Spring Game 29: Yankees at Twins

Masahiro TanakaHello from Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla., where Masahiro Tanaka is set to make his final tune-up before taking the Opening Day assignment on April 6. Tanaka opted for the 2-1/2 hour ride over pitching at the Minor League complex because he wanted the increased intensity of facing a big league lineup. Tanaka is set to throw 75 pitches, and this game is on FSNO-HD.

Back in Tampa, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are playing in a Minor League game at the Himes Avenue complex. This marks Ellsbury’s first game action since March 15 due to his oblique injury, but the Yankees have been confident all along that Ellsbury will be ready for Opening Day. Adam Warren is starting in a Minor League game as well, being caught by John Ryan Murphy. There’s a lot you can read into that, even though Joe Girardi says he isn’t ready to name a fifth starter.

Other updates:

Didi Gregorius (left wrist strain) had “a little bit of swelling yesterday,” according to Girardi, who said that “we’ll try to work that out before we put him in.” The original plan was to play Gregorius on Wednesday, but it sounds like they won’t force it. Mark Teixeira (right knee bruise) will play Wednesday, Girardi said.

The decisions on the backup catcher and last two bullpen spots will probably “go down to the wire,” Girardi said. The catcher job is between Murphy and Austin Romine, who’s here today catching Tanaka. In the bullpen, the Yanks need to pick two from the group of Andrew Bailey, Chris Martin, Chasen Shreve and Chase Whitley.

Girardi seemed to tip his hand a bit today, saying that he would not carry Bailey unless he showed that he could pitch in back-to-back games, and that the Yankees aren’t going to rush him to do so. Martin has had a rough spring, so it’s possible those calls could go to Shreve (a third lefty, joining Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson) and Whitley as a second long man.

“I think it comes down to who we think is going to help us the most, is the bottom line,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you necessarily in your mind say I have to have a third lefty. Is it a luxury? Sure it is, but I think it’s who we think is going to help us the most.”

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (15-12-1)
Brett Gardner LF
Brendan Ryan 3B
Chris Young CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Austin Romine C
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Ramon Flores RF
Nick Noonan SS
Eric Jagielo DH

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

In relief: Chris Martin, Danny Burawa, Chasen Shreve.

TWINS (11-14-2)
Jordan Schafer CF
Eduardo Escobar SS
Chris Herrmann RF
Kennys Vargas 1B
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Adam Brett Walker DH
Shane Robinson LF
Eric Fryer C
Doug Bernier 2B

LHP Tommy Milone

In relief: Glen Perkins, Mike Pelfrey, Casey Fien, D.J. Johnson, Zack Jones.

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