The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Archive for March, 2012

Still plenty of questions surrounding Pineda’s shoulder, velocity and performance03.31.12

Now that they have the MRI results, the Yankees know what they’re dealing with. But that doesn’t mean they have all of the answers. What caused Michael Pineda’s injury, and what effect has it had on his pitching? Were there warning signs along the way, or was this completely unpredictable? Truth be told, there are a lot of variables in this situation, and there weren’t many definitive answers beyond the diagnosis.

Did the injury cause the velocity dip?
“There was always that curiosity, why isn’t it going up higher?” Joe Girardi said. “And as you’re looking for answers, we’re looking, too, trying to figure out why isn’t the velocity where it was last year? Is it the innings? Is he just not ready to turn it loose? What is it? None of us are ever really going to know, but right now, he’s shut down and we’ll get him back as soon as we can.”

Did trying to generate velocity lead to the injury?
“I think it’s possible,” Girardi said. “I think you can look at a lot of guys and nothing’s ever going to come back perfect if you do an MRI. It could just be the six and a half weeks accumulation of pitching and getting in shape, getting your arm in shape. That’s why we try not to rush guys. It could be (trying to generate velocity). It could be from him flying open a little bit. I know we talked about that yesterday. Who knows? It’s just normal workload that you get it.”

Did Phil Hughes’ troubles last year raise concerns about Pineda?
“I didn’t necessarily feel that way,” Girardi said. “Looking at Phil’s situation and looking at this I didn’t feel there was going to be a correlation, I didn’t. People’s bodies always respond different. Everyone’s different. I don’t think you can put, you know, any two human bodies in the same, you know, this is the reason it happened. Everyone is different.”

Do you buy into an innings jump leading to something like this?
“I do,” Girardi said. “I think there is something to it. I think you have to be careful. You have to protect players as they are maturing physically and making innings jumps, because a lot of time it’s the wear and tear over time that really hits you. If you ran a mile, mile, mile and then you went out and ran a marathon, you’re probably not going to feel the same as if you ran a mile. So you try to gradually increase just like you would with any activity.”

The injury could be the product of workload, or altered mechanics, or it could be normal wear and tear. The diminished velocity could be a byproduct of the soreness, a cause of the soreness, or it could a coinciding issue with no cause-effect relationship. The only thing to do now and is give Pineda time to heal and search for answers then.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 350 Comments →

Saturday notes: Bichette’s big day with the big leaguers03.31.12

When he looked into the stands, Joe Girardi saw his old friend Dante Bichette holding a video camera. When he looked onto the the field, Girardi saw Dante Bichette Jr. rounding the bases.

Could he imagine the feeling of ever watching his own son hit two home runs in a big league spring training game? Girardi leaned back and smiled.

“Hopefully I’ll get that chance,” he said.

This afternoon, Bichette Jr. came up from minor league camp to get a couple of at-bats against the Astros. First time he went to the plate, he swung at the first pitch and hit a wind-aided home run to right. Second time he went to the plate, he again swung at the first pitch, and hit a legitimate shot to center field.

“I was lucky to make contact with the first two swings, and they went pretty far,” Bichette Jr. said. “I’m happy with that. I was just trying to hit the ball, that’s all. … Family is the world to me, so my Mom and Dad here is everything. It’s a family effort, everything that’s happened so far, so having them here is perfect.”

Bichette Jr. grew up 20 minutes from this ballpark and played here in high school. Hard to imagine he ever had a day quite like this one, though. The wind got harsh as a line of bad weather moved through the area, and that helped the two teams combine for nine home runs. Bichette’s first was a product of that wind. The second one surely got some help, but he hit it pretty hard.

“It was pretty special,” Girardi said. “The second one, he really hit. Seeing his mom and dad, who we’ve been close to for a long time, his little brother; they played on this field a lot. They greew up in the area, so he’s been on this field. It’s pretty neat.”

Did Girardi say anything to Bichette Jr. in the dugout?

“I don’t know, honestly,” Bichette Jr. said. “I don’t remember any of them. It was kind of surreal.”

