Every spring training, Mariano Rivera gets to his locker and finds a pair of gray pants hanging on the rod. They’ve always been a joke… until now.
Rivera is actually planning to go on the road this spring. From March 31 through April 3, the Yankees play four consecutive road games, including two exhibitions at the new Marlins stadium in Miami. Rivera said today that he’s actually planning to make that trip. At that point, he’ll need to pitch, and apparently he’s going to do it on the road against big leaguers rather than in Tampa at the minor league complex.
At least, that’s what he says now. Let’s see what he’s saying on March 30.
Speaking of things Rivera is saying: The Yankees closer acknowledged today that Derek Jeter is one of the few non-family members who know his plans for next season. Speaking to reporters at the minor league complex this morning, Jeter refused to spill the beans.
“You appreciate him while he’s here,” Jeter said after a morning workout. “I think everyone should just focus on that as opposed to if and when he’s going to retire.”
• Except for Rivera, all of the obvious big league pitchers threw bullpens today. Rivera said he’s thinking Sunday might be the day of his first bullpen. That seems a little earlier than usual, and Rivera said that’s because it’s a little warmer than usual. “I know that when it’s time, he’ll be ready,” Girardi said.
• Joe Girardi on the David Aardsma signing: “Power arm. Closer. We’re looking at him down the road, maybe being ready in August, possibly. It’s another option you have for your bullpen. You look at our bullpen, last year we went through a lot of arms. We had some injuries to Soriano, Joba, Feliciano, so we kept changing people out. I think the more you have, the more options it gives us, and that’s a good thing.”
• A few young starters threw live batting practice today, and Girardi said it was in anticpation of early spring training games. “We want to make sure everyone’s ready to go,” Girardi said. Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and D.J. Mitchell threw live BP, and Girardi’s wording suggested at least one of them could get an early start this spring. Lefty Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral also threw batting practice.
• Over at the minor league complex, Brandon Laird, Jayson Nix, Doug Bernier, Ramiro Pena, Bill Hall, Corban Joseph and Jorge Vazquez went through infield drills together. Hall was at second base, Vazquez was at first, Nix was at second and third, Laird was at third and first, and both Bernier and Pena got their reps at shortstop.
• Girardi said, as far as he knows, everyone came through today with no physical problems. No one to add to the injury list today.
• It was reported earlier this winter, but the YES Network announced today that Lou Piniella has joined the network as a special contributor who will provide game and studio analysis.
• Girardi’s fairly generic comment on today’s workout: “I thought it went great. I thought the guys threw well. You see them throwing more breaking balls, and they increased the amount that they threw. You’re always curious to see how they bounce back, but they seemed to bounce back pretty well.”
Associated Press photos