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7 days ago  ::  May 21, 2015 - 11:35PM #4781
Posts: 12,281

Legends Game at PNC Field on Sunday, June 21

05/21/2015 2:24 PM ET

By Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Media Relations

Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent tips his cap during introductions at the Yankees 68th annual Old-Timers' Day.(AP)

The New York Yankees' AAA-Affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, proudly announces that New York Yankees Old-Timers' Weekend will now also include a Yankees Legends Game to be played on Sunday, June 21 at PNC Field in Moosic, Penn. After the 69th Annual Old-Timer's Day takes place on Saturday, June 20, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees Legends Game on Sunday, June 21, at PNC Field will honor 1978 World Series champion Brian Doyle. A portion of the proceeds from Sunday's event will benefit the National Parkinson Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The game itself will include Yankees Legends playing against each other. Additionally, the winners of an online auction to benefit Parkinson's research will also receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of participating in the game. The festive atmosphere will be rounded out with a Father's Day barbeque, live bands and post-game activities, including field access for games of catch, whiffle-ball, and photos in the team dugouts.

"Our top priority, in our first season as an ownership group, was to establish a stronger connection between the New York Yankees and the communities of Northeast Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey," said RailRiders Co-Managing Owner David Abrams. "This event is our way of thanking our fans by enabling them to see their Yankees heroes and interact with them in an intimate setting, while sharing a special Father's Day with their families."

"The idea for the event came after my friend Brian Doyle announced that he had Parkinson's disease," said RailRiders' Co-Owner Grant Cagle. "Our partnership with the New York Yankees has made this game possible, and we are glad that so many former Yankees are showing their support for Brian by joining us for the day."

More than 20 Yankees Legends are confirmed for the events, including Bucky Dent, Tommy John, Roy White, Charlie Hayes, Gene "Stick" Michael, Ron Blomberg, Jesse Barfield, Jeff Nelson, Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd, Oscar Gamble, and Jim Coates and Hector Lopez, both Yankees World Series Champions in 1961 and 1962. Additional Yankees participants will be announced in the coming weeks. For a full list of alumni participants, please visit

5 days ago  ::  May 23, 2015 - 3:19PM #4782
Posts: 12,281

New York Yankees 2015 quarter-season awards

After 41 games, which pinstripers are most worthy of some abritrary hardware?

05/22/2015 10:39 AM ET

By Lou DiPietro

Pound that chest, Big Mike, for you are our pick as the Yankees' quarter-season Cy Young.(AP)

The New York Yankees hit the quarter pole of their season on Wednesday night, their 3-2 loss to the Nationals marking the end of Game No. 41 of 162.

They hit that quarter pole with a share of first place in the AL East, their 22-19 record identical to that of the Rays entering Thursday, and we think that's a perfect time for us to hand out some much-deserved but admittedly way-early awards.

As the "second quarter" gets set to begin tonight, we have selected one (or more) Yankees as the "winners" as of now for seven of the major awards handed out each year by Major League Baseball. ts set to begin tonight, we have selected one (or more) Yankees as the "winners" as of now for seven of the major awards handed out each year by Major League Baseball.

CY YOUNG AWARD: Michael Pineda
Who else? Big Mike is 5-1 with a 3.31 ERA in eight starts so far, leading the team in wins (only Dellin Betances even has four) and pitching like a true ace.

In his 51 2/3 innings pitched - a total second on the team to CC Sabathia, who has him beat by just one out - Pineda has racked up 55 strikeouts (12 ahead of 2nd-place Sabathia) against just 3 walks, posted an ERA that's less than a tenth of a point behind the currently-injured Masahiro Tanaka (3.22) for the rotation's best, and recorded a fielding-independent pitching mark of 1.99, more than a point better than the Yankees' next-best starter (Tanaka at 3.08).

Pineda may only have 4 quality starts and his last one, a 5 1/3-inning clunker in KC, is his freshest memory in most minds, but lest we not forget that dominating 16 strikeout performance on Mother's Day, which could end up being his career magnum opus when all is said and done.

RELIEF/DELIVERY MAN AWARD: Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances (tie)
You can make any argument for either one to get this award solo over the other, and 100 percent of them would be viable…so why not honor both?

Betances has been flat out unhittable this season, posting 4 wins in relief, a 0.783 WHIP, and zero runs allowed in 23 innings over 20 appearances. He also has 35 strikeouts in those 23 innings - a K/9 of 13.7, which is a tick better than the 13.5 he posted in setting a single-season franchise record for strikeouts by a reliever last year - and if there's any blemish on his resume, it's that he has allowed 10 walks this season.

Miller, meanwhile, has been just as good if not better; his ERA ballooned all the way up to 0.98 after he finally allowed his 1st earned runs of the season on Tuesday, but in his 18 1/3 innings pitched over 18 appearances, the lefty has a 0.709 WHIP, 31 strikeouts (for a K/9 of a whopping 15.2) against nine walks, and, perhaps most importantly, 13 saves.

