Postgame notes: Dean living the dream
By Wallace Matthews
TAMPA, Fla. -- The news was broken, like much news is these days, via a social media site. Jedd Gyorko, a former teammate of Dean Anna in the San Diego Padres organization, sent this out at 7:19 p.m.:
Three hours later, here was Joe Girardi's reaction: "I hate tweets."
The Yankees have been trying to keep a lid on their last-minute infield machinations but by then, the story was out. The 27-year-old from the Chicago suburbs had made the most of his first big-league camp and will be joining the Yankees as a spare infielder, thanks to the back injury that landed Brendan Ryan on the DL.
But listening to Joe Girardi, it sounds as if Anna, who hit .262 this spring, will be more than just the backup to Derek Jeter's backup.
"He gives you a ton of flexibility," Girardi said. "He played a very good shortstop for us, he's a left-handed bat if we give Jeet a day off against a righthander. I wouldn't be afraid to play him at second or third, if you give [Mark Teixeira] a day off and you move Kelly Johnson to first. I'd feel comfortable playing him anywhere in the infield. He fits the mold."
Anna, who spent six seasons in the Padres system without ever being invited to spring training, took the news almost stoically.
"You know what, I'm not shocked, nothing like that," he said. "I really feel a little numb more than anything right now. Everyone else is really excited for me. It doesn't really feel like much, like I thought it would be. But I think opening day is going to be a little different story."
The $155-Million long man: Masahiro Tanaka pitched the final six innings tonight, allowing three hits and striking out 10. He got into a little bit of a jam in the ninth after a bunt single and an error by Eduardo Nunez, but got out of it with a pair of groundouts to end the game. When the Yankees were batting, Tanaka retired to the clubhouse and sat in a folding chair watching the game on TV.
Tanaka came on in relief of Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched the first three innings. He also allowed three hits and walked none. He struck out four.
"They both did what you want to see in their last outing," Girardi said. "Obviously Tanaka we extended because he's not pitching for a week, and he wanted to pitch tonight instead of tomorrow. I thought they both threw really good.'
Kuroda will start the second game of the regular season on Wednesday against the Astros in Houston. Tanaka will go on Friday in the series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Not again!: The Marlins no-hit the Yankees on March 15 in Panama, and held them hitless for the first seven innings, until Kelly Johnson led off the eighth with a double. Still, they took a fourth inning 1-0 lead when Brett Gardner reached on an error, stole second and third, and scored on a groundout. They added two more in the eighth when Brian Robertssingled in Nunez (pinch-running for Johnson), and Yangervis Solarte singled in Antoan Richardson, running for Roberts.
Shhhhhh!: Derek Jeter, a rabid Michigan basketball fan, cautioned the writers in the Yankees clubhouse not to tell him the score of the game tonight between Michigan and Tennessee, because he had recorded it and was planning to watch it at home. "If any of you guys tells me the socre," he said, "I won't talk to you for the rest of the season." Then he walked through the clubhouse making noises and covering his ears so as not to inadvertently hear anything that would ruin his night.
At long last: The final game of the spring, against the Marlins again, at 1:05 p.m., weather permitting. Ivan Nova will make the start and Jacoby Ellsbury, who has not been in a big-league game since tweaking a calf on March 14, is pencilled in to play.