The Yankees will begin discussions tonight to determine whether they need to make any roster changes heading into the American League Championship Series. No change is going to be drastic. Alex Rodriguez isn’t going to be bumped from the cleanup spot, and Mariano Rivera isn’t going to be replaced in the ninth inning.
These three minor changes, though, might be worth considering.
With A.J. Burnett back in the rotation, the Yankees will probably have room for only one true long man. Sergio Mitre is good for maybe three innings, but Girardi showed last year that he likes to have a guy stretched out well beyond 50 pitches just in case. Dustin Moseley was basically that guy for the division series, and he did the most during the season to earn the spot.
If the Yankees play Texas, Moseley might be a no-brainer. He has good career numbers against that lineup, and he made that strong spot start in Arlington earlier this season. Against Tampa Bay, though, Moseley hasn’t had quite the same success. It’s not a huge sample size, but the Rays have hit .483/.529/.931 against him as a team. If the Yankees can risk Ivan Nova pitching in relief, he might be a better option. Both of his starts against the Rays went very well for four or five innings before falling apart. As a group, the Rays have hit .231 against him.
If the Yankees weren’t going to carry a second lefty against the left-heavy Twins, why would they carry one against the Rangers or Rays? My guess is that they won’t, but Royce Ring’s numbers are compelling against both teams.
No one on either the Rays or the Rangers has ever gotten a hit off him. Six different Rays are a total of 0-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts. All of those plate appearances came this year. The two strikeouts were both lefties who have done damage to the Yankees this season: Dan Johnson and Matt Joyce. The Rangers sample size is even larger. Six different Rangers are a combined 0-for-8 with a walk and a strikeout. The walk was to a righty. Josh Hamilton and David Murphy are a combined 0-for-3. Also in Ring’s favor: Neither Chad Gaudin nor Sergio Mitre has particularly good numbers against either team.
There’s been at least one stolen base in each of the first four games of the Rays-Rangers series. Rangers backup catcher Matt Treanor threw out roughly 28 percent of base-runners this season, but every other catcher involved — Bengie Molina, Kelly Shoppach and John Jaso — was at 23 percent or lower. Shoppach threw out 17 percent, which is down near Jorge Posada territory.
As a team, the Twins ranked fourth in the American League at throwing out base runners (more than 31 percent). The Rangers were third from the bottom. The Rays were ninth overall, but would have been much lower if not for Dioner Navarro who didn’t make their first-round playoff roster. Stolen bases could be a real weakness for these teams, but the Yankees left their best pinch-running base-stealer — Eduardo Nunez — off the roster for the division series. Greg Golson and Ramiro Pena can run, but Nunez would be the Yankees best bet if they wanted a new set of legs for Posada or Nick Swisher or Mark Teixeira late in a game.
Wrapping up from Target Field • 10.05.10
Reporters are doing two very different things on the day before a playoff series. The beat writers are asking very specific questions about roster decisions and lineup choices. We’re wondering about the current whereabouts of a guy like Ivan Nova, who some other reporters in the room have never even heard of.
The national writers and columnists are here to do bigger picture stories. Nick Swisher was asked again about his mechanical adjustments. CC Sabathia was asked about his playoff success last season. Joe Girardi was asked about filling the gaps left by Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.
I’m going to assume most of you know that Swisher trusts Kevin Long and that Girardi loves Robinson Cano. For today’s blog, I’m going to focus more on the nuts and bolts, starting with the pitching staff.
“Our plans are to go with a three-man rotation,” Girardi said. “If we have to change that, with the roster that we have, it gives us the flexibility to do that. A.J. will pitch out of the bullpen, but if he needed to start a game, he will start a game for us unless he was used (out of the pen).”
As for the bullpen.
“We really liked the way (Mitre’s) sinker has been working lately and the way he has been throwing the ball. And we felt we needed another guy to give us distance in case the first scenario came up… If A.J. has to make a start, you don’t really have a guy that can give you distance if you get in an extra-inning game except for Moseley.”
• Despite starting on Sunday, Moseley is available to pitch immediately. Girardi said he can pitch tomorrow if necessary.
• Girardi said he has a lineup in mind, but he wants to sleep on it. Asked if that looming decision centers on his outfield, Girardi said, “Yes.” I have to believe that means he’s deciding between Brett Gardner and Austin Kearns against the lefty Francisco Liriano.
• The Yankees wanted Ramiro Pena over Eduardo Nunez because of Pena’s experience at second and third. “We felt Pena was the more experienced guy if you get in those situations,” Girardi said.
