No American League reliever made more appearances last season than Boone Logan, and right now Logan’s poised to be the Yankees only left-handed reliever. So, if you’re looking for a bright side on this day of Derek Jeter’s “cranky” ankle, you might as well look to Logan.
“That’s what I was expecting,” Logan said. “I wanted to go out there and get the job done. I wasn’t going to have the first game be an excuse to not get my job done. On top of that, it does feel extra good to go out there and get a couple strikeouts, to do well against lefties.”
Logan pitched one scoreless inning. He faced four lefties, gave up a single to Chase Utley, then retired three in a row. He got Ryan Howard to fly out before striking out Domonic Brown and Laynce Nix. One strikeout came on a fastball, the other on a slider. It was Logan’s first appearance of the spring, a successful return from elbow inflammation.
“I felt nothing out there, felt strong,” Logan said. “I felt very locked in with my pitches. It was fun again.”
Asked whether his elbow felt good or simply good enough, Logan answered: “It feels good, period. It really does. I promise. … If I can stay the way I’m feeling right now, I’ll be in good shape.”
With Clay Rapada shut down because of shoulder bursitis, Logan could be the only left-hander to break camp with the team. Vidal Nuno and Josh Spence are still in camp, but the Yankees seem more likely to replace Rapada with one of their veteran right handers — Cody Eppley, Shawn Kelley, Jim Miller — and use Logan as their only left-hander. Logan said he has enough time to get himself ready for the regular season, and he doesn’t expect last year’s workload to weigh on him.
“Joe asks for me, I have to go,” Logan said.
• Returning to the lineup after Friday’s collision with a railing, Ronnier Mustelier nearly had another collision this afternoon. This time, he nearly ran into one of the Hooters girls that scoop up foul balls here in Clearwater. Mustelier went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt in his return to third base. There are 10 games left for him to make an impression and win a spot on the team. “Ten days are enough to show what I can do,” he said.
• Adam Warren gave up two runs on seven hits through 3.2 innings. He said he expected a fairly short outing because of all the big league relievers scheduled to pitch. He walked one and said he was hitting his spots much better than last time out when he was knocked around against the Blue Jays.
• Joba Chamberlain came into the game with two outs and runners at the corners in the fourth inning and struck out Michael Young. It was the first time this spring that Chamberlain pitched less than a full inning.
• CC Sabathia is pitching in a minor league game tomorrow while Nuno starts in big league camp (the Yankees don’t want Sabathia to face the Red Sox). Sabathia will get five days off, then start again next Tuesday. “I think that will be a heavy workload day,” Girardi said. Should be Sabathia’s final tuneup before the opener.
• Logan was supposed to pitch a simulated game today, but he asked Larry Rothschild if he could get in a real game instead. Rothschild obviously liked the idea.
• Logan said he will change on thing about his routine: “Probably ice (the elbow) every day,” he said. “I never did. I was more of the theory of letting the blood flow through the arm instead of isolating it, but (ice) seems to be helping this spring, so that’s probably what I’ll stick to this year.” It should be noted that there are a handful of pitchers who follow Logan’s thinking and prefer not to ice.
• The Yankees had just two hits today. One was Brett Gardner’s single (he later scored) and one was Ichiro Suzuki’s double (which drove in Gardner). … Melky Mesa’s walk gave the Yankees their only other base runner. … David Aardsma pitched a hitless, walkless eighth inning with two strikeouts. … Addison Maruszak made his fourth error of the spring.
Associated Press photo (Logan from last spring because I couldn’t find one from today)