Yanks expecting big things from Joseph
TRENTON – The Yankees are not asking too much of Corban Joseph, are they?
Quietly enjoying a solid season with a .302 batting average, six home runs and 52 RBIs in the relative anonymity of Class-A Tampa, the newest addition to the Thunder roster steps full-time into the infield spot once occupied by one of the organization’s best prospects, David Adams, and now is being counted on to help close the gaping hole in the middle of the Trenton lineup since the departure of Eastern League MVP candidate Brandon Laird.
“No pressure,” Joseph said with a smile. “Any player that gets bumped up has to deal with certain circumstances like that, but one player can only do so much and (the Yankees) know that. I am a different player than Laird and he was having a great year, an amazing year actually, but the goal here is to win and for me that means whatever I can do for the team to make that happen.”
Share Like Adams, Joseph appears to have all the clichés in his arsenal.
And, just like Adams, Joseph has game.
The Yankees’ fourth round pick in the 2008 draft was a South Atlantic League all-star at third base last season despite playing just 37 games there, but played second almost exclusively at Tampa.
Joseph’s brother, Caleb, also was drafted in 2008 (by the Baltimore Orioles) and plays for Bowie.
With Adams done for the season after a chip fracture was detected in his ankle, an injury that has kept him out since May 23, Joseph immediately was inserted in the No. 3 spot in the Thunder batting order, a slot generally reserved for the lineup’s best hitter.
Joseph, 21, justified the confidence of manager Tony Franklin with four of his first five Double-A hits over 17 at bats going for extra bases and has seven runs batted in, including two to help spark Friday’s come-from-behind win over Binghamton at Waterfront Park.
“The game is the same no matter where you are,” Joseph said. “The competition is just a little better up here.”
Franklin informed reporters that closer Grant Duff, out since being shut down June 30 with elbow discomfort, will not return this season.
Duff was 1-4 with a 2.84 ERA and had eight saves in 10 opportunities. He also had a 12-day stay at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in May before being sent back to Trenton.
Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations gave BareBones his assdessment of Duff today via e-mail.
“His elbow needs more time to heal from the previous issue,” Newman said. “We just can not push him any faster.”
First baseman Marcos Vechionacci, having his best season in the Yankees’ organization, was yanked from Thursday’s loss to Reading by Franklin for not running out a fly ball and also was benched for last night’s series opener against the B-Mets.
Center fielder Austin Krum was disciplined for a similar infraction earlier this season.
“We’ve had this problem before, we’ve addressed it and it just can’t continue to happen,” Franklin said. “You have to run baseballs out. Anything can happen. He’ll be back in there; probably (today).”
Sure enough, Vechionacci is penciled in at first base and hitting fifth tonight against Binghamton’s nasty righty, Jenrry Mejia.
The Eastern League handed Franklin a two-game suspension and fined him an undisclosed amount for bumping umpire John Byrne following an ejection last Sunday against New Hampshire.
Franklin was able to knock his punishment out in one day – Tuesday’s doubleheader split at Reading.
“I got lucky. It was a sale – two (games) for one,” Franklin said. “I like sales. It’s just a matter of me sending in my fine.”
Franklin, who has been ejected six times this season, called the check headed back to the EL offices in Portland “a significant amount.”
The Yankees are concerned about the recent struggles of Thunder right-hander Hector Noesi, who is 0-3 with a 14.67 ERA in his last three starts.
Before the all-star break, Noesi was 6-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 10 starts.
“We’re always concerned when a guy has been going as well as he has and all of a sudden starts to go backwards a little bit,” Franklin said. “Yeah, we’re concerned about him and anyone else that can’t get the ball down in the strike zone.”
Asked if there may be a medical issue, Franklin said Noesi has not mentioned anything to, nor has been in to see, trainer Tim Lentych for any reason.
Noesi, 11-6 with a 3.35 ERA this season between Tampa and Trenton, took the loss Thursday and has not made it out of the fourth inning in either of his last two starts.