Saturday, February 25, 2012

New York Yankees Notes and Arod Speaks

Here are some notes from the Yankees first official full squad workout today.  Chad Jennings and the NY Post have some of the notes, thanks as always.  I also have my own observations mixed in.  I hope you enjoy the spring training coverage and soon the games will be beginning. 

Joe Girardi addressed the team this morning. His message included a Yankees video full of highlights, including footage of the 2009 World Series championship.

“I talked to them about why we’re here, our goals and the importance of keeping your goals in mind when you’re going through your work,” Girardi said. “Spring training, as we know, can get long at times. We ask you to do things, make adjustments sometimes that you’ve never been asked to do. We talk about the importance of communicating between us, what you’re feeling, what you need, maybe something you don’t like. The importance of that.

“The real message is keeping in mind what we’re setting out to do and don’t lose sight of that when you’re doing your work every day. That’s why we do the work.”

Asked whether “what we’re setting out to do” meant playing well or winning a championship, Girardi didn’t hesitate.

“Championship,” he said.  I don't think this is much of a suprise.  This is the Yankees way and Girardi is a no nonsense type of guy.  The Yankees should have high hopes, they are a great team.  They lost in the first round last year but that doesn't mean they couldn't have won.  They just needed to execute a little better. They really needed one hit or even a couple of sac flys in game five and they would of been in the ALCS for the third straight year and who knows what would of happened from there. 

 Six pitchers faced hitters this morning, but Ivan Nova was the only projected big leaguer among them. “We just felt he was ready for it,” Girardi said. “Larry (Rothschild) is trying to give them individual attention.” Basically, the Yankees aren’t forcing every pitcher to stay on the same schedule. Some guys are throwing 25 pitches in their bullpens, some are up to 40.

Girardi said he still doesn’t have a rotation for the first few exhibition games, but it’s no coincidence that guys like David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos faced hitters today. “At some point I think you’ll see those guys in games earlier than maybe our projected starters,” Girardi said “You’re not going to see CC on the 3rd. I’m not sure what CC’s first day is. You’ll see some of those young kids.”

 Mark Teixiera has lost a little bit of weight, but he still looks as powerful as ever. “He’s strong as can be again,” Girardi said. “Tex has always been that, and he’s extremely well conditioned. He watches his diet. He’s a very health-conscious guy and I think it’s just what he thought would be best for him.”  I saw that he did that and also read in the NY Post that he changed his stance slightly when he is hitting left handed.  He said he is trying to move away from pulling the ball so much.  He also mentioned in the off-season about bunting more.  I don't think he will really bunt but the point is he is trying to find a way to get that batting average up and get away from the shift. 

 Raul Ibanez is the only new position player expected to make the big league roster. “Looks good,” Girardi said. “I didn’t see him a whole lot today. I was over with the pitchers today, but he looks healthy, he looks strong, he looks like he’s moving fine.”
 Although his name was listed for batting practice, Austin Romine did not participate. And it might be a few more days before he finally does. “Backs are tricky so I can’t tell you how long Romine is going to be out,” Girardi said. “You won’t see him out there tomorrow, I can tell you that. He could be a little while.”

Phil Hughes is still throwing more bullpen pitches than most guys, but his total has remained at 40. That’s pretty much the maximum that Larry Rothschild wants his pitchers to throw in the bullpen. With only a day between, Rothschild doesn’t want much more. Hughes said he occasionally will go up to 45 pitches in a bullpen session during the season, but it’s usually cutoff around 40.  I think this is important because it means Hughes got an early start on his work and getting back to what he was two years ago.  It is no secret that the Yankees would like him to be in the rotation.  He is just 25 years old and the Yankees would like to have a rotation of CC, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, at least one of them for years to come. 

Alex Rodriguez also had his press conferenced today.  I don't think anything real earth shattering came out of it.  He did say he was real excited about the Michael Pineda trade.  He also said he will be playing more then 99 games this year.  He said he feels he can keep playing at a high level and doesn't feel he is coming close to the end.  He said he understands more now that less is more and whatever Girardi wants to do is fine with him.  He said though he is a third baseman and that is how he trains in the offseason.  He thinks he can help the team in the field as well as hitting wise.  I think he will have a good year and be more healthy.  The healthy is the big thing and it is hard to predict, especially since he is getting older.  The Yankees biggest mark against them is the age.  Jeter and Arod mainly.  Teixeira, Martin, Granderson, Cano, Gardner, Swisher are all pretty young.  The Yankees need a big year from Arod.  I would venture to say if he was healthy they would of beat Detroit last year in the playoffs. 

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