• If you missed it in the game post, the Yankees final diagnosis of Cesar Cabral is a stress fracture in his olecranon (essentially the tip of his elbow). Girardi said it’s the same injury Warner Madrigal had last spring, and an injury Jonathan Albaladejo had at one point. “It’s frustrating because he had a really good camp for us,” Girardi said. “I can’t tell you what was going to happen, but he had a good camp for us.”

• Francisco Cervelli was taken out of the game after being hit by a pitch in the forearm, but he’s fine. Girardi said there are no concerns about it.

• Certainly the conditions didn’t help, but Adam Warren conceded that he “just wasn’t sharp” this afternoon. He allowed six runs on 10 hits through 5.2 innings. He walked none and struck out three, but said his command was bad from the very beginning. He did feel better as the game progressed, he said. Four of those runs came in the second inning.

• Girardi on Warren: “I thought he threw the ball better than the numbers indicated. It’s a windy day, an extremely fast infield — not great conditions to be a pitcher here. I thought he threw the ball better than what it indicated.”

• The game was called in the middle of the ninth inning because of steady rain. Each team agreed there was no sense taking the risk of injury. “We just said, ‘If it starts raining any harder, we don’t want to get anyone hurt,’” Girardi explained. “It kind of stopped a little bit, they put down some Diamond Dry, and then it started raining hard again. So, that’s it.”

• Clay Rapada gave up a home run to a lefty today, but it was hit to right field, where the wind was carrying fly balls over the wall. Hard to think the Yankees make too much of that.

• Raul Ibanez now has three home runs in his past five games. He’s also raised his spring batting average more than 100 points in that time.

• Curtis Granderson went 3-for-3 to raise his spring average to .381. He’s looked really good at the plate from the very beginning of spring. … Bichette, Ibanez, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira each had two-hit games. … Jose Gil got a start and had another hit. A 1-for-4 day dropped his spring average to .455. … Doug Bernier also had another hit and is having a nice spring of his own. He’s hitting .344 and has played very good defense all over the infield, particularly at short. … Preston Claiborne got in the game and pitched the final two innings for the Yankees. He allowed two runs, one of them on a homer.

• After the game, the Yankees got back on the bus to go to Tampa. When they get back, the guy who are making the road trip to play the Marlins will join their teammates for a flight to Miami. Tomorrow is a day game followed by a night game on Monday. I’m going to hit the road myself. Long drive ahead of me.

Assocaited Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 642 Comments →

Spring training Game 29: Yankees at Astros03.31.12

YANKEES (14-11-3)
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira DH
Raul Ibanez RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Chris Dickerson LF
Doug Bernier SS
Jose Gil 1B

RHP Adam Warren (0-0, 1.93)
Warren’s minor league numbers

ASTROS (14-14)
Brian Bogusevic CF
Jose Altuve 2B
J.D. Martinez DH
Carlos Lee 1B
Travis Buck RF
Chris Johnson 3B
Chris Snyder C
Justin Ruggiano LF
Marwin Gonzalez SS

RHP Jordan Lyles (0-2, 6.32)
Lyles minor league numbers

TIME: 1:05 p.m.

WEATHER: A little bit cloudy, but there’s little indication that the Yankees are going to have a hard time playing the game. Wind blowing out to center.

UMPIRES: HP Chris Segal, 1B Eric Loveless, 2B Jeff Gosney

ASTROS PEN: Houston is scheduled to use RHP David Carpenter, LHP Wesley Wright and RHP Brandon Lyon.

CHATTING WITH WARREN: With Adam Warren getting the story today, feel free to head over to milb.com for a prospect Q&A with Warren. He talked about what he’s working on this spring, what it’s like to be in such a pitching-rich organization and how much he’s learned from all the big names in Yankees camp.

FLY BY NIGHT: After today’s game, the Yankees will bus back to Tampa, then those who are making this weekend’s trip to play the Marlins will catch a flight to Miami. It’s going to be a few days of tough travel here at the end of spring training.

UPDATE, 1:29 p.m.: Cesar Cabral has a stress fracture in his olecranon, which is basically the tip of his elbow. He’s been placed in a splint with not immediate treatment plan in place. The guy pitched a scoreless inning last night with a broken elbow. Let that settle in for a second.

UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: The Astros just threw up four runs in the second inning to take a 4-2 lead. The big blow was a three-run homer by Justin Ruggiano.

