New York Yankees: Casey McGehee

First pitch: Replacing Teixeira

August, 28, 2012

That Steve Pearce move couldn't have been made at a better time for the Yankees.

Before they knew that Mark Teixeira would be out with a Grade 1 left calf strain, the Yanks acquired Pearce from the Astros for cash considerations.

Pearce, a journeyman first baseman/outfielder, will now be a part of the platoon called upon to replace Teixeira at first base.

You can expect to see Nick Swisher at first in place of Teixeira in the coming days. Swisher filled in for Teixeira at times earlier in the season when Tex was sidelined with a wrist ailment. Eric Chavez, Casey McGehee and Pearce could also spend some time at first in place of Tex.

No matter who replaces Teixeira (.256, 23 HR, 81 RBIs), his absence leaves a gaping hole in the offense.

"He's been such a backbone to our lineup," Swisher said. "I didn't hear anything on how long he's going to be out for, but for a guy like that to be out of our lineup, man, that's a big deal."

It sure is. But if Swisher can continue to hit as he has of late (.363, 6 HR, 20 RBIs in his last 20 games), the impact of Teixeira's absence may be lessened.

Don't forget, though, that you're also losing Tex's glove.

Putting Swisher at first means using Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez in the outfield. If that's the case, the Yankees' defense may suffer.

"We're going to have to step it up, man. We've been dealing with stuff like this all year," Swisher said. "As bad as it is to say, I guess the show goes on, you know?"

QUESTION: Who would you like to see replace Teixeira? How much will this injury impact the Yankees?

Up Now: Johnette Howard looks at the Yanks' 22-game stretch against AL East foes and gives credit to manager Joe Girardi for the way he's handled things in 2012. I have items on Rafael Soriano's meltdown, injury updates on Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte, and notes on Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Swisher.

Coming soon: The clubhouse will open around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for the second game of this three-game set. RHP Phil Hughes (12-11, 4.15 ERA) takes on LHP Ricky Romero (8-11, 5.63).

Notes: A-Rod on mend, Swish stars again

August, 15, 2012
The Yankees received some positive news on Alex Rodriguez's broken left hand after the third baseman underwent an X-ray before Tuesday's win against Texas.

"It's definitely better," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said following his team's 3-0 victory. "The brace will come off. He's not quite ready to swing but he will start doing strengthening exercises so that's a good sign for us."

Rodriguez is working to return to the team after being placed on the disabled list on July 25. He's been throwing a football on the field before games as part of his conditioning program, and told reporters before Tuesday's game, "So far, so good," about his health.

In his absence, replacements Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix and Casey McGehee have combined to go 26-for-68 (.382) with seven homers. McGehee was 2-for-4 with two hits Tuesday.

SWISH LOCKED IN: Earlier in his at-bat against Alexi Ogando, Nick Swisher had seen what he described as a "white blur" as Texas' flame-thrower dialed it up. The right fielder even joked that he was hitting "on sound" as he stood at the plate in the seventh inning.

After battling to a 3-2 count with one on and one out in a scoreless game, Swisher certainly had no problem seeing the next pitch as he crushed a two-run shot to right field to put his team ahead for good. It was the second straight night Swisher has provided the big blast, as he crushed a grand slam during Monday's 8-2 rout.

"It was just a big opportunity and I was glad I could step up," Swisher said.

Swisher (1-for-4) had batted most of the season in the middle of the Yankees' lineup, but was recently moved up into the No. 2 spot. Since then, he's taken off as he's gone 9-for-30 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. The past two nights, he's been the biggest offensive star.

He gave the Yankees the lead for good Monday with his third-inning grand slam, and put the first runs on the board for the team Tuesday night. His homer was followed by a solo shot from Mark Teixeira to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. It's the ninth time this year the team has gone back-to-back.

"He's been really good for us," Girardi said. "He's taken his walks, he's had big hits for us, he's started rallies, he's done a number of things for us. That two-run homer is a tremendous at-bat."

GRANDY SLUMPING: After going 0-for-4, Curtis Granderson's average dropped to .236, the lowest it's been following a game since April 18. The center fielder is in a bad slump as he has just one hit in his past 18 at-bats. He's been moved out of his normal No. 2 spot in the lineup, but that hasn't seemed to help. Girardi believes Granderson will break out of it.

