New York Yankees: David Price

A question of Price

August, 27, 2014
NEW YORK -- David Price turned 29 Tuesday. Wednesday, he pitches for the Tigers against the Yankees. By this time next year, he may be on the verge of free agency.

At that point -- if, of course, he doesn't re-sign with the Tigers -- he most assuredly will be linked to the Bronx, regardless of his past stances on facial hair.

But the Yankees could be faced with an old familiar question: Should they pay a lot for a 30-something ace?


Should the Bombers break the bank for another 30-something ace?


Discuss (Total votes: 1,445)

It is a topic they will be forced to discuss this offseason when they decide how hard to pursue Max Scherzer and/or Jon Lester.

The Yankees see potential in their rotation, but there are question marks. The Yankees could book on a guy like Shane Greene, who goes up against the Tigers Wednesday night. From the get-go, Greene has shown the stuff to be a major league starter. Still, there is a lot more needed -- mental makeup, consistency -- to do it for the long haul.

Greene could join a rotation next season that includes: CC Sabathia, who'll be coming off knee surgery; Masahiro Tanaka, with an elbow issue looming; Michael Pineda, who has been unable so far to successfully pitch a full year; Ivan Nova, who'll be coming back from Tommy John surgery during the season; David Phelps, who has an elbow issue; Adam Warren, possibly converted from a reliever to a starter; Brandon McCarthy, who will suddenly cost a pretty penny; and Manny Banuelos, Luis Severino and Bryan Mitchell, who are waiting on the farm.

There is potential there, but adding Scherzer or Lester would make the Yankees better in 2015.

So this offseason -- with Sabathia as the backdrop -- another decision looms. The Yankees are considering a six-man rotation for the future. This could make an investment in Lester or Scherzer more feasible, offering some protection against injury, or it could make them bypass the big names completely.

The Yankees could switch gears and choose youth and depth over stars. The Yankees know the Orioles, Brewers and Royals are all winning without true aces.

Sabathia is the perfect example of the good and the bad of the ace deal. Sabathia earned his keep during the first three years of his $161 million deal, leading the Yankees to a World Series win in 2009. Over his initial three seasons, he averaged nearly 20 wins with a 3.18 ERA.

He then threatened to use his opt-out, causing the Yankees to capitulate and add an extra season and $30 million to his deal. Truth be told, if Sabathia had opted out -- something he said he wouldn't do -- he probably could've picked up even more cash.

Even at the time, there was some logic to letting Sabathia walk. He was great, no doubt, but he had just turned 30 and the odometer on his left arm was spinning. To predict that Sabathia would eventually regress was not hard, though it perhaps has occurred more rapidly than expected.

After posting a 15-6, 3.38 ERA campaign in 2012, Sabathia is 17-17 with a 4.87 ERA and no fastball the past two years. He has a knee situation that will likely prevent him from ever being close to an ace again and could even rob him of the rest of his career.

But here is the rub: How could the Yankees have done anything differently in Sabathia's case? They are the Yankees, with expensive seats to sell and a brand that is built on winning and stars. Could they really just let Sabathia walk in the winter of 2011? There would be no guarantees that a new ace would walk through the door.

It is not that the Yankees don't develop pitching -- heck, their bullpen is the best part of their team, led by home-grown David Robertson and Dellin Betances -- it is just that they haven't created aces.

Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain were actually good, just not great, as Yankees. Nova has had his years. Phelps and Warren are serviceable. Greene has potential. Mitchell, Banuelos and Severino do, too.

But these are the Yankees. They have to win now. A month from now, they may have completed their second consecutive non-playoff season. They can't just sit by idly to recalibrate on the mound, can they? We'll have to see it to believe it.

So Price is on the mound Wednesday night against the Yankees. He offers an interesting question about their future. Do they want to break the mold and rely on younger depth instead of their pocketbooks?

Question: What is your opinion? Would you sign Lester or Scherzer or Price or would you go for depth?

Price is right in the Bronx

August, 5, 2014
David PriceAP Photo/Carlos OsorioThe Yanks face David Price in his Tigers debut. Better than three more times with Tampa Bay.
NEW YORK -- The good news in Joe Girardi's mind is that the Yankees probably would have faced David Price three more times this season if he were still in Tampa. The bad news is they must go up against Price on Tuesday as the Tigers show off their trio of Cy Young winners.