• The Yankees wanted Greg Golson over Nunez because of Nick Swisher’s recent knee problems. “He’s not banged up now, he feels good,” Girardi said. “But we felt that it was probably in our best interests to carry a defensive outfielder in case something happens in this series. (Golson) is also a guy that can pinch-run for you if you wanted.”
• Close to carrying Royce Ring? “He was definitely in the discussion,” Girardi said.
• Ring, Nunez, Nova and Jonathan Albaladejo have been sent to Tampa to keep working out and stay sharp in case the Yankees need them.
• Girardi on Andy Pettitte in Game 2: “We felt with all the left-handed hitters, we would try to throw four lefties at them in five games.”
• If the Yankees get to the ALCS, Burnett seems to be the front runner to be the fourth starter. “I hope we have the discussion,” Girardi said.
• Sabathia in response to a question about the unpredictability of the rotation beyond him: “I don’t see what you guys are saying about uncertainty. Andy Pettitte is the best pitcher in the playoffs in the history of baseball, so I think our rotation starts up pretty good against anybody.”
Associated Press photos of Jeter and Sabathia
The television in the Yankees clubhouse was tuned to ESPN pregame. The group of players sitting around the television in charge of the remote were all rookies, young guys recently called up. They kept watching as one of the talking heads began ripping the Yankees rotation beyond CC Sabathia.
That’s when Alex Rodriguez walked over, called for the remote and changed the channel.
The Yankees could go a long way toward easing their rotation concerns tonight when Andy Pettitte makes his final regular-season start. Pettitte is coming off a bad start in New York, and he’s coming back from a little bit of back stiffness.
“He was able to do his bullpen a couple of days later,” Joe Girardi said. “It stiffened up the day he pitched, but he was able to do his bullpen and he’s had no issues. I don’t really have a lot of concern about it, but a little bit.”
The Yankees have not committed to a full playoff rotation, but it’s safe to say that winning the World Series is going to require a fourth starter, and so tomorrow’s A.J. Burnett start might be just as important in terms of easing rotation concerns.
“I don’t want to look at it as a bigger start,” Burnett said. “But it is a very important start obviously for myself and for these guys to know that A.J. can take the mound in the postseason and we’ve got confidence that we’ve got a chance to win a ball game, as opposed to what have we got today? … Confidence is not lost, but I know there are questions. I’m not oblivious to that.”
• As of right now, the tarp is on the field and dark clouds are overhead. It’s raining, but not heavily. “I think we’ll play,” Girardi said. “I wouldn’t bet it would be at 7:05, but I think we’ll play today. I haven’t heard any (contingency plans) which makes me think we’ll play.”
• Girardi said he believes once the rain passes, it will not come back so he has no plans of sitting Pettitte. Whenever this game starts, Pettitte will be the scheduled Yankees starter.
• Get used to this lineup. Girardi said there’s a good chance they’ll stick with it in the postseason. “This gives us a chance to split up the left-handers at the bottom,” Girardi said. “Grandy the last two months has been outstanding. It gives us another switch-hitter behind Robbie Cano. We think that it makes our lineup harder to navigate through. And the way Grandy has swung the bat the past two months, we felt he was ready to go up there.”
• Whether Jorge Posada catches Burnett tomorrow depends on how late the Yankees play tonight. Like with Pettitte, though, Girardi said he has no plans of changing his lineup because of the weather. He’s not going to sit Posada tonight to make sure he can use Posada tomorrow.
• Sunday’s starter is still up in the air, but it sounds like either Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes. Girardi said it absolutely won’t be Sabathia. “Could be that we use a lot of guys,” Girardi said. “A guy starts for a couple of innings and then we go to the bullpen right away. There are a lot of things we could do.”
• The Yankees want to use Hughes in some capacity this weekend, but Girardi still won’t give his innings limit. “We just wouldn’t use him a ton,” Girardi said.
• Girardi specifically named Nova as a potential Sunday starter. As for the chances of carrying Nova in the bullpen in the postseason: “That’s something we’d have to talk about as an organization, people that have seen him a lot more than we have,” Girardi said. Nova is not listed as an available reliever tonight.
• Does carrying a second lefty in the bullpen depend on which team the Yankees face? “I guess you could say that, yes,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said the Yankees have not settled on a number of pitchers to carry in the postseason.
