Joe Girardi addressed the team this morning. His message included a Yankees video full of highlights, including footage of the 2009 World Series championship.
“I talked to them about why we’re here, our goals and the importance of keeping your goals in mind when you’re going through your work,” Girardi said. “Spring training, as we know, can get long at times. We ask you to do things, make adjustments sometimes that you’ve never been asked to do. We talk about the importance of communicating between us, what you’re feeling, what you need, maybe something you don’t like. The importance of that.
“The real message is keeping in mind what we’re setting out to do and don’t lose sight of that when you’re doing your work every day. That’s why we do the work.”
Asked whether “what we’re setting out to do” meant playing well or winning a championship, Girardi didn’t hesitate.
“Championship,” he said.
• Six pitchers faced hitters this morning, but Ivan Nova was the only projected big leaguer among them. “We just felt he was ready for it,” Giradri said. “Larry (Rothschild) is trying to give them individual attention.” Basically, the Yankees aren’t forcing every pitcher to stay on the same schedule. Some guys are throwing 25 pitches in their bullpens, some are up to 40.
• Girardi said he still doesn’t have a rotation for the first few exhibition games, but it’s no coincidence that guys like David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos faced hitters today. “At some point I think you’ll see those guys in games earlier than maybe our projected starters,” Girardi said “You’re not going to see CC on the 3rd. I’m not sure what CC’s first day is. You’ll see some of those young kids.”
• Mark Teixiera has lost a little bit of weight, but he still looks as powerful as ever. “He’s strong as can be again,” Girardi said. “Tex has always been that, and he’s extremely well conditioned. He watches his diet. He’s a very health-conscious guy and I think it’s just what he thought would be best for him.”
• Raul Ibanez is the only new position player expected to make the big league roster. “Looks good,” Girardi said. “I didn’t see him a whole lot today. I was over with the pitchers today, but he looks healthy, he looks strong, he looks like he’s moving fine.”
• Although his name was listed for batting practice, Austin Romine did not participate. And it might be a few more days before he finally does. “Backs are tricky so I can’t tell you how long Romine is going to be out,” Girardi said. “You won’t see him out there tomorrow, I can tell you that. He could be a little while.”
• George Kontos also sat out today’s workout because of that oblique issue. Although Kontos has said he’s feeling much better, Girardi said it’s still going to be “a little while” before Kontos is back.
• Random observation: While Mariano Rivera was playing catch this afternoon, his throwing partner was David Wells.
• I’m sure a lot of these guys will move around quite a bit this spring, but if you’re curious: Brandon Laird, Russell Branyan, Jorge Vazquez and Mark Teixeira took their ground balls at first base today; Bill Hall, Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix and Alex Rodriguez were at third; Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Doug Bernier and Derk Jeter were at short; and David Adams, Corban Joseph and Robinson Cano took their reps at second.
• Phil Hughes is still throwing more bullpen pitches than most guys, but his total has remained at 40. That’s pretty much the maximum that Larry Rothschild wants his pitchers to throw in the bullpen. With only a day between, Rothschild doesn’t want much more. Hughes said he occasionally will go up to 45 pitches in a bullpen session during the season, but it’s usually cutoff around 40.
• With the new bullpen built on the back field, it’s a little harder to see everything this year. I picked my battles and watched Jeter and Rodriguez’s groups take batting practice, but I only saw a little bit of the rotation guys throwing bullpens. “We’re a little more spread out because we moved the mounds,” Girardi said. “But I like the way it works. The pitchers can do all their work on one field now, instead of having to go back and forth. I actually really like it. We never hit over there anyway so it wasn’t like you needed those fields to hit on.”
Associated Press photos