Nothing is settled, but Jesus Montero’s chances of making Yankees roster certainly seem to have diminished in the past week. Montero hasn’t hit especially well this spring, and Joe Girardi has admitted that the 21-year-old seems to be pressing. Francisco Cervelli’s injury opened a door, and it’s only natural that Montero would try to force his way through it.
Would he be upset if someone is gets the job?
“No, I would be fine,” Montero said. “I’ll be working hard. My moment is going to be there.”
In a lot of ways, Gustavo Molina’s moment came in early December. The Yankees were the first team to make an offer, and Molina jumped at the chance after having to sign late last year.
“If you get here, it’s for a reason, to show what I can do on the field,” Molina said. “They know what I can do on paper. Whatever is coming through is my best. I give my best every day. Make a tough decision for anybody, even in the big leagues… You never know. I learned that in ’07 with the White Sox, you never know what can happen in spring training. Sometimes people get hurt and opportunites are coming up, and sometimes you play good and you open eyes for somebody to give you a chance.”
Molina made the White Sox Opening Day roster in 2007. It was his first time in the big leagues. He’s since played for the Orioles, Mets and Red Sox.
“After you make it to the big leagues, you know what you have to do to get there, so that’s what you bring to spring training,” he said. “… I want to be part of this team. You see a lot of good people around, good players, and you want to be a part of that, so I hope I get a chance.”
Montero hopes to get a chance too. He said he’s still trying to prove he belongs, still trying to win that spot on the Yankees bench.
“They decide everything,” Montero said. “I’m doing my best here. I’m doing my job. I’m doing whatever they want me to do. I feel comfortable right now. I don’t know what decisions they’re going to make, but I feel happy.”
• Joe Girardi said he plans to announce his pitching assignments tomorrow. Decisions were made tonight, and Girardi is going to talk to his players first, then make the decisions public. When asked whether Ivan Nova has earned a rotation spot, Girardi said “I need to talk to my players first,” but also nodded his head.
• Speaking of Nova, he didn’t have his good stuff tonight, but still got through six solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits. “His stuff was not extremely sharp tonight, but that’s actually maturing and that’s a good thing,” Girardi said. “You’re not always going to have your A stuff and be sharp, and you have to find a way to do it.
• Nova found out about the Mitre trade when he got to the stadium today. He can count to three. “When he got traded, I know there’s more space now,” Nova said. “That makes me feel good. I don’t want him to leave, but now there’s three spots.”
• Girardi said he occasionally does “different things” with his backup players. Today, Molina was scheduled to be the backup, but Montero instead played the final few innings. Girardi wouldn’t say what should be read into that, but I wonder if it was an effort to give Montero one last big league inning before sending him to minor league camp. Just a guess.
• In his first at-bat back from a minor calf injury, Eric Chavez hit his first spring home run. He singled in his second at-bat and doubled in his third (after nearly hitting a home run that went just foul). He’s now batting .421 this spring.
• Curtis Granderson came through his pregame running feeling good enough that he was cleared to do some light throwing as well. “I think the intensity will be more tomorrow,” Girardi said.
• Joba Chamberalin, Dave Robertson, Boone Logan and Rafael Soriano are all scheduled to pitch back-to-back games, so they should all be back in tomorrow’s game.
• Nick Swisher’s foot came through tonight’s game just fine.
• Russell Martin said he was definitely safe when he was called out tagging up on a fly ball to left. He also said he loved it that Girardi went out to argue on his behalf. Arguing in a spring training game? “I figure you’ve got to practice,” Girardi said.
• New outfielder Chris Dickerson is flying into Tampa tonight. I have to assume he’ll be at the complex for tomorrow’s game against the Pirates.
• Brian Cashman said he’s not sure when Kevin Millwood will actually arrive in Tampa.
• After completing one trade and agreeing to one minor league deal, Cashman said he’s not finished shopping this spring. Doesn’t mean he’ll make another move, but he’ll keep looking around. “I feel that we have some quality choices in house, but my job is always to find people who are better than what we have,” Cashman said.
Top picture was taken by Paul Dean and emailed to me. From left, that’s Montero, Molina, Tony Pena, Russell Martin and Jose Gil. That’s an AP photo of Girardi with Astros first-base coach Bobby Meacham, and an AP photo of Jeter, Swisher and Kevin Long in front of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.