• The Yankees have not mapped out a weekend plan for Mariano Rivera leading into the postseason. They’ll use him as necessary. “It is not mapped out, we’re trying to win our division,” Girardi said.
• The Red Sox are out of contention, but Girardi said it’s expected that non-contending teams still go all-out against contending teams. The Red Sox basically owe that to the Rays and Twins. “I think Boston will be ready to play and I think they’ll give everything they’ve got,” Girardi said. “That’s the kind of organization that they have. That’s the kind of players that they have. I think in the game of baseball, when you’re playing playoff contention teams, that’s what you’re supposed to do. I think you have to. It’s just the right thing to do. If you’re playing teams that aren’t in contention and you want to see young players, that’s a different story.”
UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Still no update on when the Yankees and Red Sox might start playing. There is only a message on the big screen in center field saying they hope to play after the system passes through.
The Red Sox also just announced that Clay Buchholz will not pitch tomorrow because of a stiff lower back. Tim Wakefield will start instead.
Here’s tonight’s Red Sox lineup.
Darnell McDonald CF
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Mike Lowell 1B
Jed Lowrie SS
Jason Veritek C
Bill Hall LF
Felipe Lopez 2B
Yamaico Navarro 3B
Associated Press photos of Burnett and Granderson
The Yankees have started their internal conversations about how to set their postseason roster and rotation.
“You can daydream into what October looks like and how you want to line it up,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’ve had those internal discussions.”
The Yankees, as you might expect, aren’t ready to announce any sort of decisions, but there are some plans beginning to take shape. And the use of Royce Ring last night, and Javier Vazquez on Tuesday, was about more than trying to win baseball games.
“(Using Ring) was based on conversations we had earlier in the day,” Cashman said. “The day before, same thing with Javy Vazquez. We’re trying to get things lined up. See what we have. See what our choices are.”
Cashman did not go into detail, but he said there’s a definite plan for Phil Hughes in this last week and a half. He also said Ring could pitch his way onto the postseason roster.
“I think it would be unfair to make a decision today because there are a lot of things that could change,” Joe Girardi said. “We will continue to evaluate everybody. Obviously you have guys that you expect to be there, but we’ll continue to evaluate everyone in case we have to make changes.”
• Dave Robertson played catch this afternoon and said everything felt good. “Feeling a lot better today,” he said. “I think I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
• Although Andrew Brackman said he doesn’t expect to pitch during this late call-up, Cashman said he’s specifically told Girardi to use Brackman whenever he wants. “I think you’ll see Brackman before it’s all said and done,” Cashman said.
• Girardi on his use of Chad Gaudin last night: “That was the guy we were going to in that situation. A lot of the other guys that we could have gone to were not experienced.” Joba Chamberlain, Dave Robertson and Boone Logan were not available, and Girardi said he was saving Kerry Wood for the eighth inning.
• Cashman made a point of mentioning Romulo Sanchez’s name. He seemed to indicate that we’ll see Sanchez pitch before we see Brackman.
• There was apparently some talk that Damaso Marte might not be finished for the season afterall. Girardi squashed that rumor. “I don’t think we’re getting him back,” Girardi said.
• The Yankees still have no discussed when they’ll do a locker room celebration: After they clinch the division or clinch a playoff berth.
• Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances joined the Yankees today but will not be added to the active roster. They’re both just here to workout with the team and get a feel for the big leagues. And they are apparently here to make everyone else look small. I’d never seen Betances in person. He’s a tall, tall kid.
Associated Press photo of Hughes, headshot of Robertson
Who’s next in the Yankees bullpen? • 09.22.10
Joe Girardi has clearly found comfort in his late-inning relievers.
Since the all-star break, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain and and Dave Robertson have earned Girardi trust. Mariano Rivera earned that trust a long time, and Kerry Wood has been as reliable as anyone on the staff since coming over at the trade deadline. Those are Girardi’s go-to guys, and they’ll remain his go-to guys in the playoffs.
But there is value in bullpen depth, and right now it’s hard to say who the Yankees sixth reliever would be in the playoffs, much less the seventh. Last year, Girardi used seven different relievers more than once in the ALCS. He used six different relievers more than once – and eight relievers overall — in the World Series. And that was with a schedule that let the Yankees use only three starters.
It could be that Girardi already has a good idea who he wants to carry in the postseason, but if he’s still trying to decide, there hasn’t been a lot of evidence in the past few weeks.
• Javier Vazquez, a big offseason addition who was looking like a reliable starter at the all-star break, pitched last night for the first time in 11 days.
