Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Earlier in the night, USA Today reported that Major League Baseball was preparing to suspend Alex Rodriguez for life due to his connection in the Biogenesis scandal. It is believed that he, along with eight other major league players, are expected to hear their punishment at some point this week.

The reports say that MLB has enough evidence to keep Rodriguez off the field for the rest of his life, possibly accusing him of obstructing MLB's investigation.

But now there's a twist in the story: ESPN's T.J. Quinn is reporting that A-Rod and his lawyers are now negotiating with MLB to try to avoid dealing with the possible lifetime ban. Although his lawyers say that they would seek a deal, MLB has shown them enough evidence to prove A-Rod guilty in any case.

Below is a piece from from Quinn's report on

The source said MLB officials have told Rodriguez's attorneys that they are willing to ban him for life, although sources said it was not clear commissioner Bud Selig was prepared to make such a move, knowing Rodriguez would fight it in arbitration.
Several sources have told "Outside the Lines" that some MLB officials have pushed for a lifetime ban, saying they would rather force Rodriguez to defend himself than agree to a suspension that allows him play while he appeals. Rodriguez was presented with MLB's evidence in recent days, detailing what sources said were "volumes" of documents establishing a connection between Rodriguez and Biogenesis clinic founder Tony Bosch.
Sources said MLB was also given evidence supporting accusations that Rodriguez attempted to coerce at least one witness in MLB's investigation. That accusation is the basis of MLB's argument that Rodriguez may be punished for his conduct, in addition to multiple violations of the game's joint drug agreement.
MLB is apparently hoping that Rodriguez will accept a lengthy suspension that could keep him off the field through at least next season, without the time and trouble of an arbitration hearing.

A couple days ago, it was reported that MLB planned on suspending A-Rod under baseball's CBA rather than the Drug Joint Agreement, meaning that A-Rod wouldn't be able to play in games while fighting any suspension through the appeal process.

Whether Bud Selig will actually go through with a lifetime ban is unknown, it's believed that he was holding the lifetime ban over A-Rod in hopes to get him to settle a deal with MLB.

As for when these suspension will be announced, that's a question we've all been waiting for. We were hoping to hear something before the deadline, but then it was figured more likely to hear something on Thursday or Friday. Now it's sounding like we might not know until this weeks.

I know, it tortures me as much as you. Im just can't wait for all of this to end, so we can go back to talking about on the field baseball.

Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter and tell me what you think about A-Rod.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Any day, at any moment, Major League Baseball is expected to hand down it's suspension on Alex Rodriguez that could range anywhere from 50 games, to a possible lifetime ban from professional baseball.

Rodriguez's lawyer, David Cornwell, said on ESPN Radio on Monday that they are preparing to appeal any suspension from MLB. "My expectation is that we'll be working toward an appeal," said Cornwell.

Cornwell was on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, talking to fill-in host Stephen A. Smith. Though he asked Cornwell an array of questions, not many answers were given.

The New York Daily News reported on Sunday that MLB has offered a deal to A-Rod that, if accepted, would keep Rodriguez off the field for the rest of this season and all of the 2014 season. If rejected, which is what Cornwell gave the impression is happening, then MLB would likely seek a lifetime ban.

The reports also say the MLB is "armed with voluminous evidence they believe would warrant lifetime banishment.", so the idea of fighting any suspension sounds like a waste of time to any outsider that isn't within the A-Rod camp.

But for the time being, A-Rod is in Tampa and is scheduled to play in a simulated game or minor league rehab assignment on Thursday, followed by a five-game rehab that would put him on tap to return to the Yankees on August 6th at the White Sox.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ready for your daily dose of Alex Rodriguez? Well, here we go. The New York Daily News is reporting that Major League Baseball has offered A-Rod a deal to sit the rest of this season and the entire 2014 as a suspension for his involvement in the biogenesis scandal.

Accepting this deal would be against the alternative, which is a lifetime ban that MLB would dish out if A-Rod denies to take the suspension. If he rejects, MLB is expected to announce a suspension as soon as late Monday or Tuesday.

"If there is a suspension," says a source close to A-Rod, "he will fight it."

Why wouldn't he fight it? It's what he does. But from a normal fans' standpoint, this would be the biggest waste of time on the planet, considering that the Daily News report also says that MLB is "armed with voluminous evidence they believe would warrant lifetime banishment."

Below is a piece from the news report from the Daily News:

According to a source familiar with the discussions between MLB officials and A-Rod's representatives, if Rodriguez accepted a settlement that would call for him to be suspended for the rest of this year and the entire 2014 season without pay, he would still have a chance to collect the $60 million the Yankees would owe him from 2015 to 2017.
The deal would allow MLB to impose the suspension immediately and avoid arbitration. If Rodriguez declines the deal, commissioner Bud Selig is expected to pursue what would be an historic suspension that would ban the 38-year-old Rodriguez from ever returning to the field.

 Of course saving the money is what the Yankees care about the most, along with the possibility that they wouldn't have to deal with all the drama that A-Rod brings for at least through 2014 season. If that were the case, he would return in 2015 after a two years off, clearly nowhere near a playing condition.

Also to the case, he's still set to make $60 million in three years remaining on his contract after the suspension. Taking the deal that MLB has sent out to him, would still get him the $60 million, while facing a lifetime ban would get him none of the nearly $100 million he's owed through 2017.

Personally, as much as I don't care to see him play again, doesn't it sound smarter to just accept to deal instead of never playing again? It'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple of days.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Derek Jeter will play shortstop on Sunday:

The Captain is coming back.....again. Derek Jeter take part in simulated game on Saturday and Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game that everything went well and as long as Jeter feels going Sunday morning he'll be back in the lineup, playing shortstop.

"It's obviously someone we've been waiting for for a long time," Girardi said. "We had him for one day. We won that game, so hopefully this ratio continues."

Jeter returned for one game on July 11 and went 0-for-2 with an RBI groundout before straining his right quad, forcing him back on the DL after the All-Star break. Jeter was eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.

"You can be in great shape, but playing shape's a little bit different because you're getting used to standing around, starting and stopping, so we had to do all that," Girardi said. "As of right now, he came out very well. So we'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Hafner lands on the DL with shoulder injury:

While Jeter comes back, Travis Hafner goes down. The Yankees announced after the game that they had placed Hafner on the DL with a rotator cuff strain.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game that Hafner wouldn't play on Saturday before of soreness in his shoulder, saying that he suffered the injury during Friday night's loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

"He has not complained of his shoulder, he has not been getting treatment really on his shoulder," Girardi said. "So I don't know if it was one swing yesterday or what, but it leads me to believe it was one swing."

Hafner has been struggling badly for the past couple of months,  batting .318 with six home runs April, but his average has dropped to .205, his OPS to .684 and he's launched just six more home runs in nearly three months.

"I suspect that it's beating him up and that's probably working against him right now that he's not playing as well as he's capable of playing, but we still have confidence," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I know that every time he comes to the plate he's capable of a lot.

"We still believe in him," Cashman said, "but we're going to run whoever's the best option for that day unless we come up with better options."

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Friday, July 26, 2013

It's official, Alfonso Soriano is a Yankee...again! Soriano waived his no-trade clause this morning for the deal to finally become official.

The Yankees are expected to be giving up a low-level prospect in return and the the Cubs are also planning on eating a large sum of the $25 million, while the Yankees will pay around $7-$8 million of what Soriano is owed through the 2014 season.

Soriano was scratched from the Cubs lineup Thursday night after team president Theo Epstein requested that he be removed from the lineup, saying that a trade involving Soriano was close to being completed.

Soriano will be a big upgrade for the offensively challenged Yankees lineup, adding some much needed power that the Yanks haven't seen in awhile. Soriano has hit eight homeruns this month, while the Yankees as a team have hit seven, and haven't had a homerun from a right-handed hitter in 27 games.

For the season, Soriano, 37, is batting .254 with 17 homeruns and 51 RBIs. His numbers would put him at second on the Yankees in both homeruns and RBIs, trailing only Robinson Cano, of course.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

While the rest of the world was enjoying their normal lives, Alex Rodriguez was out doing what Alex Rodriguez does: keeping himself directly under to media spotlight.

