Yankees notes: Rivera to throw bullpen Thursday
Remember the Yankees notebooks? Yeah, so do I. Today presented a lot of tidbits that don’t really warrant separate stories, so I’m bringing the format back. Something tells me I’ll be doing this from time to time.
Mo to throw: Mariano Rivera is scheduled to see his first mound action of the spring on Thursday, as the Yankees closer will throw a bullpen session at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
The Yankees have taken it slowly with Rivera, easing him back after he had arthroscopic surgery to shave down an AC joint in his right shoulder. Rivera has been mostly limited to playing catch this spring.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Rivera will not necessarily throw at 60 feet – a half-mound seems more likely – but he remains on course to appear in a game around March 17.
Swing, batter: The closest Dan Giese had come to logging an at-bat in a big league situation came in 2007, when he was with the Giants and got called back from the on-deck circle to make way for Barry Bonds.
So Giese was especially focused when he dug in for an at-bat in the fifth inning on Wednesday – a little too focused, it turned out. The take sign was on for all Yankees pitchers, but Giese never recognized it, singling to right-center field.
And it wasn’t a difficult sign to read – Girardi was yelling, “Don’t swing,” from the dugout.
“I yelled when he went up, I yelled after the first pitch,” Girardi said. “After the second pitch he swung, I said, ‘I might as well let him hit now.’”
Giese said he had no idea what to do on the bases, but he had to learn quick. Johnny Damon tripled off the wall in right-center, sending Giese all the way around from first base.
“It was like the dizzy bat race,” he said.
Oh, and by the way, Bonds struck out in that at-bat for Giese.
Rough first: Ian Kennedy felt he took a step back in allowing two runs in three innings, but all the damage came in the first inning. Kennedy couldn’t get his curveball to respond, walking one and throwing a wild pitch in the frame – a two-run double by Casey Kotchman did the damage.
“It was not the pitch I wanted,” Kennedy said. “I had felt it was getting a little better and today I took a step back.”
Kennedy finished allowing three hits in three innings and was consistently ahead in his last two frames.
“His command got better, and a lot of times, that’s what happens to pitchers,” Girardi said.
Shuffle it up: Kennedy and Phil Hughes will force Girardi to get more creative now that the Yankees’ rotation will fall into line with CC Sabathia starting on Friday. They may have to “piggyback” starters, but Girardi said the priority is to give innings to the pitchers in line for the long relief jobs.
“It could get a little tricky, but we’ll find a way to make it work,” Girardi said.
Giese, Alfredo Aceves and Brett Tomko are considered in that mix. Phil Coke is a sort-of half long reliever, Girardi said, but he noted it’d be nice to have two lefties.
Keep firing: Jorge Posada played long toss today back in Tampa. Girardi said he was keeping his fingers crossed for March 15 behind the plate, while Posada will continue to DH in games.