Thursday, June 30, 2016


This is part 3 of our Saving Arms series.  Be sure to check out:

We just heard about some elbow issues involving Yankee stud James Casey's piece HERE.  It seems like every day, there is a new case of elbow, forearm issues and many times these days, we hear about Tommy John surgery.  It's crazy.

As the spring season has come to an end, summer baseball has begun. Whether it's Little League All-Star teams, Babe Ruth All-Star teams, American Legion or any other travel or tournament ball, there is a lot of baseball to be played. As coaches, we have to assure the continued health of our pitchers as the summer gets long, busy and hot.

I had a chance to speak with Coach Steve Hayward again from Baseball Health Network as his travel tournament team and the All-Star team I’m coaching are starting to get going. Both teams have busy schedules ahead and we have to assure we treat our players in the right manner.

Hayward’s team plays in a lot of travel ball tournaments which consist of four to six games potentially over just a few days. One thing we have to be aware of is throwing too much. All players, but particularly pitchers have to be conditioned to throw but we can’t force them to throw too much. If a team is playing in two or three games in a day, there is no reason to go through multiple pre-game warm ups. After the initial warm up period, the players should be pretty much good to go. Before game two or three, simply have the boys (or girls) get some running in to get the blood flowing, followed by a couple throws before the first pitch to assure they’re loose.

(In Photo: Steve Hayward and Dr. Christopher Ahmad)
While it will be normal for players to become fatigued over the course of a long day, we have to be aware of it. Yankees team doctor, Dr. Christopher Ahmad, truly believes that fatigue is the number one cause of injuries. In order to prevent this, our bodies, most importantly our legs and core, need to be prepared.

Young athletes aren’t just baseball players... they’re kids too. Some play multiple sports over the summer, some spend many days at the pool or playing with their buddies in the back yard while others may be doing manual labor to earn some pocket cash over the summer. These youngsters have to assure they stay hydrated, eat enough quality food to sustain their busy schedules and also assure they get enough rest.

Hayward says:  
“As coaches we have to make sure we ask the kids the right questions and make sure they are prepared to play in the game that day and how much they should be used. What did you do today? Were you up all night? Did you eat enough? Did you have a lacrosse or soccer game earlier that I don’t know about? Without asking these questions, we could be setting them up for failure.”
Most of the time the legs are the first to get fatigued, followed by the core, which in turn puts way more added stress on an already stressed elbow or shoulder. Throwing a baseball is not a natural motion for the arm and it must be properly conditioned.

In order to be able to play on long, hot days, we have to condition our bodies to do so. Hayward mentioned a Big League ballplayer he has worked with, whose name he did not want to use, who admitted he hadn’t ever worked out during the season. He actually stated many, if not most of the Big Leaguers, do not do any in-season maintenance. This ballplayer learned his lesson and now trains year round, including in-season maintenance, and is batting over .290 so far this season, while remaining much more healthy.

A point that is probably talked about but overlooked by many coaches is warm ups. Back to Hayward: 
“I was driving by a ball field by my house and the two teams were getting loose before their games. There were three coaches for each team, so six adults on the field. Not a single coach was monitoring the boys warming up. Most had poor mechanics and weren’t getting their front shoulder pointed at the target. They weren’t throwing with their legs or striding straight at the target like they should and they weren’t long tossing to properly prepare for a game. Worst of all, there was nobody there to correct them!”

Young players need to be shown how to properly grip a baseball with the thumb on the bottom and the center of the ball even between the index and middle finger on top. Young players also have a bad habit of gripping the ball too tight, or squeezing the ball, which, as Hayward said, creates more tension in the growth plate area of near the elbow, again leading to some injury risks.

With these mistakes come inherent risks. If you do not throw properly and you do not throw at game like distances, you are setting your body up for injuries down the road. Does that mean that they will get injured that day? Not necessarily. But doing something incorrectly such as that over a season or multiple seasons, can lead to an eventual injury.

