Notes from Spring Game 3: Yankees 2, Pirates 1
What happened: Tyler Austin showed off his impressive power, crushing a long solo home run to left field that cleared a seating area and landed in a grass parking area. Austin’s eighth-inning shot off one-time Mets prospect Deolis Guerra lifted the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Pirates at McKechnie Field.
“Pretty impressive,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Not sure where it landed, but it’s somewhere back there. The cars probably took a little damage. I’d ask for my money back if I parked back there.”
Esmil Rogers started for the Yankees and pitched two scoreless innings around a hit, with one strikeout. Chase Whitley also worked two scoreless innings. Nick Rumbelow struck out the side in the eighth. Garrett Jones went 2-for-2 with an RBI in a return to his old stomping grounds.
What we learned: Rogers said that he was visited at his locker last week by Mariano Rivera. Rogers said that Rivera talked to him about the mental and physical demands of pitching in the big leagues, and also offered some advice about keeping his front shoulder closed. When Rivera tells you something like that, it’s a good idea to listen. Rogers said that he has also been talking to Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez in camp.
“I’m glad I got the opportunity to hear from people like that,” he said.
What we’re talking about: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reiterated comments that he made during Derek Jeter’s final weekend as an active player, saying Thursday that he would not recommend that the Yankees hand out the captaincy to another player for the foreseeable future. Jeter was the 16th captain in franchise history, and if Cashman has his way, he will be the last.
“From my chair, it’s not something I think we have to fill,” Cashman said. “From another chair, it might be a different opinion, but I think we have leaders here now. We have a number of different people that are very strong leaders and high-quality individuals. That doesn’t mean you have to put a ‘C’ on it.”
What else: CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Dellin Betances were among the pitchers throwing simulated games back in Tampa. Joe Girardi said that all of the reports were positive and that pitching coach Larry Rothschild was encouraged. … Girardi said that it was nice to see a young player like Tyler Wade get a hit in big league camp. Wade, a 20-year-old shortstop, singled in the ninth inning. He played last year at Class-A Charleston. … Carlos Beltran will make his spring debut Friday against the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field, playing right field. Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to DH in that night game.
One more thing: I wandered into the Pirates’ clubhouse, where there are ex-Yankees galore, and caught up with Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli said that it was “a little weird” to be traded, but he started feeling at home during the Pirates’ FanFest and that “now it feels like I’ve been here for a long time.” Being teammates with Chris Stewart and A.J. Burnett has helped, too.
“My career’s not done, yet. I did what I could there,” Cervelli said. “I tried, but injuries, I had the opportunity with Chris in 2013 and I got hurt. Now I’ve got a second chance. But I think the Yankees were the best thing that ever happened in my life. My foundation, the way they treat us since the minor-leagues – win, win, win, win, win; that was the mentality. I think they prepared me and I’m ready for this job.”
Cervelli said that he still speaks with Carlos Beltran, but hasn’t talked to Alex Rodriguez — not really surprising, considering they crossed paths in the Biogenesis investigation that resulted in Cervelli’s 50-game drug ban. Cervelli called his 2013 season “a nightmare” and said he looks at it as a learning experience.
“I learned about life,” Cervelli said. “Don’t rush any decision you want to make.”
Injury report: Brendan Ryan (back) rode a stationary bicycle back at Yankees camp on Thursday, according to Girardi.
What they said: “I don’t think there’s any one guy that’s going to step up and do that (replace Jeter). That’s a guy that can’t be replaced. Whether it’s on the field or off the field, his leadership qualities and the things that he accomplished in his career, especially at such a young age. We’ve got a lot of guys in here that might not have been with the Yankees for a long time, but have a long time in the league. They’re good teammates and good leaders. I think we’ve got a good group of guys in here that get along really well. I think it’s going to be a fun year.” – Brett Gardner