Less than one-sixth of the season is in the books, but the Yankees already find themselves looking at a six-game gap in the AL East. GM Brian Cashman acknowledged that the start is concerning, telling Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that “we urgently need to stop the bleeding now.” But doing that is more a matter of minor adjustments and improvements than significant changes to the roster or field staff, the veteran executive suggests — at least for now. “We’ll continue to do the work necessary to put ourselves in position to succeed, and eventually that worm will turn. In the event things don’t turn I’m going to have to make it turn and be forced to do things that weren’t part of the game plan, whatever that would be,” Cashman said. “The best answer would come from this mix of players.”
- Perhaps no Yankees player has scuffled as badly as third baseman Chase Headley, who has been among the worst regulars in baseball. In Cashman’s view, Headley isn’t so much a victim of batted ball luck as he is simply struggling to hit the ball with authority (as his lack of a single extra-base hit would suggest). “He’s getting his walks, and thank God for that because it would be worse [without them],” said Cashman. “He has not been able to impact the baseball like he’s capable of. We have problems all over, but … he’s definitely someone you can point to and say we have to figure it out. He’s struggling the most.” While Headley has dealt with back issues at times, Cashman says that’s “definitely not an issue” right now. Headley is in the second season of a four-year, $52MM free agent contract.
- The Blue Jays are in better position than their division rivals from New York, but also have played beneath their high expectations in the early going. That doesn’t mean that manager John Gibbons is at risk, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. Instead, Toronto’s new front office is focused on finding a way to improve the results from the bullpen, per Heyman. Gibbons is under contract through 2017 under a reworked deal he agreed to this winter.
- The Red Sox are finally in position to call upon reliever Carson Smith, as he’s officially been activated from the DL. Smith has been expected to hold down a significant late-inning role since coming over this winter via trade, but first had to battle through a flexor strain. Boston will undoubtedly hope that Smith can avoid further elbow complications.
- Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey will be delayed yet again, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports, as he will undergo sports hernia surgery this week. Now, it’s not clear that Harvey will have a shot at making his next regular season, minor league appearance before passing the two-year anniversary of his last. Harvey is still just 21, and remains a highly-regarded prospect, but has yet to move past the Class A level due to a litany of injuries. He’s expected to begin working back to action in July.
- Meanwhile, the Orioles got promising news on closer Zach Britton, as MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli reports (via Twitter) that an MRI revealed no major cause for concern. The southpaw relief ace is hopeful that he’ll avoid the DL entirely after turning his ankle recently.