Brian Cashman recently returned from Japan – along with one of his advisors, former Mets GM Omar Minaya – having gotten a good look at Japanese star righthander Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
But the Yankees, who have had some of their top talent evaluators watching the 25-year-old since the World Baseball Classic in March, still aren’t done scouting the pitcher.
Just as Cashman and Minaya were departing Japan, vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring, who has long enjoyed a sterling reputation in the industry as an evaluator, arrived there to watch Yamamoto. Naehring has been in Japan for the better part of a week.
Pro scout Cory Melvin saw Yamamoto, who threw a no-hitter in front of Cashman and Minaya on Sept. 9, during the WBC in Miami, and Brandon Duckworth, a highly regarded pro scout considered somewhat of a pitching specialist, saw Yamamoto in the early part of the season in Japan. Jay Darnell, a long-time pro scout also with an excellent industry reputation - especially when it comes to pitching - was there shortly thereafter.
Matt Daley, the club’s pro scouting director who pitched in the big leagues, spent two weeks in Japan in August preceding Cashman, Minaya and now Naehring.
It is important to recognize the Yankees are far from the only team who have had scouts in and out of Japan all season watching Yamamoto, as well as other players who project as major leaguers.
One American League scout who saw Yamamoto’s no-hitter in person counted 15 MLB teams with representatives at that game — the Blue Jays, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Padres, Dodgers and Giants, just to name a handful (the Mets have been heavily scouting him as well).
Yamamoto, 14-6 with a 1.32 ERA and 0.913 WHIP in 21 games with the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, is likely to be, once he is posted, among the most pursued free agents of the winter. Dollars and years committed will be significant factors in whichever teams lands him – as is almost always the case in these things – but not necessarily the only factors. The Yankees felt very good about their chances at Shohei Ohtani, for instance, but not long after he was posted it became clear the two-way phenom had no interest in playing anywhere but the West Coast (he signed with the Angels).
Thanks for coming
Aaron Boone, taking issue with a borderline called strike to Oswald Peraza in the second inning, and with several pitches before that, was thrown out of Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays by plate umpire Lance Barrett. It marked Boone’s AL-high seventh ejection, his previous one coming Aug. 7 in Chicago against the White Sox by Laz Diaz. Boone led the AL in ejections last season with nine.
Dominguez has surgery
Rookie centerfielder Jasson Dominguez underwent Tommy John surgery Wednesday afternoon in Arlington, Texas to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
“I talked to him [Tuesday] as he was getting there in Texas,” Aaron Boone said before Wednesday night’s game.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers' team physician.
Recovery time for a position player having that kind of surgery generally is in the 9-10 month range.