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Notes from Saturday

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All of our best to first-base coach Mick Kelleher, who is away from the team following the death of his mother. She was 91. Kelleher is expected back from California on Tuesday.


There wasn’t much going on at George M. Steinbrenner Field today. By the afternoon, it was pretty nice outside, but the morning was ugly and the Yankees stayed off the field. Instead, pitchers threw bullpen sessions and hitters took regular batting practice in the indoor cages beneath the stands on the first-base side.

One cool moment in the rain: Mariano Rivera went to a side field to throw off flat ground with Edwar Ramirez, then the two ran in the outfield. No one wanted to be outside. It was cold and wet and gross, but there was the greatest closer of all time on a back field getting his work done in the rain.

• Joe Girardi hasn’t settled on a lineup for Wednesday’s spring opener. In fact, he said the only spots set in stone for next season are 1, 3 and 4. Right now, he expects Nick Swisher to bat eighth, but he said that could change depending on who’s batting fifth, sixth and seventh.

• Girardi on getting Nick Johnson ready to be a primary designated hitter: “The only thing you can do is give him a lot of DH days in spring training so that he figures out what he’s most comfortable doing in between at-bats. I think sometimes guys can get too caught up with going to watch too much tape, they overanalyze their swing.”

• Later in spring training, there’s a good chance one or two of the top four starters will make starts at the minor league complex so that the Yankees can give the fifth-starter candidates a few extra starts.

• March 15 is an off day on the Yankees spring training schedule, and the Yankees plan for that to be the case in every way possible. “Our plan is, nobody will throw on the 15th,” Girardi said. A day in spring training without a single pitcher throwing? For me and the rest of the writers, it will officially be known as What-In-The-World-Are-We-Going-To-Write Monday.

Roy Halladay [2] will face CC Sabathia on Thursday.

• Might be a light night for the blog. The spring rotation was the big news of the day, and all of the beat writers are having dinner with Joe Girardi tonight, so I won’t be around a computer. I do have another Five Questions that I’ll post this evening.

The picture at the top is Brett Gardner taking batting practice this morning. Outside of the indoor cages is a fairly dark tunnel which became the place to be today. Reggie Jackson was occasionally looking in on some of the hitters, and I was just trying to see over the top of the blue barriers.