Results tagged ‘ Target Field ’

Yanks’ trip smoothing out after ‘rocky’ start

After the disappointment of getting swept in a two-game series at Denver, the Yankees are on the verge of trumping that with a four-game sweep at Minneapolis. They are three-quarters of the way there with very impressive victories over the Twins heading into a Father’s Day finale Sunday with Nathan Eovaldi opposing Minnesota’s Ervin Santana.

Friday night, the Yankees struck early with four first-inning runs on the way to an 8-2 victory behind Masahiro Tanaka (4-2), who was sharp as a tack (one run, seven hits, no walks, five strikeouts) over eight innings. Carlos Beltran, who missed both games against the Rockies, whacked a two-run home run in that first inning to stop a 0-for-12 slump.

Beltran added another two-run homer at a more clutch moment Saturday. The opposite-field blow to left off righthander Kevin Jepsen tied the score with one down in the eighth inning. The Yankees continued their comeback against the Twins’ ragged bullpen with three runs in the ninth, then had to hold their breath somewhat when Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back homers to Eduardo Escobar and pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki to survive, 7-6.

Give Suzuki credit. He fouled off four consecutive 102-mph fastballs from Chapman before connecting on yet another 102-mph heater. But most of the credit Saturday went to the Yankees, who had fallen into a 4-0 hole against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, who had a four-hit shutout working through six innings.

Leading off the seventh, Beltran got one of his rare leg hits these days with a dribbler to the left side on which Eduardo Nunez could not make a bare-handed play. Alex Rodriguez, who had a three-homer game at Target Field in late July last year, followed with a drive to right off a 1-2 fastball for his eighth home run of the season and career No. 695.

The Yankees got two more hits that inning but pushed across no more runs. With one out in the eighth, another infield single, this time by Brett Gardner, preceded a home run, Beltran’s 18th of the season. Gardner had been hitless in his previous 14 at-bats and was 1-for-15 on the trip.

Lefthander Fernando Abad, who was having a fine season out of the bullpen until the Yankees came to town, got the last out of the eighth, which turned out to be the only one he would get in the game. He began the ninth with a walk to Chase Headley. You could always hear the uh-oh coming out of Twins manager Paul Molitor’s mouth in the dugout.

Didi Gregorius, who has broken a 1-1 score with a three-run home run off a first-pitch fastball from Abad Thursday night, dropped down a beauty of a bunt for a single. After a Juan Centeno passed ball advanced the runners, Rob Refsnyder was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Righthander Ryan Pressly came on and struck out pinch hitter Starlin Castro but fell into a full count with Jacoby Ellsbury and had to come in with a fastball which Ellsbury knocked into right-center for a two-run single. A wild pitch by Pressly moved crucial as it turned out. It moved Refsnyder to third from where he scored on a fly ball by Gardner. That run proved vital when Chapman gave up the two homers after he had struck out the first two batters.

So it was a shaky 13th save for Chapman that preserved the winning decision for Andrew Miller (4-0), who had shut down Minnesota with two strikeouts in the eighth. Anthony Swarzak also played a big part in the game with a 1 2/3 hitless innings of two-strikeout relief.

The Yankees’ late rallies took Michael Pineda off the hook. The righthander had another of his weird games where he was overpowering (nine strikeouts) but unable to pick up key third outs of innings. Three of the Twins’ four runs off Pineda in 5 1/3 innings were scored after two were out on an RBI single by Escobar in the second and a two-run homer by Korean slugger Byung Ho Park in the fourth. An error by Pineda in the sixth led to a run on a sacrifice fly by Park.

With 55 hits, including a dozen Saturday, the Yankees are averaging 11 hits per game on the trip. Beltran and Gregorius had three hits apiece Saturday. Beltran has homered in six of his past 13 games, eight of 19 and 13 of 36. Gregorius has had a huge trip with 10-for-20 (.500), two homers, six runs and nine RBI. The bunt single off Abad increased Didi’s batting average against left-handed pitching to .383 in 60 at-bats. He is hitting .287 overall.

