- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Last day of workouts before the games begin and Joe Girardi seems happy about that. As he said today, "I've seen enough bullpens." Tomorrow, he gets to see the real thing. Here's the highlights of his post-workout session:
MO LOOKS "NORMAL": And that's good enough for Joe, who stood behind Mariano Rivera during his 20-pitch live BP session and came away impressed. He also got a kick out of Mo saying to Rob Segedin, the first hitter he faced, "You better swing because all you're going to see are strikes," after the kid let the first two pitches go by. And he cracked up when told that after Segedin lined the next pitch into center, Andy Pettitte cracked from the bench, "That'll shut him up." Joe thought Pettitte, who preceded Mo on the mound, looked good, too.
DON'T COUNT OUT JORGE: He was at least half-kidding, but Girardi refused to rule out the possibility that Jorge Posada, in camp for a few days as a guest instructor, could be seduced by the spring training atmosphere and decide to end his retirement. "I know there was a lefthanded pitcher that said he wasn’t coming back, either," Girardi said, referring to Pettitte. "He came to camp, sat in on a few meetings and all of a sudden he was back a couple weeks later. Any time we have a guy that is doing what Jorge is doing, people are going to speculate. And I think it’s fair to do that."
HUGHES IMPROVES: Phil Hughes said his back felt "significantly better" after three days of anti-inflammatories for a bulging disk, but Joe tempered his enthusiasm somewhat. "It’s still too early. I think you have to see him get on the mound to feel that you’re through it and that it’s not going to be an issue that pops up all the time. But that’s a good sign," he said.
COOL ON AARDSMA: Joe was curiously restrained in his praise of David Aardsma, who is trying to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. when asked how Aardsma looked in his live BP, which preceded Pettitte's, Girardi said "Pretty good," with emphasis on the word "pretty. And when he was asked if Aardsma, a former closer with the Seattle Mariners, was reasonably assured of a bullpen spot, the manager said, "I think we have some pretty good competition here for some spots. I like to say all our guys have to earn their spots. That’s the way I look at it. He’s a guy that has closer experience and a lot of experience. You would expect that to pay off." We'll see.