Fans hoping to get a glimpse of Michael Pineda in a Spring Training game might have to wait a little while longer. Instead of getting right into a live Spring Training game, Pineda will throw a simulated game. Joe Girardi said the Yankees are playing to move a little slowly with Pineda, just to make sure he’s healthy. His start comes one day after CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka are expected to make their Spring debuts.
“(Pitching a sim game is) just kind of the way it works out,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about building guys up, and we’ll do a sim for him the first game. I believe his second game is a real game.”
Girardi said the other Yankees starters might throw a simulated game at some point this Spring and he dismissed the idea Pineda’s spring start is for a significant reason. Girardi did observe Pineda’s pitches; his slider is sharper and his change-up has vastly improved from two years ago.
“He’s better than when we saw him a couple of years ago, that’s for sure,” Girardi said. “So we have been encouraged. I’m curious to see how it translates in a game. … Just the way the ball’s coming out (has been impressive). Consistency in his mechanics. Consistency in his location.”
– Girardi asked how Derek Jeter felt after getting into a game for the first time since September. Jeter said he felt fine.
“I asked him how he felt and he said, ‘good.’” Girardi said. “But he wasn’t the only guy I asked how he felt. I asked Brian Roberts. Anyone who played yesterday, I asked them how they feel. A lot of guys have said, better than they expected.”
– Girardi said it’s “safe to say” Masahiro Tanaka will either pitch in Game 3 of the Regular season (vs. Houston Astros) or Game 4 (vs. Toronto Blue Jays).
– Slade Heathcott is beginning to do baseball drills this morning. He had minor knee surgery during the offseason and Girardi is trying to ease him into Spring Training games. Heathcott expects to get through his drills with no problems.
“I haven’t felt anything from the get go,” Heathcott said. “We’re just being extra cautious.”
– MRI’s on Jose Ramirez‘s back and oblique came back clean. However, Ramirez still feels soreness around his oblique area. To not aggravate the injury, the Yankees are shutting Ramirez down for a while. Ramirez compares his soreness to an oblique injury he had last season, an injury that cost him two months of playing time.
– The game is on Detroit Tigers radio today, so if you have MLB.TV, you’re in luck. If you’re interested, here are the pitchers slated to pitch against the Tigers.