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The Yankees start their spring schedule this afternoon in Dunedin, where they’ll face the Blue Jays starting at 1:05. The game won’t be televised, on the radio, or even available via on-line gamecast, but you can follow it via Peter Abraham’s liveblog over at LoHud. Joe Girardi is running out his B-team, save for the three WBC participants (Jeter, Cano, and Alex Rodriguez). Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher get the starts in center and right. Brett Tomko will take the mound to start.

Check back this afternoon for my recap of the game.

Meanwhile, here’s a recap of some of the things we’ve learned since camp opened:

Injuries: There’s been nothing but good news on the four recovering Yankees. Chien-Ming Wang has experienced no pain in his foot. Jorge Posada has been stretching out his arm without discomfort. Hideki Matsui and Mariano Rivera are coming along more slowly, but without cause for concern. In Rivera’s case, the slow progression is typical of how he gets ready in the spring, as he tends to throw most of his spring innings in the second half of March.

Aches and Pains: Edwar Ramirez has been shut down for a few days with shoulder bursitis. Otherwise, there have just been a few sore hamstrings (Jeter, Marte) and a couple of stomach flues (Sabathia, Cervelli), but nothing thus far that has effected a player’s availability for more than a day or two.

Lineup: Mark Teixeira will bat third ahead of Alex Rodriguez. Hideki Matsui will be the DH making only “emergency” appearances in the field. Neither of these things were unexpected.

Rotation: Joe Girardi just announced today that the opening rotation, barring injury, will be Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlain. That order properly staggers the lefties and pitching styles the five starters and puts Chamberlain in the five spot where he can be skipped occasionally to keep his innings down. That said, Girardi also said the plan is for Chamberlain to make about 30 starts. At an average of six innings a start, that would be 180 innings–too many coming off a seasons of 112 1/3 in 2007 and 100 1/3 last year.

Bullpen: Really, the only thing we’ve learned about the ‘pen is that Phil Coke will not be starting, but will indeed be in the mix as a reliever. That doesn’t mean he’s made the team (though he has an excellent chance of doing so), only that the Yankees have recognized where he’s most valuable to them. We’ve also been told the Yankees intend to take a long reliever north, but I think that would be a mistake and will believe it when I see it.

Finally, there was one piece of news that was bigger than baseball, that being Jason Johnson’s optical cancer. After experiencing blury vision, Johnson got himself checked and caught the tumor early enough that his doctors were able to quickly get the disease under control, delaying his arrival to camp only briefly. Johnson’s disease doesn’t change the fact that he has no business being in camp with the Yankees, but while I won’t be rooting for him on the field, I’ll be rooting hard for him off of it. You can read more on Johnson from my good friend, optical cancer survivor Steven Goldman.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Thread

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1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:08 pm

Think Brett Garnder's work with Kevin Long might be paying off? He hit the second pitch for a home run. He hit three homers all of last year between spring training, the minors, and majors, and the pitcher he hit it off, Jays' prospect Brett Cecil, allowed just six in 118 2/3 IP last year.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:28 pm

If Brett Tomko makes this team as a long reliever, as PeteAbe suggests is possible, I will be ticked. (Good for him and all, but c'mon.) Forget that Giese or Aceves is guaranteed to perform better than he is, or that Hughes should be the first option if there's an injury in the rotation. Without a serious injury to someone, they don't even have room for him on the 40-man roster!

Would anyone seriously trade any of the minor leaguers on the 40-man roster for Brett Tomko?

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:29 pm

No, no, a thousand times no. Again why I'm against both Tomko and the idea of a long-reliever on a team with a five-deep rotation.

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:30 pm

Interesting that Melky took Abreu's number, 53. Those "Got Melk?" shirts are now even more dated.

5 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:32 pm

[0] That said, Girardi also said the plan is for Chamberlain to make about 30 starts. At an average of six innings a start, that would be 180 innings–too many coming off a seasons of 112 1/3 in 2007 and 100 1/3 last year.

I saw that on Pete Abe's as well. Of course, if he only only averages 5 innings per start, he would get to 150 INN, which just about perfect. I wonder if they will put him on a semi-strict pitch/inning count early in the season?

6 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:03 pm

HR by Arod...nice to see him handling the pressure.

7 Raf   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:19 pm

Has there even been a #5 starter that has made 30 starts? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

8 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:32 pm

Swisher bases-loaded RBI walk with none out in the fifth.

9 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:40 pm

goodness, it's good to have baseball back.

10 zack   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:42 pm

Can't wait for tomorrow's televised game! And Hughes pitching to boot. Granted it will only be two innings, but still...

11 Eirias   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:55 pm

Who needs Tomko as a long reliever when we have Igawa?

12 thelarmis   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:02 pm

[9] good to have you back too, cult!!! how are ya?!?!

[4] i've got one of those shirts...

13 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:06 pm

Maybe one day you can wear it ironically, like my good friend's #24 Kevin Maas "The Natural" shirt.

14 RIYank   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:51 pm

Tyler Kepner pointed out that Girardi's rotation would mean Joba gets the home opener.
I like it.

15 Evil Empire   ~  Feb 25, 2009 7:54 pm

What happened to my post? I thought it was first...something's amiss around these parts.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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