Tuesday notes: Granderson defers to Cano • 02.28.12
Curtis Granderson was a legitimate MVP candidate last year. He hit 41 homers and led the league in both RBIs and runs, yet he’s far from the biggest name in the Yankees clubhouse. How does it feel to have a year like that, and still be overshadowed?
“The good thing about this team, I don’t think there’s one guy that has to be the guy,” Granderson said. “If there is, if I’m pointing to him, I’m looking at Cano as that guy. It seems like he’s always the guy coming up with the big hit or big play for the last two seasons that I’ve been here.”
Robinson Cano seems all but locked into the No. 3 spot in the order, and despite his power last season, Granderson said he still doesn’t consider himself a true middle-of-the-order hitter.
“I remember being in Little League,” he said. “We had our first game one year, and I remember looking at the lineup. I think I batted first or second. One kid — he was a little bit bigger and just all-around, at the time, better — he batted third. I remember asking someone, how come he’s batting third? Why am I batting first? They said, the best hitter has to bat third. From that day — I was probably 8, 9, 10 years old – I remembered that. It’s not necessarily the guy with the most home runs. It’s your best all-around hitter.”
• Speaking of Thursday, the Yankees will have a team outing that afternoon. They’ll have a short workout in the morning, then the team will go to an undisclosed event at an undisclosed location. “We’ve done a real good job of keeping this one hush-hush,” Girardi said.
• Ivan Nova will likely throw one more bullpen before starting Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener. Today he threw batting practice for the second time this spring. “It looks like he has a plan,” Girardi said. “He knows exactly what he wants to do. Sometimes when you’re fighting like he was last year to try to prove himself, that he could pitch at this level — was he going to go with us, was he not going to go with us — I think with the experience that he got last year, I think he understands what it takes. And what he needs to work on. And what his approach is.”
• Joba Chamberlain said he’s scheduled to throw another 15-20 fastballs off a full mound on Friday. He’s not sure when he’ll be throwing breaking balls, but he’s hopeful it’s not too far in the future.
• Chamberlain knows that the Yankees don’t expect him back until June, but he’s still hoping to beat that expectation and get back sooner. He has a best-case scenario in mind. “I’m just going to do a Mo,” he said. “I know the answer, but I’m not going to tell you guys. Yeah, I have it in mind. I know the work that I put in. Like I said, three to four months can be realistic. But also on the other hand, it can be realistic on the front side of things. For all the work that I put in, I know there’s more coming up still.”
• Speaking of Rivera, here’s David Aardsma when asked whether he’s hoping to take Rivera’s job next season: “Nah, I’m focused on being healthy, and that’s all I’m worried about. Whatever those circumstances are, when we get there we get there. He’s the greatest closer of all time, man. He can ride out on whatever horse he wants to whenever he wants to.”
• Girardi was asked about catching prospect Gary Sanchez, the youngest player in camp: “He’s made some minor adjustments (defensively), and I’ve been pleased with his work ethic. He’s got some thunder in his bat, you can see. He swings the bat with authority. He’s got an outstanding arm. For Gary, he needs to play. This kid needs to play a lot of games so he understands the trade back there.”
• Kyle Higashioka hurt his shoulder during a workout today. “He could be out for a few days,” Girardi said.
• Bill Hall got quite a bit of time at shortstop during drills today. Really, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees are too concerned with his ability to play there, but I guess it’s possible it could come into play if Eduardo Nunez is hurt.
• Random observation of the day: When lefty Clay Rapada throws batting practice, the protective L screen is flipped as if a right-hander is throwing. The L screen is made with an opening for a pitcher to throw the ball, but the opening is too high for Rapada’s sidearm delivery. Instead, he just throws around the screen, keeping his left arm straight out to the side.
• As expected, Andy Pettitte did throw batting practice today, but he wasn’t on the main field. Pettitte threw BP in one of the indoor cages. The only hitters I saw him throw to were Jorge Vazquez and Zoilo Almonte.
Associated Press photos
CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are each listed at 6-foot-7. They’re intimidating figures at the best of times. Imagine seeing them on a mound, early in the morning, when you’re facing live pitching for the first time of the spring.
“It was good,” Colin Curtis said. “Because the sun was up there, and they were kind of blocking it.”
Sabathia and Pineda threw live batting practice to Curtis and Melky Mesa. At this point, we all know what to expect from Sabathia, but Pineda is still in the process of making a first impression. It was the slider that most impressed Curtis, but it’s still a little early to get a great read on a pitcher. Curtis said he didn’t see any changeups, but he saw a few thrown to Mesa.
Last time Curtis faced live pitching? It was few weeks before spring training, and he badly wanted to get on a field, so he put together a scrimmage with some high school kids in his home town. Not exactly the kind of thing that prepares a guy for Sabathia and Pineda.
“Facing sophomores is a little different than facing these two guys,” Curtis said.
• David Aardsma’s locker is still empty, but he’s now on the schedule for pitchers conditioning. He’s in a group with Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano. Aardsma was originally scheduled to arrive today, so he could show up at some point.
• Joba Chamberlain said this morning that he’s scheduled to finally throw off a full mound tomorrow. He’ll do standard long toss and flat ground, then he’ll throw 20 pitches off a mound. He said the mound has felt huge during PFP, so he’s looking forward to making it feel familiar again.
• Tomorrow’s early batting practice pitchers are Dave Robertson and Boone Logan. They’ll be pitching to David Adams and Corban Joseph.
• Today’s batting practice pitchers:
Phil Hughes (to Russell Martin)
Hiroki Kuroda (to Russell Martin)
Manny Banuelos (to Jose Gil)
Dellin Betances (to Kyle Higashioka)
Freddy Garcia (to Gustavo Molina)
Cory Wade (to Gustavo Molina)
D.J. Mitchell (to J.R. Murphy)
Cesar Cabral (to Gary Sanchez)
• Today’s batting practice groups are the same as yesterday. They’ll probably stay the same for a while now.
Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez
Eric Chavez, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Doug Bernier
Russell Branyan, Bill Hall, Jayson Niz, Jorge Vazquez, David Adams
Francisco Cervelli, Jose Gil, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Nick Swisher
Chris Dickerson, Justin Maxwell, Cole Garner, Dewayne Wise
Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Melky Mesa, Corban Joseph
Kyle Higashioka, Russell Martin, J.R. Murphy, Gustavo Molina
• Same fielding groups too:
C: Kyle Higashioka, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina, J.R. Murphy
INF: Russell Branyan, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez
OF: Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Justin Maxwell
C: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Gil, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
INF: David Adams, Doug Bernier, Corban Joseph, Jayson Nix, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Vazquez
OF: Chris Dickerson, Brett Gardner, Cole Garner, Melky Mesa, Nick Swisher, Dewayne Wise
• It seems that everyone made it through photo day with no problems. I’m sure that’s always a big concern.
Associated Press photo