Greetings from the backseat of Sweeny Murti’s rental car. Mark Feinsand is riding shotgun, Billy Joel is on the stereo and Port Charlotte is still an hour away. I’ll try to make this fairly quick while my air card is actually has me connected to the internet.
• Michael Pineda threw 35 pitches this morning. It was his longest bullpen since last spring’s shoulder surgery, and it included sliders. Pineda had thrown a few sliders off flat ground, but this was his first time throwing them off the mound. When I asked how the slider felt, he actually laughed out loud. “My slider is great,” he said. “It was my best pitch today.” I’m pretty sure he was totally serious. He’s been remarkably upbeat and confident all spring.
• Cesar Cabral remains on Pineda’s exact same rehab schedule. He also threw 35 pitches this morning, including his first sliders. “Everything good,” he said. Because he’s a reliever, Cabral is closer to came action than Pineda, but I’m not sure exactly how close.
• Mark Teixeira will be here this weekend. He’ll stay with the team until the start of the season, at which point he might stay behind in Tampa to continue his rehab.
• Ben Francisco has arrived. He’s staying behind in Tampa to take BP, but he’ll play tomorrow. He said his offseason signing decision came down to the Indians and the Yankees. “At the time we felt like Cleveland was a better opportunity for myself,” Francisco said. “But obviously things change in baseball every day, and now it seems like this is a better opportunity for me.”
• Does Francisco feel he has enough time to make an impression and win a job? “I feel like they know me pretty well,” he said. “I’ve played against them a lot the last couple of years, so I think they’re familiar with me. But I have enough time to go out there and play, and hopefully play well enough win the job.”
• Didn’t see Boone Logan after he left to throw his bullpen. I know he left the clubhouse to pitch, but I probably won’t know how it went until postgame when Joe Girardi should be able to tell us. Logan has been confident for a few days now that his elbow issue has gone away.
• Other bullpens today: Mark Montgomery, Vidal Nuno, David Phelps, Adam Warren and CC Sabathia.
• For you close followers of the minor league system, Wes Wilson was brought up to big league camp to help catch pens today. He caught Montgomery, Warren and Phelps.
• Players staying behind in Tampa were divided into two hitting groups.
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Chris Stewart, Kevin Youkilis, Ichiro Suzuki
Group 2: Ben Francisco, Matt Diaz, Brett Gardner
• A lot of rain here in Florida today, but Girardi said he’s heard the Yankees should be able to play. The team is going to hit inside when the bus gets to Port Charlotte. A lot of times, on rainy days like this, the Yankees hit at home and then travel, but Girardi said he didn’t want to show-and-go after a two-hour bus ride. He wants the team to get loose and ready after the ride.
• Despite having been optioned to Triple-A, Brett Marshall is still making today’s trip and he’s scheduled to pitch.
• Catcher Francisco Arcia, outfielder Ben Gamel and pitchers Josh Romanski and Shaeffer Hall are up from minor league camp to be extras for today’s game. I don’t think any are scheduled to play, but they’re available.
• Today’s second string: C Bobby Wilson, 1B Dan Johnson, 2B Walter Ibarra, SS Gil Velazquez, 3B Ronnier Mustelier, LF none, CF Slade Heathcott, RF none, DH none
• Today’s scheduled relievers: Brett Marshall, Matt Tracy, Josh Spence
Associated Press photo