit him, he’s doing really well both physically and mentally. He feels okay with what happened and will not face any hesitation with going on the mound. He has progressed really well with the concussion protocol and getting ready to go.

When asked about the next start for New York Yankees Gerrit Cole, Blake said that after a hot start in his last outing, we would go slow and probably allow him five innings and 90 pitches stating that they will error on the side of caution.

When asked about the exhibition games with the New York Mets and Phillies, he said that he knows that Micheal King will start one of them, you’re going to see Hale and Dievi, and in the middle games I will have to get back to you, but it’s going to be a mixed bag of everybody for three or four innings.

When asked about what he saw from Schmidt and Garcia, he said that what he saw was really good. They’ve faced some of our best hitters and have done a really good job; without much ramp-up, they’ve done a really nice job. During the interview, he indicated the Luis Cessa was back( from coronavirus quarantine) with the team and that it would take a couple of weeks to get him up to speed.

When asked if Masahiro Tanaka would follow Gerrit Cole on opening day, Blake responded we would have to see how he responds on these first bullpens and go from there. When asked about the rest of the rotation, he said it too early to tell the starting rotation and will be firmed up in the next day or two.

He was asked, compared to a couple of weeks ago, how has the schedule going.  Blake responded that it had gone smoothly so far. He mentioned how smoothy it has gone using three locker rooms. He felt that he had gotten a really good look at each player. He said that the focus and intensity of the work the guys had put in have been really good. Knowing that we are coming in as a championship team has really helped us.

He said, getting guys up to speed and intensity has been better than expected. When asked about how many pitchers the New York Yankee would carry for the first week or so he said: We haven’t really decided yet, Boonie, me and others have talked about it, it depends on where Tanaka and Cessa are at, we went around what that roster would look like, and he said there are still moving parts involved, but we are getting closer.

In other news today, RHP Domingo Acevedo, RHP Daniel Álvarez, RHP Luis Gil, C Max McDowell, RHP Luis Medina, RHP Adonis Rosa, and     RHP Alexander Vizcaíno have been cut from the roster and assigned to the spring alternate site at Scranton Wilke/Barre.

 

New York Yankees pitching coach impressed with Gerrit Cole: “He’s close to game speed”

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees made the splash of the offseason when they secured the services of ace pitcher Gerrit Cole on a record-breaking nine-year, $324 contract. The right-hander was utterly dominant in 2019 with the Houston Astros and will now lead the Bombers’ rotation for years to come.

He made a great impression on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, sitting in the mid-to-high 90s and touching 99 miles per hour on the radar gun against live hitters such as Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit. Needless to say, pitching coach Matt Blake was impressed.

Blake said that Cole was already in midseason form, filling the strike zone with fastballs for three innings. The righty had remained active in the stoppage by throwing occasional bullpen sessions, but Thursday was the first time he faced live hitters since the action was halted in mid-March.

“He looked good,” Blake said. “He’s moving right along in his progression. We kind of set the bar for kind of what we’re going to build on, targeting three weeks out and getting ready for the regular season. He’s in a really good spot, and the nice thing is it doesn’t take fans in the stands to get him amped. We’re good there.”

The Yankees’ ace stole the show

Reliever Adam Ottavino also took the mound and threw a couple of innings. Radley Haddad was the catcher, and manager Aaron Boone and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere were among those looking at the action.

Yet, the New York Yankees’ frontline starter was the one who stole the show, evidently.

“He’s pretty close to game speed,” Blake said of Cole. “I think we’re game-ready with velocity. Now it’s kind of just fine-tuning it and sustaining over longer pitch counts. I think he feels good about where he is. He’s always a critic of himself, tightening things up [like] a certain pitch to a certain location. I think we’re building a nice baseline for him.”

