First, a reminder: Don’t forget we’re having a chat today at 1 p.m.
Tomorrow at 1:05 p.m., Alex Rodriguez goes back at zero. But for now, his numbers are eye opening. This spring, Rodriguez led the Yankees with 19 hits, six home runs, 15 RBI, 44 total bases and an .898 slugging percentage.
By the way, next closest in total bases had 31.
“Alex’s spring was unbelievable,” Joe Girardi said. “There’s really no other way to describe it. The power that he displayed and how hard he hit the ball on a consistent basis, are you surprised? I don’t know if you’re surprised, but to see a guy locked in from Day 1 sometimes is kind of different to see.”
Here are some of the other spring training leaders for the Yankees.
Eduardo Nunez, 25
In this case, the significance of games played had little to do with durability and everything to do with exposure. Utility infielder was one of the few spots truly up for grabs, and Nunez and Ramiro Pena seemed to come to camp on equal ground. The Yankees had seen more of Pena the past two years, but they got a long look at Nunez this spring, and he was impressive. His numbers fell off a little in the end, but he showed his speed and ability to drive the ball. By the way, the leader in at-bats was Nick Swisher, who had two more than Nunez and three more than Derek Jeter.
Mark Teixeira, 9
Occasionally overshadowed by Rodriguez’s spring, Teixeira’s performance in Florida was also impressive. He hit .294/.410/.569, giving the Yankees reason to think he could get off to a strong start this season and put his years of slow Aprils behind him. Second in doubles — no surprise — was Rodriguez. Third was Brett Gardner, who drove the ball pretty well with his new two-handed approach.
Brett Gardner and Jorge Posada, 9
For Gardner, the walks were a sign that his plate discipline hasn’t changed since last season. He broke camp with a .373 on-base percentage. For Posada, the walks were one positive in an otherwise pedestrian spring. Trying to adjust to pinch hitting five times a game — that’s how he described being a DH — Posada didn’t put up huge spring numbers. He hit just .217 with one home run, but he did have a .357 on-base.
Ivan Nova, 1.80 (for those with more than 12 innings)
Luis Ayala, 0.79 (for those with more than five innings)
Mariano Rivera, 0.00 (for anyone)
Rivera pitched five innings and allowed three base runners. Then again, he didn’t have much to prove. Nova needed a strong spring to assure himself a spot in the rotation, and he did that with a terrific showing in Florida. He was the only Yankees pitcher with two wins. As for Ayala, he was a fairly anonymous non-roster pitcher, but he put himself on the map with a great spring. He had nine strikeouts and no walks, and he led the team in appearances and saves.
Bartolo Colon, 17
At one point there was a press box debate about which was more shocking: The fact Gustavo Molina was in line for a roster spot, or the fact Colon was in line for a roster spot. At 37 years old, and after a year and a half out of big leagues, Colon seemed like the longest of long shots. A lot of guys put up good winter numbers and can’t carry them into spring training, but Colon proved that his winter numbers were legitimate. He was one of the best pitchers in camp, and he rightfully won a spot on the Yankees staff.
Walks per nine innings
A.J. Burnett, 0
Nine pitchers appeared in big league camp without allowing a walk. Burnett was the only one who made all of his appearances as a starter. Control was a definite plus for Burnett. He’s not going to make it through a season without walking anyone, but he never got out of control and stayed out of control this spring. Pitch-by-pitch, when he made a mistake, he was able to correct it.
A few others
Offensive (at least 20 at-bats)
Runs: Curtis Granderson, 11
Strikeouts: Justin Maxwell and Nick Swisher, 12
Stolen bases: Eduardo Nunez, 6
Caught stealing: Melky Mesa, 4
Triples: Curtis Granderson, 3
Average: Jorge Vazquez, .412
On-base: Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Vazquez, .444
Pitching (at least seven innings)
Saves: Luis Ayala, 3
Innings: Phil Hughes, 22
Hit batters: Ivan Nova, 3
Walks: Manny Banuelos, 8
Ground outs: Ivan Nova, 35
WHIP: A.J. Burnett and Bartolo Colon, 0.69
Strikeouts per nine: Dave Robertson, 17.18
Associated Press photos of Rodriguez and Nova