What do you make of a game like today? The Yankees scored 11 runs, but their big league regulars accounted for exactly two hits. They shutout South Florida, but that was a college lineup facing a pitching staff of up-and-coming professionals.
“I’m really happy with all of the strikes that we threw from our young kids,” Joe Girardi said. “(Zoilo) Almonte really swung the ball well. David Adams really swung the bat well today. I thought we executed well offensively. We did the things we were supposed to. Guys moved runners when they had to. Look at the at-bat that (Jorge) Vazquez had with a runner at second and nobody out. Just good fundamental baseball.”
Girardi said he was happy to have so many young guys get their first at-bats under their belts. It takes away some of the tension that comes with being in big league camp. Ultimately, though, this was clearly a teaser before tomorrow’s Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies.
“We’ve been through our work and I think we’re ready to start playing games and start getting guys in shape and start evaluating some guys,” Girardi said. “Hopefully they all go as smoothly as today.”
• Pitching after Nova in tomorrow’s game: David Phelps, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral and Michael O’Connor. At least two of those guys will pitch more than one inning, but Girardi wasn’t sure which ones.
• The plan is still to have Robinson Cano play for the first time on Sunday. The outfielders and Russell Martin will make tomorrow’s trip to Clearwater. The infielders will play on Sunday. Girardi said he expects the regulars to play about five innings tomorrow.
• The star of today’s show was Almonte, who went 2-for-2 with four RBI. He was one of three Yankees to triple in the game, joining Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez. Pena, Doug Bernier and Colin Curtis also had two hits. Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez were the Yankees regulars who had hits. Both singled.
• The Yankees pitching staff finished with 10 strikeouts and no walks. They allowed four hits, one off each of the first four pitchers. Graham Stoneburner, Ryan Pope and Kevin Whelan finished the game with a hitless inning apiece. Pope did hit a guy.
• Quick injury updates:
George Kontos: Played catch today. Still not off a mound yet. He’s out with a sore oblique.
Manny Delcarmen: Will be reevaluated after a week to see if he’s ready to play catch. He’s out with a strained lat.
Austin Romine: Still out with a sore back. When will he be back? “Not for a while,” Girardi said.
Russell Branyan: According to Girardi he’s still “day-to-day” with a sore back.
Kyle Higashioka: Caught today and can swing on Monday. He’s been out with a sore shoulder.
• Girardi on Hal Steinbrenner’s comments about the payroll: “I know Hal talked about a number. It’s not like that number is a low number. What manager wouldn’t like to have a payroll of that? He talked about getting away from the luxury tax, and that’s fine with me. I’m still really blessed to have the payroll we have.”
• For whatever it’s worth, the Yankees have five players individually making more money this season than the entire team payroll of that Marlins team Girardi managed in 2006.
• Brian Cashman denied a report that the Yankees have made an offer to Cuban utility man Adonis Garcia. “That’s not true,” Cashman said. “We have not done that. There’s a $16 million number that we made an offer to somebody. We haven’t made an offer.”
• Without getting into specifics, Girardi called Mark Teixeira’s performance during yesterday’s improv outing “priceless” and said it was exactly the kind of thing he was hoping to see. “If you’re a young player, maybe if you don’t see Tex do something like that, the older guys might be a little harder to approach,” Giradi said. “But when you see them and they’re on the same level, you might ask him a question about hitting or playing first because you saw a different side of him, a side that’s a lot more inviting.”
• Bad news on former Yankees prospect Brien Taylor. He was arrested for drug trafficking in North Carolina.
Associated Press photo