Most of the big names who made the Panama trip were not asked to come to Steinbrenner Field today. They basically have a day off (with Dave Robertson being perhaps the most notable exception). The players got home around midnight last night, so while guys like Antoan Richardson and Chase Whitley are playing immediately, guys like Derek Jeter and Carlos Beltran probably won’t do much until tomorrow.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to come and got a chance to honor Mariano here in his home country,” Jeter told The Associated Press yesterday. “It’s an experience that I’ll forever remember. … When you’re around someone for that long, they don’t necessarily have to tell you things. I could tell it meant a lot to him. No one deserves it more than him.”
For now, the question is whether anyone will actually play a game today.
The sky does not look promising, and the forecast calls for a lot of rain today. The Yankees have already left for Bradenton, so they’re going to try to get the game in, but it’s not particularly hopeful at the moment. Just doesn’t look good.
· Jacoby Ellsbury is scheduled to take regular batting practice inside today. He told Joe Girardi that his tight calf feels better today, but Girardi said it’s still doubtful that Ellsbury will play tomorrow. “My guess is it will be no, but we’ll see,” Girardi said.
· Brendan Ryan is scheduled for a full workout in Tampa. If the weather allows, he’ll hit outside. Sounds like he’s on track to get back in a game this week.
· Two other notables scheduled to hit outside today are Tyler Austin and Scott Sizemore. Austin will be hitting outside for the first time since, I believe, the very first spring workout. He felt some discomfort in his wrist just as camp started and has been slowly working his way back. Hitting outside is basically his last step before getting in a game. Sizemore had been quietly shut down for a few days because of a tight right quad. He said his ACL is fine (that’s the injury he’s coming back from) and the quad issue is a non-concern. He’s expecting to play in the next day or two.
· Girardi won’t say when Masahiro Tanaka is making his next start, but CC Sabathia is scheduled for Friday (which would be Tanaka’s fifth day) and there’s no starter listed for Saturday’s game against the Twins. Tanaka is throwing a bullpen tomorrow, and pitchers who are starting on their sixth day typically throw a regular bullpen two days after their previous start before throwing a very light side a couple of days later. Certainly seems that Tanaka is being lined up for Saturday. Question is whether he pitches in the big league game on the road or stays in Tampa to pitch either a simulated game or a minor league game.
· Random nugget: Girardi said he actually watched some of yesterday’s Tanaka start on his computer between innings in Panama.
· Also worth noting that neither Vidal Nuno or Adam Warren is listed as a starting pitcher this week. Both pitched on Saturday. Seems at least possible that they’ve made their final spring starts.
· Today’s batting practice groups in Tampa:
Group 1: Kelly Johnson, Brian McCann, Gary Sanchez, Ichiro Suzuki
Group 2: Tyler Austin, Brendan Ryan, Scott Sizemore
· Today’s second string: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Corban Joseph, 2B Zelous Wheeler, SS Dean Anna, 3B Jose Pirela, LF Ramon Flores, CF Jake Cave, RF Yeral Sanchez
· Today’s scheduled relievers: Chase Whitley, David Herndon, Mark Montgomery, Brian Gordon, Yoshinori Tateyama (with Fred Lewis, Robert Coello, Branden Pinder, Jamas Pazos and Manny Barreda also making the trip)
Associated Press photos