Not a great scenario for Vidal Nuno to make his first spring training appearance. Pitch well against college kids, and what does that prove? Get knocked around by college kids, and that’s a pretty bad sign. Ultimately, Nuno might not have taken a giant step forward this afternoon, but he certainly didn’t take a step back.
“Kinda (looked like) Nuno,” Joe Girardi said. “Nuno’s going to throw strikes, he’s going to work fast, and he’s going to get outs. He’s going to mix his pitches. That’s what he does. He did a good job for us last year. He’s got an idea what he’s doing with the baseball.”
Pitching two scoreless innings against Florida State, Nuno struck out three, walked none, and allowed his only hit on a lead-off single in the second inning (that single, by the way, was hit by a kid named Brett Knief who went 3-for-4). It was hard to be overly impressive in this scenario, but Nuno looked sharp.
“I felt good,” he said. “Starting the season, just having everything in place right now. I got a lot of more work to do, to get done, but overall I’m happy where I’m at right now. But every day I gotta keep working at it.”
Nuno said he took his usual approach into this game: throw strikes and keep hitters off balance.
“Throwing strikes, that’s my main concern about right now,” he said. “Showing the coaches that my main concern is throwing strikes. … It’s getting out there and just showing the pitching coach and the coaches that I can get out there and do that every five days.”
· George King was the first to report that the Yankees were on hand to watch Johan Santana pitch today in Fort Myers. King reports that Santana’s fastball sat in the upper 70s and occasionally got up to 81 mph, but that he still had an impressive changeup.
· So CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka are all pitching in the same game? “As I’ve talked about, we’re going to space them out,” Girardi said. “Tanaka’s starts are going to space out a little bit more in spring training, he’ll be on five days sometimes. The five days, it gets kind of crazy, so it’s just the way Larry (Rothschild) drew it up. It works.”
· As you probably suspect, Girardi said he’ll make sure that each of those three starts an inning on Saturday. Kuroda and Tanaka will be coming out of the bullpen, but they’re going to start a clean inning so that it’s similar to starting a game. It’s just about getting some work in at this point, anyway.
· Really nice game by John Ryan Murphy, who went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI doubles. He also scored from third on a foul popup behind the plate. The ball nearly went out of play, and in the effort to make the catch, the Florida State battery left the plate unprotected and Murphy took off.
· Who stood out to Girardi: “Murph had some really good at-bats. (Ramon) Flores had some really good at-bats. Those two kids kind of stood out for me a little bit today. I thought (Dean) Anna played a pretty solid game too.”
· Can you really judge anything against college kids? “It’s hard, and it’s early,” Girardi said. “They had some pretty good arms, though. They ran some pretty good arms out there. … It’s enjoyable to see the kids, and obviously I think it’s enjoyable for them. To play, in a sense, kind of a local school, because I think most of the kids are from Florida. You could tell who had family because when they came in the game that whole section would go kind of nuts.”
· Kind of strange to see this stadium full of fans wearing the opposing colors. Steinbrenner Field was no sold out, and the bulk of the fans who were in attendance seemed to be in Florida State gear.
· The Florida State team came into the Yankees clubhouse before the game. Heisman winner Jameis Winston said he spent some time talking to Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Better to play against the Yankees or to play in a national championship game? “Auburn wasn’t my favorite team growing up but the Yankees were,” Winston said. “So that’s obviously better.”
· Winston on meeting Jeter: “I was kind of star-struck. I just kept telling him it was an honor to meet him – and it really was. I guess it feels like when I talk to little kids, how they feel sometimes. Sometimes they’ll be speechless and that’s how I was with Mr. Jeter.”
· Winston played left field and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Bryan Mitchell (he broke his bat on a foul ball against Shane Greene). The real star for Florida State was the right fielder Knief who had two singles and a double. Turns out, he’s from New Jersey. “This was my Super Bowl,” he told Bob Klapisch.
· Yankees hitting notes: Five doubles for the Yankees today (Almonte, Ryan, Anna and two by Murphy). … Ramon Flores hit the first home run of the spring. He was 2-for-2. … Jose Gil was also 2-for-2. He had a pair of singles.
· Yankees pitching notes: All three Florida State runs came when Shane Greene struggled to get out of the sixth inning. … Nice outing by Bryan Mitchell. He went two hitless innings with three strikeouts and no walks. … Brian Gordon got through two innings scoreless, but he did allow four hits.
· Tomorrow should be a more typical spring training game. Ivan Nova will be the Yankees starter, while Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury are each making the trip. Girardi said he expects those three to play four or five innings apiece. Pretty standard for this time of year.
· Last word goes to Girardi on the game as a whole: “I thought the at-bats were good today. I thought we threw strikes. We just played a pretty good game. We got in the one inning when he gave up a few runs — we had two outs and nobody on — but it was good baseball.”
Associated Press photos