On Monday, Girardi listed a bunch of reasons Price is so good, but one stuck out.

"He doesn’t beat himself," Girardi said.

He does beat the Yanks pretty consistently. In his career, Price is 10-5 with a 3.66 ERA against the Yankees. At Yankee Stadium, he is 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts.

The Yankees have actually hit Price once this year, but at home they continue to struggle.

On April 17, they lit him up for six earned runs in five innings in a 10-2 win in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Yankees failed to score in double digits again until July 29. On May 2, Price returned to normal against the Yankees, going seven innings and allowing just two runs in a 10-5 Rays win in the Bronx. On July 1, Price allowed just one unearned run in seven innings in a no-decision at Yankee Stadium.

The Tigers got Price for obvious reasons, but GM Dave Dombrowski did notice how he handled big games, including last September, when he pitched a complete game to beat Texas in game No. 163.

"He's got the whole package," Dombrowski said. "You don't worry about how he'll react."

Plus, he has pitched really well lately. Over his past seven starts, he has a 1.64 ERA in 55 innings. He has struck out 56, and given up just 40 hits and 10 walks.

On deck: Opposing Price (11-8, 3.11) will be Hiroki Kuroda (7-7, 3.98).

Who can Brian Cashman trade for?

June, 28, 2014
NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman said again Saturday that he'd like to trade for a starting pitcher, sooner rather than later. He also said again that he's already been trying.

So what's taking so long?


Are the Yankees, as presently constituted, good enough to make the playoffs?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,130)

Well, you may have noticed that no other teams have been trading for starting pitchers lately, even though other teams besides Cashman's New York Yankees are shopping in the same market. And you may have noticed the current major league standings, which show that almost every team is either in the race or a weeklong hot streak away from feeling like it's in the race.

There's little doubt that a few teams are already obvious sellers on the midseason market. Both the Cubs and the Rays fit into that category, and both clubs are said to be ready to move starting pitchers.

It seems highly unlikely that the Yankees would have enough to offer the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija or the Rays for David Price, though. There's also the question of whether the Rays would be willing to trade Price within the division. Some rival executives who speak regularly with the Rays believe that they would consider it, but more likely to a team like the Toronto Blue Jays, who have more to offer than the Yankees do.

The Cubs would also be willing to deal Jason Hammel, who had some success in the American League East while pitching for the Orioles and will command a lesser price than Samardzija or Price.

The Phillies would no doubt be willing to move Cliff Lee, a pitcher the Yankees have pursued in the past. Lee is both hurt and expensive, not exactly an attractive combination. He wouldn't provide any immediate help, but since the Phillies are hoping he'll be back sometime around the All-Star break, he may be worth keeping an eye on.

The Padres may be willing to trade former Yankee Ian Kennedy. The Rockies would likely listen on Jorge De La Rosa.

Most other teams either still have a chance (or think they do) or don't have much in the way of attractive starting pitching to deal. Most teams that want to trade a starter now are like the Boston Red Sox, who have been trying to dump the expensive and underperforming Jake Peavy.

The good news for Cashman is that things can change quickly, and that there's still more than a month to go before the non-waiver trade deadline. But that's good news only if teams with pitchers whom the Yankees like (and can afford, prospectwise) go bad over the next month.

Remember, there was a time not long ago when people were asking when the Royals would trade James Shields. Then the Royals got hot; they went into Saturday's action with a record just half a game worse than the Yankees'.
TAMPA, Fla. -- As a lifelong New Yorker, I admit I'm biased, but the comments of David Price -- since walked-back, quite sensibly -- seem kind of foolish on a bunch of levels.

For one thing, it hardly seems like good business sense for a guy who is likely to be a huge free-agent in two years to eliminate any potential employers.

For another, is a beard, any beard, worth more than the price of a good razor? As most men know, money comes and goes but a beard is impossible to get rid of. It grows back every single day. If the Yankees are willing to pay you to pitch for them, you shave. You can always grow another beard.