"I'm convinced Curtis will come out," Girardi said. "I thought he had some pretty good swings off a left-hander tonight, I thought he just missed some balls."

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2

August, 11, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

What's it all mean? That Ivan Nova might not be a lost cause after all. Nova followed up two of the worst outings of his career with one of his best, baffling the Jays for seven innings before tiring in the eighth. The 5-2 win gives the Yankees a chance to turn this into a 5-2 road trip if they can win Sunday's finale.

Found: Two breaking balls: Belonging to Nova, who seemed to have misplaced both his slider and curveball since the All-Star break. Nova relocated both of his swing-and-miss pitches Saturday, using his hard (89 mph) slider and a knee-buckling curve to notch nine of his 10 strikeouts.

Brief encounter: David Robertson came on in relief of Nova with one out and two on in the eighth. D-Rob threw one pitch and got two outs when Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter turned a snappy inning-ending 4-6-3.

Strong Case: Casey McGehee got a rare second start in a row and made the most of it, crushing a three-run homer in the fourth inning and doubling -- and scoring on Jeter's ground-rule double -- in the sixth.

Laff riot: The Yankees erupted for five runs off their former teammate Aaron Laffey, four in the fourth inning on McGehee's first home run as a Yank and an RBI single from Jayson Nix, and another in the fifth on the doubles by McGehee and Jeter.

Second chance: An apparent Nova strikeout of Anthony Gose in the fourth inning was overturned by home-plate umpire Jim Joyce, who ruled Nova had balked just before the strikeout pitch, moving Rajai Davis to second. Given a new lease on life, Gose struck out on the next pitch. In all, Nova fanned Gose four times, three on curveballs and one on a 94 mph heater after setting him up with four hooks.

Watch out! Three batters got plunked, Curtis Granderson on the right shoulder and Yunel Escobar (twice). After Nova hit Escobar the second time, giving the Jays runners at first and second with one out in the sixth, Joyce issued warnings to both benches, although why Nova would have deliberately wanted to put a runner on base in that situation is a mystery to me.

Rob-bied: Cano stole a run from the Blue Jays, and killed an incipient rally, in the sixth with a diving stop of Moises Sierra's hot grounder in the hole with runners at the corners and two out.

Grand larceny: Granderson made a spectacular running catch of a line drive off the bat of Adeiny Hechavarria on the warning track in deep center to end the seventh inning.

Lights out: After Jeter's sixth-inning double, the Yankees did not have another hit as three Blue Jays relievers retired nine straight batters until Mark Teixeira's walk with two out in the ninth.

What's coming: A column on the new Nova, as well as the latest news on CC Sabathia, who reportedly has a sore elbow and may not be able to go Monday night.

Tomorrow: The road trip comes to a close with one more matinee, Phil Hughes (11-9, 4.10) vs. J.A. Happ (0-1, 6.35), first pitch at 1:07 p.m.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees don't do anything major. They do add a first/third baseman, Casey McGehee from the Pirates. He's a right-handed bat and helps them with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira out.

DEMPSTER IN THE DUMPSTER: The Yankees did have conversations on Ryan Dempster, but he ends up with the Texas Rangers. For the Yankees, it is unclear how much of an upgrade he would be over what they already have. We get into the details here.

WHAT THEY DID: They traded Chad Qualls to Pittsburgh for McGehee. Qualls had no place on the roster with Joba Chamberlain due back real soon. The trade also means Ramiro Pena's days are numbered. In 2010, McGehee hit .285 with 23 homers and drove in 104 with Milwaukee. (Sadly, he was at .230/8/35 so far this year.) He will play first and third in A-Rod's absence.

THEY ALREADY MADE THEIR BIG DEAL: Getting Ichiro Suzuki to play the outfield was the Yankees' big deal before the break. Ichiro's acquisition looks pretty good at the moment; especially with Mark Teixeira's injury. Though Teixiera doesn't appear to be hurt badly, Ichiro presence makes it easier for Joe Girardi to shift Nick Swisher to first base.

WHERE WAS THE NEED? If you wanted to argue the Yankees needed to improve their pitching, I don't think even Brian Cashman would argue. Though that has been a strength, Cashman is always thinking pitching. But the Yankees were out of the Cliff Lee game and there was no obvious upgrade over what they have right now. When Cashman talks, we'll find out how seriously they considered Dempster.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are you satisfied with this Yankee team?



Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146