There is a calmness to David Phelps that surely came from last year’s big league debut. He doesn’t seem caught up in the idea of making the roster or winning a spot in the rotation. He’s just doing what he does, and he knows it will be enough to pitch at the major league level.
“I’m telling some of the other younger kids who are going through that, trying to do too much, ‘Talk to Phelpsy,’” Joe Girardi said. “He’s been there, and he’s been there recently. A year makes a huge difference.”
It is an interesting side effect of Phelps’ strong rookie year: He’s proven to young pitchers in the Yankees system that opportunities aren’t limited to guys who were drafted by the Pirates or Padres.
“He’s one of my good friends,” Adam Warren said. “I can relate to him and his experiences, that sort of thing, and see that we were together in Triple-A one year and the next year he’s in the big leagues. I can see that it’s obtainable. It can get there. It makes it more realistic.”
Said Brett Marshall: “It gives you a little more confidence knowing that, if he can make it, you definitely could if you work hard enough. You see where he is. If you start pitching well enough, you’ll get there.”
• Juan Rivera is hitting this spring. His 3-for-4 afternoon included his fourth double, which puts him in a tie for the team lead in extra-base hits (he has four, same number as J.R. Murphy). The Yankees are in the market for a first baseman, a outfield replacement, and a right-handed outfield reserve. Rivera is a candidate for all three. “He’s done a good job wherever we’ve put him,” Girardi said.
• Speaking of moving around, Ronnier Mustelier got another turn at third base today. His only play in the field was a popup, which he handled. His only at-bat was a strikeout by Ramon Ortiz.
• Dellin Betances was on this trip, but he was only going to get in the game if Phelps couldn’t pitch deep. Phelps went five, so Betances stayed in the bullpen. “I’ll try to get him in tomorrow,” Girardi said.
• Vidal Nuno went 2.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Of course he did. He’s having a tremendous spring; really putting himself on the map after last year’s strong results in Double-A. Still seems like a long shot to make the big league roster, but if this continues in Triple-A, he could certainly be in line for a call up.
• Brett Gardner went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He’s still hitting over .400 this spring. The top three guys in the Yankees order reached base in the fifth inning, and they all scored on Rivera’s double. That was the extent of the scoring in this one. The only non-Rivera hits were singles by Kevin Youkilis and Thomas Neal.
• As impressive as the Rivera double: Youkilis scoring from first base on the play.
• Girardi said, as far as he knows, no Yankees were hurt today. A win with no injuries and no errors just might make this the best day in Yankees camp all spring.
Associated Press photos