04/09/11 7:19 PM ET
Silva inks Minor League deal with Yankees
By Bryan Hoch and Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Silva, 31, was released by the Cubs in late March after he did not make the team's 25-man roster and would not accept a Minor League assignment with Chicago.
On the way out, he complained that pitching coach Mark Riggins had not been honest with him about his potential role on the team, a charge that both manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry disputed.
The Cubs are responsible for most of Silva's $11.25 million salary, and he will report to the Yankees' Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday. Eventually, he could be reunited with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who was with him last year in Chicago.
"We worked well together," Rothschild said. "I didn't have any problems with him."
Silva was 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts last season. He has a career record of 70-70 with a 4.68 ERA in nine Major League seasons with the Phillies, Twins, Mariners and Cubs.
"He's got to get himself ready," Rothschild said. "He's a strike thrower, and that's not a bad thing to have. He's a command guy and he's got a real good changeup, so we'll see."
New York has been looking to stockpile pitching depth. Late in Spring Training, the Yankees also signed veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood to a Minor League contract. Millwood can opt out of his deal if he is not added to the big league roster by May 1.
"You have a few guys and you hope you catch lightning in a bottle in one or two," Rothschild said. "So far with [Bartolo] Colon and [Luis] Ayala, we've gotten pretty lucky and they've thrown the ball well. If we can do that one or two more times, it's going to help us a lot."
-- Bryan Hoch
Chavez makes most of first start in lineup
BOSTON -- Eric Chavez said it was in Spring Training that he proved to himself he was still a Major League-caliber player -- well before coming to Fenway Park.
With the Green Monster as his aid, he showed everyone else the same on Saturday.
The 33-year-old reclamation project went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles off the wall, batting eighth as the designated hitter in a 9-4 Yankees win that was driven by the bottom of the lineup.
"I answered that for myself in spring really," Chavez said. "I just felt really good. Some of the balls I hit, I know it's in there. It's just a matter of staying with the same approach."
There hasn't been much of an approach to be had so far: Chavez entered Saturday with just one at-bat. He was slated to start at home on Wednesday against the Twins, but rain scratched that plan. Chavez called it "a bummer."
Given his chance in the middle game of three against the Red Sox, Chavez's doubles came in his first two at-bats. He jumped on the first pitch he saw, a Clay Buchholz fastball, driving in a run to New York a 2-0 lead in the second.
The next two-bagger came on a 2-2 pitch in the fourth, helped by a good read on Buchholz -- and, maybe, helped by the Monster. Late in a six-pitch at-bat, Chavez felt Buchholz would return to an offspeed pitch he had already shown him that trip to the plate.
"I kind of had the idea he was going to come back with another one at some point," Chavez said. "The first [double], I wasn't trying to hit that way, I just happened to stay on it. [The wall] helps with the second one. The second one, I didn't hit that great."
His hitting ability still there, the question for Chavez now is whether he can sustain that ability -- and his body. To the former, the Yankees don't have any need to play Chavez every day for the moment. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are both healthy.
Were either of the cornerstones to go down, though, manager Joe Girardi didn't say he would disregard Chavez as a replacement.
"I wouldn't have a problem playing Chavy on a regular basis," Girardi said. "If you had a Tex go down or an Alex go down, or your DH went down, I think Chavy could play pretty regularly. Now, I think I would have to manage him, maybe playing three or four days in a row. Then you give him a day off."
Chavez hadn't collected a three-hit game since June 15, 2008, when he was with the A's.
-- Evan Drellich
Granderson downplays homer vs. southpaw
BOSTON -- Curtis Granderson's not yet proclaiming himself a changed hitter.
A lifetime .214 hitter against left-handed pitching, Granderson homered off a southpaw for the second time this season in the Yankees' 9-4 win over the Red Sox on Saturday.
Boston's Felix Doubront, who was hurt for much of Spring Training and called up on Friday, gave up the two-run homer with none out in the fifth. It was a short shot, one that Granderson pulled just fair around Pesky's Pole in right.
Granderson last went deep on Opening Day, off the Tigers' Phil Coke.
It's an impressive start, considering that last season, Granderson homered off a left-hander just four times, and he didn't hit a second homer off a lefty until Aug. 24. His career-high for homers in a season against southpaws is just five (2008).
To Granderson, though, the fact that he's had just two hits off left-handers in eight at-bats -- acknowledging that those hits were home runs -- is a reason to downplay the excitement.
