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New York Yankees

How Jordan Montgomery’s injury impacts the Yankees

Ryan Leonardo



Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees received some shocking and disappointing news Tuesday when it was announced that starter Jordan Montgomery would undergo Tommy John Surgery, ending his season.

It’s a significant blow to Montgomery, who has been one of the most underappreciated Yankees since the start of the last season. He led all rookie pitchers in fWAR last season with 2.7 in 29 starts. Montgomery isn’t projected back until the end of the 2019 season. It’s not unrealistic to think he won’t be in the Yankees plans until 2020.

The left-hander was placed on the disabled list on May 2nd, with the righty Domingo German filling in. German threw six hitless innings against the Cleveland Indians in his first big league start but hasn’t pitched well since. He has allowed 19 earned runs in 21 innings over his last four starts. The Yankees don’t want him to have to make 20-plus starts through the end of the season. German has shown talent in his starts, and in his most recent start against Detroit on June 4th, he pitched well into the seventh. But it’s hard to develop starting pitching in the majors and win a World Series the same year.

That leaves the Yankees hurting for a starting pitcher. It had long been speculated that the Yankees will go after a starting pitcher at the trade deadline, but Montgomery didn’t deserve to get booted. It was also debatable whether any of the starters the Yankees could conceivably acquire would displace Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka or CC Sabathia from the postseason rotation. Additionally, the starting pitching market has so far not developed with really no impact starters available, that includes Texas’ Cole Hamels and Detroit’s Michael Fulmer.

But now, the Yankees are in a really tough spot with the Montgomery injury. They could wait until the deadline for the starting pitcher market to develop to get an impact pitcher, but it may not develop the way they want it. Entering play Wednesday, everyone in the National League was within a game of .500 except the Mets, Marlins, Reds and Padres. Out of those four teams only the Padres’ Tyson Ross seems like a solid addition. In the American League, the aforementioned Hamels and Fulmer will likely be available. The Royals might try to dangle Ian Kennedy and Danny Duffy, but neither  have pitched well.

The big get may be the Rays’ Chris Archer, but he is having a down year and was placed on the disabled list on June 5th. More concerning is that the Rays may not want to trade their ace within the division. The Yankees reportedly tried to trade for Fulmer in the offseason, but he is also having a down year. He is arbitration-eligible through 2022, so it might take a big package to acquire him regardless of his performance. The starting pitching that is projected to be available is underwhelming to say the least.

If Montgomery was healthy, they could take their time for the market to develop and wait for the best deal to present itself. Maybe a deal never materializes, such as what happened in 2015, when the Yankees were in first place over the Blue Jays but hung on to their prospects. They could have looked to add a relief pitcher, or two, instead.

With Montgomery’s injury, however, the Yankees no longer have a choice. They must acquire a starter to displace German if they want to win the AL East. It’s going to take having the best record in baseball to win the division and avoid the one-game playoff of the wild card. It’s hard to do that with just four starters.

They also need to look forward to 2019 with Montgomery on the shelf for such a long time. Sabathia is also a free agent after 2018. So the Yankees will likely have two spots in the rotation to fill after the season. The Yankees could reasonably splurge for starting pitching in the 2018-19 offseason. Maybe top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield will be ready at some point next season. They do have options with how to fill out the rotation in the future.

But for 2018, the Yankees don’t have options, flexibility or enough starting pitching. They need a starter, badly. Unfortunately, it may force the Yankees to settle for a less than perfect option.

I am a Yankees, Giants and Nets fan. My dad is a Mets, Jets and Knicks fan. I assure you we are cool.

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New York Yankees

Loiasaga makes strong Yankees debut

Larry Fleisher



Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The distance between Yankee Stadium to Managua Nicaragua is approximately 3,800 miles. Until Friday it never came up as the Yankees never employed a Nicaraguan born player on their roster.

It changed Friday night when Jonathan Loaisiga took the mound and reached 97 with his first pitch.

Out of the previous 1,650 players to make at least one appearance for the Yankees, Loaisiga is the first from Nicaragua, the country known for producing Dennis Martinez.

And what a debut it was.

Thought not dominating, it was a display of composure, something the Yankees spent this week discussing.

In his first major league start and first above Double-A, Loaisiga allowed three hits in five innings, struck out six, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and the Yankees won again.

