Tag: Luis Cessa

Hot Stove Notes: Gray, Germán, Ottavino, Tulowitzki

Sonny Gray could be here much longer than anyone expected.

With Zach Britton back in pinstripes pending a physical, there are a few other storylines involving the Bronx Bombers as there are just 37 days until Pitchers & Catchers are due in Tampa:

CC Sabathia‘s Health Could Delay Sonny Gray Trade

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The Yankees are considering holding on to right-hander Sonny Gray because of CC Sabathia‘s recent angioplasty. Brian Cashman insisted early in the offseason that Gray would absolutely be traded prior to the 2019 season.

“Our intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him when we get the proper return, in our estimation,” Cashman said. “It’ll happen this winter, it’ll happen in the spring or it’ll happen sometime during the season. The CC circumstance certainly has given us pause, because we want to make sure that we’re covered and protected.”

Sabathia had a stent inserted during an emergency angioplasty in early December when a blocked artery was found in his heart. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported that “While the Yankees have said that they expect the 38-year-old Sabathia to report to Spring Training on time, Cashman has slowed negotiations concerning Gray until Sabathia clears an array of follow-up visits scheduled for this month.”

Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the San Diego Padres continue to be in touch with the Yankees about Gray, and have been connected to him all winter. As many as 11 teams have been connected to Gray at some point this offseason, though Cashman appears to be narrowing his focus.

Domingo Germán Granted Fourth Option Year

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A minor housekeeping note about right-handed pitcher Domingo Germán: he has been granted a fourth option year because he spent an entire optional assignment year on the disabled list. After being acquired in the 2014 offseason alongside Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones for David Phelps and Martin Prado, Germán missed all of 2015 after burning his first option because of Tommy John surgery. Cashman announced the news during the conference call announcing Troy Tulowitzki‘s signing, and also noted that fellow righty Luis Cessa will be entering 2019 out of options.

Yanks “More Engaged” on Ottavino Than Machado

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The reliever market is moving, and Andy Martino of SNY is reporting that the Yankees are currently “more engaged on Adam Ottavino than Manny Machado“. Martino cited that Machado’s decision-making process appears to be “still moving at glacial pace” and that the bullpen “market is moving and Ottavino could sign soon”.

Earlier in the offseason, the Yankees weren’t included in the list of teams that were in talks with Ottavino. The most cited were the Red Sox, Rockies and White Sox. Now, even with Britton in agreement to return to the Bronx, the Yankees “are continuing to pursue Ottavino,” per Jon Heyman of Fancred.

Ottavino, for his part, turned in another fantastic season as the setup man for Wade Davis in Colorado. In 75 games, he owned a 2.43 ERA (2.74 FIP) and a 193 ERA+.

No Utility Role Discussed With Tulowitzki

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It seems the Yankees will use Troy Tulowitzki exclusively at shortstop for his Yankees tenure. Andy Martino of SNY reports that the Bombers’ pitch to the former All-Star “was fully centered around an opportunity to play short”. Tulowitzki will begin 2019 suiting up at the same position as his idol, Derek Jeter, and will have the luxury of a no-trade clause accompanying his league-minimum contract. Tulowitzki has yet to record a professional inning away from shortstop, and it appears that won’t change with the Yankees.

Yankees Agree With J.A. Happ on Two-Year Deal

The 2019 New York Yankees starting rotation is starting to come into focus, as the team has agreed with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ on a two-year, $34-million deal that would bring him back to the Bronx. The deal also contains a vesting option for the 2021 season based on innings pitched.

Happ came to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. He pitched lights-out for 11 starts in pinstripes, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA (4.21 FIP) as the team captured their second consecutive home-field spot in the Wild Card game.

“He was a performer; took the ball every five days,” Cashman said. “He was a competitor, came as advertised, a real pro. He had a veteran presence within that clubhouse, knew exactly what was necessary and brought it every five days in the most competitive division in all of baseball and the world. He checks all the boxes on that side of it.”

The playoffs were a different animal, though. Happ made just one start, lasting two innings and allowing five earned runs in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Boston. The big blow in that game was a three-run home run by J.D. Martinez.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that the two sides were in agreement on a deal with three guaranteed years, though he walked that report back to say they were simply gaining momentum.

Happ had also been courted by the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, both teams he has pitched for in the past. The Phillies were hesitant to give Happ more than two guaranteed years, and it appears his recent familiarity with the Bronx plus the prospect of the vesting option prompted his return.