As you might remember, Rodriguez caused a major stir when he decided to seek a second opinion on his quad, the same quad that Yankees teams doctor Chris Ahmad had already diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain. A-Rod, without team permission, asked Dr. Michael Gross his opinion on the MRI, to which he said he saw nothing unusual.

A-Rod went on saying that he felt find, there was no pain in his quad and that he wanted to be in the Yankees lineup Friday night for the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx.

Cashman released a statement shortly before the Yankees took the field against the Rangers Wednesday night, calling him "Mr. Rodriguez" in the statement, showing to some degree how their relationship stands.

The saga continued on Thursday, first with the statement that was released by A-Rod:

"I think the Yanks and I crossed signals, I don't want any more mix ups. I'm excited and ready to play and help this team win a championship. I feel great and I'm ready and want to be in the lineup Friday night. Enough doctors, let's play."

Later in the day, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman held a conference call around the time of the Yankees and Rangers were playing in the fourth inning of their game that people kinda forget is still being played even through the A-Rod chaos.

Cashman said that he, Yankees president Bruce Levine and A-Rod, accompanied by his lawyer, had about a 15-minute conversation, in which the two side, the Yankees and A-Rod, discussed his situation.

Cashman said that Rodriguez was evaluated once agains and stood by the Grade 1 strain, but said there is some improvement. Cashman said that A-Rod won't join the Yankees on Friday and that he'll continue to rest and receive treatment, and they would aim for an August 1st date to begin a rehab assignment.

"I can't tell you anything past the Aug. 1 date," Cashman said. "If everything goes right, I don't think you're looking at much longer past that date. We just need to cross off every box that needs to be checked. We're just following the normal course of action. So hopefully really soon after we hit that Aug. 1 date when we can get him in a [simulated] game or rehab game. Hopefully it's not very long."

What did A-Rod tink of the Yankees' plan for him? Well, he later when on the radio to talk to Mike Francesa of WFAN, telling him what he thought.

"Obviously, I'm an employee, I have to follow my bosses and I was on the phone with both of my bosses, they said there is a protocol," Rodriguez said.

The protocol is that he'll wait it out until August 1st, then he was able to choose between a five-day or a seven-day rehab plan. Obviously, A-Rod decided on the five-day plan because it'll get him on the field faster, the way he wants it.

A-Rod was then asked by Francesa, "Do you trust the Yankees?", to which A-Rod responded, "I'd rather not get into that, I'm just frustrated I'm not going to be on the field tomorrow. I'll leave it at that."

One more question thrown his way was about why he had his lawyer take part in the conference he had with the Levin and Cashman.

"I just want to make sure everything is documented properly, I know there were reports out there that I didn't ask for permission [to get a second opinion], but actually on Tuesday night I had a conversation with [Levine] and told him that I was going to get a second opinion. I wanted to be very clear on that. That's it, I just want to make sure everything is properly documented so there are no more mix ups."

A-Rod says that he told Levin that he was going to seek a second opinion on quad, contrary to what reports have said that the Yankees were investigating whether A-Rod broke CBA code by seeking the second opinion without telling the team.

Reports are saying that the Yankees are planning on disciplining him for violating the CBA codes, but it's not completely known what they would do. Some sources say that the Yanks might plan on issuing him a fine.

For all the latest Yankee news, follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter.
ARLINGTON -- Hiroki Kuroda just doesn't seem to know what bad pitching is. Kuroda continued to cement his case to be the Yankees ace by tossing seven shutout inning against the Rangers, giving the Yankees more than enough to take down Texas 2-0 in the series finale.

Even better, the Yankees were able to string together some hits with their bats, putting runs on the board to ensure that Kuroda would walk out of Arlington with a win.

"He's pitching real good for us," Yankees catcher Austin Romine said, who collected a career-high three hits. "Every time he goes out there, we know it's going to be a real close game. It's Hiro. It's what he's doing. He goes out there and throws. I don't know how to explain it any other way."

Kuroda had it going for him all afternoon long. He was able to work himself out of jams to keep runs off the board and the Yankees in the lead. He finished after seven innings, permitting just six hits, all singles, a walk and three strikeouts on 100 pitches.

"That guy has been solid for us the whole year," Mariano Rivera said of Kuroda. "To come out and pitch the way he pitched today, it was brilliant. In this weather? He was outstanding for us. It means a lot. We needed to win this game. Period."

But Kuroda disagreed with everyone, saying that he didn't even pitch well, regardless of what his stat line might say about his afternoon.

"I don't think I had any particular pitch that was working well," Kuroda said. "From the get-go, I didn't have a good outing, but I was able to get big outs and put up a decent outing."

Two runs may not be a lot, but the Yankees collected some big hits when they need one, posting five doubles on the day, coming just a couple days after breaking a streak of 20 straight singles.

It was back to back doubles that put the Yankees on the board to open the top of the 6th inning off Rangers' starter Derek Holland.

Holland did his best to keep up with Kuroda, but in the end, the two earned runs he gave up just wasn't enough for the Rangers to overcome and help him out. Holland exited after 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits.

"It was a very good pitching duel going out there," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Both pitchers did their job on each side. They just happened to take advantage of the opportunities to put runs on the board, and we didn't."

The second earned run charged to Holland came after he had already left the game in the 8th, with runners on 1st and 3rd, Eduardo Nunez beat out a double play ball to let Robinson Cano scored from third, giving the Yankees a helpful insurance run.

After Kuroda left, David Robertson made easy work in the 8th inning, setting down the Rangers 1-2-3, giving way for Rivera close out the 9th, picking up his 33rd save of the season and closing out a much needed win for the Yankees in their final game in Texas.

"Whatever happens with the offense, all I want to do is make sure that I contribute to a win," Kuroda said. "With the two-run lead today, I think I was able to get big outs and get away with it."

Now the Yankees will head back home to open up a three-game series against the hot-hot Rays at Yankee Stadium. CC Sabathia will look to redeem himself after a rough outing against the Red Sox on Sunday.

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ARLINGTON -- The Yankees have run into rough times, losing six of their past eight games, losing two of the first three games in their series against the Texas Rangers, scoring just a lone run combined in both losses. Luckily enough, whatever the Yankees do, the Red Sox follow suit, so the Yanks haven't fallen farther than seven games back in the standings this week.

But now they  must try to salvage one final game in Texas before heading back home to face the red hot Tampa Bay Rays, starting Friday in the Bronx.

Today's Lineup, 2:05 EST @ Rangers Ballpark:

Ichiro RF
Lillibridge 3B
Cano DH
Wells LF
Nunez SS
Adams 2B
Overbay 1B
Mesa CF
Romine C

Kuroda P

Pitching Preview:

As you may have read over the past few days, I've started to call Hiroki Kuroda the new ace of the Yankees. Today, he'll get a chance to prove his case when he faces a Rangers club that he's already beaten once this year.

Kuroda took the mound against the Rangers June 25th at Yankee Stadium, when he gave up three runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, coming home with the win.

Kuroda and his 2.60 ERA last took the mound last Saturday against the Boston Red Sox, in which Kuroda held Boston to two runs over seven plus innings.

"[Kuroda] had everything," Girardi said after that game. "His stuff was really crisp. He kept his pitch count down in the early innings. His stuff was really sharp."

Derek Holland will be tasked with trying to follow up Matt Garza's solid Ranger debut Wednesday night, when he threw 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball, yielding only five hits to the weak Bombers lineup.

Holland will also be trying to recreate the stellar outing he had against the Yankees on June 27th at Yankee Stadium. Holland tossed a two-hit shutout, mowing down the Yanks' bats with ease.

"When you attack the strike zone, you can do that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after Holland's shutout. "That's the bottom line, and I thought that's what he did."

In his career, Holland's 7.21 ERA against the Yankees is his second-highest mark against any American League team, and the lefty is 0-2 with a 10.29 ERA against the Bombers at Rangers Ballpark.

"I'm going to do the same thing I've always done, and that's go after them," Holland said. "You can't change, no matter how good you did or bad you did before. I just want to go back out there and keep the momentum going."

Yankee Notes:

* Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Derek Jeter is scheduled to run the bases today, signifying that we could see Jeter back in action when he becomes eligible to play Saturday if all goes well.

