03/20/2013 6:35 PM ET
Nunez getting closer to silencing critics
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- With each morning session spent firing baseballs across the infield to first base, Eduardo Nunez believes he is getting closer and closer to silencing his critics.
Nunez is acutely aware of the negative commentary his defensive adventures can create, and surely maintaining an active Twitter account (@EduardoNunez15) does not exactly help the situation.
Manager Joe Girardi is among those who believe Nunez's throwing has improved this spring, because Nunez has worked with infield coach Mick Kelleher to adjust his arm action to a more repeatable slot.
"It's my arm action. They got me to do that," Nunez said. "That's why I'm excited. I don't throw too many balls in the stands anymore."
The Yankees stopped experimenting with Nunez as a utility man last year, sending him to the Minors to focus on playing shortstop every day. Even this spring with unexpected holes at third base and left field, positions Nunez has played in the big leagues, he has remained at shortstop.
Nunez would be the Yankees' Opening Day shortstop if Jeter is unavailable. Nunez said that he has been receiving one piece of advice per day from Jeter and feels more confident and comfortable than last year, when his throwing issues and the demotion created negative thoughts in his mind.
"It's hard when you know you can do better than that and you're not doing it," Nunez said. "I hear a lot of things. People blame you: 'You [stink]. You can't do this.' That's hard, but everything that I hear -- comments about myself -- they make me stronger.
"I tell myself, 'I work hard and I will prove them wrong.' The people that talked about me bad, they're wrong. I don't put my head down."
Nunez committed an error in the Yankees' 4-0 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday, but Girardi gave him a pass, saying that he had been caught on a short hop on a do-or-die play. Nunez said that he would be excited to fill in for Jeter on Opening Day but would not feel more pressure because of the name he replaced.
"Nobody [can] be like Derek Jeter, you know?" Nunez said. "I [can] be like Eduardo Nunez. I know that's a heavy feeling on your back. You have to do a good job, but I don't worry about that. I do my best and help the team to win."
CC tunes up for Opening Day against Minor Leaguers
TAMPA, Fla. -- CC Sabathia threw 92 pitches in a tuneup for his Opening Day start on Wednesday, taking on a lineup of Yankees Minor League hitters at the club's Himes Avenue training complex.
"I did everything I wanted to do; I got the pitch count up. It was good," Sabathia said. "It was a little better today. I was keeping the ball into righties much better, [and] that was the biggest thing. We worked on that today."
Sabathia threw to catcher Francisco Cervelli against the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup, pitching with the Double-A Trenton defense behind him. Sabathia worked six innings, scattering a run on eight hits with a walk and a strikeout. He threw 65 pitches for strikes.
As Sabathia did earlier in the spring when he passed on a chance to face the Blue Jays, the southpaw said he preferred facing batters in pinstripes to staying at George M. Steinbrenner Field to see the Red Sox in a Grapefruit League game.
"I would much rather not have them see my stuff right now if they didn't have to," said Sabathia, who will face Boston on April 1 at Yankee Stadium. "Pitching in a Minor League game was the best way for me to get to 90 pitches.
"That's a long start for me, so I thought the best way to do that was in the Minors. I'll probably take it down a little bit and I'll be ready for Opening Day."
Drawing interest, Wang works out for Yanks' scouts
TAMPA, Fla. -- It seemed like old times for Chien-Ming Wang on Wednesday, as the right-hander worked out for Yankees scouts at the club's Minor League complex.
Currently a free agent, Wang has been drawing interest from several teams after pitching for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic.
General manager Brian Cashman said that Wang was clocked as high as 92 or 93 mph in the Classic, and that Wang was agreeable to coming in for a tryout. Cashman said that no contract has been signed, but the Yankees would consider offering a Minor League deal to help fill vacancies in the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation.
"He obviously had a great time while he was here, so I think there was some interest on his part," Cashman said. "I think if he was going to have to do a Minor League deal somewhere, he'd probably prefer it to be here. We're going to take a further look at it."
Wang, who turns 33 on March 31, was 55-26 with a 4.16 ERA over five years with the Yankees from 2005-09, including posting back-to-back totals of 19 wins in 2006 and '07.
His career was interrupted by a right foot injury suffered running the bases in a 2008 Interleague game, and Wang went 6-6 with a 4.94 ERA in 21 games (16 starts) with the Nationals from 2011-12.
• Sabathia should have one more spring start before taking the ball on Opening Day. Girardi has Sabathia listed to pitch on Tuesday against the Astros, meaning Sabathia will finish the spring having just started twice against big league teams. He also faced the Marlins on March 15 at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
• Robinson Cano is expected to rejoin the Yankees on Thursday after his service with the Dominican Republic's victorious World Baseball Classic squad. Girardi said that he plans to play Cano, who was named the Classic's MVP, in the 7:05 p.m. ET start against the Twins.
• Ronnier Mustelier had been scheduled to return to play some left field on Wednesday, but Girardi said that he decided not to play Mustelier to allow the swelling to go down in his legs. Mustelier, who suffered multiple bruises on both legs crashing into a metal fence while chasing a foul pop-up last week, is expected to play on Thursday.
• Left-hander Matt Tracy and right-hander Mark Montgomery were reassigned to Minor League camp.