Yankees Daily Briefing 04/28/11


Although the 3-2 record may not reflect it, starters for the Yankees have pitched to a 1.49 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP over the last five games. CC Sabathia will look to continue the run on Thursday night. He'll be facing Edwin Jackson, who's had mixed success against the Yankees in the past.

1) Jesus Montero (Triple-A Scranton) continues his road to recovery; he caught in the bullpen Wednesday, which should indicate a return is not too far away.

Every affiliate except Double-A Trenton won; Trenton lost in eleven innings.

In Triple-A Scranton, Hector Noesi had his first start after being sent back down to Triple-A; the short start and five walks may very well be attributable to the long layoff as he did not pitch at all while with the Yankees. Also of note: Justin Maxwell has now homered in three straight games, and seven of the last 10.

At Low-A Charleston Gary Sanchez had a hit and struck out twice, while 2009 first-rounder Slade Heathcott had his fourth straight multi-hit game.

2) While the Yankees await a definitive diagnosis on Phil Hughes (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome has been mentioned), his fill-in, Bartolo Colon, has not only been more than adequate, but as Wallace Matthews writes, he might be the best starter on the Yankees thus far.

Wednesday's game was only Colon's second start, and the Chicago White Sox have not been world beaters, but there's something to be said for throwing just 99 pitches in eight innings and getting 14 ground balls in the process. As Matthews notes, Colon started and finished in the eighth inning throwing in the mid-90s. Colon may not have the glamor of being a No. 1 like Sabathia, but right now he is making Brian Cashman look very smart.

3) An excerpt from Ian O'Connor's forthcoming book about Derek Jeter chronicles how Jeter and Alex Rodriguez made peace after their earlier rift. It's a topsy-turvy world when Jeter is getting more attention than Rodriguez, but thus far in 2011 that seems to be the case for the Yankees.

4) Steve Slowinski at Fangraphs tries to diagnose what's wrong with Rafael Soriano by looking at Soriano's PitchFX and pitch selection. He argues that among other issues, Soriano has been throwing more sliders in 2011 then in the past -- and the slider happens to be Soriano's worst pitch. Expectations for Soriano to repeat his 2010 success may have been unrealistic, but his struggles in 2011 are a very real concern.

5) John Harper argues that right now the Yankees should focus more on Ivan Nova than Soriano. As a starter, and thereby guaranteed more innings, a successful Nova is more valuable to the Yankees than a successful relief pitcher -- even if the pitcher in question is Rafael Soriano. It's the same argument that those who thought Joba Chamberlain should be in the rotation made in recent seasons past.

6) Pete Caldera writes about Nick Swisher's struggles at the plate this season, especially against right handed pitching, where he is batting under .100. Swisher hasn't had a hit since April 23, and is still without a home run.