Pitching today: CC O’Sabathia, Mariano O’Rivera, Alfredo O’Aceves, Edwar O’Ramirez.
Pitching today: Virgil O’Vasquez followed by Chris O’Bootcheck, Tyler O’Yates, Evan O’Meek and Donnie O’Veal.
Notes: This will be the first game for Rivera this spring. The Yankees plan to have Sabathia throw four innings then bring in Rivera for the fifth. But Mo will not enter the game in the middle of an inning. … Posada is down to catch five innings.
Derek Jeter could be playing his final game with Team USA tonight as they plan an elimination game against Puerto Rico in the WBC. However a win sends the battered US squad to the next round.
Back with more later.
UPDATE, 3:37 p.m. The game is on YES, by the way. John Flaherty is in the house.
UPDATE, 3:46 p.m.: Mariano Rivera didn’t seem too worried about his first game of the spring. A few of us stood around his locker this afternoon as he ate Rice Krispies and talked about how he wanted to learn a knuckleball so he could pitch until he was 50.
Rivera told us a funny story about how when he was young, he would throw back balls that got scuffed or cut. Mel Stottlemyre asked him what he was doing and explained how a damaged ball could be manipulated by a pitcher.
“He showed me how to throw it so it fell like a sinker or did a little cut,” he said. “I had no idea.”
Asked whether he still throws scuffed balls back, Rivera said.
“Oh, no,” he said. “I keep them now. I know what to do.”
As Rivera talked, teammates came up with piles of cash. Rivera is collecting money from teammates to give to the clubhouse kids for their work this spring. According to well-placed sources, those who avoid paying their dues get the evil eye from the greatest closer of all time until they do.
Watching Rivera interact with his coaches, his teammates and even the media is a lesson in how a professional athlete should conduct himself.
“For me, the best thing about being on the Yankees is being around Mariano,” Alfredo Aceves told me this afternoon. “People know how great he is as a pitcher but he’s also a great person.”
UPDATE, 6:21 p.m.: Went over to speak to Jose Tabata today. He had a rocky stretch with the Yankees last season, playing poorly and getting into a couple of disciplinary scrapes. But after he was traded to the Pirates in July, he played well the rest of the season. Now he’s impressing them in camp with his skills.
Tabata is no worse than the second or third-best prospect in that tattered organization. He said he feels less pressure with the Pirates then he did with the Yankees. “It’s like a family here,” he said.
People with the Pirates think Tabata has a chance to get called up in September, if not earlier.
Only time will tell whether that was a good trade for the Yankees or not. As it stands now, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte did not boost them into the playoffs last season.
UPDATE, 7:08 p.m.: Damaso Marte threw 30 pitches in the bullpen today and felt fine. He had been shut down for a few days with a sore left shoulder. Marte will throw in the ‘pen again on Thursday and could get in a game as soon as Saturday.
UPDATE, 7:14 p.m.: We are underway. For the record, CC warmed up to Numb/Encore by Jay-Z and Linkin Park.
I have some newspaper deadlines to meet, so I’m not sure how many updates I’ll be doing. Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: Godzilla slapped a two-run double to right. 2-0 Yankees. … Forget to mention this before, but Girardi threw the name of one Kei Igawa into the long reliever mix.
UPDATE, 7:47 p.m.: Jose Tabata stole third on Posada. The throw was high and wide to the inside. However the pitch was low and inside and Tabata got a big jump.
Tabata then scored on a grounder. 2-1 Yankees.
UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: It’s 6-1 Yankees.
Teixeira doubled to right. Matsui followed with a long homer to right field, the ball nearly clearing the party deck. That’s four RBI for Godzilla tonight. Nady and Cabrera then followed with doubles to the gap in left, driving Vasquez out of the game.
Now the bases are loaded with one out.
UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: Posada two-run single, 8-1. I would bet they don’t bring CC back out after the long half inning.
UPDATE, 8:37 p.m.: Shows you what I know, Sabathia is back out there to pitch. The Yankees sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third and scored six runs.
Look for Mo to follow CC to the mound. That’ll be the real story tonight.
UPDATE, 8:41 p.m.: And CC walks the first man he faces.
UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: Sabathia is done for sure now. 4 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts. Life is good against those NL teams.
UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Now pitching, the great Mariano Rivera. Inexplicably, the Big Stein Field PA was playing the find the ball under the cap music instead of Enter Sandman when he jogged in. Nice job.
UPDATE, 8:57 p.m.: CC tossed 59 pitches, 40 strikes.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Mo struck out the first guy on three pitches.
UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: It seems the surgery worked. Mo retired the side in order on 11 pitches, eight of them strikes. Strikeouts looking, 1-3, strikeout looking.