New York Yankees: Morning Notes

Morning notes: One last look

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
10:45
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have three more spring training games to play before they break camp on Saturday night, but for a trip of utility infielders fighting for two open spots, this afternoon's game against the Pirates in Bradenton is the last chance to catch the manager's eye, and maybe change his mind.

Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte are all in the lineup today, and by tomorrow afternoon, after Girardi & Co. have one more "organizational meeting," two of them will be heading to Houston for the season opener. The third will be headed to the minors. (There is an extra opening since Brendan Ryan will begin the season on the DL).

The guess here is Nunez is set, if only because he has a solid base of big-league experience. And Anna, who is in his first major-league training camp after six years in the Padres system -- he hit .331 for their AAA Tucson affiliate last year -- probably has an edge because he is on the Yankees 40-man roster.

But the most intriguing of them all is Solarte, who has had the best spring of the three of them, batting .459 with two homers and 8 RBI. More surprisingly, the 26-year-old Venezuelan, who was signed this winter as a free agent after eight seasons in the Twins organization, has shown some capability with the glove, as well as enough versatility to play the outfield.

He is probably the long shot to make the team, even with a great final day today, but the mantra around here is, "If you got pants, you got a chance."

Here's the rest of the Yankees lineup:

Ichiro Suzuki CF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Zoilo Almonte LF
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Dean Anna SS
Zelous Wheeler DH
Adonis Garcia RF

CC Sabathia LHP

Sabathia
Sabathia
Sabathia is scheduled to throw 45-50 pitches today in his final tuneup before opening day. The game will be televised by YES starting at 1:05 p.m.

Cut down day: Ten more players were reassigned to minor-league camp today -- Pitchers Preston Claiborne, Danny Burawa, David Herndon, Fred Lewis, Chris Leroux, Jim Miller and Yoshinori Tateyama, INFs Russ Canzler and Scott Sizemore and OF Zoilo Almonte. The biggest surprise is Claiborne, who due to his contributions last season was expected to be part of the bullpen. But he had an awful spring training, capped by yesterday's disaster, in which he allowed six earned runs without getting a single out.

Ellsbury
Ellsbury
The Jacoby Report: Jacoby Ellsbury will not play in a game today but did take batting practice on the field and Girardi said he will play both Friday and Saturday. However, the Yankees have not decided whether he will play with the big-league club or on the minor-league side, since they would like to reserve the right to backdate him on the disabled list if his tight right calf has "a setback," according to Girardi.

Two to go: Hiroki Kuroda will start tomorrow night's game against the Marlins, and Masahiro Tanaka will throw a few innings as well. Ivan Nova will start Saturday afternoon's camp finale, also against the Marlins.
TAMPA, Fla. -- It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention this spring, but Francisco Cervelli has won the Yankees backup catcher's job behind Brian McCann.

Joe Girardi hadn't told him yet this morning, but the lockers of every other catcher in camp -- John Ryan Murphy yesterday, Austin Romine and Jose Gil today -- had been swept clean when the room opened at 8:30 a.m.

Cervelli, who is leading all Yankees veterans in batting (.455), home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.909) and is tied with Carlos Beltran with 7 RBI, is coming off an injury-plagued year (broken hand) that was further shortened by a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis.

"Last year was an embarrassing moment for me," he said. "It’s a moment I’m going to carry forever. I wanted to prove to the fans that I’m healthy and that I come here to play baseball and give everything to the Yankees. I always want to be better. I just feel happy today. That’s it. And that I come here to play baseball, give everything to the Yankees and also for myself. Because I never stop the way I work. I always want to be better. I just feel happy today."

Still, considering the way other springs have ended for him -- Cervelli won the backup job in camp two years ago, too, but was sent to AAA on the final day of spring training when the Yankees traded for Chris Stewart -- he was understandably wary to accept congratulations until he heard the news directly from the manager.

"If my luggage shows up in Houston (where the Yankees open on Tuesday), then I’ll be happy," he said.

