Alex Rodriguez set to play first base tomorrow

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Before camp opened last month, the Yankees had been talking about getting Alex Rodriguez some reps at first base. With nine days to go until Opening Day, the Yankees are finally putting their plan in action and will get a look at Rodriguez out of his natural third base position. Rodriguez is slated to go to Fort Meyers tomorrow to play first against the Minnesota Twins, but there’s no need for Mark Teixeira or Garrett Jones to be worried–Rodriguez is simply the back-up to the back-up.

“I’m thinking of first base to give Joe as many options as he could possibly have,” Rodriguez said following yesterday’s 10-0 win against the Phillies. “I know he likes to give guys rest. I know he likes matchups. I just want to be an asset to Joe all year. And Brian Cashman.”

In the meantime, Rodriguez is letting one of the guys in the clubhouse break in his new first base glove and he’s been doing all of his reps with his third base glove. Joe Girardi is impressed with how Rodriguez has looked, especially with the extra work Rodriguez has put in.

“He’s done some extra work (at first),” Girardi said. “We did cut off some relays with the shift the other day, and we had him at first doing it. We’ll go over the bunt defenses again before we leave. Those are the things that are going to be a little tricky. That’s the bottom line if he goes over there. Obviously, I’d probably put Garrett Jones there first, but if something were to happen to one of them, just trying to prepare ourselves.”

The Yankees might not need Rodriguez ..read more

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Pineda sharp in 10-0 win over Phillies

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The game only lasted six innings, and Michael Pineda was the only pitcher to get work in, but 10 runs in the fifth and sixth inning gave the Yankees a 10-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.

The Yankees scored in the fifth on a passed ball, a Carlos Beltran RBI single, a Mark Teixeira RBI single, a Stephen Drew two-run RBI single and a Chris Young two-run RBI double. The Yankees added more in the sixth inning after Tyler Austin hit a three-run RBI double, clearing the bases.

Michael Pineda went five scoreless innings, giving up five hits and striking out five.

What’s Next?

CC Sabathia was supposed to start tomorrow, but due to the Yankees facing an AL East opponent in the Baltimore Orioles, they’ll send Scott Baker to the mound instead. Bud Norris is slated to start for the Orioles. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. and the game will air on the YES Network and MLB Network. The game is also on the radio on 105.7 The Fan and WFAN 660/101.9 ..read more

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Yankees announce Masahiro Tanaka as Opening Day starter

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Joe Girardi has officially announced Masahiro Tanaka will be the Opening Day starter on April 6th.

Girardi also listed the order of the rotation for the first four games:

Masahiro TanakaMichael PinedaCC SabathiaNathan Eovaldi

The Yankees haven’t announced a fifth starter of yet, but it’s heavily possible Adam Warren will get the fifth and final spot in the rotation.

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Report: Phillies and Padres interested in Austin Romine

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While there’s no clear frontrunner in the back-up catching competition, it seems other teams are interested in Austin Romine, just in case the Yankees crown John Ryan Murphy as the winner.

The Phillies scouts were present at the Yankees/Phillies game last Thursday night where Romine happened to be in the lineup. The Phillies are looking for a back-up catcher to Carlos Ruiz and became intrigued when they discovered Romine wasn’t the frontrunner of the back-up competition in Yankees camp. Both Romine and Murphy have done well this Spring defensively despite their offensive woes.

“Defensively, both guys have done a pretty good job,’’ Girardi said about Romine and Murphy. “Offensively, they have pressed a little bit which is understandable. That’s what happens a lot of times when you get into a competition. There is a decision that has to be made and it will be one of the last decisions we make.’’

Not only do the Phillies have interest in Romine, but so do the San Diego Padres. Romine is hitting .182 (4-for-22) this Spring.

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Didi Gregorius continues to impress in camp

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For the last 19 seasons, Derek Jeter manned the shortstop position while breaking records and cementing himself as a sure-fire Hall of Famer. But while Jeter’s bat and leadership thrived, during the later years of his career, he didn’t have much range and wasn’t a dynamic fielder. When Jeter retired, the Yankees were looking for someone to replace him at the shortstop position and they did that when they made a three-team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers to acquire Didi Gregorius.