And for a third, now that the Yankees seem inclined to throw their money around again -- see my column on the new Hal Steinbrenner from Wednesday -- there really doesn't seem to be a better place to play in all of baseball.

With the exception of Ed Whitson, Randy Johnson and perhaps Javier Vazquez, who came back for a second try, just about every player I've ever covered has had a positive experience playing for the Yankees.

It's not just the organization and the history and the amenities of the new ballpark, but it's the experience of playing and living in New York City itself, which isn't available anywhere else in the U.S., or probably, the world.

David Price seems like a good guy. Funny, intelligent, and "gets it." If you don't think so, you should follow him on Twitter (@DAVIDprice14). And I'm sure what he said the other day was just a momentary lapse, like Kevin Youkilis saying -- oh, what's the use of repeating it?

Youk, I think, is going to learn what a lot of players have learned who have become Yankees -- that it's a pretty good place to play.

After the 2015 season, David Price might get the chance to find that out, too, for no more than the price of a shave.

QUESTION: Are you willing to forgive and forget what David Price said when he becomes a free-agent?

UP NOW: My news story on the Yankees outfield shakeup, as well as various blog items from day 10 of training camp.

COMING SOON: Clubhouse opens at 9 a.m., followed by the Yankees final workout before spring training games begin on Saturday against the Braves in Kissimmee. Today's highlight: Mariano Rivera's first live BP session. I'll be there for all of it, so check in all day long. Morning notes about 11, State of the Binder about 2 p.m. As always, we know you have a choice in air travel and we're glad you chose Thanks for reading.

Price: On second thought, Yankees rule

February, 21, 2013
Well, that didn't take long. After David Price said he wouldn't sign with the New York Yankees because he would never shave his beard, he has backtracked quicker than an electric razor eliminates stubble.

Now, he says "never mind."

If he is a free agent after the 2015 season, he would consider the Yankees.

"I can't rule out anybody because, obviously, what they do for the game of baseball is just tremendous," he told reporters, including Mark Topkin of the Tampa Times.

Price, who could become the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, copped to making his comments about the Yankees to Fox Sports, but he said he wasn't trying to diss the team.

"I said it," Price said. "It probably wasn't the best thing to say, but I didn't mean anything by it. I wasn't looking to offend the Yankees. It's probably the best organization in all of sports. Not just baseball, but all of sports. I didn't mean anything (against) the New York Yankees. I've had friends on that team for multiple years."

QUESTION: Who would you rather have this season? David Price or CC Sabathia?

David Price: I wouldn't sign with Yankees

February, 21, 2013
[+] EnlargeDavid Price
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaDavid Price rocks the beard at the Rays' spring training facility.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, can't become a free agent until after the 2015 season. But he has already declared that he won't sign with the New York Yankees.

Why? Because Price, who has a beard, would have to shave if he were a member of the Yankees.

"I wouldn't stay there very long," he told Fox Sports. "I wouldn't sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that's old-school baseball. I was born in '85. That's not for me. That's not something I want to be a part of."

We'll see. I remember an unshaven player named Johnny Damon, who said he would never sign with the Yankees -- and then he did. Money talks.

There is a pretty good chance the Rays will trade Price before '15 because they aren't going to be able to afford a deal that could approach $200 million. And Price, I have a feeling, might reconsider his stance on the Yankees by 2016, especially with Hal Steinbrenner thinking about opening up the financial spigot again.

QUESTION: Would you change the Yankees' policy on facial hair to accommodate a star like Price?

W2W4: Yankees vs. David Price

September, 14, 2012

David Price has specific means of attacking the Yankees' best lefties.
David Price has pitched 105 1/3 innings against the Yankees in his career. They'll see him for the 17th time in the last four seasons on Friday, matching the most they've seen any pitcher in that span (James Shields will one-up him with his 18th appearance on Saturday).

They've seen the good Price, the bad Price, and everything in between.

With that in mind, what can some of the Yankees hitters expect when they face Price tonight?

Let's take a look.

Derek Jeter
14-for-48, 2 HR vs Price

Jeter has reached six times in 13 plate appearances against Price this season, with three hits and three walks.

