Quiet day in Yankees camp, except that Masahiro Tanaka was on a mound throwing to hitters. Even on a slow and quiet day, Tanaka’s enough to provide instant buzz at Steinbrenner Field.
“He threw everything,” Francisco Cervelli said. “The other day I just caught splits, sliders and fastballs. Today was everything (including) curveballs, and I tried to pitch a little like a simulation game. It’s great. It’s great. I was trying everything because I don’t know him. The more I catch, the more I know. He’s able to do so many things. … I was trying both sides of the plate with every pitch. He’s able to throw every pitch in every count, so I think it’s going to be fun and really good.”
Cervelli’s caught Tanaka quite a bit down here — this was at least his third time counting bullpens — so he probably has the best sense of what Tanaka’s been able to do this spring (among the players, anyway). Today, though, three relatively new hitters faced Tanaka for the first time.
Scott Sizemore: “For me just missing time and not seeing live pitching for a while, you’re obviously just kind of trying to see the pitches well and pick it up out of the hand. But even some of the curveballs that he threw me that I saw well were so sharp that it still kind of fools you and you can’t pull the trigger on it. I was definitely impressed, one with his command, and two with his stuff.”
Dean Anna: “A lot of pitches, a lot of movement and really deceiving. … I’ve seen a lot of (different types of pitches from him). I don’t know which ones sometimes, but his splitter is really dirty. His curveball’s really good. His fastball gets on you. It’s definitely tough to face him for sure, with all his pitches and how good they are.”
Zealous Wheeler: “I saw one splitter, but the splitter was really nasty. Very nasty. If he throws it like today, he’s going to be successful. That was the one I swung and missed on. It’s a good pitch. … (Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda) have got the slow delivery, take a while to get to the plate and the ball jumps off. But you know, they’ve got very good stuff. Fastball, slider, everything that pitchers need to get outs.”
· Andrew Bailey arrived in Yankees camp today. He’s playing catch already and stretched out to roughly 120 feet, but he’s not particularly close to throwing bullpens. “Taking time when I need to, accelerate when I can,” Bailey said. “There’s really no timetable for this kind of thing. The prototypical response is that it’s a 12-month rehab, and I’m seven months out. You can take that and run with it.” Bailey actually sounds encouraged. Said he “100 percent” expects to be pitching in New York by the end of the season.
· Bailey’s minor league contract includes an option for 2015, and Bailey said he’s basically hoping this becomes a two-year deal. “I go out and be myself, and hopefully be a Yankee for at least two years, and who knows what happens after that,” he said. “First things first, I’ve got to get back out there, and that’s what I’m focused on right now.”
· Tanaka and Kuroda have similar deliveries and they each lean on a good split-finger as a go-to offspeed pitch. Cervelli said the difference between the two splits is when they begin to move. Tanaka’s moves more and starts the movement early. Kuroda’s moves less, but it break late. “(Tanaka’s) starts like in the middle between home plate and the mound,” Cervelli said. “Kuroda is like late, goes down.”
· Manny Banuelos threw a side this morning. Nardi Contreras, one of the Yankees long-time pitching instructors, said Banuelos is showing the same arm strength and mechanics that he had before Tommy John surgery. “Very, very good,” Contreras said. Sounds like the fastball and changeup have been especially impressive so far.
· First time I’ve actually seen Alfonso Soriano in Yankees camp. He said he’s starting feel better. Sounds like he could be able to work out tomorrow. Soriano’s been basically shut down because of a flu bug.
· Tyler Austin’s sore right wrist will be reevaluated tomorrow. He seems optimistic, but said he’s planning to just follow whatever advice he gets from the trainers. Hard for him to have a real plan right now without having some sort of answer from the medical staff.
· Dave Robertson, Matt Thornton and Shawn Kelley are each scheduled to do early work tomorrow. Seems to be a safe bet that none of those three will pitch in tomorrow’s game against Florida State.
· Early batting practice:
Facing Mason Williams, Eduardo Nunez and Jacoby Ellsbury
Adam Warren (to Gary Sanchez)
Jim Miller (to Pete O’Brien)
Preston Claiborne (to John Ryan Murphy)
Cesar Cabral (to Francisco Arcia)
Chris Leroux (to Jose Gil)
Facing Dean Anna, Zealous Wheeler and Scott Sizemore
CC Sabathia (to Brian McCann)
Hiroki Kuroda (to Austin Romine)
Masahiro Tanaka (to Francisco Cervelli)
· Early bullpens:
David Phelps (to Sanchez)
Jose Campos (to O’Brien)
David Herndon (to Roman Rodriguez)
Manny Banuelos (to Murphy)
Mark Montgomery (to Romine)
Matt Daley (to Arcia)
· No full-squad workout today. A few guys came in early to take batting practice on their own, but there’s nothing on the field the rest of the day. The Yankees are in a union meeting right now, and they’re going for a team outing — I believe it’s a pool tournament — this afternoon.
Associated Press photos