Open Thread: 3/28 Camp Notes

Austin Romine suffered setback of back injury
Kei Igawa headed back to Japan

The Yankees and Braves played to a 5-5 tie today. Hiroki Kuroda was fantastic yet again, allowing two runs in seven super-efficient innings. George Kontos surrendered the game-tying, two-run homer to Jason Heyward in the bottom of the ninth, the only runs he allowed in his two innings of work.

Eduardo Nunez (two hits) and Eric Chavez (three hits) drove the offense (one double each). Jayson Nix had a pair of hits off the bench. Raul Ibanez went for 1-for-3 with a bloop single but it should have been 2-for-3 with a bloop single and a homer. Heyward climbed the wall in right and took the dinger away from him (video). Poor Raul can’t catch a break. Here’s the box score and here’s the latest from Tampa…

  • Nick Swisher (groin) got ten at-bats against Manny Banuelos and Brett Marshall in minor league camp today. They went single to center, ground out, swinging strikeout, ground out, fly out to right, single to right, double down the left field line, walk, homer, walk. Swisher reported no soreness or pain afterwards. Give Conor Foley a follow on Twitter, he provided the play-by-play.
  • Ivan Nova will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow to keep the Orioles from seeing him. D.J. Mitchell will start in his place with David Phelps picking up the slack out of the bullpen. Freddy Garcia is likely to pitch in a minor league game on Friday. [Chad Jennings]
  • We known CC Sabathia and Kuroda will start the first two games of the season, but Girardi said today that the rest of the rotation will be decided within “three or four days.” I’m putting my money on Nova, Michael Pineda, and Phil Hughes following Sabathia and Kuroda, in that order. [Erik Boland]
  • In case you were sleeping like a normal person and missed it this morning, the 2012 MLB season officially started in Japan. The Mariners beat the Athletics 3-1 in ten innings (box score). Jesus Montero went 0-for-4 with three ground outs and a fly out, so clearly the Yankees have won the trade.

Here is your open thread for the evening. The Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are all playing tonight, but talk about whatever you like here. Go nuts.

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Austin Romine suffered setback of back injury
Kei Igawa headed back to Japan
  • Rey22

    Pffft, that Montero is such a bust. Cashman teh genius.

  • Mattchu12

    Whatever happened with Nunez learning the outfield? Is he capable at this point? He’d be great as a super-sub player. Almost makes me wonder if we should send him down to Triple-A to hone those skills while riding out Ramiro Pena’s hot streak.

    With a healthy Chavez to play 3B, it’s not like he would see much time since Robbie and Jeter aren’t going to sit very often. Just a thought as we wait for Opening Day.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      He started in RF the other day. I think the hand injury really threw his schedule off, he was probably slated for a lot more outfield time.

    • RetroRob

      I’m quite confident that Nunez will be seeing more time than we’ll want.

  • Guest

    Quick question: Is there a specific reason why the Yanks claimed to have a competition for the last three spots in the rotation? I think it’s pretty clear what they are planning on doing. Why would say there’s a competition?

    OK, ok, its a motivational tool. And I think I would be fine with it EXCEPT they gave a specific directive to two pitchers (Hughes and Pineda) to refine their change-ups.

    It seems unfair to say there is a competition, which implies that the pitchers need to worry about their results, and also require pitchers to work on secondary pitches to the potential detriment of results.

    But, in the end, I imagine this will be a tale of sound and fury told by an idiot (ESPN NY), signifying nothing. Nova, Pineda, and Hughes will all be in the rotation, Freddy will be the long man unless the Yanks can get something of value in return for trading him, and all of this will be forgotten once the season gets under way.

    That is…until Andy proves ready to be dandy. Then we will have an actual real situation (provided everyone remains healthy and pitches well).

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      OK, ok, its a motivational tool. And I think I would be fine with it EXCEPT they gave a specific directive to two pitchers (Hughes and Pineda) to refine their change-ups.

      I disagree with that line of thinking only because they would have told Freddy Garcia to work on something if he had something to work on. What can they do, tell him to focus on throwing harder?

