03/15/2013 6:07 PM ET
Yankees name Minor League players of year
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Outfielder Tyler Austin and right-hander Mark Montgomery were named winners of the Yankees' 2012 Kevin Lawn Award as the club's Minor League "Player of the Year" and "Pitcher of the Year," respectively.
The players received their awards prior to Friday's game against the Marlins. The annual awards are dedicated to Kevin O'Brien Lawn, the son of longtime Yankees vice president and chief of operations Jack Lawn, who passed away in 1999.
Austin, 21, combined to hit .322 with 17 home runs and 80 RBIs in 110 games across four levels last year, leading all Yankees Minor Leaguers in batting average for the second consecutive season, while ranking third in RBIs and fourth in stolen bases (23).
Montgomery, 22, split the season between Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, combining to go 7-2 with 15 saves and a 1.54 ERA in 46 appearances, leading all Yankees farmhands in saves.
• Francisco Cervelli joked that it might take 300 at-bats before his next home run, having slugged his first of the spring on Friday. The Yankees have emphasized defense with their catchers, but Cervelli knows that any offensive contributions won't hurt his case for more playing time.
"It's about defense, but if you can hit, I think you can be there six days a week," Cervelli said.
• Yankees outfield prospect Slade Heathcott has been shelved with patellar tendinitis, according to Girardi. Heathcott had been scheduled to go on Thursday's trip to play the Blue Jays in Dunedin before being scratched.
• Yankees catcher Chris Stewart was hit in the right shoulder with a foul tip but is expected to play on Saturday.
Jeter set to man shortstop in consecutive games
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter plans to be in the Yankees' lineup playing shortstop on Saturday against the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field, marking his first defensive duty in consecutive games.
Jeter went 1-for-3 as the Yanks' shortstop in Friday's 7-3 win over the Marlins, playing five innings in the field and fielding three balls, including a soft Austin Kearns liner on which he was able to double off Kevin Kouzmanoff at first base.
"It's good. Honestly, it's just like any other Spring Training," Jeter said. "When you go out there and you start, you hope you get more ground balls and more action as you move along."
Jeter raised some eyebrows when he slid well short of second base on a third-inning fielder's choice, but said it had nothing to do with avoiding contact on his surgically repaired left ankle.
"I always do that, because [Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria] was at second base and I was halfway there," Jeter said. "A lot of guys peel off. I just slide."
Sabathia in good shape after spring debut
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have been in no hurry to see CC Sabathia pitching against an opposing lineup, but as the ace left-hander made his Spring Training debut on Friday, he said there should be no issue getting ready to start on Opening Day.
Sabathia turned in his first spring start for New York on Friday, hurling five innings of two-run ball in a 7-3 victory over the Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Sabathia threw 46 of 64 pitches for strikes in the outing, scattering eight hits.
"It felt good to get out there against some different hitters," said Sabathia, who had been pitching batting practice and simulated games to this point. "I just tried to make some pitches. I felt pretty good today."
Sabathia said his changeup was good, and while his fastball command needs to improve, he had success using his cutter. He added that his velocity -- clocked around 90 mph by the television radar gun -- is just about right for this point in the spring.
"I know he's thrown simulated games, but it's in a sense his first game with those types of surroundings, and he got better as the day went along," manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought his changeup got better. I thought his slider and his fastball got better. I was happy."
Coming off October surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow, Sabathia said that he has long been over any fears about recurring discomfort. He has moved on to the countdown to April 1 against the Red Sox.
"I started letting it go early and didn't have any problems. I felt good," Sabathia said. "I'll just keep building in the bullpen, make sure my fastball command gets better and just go from there."
Yanks agree to terms with outfielder Boesch
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have tossed another name into the mix as they search for solutions to their outfield issues, agreeing to terms on a Major League contract with free agent Brennan Boesch on Friday.
CBSSports.com first reported that the 27-year-old Boesch has agreed to a deal worth $1.5 million, plus $600,000 in possible performance incentives.
Boesch was released by the Tigers earlier this week after Detroit was unable to trade him, having settled on Andy Dirks as their starting left fielder. He is now expected to compete for a corner-outfield job with the Yankees while Curtis Granderson recovers from a right forearm fracture that should keep him out of New York's lineup until early May.
Boesch hit .240 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in 132 games last season, posting a .659 OPS. Boesch is a career .259 hitter over three big league seasons and had his best year in 2011, when he batted .283 with 16 homers, 54 RBIs and a .799 OPS in 115 games.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been scouring available options following a rash of spring injuries that also included the loss of first baseman Mark Teixeira, who strained his right forearm and is expected to be out of action until the middle of May.
The signing of Boesch would restore the Yankees to an all left-handed-hitting outfield alignment, with Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki expected to be in New York's outfield on Opening Day. Boesch has played 251 career big league games in right field and 101 games in left field.
The Yankees have been auditioning for a right-handed outfield bat this spring to help balance their order and provide an option against left-handed pitching; Juan Rivera and the recently acquired Ben Francisco, who signed a Minor League deal this week, are thought to be the leading candidates for that job.
New York has also been giving spring playing time to veteran Matt Diaz, as well as prospects Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa and Ronnier Mustelier as they examine their in-house options for outfield help.
Mustelier to rest after sustaining leg contusions
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees third baseman Ronnier Mustelier suffered multiple contusions to both legs after colliding with a metal railing in pursuit of a foul ball during Friday's game against the Marlins.
Mustelier was chasing Juan Pierre's fourth-inning popup when he hit the fence in front of the third-base camera well, falling to the ground. He was helped to his feet by manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue and walked off the field slowly. Mustelier said that the most serious injuries were to his right knee and left hamstring.
"It was just the heat of the game," he said through an interpreter. "I was trying to catch the ball, I was trying to put my glove between me and the sun, and I just hit the rail."
Girardi said that he does not expect Mustelier to play until Tuesday.
"I couldn't tell, because his back was to me," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "I didn't know if he saw [the railing] or not, but he didn't see it. That was rough. I think he'll be all right."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that Mustelier's live bat is giving him a chance to make the roster this spring while the team searches for possible replacements for injured stars Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira.
A 28-year-old Cuban refugee who has played mostly outfield in the Yankees' Minor League system, Mustelier has received more of a look at third base of late and said he senses an opportunity is here.
"That's something that you're always thinking, and that's why I'm playing hard, and that's why I will keep playing hard," Mustelier said.
Girardi said that Mustelier has forced the Yankees to notice him during this camp, which could open the door for his promotion later in the year, even if he does not break camp with the club.
"We'd talked about [how Mustelier] was a young man that could hit and had played mostly outfield," Girardi said. "He'd played a little bit of third with the Yankees, but had played third mostly in Cuba. He's looked pretty good over there. He's made the plays. ... He's more athletic than I thought. He runs pretty well. He's made an impression."