* An unnamed Yankee player told the New York Daily News that Alex Rodriguez causes a circus around the Yankees' clubhouse.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ARLINGTON -- With all the attention that Alex Rodriguez brought to the Yankees on Wednesday, it kinda made you forget that there was still a game to be played.

Coming off a 9th inning come from behind win on Tuesday, the Yankees looked to carry over the momentum with Andy Pettitte on the mound.

But to go along with the common theme, Pettitte pitched well, much better than he's been pitching lately, holding the Rangers to two runs in six plus innings, but took home the loss after the Yankees failed to give him anything in support.

"You don't worry about it," Pettitte said. "I'm telling you, I ain't taking the mound worrying about whether we're going to score runs or not. Our guys are grinding, and that's all you can do. Our team, this is what we have. We're going out there and battling and competing, and I love it."

Pettitte surrendered an early run to the Rangers, giving up an RBI single to AJ Pierzynski, who came up big later in the game, scoring Ian Kinsler, who single to open the bottom of the first inning.

Texas was able to get a hold of some balls, knocking hits around the yard off Pettitte, but weren't able to get anything serious going against the 41-year-old left-hander.

The only run of support Pettitte would receive on the night came in the 6th inning when Robinson Cano singled a soft liner to center, scoring Brett Gardner, who motored all the way around to third on a throwing error by Rangers' starter Matt Garza when he threw a ball up the right field line on batted ball back at him.

But for the second straight night, the Rangers used the power of the long ball to take the lead, when Pierzynski took a hold of Pettitte pitch to lift it over the right field wall. Daniel Murphy tacked on another run in the 8th, going yard off Shawn Kelley to extend the lead to 3-1.

"Pierzynski killed him -- I mean, he had both of the RBIs against him," Girardi said. "Andy usually handles lefties very well, but he left a slider ... it was down, but he left it kind of middle in. He hit it out."

Pettitte was removed from the game after giving up a pair of base hits to open the 7th. He allowed just two runs on eight hits over six plus, walking one and striking out two.

With his second strikeout, Pettitte passed Sandy Koufax on baseball's all-time strikeouts list on Wednesday, tying former Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown for 39th place.

Pettitte's counterpart, Matt Garza, was making his his first start with the Rangers since they acquired him from the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Garza put himself into some early trouble, but settled in to yield only one unearned run on five hits, leaving to a standing ovation after 7 1/3 innings.

"He's got good stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's got a very good fastball and a good slider. We hit some balls; we hit them at people. We had an opportunity in the first inning and weren't able to score. He kind of got on a roll after that."

Neal Cotts worked his magic against the Yankees in the 8th and 9th, facing four straight Yankee hitters and setting down four straight Yankee hitters, then Joe Nathan topped off the final out of the game to give Garza the win in his Ranger debut.

"We just weren't able to get anything going tonight," Gardner said. "That's kind of been the story for the last little while. We need a couple of guys to get hot and a couple of other guys to follow suit. Hopefully, we'll get on a roll tomorrow."

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For those of you that haven't been following, the biggest story of the day has been Alex Rodriguez and the issue, or no issue, with his quad that was diagnosed by team doctors to have a Grade 1 quad strain.

But on Wednesday, A-Rod took matters into his own hands, reaching out to Dr. Michael Gross, chief of orthopedics of Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack. Gross said on WFAN Radio in New York that Rodriguez had asked him to look over the MRI to offer a second opinion.

Gross told WFAN's Mike Francesa that he never treated A-Rod in person, only speaking to him over the phone, but after spending about 20 minutes looking at the image, he saw no reason that Rodriguez couldn't be in the Yankees' lineup.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't see any sort of injury there," Gross said in the radio interview. "I asked him that specifically. I said, 'A-Rod, does anything hurt?' And he said, 'No.' If there's no pain -- to me, as an orthopedist -- that means there's no injury."

A-Rod has said that he feels good and that there's no pain in his quad. According to sources, he told the Yankees that he wants to be in the Yanks' lineup as early as Friday night when the team comes back home to open up a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I asked him, 'Do you think you're fit to play?' And he said, '100 percent,'" Gross said. "I'm guessing a guy who's been playing ball his entire life knows his body. If he thinks he's fit to play, that's what he said."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responded to these reports by issuing a statement shortly before the Yankees took the field against the Texas Rangers Wednesday night:

"I heard via a text message this afternoon from Alex Rodriguez that he had retained a doctor to review his medical situation. In media reports, we have since learned that the doctor in question has acknowledged that he did not examine Mr. Rodriguez and that he was not retained to do a comprehensive medical examination of Mr. Rodriguez. Contrary to the Basic Agreement, Mr. Rodriguez did not notify us at any time that he was seeking a second opinion from any doctor with regard to his quad strain.

"As you know, it is the Yankees' desire to have Alex return to the lineup as soon as possible. And we have done everything to try and accomplish this.

"As early as Friday, July 12, when I suggested to Alex that we move his rehab from Tampa to Triple-A Scranton (at Buffalo), Alex complained for the first time of "tightness" in his quad and therefore refused to consent to the transfer of his assignment. Again, last Sunday, Alex advised that he had stiffness in his quad and should not play on Sunday or Monday. We sent Alex to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI which evidenced a Grade 1 strain.

"As always, we will follow the rules and regulations set forth in the Basic Agreement, and will again re-evaluate Alex in Tampa tomorrow, as our goal is to return him to the lineup as soon as he is medically capable of doing so."

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ARLINGTON -- Brett Gardner called the Yankees' 5-4 comeback win against the Texas Rangers Tuesday night the teams best win this season. In a way, he was right. Leading for the most of the game, the Rangers rattled off a four-run 6th inning to take the life out of the Yanks for the time being.

But then in the 9th, facing all-star closer Joe Nathan, the Yankees put together a comeback that would hopefully lift the team's spirits for the coming weeks.

Tonight's Lineup, 8:05 EST @ Arlington Ballpark:

Gardner CF
Ichiro RF
Cano 2B
Overbay 1B
Wells DH
Nunez SS
Lillibridge 3B
Mesa LF
Stewart C

Pettitte P

Pitching Preview:

Andy Pettitte has been pitching like Andy Pettitte wants to be pitching. He's 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA, watching opponents hit .311 against him over his last seven starts and has allowed 26 runs over that span.

Pettitte's last took the mound on Friday against the Boston Red Sox, after giving up a homerun to Jacoby Ellsbury on the second pitch of the game and a two-run blast to Johnny Gomes in the third, Pettitte settled down to allowed four runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings.

He'll be facing newly acquired Matt Garza, who the Rangers traded for with the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Garza is an expert when it comes to pitching against the AL East, considering he pitched with the Tampa Bay Rays for years, before signing with the Cubs in 2012.

Although, Garza never had much success against the Yankees as the Bombers are 11-1 in 12 games against the right-handed pitcher, having hit 11 home runs and scored 38 runs in 66 1/3 innings against him.

"It's been a few years, but we've seen a lot of him, and he's a pitcher that's had success pretty much anywhere he's been," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's pitched in the American League East, which is not the easiest place to pitch. He's pitched in pennant races. You would expect it to be a good acquisition for the Rangers."

Garza had been the top starting pitcher on the trade market, going 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 11 starts this season.

"When he was in Tampa Bay, you saw how he competes," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's a quality pitcher, and we're certainly looking for quality things out of him. The one thing I did tell him is, don't try to put us on his shoulders. Just be who he is; that'll be good enough for us."

Yankee Notes:

* The Alex Rodriguez saga continues, and this time, it has taken another wicked turn. A-Rod, without permission from the Yankees, went for a second opinion on his quad, and after his personal doctor, Dr. Michael Gross, said that he saw nothing wrong with the MRI the Yankees had gotten on A-Rod on Sunday.

A-Rod has said that he feels fine and ready to play, and that he's informed the Yankees he wants to be in the lineup when the team heads back to New York on friday to open up a series against the Rays.

"He feels he has no choice," the source told "He wants to play and they won't let him play. Nobody knows Alex's body better than he does."