      • DM

        Actually Garcia is throwing harder thus far — ironically that might make him less effective, but I’m sure he’ll adjust.

      • Tom Zig

        That’s like telling Jamie Moyer to focus on not getting older.

      • Guest

        I hear you that teams always encourage players to work on perceived deficiences. And, yes, it would be ridiculous for the Yanks to state publicly that Freddy had to “work on something” just to make sure sure they called out all of the pitchers in the “competition” equally.

        And I’d be fine with their publicly announcing Pineda and Hughes had to work on their secondary pitches and making a big deal about their being a competion, if there was really a true genuine competition.

        But since it doesn’t appear that there was ever any actual competition to speak off, it seems like the Yankees unnecessarily subjected to Hughes and Pineda to additional scrutiny by declaring that they had to meet two contradictory goals (work on change-up rather fight with your best stuff vs. perform well to win competition). If they failed at one or the other of these objectives, they would be ripe for criticism.

        In the end though, I don’t think its a big deal. Both have performed well, both will make the rotation barring an injury or something unforeseen, and even Marchand won’t remember this “controvery” once we get to August. Just seems like the Yanks could have saved Pineda and Hughes some spring headaches if they didn’t push this manufactured “competition” and declared only that they would like to see them work on their change-ups.

        • Plank

          Teams should push their players to play better. Hughes didn’t have any pressure last offseason and he came into camp out of shape and his season was shot because of it. Girardi rightly lit a fire under his ass and he’s seemed to respond well.

    • radnom

      Your complaint makes the (incorrect) assumption that the competition was based entirely on results and not also factoring in the progress those guys made on their pitches. If Hughes gives up some extra hits while working on a secondary pitch the Yankees asked him to work on – you don’t think the team is smart enough to realize that.

      The competition is based on the entire picture, not just the stat line from some ST games. I would argue that the actual results are a relatively minor factor compared to how each pitcher looks scouting wise, but that would be an assumption on my part.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        I don’t think he’s assuming the competition is based on results. Rather he’s upset that there’s not a competition at all since that last spot is already predetermined.

        He’s saying that the results thing is implied by the players in order for them to be motivated like Colon last year. But as we saw results mean nothing, and he was relegated to mop up duty until the Yankees got lucky and figurered out he can start effectively.

        • radnom

          Hm, perhaps he does understand that (based on a later response). Still – Hughes and Pineda understand that too. Girardi (justifiably so) doesn’t care that the goals apparently subjected them to “extra scrutiny”, which is debatable in itself. Girardi is not going to a.) Hand out spots before ST or B.) Not have young guys work on secondary pitches just to avoid a possible media angle. Both guys where going to be scrutinized regardless.

      • Guest

        radnom: I think my point was that it appears the Yankees never intended for there to be a real competition in the first place.

        Of course I believe the Yanks know that more than results matter if they were having a genuine competition.

        The problem is, the unduly influential media (Whitson, Ed) that breathlessly cover the team hear the word competition and think “starting rotation bloodbath!!!” So I think the Yanks openned Hughes and Pineda up to unnecessary scrutiny IF, in fact, there was no real competition to speak of (which it appears there wasn’t).

        Either way, it was but a minor quibble. Plus, Pineda and Hughes are big boys. They’ll be fine.

        • radnom

          I admit I misunderstood you based on your original post alone, my apologies.
          But remember – – The only reason it wasn’t a competition is because Hughes came into camp looking great. I buy that it was his spot to lose… but he could have lost it. If early-2011 Hughes showed up this year, and Freddy pitched like he has been so far, we’d be having an entirely different conversation.

        • KeithK

          Call the “competition” media training for Pineda. He needs to learn how to deal with the NY media scrutiny. A spring training battle that he was always likely to win is a way to ease into it.

          Not saying this was the Yankees reasoning. But it’s probably a positive side benefit.