Hayward: “Think of a ligament like a rope. When a rope begins to fray or come apart, it normally doesn’t in one clean break. It normally starts to tear little by little, fiber by fiber. So over time little injuries to the ligament (or muscle) add up until one day it is no longer able to hold up. When a high school pitcher throws 150-160+ pitches as we have seen in news stories, I understand that they wanted to give it their all and that they feel OK at that moment. Even though they may not feel injured at that moment, who is to say what damage was started on that day?
At the end of the day, we can only do so much and the players have to do what they should be doing. You could tell a player ten times to do something and if he chooses not to, that ultimately falls on the player. We truly care, but it comes to a point where if a player doesn’t want to listen, he isn’t going to. Coaches can’t do it for them.

As the summer months begin and we head out to play lots of baseball in a short period of time, we must remain aware of the added risks and stresses that summer ball, and in particular tournament ball, bring. It is our job as coaches and parents to keep a watchful eye on our athletes while assuring they are conditioned and physically prepared to put their body through the ringer of summer baseball.

If we follow the tips that Coach Hayward suggested here and stay vigilant, we could start to curb the rise in arm injuries. 

Once again, thanks to Coach Hayward for taking the time to speak with me. It’s always fun to listen, learn and simply talk baseball. There is still plenty more to discuss!

--Dan Lucia, BYB Senior Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia


I don't really know why this is newsworthy but apparently we all need to know this.....ladies and gentlemen Mariano Rivera will not be able to attend Derek Jeter's wedding. It's unfortunate but I am sure Jeter is going to understand. He is a classy guy. He is the very definition of class. I don't think Jeter is going to carry a life long grudge over this. I guess this is what happens when journalists are tired of writing about how bad the Yankees are.

In case you missed it, the New York Daily news really wants us to know about why Mo won't make it to the wedding, you can read that HERE. I guess it is a reason to talk about our guys from the good old days. Anything to reference back to the happier days of our core players I guess. Maybe we are all just tired of hearing that the sky is falling on the Yankees season. It is. Now, this news is supposed to rain on Jeter's parade I guess.

But I guess Mo hasn't broken the bad news to Jeter yet based on the verbiage in the article. So Jeter, if Mo hasn't told you himself yet.....SURPRISE! Mo isn't going to be there so you will have some extra seats available. Who knows, maybe someone can face time the wedding ceremony and Mo can watch it all the way in Italy. Something tells me either way, there will be no love lost between these two.

I guess it's a change of pace when it comes to Yankee coverage. If this wedding does happen over the holiday weekend it will be nice to see names like Jorge Posada and Tino Martinez in the news again because it certainly sounds like those guys will be in attendance but I can't say I am disappointed in Mo not attending the wedding. The man is living his life and enjoying his post retirement leisurely activity....who would pass up a trip to Italy? Not me.

Just like Mo said when he announced his retirement there are more important things in life than baseball. In this case, Derek Jeter is finally settling down and getting married. Mo is spending time with his family and taking the time to travel and enjoy life. These two will cross paths again but it doesn't sound like it will happen at the wedding. No big deal.

The story may be trivial, but even I have to admit that for a minute it put a smile on my face. Anytime I see their names it brings back good memories. I guess I can't fault the New York Daily news for that, right? I'm sure it accomplished their goal. It just proves that fans are still drawn to our homegrown boys and that will never change.

 --Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer & Editor
  Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ


It was a wonderful win last night.  Brian McCann sure as hell helped Masahiro Tanaka with 2 big home runs.

Tanaka just didn't have it... he had his tits lit up.  In the end, it was Didi Gregorius to get that big Yankee walk-off.  Damn... I still love watching that replay!

Luis Cessa kept the Yankees in the game, pitching 3 innings of 1 hit ball, giving up only 1 additional run to the Rangers. He was the only other pitcher after Tanaka.

But it was the Yankees offense that showed up to pick up Tanaka last night too.  6 runs in the bottom of the 9th.  For anyone that was still in the Bronx, what a treat!

But it's more than a walk-off now... it's an opportunity.  We just wrote about Brett Gardner yesterday in YANKS WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE? GARDY THINKS SO. Many fans poo-pooed Gardy's statements thinking Gardy is nuts and the Yankees are just too far back to make any run this season.  The reality is, YES it's gonna be hard, but the Yankees CAN do it, IF they use last night's game as a building block.  One game at a time... one moment at a time.

Yes, this season's been difficult for us Yankee fans... but I still have hope, especially after last night's win.

Go Yanks!

