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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Saturday notes: Phelps keeps it simple in first spring start

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 23, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

David Phelps guessed that he threw four offspeed pitches today. The rest of the time it was all fastballs, focused on control and command. He wanted to get ahead in the count, and he was happy with his ability to do that.

“Results are always going to matter to me,” Phelps said. “But as of right now, I’m happy my arm felt good. I felt my stuff is where it needed to be for right now. I’m really satisfied with the way the ball was coming out. That’s one of the biggest things for me is just, the ball is coming out, keeping it down and hitting my spots.”

This was an opportunity for Phelps to do more than that. The five favorites for the Yankees rotation won’t pitch in a game for another week — maybe more — and Phelps could have used this opportunity to try to make an overwhelming early impression. Instead, he kept it simple. Two innings. Three hits. No runs, no walks and no strikeouts.

“I’m not coming into the spring trying to beat somebody out for the spot,” he said. “I’m just trying to go out and continue what I was doing last year and have some success, and hopefully build my confidence up and get ready for the season to be ready to pitch in whatever role they ask me to. You saw last year, I pitched in a number of different of roles. Regardless of what they want me to do, I’m just trying to be ready to do whatever it is.”

• The star of the show was right fielder Zoilo Almonte, who threw out a runner at third base and hit the two-run homer that gave the Yankees an early lead. The homer came off former Angels closer Jordan Walden (who actually got knocked around a little bit). “We’re excited about this (Almonte) kid,” Girardi said. “A switch-hitting corner outfielder that we think has a really good swing. He put up some decent numbers last year and moved up a little bit, so we’re excited about this kid. To see him start out today, I mean that’s really good, when you drive the ball the opposite way for a home run. He hit the ball hard.”

• Girardi specified that Derek Jeter didn’t only run on the field today, he actually ran the bases. “Slowly, though,” Girardi said. “He’s at least outside, doing some running, so that’s good.”

• Jeter running was probably the most significant thing any of the Yankees big league infielders did today, but here at Disney, Robinson Cano did homer and Eduardo Nunez had a sharp double. Mark Teixeira took an 0-for-3.

• Although he didn’t do it today, Phelps said he realizes he needs to throw more offspeed as the spring progresses. “As the spring goes on, you just throw it a little bit more and get more comfortable doing it,” Phelps said. “When the season starts, that’s the way I’ve got to pitch. Got to go out and do it.”

• Girardi said he had a meeting with the Yankees catchers yesterday and stressed to them that defense is the most important thing in this competition for the starting job. “I want to hit, too,” Cervelli said. “But the priority here is the defense.”

• Speaking of Cervelli, he told the story of his parents flying up from Venezuela last season to help him get past the disappointment of being optioned back to the minor leagues. “I told them I’m fine,” Cervelli said. “But they’re 50-something years old, so they do whatever they want. They showed up in Buffalo. They said, ‘We’re here, so what are we going to do now? We’re going to follow the bus everywhere we go, so you better play better, and that’s it.’ … Just to see Mom and Dad in the stands was everything for me because it was a tough season in every aspect – no home, road trip all the time – but in the second half, I say, ‘No more complaints. Let’s go and let’s have fun and find a way.’”

• Girardi said minor league reliever Nick Goody was rear-ended last night. It was apparently a multi-car crash and Goody’s car was damaged pretty badly. An X-ray last night showed no broken bones, but Goody is going for an MRI just in case. For now they’re calling his injury a sprained ankle.

• Notable performances today: Jose Pirela had two hits … Austin Romine had two RBI … Melky Mesa had a single, a stolen base and a nice catch in deep center field … Juan Rivera had a hit and a walk, Matt Diaz went 0-for-3 with a GIDP … Minor league relievers Kelvin Perez, Branden Pinder and Chase Whitley combined for three scoreless innings allowing one hit and one walk. Whitley could be a dark horse bullpen candidate if certain doors open along the way.

• I’ll leave you with this final image, which I thought was cool: When the game finally ended, seven innings after his final pitch, Phelps positioned himself directly inside the door to the clubhouse so he could shake hands with everyone as they came in from the dugout. It’s a two-inning start in spring training, but he clearly still took this as his game and his responsibility.

