The first week of Grapefruit League games is not yet complete but it still feels like the day-to-day grind of baseball has returned. It’s wonderful. Meaningless Spring Training games are not for everyone, I get that, but I’ve always felt these games are fun in their own way. We get to see a bunch of prospects we otherwise never get to see and the results don’t mean anything. You can just sit back and enjoy some baseball. It’s wonderful.
This afternoon’s game will be Derek Jeter’s third at shortstop this spring. He made it through the first two just fine following his lost leg injury plagued season, but obviously there is a long way to go before he’s ready to play nine-inning games on an everyday basis. That’s what these next four weeks will be all about. Ivan Nova has a rotation spot already locked up, he’ll just be preparing for the season and getting work in today. He says he feels like he’s competing for a job, but we all know that’s not the case.
The Nationals made the long trip across the state from Viera for today’s game, so their roster is a skeleton crew. None of their best players made the trip. Denard Span, Danny Espinosa, Scott Hairston, and Jose Lobaton are the only guys in the starting lineup who remotely qualify as MLB regulars. Left-hander Ross Detwiler will be on the mound for Washington. Here is the Yankees’ starting lineup:
- CF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- C Brian McCann
- 2B Brian Roberts
- DH Frankie Cervelli
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- LF Zoilo Almonte
- 1B Corban Joseph
And on the mound is Nova. Since this is his second Spring Training outing, he’s probably scheduled for something like three innings or 50 pitches, whichever comes first. Don’t hold me to that though.
Available Pitchers: RHP David Robertson, RHP Shawn Kelley, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Yoshinori Tateyama, RHP Robert Coello, and RHP Jim Miller are all scheduled to pitch. This will be Robertson’s spring debut and Kelley’s second outing. Matt Thornton can’t be too far behind. RHP Chase Whitley, RHP Mark Montgomery, and RHP Brian Gordon are also available if needed.
Available Position Players: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Jose Gil, 2B Zelous Wheeler, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Jose Pirela, LF Ramon Flores, CF Mason Williams, and RF Adonis Garcia will all come off the bench to replace the starters. C Francisco Arcia, C Peter O’Brien, C Gary Sanchez, IF Dean Anna, IF Yangervis Solarte, and OF Antoan Richardson are also on the bench.
They play these games in Florida (and Arizona) for a reason, and that’s because the weather is just perfect for baseball. It’s in the mid-70s with a few scattered clouds in Tampa. Can’t wait until that weather hits New York. This afternoon’s game will begin a little after 1pm ET and can be seen live on YES, MLB Network, and MLB.tv. Enjoy.