Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’
George M. Steinbrenner Field is open for business, and while we’re still waiting to hear the first official crack of the bat, these words should be enough to warm your afternoon wherever you are — Yankees pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa today.
The players went through the usual gauntlet of physical tests and checked out their locker assignments – with 84 names on the invited list, the Yankees have had to build a few new ones in the clubhouse – before heading out for the day. The real work begins tomorrow, with the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
“Everybody talked about the guys that we didn’t sign, but talk about the guys we have coming back,” Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. “Hiro (Hiroki Kuroda) coming back, Andy (Pettitte) coming back, we’ll get Mo (Mariano Rivera) back for a full year. I think we already had the pieces here in place to compete and try to win a championship. We’ll just go with what we’ve got.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his first press conference of the spring, and the big news was again about Alex Rodriguez, as Girardi revealed that A-Rod will not be reporting to camp with the Yankees’ position players.
Instead, Rodriguez will be continuing his rehab in New York, which should limit some of the potential distractions that were expected to go along with MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis case.
Girardi said that he believes the Yankees “could win 95 games and get to the World Series,” and said that “if other clubs want to think we’re vulnerable, that’s OK, but I love the character in that room and the way they find ways to win games.”
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Here are some of the other quick hits from Girardi’s session with the press:
- Girardi is not concerned about the health of Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. He is, however, curious how the Yankees will find their designated hitter against right-handed pitching. Eduardo Nunez, Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera appear to be the early options.
- Girardi called the spring “a test” for Francisco Cervelli, who must block out the distraction of the Biogenesis investigation while also competing for the Opening Day catcher job.
- Austin Romine should be able to help the Yankees at some point during the season, Girardi said, but he doesn’t know exactly when. Romine said that he intends to make the roster out of Spring Training, but the Yankees have him ticketed for Triple-A right now.
- Girardi said Cervelli, Stewart and Romine should be able to be as good as Russell Martin was defensively.
- Michael Pineda is throwing in camp, but Girardi said he doesn’t expect to see him in a game this spring. The Yankees have been saying that Pineda’s best case scenario is to pitch in the big leagues by May or June.
- Girardi said he’s not worried about his lame duck status as the Yankees’ manager, saying that he’s only concerned with the next 162 games and getting to the World Series. The Yankees will likely hold off until after the season to open contract talks with Girardi.
There were several light moments during last night’s charity event to benefit Yankees radio engineer and producer Carlos Silva, but one that sticks out concerns Mariano Rivera and his not-so-secret desire to play center field for an inning in a big league game.
A fan brought the topic up during the Q&A portion of the evening, and I was a little surprised to hear it — I assumed that’d been put to rest by last year’s injury in Kansas City. Yankees manager Joe Girardi answered the question fairly, pointing out that the only scenario where they’d even consider it would be a bad one for the Yankees — it’d have to be late in the season and already apparent that the team wasn’t going to the playoffs, since they wouldn’t risk losing their closer (again) with any chance of a World Series on the line.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a better response, laughing and saying that Rivera killed those plans for himself by crumpling on the warning track at Kauffman Stadium last May.
“My answer is, you saw what he did. He can’t play center field,” Cashman said, laughing. “The guy is an old man! He blew his knee out!”
That doesn’t mean Rivera has completely given up on the idea; brought on stage seconds later, he announced that we all haven’t heard the last of him in center field.
It should go without saying by now, but this Rivera guy doesn’t give up easily. Here’s how Girardi and Cashman handled the question:
More newsy notes from last night:
- Cashman said that the Yankees invited Hideki Matsui to Spring Training as a celebrity guest instructor, but Matsui declined because his wife is expecting a child. By the way, Jorge Posada – fresh off his appearance at Women’s Fantasy Camp – has hinted that he’ll be attending.
- Girardi said that there is “no formula” for how the Yankees will handle their catching, but they’re holding firm that it’ll probably be from the group of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine. The Yankees don’t view Stewart as a starting catcher, but Girardi said that he could see Romine – who remains slated to begin the year at Triple-A – playing in New York for “a substantial amount of time” in the near future.
- Cashman likened Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams to former big league outfielder Otis Nixon with a little more power, which is a comparison I hadn’t heard before. He also said that Mark Montgomery has a real chance to land at the big league level this year, wielding a nasty slider that could have him help in a David Robertson-type role.
- Cashman on why the Yankees were so quiet on the free agent market: “This market, this winter, was bad.”
- Cashman on what he liked about adding Travis Hafner: “Big hairy monster. I keep saying that, but none of those guys have a lot of hair. He’s the profile we like; on-base percentage with power from the left side. He’s not someone that when he’s coming to the plate, a pitcher is going to be too comfortable facing, especially in our ballpark.”
