04/13/2013 1:00 AM ET
Yankees introduce promotional bobblehead series
By Paul Casella / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- For the first time in the last decade, the Yankees' 2013 promotional calendar will include a series of player bobblehead giveaways.
The club on Friday introduced a three-year promotional program, during which 12 total limited-edition bobbleheads will be distributed. The first four such bobbleheads will be handed out this season, starting with Derek Jeter on July 8 against the Royals.
Next in line will be former Yankee and 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, on July 28 against the Rays, followed by Yankees legend Yogi Berra on Aug. 30 versus the Orioles. Closer Mariano Rivera will be featured as the last bobblehead giveaway of the season when the Yankees kick off the final homestand of Rivera's career on Sept. 24 against the Rays.
Bobbleheads will be distributed to the first 18,000 guests in attendance on each giveaway night. Fans can also purchase special Yankees bobblehead ticket packs, starting at $88, at yankees.com/bobblehead.
Back spasms push back Pettitte's next start
NEW YORK -- In what manager Joe Girardi deemed a precautionary move, veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte will not make his scheduled start Sunday against the Orioles due to back spasms.
The injury doesn't appear to be anything serious, and Girardi hopes to have the 40-year-old southpaw back on the mound either Tuesday or Wednesday, when the Yankees host the Diamondbacks. Phil Hughes -- originally expected to be skipped over after his Thursday start was rained out -- will now take the mound on Saturday, while Saturday's scheduled starter, Hiroki Kuroda, will pitch on Sunday.
Pettitte initially felt his back tighten up during Tuesday's outing against the Indians, but the left-hander said he was able to pitch through the pain in his middle back without it affecting his game. Though a little sore Wednesday, Pettitte felt back to normal during his bullpen session on Thursday before his lower back locked up at home Thursday night.
"I came in [Thursday] and threw my bullpen and felt great -- just threw a really good bullpen," Pettitte said. "I did my normal routine, as far as my whole upper-body workout, and then [Thursday] night just getting up off the couch, I had a spasm in my lower back and it just kind of locked up."
Though Girardi admitted Pettitte's age is something the coaching staff will take into account when dealing with potential issues this season, he doesn't believe it will play a factor this time around.
"Back spasms [are] just something that comes up," Girardi said. "If it reoccurs all the time, then it becomes a concern, but I've had them plenty in my lifetime and I didn't think it was going to keep me from playing. It might knock you out for a few days, but hopefully it's just a one-time event."
For Pettitte, the spasms come after two dominating outings to start his 18th Major League season. He allowed just one run on eight hits over eight innings in his season debut against the Red Sox before also limiting the Indians to one run on just five hits in seven innings of work on Tuesday.
"It's frustrating, you just never know," Pettitte said. "I had seven weeks of Spring Training, not one problem. So it is worrisome for me because I want to be healthy and I want to make my starts, but yet I also think that it's just a muscle spasm, and if it goes away, I'll be fine to pitch."
Teixeira to continue building up strength in wrist
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira was not cleared to begin swinging a bat Friday as he had hoped after meeting with Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, but the first baseman said he is still progressing in his recovery from a partially torn tendon in his right wrist.
Instead of clearing Teixeira to start swinging, the doctor wanted the slugger to focus strictly on building up strength in his right wrist over the next couple of days.
"He was very happy with how it looked, how it felt," said Teixeira, who has been on the disabled list with a torn ECU sheath in the wrist. "He wants me to get a little stronger before I swing, so the next couple days I'm just going to really ramp up the strengthening. Because we're kind of going week to week with it, he wants to make sure it's really strong enough before I swing.
"All good news, I'm just not swinging yet."
As for Teixeira's projected return date, he said not swinging a bat on Friday doesn't change his timetable. He is still eyeing the week of May 1 for his return to the lineup.
"We'll just kind of take it day by day and progress up to it," Teixeira said. "[The doctor] is very happy with the progress."
Nunez hit by pitch, exits with bruised wrist
NEW YORK -- The injury bug struck again for the Yankees on Friday night, with shortstop Eduardo Nunez leaving the series opener against the Orioles early after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch. He was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion after X-rays came back negative.
Nunez, who missed two starts with a bruised right bicep last week after being hit by an 88-mph Doug Fister fastball, was struck Friday by a Miguel Gonzalez changeup in the bottom of the second inning.
Though he remained in the game to run the bases, Nunez couldn't field his position in the third inning. He initially remained on the field at the end of the second to test his arm, but was lifted for Jayson Nix after struggling to make a warmup throw to first base.
Entering play Friday, Nunez was hitting .250 (5-for-20) with one double and one RBI in seven games replacing Derek Jeter.
Yankees look to keep rolling despite rainouts
NEW YORK -- Though the weather at Yankee Stadium on Friday wasn't exactly ideal for baseball, Yankees manager Joe Girardi couldn't wait to take his seat in the dugout.
After the final two games of his club's road trip were rained out in Cleveland, Girardi didn't seem to mind the blustery 40-degree temperatures or light rain ahead of Friday's series opener against the Orioles.
"I'm just looking forward to going outside," Girardi said. "It seems like we were in the clubhouse for two straight days, and when we weren't in the clubhouse, we were in the hotel because it was raining. I think our guys are anxious to get going again. We were playing pretty well at the time, and hopefully it carries over."
Prior to the consecutive postponements on Wednesday and Thursday, the Yankees had won three straight games by a combined score of 32-7. After starting the season 1-4, New York defeated the Tigers, 7-0, in its series finale in Detroit, then scored 25 runs in two games against the Indians before weather disrupted the rest of the series.
"You do worry a little bit about rust after two days off," Girardi said. "It's unusual to have two days off now, at the beginning of the season ... but I think we'll be OK."