Thursday, April 5, 2012

Final Spring Training Notes

Here are the final spring training notes.  Camps have broken and teams have headed north or in the case of the Yankees stayed put but only for a few more days.  The regular season is upon us.  Chad Jennings has the notes from Wednesday the final day of spring training. 

Andy Pettitte’s name hadn’t been announced. He hadn’t set foot on the mound, hadn’t picked up the baseball, hadn’t thrown a single warmup pitch. All it took was the sight of the Texas lefty jogging out of the dugout to generate a standing ovation. Pettitte threw a scoreless sixth inning in his first game action since the 2010 postseason.

“Definitely it felt a little weird, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “But once I got out there it was just like I never left. On the day you pitch, you know something is different about your body. That’s how I felt today. It was kind of that normal feeling that I’d normally feel.”

Pettitte allowed a leadoff single — a chopper that got through the right side of the infield — but Russell Martin threw out the base runner trying to steal second. The next two batters didn’t get the ball out of the infield.

“He looked great,” Martin said. “He was executing his pitches well. It was a short sample, but his cutter was good, he was locating his fastball well and he threw a couple of curveballs for strikes. Everything looked good today. … You can’t tell at all (that he’s been away). It’s just going to be about building his stamina up. That’s the only thing.”

Pettitte said he expects to stay in Tampa, pitching either in extended spring training or with the Yankees High-A team. He’s still focused on May 1 as a possible return date. Sometime around then, anyway. In a normal spring training, Pettitte would build on this one-inning outing by adding another inning start by start.

“I would hope it’s that simple,” Pettitte said. “I would plan on it being that simple.”

Pettitte said he hadn’t talked to the Yankees about a definitive plan going forward, but he’d like to face Double-A or Triple-A hitters at least once before getting back on a big league mound. So far, the Yankees seem impressed by his ability to locate and throw his secondary pitches.

“There’s nothing I really feel like I need to work on,” Pettitte said. “I didn’t even throw a changeup today. It was a quick inning, so I didn’t get a chance to throw any changeups. That’s been feeling good. All that stuff is the stuff I’m looking forward to working on as I get ready to do this: Working out of the stretch, working with runners on base and just getting used to doing all that again. Everything is proceeding very smoothly right now.”

In his final spring start, Freddy Garcia delivered more of the same. He made a mistake on a three-run home run by Ike Davis, but otherwise, Garcia was sharp. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and two walks. He struck out four. The home run accounted for the only runs he allowed. Garcia ended spring training with a 3.71 ERA and will be the No. 5 starter. “Couple innings I was up a little bit, but I feel fine,” Garcia said. “I’m ready to go next week.”

 Boone Logan said he can’t explain why his back got tight last night. He went through a “very easy” off day, but when he came home from dinner, he took a couple of steps into his apartment and felt his lower back “grab.” He thought it would go away in the middle of the night, but it didn’t. “I wish I had a story,” he said.

Girardi on whether he’ll have Logan on Opening Day: “I don’t know. I think that’s questionable. I’m not saying he would be a DL piece, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to pitch by Friday.”

 Logan went for an MRI that showed no problems. He expects to be ready to go by Friday’s opener. “I know my body and I think in a day or two it’ll be fine,” Logan said.

Pettitte was sitting around 86 mph with his fastball today. He said he never looked at a gun or checked on his velocity. “I don’t need to look at it,” he said. “Everything was good. They fouled off some pitches when I threw my four-seams away. They beat it into the ground to the right side. They weren’t pulling it. As long as you’re throwing your offspeed stuff they’ve got to respect that. It doesn’t matter how hard you’re throwing as long as it’s in a decent spot.”

Obviously today’s move for additional catching depth — after the Yankees had already acquired Craig Tatum — led to questions about whether Austin Romine suffered another setback. Cashman said there was no additional setback and no additional tests. Romine’s had an epidural, that’s all. Otherwise there’s no new news about his back.

 In what could be a move to fill David Phelps’ spot in the Triple-A rotation, the Yankees have signed Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal.

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