Derek Jeter went through his usual postgame interview routine — said he feels fine, ankle’s not an issue, thinks he’ll be ready for Opening Day — then he was asked, jokingly, whether he’s called Chipper Jones to try to woo him out of retirement.
“Y’all just come up with all kinds of stuff,” Jeter said.
He honestly thought the notion of Jones to the Yankees was a media-created joke. Told it was actually Brian Cashman who floated the idea, Jeter started laughing.
“Call Mike Schmidt, too,” he said. “Call everybody. … I think Chipper is at home right now. Unless we have a golf team, I don’t think there’s a reason to call him up.”
• Jeter will take tomorrow off and he still plans to play the field on Wednesday. It will be his first time in the field since the ankle injury. “Whatever he tells me he wants to do Wednesday, that’s what I’m going to do,” Joe Girardi said.
• Any chance of the Yankees actually opening the season with today’s top of the order? Any chance of actually batting Brett Gardner, then Jeter, then Ichiro Suzuki? “I don’t know if I’ll do that because you think about Robbie Cano probably third,” Girardi said. “… We’re going to look at a lot of different things. I put Ich in a power spot today, at three, just trying to get guys lots of at-bats.” Girardi hasn’t really said much about his plans for the leadoff spot, but I do find it interesting that Gardner is consistently hitting first and Ichiro is not.
• Speaking of Gardner, he got his team-leading 10th hit today, and he’s also tied for the team lead with five walks, but it was his equipment that got all of the attention today. Trainer Steve Donohue has created a removeable cast that Gardner will slide over his left hand whenever he gets on base. It’s solid and is meant to protect the thumb that’s been injured a few times over the years. Gardner is testing it this spring and said the early results are promising.
• Dave Robertson pitched a scoreless inning in his return to the mound. He hadn’t pitched since being scratched from an outing because he couldn’t get his shoulder loose. “I didn’t have any problems,” Robertson said. “Felt great. … I didn’t think anything was wrong with me last time.”
• Another terrific start for Hiroki Kuroda who had six strikeouts through four innings. “I think I’m improving on the quality of my breaking balls,” he said. “Obviously I’m not at the peak of my conditions, but I’m in a good place.”
• The Yankees face a left-handed starter on Wednesday — just so happens to be Cliff Lee — so the team will get an early opportunity to see new outfielder Ben Francisco against a lefty. Girardi said he’s planning to have Francisco in the lineup that day.
• Girardi talked to the media before today’s cuts were announced. The most significant was certainly Austin Romine, who seemed to have at least an oustide chance of making the team. Or, at least, it seemed that way when camp opened. At some point this spring it became crystal clear that Romine was a secondary option. I wonder if that might have been different had Francisco Cervelli not gotten off to his strong start behind the plate.
• Thought we might see another Jose Ramirez start before his assignment to minor league camp, but I guess not. He definitely made a name for himself up there. Very much on the radar now. Francisco Rondon also pitched well, and J.R. Murphy hit .364/.417/.909 in 11 at-bats, and Brett Marshall had a 0.89 WHIP with eight strikeouts and only one walk. All of them made a good impression up here.
• Solid final outing for Dellin Betances before his inevitable option to Triple-A. He went two scorelss innings today with one hit and a hit batter. … Shawn Kelley has allowed two hits through four scoreless innings this spring. He seems to be quietly making a strong first impression. … Ichiro Suzuki doubled today. He’s hitting .435 this spring. … Corban Joseph finally had a positive day. He had two hits to raise his spring average to .217. … No hits but two walks for Slade Heathcott. … Another hit for Chris Stewart who’s hitting .278 this spring.
• Ronnier Mustelier didn’t have a chance to make any plays at third base today. “Amazing,” Girardi said. “You put a guy out there and they don’t hit it to them (when) you’re trying to find something out.
• For whatever it’s worth, I talked to an opposing scout who’s seen quite a bit of both Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte. The scout said he would trust Almonte with a big league job ahead of Mesa. He said Almonte has really grown on him over time, but he’s not sure Mesa will make enough contact to have any sort of offensive impact at the big league level.
Associated Press photos