Results tagged ‘ Josh Willingham ’

Yankees’ bats turn cold again

After seemingly breaking out of their offensive malaise with 13 runs total in their victories against the Twins Thursday night and Friday, the Yankees returned to meager production Saturday and went into extra innings.

They were actually fortunate to push the game that far because the one run they scored might have been a gift. Surely the winning run for the Twins in their 2-1, 11-inning victory was just that. A throwing error by Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli trying for an inning-ending double play sent Josh Winningham home from second base with the deciding run.

Before Cervelli’s wild throw, it appeared that Matt Thornton had worked out of the bases-loaded jam. Minnesota filled the bags on a pinch double off the right field wall by Chris Colabello, a one-out intentional walk to Winningham and when Oswaldo Arcia was hit by a pitch for the third time in his past six plate appearances.

Trevor Plouffe followed with a dribbler in front of the mound that was pounced on by Thornton, who made an underhand toss to Cervelli for a forceout. Cervelli turned to throw to first base, but his peg sailed over Mark Teixeira and down the right field line as Winningham trotted home.

Cervelli had not been in the original lineup but turned out to be a central figure in the game. Brian McCann was supposed to be the starting catcher and batting third but was scratched because of persistent pain in his left foot. X-rays were negative, but McCann is in a day-to-day situation.

One day after collecting eight extra-base hits, all seven of the Yankees’ hits were singles. Their run was scored with a measure of luck. With two out in the fifth inning, Ichiro Suzuki stole second base. Or did he?

Video replays appeared to indicate that Suzuki was tagged in the chest by shortstop Eduardo Escobar before reaching the bag. Yet the Twins did not call for a review. Manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected from the game earlier, so maybe there was a mixup in the dugout.

The Yankees took advantage of the break. Ichiro moved up to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a single to left field by Cervelli.

David Phelps was making that run look mighty large the way he was pitching. The righthander retired 11 batters in a row until Willingham ended the stretch leading off the seventh by driving a 1-1 fastball off the second deck in left field for his eighth home run.

That tied the score and took Twins starter Yohan Pino off the hook. The late-blooming (30) rookie righthander held the Yankees to three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings to keep pace with Phelps. Over his past five starts, Phelps is 2-0 with three no-decisions and a 3.16 ERA in that span covering 31 1/3 innings to lower his season ERA from 4.56 to 4.01.

The Twins did not do very well reviewing umpires’ calls. They did not challenge the Ichiro steal. In the 10th inning, they disputed an out call at second base after Sam Fuld had been picked off first only to have it verified by a video review.

The Yankees got a runner in scoring position in the top of the 10th when Derek Jeter singled to right with two out. That stopped a 0-for-14 slump for the Captain, whose 3,397th career hit was also his 2,539th single. Jeet stole second base but was stranded as Brian Roberts, who had four extra-base hits Friday, grounded out.

Before the game, Jeter received a nice parting gift from the Twins. Second baseman Brian Dozier presented DJ with the last second base bag used at the old Metrodome. Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, now a Twins coach, on behalf of the organization gave Jeter a $10,000 donation to his Turn2 Foundation. A year ago, the Twins came up with the cleverest gift Mariano Rivera received in his farewell tour, a rocking chair made of bats broken by Mo’s legendary cut fastball.

Kuroda to miss next start; Nix on DL

Ready for more injuries, Yankees fans? Like it or not, there are a couple more.

Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees’ most reliable starting pitcher this season, will be skipped his next turn in the rotation because of a sore left hip flexor. Kuroda returned to New York to have an MRI examination that did not reveal any structural damage.

Although there is a possibility that the righthander could wind up on the 15-day disabled list if the condition does not improve, the only time he will miss at this point will be his next scheduled start, which was to be Friday night against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. That assignment will go instead to Ivan Nova.

One player who did end up on the DL Wednesday was infielder Jayson Nix because of a right hamstring strain. Nix, who has been alternating between shortstop and third base because of the injuries to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis and Eduardo Nunez, was unable to play Tuesday night. The Yankees were hopeful it would be a day-to-day situation but decided not to push it. That makes 14 players totaling 17 stints on the DL for the Yankees this year.

Nix, who is batting .236 with eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 20 RBI in 73 games and 237 at-bats, was supposed to be a utility infielder for the Yankees this year but was pressed into starting 65 of their first 82 games.

Taking Nix’s place on the 25-man roster was infielder Luis Cruz, whom the Yankees signed as a free agent. Cruz, 29, appeared in 45 games this year with the Dodgers before being designated for assignment June 28. He batted .127 with two doubles, one home run and six RBI in 118 at-bats. Cruz made 30 starts (20 at third base and 10 at shortstop) and committed just three errors in 136 total chances in all games.

A native of Mexico, Cruz, who bats and throws right-handed, is a career .240 (133-for-555) hitter with 26 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 52 RBI in 179 games and 555 at-bats over parts of five seasons with the Pirates, (2008-09), Brewers (2010) and Dodgers (2012-13). Last year, he set career highs in batting average (.297), runs (26), at-bats (283), hits (84), doubles (20), home runs (six), RBI (40), on-base percentage (.322) and slugging (.431).

Cruz has appeared at five different positions in the majors – 81 games (68 starts) at shortstop, 79 (68) at third base, nine (eight) at second base and one game apiece as a defensive replacement in left field and at first base. He has made only 10 errors in 600 chances in 1,318 2/3 career innings in the field. Cruz was voted Most Valuable Player of the Mexican Winter League in 2011 when he hit .340 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 62 games with Tomateros de Culiacan. He was also on Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2006.

Originally signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 23, 2000, Cruz was acquired by the Padres Dec. 16, 2002 in a trade for infielder Cesar Crespo. Cruz played five seasons in San Diego’s minor-league system from 2003-07.

The Twins also added a player to their DL. Josh Willingham, who did not play Monday or Tuesday night, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday to repair a medial meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee.

Pitcher Chris Bootcheck and outfielder Thomas Neal of the Yankees’ Triple A Scranton affiliate were named to the International League’s All-Star team earlier Wednesday. Scranton manager Dave Miley will pilot the IL squad for the record-tying third time when they play the Pacific Coast League All-Stars July 17 at Reno, Nev.