Aroldis Chapman Suspended

Saturday, March 5, 2016 Posted by
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March 2, 2016

New York Yankees
2016 Spring Training
George M. Steinbrenner FieldTampa, Florida

Aroldis Chapman Suspension

By:  Rocky Julich

On March 1st, Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, using his jurisdiction under baseball’s newly adopted domestic violence policy,  announced that the New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman had accepted a 30-game suspension without pay for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.  The suspension will be effective on Opening Day of the Yankees’ 2016 regular season.

The suspension will cost Chapman about $1.8M of the $11.325M he was awarded in arbitration.  The loss of time will not affect his free agency status in 2017.  Chapman said that was a factor in his decision not to appeal.

“I accept the decision,” Chapman said of the suspension through an interpreter.  “I thought about it and I believe this is the best decision for me, my family and for my teammates.”  “I have to take responsibility for it”.  “I want to put this behind me, move on, help this team win.”

Aroldis Chapman becomes the first Major League player to receive a suspension of its kind under the new Policy.

Chapman’s girlfriend alleged that he choked her after an argument over some text messages on his phone.  According to police reports, Chapman then went out to a detached garage on his property and fired eight shots from a handgun, one which flew through a window and into an open field.

After a comprehensive investigation, the Commissioner found Chapman’s acknowledged conduct to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner.

Aroldis Chapman agreed to comply with the confidential directives of the Joint Policy Board established under the parties’ Policy to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.

In the interim, Chapman will be allowed to take part in all spring training games and activities and he will be allowed to continue training at the Yankees’ minor league complex where he will be able to pitch in extended spring training and simulated games.  The lefthanded Closer will not be allowed to pitch in minor league games that charge admission.

The New York Yankees anticipate the alleged domestic violence incident is put behind him and media attention instead is focused on Chapman’s pitching.

Aroldis Chapman is from a different country, of another culture.   Under the confidential directives, did Chapman at anytime express that he was perplexed at all the media attention to his misconduct and did he agree to receive counseling?  Chapman has disclosed that he no longer owns any firearms.

In Chapman’s absence, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Andrew Miller would again serve as the team’s Closer.  It is expected Chapman will be able to take the Closer’s role when he is eligible to return on May 9.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its Clubs.

NY Yankees Spring Training 1st Game

Saturday, March 5, 2016 Posted by
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March 2, 2016

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

Opening Game – 2016 Spring Training

By: Rocky Julich

The first exhibition game of the New York Yankees Spring Training schedule marks the 21st consecutive season at Steinbrenner Field (1996-2016), formerly Legends Field.  It is the 114th spring season in franchise history.

Roll Call in camp 40-man roster and non-roster invitees total:  32 pitchers – 9 catchers – 15 infielders – 12 outfielders and 1 DH.  Numbers may change daily.

The youngest player in camp: INF Jorge Mateo, age 20
The oldest player in camp: DH Alex Rodriguez, age 40
Most tenured player in camp:  DH Alex Rodriguez 21 years, 11 days
Tall fact:  14 players on the Spring Training roster are 6’4″ or taller, all but three are pitchers.

The New York Yankees Spring Training Game Opening Program began with the customary pomp and circumstance.  The introduction of Yankees Legends Orlando “Duque” Hernandez, Hideki Matsui, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick” Michaels, Willie Randolph, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron “Louisiana Lightning” Guidry, “Mr. October”, Reggie Jackson.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Yogi Berra who passed away September 22, 2015.  Catcher, #8 Lawrence “Yogi” Berra, the eternal favorite of the fans for 69 years.

Manager Joe Giraardi stood atop the Yankees dugout with his coaches and players as the National Anthem was sung.

Game start 1:05 pm

Luis Severino RHP (Sabana de la Mar, D.R.) starting pitcher for the Yankees was dominated by the Tigers during the 2nd inning.  He gave up 3 hits, walked 2 and surrendered a grand slam to catcher Bryan Holaday to start Detroit in the lead 5-0.  Severino was taken out of the game after 1-1/3 innings and received a no-decision.

Detroit scored runs in 3rd & 4th innings against RHPs Nick Rumbelow and Mark Montgomery.

