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Yankees Pre-Game Notes: March 15

03/15/2013 10:05 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

CC Sabathia is ready for his first live game action of 2013.(AP)
Beware the Ides of March, for the Yankees return home after a rough Thursday in Dunedin for their second spring battle with the Miami Marlins (1 p.m. on YES).

Grapefruit League game No. 20 of 2013 sees the debut of lefty CC Sabathia, who will make his first spring start after going slowly this spring while rehabbing from elbow surgery. Sabathia was ready to pitch last weekend, but Joe Girardi had him throw a final simulated game here in Tampa rather than face the division rival Blue Jays.

The lineup behind Sabathia today features a few interesting twists. Juan Rivera, who has gotten a lot of playing time at first base of late, is in the outfield, with Dan Johnson at first and Ronnier Mustelier getting the start at third base. The full lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Travis Hafner DH
Juan Rivera RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Ronnier Mustelier 3B
Dan Johnson 1B
Corban Joseph 2B

That group will take their initial cuts against a familiar face in RHP John Maine, who made an appearance in the Marlins’ win over the Yankees in Jupiter last week. Maine was 8-5 with a 4.97 ERA in 16 appearances (15 starts) at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, and is 1-0, 1.80 in three games this spring as he vies for a job in the back end of Miami’s rotation.

Behind Sabathia, those scheduled to get work out of the bullpen include fellow lefty Vidal Nuno and a trio of fireballers: David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, and Mark Montgomery. Cody Eppley is listed as available if absolutely needed, with lefties Frederick Lewis and Shaeffer Hall and righty Chris Bootcheck up from Minor League camp and also in the pen.

Johnson is the only position player who looks to be playing the whole game, as the team had Francisco Arcia (also back up from Minor League camp) listed as the second catcher and Bobby Wilson as the second DH, a reserve outfield of Matt Diaz, Melky Mesa, and Thomas Neal, and the trio of Gil Velazquez (2B), Addison Maruszak (SS) and Jose Pirela (3B) around the horn. Chris Stewart, Slade Heathcott, Walter Ibarra, and the recently-reassigned Zoilo Almonte are the emergency availables.

Not in the lineup today? Kevin Youkilis, who gets his 34th birthday off after going 2-for-3 with a home run on Thursday.

Beyond the game, it’s a light morning in Yankees camp; the rehabbing Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral were the only pitchers to throw bullpens this morning, with both making 35 pitches and using their entire repertoire as they did on Tuesday, and the team had full batting practice groups set up with a handful of those not scheduled for action today (and Arcia) on the back fields. Corban Joseph was listed in a group with Jeter, Cervelli, Ichiro, and Hafner, and we spotted him working with hitting coach Kevin Long in the indoor cages this morning as well.

The Yankees also had their travel roster listed for tomorrow’s split-squad trip to Lake Buena Vista, with Cervelli, Johnson, Joseph, Diaz, Mesa, and Neal among those who will play in Tampa today and travel tomorrow. There are 10 position players and four pitchers beyond starter David Phelps listed, and the rest of the bus will be filled out by players up from Minor League camp, the most notable of which is Austin Romine.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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