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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


The last day in Tampa

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 28, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

It’s time to leave Florida.

The Yankees play their final Grapefruit League game this afternoon against the Pirates. Hiroki Kuroda has the start, Robinson Cano is expected to play, and when it’s all over the Yankees will fly to Washington D.C. for the first of two final exhibition games before the regular season.

There are four days and three games for the Yankees to make their final roster decisions, and the team finds itself in the unusual position of being this close to Opening Day without knowing their starting first baseman, their right-handed designated hitter, their backup outfielder and two of their relief pitchers. To fill those spots, the Yankees will have to make difficult decisions beyond the major league roster, because the 40-man is full and at least two spots — probably more — will have to open to make room for injury replacements.

“That’s what happens,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “When you have a rash of significant injuries which aren’t 60-day situations — like in Granderson’s case or in Tex’s case — you’re going to wind up carrying a guys that (weren’t on the roster). Nothing you can do about it. It’s going to cut into some aspect. There are only 40 spots. What are you going to do? … We’re going to have to make tough calls that are going to affect good players. That’s life in the big city, at least this particular year.”

In making these final choices, Cashman made it clear that his priority will be the big league roster rather than protecting minor leaguers.

“My biggest need is the 25 (man roster) right now and what we’re going to run out there on Opening Day, especially first base,” Cashman said.

Associated Press photo

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76 Responses to “The last day in Tampa”

  1. mick March 28th, 2013 at 8:16 am

    He knows he’s taking Overbay.

  2. austinmac March 28th, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Overbay can play first and probably hit about as well or poorly as Rivera. Once I saw the scoop, I knew he made the team.

  3. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Lyle Overbay come on down !

    Too bad Mustelier injured himself.

    Would have put Youkilis at 1B and Musty at 3rd.

    Looks like he’s goin’ to AAA for now but I’m confident he’ll be back soon.

  4. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I don’t blame Girardi for wanting some D at 1st w Nunez in the field.

  5. austinmac March 28th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Eppley has to be one removed from the 40 man. I can’t imagine a groundswell of other teams wanting to sign him.

  6. MaineYankee March 28th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    MTU

    I’m confident

    ————————————————————-

    That’s what I like about you. :D:

  7. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Does anyone else think Phelps looks like one of those polished SP’s that Tampa keeps turning out ?

    A Hellickson/Cobb/Miller type ?

    Not world-beating stuff but just knows how to get it done.

    ;)

  8. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Maine-

    How are things up Cadillac Mountain way ?

  9. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:27 am

    The Yankees have more potential relievers than dogs have fleas.

    :)

  10. MaineYankee March 28th, 2013 at 8:31 am

    MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:26 am
    Maine-

    How are things up Cadillac Mountain way ?

    ——————————————————————-

    I haven’t been there except that one time 2 years ago.

    Snow is going fast here though.

    Is it 100 there yet? :D:

  11. NYYROC March 28th, 2013 at 8:34 am

    MTU, I agree on Phelps. FB not overpowering, no real knockout offspeed. But he throws 3 or 4 good pitches, locates them all really well and mixes them up to keep hitters off balance. He knows how to pitch. His 2 seamer that runs back on LHB reminds of Colon’s.

  12. mick March 28th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Musty can still make this team as RH DH and against tough lefty can play 3rd with Youk to 1st.
    Rivera can stay as 4th OF, BU1B.
    Boesch and Francisco sent down.

  13. austinmac March 28th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    MTU,

    Phelps has fairly ordinary stuff, but he can spot his fastball very well and the throw his other pitches for strikes. That is a recipe for success.

  14. mick March 28th, 2013 at 8:36 am

    They want Nova to succeed and Hughes to come back healthy.
    Can see Phelps as the long man again till Nova implodes.

  15. MaineYankee March 28th, 2013 at 8:41 am

    MTU

    See for yourself.

    http://mountdesertisland.net/webcams.html

  16. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Maine-

    100 minus about 30/40. It’s been unusually cool so far.