Headley, who could not get off the Interstate for the first two months, has his average up to .260 while batting .471 in 17 at-bats on the trip and .417 in his seven-game hitting streak. Now if only the Yankees could get Brian McCann re-started. The catcher took an 0-for-4 collar Saturday, is hitless in his past 12 at-bats and in a 4-for-32 (.125) rut that has shrunken his season average to .207.

Didi no longer an easy out against lefties

Opposing managers should be thinking twice about now about bringing in left-handed relievers to face Didi Gregorius. The book on the shortstop a year ago when he joined the Yankees was that he struggled against left-handed pitching. Gregorius has reversed that this season and because of that the Yankees were able to end their four-game losing streak Thursday night with a 4-1 victory over the Twins.

Twins manager Paul Molitor, who has already suffered plenty with his 20-46 club, made the old-book move in the seventh inning by replacing starter Kyle Gibson with lefthander Fernando Abad to face Gregorius with runners on second and third and one out in a 1-1 game.

One pitch later, Molitor came to regret his move. Gregorius got all of the first-pitch fastball for a three-run home run in the middle of the right field stands. The timing could not have been better since manager Joe Girardi could go with Formula A out of the bullpen, using Dellin Betances in the seventh (no runs, one hit, one strikeout), Andrew Miller in the eighth (no runs, no hits, two strikeouts) and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth (no runs, no hits, one strikeout, 12th save). The Yankees are 9-0 when all three of those relievers appear in the same game.

Gregorius is batting .368 in 57 at-bats against left-handed pitching, the highest average of any left-handed hitter in the major leagues, but until Thursday night he had not hit for much power. Only three of his 21 hits off lefties were for extra bases, all doubles. His sixth home run of the year was his first off a southpaw.

The timing of Gregorius’ homer was also beneficial to CC Sabathia, who was able to get the winning decision that improved his record to 5-4 with a 2.20 ERA. It did not come easy for Sabathia, who pitched with runners on base in four of his six innings. The Twins stranded nine runners with only two hits in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position against him.

One of those hits was a two-out, RBI single by former teammate Eduardo Nunez that gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Sabathia had worked out of jams in the first and second innings and did so again in the fifth even after he lost a double play on a reverse of an umpiring call.

Meanwhile, Gibson, who entered the game with a 10.72 career ERA against the Yankees, pitched to the minimum number of batters through five innings. The Yankees had two hits, but the runners were erased. Alex Rodriguez erased himself by getting thrown out at second trying to stretch, and Chase Headley was out on the front end of a double play the Twins turned against Ike Davis.

Gibson started coming apart in the sixth, but the Yankees did not take full advantage of it. They loaded the bases with none out on a single by Gregorius, a double by Headley and a four-pitch walk to Davis. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center, but only one run scored. Brett Gardner then popped out to second, and Carlos Beltran, back in the lineup after a sore left knee kept him out of the two-game series at Denver, grounded into a double play.

The Yankees kept putting runners on base in the seventh. Rodriguez led off with an infield single, and Brian McCann walked. Starlin Castro sacrificed the runners up a base each before Molitor made the fatal move for a lefty reliever to face Gregorius, one Yankees hitter who is enjoying this trip (.545 with two home runs and seven RBI in 11 at-bats).

Sabathia kept his hot streak in place. Over his past seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 0.82 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 44 innings. In seven starts on the road this season, CC is 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 42 innings. In his past 14 starts against the Twins, Sabathia is 10-1 with a 2.66 ERA.

Then again, Target Field has been a friendly venue for the Yankees. They are 17-5 in the Minneapolis yard that opened in 2010.

2-for-2 for No. 2 in final All-Star Game

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MINNEAPOLIS — It did not take Derek Jeter very long to get involved in the 2014 All-Star Game. On the very first play of the game, Jeter made a diving stop of a hard grounder toward the middle by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, but the reigning National League Most Valuable Player beat the throw to first base for a single.

McCutchen never stopped running that inning. He moved up to second base on a wild pitch during the at-bat of Yasiel Puig, who struck out, and stole third base as Troy Tulowitzki struck out. Mac never made it home, however, as Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to third.

