New York Yankees (1-3) vs. Baltimore Orioles (3-0)
1:05 p.m. ET – George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Fla. – TV: YES, Radio: None
LHP Nik Turley (9-5, 2.89 ERA in ’12 w/ Tampa) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (3-9, 6.20 ERA in ’12 w/ Orioles)
Alexi Casilla 2B
Manny Machado 3B
Conor Jackson DH
Steve Pearce LF
Russ Canzler RF
Lew Ford CF
Danny Valencia 1B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Luis Exposito C
Jake Arrieta RHP
Brett Gardner LF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Juan Rivera DH
Dan Johnson 1B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Slade Heathcott CF
Chris Stewart C
Corban Joseph 3B
LHP Nik Turley
Turley is scheduled to be followed by RHP Matt Daley, RHP Preston Claiborne, LHP Josh Spence, RHP Cody Eppley, RHP Mark Montgomery and RHP Tom Kahnle.
Hello from Tampa, where the Yankees are hitting in the batting cages at Steinbrenner Field before – they hope – rolling across the Courtney Campbell Causeway to play the Phillies in Clearwater. It’s shaping up as a stormy day here on Florida’s west coast, with thunderstorms in the area and even a tornado warning.
EDIT 1:11 p.m.: Whaddya know? The skies cleared up and we’re underway. Guess that 50 percent chance of T-storms means 100 percent chance of baseball.
Here’s the lineup the Yankees have posted:
Eduardo Nunez SS
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Travis Hafner DH
Matt Diaz LF
Melky Mesa CF
Bobby Wilson C
Addison Maruszak 3B
Jose Ramirez RHP
Also scheduled to pitch for New York: David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Jim Miller, Francisco Rondon, Zach Nuding, Branden Pinder, Juan Cedeno.
Jimmy Rollins SS
Ben Revere CF
Chase Utley 2B Kevin Frandsen 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Michael Young DH
Domonic Brown LF
Laynce Nix RF
Cody Asche 3B
Steven Lerud C
Kyle Kendrick RHP
Kevin Youkilis has been scratched from today’s Yankees lineup against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. with what the team has called a sore left oblique.
Manager Joe Girardi said that he does not believe the injury is anything serious, and expects Youkilis to be re-evaluated in a couple of days. Youkilis said that he is not concerned and would be playing if it were the regular season; he called it more of a cramp above his left hip and not a strain.
“Basically, yesterday I had a little cramp,” Youkilis said. “That just turned into, we’re going to be precautionary. I’m fine. I could play today and I’m perfectly fine, but they were just like, ‘No, we’re going to sit you out.’”
Youkilis said that he was moving around fine this morning.
“It’s one of those things where, I think after I swung yesterday and running and all that, it was hot and I got a little dehydrated,” Youkilis said. “When I got water in me, I was fine. Being a month away from games and all that, they just wanted to take it precautionary. I wanted to play today and was perfectly fine to play, and didn’t feel like there was any risk.”
Good morning from sunny Florida, as the Yankees will hit the highway for the third game of the Grapefruit League campaign. Here’s the lineup and some early notes for today’s 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota:
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix 2B
Matt Diaz DH
Juan Rivera RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Melky Mesa LF
Dan Johnson 1B
Gil Velazquez SS
Kyle Roller 1B
Vidal Nuno LHP
Nolan Reimold LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis 1B
Conor Jackson RF
Manny Machado 3B
Brian Matusz LHP
- Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia were among those who threw live batting practice this morning in Tampa. Rivera threw 32 pitches and said that everything is on schedule. His next step could be a simulated game, and Rivera said that he does not need to pitch more than his usual eight innings of actual game action this spring.
- Sabathia has advanced to throwing all of his pitches and said that while he’d like his slider to bite a little more, there have been no issues as he comes back from elbow surgery. Additionally on Monday, Ivan Nova threw a sim game.
- Joe Girardi said that the Yankees are “not looking for a long term solution” to replace Curtis Granderson, who is expected to miss the first month of the season. Girardi seemed to lean toward veterans Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera, and noted that Melky Mesa is the best defensive option in camp to take over for Granderson, while switch-hitter Zoilo Almonte seems to figure into the Yanks’ future plans.
