Yankees Daily Briefing 06/15/11


In his two starts in June so far, Ivan Nova is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings pitched, an improvement over the 3.90 ERA he had in May. With the injury to Bartolo Colon, Nova may never have a better chance to prove he belongs in the rotation than now, and will attempt to continue his recent success when he takes the mound for the Yankees on Wednesday. He and the Yankees will face the Rangers' Derek Holland (5-1, 4.41) as the Yankees attempt to take the first two of three from Texas.

1) Low-A Charleston was the only affiliate to win on Tuesday.

The Yankees signed Brian Gordon, a 32 year-old right-handed pitcher who is now an option to start on Thursday for the Yankees.

Triple-A Scranton beat Syracuse, 3-1.

Jesus Montero had one hit in four at bats, but hit the ball hard in three at bats.

Double-A Trenton beat Harrisburg, 7-3 while High-A Tampa beat Lakeland, 11-6.

Low-A Charleston lost to Greenville, 9-3.

J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez both had one hit in four at bats; Sanchez struck out three times. Slade Heathcott did not play.

2) Johnette Howard writes that the Yankees bent over backwards for the injured Derek Jeter, not placing him on the disabled list until the last possible moment Tuesday evening.

As Howard notes, Jeter's calf injury is the type of injury that could easily become aggravated. Last season, teammate Alex Rodriguez spent time on the disabled list with a similar injury, and missed much of late August, not returning until September 5th. Given such a recent precedent with a similar injury, one would think that had the injured player been anyone else, there would have been little, if any hesitancy to put the said player on the DL. Jeter has, perhaps, earned himself the benefit of the doubt with his 16-year career, but saying that the Yankees would be okay playing shorthanded in NL ballparks this weekend hurts the team more than it helps.

3) Michael Salfino notes that the Yankees are getting substandard production from their number six hitters. As he notes, the .597 OPS in that position is third worst in the league and well below their average number from that spot over the last ten years.

This season, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Jorge Posada have batted from the sixth spot most often, and given the seasons that, until recently, Swisher and Posada have been having, the low offensive number might not be a total surprise. That said, there are arguments that batting order might not make a significant difference, and if it does, a .649 OPS from their leadoff hitter may be far more problematic for the Yankees in the long term.

4) Joel Sherman writes that Mariano Rivera remains as good as ever. In a season where age is rapidly showing for Yankees like Jeter and Posada, Rivera has remained as valuable to the Yankees as ever.

Rivera has struggled against some of his AL East opponents this season, but otherwise his 2011 numbers are still in line with his career numbers, and he has not given up a home run all season. With Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain both on the disabled list, Rivera becomes even more important (if possible), and the fact that he has been able to stay healthy, while his teammates haven't, should not go unnoticed.