Brian Cashman held court in the Yankees clubhouse late this morning. The key topics discussed…
Masahiro Tanaka’s adjustment
Even with Tanaka facing a pretty strong Braves lineup this afternoon, Cashman said he brought no extra curiosity into the start. Tanaka’s adjustment has been so seamless that Cashman said he’s basically thinking of Tanaka just like any other pitcher; just a guy getting his work in and building up arm strength and endurance.
“He just made it transition-less,” Cashman said. “It’s not an issue for him. It’s almost like it’s more of an issue for us. That’s not to reduce 162 games and 183 days on a five-man rotation, all of that stuff. Those come with some adjustments that he’s going to have to deal with, but I’ve really been surprised how he’s hit the ground running in the states and has made the transition for us so much lesser than we expected. We talked about it about more than it’s been.”
Jacoby Ellsbury’s calf injury
Cashman said Ellbury’s health history doesn’t bother him in this situation. The only injuries that have ever landed Ellsbury on the disabled list have been caused by in-game collisions, and Ellsbury said he’s never had a problem with his calf. There are no tests scheduled at this time.
“I really just take it as a tight calf in spring training,” Cashman said. “Because he’s an important player, you back off and make sure. You’d like to have as many of your guys available to us when the bell rings, when those games count. … We’ll make sure we take care of this and if that takes a few days or a week, so be it. As communicated to me, it felt tight so we’re going to make sure that’s all it’s going to be.”
Michael Pineda’s innings limit
Cashman said he learned at least one lesson from the Joba Rules: going into detail about a workload limit tends to turn a relatively normal issue into a major story. With that in mind, Cashman wouldn’t say much about just how limited Pineda will be this season. Cashman only said that Pineda is very much in consideration to open the season in New York, and that any innings limit will not prohibit Pineda from starting the season in the big league rotation.
“Haven’t thought too strongly about that,” Cashman said. “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win. And if he puts himself in position to be one of the best guys for us in the front end, so be it, and we’ll have to worry about that another day. … We’re excited about what he’s doing on the front end of spring training, and despite his injury history or his developmental background, he will break camp with us if he makes the team. We’re very comfortable saying that.”
Manny Banuelos being optioned
Optioning Banuelos to minor league camp seems to be the most significant player cut of the spring so far. Banuelos seemed to have an outside chance of making the team if he’d been dazzling, but he was pretty erratic in his two spring outings. Cashman said the Yankees still haven’t decided where Banuelos will open the season — it’s possible he’ll stay behind in Tampa where it’s warm in April — but there’s no doubt he’ll work as a starter.
“We’re still talking about (where to have him start the season), so whatever team we assign today, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the team he’s going to be with,” Cashman said. “We’re going to take into account weather and everything else and what’s best. Obviously the arm strength’s there. I think he’s a little rusty, which is understandable. We’ll see how the rest of minor league camp goes before the actual placement will take place.”
Francisco Cervelli trade rumors
The Yankees have a recent history of making spring training moves, but Cashman “wouldn’t say” whether other teams are calling about Cervelli. Cashman acknowledged that the Yankees have more upper-level catching depth than most teams, but he wouldn’t say whether he’s actively putting that depth on the trade market. No surprise, but he didn’t mention anything about the Ichiro Suzuki trade speculation either.
“We have what we have currently in camp,” Cashman said. “And all those answers will be here unless something declares itself and presents itself that’s better elsewhere that I can secure. It’s as simple as that. Otherwise, we’re very pleased so far with how camp’s going and how the competition’s going for all the positions. But my job as a general manager is always to find something better that makes sense and that you can secure. I’m not afraid of that.”
Associated Press photo