The video above is from Michael Pineda’s morning bullpen. Same sun issues that I had with Masahiro Tanaka’s bullpen a couple of days ago, but the video at least gives some idea of what the ball looks like coming out of Pineda’s hand. Of course, the best view belonged to young catcher Peter O’Brien, who was behind the plate this morning.
“He looks great,” O’Brien said. “I was actually fortunate enough to catch him right when he was rehabbing (in 2012), right when I first signed. It’s a huge difference. I see what everyone talks about with him. He was throwing the ball really well. His changeup and his slider were working really well too. Really, really good bullpen for him today.”
It seems that the Yankees are moving slowly with Pineda this spring. Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno each threw to hitters this morning — and both Warren and David Phelps have been facing hitters for more than a week now — but as far as I can tell, Pineda is still limited to bullpens without a hitter in the box. The Yankees, though, seem encouraged with the physical progress he’s made in the nearly two years since shoulder surgery.
“He just looks good,” O’Brien said. “He looks comfortable up there. He looks healthy. He’s throwing the ball. He’s driving with a lot of power. He just looks really good. He looks like a pitcher up there. He’s definitely a big power arm, very good breaking stuff, good command of his pitches. … Not that it wasn’t necessarily there, it’s just that first time I caught him he was coming off (surgery), so he was probably 50 percent last time I caught him.”
· Talked to utility infield candidate Scott Sizemore this morning. Back-to-back ACL injuries have basically cost him the past two seasons, so he’s in camp trying to both win a roster spot and also build strength in his knee. “I’m definitely thinking competition mode,” Sizemore said. “But at the same time, it’s still toward the end of my rehab. I’m a little more than 10 months out (of surgery), and the normal range for an ACL is 10 to 12 months. I’m definitely able to go out there and do stuff on the field, it’s just I haven’t done it a lot. Confidence is going to come with going out there and doing more activity.”
· Sizemore has opt-out dates in his contract for May 1 and August 1. He will go to Triple-A if he doesn’t make the team, but he can leave after a month if he sees better opportunity elsewhere.
· For now, Sizemore is probably most notable for the uniform number he’s wearing. “At first I saw 24 and I was like, oh they gave me a good number,” he said. “Then I started thinking for a second, I was like, wait, that’s Cano’s number. That’s some pretty serious shoes to fill, but I’m glad they at least gave me a really good number.”
· Also talked a little bit with Corban Joseph, who’s in camp after undergoing shoulder surgery last season. He said he’s been in Tampa since January to finish off his rehab, and he’s been doing regular baseball work for a few weeks now. He feels ready for a full spring training, and he took live batting practice this morning. He said the shoulder issue had been there for a while but he was able to play through it for years before finally deciding it was time to get it fixed. Seems optimistic. Said it feels significantly better than he’s used to.
· Derek Jeter seemed to be in a good mood this morning, and he was actually talking to CC Sabathia about the straps he uses to keep his uniform socks up. This is the kind of thing that happens in the clubhouse. Velcro sock straps are a big topic of discussion.
· For spring training infield drills, it seems like the Yankees usually assign all of their utility guys one specific position to work on each day. Today, all of the utility guys were given a couple of positions to work on. That includes Joseph, who’s been assigned to get some ground balls at first base. Last year was the first time he played some first base, and even then he did it only a handful of games. I’m guessing the Yankees are preparing him to get some more time there this season.
· Hideki Matsui is here to serve as a guest instructor. Apparently Willie Randolph is here as well, though I didn’t actually see him.
· Random note on O’Brien: He said he has no preference whether he’s called Pete or Peter. He said a lot of his teammates called him O.B. and most of the Latin guys call him Pedro. His name plate says Pete, but he introduced himself as Peter. So, I guess just call him whatever you want.
· Not sure if they’re throwing bullpens or live batting practice, but CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova are each listed as pitchers who are throwing tomorrow.
· Later live batting practice (begins at 12:05 p.m.):
Preston Claiborne (to Brian McCann)
Jim Miller (to Francisco Cervelli)
Jose Ramirez (to Francisco Cervelli)
Dellin Betances (to John Ryan Murphy)
Dan Burawa (to John Ryan Murphy)
Nik Turley (to Austin Romine)
Robert Coello (to Pete O’Brien)
Francisco Rondon (to Pete O’Brien)
Chase Whitley (to Gary Sanchez)
Fred Lewis (to Gary Sanchez)
Bryan Mitchell (to Jose Gil)
Shane Greene (to Jose Gil)
· Infield drill assignments
Russ Canzlez (1B), Brian Roberts (2B), Derek Jeter (SS), Yangervis Solarte (2B/SS), Scott Sizemore (3B/2B), Dean Anna (3B/SS), Zealous Wheeler (3B/2B)
Mark Teixeira (1B), Corban Joseph (2B/1B), Jose Pirela (2B/3B), Brendan Ryan (SS), Eduardo Nunez (3B/SS), Kelly Johnson (3B/2B)
· Batting practice groups
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, Austin Romine
Group 2: Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann
Group 3: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Scott Sizemore, Francisco Cervelli
Group 4: Corban Joseph, Jose Pirela, Yangervis Solarte, Zealous Wheeler, John Ryan Murphy
Group 5: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ichiro Suzuki, Jose Gil
Group 6: Zoilo Almonte, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Francisco Arcia
Group 7: Tyler Austin, Antoan Richardson, Mason Williams, Pete O’Brien
Group 8: Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Gary Sanchez
Associated Press photo