Derek Jeter’s not going to play against the college kids on Tuesday, and he’s not going on the road to Bradenton on Wednesday. The Captain’s first spring training game, then, will almost certainly come at home against the Pirates on Thursday. That game happens to be on YES Network and WFAN.
“It’s been a while since I played a game,” Jeter said. “I think everyone looks forward the first game in spring training. You want to get games under your belt. I’m looking forward to it, but don’t rush it. I told you, one day at a time.”
Girardi said the Yankees want to have Jeter run the bases one more time before he gets in a game, but right now there is no indication that he’s a step behind his teammates. He’s moved pretty well in the field, and the team has expressed no concern about the way he’s running. Jeter has dismissed every question about the health of his ankle or the strength of his legs.
“Like I told you, everything’s good,” he said.
Even with everything feeling good, it’s still not likely Jeter will make many road trips this spring. He might not get the Mariano Rivera treatment, but it’ll be close. With one exception. You can bet Jeter will be on the trip to Panama to honor Rivera in March. Girardi wouldn’t name names, but he said he’s begun reaching out to various players to ask if they’re interested in going to Panama. That’s one trip that will probably have quite a few volunteers. Is Jeter definitely going?
“What do you think?” he said, laughing. “I’m pretty sure I’ll go to Panama, I don’t know though. We’re going to Kalamazoo next year (to play) my old high school team.”
He was kidding. I think.
· Early spring training rotation:
Tuesday: Vidal Nuno
Wednesday: Ivan Nova
Thursday: David Phelps
Friday: Adam Warren
· Andrew Bailey has not reported to Yankees camp yet, and he won’t be in the mix for a big league job until well into the second half of the season. “Could be August, could be September, might not be at all,” Cashman said. Bailey had shoulder surgery in July and it will be at least a year before he’s approaching major-league-ready status. “When he’s healthy he’s an exceptional reliever,” Cashman said. “He’s coming off a shoulder surgery, so we’re taking a flyer. A low risk, and if we can get a reward out of it, great. One of those, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Because it’s a shoulder, more likely than not it’s an uphill battle but we’ll see.”
· By the way, Bailey’s not throwing a baseball yet. The Yankees didn’t sign him based on a bullpen or anything like that, it’s just a guy who’s been successful in the past. They signed him based on “who he was,” Cashman said.
· One other bullpen note: Girardi said today that he considers Robertson and Matt Thornton absolute locks for the bullpen, and Shawn Kelley is basically a lock as well. Girardi also said he fully expects both David Phelps and Adam Warren to make the team in some capacity. He’d said as much about Phelps yesterday, but today he made it clear that he’s envisioning a team with Warren either in the rotation or in the bullpen. It’s very unlikely that Warren will be sent to Triple-A to stay stretched out.
· Although Thornton has experience as a setup man and closer, Girardi said he was brought here to be basically what Boone Logan used to be. He’s primarily a left-on-left guy who can stay in to face a right-hander or two depending on the situation. Not strictly a specialists, but not really a go-to setup man either. “In reality we brought him here to get lefties out,” Girardi said. “But if you’re going to see left, right, left, there’s a good chance you’re going to leave him in. Two big lefties among three hitters, there’s a good chance I’m going to leave him in.”
· As for filling the rest of the bullpen, Girardi said he’s been encouraged by what he’s seen in camp so far. “I can’t say I’ve seen a BP or bullpen session where I said, ‘That wasn’t very good,’” Girardi said. “They’ve all been really good. Probably more than I expected this time of year. … When I think of our younger kids, I see a big step they’ve made since last spring training to this spring training.”
· Girardi seemed to vaguely agreed with John Ryan Murphy’s assessment that Michael Pineda’s batting practice wasn’t as sharp as it could have been this morning, but Girardi also mentioned that he saw improvement throughout the session. “I thought the last five, seven pitches he got dialed in, which to me is a good sign,” Girardi said. “The first time you face a hitter in four (or) five months, you don’t expect guys to be as sharp as they’re going to be. But he got better as he went along, which is a great sign to me.”
· Alfonso Soriano (flu) is expected to be around tomorrow and might do a light workout. He apparently felt better today. “We won’t really know until he gets here tomorrow,” Girardi said.
· The other guys who were hurt yesterday — Jim Miller, Tyler Austin and Nik Turley — are basically waiting to be reevaluated. Girardi said it’s likely Turley will be shut down for a full week. “Just to make sure (he’s alright),” Girardi said. “All the tests came back fine.”
· This surprised me a little bit in the clubhouse: Pete O’Brien speaks fluent Spanish. He’s a big white guy named O’Brien, but his mother is Cuban, and he grew up in Miami, so he speaks Spanish just as well as he speaks English. Said he actually spoken Spanish first as a kid. It obviously makes it easier to communicate with the Latin pitchers and with a lot of the Latin catchers he’s been doing drills with every day. For whatever it’s worth, O’Brien seems to have it together pretty well for a guy who’s new to big league camp. There’s a quiet confidence to him.
· There’s some pitching work scheduled for the early morning, but the Yankees won’t have a full team workout tomorrow. They’re instead doing one of their team-bonding trips like they’ve done in recent years.
· Final word goes to Girardi, who was asked if there was any chance of Rivera playing for the Yankees in Panama. “I asked,” Girardi said. “I said I thought maybe we might see you in centerfield. He kinda laughed at me.”
Associated Press photos