The Twins, who have done a magnificent job as host of the All-Star Game, came up with a nice touch by having a tape of the late Yankees public address voice Bob Sheppard announce Jeter as he stepped to the plate as the first American League hitter in the bottom of the first inning. The tape was apparently from the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

The Target Field crowd was generous with its applause and gave Jeter a standing ovation. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright left his glove and the ball on the rubber and stepped back off the mound in joining his NL teammates in applauding Jeter, who removed his helmet, waved to the crowd and pointed to both dugouts. He motioned to Wainwright to start pitching, but the Cardinals ace remained behind the mound for probably a full minute before taking position.

As play resumed, fans treated the Captain to a “Der-ek Jee-ter” chant familiar to the roll call the bleacher creatures at the Stadium salute him with every night, another cool touch. Jeet got things started for the AL with one of his patented line drives to right field that went into the corner as Jeter legged out a double. The crowd loved it.

And how about that to those who thought Jeter should not have been the AL’s leadoff hitter? One swing, and he was in scoring position. Not bad, eh?

Angels outfielder Mike Trout got Jeter home with the AL’s second extra-base hit of the inning, a triple off the right field wall that the Dodgers’ Yasieal Puig played poorly. After Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano struck out, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera got the AL’s third extra-base hit of the inning, a home run to left field. The score was 3-0, and the Americans had not had a single yet. Perhaps Wainwright should have stayed off the mound.

The National League, which was shut out at Citi Field last year, closed to 3-2 in the second on RBI doubles by Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy to end a 15-inning scoreless streak dating to 2012 at Kansas City.

Jeter was a leadoff hitter again in the third inning against Reds righthander Alfredo Simon and got the AL’s first single on another hit to right field. A wild pitch advanced Jeter into scoring position this time, but he was stranded.

Before the start of the fourth inning, AL manager John Farrell of the Red Sox sent White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez onto the field to replace Jeter, who was showered with another round of long applause while the PA system played Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York” that is heard at the end of every Yankees home game.

Jeter again waved to the crowd, pointed to the NL dugout and then shook the hands of every one of his teammates in the AL dugout and urged on by the crowd came onto the field once more to acknowledge their cheers. He left All-Star competition with a .481 career average in 27 at-bats and seemed in place for maybe another game Most Valuable Player Award to match the one he received in 2000 at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

One stumbling block to that was the NL tying the score in the fourth on another RBI double by Lucroy, this time off White Sox lefthander Chris Sale. That opened the door for Trout, who with his second extra-base hit of the game, a double in the fifth, gave the AL the lead and put him in position to be the MVP.

But if the fans here had their choice, I’m sure they would vote for Jeter.

Jeter on top — where he belongs

MINNEAPOLIS — Credit Red Sox manager John Farrell with a sense of history and propriety. The man in charge of the American League All-Star squad did not think twice about who his leadoff hitter would be for Tuesday night’s game at Target Field.

Who else but Derek Jeter?

In his farewell season, Jeter was voted into the starting lineup by the fans, and the AL manager responded in kind by not dumping the Yankees’ captain at the bottom of the lineup where some think his .272 batting average belongs.

But while home field advantage in the World Series is at stake based on the outcome of the game, Farrell recognizes that the All-Star Game is about stars, and for the past 20 seasons none has shown as brightly as Jeter, who has earned the respect of opponents as much as teammates for the way he goes about his business.

Farrell acknowledged his decision was easy and designed “to celebrate a player who is not only a champion but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to — the way he has handled himself with class, with performance, no doubt a Hall of Famer. This will be a day that many baseball fans that are either in the ballpark or watching will remember as Derek’s last All-Star Game.”

Mariano Rivera went through something similar last year at Citi Field in Flushing. In that case, however, AL manager Jim Leyland of the Tigers had to guarantee that baseball’s greatest closer would get into the game near the end. With the AL the visiting team, Leyland knew he could not hold Rivera until the bottom of the ninth, a closer’s usual inning, because there may not have been one. And that was the case with the National League ahead entering the eighth, so that was when Leyland summoned Rivera.