Meanwhile, Cervelli is in today's starting lineup against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Here's the rest of it:

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran RF
Alfonso Soriano DH
Kelly Johnson 1B
Cervelli C
Brian Roberts 2B
Zoilo Almonte LF
Dean Anna 3B

Chris Leroux RHP

Notes: This will be the first time all spring Jeter has played a day game after a night game at shortstop. He played day-after-night in Panama, but the second game was as a DH ... Mark Teixeira is not on the trip after having played lats night, but said he will play in all three remaining spring games, starting with tomorrow afternoon's trip to Bradenton and one more game against the Pirates ... Jacoby Ellsbury will play in another minor-league game this afternoon at the player development complex across the street, and Girardi said he "believed" Ellsbury would play centerfield. He had six plate appearances as a DH yesterday, going 1-for-4 with two walks but did not run the bases ... Girardi said Soriano had some tightness in his shoulder, but did not seem to think it was anything serious ... Kelly Johnson, who made two errors at third base in the second inning of last night's 6-0 loss to the Phillies, is getting a look at 1B today ... knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is throwing for the Blue Jays. No TV or radio for this one.

Tomorrow's news: In addition to Teixeira, here are the players making the trip to Bradenton tomorrow: Brian McCann, Eduardo Nunez, Ichiro Suzuki, Yangervis Solarte, Russ Canzler, Scott Sizemore and Almonte. CC Sabathia get this final start of the spring and it will be an abbreviated appearance. The game will be televised on YES at 1:05 p.m.

Morning notes: Another look at Pineda

March, 23, 2014
Mar 23
10:34
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- It is nearly two years to the day since a puzzled and hurting Michael Pineda left the mound at George M. Steinbrenner Field, having been smacked around by the Philadelphia Phillies for six runs in less than three innings. Even more alarming, the numbers on the radar gun never topped 91 mph, just months after he completed a rookie season in which his fastball averaged nearly 97 mph, the highest in baseball.

Major shoulder surgery followed, as did a long period of recovery, rehabilitation and to some extent, reinvention. The Yankees stopped viewing Pineda, whom they had acquired from the Seattle Mariners in a trade for Jesus Montero, their No. 1 prospect, as a potential ace. They were just hoping to see him on the mound again someday.

On Sunday, Pineda makes his third start, and fourth appearance, of the spring against the Toronto Blue Jays, in his bid to win the fifth and final spot in the Yankees starting rotation. He is still a step or two behind the others -- while most of the Yankees starters have been stretched out to 85 or 90 pitches, Pineda has yet to throw more than 60. His last outing, 4 1/3 innings, was his longest since before the injury. And the gun still has yet to read 96, although there have been some 93s and even a 94.

By the numbers, the No. 5 starter's job should belong to Pineda. Over nine innings this spring, he has yet to allow a run and surrendered eight hits. But the most eye-popping stat of all is this -- in those nine innings, he has struck out 14 and walked only one. Clearly, the potential for something special is still there.

The Blue Jays are sending a pretty solid lineup to The Boss. Jose Bautista will be here, as will Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie. It will be a solid test for Pineda, who has already come so far but still has a long way to go. He will probably be given a limit of 75 pitches today, and since there is another five days of spring training to go after Monday's off day, it is conceivable he could get one more start before the team breaks camp.

But Joe Girardi has said he hoped to name his fifth starter by the end of the weekend, meaning sometime after today's game. That means today, Michael Pineda has one more shot to show the Yankees that what happned on this field just about two years ago is part of his distant past, and the future they all had expected is still in front of him.

Here is Sunday's Yankees lineup:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki CF

Michael Pineda RHP

For the second time this spring, Beltran is hosting a get-together for the Yankees rookies in the pavilion behind the fields. Beltran flies in his personal chef and pays for the food and entertainment as a way of providing a bonding experience between the veteran Yankees and the farmhands ... Today is a great day for Ichiro to show Joe Girardi what he's got left. His career batting average against Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle is .421 (24-for-57) ... Obviously, Jacoby Ellsbury will not play until Tuesday at the earliest. He is scheduled to go through a full workout today, and Girardi has said it was possible he might use Ellsbury in a minor-league game before returning him to major-league competition in the final days of camp.

Morning notes: Off to the Happy Place

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
10:40
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brian McCann and the Yankees are headed to Disney World today for a game against the Atlanta Braves, and for McCann it will mark his first visit back to the place where he had spent every previous spring training of his professional baseball life.

