Here’s Joe Girardi’s quick take on Sergio Mitre’s start this afternoon: “His sinker, when it was down, was not (for) strikes. And when it was up they hit it.”
That’s pretty much a worst-case scenario for a pitcher like Mitre. He needs the sinker to be effective, and he didn’t have the sinker today. Through just three innings, Mitre allowed five hits and five runs. He gave up two homers. Of course, the Yankees have seen Mitre when his sinker is working. They know he can be better than this, and they know he can be this bad.
“I don’t look at it as a setback,” Mitre said. “I’m hoping they don’t base everything off of one spring start.”
The Yankees won’t base everything off one spring start, but right now Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon are clearly the rotation candidates stringing together the most quality spring starts. Mitre’s ERA jumped from 2.25 to 5.73 this afternoon. Freddy Garcia’s spring ERA is 5.93.
Is Mitre guaranteed at least a spot in the bullpen?
“There’s still decisions to be made there,” Girardi said.
Is Mitre certain he has a spot on the roster?
“I hope so,” Mitre said. “I don’t think there should be any reason why not. If I still have to worry about that then I’m probably not doing something right. I think I’ve done enough, and they’ve seen enough to where they know that I can get the job done. That’s just one thing that never crossed my mind, whether I’m making the team or not.”
• Girardi said it’s possible he’ll have two different lineups, one for right-handed pitchers and one for lefties. It might make sense to bat Brett Gardner leadoff against righties and Derek Jeter against lefties (especially considering Andruw Jones will play a lot against lefties, occasionally starting in Gardner’s place).
• Probably goes without saying, but Girardi said the Yankees will probably have to carry another outfielder if Curtis Granderson is out for an extended period of time. Eduardo Nunez doesn’t have enough experience to be the fourth outfielder. “I think if Curtis was out for a while, I think we would go with another outfielder,” Girardi said. “Andruw (in the lineup), and then we would add someone.”
• Avoiding another AL East opponent, Rafael Soriano pitched in a minor league game this afternoon. He went 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and one run. The hit was a solo homer.
• Girardi on the Eric Chavez injury: “He said he felt better today. I said, ‘Well I’m going to wait until Friday anyway.’ It just makes sense.”
• Speaking of injury prone veterans in Yankee camp: Mark Prior pitched another scoreless inning this afternoon. He’s clearly not what he once was, but Prior seems to have shown enough to possibly become an option at some point. “We see his arm speed getting there, (and) we see his offspeed getting there,” Girardi said.
• Greg Golson said his sore oblique felt good today. He got a hit in his first at-bat and felt good through his schedule four innings. “It feels better than I thought it would,” he said.
• As for the idea of maybe landing a roster spot if Granderson is hurt, Golson refused to look at the injury as an opportunity. “Any time you’ve got a jersey on your back and you’re playing you’ve got an opportunity,” he said.
• Luis Ayala came into camp pretty far off the radar, but he’s had a nice spring. He threw another scoreless inning today, dropping his ERA to 0.93. He’s struck out eight and walked none this spring.
• Nick Swisher’s second double of the spring was the Yankees only extra-base hit in today’s 6-2 loss. Swisher had two of the Yankees seven hits. The others went to Golson, Andruw Jones, Melky Mesa, Jesus Montero and Kevin Russo.
Associated Press photos of Mitre, Girardi and Prior