    Must be that Global Cooling thing.

    ;)

  17. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Roc/Mac-

    Phelps has a nice assortment and uses them well. Agreed.

    His command is generally what separates him.

    How many called-looking K’s did he have yesterday ?

    Kinda tells you something.

    ;)

  18. mick March 28th, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Actually with the arrival of Wells , Francisco and Boesch are no longer needed and with Overbay, Rivera the same.

    When Jeter and Grandy come back , Musty and Neal, who just might make this team, become expendable unless, of course they are tearing it up…

  19. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Mick-

    How bad is Mustelier’s injury ?

    Hopefully it’s not serious.

  20. Bo knows March 28th, 2013 at 8:52 am

    The Yankees have a numbers crunch and Musty has an option. Thus is it writ.

  21. austinmac March 28th, 2013 at 8:52 am

    He was throwing the come back fastball inside to lefties and then what looked like a cutter on the outside. The O’s broadcasters were raving about him.

    I don’t like Cashman talking about having to release minor leaguers. Release Eppley and the like. He is replaceable.

  22. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Time for the breakfast of champions.

  23. mick March 28th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I don’t want to suggest coverup but the only player in the lineup, who we are sure is coming north last night, was Gardner. Musty was in the starting lineup but on the 1st play of the game on a pop up to Nunez, I noticed Musty was not next to him. They didn’t realize what was going on for a few innings when it was Musty’s time to bat that he wasn’t in the game. Nix came up in his spot and they had him in LF when he was really at 2nd and Maruzak was at 3rd.

    He said he heard a crack in his knee while running before the game.
    Maybe the last minute scratch was Joe’s way of telling him he made the team ;)

  24. pat March 28th, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Tigers send down Rondon. How many of you saw Coke pitch in pinstripes and thought “now there’s a closer”. Not me.

  25. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    This could happen:
    Overbay Cano Nunez Youk
    Wells Gardner Ichiro
    Cervelli Stewart
    BUOF Neal
    BU3B/RHDH Mustelier
    DH Hafner
    Utility Nix

  26. NYYROC March 28th, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I don’t think Rivera should make the team, and supposing he doesn’t, that really must stink for him. He’s in camp all spring, does a pretty decent job. Then in the last few days they bring in a guy who was cut from another team (Overbay) and Overbay takes his job.
    Make no mistake, I’d take Overbay over Rivera just for the D alone, but what a way to lose your job.

  27. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I don’t think Rivera should make the team, and supposing he doesn’t, that really must stink for him.
    ====================
    Maybe the 100K they paid him makes him feel better.

    He , Francisco and Boesch were upgraded to Overbay and Wells, that’s all.

  28. Mike Ri March 28th, 2013 at 9:05 am

    NYYROC —

    I agree .. Rivera played his butt off this spring ….. But with Nunez and Youk on the other side of the diamond .. Overbay seems like the way to go.

  29. 4TrainNorth March 28th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Good point about Overbay/Nunez. Once Jeter wasn’t going to suit up for Opening Day, they had to do something to give Nunez every possible chance to have success at the position. They needed near-Tex D over there, and now they’ve got it. That’s gotta do wonders for Nunez’s confidence.

  30. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    They could still carry Rivera as the BUOF till Grandy gets back.

  31. NYYROC March 28th, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I give Nunez credit. From what I’ve read he has worked pretty hard on his D, changing his throwing motion in particular. He’s played as much as anyone and made just 3 errors, 2 were early on. He is definitely improving.

  32. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    All of injuries,etc. has created a story within a story this Spring.

    Biggest + surprises for me have to be Nuno, Nunez’s steady play, and Mustelier’s emergence.

  33. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Nunez is just a SS, not a #B, 2B or OFer.
    He will be fine and it was smart of them to stop experimenting with him.

  34. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:12 am

    3B not #B

  35. blake March 28th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    “He was throwing the come back fastball inside to lefties and then what looked like a cutter on the outside. The O’s broadcasters were raving about him.”