- Many fans have asked about Ronnier Mustelier, a 28-year-old who has compiled some impressive numbers in the Minors. The Yankees seem to regard Mustelier as more of a mystery than their other choices, but there’s a sense that he’s a hitter without a true position, which wouldn’t figure to work in his favor. But Girardi said he will definitely get a look.
- Girardi said it’s safe to assume that Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott will not be considered to go north with the team to begin the season. Because some have asked, the same also goes for Mason Williams, who is not in Major League camp.
Brian Cashman was standing on the field this afternoon during batting practice, noting that the group of reporters huddled around him must be having a boring spring so far — that was why, he joked, the Yankees were drumming up the drama of seeing how Curtis Granderson looked in left field.
There’s no shortage of storylines now, and the Yankees aren’t in much of a laughing mood.
Granderson suffered a fracture of his right forearm after being hit by a J.A. Happ fastball in the first inning of today’s 2-0 Yankees loss to the Blue Jays, and while Granderson is expected to be back in the Bombers’ lineup around the first week of May, the course of the team’s spring planning has been disrupted.
“It’s baseball,” Cashman said. “If you’re going to have injuries, you’d rather have them this time of the year than when you’re missing games that count. Obviously if Curtis is going to miss almost two months, you’d rather at least one of the two don’t count.”
Cashman and manager Joe Girardi did not have many answers to provide after the game, though this seems to settle the idea that Brett Gardner will be in center field to begin the season. The list of in-house left field options begins with Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera, both of whom are in camp as non-roster invitees trying to lock up jobs, and continues into a younger group of candidates that includes Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte, Ronnier Mustelier and Adonis Garcia.
“It’s not what you want. No one’s going to feel sorry for you,” Girardi said. “We had to figure it out last year. This club has been really resilient, I’ve seen, for a long time here, and we’ll just have to figure it out.”
We’ll have plenty more to explore on this topic in the days to come, so here’s a roundup of the other notes and quotes in camp:
- We’re skipping ahead here, but Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano told Carrie Muskat that he doesn’t know if he’d approve a trade to the Yankees. Also, Angels outfielder Vernon Wells told Alden Gonzalez that Granderson’s injury “just stinks for them. It has nothing to do with me.”
- Eduardo Nunez clearly didn’t impress the Yankees with those three games in left field last season. Nunez is not one of the internal choices to play left field, at least as far as Cashman is concerned.
- Derek Jeter is expected to start playing in exhibition games around March 10. The Yankees will start him at designated hitter and then ease him into duty at shortstop.
- Phil Hughes (back spasms) started working out in a pool at the Yanks’ Minor League complex. He’s still about a week away from picking up a baseball.
- Francisco Cervelli is indeed out of Minor League options, Cashman confirmed. There had been some confusion earlier in the year on the topic. Cervelli and Chris Stewart, it would seem, have a solid advantage over Austin Romine to make the team.
- Cashman said that the Yankees have “future everyday right fielder scouting grades” on Zoilo Almonte, who opened some eyes by throwing out a runner at third base and hitting an opposite field homer on Saturday against the Braves. Special assistant Jim Hendry told Cashman that he hasn’t seen Almonte have a bad day yet.
- Adam Warren threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut, including a hit-by-pitch of Brett Lawrie that he said wasn’t intentional. Also, Dellin Betances will begin the year as a Triple-A starter.
Here is the lineup for today’s Yankees Grapefruit League game against the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the first of 35 games this spring for the Bombers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.; there is no TV or radio for this game.
Eduardo Nunez SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Juan Rivera DH
Matt Diaz LF
Francisco Cervelli C
Melky Mesa CF
Zoilo Almonte RF
Corban Joseph 3B
David Phelps RHP
Andrelton Simmons SS
Reed Johnson LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Dan Uggla 2B
Evan Gattis DH
Chris Johnson 1B
Todd Cunningham RF
Christian Bethancourt C
Jordan Schafer CF
Paul Maholm LHP
Additional Yankees pitchers making the trip: Juan Cedeno, Preston Claiborne, Brett Marshall, Mike O’Brien, Kelvin Perez, Branden Pinder, Ryan Pope, Josh Spence, Nik Turley, Chase Whitley.
