The New York Yankees got some game-condition work in on Friday with a 11-0 exhibition victory over the University of South Florida at George M. Steinbrenner Field at Tampa, FL.
Right-hander Adam Warren pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Warren, 24, gave up one hit and walked none while striking out two as part of a group of seven Yankee pitchers who limited the Bulls to four hits, no walks and struck out 10.
Manager Joe Girardi started all his regulars with the exception of second baseman Robinson Cano and catcher Russell Martin and the regulars were given only one or two at-bats.
Girardi was pleased with the hitting of outfielder Zoilo Almonte (2-for-2, two RBIs) and second baseman David Adams (1-for-2, one RBI). Outfielder Colin Curtis and Infielder Ramiro Pena added two hits apiece as the Yankees pounded out 14 hits against USF pitching.
The USF Bulls are coached by Lelo Prado, the brother-in-law of former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez, currently a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman. USF is in fourth place in the Big East standings with a 4-4 record.
The Yankees are 3-0 against USF in spring exhibitions by a combined score of 31-5. Proceeds from the game benefitted the USF baseball program.
Most of Friday’s news surrounded two former Yankees. Former Yankee right-hander A.J. Burnett underwent successful surgery to repair an injury to his right-eye orbital bone in Pittsburgh and the Pirates announced that he will miss about eight to 12 weeks. Bunrett sustained the injury fouling a bunt off his eye during a bunting contest at the Pirates spring training complex in Bradenton, FL. . . . Former Yankee catcher and designated hitter Jesus Montero took two foul shots off his jaw in the fifth inning of the Mariners’ spring Cactus League opener against the Oakland Athletics and had to be removed from the game. Up to that point, Montero, 22, was 1-for-3 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs in the game in Phoenix, AZ. The Mariners have already announced that Miguel Olivo will open the season as the team’s starting catcher and that Montero would be a candidate to DH and develop as a catcher as a backup to Olivo.
The Yankees will open their 33-game spring training schedule on Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL. Ivan Nova, a 24-year-old right-hander who was 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in his rookie season, will start for the Yankees. Girardi also said that Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Michael O’Connor and David Phelps will pitch for the Yankees. The starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher along with Martin will start for the Yankees.
The Phillies will counter by starting left-hander Cole Hamels, who was 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA for the Phillies last season. David Bush, Jonathan Papelbon, Dontrelle Willis, Raul Valdes, Chad Qualls and Mike Stutes are also slated to pitch. The Phiilies willl open their spring slate without three of the top regulars available to play on Saturday. First baseman Ryan Howard has an infection in his left Achilles tendon and has not reported to camp. Second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco are also being held out of action by manager Charlie Manuel. Utley suffers from a chronic knee condition and Polanco is recovering from sports hernia surgery.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network.
The New York Yankees will open the spring with an exhibition game against the University of South Florida on Friday.
Manager Joe Girardi is planning to have his starters get one at-bat or two and right-hander Adam Warren will be the starting pitcher for the Yankees.
Warren, 24, is a non-roster player who was 6-8 with a 3.60 ERA in 27 starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With the Yankees’ rotation loaded with six pitchers vying for five spots, Warren is obviously headed back to Triple A.
But Warren hopes to leave a good impression this spring with hopes of in-season call to the major leagues as a starter or reliever.
Girardi also announced the pitchers who will follow Warren to the mound. They are: Brett Marshall, Dan Burawa, Juan Cedeno, Graham Stoneburner, Ryan Pope and Kevin Whelan. All of them are non-roster pitchers who were invited to spring training.
The game, which begins at 1:05 p.m. EST at George M. Steinbrenner Field, will benefit the University of South Florida baseball program.
The club has five players who have come up with injuries this spring.
Right-handed reliever Manny Delcarmen, another non-roster invitee, will miss four to five days with a slight strain of his right lat muscle.
Rookie catcher Austin Romine has been hobbled by inflammation in his back and the Yankees are being very cautious before letting him return to action.
First baseman and designated hitter Russell Branyan has been shelved with tightness in his back. Catcher Kyle Higashioka has been bothered with right shoulder soreness and right-handed reliever George Kontos has a slight oblique strain.
ALL EYES ON A.J.
Speaking of wounded, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Thursday that A.J. Burnett will undergo surgery in Pittsburgh on Friday after he suffered a fractured right orbital bone in his right eye in a bunting drill on Wednesday in Bradenton, Fl..