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ARLINGTON -- It's almost been routine that when the Yankees are trailing late in a game, they shut down, and fail to put up any sort for fight. But that wasn't the case Tuesday night in Arlington.

After the Rangers put together a four run 6th inning to give themselves the lead, the Yankees pulled off a 9th inning comeback to almost doesn't compute with a lineup like this.

It all started with a walk to Vernon Wells, issued by Texas' closer, all-star Joe Nathan. Wells reached second on a wild pitch, then in the clutchest of moments, Eduardo Nunez ripped a triple off the wall in center field to tie the game.

"It feels great, you know?" Nunez said. "We've had a lot of bad things this year. Now, I want to come back to play better. I think it's a great feeling for me and my teammates so I can help the team to win."

Then Brent Lillibridge earned his pinstripes by lining a single into left field to score Nunez and give the Yankees a 5-4 lead, and giving Mariano Rivera a chance to do his thing.

After striking out the first two batters he faced, Mariano induced a ground out from Daniel Murphy to end the game, picking up his 32nd save of the season.

"I saw something big for me, a slider that was big enough to swing at, and I was able to drop it into left field," Lillibridge said. "You ease a tough start of the day and finish strong."

But just a few innings earlier, all seemed like things were just going again the Yankees, and that they would let a good outing by Phil Hughes slip away.

Hughes was in control, running through the Rangers lineup through the first five innings then it all fell apart in the 6th.

With a 3-0 lead entering the inning, Hughes had held the Rangers scoreless on just two hits, before Texas rattled off a four run inning off Hughes and the bullpen.

The inning kicked off when Nelson Cruz ripped a ball that was booted by third baseman Brent Lillibridge. The hot-hitting Adrian Beltre ripped a double into the left-center field gap, motoring around the bases came Cruz to put the Rangers on the board.

After Beltre tagged and reached third on a flyball to right-center, Elvis Andrus lined a single into right field to cut the Yankees lead to 3-2. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild made a visit to the mound, then decided to pull the plug on Hughes, making to move to have Boone Logan face Mitch Moreland with two outs.

The decision to pull Hughes didn't make much sense to me, considering he had been pitching well all night, giving up just two runs on four hits to that point.

As it turns out, the move to the pen would backfire on the Yankees, when Moreland got a hold of a fastball from Logan, launching it beyond the center field wall to pull the Rangers ahead.

"That's Boonie's job, to come in and get Moreland out," Girardi said. "Unfortunately, he didn't do it tonight, but I'll throw him out there again."

Yet in the end, the Yankees were able to channel their April lineup that had become known to be one of the more resilient lineups in the league. They pulled off the late comeback to snap a two-game losing streak, and kept them from having lost six of their last seven games.

"It's amazing how baseball sometimes works, where that random error, all of a sudden things start falling apart," Lillibridge said. "I was glad we were able to hold it close and get an opportunity late against a great closer."

"These guys never give up," Girardi said. "They keep grinding out at-bats."

The Yankees snapped another streak during the game, ending a streak of 20 straight hits that were nothing more than just singles. Melky Mesa doubled to open the 3rd, the Austin Romine doubled a batter later to bring him home.

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ARLINGTON -- Right now, the Yankees offense is running on flat tires. After a 3-0 loss last night, in which the Yanks managed only three hits, all singles, the Yanks desperately need to get something going if they plan on turning this ship around.

When asked after the game, Derek Jeter gave his opinions on the concerns he has with the current state of the Yankees.

"It's tough," Jeter said. "We put way too much pressure on our pitching staff. It's hard to pitch like that when we aren't scoring runs for them. You feel as though you've got to be perfect. I'm not a pitcher, but I can only assume.

"I've been in situations where you feel like you've got to score 10 runs. It puts a lot of pressure on your offense. Right now, there's too much pressure on our pitching staff. We've got to find a way to score runs. That's the bottom line. There's no way to sugarcoat it. We just haven't been very good lately."

Tonight's Lineup, 8:05 EST @ Arlington Ballpark:

Gardner 8
Suzuki 9
Cano 4
Overbay 3
Wells DH
Nunez 6
Lillibridge 5
Mesa 7
Romine 2
Hughes 1

Pitching Preview:

Ivan Nova gave the Yankees seven innings of three-run ball Monday night, but came away with the loss after his offensive support gave him only two hits. Now it's up to Phil Hughes to continue the good pitching, trying to give the Yanks the best chance to win.

Hughes has been the topic of many trade discussions this season as he's been having a very up and down year, but he has been pitching much better lately. Over his last four starts, he's dropped his ERA from 5.09 to 4.57.

"For him, similar to CC [Sabathia], it's location of his fastball," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "At times he threw the ball very well, and at times he struggled."

He'll be making his first since the all-star break, coming off an outing against the Minnesota Twins on July 13th when he allowed four runs on five hits, while striking out a season-high 10 batters.

Hughes started his streak of good outings when he faced the Rangers on June 27th at Yankee Stadium, holding Texas to just two runs on five hits over eight innings of work.

Alexi Ogando will try to follow up Yu Darvish's solid performance, taking the mound for the first time since June 5th, after he was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

"He's good to go -- he hasn't had any issues with his shoulder," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's done everything he needs to do to get ready. We expect him to keep us in the ballgame."

Ogando posted an 0-1 record and a 6.23 ERA over three rehab starts, but fared well in his last outing, allowing just two runs on three hits over seven innings on Thursday.

Ogando was 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA before going on the DL, and the Rangers manager said that he'll have no restrictions on his right-hander.

"He's ready to throw over 100 pitches," Washington said. "The bats of the New York Yankees will tell us how far he can go. If my ears start to hurt, I'll go get him. If I don't hear the loud sounds of their bats, we'll keep him out there."

Yankee Notes:

* As reported all throughout the morning, the Yankees have been in talks with the Chicago Cubs to acquire former-Yankee Alfonso Soriano. But many close to the Cubs, including GM Jed Hoyer, there is no deal in the works and Hoyer said that these reports are "premature".

* After Ryan Braun was handed down a season-ending suspension on Monday, many believe that Alex Rodriguez could be the next big name taken down by Major League Baseball.

Braun cut a deal with MLB to serve his suspension through the rest of the season and Wallace Matthews of has reported that A-Rod might also be trying to cut a deal.

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While many of you were tucked away in your beds, the Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was busy trying to find solutions to the vastly struggling offense.

As reported by George King of the New York Post, the Yankees are close to acquiring Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs for what would most likely be a mid-level prospect, along with paying for a bulk of his large contract.

Soriano is owed $25 million through 2014 and the Yankees would likely pick up around $6 million of the remaining money owed this season, while the Cubs would pay for most to all of the $18 million in 2014.

Though, of course, according to sources, Soriano has a no-trade clause and he would still have to waive it if a deal gets done between the two sides.

Soriano, 37, rejected a trade to the San Francisco Giants last season. He recently said he would approve a deal to the right city and team. He played for the Yankees from 1999-2003.

In his four years with the Yankees, Soriano hit .284 with 98 HR and 270 RBI before being part of the deal that sent Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees in 2004. The 15 year Major League veteran is a career .273 hitter with 389 HR and 1,086 RBI.

In 2013 for the Cubs, Soriano is hitting .259 with 17 HR and 51 RBI. He's been swinging a hot bat lately, batting .296 with 10 home runs and a 1.066 in his past 20 games.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

ARLINGTON -- It just goes to show that no matter how well you pitch, you can't win if you don't score. Continuing to make his case for a permanent rotation spot, Ivan Nova held the Rangers to three runs over seven innings, but took the loss after getting help from his offense.

Nova wasn't at his absolute best, but he still pitched well enough to keep the Yankees within striking distance in the game. After giving up an early lead, the Yankees' bats didn't do much to pick him up.

Texas bounced on top in the first inning off Nova after Adrian Beltre slapped a single to center field to score Ian Kinsler, who single and stole second to set up the RBI chance.

Geovany Soto added to the Rangers' lead in the 6th inning when he doubled deep into the right-center field gap to plate Elvis Andrus, who, again, walked and stole second base to set up the opportunity. Nelson Cruz helped pad the lead in the 7th with solo homerun to left field off Nova to put the Rangers up by three.