UPDATE, 2:03 p.m.: Yankees have tied the game at 4 after an RBI single by Ibanez and a sac fly by Cervelli. Ibanez still looks much better than he did earlier this spring. Seems to have gotten those timing issues sorted out.

UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.: Double for Granderson and two-run homer by Cano have put the Yankees in front 6-5 in the fifth inning.

UPDATE, 2:28 p.m.: Add a double for Teixeira and a two-run homer for Ibanez. It’s now 8-5 Yankees.

UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: Not the sharpest outing for Warren who just gave up a solo homer to Carlos Lee and has allowed six runs through five innings. Considered David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell have spots on the 40-man and Warren does not, Warren might have been the long-shot of those three anyway.

UPDATE, 2:49 p.m.: Dante Bichette just homered on his first pitch of the game. Huge high five from Girardi as soon as Bichette got back to the dugout. Pretty cool moment.

UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: Another first-pitch home run for Bichette. Seriously.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 473 Comments →

Pregame notes: Pineda diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis03.31.12

This morning’s MRI revealed tendinitis in Michael Pineda’s sore right shoulder. He’ll open the season on the 15-day disabled list, but given the alternatives, manager Joe Girardi called this “great news.”

“Very relieved,” Girardi said. “Because the rest of the MRI came out good.”

With sore shoulders, the biggest concern centers on labrums and rotator cuffs. Both seem to be fine with Pineda. The plan is for Pineda to rest for a while, thought Girardi wouldn’t put any sort of timetable on his potential return. Girardi said there’s still no clear indication whether Pineda felt this before last night, but it’s “absolutely” a problem that popped up after the trade. This isn’t a lingering issue from last season.

As for a cause, Girardi said it could be anything. Could be a gradual situation that just started to present itself this spring. It might have been caused made worse by Pineda trying to throw hard and slightly altering his mechanics. It could be just normal wear and tear. Although Phil Hughes also had shoulder tendonitis last season, Girardi said he doesn’t consider these injuries one and the same. There’s too much going on in the shoulder to say that two tendonitis problems would be the same.

• Girardi acknowledged that the Pineda injury sets the Yankees rotation: 1. CC Sabathia, 2. Hiroki Kuroda, 3. Phil Hughes, 4. Ivan Nova, 5. Freddy Garcia.

• There’s no final diagnosis for Cesar Cabral’s elbow injury, but Girardi said it’s “significant” and he’s going to miss more than 15 days. It’s a pretty serious problem that’s being further evalutated. Obviously Tommy John jumps to mind, but the Yankees have given no indiciation one way or the other whether that’s a consideration.

• With Cabral out, it seems very likely that Clay Rapada will make the team. “Very possible,” Girardi said. “He’s definitely going to be considered.”

• With Pineda out, it seems one of D.J. Mitchell, David Phelps or Adam Warren will make the big league roster as a long man. Girardi won’t say that one of those three is definitely in, but he said, “right now I think it’s safe to focus on that.” Girardi didn’t rule out the idea of carrying two of them — and not carrying Rapada — but that scenario seems unlikely.

• Andy Pettitte threw a two-inning simulated game this morning. Girardi said he looked sharp, “especially for 8:40 in the morning.” Girardi seemed less optimistic that Pettitte will actually pitch in a game this spring. He’d have to do it on Wednesday, which would be on short rest, and that seems unlikely.

• Girardi didn’t see Nick Swisher or Dave Robertson to check on them today. He’s assuming Swisher feels good enough to play tomorrow and assuming Robertson will bounce back just fine after two innings yesterday. He’ll hear about it if they’re not ok.

• I don’t have the full list of second-string players this afternoon — no clubhouse access here in Kissimmee — but Dante Bichette Jr. and Mason Williams are here and will play. It will be the first time Girardi has seen Bichette since watching him in high school. Girardi and Bichette’s father are extremely close friends.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 87 Comments →

Ibanez gets another turn in RF03.31.12

Just got to Kissimmee after a drive that always takes longer than I remember. Not sure well have any sort of Michael Pineda/Cesar Cabral update until later, but Joe Girardi should address the media in a few minutes.

