Results tagged ‘ American League Most Valuable Player ’

Yanks to honor Teixeira before regular-season finale

The Yankees will honor Mark Teixeira in a ceremony prior to their 3:05 p.m. game Sunday, Oct. 2, against the Orioles. Teixeira, 36, will retire as a player at the end of the 2016 season.

He joined the Yankees as a free agent Jan. 6, 2009 when he signed an eight-year contract. In that time, Teixeira has batted .248 with 530 runs, 183 doubles, five triples, 203 home runs, 615 RBI, 472 walks, a .343 on-base percentage and .820 OPS in 948 regular-season games and 3,494 at-bats. The Yankees’ record during Tex’s tenure is 542-406 (.572).

With the Yankees, he earned three Gold Gloves (2009-10, ’12) and a Silver Slugger (2009), and was named to two American League All-Star teams (2009, ’15). As part of the Yankees’ World Series-winning team in 2009, Teixeira finished second in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. He led the AL with 122 RBI (including a league-leading 31 go-ahead RBI) and tied for the league lead with 39 home runs. He also hit an 11th-inning “walk-off” home run to win Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Twins.

In franchise history, Teixeira is tied with Roger Maris for 15th place in home runs, trailing only Lou Gehrig (493), Don Mattingly (222) and Jason Giambi (209) among players whose primary position was first base. Along with Maris, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez, Tex was one of four Yankees all-time to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first three seasons with the club.

Originally drafted by Texas as the fifth overall pick of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Teixeira has played 14 seasons in the majors with the Rangers (2003-07), Braves (2007-08), Angels (2008) and Yankees (2009-present) and batted .268 with 1,096 runs, 406 doubles, 18 triples, 406 home runs, 1,291 RBI, 914 walks, a .360 on-base percentage and an .869 OPS in 1,852 games and 6,908 at-bats. He is a three-time All-Star (also 2005), five-time Gold Glove winner (also 2005-06) and three-time Silver Slugger winner (also 2004-05).

Only four switch-hitters in baseball history have more home runs than Teixeira (Mickey Mantle-536, Eddie Murray-504, Chipper Jones-468 and former teammate Carlos Beltran-419) and only four players have more home runs since his debut in 2003 (Albert Pujols-519, David Ortiz-479, Miguel Cabrera-441, Adam Dunn-417).

A Maryland native who now lives on Greenwich, Conn., Teixeira has been actively involved in charitable endeavors throughout his career, including participation on the Board of Directors of Harlem RBI, supporting a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and creating a scholarship at his high school, Mt. St. Joseph, in the name of his friend Nick Liberatore, who passed away in a car accident while the two were in school together.

A-Rod will not play for another club this season

It appears that the 46,459 people who attended Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium did indeed witness Alex Rodriguez’s final game of the 2016 season. Whether he try to resume his playing career next season and join a team in spring training is still a possibility I suppose, but a spokesman for A-Rod made it clear Monday that the three-time American League Most Valuable Player is done for this season.

Ron Berkowitz, Rodriguez’s publicist, issued a statement that read: “I want to put all this talk to rest about Alex playing for any team this season. It’s not happening. Like he said Friday night, he is happy and he is going to take some time to relax and hang with his family and friends.”

There had been speculation that the Marlins might be interested in signing Rodriguez, a Miami native and resident, following the loss of slugger Giancarlo Stanton likely for the rest of the season because of a groin injury. A-Rod never used the word “retire” in his press conferences before and after Friday night’s game, which fueled talk that he might seek to hook up with another team. The Yankees granted Rodriguez his unconditional release after Friday night’s game for the purpose of his agreeing to work next year as a consultant with young players in the organization.

60th anniversary of “Elliie” integrating Yankees


There is a very good article in the April edition of Yankees Magazine by Bergen Record baseball columnist Bob Klapisch, “Honoring Ellie,” that details the life and career of the late Elston Howard, the first African-American player in franchise history.

Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of Howard’s first game with the Yankees April 14, 1955, an 8-4 Red Sox victory at Fenway Park. Howard entered the game as a defensive replacement for Irv Noren in left field in the sixth inning. Two innings later, Howard got his first major-league hit and RBI in his first time up in the big leagues with a single that scored Mickey Mantle from second base.

Howard was used in the outfield and first base as well as serving as Yogi Berra’s primary backup catcher in the 1950s until he took over as the No. 1 catcher in 1960 with Yogi moving into a platoon in left field with Hector Lopez and catching on occasion.