Like I said, Nova pitched well on the night, giving the Yankees seven solid innings, allowing only three runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out four. Although, he didn't see it that way.

"I don't really like it. Even though [it was] only three runs, I didn't throw enough strikes," said Nova. "I couldn't command my curveball really good today. My fastball was off. I don't have a feeling for my changeup. I don't really like it."

"I thought he threw OK," Girardi said. "I didn't think he had his great stuff today, but I thought he competed well and he gave us a chance to win, obviously. He kept us in the game. I thought he did OK."

The Rangers had Yu Darvish on the mound and and, too, pitched well, just better than Nova. Darvish didn't allow a hit until Lyle Overbay dropped a single into left field to open up the 5th inning. Up until that point, Brett Gardner, who was hit by a pitch as the first batter of the game, reached base for the Yankees.

Darvish, like Nova, wasn't on his "A" game, but he keep the Yankees off the board for seven innings, while holding them to just two hits, walking two and striking out four on 90 pitches.

"Once I knew it was Darvish, the first thing in my mind was, 'You've got to keep your team close,'" Nova said. "We're not hitting well lately, and he's a tremendous pitcher."

After handing the ball off to the bullpen, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan shut down the Yankees, permitting only one hit, a single off Nathan in the 9th, holding onto the 3-0 victory.

As a team, the Yankees collected just three hits on the night, all of them single just as it was Sunday night. The Yanks' offense hasn't produced anything better than a single since Eduardo Nunez smacked a double against the Red Sox on Saturday.

"It's tough," Jeter said. "We put way too much pressure on our pitching staff. It's hard to pitch like that when we aren't scoring runs for them. You feel as though you've got to be perfect. I'm not a pitcher, but I can only assume.

"I've been in situations where you feel like you've got to score 10 runs. It puts a lot of pressure on your offense. Right now, there's too much pressure on our pitching staff. We've got to find a way to score runs. That's the bottom line. There's no way to sugarcoat it. We just haven't been very good lately."

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ARLINGTON -- Coming off a loss to the Red Sox that went into the early Monday morning hours, the get a middle of the night flight to Texas to face to slumping Rangers. After being swept by Baltimore over the weekend, Texas is now on a season-high five game losing streak and have lost seven of the past eight games.

The Yankees haven't been playing very on their part lately, either. They've lost seven of their last 11 games and lost two of three games to the Red Sox over the weekend, falling back to seven games behind Boston in the AL East.

Now the the Tampa Bay Rays, the hottest team in baseball, playing the Red Sox, the Yankees will need to take advantage of every opportunity to gain ground on the Sox without falling farther out of contention.

Tonight's Lineup, 7:05 EST @ Arlington Ballpark:

Gardner CF
Ichiro RF
Cano 2B
Overbay 1B
Wells LF
Hafner DH
Nunez SS
Stewart C
Cruz 3B
Nova P

Pitching Preview:

Of all the Yankee starters, Ivan Nova has probably been the most solid starters over his last few outings, allowing just three run on eight hits over two July outings prior to the break, winning both games while pitching at least eight innings in each.

Though while Nova has been pitching very well lately, he's never really had success in his career against the Rangers. He has a 5.09 ERA in four starts against them, and he gave up four runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in his last start against Texas on August 16th, 2012.

Texas will send their second-year ace, Yu Darvish, to the mound to face the struggling Yankees' bats in the series opener. Darvish hasn't started since giving up a season-high five runs to the Astros, and he's been on the DL with a strain in his right trapezius muscle since.

"I think [the break] was good for me," Darvish said. "I was able to rest and do everything I had to do."

Darvish is 8-3 with a 3.02 ERA and 157 strikeouts, but has struggled over his last nine starts, going 1-3 with a 3.07 ERA. He's face New York once already this season, taking the no-decision after giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings back on June 25th.

Yankee Notes:

* Robinson Cano comes into play riding a 12-game hit streak and is a career .342 hitter in Texas and is 3-for-6 in his career against Yu Darvish.

* Prior to Sunday night's game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Derek Jeter had not began running and wasn't entirely sure that Jeter will be ready to play once he becomes eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.

"I guess anything is possible," Girardi said. "I'm just not sure. I think the biggest hurdle he would have to clear is running. I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent sure he'll be back [on Saturday]."

* Curtis Granderson has started taking batting practice and should participate in simulated games shortly, according to Girardi.

* Girardi also said that David Phelps threw a bullpen session on Saturday as he aims to rejoin the Yankees' starting rotation soon. Phelps is currently on the 15-Day DL with a strain in his right forearm.

"He said he felt better than his last bullpen," Girardi said of Phelps. "I don't think he means so much physically, but he probably threw the ball a lot better. When you don't throw for two weeks, you're going to be a little off."

One of the biggest unknowns with Phelps with that Girardi doesn't know what his role will be once he returns. Phelps is 6-5 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 games (12 starts) this year.

"He left as a starter, and we envision him as a starter," Girardi said. "I'm not sure what exactly is going to happen, though, when he comes back. We've got to see how he feels and how he does."

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BOSTON -- CC Sabathia was hoping for a happy 33rd birthday. Instead, the Red Sox gave him a give a gift that he'll never forget, tagging him for seven runs on nine hits, including two monster homeruns by Mike Napoli and Johnny Gomes, in five innings, raising his ERA to 4.37.

"I wish I had an excuse or something," Sabathia said.

Luckily for him, the Yankees were able to rally back and tie the game in the later innings to get CC off the hook, handing him the no-decision as the Yanks would go on to lose in 11 innings.

"We battled back and gave ourselves an opportunity to win that game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a shame we had to lose in extra innings."

The Yankees got off the a promising start, while the Red Sox played some very sloppy ball early on, committing a pair of errors in the first inning that set the Yanks to take a 2-0 lead.

Robinson Cano tacked on another run in the second inning when he singled to center field off Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster, who needed over 50 pitches to get through the first two innings.

With a 3-0, Sabathia seemed to be rolling through the first two innings, retiring the Boston hitters on just one hit through innings. But in the third, CC pretty much lost all of his momentum, giving up four runs on four hits, with a go-ahead three-run homerun by Napoli being the big blast of the inning.

After Shane Victorino singled home Boston's six run of the game in the 4th, Gomes put the Red Sox up by four when he sent a long solo shot well over the monster. It was the 23rd homerun allowed by CC this season, setting a career-high with still over two months to play.

Sabathia was finally removed from the game after walking Jacoby Ellsbury to open the bottom of the 6th inning. This easily goes into the category of worst starts as a Yankee, giving up seven runs on nine hits, while walking two and striking out five.

"It's embarrassing," Sabathia said of his performance. "I'll just try to get through it, figure something out and try to stop hurting this team and [start] helping."

CC was having major troubles with locating his fastball throughout the night and just couldn't put hitters away when he backed them into two-strike counts.

"He's been so good for so long," manager Joe Girardi said. "To see him struggle a little bit is kind of strange. It's not something that we're used to seeing."

The Yankees regained momentum in the 6th when they put up a pair of runs to cut Boston's in half. Brett Gardner collected an RBI single, one of his three hits on the night, then Cano singled home another run to make it a 7-5 game.

Then the Yanks tied the game in the 7th on a sac-bunt by Chris Stewart, scoring Vernon Wells, then Luis Cruz grounded out to the shortstop, plating Eduardo Nunez.

The bullpen lead by Boone Logan, who used some clutch pitching to strike out the side in the 7th, and David Robertson, who induced a huge inning-ending double play with the base loaded in the 8th, kept the Boston bats quiet to put the game in extras.

In extras, Shawn Kelley was dominant as usual, striking out five batters in two innings of work, but in the 11th, with Adam Warren on the mound, Napoli crushed a solo homerun deep the center field, his second of the game, to send the Fenway fans home happy.

"Once I got to 2-0, I was looking to drive something," said Napoli. "I swung through it but got to 2-2. Every time I'm up, I'm looking to drive the ball somewhere. I got a ball up and made good contact."

