By now, the message has been passed along. Manny Banuelos arrived at Steinbrenner Field this afternoon and got the news that he would be making tonight’s start in Fort Myers.
“He was good,” Joe Girardi said. “I saw him when he came in and I told him, ‘Promise me you won’t try to do too much. Just go out and pitch.’ It’s easier said than done and we’ll evaluate what he tries to do tonight. For a 20 year old kid, there has to be some excitement.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona joked with reporters that Banuelos is the kind of pitcher the Yankees should move very, very, very slowly through the system.
By now, we all know Girardi is not one to make definitive statements. He never rules out any possibility before he has to, but Brian Cashman has said in no uncertain terms that Banuelos has not chance of making this roster. It’s not going to happen. Even so, it’s fun to sit back and watch a young kid get his first small taste of this sort of environment.
“I tell him the most important thing is to get ready for the season,” Girardi said. “Physically make sure you’re ready and don’t try to do too much. It’s been talked about that he’s going to the minor leagues, but I don’t ever say anything is 100 percent. I don’t, because sometimes your needs change in a hurry around here. He’s in big league camp to show us what he can do, and there’s a reason for that. He doesn’t have to be in big league camp. He didn’t have to go through this experience. For him, it’s important that that carrot’s out there.”
• On the way here, the coaches’ bus was hit by a bird, which flew into the front windshield and shattered the glass on the passenger’s side. That’s usually where Girardi sits, but he and his son had gone to the back of the bus to talk to some people and didn’t see it. Pretty crazy.
• Banuelos has 50-55 pitches, probably enough for three innings, maybe four if he’s really good.
• Girardi said there’s a little bit of concern about Joba Chamberlain — “Any time a guy says his oblique, or whatever you want to call that, is a little tweaked you have a little concern,” Girardi said — but ultimately Chamberlain said he felt good today and the Yankees think he’ll be in a game later this week.
• Sergio Mitre will try to play play catch tomorrow. The Yankees want him to split Thursday’s game with Phil Hughes.
• Girardi said he’s had very preliminary discussions about the order of his top three starters. Obviously CC Sabathia is No. 1, but Girardi said he might announce as early as Wednesday whether Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett will start the second game of the season.
• The Yankees will face Alfredo Aceves tonight: “Ace was great for us,” Girardi said. “It’s unfortunate that he had so many back issues last year. I thought we missed him a lot. I did. He was a guy that could bridge us from the fourth to the seventh inning. I wish him the best of luck. He was great for us.”