Francisco Cervelli spent two months this winter working out with Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic – “I killed the gym,” he said – and he remembers being impressed with how Bartolo Colon was pitching when Cervelli watched winter ball games on television. The Colon that Cervelli caught this afternoon, though, wasn’t nearly as sharp as the one he saw on TV.
“He’s not there yet,” Cervelli said.
Of course, there’s plenty of time. As Joe Girardi said, the Yankees don’t have to make a decision on their Rotation Derby for about a month. But Colon, who didn’t pitch at all in 2010, was mostly pleased with his performance after allowing a run on two hits in two innings. He said he wants to work on getting his sinker to be more effective against lefthanders – an issue that was highlighted by Ben Francisco’s smoked line drive that went for a triple off a sinker that didn’t sink.
“I’m just trying to get it on the inside of the plate,” Colon said through an interpreter. Asked how close he feels to being that pitcher that won the Cy Young for the Angels in 2005, Colon said, “I feel that I’m real close. In the Dominican, I felt I was right there.”
We’ll see. Colon will pitch again next week, but before that the Yankees will look at Ivan Nova (tomorrow), Sergio Mitre (tomorrow) and Freddy Garcia (Thursday), as well as the kids. “To me, the important thing is to let it play out,” Girardi said of the competition. “You don’t want to jump to any conclusions.”
• Girardi had the same reaction that most of you probably did when he saw Mark Teixeira get hit by a pitch in his first at-bat of the spring. “I was saying, ‘Already?'” Girardi said. Fortunately, Teixeira is OK – though you could see a nasty bruise on the edge of his right big toe when he took off his sock – and said he knows it’s just part of the drill. “I get hit all the time,” he said.
• I’ll have more on Joba Chamberlain later but suffice it to say he was pleased with his clean inning. He was surprised to hear he hit 94-95 mph on the radar gun this early (“it felt like I was throwing bowling balls, to be honest with you,” he said) and admitted he hadn’t been up that high this soon in five or six years.
• Girardi said that Mitre, Boone Logan and Dellin Bettances will be among the pitchers following Nova tomorrow in Clearwater.
• Those of you still watching late saw Jorge Vazquez crush a home run over the batter’s eye in center field in the seventh inning and when Girardi was asked if he’d ever seen someone hit one that far, he said, “Noooooo.” What did Girardi know about Vazquez coming into camp? “I knew he could swing the bat.”
• Russell Martin, the only regular who didn’t play today, will likely be the DH on Monday and then get behind the plate on Wednesday or Thursday.
• Andrew Brackman will do some physical tests tomorrow and if all goes well could throw again on Monday.
* That’s an AP shot of Bartolo.