The Yankees fall to seven game back of Boston in the AL East, who start a four game series with the Rays on Monday. Now the Yanks head to Texas for a four-game set with the Rangers. Phil Hughes will take the mound against Yu Darvish in the series opener on Monday.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Alex Rodriguez will no longer be joining the Yankees in Texas this week after an MRI Sunday afternoon revealed a Grade 1 quad strain in the rehabbing slugger.

A-Rod was scheduled to join the Yankees when they play the Texas Rangers this week, but they've announced that he won't, instead he'll head to Tampa for rest and treatment.

Sunday was initially the final day of Rodriguez's 20-day rehab stint. The Yankees will keep him on the disabled list, but because the 20-day window is over he will be unable to play in minor league games.

The team will be able to ask Major League Baseball for an additional rehab assignment, claiming that he has suffered a new injury.

Quad strains are not an injury that the Yankee are unfamiliar with, with Derek Jeter going through the same injury. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Jeter hasn't started running yet and isn't sure whether he'll be ready to play once he can come off the DL on Saturday.

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BOSTON -- Defense came up big in yesterday's 5-2 win over the Red Sox, with two runners cut down at the plate and a double play that you don't see everyday. Hiroki Kuroda tossed another solid outing and most importantly, the Yankees scored three runs in one inning, the 7th, to help bring down Boston.

"That's what we have to do," Girardi said. "There's not too many nights when we're going to slug. That's not who we are. We have to pitch extremely well. We have to get distance from our starter and allow our bullpen to go to work and have a lead. Having a lead is really important."

The Yankees gained back a game on the first place Red Sox and today's game means a lot. If the Yankees win, they'll pull to within five games of first place, but if they lose they'll fall back to seven games behind with nine games against the Rangers, Rays and Dodgers coming up.

Tonight's Lineup, 8:05 EST @ Fenway Park:

Gardner 8
Suzuki 9
Cano 4
Overbay 3
Wells 7
Hafner DH
Nunez 6
Stewart 2
Cruz 5
Sabathia 1

Pitching Preview:

As I wrote last night, CC Sabathia hasn't been pitching up to standards in 2013. But tonight against the Boston Red Sox is the perfect opportunity for Sabathia to reassert himself as the dominant workhorse ace he once was.

But in a sub-par 2013 season, CC is coming off one of the worst starts in his Yankee career, giving up eight runs in only four innings to a not so good Minnesota Twins ballclub.

If he's going to rebound, it's going to have to come against a Red Sox lineup that has seen him twice already this season. Boston roughed him up on opening day, but CC bounced back to fire 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball on May 31st.

"I think given the position that we're in, trying to make up games and trying to win this division, I think every start is going to be big. It'll start with [Sunday]," Sabathia said.

Jon Lester was suppose to take the mound for Boston on Sunday, but he's been pushed back to Tuesday. Instead, the Red Sox will send Ryan Dempster to the mound in the Sunday Night Baseball showdown.

Dempster is also coming off a rough start right before the break, lasting only 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 91 pitches against the Seattle Mariners.

Dempster made his first start with the Red Sox against the Yankees back on April 4th at Yankee Stadium. He took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits, while walking four and striking out eight in five innings of work.

Yankee Notes:

* Alex Rodriguez is on track to return to the Yankees on Monday or Tuesday in Texas, but things are starting to look less likely as A-Rod is heading back to New York to under an MRI on his sore left quad. You can read more about that by clicking this sentence.

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Alex Rodriguez's return the Yankees big league lineup is looking like it might take longer than expected. Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that A-Rod is on his way to New York to under and MRI on his left quad.

As of now, it's unknown how this will effect A-Rod joining to team in Texas on Monday as originally planned, but it's not looking good.

A-Rod said that he first felt tightness in his quad will running the bases for Triple-A Scranton Friday night. He was suppose to play third base for Scranton on Saturday, but was moved to the DH spot about an hour before the game.

Rodriguez went on the play the game as the DH, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Afterwards, he said this about his quad:

"I think it's just a matter of how I wake up in the morning," said Rodriguez. "I'm going to go get some treatment. I'll get some more treatment in the morning. (Sunday) might be a good treatment day and then just strap it up Monday. But I'll talk to Joe and just see how he feels."

But apparently he woke and didn't feel very well, causing him to fly to New York for the MRI. If everything comes back clean, then it seems like we'll see A-Rod in Texas to play Monday or Tuesday. But if something comes up, then his return would likely be pushed back a week or so.

In 13 rehab game so far, A-Rod is 8-for-40 with two homeruns and 11 strikeouts. While he may be ready healthwise, his number don't suggest he's ready to face big league pitching.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

In 2009, the Yankees signed CC Sabathia in hopes that he would be the ace for years to come. But as he pitches through one of his worst seasons since coming to the Bronx, another face has emerged to take the spotlight as the top pitcher in the rotation.

That man is Hiroki Kuroda and so far this season, he's been everything Sabathia haven't been.

Sunday in Boston, Kuroda fired off just another in a string of strong outings this season. Up until the 7th, when he allowed his only two runs of the game, he had a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings going.

Kuroda gave the Yankees seven innings of two run ball, while holding a fierce Red Sox lineup to only five hits. But going seven innings isn't something rare for Kuroda, because he's thrown at least seven innings in 10 of his 20 starts this season.

Going deep into games and giving the bullpen little to no work every fifth day is something that an ace does for you. Kuroda does that for the Yankees.

Sabathia has also been a workhorse for the Yankees this season, as usual, going at least seven innings in 13 of his 20 starts. The only difference is that Kuroda is pitching better.

Kuroda's 2.65 ERA ranks him among the top in the American League, while CC's 4.07 earned run average doesn't.

In 13 of his starts, Kuroda has held opponents to two earned runs or less, while Sabathia has yielded two runs at most in only eight starts.

The main problem with CC is that you don't know what you're going to get with him. In his last start against the Twins last Sunday, Sabathia endured one of the worst starts of his Yankee career, allowing eight runs in only four innings.

Yet in the outing prior to that against the Royals, Sabathia went the distance, permitting only three runs on seven hits in nine innings, but took the loss because of poor run support.

With Kuroda, you don't have to worry about what kind of outing you're going to get from him because he's been so consistent this year. He's only given up two runs in his last three starts, both coming on Saturday, giving up 14 hits in 19 innings.

While CC Sabathia is still one of the more feared pitchers in the league, when he's at his best, he can dominate and shut down any offense. But the 2013 Sabathia hasn't been much of what we're use to seeing.

Instead he's been taken over by Kuroda, who's put together a very good year that CC's really can't compare to. He might not be getting the recognition around the league as one of baseball's top pitchers, but at least on the Yankees, Kuroda is an ace and it's time people start realizing that.

Question: Is Hiroki Kuroda the new Yankees ace?

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BOSTON -- Hiroki Kuroda has been nothing but ace-like for the Yankees this season and he continued that trend against the Red Sox on Saturday. Kuroda gave the Yankees seven strong innings, while holding Boston to only two runs on five hits to help the Yanks move a game closer towards first place.

"[Kuroda] had everything today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "His stuff was really crisp. He kept his pitch count down in the early innings. His stuff was really sharp."

Backed by not only the Yanks' bats, but his defense also chimed in to make several outstanding plays, including two outs at the plate, that helped decide the game.

With Daniel Nava standing on second with two outs in the first, David Ortiz lined a single into left field, giving Nava the impression that he could score, but he was gunned down at home by Vernon Wells to save a run and end the inning.

Later in the 5th, the Red Sox had Mike Carp on third and Johnny Gomes on second with two out when a Kuroda pitch in the dirt made it's way past Chris Stewart, but the ball didn't get far enough away as Carp was nailed out at the plate.

"The ball didn't go all the way to the backstop," Stewart said. "Fortunately it stayed somewhat close to where I could pounce on it pretty quickly."

Keeping Boston off the board, the Yankees put themselves on the board in the 5th when Brett Gardner slapped an RBI single to center field, one of his three hits on the day, to score Luis Cruz.

The Yankees added three more runs in the 7th, two of which were charged to Red Sox starter John Lackey, to pad the lead. After Cruz singled to center to score Nunez, Gardner lined a single into left center field to chase Lackey from the game.

Recently acquired Red Sox reliever Matt Thornton came in only to give up RBI single to Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay to put the Bombers up by four.