Mike Pelfrey RHP, who pitched for Minnesota last season, made his first start of Spring for Detroit.  He pitched 3 innings, 2 strikeouts.  Pitching during the 4th & 5th innings, Detroit relievers RHP Drew Verhagen, LHP Blain Hardy, RHP Endrys Briceno gave up 5 runs which tied the game 7-7.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, a double by catcher Austin Romine and an RBI single by Chris Parmalee pushed the Yankees ahead 8-7.

Detroit scored 2 runs at the top of the 9th inning,   Detroit 9 – Yankees 8.

Not to be outdone by Detroit, during the bottom of the 9th inning, Yankees non-roster invitee SS Jorge Mateo hit a triple to start the inning.  Catcher Austin Romine drove in the game tying run with an infield single which scored Jorge Mateo from 3rd,  9-9.  What followed is in true Spring Training fashion, non-roster invitee, infielder Tyler Wade entered game to pinch run for Austin Romain.  With two outs, non-roster invitee, centerfielder Dustin Fowler reaches first on a fielding error by Detroit leftfielder Jason Krizan which in turn scored pinch runner Tyler Wade.  The error provided the Yankees a walk-off the field victory.  The first win during 2016 Spring Training.

Final: Tigers 9, Yankees 10
WP:  Nick Goody (1-0)
LP:  Joe Mantiply
Time:  3:08
Attendance:  9,023
Official Scorer:  Nicholas Flammia (Tampa Yankees broadcaster)

Spring Training – Player Development at the Major League level.

During the course of the nine-inning, 3:08 game, between Detroit and New York – 53 players were used in the game; including 15 pitchers.

Major League Baseball Spring Training starts as a slow, developing and observing game.  The Major Leaguers on the active rosters practice and play to “warm” their skills after the off season, to get back into a daily routine.  Some of the players are recovering from previous season injuries.

Non-Roster invitees:  While some are seasoned Major Leaguers vying for a roster spot, most of the invitees are young players, the best performers from the previous season in the Minor Leagues.  These players/pitchers are offered the opportunity to experience the game within a caliber of talented Major League players.  When Spring training camp breaks for the start of a new Major League Baseball season, perhaps one/two of the non-roster invites will outperform and be asked to join the starting roster of the Major League team.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.








International Prospect Watch – 2015

Thursday, February 25, 2016 Posted by
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January 30, 2016

2015 Prospect Watch – 30 International Prospects

By: Rocky Julich

NAME                             POS/BATS/THROW COUNTRY                AGE/DOB            HT/WT
1          Alvarez, Yadier              RHP    R            R         Matanzas, Cuba       19 – 3/7/96          6’3”/ 175 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $16M – Los Angeles Dodgers
Scouting Grades: Fastball 70 / Slider 60 / Change 55 / Control 50

2         Gutierrez, Vladimir      RHP    R             R        Pinar del Rio, Cuba  20 – 9/18/95       6’3”/ 173 lb.
2014-2015 Serie Nacional Rookie of the Year
Defected Pinar del Rio team February 2015 during Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico
Eligible to sign 2015/2016 International signing period began 7/2.
Scouting Grades: Fastball 65 / Curveball 60 / Changeup 50 / Control 55

3         Diaz, Yusniel                  OF       R            R        Havana, Cuba            19 – 10/7/96        6’1”/ 195 lb.
Defected 4/2015 team Havana Industriales (candidate Serie Nacional Rookie of the Year)
Signed: 11/2015 $15.5M – L.A. Dodgers
Scouting Grades: Hit 60 / Power 55 / Run 70 / Arm 60 / Field 60

4         Rodriguez, Alfredo       SS       R             R         Havana, Cuba           21 – 6/17/94         6’0”/ 185 lb.
Signed: 1/11/15 – $6M – Cincinnati Reds
Scouting Grades: Hit 40 / Power 40 / Run 60 / Arm 50 / Field 60

5         Martinez, Eddie            OF       R             R        Las Tunas, Cuba       21 – 1/18/95       6’2”/ 195 lb.
Signed 10/2015 – $3M – Chicago Cubs
Scouting Grades: Hit 60 / Power 60 / Run 70 / Arm 60 / Field 60

6         Fox, Lucius                     SS       R            R         Nassau, Bahamas     18 – 7/2/97         6’2”/ 170 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $6M – San Francisco Giants (5 tool player)
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 45 / Run 60 / Arm 55 / Field 60

