Jeter’s hand fine, Girardi says

If Derek Jeter’s throwing hand was bothering him at all while playing the field on Thursday, it came as news to Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Girardi said that he learned there might have been an issue with his shortstop only after he was asked about it on the YES Network, as the telecast caught Jeter wincing and flexing his right hand while manning his position.

“He’s fine,” Girardi said. “I asked him and he said, ‘My hand’s fine.’ I didn’t know about it until they said it [on television] in the fifth inning.”

Jeter never drops hints about possible injuries and left George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday without speaking to reporters, but the play in question appeared to happen in the fourth inning, when Jeter dove for a Pat Burrell single.

As Girardi pointed out, Jeter looked good enough in his next at-bat, singling in the bottom half of the fourth off the Rays’ Heath Rollins.

“He got a hit after that,” Girardi said, adding, “He’ll play [Friday].”

Legs under him: Javier Vazquez allowed Carlos Pena’s first hit of the spring after 21 fruitless at-bats, and it went a long way over the right field wall. But other than that, Vazquez was pretty sharp, allowing two hits in three innings while walking two and striking out three.

He said that he felt his mechanics got out of sync at times but overall, Vazquez told pitching coach Dave Eiland that he was feeling pretty good after 60 pitches.

“I felt I could keep going,” Vazquez said. “It felt pretty good today. I feel my legs are strong. I’ve been working hard on them.”

Vazquez mentioned something interesting in that he felt this spring was more predictable than last, because he’d pitched in winter ball to get ready for the World Baseball Classic. But unlike some pitchers, he wasn’t saying the WBC participation was a bad thing.

“I threw a little bit more, and I felt last spring that I was ready quicker than usual,” Vazquez said. “This is just a normal spring for me.”

Cheering section: Chan Ho Park’s Yankees debut was brief, but it had a loud audience in Joba Chamberlain and Dave Robertson, who were impressed watching Park pounce on a fifth-inning Pena tapper and by the movement on a strikeout pitch to Willy Aybar.

“His outing was so sharp, I forgot he pitched,” Girardi said.

Scouting from the press box: Girardi mentioned how he saw Boone Logan pitch for the White Sox during his season as a FOX broadcaster in 2007, and liked his arm then, as he does now. Logan has been asked to make some minor adjustments and is throwing the ball “pretty decent,” striking out the only batter he faced tonight around a passed ball.
Gotcha: If you’d walked by the travel roster for Friday’s game against the Rays in Port Charlotte tonight, the name ‘Rivera, Mariano’ had been circled by a clubhouse prankster. Rivera wasn’t buying it, and after the game, Rob Thomson pitched the altered travel roster in the trash and replaced it with the real deal.

Separated at birth?: A clubhouse suggestion of ‘Step Brothers’ – Dustin Moseley and Will Ferrell. My opinion? “That is bush league.”  

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