Yankees Pre-Game Notes: March 20
Today would be CC Sabathia’s day to pitch, but manager Joe Girardi has him set to toss in a Minor League game instead to avoid having the big lefty face a division rival; so, in his stead, another southpaw, Vidal Nuno, will go for the Bombers.
Nuno, who is expected to be part of the Triple-A Scranton rotation this summer, has had an impressive spring; the 25-year-old has allowed just one run in 8.1 Grapefruit innings over four appearances, and also held his own team hitless for four innings while pitching with the Dominican Republic WBC team earlier this month.
He won’t have The Captain behind him, as Derek Jeter is off one day after being scratched with a “cranky” ankle, but he does have a group chock full of Major League veterans:
Brett Gardner LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera 1B
Ben Francisco RF
Jayson Nix 2B
Chris Stewart C
Thomas Neal DH
Melky Mesa CF
The Yankees are facing a lefty in Sox starter Felix Doubront, and so Gardner is the only true lefty in the lineup. As for the reserves, there a couple of interesting notes about the outfield; Ronnier Mustelier, who played third yesterday, is listed as the second left fielder, and Addison Maruszak, who has played shortstop and first base this spring, gets a try in right. In between them will be top prospect Mason Williams, who is up from Minor League camp from the day to man center field in the later innings.
Bobby Wilson is slated as the second-string catcher and Dan Johnson, Corban Joseph, Gil Velazquez and Jose Pirela are around the horn; no second DH is listed, but catcher Francisco Arcia is over from the Minor League complex as an extra player.
Beyond Nuno, Joba Chamberlain is expected to pitch for the second straight day, although he did only face one batter in Tuesday’s loss to the Phillies; David Robertson, Cody Eppley, Mark Montgomery, and Josh Spence, who pitched 1 1/3 innings on Tuesday, are also listed as available, with RHPs Zach Arneson and Matt Daley and LHP Shaeffer Hall over from across the street as well.
Elsewhere in camp, it’s been a fairly quiet morning; Phil Hughes is throwing a side session today as he works toward getting into game action, and the only other big news (Derek Jeter’s status aside) is that Clay Rapada, who has been limited to playing catch of late as he works his way back from shoulder bursitis, told Chad Jennings of the Westchester Journal News that he hopes to throw a bullpen on flat ground this weekend.
And, in one final note, Chien-Ming Wang is at the Yankees Minor League complex today, and is set to throw for scouts. The Yankees were rumored to have been looking at Wang as a potential veteran option earlier in the spring while he was pitching in the World Baseball Classic, and he is clearly still on the radar.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES