Let’s try a blog post that has nothing to do with Derek Jeter’s ankle. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll be back on that topic soon enough, but just for now let’s discuss…
This guy has been terrific. Granted, the Red Sox didn’t bring their A lineup to Tampa this afternoon, but Nuno’s five shutout innings weren’t a fluke. He’s allowed one run through 13.1 innings this spring, and that’s not counting the four scoreless he pitched for Team Dominican Republic in an exhibition against the Yankees. Nuno has 13 strikeouts and three walks in the Grapefruit League.
“Everyone has their own path,” he said. “It’s about them taking a chance on you. They gave me all the chances they could, and it’s about working hard every day. Just try to keep up what I’ve been doing, and see how it ends in the season.”
Nuno’s path was different from most. Originally drafted by the Indians, Nuno wound up released and playing independent ball in 2011. That’s when the Yankees signed him, only to have him break out with a 2.45 ERA in Double-A last season.
The secret? The development of his changeup, which he finally came to trust last season, and the addition of a cutter, which he learned from Yankees Double-A pitching coach Tommy Phelps. Nuno now considers those to be his best pitches, complimenting a full arsenal of fastballs, curveballs and sliders.
“When I first got drafted during high school I only had two pitches (fastball and curveball),” he said. “Now I have five. It’s just (being) a smarter pitcher. I don’t think (about trying to) overthrow, and I hit my spots. That’s one key I preach to myself: Just hit location, and make the ball dance, and you’ll get people out.”
• Let’s chat tomorrow. The Yankees have a night game on Thursday, so we’ll do a chat here on the blog at noon tomorrow. Obviously there’s plenty to discuss. Stop by and we’ll try to chat for about an hour or so.
• CC Sabathia started in a minor league game today. He went 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Sabathia threw 92 pitches, 65 for strikes. “It was a little better today,” Sabathia said. “I was keeping the ball into righties much better. That was the biggest thing. We worked on that today.”
• Sabathia’s final spring start will be on Tuesday.
• Robinson Cano is expected to rejoin the Yankees tomorrow, and Girardi said it’s entirely possible Cano will play tomorrow night.
• Ronnier Mustelier was supposed to play in the outfield today, but the Yankees scratched him because of swelling in his leg. “I expect him to be a player for us tomorrow,” Girardi said. “I could’ve played him if I had to.”
• Obviously Eduardo Nunez’s ability to play shortstop is once again a big issue here. He made his third error today, but it was on a tough ball, and his throwing has been significantly better with his shorter arm action. “I think he’s made a lot of progress,” Girardi said. “I think he’s played a pretty decent shortstop. I know he had an error today, but that’s a tough play. That’s almost like a do or die. You don’t have a chance to really read the hop and there’s topspin. I think he’s done a pretty good job.”
• Brian Cashman on the possibility of signing Chien-Ming Wang: “Not a major league situation,” Cashman said. “Obviously we have vacancies in the rotation in Scranton, so we’re exploring all those options. I think he was as high as 92-93 in the WBC, but we wanted to take a look, and he was agreeable. He obviously had a great time while he was here, so I think there was some interest on his part. I think if he was going to do something, to have to do a minor league deal somewhere, he’d probably prefer it to be here. We’re going to take a futher look at it. So he’s going to throw for our scouts across the street.”
• Reliever David Herndon — coming off Tommy John surgery, claimed off waivers, then signed to a minor league deal this offseason — has thrown five bullpens off a full mound using fastballs and changeups. He’s up to 30 pitches at a time and said he could be in a game at the end of April or the beginning of May.
• Dave Robertson and Joba Chamberlain (who was pitching for the second straight day) each threw a scoreless inning with one strikeout. Mark Montgomery closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, also with one strikeout. In between, lefty Josh Spence retired the one batter he faced — one a comebacker that he knocked down — and Cody Eppley retired the two batters he faced. All told, the Yankees allowed four hits and one walk today.
• All of the Yankees four runs came in a big second inning when the team sent nine batters to the plate and only one — Kevin Youkilis to end the inning — made an out that didn’t score a run. … Ben Francisco’s double was the Yankees only extra-base hit. … Juan Rivera had another hit and is tied with Ichiro Suzuki for the second-most hits (13) in Yankees camp. Brett Gardner has the most with 14. … Melky Mesa had a hit and was caught stealing. He’s now hitting .196 this spring. Today he played both center field and right field.
Associated Press photos