Raul Ibanez remembers standing in left field, watching Johnny Damon break for third. He remembers pointing and screaming and feeling helpless. He remembers losing.
“I was still mad about the 2009 World Series loss,” he said this morning. “Until about a week ago.”
Ibanez came into camp with a good reputation as a good clubhouse guy, and today he made a good first impression. He talked about his struggles last season, his opportunities this winter and the feeling of brand new pinstripes.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It didn’t really hit me until I pulled up to the stadium and realized I will be working here… It’s an honor and a privilege.”
Seems like a good guy. Now he’s just got to hit…
• The first full-squad workout won’t start until later this morning. The team has some early meetings, including a start-of-spring-training address from Joe Girardi. The theme of Girardi’s message? “What our focus is and the reason we do things in spring training,” he said.
• A lot of batting practice sessions this morning. Ivan Nova, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances faced hitters on the main field. David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell and Kevin Whelan threw to hitters on one of the side fields.
• Austin Romine’s name is listed for batting practice. Could be a sign that he’s going to fully participate after skipping a day because of a sore back. I only saw Romine for about four seconds in the clubhouse and didn’t get a chance to ask how he’s feeling. He wasn’t listed for BP yesterday, but he was listed today. That’s probably a good sign.
• Today’s bullpen groups:
CC Sabathia (to Gustavo Molina)
Hiroki Kuroda (to Francisco Cervelli)
Michael Pineda (to Jose Gil)
Phil Hughes (to Russell Martin)
Freddy Garcia (to J.R. Murphy)
Cory Wade (to Gary Sanchez)
Dave Robertson (to Francisco Cervelli)
Rafael Soriano (to Russell Martin)
Boone Logan (to Kyle Higashioka)
• First full-squad workout means the first full batting practice assignments. They pretty much keep infielders with infielders and outfielders with outfielders. You’ll notice that all of the big league outfielders will be hitting together.
Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez
Eric Chavez, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira
Group 3 (let’s call it the “waiting and hoping” group)
Russell Branyan, Bill Hall, Jayson Niz, Jorge Vazquez
David Adams, Doug Bernier, Corban Joseph, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina
Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Nick Swisher
Chris Dickerson, Justin Maxwell, Cole Garner, Dewayne Wise
Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Melky Mesa, Francisco Cervelli
Jose Gil, Kyle Higashioka, J.R. Murphy, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
• You’d expect guys to simply stay with their BP groups for fielding practice, but that’s not exactly the case. For fielding, the Yankees are split into two groups, and the batting practice groups are slightly separated. These are the groups for fielding drills (in the past there have been specific positions listed — Nunez getting grounders at third base instead of shortstop, for example – but there were no position listings this morning):
Kyle Higashioka, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina, J.R. Murphy
Russell Branyan, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez
Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Justin Maxwell
Francisco Cervelli, Jose Gil, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
David Adams, Doug Bernier, Corban Joseph, Jayson Nix, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Vazquez
Chris Dickerson, Brett Gardner, Cole Garner, Melky Mesa, Nick Swisher, Dewayne Wise
• For those who really, really closely follow the minor league system: Kyle Roller and Nick McCoy came up from the minor league complex to hit off Nova, Betances and Banuelos. Kevin Mahoney and one of the Wilsons — either Wes or Zach, the sheet only said “Wilson” – came up to hit against Phelps, Mitchell and Whelan.
• Ryan Baker was up from the minor league complex to catch some of the BPs this morning. He caught Phelps and Mitchell.
Associated Press photo