Scott Sizemore has never played first base. Not once. Not in Detroit. Not in Oakland. Not in the minor leagues. Not in college. Not at Hickory High School in Virginia.
He’s playing first base tonight.
“I haven’t been over there enough to really get a feel for the position,” he said. “But I consider myself a pretty good athlete, a pretty good infielder, so I feel like the basics are there, it’s just a matter of knowing my responsibilities on bunt coverage, all that good stuff.”
Sizemore was going through first base drills in Scranton in preparation for this moment. He was going to play a Triple-A game at first, but that was one of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s many rain outs, and then Sizemore was needed in the big leagues, and so he came up fully aware that this was a possibility, but without actually getting a turn at the position.
Of course, after putting Francisco Cervelli and Carlos Beltran at first base already this year, Sizemore seems like a natural fit.
“We’re pretty confident that he can do it,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously he has not been in a game and done it, but I’m pretty confident he can do it. … It’s not the most comfortable position to be in, but when you go through injuries sometimes you have to be a little bit creative. I didn’t really feel like putting Carlos back there, so I went with Sizemore.”
The Yankees face another lefty tomorrow, so there’s a good chance this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Sizemore at one position or another. What happens on Sunday is anyone’s guess, but for now he’s here to plug a hole, even if that means playing an unfamiliar position.
“They told me to be ready for anything,” Sizemore said. “And here I am.”
· Mark Teixeira should be back at first base in three days. Teixeira played three innings in an extended spring training game this afternoon. He’ll play five innings tomorrow and a few innings again on Saturday before being activated for Sunday’s series finale. Girardi said that Teixeira had a “really good day” today and he’s on track to come off the disabled list when eligible. “Everything is pointing to him playing for us,” Girardi said. “It’s something that we have to talk about, but everything points to him being here.”
· Similar situation for Dave Robertson who threw a 25-pitch bullpen this afternoon. He’s supposed to pitch in an extended spring training game on Saturday and should be activated on Tuesday. “I think it’s a distinct possibility,” Girardi said.
· The minor league complex is going to be the place to be on Saturday. Brendan Ryan is supposed to play that day as well. “He’s been swinging,” Girardi said. “I think he’s going to play maybe a little sim game on Friday and get some live ABs. He’s progressing OK. … He’s got to go through a normal spring training. It will obviously be sped up because we can get him more at-bats in certain situations, but we’d like to see him get 40, 50 at-bats.”
· Still no starter announced for Sunday’s game, but Girardi said it will be one of the current relievers. Sounds like David Phelps and Vidal Nuno are the best bets. Adam Warren has basically locked up a late-inning job. “If he starts pitching in the back end like he’s going to do, the plan wouldn’t be to stretch him out,” Girardi said.
· No big moment that landed Brian Roberts back in the lineup today. Girardi has him in there now, and if something happens where the lineup has to change, then it will. So far, though, all signs are that Roberts is ready to play again. Girardi said he’s going to keep an eye on Roberts throughout to make sure he’s moving OK. With Dean Anna and Kelly Johnson on the bench, the Yankees have two other options at second base just in case.
· Girardi said he’s not taking for granted that Derek Jeter’s leg issue is finished. “I’m going to pay attention to it,” Girardi said. “This is back-to-back days. I am going to play attention to it, but I felt good about how he came through yesterday. I thought he had to run pretty hard between first and second, and that was good. Obviously the weather’s a lot better here, but I will keep my eye on it.”
Associated Press photos