It’s raining here in Tampa, and the Yankees’ bus to Clearwater has been delayed until 11:15 a.m. Today’s game against the Phillies appears to be in jeopardy of a washout, which means we’ll have to scrap any plans of seeing Masahiro Tanaka’s first spring start, the spring debuts of Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano, and another day of the Derek Jeter watch.
Update 12:15 p.m. ET: OK, so I’m in Clearwater. Just before pulling into the stadium complex, I got an emergency text message telling me there were tornado warnings in the area and that I should seek shelter immediately. There are lakes in the outfield. Other than that, “I’d keep playing. I don’t think the heavy stuff’s gonna come down for quite a while.“
Here’s the view that the Yankees had of their dugout at Bright House Field, courtesy of traveling secretary Ben Tuliebitz:
— Ben Tuliebitz (@travelingsec) March 6, 2014
In the meantime, let’s roll the clock back to yesterday’s Yankees coverage:
What we learned: Mark Teixeira didn’t feel like he got enough swings during David Herndon’s sim game yesterday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Teixeira has had a tough time getting work in this week; there were no pitchers available Tuesday, he only got three swings yesterday and today Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. Lucky for Tex that it’s so early in camp. Then again, considering he injured his wrist by overuse, a light schedule isn’t the worst thing in the world.
What we wrote:
- Rays 5, Yankees 4: Betances lights-out, Warren solid vs. Rays (…rough spring so far for Robert Coello, wearing Joba Chamberlain’s old No. 62)
- Tanaka to face top of Phillies’ order in first start (…weather permitting)
- After dealing with illness, Soriano set to debut (…weather permitting)
- Ex-starter Betances could earn job in Yanks’ bullpen (…just keep throwing strikes)
- El Duque joins Yanks as Minors pitching instructor
And since you’re already here, and I probably won’t get a chance to post this video again, let’s all do the El Duque.
They said it: “I thought I was going to get a lot more work the last few days, but I do what I am told.” – Mark Teixeira
What we learned: You just never know what to expect around the Yankees. I came to the ballpark expecting to write something about David Robertson’s first spring appearance, and while we did pay attention to the closer’s scoreless inning, the arrival of Joe Willie Namath seemed to upstage everything. Andy Pettitte also arrived in camp, and Reggie Jackson seemed to enjoy the increased media attention in the Yankees clubhouse.
What we wrote:
- Yankees 4, Nationals 2: Big second, super Nova pace Yankees
- When legends collide: Namath, Jeter meet
- Mariano receives ROBIE Humanitarian Award
- Berra: Sleepover with Cooperstown legends
- Tex takes another step toward game action
- Nova’s control on display vs. Nationals
They said it: “Knowing the scrutiny that he’s had over the years, I can’t imagine how the guy could be an angel like this. He’s to be respected in every phase of his life, it seems.” – Joe Namath on Derek Jeter
What we learned: Michael Pineda is reclaiming his nasty stuff. He shattered Zoilo Almonte’s bat with a hard inside fastball in live batting practice, and Scott Sizemore estimated that Pineda was throwing in the low-to-mid 90′s. He’ll get to pitch in a game for the first time on Friday against the Tigers. The Yankees would love to start getting some returns from that trade, so if Pineda shows anything approaching the form he had with Seattle in 2011, David Phelps and Adam Warren might fall out of the lead for the No. 5 rotation spot.
“I want to be on the Yankees right away,” Pineda said. “I don’t want to go to Triple-A. But I don’t have control of the situation, you know? I want to be ready to go.”
What we wrote:
- Yankees 8, Blue Jays 2: Beltran, Nunez, Murphy go deep for Yanks
- Tanaka tabbed to start against Phillies
- Beltran concerned with timing, not stats
- Tex set to take the field on Thursday or Friday
- Remnants of flu keep Soriano on the bench
They said it: “He looks great. He’s out there, he’s throwing the ball with authority, he’s competitive. He’s commanding the fastball to both sides of the plate. His fastball, his changeup and his slider look really good. I was really impressed. He looks really smooth, he looks really comfortable.” - Yankees catcher Peter O’Brien, on Michael Pineda.
What happened: Brian McCann hit his first homer in a Yankees uniform and New York also got deep drives from No. 1 prospect Gary Sanchez, Jose Pirela and Yangervis Solarte in a 7-4 win over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. Adam Warren threw two scoreless innings with help from his defense to pick up the win, and seven of eight New York pitchers fired scoreless ball overall. Brian Gordon was touched for four runs in the seventh inning.
What we learned: McCann doesn’t usually hit home runs this early in the spring, so this may be a good sign — or maybe it’s just proof that he can hit a 2-0 fastball down the middle, even if it’s coming from Max Scherzer. Either way, the Yanks are looking forward to seeing plenty of thunder off of McCann’s bat this year. Torii Hunter tracked McCann’s drive to the warning track in right field and camped under it, but McCann wasn’t fooled. The ball landed about 20 feet beyond the wall, striking the blue batting cage out there.
What we learned II: Adam Warren showed off a pretty sweet pickoff move. Rajai Davis opened the bottom of the first inning with a double off Warren, and an out later, Davis wandered just a bit too far from the bag at second. Warren whirled and fired a strike to Dean Anna on the daylight play.
“It’s neat to pick somebody off, just to get the practice and game experience in,” Warren said. “I just wasn’t expecting it.”
