Friday’s camp notes: Pineda, Cabral on the radar

There wasn’t all that much happening on a light day at Yankees camp, but the coaching staff was paying a lot of attention to the 25-pitch bullpen sessions tossed by Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral this morning.

Pineda is important to the Yankees for obvious reasons, but let’s not overlook Cabral, who had a legitimate chance of making the big league roster last March before he fractured his left elbow late in camp. That injury cleared the way for Clay Rapada to make the team, and while Cabral won’t be pitching in games this spring, Joe Girardi said that it’s possible Cabral will work his way into games in May. From there, it might just be a quick jump to helping the Yankees at the big league level.

When they watch rehabbing pitchers work, Girardi said that he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild pay close attention to the arm speed, how the ball looks coming out of the pitcher’s hand, and their mechanics (Pineda said this week that his mechanics look on video about the same as they did during his Seattle days, which is good news for the Yankees). Girardi also watches to see if a pitcher needs too much time between pitches.

“Those are the things that you kind of look for,” Girardi said. “When they start taking a lot of time inbetween pitches you get a little bit concerned but he was, here it is, right to work.”

The Yankees will make up for today’s light workout with a very busy Saturday, kicking off around 8:30 a.m. with live batting practice sessions. Position players are due to report in camp on Sunday and the Yankees’ first full-squad workout will be held on Monday.

  • That old saying about not being able to tell the players without a scorecard has never been more true than this spring, and the vendors hawking rosters in the grandstands should be doing brisk business shortly. The Yankees have a staggering 84 players in camp, which Girardi said is by far the largest turnout he can remember for a Spring Training.Girardi said he’s trying to learn names and faces, but he admitted to carrying around a roster sheet just to keep track of who is who. It doesn’t help matters that several players are wearing the same uniform number — everything from No. 87 up is double-issued. I understand why that was done, but it would have been fun to see a triple-digit player in camp.
  • There’s no official word on when Jorge Posada will be joining the guest instructors, but he’s on the way. Girardi said he also spoke recently to Yogi Berra, who is disappointed to not be able to hit camp this spring. Guest instructors currently in camp include Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry and David Wells.
  • One more tidbit from this morning’s conversation with Kevin Youkilis: he said that his wife and kids are all excited about spending this year living in New York City, as is he. Youkilis’ clarification of his Red Sox comments from yesterday will only help make that transition a little bit more peaceful. He also said that an offseason wedding photo in Hawaii showcased “the most Yankees t-shirts you’ve ever seen in a Youkilis family.”
  • Might as well toss it in here — Joba Chamberlain said he gave Kevin Youkilis a handshake and a fist-bump when they greeted each other this morning. Someone (it wasn’t me, I promise) asked Chamberlain why he didn’t hug Youkilis. His response: “It’s kind of awkward. I was changing. I was taking my shirt off, so I didn’t know if that’s the best time for a man-hug in the first time.” The logic is difficult to argue.

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