“Everyone got a peek at the stuff,” manager Aaron Boone said. “And I thought he competed really well. A few walks that didn’t allow him to get deep into the night, which I think as we go forward will be a little uncharacteristic, but I thought for the first time out, he gave us everything we needed tonight.”

 Whatever the outcome this was a big deal.

While Dennis Martinez, best known as “El Presidente” is the most well-known Nicaraguan to appear in the majors, he is one of 15 to appear in the majors.

 Of those 15, 11 are pitchers, and until Friday, none ever pitched for the Yankees.

 And while Loaisiga might have appeared in the majors sooner than later for the Yankees, it seemed unlikely a year ago. The Yankees signed him to a minor league contract after the San Francisco Giants released him following the 2016 season. Then Loaisiga posted a 1.38 ERA in 11 games with Staten Island and the Gulf Coast League, earning a chance to be on the 40-man roster.

 “It has definitely been a tough road to get here,” Loaisiga said through an interpreter. “I felt super excited. Getting to your goal, achieving your goal; it’s a dream to pitch in the big leagues. Having the opportunity to do that and finally pitch in the big leagues is a dream come true.”

  He saw a few flags waving in the stands and knew his family was watching intently on the MLB app back home.

  What they and anyone else saw were 91 pitches, 17 swings and misses and a bunch of poise. He displayed a three-pitch mix (47 four-seam fastballs, 31 sliders, and 13 changeups).

  While getting the praise for poise by the Yankees, he had the Rays thinking of Mariano Rivera even though the 23-year-old did not throw a cut fastball.

  “There were some similarities,” Kevin Cash said as he mentioned the cutter. “Don’t give him any ideas, though. He doesn’t need to be pitching in the ninth inning anytime soon. Talented young kid. Very poised.”

  He was so poised that he became the seventh Yankee pitcher since 1908 to record at least five scoreless innings in his first appearance and the second starting pitcher to do so since 1943. The other was Sam Militello, who allowed a hit in seven innings Aug. 9, 1992, against the Red Sox.

He followed Domingo German’s 10-strikeout showing Thursday, and it marked the first time Yankee pitchers recorded their first career wins in consecutive starts since Chase Wright, Kei Igawa and Sean Henn April 17-19, 2007.

 Those aren’t names anyone wants to remember since they filled in for a team devoid of minor league talent at the time.

  Based on what unfolded, it seems the assembly line of Yankee minor league talent might have churned out another competent major league performer.

“I’ve said a lot since I’ve taken this job, the talent in this organization is evident to people across the baseball world,” Boone said. “There’s no question that as an organization, we do a really good job of preparing these guys. Not just from a physical, baseball X’s and O’s, but all the mental stuff, all the emotional stuff that goes with being a big leaguer. That goes with being in New York.”

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New York Yankees

How Buddy Rosar changed Yankees history

Adam Moss



Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees were one of the hottest teams in professional baseball on July 13, 1942. With a record of 54-28, the limestone walls of Yankee Stadium were busy hosting a game between the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees had their World Series ace Lefty Gomez on the mound while the Tigers sent out Dizzy Trout. Like many pitchers, Gomez showed a bit of wildness in the first inning, walking Barney McCosky and hitting Doc Cramer with one out. He threw a wild pitch, advancing the runners. Pinky Higgins walked, bringing up the star of the team, Rudy York. York came into the at-bat hitting .299. He popped up, which catcher Bill Dickey chased after until falling on his legs. York ended up popping up again, before Don Ross walked in the first run. A groundball by Jimmy Bloodworth ended the inning. However, it set in motion a controversy that changed the path of the franchise behind the plate.

Not much was known about Dickey’s fall until Buddy Rosar replaced him defensively in the top of the second. Rosar finished the game in the place of Dickey, which became a 4-3 win in favor of the Yankees. However, the news was awful after Dickey had his shoulder evaluated. Dickey tore a ligament in his right shoulder trying to chase the York pop-up and would be out of commission at least two weeks. This ended the streak of Dickey as baseball’s catching “Iron Man”. Dickey broke Gabby Hartnett’s record of 12 consecutive years of catching 100 games. This would have been his 14th, but the injury kyboshed any hope of that. (Dickey ended up playing in 82 games that season, never to catch 100 again.)