Eduardo Nunez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira DH
Raul Ibanez RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Chris Dickerson LF
Doug Bernier SS
Jose Gil 1B

RHP Adam Warren

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 108 Comments →

“The dangerous thing about this time of year”03.31.12

The Yankees asked Michael Pineda several times this spring whether his arm was sore. They knew his velocity was down, and they wanted to make sure he felt OK. It wasn’t until last night, after he’d been taken out of the game, that Pineda mentioned tightness in his right shoulder.

“That can be the danger of when you have competitions,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That maybe someone doesn’t say something and there’s something bothering them a little bit.”

Two innings after Pineda exited, Cesar Cabral pitched through a scoreless inning. He only admitted afterward that his elbow was in significant pain.

“He didn’t let on either,” Girardi said. “He finished the inning. That’s the dangerous thing about this time of year. That’s the true danger, because everyone’s trying to make a team. It’s what you dream about as a little kid, what you do all the work for.”

The Yankees don’t know how long Pineda’s been feeling this soreness in his shoulder, but it certainly could explain the diminished velocity, and it certainly could keep him from opening the season in the big league rotation. The team is confident that Cabral never felt any pain until last night, but obviously there’s now significant concern about his elbow.

“There’s a competitive nature in every one of them or they wouldn’t be here,” Girardi said. “That’s part of the game. That’s what makes them successful. That’s how athletes push through things, and sometimes you don’t know the difference between stiffness and soreness and maybe being hurt.”

Two MRI’s this morning will know the difference, and they could have a significant impact on the pitching staff that heads to Tropicana Field in six days.

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: Pineda’s shoulder a cause for concern03.30.12

The first two times reporters asked Michael Pineda whether his arm hurt tonight, Pineda got very quiet and hesitant before sheepishly saying his arm was ok. The third time, his answer changed.

“Today my arm is a little sore,” he said.

Pineda pointed to the back of his right shoulder.

“When I’m throwing, it’s a little sore,” he explained. “It’s normal sore(ness). Sometimes every player doesn’t feel 100 percent when they play every day.”

The Yankees aren’t so sure the soreness is normal. They’re sending Pineda for an MRI in the morning. Both Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi said they’re concerned, and Girardi conceded that this injury might very well have settled the Yankees rotation competition.

“I have concern,” Cashman said. “Any time a pitcher talks about his shoulder I have concern. His velocity is down, so you put those two together and it obviously causes that level of concern. … We’ve asked him all spring, and he’s said he’s been fine. But it’s not like I sat him down now, stuck a light in his face and said, ‘Tell me now, in the last five weeks (has the shoulder hurt)?’ I don’t know. I know we’ve asked him all spring, and he’s said he’s been fine, that he’s healthy and feels good. Tonight, after he came out of his start, he talked about his shoulder being tight in the back.”

Expected to pitch close to 95 pitches, Pineda threw just 71 before being pulled after 2.2 innings. He gave up six hits on seven hits, three walks and two strikeouts. It was easily his worst start of the spring. Pineda admitted afterward that he was trying to generate more fastball velocity, but his fastball again sat at 90-92 mph, topping out at 94.

Pineda was dejected afterward, and when he was asked whether he deserved a spot, Pineda said simply, “I don’t know.”

“We’ve got to find out what’s going on before we discuss this any further,” Girardi said. “We talk about you don’t make decisions too early in camp because things have a way of working out sometimes.”

• Not exactly the comparison you want to hear, but Girardi said Pineda might be going through the same thing Phil Hughes went through last spring. It’s pretty much impossible not to think of Hughes after something like this (young pitcher, after his first full season as a big league starter, showing diminished velocity in spring training and then talking about a sore shoulder). It does sound awfully familiar.

• Girardi said Pineda’s fastball was cutting a lot tonight. It’s cut occasionally this spring, but tonight was an extreme example, and that might have something to do with the diminished velocity. Pineda said his left shoulder was flying open, and that mechanical flaw kept him from staying behind the baseball consistently. Girardi said those altered mechanics might have come from Pineda trying to generate additional velocity, and they might have come from trying to compensate for the injury.