The primary approach for Price has been to come down and/or in. Thirty-four of his 60 pitches to Jeter in 2012 have been on the inner-third of the plate. And 33 have been over the lower-third of the plate or below the knees.

Price has been able to get Jeter out six times with inside pitches, but when he has tried to get Jeter with something away it hasn't worked. All three hits are on outer-half pitches.

Robinson Cano
11-for-44, 1 HR, 44 AB vs Price

Price has a predictable pitch pattern to Cano. Nearly 85 percent of his pitches to Cano over the last four seasons have been fastballs.

This season, it has been all about keeping the fastball down in the zone. Of his 31 fastballs to Cano, he has thrown 22 in the lower half of the strike zone or below. When he gets it knee-high, he gets outs (he has gotten Cano out five times with a fastball to the lower-third of the zone this season).

Cano's approach has been to attack, especially the fastball on the inner-third of the plate.

Price has thrown 14 pitches to Cano over the inner-third or closer to him this season. Cano has taken 12 swings, missed none, and netted three hits and three outs.

Curtis Granderson
8-for-43, 3 HR, 17 K vs Price

Price has done a fantastic job at keeping his pitches against Granderson right on the edges of the plate.

He has thrown 82 percent of his pitches to the inner-third or outer-third of the plate (or just off the plate) against Granderson over the last four seasons.

The same holds true for working up and down the strike zone. Price typically throws 35 percent of his pitches to the middle-third of the zone, height-wise.

Against Granderson this season, that rate is 23 percent (14 out of 61 pitches).

Price's pattern has been to work Granderson inside early (within the first two pitches), then try to get Granderson to chase something knee-high or below late in the count.

His finish pitch with two strikes could be on the inside or outside corner. Of his 23 to Granderson this season, only one has had a middle-third location, width-wise.

Nick Swisher
.375 BA, HR, 9 BB, 32 AB vs Price

Swisher had been a riddle for Price the past couple of seasons, reaching base 17 times in 29 plate appearances, but the results have been better in 2012, with Swisher reaching four out of 12 times.

That may have something to do with Price's choice of pitches. He has mixed in more sliders and changeups to Swisher, throwing his fastball a little less often (from 61 percent in 2009 to 2011 to 54 percent now). Swisher had reached 15 times and made just eight outs when a matchup with Price ended with a fastball.

First Pitch: Yankees at Rays, Game 3

July, 4, 2012
Phelps stats to watch

This will be David Phelps' first start since May 9, when he held the Rays scoreless for 4 2/3 innings.

His most recent appearance was June 29 in relief against the White Sox, his first with the Yankees since June 2. The pitch to watch will be his curveball, on which he got six White Sox hitters out. Phelps threw 16 hooks and got 13 strikes.

The issue he had was getting hitters out with his fastball. Phelps gave up three hits, including a homer to A.J. Pierzynski with it, and netted only one out. White Sox hitters fouled away 10 of the 14 they swung at.

Price stats to watch

David Price has won three straight starts since getting pummeled by the Mets, pitching seven innings in each to a 2.57 ERA and .211 opponents' batting average.

Price was sharp against the Tigers in his previous start, allowing two runs over seven innings and 78 pitches before leaving with back stiffness.

Five of Price’s seven strikeouts were called strikeouts, as he hit the inside corner against right-handed hitters repeatedly. He leads the American League with 44 strikeouts looking.

Price has also not allowed a hit to a lefty hitter in his past three starts, retiring 12 of the 13 he faced.

Tropicana Field is where Price thrives. Take out the seven runs he allowed there against the Mets on June 13, and he’s allowed seven runs over 44 2/3 innings in his six starts.

The comfort level for Price is in his ability to allow fly balls that don’t leave the ballpark. Just two of his 36 flies allowed at home have been homers, compared to seven of the 48 he’s yielded on the road.

Daytime doings

The Yankees have won three straight day games (all at home) and are 15-8 in afternoon play this season. They’ve hit 44 home runs in those 23 games, taking advantage of favorable conditions at Yankee Stadium on a couple of occasions. Robinson Cano has posted the best numbers, with a .333 batting average and seven home runs.

Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson have each hit five home runs during day play, but their batting averages are not good (.222 and .218 respectively).

