Spring Training: Day 6 Notes

Ichiro 4

Derek Jeter stole the show today when he had a press conference to discuss his retirement (the pitchers joked they weren’t going to get any attention today because of the conference) but let’s end the day with some notes from camp that involve Jeter’s teammates:

Ichiro Suzuki uses a translator when he speaks to the American media, although he doesn’t really need one. When asked about his reaction to the signings of Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, his answer was simple.

“Oops.”

The signings of Beltran and Ellsbury forces Ichiro into a backup role where he’d possibly only be used for pinch-running and defensive situations, but regardless Ichiro was excited about the new signings.

“This is a place where the greatest players gather and play, so I’m really excited to play with those guys,” Ichiro said. “Obviously with the additions, I’m going to have to find a place for myself, but I worked hard this offseason. I worked on a lot of things, and throughout spring training, hopefully those things will come together and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Brett Gardner also spoke to the media. When he wasn’t joking around with Derek Jeter, he was answering questions about his feelings of being in left field. Like he always says, he’d do what the Yankees ask of him.

“I played over there for a couple of years a few years ago. I feel comfortable over there.” Gardner said. “I told Joe I can play right too if he needs me to. I’ll do whatever I’m needed to do to help the team win. Wherever I’m playing out there, wherever I’m hitting in the lineup, whatever he needs me to do, I’ll be ready.”

I kind of want to see Gardner play right field now…maybe against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park? Right field is pretty big there.

Eduardo Nunez took ground balls today at third and shortstop. He did botch one, but we’re not going to read too much into that. It was his first day back on the field. Anyway, it’s better he makes a mistake now than he make a mistake during the season.

— Tomorrow is the first full-squad workout and all eyes will be on Derek Jeter. Girardi had been asked if there were concerns about if Jeter can still hit and play shortstop and he said there were none.

“The biggest thing for me is seeing how he responds going back-to-back, back-to-back-to-back, back-to-back-to-back-to-back, that sort of thing,” Girardi said. “And trying to get a thought in my mind how many days you can push him in a row. That’s the biggest thing for me. I feel good about running him out there every day, it’s just how many days in a row and what can I learn in spring training and early in the season and what can I do.”

Manny Banuelos threw live batting practice today at the minor league complex and said he felt good. It was the first time he threw to live hitters this spring  but he did throw simulated games last September.

“Good, good, feels pretty good,” he said. “All my pitches worked. Velocity is good. I didn’t throw, like, 100 percent because it was the first time, but it feels pretty good. … I’m happy man. It feels strong, feels good.”

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