7          Guerrero,Vladimir, Jr. OF     R            R         Nizao, D.R.                 16 – 3/16/99       6’0”/ 220 lb.
Signed: 7/2/99 – $3.9M – Toronto Blue Jays (Son Vladimir Guerrero)
Scouting Grades: Hit 55 / Power 65 / Run 35 / Arm 45 / Field 45

8          Armenteros, Lazaro     OF      R            R        Havana, Cuba            16 – 5/22/99       6’2”/ 205 lb.
Signed: ? (great hands – muscular college-football-player body)
Scouting Grades: Hit 55 / Power 60 / Run 65 / Arm 60 / Field 60

9          Heredia, Starling          OF      R            R         Sto. Domingo, D.R.  16 – 2/6/99         6’0”/ 215 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2.6M – Los Angeles Dodgers
Scouting Grades: Hit 55 / Power 60 / Run 50 /Arm 60 / Field 50

10        Ortiz, Jhailyn                OF      R            R          Sto. Domingo, D.R.  17 – 11/18/98     6’2”/ 260 lb.
Signed 7/9/15 – $4M Philadelphia Phillies
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 65 / Run 35 / Arm 55 / Field 50

11         Celestino, Gilberto       OF      R            L          Sto. Domingo, D.R   16 – 2/13/99      5’11”/ 165 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2.5M – Houston Astros
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 40 / Run 50 / Arm 50 / Field 60

12        Javier Wander               SS      R             R          San Cristobal, D.R.  17 – 12/29/98    6’0”/ 165 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $4M – Minnesota Twins
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 50 / Run 50 / Arm 60 / Field 60

13        Matias, Seuly                 OF     R             R           La Vega, D.R.           17 – 9/4/98        6’2”/ 190 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2.25M – Kansas City Royals
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 – Power 55 – Run 50 – Arm 60 – Field 50

14        Pache, Cristian              OF      R           R            Boca Chica, D.R.      17 – 11/19/98    6’1”/ 180 lb.
Signed: 7/3/15 – $1.4M – Atlanta Braves
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 50 / Run 50 / Arm 60 / Field 50

15        Selijas, Alvaro                RHP   R           R           Maracay, VZ              17 – 10/10/98   6’1”/ 175 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $762,500. – St. Louis Cardinals
Scouting Grades: Fastball 60 / Curveball 60 / Changeup 50 / Control 55 – Overall 55

16        Montano, Daniel           OF      L           R            Maracay, VZ              16 – 3/31/99     6’1”/ 178 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2M – Colorado Rockies
Scouting Grades: Hit 55 / Power 50 / Run 50 / Arm 50 / Field 60

17        Perlaza, Yonathan         SS       S           R            Maracaibo, VZ           17 – 10/11/88   5’8”/ 175 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $1.3M – Chicago Cubs
Scouting Grades: Hit 60 – Power 50 – Run 50 – Arm 60 – Field 50

18        Gualmaro, Albert          OF      R           R           Puerto La Cruz, VZ    17 – 1/17/99     5’11”/ 188 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $300,000 – Boston Red Sox
Scouting Grades: Hit 40 / Power / 50 / Run 50 / Arm 60 / Field 50

19        Gimenez, Andres           INF    L           R           Barquisimeto, VZ       17 – 9/4/98      5’11”/ 158 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $1.2M – New York Mets
Scouting Grades: Hit 55 / Power 35 / Run 60 / Arm 60 / Field 50

20       Estiwal Sierra, Yonathan OF  L           L           San Cristobal, D.R.     17 – 10/17/98   6’3”/ 205 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2.5M – Chicago Cubs (Compared to Darryl Strawberry)
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 50 / Run 40 / Arm 45 / Field 45

21        Guerrero, Gregory         SS     R           R            Nizao, D.R.                   17 – 1/20/99     6’1”/ 170 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $1.5M – New York Mets (Vladimir Guerrero nephew)
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 55 / Run 40 / Arm 60 / Field 50

22       Taveras, Leodys               OF    S          R            Tenares, D.R.               17 – 9/8/98       6’1”/ 165 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2.1M – Texas Rangers
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 40 / Run 50 / Arm 50 / Field 60