    Yea he does scissor the ball pretty well…..if phelps had a little more velo and a better breaking ball his ceiling would be higher…..because he does have really 5 decent offerings…..he’s a good pitcher

  36. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    mtu-may be better to have these injuries in the spring than during the season, like last year, but we did win 95.

    these came all at once. those were one at a time.

  37. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    And Neal has me wondering too.

    ;)

  38. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Mick-

    Perhaps. But have we hit our seasonal quota ?

    Masterful job done last season considering all the injuries.

    I’m thinking somewhere between 90-95 wins this year.

    Our pitching depth really showed last year.

    Wish the O was that deep.

  39. Shame Spencer March 28th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    All of injuries,etc. has created a story within a story this Spring.

    Biggest + surprises for me have to be Nuno, Nunez’s steady play, and Mustelier’s emergence.

    —————-

    I agree. I also have to say I think Ramirez (even with that last effort), Phelps and Austin (in the time I did get to see him play) have opened a lot of eyes. I know Phelps will have growing pains but is it weird I’m less concerned about him than Nova?

  40. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    They could prolly get away with carrying 14 players and 11 pitchers for a while.
    Would leave Nuno down on farm to start.
    Maybe Spence as the Rapada guy.
    Mo, Ro, Jo, Lo, Kelley?

    Send Aardsma down if they can, let him close.

  41. NYYROC March 28th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Another thing about Nunez, maybe he isn’t “an offensive juggernaut” as Cashman said, but he seems to be the kind of player who is always in the middle of a Yankee rally. Kind of like Willie Randolph used to be.

  42. 4TrainNorth March 28th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I hope Phelps is able to further develop that backup fastball to lefties. It’ll pull up the rest of his stuff, and his delivery is sound (low injury risk). Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but especially given his makeup, he’s a guy I’d love to see in the rotation for years to come.

  43. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Blake-

    I think Phelp’s pitches are effective especially with his command and Pitching IQ.

    I think he is under rated because nothing he throws is particularly “sexy”.

    I’d like to have a few more just like him though.

    ;)

  44. mick March 28th, 2013 at 9:23 am

    MTU-
    This team has the potential to be special (can I say that here?)

    They can start the season off scrappy (not crappy as some say) then gradually get healthy as some regulars return.

    By some miracle if Tex returns then Arod after the ASB…well we can dream ;)

  45. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Shame-

    “but is it weird I’m less concerned about him than Nova?”

    Not at all FWIS because Phelps has something Nova lacks- command.

    He generally can put the ball where he wants. The value of that should not be underestimated.

    ;)

  46. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Guess we’ll find out soon enough Mick.

    Dreaming. That’s my specialty.

    ;)

  47. Rich in NJ March 28th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Boesch is better than Rivera and Francisco, and may outhit Overbay and Wells.

  48. Shame Spencer March 28th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    By some miracle if Tex returns then Arod after the ASB…well we can dream ;)

    —————-

    I’m definitely not counting on Alex this year but I’m not counting him out, either, if that makes sense. It’s in the best interest of the Yankees that he plays… and I have to believe that, ego driven or not, the guy is a competitor and will do everything he can to get back and contribute.

    This team is better with him than without him. And if Youk really has found something in his swing this season, we have the potential of setting up a pretty nice middle of the order.

  49. MTU March 28th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Pardon the interruption but It’s Mop walk time.

    later.

  50. Shame Spencer March 28th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    MTU – That’s exactly it. I really like Phelps.

    I haven’t followed Hughes’ rehab closely… anyone have feedback on how he’s looked?

  51. austinmac March 28th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    MTU, am I overrated because I am too sexy? That’s my concern.

  52. Ys Guy March 28th, 2013 at 9:42 am

    jmills, i’m guessing you’re not all that Happ py that romero got sent down?

  53. Chambliss March 28th, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I am really looking forward to Monday, but let’s face it, this is going to be a weak team. Boston handed Overbay to the Yankees. Why would they do so if he had anything left?

