It remains difficult for me to believe that the Yankees fifth starter won’t be either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, but Alfredo Aceves is making a strong case early in spring training.
Through 10 innings he’s allowed one run, and that came on today’s solo homer. He has otherwise allowed just two hits — one of them an infield single — while walking none and striking out five. We’re talking about 10 innings, so the sample size is very small and a lot can change between now and April 1, but Aceves has been terrific.
“It’s been impressive,” Joe Girardi said. “It has been because of the different things he’s able to do with the baseball. Change speeds. Movement. Late movement. Pitch up, down. Change eye level. Change in and out. He can do all of those things.”
Aceves said he’s not paying attention to what the other rotation candidates are doing and he quickly pointed out that there are still 20 games to play. It’s very, very early to start thinking about April 4, but give credit where it’s due.
Here’s Girardi, giving a lot of that due credit.
• Sounds very much like Girardi is leaning toward Nick Johnson as the No. 2 hitter. “Nick really fits that bill being the on-base percentage guy,” Girardi said. “But we have to look at how the whole lineup works. When you look at what Nick does, he really fits that area.”
• I believe Curtis Granderson had to make three plays in left field today. One of them was a pretty tough running catch near the stands. “It was a tough wind and sun day,” Girardi said. “It wasn’t an easy day to play left field so I thought he looked good.”
• Boone Logan pitched another hitless inning that included two lefties. Royce Ring also pitched a scoreless inning of relief and Dave Robertson struck out the side in his inning.
• Good day for the big league regulars: Jorge Posada had three hits, Nick Johnson, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira had two each, and Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner each had one.
• Francisco Cervelli went 2-for-3 in his return from a concussion. He had a hit in his first at-bat since getting hit in the head a week ago.
• Aside from pitchers and catchers, it’s pretty rare that young guys get to stay home for a spring training road trip, so Ramiro Pena was pretty excited to look at the list for tomorrow and find his name did not have a circle around it. Other position players not going on tomorrow’s trip: P.J. Pilittere, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Jamie Hoffmann. Originally, Teixeira was making the trip and Juan Miranda was getting the day off, but that has since swapped with Miranda going and Teixeira staying.
• Pitchers making the trip: CC Sabathia, Jonathan Albaladejo, Zach McAllister, Mark Melancon, Dustin Moseley and Ivan Nova.
• The Pirates starter tomorrow is right-hander Charlie Morton.