Howard won two Gold Gloves for his defensive work behind the plate and was a major contributor to nine American League pennan-winning teams in his first 10 seasons with the club. The New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored him with its Babe Ruth Award as the outstanding player of the 1958 World Series. Five years later, Howard was again tabbed by the BBWAA as the AL Most Valuable Player for a 1963 season in which he batted .287 with 28 home runs and 85 RBI.

Ellie played in 11 All-Star Games and in 10 World Series overall (including 1967 after being traded to the Red Sox). A clubhouse leader as a player from 1955-67 and as a Yankees coach from 1969-79, Howard’s dignified manner and competitive spirit set a powerful example.

A little-known fact about Ellie is that he was credited with having developed the “doughnut,” the weighted circular device players use on their bats in the on-deck circle. Howard died in 1980 at the age of 51.

Stephen Drew’s pinch-hit, go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning Monday night at Baltimore marked the first pinch-hit grand slam for the Yankees since Jorge Posada June 6, 2001, also against the Orioles and Mike Trombley. According to the Elias Bureau, since 1980, the only other Yankees players to hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead grand slam are Posada and Glenallen Hill (2000). It was Drew’s third career grand slam, his first for the Yankees and first overall since May 15, 2013 for the Red Sox at St. Petersburg, Fla. It was Drew’s second career pinch-hit home run. The other was Sept. 30, 2006 for the Diamondbacks off the Padres’ Cla Meredith.

The Yankees are back to being the Bronx Bombers. With 12 home runs in seven games this season, the Yanks are tied with Baltimore for the major league lead. They did not reach a dozen homers in 2014 until their 12th game. . .Michael Pineda struck out nine batters without issuing a walk Monday night at Camden Yards. CC Sabathia, Tuesday night’s scheduled starter, had eight strikeouts and no walks last Thursday against the Blue Jays. Only two other pitchers in the majors have recorded games with no walks and at least eight strikeouts: the Dodgers’ Brandon McCarthy and the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.

Yogi would not miss DJ’s last home opener

Although he was not part of the Opening Day festivities, Yogi Berra was not going to let Derek Jeter’s final home opener go by without coming to Yankee Stadium to wish the captain good luck in his farewell season.

The Hall of Famer and three-time American League Most Valuable Player, who has thrown out many a ceremonial first pitch at the Stadium, is confined to a wheelchair these days, but the 87-year-old legend was in good spirits as he entered the hallway to the Yankees’ clubhouse just as Jeter was heading out to the field for batting practice.

“Hey, kid, you ready for one more big year?” Yogi asked Jeter.

“I hope so,” DJ said. “Thanks for coming. It means a lot to us. I’ve got to go stretch now. You want to come with me?”

Yogi’s pre-game stretching days are well behind him, but as Jeter pointed out his presence is greatly appreciated by Yankees players. Yogi lost his lifetime partner, Carmen, last month to a long illness, so it was good to see him out and about in the venue that continues to embrace him.

Berra was among several popular former Yankees on the scene for the first home game against the Orioles. Jeter and best pal Jorge Posada did the duty of catching the ceremonial first pitches tossed by the other half of the “Core Four,” Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.

Even before the game, it was a home opener to remember.

More Stadium woes for Hughes

The mystery of Phil Hughes continued Saturday at Yankee Stadium. For the third straight start, Hughes failed to last long enough to qualify for a winning decision, which he has not had in six starts dating to July 2, in the Yankees’ 9-3 loss to the Tigers.

Hughes was up to 99 pitches by the time he was removed from the game one out into the fifth inning. The righthander had six strikeouts and did not walk a batter, but he hit a lot of bats. The Tigers lashed out seven hits, including four for extra bases, off Hughes, whose season ERA is a mere decimal point below 5 at 4.99.

Over his past six starts, Hughes is 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. He has allowed 35 hits, including eight home runs, over that stretch. The Stadium continued to be a scary place for him. Hughes is 1-8 with 16 home runs allowed and a 6.18 ERA this season in the Bronx compared to 3-3 with six home runs allowed and a 3.67 ERA on the road.

“He has had a hard time keeping the ball down,” manager Joe Girardi said. “They put a lot of long at-bats on him. They [Tigers] have some guys that can do real damage.”