        • RetroRob

          Guest, I understand what you’re saying, although I’m

          I haven’t sensed any “starting rotation bloodbath” story line at all, and the reason why is because all they’re focused on is Michael Pineda’s velocity. In some way, Pineda has provided tremendous air cover for Hughes this spring, and even to some degree Kuroda, who may be the most silent major free agent signing in memory. I mean, the man is scheduled to be the #2 starter on the Yankees, which in addition to Hughes’ fastball was the other major story line of the Yankees last year. If Pineda wasn’t here, all the attention would be focused on Hughes, the battle for 5th rotation slot, and the new #2 Kuroda. We’re getting almost none of that until just about now when someone will be sent to the pen.

          The fact that the Yankees preference (and for good reasons) is for Hughes to win the rotation battle doesn’t mean there wasn’t a competition. Hughes had to do his job. He did. He will win the 5th slot.

          The real story is coming down the line in May. Garcia going to the pen is a non-story to me. Andy Pettitte’s return and the impact on the rotation is a far more interesting story. What happens if Hughes comes out the gates like he did in 2010; and Nova continues on like he did last year, especially the second half; and Pineda continues to pitch like he has all spring (which is good, which is another lost story here)? That’s when all hell breaks loose.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      That is…until Andy proves ready to be dandy. Then we will have an actual real situation (provided everyone remains healthy and pitches well).

      Which very rarely happens. And even if that does happen like in 2010 when every starter was an ace someone will collapse. In 2010’s example everyone who was great proceeded to be among baseball’s worst after the ASG except CC.

      • Guest

        I think you’re almost certainly right.

        The odds of everyone being healthy and pitching well at the time Andy is ready is exceedingly slim. I frankly didn’t want to place yet another parenthetical making this point in my already overly wordy internet comment.

    • Plank

      I think a big part of it was to maintain Garcia’s ego and trade value while they shop him.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Montero wasn’t dinero last night.

    Sorry but I couldn’t resist.

  • forensic

    It’s so pitiful that root sports (the mariners tv channel) couldn’t pony up the money to send anyone to japan for the broadcasts. They did it from a room in the station building while watching the same feed as us. You could hear all the coughs and clearing of throats and things being put down on and picked up from desks, not to mention their constant whining about how early it was in Seattle.

    Sure am glad yes would never do stuff like that.

    • RetroRob

      What? They didn’t send their own broadcast team? At the very least, I would have thought MLBN or ESPN would have covered the game. I mean I have no idea what happensed since I was sleeping, but this who thing feels a bit embarassing for MLB.

      Is this just one game and back home, or are they playing a two- or three-game series in Japan?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        The A’s and Mariners are both playing four games. They played two exhibition games against Japanese teams, then two regular season games against each other.

        • RetroRob

          Thanks. I was checking ESPN’s upcoming schedule of games either yesterday or two days back and they listed today’s game, but that was it. It seemed odd that they would fly to Japan and only play two regular-season games.

          • RetroRob

            *one* regular-season game.

      • DM

        “since I was sleeping, but this who thing feels a bit embarassing for MLB”

        You’re not the only one who feels this way. MLB was under fire today. Lots of “Huh? What? The season started??”

        • RetroRob

          They’ve opened in Japan before, but if feels different this time. It’s almost like this time they were trying to hide that real MLB games, ones that count, were happening right now, as opposed to next week.

          Not only that, it was a game that featured the return of Ichiro to Japan in eleven years, and included the MLB debut of Cespedes. Yet I swear most MLB fans (more casual ones) have no idea this has even happened.

        • Plank

          It’s been going on for a while now. It makes no sense. It doesn’t seem right to have the first pitch of the season in the Tokyo Dome. If they really want to have a series in Asia, they should do it during the all-star break.

          • Brett Lowe

            FWIW I am enjoying it. I very rarely watch games if its not the Yankees, but because its at such a good time for me (8 – 9pm), I’ve been able to watch the whole game.

            Watching Cespedes bat, he reminds me of Vladimir Guerrero.

            • Plank

              Yeah, I’m in Korea, and I would love it if there were regular games at that time.

            • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

              He crushed that HR last night. Wow. Man if he pans out passing up on him may go down as a rather large oops.

