03/15/12 5:26 PM ET
Pena sprains ankle, will likely miss time
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
Yanks monitoring Garcia's bruised right hand
VIERA, Fla. -- The Yankees are in wait-and-see mode with regard to Freddy Garcia's bruised right hand, and it appears doubtful he'll make his next scheduled spring start. But the club doesn't consider the injury to be serious."We'll know a lot more in the next 48 hours," manager Joe Girardi said Thursday morning. Garcia left Wednesday's game in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays in the fourth inning, after a one-hopper off the bat of Edwin Jackson nailed him between the thumb and index finger on his pitching hand. X-rays were negative, and Garcia told the Newark Star-Ledger that the injury is just a "bad bruise, that's all." Some of the swelling in the hand has gone down, and the Yanks will continue to monitor the situation to determine how (or if) it affects Garcia's schedule. He had been penciled in to pitch Tuesday against the Pirates, but Girardi indicated that start is now in question.
Still, the injury could have been much worse, as Girardi noted. "When you get hit in a hand, there are a lot of things that can go wrong," Girardi said. "I think we're pretty fortunate." Garcia is competing for a back-end spot in the Yankees' rotation. Girardi has said that the only assured spots belong to CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, with Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Garcia battling for the other four spots.
Martin much more at ease this spring
VIERA, Fla. -- A year ago at this time, Russell Martin's head was spinning. He wasn't your typical veteran just getting his work in during Spring Training camp. Every day was a homework assignment, if not a final exam.The reason, of course, is that Martin is a catcher, with a responsibility for knowing the ins, outs, works and quirks of every member of his pitching staff. And after so many years filling that role for the Dodgers, coming to the Yankees was a tough transition. "There was a lot of homework last year," Martin said. "Just feeling comfortable, knowing the guys and understanding what makes them tick, what's their repertoire, what they like to do in certain situations, how they are psychologically and mentally -- are they the type of guy that I need to calm down, or a guy that needs a pat on the back, or a guy that you need to jump on? When you've been with one team a long time and go to a new team, you have to restart everything." This spring, Martin's comfort level is light years beyond what it was in 2011, and so he's in a better position to dispense advice and input to the guys on the mound. Last season, Martin played an instrumental role in the Yanks getting more out of their starting staff than had been projected, and he said that all ties to pitching coach Larry Rothschild's meticulous daily scouting reports. "I have to give a lot of the credit to the preparation," Martin said. "Larry does a tremendous job taking all the information and simplifying it. I just give him knuckles all the time. He's my boy."
Martin looked a little shaken up after getting tangled with Nationals starter Chien-Ming Wang on a close play at first base in the third inning Thursday, but he remained in the game. Wang left the game after the play.
Swisher's tight groin not serious concern
VIERA, Fla. -- Freddy Garcia wasn't the only Yankees player who left Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays early. Nick Swisher suffered a slight strain of his groin and pulled himself from the proceedings.Joe Girardi said Swisher just felt "tightness" and did not seem to think it is a serious concern. "He did the right thing coming out of the game this time of year," Girardi said. "You don't want to risk anything. The sense that I got was that maybe if it was the middle of the season, he might have been able to play." In other injury news, setup man David Robertson, who suffered a bone bruise in his right foot when he fell down a flight of stairs at his home, continues to work his way back to action. Robertson did not run on a treadmill Thursday, as he had Wednesday, but he did play catch. And utility man Eduardo Nunez, who has been out with a bruised hand, is not scheduled to pick up a bat until Saturday.
Raul Ibanez is off to a slow start in Spring Training, batting .083 (2-for-24) in eight games. Joe Girardi said it will be an adjustment for Ibanez to get used to being a designated hitter and getting fewer at-bats. "You do have a little bit of a concern about how he's going to adjust as a DH," Girardi said. "He's done it in the past. He's done it in Seattle, and he's done it in some games where the Phillies have been in an American League ballpark. There's some concern, but even if he doesn't start in a game, there's a good chance he's going to get in. You're going to see your fair share of right-handers anyway. It's not like he's going to go from maybe 600 at-bats to 200 at-bats. He's going to get a lot of at-bats."
The Yanks faced Chien-Ming Wang on Thursday for the first time since cutting him at the end of the 2009 season. Wang tore his shoulder capsule in that '09 season, and endured a long road of rehab before finally returning to action with the Nationals last season. "He went through some serious injuries that he had to deal with," Girardi said. "We've always pulled for him, because he's such a good guy and he meant a lot to our organization. I think all of us have kind of kept check on how he's doing."
Unfortunately, the Yanks had a front-row seat when Wang got hurt in Thursday's game, straining his left hamstring on a close play at first base in the third inning.
Entering Thursday, Mariano Rivera had not allowed an earned run in his last 23 spring innings, dating back to March 13, 2008.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.