• Sergio Mitre, who has a .205 opponents average as a reliever this season, has thrown six pitches since September 5.
• Dustin Moseley, who was a regular starter for more than a month, had a pretty good spot start last Sunday and hasn’t pitched since.
• Royce Ring, the team’s only option as a second lefty in the bullpen, hasn’t pitched since joining the team last week in Tampa Bay.
• Jonathan Albaladejo, who was positively dominant in Triple-A this season, has hardly gotten a look at any point this season. Ditto Romulo Sanchez.
• Chad Gaudin, who actually has become something of a go-to guy lately, went through all of June and July pitching only once when a game was within three runs. And that was in the 14th inning.
Associated Press photo of Chamberlain
Royce Ring was home in San Diego. He was taking his six-month-old baby girl — the one who was born during spring training — to a routine checkup on Tuesday when he got a call from his agent. The Yankees had tried to get in touch with Ring, and he hadn’t answered.
Four days earlier, Ring had wrapped up one of the finest minor league seasons of his career, but he’d given up the idea of joining the Yankees when a second round of September call-ups came and went. Ring told himself that his .202 opponents batting average against lefties would at least help him earn a good job for next year.
Brian Cashman told him he wasn’t finished with this year just yet.
“He said, ‘What time do you want to leave tomorrow?’” Ring said. “I said, ‘As early as you can get me out.’”
That meant a 6:20 flight to Atlanta, a connection to Tampa and a chance to play a role well into October.
Last year the Yankees had Damaso Marte and Phil Coke in the playoffs. Marte was positively dominant as their late-innings left-handed reliever, and Coke was good through the first two rounds.
This year, the Yankees have learned to lean on Boone Logan, but Ring has a little more than two weeks to make them think about carrying a second lefty in the playoffs. He could easily be more valuable than an extra position player or extra long reliever, but that’s assuming he passes what seems to be a down-the-stretch audition.
As the Yankees saw this week, Tampa Bay is willing to put three straight lefties in their lineup against a right-handed starter (though they’re also willing to pinch hit Sean Rodriguez or Willy Aybar if a lefty comes in from the pen). The Rangers have Josh Hamilton, Julio Borbon, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland getting regular playing time from the left side, and the Twins have Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, Joe Mauer and possibly Justin Morneau. Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson is generally worse against lefties than righties.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for me,” Ring said. “I’m hoping to make the most of it and help them out. Obviously they’re pushing for the playoffs, and if I can help them out in any way, that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Photo of Ring from my friends at the Scranton Times-Tribune
Pregame notes: Five-man rotation in place • 09.15.10
Andy Pettitte is ready to be a major league starter again, and with that, the Yankees have a five-man rotation. As long as Pettitte comes through Thursday’s side session with no problems, he’ll start Sunday’s series finale in Baltimore.
“I want to see him go out there,” Joe Girardi said. “And I want to see how he feels after his side. Right now all indications are that he feels good, which is really important. It would be frustrating if he didn’t, for him and for all of us, but I want to see him go out there Sunday and see how sharp he is.”
CC Sabathia will pitch on regular rest Saturday — tomorrow’s off day will not give him an extra day — and that’s a decision, Girardi said, is at least partially based on next week’s four-game series at home against the Rays. Using Sabathia on Saturday instead of Sunday means he’ll pitch the last game of that Rays series, once again matching up against David Price, who is also staying on regular rest for Tampa Bay.
Girardi said the Yankees haven’t mapped out the rotation beyond Sunday, but he plans to stick with Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. That means Javier Vazquez and Dustin Moseley will be moved back to the bullpen.
As for lining up his starters for a playoff rotation: “I won’t do that until we know exactly that we’re in the playoffs,” Girardi said.
• Nick Swisher is probably not available to pinch hit tonight — “I don’t think so,” Girardi said — but he does feel significantly better after yesterday’s cortisone shot. “I can’t give you a time table because I don’t know,” he said. “This is all on a pain basis. Once that gets out of there, once we get that last bit of inflammation that’s in there, just get everything intact. I’d rather be playing at 100 percent than 50.”
• Brett Gardner was told to take another day off. The Yankees are thinking he could be back to 100 percent after taking yesterday, today and tomorrow off. “I think I could swing,” Gardner said. “It feels a lot better today. I feel good about how it feels and expect to be playing on Friday.”