23       Adelman, Aramis             SS    L           R           Sto. Domingo, D.R.     17 – 9/13/98     5’10”/ 150 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – Chicago Cubs
Scouting Grades: Hit 55 / Power 35 / Run 50 / Arm 50 / Field 60

24       Brito, Ronny                      SS    L          R            San Francisco              16 – 3/22/99     6’2”/ 170 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2M – Los Angeles, Dodgers de Macoris, D.R.
Scouting Grades: Hit 45 / Power 35 / Run 50 / Arm 60 / Field 55

25        Soto, Juan                         OF   L          L             Sto. Domingo, D.R.    17 – 10/25/98   6’1”/ 175 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $1.5M – Washington Nationals
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 50 / Run 40 / Arm 60 / Field 50 / Overall 50

26        Olivo, Cristian                  OF   L          L             Boca Chica, D.R.         17 – 9/30/98    6’2”/ 210 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $1M – Cincinnati Reds
Scouting Grades: Hit 40 / Power 50 / Run 60 / Arm 50 / Field 50

27        Cruz, Derian                     SS    S           R             Sto. Domingo, D.R.    17 – 10/3/98    6’0”/ 170 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2M – Atlanta Braves
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 30 / Run 70 / Arm 40 / Field 50

28        Amaya, Miguel                C      L           R              Los Santos, Panama  16 – 3/9/99      6’0”/ 160 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $2.25M – Chicago Cubs
Scouting Grades: Hit 40 / Power 40 / Run 20 / Arm 60 / Field 60

29        Vargas,Carlos                  SS     R          R              San Cristobal, D.R.    16 – 3/18/99     6’3”/ 180 lb.
Signed: 7/2/15 – $1.7M – Seattle Mariners
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 50 / Run 30 / Arm 60 / Field 50

30        Tatis, Fernando, Jr.       SS     R          R    San Pedro De Macoris, D.R.  17 – 1/2/99    6’1”/ 175 lb.

Signed: 7/2/15 – $700,000. – Chicago White Sox (Fernando Tatis son)
Scouting Grades: Hit 50 / Power 40 / Run 50 / Arm 60 / Field 50
RTFR Radio – Stay Tuned!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.


Thursday, February 25, 2016 Posted by
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March 06, 2013



By: Rocky Julich

The New York Yankees Spring Training field was visited by various dignitaries from the Dominican Republic; among them, Jaime David Fernandez, Ministro de Deportes and Hector Pereida, Presidente de La Federacion de Beisbol. Leo Lopez, Director de Relaciones de Media. The player practice on George M. Steinbrenner Field today took a different meaning as most of the vocal exchanges heard from the opposing team were in Spanish. The visiting team on the field is from the baseball crazed Dominican Republic and they came prepared to play with a line-up that is unforgiving.

As I write the line-up sheet in my scorebook, it is interesting to note that all of the Major League players have Spanish names. Vidal Nuno, Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion, Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, Eric Aybar, Ricardo Nanita, Alejandro DeAza, Nelson Cruz. Tony Pena manages the Dominican team, while Alfredo Griffin is at first base and Juan Samuel coaches third. Moises Alou is the General Manager. It is one of the rare times in franchise history that the New York Yankees have faced an all Latino Major League Baseball players line-up.

The Yankees line-up reads as follows; Hiroki Kuroda, Francisco Cervelli, Luke Murton, Jayson Nix, Kevin Youkilis, Eduardo Nunez, Matt Diaz, Melky Mesa, Juan Rivera. Joe Girardi is the manager. Brian Cashman is the General Manager, presently among the long list of injured players on the Yankees. After losing in the Inaugural (2006) and second World Baseball Classics (2009) the Dominican Republic team is playing to win with a little bit of everything; power, hit & run, steals and player chemistry.

The 2013 Dominican Republic club include seven players who have participated in Major League Baseball All Star games. Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. As evidenced by the exhibition debut defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies with 15 runs on 28 hits in a 15-2 win.

The Dominican Republic is passionate about winning the World Baseball Classic. During the second game of competition, during the second half of the 7th inning, the Dominican Republic led the Yankees 6 – 0, with 10 hits vs. Yankees 0. Continuing play in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Yankees Zoilo Almonte, with two outs on the board, connected a two run home run. Dominican 7 – Yankees 2. There were lots of fans in the seats (8,146), many of them waving the flag of the Dominican Republic with loud cheers for Nationalism over the New York Yankees. The Dominican Republic continues strong in the World Baseball Classic with wins over the National League Phillies and the American League Yankees.

