With no L-screen in front of the mound and no cage around the hitter, David Phelps was one of four Yankees to throw a simulated game this morning. He threw two simulated innings — the first took eight pitches — then he faced a few more hitters to get his pitch count closer to 40. Of course, there was one pitch that stood out; the one that Ronnier Mustelier whistled up the middle, right past Phelps’ head.
“I heard it, I didn’t see it,” Phelps said. “Robbie (Cano) probably would have had it.”
Phelps, Adam Warren, Brett Marshall and Nik Turley all threw live batting practice this morning, and that group seems to be the pool from which to choose a starter for Saturday’s spring opener. Phelps, Warren and Marshall threw batting practice on Thursday, took one day off, threw BP again on Saturday, took two days off, then threw today’s simulated games. If you figure three days off this time, all three would be perfectly lined up for Saturday.
But the pitchers said they still haven’t been given a spring rotation.
• Didn’t get a chance to ask Robinson Cano when he’ll be leaving, but Mark Teixeira said he’s leaving to join Team USA on March 3. That should give him eight games with the Yankees, and maybe a chance to play in four of them. Cano’s Team D.R. plays the Yankees on March 6, so we know he’ll be gone by then.
• Eduardo Nunez showed up in camp a little smaller than last spring. He reported close to 199 pounds last year but is down to 193 this year. He said he felt he bulked up a little too much last winter, wanted to stay a little lighter this time.
• Today’s defensive drills have Dan Johnson at third base. If he proves he can play there, he could become an interesting bench candidate as, essentially, an Eric Chavez replacement.
• Phelps said he wasn’t surprised to see Mustelier hit that sharp comebacker during this morning’s sim game. Phelps played with Mustelier in the Arizona Fall League and for a little bit in Triple-A. “He can swing it, he certainly can,” Phelps said.
• In their sim games, Phelps threw to Bobby Wilson, Warren threw to Francisco Cervelli, Marshall threw to Chris Stewart and Turley threw to Austin Romine. The hitters were Mustelier, Cito Culver, Addison Maruszak and Corban Joseph.
• Today’s batting practice pitchers:
Facing Melky Mesa and Kyle Roller
Dave Robertson (throwing to J.R. Murphy)
Jim Miller (Murphy)
Nick Goody (Gary Sanchez)
Facing Jose Pirela and Greg Bird
Dellin Betances (Francisco Arcia)
Juan Cedeno (Kyle Higashioka)
• Today’s sides:
CC Sabathia (to Bobby Wilson)
Andy Pettitte (Cervelli)
David Aardsma (Stewart)
Mariano Rivera (Romine)
Cody Eppley (Roman Rodriguez)
Clay Rapada (Murphy)
Chase Whitley (Arcia)
Preston Claiborne (Sanchez)
Tom Kahnle (Higashioka)
Shawn Kelley (Rodriguez)
• Defensive infield drills:
Greg Bird (1B), Robinson Cano (2B), Walter Ibarra (2B), Derek Jeter (SS), Dan Johnson (3B), Luke Murton (1B), Eduardo Nunez (SS), Jayson Nix (2B/3B), Rob Segedin (3B)
Cito Culver (SS), Corban Joseph (2B/3B), Addison Maruszak (2B/3B), Jose Pirela (2B), Kyle Roller (1B), Mark Teixeira (1B), Gil Velazquez (SS), Kevin Youkilis (3B)
• Batting practice groups (same as yesterday):
Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner, Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez
Dan Johnson, Jayson Nix, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis
Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Juan Rivera, Ichiro Suzuki
Matt Diaz, Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier, Thomas Neal
Corban Joseph, Addison Maruszak, Luke Murton, Gil Velazquez
Zoilo Almonte, Slade Heathcott, Kyle Roller, Rob Segedin
Greg Bird, Cito Culver, Walter Ibarra, Jose Pirela
Tyler Austin, Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia
Associated Press photos