In very different ways, this two-game series in Miami is something of a homecoming for both Joe Girardi and Alex Rodriguez. For Girardi, this is the franchise that gave him his start as a manager, and opening a new ballpark feels likes a significant step in making the Marlins a more powerful presence in the city.
“I think it was important for them to get their own home,” Girardi said. “Because I think for at times they were losing players that they probably would have liked to have held onto just because they didn’t have the revenue sources, so I think it’s really important for the organization. I think everyone saw what they did in free agency, which they haven’t been able to do for a while. I think it’s good for the organization. I think it’s good for the community.”
For Rodriguez, it’s a true return to the city where he grew up and the city where he still lives in the offseason. Rodriguez said he remembers coming into this neighborhood often as a kid, trying to sneak into the old Orange Bowl to watch football games.
“I don’t want to be corny or cheesy because it is a spring training game and all that,” Rodriguez said. “But for me this is a very special day. I grew up in these streets, in these square blocks, taking three or four buses to get to the University of Miami football games, trying to sneak into the Orange Bowl to either watch Dan Marino or Gino Torretta back in the day. I never imagined, as a child, that such a beautiful stadium would be built in the middle of Miami. I’m certainly very proud of the city of Miami and the Marlins to be able to achieve this in my home town.”
Rodriguez said his old high school coach is coming to tomorrow’s game, and he’ll have a lot of friends and family — including his two daughters — at today’s game. He had chances to tour the stadium as it was being built this winter, but he intentionally skipped those opportunities to see it for the first time this weekend.
• Girardi said he expects this to his Opening Day lineup on Friday. No real surprises, but there was some uncertainty about whether Nick Swisher or Raul Ibanez would be batting sixth. Obviously Swisher got the spot ahead of Ibanez.
• The Yankees plan to announce their Opening Day roster before Thursday’s off day. “I think we’ll probably have discussions over the next few days,” Giradri said. “You want to let guys know where they’re going and make sure they’re prepared for their season. I wouldn’t really want to do it Thursday afternoon. I would expect to do it before that.”
• Girardi said Larry Rothschild knows a set pitch count for CC Sabathia, but Girardi didn’t know it. Based on previous conversations, it sounds like he’ll go somewhere around four innings or so. “It will not be 95 or 100 (pitches),” Girardi said. “It will be somewhat abbreviated. Each guy is going to be a little bit different, discussions with Larry and what they feel that they need and how much they want.”
• None of Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell or David Phelps made the trip to Miami. I believe Phelps and Mitchell will join the team in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, but ultimately the Yankees seem ready to choose their long man based on previous outings. Girardi said all that’s left is to talk to his staff. They don’t need to see anything more from those three, but clearly one of them will make the team.
• As long as he feels good, Andy Pettitte will pitch in some capacity on Thursday’s off day. The Yankees have ruled out the possibility of him pitching in Wednesday’s spring finale, which seemed possible just a few days ago. “I don’t think it’s a setback at all,” Girardi said. “We’re just keeping him on a five-day rotation, that’s all. We would have had to ask him to come back a day early, and we just don’t feel that that’s really a good idea.”
• Today’s available pitchers: CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada, George Kontos, Brandon Pinder, Mark Montgomery, Juan Cedeno and Pat Venditte
• Today’s second string: C Francisco Cervelli, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Doug Bernier, SS Eduardo Nunez, 3B Bill Hall, LF Chris Dickerson, CF Dewayne Wise and RF Justin Maxwell
Associated Press photos