Farrell was presented with a different situation — to honor one of the players in the starting lineup. He was correct to see that fans did not want to wait for Jeter to bat until perhaps as late as the third inning. I am predicting an enormous standing ovation for DJ when he steps to the plate for that first pitch from NL starter Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

“I have been in the big leagues for nine years and have never faced him,” Wainwright said. “I’m very excited about it, just to say I faced the best. And he is undoubtedly one of the best to ever play his position, one of the greatest Yankees of all time.”

The game will also reunite Jeter with his former keystone partner, Robinson Cano, who will start at second base and bat third.

Here are the lineups crafted by Farrell and NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals:

National League

Andrew McCutcheon, Pirates, CF
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, RF
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, SS
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 1B
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, DH
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, 3B
Chase Utley, Phillies, 2B
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers, C
Carlos Gomez, Brewers, LF
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, P

American League

Derek Jeter, Yankees, SS
Mike Trout, Angels, LF
Robinson Cano, Mariners, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 1B
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, RF
Nelson Cruz, Orioles, DH
Adam Jones, Orioles, CF
Josh Donaldson, Athletics, 3B
Salvador Perez, Royals, C
Felix Hernandez, Mariners, P

Yanks beat Twins, drop Soriano, deal Nuno

Sunday was a busy day for the Yankees. They designated Alfonso Soriano for assignment, traded Vidal Nuno to the Diamondbacks for another starting pitcher, Brandon McCarthy, and built a 9-0 lead over the Twins by the fourth inning and hung on to win, 9-7.

The game was the best part of the day as the Yankees took three of four games from Minnesota. Derek Jeter had three hits to raise his career total to 3,400. He received a standing ovation from the crowd at Target Field during his ninth-inning at-bat, which the fans figured was his last in their ballpark. Well, he will back be there again next week when the All-Star Game is played. Jeter was chosen by the fans to start at shortstop for the American League.

Also with a three-hit game was Ichiro Suzuki, who has become the Yanks’ regular right fielder now that Soriano is gone. They were in a platoon until Sunday, a platoon that was not working for Soriano.

What a difference a year makes. Last July 26, Soriano returned to the Yankees in a trade from the Cubs for minor league pitcher Corey Black and gave the team a jump-start in the second half. He hit .256 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI in 58 games and 219 at-bats.

Yet in essentially the same amount of time this year (67 games and 226 at-bats) Soriano hit .221 with six home runs and 23 RBI. He was batting only .204 against right-handed pitching and was facing most lefthanders in a platoon but was hitting only .247 against them. He had not hit a home run in 73 at-bats since May 17. Soriano had a miserable game Saturday as he went 0-for-4 and made two fielding blunders in left field although he was not charged with any errors.

With Carlos Beltran limited to designated hitter duty because of an ailing right elbow, right field now belongs to Suzuki, who began the season on the bench but has become the Yankees’ leading hitter with a .294 average.

Brian McCann returned to the lineup and caught after missing two games because of a sore left foot. He drove in one of the Yanks’ two first-inning runs with a double. They pounded Twins starter Ricky Nolasco for four more runs in the third, three coming on Jacoby Ellsbury’s fifth home run of the season.

By the fourth inning, the Yankees were up, 9-0, but Hiroki Kuroda could hardly coast. He was cuffed for four runs, seven hits and two walks and committed an error in 5 2/3 innings. Adam Warren, Jim Miller and David Robertson allowed one run apiece as the Twins got within two runs before D-Rob notched his 21st save. Robertson is averaging 16.43 strikeouts per nine innings, the best mark in the majors among pitchers with at least 25 innings. Eight of his past nine outs have been by strikeout.

Robertson was passed over for the All-Star Game, however, as two other Yankees pitchers were named to the AL staff, Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances. The latter is a rarity considering that most pitchers chosen for All-Star staffs are starters or closers. Robertson himself was one of those exceptions when he was selected for the game at Phoenix in 2011 when he was still a setup reliever.

