This game wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicates.
L – Johnny Damon (CF)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Bobby Abreu (DH)
L – Jason Giambi (1B)
L – Hideki Matsui (LF)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
S – Melky Cabrera (RF)
R – Miguel Cairo (3B)
Pitchers: Kei Igawa, Mariano Rivera, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Colter Bean
Subs: Doug Mientkiewicz (1B), Chris Basak (2B), Ramiro Peña (SS), Angle Chavez (PR/3B), Wil Nieves (C), Bronson Sardinha (PR/RF), Kevin Thompson (CF), Kevin Reese (LF), Andy Phillips (DH)
Opposition: Two-thirds of the Phillies starters, including Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell, but a double-A starting pitcher.
Big Hits: A double by Robinson Cano (2 for 3) in the second that turned into an inning ending play when Jorge Posada (0 for 3), who had been on first base via an error, missed Larry Bowa’s stop sign and was thrown out at the plate. Doubles by Matsui (2 for 3) and Cairo (1 for 3). Melky Cabrera went 2 for 3.
Who Pitched Well?: Everyone. The four relievers combined to allow one hit (off Myers) and no walks while striking out six in four innings. Of particular note, Rivera struck out Ryan Howard on a changeup. Igawa looked sharp in the first inning, throwing first-pitch strikes to all four batters he faced, working down in the zone, and allowing just a bouncing ball single. In the second he was back to his old ways of being wild and up in the zone. He then recovered in the third and would have had a 1-2-3 inning on three groundballs if not for Jeter’s error, which he followed with a walk and another groundout. He got that 1-2-3 inning in the fourth on a pop up and two strikeouts. He was less impressive in his final inning, walking the lead-off man, then having a homer blown back into Hideki Matsui’s mitt by the wind that was gusting in all night, and finally having a ringing line drive head right to Miguel Cairo at third resulting in a 5-4-3 double play. All together he needed 65 pitches to work five innings, allowing two hits, walking three, and striking out three.
Slick Plays: In the first, Aaron Rowand hit a grounder that almost rolled to a stop on its way to the second base position. Robinson Cano charged and made a barehanded flip to Jason Giambi, who made a nice scoop for the out. With one out in the second, Jayson Werth tripped leading off first base on a fly out to center. Johnny Damon flipped to Jeter who, racing into shallow center, spun and fired low to first where Jason Giambi made a great scoop to complete the 8-6-3 double-play. Giambi later made another nice scoop on another low throw by Jeter on the play before Jeter’s error.
Oopsies: Kei Igawa would have had a 1-2-3 third inning on three groundouts to the left side, but Derek Jeter booted the third out. Following singles by Cano and Cabrera in to lead off the fifth, Miguel Cairo popped up a bunt, failing to move the runners. Ramiro Peña made a throwing error later in the game.
Ouchies: Bobby Abreu went 0 for 3 in his spring debut, but didn’t look hindered by his injury in any way, just rusty. Andy Pettitte had back spasms after his workout on Monday, skipped his bullpen yesterday and likely won’t make his scheduled start on Friday, despite his own protestations. The Yankees are playing it safe and don’t consider Pettitte’s back to be a major issue right now.
Battles: Andy Phillips grounded out in his only at-bat from the DH slot. I have yet to see Phillips hit a ball in the air past the pitcher’s mound this spring. Though I admittedly haven’t seen all of his at-bats, I have seen one of his two hits. Will Nieves was also 0 for 1. For what it’s worth, the only Yankee relievers not to allow a run or issue a walk this spring are Mariano Rivera, Scott Proctor, and Colter Bean, their combined line is 19 2/3 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 20 K.