A.J. Burnett will be the Yankees’ No. 2 starter and Phil Hughes is the No. 3 starter, Joe Girardi confirmed today.
- The Yankees have sent Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances to Minor League camp. Brackman will start the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; Betances will begin at Double-A Trenton.
- Russell Martin was in New York’s original lineup today but Girardi decided to rest him after he took a beating catching Burnett’s four innings yesterday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, starting Austin Romine instead. Martin is fine physically and will catch Sabathia tomorrow against the Phillies in Clearwater.
- Ivan Nova will pitch a simulated game tomorrow at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
- In case you’re looking ahead, Manny Banuelos will pitch on Monday against the Rays in Port Charlotte behind Bartolo Colon.
- As I sit here in the press box writing this blog post, Dante Girardi is taking batting practice off his dad. He belted one homer into the right-field party deck (OK, so he’s hitting with a metal bat from shallow right field. Still, that’s not bad for 8 years old!).
Freddy Garcia was one pitch away from a quality start when David Cooper unloaded on a well-hit two-run homer, landing in the right-field party deck at George M. Steinbrenner Field and bouncing out of the ballpark.
The Yankees have been saying, in Joe Girardi’s voice, that the battle for the two vacant slots in the rotation could go down to the final week of Spring Training. But general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday that they may hurry that decision along sooner.
- Hello from Dunedin, where the Yankees and Blue Jays are meeting for the second time this spring. It’s in the mid-70’s without a cloud in the sky, a perfect sunny Florida day, and the flags are lightly blowing in from right-center field while the Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” plays on the left-center field speakers.
- Slow morning at Yankees camp, but Joe Girardi did have a couple of small tidbits. Lefties Pedro Feliciano and Boone Logan are both being slowed by aches – Feliciano has a little dead arm soreness near his left triceps, and Logan had back spasms after throwing a scoreless inning last night vs. Tampa Bay. Feliciano will throw a bullpen tomorrow; Logan might be out for four or five days.
- Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow.&n
- Girardi promises he’ll have the regular season order of A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes in the Yankees rotation tomorrow. They’ve gone through camp with Hughes following CC Sabathia.
- Girardi seems to love the idea of having Eric Chavez on the bench. “I think there’s some upside there,” he said. “You watch him swing the bat – I saw him hit a double over the left fielder’s head, he has pull power. We know that he can play defense. He’s an interesting guy to have, for sure.”
- Alex Rodriguez has homered in three straight games, driven in a run in five straight and hit in all 11 of his spring contests. He’s not on today’s trip, though. Last night’s homer outdid Jorge Vazquez for the longest Steinbrenner Field blast of the spring – they don’t offer tape measure distances, but it cleared the center-field batters eye with plenty of room to spare.
- Sergio Mitre returns to action today in relief. They have A.J. Burnett slated for 75-80 pitches.
- There are 13 days until Opening Day.
- Happy St. Patrick’s Day from George M. Steinbrenner Field. Brett Gardner moves into the leadoff spot tonight as Joe Girardi continues to play with ideas of how to stack his lineup for the regular season. Gardner led the Yankees in on-base percentage last year and fits the bill for what they want from a leadoff hitter. “Obviously you want a guy that gets on all the time and has the ability to score runs in a lot of different ways,” Girardi said.
- Of course, they’re not ready to commit to this just yet. Derek Jeter is still expected to hit at the top of the order, so the two-hole could work for him, but they also are in no hurry to bump Nick Swisher out of the No. 2 spot. Girardi did say he believes Swisher is one of several versatile Yankees who can hit anywhere needed in the order. Girardi said the Yankees have eight or nine more games in which they can toy with it.
- Rafael Soriano threw 21 pitches in a Minor League game on Thursday but said he did not feel like his fastball and slider were up to snuff. He next expects to pitch Sunday at Philadelphia.
- Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte is here tonight as a backup in case they need him.
- Injury updates – Sergio Mitre (oblique) will pitch tomorrow in relief against the Blue Jays. Joba Chamberlain (oblique) threw a light side session today on flat ground.
- Leonel Vinas, the right-hander signed from Hank Steinbrenner’s “Hank’s Yanks” youth team, debuted today. He threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout for Class-A Charleston against Class-A Tampa.
- There are 14 days until Opening Day.