Ho-hum. Just another day of Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay doing the heavy lifting for the Yankees’ offense. Wait, what’s that?
Wells, Hafner, and Overbay all homered last night as the Yankees topped the Blue Jays 9-4 at Rogers Centre in Toronto. After dropping four out of their first five games, the Yankees have won eight out of their last 10.
Andy Pettitte was scratched from his last outing due to back spasms, but he was solid in his return to action last night, allowing three runs over 7 1/3 innings while striking out five and walking just one. The 40-year-old southpaw is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 12/5 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings over his first three starts this season. He has a 2.67 ERA in 15 starts since making his comeback last year.
Wells, Hafner, and Overbay have combined for 11 homers so far this season. While many thought the Yankees wouldn’t have enough thump following the departures of Nick Swisher and Russell Martin and the injuries to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, they currently lead the American League with 25 home runs. Only the Rockies and Braves have hit more.
Your Friday box scores:
Braves 0, Pirates 6
Cardinals 2, Phillies 8 (game called in the seventh inning due to rain)
Athletics 3, Rays 8
Marlins 2, Reds 1
Nationals 1, Mets 7
Mariners 0, Rangers 7
Cubs 4, Brewers 5
Indians 2, Astros 3
Diamondbacks 1, Rockies 3
Padres 2, Giants 3
Tigers 1, Angels 8
Royals/Red Sox – postponed
Twins/White Sox – postponed
Dodgers/Orioles – postponed
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.