Saturday, March 3, 2012

Yankees Take Grapefruit Opener

There are some basic rules in Spring Training:

1. Stay healthy. This rule far exceeds any other.

2. Get your batting eye ready; get your swing set; get your fielding down; get your pitches in and throw strikes.

3. Don't get hurt. Yes I said it already...still can't stress it enough. Just ask Austin Romine (back) and George Kontos (oblique) about that.

4. If you weren't in shape, get in shape. NOW. Michael Pineda wants (needs) to lose 10 pounds.

5. Make people take notice of you...and be sure it's in a positive way.

Won/Lost record is not on the list of rules. George Steinbrenner would totally disagree, but it doesn't matter. You want to be sure to play well, but the won/loss record does not matter, even if you play the Red Sox or Mets or whomever.

The Yankees did win today, 8-5 over the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, but the play wasn't all positive. The Yankees made three errors, including Eduardo Nunez booting the first ball of the game at shortstop.

On the up side, Curtis Granderson picked up where he left off last season, with a home run and two hits. On a day the wind helped many a baseball elude fielders, free agent signee Cole Garner needed no help in ripping a 2-run home run to left.

Ivan Nova started for the Bronx Bombers and looked pretty good. He allowed two runs, one earned, in two innings of worked. Manny Banuelos and David Phelps threw a couple of scoreless innings apiece as they followed Nova in the pecking order.

Dellin Betances struggled with mechanics and control in an inning of work, but induced a double play to put a goose egg up on the scoreboard. A couple of lefties had mixed results in the last two innings.

Rule V pick (from Boston ) Cesar Cabrel got off to a good start in his bid to make the Yankees bullpen with a scoreless 8th inning, but Mike O'Connor was not so fortunate. The 31-yr old, who pitched in parts of three seasons with the Nationals and Mets, allowed three runs on three hits and a walk to make things interesting in the 9th.

Brett Gardner (0-3), Nick Swisher (0-3), and Russell Martin (0-2) were the only returning lineup regulars to accompany Granderson on the trip. Newbie, and former Phillies outfielder, Raul Ibanez made his Yankees' debut with a 1-3 afternoon that included an RBI.

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