We haven’t heard much from Hal Steinbrenner of late, but the Yankees managing general partner offered his first public comments of the offseason yesterday, saying that the organization’s commitment to winning has not wavered and that the club is not finished adding players for 2013.
Steinbrenner spoke to reporters from the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal on Thursday in Paradise Valley, Ariz., as he exited the Major League Baseball Owners Meetings, and he painted a positive picture concerning the Yankees’ winter work thus far.
“We’ve signed three or four of the biggest free agents on the market. We’re pretty happy with that,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s great to have Andy [Pettitte] back and [Hiroki] Kuroda and Ichiro [Suzuki]. [Kevin] Youkilis, I’m excited about. I’ve always liked him as a player. We’ve got some work to do, still. We need another bat. We’re not done yet.”
The Yankees are in the market for a right-handed hitter who can play the outfield; Washington’s Michael Morse is one potential target, as they’ve touched base with the Nationals to express their interest. Free agent Scott Hairston also remains available and is reportedly deciding between the Yankees and Mets.
Steinbrenner added that the Yankees have not opened negotiations on contract extensions for second baseman Robinson Cano or manager Joe Girardi, and reiterated the team’s intention of reducing payroll below $189 million for 2014. Steinbrenner also said that it is possible the Yankees will remain under that payroll figure in subsequent seasons. Check out the rest of the story here.
Yesterday at Yankee Stadium, Joe Girardi took a break from accepting donations for Hurricane Sandy relief to go over a wide variety of issues concerning his team. Some of them, you’ve already seen addressed on Yankees.com — CC Sabathia’s elbow and Mariano Rivera’s future, for example.
Here’s some of the other topics Girardi addressed inside Gate 2 at the Stadium (where, by the way, the Yankees are continuing to accept donations 24 hours per day until further notice):
Expecting to have Russell Martin back?: “I don’t know. I know that when guys are free agents, other clubs can make offers. You never know what’s going to happen. He played very well for us if you look at the second half of the season. He struggled a little bit the first half and didn’t take it behind the plate, which I was proud of.”
On Derek Jeter’s ankle and next spring: “I think you’ve got to keep an eye on Derek. Any time you have a surgery like that, you need to keep an eye on it. … I think he’s non-weight bearing for a little bit longer and then I guess you start your rehab.”
On Hiroki Kuroda pitching in New York vs. Japan: “I think he really enjoyed being here. That’s a decision that a player has to make. I’ve heard talk about that he wants to finish where he started. He could wait another year if he wants. … I think sometimes it’s really difficult to sort your feelings out right when a season ends. I think you have to get away and be away from the game for a while and decide, ‘Is this really what I want to do?’”
On Kuroda and Andy Pettitte: “I’ll have conversations to see what they’re feeling, and if they’re wavering or if they’re for sure or not. The one thing that you don’t want is, if it’s not in a guy’s heart, you don’t want him just to come back. It’s a lot of work and to be a starting pitcher with age, it’s even more work.”
On reports that he called Alex Rodriguez after the season: “I don’t really talk a whole lot about what I say or don’t say with players. I’ll have conversations with all my players over the course of a year, that’s just what I do. I know there are reports out there, but I’ve always been kind of a private guy.”
On reports that he called the press box before pinch-hitting for A-Rod: “Just how it was reported was incorrect. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m very protective of my players. That’s just how I am.”
The Yankees liked David Phelps’ quality start this afternoon against the Red Sox, in which the rookie allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings, but he appears ticketed to head back to the bullpen. CC Sabathia vowed that he will be ready to return on Friday, and if so, the big man will be on the mound at Progressive Field against the Indians.
That is no slight against Phelps, who has proven himself as a very useful part of the 2012 Yankees roster.
“We like what he does. He’s a guy that is somewhat of a swing guy for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “If we need him to start, he can start. If we need him to give us an inning in the bullpen, a couple innings in the bullpen, long relief, he can do that. He’s a valuable guy on your team because he can do so many different things, and he’s had success in all areas this year.”
Girardi quickly doused any speculation that Phelps would knock any other Yankees pitcher from the rotation, dismissing the question with a chuckle.
“No. Our guys are going to make their starts,” Girardi said. “The good thing is he’s built up if we do need another spot start. That’s the good thing for us. You always have concerns about your depth, and he gives us that.”
Of Sabathia’s impending return, Phelps said: “I’m just going to show up tomorrow and do my work and go from there. I’ll think about the next day when it comes. … I’m not going to be able to do what he does, but I just go out there and try to keep us in the game every time my name’s called. Hopefully I keep doing it.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi clashed with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the third inning of the New York’s 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday, displeased with the strike zone Randazzo was calling for starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Ivan Nova.
“I didn’t care for some of the strikes early in the game, and we were talking back and forth and he looked at me and stared at me,” Girardi said. “I don’t get it. When the inning’s over, walk the other way. It’s pretty simple.”