Umpires: Home plate Greg Gibson, bases Lance Barksdale & Jeff Nelson.
One other note to pass along from today’s early session back in Tampa: right-hander Nick Goody walked into the clubhouse on crutches. He has a sprained right ankle.
Jorge Posada hasn’t yet arrived in camp for his duties as one of the Yankees’ guest instructors, but we must be getting close, because the five-time World Series champion is starting to talk a little ball.
Posada was a guest on Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio this morning with hosts Jim Memelo and Jeff Nelson. He shared his thoughts on several topics around the 2013 Yankees, including Posada’s prediction that Mariano Rivera will be able to return to the same dominant level for this team.
On Mariano Rivera: “Mariano is going to be 100 percent. Mariano is a freak of nature. One of those things about Mariano, he has great control, that cutter will not go away. I expect Mariano to be the old Mariano.”
On Derek Jeter: “He said it perfectly the other day, he’s going to be sore all over because he hasn’t been able to train like he wanted to, but he’s going to push himself to be ready for Opening Day. I know him, he’s going to probably be doing two-a-days and working really hard off the field to get back to 100 percent when it comes to Opening Day.”
On the Yankees’ catching competition: ”Obviously whoever has the best spring is going to start. That probably changes throughout the year. We’ve got three young catchers and we’re going to hopefully look forward to seeing them compete. This is what baseball is all about. You don’t get the job, you earn the job. I think it’s going to be good.”
On scouting reports for Cervelli and Romine: “Cervelli, very energetic, very athletic, very quick behind the plate. He has a good arm. He’s a lot more mature now so I think it’s perfect timing for him right now. Romine, obviously a little younger, smart kid behind the plate. We like him very much but they don’t want to rush him, so we’ll see. He’s got a shot too. We’ll see what happens in the spring.”
On Kevin Youkilis: “It’s going to be fun. I think it’s going to be great. The guy plays hard, that’s another guy that wants to prove himself. He had a tough year last year and I bet he worked really hard during the offseason to be a Yankee and be a part of this team.”
The Yankees have not officially announced who will be starting their first exhibition games when Grapefruit League play kicks off on Saturday, but David Phelps looks like he’s a safe bet to see some early action.
Phelps was among the group of pitchers pitching simulated games on the mound at George M. Steinbrenner Field this morning, working without the protective L-screen in the way. He had an unexpected test to his reflexes, as Ronnier Mustelier laced one of Phelps’ pitches right back up the middle.
“I heard it. I didn’t see it,” Phelps said. “Robbie [Cano] probably would have had it.”
No shame in that. Phelps had a good scouting report to offer about Mustelier: “He’s a good hitter. He can swing it.”
Phelps threw the equivalent of two innings; 35 to 40 pitches. Adam Warren, Brett Marshall and Nik Turley were also on the mound this morning, pitching to Mustelier, Cito Culver and Corban Joseph.
Pitchers working live batting practice this morning include: Dave Robertson, Jim Miller, Nick Goody, Dellin Betances and Juan Cedeno.
Players will hit the field for stretch at 11 a.m., with defensive drills and batting practice groups to follow.
By my count, there were more than a half-dozen occasions during Robinson Cano’s chat with the media this afternoon in which he referenced a desire to win a World Series championship or to hoist the World Series trophy.
It’s safe to say, then, that the instructions in Cano’s playbook as he enters into a huge free agency year say he should just block out all of that noise and focus on what he can control in 2013. It’s not a bad strategy, and he’s certainly not the first to try it.
“I’m going to be honest with you guys; I’m just focused right now on the season,” Cano said. “Just prepare myself, get ready for the season and help the team win another championship. I’m not thinking about anything. Those kind of things, I’ll just let my agent, Scott [Boras], handle it. I’ll just have fun in the clubhouse and get ready to help the team win another championship.”
We’ve already heard from Hal Steinbrenner that the Yankees had a couple of conversations with Boras about locking Cano up to a long-term extension, but there haven’t been much rumblings on the topic since. The general expectation is that, as long as Cano wraps up 2013 healthy, he’s primed to cash in big time: early estimates peg the Boras camp as searching in the ballpark of an eight to 10 year deal worth around $25 million per season.
