Spring Game 3: Yankees at Pirates

Hello from historic McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., where the Yankees will play their third exhibition of the spring this afternoon, visiting the Pirates. Esmil Rogers is making the start for New York, with Francisco Liriano on the mound for the Bucs. It’s 82 degrees and sunny.

The game is being broadcast on the radio by the Pirates.

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (0-1-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Chris Young rf
Garrett Jones 1b
John Ryan Murphy c
Jose Pirela 3b
Kyle Roller dh
Rob Refsnyder 2b
Cito Culver ss

Esmil Rogers rhp

In relief: Chase Whitley, Nick Rumbelow, Cesar Vargas, Fred Lewis, Chasen Shreve.

PIRATES (1-1)
Jose Tabata lf
Gregory Polanco rf
Andrew McCutchen dh
Starling Marte cf
Andrew Lambo 1b
Jung Ho Kang ss
Chris Stewart c
Sean Rodriguez 2b
Justin Sellers 3b

Francisco Liriano rhp

In relief: Charlie Morton, Mark Melancon, Tyler Glasnow, Clayton Richard, Deolis Guerra, Jeremy Bleich.

Notes from Spring Game 2: Phillies 3, Yankees 1

What happened: Alex Rodriguez said he was “nervous” as he returned to the diamond for his first game action in 17 months. Rodriguez singled on an 0-2 Kevin Slowey fastball in his first at-bat, grounded into a fielder’s choice against Paul Clemens in the third inning and worked a walk on a full-count offering from Ethan Martin in the sixth inning before exiting for a pinch-runner.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi made his Yankees debut, allowing a run on two hits in two innings with no walks and a strikeout. So did left-hander Andrew Miller, who pitched around a hit in a scoreless third inning with two strikeouts. Gary Sanchez’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly produced the Yanks’ only run.

What we learned: A-Rod can still catch up with an 89 mph fastball. He swung and missed at the first two offerings from Slowey, which were clocked at 91 mph, before making contact with the third pitch. Rodriguez admitted he didn’t really hit it hard, but it looks fine in the box score. The Yankees have said it will take until the last two weeks of camp to properly evaluate what Rodriguez is and can be for them this season.

“His at-bats were fine,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He got a two-strike hit, worked a walk, hit a ground ball hard today. At-bats aren’t necessarily easy for a lot of guys this time of year. Trying to get your timing, guys are changing speeds, sometimes their command is not as great and some of the at-bats can be uncomfortable. There’s a lot of things that go on early in Spring Training that guys are just trying to get to where they feel comfortable in the box.”

What else: The reaction from the home crowd was largely positive for Rodriguez, though he did acknowledge hearing a smattering of boos. … Masahiro Tanaka threw a 30-pitch bullpen and could appear in a Grapefruit League game by the end of next week. His next step is likely a simulated game. … Carlos Beltran is scheduled to make his spring debut on Friday night against the Pirates, playing right field. … A-Rod is likely to DH in that game, though he worked out with coach Jody Reed on Wednesday morning at both infield corners and the Yanks haven’t ruled out him playing defense as soon as Friday. … Shortstop Cito Culver made a sparkling defensive play to take away an eighth-inning hit. … Scott Baker will start for the Yankees on Saturday against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla.

What went wrong: Stephen Drew made an error on the first ball hit to him this spring, unable to corral a routine grounder from Odubel Herrera. Drew said that he is still working on ironing out the angles at second base, a position he had never played in his career before becoming a Yankee last July.

“It’s still that ticking process in my mind, especially in Spring Training,” Drew said. “Little things I’m running through to get more comfortable. I know I did it last year just on a whim, but to be able to not be thinking during a game — just be able to do it like I do at short, where everything comes natural.”

Injury report: Brendan Ryan (back) “felt a little sore” after throwing, hitting and taking ground balls Tuesday, according to Girardi, so they took it easy with him today.

What they said: “It’s going to be a spring of firsts – everything feels a little odd right now, even stepping into the box with my metal cleats, saying hi to [umpire] Marty Foster and [Phillies catcher] Tommy Joseph behind the plate, everything feels a little strange for me.
 
“It’s going to take time. I think two or three weeks from now I’ll have a better idea. Right now it’s all about getting into playing shape.” — Alex Rodriguez

Spring Game 2: Yankees vs. Phillies

Alex Rodriguez returns to the Yankees’ lineup for the first time since September 2013 this afternoon as the club opens their home Grapefruit League schedule here at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., hosting the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on YES and the MLB Network.

