Yankees head east for date with the Nationals

CC Sabathia to start as Yanks get back to work after off day
03/11/2014 12:18 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
After an off day Monday, the Yankees hit the road today to begin a stretch of nine games in six days, starting with a 1 p.m. tilt with the Nationals in Viera, Fla.

CC Sabathia will make the start on the east coast today, and behind him he'll have some pretty good defense; multiple-time Gold Glover Mark Teixeira is at first base to anchor an infield of unknowns, and in the outfield, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner will play side-by-side for the first time this spring. The full lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Scott Sizemore 2B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Dean Anna 3B
Austin Romine DH
Zoilo Almonte RF

Among the reserves, Gary Sanchez is slated to be the backup catcher, with Yangervis Solarte getting a look at shortstop and top prospects Mason Williams and Ramon Flores in the outfield. Jose Pirela and Adonis Garcia are on the trip, but are not penciled in as sure backups.

Behind Sabathia, the scheduled relievers are Cesar Cabral, Fred Lewis, Matt Daley, Brian Gordon, Jim Miller and David Herndon, with Dellin Betances, Chase Whitley, Mark Montgomery and Danny Burawa also on the trip and available if needed.

Other news and notes from a busy (even after the bus to Viera left at 8 am) morning in Yankees camp:

-Tyler Austin, who has been battling soreness in his wrist all spring, was scheduled to continue hitting off a tee today. Austin was very cheery when greeting the smattering of media as the clubhouse opened, and said his wrist "feels awesome."

-Masahiro Tanaka began his first-ever simulated game just after 9 a.m., with Jake Cave and Cito Culver up from minor-league camp to serve as the hitters and John Ryan Murphy behind the plate. Tanaka's outing was scheduled for four innings, and to fully simulate the flow of a game, the Yankees had a quartet of relievers each throw a simulated inning to Francisco Cervelli in between. Tanaka seemed to handle things well, recording nine of his 12 outs via strikeout.

-Fun note on that simulated game via Jack Curry: At one point, Cave simply reached out and waved at a Tanaka offering, looping one that landed just inside the right field line. A handful of other pitchers were watching, and when one of them jokingly said "I bet you're happy with that!" to Cave, the outfielder simply smiled and said "you bet!"

-Tanaka wasn't the only pitcher getting work in after the off day; nine, including David Phelps, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and Adam Warren, were scheduled for side work, while David Robertson, Matt Thornton, Preston Claiborne, and Vidal Nuno took part in the "other" half of Tanaka's simulation.

-Phelps confirmed as he walked through the clubhouse that he will not be going to Panama this weekend; he is scheduled to pitch Friday so he wouldn't be available anyway, and it appears that if the Yankees are bringing anyone along just for the scenery, Phelps isn't one of those.

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