Have to make this real quick and then get on the road for a long drive to Viera.
As I type this, Masahiro Tanaka is in the middle of his simulated game. It’s the first sim game of his life, and he’s called it a part of his adjustment to American baseball. Larry Rothschild is standing behind the mound calling balls and strikes — and determining whether balls put in play would be a hit or an out — but otherwise, the field is pretty empty.
I stood on the field for Tanaka’s first inning, and his hitters up from minor league camp — Jake Cave and Cito Culver — didn’t seem to have much of a chance against him. This is really about getting his work in and building “innings,” not at all about results.
When Tanaka sits between innings, to simulated the Yankees being at the plate, relievers are pitching simulated innings of their own. Dave Robertson was the first up out of the bullpen. Interestingly, John Ryan Murphy is catching Tanaka while Francisco Cervelli catches all of the relievers. Maybe the Yankees aren’t making Cervelli into a personal catcher after all. Looked that way early in spring, but hasn’t looked that way lately.
· Am I wrong or is today the first time Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury have been in the same outfield this spring? Maybe it’s happened before and I just don’t remember it, but this seems like the first time those two will get a chance to play side by side and get a sense of just how much ground the other guy can cover.
· Saw Tyler Austin on his way to the indoor batting cage this morning. He’s scheduled for more tee work today. Said his wrist continues to show improvement. “It feels awesome,” he said.
· After yesterday’s off day, there are a bunch of guys throwing sides today: David Phelps, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Adam Warren, Bruce Billings, Bryan Mitchell, Manny Banuelos, Chris Leroux and Shane Greene.
· Simulated games:
With Jake Cave and Cito Culver as the hitters
Masahiro Tanaka (to Murphy)
Dave Robertson (to Cervelli)
Matt Thornton (to Cervelli)
Preston Claiborne (to Cervelli)
Vidal Nuno (to Cervelli)
· Batting practice groups in Tampa:
Group 1: Carlos Beltran, Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki
Group 2: Russ Canzler, Francisco Cervelli, Kelly Johnson, John Ryan Murphy
· Today’s second string: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Francisco Arcia, 2B Corban Joseph, SS Yangervis Solarte, 3B Zelous Wheeler, LF Antoan Richardson, CF Mason Williams, RF Ramon Flores, DH Pete O’Brien
· Today’s scheduled relievers: Cesar Cabral, Fred Lewis, Matt Daley, Brian Gordon, Jim Miller and David Herndon (with Dellin Betances, Chase Whitley, Mark Montgomery and Danny Burawa also making the trip)
Associated Press photos