It’s going to take a big chunk of change to keep Cano in pinstripes, but the Yankees could dig deep and get it done. The question is, with the $189 million payroll objective looming on the horizon, what would they have left to spend on the other pieces of the club? Cano made his stance pretty clear — as far as he’s concerned, he’d rather think about that down the road.
“I’m not worried about anything right now, like I said,” Cano said. “I still have one year and just got to go out there and just perform. I’ve got another year and my focus now is to help the team, be with my teammates and have fun. At the end of the season, just end it up with the [World Series] trophy.”
- Derek Jeter took ground balls and hit on the field during today’s workout, the first time that he has taken batting practice on the diamond. Jeter did not run the bases and the Yankees have permitted him to skip on-field running and stretching for now. He said that his ankle is holding up fine, but the rest of his body is feeling pretty sore. As he said, it’ll take some time to get in baseball shape, and he’s about two weeks behind where he’d usually be.
- Ichiro Suzuki has a wonderful sense of humor that translates in any language. His first comment right out of the box this spring, asked about his impressions from the first day of camp: “Derek Jeter was not the eater that the media portrayed him to be. It was good to see him that way.” Apparently, Ichiro has the New York Post delivered in Japan during the winter.
- Speaking of Jeter, someone asked him to clear up exactly what he meant by saying he rode around on a scooter this winter. To be honest, I pictured Jeter puttering around his Florida mansion on one of those electric-charged vehicles, but Jeter said that wasn’t the case: “No, man. You put your leg on it, your knee on it, and you roll it with your other leg. It’s not a motorized scooter. I’m not handicapped. It’s just easier than crutches.”
- Jeter tried to bait the media into buying the idea that if everything goes well tomorrow in camp, he could be cleared to play in the World Baseball Classic. No dice, though he did urge the reporters crowded around his locker to ask Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman, just to see what they’d say.
- Pitching prospect Mark Montgomery is sidelined with back spasms, marking the second injury update of camp. Montgomery is one of the club’s touted relievers and there has been speculation he could help the big league club this year. He had to be scratched from a bullpen session yesterday.
- Girardi was asked a few different ways about his early thoughts for the lineup, specifically the spots for Cano and Ichiro, but he said that he doesn’t want to get into it this early because he hasn’t talked to the players involved. Girardi said that he’d like to see where the team is around March 25 before he starts seriously putting anything in ink.
- Finally, one last thing — a few days ago, I saw Girardi pointing to the ceiling outside the workout room. A pair of dangling gymnastic rings materialized in the next few hours, and that’s not something you usually see in the basement of a stadium. Girardi said that they’re actually for his own Crossfit workout. That’s intense. I won’t name names, but a few reporters tried to see if they could pull themselves up and push their body above the rings, the way Girardi said he does. Care to guess how that turned out?
It felt like Penn Station at rush hour in the clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field this morning, as the group of 84 83 players in camp collided with the much-larger-than-usual media group assigned to chronicle the first full squad workout for the 2013 Yankees.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi cleared the room at 9:40 a.m. to take the stage for his introductory speech to the players, and Girardi said that he would probably stick to a basic script as he addressed the roster.
“The message is, let’s get better,” Girardi said. “I mean, that’s the bottom line. Let’s get prepared and let’s get better. That’s what we’re here for.”
With all of the pitchers and position players in camp, and exhibition games quickly approaching, the facility will be busy today. Hiroki Kuroda threw a bullpen this morning, and the main event will be the eight hitting groups will be rotating through the batting cage on the main field. I’m most interested to watch infield Group 1, comprised of Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner and Eduardo Nunez.
Jeter has been hitting in the batting cages across the street at the Minor League complex for a while, but he hasn’t taken many – if any – swings on the field this spring. Today also might be Jeter’s first attempt to run on grass or dirt, advancing from the treadmill, so that bears watching, as does any defensive work he might do.
Later in the day, Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki will also take turns handling the media in the tent outside the stadium, so we should have more updates to share then.