Results tagged ‘ Brian Gordon ’

Nunez healthiest shortstop in New York

The mumbo jumbo you hear in press boxes can be mind-numbing at times. In the third inning, the Mets removed Jose Reyes from the game and inserted Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Reyes has been the most exciting player in the National League, maybe even its Most Valuable Player, for three months, so when he comes out of the game it is big news.

An announcement came soon after that Reyes felt tightness in his left hamstring while running to first base to beat out a single in the bottom of the first inning. He was taken out of the game, the announcement continued, as a precaution.

Huh? As a precaution against what? Why not just say that Reyes came out of the game because he was hurt? If he is not playing because they don’t want him to injure the hamstring more, that is an admission that Reyes is already hurt. A player doesn’t come out of a game if he is not hurt unless a manager starts emptying his bench in the late innings of a lopsided game. This was in the third inning of a scoreless game. Reyes is a hurt player, the degree of which is all that is in question.

So with Reyes out of the game and Derek Jeter on an injury rehabilitation assignment at Double A Trenton Saturday night, the shortstop focus in Subway Series II at Citi Field has fallen on the Yankees’ Eduardo Nunez, who is having an impressive series.

Nunez had four hits and an RBI in the Yankees’ 5-1 victory Friday night and doubled in each of his first two at-bats in Saturday’s late-afternoon game. Nunez has had shaky moments in the field as Jeter’s caddy during the past fortnight, but overall he has done a decent job.

“I’m not trying to replace Jeter because he’s Derek Jeter; he’s Hall of Fame,” Nunez said. “I’m a young guy, and I have to learn a lot and do my best. I don’t think about going back to the bench, I just think about the moment and enjoy my game. Any part of the game they need me: bunt, stolen base, anything that they need from me, I’ll be ready. I know he’s going to come back, but I just want to play hard and in time my moment is going to come to be an everyday player.”

While the Mets may be dealing with another possible injury, the Yankees are getting healthier. Jeter is on the mend and due to rejoin the team Monday at Cleveland and to resume his pursuit of 3,000 career hits. Barolo Colon was back on the mound after missing three weeks with a strained left hamstring of his own. Space for Colon was cleared on the Yankees’ 25-man roster with the option of pitcher Brian Gordon to Scranton/Wilkes Barre where he will go into the Triple A affiliate’s rotation.

It looked as if Colon had never gone away. The infield single by Reyes was the only hit off the veteran righthander through the first four innings in which he struck out six batters, all but one on a called third strike.

Colon also tried to help himself with the bat in the third inning when he bunted Nunez to third base. The Mets brought the infield in against Brett Gardner, who hit a grounder to first baseman Lucas Duda, who threw home to nail Nunez trying to score. Nunez was at second base again in the fifth when Colon came to bat, but there were two out this time and the pitcher was swinging away – into the sixth strikeouts by the Mets’ impressive rookie Dillon Gee.

Launching pad brings Gordon back to Earth

Brian Gordon was brought back to Earth Wednesday night. Five days after making a successful major-league debut following 11 seasons in the minors, Gordon was done in by the long ball at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, one of the big leagues’ launching pads.

There had been only one home run (by Jorge Posada) in the first two games of the Yankees-Reds series, but Gordon was taken deep three times in the finale. The righthander gave up a leadoff home run to Chris Heisey on a 3-2 cutter. Gordon has said developing a cut fastball is what has been mostly responsible for the turnaround in his effectiveness that generated the Yanks’ interest in signing him, but he has not had much of a feel for the pitch in either of his starts.

Gordon showed off above-average breaking pitches in his debut last week, but they didn’t break well for him Wednesday night. He hung a curve on a 0-2 count in the second inning to Jonny Gomes, who drove the ball into the second deck in left field. Heisey’s second homer, a two-run shot in the fifth, was off another hanging breaking ball, a first-pitch slider.

That gave the Reds a 4-1 lead and ended Gordon’s night after five innings. The converted outfielder who hit 119 home runs in the minors got to bat twice and walked and struck out. The score was still 4-1 when the Yankees threatened to get back into the game by loading the bases with one down in the seventh, but Ramiro Pena and Posada swung at first pitches and grounded out.

The Yanks’ chances of coming back went awry when the Reds struck for six runs and eight hits in the seventh and eighth against Hector Noesi, who had a rare poor outing. Two of the eighth-inning runs came on the third homer of the night by Heisey, who drove in five runs and scored four. The Yankees just got too much of Heisey in this one.