It will also be the fifth start of the spring for Ivan Nova, who came to camp with the No. 4 starter's job already locked up, but hasn't pitched nearly as well as any of the four pitchers still vying for the No. 5 start. Nova is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA this spring and has allowed 19 hits in 13.1 innings pitched. Opponents have hit .339 against him. On the plus side, he has fanned 16 while walking only two.

Nova will be backed by what is substantially the everyday lineup minus Jacoby Ellsbury, who is still down with a calf injury, and Mark Teixeira, who is getting the day off. Here's the lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Adonis Garcia LF
Jose Gil 1B

Ivan Nova RHP

Running man: Ellsbury, who has maintained all along that his right calf injury was "nothing," this morning said it has gotten "substantially better" each day, which raises the question of how bad it really was in the first place. And not even Ellsbury knows how much the injury has actually healed since he has not run on it since first feeling it Saturday. In any event, Ellsbury said he will do some light jogging today and will shag some flies on the field, but it seems unlikely he will play before the weekend.

Three-man shuffle: Joe Girardi said he is still juggling which three players will assume two infield positions, second and third base, although it is fairly well set that Johnson will be the everyday third baseman and Roberts will play second. The decision on the utility infielder, Girardi said, will be made among Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte, Scott Sizemore and Zelous Wheeler. In reality, only Nunez and Solarte are in contention.

Size-sore: Sizemore, who is attempting to come back from two ACL surgeries on his left knee, is now suffering from a sore right quad. He is on the list to make the trip to Ft. Myers for tomorrow night's game against the Red Sox.

Ryan hopeful: Brendan Ryan, who has been down with lower back soreness, is also on the list for Ft. Myers and Girardi said he will be in the starting lineup tomorrow.

Upcoming probables: David Phelps (0-0, 2.63) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz tomorrow; CC Sabathia (1-1, 2.70) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez and Pittsburgh at home Friday night; Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 1.93) vs. RHP Kevin Correia and the Twins in Ft. Myers Saturday afternoon (Hiroki Kuroda will pitch in a minor-league game in Tampa that afternoon), and Michael Pineda (2-0, 0.00) to face the Rays, pitcher TBA, at The Boss on Sunday.

Morning notes: Ellsbury to miss Sox?

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
10:42
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- Jacoby Ellsbury's tight right calf felt "better" this morning, according to Joe Girardi, but the manager said his new centerfielder would probably not be ready to play by tomorrow when his old team, the Boston Red Sox, come to The Boss for an afternoon game.

"I hear he's going to hit in the cage today, so I would think that's going in the right direction," Girardi said. "We'll see how he feels and go from there."

But when asked if Ellsbury might be ready to play on Tuesday, Girardi said, "My guess would be no."

Ellsbury, who is not the chattiest sort of fellow, went through the clubhouse this morning without stopping to talk to reporters.

There might be a game today: Here's the lineup for today's game against the Pirates in Bradenton, although the weather forecast is dire this afternoon, with severe thunderstorms expected to sweep across Florida this afternoon.

Eduardo Nunez 3B
Brian Roberts 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Zoilo Almonte LF
Austin Romine DH
Yangervis Solarte SS
Adonis Garcia RF
Antoan Richardson CF

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

Need a Hiro: Kuroda is coming off a hideous outing against the Tigers last Wednesday, when he was touched up for 10 hits and 6 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. Girardi said he would not be watching Kuroda any more closely today because of it. "I’ve said all along for veterans I don’t make too much of their starts here," he said. "At times they’re working on things, trying to get ready, I’m more worried about April than I am about March with the veteran guys."

Next for Tanaka?: Who knows? Not Girardi, who said he was leaning toward throwing the young right-hander against another big-league team in his next start, which would probably mean putting him on a bus for the three-hour trip to Fort Myers for Saturday's game against the Twins. But he did not rule out the possibility of having Tanaka work on stretching out his pitch count under the controlled environment of a simulated or minor-league game here in Tampa.

Healing: Girardi was excited by the news that Brendan Ryan, sidelined for the past week by lower back soreness, would hit on the field today. He also said Russ Canzler (hip stiffness) was improving. Everybody else is healthy.

