Using my standard spring format, which I hope to apply to all of the Yankees spring training games this March, here's the recap of today's opener. Check out the previous post for the liveblog blow-by-blow.
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)
(according to Jim Baumbach, class clown Johnny Damon looked at the lineup and cracked "are we even trying?")
Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Phil Hughes, T.J. Beam, Ross Ohlendorf, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Jose Veras
Subs: Josh Phelps (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Marcos Vechionacci (3B), Raul Chavez (C), Kevin Thompson (RF), Brett Gardner (CF), Kevin Reese (LF), Jose Tabata (PR/DH)
Opposition: The reigning AL Central Champions B-squad, just two notable hitters (Morneau, Cuddyer), and no quality major league pitchers.
Big Hits: Homers by Giambi (a two-run shot, 1 for 1, 2 BB) and Damon (leading off the game, 1 for 3, K), a bases-loaded RBI single by Posada (1 for 1, BB)
Who Pitched Well: Wang retired all six batters he faced, five on ground balls, and needed just 19 pitches to do it. Only ten of those pitches were strikes, however, and both he and Posada said after the game that he was wild up in the zone. He gets better? Ohlendorf looked sharp in his two innings, pitching around a pair of singles, one a well-placed grounder, the other a blooped jam shot over second. Four of Ohlendorf's six outs came on the ground and one was an infield popup. Joe Torre enthusiastically described him as "real polished" after the game. Vizcaino, Myers, and Veras also looked good against the Twins' subs.
Who Didn't: Golden Boy Phil Hughes was anxious, overstriding by his own admission, and likely overthrowing. His laser-guided control deserted him and his lethal curve either hung or missed wildly. He used up his 33 pitches in 1 1/3 innings walking two, allowing a double to Michael Cuddyer, and throwing a wild pitch that moved Cuddyer to third, from which he scored after Hughes' departure. Hughes did get the reigning AL MVP to take a perfectly placed strike three to end his outing. Hardly a disaster by any stretch, but a disappointment given both the hype and what I've seen of Hughes with my own eyes in the past. T.J. Beam allowed that one run to score in the process of allowing as many baserunners as outs recorded.
Ouchies: Carl Pavano had a successful bullpen, reported no problems with his bruised foot, and will make his scheduled start on Sunday. Raul Chavez, all the way back from his broken hand, played half of the game behind the plate. He and Giambi, who had off-season wrist surjery, appear to be 100 percent.
Battles: Hughes made a case for starting the year in triple-A by showing some butterflies on the mound. Ohlendorf has injected himself into the emergency-starter picture along with Rasner and Karstens. Chavez was the only backup catcher to see action and went 1 for 3 with a single and a K. In the field he showed off his arm by throwing behind Twins' lead-off man Denard Span and almost picking him off. Josh Phelps walked in his only at-bat and got the job done in the field. Andy Phillips, meanwhile, has left the team to be with his mother who was in a serious car accident. Last year Phillips' wife was undergoing chemotherapy during spring training. His wife is doing well. Here's hoping we can soon say the same about his mother.