It’s cold and the tarp is still on the field, but right now, the consensus seems to be that the Yankees will be able to play this afternoon. The rain has stopped, and this window should stay open long enough to get started. Given tomorrow’s forecast, Joe Girardi said “you have to do everything you can do to play today.”
Not a perfect day for baseball, but it’s probably good enough.
Welcome to Opening Day. Curtis Granderson arrived last night, the Yankees have A-lineup taking the field and they have their ace on the mound.
“It’s just a new beginning,” Derek Jeter said. “It’s like that every season. All of us as players get butterflies and get a little nervous going into Opening Day. It’s something we all look forward to. Then again, it’s something we want to get behind us and get into the swing of the season. A lot of excitement. You think back to when you were a kid in Little League, you look forward to Opening Day. I’ve said it time and time again, Opening Day here seems like it’s a little more special.”
For the Yankees, there is comfort in handing the ball to CC Sabathia. He has yet to win on Opening Day in pinstripes, but there are few better to matchup against Justin Verlander.
“He understands what he was brought here to do,” Girardi said. “And he relishes in his role of being the ace, the No. 1 guy.”
• Granderson said he got six or seven at-bats yesterday. He also played the field for about six innings and ran the bases after he was done. “Everything’s feeling good,” he said. The outfield might be a little wet today, but Granderson said the only way he won’t play will be if the Yankees don’t play.
• A.J. Burnett is still a little sick, but the Yankees still expect him to start on Saturday. “He’s still sick, but we’ll let nature take its course,” Girardi said.
• The decision to carry Luis Ayala over Steve Garrison had to do with experience. Garrison is a lefty with a spot on the 40-man, but he’s rarely pitched out of the bullpen and he has five games of experience above Double-A. Ayala look good this spring, and he has 377 games of big league experience.
• Jorge Posada will begin trying to find his designated hitter routine — which will surely be much different now that he has all that a major league stadium can provide — but Girardi said Posada was “relaxed” this spring and seems ready for the new role.
• Speaking of Posada, once again, Girardi was asked about the possibility of using Posada as a third catcher: “I guess if it was an emergency situation you’d probably put him in there ahead of Nunez,” Girardi said. Basically, don’t hold your breath waiting for Posada to catch this season.
• Sabathia could go 110-115 pitches if necessary.
• How good is Verlander? “I’d rate his stuff as good as anyone’s,” Girardi said. “You have to make this guy work.”
• It’s legitimately cold at Yankee Stadium, and Jeter did his part to keep expectations low. “The pitchers have a huge advantage,” he said, before immediately laughing.
Austin Jackson CF
Will Rhymes 2B
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Ryan Raburn LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Brandon Inge 3B
Alex Avila C
Associated Press photos of Jeter during yesterday’s workout and Sabathia from his appearance on Letterman