It’s always a slow day until the managing general partner stops outside of an elevator and talks about the budget for six minutes…
Today was supposed to be a day of quick workouts and (potentially) quick wit. The team bonding event was a trip to a local improv studio, where a group of professionals designed a series of skits and exercises for the Yankees.
“What they don’t realize is, they are the entertainment,” Joe Girardi said before getting on the bus.
“We don’t want them to be totally uncomfortable. I’m not looking for them to be uncomfortable. I’m looking for them to interact and have fun. It’s all intermingled here, guys who have been here a long time with guys who are in their first year of camp… I just think it’s important they feel they belong. If they do walk through that (clubhouse) door in April, May, June, July, they’re comfortable and they’ve had conversations with guys that maybe last year they didn’t. And I think that’s the benefit of it. Because the first time you’re called up, sometimes it’s hard enough with everything that’s going so fast. You at least don’t want them to be intimidated by the guys in the clubhouse.”
A few notes from today…
• Games start tomorrow with an exhibition against South Florida. “I think this year I’ve been as pleased as any year as a manager with our live BPs,” Girardi said. “The way that our pitchers have thrown the ball, and hopefully that moves right into the games in spring training and it moves right into the year. I’ve been really pleased with the arms that I’ve seen, the ability of the young kids, the veterans, the way they’ve been throwing the baseball. Everyday I walk away going, that was good. And it always hasn’t been like that.”
• Add Manny Delcarmen to the list of injured Yankees. He has a strained lat and is expected to miss “at least four or five days,” according to Girardi. Apparently he was one of the guys who had been pitching pretty well this spring.
• If you’re keeping track, the spring injuries look like this: Delcarmen (lat) Austin Romine (back), Kyle Higashioka (shoulder), Russell Branyan (back) and George Kontos (oblique). Should be able to scratch Kontos name off that list soon enough. He’s scheduled to play catch tomorrow and hopes to be back on a mound shortly.
• The Yankees play some National League teams early this spring, but they’ll still use a designated hitter. “Usually you have a DH at least until the 15th,” Girardi said. “Then it gets a little trickier. Some teams, when they come here, they say you can DH, but we’re probably going to hit our pitcher. That’s fine with me.”
• The big schedule in Girardi’s office had the name Hamels listed for Saturday, Halladay on Sunday and Blanton on Monday. I haven’t been able to find a Phillies spring rotation online, but I have to assume those names on the board mean the Yankees are facing Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Joe Blanton in their first three spring games.
• Rough start for A.J. Burnett’s time with the Pirates. He has fractured right orbital bone and will undergo surgery on Friday. The Associated Press says there’s no word on how long he’ll be out. Burnett fouled a ball off his face yesterday. The small video clip I saw looked brutal.
• Hal Steinbrenner was asked today about Brian Cashman’s off-the-field issues: “I’m not going to get into personal situations of employees,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s not Yankee business. I can only say that we’re here to support him. He knows that.”
• Steinbrenner on what excites him about this year’s team: “I’m excited that our young guys are one year closer to making a contribution. I’m excited to see Nova again. I’m excited for Hughes. I hear he looks very good, definitely lost some weight. And I’m excited for Pineda. I think it’s going to be interesting. Kuroda (as well). We got some new guys. Good starting pitching is always exciting, right?”