Yankees News/Rumors: Boone on the cheating Red Sox, Injury updates and much more

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Boone on the cheating Red Sox

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone weighed in on the Red Sox sign-stealing scheme that was released on Wednesday by Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.  The commissioner’s report said that Boston’s video-replay operator in 2018, J.T. Watkins, at times during that season, used the game feeds in the replay room “in violation of MLB regulations, to revise sign sequence information that he had permissibly provided to players before the game.’’

MLB found that the Boston cheating scheme was not as egregious as the sign-stealing that was committed by the Houston Astros that may have cost the New York Yankees a berth in the 2017 World Series.  Many feel that the punishments issued by MLB against the Astros was too light and did not strip them of their Championship.  Likewise, the punishments given to the Boston team were also too light. 

MLB suspended Watkins from operating the video replay machine through the 2021 season.  The MLB did not fine the team or any of the players or front office with the exception of manager Alex Cora who had already been fired by the Red Sox.  He was suspended for one season but not for what he did as a Red Sox.  The only real punishment given was the loss of a second-round draft pick. The cheating may have cost the Yankees wins in 2018 that saw the Yankees lose to the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Boone was asked yesterday on the YES Network if he thought the MLB punishments fit the crime?  Boone responded:

“I don’t know. Who knows exactly what went down? I do trust that Major League Baseball thoroughly investigated and got to the bottom of things as best they can. I feel like if that’s what they come up with, so be it. It’s time to move on.’’

New York Yankees injury updates:

New York Yankee pitcher James Paxton who underwent back surgery late in the offseason, was expected to miss at least three to four months of the season.  With his rehab going well, that was reduced to two to three months.  New York Yankees’ new pitching coach Matt Blake from his home in Cleveland said the Paxton had been playing catch for some time now, and his rehab is going well.  Paxton will benefit from the coronavirus shutdown and may now not miss any playing time at all, depending on when the regular season starts.

Aaron Judge suffered a fractured rib and a partially collapsed lung while diving for a catch near the end of last season.  After a series of MRIs were performed during spring training that saw Judge not take part in any games, it was determined that the shoulder issues he was having were really caused by the cracked rib.  The collapsed lung resolved itself nicely, and when spring training was halted, his rib was already healing.   Judge as well has benefited from the time off.  Boone said when speaking with the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovitz said:

“He’s in Tampa, we’re using this time, he’s using this time to continue to heal. I don’t really have much more for you other than, obviously, it’s been very productive having the chance to have this time to allow that rib to heal. That is happening. But as for where he’s at exactly, we don’t have anything for you on that yet.”

In other injury news, Aaron Hicks that was supposed to miss a large chunk of the season due to rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is now expected to miss only a small portion of the shortened season if he misses any of it.  He is throwing and progressing nicely.  Outfielder and DH Giancarlo Stanton has completely recovered from his grade one calf strain and is ready to go, according to Boone.   Unfortunately, ace Luis Severino will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery that was performed during spring training.

What are Yankee pitchers doing during the shutdown

New York Yankee pitchers are trying to stay in form during the coronavirus shutdown.  Newly acquired ace Gerrit Cole is at his new home in Greenwich, CT.  He is working out and pitching to his athletic wife Amy and to Yankee Manager Aaron Boone, who lives nearby.  James Paxton is rehabbing at his home in Wisconsin.  Matt Blake is keeping close tabs on him and his recovery and is directing his pitching rehab. Blake has said he is closer to a return each day.

Masahiro Tanaka is staying in form and doing some pitching at local fields in his native Japan.  J.A. Happ is also at home trying to stay in form.  Pitching coach Matt Blake has said he is letting his veteran pitchers pretty much handle there own ways to stay in shape so that they can start where they left off during a mini-spring training.  He is more closely supervising the programs of Jordan Montgomery, Johnathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, and others.

Giancarlo Stanton on his performance

Giancarlo Stanton came to the New York Yankees after being traded by the Miami Marlins at the end of the 2017 season in which he was named the National League MVP.  Since coming to the Yankees, he has underwhelmed and has suffered several injuries.

