The New York Yankees spilt games with the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend, but these exhibition game outcomes don’t forecast anything in terms of regular season success.
What it does allow is for managers and coaches to hold auditions for unfilled positions and players to fight for a spot on the 25-roasters.
As everyone knows, the Yankees are looking for a fourth and fifth starter to fill out the back end of the rotation, while watching the progress of catcher Russell Martin’s health and figuring out who will be his back up between star prospect Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli.
The success of the Yankees is also looming on the continued maturity of Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano, much better pitching by AJ Burnett and the rebirth of shortstop Derek Jeter.
Here are some things to note from the first weekend out of Yankees camp:
- Pitcher Bartolo Colon pitched a solid two innings in Saturday’s opener. He displayed a mid-90’s fastball, changeup and a cutter. Colon threw 23 of 36 for strikes, giving up one walk, two hits and a run, which sets the bar for the Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre and Freddie Garcia to match. Colon pitched this winter in the Dominican Republic, where he went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA over seven starts. He did come to camp 25 pounds overweight, but past elbow problems didn’t bother the 38-year-old at all.
- All the fuss about how much bigger Joba Chamberlain looked when he arrived to Tampa was put to rest on Saturday. Chamberlain came out attacking in the third inning, clocking a 94 mph fastball and posting one strikeout. Chamberlain tweaked his starting motion in the off-season, dropping his hands from chest to belt level, and it seems to have paid off.
- Ivan Nova started the second game and was dynamite. Throwing 14 strikes out of 21 pitches, Nova baffled the heart of the Phillies order with a three-pitch strikeout of Ryan Howard. Nova looked good.
- Sergio Mitre followed Nova by pitching a scoreless inning, as he has a chance to be a starter but is almost more useful as used as a Longman out of the bullpen. Mitre will make one more emergence out of the bullpen before he makes his first start.
- Touted pitching prospect Dellin Betances made his Spring Training debut on Sunday and struck-out the side, allowing one walk in a scoreless fifth inning. Betances will start the season in Double A, but if the 22-year-old keeps developing at this rate he has future ace written all over him.
- Curtis Granderson did not hit one opposite field homerun in 2010, but hit one to left field in Sunday’s game. Granderson worked a lot this off-season and hopefully can continue to produce like he did at the end of last season.
- 1B prospect Jorge Vazquez might become a household name soon, as the kid has hit a homerun in both games. Vazquez could be a potential infield back up, as he had a monster season in the minors, hitting 18 homers in 76 games in Triple A.
- A-rod took an unnecessary verbal hit from formal superstar Hank Aaron over the weekend. Aaron said, “I think his head’s not level enough to the point where he can have the kind of year that it takes in order to go past all of the records in the book.” Click HERE to read the rest of the NY Post’s Q&A.
- Prospect Andrew Brackman, who has impressed everyone in his bullpen session, was sidelined with tightness in his groin last week. He looks to be responding well to therapy and should make his first appearance by the end of the week. Brackman’s outing is one Yankee fans should tune in and watch.
- Pitcher Russell Martin took grounders in practice for the first time over the weekend and his surgically repaired knee seemed to be holding up. Look for Martin to be behind the plate later in the week; pending there isn’t any lingering stiffness in his right knee.
- According to a tweet from Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch, Ronnie Belliard will miss more than a week of games with a right calf strain.
- Mark Teixeira took a pitch off his big toe on Saturday, but not to worry it is only a bruise as Tex stayed in the game and hit a triple in his next at-bat.
- Yankees To Honor Steinbrenner At Spring Opener (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- MLB Spring Training: Ivan Nova, Dellin Betances Impress in New York Yankees Win (bleacherreport.com)
- Girardi Impressed By Brackman’s Evolution (bats.blogs.nytimes.com)
- New York Yankees set for spring opener (sports.espn.go.com)
- New York Yankees Spring Training: First Week News And Notes (ladylovespinstripes.com)