The Yankees could not maintain the momentum from Friday night’s uplifting victory in extra innings to exonerate a rare second straight blown save by Mariano Rivera. The first batter who faced Hughes Saturday ended up on third base.

What a series Austin Jackson is having. The Tigers center fielder had three doubles in a four-hit game Friday night and followed that Saturday with a first-inning triple and a fifth-inning home run. Jackson is 6-for-10 (.600) with five runs, three doubles, one triple and one home run in the series. He has a series slugging percentage of 1.400!

Miguel Cabrera, who stunned Rivera with a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth, went deep again off Hughes in the third inning. He has been no slouch in the series, either, with five hits in 10 at-bats (.500), including two home runs. The defending American League Most Valuable Player and Triple Crown winner has driven in four runs and scored three.

Cabrera has made a habit of beating up on the Yankees. In 45 career games against them, Cabrera is batting .367 with 11 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs and 43 RBI in 166 at-bats. In 15 games at Yankee Stadium, Cabrera is a .404 hitter with two doubles, nine home runs and 20 RBI in 57 at-bats.

The Yankees were in a 6-0 hole before Lyle Overbay got them on the board in the fifth with a two-run home run off Anibal Sanchez. Yet just when it seemed the Yankees would make a run against the Tigers, Detroit moved further ahead the next inning on Torii Hunter’s three-run home run off Joba Chamberlain. Overbay knocked in the Yankees’ third run as well with a two-out single in the ninth.

Overbay, who also walked, was the only Yankees player to reach base multiple times. His home run (No. 13) was his first at the Stadium since July 10 against the Royals.

The Yankees bullpen allowed five earned runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, the most runs allowed by the relief corps since June 1 against the Red Sox (six earned runs) and the fourth time relievers have allowed at least five runs in a game (also five earned runs April 3 against the Red Sox and May 15 against the Mariners). Overall, Yankees pitchers allowed 17 hits, one shy of their season high. This was the fourth time giving up at least 17 hits in a game and the second against the Tigers (also 17 hits April 6 at Detroit).

The Yankees got only three other hits off Sanchez (10-7), who walked one batter and struck out eight in his seven innings. Around that time fans in the stands starting doing the wave. There is no greater sign of disinterest.

Yanks overcome Mo’s 2nd straight blown save

Miguel Cabrera may not win a second consecutive Triple Crown, but a second straight American League Most Valuable Player Award is not out of the question. In a remarkable at-bat in the top of the ninth inning in which he twisted his left knee and fouled a ball off his left shin, Cabrera stayed upright enough to power a 2-2 cutter from Mariano Rivera into the netting over Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in center field for a game-tying home run.

It was the 34th homer of the season for Cabrera, who hobbled around the batter’s box throughout the at-bat. He leads the AL in batting (.360) and RBI (108) but is a distant second in home runs (by seven) to Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. The home run also scored Austin Jackson, who doubled with one out for his fourth hit and third two-bagger in the game.

That was the second straight blown save for Rivera, who also gave it up Wednesday night at Chicago, but only his fourth in 39 opportunities this year. In such situations, looking back at missed scoring chances haunted the Yankees, who had one hit (a double by Robinson Cano in the third inning) in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Major culprits were the 4-5-6 hitters – Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson, who were a combined 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in regulation.

Ironically, it was that part of the order that helped construct the winning rally in the 10th when Cabrera’s lack of mobility played a part in the Yankees’ 4-3 victory that ended Detroit’s 12-game winning streak.

Jayson Nix, who replaced Rodriguez defensively at third base in the ninth, led off the 10th with a walk. He began the at-bat with a bunt down the third base line based on testing Cabrera’s wobbly left leg that went foul. Granderson followed with a single to right. A key play was a wild pitch by Al Alburquerque, the Tigers’ seventh pitcher, on a third strike to Lyle Overbay that served the same purpose as a sacrifice.

That forced the Tigers to walk Eduardo Nunez to load the bases to create a situation where there was a force at every base. Alburquerque got a big strikeout of Chris Stewart before Brett Gardner punched a single to the left of Cabrera, who dived for the ball but could not stop it. It was the third hit of the game for Gardner, who also scored twice and stole a base.

It was an important victory for the Yankees coming off four straight losses to substandard clubs (Padres, White Sox) and guaranteed that their record cannot fall below .500 in this series against one of the league’s powerhouses.