Up now: Blog items from Tuesday night's postgame clubhouse, including Russell Martin on his horrendous night, Cano on his ability to count outs and third-base coach Rob Thomson on his decision to send Cano home in the sixth inning, a pivotal event in the Yankees' 7-4 loss.

On deck: Quick turnaround, clubhouse opening at 11:40 a.m. for Wednesday's 3:10 p.m. Fourth of July game. Rookie Phelps (1-3, 3.16) shoulders the burden of staving off a sweep by the Rays -- and ending the Yankees' nine-game losing streak at The Trop -- facing Rays ace Price (11-4, 2.92).

Question of the day: Many of you made it quite clear Tuesday night how down you are on Martin. So who would you replace him with, and by what means would you go about obtaining that replacement? Let us know below, and as always, thanks for reading.

W2W4: Yankees vs. Rays (June 7)

June, 7, 2012

David Price Stats To Watch
Since allowing five runs in seven innings to the Yankees on May 10, David Price has allowed five total earned runs in his past four starts against the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox and Orioles.

Though the Yankees touched him up for two home runs (by Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano), Price has done well at limiting damage when he yields hits. He’s allowed only two home runs in these past four starts and did not allow an extra-base hit to a left-handed hitter.

It will be interesting to see if Price changes his approach in pitching to Yankees hitters. They only missed on four of their 45 swings against him in that last meeting. Since then, Price has gotten a miss at a rate of once for about every 4.5 swings.

CC Sabathia Stats To Watch
Andy Pettitte got five strikeouts with a nasty breaking slider in the series opener on Monday. We’ll see if CC Sabathia can get the Rays to chase with the success that Pettitte had.

After struggling at times with the slider in starts against the Reds and Athletics, Sabathia had the Tigers fishing at the pitch in his last start, netting four strikeouts with it.

Sabathia recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts in beating Price for the first time on May 10.

The Rays have had their issues against left-handed pitching recently. In the last 10 days, opponents have started a lefty five times, and the Rays are 1-4 in those games. The combo of Chris Sale, Brian Matusz and Pettitte held them to two runs and seven hits over 22 innings.

Two Rays you probably won’t see in the lineup tonight are Jose Molina (0-for-16 vs. Sabathia) and Hideki Matsui (0-for-15 vs. Sabathia).

The hitter who has given Sabathia the most trouble is Sean Rodriguez, who has reached base seven times in his last 10 plate appearances against Sabathia, including once via intentional walk.

Jeter Watch
Derek Jeter is 0-for-9 in the past two games. He hasn’t had three straight hitless games in which he’s had at least one at-bat since 2010.

Andruw Jones has started each of the prior two times the Yankees have faced Price this season, and he’s had an RBI hit in each. In fact, dating back to 2010, each of Jones' past four hits against Price have driven in a run. Jones is timely, though not necessarily effective. He’s 6-for-27 against Price for his career.

First Pitch: To the left, to the left ...

June, 7, 2012

Getty ImagesSouthpaw stoppers CC Sabathia and David Price will go toe-to-toe tonight in the Bronx.
Yankees fans are in for a treat tonight.

For the second time in less than a month, lefty aces CC Sabathia and David Price will square up in a delicious matchup in the Bronx.

Back on May 10, Sabathia outdueled Price, giving up just two unearned runs in eight innings of work in a 5-3 Yankees victory.

(Those two Rays runs were scored via errors by Eduardo Nunez -- remember him? Nunez was lifted from the game after five innings, and that was the last we've seen of him. He was sent down to Triple-A the next day.)

Price wasn't at his best that night, surrendering five runs on 11 hits in seven innings. But he has been very good since, giving up just five runs over his last four outings combined, in 28-1/3 innings.

On the season, the 26-year-old is 7-3, with a sparkling 2.44 ERA.

Sabathia, 31, is 7-2, with a 3.68 ERA. He hasn't been quite as good in his last four outings, giving up 12 runs in 27 innings.

These two pitchers have faced each other six times before. Sabathia had never beaten Price, prior to the last outing.

The Subway Series looms, starting Friday, but this is the best pitching matchup you'll see this week.

