And we're off and running ….
By Jon Lane
Game 2 is on the air. Michael Kay and Ken Singleton are in the YES Booth and I’m at MLBAM headquarters to provide some commentary.
Some quick hits from Peter Abraham’s blog:
- Mariano Rivera has been playing catch and will get on the mound for the first time next week.
- Brian Cashman has no information as to whether Alex Rodriguez will meet with MLB investigators today and was asked about Yuri Sucart driving his players to and from games.
“It has been handled,” he said. “That’s all I want to say, it has been handled.”
- George Steinbrenner is at his game. The temperature in Tampa, Fla., is sunny and 73 degrees. Not to shabby, eh?
1:15 p.m. Michael Kay mentioned the team feels relaxed and confident, this in spite off all the A-Rod melodrama. That is a good sign. Bernie Williams threw out the first pitch and looks and feels great. Phil Hughes hits Adam Kennedy to being the game. Not a good start.
1:27 p.m. Hughes survived two hit batsman to get Gabe Kapler to pop out to short, but threw threw 18 pitches (13 strikes), continuing a disturbing trend. Hughes averaged 78.8 pitches in his eight starts last season while pitching into the sixth inning only three times, the last when he went eight strong September 24 against the Blue Jays.
1:32 p.m. Mark Teixeira’s first at-bat as a Yankee ends with him chasing high heat on Wade Davis’ 2-2 pitch as the Yankees go quietly in the first.
1:45 p.m. Alex Rodriguez is met with a smattering of boos, but mostly cheers while stepping into the batter’s box. Like many, Ken Singleton expressed disappointment in A-Rod using PEDs and couldn’t understand why he chose to do it in the first place.
A-Rod goes down swinging. The catcalls grow a little louder. It’s plainly obvious he’ll be Lightning Rod all season. What cannot go unnoticed is how Joe Girardi handles the pressure of being asked about this day in and day out.
1:54 p.m. Phil Coke pitches a scoreless third. I like this guy a lot. He works fast, changes speeds and is fearless, and got the third out by breaking Willy Aybar’s bat (with help by a nice play from Robinson Cano). He and Damaso Marte have the potential to be an effective lefty combination out of the bullpen.
1:55 p.m. Jorge Posada crushes one over the right-field fence to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. That surgically repaired shoulder had better hold up. I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy Posada to this team.
1:57 p.m. Melky Cabrera flies out to center. He’s already trailing Brett Gardner in the center field derby. This is only the second Spring Training game, and Cabrera’s first, but Glenn Giangrande has already deemed Gardner the winner.
2:17 p.m. A-Rod’s second at-bat is met with louder boos that drowned out some cheers (one man yelling “Go A-Rod!” made it through). Rodriguez wastes Teixeira’s one-out single by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play. No boos, but a collective groan, one all too familiar during A-Rod’s Yankees years.
2:25 p.m. A svelte Brian Bruney works a clean inning, hitting as high as 95 MPH on the radar gun. With Joba Chamberlain the Yankees’ undisputed fifth starter, Bruney has to be the eighth-inning bridge to Rivera. During the top of fifth, Girardi told Kay and Singleton that Posada will start his first game behind the plate on March 15.
2:30 p.m. Posada doubles home the Yankees’ second run. He’s 2-for-2 with both RBIs.
2:59 p.m. The Yankees lowered the price of about 600 obstructed-view bleacher seats at the new Yankee Stadium from $12 to $5. It’s a good deal when you think about it. Fans who purchase these tickets get access throughout the new palace. That includes the sports bar adjacent to the bleachers that I believe will be an open air facility. That to me is a great way to spend a summer’s day or evening, watching a ballgame on site while in the atmosphere of a sports bar.
3:12 p.m. Remember Shelley “Slam” Duncan? He crushed a three-run home run to left field to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Duncan’s power and energy burst upon the scene in 2007 by hitting three home runs in his first two games and eventually drew comparisons to Kevin Maas, which wasn’t exactly a good thing. Like Maas, Duncan faded and was designated for assignment in the offseason. Having received a non-roster invite to Spring Training, Duncan is trying to bash his way back on the roster. He’ll just have to learn to hit a breaking ball.
3:22 p.m. Three up and three down for Mark Melancon in the eighth. This kid has got the goods to either be a dominant late-inning set-up man and possibly Rivera’s eventual successor.
3:35 p.m. Yankees win 5-1 to move to 2-0 on the Grapefruit season. Tomorrow brings a two-hour-plus bus ride to Fort Myers for the chosen players.