The balls were carrying well in the humid air around the Ohio River. One of the Yankees’ runs also came on a homer, by Nick Swisher in the second. That was one of only two hits the Yanks managed in seven innings off Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who obviously was recovered from the stiff neck that resulted in his being scratched from his scheduled start Monday night and may have been responsible for the Reds making an early rainout call Tuesday night that forced the teams to play two games Wednesday.

The Yankees won the day game to guarantee a winning trip as they went 4-2 through Chicago and Cincinnati. The loss at night cost the Yanks a chance to take over first place in the American League East, however.

Nova maturing with each start

Ivan Nova has gone from the Yankees’ No. 5 starter coming out of spring training to the point where now he is the rotation’s No. 2 starter. His 5-3 victory Monday night at Cincinnati improved Nova’s record to 7-4. Only ace CC Sabathia (9-4) has won more games than Nova.

Armed with a 4-0 lead before he took the mound, Nova overcame a shaky beginning when he gave up singles to the first two Reds batters to fashion his best outing of the season. Nova was quite willing to trade a run for two outs by getting 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto to ground into a double play. Those were the first two of 15 consecutive outs Nova recorded before Paul Janish ended the string with a two-out single in the fifth. Nova retired nine of the last 10 batters before calling it a game after the eighth for the longest outing of his career.

Nova got 16 outs in the infield and struck out seven batters. Only two outs were to the outfield. Nova recorded 25 outs in eight innings, one more than necessary because Drew Stubbs reached on a third-strike wild pitch in the third. Nova had outstanding control. He did not walk a batter.

With Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon on the disabled list, Nova has been relied on to take up the slack in the rotation and for the most part has come through. He has won three straight starts and lowered his ERA to 4.13. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Nova has a 7-1 career record in games when he has a lead of more than one run, and the Yankees are 11-1 in those games.

Nova’s blending in a changeup to go with his fastball, curve and slider has been a major factor in his current three-start winning streak. Yankees fans are getting to watch a young pitcher mature with each start.

With victories in nine of the past 11 games, the Yankees are 13 games above .500, their high mark of the season, and stayed within 1 ½ games of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East.

The Yankees got clicking in the first inning against Travis Wood, a last-minute replacement for scheduled Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who had a stiff neck and may start Tuesday night against Yankees rookie Brian Gordon.

Great American Ball Park is known as a bandbox, but the Yankees stayed in the yard and used four singles and a double to produce four runs in the top of the first. Their other run came in the eighth without a hit as Curtis Granderson walked, stole second, continued to third on an error by Janish at shortstop and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Jose Arredondo.

Things got a bit hairy in the ninth when Luis Ayala gave up a hit and Boone Logan hit a batter. Both runners scored, but Mariano Rivera restored order for his 18th save. After setting a three-game series attendance record over the weekend at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the Yankees played to another full house Monday night at Cincinnati. The prime attractions of inter-league play are giving NL audiences their money’s worth.

Bosox sweep seems like a long time ago

The Yankees sure know how to salvage a homestand, don’t they? Thursday’s 3-2, 12-inning victory completed a three-game sweep over the Texas team that beat them out for the American League pennant last year and followed taking three of four from AL Central leading Cleveland (the Indians were in first place during that series, that is).

That’s a pretty impressive finish for a homestand that began with the Red Sox clobbered the Yanks in three games by an aggregate score of 25-13 in a series in which Alex Rodriguez said “Boston embarrassed us.”

Most of his teammates felt the same way, but they showed their resilience by bouncing back against the Tribe and the Rangers, whose pitching staffs rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in the AL. And the Yankees’ one loss in the past two series was by a 1-0 score to the Indians.

The Yankees finished off the homestand with one of the feel-good stories of the year so far. Brian Gordon, 32, who has spent 15 years in the minor leagues originally as an outfielder and until this year as a reliever, gave the Yankees 5 1/3 effective innings as a starter Thursday in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 47,487 that included his wife, two kids, parents and some other friends and relatives.

“I was more nervous with everything leading up to this,” he said. “But my agent told me to concentrate on my pitching and he’d do the rest. To do this against the Rangers made it even more special. Much of what I learned is due to my time with them.”

