Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New York Yankees notes as they head down to the final couple of weeks of spring

The New York Yankees open the season two weeks from yesterday in Houston.  They have had a

pretty good spring so far.  The biggest thing is that they have been relatively healthy, a far cry from

all the injuries they were already dealing with last year at this time.  Derek Jeter was not making

good progress last year, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira were already hurt.  Jeter is now

looking good and his injury has become an afterthought.  I think you can pretty much say the same

for Teixeira who has been feeling great as well.  They both look to be ready for Opening Day and I

wouldn't expect anything less. 

The Yankees still have some decisions to make such as the fifth starter and who will be in bullpen.  They also need to decide on their bench but pretty much the regular lineup is set.  They will have Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Jeter and Kelly Johnson in the infield.  The outfield will be Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran with Alfonso Soriano being the DH and also rotating in the outfield.  They still also have Ichiro Suzuki who has to adjust to being a role player.  I would say the offense is much better then last year and the pitching has been really good so far. 

Jacoby Ellsbury has been out a few days with a minor calf issue.  He went through a fairly normal workout yesterday according to Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog and Journal news.  No one is sure yet of when he will get into a game again though.  The early plan to have Alfonso Soriano play some first probably isn't going to happen anymore.  Girardi said he has taken some ground balls over there but they aren't going to get him into a game there.  He will be the primary DH and mix in to left and right field.  Kelly Johnson will be the backup first baseman and you also have Eduardo Nunez and maybe a guy like Yangervis Solarte to play third if he makes the team.  It looks like they are going to move some guys around the infield between first, second and third.  SS will be Jeter and Brendan Ryan as the backup. 

Vidal Nuno will pitch in relief of David Phelps on Thursday and Adam Warren in relief of CC Sabathia on Friday.  I think we can assume those guys are out of the running for the fifth starter spot.  It looks to be down to Phelps and Pineda.  Nuno and Warren may still make the team out of the bullpen but I would bet one will be in AAA stretched out as an emergency starter. 

Preston Claiborne was on the originally scheduled travel squad for Wednesday.  He will stay behind in Tampa and pitch two innings in a minor league game instead.  Ryan is still scheduled to play tomorrow.  Scott Sizemore looks like a longshot to make the team at this point as he just  hasn't played enough.  He was coming back from injuries and then had an aggravating injury the last couple of weeks. 

Everyone was raving about Pineda yesterday after another strong start.  I would be on him being the fifth starter and why not.  They thought they were getting a top of the rotation guy when they traded for him.  He can be a fifth starter that isn't really a fifth starter and that would be great for them.  Ivan Nova is another guy that was being discussed heavily leading into his start on Wednesday afternoon.  Girardi said he has overall liked what he has seen from him and he really has seemed to grow up.  He thinks the difference now is that he knows what he is capable of and isn't as worried that he can't succeed anymore.   

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