Instead of getting in a Grapefruit League game right away, Michael Pineda’s first spring outing will be a Sunday simulated game. Manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees might be moving a little bit slower with Pineda “just to make sure” he’s healthy, but it’s not significantly slower. Pineda’s sim game will come just one day after CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka make their spring debuts.
“(Pitching a sim game is) just kind of the way it works out,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about building guys up, and we’ll do a sim for him the first game. I believe his second game is a real game.”
Girardi said he expects other starters to make simulated starts at various points as well, and he generally dismissed the idea that Pineda beginning with one carries any real significance. In fact, the Yankees have routinely talked about how impressive Pineda has been this spring. Girardi said his slider is sharp and his changeup has actually improved. The Yankees believe he’s throwing with power, but they haven’t had a radar gun on him in bullpens.
“He’s better than when we saw him a couple of years ago, that’s for sure,” Girardi said. “So we have been encouraged. I’m curious to see how it translates in a game. … Just the way the ball’s coming out (has been impressive). Consistency in his mechanics. Consistency in his location.”
· Slade Heathcott is beginning baseball drills this morning. He said he wasn’t sure what exactly he’d be doing, but he expected to play catch and take some dry swings. He had relatively minor knee surgery this offseason and has been eased into regular spring training activities. He said he’s felt absolutely no problems during workouts, but he obviously hasn’t tested the knee in drills. “I haven’t felt anything from the get go,” Heathcott said. “We’re just being extra cautious.”
· MRIs on Jose Ramirez’s back and oblique came back clean, but he still feels sore and so he’ll be shut down for a while. Ramirez told me that it feels basically the exact same as last year’s oblique injury which cost him two months. Ramirez told Marly Rivera of ESPN that the pain is slightly less than last year, but he believes it’s the same injury. “we have to treat the symptoms, and he’s sore,” Girardi said. “I can’t tell you exactly what it means and how long he’s going to be down, but he’s down right now.”
· Scott Sizemore is going to do sliding drills on Sunday — actually sliding in the dirt into a base — and that should be his final step before being cleared to play in games. He’s obviously anxious to get going but said he appreciates the Yankees giving him time to ease into things. Sounds encouraged by the way his knee feels so far.
· Didn’t see Tyler Austin to get an update on his wrist.
· Girardi said he plans to use CC Sabathia for the first two innings, then Hiroki Kuroda for two innings, then Masahiro Tanaka for two innings in tomorrow’s game. After that, they’ll be separated for their remaining starts, but Girardi indicated that at least one of those three will pitch a simulated game next.
· Upcoming spring starters:
Saturday: CC Sabathia
Sunday: Vidal Nuno
Monday: Ivan Nova
Tuesday: David Phelps
Wednesday: Adam Warren
· Derek Jeter apparently feels fine after playing yesterday. He’s still on track to play again tomorrow. “I asked him how he felt and he said, ‘good.’” Girardi said. “But he wasn’t the only guy I asked how he felt. I asked Brian Roberts. Anyone who played yesterday, I asked them how they feel. A lot of guys have said, better than they expected.”
· Dave Robertson and Jose Campos threw live batting practice this morning. They faced Scott Sizemore and Kelly Johnson.
· Reggie Jackson arrived in Yankees camp today.
· Today’s available relievers: Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne, Dan Burawa, Mark Montgomery, Brian Gordon and Fred Lewis (Dellin Betances, Caleb Cotham, Chase Whitley, Bruce Billings, Zach Nuding and Diego Moreno are also making the trip).
· Early bullpen sessions:
Michael Pineda (to John Ryan Murphy)
Manny Banuelos (to Jose Gil)
Ivan Nova (to Francisco Cervelli)
Matt Daley (to Roman Rodriguez)
· Batting practice groups at Steinbrenner Field:
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki (that’s the cool-guy group)
Group 2: Francisco Cervelli, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira
Group 3: Kelly Johnson, John Ryan Murphy, Scott Sizemore
Associated Press photos (that’s Wheeler in the bottom photo, and Ramirez from last spring in the middle picture)