Phil Hughes gets his first spring outing this afternoon. He’ll be pitching in relief of CC Sabathia.
“We have him prepare as a starter,” Girardi said. “We give him plenty of time to warm up, and if something goes haywire (with Sabathia), we’ll have a reliever come in.”
Girardi said this morning that he’s been impressed with the way Hughes came into camp. He got down here for early work at the minor league complex, and he’s clearly in better shape than he was last spring. Girardi said it seems that he’s clearly taking nothing for granted and working to earn his place in the rotation, but of course, it also raises questions about whether Hughes was similarly committed in previous seasons.
My guess is that will be a significant topic of discussion after today’s game.
• Eduardo Nunez is not going to take batting practice today, but Girardi said he still thinks he could play tomorrow. Nunez can make a fist, but he still feels some pain when he does. Nunez said the hand does feels better, and he’s not at all worried about it.
• Ramiro Pena is getting time in the outfield today.
• Girardi listed his scheduled starters for one more turn through the rotation. There are no surprises:
Tomorrow: Hiroki Kuroda
Thursday: Ivan Nova
Friday: Freddy Garcia
Saturday: Michael Pineda
Sunday: CC Sabathia (home), Phil Hughes (road)
Monday: Hiroki Kuroda
• Four pitchers threw sides this morning: D.J. Mitchell, Matt Daley, Joba Chamberlain and Freddy Garcia. Russell Martin was scheduled to catch Garcia, but I think that was happening while the writers were meeting with Girardi.
• Tomorrow’s sides: Brad Meyers, Michael Pineda, Manny Banuelos and Rafael Soriano.
• Cole Garner and Nunez are on the list of players staying in Tampa to take batting practice. Garner has been dealing with a hamstring issue and I’m not sure he’ll actually hit. Nunez, obviously, won’t be hitting.
• Today’s available pitchers: CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Michael O’Connor, Brett Marshall, Graham Stoneburner, Chase Whitley, Adam Warren, Cesar Cabral and Kevin Whelan. My assumption is that only the first six are actually expected to pitch.
• Today’s second string: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Brandon Laird, 2B David Adams, SS Doug Bernier, 3B Jorge Vazquez, LF Ramiro Pena, CF Melky Mesa, RF Zoilo Almonte, DH J.R. Murphy
Jose Tabata LF
Clint Barmes SS
Andrew McCutchen CF
Casey McGehee 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Rod Barajas C
Yamaico Navarro DH
Nick Evans 3B
Brandon Boggs LF