Kansas City's back-end trio gets a lot of hype, but Betances and Miller are almost inarguably the best 1-2 punch in the AL, and both could be All-Stars by the time we reach the halfway point.

Some may see Teixeira's .252 average over his 1st 39 games as a "down" mark, but Tex leads the team with 12 HRs, 30 RBI, 26 walks, a .588 slugging percentage and .964 OPS. As important as the table setters have been in giving him opportunities, Teixeira has been just as important because he's been cashing in on them…and as much as we hate projections, even this deep into a year, we'll note that three more quarters like this from Tex would give him a career-high 48 HRs and 120 RBIs when all is said and done.

GOLD GLOVE: Mark Teixeira
Two in a row for Tex, and in this case, it's his position that breaks a tie.

Both Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury have been flawless in the outfield and Brian McCann has been above league average throwing out attempted base stealers, but in a season where the other 3 starting infielders already have 17 errors, Teixeira has surely saved his compatriots a few more while maintaining a 1.000 fielding percentage. In an era of increased emphasis on defense, that gives him the edge here.

There were, honestly, a lot of possible candidates for this award, but to the pleasant surprise of many, A-Rod blows them away. No one knew what to expect from Rodriguez, but there are many who would have signed up for a .246-10-22 line at mid-season, let alone in mid-May, and the fact that he's 3rd on the team in runs scored and 2nd (or tied for it) in doubles, HRs, RBI, walks, slugging percentage, and OPS says he's been a key part of the Yankees' offensive machine in all areas.

Our criteria here were the same as MLB rookie criteria: to qualify, a player must have less than 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days on the active Yankees roster (excluding DL time) before September 1 of any given year.

That narrowed a field of 33 players used down to 17, and given what we've already said above, how could you vote against Miller? Chris Young made a strong case over the 1st few weeks, but after 7, we can't deny Miller his 2nd piece of hardware.

MVP: Jacoby Ellsbury
Of course, Ellsbury hitting the disabled list on Thursday puts a bit of a damper on this, but there's no doubt that his presence at the top of the lineup has been paramount to the Yankees' success this year.

As you might expect from a leadoff hitter, Ellsbury leads the team in both plate appearances and at-bats, but he also leads in average (.342), on-base percentage (.412), runs (29), hits (48), and stolen bases (14) and is tied for 2nd in walks (19).

With Ellsbury on the DL for at least the next two weeks, though, the Yankees will have to find that production elsewhere - and, in theory, could find out just how valuable he really is if they don't.

5 days ago  ::  May 23, 2015 - 11:45PM #4783
Posts: 12,281




Jacob Lindgren Yankees

Yankees minor league reliever Jacob Lindgren was called up by the Yankees after Saturday’s loss. Getty images.

3 days ago  ::  May 25, 2015 - 1:28PM #4784
Posts: 12,281

Slade Heathcott's big Yankee Stadium debut concludes his road to redemption

05/22/2015 11:31 PM ET

By Lou DiPietro

Slade Heathcott collected a hit in his 1st major-league at-bat Friday.(AP)

BRONX, N.Y. - There were many days in his late-teens an early-twenties where Slade Heathcott's demons could have gotten the best of him, rendering a career full of promise as a footnote in his life.

And there were many more days during his professional career, some just this past winter, where a series of injuries could have gotten the best of Heathcott and forced him from the game he loves more than anything.

All that made the cliché "a dream come true" all the more real for Heathcott on Friday night, when he made his first career major-league start as the center fielder for the New York Yankees.

"I don't know how to describe it, other than it's a dream come true," Heathcott said hours before Friday's game with the Rangers. "I've thought about playing in the big leagues since I was six years old, and there were times I didn't think it would happen - but I look back and realize people shouldn't doubt themselves; just take care of your work, trust in the plan you have, and have fun."

Heathcott's story, full of legal, personal, and physical troubles, is a long, dark road, but it's one he's more than willing to share now that said road is far in his rear-view mirror.

The physical troubles had often limited Heathcott for his 1st 5 professional seasons, but they crested when he had knee surgery in late 2013 just weeks after he was added to the Yankees' 40-man roster. That surgery delayed his start to 2014, and when he finally arrived, he played just 9 games at Double-A Trenton before another knee injury (and another surgery) ended his season - and almost his career.

Come November, Heathcott's rehab was not going well, and he was almost at the point of shutting down, until he found his next savior.

"I was having a lot of pain running, but I started working out with a guy in Orlando named Chuck Wolf, and within 4 weeks of being with him, I looked over and told him 'I can play'," Heathcott said. "That was the first time in a long time I felt that good."