"He's so good," Lackey said of Cano. "He's one of those guys who almost has to get himself out. You try to make the odds go in your favor a little bit, but you just try to execute pitches and hope he hits it at somebody."

Boston answered back with a pair of runs on the bottom half of the 7th off Kuroda, After Ortiz and Carp reached base to begin the inning, Ortiz came in to score on sac-fly by Gomes, then Carp scored on a wild pitch from Kuroda.

Kuroda finished off the 7th, holding the Red Sox to two runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out four on 104 pitches. He had things going for him and most importantly, he was given run support.

"What was most impressive," Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "was even in that sixth and seventh inning, in these conditions, to be able to reach back and touch 95 and 96 [mph] against the meat of our lineup when he needed that extra velocity, he was able to get it."

The outstanding defensive plays didn't spot after Kuroda left the game, with David Robertson on the mound and Nava on first, Dustin Pedroia popped behind the plate for Stewart to make the catch while falling into the stands. Meanwhile, Nava decided to tag at first and was thrown out by Stewart for the double play.

"That's really big, especially with [David] Ortiz on deck right there as the tying run," Stewart said. "I was just glad I caught it. I saw [Nava] go, so I decided to fire it down there and make it close and we beat it. I don't think I've ever seen it turned. One of those rare things that happened."

The after Cano added another run in the 9th on a sac-fly, the Fenway Crowd got a chance to see Mariano Rivera do his thing, striking out Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the game and give the Yankees a 5-2 victory.

Kuroda picked up the win, Robertson was credited with a hold and Mairano came away with his 31st save of the season after tossing a 16 pitch 9th inning.

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BOSTON -- Friday was not the best of days to be a Yankee. After placing Derek Jeter on the DL to start the day, the Yanks couldn't put much together to against the Red Sox, losing 4-2 in the series opener, then as if it weren't enough, Zoilo Almonte became the latest player to hit the DL when be was placed after the game with a left ankle sprain.

Now the Yankees are seven games back of first place, closer to the last place Blue Jays than first place Red Sox, and have lost six of their last nine games.With a load of tough games still ahead, the last two games in Boston can mean a lot for how this season will shape out.

"We know we're in fourth place, and we want to get back the pieces that we're missing in the lineup. We want to get our guys back," second baseman Robinson Cano said. "It's going to make a big difference. We know those guys have been here a long time."

Tonight's Lineup, 4:05 EST @ Fenway Park:

Gardner 8
Suzuki 9
Cano 4
Overbay 3
Wells 7
Hafner DH
Nunez 6
Stewart 2
Cruz 5
Kuroda 1

Pitching Preview:

Hiroki Kuroda will be the next Yankee tabbed with stopping the skid. He's been the most consistent pitcher on the teams and he been the most ace-like for the Yankees this season. Though being snubbed for an All-Star spot, Kuroda's ERA ranks second in the American League.

His low ERA has been helped by the fact that Kuroda hasn't permitted a single run in 12 innings pitched thus far in July, but it can't be sitting well in his mind that he is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA against the Red Sox this season.

Boston will counter with their own right-hander, in John Lackey. Lackey has been having a season much better than many expected. He's posted a 7-6 record and a solid 2.78 ERA after missing all of last year due Tommy John surgery.

Lackey's last start before the break came in Oakland against the Athletics, when held the A's to three hits and two runs over seven innings.

Although he's pitched well this season, Lackey hasn't been very successful in his career against the Yankees, holding a 4.68 ERA against them, his third-highest mark he has against any team he's faced more than three times.

Yankee Notes:

* After Friday night's game, the Yankees placed rookie outfield Zoilo Almonte on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain. X-Rays came back negative, but Almonte was in a walking boot and on crutches after the game.

Almonte initially hurt the ankle while trying to beat out a double play ball in the second inning, when he came up limping when returning to the dugout. He stayed in the game for a couple more inning, then left during the 5th inning.

Melky Mesa and Thomas Neal have been called up to replace the injured Almonte, with Alberto Gonzalez getting canned to make room for the second call-up.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

BOSTON -- Andy Pettitte wasn't happy with the way he's been pitching lately. After tonight, I don't think he came any closer to happiness. Pettitte allowed at least four runs for the seventh straight outing, giving up a pair of homeruns to Jacoby Ellsbury and Johnny Gomes in a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox.

"This ain't easy," said Pettitte. "It's a tough lineup. Those guys are good over there. They can hit the ball. You're trying to battle as best you can."

Ellsbury kicked off his second half of the season with a homerun to right field on the second pitch he saw from Pettitte in the first inning. Gomes added to the lead in the second inning with a two-run blast over the monster to put Boston up 3-0.

Facing Felix Doubront, who's had success against the Yankees in his career, the Yanks' bats weren't doing much through the first five innings, not joining the hit-column until Lyle Overbay doubled off the monster to open the 5th.

Chris Stewart brought Overbay around to score a couple batter later when he he, too, doubled off the monster to pull the Yankees within one, making it a 3-2 game.

After allowing the homerun to Gomes in the second, Pettitte settled down nicely to continue on through the game until running into some trouble in the 7th inning. Gomes double to lead off, then Pettitte induced a groundout from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, leading Girardi to make the move to the pen.

Pettitte, like I said, didn't have his best stuff early on in the game, but settled down to give up only one run after the second inning, permitting four runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out four in 6 1/3.

"It's got to change," Pettitte said. "I can't keep going out there and giving up two, three, four runs in the first inning and second inning. I feel too good."

Unlucky for Girardi and the Yankees, the bullpen was to sharp. Shawn Kelley retired Brock Holt on a grounder back at him, then threw a wild pitch to the backstop, advancing Gomes to third. Then after battling off a few pitches, Jose Iglesias bloopped a single into right field to put the Six up by two.

The lead would be big enough for Boston as they went on the shutdown the Yankees quietly in the 9th to close out the 4-2 victory. With the win, they extended their lead over the Yankees in the AL East to seven games.

"It's one night. You can't make too much of it, but obviously this is an important stretch for us that we're in, and we understand that," Girardi said. "The next three teams we play are all in front of us, and that's really important, so we need to play well."

Brett Gardner, who scored the Yankees first run in the 4th inning after stealing second and third, leading to a ball thrown into left field that lead him to score, was ejected from the game from slamming his helmet to the ground in anger after being called out on strikes.

"This is a big game, it's the middle of the game, it's a one-run game, and I've got do a better job of keeping my emotions in check," Gardner said. "But today I didn't. I wish I had done things differently and stayed in the ballgame."

Zoilo Almonte left the game in the 5th inning with a right ankle sprain that he suffered while trying to beat out a double play ball in the 2nd inning. X-Rays came back negative, but Girardi announced after the game that Almonte would be placed on the DL and corresponding move would be made on Sunday.

"It started hurting right away after the play, but I did try to run on it to see if it would get better," Almonte said.

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was on ESPN New York 98.7, joining The Michael Kay Show to discuss some of the many storylines happening around his club. He talked about everything from Jeter to A-Rod, to Granderson and trade talks. Here's just some of what he had to say:

* Cashman talked about Derek Jeter and the decision to place him on the DL.

Cashman also said that Jeter had wanted to take the week off and see how things felt, but clearly it just didn't get good enough to play. He has no regrets over bringing back Jeter last Thursday, saying that he was going to play shortstop for the Yankees on Friday and was going to DH in Scranton on Thursday, so having him DH in the Bronx made no difference.

* Cashman was asked about A-Rod, how he was doing and what we could expect to see from him.

Cashman was also asked what type of player we should expect A-Rod to be, he said that it would be really hard to tell. He said that some days we might see something close to the old Alex Rodriguez and others we might see someone who's lost his touch.

But overall, he stated that he couldn't wait for A-Rod to come back and hopefully provide some production at third base, a position that the Yankees haven't had much coming from this season.

 * Cashman was asked about Curtis Granderson and he gave us an update on his recovery.

Granderson has started to take batting practice and Cashman said that the hope is within the next 10 day or so, they'll be able to get him into some game action. There is nothing to update on Francisco Cervelli at this time, according to Cashman.

* Next up, Cashman gave us some information on Michael Pineda and what his future might hold with the Yankees.