• Brian Cashman has confirmed that the Yankees could put Royce Ring on the playoff roster if they wanted to. That’s because of the loophole that lets him replace an injured pitcher, in this case Damaso Marte. It’s the same way the Yankees got Freddy Guzman on last year’s playoff roster, essentially for Xavier Nady.
• Speaking of Ring, he was home in San Diego taking his baby to a six-month checkup when he got the call. He got on a 6:20 flight, slept on the plane, and arrived at the ballpark at about 4 p.m.
• Right now the Yankees rotation has back-to-back lefties. “You do like to split them up when you can,” Girardi said. “But right now I’m not worried about that.”
• Girardi on Phil Hughes facing the Rays: “Command is important and changing speeds is important against this club. If you stick with strictly fastballs, this club will hurt you.”
• Pretty good line from Swisher about Jorge Posada’s monster home run last night, which landed on the roof of a restaurant in center field: “You don’t see many dudes going on top of that. I would have liked to have seen if that would have hit our restaurant. You’ve got to be a grown man to go up there, boys.”
Associated Press photos of Pettitte and Posada
Looking ahead to September • 08.26.10
Major league rosters expand in six days. In theory, the Yankees could call-up every player on the 40-man, but that would leave a bunch of guys sitting around with nothing to do. It generally makes more sense to let most of the guys stay sharp in the International League and Eastern League playoffs — Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton are both in line to advance — then make a few more moves when those postseason runs are over.
That’s the way the Yankees have handled it in the past.
In 2007, the Yankees added four players on the 1st and a whopping 10 more later in the month. In 2008, two guys were added on the 1st, and the Yankees gradually added eight more. Last year, six call-ups on the 1st, seven more in the next two and a half weeks.
Considering the number of guys who are fairly close to coming off the disabled list, I’ll be surprised to see more than two or three true minor league call-ups on Wednesday. These are some of the guys to consider, some for an immediate call-up, most for an eventual promotion.
Major league disabled list
Lance Berkman, Alex Rodriguez, Alfredo Aceves, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte
Berkman is eligible to come off the DL on August 31st, but it makes more sense to wait a day. Rodriguez shouldn’t be far behind, and Aceves seems healthy enough to pitch as soon as the Yankees believe he’s physically ready to face big league hitters.
Pettitte and Marte will take just a little bit longer. If you’re curious, major leaguers are allowed to rehab during the minor league playoffs. The year Francisco Liriano nearly won the Rookie of the Year award in Minnesota, he came down to pitch three hitless innings the decisive game in the first round of the IL playoffs. I was covering the Phillies Triple-A team at the time. They never had a shot against him.
Chad Moeller, Jesus Montero
It’s standard protocol to add a third catcher on September 1. The Yankees didn’t do it in 2007, but given Jorge Posada’a nagging injuries and Francisco Cervelli’s lagging offense, a third catcher would make sense. Question is, do they go with the veteran Moeller — a guy to catch after Cervelli is lifted for a late-inning pinch hitter — or do they go with the stud prospect Montero.
Two months ago, I would have said Moeller was the obvious choice, but Montero seems to have figured out Triple-A. He’s hitting .361 with nine home runs since the all-star break. I can’t speak to his abilities behind the plate — I’ve only seen him catch in spring training — but the decision might hinge on whether the Yankees trust him back there in a major league game in the middle of a pennant race.
Non-catcher position players
Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Chad Huffman, Brandon Laird, Jorge Vazquez
The Yankees have two utility infielders and four legitimate outfielders. They don’t necessarily need one position or another, so additional position players would be all about depth and maybe adding a lefty-or-righty pinch hitter.
Miranda might be able to play an immediate role. On days when Berkman is in the lineup, the Yankees only left-handed pinch hitter is Ramiro Pena. It would be a small role to play, but Miranda doesn’t exactly have a lot to gain from a few more Triple-A at-bats. Curtis could also give them an extra left-handed bat, while adding some outfield depth and a pinch runner. Adding Vazquez or Laird would require a 40-man move, so those don’t seem likely, despite pretty good numbers.
Jonathan Albaladejo, Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi, Romulo Sanchez, Royce Ring
The best bet of this bunch is Albaladejo, who has absolutely earned a call-up. Sanchez doesn’t have the same season numbers, but he’s also been dominant since moving into the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen. Brackman and Noesi are both on the 40-man and both have pitched well, but Brackman is still in Double-A and Noesi was just called up to Triple-A. They might be worth considering after the minor league playoffs, but probably not before.