Here are the lineups:

PHILLIES (0-0)
Odubel Herrera cf
Freddy Galvis ss
Domonic Brown rf
Ryan Howard dh
Maikel Franco 3b
Darin Ruf rf
Grady Sizemore lf
Cord Phelps 2b
Tommy Joseph c

Kevin Slowey rhp

YANKEES (0-0)
Didi Gregorius ss
Alex Rodriguez dh
Brian McCann c
Mark Teixeira 1b
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew 2b
Tyler Austin rf
Ramon Flores lf
Mason Williams cf

Nathan Eovaldi rhp

In relief: Andrew Miller, Kyle Davies, Dan Burawa, Wilking Rodriguez, Tyler Pazos, Tyler Webb.

Spring Game 1: Yankees at Phillies

Hello from Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., where the Yankees will open their Spring Training schedule this afternoon against the Phillies. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen live on MLB.tv. It will be broadcast tonight by MLB Network on tape delay at 9 p.m. ET. Conditions are expected to be partly cloudy and in the low 80s — a perfect day to open up the Grapefruit League schedule.

Here’s a glance at some of the topics that came up in Joe Girardi’s early press conference back at Steinbrenner Field –

Batting Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff and Brett Gardner second:
“It’s definitely a possibility. I think that both of them are capable of leading off. Ells has done it a little more in his career than Gardy, but I just kind of like the combination of those two guys together. We’ll take a look at it a lot this spring as we try to keep the outfielders together a lot early on, and the infielders together, just to see how it works. Left-handed, right-handed, in my mind right now I’m not really worried either way.”

Having Ellsbury and Gardner steal more in 2015:
“I would love it to be a successful tool whenever they can do it. That’s the key. Our success rate was really good last year. The one thing you don’t want to do is run yourself out of innings. But they’re both capable of stealing a ton of bases, creating a lot of pressure. Putting pressure on defenses, pitchers; maybe taking 10 percent, 15, 20 percent of their attention off the hitter, which is always great for the hitter, and I like that.”

The positive reaction from Steinbrenner Field fans for Alex Rodriguez:
“Everyone is going to look at it differently. Some people are going to look at that he was caught, and he paid his time, and now he’s back, and he’s a Yankee, and we’re going to cheer for him. Some people are going to say, you know what, I might have a hard time cheering for him. And some people are just fans, and they fall in love with a player, and no matter what they do, it doesn’t matter. So I’m not really surprised necessarily. He’s one of the guys that has been here a long time. He was part of our championship in 2009, and I think people still understand that. And I think people are curious how he’s going to do. There are probably a lot of people that are cheering for him to do well.”

Watching Luis Severino’s excitement level during his spring debut:
“You see a lot of times young players trying to do too much, and I bring it up a little bit, (David) Phelps and (Adam) Warren, the growth that we saw from one Spring Training to the next is amazing, because I think the second Spring Training that they came in they were much more relaxed. Our job is to guard against him trying to do too much and if he gets into a situation where we see that, maybe he doesn’t go quite as long as he was supposed to. But I mean he should be excited and that’s normal. We all went through that. I can remember how excited I was. As you tell players that you’re going to have nerves, that’s a good thing, actually. It’s not a bad thing. It’s adrenaline and you care and you to impress, but we’ve got to make sure they don’t overdo it.”

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (0-0)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Chris Young rf
Garrett Jones 1b
Jose Pirela 2b
Austin Romine c
Kyle Roller dh
Jonathan Galvez 3b
Nick Noonan ss

Adam Warren rhp

Probable relievers: Luis Severino rhp, Jacob Lindgren lhp, Branden Pinder rhp, Nick Goody rhp and Diego Moreno rhp.

PHILLIES (0-0)
Ben Revere cf
Freddy Galvis ss
Grady Sizemore lf
Ryan Howard 1b
Carlos Ruiz dh
Domonic Brown rf
Cody Asche 3b
Cesar Hernandez 2b
Cameron Rupp c

Jerome Williams rhp

Here’s how we covered the game: 

Yanks of future make big statements in spring opener

Ellsbury-Gardner tandem could top Yanks’ lineup often

Severino’s battle with Howard opens Yanks’ eyes

Hulking Judge announces presence with force

A-Rod excited for spring debut Wednesday

Versatile Warren an asset to Yanks regardless of role

Photos from Florida: Thursday edition

If you’ve been following along on this blog (or Twitter/Instagram) for the last few seasons, you know that I always pack my digital camera for Spring Training. I’m not a professional by any means, but I enjoy it. Shooting is a fun side project to work on alongside the thousands of words of copy that you can access every day on yankees.com.

With today marking the first official workout for Yankees pitchers and catchers, it’s a good time to share some of what got captured on the memory card this afternoon. I’ve also added some favorite shots from what I’ve been collecting over the previous days of camp, so hopefully you’ll enjoy those too…

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