Asked if he was surprised that Randazzo allowed Girardi to stay in the game despite what seemed to be a heated exchange, Girardi replied, “I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think I really said anything that wrong.”
Yankees catcher Russell Martin – who has had his own issues with umpires this year – declined to criticize Randazzo’s zone.
“It looked like was a bit generous, but he was pretty consistent on both sides,” Martin said. “Verlander just seemed like he was hitting those spots more than we were.”
Girardi said that Randazzo walked down the first-base line after the top of the third inning and stared into the Yankees dugout. Bench coach Tony Pena moved to hold Girardi back, but Girardi broke free.
“I threw Tony off me pretty easy. If I want to go, Tony’s not going to hold me back,” he said.
One of the treats of getting to Yankee Stadium early in the afternoon on a game day is to watch Mariano Rivera patrol center field during batting practice, gracefully making sure everything hit in his general direction doesn’t hit the turf.
Had things gone differently in his life, there’s really no reason to doubt that Rivera could have played a different position instead of becoming the game’s all-time saves leader. The Yankees wouldn’t change a thing, but Rivera still dreams of playing center field in a Major League game.
“You know what, I want to. I want to talk to that man over there,” Rivera said, nodding toward Joe Girardi’s office at Steinbrenner Field. “I want to. I’d love to. But, again, you know, it’s not something I look at as a joke. I want to do it right.”
This isn’t the first time that Girardi has been reminded of Rivera’s desire, and he did accommodate Jorge Posada’s wishes to play second base last August. But granting Rivera’s wish creates a great risk for Girardi, who’d be holding his breath every second his closer spends out there.
There’s no perfect time to do it, unless it’s clear the Yankees are going to miss the playoffs (think 2008) and Rivera has already announced his retirement. Even if they’ve already clinched a playoff spot in September, they’d still need Rivera for the World Series run, and losing him would be catastrophic to their postseason chances.
Still, Girardi hinted that if 2012 is going to be Rivera’s final season, he might be inclined to roll the dice.
“He’d have to share his plans with me to be in that mix,” Girardi said. “I wonder if he’s going to come stand next to me for two innings like Jorgie did, in my ear. That bullpen phone will be ringing a lot in the bullpen: ‘It’s Mo again.’”
Rivera would never take matters into his own hands, but Girardi admitted that if Rivera raced to center field and told Curtis Granderson to hit the showers, there wouldn’t be a whole lot the Yankees could do about it.
“What if he was to run out there and say, ‘You’re out?’” Girardi said. “What are you going to say to him?”
Rivera said he would be fine with playing as little as one pitch in center field; really, he just wants to check that box on a list that has seen him accomplish almost everything else he dreamed of in the game.
“Hopefully. Hopefully,” Rivera said. “If not, I’m OK.”
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This was a funny moment today in camp. Not that it should be a big surprise to anyone, but Joe Girardi had to backpedal a little bit this afternoon after accidentally mentioning Eric Chavez as one of his backup first base options.
“We don’t have him, but there has been talk about him,” Girardi said, smiling, as someone pointed out the goof. “That’s not official.”
Indeed, the Yankees have no agreement yet with Chavez, but it seems extremely likely they’ll hammer one out before position players hit camp on Friday.
“I’d like to have him back,” Girardi said. “I thought he was productive for us and he gives me flexibility.”
Raul Ibanez’s signing is now official, so the Yankees’ roster is at 40 players.
We’ll lead off today with Joe Girardi, as the Yankees manager was asked yesterday if he feels like he’s grown in his position since taking over Joe Torre’s chair in 2008. Girardi first jokingly asked if he looked older than then — it’s not for us to say, the reporter responded — and then agreed that he has found a better feel for his day-to-day duties.
“I think I’m much different,” he said. “I think you have a much better understanding of how it works here and the expectations of the job. It’s one thing to say you know what it’s like because you watched someone else do it, but it’s another to actually do it.
“I think the relationships with the players are stronger. I think there’s a better understanding of my players. I think there’s a better understanding of managing an American League game as opposed to a National League game. So I do think I’ve improved.”
Back with more updates in just a bit.
It looks like that 11 a.m. press conference might not begin as planned. Joe Girardi’s 6 a.m. flight is still stuck at the gate in Newark, so the first scheduled event of Yankees Spring Training will obviously be delayed.
Luckily, there’s not too much else on Girardi’s agenda today — he doesn’t have to oversee a workout until tomorrow. The Yankees’ clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field is being filled with pitchers and catchers as we speak. It’ll be open to the media for an hour beginning at 10 a.m.
Unsolicited advice for Girardi while he waits: check out the greasy spoon Garden State Diner near Gate 82. I’ve actually never had a bad breakfast there.