We’ve finally reached game week in spring training. This is the last weekend without a Big Apple team taking the field until October, so yeah, baseball is back.
The Yankees open their spring schedule on Tuesday against Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and his undefeated FSU baseball team at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Mets also start play this week, but not until Friday when they host the Washington Nationals.
* With the opening spring game on Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is expected to announce on today who will take the mound for the Yankees in games this week. Following the game against FSU, the Yanks play the Pittsburgh Pirates on back-to-back days on Wednesday and Thursday.
David Phelps and Vidal Nuno seem to be the most likely pair to get starts this week. Both are battling for the fifth spot in the rotation, but Phelps might have more of the upper hand over Nuno in that race since, considering he made 12 starts last season, and put in quality efforts almost each time.
* Manny Banuelos threw his second live batting practice session of the spring yesterday, and things went well for the young pitcher that has missed a lot of time in the past couple of years because of Tommy John Surgery.
“Looked pretty good,” Girardi said. “Obviously missing a year you’re going to be a little bit rusty. But it looked like the ball was coming out of his hand great. I like what I see.”
* The Yankees suffered more injuries than any could have thought of last season, so it only seems to make sense that there are a few injuries to report on early in camp:
1. Alfonso Soriano misses a third straight day of workouts because of flu-like symptoms. Soriano was starting to feel better after missing the first day, but things got worse, apparently, and he had to miss workouts again.
2. Yankees outfield prospect Tyler Austin is now dealing with some soreness in his right wrist — the same one that caused him problems late last season and into the Arizona Fall League. Austin was held out of batting practice Saturday, and Girardi said he will be “reevaluated in a couple of days.”
3. Another prospect, Nik Turley, had his bullpen scratched Saturday because his arm was “a little tight.” He was shut down for the day, though it’s not thought to be anything serious.
* The Mets have announced that Rafael Montero will start the Mets’ Grapefruit League opener against the Nationals on Friday at 1:05pm. John Lannan will get the ball against the Marlins on Saturday, March 1st, followed by Daisuke Matsuzaka on Sunday, top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard on Monday at the Braves, and Jonathon Niese on Tuesday.
Don’t expect to see them too much in those games, though. Pitchers generally start the spring slow, throwing two innings, maybe, in their first starter then working up from there.
Harvey threw a baseball Saturday for the first time since the surgery, making 20 throws at 60 feet. Harvey said that everything went well.
“I felt very good,” the Mets’ ace said. “I’m kind of surprised, actually. Going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect. Obviously the first throw was right where I wanted it. Things went really well.”
* Mets manager Terry Collins does not plan to play Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson or David Wright in the first week of spring games. He wants to ease them in action in an attempt to limit the risk of injuries. It’ll also be an opportunity to give some younger players a chance to play.
Once those three players do start getting into games, Granderson will spend most of his time in right field, with Chris Young getting the reps in center field. During his time with the Yankees, Granderson played in most center and left field.
“Two springs in a row now he’s had some rib problems.” Collins said, speaking of Murphy. “We’re going to slow him down. I told him, ‘I’ll start playing you maybe game six or seven or eight — somewhere around there.’ … If there’s anyone susceptible to overwork, it’s Dan Murphy. So I said, ‘Just back off.’”
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