UP NOW: My column on Ivan Nova. Andrew Marchand's story on the Yankees' anticipated divorce from StubHub.

ON DECK: Marchand and Wallace Matthews will anchor our coverage of the series finale. Mark Simon will have a What2Watch4 around noon.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Who would you rather have at the top of your rotation -- Sabathia, or Price?

W2W4: Rays at Yankees (May 10)

May, 10, 2012

Derek Jeter can do no wrong against lefties this season

David Price Matchups to Watch
The Price that the Yankees see on Thursday has a different approach than the one who used to be reliant on locating his fastball around the outside part of the plate.

Price has increased the use of his other pitches (changeup and slider) and throws a fastball that appears to be more of a cutter now.

Price throws his fastball/cutter on the inner-third of the plate to righties on more than half of his pitches. In 2010 and 2011, he came inside with that pitch less than 30 percent of the time.

This is working very well. He’s 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 innings in his last four starts. In his last start against the Athletics, his fastball netted 11 outs and only one baserunner (on a walk).

We’ll see how the new Price fares against two right-handed hitters who figure to pose a challenge. Nick Swisher is 10-for-24 with eight walks against Price.

Derek Jeter is 12-for-his-last-28 against Price, including his 3,000th career hit last season.

Price worked Jeter inside with seven of his 10 pitches in their first meeting of the season, but Jeter was still able to get two hits on the other three pitches thrown to him.

The heat map above shows how Jeter has fared against left-handed pitching this season. He’s an amazing 22-for-28 in at-bats that end with a pitch in the strike zone against them.

CC Sabathia Matchups to Watch
Sabathia has looked much more like his old self in his last three starts, lasting at least eight innings in each one.

He’s upped his ground ball rate from 41 percent in his first three starts to 53 in his last three, and the Yankees have turned 29 of the 35 grounders he’s yielded into outs.

That an 83 percent success rate, 10 percentage points higher than their efficiency turning grounders into outs this season.

The most interesting matchup from this game will be Sabathia against Carlos Pena.

Pena was in a 1-for-29 slump against Sabathia before hitting a grand slam against him in the first inning on Opening Day. Sabathia struck him out in the next two at-bats, something he’s done to Pena five times in their last seven confrontations.

Inside the Matchup
David Price and CC Sabathia have gone head-to-head six times, with the Rays winning each of the previous five meetings.

Price is 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in those five meetings. Sabathia is 0-3 with a 5.91.

Off the Mark
Since his two-homer, six-RBI game against the Red Sox, Mark Teixeira is 8-for-56 with six RBI in his last 15 games, though much of that is against right-handed pitching.

He’s 3-for-18 in that stretch against lefties, though with only one strikeout.

Teixeira’s ground balls are not finding holes from either side of the plate. He’s 0-for-his-last 12 when hitting a ground ball against a left-handed pitcher.

Endgame questions?
Both teams face a question of who closes, given that David Robertson has thrown 44 pitches and Rafael Soriano has thrown 39 for the Yankees over the last two days, and Rays closer Fernando Rodney threw 28 pitches in his first two-inning stint of the season.

The Yankees could come back with Soriano, who has not pitched on three consecutive days in the regular season since doing so against the Yankees, September 13-15, 2010.

The Rays likely option would be Joel Peralta, with whom the Yankees are familiar. He allowed four of eight Yankees he faced to reach base, including a three-run homer to Swisher earlier this season.

Kenton Wong, Brandon Mendoza, Lee Singer, Mike Proia, Dan Tomaro, J.B. Kritz, and Mark Simon contributed to this post

W2W4: Yankees at Rays (April 7)

April, 7, 2012
Matchup to Watch vs David Price Nick Swisher is 10-for-22 with seven walks vs the Rays lefty , including 5-for-8 against Price last season, having reached base in each of his last four plate appearances.

Swisher has seen an average of 4.4 pitches per plate appearance against Price, which falls right in line with his ability to work counts.

When Swisher makes the decision to swing early in the at-bat, he’s effective. He’s 5-for-5 in the last two seasons against Price in the first two pitches of an at-bat.

This will also be the first meeting between Price and Mark Teixeria since Teixeria hit two home runs against Price in the final game of the regular season.