• Cesar Cabral is also hurt, and that might have decided the Yankees competition for a second lefty. Cabral made it through an inning tonight, but then complained about significant pain in his left elbow. He was in a sling tonight, and he’ll go for both an MRI and an x-ray tomorrow morning. Girardi said Cabral had a “pretty good chance” of making the team. Now it would seem that Clay Rapada is a heavy favorite for a bullpen spot.

• It’s a tiny footnote compared to Pineda and Cabral, but George Kontos was unavailable because of a blister.

• On a night full of bad news, the Yankees actually won tonight’s game. They beat the Phillies 13-9. Derek Jeter, Eric Chavez and Dewayne Wise each had two hits. Wise’s two hits were both home runs. Curtis Granderson also went deep.

• Cory Wade pitched two innings tonight, giving up one run on three hits. He’s being stretched out a little bit so that he can go two or three innings if necessary in the regular season.

• If you missed it earlier, Freddy Garcia’s line at the minor league complex was 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. The one run scored after he left the game in the seventh. “I was throwing strikes,” Garcia said. “I tried to keep the ball down. Those guys, every pitch, they swing, but I was able to get them out. I threw everything. I’m happy. I threw like 85 pitches, and that’s what I need. Do my work and wait for my next start on Wednesday.”

• Dave Robertson at the minor league complex: 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Robertson gave up one home run and pitched two innings in an attempt to build some arm strength. “He’s going to get a couple more appearances and I think he’ll be ready,” Girardi said. “Hopefully today was a step in the right direction.”

• Nick Swisher went 1-for-4 with a double at the minor league complex. One of the pitchers he faced was Jo-Jo Reyes. “Those minor-league fields, it feels like the pitcher is like five feet from you,” Swisher said. “It’s good just to go down there, get the motion and rhythm of everything.”

• With Pineda’s start tonight, the Yankees have finished their longest starts of the spring. Each starter will be dialed back this last turn through the rotation. Look for close to four innings each. “Each guy will be a little different,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing set for each guy at this time. I know Larry’s talked to each guy about what they want, so but it won’t be as long as this 95-pitch start that they’ve had.”

• Girardi said every starting pitcher — including David Phelps, Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell — is as stretched out as the Yankees need them to be at this point. A start at a lower pitch count won’t change that, it’s just a bit of a rest heading into the regular season.

• Although Phil Hughes is pitching out of the bullpen on Monday, Girardi made it clear that Hughes will prepare as a starter that day. Before tonight’s game, that actually seemed like relevant information. Now it’s perfectly obvious.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 313 Comments →

Pineda and Cabral going for MRIs03.30.12

Michael Pineda will have an MRI on his shoulder tomorrow. Brian Cashman admitted that hes concerned.

Also, Cesar Cabral is in a sling and will have an MRI and an X-Ray after feeling pain in his left elbow.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 484 Comments →

Spring training Game 28: Yankees vs. Phillies03.30.12

strongYANKEES (13-11-3)/strong
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones DH
Justin Maxwell RF
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 3.31)
a href=http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/batvspitch/_/id/30937/michael-pinedaPineda vs. Phillies/a

strongPHILLIES (12-14-3)/strong
Juan Pierre LF
Shane Victorino CF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Jim Thomes DH
Hunter Pence RF
Placido Polanco 3B
Ty Wigginton 1B
Carlos Ruiz C
Freddy Galvis 2B

LHP Antonio Bastardo (0-0, 4.26)
a href=http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/batvspitch/_/id/30105/antonio-bastardoBastardo vs. Yankees/a

strongTIME/TV:/strong 7:05 p.m., YES Network

strongWEATHER:/strong Last game in Tampa before a four-day road trip to the other side of the state, and the weathers not giving us a perfect sendoff. Its not bad, just a little cloudy and not as picture perfect as its been most of the spring. Wind blowing out to center field, not particularly hard.

strongUMPIRES:/strong HP Mark Wegner, 1B Dan Iassogna, 2B Mike Estabrook

strongPHILLIES PEN:/strong Jonathan Papelbon is scheduled to pitch out of the Phillies bullpen tonight. Chad Qualls, Kyle Kendrick and Julio Rodriguez are also available.