He added that as of right now, Pineda has been on a pitch count, but he's still looking very good in his outing, according to the scouts he's had at the games. He said that it's possible Pineda could join the Yankees bullpen at some point in time and maybe even a starting role if a position opens up.

But right now, he helps out the Yankees in giving them some pitching depth in the minors. Cashman really likes the way the Ivan Nova has been throwing and with Phelps on the DL, he doesn't know when Pineda will get a chance to pitch in the Bronx.

* Cashman talked about Mariano Rivera and his All-Star Game moment for the ages.

Cashman was asked whether he would try asking Mariano come back for another season after 2013 is over and he said that they have discussed it, but as of right now, Mariano has no intention to not retire. He said that if he decided the play another season, the Yankees would be the first to know.

Well, that's all for now. Jeter is expected to speak to the media at some point before the game, so follow me on Twitter to keep an eye out for that. Until then, you can also read tonight's game preview with lineups and much more.

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After an overachieving first half, the Yankees will begin their march to the playoffs with a tough three-game set against their rivals the Boston Red Sox, on the road in Boston. With injuries degrading most of the lineup, it'll be a series that can easily make or break the Yankees season.

Entering play at six games back, the Yanks need nothing more than to just win the series. As long as they can win at least two of the three games, they wouldn't lose any ground on the Red Sox, but losing more than just one game would put the Yankees farther away from any hope of making the playoff.

"I think there's urgency no matter what," Yankees outfielder Vernon Wells said. "The good thing is we have several games left against Boston, against the teams ahead of us. You control your destiny in the second half. You play well, you give yourself a chance."

Tonight's Lineup, 7:10 EST, @ Fenway Park:

Gardner 8
Suzuki 9
Cano 4
Wells DH
Almonte 7
Overbay 3
Lillibridge 5
Nunez 6
Stewart 2
Pettitte 1

Pitching Preview:

Andy Pettitte's first win of the season came against the Red Sox in his first start of the season when he pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits. Now making his first start of the second half, Pettitte will look to continue his success against Boston's tough lineup.

The 41-year-old left-hander comes in 7-6 with a 4.39 ERA, having struggled since coming off the disabled list on June 3. In eight starts over that span, he's posted a 4.96 ERA, with opponents hitting .301 against him.

Pettitte's last outing came against the Royals on July 11th at Yankee Stadium, when he permitted four runs (three earned) on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, while walking one and striking out one.

Pettitte will also be looking for his 20th career win against the Sox, entering with a 19-10 record to go along with 3.82 ERA in 40 games (38 starts).

The Yankees' short-handed bats will be going up against Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront, who's had success in his career against New York with a 2.52 ERA in nine career games, including five starts.

Doubront has been pitching very well lately, with a 2.70 ERA over his past 11 outings, holding opponents to a .220 average. He faced the Seattle Mariners on July 10th, holding them to one run on five hits over seven innings, while striking out six.

Yankee Notes:

* The Yankees have announced that Derek Jeter has been placed on the 15-Day DL with a Grade 1 right quad strain. The injury is retroactive to July 12th and Jeter will be eligible to return July 27th. Jeter's injury really hurts Yanks on a lot of levels, but the biggest is against lefties -- he hit .364 vs. them last year.

* The Yankees have called up utility-man Brent Lillibridge to take Jeter's spot on the active roster. Lillibridge hit seven homeruns in 23 games while playing with the Yankees Triple-A team. He can play around the infield, as well as in the outfield.

* Robinson Cano is alive and well, batting third and playing second in the line tonight. Cano was hit on his right quad by a 96 mph fastball from Matt Harvey in his first at-bat during Tuesday's All-Star Game. After originally staying in the game, he removed himself about five minutes later.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

We're half-way through the 2013 season and for the Yankees, it hasn't been the best of years, but it also hasn't been the worst. While injuries have plagued the Yanks at every position imaginable, including even Brian Cashman, who broke his ankle while sky-diving during Spring Training.

But before the Yankees kick-off the second half of the season with a huge series in Boston, I thought I'd give out my midseason Yankee awards.

Most Valuable Player: Robinson Cano

Absolutely no surprise here. Cano is the on regular position players from the Yankees last season that hasn't landed on the disabled list at some point. With Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod and Youkilis all on the DL, there hasn't been much competition for Robbie.

Cano leads the Yankees in batting average (.302), homeruns (21), RBIs (65), on base percentage (.386) and OPS (.917). Apart from Mariano Rivera, he was the teams only All-Star, and he's inclined to get paid big time this offseason.

The Yankees enter the second half at six games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, and if they have any hope of making the playoffs, then Cano will be a huge part of the process.

Cy Young: Mariano Rivera

Now this decision was a little more tough because there was a couple pitchers deserving of taking home this hardware. But edging out Hiroki Kuroda by the slightest of margins, I've decided that Mo has been the best pitcher on the Yankees roster this season.

At 43-years-old, and in his final season, Mariano is having a season that even the biggest and best Hollywood writers couldn't come up with.

Mo's 1.83 ERA is the best among all Yankee pitchers, and his 30 saves in 32 chances is almost beyond what many would have expected from a guy coming off major knee surgery. He baseball's greatest closer, he's having a great season and he's the top pitcher on the Yankees.

Best Moment: Mo's All-Star Entrance

Now I know this isn't specifically tied to the Yankees and the games that they've played, but Mariano 8th inning entrance into the All-Star Game Tuesday night was one of the most spectacular moments I've ever witnessed as a baseball fan and as a sports fan.

In New York, in his final Midsummer Classic, it was a moment that could only be applied to a player as respected among his peers like Rivera is.

For about a minute, Mariano stood alone on the field as over 45,000 Citi Field spectators, joined by all players from both sides, cheered and paid their respects to arguably the greatest closer in the history of Major League Baseball.

Best Walk-Off: Vernon Wells vs the Orioles

The Yankees haven't exactly been known to be the comeback over the past couple months since the offense flew south, but on July 5th against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees turned in one my favorite moments from the season thus far.

It wasn't that a walk-off single from a cold-hitting Vernon Wells is why this wins the award, but because of the context of the situation.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom half of the 9th inning, facing one of the game's best closers in Jim Johnson, the Yankees pulled off a comeback that not only won the game, but gave Ivan Nova that he so desperately deserved for his rock solid pitching performance.

Nova was making a post start for Kuroda, who was skip because of some concern over his hip-flexor, and didn't fail to make the best of his opportunity. Nova held the O's to only two runs on three hits, the only runs came off a two-run homerun by Matt Wieters, while striking out 11 in the complete game effort.

I look forward to covering the rest of the season and hope you continue to read along. Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Well, it only took about 10 minutes for the night's of Yankees fans to be ruined everywhere.

In his his first at-bat against National League starter Matt Harvey, Robinson Cano, starting second baseman for the American League, was hit on the right knee by a 96-mph fastball thrown by Harvey.

After AL manager Jim Leyland and trainers came out to talk to Cano, he decided to stay in the game, but left moment later after Miguel Cabrera struck out for the first out of the first inning.

As Cano walked off the field, he passed by the mound with Harvey patting his chest, saying "My bad" to Cano. Cano gave Harvey a wink and carried on to the clubhouse.

“I said, ‘No problem,' ” Cano said. “I know he don't want to hit nobody.

“There's nothing you can do.”

He was examined by Mets team doctors, who diagnosed him with a right quad contusion. X-Rays also came back negative and Cano hopes he'll be good to go when the Yankees start a series against the Red Sox on Friday.

"Yeah, I'll be good for Friday," Cano said.

This is the absolute worst possible thing for the Yankees as they get set to face to Boston Red Sox once the second half of play begins on Friday. If Cano is forced to miss any, and I mean any extended period of time, it would destroy the Yankees already weak lineup.

Cano has not missed a single this season, having played in all 95 of the Yankees games. He's batting .302 with 21 homeruns and 65 RBI's as the only All-Star in the lineup.

Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox entered the game as a pinch-runner to replace Cano and stayed in the game at second base.

"Of course you are," Cano said of being disappointed about his early exit. "You want to play the game and enjoy the nice city in New York with the fans, but that's part of life. Got to get it better and take it easy."

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