Kevin Youkilis was in the on-deck circle when J.A. Happ’s fastball hit Curtis Granderson’s forearm.
“It didn’t sound good,” Youkilis said.
Without question, Granderson’s injury is the story of the day, and there’s a chance it’ll be the story of the spring; another power hitter who’s going to miss some time and leave the Yankees searching for a replacement. Of course, Youkilis is already playing the role of replacement after the biggest story of the offseason. With no Alex Rodriguez for the first half of the season, the Yankees need Youkilis to bring some right-handed balance to the lineup, and that means improved numbers with his tweaked mechanics.
“Just figuring out the slot of my hands and figuring out my stance a little bit and taking it into a game situation,” Youkilis said. “There’s no result in the box score, but the way I hit the ball today, I feel really, really good.”
Technically, Youkilis took an 0-for-3, but he hit the ball hard in every at-bat, including a near grand slam his first time up.
“The one pitch I got up and in on an 0-2 pitch and turned on it, I don’t feel like I got to that ball that well last year,” Youkilis said. “… I feel like I can whip the bat again and not use my body like I was using too much before. It’s a long spring training. You’re going to get out of it too, and you have to get right back to that position. If I can come in every day and gets as close to that feel every day, that’s where I feel like I can have really good at-bats.”
• Before the Yankees got a diagnosis on Granderson, Happ sent a message to the Yankees clubhouse asking how Granderson was feeling. At the time, Granderson replied that he was fine. “He’s trying to work and come inside,” Granderson said. “It’s part of the game. Pitches get thrown inside a lot. It’s not going to be the first time, not going to be the last time, and sometimes you get hit. Hopefully you get hit in better spots than other spots.”
• Granderson when asked whether he expects to come back as a left fielder: “Everything up to this point was all just trial,” he said. “Just to see how it’s all going to be. Who knows? When I come back it may be something they consider, or they may just scrap it and get me back ready to go the best, easiest way possible.”
• Alfonso Soriano was asked what he would think about a trade to the Yankees as a Granderson replacement. “I’m not thinking I want to get traded,” Soriano said.
• Adam Warren said it was a two-seam fastball that hit Brett Lawrie, the first Blue Jays hitter after Granderson was plunked. There was no indication for either bench that the teams thought either hit batter was intentional. “It may have looked (intentional), but I can tell you it wasn’t,” Warren said.
• Speaking of Warren, he looked pretty sharp today. He struck out two through a pair of hitless innings. The hit batter was his only base runner. “Just pound the zone, eat some innings up,” Warren said. “For me, I’m just trying to get better, get into that rhythm of pitching and just try to show I can pitch at this level. That’s the big thing for me, to get comfortable early and try to stay that way.”
• Warren threw 25 pitches, 19 for strikes.
• No real update on Phil Hughes. “I just know he went swimming today,” Joe Girardi said.
• Brett Gardner said he felt good in center field today, but he did let a triple get well over his head. “The one ball that got over my head, the ball that Gose hit, I froze for a split second off the bat,” Gardner said. “I thought I was going to catch it, but it just kept going. I think if I had gotten a really good jump, I still wouldn’t have caught it. I was probably three solid steps from getting to it. It just kept going.”
• Gardner was at the plate for what seemed to be a hit-and-run in the second innings. Turns out, Chris Stewart had the green light and was trying to steal second base. His attempt was thwarted when Gardner hit a ball foul. “Gardy was trying to sabatoge me,” Stewart joked, saying Gardner didn’t want to give up the stolen base crown. Stewart was 2-for-2 stealing bases last season.
• The Yankees lost 2-0 but actually outhit the Blue Jays, 11-9. Gardner, Stewart, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Adonis Garcia, Thomas Neal, Jayson Nix, Ronnier Mustelier and Gary Sanchez each had a hit. Hafner’s double was the Yankees only extra-base hit. Neal stole a base.
• In his second Yankees spring training, Matt Daley finally got in a game. He struck out two in a scoreless inning. He was injured all of last year.
• One random conversation on the field during batting practice: Addison Maruszak was carrying two gloves during batting practice, because when he went to take groundballs he took some at second base and some at first base. He’s also played shortstop, third base, catcher and the outfield in his career. “Every kind (of glove) you can get, that’s what I have,” he said.
• Today’s random clubhouse conversation was with Cito Culver. We spent a lot of time talking about his hitting approach — he’s changed his mechanics to eliminate unnecessary movement — but we also talked about playing with so many of the Yankees other prospects in the lower levels of the system. Culver was raving about Angelo Gumbs’ athleticism; said Gumbs still does things that Culver can’t believe. “It’s fun to go through and experience with guys who have the same goals as you,” Culver said.
Associated Press photos