Final: Yankees 9 - Rangers 7

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Arm injuries happen quite often in sports these days. It seems that Tommy John surgery is constant and folks like Ty Hensley has now gone under the knife twice, and he's not even in the major leagues yet. A lot has to do with the strength of a players core, and the way the ball is thrown, the mechanics.  Plus, in the business I'm in, coaching kids, many coaches out there don't care how many pitches their young players throw, just as long as they can throw strikes... it's pretty disgusting, but this is the culture we are now in.

BYB has dedicated a series to saving arms and you should read them:



There will be a 3rd part of that series tomorrow, so be sure to look for it. BYB writer Dan Lucia is also a coach and is all in with leading experts to come up with a conversation about this topic.

But that brings me to James Kaprielian, a young Yankee pitching stud who still has elbow discomfort.  This led him to possibly being out for the rest of the season.  Now, I'm not saying the dude's gonna need Tommy John. Don't misunderstand me. All I'm saying is, it's likely that's the direction he's going. It's an educated guess, but based on all the kids that have gone under the knife over the last few years, you just never know anymore. It's nuts.

Bryan Hoch writes:

"Kaprielian, currently on the Minor League disabled list, has been experiencing recurring discomfort in his pitching elbow. He was examined by Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Tuesday.

'His ligament is fine, it's the flexor muscle that he injured while he was coming back,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the club's 7-1 loss to the Rangers. 'Both times that he's had the MRIs, we've been told the ligament is fine. Some people think the flexor can be a precursor [to Tommy John surgery]. I haven't figured this thing out. It happens so often in this game. I just haven't figured it out. I hope not and I hope he gets better.'"

Look,  we wish Kap well.  No one wants to see guys like Kap and Ty Hensley healthy and throwing again for the New York Yankees more than I.  Sometimes things happen, but we just gotta hope that with the right care and rest, these players recover.

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I don't know what insights Brett Gardner has, but I'm interested in learning more.  I spent the last couple of days in workshop sessions that unpacked key skills like having a growth mindset, creating cultures of collaboration and building structures that enable students to make mistakes in order to learn.  When I read the Trenton Times' article entitled "Brett Gardner hoping Yankees don't play way into becoming trade-deadline sellers," I learned more about Gardner's take on the team as he provides positive commentary on the Yankees and the opportunities that are within their grasp.

"Gardner thinks the Yanks are fortunate not to be buried in the standings already. For instance, Pittsburgh went into Sunday two-games under .500 in the NL Central and trailing the Cubs by 14 games. "We're six or so games back," Gardner said. "We've got a lot of ground to make up and some good teams ahead of us, but at the same time we play those teams a lot and a lot can change over the course of a week or so."  That's definitely a way to spin events into possibilities.  A growth mindset can do that for a player.  This means a player believes that despite mistakes, challenges, and obstacles, if he perseveres, he will achieve his goal.

Hey, I am all for persistence and grit.  And of all of the Yankees, he certainly has the lion's share of positivity and grit.  "I feel good about where we're at," he told NJ Advance Media. "I know I've been saying that for weeks or a couple months now, but we're still very much within striking distance. We're by no means where we want to be at, but ..." we persist?

I want to believe him and I think most fans want to as well.  I guess it is hard to stay positive when this team seems more like one from the 1980s and early 90s than those of decades before or after. 

Yet, Gardner insists the Yankees simply have more to give. "I don't see any reason we can't at some point turn it on and get things rolling. We've been pitching. We've been throwing the ball pretty well and obviously we feel great about the bullpen that we have, so if we can get a little more consistency offensively ..."

Is it just post-game locker talk or is Gardner a believer that the Yankees can put a run together right before the All Star Break?  I hope it is the latter and what Gardner's says about the Yankees being within striking distance is something that can come to fruition throughout the dogs days of summer.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I haven't seen a season like this for the Yankees in at least a couple of decades. We are all frustrated with the results we're seeing. It doesn't help when guys like Mark Teixeira pretend to be healthier than they are, or when Nathan Eovaldi is trying to set the American League record for most home runs allowed. It also doesn't help that the Yankees are at or near the bottom of the American League in almost every hitting stat. It's hard to watch. But still, when I see the Yankees coming back in June, it makes me think there is something good brewing below the surface.