  • Jesse

    Here’s my fantasy roster if anyone cares. RAB scoring (OBP, TB, Net steals, RBI, runs, IP, ERA, WHIP, saves, K’s) 12-team league

    C.Yadier Molina
    1B.Michael Morse
    2B.Uggla
    SS.Castro
    3B.Aramis Ramirez
    OF.Ethier
    OF.McCutchen
    OF.Bautista
    UTL.Gaby Sanchez
    BN.Brett Gardner
    BN.JJ Hardy
    BN.Mike Aviles
    BN.Kendrys Morales
    BN.Chase Headly

    David Price
    Tommy Hanson
    Gio Gonzalez
    Hiroki Kuroda
    Justin Masterson
    Ivan Nova
    Joel Hanrahan
    Kyle Farnsworth

    Any advice, suggestions?

  • Plank
  • Plank

    Is anything being done about the technical problems on the website? Particularly the mobile version. Some acknowledgement of the problem even would be nice at this point.

    • DM

      I acknowledge that there is a problem.

      • Plank

        That warms my cockles.

        • DM

          I’m glad. But if you often have cold cockles, consult a physician. Our number one starter has the same condition, but rather than hiding it, he has chosen to embrace it in his nickname.

          • Plank

            I’m quite proud of my cold cockles.

    • pat

      I don’t have any problems with the mobile site.

      • Plank

        The browser crashes on the iphone if you click on an article after about 10 seconds 50% of the time.

        • RetroRob

          I would drop one of the RABers an email with as much specifics as possible. There are so many browsers, computers, operating systems, handheld devices, tablets etc. that people use now to access the Internet, that’s it’s quite possible the error is unique to one type of device. Unless there is a significant drop in traffic, the guys may be unaware there’s any issue and would probably appreciate a direct email.

    • RetroRob

      What are you seeing? No issues on my side. You might just want to click on one of the email addresses and let them know directly.

      • Plank

        The comments don’t update. For instance on the main page, it says there are only 7 comments on this article. When I click on the article there are 39. Also, there will be no updates for 10 minutes or so, then all the comments made during that 10 minutes will show up all at the same time.

        • RetroRob

          Hmmm, okay. I haven’t noticed that, but it’s possible I wasn’t paying attention.

        • Steve (different one)

          I am seeing the same thing as Plank. Also an iPhone.

        • Havok9120

          I’ve been seeing that on the non-mobile site. Although….I haven’t noticed it in the last day or two.

          Hmmm…

  • Rainbow Pinstripes

    Awesome to see Cito get his first appearance. I got like six texts in ten minutes from people wigging out.

  • Nick

    Any idea why Jesus wasn’t catching? Was it just that Felix wants Olivo?

    • Plank

      I believe they said their plan is to have him catch 30-40 games this year.

    • Monterowasdinero

      Long season. Montero successfully caught Felix over 6 innings in ST. No big deal.

    • DM

      I’d think he’ll probably catch Noesi to start. It will tell me a lot if they avoid using him in that scenario too.

    • RetroRob

      If he catches more than 30 games this year I’d be surprised.

      He’s their DH and ocassional catcher. We’re going to hear all sorts of great things from the Mariners about how his catching has improved and that they believe he can be a catcher long term, just as we heard that from the Yankees, but the real proof will be in how much he actually plays.

      • Monterowasdinero

        Or maybe they will decide to protect him from what happened to joe Mauer.

        • Havok9120

          …..

          Please don’t become That Guy.

  • Karl Krawfid

    Loving the CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes hockey talk on Twitter atm.

  • Karl Krawfid

    Bartolo is looking nasty against the M’s.

    • Will

      …and Babe Ruth has now seen a total of 18 pitches in 7 regular season at bats. Early returns favor Cashman, as expected!

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Anybody watching Bartolo being awesome right now?

    • DM

      I was hoping the Yankees would retain him this off-season. He’ll help the A’s at a bargain price. I think he just ran out of gas last year after not pitching the season before. He might last longer this season.

      • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

        I agree. Last year he played winter ball before signing with the Yanks. This season he’s completely fresh.