Spring Training Game Thread: Opening Day-ish



This has been a weird spring for CC Sabathia, this evening’s starter. His fastball continues to sit in the upper-80s and that remains a concern, but he has been excellent in two of three outings, including retiring 15 of 16 batters faced in his last start. (The one was an error by the third baseman.) Baseball Reference’s opponent quality stat says Sabathia has been facing almost all big leaguers too. I’d like to see more velocity, but at the end of the day outs are outs. If he gets them throwing 88 mph, who am I to complain?

The Pirates are in Tampa for tonight’s game. Even though it’s a night game and they had to make an hour bus trip up from Bradenton, they did bring a few of their regulars, including Neil Walker, reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, and former Yankees farmhand Jose Tanaka. Edinson Volquez will be on the mound. I have no idea why the Pirates a) gave him $5M, and b) are expecting him to be in their rotation. That’s a move the pre-2013 Pirates would make. Whatever. Here’s the starting lineup, which looks an awful lot like what we figure to see come Opening Day:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. LF Alfonso Soriano
  7. 3B Kelly Johnson
  8. 2B Brian Roberts
  9. DH Ichiro Suzuki
    LHP CC Sabathia

Available Pitchers: RHP David Herndon, LHP Matt Thornton, RHP Shawn Kelley, and RHP David Robertson are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Shane Greene, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.

Available Position Players: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Russ Canzler, 2B Yangervis Solarte, SS Dean Anna, 3B Zelous Wheeler, LF Zoilo Almonte, CF Antoan Richardson, and RF Adonis Garcia will be the second string off the bench. C Austin Romine, C/1B Jose Gil, C Peter O’Brien, and UTIL Casey Stevenson are also available.

The weather is fine in Tampa. Some clouds and temperatures in the mid-to-highs-70, but no threat of rain. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and you can watch live on both MLB Network and There is no YES broadcast even though it’s a home game. Enjoy.


  1. Rigoleto says:

    Jose Tanaka had an interesting and complicated childhood.

  2. Havok9120 says:

    One benefit of him being bad last year is that I’m excited for each of his starts this spring.

  3. Wheels says:

    Strike em out, throw em out

  4. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Jet fans in the audience: Sanchez cut, Mike Vick signed

  5. Wheels says:

    Rough at bat for Jeter.

  6. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Any ideas on why CC’s velocity has dropped? It’s not as he’s had an injury.

    • Kyle says:

      2775.1 IP and 43,000 plus pitches thrown.. Lots of wear and tear on that arm..

    • qwerty says:

      When you average 250 innings for five straight seasons, including post, and then tack on another 200+ inning season that does something to you. I’m shocked he’s lasted this long.

  7. Chip Rodriguez says:

    I want to see McCann batting cleanup for this team as much as possible.

    • forensic says:

      I think he absolutely should against righties.

      Against lefties? Not so much.

      • Chip Rodriguez says:

        Yeah, agreed. But I love his plate approach and power, esp. against RHPs.

        This feels so good after all the Chris Stewart PAs we saw last year.

        • forensic says:

          Yeah, I’m afraid at how frustrating it could be early in the season with Jeter 2nd and Tex 4th against righties, with both coming off slow springs (hopefully they both pick it up at some point, but who knows). We all know how much better Jeter is against lefties than righties and Tex’s wrist affected him more against righties than lefties.

          It’s an easily avoidable (potential) issue, but unfortunately I don’t see Girardi making the necessary adjustments.

          • Chip Rodriguez says:

            against right handed pitching would work just fine for me. But there’s no way Jeter will go that low.

            against lefties would work just fine.

            • JGYank says:

              Sounds good on paper. But Jeter batting 6th just looks awkward and like you said won’t happen. Although you could make a case for putting Johnson ahead of him vs RHP. Johnson actually was about even with his splits last year but over the last 3 (better sample) he’s been better against RHP.

              • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                I wouldn’t want Jeter batting 6th against righties. You want a masher in the six hole.

                • forensic says:

                  I agree. I’d put Soriano there, even against righties, and follow him with Johnson. Give them chances to clear the bases on one swing with the better hitters on base more often in front of them. Jeter and Roberts can round out the lineup in either order.

                  Of course, this will never happen though…

  8. Mykey says:

    It’s nice having a catcher with a bat.

  9. Mykey says:

    Why are these announcers acting as if Volquez got robbed of a good start? He had pitched 2 thirds of an inning. It’s not like he was off to some incredible start.

  10. Darren says:

    Damn, the lineup looks SOOO much better than last year, even with the bottom 3 of Roberts, Johnson and Ichiro. I think the manager should be fined in kangaroo court if he ever bats the DH 9th. It’s too weird.

  11. RetroRob says:

    How has CC looked?

  12. dkidd says:

    i’m feeling encouraged by cc. is that even even physically possible?

  13. JGYank says:

    McCann has thrown out both runners trying to steal tonight and has a double. That Johnson error isn’t encouraging for a guy making a transition but it’s only one mistake. Offense looks good. CC getting good results and just hit 91. Other than that, he’s been at 86-89 all night.

  14. Karl Krawfid says:

    Nice changeup by CC.

    Great sequence to Sanchez.

  15. mustang says:

    What did I missed?

    How is CC looking ? Has his fastball broken 90 or is the world coming to an end….lol?

  16. JGYank says:

    CC hit 90/91 a few times last inning. But the important thing from this start is his command and getting grounders and DPs to get out of jams.

  17. Wheels says:

    CC, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.

  18. Capo says:

    Jeter did not look good running out that ground ball. Uh oh.

  19. Chip Rodriguez says:

    Another nice inning from CC. He’s looked very good, and his offspeed stuff has been excellent.

  20. Mykey says:

    With Schlereth on the mound I’ll take this moment to say, if you haven’t seen Mark Schlereth’s daughter, you need to check her out.

  21. Mike says:

    Nice to see C.C. back to his old dominant self.

    We might have the best rotation in the league.

  22. Tom says:

    So VCU was up 4 points with under 5 sec left, when one of their defenders felt like it was necessary to try to block a 3 point shot. I guess winning by 1 point would be bad? Shooter was fouled, shot went in, and he made the FT to tie the game.

    VCU then proceeded to lose in OT.

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