First full workout in the books
It was a beautiful sunny day here in Tampa, where the Yankees rushed onto the diamond as a complete unit for the first time late this morning.
With “New York, New York” playing on the loudspeakers, Johnny Damon was the first one out of the dugout. Derek Jeter got the biggest cheers and played catch with A-Rod. CC Sabathia high-stepped in center field. Brian Bruney doffed his cap. Mark Teixeira signed a few dozen autographs.
It’s finally Spring Training.
Yes, the attention was magnified on A-Rod. While taking ground balls on a practice field, there were six cameramen perched right on the gravel track around the field, their lenses pointed right at Rodriguez. Teixeira was scooping ground balls at first base, with no one there to capture his every movement. In any other camp – Boston? – Teixeira would have been the big story.
Andy Pettitte gave A-Rod’s press conference a thumbs-up, saying, “I felt like he got off his chest what he needed to.” Jeter said he was “disappointed” in A-Rod and actually deemed him the biggest distraction the Yankees have had to face so far, but said he’ll support him.
And Alex? Well, he was talked out, charging past reporters in the clubhouse while saying only, “Talk tomorrow, guys.”
Yep, good to have all the guys back in town – pretty much a normal day in Yankees camp. Quick notes as I empty my notebook:
— Hideki Matsui won’t play any outfield this spring, only DHing.
— Joe Girardi has decided to bat Teixeira third and A-Rod fourth.
— Melky Cabrera will skip the WBC to try to win the center field job.
— Francisco Cervelli has a lower respiratory infection.
— Damaso Marte’s hamstrings are stiff, but he’s still running.
— Humberto Sanchez has elbow tendinitis and will be set back about two weeks.
— The Yankees are not planning any intra-squad games this spring.