For the last five weeks, we’ve seen what Gregorius could do; he has tremendous range, has a canon for an arm and makes the most difficult plays look simple. Many have raved about Gregorius in camp and even media writers are impressed with Gregorius’s hustle and athleticism. If the Yankees were looking for an upgrade on the defensive side of shortstop, they sure found one in Gregorius.

“I think he’s outstanding in the field,” Joe Girardi said to the media following yesterday’s 6-5 loss to the Rays. “And I think he’s really swung the bat pretty well. You look at his last two weeks, he’s hit the ball consistently hard. He’s hit left-handers, he’s hit right-handers. I feel pretty good about it. … The other day, he smoked a ball (against a lefty). He’s swung the bat against left-handers as well. There’s a lot of talent there. Sometimes it’s just getting that opportunity to do it every day and maybe not looking over your shoulder that really brings it out.”

Gregorius hasn’t been known as a terrific bat, but over the last few weeks he has done well. He’s known for struggling with left handed pitching in ..read more

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Is Adam Warren the front runner in the fifth starter competition?

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With only 11 days to go until Opening Day, the Yankees need to make a decision on the fifth starter competition. And while it’s not completely set and stone, it seems Adam Warren is poised to win the competition and claim his rightful spot in the rotation–until Ivan Nova returns from Tommy John Surgery, of course.

Warren further cemented his role in the competition by pitching 3.2 innings of one-run ball in a 6-5 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays.

“He threw well again,” Girardi said to the media following the game. “Not easy conditions to pitch in today either, so I thought he threw the ball, mixed everything in again, and that’s what he’s done all spring.”

We all know Warren is an accomplished reliever, doing well for the Yankees in the bullpen last season, but many question if Warren can bring his success from the bullpen to the rotation.

“I feel like pitching is pitching,” Warren said. “I’ve proved I can pitch at this level. I just got to go out there and learn from some of the guys who have started and learned the mindset of being aggressive, attacking always, getting early outs. But I feel like I’ve got the stuff. It’s just going out there and executing pitches.”

One of the most impressive things about Warren’s outing today was he didn’t have his best stuff, but he also didn’t implode when he had runners in scoring position. He made the right pitch and eventually got out of the inning without furthering the damage.

“I think you just try to keep the foot on the pedal as long as possible,” Warren said. “The biggest thing for me — and I didn’t do ..read more

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Report: Yankees release RHP Jared Burton

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Here’s some news that came out of the Yankees organization shortly before today’s game ended.

The Yankees have announced they have unconditionally released RHP Jared Burton from his minor league contract. Burton made a few Spring appearances before he was sidelined with injuries.

Burton didn’t have a legitimate shot to make the ball club but he did try to leave a good impression. Unfortunately, there are only 25 spots on the roster, and too many players are trying to get one of those coveted spots.

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Should we be worried about Carlos Beltran?

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When the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 Million deal, they were hoping to get something, anything out of the aging right fielder. Unfortunately last season, they didn’t get much especially since he sat out for a good portion of the year with an elbow injury and a declining bat.

Beltran came into camp following elbow surgery in the offseason, and he said his knee and his elbow wouldn’t be an issue. But while he feels healthy, there’s still concern about his agility. Beltran seems to be having difficulty with playing right field and he hasn’t been producing much at the plate this Spring. However, Beltran has said Spring to him is just him getting ready for the season.

“My motion in my arm is a lot better than before,” Beltran said to the New York Daily News back in February. “That’s something that’s good. Hitting wise, I feel good. Some days, when I was just starting to hit, it got tight, but the doctor said that was normal. He said because I have better range of motion now, in spring training, he just wants me to be aware that if I feel something, don’t go crazy. It’s just part of the process.”

But can the fans or even the Yankees count on Beltran at this point of his career? Unless your name is Mariano Rivera, every player suffers from a decline late in their career. It happened to Derek Jeter, it happened to Jorge Posada, it’s happening to Alex Rodriguez and now to Carlos Beltran. As the season begins in 11 short days, there’s questions and concerns on what ..read more

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