Late night: Girardi said the team arrived back from Panama at 12:30 a.m. A bunch of veterans -- Derek Jeter, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Brett Gardner -- were given the day off and were not in the clubhouse this morning.

Morning notes: Ellsbury scratched

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16
11:13
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees say it's just a precautionary measure, but whenever a player with the injury history of a Jacoby Ellsbury gets so much as a hangnail, it makes you wonder.

Ellsbury was scratched from the lineup this morning with what the Yankees described as "tightness' in his right calf. Acting manager Rob Thomson says it's nothing serious and that Ellsbury would have played if this was a regular season game. But Ellsbury did leave the field without hitting yesterday, although both Thomson and coach Lee Mazzilli say he chose to hit in the indoor cage against a pitching machine instead.

Thomson said Ellsbury would be held out today and tomorrow -- he had been scheduled to make the trip to Bradenton -- but that he did not expect Ellsbury to be out long. We'll see.

In the meantime, here's the revised Yankees lineup for today's game against the Braves:

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Kelly Johnson 3B
Ramon Flores LF
Pete O'Brien DH
Mason Williams CF
Ali Castillo 2B

Masahiro Tanaka RHP

Good long look: Tanaka is scheduled to go five innings and/or throw 75 pitches, so he should get through the lineup at least twice. And the Braves will provide a fair test; Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla and both Upton brothers are in their starting lineup. RHP Julio Teheran is starting for Atlanta. Tanaka last pitched to opposing hitters on March 6, when he started and worked three innings against the Phillies in Clearwater, allowing two hits and one run on a HR by Freddie Galvis. In between, he threw a simultaed game against two minor leaguers here on March 11.

On the mend: Brendan Ryan, who has been troubled by a sore lower back, has progressed from swinging a broomstick to hitting off a tee to today hitting in the cage and taking some grounders on the field. Thomson said Ryan should have a normal spring training workday on Monday and is "very close'' to returning to action ... Russ Canzler, troubled by a stiff left hip after running into a railing while chasing a foul ball on Thursday, is said to be feeling better but is still taking treatment and will not participate in any on-field activities yet.

Morning notes: The New York No-Names

March, 15, 2014
Mar 15
10:13
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- If you think yesterday's Yankees lineup was thin, get a load of the squad for today's game against the Orioles in Sarasota, first pitch at 1:05 p.m.:

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Austin Romine C
Ramon Flores LF
Mason Williams CF
Kyle Roller DH
Carmen Angelini SS
Francisco Arcia 1B

Vidal Nuno LHP

Nuno, who needs a good outing to at least stay in the conversation for the No. 5 spot, will work four innings and approximately 60 pitches. ... Eduardo Nunez, who was involved in a collision at second base with the Twins' Chris Colabello yesterday, said he is fine, but as planned, will not make the trip. He will stay back and take batting practice with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira. ... Roberts fouled a ball off the inside of his left knee yesterday but is well enough to be in the lineup today. ... Russ Canzler, a late scratch yesterday with stiffness in his left hip, an aftereffect of a collision with a railing while chasing a foul ball on Thursday, said he was much improved today. ... Cellphone reception at the Panama Canal apparently leaves something to be desired. Acting manager Rob Thomson said he tried to call Joe Girardi after yesterday's game but couldn't get through while Girardi and the team were visiting the canal. Later the two spoke about yesterday's 7-3 loss to the Twins. "I just ran down the pitchers and what the guys did, some of the things that I saw, some of the things that I talked about yesterday as far as the base runners and moving runners and Nunez making the slow roller and then the play in the hole where he really showed his arm off; some of the good things that happened,” Thomson said. "I had to tell him the bad things, too.." ... Masahiro Tanaka is slated to throw 75 pitches tomorrow when he makes his second start of the spring against the Atlanta Braves at The Boss. I'll have a full story about Tanaka, and when I think he'll be making his first regular-season start based on conversations with him and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, after the one-hour drive to Sarasota.

Morning notes: Who are these people?

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
11:03
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- With most of the "name" Yankees off in Panama, lots of new faces in the clubhouse this morning. A dozen farmhands were shipped across the street from the minor-league complex to fill out the roster for the next four games, beginning with this afternoon's game against the Minnesota Twins at The Boss.

