Friday notes: Garcia racking up results

Freddy Garcia told Russell Martin before Friday’s game that he wanted to work on his changeups, and Martin accommodated the right-hander. There was only one problem, if you want to call it that; the soft-tossing Garcia pitched to contact so well, he only needed 33 pitches to get through his three innings of work, including a seven-pitch first inning.

“His pitch count was relatively low because he got contact. He was throwing strikes,” Martin said. “That’s what you want from him, just to be able to throw all his pitches over the plate, and induce contact. That’s what he did.”

Garcia is in a familiar position this spring — he needs to pitch relatively well to beat out Phil Hughes if he wants to serve as the team’s fifth starter. Garcia has never been an exceptional spring pitcher, but he did pretty well last year in beating out Bartolo Colon for a rotation spot and knows he needs results again this time.

“Like I say, you’ve got to pitch good,” Garcia said. “I have to pitch good and … I’m going to continue to do that and pitch the way I’ve got to pitch.”

What went right: Lots of good news today, not the least of which was David Robertson’s diagnosis of a bone bruise, prompting a welcome sigh of relief in the clubhouse. Garcia pitched well, Rafael Soriano threw a scoreless inning, and Manny Banuelos struck out three in two innings of work. D.J. Mitchell also pitched two scoreless innings and Juan Cedeno struck out the only batter he faced, fanning Freddie Freeman in the ninth. Nick Swisher had an RBI double and Russell Martin even stole a base, his third of the spring. Martin said he picks his spots but feels he has a chance against any pitcher who takes more than 1.4 or 1.5 seconds to go home.

What went wrong: Robbie Cano went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, Andruw Jones went hitless in three trips, and Chris Dickerson and Jorge Vazquez were also held hitless. Vazquez was lighting up the Grapefruit League last spring; so far this spring not so much at 1-for-8. I know, I know, small sample size, but it’s probably a good idea the Yankees upgraded over the Vazquez-Jones DH pairing we were talking about after the Jesus Montero trade.

What they said: “I love his attitude, he’s a competitor. He’s not afraid, and he’s the type of guy who wants to get better. Something goes wrong, he’s not going to cave in, he’s going to do what he can to battle it.” – Martin on Banuelos.

What’s next: The Yankees will visit the Braves on Saturday, meeting for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Right-hander Michael Pineda will make his second turn in the rotation, working behind a lineup that is scheduled to include Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner. Right-hander Jair Jurrjens is scheduled to pitch for Atlanta.

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