All well and good, but on December 2nd, the Yankees, needing a 40-man roster spot, decided simply to release Heathcott altogether. It was a moment where he could have folded, but as he has so many times in the past, the 24-year-old rose above it.

"I try to be positive every day, find the good in any situation, but I wasn't like that up until this past winter," he said. "Being away from the game and realizing I may never play it again, it brought a new light on showing up every day and realizing what a blessing it is just to play the game."

More hard work followed his breakthrough, and Heathcott decided to re-sign with the Yankees. A return to Double-A seemed to be in the cards, but spurred on by his improving health and the Feb. 21 birth of his son, Kysen, Heathcott had a spring that Yankees manager Joe Girardi called "very impressive."

"I thought that wherever we put him this spring, he played well, and he swung the bat well and made a lot of in-game adjustments," the Yankees skipper said of Heathcott. "I had a talk with him and told him the most important thing for him this year was to stay healthy and get at-bats. Over the period we've had him, he's been hurt about half the time, and he hasn't been able to show what kind of talent he has on a consistent basis, but I think he's matured a lot."

That talk and that spring performance, Heathcott says, helped him truly realize he needed to harness the reckless abandon with which he played.

"I've always played hard and with a lot of intensity, but I've learned how to back it off and realize that some situations call for that intensity and some don't," he said.

It also fast-tracked him to a starting assignment in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and eventually to Tuesday night around 11:30 p.m., when Heathcott got a phone call while holding Kysen. On the other end was RailRiders manager Dave Miley, who gave Heathcott the news he had waited his whole life for: he was headed to 'The Show.' 

Heathcott quickly told his wife and made the first call to his grandfather, but before he knew it, he had to pack his bags and get on a plane to DC, where he'd meet the Yankees for the finale of their 2-game set with the Nationals.

The speedster made his major-league debut as a pinch-runner in that Wednesday night affair - laughing that his first thought when taking the field was "don't get picked off" - and after a day off to take it all in, he walked into Yankee Stadium to find his name penciled in as the starting center fielder.

"I'm really just glad my first start is in pinstripes," Heathcott smiled shortly after finding out. "I know I (debuted Wednesday), but to have my first start here…there's just something about the pinstripes."

Nervous would be an understatement, but Heathcott's faith has always kept him grounded, as has the attitude that he took into the first start.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing, but I have to try to control the emotions," he said. "It's a big day, but I have to approach it as it's just another day of me playing baseball. Once you step across the lines, it's just another game of baseball."

Maybe in some world, but in this one, Friday will be the night where Slade Heathcott truly earned his pinstripes. As his mother, his in-laws, and his wife and 3-month-old watched from the stands, Heathcott received a loud roll call from the Bleacher Creatures to start his big day.

"I wanted to sit there and listen to it a little longer, but I figured I'd better not," he laughed. "That's special; not everybody gets to do that, but it's the tradition with the Yankees and we enjoy it as players."

Then, about 30 minutes later, he hit a hustle double in his first career at-bat.

"I was looking away and got the pitch I wanted and did what I needed to do," he said. "Yeah (I was thinking double all the way); every base counts in this game, regardless of the score, and the 1st at-bat helped me calm the nerves a little bit and realize that this is just another game I'm playing."

He later made 4 putouts (including a nice running catch in the 7th) in center field, and, in his 3rd at-bat, beat out an infield single and came around to score his 1st MLB career run on Alex Rodriguez's RBI single, a poke that tied A-Rod with Babe Ruth for 4th all-time with 1,992 career RBIs.

It all came in a 10-9 loss for the Yankees, but for one night, you can forgive Heathcott if the final score is forgotten. After all, he's got his 1st MLB career hit - a ball he said he'll probably put in his son's room - and just showing up vindicated the long road it took to get here.

"I can imagine and picture what my family looked like tonight," Heathcott said. "It's a big day for all of us; without them and the people who have helped me throughout my past, I wouldn't be here."

3 days ago  ::  May 25, 2015 - 2:24PM #4785
Posts: 12,281

From MLB Rumors 05/25/15

The Yankees moved shortstop Brendan Ryan from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL and also optioned righty Branden Pinder to Triple-A.  Both moves created 25-man roster space to accommodate newly-promoted southpaw Jacob Lindgren.  Ryan suffered a calf injury during Spring Training and isn’t expected back in action until early June.

Masahiro Tanaka told reporters (including Dan Martin of the New York Post) that he is “not gonna make a change” to his pitching style in the wake of forearm and wrist injuries, but admits that he is “going to have to oversee my body a little bit better.”  Tanaka’s health has been of great concern since it was revealed that he had a partially-torn UCL last summer, and despite a couple of DL stints since, the Yankees still hope their ace can avoid a longer-term stay on the injured reserve.  Tanaka will make his second minor league rehab start on Wednesday.

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