After playing long toss — basically home plate to medium-depth right field — Alex Rodriguez is now taking ground balls at third base. He started with sharp grounders in on the grass, then moved to regular depth, and now he’s taking grounders near the line and throwing to Mick Kelleher covering second as if starting a double play. Rob Thomson is doing the hitting.
I tried to take an iPhone picture from the press box, but unless you like tiny dots on a baseball diamond, it wasn’t going to do you any good.
This feels like the calm before the storm, just some routine fielding drills before Rodriguez faces Andy Pettitte in a simulated game that will quite obviously be the pregame main event here at Yankee Stadium.
UPDATE, 9:40 a.m.: No lineup in the clubhouse, and Joe Girardi is now on the field so I doubt there will be a lineup posted any time soon.
Rodriguez wrapped up his fielding drills by taking some bunts, and he’s now moved into the cage for some early BP. Chad Moeller has joined the group wearing shin guards. I’m guessing he’ll be catching the sim game.
If any other Yankee is looking for some coaching, they’re probably out of luck. Pretty sure every member of the staff is out here, including Dave Eiland who’s in the bullpen with Pettitte, who’s getting loose. This really does feel like a big event.
UPDATE, 9:50 a.m.: Word from my inside source — Greg Golson himself — is that Pettitte will be facing a lineup of Rodriguez, Golson and Ramiro Pena. Still no sign of Pena. Moeller is catching.
UPDATE, 10:03 a.m.: First inning for Pettitte lasted 15 pitches, eight strikes. Golson had one loopy single to right. Rodriguez had one at bat and grounded to second. Golson got three of the four first-inning at-bats. Pena just arrived in time for round two.
By the way, calling balls and strikes is umpire Reggie Jackson.
UPDATE, 10:15 a.m.: Second inning, Pettitte got three outs on 12 pitches, so he threw three extra to Pena before sitting down after another 15 pitch “inning.” Rodriguez hit twice. He grounded to second and lined a clean single to center. Pena and Golson each struck out.
Pena, by the way, is batting left handed to give Pettitte a look at a lefty.
UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.: Looks like that’s the game. After a 20-pitch third inning, Pettitte is now taking ground balls. He got two strikeouts in the inning, allowed two singles and had a 2-2 count on Greg Golson when the inning ended. No sign of injury. Rodriguez struck out and singled in the third inning.