The Yankees may not be done in their pursuit of a starting pitcher, as injuries and ineffectiveness typically rear their ugly heads over the course of a 162-game season. They learned that the hard way when Jordan Montgomery went down for 18 months after just six starts because of Tommy John surgery in 2018.

The team wound up getting 24 starts from Chance Adams, Luis Cessa, Domingo Germán and Jonathan Loáisiga combined, and the team went 12-12 in those games. Sonny Gray, who was acquired to anchor the top of the rotation, started in 12 Yankees losses and was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Lance Lynn after August 1.

“It doesn’t mean we would be out of the market altogether. Obviously the Paxton acquisition gave us the ability to be a lot more disciplined and patient,” Cashman said. “If we pull down another one it will put us in a much stronger position to feel better about the rotation. But that doesn’t preclude us to being open-minded about any options that develop over time.”

With the acquisition of James Paxton and agreement with Happ, the Yankees find their starting rotation in exponentially better shape than last year.

Aaron Hicks Exits ALDS Game One With Right Hamstring Tightness

Hicks was the third most valuable Yankee in the 2018 regular season, per Fangraphs.

Just moments after Aaron Hicks smacked the Yankees’ second hit of the game against Boston in ALDS Game One, the Yankee center fielder pulled up lame on his jog to first base. The Yankees announced the injury was right hamstring tightness, and that Hicks was undergoing further evaluation.

Hicks was replaced by pinch-runner Brett Gardner, who also took over defensive duties in center field. Hicks had missed three of four games in a September series in Tampa Bay because of soreness in his left hamstring.

Aaron Boone said before the game that Tyler Wade (along with Kyle Higashioka and Luis Cessa) is working out at the Yankee facility in Tampa in case of injury, and he would likely replace Hicks on the roster if he were unable to come back. The problem there is that Hicks would be ineligible for the ALCS should the Yankees replace him and then advance past the Red Sox.

This is a developing story, and will be updated as news breaks.

Yankees 7, Twins 2: Kraken Awakes in Series-Opening Win

The Yankee backstop collects three of the Yanks’ 11 hits in a big win.

MINNEAPOLIS, MI – Gary Sánchez‘s bat got going in a big way Monday night in Minnesota, as he collected three hits and scored two runs in a big 7-to-2 Yankee win.

The Oakland Athletics sat idle, so the Yankee lead in the Wild Card grew to three games. The game was a pitching duel through the sixth inning, with J.A. Happ and Kyle Gibson matching zeroes until El Gary stepped to the dish with two outs. Sánchez was robbed in his previous at-bat, thanks to a fantastic play by Twins third baseman Gregorio Petit.

Sánchez fouled off a few tough pitches down in the zone, and then crushed a 2-2 sinker that was out of the zone 460 feet into the third deck at Target Field. It was his second homer since returning from rehab September 1, and his 16th overall on the 2018 season.

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In a nightmare season, Sánchez’s bat showed a sign of life that could be crucial down the stretch. His three hits were the most he’d had in one game since he had four against the Royals on May 19. The Yankee lineup becomes so much stronger if he can maintain something like the .263/.333/.632 (156 wRC+) line of his past five games.

The Yankee offense got a big boost in the top of the seventh, where they scored six runs. That allowed Aaron Boone and Co. to lift Happ after just 91 pitches and six shutout innings. Luis Cessa allowed the two runs in two mop-up innings, and Jonathan Holder pitched a perfect ninth to nail down the win.

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Brett Gardner contributed a multi-hit game from the No. 9 slot, and he’s been a bit hotter of late – .280/.333/.320 (81 wRC+) since September 3. The Yankees worked 10 walks, with three going to Andrew McCutchen and two-a-piece for Aaron Hicks and Greg Bird. Bird was the only starter who did not record a hit. Miguel Andújar, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and McCutchen each recorded RBIs as well.

What’s Next:

Sonny Gray, who owns a 1.83 ERA in 19⅔ innings (six games, one start) since his bullpen demotion, returns to the rotation for a spot-start. The Twins will employ the “opener” tactic, sending Tyler Duffey to the mound.

Yankees 10, Orioles 3: Andújar Helps Slug Yanks to DH-Opening Win

BALTIMORE – The Yankees clocked four home runs Saturday afternoon as they hung a 10-spot on the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of their doubleheader.

