As you might be able to guess from the picture above, today the Yankees went through a series of pop up drills. They used a machine to fire baseballs into the sky, and the players had to call off their teammates and make the plays. Most of it was pretty routine — looked really fun, actually — and it was a chance to Derek Jeter to move around a little bit more.
“He looked okay,” Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t want him running all over the place; want to be careful when he’s out there.”
This early in camp, it’s hard to learn much from routine defensive drills. And hitters aren’t advanced enough to really show something against these pitchers (“You’re not used to the speed,” Eduardo Nunez said). So what’s stood out to Girardi roughly a week and a half into spring training?
“There’s some power arms that we’re seeing,” Girardi said. “(Bryan) Mitchell. (Jose) Ramirez. Those are just a few. There’s a number of guys that you’re going to see throw, probably in spring training, 93 to 95. And maybe if they’re here a long time, you’re going to see higher than that. We haven’t had that (in recent years), and we have it right now. I know they’re young, but it’s kind of exciting.”
I watched Ramirez throw batting practice today, and although I didn’t have any velocity readings — or see any guns on him — the ball just looks fast coming out of his hand. He’s not a very big guy, but that’s a huge arm. Girardi also singled out Corey Black as a guy who’s arm strength has been impressive.
“There’s more than one or two,” Girardi said.
• Curtis Granderson in center field and Brett Gardner in left for today’s drills. “Don’t read into anything,” Girardi said. “If I’m going to do something, I’ll tell you. If I’m not, I’ll tell you.”
• Brian Cashman said he expects it to be about two weeks before Phil Hughes is in a normal spring routine again. “The doctor clearly isn’t aggressively treating it and that’s a good sign,” Cashman said. “But there’s no guarantees until we get through the two-week process, and we see where he’s at and he’s back on the mound and stuff like that. … I could stand here and say, ‘Yeah, we’re excited thankfully it’s a low-level situation and blah, blah, blah,’ but I think we need to really get through this stuff and see that it responds that way. So it’s a question mark until we can all forget about that it ever happened.”
• Speaking of sore backs, Mark Montgomery said his feels much better. He did long toss today, he’ll play catch again tomorrow, and he’s scheduled for a bullpen on Friday.
• Batting practice got a little dangerous today. Not only was Eduardo Nunez nearly killed by Joba Chamberlain, Kelvin Perez was hit in his non-pitching elbow by a comebacker. I didn’t see it, but apparently Curtis Granderson hit it. Perez was able to complete the BP session and Girardi said he wasn’t worried.
• Kevin Youkilis was not in the batting practice group that faced Chamberlain. Intentionally avoiding that matchup for now? “I believe it’s just the way it works out,” Girardi said. “I have nothing to do with that.” Can you imagine if the ball that slipped on Chamberlain and nearly hit Nunez had instead nearly hit Youkilis?
• Random clubhouse conversation of the day was Rob Segedin. I was on my way to ask David Adams about his back — still feels much better, by the way — but wound up talking to Segedin for quite a while. Another incredibly nice guy; makes you really hope for the best for him. I probably knew at some point that Segedin is from New Jersey, but I’d forgotten. Said he grew up idolizing Derek Jeter, and it was cool taking ground balls in Jeter’s group this week. Segedin said he’s primarily back to playing third base this season, but he’s still expecting to get a few turns in the outfield as well. Just my opinion, but the outfield has gotten crowded quickly, and third base is suddenly a better place for him again.
• Another random note from my Segedin conversation: He called Ramon Flores one of the most mature hitters he’d ever seen, especially for his age. Segedin said Flores always seems to get the barrel on the ball and consistently makes hard contact. When Flores gets fooled by a pitch, his teammates know the pitcher must have something nasty, because it doesn’t happen often.
• Nunez’s reaction to Chamberlain nearly hitting him in the head during BP: “I was like, ‘Oh my God, first day and he’s taking me out!’ That’s my teammate and my friend; are you kidding me?”
Associated Press photos