On the Yankees spring training roster, Ronnier Mustelier is listed as an outfielder. But it’s no mistake that he’s been getting most of his time lately at third base.
“We’re going to look at him,” manager Joe Girardi said.
The short but offensively potent Cuban has hit in the minor leagues, and he’s hit this spring. Most of the questions about him center on his defense and his lack of experience. When camp opened, the Yankees were looking at him strictly as an outfielder — at least for big league purposes — but Girardi acknowledged that Mustelier’s situation has changed. He’s getting time at third base as a direct connection to the Mark Teixeira injury. The Yankees want to see if he can play third well enough for Kevin Youkilis to move to first.
“I don’t care about my size or the things that people are saying about me,” Mustelier said earlier this spring. “The only thing I care about is that I’m a good player. I can get the job done, and I have a place on this team. All these people are saying that I have no position on the team. It’s not true. I can play the field. I can do a job. I can play the outfield; I can play the infield. If anyone is saying that I have no position on this team, it’s not true.”
The Yankees are going to find out. The general consensus seems to be that Mustelier’s bat is better than his glove, but I’ve also heard people describe him as a passable defender who’s gotten better since coming to the United States. He’s part of a large group of players getting a chance now that Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are going to miss the first month.
“I hink you’ll see a lot of players here (in big league camp) for a long time,” Girardi said.
• Boone Logan did long toss today, then he went to the bullpen to throw a few pitches off a mound. “It’s early still, so I’m not going to get too excited,” Logan said. “But everything feels good.” Logan said his elbow hasn’t bothered him in the past few days and he’s hoping to throw a full bullpen soon. He still thinks Opening Day is likely.
• CC Sabathia threw a 50-pitch simulated game today. He faced Corban Joseph and Zoilo Almonte, and he said afterward that he hasn’t even thought about his elbow during his past two sim outings. Sabathia is scheduled to make his spring debut on Friday. “I’m working pretty hard and trying to throw all my pitches and make it as game-like as possible,” Sabathia said. “… I felt like I was throwing a little harder today.”
• The upcoming spring rotation
Today: David Phelps
Monday: Hiroki Kuroda
Tuesday: Ivan Nova
Wednesday: Andy Pettitte
Thursday: TBA (looks like it could be Adam Warren or Jose Ramirez)
Friday: CC Sabathia
Saturday: Hiroki Kuroda (home), David Phelps (away)
Sunday: Ivan Nova
• Girardi said Dave Robertson will pitch in a game “shortly.” Robertson, David Aardsma and Phil Hughes are each scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow. So is Mariano Rivera.
• Random clubhouse conversation this morning with Matt Tracy. Turns out, my friend Kari’s brother played little league basketball with Tracy years and years ago in St. Louis. So, yes, I had a conversation this morning about Missouri youth sports. That’s the kind of detail you’ll find only here on the LoHud Yankees Blog.
• For whatever it’s worth, which probably isn’t much, Tyler Austin was assigned to the Double-A work group down in minor league camp. Doesn’t mean he’ll open the season in Trenton — Mark Newman has said it’s entirely possible Austin will go back to Tampa — but it does suggest the Yankees haven’t ruled it out.
• Today’s second string: C Austin Romine, 1B Luke Murton, 2B none, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Ronnier Mustelier, LF Ramon Flores, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Zoilo Almonte, DH Dan Johnson
• Today’s scheduled relievers: Mark Montgomery, Dellin Betances, Preston Claiborne, Branden Pinder and Josh Spence
Associated Press photos