You might have expected Johnny Damon to be a hot topic of discussion at Steinbrenner Field today, but his name wasn’t brought up very often. By the time he signed with the Tigers on Saturday, it seems the Yankees had resigned themselves to the fact he wasn’t coming back.
“Once spring training starts, I think it’s real,” Jorge Posada said. “Your team is set and you pretty much know he’s not coming back. We’re going to miss the guy in the clubhouse and on the field. Professional guy, and a guy that really was key for us throughout the years, especially last year.”
Those who did talk about Damon, wished him well. With very few exceptions — many of them in the Yankees clubhouse — players come and go. That’s the reality of the game, something Joe Girardi called “the hard part of the game.”
“I am happy for him that he has found out where he’s going to go,” Girardi said. “I think for players, that’s an anxious time trying to figure out where you’re going to be. Usually it doesn’t go on this long, so I’m sure he was curious. I wish Johnny luck. Johnny was good for us here, and we all miss Johnny. This is the hard part of the game, when those relationships change a little bit. I’ll root for Johnny, except when he’s playing against us.”
Here’s the Girardi audio.
• At this point, almost every pitcher in camp has thrown two bullpens. With few exceptions, bullpen sessions today and Saturday included breaking balls. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes threw 35 pitches this morning, but pretty much everyone else is up to 40 pitches.
• Heard a lot of good things about Andrew Brackman today. Pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said Brackman has been throwing his fastball and curveball for strikes, and now he’s trying to refine his changeup. “Brackman’s fastball is great,” Contreras said. “Command. He’s downhill. Throwing the ball really well.” Even Girardi watched Brackman a little bit today. “He looked good,” Girardi said. “He was down in the zone all day today, which is encouraging. I think his mechanics are cleaner.”
• I believe I mentioned it this morning, but just in case: Wilkin De La Rosa sat out today’s bullpen sessions. Right now, he’s limited to two bullpens a week because he’s coming back from an elbow injury. He’ll throw on Tuesdays and Fridays.
• Brett Gardner was in the clubhouse for a little while this afternoon. He sat talking to Kevin Whelan for a long time. I have absolutely no idea what they were talking about, but if I had to guess, I’d say it had something to do with hunting.
• Good stuff from Anthony McCarron at the Daily News, writing about Derek Jeter’s improvement at shortstop.
• Pitchers who threw today:
First group: Chamberlain, Hughes, Ramirez, Vazquez
Second group: Garcia, Melancon, Logan, Moseley
Third group: Igawa, McAllister, Nova, Whelan
Fourth group: Bleich, Brackman, Mitchell, Noesi
• First group matchups: Cervelli caught Chamberlain, Rivera caught Hughes, Montero caught Ramirez, Posada caught Vazquez.
Here’s a shot of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes after their morning bullpen session.