Yankees Pre-Game Notes: March 6
A couple of very familiar faces will of course be in the opponent’s dugout at Steinbrenner Field, as three from the Yankees organization are on the squad managed by Yankees bench coach Tony Pena. Lefty Juan Cedeno actually stopped into the Yankees clubhouse on Wednesday morning to retrieve something from his locker, with Chad Jennings of the Westchester News-Journal writing that his appearance prompted several other pitchers to give Cedeno some good-natured ribbing.
Melky Mesa, who was also scheduled to be on the Dominican team, is instead still with the Yankees after backing out of the Classic, and is in this starting lineup behind RHP Hiroki Kuroda today:
Eduardo Nunez SS
Jayson Nix 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Matt Diaz LF
Melky Mesa CF
Luke Murton 1B
Kuroda should go three or perhaps four innings in his second spring start, and with the available relievers behind him including Clay Rapada, Brett Marshall, Cody Eppley, Tom Kahnle, Jim Miller, and Preston Claiborne.
As for reserves, the Yankees have C Bobby Wilson, 2B Jose Pirela, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Dan Johnson, LF Thomas Neal, and RF Zoilo Almonte listed to come into the game; that staying true to course would mean that 10 of the scheduled 15 would have played both ends of the turnaround, with Nix, Nunez, and Hafner starting both days.
The Dominican team will have Cano in the starting lineup, and will have one of the other familiar faces on the mound: LHP Vidal Nuno, who was added to Tony Pena’s squad for the day. Nuno has struck out nine in five Grapefruit innings this spring, and he will have a very potent lineup featuring eight Major Leaguers and one career Minor Leaguer behind him. The Dominican starters:
Jose Reyes DH
Erick Aybar SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Hanley Ramirez 3B
Nelson Cruz RF
Carlos Santana C
Ricardo Nanita LF
Alejandro De Aza CF
Nanita is the only Dominican starter without MLB experience, but the 31-year-old is currently in the Toronto organization and hit .306 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2012.
The Dominicans as a whole come in swinging, as they are one day removed from a 15-2 drubbing of the Phillies that saw them pound out 28 hits and get home runs from Cano, Reyes, and Ramirez; Cano’s homer was a two-run shot, and the Yankees second baseman was 3-for-4 with three RBI total on the day. Cedeno did not pitch, so he should be used in relief of Nuno at some point today. Joe Girardi has also apparently lent Tony Pena the services of lefty Josh Spence and righty Chase Whitley today, so they could be in action as well.
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