While some Yankees fans have questioned GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi amid the team’s early struggles, owner Hal Steinbrenner tells Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he thinks both men and the team’s coaching staff have done a good job to this point. Rather, Steinbrenner puts the onus on the players themselves and specifically mentioned Mark Teixeira and Michael Pineda as players that need to find ways to improve their production. Of Teixeira, Steinbrenner says the veteran “[is] not playing up to his potential with the bat,” and he later expressed “concern” with Pineda. “He’s got all these strikeouts, and yet he’s given up these runs,” says Steinbrenner. “Clearly, he’s been giving up runs early. Clearly, there have been issues with his slider. Again, Larry can only do so much. Whatever technically is wrong with the delivery, Larry [Rothschild] is working on it, but the rest is up to Pineda to figure it out.” As for Cashman, Steinbrenner goes on to praise the trades for Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks, giving no inkling of dissatisfaction with his GM.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- Vote of confidence aside, Girardi takes blame for the Yankees’ early struggles, writes Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. “I always take full responsibility for what happens here — good or bad,” said Girardi. “It’s my job to get the best out of the players and right now, we’re not performing to the level I think we’re capable of.” Girardi said that he hadn’t seen or heard Steinbrenner’s comments, but he’d had meetings with the owner on what’s gone wrong early in the season, during which Steinbrenner has expressed his frustration with the team as a whole. Girardi, however, insisted in yesterday’s comments that he believes the Yankees are a playoff-caliber club and can still make a run at the postseason.
- Orioles minor league outfielder Henry Urrutia was recently demoted from Triple-A to Double-A and wasn’t happy with the move, writes MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. The O’s would listen to trade offers for the 29-year-old, who received a signing bonus of nearly $800K in July 2012 after defecting from Cuba, but their hope is that he can turn his season around. Last season, Urrutia batted .291/.345/.409 with 10 homers in 505 Triple-A plate appearances and saw some brief time in the Majors, but he’s gotten off to a .245/.347/.304 start in 118 PAs at Triple-A this year. Urrutia hadn’t reported to Double-A Bowie as of yesterday, though he was expected to do so by Friday, Kubatko writes.
- Left-hander Brett Cecil, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with what was termed a triceps strain, actually has a tear in his lat muscle and will miss “at least a month,” reports Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. The Blue Jays lefty underwent an MRI earlier this week that revealed the tear. Cecil joined lefties Franklin Morales and Aaron Loup on the DL earlier this week, leaving the Jays with Chad Girodo and Pat Venditte as their primary left-handed options at the big league level. While this is solely my speculation, the Jays could take a look at one of Neal Cotts or Joe Beimel, each of whom hit the open market this week — Cotts after opting out of a minors deal with the Angels and Beimel after his previously reported agreement with the Marlins was ultimately not finalized.
- Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello tells WEEI’s Rob Bradford that he has major issues with the way in which the current PED disciplinary system works. Specifically, Porcello joined former teammate Justin Verlander and others in voicing a distaste for the fact that players who have tested positive for a substance are allowed to play during the appeals process. “Obviously, a 50-game penalty, or an 80-game penalty, or even a season, just one year, is not deterring guys from doing what they’re doing,” says Porcello.“It’s got to be pretty stiff. It’s got to be something where you don’t have the opportunity to play at all, or you don’t have the opportunity to play for the same money that the guy is playing and doing it the right way.”