The Yankees are trying to get themselves out of the hole they dug in April. May was decent, and June is showing some promise. It's interesting to watch. Through their first 27 games, from April 5 to May 5, the Yankees went 9-17. Their hitting was DOA night after night. During those 27 games, the Yankees were hitting a paltry .232 with an OPS of .656. The pitching was mediocre, with an ERA of 4.39 and holding opposing batters to a .260 average. If we could erase those 27 games, if the season had started on May 6, the Yankees would be sitting on a 28-21 record. Not exactly running over opponents, but decent and competitive.

May 6 was when the turnaround started. Their batting average for the next 26 games was still at .231, but they started to hit home runs a little more and strike out a little less. Most of the credit for their 15-11 record during that stretch goes to their pitching. The Yankees' ERA dropped almost a half run to 3.91 and opposing hitters' average dropped 20 points to .240. You can point to CC Sabathia as the main contributor, settling in and looking more like he did in his prime. There were other contributors, like Aroldis Chapman's arrival, and Michael Pineda finally starting to pitch at major league level quality. But it felt like it was starting to come together.

When we look at the last 22 games, from June 2 to June 26, some exciting things started to happen. The Yankees batting average jumped to .280 and their OPS ran up to .760. Their strikeouts dropped noticeably. But they still only pulled a 13-9 record. Basically, the pitching regressed and offset progress in hitting. Their ERA during this time was 4.71 and opponents' batting average went up to .266.

So why am I walking you through all this? Because if you start to notice, things are starting to come together. This is not that much different from 1993 when the Yankees started stringing wins together even though the team wasn't championship caliber. I expect to see a lot more of this for the rest of this season. Hitting will look hot then grow cold. Pitching will look solid and then falter. Kids will come up from the minors and go back down again. This Yankees team will go a little over .500 and then a little under. My guess is that they'll finish about 10 games over .500, but you never know what will happen at the trade deadline.

I believe we are watching the passing of the torch from one generation of core Yankee players to another. We are finding out who can play and who cannot. Who will last and who's the flash in the pan. It's not so bad. The Core Four wasn't formed overnight. It's time like these that future championship teams are formed. And hey - it's progress.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon

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Sometimes a pitcher goes out there and his tits get lit up.  Sometimes he can't find the strike zone. Sometimes pressure gets to them. Sometimes, in rain, a pitcher can't grip the ball properly, their footing sucks and sometimes, rare, but sometimes... they blow a save. Sometimes the elements kick the crap out of you.  That's the game... and no one should ever give excuses... it's just the way it is. has the story about the Yankees and last night's loss:

"With the Yankees leading by one run and a runner on first base following a leadoff walk issued by closer Aroldis Chapman to Robinson Chirinos in the top of the ninth inning, the game entered into a three-hour, 35-minute rain delay, beginning at 10:40 p.m. ET. After the delay, Kirby Yates entered the game to pitch for the Yankees and couldn't secure his second career save, allowing a two-run single to Adrian Beltre and an RBI single to Elvis Andrus as the Rangers won, 9-6."

Fans can get angry all they want, but sometimes weird things happen, and last night, it was weird.

I saw this comment in our comments section of  YANKS MAY RESIGN CHAPMAN AFTER ALL.

"Sorry though. This guy melts in the rain."  -Dave

So I guess we just give up on Chapman. I mean, sure Dave, he did fail last night, and fans don't like to see it, but the elements weren't in the Yankees corner last night.  I mean, Kirby Yates hit 3 batters last night.  Think about that one. Chapman even chimed in on his performance:

"It's very wet out there... I was trying to find a way that would allow me to do my job. So I was doing the best I could. The ball was getting wet easily out there, so the best thing to do is keep asking for a new one and try to get a good grip and try to do a good job."

Think about that. He tried, there was a ton of craziness all around him, look at out lead photo!  All I'm saying is, while it stings, it was highly unusual and we as a fan base just need to move on.

Final: Rangers 9 - Yankees 6

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Monday, June 27, 2016


Let the rumor season begin!

Are the Yankees sellers? Randy Levine was pretty much being a bitch attacking the media for suggesting it, but this is the reality we're in.  For the Yankees to not trade a few higher level players would make sense.  No idea if they'll do it, but it's logical.