The biggest of those four came from Miguel Andújar, who hit No. 21 on his fantastic season with two runners on to cap a four-run third inning. Brett Gardner hit a solo shot in the fourth, Gleyber Torres hit one in the eighth and Aaron Hicks hit his home run in the ninth inning.

J.A. Happ delivered another quality start for the Yankees, going six innings and allowing just two earned runs. He recorded nine strikeouts to just one walk, and also got five ground ball outs. Luckily for the Yankees and Aaron Boone, the Yankees only had to use 26th man Luis Cessa to finish the game. The righty allowed a run on three hits in three innings to earn his first career save.

The only Yankees not to record hits were Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker and Kyle HigashiokaAaron Hicks went 3-for-5 with two runs driven in, while Luke Voit collected his 10th RBI on the season with a run-scoring single. Andújar led the team with four RBI on the afternoon.

What’s Next:

More baseball tonight. Sonny Gray (9-8, 5.34 ERA) returns from bullpen exile for a spot start against Andrew Cashner (4-11, 4.84 ERA) in Game Two.

Chapman Placed on DL; Adams Recalled; Rabago Claimed

The Yankees placed closer Aroldis Chapman on the 10-day disabled list today, and recalled righty Chance Adams from Triple-A to take his roster spot. The Yanks claimed catcher Chris Rabago from the Colorado Rockies and optioned him to Double-A Trenton.

Chapman had been pitching through tendinitis in his left knee all season, but had been able to manage it himself. He told reporters after the game Tuesday that the pain he felt was worse than usual. He threw just six pitches in his appearance in the 12th inning before summoning the trainer from the dugout. He was relieved by Tommy Kahnle, who got the save 17 pitches later. Chapman is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 50 appearances. He is 31-for-33 in save attempts.

Adams will serve as a long-relief option for the Yankees tonight in Miami, and will be one of the options (along with Luis Cessa and Sonny Gray) to start in Saturday’s doubleheader in Baltimore. The Yanks No. 13 prospect, he made his MLB debut August 4 in Boston, allowing three runs on three hits in five innings of work.

Rabago was the Rockies’ 13th round pick in the 2014 draft. In 66 games for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, he was hitting .213/.292/.361 with four home runs and 23 RBI. The Yankees will likely recall Rabago to be the third catcher September 1 until Gary Sánchez returns from his rehab assignment.

Game 120: Toe-Night Show Returns

Big Toe returns for Game 2.

Ronald Torreyes has returned to the starting lineup for the first time since June 14 as the Yankees face off with the Rays in the second game of a three-game set.

Luis Cessa will get the start in the place of CC Sabathia, who was placed on the disabled list and will miss one start. Cessa has been, well, Cessa. He has a 4.50 ERA in eight games (three starts) on the 2018 season. In his starts, the Yankees are 1-2 though the righty has a 3.14 ERA in 14⅓ rotation innings.

Jake Faria gets the ball for the Rays. His 10 starts are good for third best on a Rays team that has 15 pitchers credited with starts, though many have since been traded elsewhere. The 25-year-old has not started since May 22, though he has a 1.35 ERA in 6⅔ relief innings in the month of August. He has a 6.43 ERA in seven innings and two starts against the Yankees in his career.

Like I mentioned before, Torreyes is playing second and batting ninth to give Gleyber Torres a break. He’s “pressing,” per Aaron Boone, so he’s getting a breather. The rest of the lineup is fairly standard, that is, if you’re used to Neil Walker as a right fielder.


Pre-Game Notes:

  • The Yankees designated George Kontos for assignment to clear an active roster spot for Luis Cessa tonight.
  • Gary Sánchez could begin a rehab assignment as soon as “August 23-24,” per Brian Cashman on WFAN. He has been in the Bronx working with the Yankees.
  • Aaron Judge had an MRI and cortisone shot in his right wrist. Still no timeline on him picking up a bat, though he was seen working in the outfield today.
  • Something to watch: Ryan McBroom, who is hitting .385/.442/.564 with two homers and 10 RBI in his last 10 games, was a (presumably) healthy, but late, scratch from Game One of Triple-A Scranton’s doubleheader. Could be resting him for Game Two but something else could be afoot.

Rays Lineup:

  1. Mallex Smith – RF
  2. Matt Duffy – 3B
  3. Jake Bauers – 1B
  4. Joey Wendle – 2B
  5. Ji-Man Choi – DH
  6. Kevin Kiermaier – CF
  7. Willy Adames – SS
  8. Brandon Lowe – LF
  9. Michael Pérez – C
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