First, my apologies for the shaky video. Hard to keep the thing steady while holding it directly above my head to see over the back of the cage. Best I could do, and apparently I wasn’t the only one who was a little jumpy this morning. Michael Pineda threw his first live batting practice of the spring, and it was neither awful nor overwhelmingly great.
“The ball was coming out really good,” catcher John Ryan Murphy said. “Sometimes he tends to cut them a little bit, but that’s usually his first few warm-ups. After he starts getting through a little better, the fastball comes out really good. His command was really good today. I don’t think he’s where he thinks he should be yet, but overall he was pretty good. … (His command) was better in the bullpen. He was just a little jumpy out there on the mound I think because he was excited and anxious about his first day out there.”
It’s important to note that not many pitchers feel their stuff is great at this point, and Pineda has moved a little slower than most. He was working pretty fast today, and Murphy said that seemed to be part of Pineda’s excitement about having hitters in the box.
“You know, you need to get ready for the game,” Pineda siad. “I’m working (during) my bullpen. Today’s my first batting practice. I’m feeling great. I’ll be ready for the game. … Pitch a pretty good game. Very impressive for those guys (on the coaching staff).”
Murphy caught Pineda last year in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he said Pineda was starting to “find his groove” late in the season. That’s part of the reason Murphy said that Pineda was not where he thinks he should be this morning.
“I just think I’ve seen him better than he was today,” Murphy said. “So I know he has high expectations for himself. But his arm feels good, he told me, and obviously (on) Day 1 that’s the goal. … He’s got the electric stuff. He’s got a chance to be a high-end guy. You can see his potential every pitch.”
· I didn’t talk to Vidal Nuno this morning, but Jorge Castillo did. Apparently Nuno said he’s starting the spring opener on Tuesday. Joe Girardi has said he’ll announce the early spring rotation this afternoon. I’d bet on David Phelps and Adam Warren being featured prominently in that announcement.
· No sign of Andrew Bailey this morning. Didn’t even see a locker with his name on it, but he’s definitely agreed to terms on a minor league deal, so he’ll probably be here in the next few days. “It would mean a lot,” Dave Robertson said. “He’s a great arm. He has a lot of experience, had some good years with Oakland and some good years with Boston until he got injured. He has a lot of experience, so any help in the bullpen is welcome.”
· Of course, worth mentioning again that Bailey isn’t expected to be ready until mid-season.
· Only saw him in passing so I didn’t have a chance to ask about it, but Tyler Austin had his right wrist wrapped in the clubhouse this morning. Yesterday he was hoping this latest setback would be a short-term thing, maybe a day or two.
· Most of the time, I hardly notice the exact drills assigned to infielders and outfielders. Today, though, the Yankees outfielders are going over “gap communication” during fielding practice. I actually think that matters quite a bit this year, given all of the new faces working together (and the fact Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury need to get some sense of just how much their range overlaps when they’re in left and center).
· It was another day with early batting practice. I think everyone who’s scheduled to pitch today did so in the morning, headlined by Pineda. Tomorrow’s early pitchers include CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Manny Banuelos.
· Early morning live batting practice:
Group 1 (with Ramon Flores and Jose Pirela hitting)
Dellin Betances (to Austin Romine)
Chase Whitley (to Jose Gil)
Robert Coello (to Francisco Arcia)
Michael Pineda (to John Ryan Murphy)
Group 2 (with Corban Joseph, Adonis Garcia and Yangervis Solarte hitting)
Jose Ramirez (to Gary Sanchez)
Fred Lewis (to Francisco Cervelli)
Dan Burawa (to Pete O’Brien)
Yoshinori Tateyama (to Jose Gil)
Ivan Nova (to Brian McCann)
Bruce Billings (to Roman Rodriguez)
· Fielding drills
Group 1: Russ Canzler (1B), Corban Joseph (1B/2B), Brian Roberts (2B), Derek Jeter (SS), Scott Sizemore (3B/2B), Dean Anna (3B/SS), Zealous Wheeler (3B/2B)
Group 2: Mark Teixeira (1B), Jose Pirela (2B/3B), Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B), Brendan Ryan (SS), Eduardo Nunez (3B/SS), Kelly Johnson (3B)
· Batting practice:
Same as yesterday
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, Jose Gil
Group 2: Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Cervelli
Group 3: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Scott Sizemore, Brian McCann
Group 4: Corban Joseph, Yangervis Solarte, Zealous Wheeler, John Ryan Murphy
Group 5: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ichiro Suzuki, Gary Sanchez
Group 6: Zoilo Almonte, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Pete O’Brien
Group 7: Tyler Austin, Antoan Richardson, Mason Williams, Austin Romine
Group 8: Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Jose Pirela, Francisco Arcia
Associated Press photos