Here is the lineup interim manager Rob Thomson is sending out today:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brian Roberts 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Eduardo Nunez SS
Russ Canzler 3B
Ramon Flores LF
Pete O'Brien DH
Mason Williams RF

David Phelps RHP

New Faces: Here are the guys whose names you might hear for the first time this weekend: C Wes Wilson; INF Rob Refsnyder; INF Carmen Angelini; INF Rob Segedin; INF Ali Castillo; OF Ben Gamel; OF Taylor Dugas; OF Jake Cave; LHP James Pazos; LHP Aaron Dott, and RHP Branden Pinder.

Tex goes back-to-back: Teixeira will play back-to-back games at first base for the first time this spring. Tex went hitless in two at-bats in yesterday's 6-2 loss to the Phillies in Clearwater, and has one hit, a double, in 10 at-bats while coming back off wrist surgery that limited him to just 15 games in 2013.

Trying harder: Phelps, who is probably running second to Michael Pineda in the competition for the No. 5 starter's job, is making his fourth start of the spring today. Phelps will probably go five innings or about 60 pitches.

Big chair to fill: I look forward to third-base coach Thomson's postgame interview session just to see how comfortable he looks sitting in Joe Girardi's chair. Thomson did get to manage the Yankees in three regular-season games in 2008 when Girardi was ill with a respiratory infection.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have a pair of split-squad games today, one here against the Baltimore Orioles and the other in Clearwater against the Phillies, after which the team will reconvene at The Boss and The Chosen Ones will board a 6 p.m. team charter to Panama for the two-game "Legends Series" against the Miami Marlins.

Here are today's lineups:

HOME GAME vs. BALTIMORE

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano LF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Dean Anna 2B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Russ Canzler 1B

Michael Pineda RHP

AWAY GAME vs. PHILADELPHIA

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Francisco Cervelli C
Yangervis Solarte SS
Scott Sizemore 2B
Ramon Flores LF
Austin Romine DH

Ivan Nova RHP

Catcher switch: Joe Girardi decided to swap out McCann for Cervelli on the Panama trip, which might be an indication the Yankees are preparing to move Cervelli, who has been hot this spring, in a trade. Cervelli will now go to Panama, and McCann will stay behind in Tampa, Girardi said, to continue working with the Yankees' starting staff. But since Cervelli had exclusively caught Masahiro Tanaka to this point, it might mean Girardi wants to get McCann and Tanaka together because Cervelli won't be around much longer. Or, it may not. We'll see ...

Big day for Pineda: Girardi said he wants to get a close look at Pineda against the Orioles today, because after a strong outing last Friday against the Tigers, the 25-year-old righty may be in the lead for the No. 5 starter's job. Pineda will work three innings or 45 pitches today and Girardi said he expects he will make the customary six starts this spring despite coming off serious shoulder surgery two years ago. The manager did say, however, that the Yankees know they can't expect to get 30 starts or 200 innings out of Pineda this season and will have to manage him carefully, although he did not know if the Yankees would cap his innings or give him breaks during the season. "It's been talked about," he said. "We'll deal with that issue when we get there."

Tanaka adjusting: Tanaka threw his between-starts bullpen this morning but once again mentioned the lighter workload here in the States compared to Japan. “Gradually I think I’m getting used to it, but it’s actually hard to say because at this point, the number of pitches that I’m throwing is very limited," he said. "I think I’ll get a better idea once I throw in games with a lot more pitches and then see how I feel with the adjustment of the five days.”

Tanaka will pitch here Sunday against the Braves but then not again until the following Saturday against the Twins in Fort Myers. Still, Girardi said once the regular season starts, Tanaka will be on a customary five-day rotation.

Cashman goes crackers: Yankees GM Brian Cashman came into the clubhouse this morning with a package of cracker balls, which he proceeded to fire at the concrete floor, setting off a series of mini-explosions. Well, it has been a relatively quiet spring so far. Then he disappeared into Girardi's office for a closed-door meeting, so that could change.

