UPDATE: Cashman started the presser by saying that the first the Yankees knew that Rodriguez was having problems was when Joe Girardi pinch hit Raul Ibanez for him in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles. After the decision was made, Rodriguez told Girardi that his hip was keeping him from “firing” but that did not talk about it being in pain. That night A-Rod was given an MRI and no damage was found. How much pain he was in was not known until much later.
Cashman is implying that Rodriguez may have been hiding the injury. When pressed about the timing of Rodriguez telling Girardi about his hip, Cashman said “as you recall, he said before the playoffs that he felt better than he has in years.” It doesn’t sound like he’s singling A-Rod out, though, because he’s noting that players typically hide their injuries. His example: Michael Pineda last spring.
Also: Classic Cashman: asked about why this is just coming up now, he said “no one asked me a specific question about his hip.” Rather, he said, he was asked if A-Rod would be used as a DH, or if he was going to start or what. Because, yes, I’m sure Cashman would have loved to have volunteered that information if only someone had given him a chance.
Asked about replacements, Cashman was vague (of course) but he said that the Yankees are not committed to either a part-time player or a full-time player. He said they’d “run everything up the flag pole” to see what works. Which seems pretty sensible.
Cashman says that
2:10 PM: Brian Cashman is going to be here in the media room in Nashville in about 20 minutes for a press conference to, presumably anyway, talk about how A-Rod got all dead and stuff. I’ll provide the highlights here when it all goes down.
The biggest question I have — which I mentioned this morning — is how, if Rodriguez was as injured as they now say he is back in the playoffs, no one affiliated with the Yankees said anything. Instead, Rodriguez was allowed to dangle like a pinata all October, with everyone taking a whack.
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.