Associated Press photos



24 Responses to “Saturday notes: Phelps keeps it simple in first spring start”

  1. Jerkface February 23rd, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Was a fun game to go to, but a bit annoyed I had to watch Luke Murton & Gil Valesquez hit twice and didn’t get to see Slade & Austin hit a second time. Not much going on with them, though Slade showcased his fielding by tracking a ball in the OF pretty well and even though it was hit moderately hard he looked real easy going towards it.

    Player of the game was definitely Zoilo, as he had the good throw and the HR. I thought Brett Marshall was the most interesting pitcher the Yankees had out there.

    Ramiro Pena looks like he put on a lot of weight and also added a terrible goatee.

  2. jmills February 23rd, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Here u go, mon amis!;rel=0

  3. UnKnown February 23rd, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Phelps is a stud. Said it all last year and still saying it.

  4. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 6:58 pm


    How did Marshall’s stuff compare to Phelps live?

  5. Jerkface February 23rd, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Marshall threw harder and showed off more pitches in the game. I can’t recall any swings and misses with Phelps though I think he may have had 1. Marshall got a handful and a few punch outs. He even got out a big leaguer in Freddie Freeman and that is righty on lefty and he had him fooled bad.

    Phelps stuff didn’t look like much, but I was sitting first row in the second deck on the 1b side so its hard to tell location and what not from up there. Marshall flipped his curve in there and I guess also showed off the change up to get out Freeman.

  6. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks….Marshall has a pretty decent minor league track record and from what I’ve read has the stuff to make it with some good fortune ….a good depth guy if nothing else

  7. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    BAs right up about Marshall sorta makes him sound like a Rays pitcher….they call his CU the best in the system

  8. MTU February 23rd, 2013 at 7:22 pm


    I think Zach Mcallister would be a good comp for Marshall.

    From what I remember Marshall’s bread and butter is his sinker.

    It’s possible that Marshall throws a little harder but I’m not sure if he attained his full velo again after his TJS.

  9. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    JF said he was touching 94 today I think…..that’s a pretty hard sinker

  10. Jerkface February 23rd, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Marshalls velocity was 91-94, Phelps was 89-92. And he was more 89-90 after the first inning.

  11. RadioKev February 23rd, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I really like the way Phelps handles himself. He’s got the right mindset for success.

  12. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    How did Grahmn look JF?

  13. yankeefeminista February 23rd, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Marshall sinker sits 91-93. He also has a 4 seamer that he uses less that is a few ticks higher, so that is what MTU might be referring to. That is the pitch that had velo, but he’s become much more of a sinker pitcher post TJS. Thing with Marshall is his change is his best pitch, but he has improved his slider and toward end of last season started adding back in his dormant curveball. The key for him is his breaking pitches because he can command the sinker and changeup pretty much at will.

  14. Jerkface February 23rd, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    The Braves guy? He looked pretty small for a guy throwing 99 mph. pitched from the stretch I think the entire time, kind of short arms the ball in there super hard. Was really wild.

  15. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Yea the Braves guy….thanks

  16. yankeefeminista February 23rd, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    *Marshall’s sinker…

    JF, how did those Corban plays at 3B look. He is a better 2B than 3B, FWIW. But not very athletic.

  17. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Grahmn throws hard but my understanding is that he’s better when he’s sinking the ball….I was just curious cause many braves people seem to like him a lot

  18. Jerkface February 23rd, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    JF, how did those Corban plays at 3B look. He is a better 2B than 3B, FWIW. But not very athletic.

    He made 1 routine play, missed a play he probably should have made, and then messed up the high chopper. It was above his height when he went to catch it and it clanked off his glove and fell to the ground. He picked it up and got it over to first not in time.

    He showed off a really good arm for third, but probably below average range overall on all the plays and a meh glove.

  19. blake February 23rd, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Saw Heathcott walked in his only AB….that was one thing I noticed in the AFL was how he seemed to have much more patience than I expected….real excited to see how he does at AA

  20. jmills February 23rd, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Something nothing more:);rel=0

  21. yankeefeminista February 23rd, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks, JF. I do think his arm strength plays better at 2B actually.

  22. tomingeorgia February 23rd, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Villanova takes down another top 20 team. How in the world did they lose to Clomlbia, for mercy’s sake?


  23. jmills February 23rd, 2013 at 8:29 pm;rel=0


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