Thursday morning Yankees news and notes: 2/28/12

It's the last day of February and you know what that means, we're just over a month away from Opening Day and it'll be here before we know it. And that's a good thing because I really can't handle much more of what the media is dishing out these days. First up, Joel Sherman of the New York Post's hatchet job on Joba Chamberlain. Yes, Joba opened his mouth when he probably shouldn't have. So what? That doesn't mean you have to spend an entire column trashing him and bringing up his freak injury last year, which happened when he was with his child, as a way to make him seem like a bad guy. That's below the belt even for Sherman.

In the end, you can have a pretty good argument the organization has harmed Chamberlain as much as he has hurt himself. Did they rush him too quickly to the majors and let a cult of personality set in? Did the Joba Rules bring about future injuries? There certainly are questions of Joba being misused and miscast — though I think Chamberlain was a physical red flag no matter how he was deployed, that he never was going to have the consistency in personality or performance to thrive at any one specific role and that his immature nature always was going to be tempted by the trampolines of life.

Oy vey.

I wrote a short blurb about this last night but it seems everyone took Joe Girardi's "Phil Hughes could miss the start of the season" quote and ran with it. I'm not going to link everything but I took this screenshot of my google news page to show you what I mean:

MLBPA head Michael Weiner is skeptical about the Yankees' 2014 payroll plans:

 "I imagine that Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I'll believe it when I see it."

You and me both, Mr. Weiner. I still think that the Steinbrenner's will change their minds if the Yankees completely tank this season.

I was on the IIATMS twitter account yesterday live tweeting Joe Girardi's appearance on the Mike Francesa show yesterday and here are some of the highlights, in case you missed it:

  • The LF candidates include the kids - says there are 5 or 6 candidates for the job.
  • He's not against a platoon in LF while Granderson is out.
  • He thinks Kevin Youkilis is an everyday guy - will move him around, DH him, maybe play him at first, etc.
  • Hafner needs to stay healthy. (Well, yeah...)
  • Eduardo Nunez's playing time at SS depends on how Jeter's feeling but he will be at SS not in the outfield. He'll also DH.
  • He spoke about Zoilo Almonte and how the kids have an opportunity now that they may not have had before Granderson's injury.
  • The catching situation: Anything is possible. Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are the front runners BUT any of the three (Austin Romine included) can win.
  • He spoke about how he's going to manage differently because of the new make-up of the team: Pitching/defense club. Not as many HRs.
  • Thinks the WBC will help Mark Teixeira this season.
  • He discussed the bullpen depth - hopes the bullpen isn't tested like it was last season
  • Nova has made some adjustments to his mechanics and is scheduled to throw on Saturday.
  • Bench will not be as experienced or as powerful as 2012. (No kidding.) Believes the team is not fully assembled yet.
  • Girardi thinks Derek Jeter will be ready for opening day.

Some more notes:

  • Mariano Rivera will throw a simulated game this morning, this according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN via Twitter.
  • Today's Lineup vs. TOR: Gardner CF, Ichiro RF, Teixeira 1B, Hafner DH, Rivera LF, Stewart C, Johnson 3B, Pirela 2B, Velazquez SS, Phelps P via the Yankees PR Twitter

Happy Thursday, everyone.