strongGARCIAS LINE:/strong Freddy Garcia pitched at the minor league complex this afternoon. He went 6.2 innings allowing one run on two hits, three walks and five strikeouts. The one run scored after he left the game. He threw 89 pitches.

strongOUT OF HERE:/strong The Yankees next four games are on the road with one game in Kissimmee against the Astros, two in Miami against the Marlins — exhibitions to open their new ballpark — and one in Port St. Lucie against the Mets. It will be the first spring training game between the Yankees and Mets since 1996.

strongUPDATE, 7:16 p.m.:/strong One run on three hits for the Phillies in the first inning. Pineda is once again 89-91 with his fastball. His offspeed stuff is good, but that velocity just doesnt seem to be going anywhere.

strongUPDATE, 7:50 p.m.:/strong Pinedas fastball bumped 94 mph in the second inning, but he allowed another run and mostly sat at 91-92. The Yankees answering with a run in the bottom of the inning and its 2-1 Phillies heading into the third.

strongUPDATE, 8:12 p.m.:/strong Pineda is finished after just 2.2 innings. His last pitch of the night was a three-run double by Carlos Ruiz, and he was booed off the mound. Remember when I wrote a couple of days ago that I still expected the Yankees to move Garcia to the bullpen? Thats no longer the case.

strongUPDATE, 8:23 p.m.:/strong Two-run homer for Granderson has the Yankees within 6-3. Also, the Phillies just nearly made a pitching change for Kyle Kendrick, but then didnt actually put him in the game and now hes in the dugout. Very weird.

strongUPDATE, 8:38 p.m.:/strong Two-run, bases-loaded single for Justin Maxwell has pulled the Yankees within 6-5. Thats another hit and another two RBI in a really good spring for Maxwell.

strongUPDATE, 8:58 p.m.:/strong Two hits and a walk in the fourth inning have put the Yankees in front 7-6. Eric Chavez just had his second hit of the day and has his average up to .270 for the spring.

strongUPDATE, 9:07 p.m.:/strong Girardi just said on YES Network that Pinedas fastball was cutting nearly every time, which seems to be a sign that hes getting on the side of the baseball and needs to straighten out some mechinics. That might account for some of the diminished velocity. At times hell throw some fastballs that cut, but not like he did tonight, Girardi said.

UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: Pineda just admitted he was trying to generate more velocity tonight. He also admitted that he was feeling some soreness in his pitching shoulder tonight.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 1,037 Comments →

Pregame notes: Final spring starters set03.30.12

The Yankees have set their rotation for the final five games of spring training, and they seem to have left every regular-season rotation potential available.

Saturday: Adam Warren
Sunday: CC Sabathia
Monday: Hiroki Kuroda (Phil Hughes in relief)
Tuesday: Ivan Nova
Wednesday: Freddy Garcia (likely Michael Pineda in relief)

Joe Girardi said it’s a “possibility” that Pineda and Garcia will split Wednesday’s spring finale. Garcia said he’s definitely been told he’s starting that game.

At first glance, this rotation seems to indicate Hughes is the odd man out. He’s the only one who’s following turn wouldn’t fall naturally on his fifth day, but it wouldn’t be unusual for the Yankees to give all of their younger pitchers an extra day of rest heading into the season. If that’s the plan, Hughes lines up to start the third game of the season, followed by Nova and either Garcia or Pineda. If Hughes does end up in the bullpen, Nova could be the No. 3 followed by Garcia and Pineda. If Nova’s out, Hughes can be the No. 3. Garcia and Pineda are obviously interchangeable.

“Figure it out,” Girardi said, when asked what it meant that Hughes is pitching Monday instead of Saturday.

Girardi acknowledged that tonight is a big start for Pineda. I would have laughed at the idea a month ago, but it actually seems possible that the Yankees will start Pineda in the minor leagues (largely because Garcia has been so good this spring, not necessarily because Pineda has been so bad). Today, Girardi was once again over-the-top in his praising of Garcia’s minor league start this afternoon.

“If it’s good for the team, if I can help from the bullpen, I don’t have any problem,” Garcia said. “But I’ve always been a starter. … They don’t ask me (about the bullpen) yet, but I don’t really think about it. Right now, so far, I want to be a starter. I want to be in the rotation. If something happens, they change their minds, I don’t know.”