"I've only gotten two hits against them -- can't say too much good or bad about it," Granderson said. "I had good at-bats, was able to go ahead and put two hits for home runs. [I'm] happy about that, [but] at the same time, I just like the approach."
-- Evan Drellich
Hughes again deals with lack of velocity
BOSTON -- Phil Hughes has not complained about any injury issues, and while the Yankees remain baffled by his lack of velocity, they are not ready to have him checked out for any physical problems.
Hughes' pitch speed was below normal again on Friday, as the Red Sox pounded him for six runs in two innings. For the moment, the Yankees seem to be hoping that continuing to throw and building arm strength will help him regain the zapped velocity.
"I know his velocity has not been there this year," manager Joe Girardi said. "Does it have to do with the increased work last year? Does it have to do with, it's just taking him a little time to get going? I can't tell you. There's nothing to lead us to believe that something is bothering him, because he hasn't said anything."
Hughes threw 47 pitches to Red Sox batters on Saturday and only generated one swing and miss. With his fastball down around 89-90 mph instead of its usual 92-94 mph, he only trusted it enough to throw the heater nine times.
The Yankees don't believe Hughes' issue is mechanical, but the velocity issue could be contributing to a general lack of command. He may be ramping up to throw harder -- something that they suspect may have caused him to have a stress fracture of a rib in 2008, when his velocity also had dipped.
"We're trying to figure out how to get it back to where to should be," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "I think it's just going to be a natural process. All you can do is wait, give him his reps and hopefully it comes back as quickly as possible."
-- Bryan Hoch
Gardner no stranger to playing Green Monster
BOSTON -- The ball was hit high in the air to left field, and Brett Gardner camped under it near the warning track, ready to put it away for an easy out.
At least that's what he wanted Adrian Gonzalez to think. Gardner knew David Ortiz's drive in the seventh inning on Friday was destined to smack the Green Monster, but Gonzalez -- running from first base -- was fooled by the acting, as Gardner successfully deked the Red Sox newcomer.
"I felt like if he was running hard the whole way, he would score," Gardner said. "The wall out there, there's no special way to play it. It's a crapshoot as far as how the ball is going to come off of there, so it's not like I can worry about getting myself into good position.
"It ended up hitting a little overhang and bounced back to the infield, so you really can't plan on anything."
Gonzalez stopped at third base as Ortiz chugged into second base with a double, and although both runs would eventually score on J.D. Drew's two-run single off Boone Logan -- the final scoring in New York's 9-6 loss -- Gardner at least gets partial credit for the heads-up effort.
"There's no point in turning my back to him and showing I'm not going to catch it," Gardner said. "Then he's going to take off running and score. I don't think it affected anything, because he ended up scoring anyway, but whatever -- I tried."
The play was something that Carl Yastrzemski was famous for during his years at Fenway, and after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch on Friday, he actually told Boston's Carl Crawford that he should try it. But Gardner beat him to the punch.
"I'd say probably the only place you can do it is here," Gardner said. "You know the ball is not gone and you can't catch it. You're waiting for it to come down and you're already playing so close to the wall anyway."
-- Bryan Hoch
Posada still getting feet wet as full-time DH
BOSTON -- Jorge Posada seemed like he had the designated-hitter role on lock, homering three times in two games last week, but his recent dip is a reminder that the job can look easier than it is.
Posada entered play Saturday hitless in his last 12 at-bats, but manager Joe Girardi said that wasn't why Eric Chavez was in the lineup as the DH instead. Girardi simply wants to give Chavez a start during the weekend series in Boston.
Chavez wasted no time in the batter's box, as he laced an RBI double off the Green Monster in the second inning.
The 39-year-old Posada belted a pair of two-run homers on Sunday against the Twins and slugged another two-run shot on Monday against the Tigers. In all, though, he's batting .154 (4-for-26) to start the year.
"I just think it's the ebb and flow that you go through as a hitter," Girardi said. "There's going to be days where you don't get hits. There's going to be days where you feel better than others. It is getting used to being the DH, that's part of it, but when he hit those couple of home runs, we thought he had it. It's just part of the game."
-- Bryan Hoch
After beginning his regular season on a strong note, Mark Teixeira went 0-for-5 in Saturday's 9-4 victory over the Red Sox and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. ... Francisco Cervelli (broken left foot) is taking batting practice at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., and has resumed running in a pool. It is possible he could return in early May. ... Pedro Feliciano (left rotator cuff strain) is scheduled to see a doctor on Monday to decide if he is ready to try playing catch. Feliciano's best-case scenario would be a return sometime in May. ... Yankees batters have homered in seven of eight games.