Twelve's a crowd: The Yankees have had to import a phalanx of players from the minor-league complex to take the place of the Panamanian contingent for the weekend. Consequently, two lockers that had been empty in their clubhouse are now jammed with 12 players, whose names are listed on a piece of paper. It's worse than a college dorm room.

Morning Notes: Masahiro Tanaka's debut

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
11:17
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The cream of the Yankees starting rotation -- CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and last but surely not least, Masahiro Tanaka -- threw simulated games, one after another, on a back field at The Boss starting at around 8:30 a.m.

All three went two innings, each threw 35 pitches, all of them faced the same trio of hitters: Scott Sizemore, Dean Anna and the fabulously named Zelous Wheeler.

Only one, of course, attracted much of a crowd: Tanaka, who as the closing act drew about 100 spectators, most of them Japanese media types but also a smattering of fans who came out to the park early on a day in which there will be no further activity on the field.

Tanaka was impressive once again -- Francisco Cervelli, who caught him for the second time this spring, called him "great" -- although both Anna (line single to center) and Wheeler (line drive to the warning track in left-center) were able to make some solid contact. Tanaka also made Wheeler look absolutely sick on one splitter that dropped off the shelf on him.

I'll have quotes from everyone involved in a little while -- all three hitters were very complimentary toward Tanaka, although Sizemore stopped short of saying he had never seen anything like Tanaka's split, as Austin Romine did the other day -- and explore a question that has been nagging at me, namely: Why are the Yankees protecting Tanaka so much and who's idea is it anyway?

Because for the third straight time, the Yankees enforced different media access rules when Tanaka pitches than they do for anyone else. The first time out, they drew a line in the samd and forced everyone to stand behind it. The second time, they limited a view of his bullpen session to what could be glimpsed through a crack in the fence. This morning, they barred the media from standing along the foul line on the field, an area that has always been accessible and no doubt will be again when anyone else is pitching.

The question is not so much about inconveniencing the media, but why someone in the Yankees organization thnks it is necessary to treat Tanaka differently from everyone else. I'll get some reaction from Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild (who is said to have been behind today's new rules) and maybe Brian Cashman to find out what's what.

Play date: No more workouts today because representatives from the MLBPA, including new executive director Tony Clark, are here to have their annual meeting with the players, followed by Joe Girardi's annual Team Bonding Experience. The Yankees are generally secretive about this, too, but the whisper is it's a trip to a local pool hall. Good thing Mariano Rivera is retired. Last time they did this, he fleeced them all in 8-ball.

Play ball: Tuesday is the first exhibition game of the preseason, here at The Boss at 1:05 p.m. against the Florida State Seminoles, who will be bringing along the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, who is an outfielder-slash-relief pitcher-slash-closer. Vidal Nuno will start, and no, Derek Jeter will not be playing. But maybe, just maybe, Girardi will tell us who is playing when he we meet with him this morning.

Glad to have him: Cervelli on the Yankees acquisition of Jacoby Ellsbury: "When we got him I was the happiest guy here, because now he can't run against me anymore."

Morning notes: BPs and more BPs

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
10:27
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The entire Yankees starting rotation was on display this morning, but only one pitcher drew a "Woooo!" from a hitter, and I'll give you a second or two to guess which one.

That's right, Masahiro Tanaka, the $155 million No. 3 starter, was as good as advertised to Austin Romine, who had the misfortune to hit against him rather than catch him. I'll have a news story with the rest of Romine's interesting -- and revealing -- reactions up shortly.

CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda also threw to hitters this morning, and I'll have a blog on CC's reaction to his outing, and why he's pretty sure he'll have a good 2014 season, a little later on.

Otherwise, it will be a normal spring training workout day beginning about 11 a.m. Derek Jeter and the rest of the regulars will take batting practice against regular (i.e., soft-tossing) BP pitchers on the main field beginning around 11:50. It also looks as if some rain might fall on the Yankees for the first time this spring; the skies are overcast and thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next couple of days.

Break out the razors: Tomorrow is team photo day, and players were instructed to arrive by 7 a.m. in a clean, white home uniform. Pitchers were told to bring a glove, hitters to bring a bat. And of course, there was this notation, all in caps, on the notice: PLEASE BE CLEAN-SHAVEN.