Nuno, 26, pitched in 17 games for the Yankees this season and was 2-5 with a 5.42 ERA in 78 innings while posting a .282 opponents average with 26 walks and 60 strikeouts. In his 14 starts, he was 2-5 with a 4.89 ERA in 73 2/3 innings.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder is only the 12th pitcher since 1900 to pitch at least five innings while allowing two runs or less and five hits or less in each of his first four major league starts, according to Elias Sports Bureau. He made his big-league debut last year and in five games, including three starts, was 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings. In his three starts, Nuno was 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA in17 innings.

In 22 career games (17 starts) for the Yankees, he was 3-7 with a 4.78 ERA, a .268 opponents average, 32 walks and 69 strikeouts in 98 innings. Nuno, who will turn 27 on July 26, signed with the Yankees as a minor-league free agent June 18, 2011. He was originally selected by the Indians in the 48th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan. He was born in San Diego and resides in National City, Calif.

McCarthy, who turns 31 Monday, has a 3-10 record with a 5.01 ERA, a .298 opponents average, 20 walks and 93 strikeouts in 18 starts and 109 2/3 innings this season. He started 40 games over parts of two seasons with Arizona and went 8-21 with a 4.75 ERA, a .297 opponents average, 41 walks and 169 strikeouts in 244 2/3 innings. McCarthy has a career mark of 45-60 with a 4.21 ERA in 193 games (139 starts) over nine major league seasons with the White Sox (2005-06), Rangers (2007-09), Athletics (2011-12) and D-backs (2013-14).

The 6-foot-7 righthander is expected to make his first start for the Yankees Wednesday night at Cleveland. The Yankees plan to call up righthander Shane Greene from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start Monday night against the Indians.

Yanks back to winning ways outside division

After going 6-9 in a 15-game stretch against American League East opponents, the Yankees were probably glad to play someone in another division, and who better than the last-place Twins in the AL Central who are currently without Joe Mauer on the disabled list. Despite some bad news surrounding the club, the Yankees ended a season-high five-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory Thursday night and celebrated the Fourth of July by taking a 6-1 lead in the first two innings Friday and hanging on to win, 6-5.

The disturbing news is that the Yankees are not likely to get CC Sabathia back this season. The lefthander was shut down after his injury-rehabilitation start earlier this week for Double A Trenton and has an appointment with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., July 14 to determine whether he will need surgery on his right knee. If so, Sabathia will be out for the remainder of the season.

That is a cruel blow, considering that one of the pitchers who had shored up the rotation in CC’s absence, Chase Whitley, had another rough outing Friday. The righthander, who had pitched well in his first seven starts, failed to get past the fourth inning for the third straight start. He lasted only three innings and allowed four runs and eight hits, including two home runs.

Whitley was treated to a sizeable early lead as the Yankees scored three runs apiece in the first two innings with a six-hit (five for extra bases) barrage against Kyle Gibson. The Twins closed to 6-4 by the third before David Huff put a clamp on things. The lefthander retired all nine batters he faced over three innings and earned the winning decision. Huff may also have put himself in position to get a shot at starting.

It sure won’t be Triple A righthander Alfredo Aceves, who was the other piece of bad news for the Yankees. He was suspended by Major League Baseball for violation of the drug policy.

Derek Jeter was given July 4 off and batting in his customary 2-hole was Brian Roberts, who had a stellar game. Roberts collected three doubles and a triple for the first four-extra-base-hit game of his career. Francisco Cervelli, starting in place of ailing Brian McCann (sore left foot), had three hits, including two doubles. Mark Teixeira also doubled, and Brett Gardner tripled to open the game.

The Twins made it a one-run game in the eighth and had the potential tying run at second base with two outs in the ninth before David Robertson struck out Chris Parmelee looking to notch his 20th save.

Robertson also saved Thursday night’s victory for Masahiro Tanaka, who improved his record to 12-3, over former teammate Phil Hughes. An old problem for Hughes, the long ball, came into play. He lost a 2-0 lead in the fifth by serving up a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran. Zelous Weaver, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday to replace the farmed out Yangervis Solarte, also homered that inning. He added a single and scored a second run in the Yankees’ three-run seventh to round out an impressive major-league debut.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wheeler became only the sixth Yankees player over the past 40 years to get a home run as his first major-league hit, joining Andy Phillips (2004), Marcus Thames (2002), Alfonso Soriano (1999), Dan Pasqua (1985) and Joe Lefebvre (1980). Elias also pointed out that Beltran has now homered in 38 different ballparks in his big-league career, the second-most among current players only the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (39). The major-league record is 45 by Sammy Sosa.

