After the call from New York, not much here in Tampa carried much weight. Today was all about Mark Teixeira and the latest blow to the Yankees dwindling offense.
But, of course, there was a game today. And it featured the Yankees going against a few of their own. A few leftover notes from another stunning day in Yankees camp.
• The Yankees are still leaving open the possibility of Derek Jeter playing soon, but it won’t be March 10 — the day Brian Cashman predicted — because that’s a road game and Jeter will debut at home. “I’ll talk to him the next couple of days,” Joe Girardi said. “He seems to be progressing pretty well. I like what I saw when I was watching him take ground balls today.”
• Jeter is always good for some curiosity, but given everything else that’s going on… “I’m not worried about Derek Jeter at all,” Cashman said. “Whenever he gets out there, he’ll be ready when it counts. I’m not worried about Derek. He’s the least of our concerns.”
• Mariano Rivera is back in New York. The Yankees are calling it personal reasons. I wouldn’t be shocked if Rivera simply didn’t see the point in sticking around while the team is down in Jupiter. He’ll make his spring debut on Saturday.
• Speaking of Jupiter, Dave Robertson has been scratched from that trip. He said he feels fine, but Girardi saw no reason to bring him in the wake of yesterday’s sluggish shoulder. Still no tests planned. “I don’t think there’s any rush to get him back on the mound,” Girardi said. “He’ll just go day by day. He was still a little stiff today. But I don’t see us taking him to Jupiter. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense, because we’ve got time.”
• Cashman said Teixeira will stay in up north. Not much reason for him to come back to Tampa.
• Juan Rivera played first base for the Dodgers last year. “I look at him more as an outfielder,” Cashman said. “I don’t look at him as a first baseman. I know he played first with the Dodgers, but in fairness, we have to evaluate everything. If I have our people tell me it’s a logical, legitimate one to look at, then I’ll be comfortable looking at it. I haven’t heard that yet and I haven’t asked anybody.”
• The Yankees came to camp curious to see how Dan Johnson could handle third base. Now the priority has shifted. “He’s more of a first baseman,” Girardi said. “So I might start taking a look at him more at first base now.” Johnson made two errors at third base today (though he did make one pretty good play).
• As for today’s actual game — there was one of those, you know — Robinson Cano had one of the RBIs in an 8-2 win for Team Dominican Republic. “That was fun,” Cano said. “To get to play against your guys, play with the team you’re going to be with for the next two weeks – hopefully – to see your manager and hitting coach on the other side, guys you’ve known for a long time, that was fun. It was exciting. It’s good to see the way you can go out there and have fun, laugh, be able to play against your team.”
• Hiroki Kuroda got Cano to fly out in their only head-to-head matchup. “I wish I could get a better result,” Kuroda said. “But he’s a good hitter so I will take that out. I wish I could strike him out.”
• Kuroda actually looked good. He pitched three scoreless with four strikeouts against an awfully good lineup. He said his split was working, which was the key. He still needs to improve his two-seamer. “Physically I’m where I want to be,” he said. “And stuff-wise, it’s getting there.”
• Best starter of the day: Vidal Nuno. The little known lefty is putting himself on the map this spring. He pitched four hitless innings against the Yankees (helping out the Dominican pitching staff which didn’t have a starter for the game). He struck out four and walked one. He faced Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis two times apiece. Those four went 0-for-8 with two strikeouts against him.
• The only real highlight for the Yankees came on Zoilo Almonte’s two-run homer, which broke up a no-hitter in the seventh inning. Bobby Wilson doubled one batter later. Those were the Yankees only hits in 28 at-bats.
• Jim Miller took the bulk of the beating for the Yankees bullpen. He got out of one jam but ultimately allowed three runs in 1.1 innings. Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada and Chase Whitley were charged with an earned run apiece. … Lefties Juan Cedeno and Josh Spence each pitched a hitless inning for the Dominican. Cedeno is actually on Team DR, but Spence was just helping them fill innings. Whitley was also potentially going to do that but pitched for the Yankees instead. … Rough day for Travis Hafner who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Associated Press photos