Quad injury delays A-Rod’s return to Yanks

The anticipated return to the Yankees this week of third baseman Alex Rodriguez ran into a detour Sunday when an MRI performed by Dr. Chris Ahmad, the team physician, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital revealed a Grade 1 strain of his left quadriceps. That is the same condition that landed shortstop Derek Jeter on the 15-day disabled list last week.

Rodriguez, who was on an injury-rehabilitation assignment at Triple A Scranton, did not play Saturday night after reporting tightness in the quad. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player had been scheduled to rejoin the Yankees Monday in Arlington, Texas, where they open a four-game series against the Rangers. A-Rod had to go to New York instead and now will return to the Yankees’ minor-league facility at Tampa for rest and treatment.

He issued a statement through his personal publicist that read, “I am extremely disappointed with the results of the MRI and hoping to be back as soon as possible and continue with my goal of coming back and helping the Yankees win a championship.”

Since Sunday was the last day of Rodriguez’s 20-day rehab, he must remain on the DL and is no longer eligible to play in minor-league games because the 20-day window has expired but he will not be reinstated to the 25-man roster. The Yankees may petition Major League Baseball for an additional rehab assignment for Rodriguez due to this new injury.

In 13 minor-league games for four Yankees farm clubs, Rodriguez batted a combined .200 with one double, two home runs, eight RBI, one walk and 12 strikeouts in 40 at-bats.

Cano joins MVP conversation

With the season Curtis Granderson is having and all the attention it has brought him as a major candidate for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, it can get easy bypassing the contributions Robinson Cano has made for the Yankees this year.

Cano was an MVP contender a year ago and finished third in the balloting behind winner Josh Hamilton of the Rangers and runner-up Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. Guess what? Cano may be every bit the MVP candidate again this year. Just as the Red Sox have two legitimate contenders for the award in Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury, so, too, do the Yankees with Granderson and Cano.

“I wouldn’t write him off of that MVP race,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said moments after the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays Saturday that Cano helped wrap up with a two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning.

The rally began innocently with two out when Granderson got hit in the back by a 2-2 pitch from Ricky Romero, who was working with a 4-3 lead. The crowd at Yankee Stadium booed Romero, but the pitch was a curve so there was no head-hunting going on. Romero then simply lost it as he walked Alex Rodriguez on four pitches.

Interim manager Don Wakamatsu, subbing for John Farrell, who is back in Toronto recovering from pneumonia, then made a curious move by taking out the left-handed Romero for the right-handed Casey Janssen to face lefty-swinging Cano. Janssen got ahead 0-2 in the count before Cano fouled off a pitch and watched two fastballs miss to make the count 2-2. Then he smoked a line drive to right-center for his 40th double of the season with both runners scoring to bring his season RBI total to 101. Cano then scored an insurance run on a single by Nick Swisher.

Wakamatsu’s explanation after the game was that Janssen has been effective against lefties this year, holding them to a .186 average in 86 at-bats. That figure rose to .205 in 88 at-bats after Cano and Swisher were through with Janssen.

It was yet another example of what Cano means to the Yankees. In a second half in which they have played largely without A-Rod, Cano has stepped up to bat .325 with 19 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs and 44 RBI in 197 at-bats. Remember when a lot of people thought his swing would be ruined by winning the All-Star Home Run Derby? Yeah, right. He just keeps getting better.

“We saw him step up last year,” Girardi said. “He has become a staple in our lineup. He’s a dangerous presence at the plate. The hardest part for me is when to give him a day off.”

Regular-season games in September and October are when Cano really flourishes. Already this month, he is batting .333 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI in 12 at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cano’s .337 batting average in 669 at-bats in September/October regular-season games is the fifth highest since 1950 for players with 300 or more plate appearances.

It was a big day all around for the Yankees whose major-league-leading winning percentage in day games went to an even .800 on the basis of a 36-9 record.

Brett Gardner, who had a two-run home run Friday night, reached base three times with two singles and a walk and swiped two bases. A-Rod got back in harness, had 1-for-3 and showed he can still dash around the bases on Cano’s double. Francisco Cervelli clubbed a two-run home run in the second inning off Romero and crossed the plate without clapping his hands. Jesus Montero singled to left in the seventh for his first major-league hit. On a day when Mariano Rivera or Rafael Soriano were not available out of the bullpen, Girardi got two sturdy innings from David Robertson, who earned his first save.