The Yankees have won seven straight games at Target Field, dating to Sept. 26, 2012. They are 13-3 all-time in that yard. . .It was Roberts’ first four-hit game since Aug. 14, 2009 for the Orioles against the Angels and the second time this season he has fallen a home run short of a cycle. The other time was April 17 at Tampa Bay (single, double, triple). . .Since entering the majors in 2003, Teixeira has the highest batting average among all players against the Twins (.371 in 272 at-bats). He is a .364 hitter in nine career games and 33 at-bats at Target Field. . .Cervelli had three hits in a game for the first time since Aug. 6, 2011 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Yankees played the Twins on the Fourth of July for the second straight year and the eighth time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Yankees are 5-3 in those games. They swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in 1964 by scores of 7-5 and 2-1 and were swept in a doubleheader at old Metropolitan Stadium in 1967 by scores of 8-3 and 7-6. The Yankees also won, 3-2, in 1985 at Yankee Stadium and 9-5 at Target Field last year. They lost, 6-2, at the Stadium in 2007. . .The Yankees played on the road on the Fourth of July for the fourth straight year, the first time they have done that in franchise history. . .They are 31-27 on the Fourth of July in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

Jeter likely Yanks’ lone starter in All-Star Game

It is looking very much like the Yankees will have only one player in the starting lineup for the All-Star Game July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Not surprisingly, Derek Jeter is the leading vote getter at shortstop for the American League. Although the White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez is having a better season statistically, he trails the Captain by more than 589,000 votes. DJ is not underserving. He is one of baseball’s most popular players, and the All-Star Game is after all the fans’ game. It is extremely doubtful that Ramirez could make up the gap in a week’s time. The All-Star Game rosters will be announced Sunday.

It would mark the second consecutive season that the Yankees would have only one starter. Second baseman Robinson Cano was in the AL starting lineup last year at Citi Field. The Yankees had two starters in the previous seven All-Star Games after having only one in 2005 at Detroit. The last time they had more than two was in 2004 at Houston when they had three — Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Alfonso Soriano was the Most Valuable Player of the game that year, his first season with the Rangers after the A-Rod trade.

Jeter entered play Monday night batting .275 with two home runs and 19 RBI. Meanwhile, Ramirez is hitting .298 with nine homers and 38 RBI. It is not all about statistics, however. There is also the matter of star power, which Jeter certainly has.

None of the other Yankees on the ballot is close to a starting berth. Masahiro Tanaka would likely be among the candidates to start the game except that his final start before the break barring a change in the rotation is scheduled for the Sunday before the All-Star Game, which would make him ineligible for the game yet he could be named to the squad.

The best chance for any other of Jeter’s teammates to join him in the Twin Cities would be out of the bullpen. David Robertson and Dellin Betances are having seasons worthy of All-Star consideration.

2 Yanks prospects named to Futures Game

Two Yankees farmhands were named to the 2014 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game that will be played Sunday, July 13, at Target Field in Minneapolis, two days before the All-Star Game.

Catcher Pete O’Brien was named to the U.S. Team roster. In 72 combined games with Class A Tampa and Double A Trenton, O’Brien is batting .263 with 25 home runs and 54 RBI in 278 at-bats. Pitcher Luis Severino, a righthander from the Dominican Republic, was named to the World Team roster. He is 3-3 with a 2.99 ERA in 15 combined starts and 72 1/3 innings with Class A Charleston and Class A Tampa.

CC, Andy donate items to Hall of Fame

Brad Horn, the National Baseball Hall of Fame director of communications and education, was at Yankee Stadium Saturday and got a special bonus on his mission. Brad was here to pick up items from CC Sabathia’s 200th career victory July 3 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

CC agreed to give the Hall the glove and spikes he wore during that game to the Hall. While in the Yankees clubhouse, Horn ran into Andy Pettitte, who recently broke Whitey Ford’s franchise record for strikeouts by a pitcher.

