For the first time this spring, one of the starters fighting for a spot in the Yankees rotation truly struggled. Bartolo Colon had his rocky inning, but he bounced back immediately. Ivan Nova was only so-so last time out, but he still allowed just two runs and got through three innings.
Today, Freddy Garcia was pretty bad. He couldn’t locate his fastball — especially inside — and didn’t make it out of the third inning. He pitched 2.2 innings allowing four runs on six hits, two walks and a hit batter.
“I couldn’t make a pitch,” Garcia said. “I had a couple guys 0-2 or 1-2, but I’d walk a guy or hit a guy. I wasn’t executing a pitch when I needed it… I didn’t pitch the way I wanted to pitch. There’s nothing I can do. I know I have to pitch good to try to win a spot, but it was one of those days. I have to forget about it, come back tomorrow and try to do my job in my next start.”
Joe Girardi said Garcia “wasn’t quite as sharp as he’s been,” and was pretty obvious from the beginning. His fastball was bad, so he was leaning on his secondary pitches, and those were only marginally effective.
“It’s way too early,” Girardi said. “He’s got more starts to go. We don’t expect any of our starters to be perfect. We know there are going to be bumps in the road in spring training. You have to deal with it and you have to develop arm strength. There are a lot of things you have to get going, but you’re trying to get to the last half of it where you start throwing better the last half.”
Girardi said he didn’t feel the need to talk to Garcia about the outing. Veteran pitchers understand what’s going on, and Girardi said at this point he’s just interested in seeing how Garcia bounces back.
“I have to move on,” Garcia said. “What can I do about pitching bad today? I have to take it out of my mind, try to focus on my next game.”
• It’s easy to overlook given what Mariano Rivera did in the very next inning, but Rafael Soriano had another impressive inning today, allowing one stranded hit in the fifth. Soriano has allowed two hits and no walks through three innings. “I like his style,” Russell Martin said. “He’s aggressive. He goes right after hitters. He doesn’t fool around, throws his best stuff at you and makes you swing the bat. It’s good.”
• Rivera was asked whether Soriano has the stuff to thrive in New York. “He has the abilities,” Rivera said. “He has everything to succeed here. I don’t see why not.”
• By the way, Rivera said we might see more of the high socks this season.
• Dave Robertson bounced back from his previous outing when faced one batter and allowed a triple. This time, Robertson pitched a hitless seventh inning, striking out one and walking none. Martin said he was happy that he got to catch a bunch of relievers today. He’s trying to get familiar with everyone.
• Andrew Brackman was noticeably upset with himself after his inning and two-thirds. He walked two, gave up two hits and allowed one unearned run. “He got behind in some counts,” Girardi said. “He had a chance to get out of that inning. We dropped a fly ball. We didn’t turn a double play. He fought his way through it, but he’s not as sharp as he’s going to be, and he understands that. But I think it’s still frustrating for him.”
• Another hit for both Derek Jeter and Eric Chavez. Robinson Cano also singled.
• Jeter dropped a popup that should have ended the fourth inning without a Twins run. The error led to four unearned runs when Eric Wordekemper followed with a hanging slider that Brian Dinkelman hit for a home run. “Once I started backpedaling, I was in trouble,” Jeter said. “To be honest with you, I wouldn’t have thought about it again unless you guys brought it up.”
• Both Rule 5 picks are out of Yankees camp. Although Robert Fish showed some flashes of good stuff, he and Daniel Turpen combined for 8.1 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 7 BB and 7 K. They never had a realistic shot of making the roster, but neither showed enough to stick around any longer.
• Of the position players cut today, Daniel Brewer made the best impression. He hit .364/.364/.455. Austin Krum and Bradley Suttle each batted .154 with no extra-base hits.
• Martin had not caught Rivera this spring, not even in the bullpen. He went to the mound at the beginning of Rivera’s inning, and Martin said the conversation was short and sweet. “I just asked him, what’s the cutter (sign), and what’s the sinker?” Martin said. “(Rivera said) this is cutter, this is sinker, and that’s it. He’s like, ‘Go behind there.’ I was like, all right, see you later.”
Associated Press photos of Garcia, Rivera and Francisco Cervelli