Of course.

Morning notes: Jeter still No. 1

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
10:20
AM ET
Jeter
Jeter
TAMPA, Fla. -- For now at least, all seems right in the Yankee Universe. All the position players are in camp, today is the first full-squad workout, as as he has been for what seems like forever, Derek Jeter will be the first regular to step into the cage for the first BP session of the spring.

That is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. on the main field at The Boss, so if you're in the area, stop by. If not, check in with us at ESPNNewYork.com for all the late-breaking batting practice updates.

The day after his "media availability," Jeter seemed to be in a pretty good mood. He said he "enjoyed" his 30-minute session with the media, remarking that it was "relatively painless." Then he spent about 10 minutes bantering about college basketball with a small group of beat writers. (Jeter's a huge Michigan fan).

"Say what you want," Jeter said to the group as he walked off to begin his workout. "But you guys are going to miss me when I'm gone."

Well, yeah.

BP groups: For those of you who keep track of such things, here are the batting practice groupings for today: Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts and Austin Romine are in the first group on Field 1, followed by Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. Meanwhile, on Field 2, it will be Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Scott Sizemore, followed by Zoilo Almonte, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano and Francisco Arcia.

One Sizemore fits all: Former Tigers and Athletics infielder Scott Sizemore, coming off two surgeries for a torn ACL in his left knee, was signed as a possible backup at two positions, second and third. Joe Girardi has mentioned Sizemore as part of a potential third base platoon, but he also may be needed to spell Brian Roberts, who is 36 and has a history of injuries, at second. Sizemore had the second of his two surgeries in April and admits he is still in "the tail end of my rehab mode."

Still, the Yankees saw fit to issue him a lightning rod of a number: 24.

"At first I thought, oh, wow, they gave me a really good number," Sizemore said. "Then I started thinking, 'Oh, wait a minute, that's Robbie Cano's number. Those are some serious shoes to fill."

Welcome back, Willow: Former Yankees second baseman, and Mets manager, Willie Randolph is in camp for the first time as a guest instructor.

Morning notes: Tanaka-mania, Part II

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
11:01
AM ET


TAMPA, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka's second bullpen session for the Yankees was a lot different from his first. Instead of being relegated to the remote canopy on the back field, Tanaka -- alongside CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda -- threw 35 pitches in the easily accessible bullpen just off the main field at George M. Steinbrenner Field. There were no lines drawn in the sand; both media and public were permitted to gawk at Tanaka from behind the fence or from a walkway that overlooks the pen and affords a terrific vantage point for amateur and professional photogs.

Tanaka threw to John Ryan (don't call him J.R.) Murphy, and afterward he, Murphy, Joe Girardi and an interpreter gathered on the mound for a chit chat. Tanaka will likely be available when the clubhouse reopens Tuesday afternoon to give us his impression of the workout, but he seemed to be throwing smooth and easy, and most importantly, hard.

More later.

Jeet Week begins: Wednesday is the big day, when Derek Jeter addresses what is sure to be a packed media pavilion on the subject of his impending retirement and his final season in pinstripes. The news conference will be carried live on the YES Network beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Nova goes live: Ivan Nova threw a live batting practice session Tuesday morning to some of the nonroster catchers at the same time Tanaka was throwing his bullpen, so don't ask me how he did. I would assume OK.

No way, Jorge: The other day I tweeted a photo of bullpen catcher Roman Rodriguez wearing equipment with the No. 20 on it, and rather tongue-in-cheekily wrote that the Yankees had given away Jorge Posada's shin guards. That turns out not to be the case. What Rodriguez was wearing were pads designed to be worn over the calves to make squatting more comfortable. They were made specifically for Posada, but he never wore them because he found he didn't need them. So technically, they are not and never were equipment belonging to Posada. Rodriguez, incidentally, caught Michael Pineda's bullpen session on Monday and reports the 6-foot-7 righty threw all his pitches, including breaking balls, threw hard and seems healthy.

Ryan's Hope: Brendan Ryan is the latest regular to check in early -- the rest are due to report for physicals tomorrow morning -- and spoke at length in the clubhouse about the burden of (possibly) replacing Jeter at shortstop. Andrew Marchand will have the details later on.

