TAMPA, Fla. -- Michael Pineda threw his first live batting practice session this morning, and there weren't many good swings from either Ramon Flores or Jose Pirela, the two hitters he faced. But it was unclear if that was because Pineda's stuff was so good, or his location was so bad.
By the admission of his catcher, John Ryan Murphy, Pineda's control was better when he was warming up in the bullpen than when he took it out to the mound, a result Murphy put down to excitement. "He was just a little jumpy out there on the mound," Murphy said. "I think because he was excited and anxious about his first day out there.”
Pineda gave himself a "pretty good" when asked for a self-assessment.
"Today was just my first time," he said. "I need to be ready for the games, not batting practice."
New closer? Yawn: David Robertson shrugged off the news that the Yankees had signed former Red Sox and Athletics closer Andrew Bailey to a minor-league deal Saturday night, a transaction the club has yet to officially announce.
“I look at it as helping the bullpen as a whole," said Robertson, who had previously been anointed by two higher authorities, Hal Steinbrenner and Mariano Rivera, as the Yankees next closer. "Technically, I haven’t been given the closer job, so I’m just a reliever. Whatever is going to make our team stronger and help us get back to the playoffs, that works for me. I’m not going to be mad or annoyed or anything about it right now.”
Bailey underwent serious shoulder surgery last July, to repair a torn labrum and capsule, and is not expected back before the All-Star break at the earliest. “It would mean a lot [if Bailey comes back]," Robertson said. "He’s a great arm. He has a lot of experience, so any help in the bullpen is welcome.”
Despite repeated (good-natured) attempts to bait Robertson into saying the Yankees clubhouse wasn't big enough for two closers, Robertson refused to take the bait.
“I have no control over that, so for me, I just try not to pay attention to that," he said. "I show up to play baseball. I know I’m here for another year, so even if I’m not throwing the ninth inning, I know I’m still effective in the eighth. I’m going to have a job and I'm going to be able to help this team win ballgames.”
Robertson then reminded everyone that GM Brian Cashman had refused to say definitively that he would be the closer this year. But when he was reminded that he had already gotten the Hal and Mo stamp of approval, Robertson said, "Well, I'll take that side, then."
More training: The Yankees PR staff will make its final media training presentation to the infielders and outfielders this morning. Previously, the pitchers and catchers, in separate sessions, were schooled in the fine art of not inserting foot into mouth in the presence of reporters.