Notes from Sunday • 03.14.10
Robinson Cano is well aware that he barely hit .200 with runners in scoring position last season. He’s also well aware that he’ll be expected to do better than that as the Yankees No. 5 hitter.
“It’s more than an honor to hit behind A-Rod and in front of Posada,” Cano said. “That means I’m going to have to step it up early in the season.”
Joe Girardi has said some of Cano’s ugly RISP numbers last season were the result of bad luck, a lot of hard-hit balls finding gloves. Cano said he’s working to be more patient in those situations, making sure he doesn’t chase bad pitches.
“I know what I had last year, what I went through,” Cano said. “Him putting me fifth, that means that he trusts me.”
That’s very true. Girardi likes that Cano hits for average and doesn’t strikeout very often. It’s always been expected that Cano would eventually move up in the lineup, and Girardi thinks this is the time. “I consider Robbie a veteran player,” he said, while touting Cano’s sometimes questioned work ethic.
“I think he plays the game easy,” Girardi said. “When Robbie goes after the ball, you can be going at the same speed as a guy who looks like he’s putting in 100 percent effort, Robbie is still going just as hard, but Robbie has an easiness to him. Robbie Alomar had an easiness to him when he played second base. Some guys just appear that way. The other guys look like they’re working a lot harder, but they’re not necessarily working a lot harder. I see what Robbie does day in and day out, whether it’s on the field, off the field, in the weight room. I see it every day.”
• Girardi on CC Sabathia’s outing: “Good. Very good. Much better than his last time when he wasn’t comfortable with his mechanics. He was very sound to me.”
• Girardi on what’s causing Jonathan Albaladejo’s struggles: “He just doesn’t have his sink right now. It’s something that we’re going to have to iron out. He’s going to continue to pitch for us and we’re going to continue to evaluate.”
• My own comment: Don’t forget that Albaladejo made the opening day roster the past two years. Not saying he’ll make it this year, but I wouldn’t expect him to be among the next cuts. The Yankees like him, and he was pitching very well at the end of last season.
• Expect to see the regulars playing longer into games after tomorrow’s off day. Bank on three at-bats per game, Girardi said.
• After yesterday’s start in Lakeland, Chad Gaudin told Girardi that he felt fatigued. “At some point you usually hear it, everyone here in spring training says they’ve got a dead arm,” Girardi said. “You have to fight through it.” In print, those words read as if Girardi was calling out Gaudin to “fight through it.” In reality, it sounded more like Girardi expected this sort of thing and wasn’t surprised or bothered by it. At one point he said the Yankees would help Gaudin deal with the dead arm issues.
• Girardi told the pitchers on Friday that the results start to matter now. “We told them, now you’ve got to pick it up a little bit,” Girardi said, “because now their getting to that point where you’re next couple of outings are going to be evaluated much more seriously than your first two.”
• Girardi confirmed that he still plans to have his top three starters from last year — Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte — start those first three regular-season games against Boston.
• In case you missed it: C Jose Gil, RHP Grant Duff and RHP Zach McAllister have been reassigned to minor league camp.
Notes from Monday • 03.01.10
For Mariano Rivera, today’s bullpen session was the beginning of a methodical and finely tuned process. It was the first time he’d thrown off a mound since the World Series.
“I felt good,” Rivera said. “I wasn’t wild. For the first one, I’ll take it.”
On the day Rivera threw his first bullpen, most of the minor league pitchers threw for the fifth time this spring. Learning how to get ready for the season — and get ready to pitch into October — seems to be a skill of it’s own.
“I was running the other day,” Triple-A reliever Grant Duff said. “I’m a bigger guy so I’m not the fastest runner in the world, but I looked over — and I’m running pretty much as hard as I can on this last one — and he’s right there with me the whole time. I was like, oh my gosh. He knows exactly what he has to do to be prepared for what he’s going to do, which is cool. That’s what we all strive to do is to get to that routine that you know exactly what it takes to be at your best and last the whole season. He’s got it down to a science.”
• Andy Pettitte is the only pitcher throwing batting practice tomorrow, but a few others will throw a normal bullpen session. Pettitte is supposed to pitch around 9 a.m. and the team should be out of camp close to 10.
• Still no word on what the big group outing will be, but Girardi said it will be competitive. “It’ll be fun,” he said. “I’ve got some work I need tonight to prepare for it, but it’ll be fun.”
• Chan Ho Park threw 35 pitches today. Damaso Marte threw 25. They’ll throw another bullpen on Wednesday.
• While A.J. Burnett was facing hitters on the main field, Andrew Brackman threw batting practice on a back field. “He was pretty good for a first BP,” pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. “He was better than some of the big league pitchers I saw on their first day.”
• When Burnett was finished with his BP, he walked off the field and said “Thank you guys,” to the hitters. I thought that was cool.
• I saw Jorge Vazquez hit a few bombs today. Nothing off the top of the scoreboard, but he can hit them pretty far.
• Tony Pena hit fairly routine ground balls to Derek Jeter at shortstop, then he mixed in a ball deep in the hole toward third base. When Jeter got to it Pena said, “Just checking, that’s all.”