On the road and without the DH, the Yankees brought along some familiar faces from weeks past, but couldn’t outlast the Braves, losing 5-4
Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Hideki Matsui LF
Gary Sheffield RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Wil Nieves C
Shawn Chacon P
Subs: Miguel Cairo SS-1B, Felix Escalona 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Russ Johnson 3B, Keith McDonald C (see below), Luis A. Garcia RF, Bubba Crosby CF, Melky Cabrera LF, Damian Rolls PH
Pitchers: Shawn Chacon, Kris Wilson, Kyle Farnsworth, Ron Villone
Big Hits: A two-run bomb by Alex Rodriguez (2 for 3) and doubles by Rodriguez and Giambi (3 for 4). Gary Sheffield was also 3 for 4.
Who Pitched Well?: No one was particularly impressive though Kyle Farnsworth struck out two in a scoreless inning despite giving up a walk and a hit.
Who Didn’t?: Chacon ran out of gas in the sixth, leaving the game after 5 1/3 after allowing five runs on three walks and six hits, two of them home runs (a solo shot by Brian Jordan in the fifth and three-run, broken-bat tater by Adam LaRoche in the sixth). That said, Chacon struck out seven and has now struck out 21 in 22 spring innings, though he has also walked 13.
Ouchies: Jaret Wright threw 50 pitches in the bullpen and will pitch in a minor league game Thursday. Aaron Small threw from the rubber for the first time since straining his hamstring. Jorge Posada worked out with the team again and could start at DH today or tomorrow and return to catching before the week is out. Chien-Ming Wang’s knee is slightly swollen, but doesn’t appear to be an issue.
Bullpen Cuts: Colter Bean was optioned to Columbus and Mark Corey and Dusty Bergman were reassigned to minor league camp. Bean didn’t get a good look this spring due to his rehab from an offseason ACL injury. The left-handed Bergman got lit up in five spring innings. Corey pitched well, but is a 31-year-old journeyman with a terrible track record.
So Who’s Keith McDonald?: Although I missed it at the time, the Yankees obtained veteran minor league catcher Keith McDonald from the Rangers over the weekend for a player to be named later. This is an encouraging sign as it suggests that they will not add third-string catcher Wil Nieves to the opening day roster simply because he is out of options. The 28-year-old Nieves is preferable to McDonald, who is 33, has played in just eight major league games and, despite playing exclusively in the Pacific Coast League, hasn’t hit a lick this decade. But should Nieves land elsewhere, McDonald at least gives the Yankees a capable receiver at triple-A. It’s not like Nieves was going to hit anyway.