Tag:Chad Moeller
Posted on: March 12, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 5:24 pm
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Montero stumbles, may not win catcher gig

MonteroBy Evan Brunell

Jesus Montero was receiving rave reviews for his defense in spring training as the CBSSports.com No. 4 prospect appears poised to capitalize on an opportunity to become the club's backup catcher. While Montero's future is as a slugging first baseman or DH, for now he's being asked to stick behind the dish especially with incumbent backup catcher Francisco Cervelli sidelined until May.

However, ESPN's Keith Law does not agree with the word out of Yankees camp that Montero's defense has improved, and that defense was on display Friday. Montero coughed up two wild pitches by Romulo Sanchez in the sixth, and skipper Joe Girardi indicated that at least one of the pitches -- a curveball -- was not due to being crossed up as the New York Post reports.

Montero (pictured) also dropped balls, showed limited mobility in blocking balls in the dirt and did not throw to second base well.

That's rather damning of the 21-year-old's defense and may crystallize that the club can't carry Montero as the backup. Girardi wants the backup to be defense-oriented, which Montero certainly isn't.

"[Montero] is a work in progress and there has been a lot thrown at him quickly," Girardi said. "To me, the defense has to come first. That’s the first thing I told him. Not hitting in spring training, yeah, you want to see everyone swinging great when they leave spring training, but I don’t get too caught up with his bat right now." Montero is currently hitting .136 in 22 at-bats with no extra-base hits.

Assuming Montero is ticketed for Triple-A, Austin Romine may leapfrog Montero to the majors by virtue of his defense. Romine's defense behind the plate isn't otherworldly either, but is at least good enough that he is considered to have a real shot at sticking behind the plate. But do the Yankees want to aggressively promote Romine all the way to the majors after hitting .268/.324/.402 in 497 plate appearances in Double-A last season? It seems unnecessary.

The club also has journeyman Gustavo Molina in camp, who would function just fine as a temporary backup, but it appears he is not being given significant consideration for the temporary job although that may change after Montero's showing.

One other option could be Chad Moeller, who left Rockies camp after it became clear to him he would not win the Rockies' backup job. Moeller is familiar to Yankees personnel after playing in nine games for New York last season. He also had a 41-game stint with the club back in 2008 before heading to Baltimore for 2009. Given Moeller's two stints with the Yankees, the club clearly feels comfortable with him and may opt to bring him in with the idea of giving him the job until Cervelli returns.

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Posted on: June 21, 2010 9:56 pm
 

Yankees skipping Hughes

Phil Hughes The Yankees aren't taking any chances with Phil Hughes, even if that means sacrificing what this season has been pretty much a guaranteed victory.

New York will skip their sensational young right-hander in the rotation as they look to control how many innings he pitches. The Yankees haven't announced what his innings cap is, but reports have put it in the range of 175-180. He has pitched 82 1/3 innings so far.

Hughes is 10-1, tied for most wins in the American League, with a 3.17 ERA and a 78-25 strikeouts-to-walks rate.

Hughes, a native of the Los Angeles area, had been slated to start Friday at Dodger Stadium, the day after his 24th birthday. Now his family and friends won't get to see him in action.

"It's definitely disappointing," Hughes told reporters. "Joe [Girardi] told me if I wasn't disappointed, he'd be a little worried."

Instead, Hughes will start against Seattle at Yankee Stadium on June 29. If everyone stays in rotation, that would put him on track to pitch the day of the All-Star Game, which he is a strong candidate to start.

It might seem odd for a team narrowly leading a crowded division race to voluntarily forgo using one of its biggest weapons. But the Yankees have a homegrown star in the making they want to protect for the coming years. If they let him pitch 180 innings, that's still a huge load for a pitcher who has never thrown more than 106 1/3 professional innings in a season.

Also Monday, the Yankees designated catcher Chad Moeller for assignment and called up Colin Curtis.

-- David Andriesen

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