Joe Girardi started his pregame media session with a very, very true statement.
“Day games after night games are always a little slow,” he said. “Nothing happens in the time that we leave.”
On this day, the only exception to that rule was Phil Hughes, who made his final extended spring training start this morning at the Yankees minor league complex. According to Girardi, Hughes threw 84 pitches across six innings. He had “five or six strikeouts,” Girardi said.
Hughes will make his regular season debut on Thursday, and Girardi said there will be no pitch limit. “He’s the same (as the other starters),” Girardi said. “He’s built up.”
As for how the Yankees will manage Hughes innings this season, Girardi said the same thing he said this spring: The limit is higher than Joba Chamberlain’s was last year, and so the team isn’t worried about it right now. They’ve told Hughes not to worry about it when he pitches. If they have to adjust, they’ll adjust, but right now there’s no set plan for when they’ll skip his turn in the rotation.
“If there’s a situation where we feel we need to skip him, we’ll skip him,” Girardi said.
Here’s Girardi’s audio.
• Girardi said he “will not hesitate” to pinch hit for Francisco Cervelli in a big spot this afternoon.
• Who’s the emergency third catcher? “Nino puts the shin guards on from time to time, and A.J. used to catch,” Girardi said. Nino is Ramiro Pena. A.J. is A.J. Burnett. You can guess which of the two is most likely to get out there in an emergency.
• Girardi acknowledged that Brett Gardner probably would have caught the double that got past Marcus Thames last night, but he said he had no problem with Thames diving for the ball. “Marcus did everything he could to get to it,” Girardi said. “But (Gardner) probably does.” Girardi indicated that he might not platoon Thames in left field when the Yankees are playing in a big outfield, but he certainly didn’t commit to that, just mentioned it as something to consider.
• At this time last year — a week into his return to the Yankees lineup — could Alex Rodriguez and his bad hip have tripled on the ball he hit last night? “I don’t think he gets to third base in that situation,” Girardi said. The surgically repaired hip rarely crosses anyone’s mind any more.
• Every reliever except Sergio Mitre is available tonight, but Girardi said Mitre felt good after his 2-plus innings last night.
• A Yankees highlight video of last season was on TV in the Yankees clubhouse this afternoon, but Dave Robertson and the writers seemed to be the only people interested. I don’t think anyone else gave it a second look.
• Mike Ashmore checked in with injured pitching prospect Alan Horne, who has decided to postpone his rotator cuff surgery and will try platelet-rich plasma treatments. Other news from Trenton: Christian Garcia is waiting for MRI results on his sore elbow. It doesn’t sound like a great situation.
Like Girardi said, not much has happened since last night, so I pulled a random AP picture from the Boston series. It was either that or another shot of a dejected Javy Vazquez.