    Unless guys like Ichiro and Wells find the Fountain of Youth, this lineup is going to have real problems putting runs on the board. Youk may give Cano some protection in the lineup, but that’s about it. Otherwise, teams are going to pitch around Cano.

    The pitching should keep them in games if the starters can stay healthy. Hughes is fragile, CC is coming off minor surgery and Andy is getting up there in age.

    I hope for the best with this year’s team, but it is going to be a battle.

  54. Yankee Trader March 28th, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Good morning.

    “My biggest need is the 25 (man roster) right now and what we’re going to run out there on Opening Day, especially first base,” Cashman said.

    I know Overbay is a much better fielder than Rivera and had a nice line drive hit off a lefty last night [Hendrickson], but since the Yankees face Jon Lester on Opening Day and Overbay has not hit lefties well in years[strictly a platoon player last year],
    “could” this statement above mean that Rivera and possibly Overbay both make the squad opening day?

    Thoughts?

  55. Chip March 28th, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Trader -

    I think that Overbay has made the team. At this point I think the choice is whether they want to use Rivera at 1b and Youk at 3b vs. LHP or Youk at 1b and Mustelier at 3b vs. LHP.

  56. Cashmoney March 28th, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Rich, Boesch over Rivera and Francisco imo because I don’t think Wells is a full time player anymore. Throw in a retread 1b who is okay defensively and has no power, you got Team hopeful. not much to say except for game will start soon and we shall see.

    Integration of youth and veteran, granted (talented youth) is never going to happen when all Yanks think about is now. If Jeter is able, Nunez would not have gotten a shot either. I don’t want hear Hal stress any kind integration because this team stress on now, this minute over any long term plan.

  57. Cashmoney March 28th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I mean realliy, Rivera, Ben, Overbay and Boesch, to various degree or another, they all kind of suck, that’s why they got released.

    Meanwhile, yanks would prioritize these retreads over protecting minor leaguers and eppley is still on this freaking team with the roster jam?

  58. Chip March 28th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    My concern is that he prioritizes relief pitchers with a track record over guys like Almonte or Joseph.

    The Yankees are going to be stubborn and not 60 day DL Tex then what I would do is:

    Release Eppley for Nix
    Release Demel for Mustelier

    then the two hard ones:

    Trade Rondon and if you can’t trade him then DFA Melky Mesa for Overbay and Francisco

    Rondon looks good but so do Nuno, Spence and Cedeno from the left side.

    I just don’t think Mesa will ever have the ability to hit as a major leaguer. To me he’s a Greg Golson/Justin Christian type of guy.

  59. Yankee Trader March 28th, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Chip-

    I think given the lack of playing time and chances at third base in ST, and now with a bruised kneecap/knee, Mustelier unfortunately is going back to AAA-unfortunately because, besides Jeter who is out, he’s the only righty that I’ve seen this spring that can drive the ball to the opposite field.

    Now I’m attaching this mornings article from Replacement Level Yankees on Nova vs Phelps, filled with projections.

    “I think Nova has the potential to be the biggest difference maker on the Yankees in terms of upside relative to projection. He’s about the only player I can realistically see being two wins better than his projection. I wouldn’t bet on that happening, but it could. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him being worse than replacement level either, although he’ll likely have a short leash if he does struggle. Nova does still have at least one option year remaining so he could be sent back to the minors if he doesn’t pitch well.

    I think Phelps will be a useful part of the team, even without similar upside.”

    http://www.rlyw.net/index.php/RLYW/index

  60. PacoDooley March 28th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I’m hoping that Kevin Long and the rest of the coaching can help sort out some of these once great players. They clearly had a positive influence on Granderson and Swisher, and it looks like the tweaks are helping Youk. If they can continue to work on Wells and help Overbay (plus Boesch) they might have a better offence than projected.