Final score: Dominican Republic 8 runs – 13 hits – 0 errors New York Yankees 2 runs – 2 hits – 2 errors

The question was asked of Yankees star second baseman Robinson Cano regarding the difficulty in his competing for the Dominican Republic vs. the team he plays for, the New York Yankees. La dificultad en apoyar la Republica Dominicana sobre su quipo los New York Yankees . No response necessary. It’s just baseball with a bilingual flavor. Es un poquito de beisbol con sabor bilingue.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

No Big Story Here

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Posted by
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The Fantastic 4

February 18, 2016
New York Yankees 2016 Spring Training


By Rocky Julich

He was born on February 28, 1988 in Holguin, Cuba. His dad is Jamaican, his mother is Cuban. He will celebrate his 28th birthday as a pitcher’s Closer on the 2016 New York Yankees team. The left-hander is 6’4” tall and weights 215 lbs.

During July, 2009, Aroldis Chapman defected from Cuba to the United States while pitching in a baseball tournament in the Netherlands. According to Chapman, he simply left his room at the Domina Hotel in Rotterdam and went down to the lobby “got in a car and left”.

Chapman was originally signed by the Cincinnati Reds on January 11, 2010 to a six-year, 30.25M contract, extending through the 2015 season. A National League All-Star in each of the last four seasons (2012-15). He is the only relief pitcher ever to be named to four All-Star teams while playing for the Reds. He tossed the ninth inning for the National League in the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park, striking out all three batters faced.

In the home clubhouse at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, Aroldis Chapman most often sat quietly at his locker before games, perhaps because of a cultural or language barrier, he rarely spoke to anyone. He seemed to stand alone among the Cincinnati players.

While consideration was being made to bring Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees, he was described to the Yankees as very quiet and private. A quiet personality. Introverted. Very careful about the people he let into his life. An exceptionally hard worker, with a work ethic off the charts. And, all Business. While the New York Yankees where mulling on getting Chapmen, the Manager Joe Girardi was consulted and asked for his advise regarding the signing.

Chapman went 4-4 with 33 saves and a 1.63 ERA (66.1 IP, 12 ER) in 65 relief appearances with the Reds in 2015. His 15.74K/9.0 IP ratio led all Major League relieves, while his 116 K ranked second behind Dellin Betances (131). He recorded his 500 career strikeout on July 19 vs. Cleveland, having reached the plateau in 292.0 IP to become the fastest to 500 K be innings pitched in Major League history (surpassed Craig Kimbrel’s record of 500 K in 305.0 IP, set earlier in 2015.

Since 1901, 746 pitchers have thrown at least 300 innings. Chapman is not only the all-time leader in strikeout percentage (42.9%), he is also leader in lowest batting average against .153. Already establishing incredible facts, Aroldis Chapman may be the hardest throwing regular pitcher baseball has ever seen. For certain, the hardest thrower of the hardest-throwing generation of pitchers.

According to MLB’s Statcast, Chapman threw the 62 fastest pitches in the Majors in 2015, with a high of 103.92 mph on June 29 (fouled off by Minnesota’s Brian Dozier). He also posted the highest average fastball velocity in the Majors (99.96 mph) ahead of Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera (98.46).

Over six career Major League seasons (2010-15), Chapman has gone 19-20 with 146 saves, a 2.17 ERA (319.0 IP, 169 H, 77 ER, 155 BB, 546 K) and 1.02 WHIP in 324 relief appearances. Since 2010, he leads all Major League relievers with a 15.40 K/9.0 IP ratio and ranks second on strikeouts, trailing only Kimbrel (563). He is the only pitcher in Major League history with four seasons of a least 30 saves and 100 K, having done so in each of the last four seasons (2012-15). Only Eric Gagne (2002-2004) and Billy Wagner (1999, 2003, 2010) have had as many as three such seasons in their careers.

Aroldis Chapman has more career saves than any other Cuba born pitcher, surpassing Danys Baez’s record (114) on April 10, 2015 vs. St. Louis.