“The thought hit me that maybe I could get something from the game Andy passed Whitey,” Horn said. “Normally, the Hall doesn’t get caught up too much in club record, but this being the Yankees and a record that belonged to a great Hall of Fame pitcher, I thought an artifact would be important.”

Pettitte did not hesitate to comply. He took his glove out of his locker and said to Brad, “Here, take this.”

It is always good to see players recognize the value of the Hall of Fame.

Yanks make full recovery with sweep of Twins

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Yankees’ 9-5 victory Thursday that completed a four-game sweep of the Twins was that Robinson Cano had very little to do with it. For the only time on the seven-game trip to Baltimore and Minneapolis, Cano did not get a hit, although he drove in a run with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Others in the lineup provided the fireworks for the Yanks on the Fourth of July as they moved out to a 9-1 lead by the sixth inning. Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the lineup as Brett Gardner got a needed day off fell a home run short of the cycle, scored twice and knocked in two runs. Travis Hafner reached base four times with two doubles, a single and getting hit by a pitch and crossed the plate twice. Vernon Wells had two hits and three RBI, Zoilo Almonte in the 2-hole had two hits and two RBI and near the bottom of the lineup Luis Cruz and Carlos Gonzalez drove in one run apiece.

It was a nice ensemble effort by the Yankees, who banged out 13 hits and did not have to rely on Cano carrying them as he did for most of the trip. With six multi-hit games, Cano had 14-for-28, a .500 clip, with nine runs, two doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI.

David Phelps rebounded from a dreadful prior start in Baltimore (nine earned runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings) and had a decent outing (four earned runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings). The Twins closed the gap to four runs, but Joe Girardi did not have to bring in Mariano Rivera for the first time in the Target Field series as Shawn Kelly and David Robertson provided perfect relief in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Yankees’ second four-game sweep of the season (they also accomplished it April 25-28 at Yankee Stadium against the Blue Jays) removed the bitter taste of being swept in three games by the Orioles. The Yankees returned to third place in the American League East and got back to 1 ½ games behind second-place Baltimore, although they remain six games behind the first-place Red Sox.

The Yankees open a 10-game homestand leading into the All-Star break Friday night against the Orioles, the first of a three-game set. Then the Royals come to the Stadium for four games and the Twins for three. This should be happy news for the Yankees, who are 14-3 (.824) against AL Central competition this season, the second best record by a club against a division within its league, trailing only the Indians’ 12-2 (.857) mark against the AL West. The Yanks have won 14 of their past 15 games against the AL Central after losing their first two games at Detroit April 5 and 6. They are a combined 105-55 vs. the AL Central over the past five seasons, the highest winning percentage (.656) for any AL team against the division.

This was the Yankees’ first sweep of the Twins in a series of at least four games since May 15-18, 2009 at home and the first time in Minnesota since April 18-21, 2003 when the Twinkies were still at the Metrodome.

The Yankees played the Twins on Independence Day for the seventh time since the original Washington Senators franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Yanks are 4-3 in those games. They swept a doubleheader (remember those on the Fourth of July?) at the original Yankee Stadium in 1964, 7-5 and 2-1; lost a doubleheader at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington (now the site of Mall of America), 3-8 and 6-7; won, 3-2, in 1985 and lost, 2-6, in 2007, both at the renovated Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees played on the road on the Fourth of July for the third straight year, the first time they have done that in three consecutive seasons since 1988-90. They are 30-27 on the Fourth of July in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

The Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that with Wednesday night’s victory CC Sabathia became the 27th pitcher in major-league history and only the eighth in the Expansion Era to get his 200th career victory prior to his 33rd birthday. The others were Don Drysdale, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver. All are in the Hall of Fame except for Maddux, who will go on the ballot for the first time this year.

Francisco Cervelli’s recovery from a fractured right hand has been complicated by a stress reaction in his right elbow. The catcher, who has been catching in simulated at-bats in the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, has been shut down for the next two weeks. On the positive side, infielder Eduardo Nunez will continue his injury-rehabilitation assignment at Double A Trenton.