The Yankees got their first game action of the spring yesterday afternoon with a seven-inning intrasquad game. Pete Abraham posted the lineups, and play-by-play of the first 3 1/2 innings, as did Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Hoch also posted the final tallies and pitching lines (compare them to Abraham’s accounting here).
It’s interesting to note that Girardi distributed the regulars between the two teams, whereas Joe Torre used to put them all on one squad (see last year’s lineups). Girardi had four of the Yankees’ expected regulars in each lineup. Hideki Matsui didn’t play, likely because he’s still rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee. Matsui also missed the 2006 intrasquad game due to his aching knee (which may be one of most insignificant facts I’ve ever cited on this blog).
Looking over those pitching lines, Sean Henn and Billy Traber, the top two contenders for the lefty spot in the pen, both had rough outings, with Henn having some obvious control problems. Mike Mussina threw 77 percent of his 30 pitches for strikes, but didn’t get the results he wanted. At least he has the excuse of having faced the starters, allowing hits to Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Morgan Ensberg. The fourth hit off Moose came when a would-be double-play ball from Jose Tabata took a wild bounce over the shortstop’s head. That drove in Mussina’s only earned run. He also allowed an unearned run in the first after an error by Brett Gardner in center field (overrunning Cano’s single) allowed Jeter to go to third and subsequently score on an out.
Moose wasn’t the only pitcher to pitch in bad luck as there were seven errors in the game (in addition to Gardner, the offending fielders were Justin Christian, Chris Woodward, Cody Ransom, Nick Green, Eduardo Nuñez, and Marcos Vechionacci, all but one of them playing for the “Gator” team). At the plate, Ensberg had the big day, picking up the only extra base hit of the contest (a double off Mark Melancon) and scoring three of the “Goose” team’s six runs.
In the third inning, righty reliever Scott Patterson was hit in the foot by a comebacker which ricocheted to shortstop for an inning-ending double play. Patterson walked gingerly off the field and has a contusion on his right ankle. In other aches-and-pains news, fellow righty reliever Scott Strickland has been shut down for a few days due to a swelling near his pitching elbow. I don’t expect either hurler to factor into the bullpen competition even if healthy.
The Yanks have a light workout today and will play an exhibition against the University of South Florida tomorrow before starting their official spring schedule against the Phillies on Saturday. The Yankees trio of young starters (Chamberlain, Kennedy and Hughes) are all scheduled to pitch tomorrow. The USF team is coached by Tino Martinez’s brother-in-law, and Tino was a volunteer assistant coach for them last year. Tino’s a special instructor for the Yanks this spring and, per the Daily News‘ Mark Feinsand, offered the USF staff some advice on how to be good hosts to the Yankees.
The Yankees rotation starting Saturday will be Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, and Phil Hughes, with Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain pitching in tandem out of the five-spot. Tyler Kepner believes this is how the rotation will look to start the season, barring injury and pending a decision on the fifth spot, of course.
With the spring schedule about to start, I’m trying to decide what to do about my customary liveblog of the first spring training game. As neither the USF game, nor Saturday’s game against the Phillies will be televised (the latter will be on MLB.TV, but I’m not a subscriber). I leave the choice up to you guys. I can either liveblog Sunday’s game against the Phillies, which is the first televised game of the season, or, since those of you with YES can simply watch that game yourselves, I could liveblog the next televised game, which would be Wednesday’s game against the Twins, thus providing you all with some play-by-play during the work day. Neither will have quite the same thrill as a work-day liveblog of the very first intersquad game action of the spring, which I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do two of the last three years, but as I suspect there are others out there who look forward to that first liveblog of the year as much as I do, I thought I’d throw it out there for a vote. Please state your preference in comments. One more thing to consider: Sunday’s game will also be on the radio, Wednesday’s won’t.