Yet, while in Cincinnati he had a penchant for finding trouble or trouble finding him. Allegations of weapons misuse, driving violations, social behavioral pattern and domestic issues.

On December 28, 2015 the New York Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds with a one-year non-guaranteed contract thus, avoiding arbitration. In the exchange with Cincinnati were included Yankees RHP Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davies and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

It is thought that Aroldis Chapman is a Yankee mostly because of his troubling off the field issues. To acquire him from the Cincinnati Reds, the Yankees took advantage of Chapman’s situation, which included the reliever’s pending free agency, by using a discounted Minor Leagues package.

It is questionable how the transition from a small market Cincinnati to the metropolis of New York will impact the phenom Cuban left-hander.

In the questionable transition, according to a police report, is the allegation that he choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots in the garage of his home in Davie, Florida. While the police decided not to charge Chapman, Major League Baseball, under its new Domestic Violence Policy, will make its own ruling. A suspension is possible, as it will be among the first rulings under the new Agreement in which the Players’ Association ceded authority to Commissioner Rob Manfred to make the final call and it is rumored that Manfred is being pressured to send a clear message.

Chapman has spoken to investigators from MLB concerning the domestic violence incident he’s alleged to have been involved in early in the off season and had nothing to clarify other than what was included in the Police Report. Through a translator he said “if disciplined by MLB, he would appeal any suspension”. “I understand everybody is worried about the issue, I understand everybody wants to know” Chapman said. “It’s something that is out of my hands and my main focus is to play baseball. I feel great, I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started”.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

NYY logo

Thursday, October 8, 2015 Posted by
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NYY Wait until next year

To end the 2015 Major League Baseball Season the New York Yankees were eliminated from the AL Wild Card one game playoff by the Houston Astros 0-3.   A rare shutout during playoffs for the New York Yankees.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IN PROGRESS the New York Yankees wait until next year.


Friday, July 11, 2014 Posted by
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July 11, 2014
Written by Rocky Julich

As someone who has been in the game of baseball for seasons, it is always important to be reminded of what was real in the history of “our game”.

I do acknowledge Babe Ruth revered throughout history.

I can’t help but question, does a number need to be retired for the Babe to remain beloved by the population who hear his name. Does the Babe need a number to remind the world of baseball what he stood for and why he is alive in memory 100 years later?

His name says it all – BABE RUTH

April 22, 1914: Babe Ruth’s first Minor League game with the Minor Leagues team of the Orioles of the International League. By July, 2014 Babe Ruth was in the Major Leagues and what followed, today, is 100 years of history.

Facts about Babe Ruth’s debute:

Date: July 11, 1914
Final Score: Red Sox 4, Naps 3
Location: Fenway Park
Attendance: Not Known, but the Red Sox’s average attendance that season, per Baseball Reference, was 6,093.

Ruth’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 1 K
He was 0-for-2 at the plate.

Famous K: Ruth struck out in his first at-bat, against Naps pitcher Willie Mitchell, who in 1909 had thrown a perfect game against LSU. In that game, while pitching for Mississippi State, Mitchell logged an incredible 26 strikeouts.

Cooperstown: Three eventual Hall of Famers were on the field that day. Ruth, Boston center fielder Tris Speaker and Cleveland second baseman Nap Lajoie. Hall of Famer right fielder Harry Hooper did not play in this game but was with the Red Sox that season.

Notable opponents: Two other Naps players who faced Ruth that day – “Shoeless Joe Jackson, whose involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal and continued ineligibility for the Hall of Fame remains a subject of great dispute. Also in the game, Ray Chapman, who in 1920 became the only Major League player to die from an injury suffered on the field.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013 Posted by
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June 25, 2013

New York Yankees
Himes Complex
Tampa, Florida

By Rocky Julich

It is early Tuesday morning. The sun is already shining brightly over the glistening green playing fields, with the promise of heat.

I have arrived at the Yankees Minor League Complex to observe a game of Player Development.

The team bus full of Gulf Coast League players of the Atlanta Braves is at the back gate of the playing field, slowly discharging the teen passengers. They are baseball players for a scheduled 12:00 noon game vs. the Gulf Coast League team of the New York Yankees.

As these players, fully uniformed in their Atlanta Braves baseball colors, walk through a fenced-in, long open air corridor, do they glance to their left at the playing field? Maybe not, as fielding practice may appear routine to them.