No one wants Stanton to get back to his 2017 form more than Stanton himself.  He has said that he thinks he is one of the keys to advancing the Yankees back to the World Series.  “The newness of my surroundings was the most challenging thing for me,” Stanton said this past February from his locker inside the Yankees clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. “Even things as simple as getting to the ballpark and getting around the city took time to get comfortable with. You try to minimize the time you spend concentrating on all of the things away from baseball, to be your best on the field. But everything was brand new.”

Stanton is now healthy and ready for the season to begin whenever that happens.  He wants to contribute in a big way.  He knows it’s a team effort and that it doesn’t come from just home runs.  He, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres have the ability to hit 160 home runs if they hit to their potential.  Stanton indicated that that is the icing on the cake.  It’s a team effort of getting on base and having excellent defense.  Stanton wants this to be a breakout season with the Yankees.

 

 

New York Yankees: What pitching coach Matt Blake is doing to keep pitchers sharp

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone

The coronavirus has shut down all of baseball. The New York Yankees‘ pitching coach is trying to ease the situation by keeping his pitchers sharp for the eventual start of a baseball season if there is one.  Matt Blake, from his home in Cleveland, Ohio, is working with Yankee pitchers who are now scattered all over the United States.

Blake was hired during the offseason from the Indians organization to replace longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He is trying to keep pitchers stretched out and tossing the ball, so they don’t lose what they gained from the shortened spring training season in Tampa.

“You are kind of guessing more than anything,” new pitching coach Mike Blake said Wednesday in a media conference call. “I think you’re kind of idling them as much as possible and trying to find out a good rhythm for all of them, given their circumstances.”

He stated that with a starting date for baseball completely unknown, he is leaving alone the veteran pitches like Tanaka, Happ, and Cole, as they know how to stay pitching ready.  He is in constant contact with New York Yankees James Paxton as he rehabs from his back surgery.  Paxton is doing well and will be ready sooner than it was anticipated.  He made it known he is spending most of his time on newer pitchers like Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, and others, guiding them on ways to stay ready.

“I don’t think you need to be on a mound right now. Just given that we don’t really know a timeline, there’s a lot of other ways that we can keep them moving and putting healthy stress on (the pitching arm).“I do think there are some guys who benefit from being on a slope and keeping their delivery in rhythm, even if it’s on a lower volume of throws and just kind of ramping the intensity up a little bit on the slope to kind of keep the sequence and the delivery together. We talked about kind of keeping guys in some up-downs around 45-50 pitches from crowdsourcing with other pitching coaches around the league and some other guys that have a good feel for just what their body needs.

Veteran ace Gerrit Cole isn’t pitching from the mound, but he is getting his pitches in on the flat ground.  Cole is at his home in Greenwich, CT, where he recently bought a home on a large tract of land.  He has ample pitching room marked off to the usual 60′ distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate.  He is lucky being able to pitch to neighbor New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone.  But his ace in the hole is his wife Amy.  They regularly play catch on the property.  Amy is an athlete in her own right and has a rocket of an arm.

Some pitchers benefit from pitching off a slope:

“We’re trying to get guys to get on the slope for one high-intensity session a week or one long-toss session at high intensity just to kind of make sure they’re pushing their motor up a little bit. And then the rest of the week, just kind of moving the ball around a little bit, whether it’s some moderate long toss or some flat ground (throwing), things of that nature.”

Blake has said previously that he feels the New York Yankees pitching staff will be ready no matter how the baseball season takes shape.  He was impressed with how the shortened spring training went for his pitchers.  Yankee pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is keeping sharp near his home in Japan until a mini-spring training date is announced.  He feels that the bullpen pitchers can keep themselves in shape and will be ready as well.

“We obviously know that our depth will be tested as with most teams,” Blake said. “But I think with the way that spring training was run and having a good look at the bulk of our pitchers both major and minor and some of the non-roster guys, we know we’ve got a nice roster of pitchers that will contribute here.”