What else: Gary Sanchez hit a line drive homer to left field off Jose Ortega in the third inning, his first Yankees spring homer ever … Miguel Cabrera tried to advance from first base to third base on a first-inning walk. Warren didn’t complain about the free out, which left the Tigers scratching their heads. … Zoilo Almonte threw out Hunter at the plate in the third inning … Yangervis Solarte hit a three-run homer in the seventh. Remember the name. The Yanks like Solarte’s switch-hitting pop, and he could see time in the big leagues this season … Eduardo Nunez returned to action after a bout with food poisoning. He went 0-for-3.
What went wrong: Carlos Beltran went 0-for-2 and is still looking for his first spring hit … The Yanks had a 7-0 lead in the seventh before Gordon entered. Detroit got four runs and six hits off Gordon, a non-roster invitee who pitched briefly for New York in 2011 … Joe Girardi brought the wrong uniform top from Tampa, which is why he was the only one in the dugout with an interlocking ‘NY’ on his jersey. The correct road tops read ‘NEW YORK’ across the chest.
What they said: “I always feel like I’m competing for something. The main thing for me though is just to make sure I’m ready for the season, no matter what role, where I end up. I just want to make sure I’m ready when the season starts. Working on all my pitches, making sure my mechanics feel good.” – Adam Warren
What’s next: Pitching will be the main attraction on Saturday as the Yankees entertain the Phillies in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field. CC Sabathia gets the starting nod, but most of the attention will be on Masahiro Tanaka as he comes out of the bullpen to handle the pitching for the fifth inning. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Tanaka are all scheduled to throw two innings or 35 pitches. Derek Jeter is also slated to play. The Phillies are starting right-hander David Buchanan, and you can watch on YES, MLB Network and MLB.tv.
Who’s injured: Right-hander Jose Ramirez’s MRIs on his oblique and back came back clean, but he’s still sore. Ramirez will be off the mound indefinitely.
What happened: Regardless of what you might have heard, read and seen, Derek Jeter wants to make one thing clear — Wednesday’s gathering in the pavilion beyond left field at George M. Steinbrenner Field was not a retirement press conference. We’ll get to that in September or – if he has his way – October.
For now, Jeter has Spring Training to get through and a whole season left to play, but yes, this will be the final Major League season for the Yankees captain.
“I felt as though this was the right time,” Jeter said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time; this will be parts of 20 seasons that I’ve been playing here in New York and parts of 23 if you count the Minor Leagues. I just think I’ve done it long enough and I look forward to doing some other things in my life. But I can’t reiterate enough that we still have a season to play.”
Jeter said that his decision had nothing to do with his ankle or any other part of health; in fact, he told Hal Steinbrenner that this is the best he’s felt — ever. Jeter said that this offseason was the hardest that he’s ever worked, and he expects to be the Yankees’ everyday shortstop.
“It’s all about the time. You can’t do this forever,” Jeter said. “I’d like to, but you can’t do it forever. I feel as though the time is right after this year. There’s other things I want to do.”
“I want to have a family – that’s important to me,” Jeter said. “I have the utmost respect for all these guys that have kids and families. Being away, I have a young nephew, and you miss so many things. I don’t know how you guys do it, really. So I look forward to that. So there are some things I look forward to doing.”
What we learned: Mark Teixeira said this week that he thought Jeter could play until age 44 or 45. Jeter agreed that he probably has more than one year in him, but it’s the time commitment that is keeping him from signing up for that. As he said: “It’s not a sixth-month season, this is 12 months.”
What we learned II: Jeter reached out to Hal Steinbrenner on the evening of Feb. 11 to tell him about his decision, but Steinbrenner let the call go to voice mail. He didn’t hear it until after Jeter texted him the next morning, with the Facebook post locked and loaded to go.
“I didn’t recognize the area code,” Steinbrenner said. “I didn’t check the voicemail until the next day. It said Florida, but it was some crazy area code. My bad.”
What we learned III: Even though the Yankees do not plan to give out any more big league contracts this spring, Steinbrenner has seen the same things you’ve been talking about. It’s kind of odd that the Yankees could spend more than $500 million and have so many questions coming into the season, but Steinbrenner believes the Yankees will be able to handle any issues on the fly.
“There are areas of concerns and we’re going to keep plugging away, but we’ve got to see how big of a concern they are,” Steinbrenner said. “They’re not problems yet because we haven’t even started playing. They’re areas of concern; I get it. Every team has them and every team works through them. We’re going to do the same thing. We got pretty good at it last year, I thought.”
What we learned IV: Here’s a glimpse of what it used to be like behind the scenes in the Yankees clubhouse, during the Joe Torre administration –
“I remember [Jeter] always yelling at Mr. Torre when he wanted to take him out of games,” Joe Girardi said, “and how was he ever going to break Cal [Ripken Jr.]‘s record if he kept pulling him out of games?”
What else: Jeter said that he can’t picture himself coming to Spring Training as a guest instructor. We’ll see about that. Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte seem to have enjoyed it in years past, as well as plenty of Jeter’s other former teammates. … Ichiro Suzuki said that after the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, his reaction was: “Oops!” … Ichiro and Masahiro Tanaka were teammates in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, but Ichiro said that the pitchers and position players tend to run in different circles, so he didn’t get to know him much.
What they said: “I was really shocked, as I think were a lot of people. I didn’t want to believe it. But I was actually shocked that he was doing Facebook. That’s something that I was really shocked about.” – Ichiro Suzuki, on Derek Jeter’s announcement.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 19, 2014
What’s next: The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Thursday morning. Players must dress by 9:45 a.m. and should be on the field shortly after.