On the playing field, there are three Yankees players and their coaches practicing fielding and throwing from third base, shortstop and second base. Three players, dressed in navy blue shorts and Yankees insignia tee shirts.

I follow behind the twenty-five Atlanta players and watch as they enter through the security gate. I stop at the bench seating area. Entrance to the playing fields for Reporters will not be permitted until game time. It is a new security rule. A rule implemented to protect the group of Yankees Major League Players rehabbing at the Player Development Himes Complex.

I place my notebook and briefcase on a bench and lean against the tall chain link fence. I am immediately caught up by the sight. It is the first time I have seen Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez in person in over a year, since I left The Bronx.

He is tall, a big guy. In his player shorts and Yankees tee shirt, A-Rod displays hands as if molded by catcher’s mitt, strong even toned legs, muscular thighs, biceps and arms in proportion. He is bronze tanned. His hair closely cropped. Eyes focused on the ball. He smiles. This baseball player portrays a visual look of a perfectly honed baseball superstar.

He is seven and a half weeks into rehabbing his second surgically repaired hip.

Now after two successful hip replacements, could we next see an example of a bionic player?

I am taken by the ease of his practice. He fields the balls batted to him. He bends and scoops close to the ground and throws. He pivots to the location of the fielded ball and he throws. He does short sprints to the ball fielded to him and he throws, each time with accuracy. The throwing of the ball by the Yankees coach and the fielding by A-Rod is repeated over and over. And I watch, not wanting to miss a second of his practice. His stature exudes confidence on the practice field.

At some point, the famous third baseman of the New York Yankees looks towards the chain link fence, he spots me and waves. I send him an almost regal wave. I have watched him at practice his entire Yankees career.

All of a sudden, I wonder at the other two players alongside him. I am sent into disbelief. For approximately ten minutes I have been focused on the third baseman, not for a minute acknowledging the players at shortstop and second base. They are Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez.

I am not concerned at my oversight, as I recollect the effect the famous “A-Rod” has on the baseball fans and media. When A-Rod is on sight, no denying, he does overshadow the players around him.

I am not a fan, I am a Reporter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Friday, April 5, 2013 Posted by
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April 4, 2013

George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

By: Rocky Julich

The Tampa Yankees returned to their playing field on Opening Day with a fresh crop of players for their Manager Luis Sojo. Eleven of the youngsters on the 2013 twenty-five player roster were with the Advanced Single-A team during the 2012 season.

By comparison, the parent club, the New York Yankees returned to their playing field in The Bronx with just two Major League players from the 2012 season. This was due to the number of key star players on the disabled list; Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson.

The Lakeland Flying Tigers, 2012 Florida State League Champions, began the defense of their League Championship vs. the Tampa Yankees in their opening game of the 2013 Minor League Baseball season.

The Lakeland Flying Tigers have multiple reasons to celebrate during 2013. It is the 47th season for Lakeland as a Detroit Tigers affiliate, the longest affiliate in Minor League Baseball. Lakeland is in its 63rd season as a member of the Florida State League. During 2012 Lakeland captured its 6th FSL Championship in League history, their first since 1992.

Lakeland’s parent club the Detroit Tigers were the American League Champions in 2012. After defeating the Oakland Athletics during the American League Division series, they then faced the New York Yankees and took the League Championship series in a sweep. The Tigers went on to play in the World Series, matched against the San Francisco Giants but Detroit was swept in four games.

The Detroit organization completed the 2012 season with third baseman Miguel Cabrera becoming the first Triple Crown winner in Major League Baseball since 1967. The Triple Crown is one of the most revered achievements in all of baseball.

The start of the Minor League Baseball season is a real awakening. It is a new beginning for most of the twenty-five players on the rosters. To these youngest of players in the vast organization of baseball, getting the opportunity to play their first Minor League game holds a promise of possibly making it to the Major Leagues.

Today is the beginning of Player Development during a 140 Minor Leagues games season at which time each player will have the chance to prove his talent on the actual field of play.

The Tampa Yankees won their first game of the season vs. Lakeland Flying Tigers 7-4 with the contribution of Yankees outfielder Mason Williams. Catcher Gary Sanchez continues to impress with the hope of becoming the much needed masked man behind the plate at Yankee Stadium.

