Yankees Daily Briefing 07/22/11

Against the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees are 22-4 since Joe Girardi took over as manager in 2008. They'll attempt to continue their success against Oakland, and Phil Hughes will also look to build on the success of his last start. Oakland will counter with Trevor Cahill (8-8, 3.16) who has a career 9.72 ERA against the Yankees.

Discussion of the Day: Do you expect Hughes to show enough progress to alleviate concerns that the Yankees will need to trade for a starter?

1) Wallace Matthews writes that it is time for Brett Gardner to replace Derek Jeter at the top of the lineup.

The argument is pretty simple: Gardner has been hitting well over .300 since the start of May, while in that same time frame Jeter has an OPS under .700. Against right-handed pitchers, it's even harder to disagree. Jeter is hitting .243/.286/.298 against right handers, while Gardner is hitting .367/.432/.799 against them. Jeter has a perfectly respectable .882 OPS against lefties, but the majority of pitchers are right-handed. For the most part, Gardner has simply been the better hitter for the Yankees in 2011, and while batting order might not be as significant an aspect of the game as many think it is, it behooves the Yankees to utilize every advantage that they can.

2) Larry Koestler at The Yankee Analysts considers the value of prospects.

With a well-stocked farm system in recent seasons for the first time since the early 1990s, it's easy to get attached to prospects such as Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, and, as Koestler notes, Yankees' history -- such as almost trading Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada may make fans wary of trading the "next big thing". Still, most prospects the Yankees have traded away have not come back to hurt the team, and most prospects do not become Rivera or Posada. There will be trades that backfire (Javier Vazquez, for one), but Brian Cashman's track record is generally a good one and it's hard to imagine that the Yankees would part with Montero, Banuelos or Betances for anyone who was not, at the very least, the caliber of Ubaldo Jimenez.

3) Mike Axisa argues that Freddy Garcia's unorthodox success makes it hard to care about the process.

Garcia's peripherals are good, not great, but 12 of his 17 starts have been quality starts (six innings, three or fewer earned runs). The Yankees didn't sign him to be an ace, and he hasn't been, but Garcia has given the Yankees a chance to win almost every time he has stepped on the mound, stayed healthy and it's hard to ask for more from him.

4) The minor league day was again filled with rehab appearances.

Triple-A Scranton beat Columbus, 6-5.

Montero did not play.

Double-A Trenton lost to Bowie, 8-6.

Austin Romine had two hits in four at bats and got picked off first.

High-A Tampa beat Bradenton, 5-1.

Rafael Soriano allowed two hits and a run in one inning of work and did not walk or strike out a batter. He will make at least two more rehab appearances.

Chavez had one hit in three at bats; he played third base for six innings but did not field any grounders.

Low-A Charleston beat Lexington, 8-3.

Michael Recchia and Shane Brown were both promoted to Charleston from Staten Island, while Kyle Higashioka was placed on the disabled list.

Gary Sanchez had one hit in four at bats and struck out once.

Short Season Staten Island beat Hudson Valley, 8-7 while the Rookie GCL Yankees beat the GCL Tigers, 18-2.