02/26/2013 6:11 PM ET
Nunez consistently flying off at the helmet
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Eduardo Nunez went 3-for-3 on Tuesday, but not in a stat category that would show up in any box score. The Yankees infielder just can't seem to keep his helmet on his head.
Each time he ran down the line during three groundouts in the Yanks' 4-3 loss to the Phillies at Bright House Field, the batting helmet popped off Nunez's head, bouncing to the dirt before Nunez made it the full 90 feet to first base.
It has been a recurring problem for Nunez, and it hasn't escaped the attention of his teammates.
"They're all over me," Nunez said, giggling. "They kill me, especially [Derek] Jeter: "Nuney, what's wrong with you? This is the Yankees. We can't do that here."
Nunez can't figure out the issue since he is still wearing the same size helmet as last year, a 7 1/4 model.
"Man, I don't know how it happens," Nunez said. "This helmet fits me good on my head. You know, it's tight! I don't know what the problem is."
Major League Baseball introduced new mandatory Rawlings S100 Pro Comp helmets this spring, which are designed to withstand baseball impacts of 100 mph.
Perhaps that could be one possible explanation, but then again, there has been no rash of MLB players losing their helmets around other big league camps.
"It's Nuney," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the easiest way to describe that, right?"
Yankees don't reciprocate Damon's interest in reunion
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Johnny Damon doesn't need to pack his car for the drive down Interstate 4. The Yankees have responded to the free agent's overtures by essentially saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman received a text message from agent Scott Boras on Monday after Damon told ESPN Radio that he had "tons of interest" in coming to camp to fight for a roster spot this spring.
"We're going to evaluate what we have in camp," Cashman said. "I'm not looking outside at this stage. But my first response always to [an injured player] is to make sure we don't have what we need right here in front of us."
The Yankees are looking for a starting left fielder with Curtis Granderson expected to be sidelined until May. The cast of competitors currently in camp includes Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa and Ronnier Mustelier. Damon, who lives in nearby Orlando, said he'd join the mix for the league minimum.
"Listen, it's just not something we're going to pursue," Cashman said. "I love Johnny, a lot of leadership and everything else, but it's just not going to fit our needs. It's the same reason we didn't bring him in last year. We need somebody who can play the outfield every day."
The Yankees also heard from Damon last spring, but they decided to sign Raul Ibanez for a DH role because Ibanez had shown the ability to play some in the outfield. Cashman said on Tuesday that he believes Damon is no longer a full-time outfielder.
"That's what he was towards the end with us [in 2009]," Cashman said. "But he was a great Yankee, has a World Series ring to show for it, and it was a good marriage while we had it."
Cashman said he has also heard from other free agents about the outfield job and gave them the same response that Damon received. Cashman added that there have been no further discussions about an extension with Robinson Cano, whom Boras also represents.
Minus mishaps, Robertson on pace for Opening Day
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- After last spring's mishap, David Robertson can promise one thing: He won't be carrying any boxes down the stairs.
Robertson added to the long list of odd baseball injuries last March when he tumbled down the steps of his Florida home while taking several empty boxes out for recycling.
That's one reason why Robertson, who pitched a scoreless inning with one walk on Tuesday, said he feels like he is more prepared for the season.
"I feel like I'm in better shape; I didn't fall down the stairs yet," Robertson said. "I didn't have to sit out two to three weeks. I just feel like my workouts were good -- so far, so good."
Robertson said he needs about eight or nine appearances to feel ready for the season, and he would like to come into a tight jam to face a few hitters. Otherwise, Robertson feels that he has a good idea of what to do to get ready for the season.
"This is my fifth Spring Training, and it's the same thing: You've got to come in and get command of your fastball," Robertson said. "That's key for me. I throw a lot of fastballs.
"Later in the spring, I'll start mixing in my breaking ball, throwing it more, in the counts that I might really use it in a game in New York; same with the changeup. But for now, it's all about getting that fastball command."
• Phil Hughes continued his aquatic rehab at the Yankees' Minor League complex on Wednesday and "continues to progress," according to manager Joe Girardi. Hughes is expected to resume throwing in about a week.
• Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-3 and JR Murphy hit a two-run homer on Tuesday, but Girardi seemed most impressed by right-hander Jose Ramirez, who threw two scoreless innings in his start against the Phillies.
"A young man, starting his first game here, seeing [Ryan] Howard and [Jimmy] Rollins, he threw strikes," Girardi said. "He did a nice job. He's got a live arm, a really good changeup, saw a good slider today. Good stuff."