Wednesday notes: Twisted metal
Hiroki Kuroda’s Yankees debut was upstaged by what went on in the Yankees’ clubhouse before the game, as the team had California evangelist Donnie Moore appear as a motivational speaker.
Conveying the message that anything is possible, Moore wowed the Yankees with feats of strength that included ripping a full soda can in half, tearing a license plate like it was paper and splitting phone book in half. The grand finale came as Moore rolled a frying pan as though it were a burrito.
“That’s pretty exciting to see a guy roll that thing, because if you ask me, I would never do that,” Robinson Cano said. “The message was that you can control what you want to do. If you are positive, that’s what you’re going to do.”
As Moore grunted his way through the program, Joe Girardi said that the players were “cheering him on. It’s not every day you see a guy roll a frying pan.” True enough.
(And yes, the headline of this post is a nostalgic nod to the old PlayStation game ‘Twisted Metal,’ which occupied many hours of my youth. I understand it’s now making a comeback.)
What went right: Kuroda set the side down in order in the first inning on nine pitches before running into a little trouble in the second inning. Girardi said he liked Kuroda’s splitter (which he recorded two strikeouts on) as well as his fastball. Kuroda was pretty much as advertised, he said. Rafael Soriano made his spring debut and pitched a scoreless inning with the help of a Robinson Cano play that saved two runs. Cory Wade and Boone Logan also threw scoreless innings, and Clay Rapada hurled 1 1/3 scoreless — remember, Girardi is looking for a lefty who can provide some distance, though Rapada’s awful numbers against righties last year make you wonder. Colin Curtis, Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez completed a sacrifice fly double play in the sixth.
What went wrong: Kuroda wanted to try a backdoor slider on Rays catcher Stephen Vogt and the prospect made him pay to the tune of a two-run triple. The Yankees had only four hits in the game, and Derek Jeter booted a routine grounder. Jayson Nix made an error. Also, someone had to clean up the mess of mangled metal that Mr. Moore left behind.
What they said: “They haven’t seen me throughout the season and they don’t know what kind of pitcher I am. I think I have to prove something to everyone. At the same time, I just want to contribute as much as possible to this team.” – Kuroda, on his Yankees teammates.
What’s next: The Yankees will visit the Blue Jays on Thursday for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest in Dunedin, Fla. Right-hander Ivan Nova makes his second turn in the rotation, opposed by Toronto right-hander Brett Cecil. David Robertson and Dellin Betances are among those also scheduled to pitch for New York, with a lineup set to feature Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Raul Ibanez.