The Lakeland Flying Tigers Aaron Westlake demonstrated his defense at first base and his hitting power with a homerun and three RBIs.

Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.


Thursday, March 28, 2013 Posted by
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March 28, 2013

George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

By: Rocky Julich

It’s been unusually chilly cold and windy during this March Spring season in the Grapefruit League.

Much like the weather, during Spring Training the New York Yankees experienced a season of cold players. The cold appeared in the Yankees line-ups.

Consider the use of six players at first base with left handed #55 Lyle Overbay with the “inside track” as the likely candidate to open the season in The Bronx. Overbay was signed on March 26th after being released by the Boston Red Sox. He appeared in three Spring Training games in a Yankees uniform. The Yankees released recently signed #54 Juan Rivera who covered first base for much of Spring Training. The reason may be that the last time Rivera played in a Yankees uniform was in the original Yankee Stadium outfield during the 2003 season.

Expect that after recovering from a torn right tendon sheath, #25 Gold Glove Mark Teixeira should take over at first base sometime after the month of May.

We watched five talented players commit 20 errors at third base and none had the number 13 of Rodriguez on the back of the uniform. At third base, for his first Opening Day in Pinstripes, #36 Kevin Youkilis of Red Sox fame is not a Rodriguez look-a-like. Will A-Rod, the real third baseman pivot at third after the All Star break?

Roaming between left field, centerfield and right field, twenty players took 94 turns at home plate with a total production of 107 hits, eleven homeruns and 47 RBIs. During the 2013 season, #56 Vernon Wells, #11 Brett Gardner and #31 Ichiro Suzuki will individually bring a lot of this and a lot of that to the fans of The Bronx. #14 Curtis Granderson, recovering from a fractured right forearm is expected during early May playing LF/CF?

Looking for a Yankees Catcher? #40 Francisco Cervelli and #19 Chris Stewart will be the men behind the mask.

DHing for the New York Yankees? No players lacking here. The bench will be kept warm.

New York Yankees Captain, shortstop Derek Jeter will be missed as he starts the season on the disabled list. Five players filled in at short, but #26 Eduardo Nunez has proven, as best he can, to be the replacement for the fan favorite Jeter. Derek will remain in the Minor Leagues for an extended Spring Training.

Only three players from the 2012 Opening Day line-up will step out of the dugout for the Yankees Home Opener on Monday, April 1st vs. the Boston Red Sox; #24 Robinson Cano, #11 Brett Gardner and #52 pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

Superstar second baseman Robinson Cano and MVP of the 2013 World Baseball Classic “is not feeling pressure to carry the Yankees”.

And so the time has come. It will be future Hall of Fame closing pitcher #42 Mariano Rivera’s final Opening Day. After 18 seasons in a New York Yankees uniform, Mariano is optimistic despite the injuries to the Yankees star players. Throughout his career, it is his talent and faith that has sustained him.

While #65 Phil Hughes will remain with the Minor League Club pitching during extended Spring Training, as he recovers from a bulging disk in his upper back, the Yankees team is returning to The Bronx with a strong pitching rotation and a healthy bullpen. Among the arms, #52 C.C. Sabathia, #46 Andy Pettitte, #18 Hiroki Kuroda, #41 David Phelps, #30 David Robertson, #62 Joba Chamberlain, #48 Boone Logan, #96 Vidal Nuno.

Vidal Nuno is the recipient of the 2013 James P. Dawson Award given annually to the outstanding Yankees Rookie in Spring Training. He is a left handed long reliever. His record: 1-1, 0.61 ERA with one save in seven appearances (2 starts). He permitted one run in 14-2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, walking four and striking out 13.

It will not be a walk in the park to October for the ever highly competitive Yankees in the American League East.

In conclusion, please remember, these are the ever confident New York Yankees and injury set-backs have never put a tweek in their winning bravado.

In the meantime, the following is the projected Opening Day line-up at Yankee Stadium:
CF Brett Gardner
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Robinson Cano
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH Travis Hafner
LF Vernon Wells
3B Jayson Nix
SS Eduardo Nunez
C Chris Stewart
P C.C. Sabathia

Do you like the chances of the playoffs with the transitional Yankees line-up? Perhaps it might be fun to use the player numbers in your local lottery.

Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional baseball Leagues