Sunday was a pretty busy day in spring training for the Big Apple clubs. The Yankees made news by signing Brett Gardner to a new four-year, $52 million contract extension (more notes on that below), and also announced their starters for this week’s games.
And the Mets were in the headlines after a published report from the NY Post said that first baseman Ike Davis hid an injury from the club last season. Let’s get to it…..
* Starting off with the Davis report: Davis told the Post on Sunday that he concealed an oblique injury for most of last season, even from the team, but then angrily downplayed the injury Monday morning, shouting at the Post reporter in front of other players and media members.
Davis’ 2013 season was far below exceptions, and had been hitting .161 when the Mets shipped him to the Pacific Coast League after a June 9th game.
He said that he never told the team of the injury because he didn’t want it to be an excuse for being sent down to the minors.
“I thought about saying, ‘Hey, I would like to take a couple of weeks off, because I’m not feeling great,’ ” Davis told the newspaper. “But then the timing was bad and it was when I was getting sent down. It would have been a great time, but it looks bad and I just can’t say that. … It makes me look like a baby. It looks like I’m whining about how I [stunk]. I was terrible. Now it’s over.”
Davis said that hie terrible 2013 performance, one that had the Mets trying to trade him this past offseason, had nothing to do with the injured oblique.
“You made it look like an excuse,” Davis added, directly addressing the article’s author. “It’s an excuse. It shouldn’t have been a story anyway. … It’s j ust an overblown thing. Everyone has injuries and then they get hurt. So it was pointless to write an article. I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries. And now it just looks bad.”
* In other Mets news, the Mets officially announced their starting rotation for their first six Grapefruit league games.
Rafael Montero will start the opener against the Washington Nationals on Friday at Tradition Field. He’ll be followed by John Lannan against the Miami Marlins on Saturday. Daisuke Matsuzaka faces the St. Louis Cardinals on March 2nd. Noah Syndergaard gets the ball against the Atlanta Braves on March 3rd, Jonathan Niese will start March 4th against the Houston Astros. And Bartolo Colon rounds it up in a split-squad match against the Marlins and March 5th.
“I’m going to let him play some shortstop, but I want to see him at second. I want to see him at third.” Collins said about Flores, who also took ground balls at second base Sunday.
“The bat potential is off the charts,” Collins continued. “Everybody talks about what a big RBI guy he is, what he’s going to be.”
* Yankees manager Joe Girardi announce the starting rotation for the first four spring training games: Vidal Nuno will take the mound against FSU on Tuesday; Ivan Nova gets the ball against the Pirates on Wednesday; David Phelps will take the mound Thursday, also against the Pirates; and Adam Warren will start against the Tigers on Friday.
Nuno said that he expects to throw two innings, and I would bet that you can expect the same from the other four starters.
* Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is expected to make his spring debut on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It wasn’t said how long he’ll play in the game, but I would expect at least one at-bat, and at least one, maybe two, innings at shortstop.
“It’s been a while since I played a game, so I think everyone looks forward the first game in spring training,” Jeter said. “You want to get games under your belt. I’m looking forward to it, but don’t rush it. I told you, one day at a time. Let me enjoy the rest of today.”
* Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Sunday that he doesn’t expect to see Andrew Bailey in the big leagues until late in the season, possibly August or September.
“He’s coming off a shoulder surgery (torn capsule and labrum) so we’re taking a flyer,” Cashman said. “It’s a low risk, and if we can get a reward out of it, great. it’s one of those, nothing ventured, nothing gained. When he’s healthy he’s an exceptional reliever. Because it’s a shoulder, more likely than not it’s an uphill battle but we’ll see.”
The Yankees agreed to terms with Bailey on a minor-league deal Saturday night. The contract comes with an option for 2015 — which is probably what the Yankees were really aiming for with this signing.
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