Tag: Brendan Ryan

Carlos Beltran Getty

Carlos Beltran scratched from Yankees lineup after fouling a ball off his eye in batting practice


Yankees designated hitter Carlos Beltran has been scratched from tonight’s lineup against the Indians after a ball he hit during batting practice bounced up and struck him near the eye.

No further word yet on the severity of the injury, but manager Joe Girardi has shifted Derek Jeter to the DH spot and Brendan Ryan is at shortstop for the newly acquired Brandon McCarthy’s debut.

Beltran has been limited to DH duties due to season-long elbow problems that may require surgery and recently he’s also been dealing with a knee issue. At age 37 he’s hit just .216 with nine homers and a .671 OPS in the first season of a three-year, $45 million deal.

Brendan Ryan expected to be activated Tuesday

Brendan Ryan Getty

Brendan Ryan was forced to begin the season on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his back, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger this evening that the plan calls for him to be activated tomorrow. The 32-year-old is expected to take the roster spot of right-hander Michael Pineda, who will be placed on the disabled list with a teres major muscle strain now that his 10-game suspension is over.

Progress for Ryan was slow, but he began a minor league rehab assignment last weekend and hit .320 (8-for-25) with two RBI and a 4/5 K/BB ratio over seven games between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Of course, anything the Yankees get out of him offensively will be considered a bonus, as the .237 hitter is a glove-first player in every sense of the term.

Ryan’s return could present an interesting scenario for the Yankees, as Derek Jeter has struggled both offensively and defensively in the early going. It’s a lot to ask Jeter to be a regular shortstop at this stage of his career, so Ryan figures to play more than the average backup at the very least.

Yankees designate Eduardo Nunez for assignment

Eduardo Nunez AP

Eduardo Nunez, who not so long ago was viewed by many people as the Yankees’ heir apparent to Derek Jeter, has been designated for assignment.

Nunez was never actually a very good bet to become the Yankees’ long-term solution at shortstop, which some jerks liked to point out on the internet in 2011. Still, it’s somewhat surprising that New York is cutting bait completely considering he’s been a semi-regular as a utility man.

However, he can’t play defense well enough for shortstop and can’t hit well enough for third base, batting .267 with 10 homers and a .692 OPS in 827 career plate appearances through age 26. Yangervis Solarte is the Yankees’ new utility man with Brendan Ryan hurt and Nunez is likely headed to the waiver wire.

2014 Preview: New York Yankees

Yankees logo

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2014 season. Next up: The New York Yankees

The Big Question: Does $471 million in offseason commitments put the Yankees back in the playoffs?

The Yankees added Jacoby Ellsbury,Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka this offseason, with total salary commitments of nearly $500 million. That’s a lot of talent added, and every bit of that talent fills a need for the Yankees and represents a good baseball signing, even if one can question whether it will work out for them financially in the long term. Of course, why we care about the money side with the Yankees is an open question. But it’s also an open question as to whether all of those commitments make the team better in the aggregate, because there are a lot of problems here too.

The infield, as I noted in my video preview of the Yankees, is a tire fire. Or a dumpster fire. If he’s healthy, Mark Teixeira should be OK, but we don’t know if he’ll hold up. Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts up the middle are serious defensive liabilities even if they’re hitting, and a full-blown disaster if they’re not, and each of them have durability questions too. Kelly Johnson may hit well in Yankee Stadium, but his ability to hold down third base is seriously questionable. Brendan Ryan has an amazing glove, but he can’t play more than one position at a time and he can’t hit a lick.

The bullpen has questions too. David Robertson should be fine taking over for Mariano Rivera, but the rest of the arms there aren’t exactly intimidating. While Joe Girardi has been pretty good at making the most with what he is given in the Yankees pen, he doesn’t have as much here — or at least as much proven here — as he’s had in the past.

There are other “ifs” too, including “if CC Sabathia rebounds,” “if Michael Pineda returns to rookie form” and “if Masahiro Tanaka is as good as people think he’ll be.” Many of those “ifs” will break right for the Yankees as none of their uncertainties are the type which couldn’t, quite reasonably, turn out in the team’s favor. But all of the uncertainties puts a lot of pressure on McCann and the outfield which, while definitely team strengths, can’t afford to miss expectations.

Maybe all of that adds up to good playoff odds in another division, but in the AL East, I think it tips things in favor of the Yankees being on the outside looking in this October.

What else is going on?

  • Let’s focus on that big strength for a minute: the outfield. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury would be starting center fielders for most teams, so having both of them out there at once is going to make Yankees pitchers happy. Beltran’s offense is quite welcome, and the fact that he can be the DH whenever he’s even mildly tired — with Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro spelling him — makes for an optimal situation.
  • Michael Pineda missed each of the past two seasons recovering from shoulder surgery and has yet to throw a regular season pitch for the Yankees after they acquired him from the Mariners for Jesus Montero in January of 2012, but he is now officially the 5th starter. If he’s anything close to what he was in 2011, he’ll provide a big boost to the rotation.
  • CC Sabathia being anything close to what he was before 2013 would be an even bigger help. Only five starters who qualified for the AL ERA title last year had a worse ERA than Sabathia’s 4.78. His velocity is down and he is trying to remake himself both physically — he’s noticeably thinner this year — and as a pitcher, having added a cutter to his repertoire. In people’s minds he’s still the Yankees’ ace. If he can return to being one in reality, it’s another big boost for this team.
  • Joe Girardi’s Yankees have been really good about not getting sucked into the media firestorms that always seem to visit the Bronx during the baseball season. They tend to say and do the right things and let the media bleat. Still, with A-Rod gone all year and no other obvious source of friction on the horizon, the team may be able to relax a bit more this season than they have in the past few years. One can’t quantify that, of course, but it’s hard to see how a little less time being on guard can’t help.

Prediction: The Yankees should be fun to watch — all that new talent in pinstripes will ensure that — but the Rays and Red Sox have more overall talent and far fewer question marks. I feel that makes the Yankees no safer a bet than Third Place, AL East.

Back injury likely to send Brendan Ryan to the disabled list

brendan ryan yankees

Brendan Ryan was slated to be the Yankees’ utility infielder and Derek Jeter insurance, but instead he’s likely to begin the season on the disabled list with a back injury.

Ryan hasn’t played in a game since March 4 and tweaked his back warming up yesterday, canceling plans to rejoin the Yankees’ lineup. Ryan and manager Joe Girardi both indicated to Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger that he’s running out of time to get ready for Opening Day, as he’s totaled just nine plate appearances all spring.

New York acquired Ryan from Seattle in September and then re-signed him to a two-year, $5 million deal, deciding the slick-fielding, poor-hitting veteran was good to have around in case Jeter once again can’t stay healthy.

Announcement: HardballTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.