The Yankees top three pitching prospects survived today’s first wave of cuts, just like they survived this winter’s search for proven big league starters. In a Q&A with Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger, general manager Brian Cashman said he’s confident his young pitching would be enough to trade for a short-term rotation upgrade, but he’s more focused on the long-term impact of keeping his best pitchers in the organization.
“I have enough chips,” Cashman said. “But if people want to demand certain bullets, those certain bullets I’m not going to shoot… There are untouchables here.”
Cashman didn’t name names, but clearly Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman have made strong impressions this spring. Brackman had some control issues today, but he’s clearly opened some eyes. The “Killer Bs” are widely considered the top pitching prospects in a pitching-rich system, and all three were kept in camp through this morning’s round of seven cuts, and the afternoon’s round of three more.
• More good stuff from Carig, who took a look at the remarkably small impact a lineup change is likely to have on the Yankees. The Yankees could make a change this season, but is it worth rocking the boat — and maybe pushing some of the wrong emotional buttons — for what could be such marginal improvement? Maybe, maybe not.
• Ben Shpigel of the Times stayed behind in Tampa yesterday and wrote a nice piece about Derek Jeter’s increasing comfort at the plate. “Early on, he told me, ‘I’ll probably take a lot of pitches during spring training until I get comfortable,’” Kevin Long said. “He’s not taking those pitches anymore.” Jeter swung at the first pitch he saw this afternoon and drove a fly ball to center field for an out.
• Nice stuff from my old friend Donnie Collins about his immediate thoughts after seeing news about the earthquake in Japan. For Donnie and I, who spent a lot of time around Kei Igawa the past few years, it was impossible not to worry about Igawa on what had to be a terrible day for him. It was also great to hear that both Jonathan Albaladejo and Darrell Rasner were safe and largely unaffected.
• Supporting everything we’ve seen and heard in Yankees camp, Buster Olney talked to one evaluator who said Eric Chavez has looked good while “hitting the ball hard” this spring. He really does seem to be an ideal fit on the Yankees bench.
• The Royals put a pitcher on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Robert Fish.
• In former Yankees news: Despite the fact Russell Branyan is making a strong impression in Diamondbacks camp, Juan Miranda remains the favorite to be Arizona’s starting first baseman. With the Padres, Dustin Moseley is keeping himself in the rotation mix and has “all but guaranteed” a spot in the bullpen.
• It’s not a link, but here’s a leftover quote from today that I thought was funny. Russell Martin was asked about calling pitches for Mariano Rivera: “It’s cutter or sinker,” Martin said. “It’s pretty basic. Cutter on one side. If he doesn’t want that, it’s a cutter on the other side. And then it’s a sinker. If he shakes more than twice, I’m putting down the wrong signs.”
• My high school won its first boys basketball state championship this weekend. I saw the team play when I went home for my friend’s wedding a few weeks ago. They went 10 players deep, substituted five at a time, and pressed the entire game until the game was no longer in doubt it was too cruel to keep up that frantic pace. They were fun to watch. Go Bulldogs!
Associated Press photo of Jeter meeting Dave Stevens from Easthaven, Conn., who was born without legs and participates in sports using a wheelchair