We also reported this morning that the Yankees may be interested in re-signing Aroldis Chapman. Read YANKS MAY RESIGN CHAPMAN AFTER ALL for more on that.

Now comes an ESPN story by Isaac Chipps stating that the Cubs are looking at our 3 headed monster:

"According to George A. King III of the New York Post, a trio of Cubs scouts were at Yankee Stadium this past weekend watching Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
Although the Cubs bullpen has compiled the fourth-best aggregate ERA in the National League, the team is looking to potentially add more arms before the deadline. 

According to King, the Yankees will be open to hearing offers for the three relievers and ultimately hope to create a bidding war between the Cubs, Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers."

Yes, originally reported by King of the post, but with a  name like Isaac Chipps, I had to give him a shout out. If I ever decided I wanted to be a high stakes poker player... Isaac Chipps would be my name. Anyway... I'm off topic...

But it's not only the Cubs that are looking at our relievers, it's being reported that the Marlins are looking at Chapman as well. writes:

"Whoever would have thought the Miami Marlins ever would be having internal conversations about making a play for a Yankees star for a trade-deadline deal? Crazy, but true. 

The Marlins, currently contending in the NL East and for a wild card playoff spot under first-year manager Don Mattingly, would like to upgrade their bullpen before the Aug. 1 trade deadline and Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman apparently is on their radar.

Buster Olney of reported that the Marlins' front office has discussed trying to swing a deal for Chapman or San Diego Padres closer Fernando Rodney."

Look, all of this is interesting, and I'm merely putting it out to all of you so you're in the loop.  It's June 27th... I'm not getting to crazy about any of this stuff yet... the deadline's a month away. Let's just see if the Yankees can get some wins and get a winning streak going, because if they do, we're not talking about this in July... we're talking about a few big pieces for us, NOT selling everyone away.

Stay tuned...

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I like the power of optimism. I am definitely a "the glass is half full" kind of gal versus looking at it being half gone. I feed off of positivity and I am drawn to that energy. So I should be excited about Mark Teixeira says he is feeling pretty good but I think that hopeful side of me has been sucked dry. I know his particular song and dance all too well.

I think the New York Post nailed the headline in their last piece about Tex, you can find that HERE. It is brutal honesty. He has no idea. If this was last season Tex would not have returned to the lineup on Saturday and this is something I am 1000% sure of. He would've sat out for a little while longer, figured out the knee was still not right and then had season ending surgery and focused on next season. But no, money talks and his future lays in the balance.

I want that future to be bright for him. He won't be here next year and while it sucks to think about my favorite player leaving to wear some other uniform but I know that everything comes to and end at some point. I knew the end was coming, but I am still not okay with watching it end so unhappily ever after. I gave myself a pep talk at the end of last season that I was at least going to get one more good season....and now I just feel cheated quite honestly.

I've been the only Tex supporter on this Yankee website, and that is a fact. I was looking forward to writing about the grand finale, and saying goodbye, good luck and thanks for all of the memories. Right now though, this is no grand finale. It's hard to watch Tex go out there and no that he is not playing healthy and he's having a bad enough season as it is. It's one thing to play through an injury and still be productive.....but that's not the case here. Its a struggle. It's an overwhelming challenge just to hold on. I don't want to watch him go out like that!

This is a bad chapter in a book right now. He's out there playing for that new opportunity for next season because he's not ready to retire. I admire and respect that. But this is not the way to do it and Tex not being able to sound more confident in his health right now is scary. As soon as he struggles it going to come down to his bum knee. It will be the "I told you so" of media coverage.

Should Ike Davis clear waivers and accept his assignment to AAA he is inevitably going to be recalled in a few weeks and then people will say "SEE I TOLD YOU SO....we needed to keep him" and that will come regardless of if Davis sucks or not.

And similarly, Joe Girardi will now have to find a way to keep Rob Refsnyder and his ht bat in the lineup. In the event that he starts to skid it will also turn into a "I told you so" moment. There's just no great answer here.

I really hope that Tex can be a productive hitter and stay healthy. Otherwise, we are doing more harm than good to the team just to find a way for a broken down player to get on the daily lineup and be unsuccessful. I continue to put my faith in the plan....but even I am wavering at this point.
I am starting to think Mike O'Hara poisoned my Kool-Aid.

--Jeana Bellezza, 
BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ 


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