Prior to that, Teixeira was just 7-for-32 against Price, but that was likely due to being well defended. He’s only fanned against Price once.

Price does do a good job against the Yankees lefties. Robinson Cano is homerless in 31 at-bats against him. Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Brett Gardner are a combined 15-for-72 (.208) vs Price.

With a lefty going, Joe Girardi could work Andruw Jones into the lineup, but keep in mind that Jones was just 1-for-11 vs Price last season.

Matchups to Watch vs Hiroki Kuroda
Kuroda will be facing the Rays and pitching at Tropicana Field for the first time in his career.

He’ll likely face a lefty-loaded lineup, which makes sense given that lefties slugged .451 (nearly 40 points above league average) with 12 home runs against Kuroda last season.

Kuroda is a little bit prone to the wild pitch. He ranked second in the NL with 12 last season. But he’ll be working with a familiar backstop in Russell Martin, who caught him in 60 different games during their time as Dodgers teammates.

Kuroda’s career ERA with Martin was 3.76. With other catchers, it is 3.13.

The Granderson Shift
My Stats & Information colleague Will Cohen did a few lookups related to the Rays shifting their infield defense against s Granderson, which paid off twice on Thursday. Twice, Granderson grounded out on balls into the shift, including once into a double play.

Will noted via Baseball Info Solutions' defensive data that the Rays led the majors in shifts last season with 216, 46 more than the team with the next-most, the Brewers.

Their decision to do so was likely based on this piece of information –- 83 percent of Granderson’s grounders last season were hit between first base and second base. Granderson totaled only three groundouts to third base in 2011.

Jeter Watch
This may sound a bit geeky, but Derek Jeter has a very good history when playing in the Yankees second game of the season. In 14 “Game 2s” Jeter is a .393 hitter (22-for-56) with 15 runs scored. In his last five “Game 2s,” Jeter has four multi-hit games.

Another chance for Mo
Only once in his time as a full-time reliever (since 1996) has Mariano Rivera allowed a run in his first two appearances of the season. That came in 2005, with both games against the Red Sox.

The Not-So-Dreaded 0-2 Start
Fear not: If the Yankees lose, it would be their third 0-2 start since 1986. The other two were in seasons that ended with World Series titles -- 1998 and 2009.

No news is good news for D-Rob

March, 9, 2012
David Robertson, still on crutches and wearing a walking boot on his right foot, said he "felt better'' today than he had on Thursday but still did not know how serious an injury he suffered in a freak accident at his home Wednesday night.

"No new news today, just waiting to hear back,'' Robertson said. "It feels better today, that's all I can tell you.''

But Robertson said he still could not put weight on the foot, injured when he missed a step in his home while carrying some empty boxes out to the garbage.

"I didn’t feel like I broke anything when I fell,'' he said. "It was just really sore and I was having trouble standing on it.''

Thursday morning, Robertson had X-rays, which came back negative, and an MRI, which according to Joe Girardi, showed "some cause for concern.'' As a result, Robertson was sent back to the hospital for additional tests, which were overnighted to Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad and a foot specialist, Dr. Justin Greisberg. As of this morning, the results of their examinations had yet to be announced.

"I think they're just trying to take an extra look to make sure nothing's wrong,'' Robertson said.

Robertson, in fact, was more concerned with the embarrassment of having injured himself in a household accident than with the injury itself.

"I don’t even want to come talk to you guys about it,'' he said, laughing. "I'd rather tell you I tripped over a chair in the clubhouse than tell you I fell down the stairs in my house. Not like full flight of stairs, either, just one stair.''

Told that his clumsiness had been outdone by Rays pitcher David Price, who had to leave a game Thursday because of neck spasms caused when he toweled his head too vigorously between innings, Robertson pumped a fist into the air.

"Yes!'' he said. "That's good news right there. It's the best news I've heard all day.''

Price is wrong for Yankees

August, 12, 2011
CC Sabathia could have stopped giving up home runs after the third inning, with the total at three already, and it still wouldn’t have helped the Yankees.

That's how dominant opposing starter David Price was Friday night.