    At this time, I am most worried about the DH spot since I don’t see Hafner having a good year, and since he cannot actually play a position, I sort of hope he gets cut at some point (assuming he doesn’t actually hit)

  61. Wang IS Taiwan March 28th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Hi everyone!

    Didn’t post during the off-season, but did read through comments when I had time. What a frustrating/aggravating off-season. I loved what Rich (?) wrote the other day…sthg about having to resort to cheering for stupid to work this year due to Cashman. I want him gone. He’s willing to trade our young guys for old has-beens who may be helpful short-term at best. I’ve never been so unexcited for baseball season to start because watching the Yanks is likely to be painful.

    On the bright side, I watched a replay of Phelps’ nine strikeouts yesterday. That’s some nice pitching. I’d like to see him in the mix this year. He moves the ball around well and had some good movement on some strikes I saw.

    Not sure Wang has enough to pitch well in the AL, but it’s been nice to have him back just for the increased coverage of the Yanks here. They were broadcasting too many O’s games for my liking and I’d prefer to watch games on my TV rather than the computer.

  62. Chip March 28th, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Trader,

    I think it depends on the severity of the knee issue. “Cracked” doesn’t sound good but my hope is that it was just a translation issue.

    I just see Mustelier and Francisco as two guys who are better defensively and offensively than Juan Rivera and should make the team ahead of him.

    My hope for the roster situation though is that if young guys do have to go, they go in trades and not straight DFA.

  63. Cashmoney March 28th, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Welcome back Wang.

  64. Wang IS Taiwan March 28th, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Thanks, Cashmoney.

    I see MTU is walking the dogs, so I’ll miss him. Gotta run. Later!

  65. UpState March 28th, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Mustelier didn’t get enough chances to play 3B ?
    Did Youk get many more ?

  66. Yankee Trader March 28th, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Chip

    I agree, but my guess now, since Mustelier did not get those chances at third last night, and Maruszak did, and made some nice plays on tough chances, unless they have tapes of Mustelier’s third base play in Cuba, he will be sent back to AAA.

    With Nunez at SS, Wells in LF, and maybe Overbay at 1st base on opening day against Lester with Stewart catching CC, could this be the bench[4] on Opening Day?

    Cervelli, Nix, Rivera or Overbay if Rivera starts at 1st, and Francisco.

  67. Doreen March 28th, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I would like to know what Phelps’ take was on his pitching last night. What was different in the 5th inning?

  68. Doreen March 28th, 2013 at 10:28 am

    UpState -

    I think what happened was, Youk got more chances when he played third than Mustelier got. But he handled the chances he did get just fine.

  69. Yankee Trader March 28th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    There were two games that I say where I wished Mustelier had been penciled in as the starting third baseman in place of Youkilis because in both those games there were 4-5 chances, some tough ones, that Youkilis made and didn’t make:

    The Phillies game started by Cliff Lee and last Sundays game.

    Have any of you seen more of his play at third? Now I do think his defense is better that what some give him credit for and I hope he makes the team and is the third baseman opening day with Youkilis at 1st, and gets at bats playing corner OF, 3rd and DH.

    Do you really has a chance to make the team even if he plays against the Nats this weekend?

  70. ron March 28th, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Had my fantast draft last night

    c-rosario,montero
    1b-howard
    2b-cano
    3b-longoria
    ss-hanley
    of-holliday,dom brown,jennings,dunn,granderson,soriano,cain.
    dh/utility-encarnacion.

    pitchers-greinke,gallardo,axford,betancourt,romo,teheran,tillman,beachey,estrada.

  71. Yankee Trader March 28th, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Doreen-

    I missed the 5th but looking right now[replay highlights mlb.com] at the Markakis hit that plated the 3rd run it was a two seamer that floated across the center of the plate and the first two runs came from a McClouth long blast that was the same pitch with the same location.

  72. UpState March 28th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Mustelier seemingly played fine…
    don’t think that his innings there are an issue…
    it’s ‘simply’ the chess-game of the roster at this point…
    LH / RH/ IF / OF / who can go down / who can’t / then also ….
    who else they will /can ‘acquire’ as all the other teams release or make players available…

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