Monday, July 6, 2015

Yankees weekend news wrap: First place, injury report and potential All-Stars

The New York Yankees regained first place in the American League East, taking two of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lost Carlos Beltran to the 15-day disabled list with a sprained oblique. The club failed to produce an All-Star starter on the AL roster for the first time in 16 seasons and just the second time since 1992.

Home sweet home

After a 3-4 road trip, the Yankees arrived back in New York and earned their first two walk-off wins of the season Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game featured two separate comebacks; one courtesy of a three-run game-tying home run by Mark Teixeira, and the other, via a three-run game-winning homer off the bat of Brian McCann in the 12th inning.

Teixeira and McCann have been incredibly solid this season, especially when compared with the production they provided in 2014. Each player has taken different approaches to beating the defensive shift; Teixeira powers through it (and over it), while McCann tries to go the other way when he can. It has been working well for both and the Yankees have to be pleased with their performance to date.

It’s also bears mentioning that Teixeira and McCann have been exceptional in the field as well. Teixeira seems to save errors from his infielders daily and McCann has been fantastic throwing runners out this season.

Saturday’s game was dominated by Michael Pineda – seven-plus innings, zero runs, five hits, 10 strikeouts and one walk. However, Dellin Betances allowed a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning. The Yankees walked off on a sacrifice bunt turned into a throwing error leading to Jose Pirela scoring the winning run. The Yankees need performances like Pineda’s going forward and a Betances blown save here is shocking, but he cannot be expected to nail down every single game he enters.

The Yankees could not finish off the sweep with Ivan Nova on the hill Sunday. Nova has been less than mediocre in his last two outings after his scoreless 2015 debut. Yesterday, Nova allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks in five innings of work. He struck out just one batter and committed a costly error of his own. The Yankees lost 8-1, but maintain a one-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.

Injury report

Beltran was coming off his second-straight productive month of the season after a dismal April. The injury on top of Jacoby Ellsbury already being on the disabled list amplifies the importance of the Yankees re-signing Chris Young and adding Garrett Jones via trade this offseason. Both Young and Jones have performed well during extended periods of play.

As for Beltran, another injury requiring time on the DL brings the Yankees' decision to sign an outfielder in his late 30's to a three-year contract to the forefront once again. Beltran is hitting .260/.309/.430 with 18 doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBIs on the season.

Andrew Miller will pitch in a rehab game before the team decides on when he returns to the club. His addition is just one key to the Yankees staying in race this season.

Ellsbury has three rehab games under his belt and the club hopes he is ready to return soon, maybe even this week. His presence in the lineup has been missed, even though Brett Gardner has done a great job filling in at the top of the order.

All-Star candidates

While the Yankees missed out on starters for the All-Star Game, they have some bonafide contenders to grab roster spots as reserves; namely Betances, Gardner, McCann, Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. I believe Betances is a no-doubter and since Miguel Cabrera hit the disabled list this weekend, Teixeira’s path got a lot easier. Gardner should make the team, but I wouldn’t doubt it if it took a few injuries to come along before he is selected. McCann has an outside shot and A-Rod’s fate lies in the rest of the AL players. Who knows what they think of voting him in. For a more detailed look at each of the Yankees’ candidates, please check out my article at

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.