Morning Notes: An ace and a deuce

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
12:47
PM ET
VIERA, Fla. -- CC Sabathia is making his second start of the spring this afternoon, against a Washington Nationals lineup that will include Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Nate McLouth and Scott Hairston. Sabathia is expected to go four innnings at least, and possibly as many as five.

Here is (a fairly representative) Yankees lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Scott Sizemore 2B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Dean Anna 3B
Austin Romine DH
Zoilo Almonte RF

Sabathia LHP

Tanaka dominates: OK, he was only facing a couple of overmatched minor leaguers (Cito Culver and Jake Cave), so it was to be expected Masahiro Tanaka would be unhittable in his simulated game early this morning at The Boss. Still, Tanaka needed so few pitches to get three outs in his first inning that pitching coach Larry Rothschild had him get two more in a five-out inning, including two swinging strikeouts on splitters-slash-curves that dived out of the strike zone at the last second. That was all ESPNNewYork.com had to see before embarking on the 2-1/2 hour drive to Space Coast Stadium, but we'll have a full account on the rest of Tanaka's outing -- he was supposed to go four innings -- when Girardi gets Rothschild's report later on. The manager left with the team bus before Tanaka took the mound.

Panama bound: Girardi said Sabathia will start the second of the two games at Panama's Rod Carew Stadium, on Sunday. Adam Warren will get the Saturday start. Among the Yankees regulars making the trip: Derek Jeter, Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, McCann, Carlos Beltran and David Robertson, the anointed heir to Mariano Rivera, who will of course be in attendance as the guest of honor in his home country.

Staying behind -- the Yankees have split squad games Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Tampa -- will be Ellsbury, Teixeira, Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson. Tanaka will pitch against the Atlanta Braves at The Boss on Sunday. The rest of the roster will be filled out with minor leaguers from across the street.

No Mo in center: There had been some hope that Rivera, who joked about wanting to play center field at least once in the major leagues, might play an inning out there this weekend when the Yankees come to Panama. But Girardi said Rivera has not raised the subject, and saw no need to ask him -- or cajole him -- into doing it. "I'm sure enough will be written about it, so he'll hear about it," Girardi said.

Ryan's hope: Brendan Ryan has been down with lower back soreness, but Girardi said he hoped the backup shortstop would be able to take some dry swings today and possibly progress to tee-and-toss tomorrow.

Radio silence: No TV or radio of today's game but you can get live updates via my Twitter feed, @ESPNNYYankees.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.291 8 46 47
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 58
OPSJ. Ellsbury .777
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135