Raul Ibanez might have been signed to be the Yankees regular designated hitter, but that doesn’t mean he won’t need a glove.
“We plan on DHing him,” Joe Girardi said. “We plan on putting him in the outfield as well. We’ve talked about trying to give some guys a DH day or a rest day, and it gives you more flexibility since he can play the outfield as well.”
It’s the same story with Andruw Jones. Essentially, those two will form a platoon, but it’s not exactly a DH platoon.
“Not necessarily,” Girardi said. “I could stick Ibanez in left field, for example, and if I wanted to DH Granderson to give him a day, move Gardy over. I envision (Ibanez) playing against right-handers, and Andruw always playing against left-handers, that sort of thing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll always be a DH.”
• Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to pitch off a full mound tomorrow. It will be his first time off a full mound since Tommy John surgery. “You want to see how he’s progressing and you want to see where he’s at,” Girardi said. “You look at him and say, ‘It’s probably feasible that we’ll have him by this date’ from what you see. As he starts to throw more bullpens we’ll have a much better idea, but so far he’s looked great.”
• Rafeal Soriano on the possibility of Mariano Rivera’s retirement: “Whatever decision he makes, it’s fine with me. Let’s see what happens. Right now I don’t think about that. I’m going to think about winning this year.”
• Girardi on the possibility of this being Rivera’s last year: “With Mo, you appreciate every year that he’s out there. You really appreciate what he does. I’ve had a chance to catch it and to coach it and manage it, and obviously we all knew that one day it’s going to all come to an end. Do I necessarily feel in my mind that this is going to be his last year? No I don’t, so I don’t know if I look at it that way. For example, if someone had shared that that’s what he said, then I might. But I don’t know if that’s what he’s going to do.”
• George Kontos felt some stiffness in his oblique on his third-to-last bullpen pitch. He said it got a little tight, and he’s hoping it’s only going to take a few days for him to get back on a mound. Girardi wasn’t quite as optimistic. “He’s probably going to be down for a couple weeks, I would imagine,” Girardi said. “You have to wait to see how he feels tomorrow. He was pretty sore.”
• Kontos should be in the mix for that last, wide-open spot in the bullpen. He’s been throwing for months and probably came into camp ahead of most pitchers in terms of winter workload, so he’s hoping that even a week of downtime won’t knock him significantly off schedule.
• Girardi explaining how he handled Jones’ sore knee last season: “There were days I couldn’t use him. That’s all. I would know that day or the day before that I wasn’t going to be able to use him. You go into that ballgame just saying, you know what, I don’t have Andruw today. I would check with him to make sure there wasn’t fluid on his knee. You just kind of kept in touch with him.”
• Looking for an under-the-radar guy who could legitimately pitch his way into a big league role at some point, maybe at some point soon? Tim Norton was terrific last season and got to Triple-A before being shutdown with a shoulder injury. My old friend Donnie Collins reports that Norton is pitching again and, according to Mark Newman, “feeling fine.”
• Speaking of Yankees prospects off the radar: Yesterday I was talking to one of the Yankees younger pitchers. Unprompted, he mentioned former Yankees prospect Christian Garcia, who’s now signed with the Nationals and finally healthy. The guy I was talking to played catch with him quite a bit this offseason and made this prediction: Garcia will be in the big leagues with the Nats before the All-Star break.
• The Yankees team getaway is “in the works” and Girardi said he’s 90-percent sure that he knows what it will be. It’s probably going to be on March 1, the day before the first Grapefruit League game.
• Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson were the only new position players spotted in the clubhouse today. Dickerson did say that Brett Gardner is also in Tampa hitting at the minor league complex with Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, each of whom we already knew was down here.
• Girardi’s very basic, barebones take on the first two days of workouts: “The guys are just starting their first bullpens. You don’t expect them to be as sharp as they’re going to be or expect them to have their breaking ball in order yet. I’ve been pleased with the work that we’ve seen.”
Associated Press photos