The Yankees didn't muster much offense against Price as Tampa Bay's lefty shut them down in the Rays' 5-1 win. Price gave up just six hits and one run over eight innings, while striking out four as he evened his record to 10-10.

"I thought he threw the ball well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not shocking, David Price has done this a number of times."

Coming into the night, the Yankees had been quite successful against Price this season. They had scored 11 runs and had 19 hits in 17 1/3 innings against the southpaw, resulting in Price having a 0-1 record and a 5.71 ERA against the Yankees.

In Price's last start, however, he had given up just two runs in 7 1/3 innings and he improved on that solid outing Friday.

While he gave up a leadoff single to Derek Jeter, he locked in after that at-bat and the Yankees didn't mount much pressure during the game. His lone mistake came on an RBI double he surrendered to Andruw Jones in the fourth inning.

The Yankees put runners into scoring position just three times and the Rays defense prevented the Yankees from getting any more. Nick Swisher got thrown out at home trying to slice the lead to 3-2 in the third inning and second baseman Sean Rodriguez started a slick double play in the eighth inning on a hard-hit ball by Jeter.

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "When he's hitting his spots, he's tough to beat."

The common theme after the game -- from both the Yankees hitters and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon -- was that Price used his off-speed pitches to stymie the Yankees.

Swisher said Price used the off-speed pitches more compared to trying to blow his fastball by the hitters and third baseman Edurado Nunez said that Price had a great changeup.

Teixeira said Price's fastball was also working and his slider/cutter pitch made life tough for the Yankees hitters.

"When he can throw a lot of those, it's easy to get through eight innings like he did," Teixeira said.

Rays applaud Jeter after hit No. 3,000

July, 9, 2011

William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER/US Presswire
Derek Jeter's former teammate, Johnny Damon, got to witness No. 3,000 in person.
As Derek Jeter rounded first base in his home run trot for the 3,000th hit of his career, Tampa Bay first baseman Casey Kotchman tipped his cap to the Yankees shorstop. Like his teammates who came out of the dugout to applaud Jeter, Kotchman wanted to show appreciation for Jeter's accomplishment.

"I felt like that was the right thing to do out of respect for what he's done and what he means to the sport," Kotchman said. "On a single or a double I thought I'd have my chance to shake his hand and give him a hug and say congratulations first. When he went in the seats, that wasn't going to happen and I wasn't going to be able to shake his hand so I tipped my cap."

While Jeter recorded hit No. 3,000 against the Rays, the team and its manager were all respectful and congratulatory of Jeter's accomplishment following the Yankees' 5-4 win over the Rays.

"It was a great moment for Derek, his family and the history of the Yankees franchise," former teammate and current Tampa Bay designated hitter Johnny Damon said. "Derek stands for the good stuff in baseball. I'm proud of him."

Jeter secured hit No. 3,000 when he smashed a solo home run to left field off Rays starter David Price in the third inning to tie the game at 1. While the Yankees mobbed Jeter at home plate and the relievers ran to home plate from the outfield, the Rays waited for the Yankees to celebrate first before manager Joe Maddon asked Damon to bring the team out. A fair amount of Rays initially came out of the dugout to applaud Jeter, led by Damon, while others applauded from the top step of the dugout.

Maddon said it was a great day at Yankee Stadium, while saying it was unfortunate Jeter went 5-for-5 against his team, including the game-winning RBI in the eighth inning. He said his team will always remember being part of this game and he has an appreciation for what happened.

His players all seemed to bring up the word "respect" when discussing Jeter's milestone.

"I feel like everyone in this locker room has mutual respect for Derek Jeter, probably everybody in baseball, it's not like he's done anything to anybody to have not the same amount of respect as everybody else," Price said. "He's done it the right way and I know a lot of guys respect him."

Maddon joked that Jeter went above and beyond what he needed to do in his quest for 3,000 hits by having a perfect day at the plate and driving in the game-winning run in what will be remembered as a legendary performance.

Considering it was Jeter, the Rays weren't surprised.

"It's just special," Kotchman said. "His 3,000th hit is a homer and you come to expect nothing less from him. He's got that flair for the dramatic. Just to see the crowd's reaction, he just deserves it."

Added Damon in a joking manner: "Hopefully he can play himself in his own movie."



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