• Nick Swisher played five innings in the outfield at the minor league complex. His sore groin seems to have healed. “Didn’t feel it at all today,” Swisher said. “… I feel like I’m almost ready to take the chains off and just let it go.”

• Swisher’s not on the travel list for tomorrow, but he is going to Miami for the Sunday and Monday games. Girardi said he’ll have to check with Swisher, but he’d like to have Swisher take tomorrow off and play again Sunday. “The manager is my final hurdle,” he said.

• Dave Robertson pitched at the minor league complex today, going two innings in an attempt to build some arm strength. Girardi said he’s still fully expecting to have Robertson available on Opening Day. There are no plans of having him start the season retroactively on the DL.

• Andy Pettitte is throwing a simulated game tomorrow (he’ll face Ben Gamel and Dante Bichette, for those of you prospect followers). David Phelps, Ivan Nova, D.J. Mitchell and Brad Meyers are throwing sides tomorrow. Hughes and Kuroda are throwing sides today.

• Speaking of Meyers, the non-lefty Rule 5 pick said he still has no clue what the Yankees plan to do with him at the end of spring training. He’s been hurt most of the spring but pitched in a minor league game yesterday, and right now he’s scheduled to make the trip to Port St. Lucie on Tuesday. He seems healthy at this point, which makes a DL stint hard to justify, but it also seems all but impossible that the Yankees will actually keep him on the active roster.

• The plan is for the big league regulars to play both games in Miami.

• Tuesday will be an off day for all players not playing in that Port St. Lucie game against the Mets. That will be their final day of rest because the team is going to have a short workout at Tropicana Field on Thursday’s scheduled off day.

• Boxes are all over the place in the Yankees clubhouse right now. It’s officially time to start packing, the most obvious sign that spring training is coming to an end.

• Today’s available pitchers: Michael Pineda, Boone Logan, Cesar Cabral, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada, George Kontos, Ryan Pope, Chase Whitley and Preston Claiborne.

• Today’s second string: C Gustavo Molina, 1B Addison Maruszak, 2B Eduardo Nunez, SS Doug Bernier, 3B Bill Hall, LF Dewayne Wise, CF Chris Dickerson, RF Zoilo Almonte. The Yankees also have C Francisco Arcia and INF Kevin Russo coming up from the minor league complex to be available off the bench.

TRAVEL ROSTERS

• Saturday in Kissimmee
Pitchers: Cesar Cabral, George Kontos, Clay Rapada, Adam Warren
Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Gustavo Molina
Infielders: Doug Bernier, Robinson Cano, Bill Hall, Eduardo Nunez, Mark Teixeira
Outfielders: Chris Dickerson, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Justin Maxwell, Dewayne Wise
Minor leaguers: C Jeff Farnham, 1B/C Jose Gil, INF Walter Ibarra, 3B Dante Bichette, INF Anderson Feliz, OF Ben Gamel, OF Mason Williams, P Preston Claiborne, P Chase Whitley, P Rigoberto Aribato, P Cory Arbiso, P Sean Black, P Pedro Guerra

• Sunday and Monday in Miami
Pitchers: Cesar Cabral, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes, George Kontos, Hiroki Kuroda, Boone Logan, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Clay Rapada, Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade
Position players: All position players currently in big league camp are scheduled to make the trip
Minor leaguers: C J.R. Murphy, INF Ramiro Pena, OF Abe Almonte, P Brandon Pinder, P Mark Montgomery, P Juan Cedeno, P Pat Venditte

• Tuesday in Port St. Lucie
Pitchers: Cesar Cabral, George Kontos, Brad Meyers, D.J. Mitchell, Ivan Nova, David Phelps
Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Gustavo Molina
Infielders: Doug Bernier, Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez
Outfielders: Chris Dickerson, Brett Gardner, Andruw Jones, Justin Maxwell, Nick Swisher, Dewayne Wise
Minor leaguers: C J.R. Murphy, 1B Kyle Roller, INF Ramiro Pena, INF Zach Wilson, INF Kelvin Castro, OF Abe Almonte, OF Ramon Flores, P Brandon Pinder, P Mark Montgomery, P Juan Cedeno, P Pat Venditte

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 141 Comments →

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