Yankees notes as position players report

Saturday was a busy day in camp, as Mark Teixeira and Brian Cashman said the Yankees were happy with their underdog label — letting the Red Sox get all the pressure and expectations for a change — while the position players (except for Robinson Cano) showed up to take their physicals.

  

Cano will be on the field with his teammates on Sunday, and you can rationalize a pass for his tardiness, not exactly sure when the team’s report date for position players was. Here’s why: last week at the Minor League complex, Curtis Granderson pulled a reporter aside and asked him the exact same question.

So Granderson was already in Tampa with a room full of his teammates and somehow even they weren’t sure of the exact day that they were supposed to get to the big stadium. In any event, Cano’s flight was set to touch down in Tampa at 7:30 tonight, giving him plenty of time to get settled and start his season.

Some other assorted Yankees notes from the day in camp:

  • Bartolo Colon may be on a special cardio program, different than the younger pitchers, but his heft – he’s 267 pounds – didn’t exactly catch the Yankees off guard.

    “I think physically he can definitely keep up,” Cashman said. “That’s the one thing about him, despite his size, he’s a tremendous athlete. At the same time, we just signed him about a month ago. It’s not like we’re surprised or shocked about anything.”

    Colon said he ideally would like to lose 15 to 25, but he knows that isn’t going to happen by the end of camp.

    “You’ve got to be realistic. He is what he is,” Cashman said. “We’ll condition him like everyone else, but there’s no crackdown on him because I signed him for a reason and I know what I signed. It was right in front of our scouts.”

  • Alex Rodriguez showed up a little bit lighter – his idea, Joe Girardi said – and took ground balls from his knees on one of the back fields. It was a quickie workout: A-Rod was in and out within 10 minutes, sprinting to the clubhouse with a wave to the handful of fans that assembled there. He didn’t speak to the media but is scheduled to have a press conference on Monday afternoon.

    Also on the topic of A-Rod, over the winter someone wrote in wondering if the days of Rodriguez hitting over .300 with 40 or more home runs were in the past. I thought it was a good question and answered in an Inbox, saying that they probably were. My thought was that while he’s still productive (very much so, actually), I just don’t believe he’s going to stay healthy enough to play in the amount of games to get there.

    The discussion rolled around to A-Rod during Girardi’s session with reporters today, so I tossed it at him. He replied: “I don’t necessarily think that (he can’t). That’s obviously a monster year, but I don’t think he’s past that point. …I think he’s capable of having a very big year. There are things that play a factor into that, and the biggest one is health. I think he’s capable of having a big year.”

  • Girardi never considered moving Mark Teixeira out of the No. 3 spot last year, and his response may be telling for those wondering if he’ll try something new in 2011.

    “I have to manage people over the long haul,” Girardi said. “You can’t manage short term when it’s April or May. You just can’t do it. It’s a lot more than just what he does for you today. There’s the personality, the feelings, the confidence, how it affects your lineup. It’s a lot. Managing people is different than managing robots.”

    My guess for the heart of the lineup? They might play with it during the spring, but I’d say when Opening Day rolls around, it’ll be Teixeira 3, A-Rod 4, Cano 5 all over again.

  • Tomorrow, Girardi will address the Yankees as a full group for the first time in ’11. His message is simple – “Be the best we can be. That’s our goal.”

    “I think it’s a little different feel every year,” he continued. “You come off a World Series win, it’s a different feel than when you feel like you didn’t get to where you want to be. I think the challenge is the same every year, but I think it is a little bit of a diferent feel. Andy Pettitte isn’t there. You have different faces here.”

  • We may not want to keep an eye out for Kevin Millwood to join the mix for the fourth and fifth starter jobs. Here’s what Cashman said today, when asked if anything was close on the pitching front: “If I feel somebody out there can help and the price is right, I’m not afraid. I have nothing I’m involved with, zero, no active talks with anybody.”

  • Those throwing bullpens today were: Colon, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre, Boone Logan, Luis Ayala, Buddy Carlyle, Robert Fish, Ryan Pope.
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