Rosar was considered the replacement of the future for Dickey when the latter would retire. Rosar’s career began in 1934, making it to the majors in 1939. However, despite the fact that scouts loved his bat and considered equal to Dickey by 1940, Joe McCarthy was unwilling to play him much in favor of the stalwart Dickey. By July of 1940, Rosar sported a .325 batting average versus Dickey’s .204 and pushed McCarthy’s hand into letting him play. Rosar hit .287 in 67 games as backup to Dickey in 1941. Entering 1942, the Yankees had a great tandem of Dickey and Rosar. That was the case until July.

With Dickey injured, McCarthy declined the request of Rosar to go to his home of Buffalo, New York. Due to having a shortage of catchers, there was no way they could let Rosar go. The purpose of this trip was to go take the Civil Service examination so he could look into a future as a police officer. With that in mind, Rosar took off from the Yankees and New York and drove up to Buffalo on July 18. With no catcher ready, McCarthy and Barrow were forced to sign catcher Rollie Hemsley to a major league deal and Ed Kearse to a minor league deal.

While in Buffalo, Rosar not only took the exam with 953 others at noon in the city, but also welcomed the birth of his second child, their first son. The city of Buffalo, contacted by the media, noted that Rosar had the fastest time in the mile run. Mayor Joseph J. Kelly noted that they could use someone of Rosar’s type on their force. He also admitted the big reason Rosar made the move, that the catcher thought there would be no baseball in 1943 and wanted to get a job to help his family.

Meanwhile, Hemsley went 5-6 in the doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox, despite no sleep and a hard travel schedule. McCarthy announced on Monday, July 21, that he fined Rosar $250 for his actions and anything further would be decided in Cleveland.  McCarthy, who also lived in Buffalo, stood firm in his belief that Rosar should not have abandoned his team, “even if it was his brother.” The press asked McCarthy about possibly going to be the benchwarmer to Hemsley for a while, but did not decide yet. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Rosar went ahead and brought his entire team cigars for his actions, noting he was in a lot of trouble.

The press ripped Rosar for his stunt in defying McCarthy’s orders. Some in the press called Rosar “dumb” and ridiculed from others for his decision. The press and fans thought that he was doing something foolish. A police officer on the beat would make $35-$40 a week despite the fact that he would get a higher salary from being a baseball player to make the World Series. Syndicated writer Al Lamb put it best, that the decision was the right for his family and that was priority number one. Lamb agreed that there may not be any baseball in 1943 and had to make the trip.

On August 11, it was announced that Rosar failed the exam he left the team to take. He admitted to the press that he made a mistake and it was time to move on. However, the Yankees never really did. On December 17, despite making the All-Star Team, the Yankees traded Rosar and outfielder Roy Cullenbine to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Roy Weatherly and infielder Oscar Grimes. While they never stated it was due to going AWOL in July, the press believed that was the reason.

Rosar would go on to have a long career, making the All-Star Games four more times. He garnered MVP votes in 1946 and 1947 as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics. However, one must wonder if that decision would have changed the path of history. If Rosar did not go AWOL, would Berra not be signed by the Yankees as the heir to Bill Dickey? It is amazing to speculate what could have happened if Rosar stayed with the team until Dickey returned?

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New York Yankees

Flippin’ bats | Giancarlo Stanton off Mike Fiers

Matt Gregory



Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Flippin’ Sweet, where Locked On Yankees’ resident bat flip experts analyze a recent Yankees bat flip, with GIF help from Max Wildstein. Let’s look back at Giancarlo Stanton’s home run off Mike Fiers.


Matt Gregory: We are back this week and boy do we have a fun one. Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Fiers, Russell can you set us up, maybe some back story?

Russell Steinberg: Yeah, so these two have a history. Long before Stanton’s home run — long before either player joined their current team, in fact. Fiers is the pitcher who, as a Brewer, hit Stanton in the face in 2014, causing the Miami slugger to miss the remainder of the season and giving baseball fans everywhere quite a scare.

Last Monday when these two met, Stanton was plunked again, though Stanton admits this was not intentional. That set up the home run we are here to discuss.


MG: I have a certain amount of sympathy for Stanton here. The pitch that hit him was not too far away from his head and given that Giancarlo now wears the C flap because of Fiers, I think his frustration is warranted. Also, full disclosure, I am a major Giancarlo Stanton fan since the time when he was known the Mike Stanton. But as Meek Mill once said: There’s levels to this.

RS: I’m not sure it’s frustration so much as the gratification of hitting a BOMB off the guy who could have, reasonably, ended your career with one pitch a few years ago. The look in Stanton’s eyes as he watches it go screams vindication to me.

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