TAMPA, Fla. -- Joe Girardi spoke for a bit longer than usual today -- nearly 12 minutes -- in the tent before a crowd bloated by a large contingent of Japanese media that turned out for Ichiro Suzuki's group press conference. But quantity didn't necessarily mean quality; listening back, it was a whole lot of nothing. The "highlights:"
JETER IS GOOD: Joe watched Derek Jeter field some grounders and take his first official BP swings of spring training -- he had already been doing both at the minor-league complex across the street -- and liked what he saw.
BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH YET TO RUN THE BASES OR STRETCH IN PUBLIC: Girardi said Jeter is not quite ready to run the bases yet, and he did not come out with the rest of the squad for stretching. The manager said he was "being stretched inside." He added that both baserunning and public stretching ''are coming soon enough."
HE DOESN'T HAVE A LINEUP YET: Shocking, since there are only 42 days until Opening Day. Girardi sidestepped questions about whether Robby Cano will be the everyday cleanup hitter with Alex Rodriguez out, and whether some combination of Brett Gardner, Ichiro and Jeter will comprise his 9, 1 and 2 hitters.
JOE LEARNS ABOUT TWITTER: Girardi loves to renmind all of us that he neither blogs nor Tweets, but did admit that he has heard a lot of news is broken on Twitter these days.
SPEECH! SPEECH!: Girardi said his pep talk to the team "went well" this morning, although he expressed regret that the pitchers and catchers, who heard it last Monday, had to sit through it again.
JOE IS STRONG: The maintenance crew installed a pair of steel rings of the type used by gymnasts hanging from the ceiling outside the Yankees clubhouse, and the beat crew assumed it was for a new routine instituted by team strength guru Dana Cavalea. Turns out they were installed for Girardi, who uses them as part of his Crossfit exercise program. He does something called "muscle-ups, in which you pull yourself up like a chin up and then continue pushing until the body ends up in a dipping position. Girardi says he does them every day. I tried and couldn't do a single one.