By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner
In last night’s 11-5 loss to the Yankees, Francisco Cervelli was replaced by Chris Stewart to start the ninth inning. Hurdle was asked if that was just a way to get Cervelli off his feet in a blowout loss. “No, I think something was going on,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I’m not quite sure what right now.”
Hearing that, everyone’s antenna went up. After the game, athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said Cervelli’s chronically sore foot is fine — it was not the reason the catcher was benched, nor was it the cause of his lack of hustle on a grounder in the eighth inning.
Cervelli seemed fine this morning in the clubhouse and walked without a limp into the trainer’s room. During his pregame presser, Hurdle brushed aside this situation. “Nothing’s up,” Hurdle said. “I think it was more game fatigue than anything else. They double-checked today.” Cervelli is not in Sunday’s lineup vs the Yanks.
>>> To avoid overworking his pen, Hurdle will try to stay away from using either Juan Nicasio or Felipe Rivero today.
>>> I spoke with Antonio Bastardo this morning about his recent struggles. The lefty said his health is not an issue. “I’m healthy,” Bastardo. “My arm is not responding well to the strain on my arm. I don’t know. I can’t describe it. When I go to release the ball, I don’t feel like my arm is (extending) the way it should.” I’ll have more on this in my notebook in Monday’s Trib (which will be on newsstands tomorrow morning and online tonight).
>>> Hurdle said Alen Hanson’s “best option” defensively is second base, but the manager does not view Hanson as a legit late-game defensive replacement at this point. Hurdle implied management doesn’t have much confidence in Hanson at shortstop (due to poor performance there in the minors) and is not fully ready — strong arm, but too inconsistent — to play outfield in the majors.
“He’s worked very hard to get better,” Hurdle said. “I believe he’ll be a guy you see get some reps in the infield as we move into May. He’s working hard every day in the outfield and infield. I’m looking for that opportunity to get him more involved in our whole game plan.”
>>> Speaking of the outfield …
The #Pirates best RF option until Marte gets back is …
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) April 22, 2017
>>> You want links? I’ve got links:
Yankees 11, Pirates 5: Blunders, miscues, errors and outright poor play. But, at least the first four or five innings were fun to watch.
Notebook: In which Bastardo returns (and scuffles again), Osuna swaps digits and Watson keeps on keepin’ on
>>> Sunday: Yankees at Pirates, 1:35 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Yankees (11-6): Brett Gardner 7, Chase Headley 5, Starlin Castro 4, Jacoby Ellsbury 8, Aaron Judge 9, Greg Bird 3, Ronald Torreyes 6, Kyle Higashioka 2, LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 4.22)
Pirates (7-10): Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Harrison 5, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, David Freese 3, Jose Osuna 9, Phil Gosselin 4, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.25)
Gamecast: In interleague play, the Yankees rank first in walks and stolen bases, second in OBP (.342), third in runs scored and sixth in home runs. … Yankees pitchers have one hit in their past 55 at-bats in interleague games since May 20, 2014. … Montgomery, 24, has made just two starts in the majors. He’ll be working on five days’ rest after beating the White Sox on Monday. The lefty went six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out four. Going into this season, Montgomery was ranked the Yankees’ No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline.com. …. This will be Nova’s first career start vs. the Yankees, for whom he pitched from 2010 to 2016.
>>> Monday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Cubs: LHP Brett Anderson (1-0, 4.40) Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.60)
>>> Tuesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 6.19) Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-2, 4.70)
>>> Wednesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
>>> Thursday: Off
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.