Gordon had what they call a cup of coffee with Texas in 2008. It was more like a sip. He got into three games totaling four innings and had a 2.25 ERA. Gordon went back to the minors and was eventually released by the Rangers after the 2009 season before the Phillies signed him, released him and then re-signed him. Gordon’s deal allowed him to opt out of the contract if he was not called up to the major-league club by June 15. He was 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA for the Phils’ Triple A Lehigh Valley club, but with the strongest rotation in baseball there was no room for Gordon at Citizens Bank Park.

There was room at Yankee Stadium for a pitcher, what with Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon on the disabled list. Gordon showed Thursday that he might fill the bill.

“He has definitely evolved,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t remember him being able to move the ball around like he did.”

Gordon said his development of a cut fastball has been a major part of his success, although he said he did not have much of a feel for it Thursday, which may be why he walked three batters and hit two. But he pitched out of trouble effectively and earned a stay in the rotation.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes the idea that Gordon, who hit 119 home runs in the minors, can handle the bat because his next start will be Tuesday night in Cincinnati, a National League park where pitchers have to hit in inter-league games.

Another twist for the Yankees is that the game-winning hit came from Brett Gardner off a left-handed reliever, Michael Kirkman, a single to right field. Gardner was not in the original lineup against Texas starter C.J. Wilson, a lefthander, and ended up being the hero. Gardner’s hit scored Curtis Granderson, who no longer has problems with lefties as his leadoff single suggested.

Grandy moved into scoring position with one out when Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch. That was the fifth HBP of the day, an unusually high number for a game in which the teams did not get into a fight. Several were of the ball bounced on the foot variety with no harm intended. The winning pitcher was Corey Wade, another Triple A find (from the Rays’ organization) that the Yankees signed this week. Chalk this victory up to the scouts.

Plucking minor-leaguer a major-league move

After serving a 15-year apprenticeship in the minor leagues with only a brief sip of coffee in the big time with Texas in 2008, Brian Gordon finally got to experience what he dreamed of since he entered professional ball – starting a major-league game, and at Yankee Stadium no less.

Gordon, 32, a righthander who began his career as an outfielder and hit 119 home runs in the minors before converting to pitching six years ago, got the Yankees’ attention recently while he was at the Phillies’ Triple A affiliate in Lehigh Valley, Pa. The pitching-rich Phillies made calls to several clubs trying to drum up interest in Gordon, but the Yankees chose to wait to see if the pitcher would exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, which he did earlier this week. It was not until Thursday morning, merely hours before the start of the afternoon game at the Stadium against the Rangers, that the paperwork was completed so that Gordon could take the mound.

The Yankees had not even scouted Gordon personally. Super scout Gene Michael, manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild studied videos of the minor-league veteran and saw enough to go with his record (5-0, 1.14 ERA) to give him a shot.

Donning the No. 22 uniform that Roger Clemens had worn with the Yankees, Gordon showed no signs of jitters pitching in front of a Stadium crowd of 47,487. He was neither overpowering nor overwhelming but displayed an ability to work out of trouble spots. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, seven hits and three walks (one intentional) with three strikeouts. However, he did hit two batters, one of which was costly when he plunked Adrian Beltre on a 0-2 pitch in the fifth inning with the bases loaded that forced in what was then the go-ahead run.

Jorge Posada got Gordon off the hook with a game-tying double in the sixth, his first RBI this year batting right-handed. The game eventually went into extra innings. In the boxscore, Gordon had a no decision. As far as the Yankees were concerned, their decision on Gordon was justified.

15-year minor-league vet gets shot with Yanks

Freddy Garcia has worked out for the Yankees. So, too, did Bartolo Colon before he went on the disabled list. Why not Brian Gordon?

Who?

Get ready, Yankees fans, because Colon’s spot in the rotation that comes up Thursday will be taken by Gordon, 32, a veteran of 15 minor-league seasons whom the Yankees signed after he opted out of his contract with the Phillies. Gordon, a righthander from West Point, N.Y., was 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA for the Phillies’ Triple A Lehigh Valley affiliate, the team managed by Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.

Gordon’s deal with the Phillies called for his being called up to the majors at some point or else he could become a free agent, a situation the Yankees had earlier this season with Kevin Millwood, who also opted out. Gordon is a converted outfielder who had a brief stint in the majors with the Rangers in 2008.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not announce his decision about Thursday’s starter until after Wednesday night’s game. Speculation had centered on Hector Noesi, who rejoined the team this week from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, or David Phelps, a righthander from Notre Dame who is 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA for the Triple A team. That was before Gordon became available.