Rumor has it the Twins were at Legends field last night. There was very little evidence of that.
L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Jason Giambi (DH)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
S - Melky Cabrera (RF)
L - Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
Pitchers: Jeff Karstens, Chase Wright, Scott Proctor, Ron Villone, Chris Britton, Kyle Farnsworth
Subs: Andy Phillips (1B), Angel Chavez (PR/2B), Miguel Cairo (PR/SS), Chris Basak (3B), Todd Pratt (C), Bronson Sardinha (RF), Kevin Reese (PR/CF), Kevin Thompson (LF), Ben Davis (DH)
Opposition: The Twins B-Squad with Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, and Jason Bartlett
Big Hits: Doubles by Derek Jeter (2 for 3), Hideki Matsui (2 for 3), two by Robinson Cano (2 for 3), the first of which drove in in Matsui to start the scoring, and Jason Giambi (1 for 3), whose two-bagger drove in Damon with the second run. Ben Davis tripled to center to lead off the bottom of the eighth in his only at-bat.
Who Pitched Well?: Karstens was flat out dominating. He was perfect through his first three innings, throwing 22 of 27 pitches for strikes. He allowed a single in the fourth, but that was his only baserunner of the night. He struck out four men and needed just 41 pitches (30 strikes) to get through four innings, and looked as good as those numbers with great location and a lot of Twins swinging and missing at breaking balls and changeups. After the game he told reporters that he's stopped throwing his cut fastball because Mariano Rivera told him it wasn't fooling anyone. Chase Wright pitched two hitless innings, escaping a one-out bases loaded jam (a hit batsman and two errors, one his own) by striking out Glenn Williams and Jason Bartlett. Scott Proctor pitched around a double in the seventh. Kyle Farnsworth pitched around a Chris Basak error in the ninth for the save.
Who Didn't?: Walked one of the two batters he faced (though he struck out the other). Chris Britton, brought on to finish Villone's inning, moved the runner to second on an errant pick-off throw, then gave up an RBI single to Chris Heintz before getting the last two outs.
Slick Plays: Robinson Cano made a nice play ranging in to shallow right on a ball that was a single under Miguel Cairo's glove the other day, then later made a nice throw across his body while ranging toward shortstop to nail Joe Mauer. Alex Rodriguez made a great dive to snag a liner to his right to end the second.
Oopsies: After Chase Wright hit Rondell White with one out in the fifth, Alex Rodriguez flubbed a sinking liner off the bat of Matt LeCroy for an error. On the very next play, Wright flubbed a slow hopping comebacker then made a bad throw to first to load the bases. He then struck out the next two men to strand all three runners. Chris Britton threw a pick-off throw past Andy Phillips at first base in much the same way that Ross Ohlendorf threw one past Mientkiewicz the night before. Chris Basak booted a ball at third base in the ninth.
Ouchies: Wil Nieves threw yesterday and should play in a game this weekend.
Battles: Todd Pratt delivered and RBI single to the opposite field in two at-bats. Ben Davis tripled in his only trip. Andy Phillips hit a weak grounder to third in his second spring at-bat. Chris Britton allowed his inherited runner to score . . . from first base. Jeff Karstens, meanwhile, has pretty much won the battle for sixth starter/long man (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K). All that remains to be seen is if the Yankees need a sixth starter before someone else overtakes him during the regular season, or if they decide to take a short reliever or extra outfielder north instead of a long man.
Cuts: Phil Hughes, Ross Ohlendorf, Matt DeSalvo, and Chase Wright were reassigned to minor league camp yesterday. Tyler Clippard will pitch in tonight's game and one suspects he'll be reassigned soon after. Hughes says he will focus on improving his changeup in triple-A so that he can feature it along with his fastball and curve, which are both plus pitches. He leaves camp with a 7.71 ERA having allowed 12 baserunners (6 hits, 6 walks) in 4 2/3 innings and struck out just two. Wright was actually the best of the quartet this spring, posting a 1.35 ERA while striking out seven and allowing just two hits in 6 2/3 innings. Of course he did walk five and hit another. DeSalvo, for all of Torre's praise, allowed 11 baserunners in 6 innings and struck out just one. He and Ohlendorf both leave camp with 4.50 ERAs. Ohlendorf allowed 12 baserunners in 6 innings, though most of that damage (5 of the 12 runners) came in his final appearance on Monday.
Notes: Andy Pettitte and Carl Pavano will both pitch against the Phillies on Saturday, with Pettitte pitching the first five innings and Pavano taking the last four. Joe Torre will ask Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to have his team hit in the bottom of the ninth even if they're ahead so that Pavano can get that fourth inning in.