Jason Hirsh and some younger non-40-man guys — David Phelps especially — have pitched well enough to be in the conversation, but I’m not sure there’s a spot for another long man, especially not with Aceves on his way back and the Yankees already carrying 13 pitchers. The only guy on this list not on the 40-man is Ring, who’s been terrific against left-handers and might make sense if Marte suffers another setback and moves to the 60-day.
Joe Girardi said yesterday that the Yankees have not started talking about who to bring up, so any sort of prediction is wild guesswork.
I’ll say that on September 1, four players will be added: Berkman, Miranda, Albaladejo and a catcher (I’ve gone back and forth in my head a hundred times about which one it will be). Soon after, Rodriguez and Aceves will come off the disabled list, then Marte and Pettitte. After the minor league playoffs, I’ll guess Russo, Curtis and Sanchez get the call.
Based past performance trying to guess September call-ups, I’ve probably guessed too many players for September 1 and not enough by the end of the month.
That’s an Associated Press photo of Miranda at the top. The headshots are Rodriguez, Miranda, Russo and Albaladejo.
Today in The Journal News • 04.03.10
With one more game to play before they can finally leave town, the Yankees are anxious to get on the road to Fenway. “I’ve got a feeling most guys were probably ready about a week ago,” Derek Jeter said.
They’d like to get out before another player goes down. On Friday it was Nick Johnson and Damaso Marte who had their names added to the walking wounded. The notebook also has items on the wait for a complete roster, A-Rod’s meeting with baseball investigators, reassignments to minor league camp and an award for Jon Weber.
As you might expect, the Yankees have a late report time for today’s game against the team’s minor leaguers. I’ll have those lineups as soon as they’re posted.
Notes from Friday • 04.02.10
After being rained out twice and forced into an intrasquad game once, Andy Pettitte got Dave Eiland’s forecast for Friday’s game well ahead of time. “Dave told me several days ago there was a zero percent chance (of rain),” Pettitte said. “I was still waiting for a black cloud to move in, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky today.”
Pettitte pitched well in only his second full start of the spring. He pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits but consistently stranding the base runners. Only one of the seven hits went for extra bases. He also walked one and struck out one.
“”I felt like my command maybe could have been a little bit better with my fastball,” Pettitte said. “Other than that I felt really good. I did get a little tired there at the end which I knew was going to happen because even though I threw 100 pitched my last time out, you just can’t simulate the adrenalin and having batters in there… The biggest reason I needed it was to build my stamina up, because you can’t build your stamina up in simulated games because it’s just not real.”
Here’s the Joe Girardi audio from this afternoon. He talked mostly about the series of injuries that have hit his team in the last week of spring training.
• After Mariano Rivera hit Felix Pie with a pitch, Girardi ran to the mound to check on his closer. Rivera said it was because he’s been sick and Girardi was checking on him, but Rivera might have simply been being polite, not wanting to call out the Orioles’ bench. “Something (was said) from their dugout,” Girardi said. “He just walked off the mound, got back on the mound… It might have been in response to my frustration the other day. It’s okay.” You might remember that Girardi got upset with the Orioles when Jeremy Guthrie hit two Yankees on Monday.
• Royce Ring was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving only Boone Logan competing to be a second lefty in the Yankees bullpen. Turns out, Zack Segovia was sent down yesterday.
• Alex Rodriguez confirmed a Daily News story that he has already met with investigators from Major League Baseball concerning his connection to Dr. Tony Galea.
• Forgot to mention this earlier: Damaso Marte said his current shoulder injury is nothing like last year’s, and might actually have been caused by his exercises that were intended to strengthen his shoulder. “Maybe too much workout for my shoulder,” Marte said. “I’ve been working hard this month on my shoulder. I never felt like this. This is new.”
• Nice job by minor leaguer Josh Schmidt to get out of a jam and strand two runners for Pettitte in the fifth. Schmidt had terrific numbers in Double-A last season and had a great winter in Venezuela, but his raw stuff has never wowed scouts.
• Nick Swisher hit his second spring home run today and will finish with a .313 Grapefruit League batting average. He’s made some adjustments that he’s hoping will lead to a higher batting average this season.
• Catcher Mike Rivera played in a game for the first time since March 20.
• The Yankees will play a group of organizational, minor league all-stars tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Javier Vazquez will start for the Yankees and most of their regulars will be in the lineup, though they aren’t expected to play very long (especially given the injury bug that’s floating through camp). There’s still no word on which minor leaguers will be involved.
Those are obviously Associated Press photos.