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.
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.
• 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