03/23/2013 4:18 PM ET
Nuno has good chance to break camp with Yanks
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Vidal Nuno "has opened everyone's eyes" and is making a run at breaking camp with the Yankees, according to general manager Brian Cashman.
A 25-year-old left-hander who was originally property of the Indians and signed with the Yankees after pitching in independent ball, Nuno has compiled an 0.68 ERA in 13 1/3 Grapefruit League innings and may wind up being rewarded with a spot in New York's bullpen.
"I just go day by day, wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, look in the mirror and say, 'You've got to work hard,'" Nuno said. "I don't play the GM, I don't think like that. It's just having another day on the baseball field and putting on the uniform."
Nuno's statistics do not include what he has also done against the Yankees this spring; with the Dominican Republic short on pitching for a March 6 exhibition at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Nuno was borrowed by manager Tony Pena's club and spun four hitless innings in a spot start.
For his participation, Nuno -- who grew up near San Diego and is of Mexican descent -- was rewarded with a souvenir Dominican Republic T-shirt and cap. It was a neat footnote in what has been a breakout spring for the hurler, who pitched last year at Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
"I don't think or overthrow, and I hit my spots," Nuno said. "That's one key I preach to myself, just hit location and make the ball dance, and you'll get people out."
A 48th-round pick of the Indians in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft who received a non-roster invitation to camp this spring, Nuno could make the club because left-hander Clay Rapada will start the year on the disabled list while he builds back up from a bout with left shoulder bursitis. Nuno said that he has expanded his repertoire to include two fastballs, a curveball, slider, changeup and cutter.
"I don't throw hard, so I need to make the ball dance a little bit," Nuno said.
After being cut loose by Cleveland after two seasons in its farm system, Nuno made six starts for the Washington Wild Things in 2011 before having his contract purchased by the Yankees.
He was a combined 10-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 31 games (21 starts) last year between Tampa and Trenton, and said that his decision to play independent ball ultimately came down to not being ready to give up on his dreams.
"It was just another step of looking in the mirror, telling me I had to play baseball," Nuno said. "Do I want to play baseball, or [would] I have to find a job?
"It was another shot, so I had to see if I pursued it and see if anybody picked me up, and sure enough, God blessed me that the Yankees picked me up and gave me a shot."
Boesch visits doctor, should return soon
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brennan Boesch was seen by a Yankees team doctor and checked out fine, according to manager Joe Girardi.
The outfielder asked for a heat pack for his left rib cage after a two-hour bus ride to Fort Myers on Friday, raising a red flag for the Yankees' training staff.
Boesch was scratched from Friday's game against the Twins as a precaution and is not expected to play until Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Girardi.
Girardi pondering how to split catching duties
TAMPA, Fla. -- Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart appear locked in as the Yankees' catching tandem to start the season, but manager Joe Girardi still has not ironed out exactly how he wants to split the duties.
Girardi is entertaining the idea of having one player catch three games and the other catch two, but he is "not necessarily" married to that arrangement.
"I would say we're a little bit clearer," Girardi said. "We still have this last week to evaluate it. I still don't have an exact plan of how I want to do it. I think during the season you have to see how these guys are doing, basically, and how it's working out on a daily basis before we really jump into it."
Girardi met with his catchers earlier this spring and emphasized that defense must be their first priority, with any offensive contributions essentially considered a bonus. Thus far, the message seems to have been received.
"I'm pleased with the progress Cervy has made on his defense," Girardi said. "We always knew Stewy was a good defensive catcher. We'll sit down and talk about it next week."
• The Yankees may need until their March 30 exhibition against Army to hammer out their first-base situation, Girardi said. Juan Rivera appears to be a front-runner for the position, but Dan Johnson is also still in camp and Kevin Youkilis won a Gold Glove Award at first base in 2007.
• Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner exited Saturday's game against the Tigers after five innings. Girardi told reporters that Gardner was fighting a stomach bug from something he ate on Friday and that the Yankees did not want him to get dehydrated. Gardner is expected to play on Sunday.
• Ben Francisco, who signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees this month after requesting to be released by the Indians, is making a strong bid for a roster spot. Francisco homered twice on Saturday against the Tigers and, including his stats with Cleveland, is batting .350 (14-for-40) this spring.