Exactly what everyone would have predicted, right? Vidal Nuno pitched 5 2/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit ball, and the Yankees got home runs from Kelly Johnson, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, defeating the Red Sox 6-0 on Friday night.
Nuno said after the game that he needed the boost, proving that his stuff can still work against big league lineups after he was hammered his last two times out by the Athletics and Orioles.
“Every day has been tough lately, just knowing that my command wasn’t there,” Nuno said. “I’ve been working on it. Pretty much, it’s a confidence booster tonight, to show that I can still belong here and attack these guys. With my stuff, I can win games.”
This was Nuno’s first career victory at Yankee Stadium, a place where he’d been dreadful this year. As Red Sox manager John Farrell said candidly after the game, Boston thought they’d have a good shot against Nuno, but it wasn’t to be.
Joe Girardi, who had bristled when asked about his rotation earlier in the afternoon, was asked after the game what it is about Nuno that inspires confidence:
“He fights. It’s not a guy that throws 95, not a guy with a wipeout slider. it’s a guy that just goes out and competes and finds a way to get it done. He’s beaten a lot of the odds in a sense where he’s had to start over and come back and work his way up. He throws strikes, you know that he’s going to throw strikes, you know that he doesn’t get intimidated by a situation. I like that about him. He’s very even keeled but he gives you everything he’s got every time he goes out.”
Johnson (by the way, that homer snapped an 84 at-bat drought for him) shared his view on Nuno’s performance:
“When he’s on, he’s as comfortable and easy to play behind as anybody on this team. He works really fast. He gets the ball (and throws it). The ball was popping out of his hand really good, sharp.”
Here are some other assorted notes and quotes:
- Start the clock: CC Sabathia will pitch in his first Minor League rehab game tonight for Class-A Tampa against Dunedin. Sabathia is expected to need at least three rehab starts, so you’re probably looking at after the All-Star break at the earliest.
- Comeback trail: Michael Pineda will play catch on Saturday in Tampa, but it’ll be a long road back. He’s basically starting Spring Training over, so don’t look for Pineda to be in the Bronx until August.
- Age is just a number: Derek Jeter, still in the lead to be in the American League’s starting lineup for the All-Star Game, singled twice in his first game as a 40-year-old. The first of those was a classic “Jeterian” inside-out hit lashed to right field.
- Whoops: Dellin Betances slipped while delivering a pitch in the seventh inning last night, but he was fine. Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue came out to check on the right-hander, who resumed his outing.
- Thank you: David Robertson’s “High Socks for Hope” charity received a $10,000 donation last night.
- Your call: This is kind of interesting – Nuno said that he didn’t shake off catcher Brian McCann once last night. Nuno prefers to let his catchers call the game, placing complete trust in them so he can focus on executing his pitches. McCann said that Nuno stayed out of hitters counts and kept the ball in the yard; when he does that, he can win.
Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester are on the mound tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET in game two of the three-game weekend series.
A Monument Park plaque dedication honoring Rich “Goose” Gossage will highlight the June 22 Old-Timers’ Day festivities at Yankee Stadium, and nearly 50 former Yankees are scheduled to be in attendance, the team announced on Tuesday.
Gossage’s plaque will recognize his Hall of Fame career and will be unveiled one day after the Yankees celebrate the career of slugging first baseman Tino Martinez, who will have a Monument Park plaque installed on June 21.
Gossage was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 and played in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees (1978-83, ’89), winning a World Series with the team in 1978.
Martinez, who played in seven seasons with New York (1996-2001, ’05), and helped to lead the team to four World Series victories during that time (1996, ’98-2000), will also be in attendance for Old-Timers’ Day.
In addition to Gossage, the Old-Timers are headlined by Hall-of-Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson, as well as Joe Torre, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July.
Current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill will also participate.
Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who won a World Series title with the Yankees in 2009, will make their Old-Timers’ Day debuts along with John “The Count” Montefusco, who helped the club produce three seasons of at least 90 wins from 1983-86.
Joining the Hall-of-Famers and former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of six legendary Yankees -Maggie Coleman, widow of Jerry Coleman; Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard; Helen Hunter, widow of Jim “Catfish” Hunter; Jill Martin, widow of Billy Martin; Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; and Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer.
Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, both of which will be aired on the YES Network. The Yankees will then host the Orioles at 2:05 p.m., also airing on YES. Gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10:00 a.m. and fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:15 a.m. for the festivities.
The plaques for Martinez and Gossage mark the first stage of this year’s announced Monument Park additions. O’Neill’s ceremony will take place on Aug. 9, and Torre will take his place in Monument Park on Aug. 23, with his uniform No. 6 set to be retired.
List of those Scheduled to Attend
(*Denotes First-Time Old-Timer)
Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Brian Boehringer, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Maggie Coleman (Widow), David Cone, Johnny Damon*, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Jake Gibbs, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Orlando Hernandez, Arlene Howard (Widow), Helen Hunter (Widow), Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin (Widow), Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui*, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene Michael, Gene Monahan (Trainer), John Montefusco*, Diana Munson (Widow), Kay Murcer (Widow), Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Andy Phillips, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Joe Torre, David Wells, Roy White
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.