A few comments from Joe Girardi about today’s decisions.
Sending Jesus Montero and Austin Romine to the minors
“We thought it was more beneficial for them to play every day instead of maybe just getting a couple starts in the month of April. When you look at those two young guys, we consider them front-line catchers in the big leagues some day. These are two guys that worked extremely hard, and I believe they’ll go down with the correct attitude. There’s got to be disappointment, that’s the bottom line, because you want to be here so bad. They seem to understand and will go down with the right attitude.”
Different decision if they had played better this spring?
“I can’t tell you. I saw improvement out of both of them; a lot of improvement since last year. Montero got more at-bats than Romine. I think Montero is a much better player than what he showed, offensivey. I think he pressed. I told him, ‘When you do come up one day, try to learn from this experience.’ It’s easy to say and it’s hard to do, not to press. You can only do what you can do.
“It’s possible we would have taken one of them, but we want them to play every day. We want when they come up, not to have to go back. These are guys we believe are everyday players.”
Choosing Eric Chavez as the backup corner infielder
“That one’s pretty evident. With the spring that he had, we feel that he’s healthy and we feel that it’s a good bat on a day that we rest Alex or Tex. You’ve got a pretty big bat there. We’re really pleased with what he did.”
Picking Eduardo Nunez over Ramiro Pena as the utility infielder
“We thought (Nunez) had a better spring. He played pretty well in the month of September last year, he’s probably a little bit better of a base stealer, he’s hit more in his career in the minor leagues. He swung the bat pretty good here last year. As I told Nino, this is a decision we’re making now. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be that way June 1 or May 1.”
Leaving Mark Prior in Tampa
“We’re going to leave him in Tampa just because of the weather. It’s the first time he’s ever relieved. Eventually, you want him to get to where he can give you more than one inning and go back-to-back. The weather is much more predictable here. It’s warmer for a guy that has never had to be on somewhat of a time limit when he warms up, so we thought it was beneficial for him to be here. It took him a little bit by surprise, but he understood the reasoning. I don’t think he thought he was going to A-ball. We told him the reasons why and as soon as the weather gets better – at least reasonable – we’ll move him.”
Finding a replacement for Pedro Feliciano
“That decision may not be made until Wednesday night because you wait to see what shakes out. You have (Luis) Ayala, and (Steve) Garrison as well, so if it’s one of those two, they’ll probably fly up on Wednesday.”