A lot of balls got some help from the wind this afternoon. Alex Rodriguez’s home run in the fifth inning did not. Off to a strong start this spring, Rodriguez’s first home run was legitimate, continuing his strong start this spring.
“It doesn’t matter,” Rodriguez said. “It feels good to be getting my work in.”
Rodriguez is hitting .462 with four doubles and today’s home run. Only Jorge Vazquez, who homered in his first two games, has better spring numbers for the Yankees.
“I did take notice, I thought (Rodriguez) was pretty locked in from day one,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s a talented player. His offseason workouts, he works out extremely hard, and that’s the only thing I can really say. He’s a pretty good player.”
Rodriguez said this is the result of a winter spent training instead of rehabbing. He’s a little bit lighter, said he feels a little more flexible, and Hitting coach Kevin Long met with him more than once this offseason.
“(Spring training is) just a continuation of what we started in November,” Rodriguez said.
• Rodriguez has talked about being more relaxed than in the past. Today’s home run came maybe an inning after Cameron Diaz took a seat behind home plate, and when Rodriguez nearly hustled out of the clubhouse without talking to reporters, one writer joked with him, “What, do you have a date?” Upset him? Not this time. Rodriguez just laughed. “Behave yourself,” he said.
• Russell Martin had his first two hits this afternoon. He also stole a base, suggesting his knee is feeling pretty good. The Yankees will have him catch tomorrow’s home game, giving him back-to-back starts behind the plate.
• And how is Martin behind the plate? “He’s got a good idea back there,” Phil Hughes said. “He’s a good receiver, catches the ball well, frames pitches well and gets some (calls) you might not get with a guy that doesn’t stick as well as he does.”
• Derek Jeter had two more hits today and has his spring batting average up to .357. It’s still too early to know much of anything, but he’s looked a little better at the plate day by day.
• Five Yankees, aside from Martin and Jeter, had two hits today: Eduardo Nunez, Robinson Cano, Andruw Jones, Jordan Parraz and Justin Maxwell. Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez had a hit apiece, continuing their strong springs. Greg Golson homered.
• Steve Garrison continues to be stretched out in big league camp. He went three innings today, a pretty clear indication that the Yankees are looking at him as a starter instead of a reliever (he’ll open in the minor leagues). On a day like this, giving up one run on three hits was awfully good.
• Converted outfielder Brian Anderson had a tough day on the mound. He faced seven batters, and five of them had a hit.
• Dan Brewer had a stolen base and a double, and Colin Curtis made two nice catches and threw a runner out at the plate, but both left the game with injuries. Right field was apparently not the place to be today.
• I never saw him, but apparently Roger Clemens was here to see his son Koby, who plays for the Astros.
• As you can tell from the picture above, Yogi Berra made the trip to Kissimmee.
Associated Press photos of Berra with Cano; Rodriguez after the home run; Jeter looking back at Jones