The Pirates do not have a timetable for his recovery at this time.
Burnett, 35, was acquired by the Pirates on Feb. 18 from the Yankees in return for two minor-league pitchers.
The Pirates scrapped Burnett’s scheduled start on Sunday and now face the likelihood with the setback in his spring preparation that he likely will not open the season on the team’s roster.
Burnett was injured while participating in the team’s bunting tournament. He fouled a ball from a pitching machine into his right-eye area and had to be immediately tended to by trainers.
On behalf of the Bottom of the Ninth blog and all the Yankee fans who still love and support A.J., we wish to express to A.J. and his family that we are are hoping the surgery goes well and he bounces back to pitch well for the Pirates this season.
Robinson Cano returned to camp in Tampa, FL, on Thursday after spending a few days in the Dominican Republic attending his grandmother’s funeral. She died of cancer at age 91. Cano will not play in a exhibition game until Sunday. . . . The Yankees’ annual team-building outing was held on Thursday at the Tampa Improv in Ybor City, FL. The team participated in improvisational skits and activities designed to loosen up the players and allow them to have some laughs together. Girardi said the trip was especially important for the young players in camp in helping them feel a part of the team. . . . Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Thursday that the team has a goal to lower payroll to $189 million over the next two years and the development of the team’s young pitchers would help toward that goal. He said the team’s current payroll is around $210 million.
Now that the pitchers and catchers have reported to the Yankees’ spring home in Tampa, FL, the target date is March 3.
After the Yankees begin the spring with an exhibition against the University of South Florida on March 2 at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees will open their official spring training schedule with the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, FL.
My calendar officially begins the next day when the Yankees return the favor against the Phillies and host them for their home opener. I received my spring season tickets this week and I am chomping at the bit to get the 2012 season started. In addition, I want to make sure my coverage of the Yankees this spring is the best you will read anywhere.
I plan to attend 18 Yankee games this spring, including the Yankees’ two road contests against the Braves at Lake Buena Vista, FL, and a road contest against the Astros in Kissimmee, FL. The rest of the games I will either see on ESPN or MLB-TV or I will hear on MLB Radio.
So it is clear that I will be able to provide Yankee fans – whether you live in Boise, ID, or the Bronx, NY – with the best on-site coverage I can possibly offer. I want to continue, as I have through the offseason, with the most accurate information about the players, the news, the rumors, the aches and pains and the deals going on behind the scenes.
This is what I pledged to do since I started this blog three years ago and I have tried to improve that coverage each season.
I have a B.A. in Communications and an A.A. in Journalism. I have worked for five news organizations over the course of 13 years as a writer, columnist and editor. So I approach my craft with a journalistic intent to cover the story fairly and accurately. But, as a lifelong Yankee fan, I am not afraid to give you my opinion on the news as it unfolds.
This week I am going to be looking at the Yankees’ competition in the American League East. Despite the fact that the Yankees really made very few moves this winter, I did not notice a lot of activity with the Red Sox, Rays, Orioles or Blue Jays. So just how strong is the division this season? Do the Yankees have clear sailing to repeat as division champs?
Stay tuned to this blog for my analysis, which begins with the Orioles on Monday. Red Sox fans will have to wait until Thursday to see how I see them in 2012.
In addition, I will be looking at the Yankees’ keys to victory in 2012. Some players need to prove they stay healthy (Alex Rodriguez). Others need to step up their games to remain viable starters (Brett Gardner). I will also try to answer the hard questions about how the starting rotation stacks up.
I also will look at the spring battles. There are few spots available on the Yankees’ roster but I will let you know who is leading in those battles. I also will give some detailed analysis on the Yankees prospects who trying to make their way up to the big-league roster. If you want the scoop on top Yankee prospects like Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Brandon Laird and David Phelps, I will try to provide insight on how they are progressing and what they need to do to take the big leap forward.
By the end of spring training I will have enough information to forecast the 2012 pennant chase and how the Yankees should fare in that race. Last season, if you were reading, I told you that I thought the “so-called” solid rotation of the Red Sox was not so solid. I actually thought the Yankees’ quintet – even with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia – was better. I rankled a few Red Sox fans but I do not care when I am right.
Let’s see what 2012 holds and if I can rankle a few more Red Sox fans with my predictions.
Thank you for letting be part of your interest in baseball and I hope you love the game even half as much as I do. Let’s have some fun and “Let’s Go Yankees.”