Cervelli dropping: In the Yankees' spring Catcher's Drop Counter, that is. Virtually overnight, Cervelli fell from a seven-way tie for first place all the way to last, having dropped three of 95 pitches thrown to him so far. Brian McCann, formerly last, vaulted into a second-place tie with Gary Sanchez, who has dropped two. Austin Romine, John Ryan Murphy, Jose Gil, Peter O'Brien and Francisco Arcia remain the leaders, having yet to drop a pitch. We'll keep you posted.

Don't say that! Tuesday is media training day for the pitchers, a day on which they are shown a video that teaches them skillful ways of avoiding answering tough questions or saying anything that can be used in a headline.

Morning notes: Jeter in? Boesch out

March, 23, 2013
3/23/13
10:39
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees are headed to Lakeland today to play the Tigers at 1:05 p.m. with Andy Pettitte making the start, but Derek Jeter and Brennan Boesch will be remaining back here. Here's what Joe Girardi had to say:

JETER IN THE BOX: Jeter will hit on the field at The Boss and take ground balls, and if all goes well, could be sent across the street to the minor-league complex to take some DH at-bats in a minor-league game. As Travis Hafner did yesterday, Jeter would be free to hit as many times as he likes -- Hafner came to the plate seven times -- but there is still no plan to put him in the field again yet. "Let's just get through these DH at-bats first," Girardi said.

BOESCH ON THE SHELF: Although Girardi said he's "OK," Brennan Boesch, who felt some soreness in the left side of his rib cage after the 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Ft. Myers yesterday, will not play today or tomorrow and with Monday's off day, will not see any action until Tuesday at the earliest. In fact, Girardi said the Yankees might hold Boesch out until Wednesday, which is the day before they break camp.

WHO'S ON FIRST?: No answer yet, and I-don't-know's on third. Girardi said he still has not settled on Juan Rivera as his everyday first baseman until Mark Teixeira comes back, leaving open several possibilities -- that he will move Kevin Youkilis over there and use cult favorite Ronnier (Musty) Mustelier at third, or that Dan Johnson, who has had a poor spring, might make the team after all, or that a trade is in the works. On the other hand, Girardi said the catching situation is a little clearer in his mind, although he refused to say in what way. You can assume both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are making the team and will split the catching duties roughly 60-40. Who gets the 60 and who gets the 40 only Girardi knows right now.

Notes: Rapada to DL, Jeter to minors

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
10:00
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees are on the road to Ft. Myers today, but a couple of them are headed elsewhere. Clay Rapada, who has been shut down with bursitis in his shoulder and only just started throwing again, is almost certainly headed to the disabled list. Phil Hughes probably is, too, backdated 10 days because he needs more work and the Yankees won't need him until April 6. That's the first day he would be eligible for reactivation.

And Travis Hafner, who has won the lefthanded DH job despite his .129 spring batting average, is headed over to the minor league complex to take as many at-bats as he wants in the Class A game today at 1:05 p.m.

Also: Derek Jeter will hit on the field at The Boss at 10:25 this morning, then take some infield practice to test out his sore ankle. If all goes well, he could play in a minor league game this weekend. A trip the DL to start the season is still not out of the question.

-- Phil Hughes will throw 45-50 pitches in a minor league game today. He, too, could start the season on the DL, backdated like Jeter to be eligible to play on April 6, the first time the Yankees will need a fifth starter. At the same time, Hiroki Kuroda will pitch in another minor league game, both at the same complex across the street from The Boss.

-- Joe Girardi said with the Jeter injury, there could be room for both Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix on his Opening Day roster. And for the first time, he acknowledged that Vidal Nuno, who has had an outstanding spring, might be considered for a role on the pitching staff, although he did not say what that role would be.

-- Robbie Cano went to Ft. Myers for the game against the Twins today, but he gets the day off tomorrow when the Yankees travel to Lakeland to play the Tigers. Hafner, Nix, Nunez, Brett Gardner, Kevin Youkilis, Brennan Boesch and Dan Johnson will make the trip, however. Andy Pettitte will make the start.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .291
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 58
OPSJ. Ellsbury .777
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135