2/16/2014 4:26 P.M. ET
Bullpen spots could be determined late in spring
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees are coming into the spring with a fairly unsettled bullpen picture, and so while manager Joe Girardi would like to think that he has a loose idea of how things will shake out, he expects there to be quite a few late calls as well.
Girardi said that right-hander Shawn Kelley will probably serve as a setup man for closer David Robertson, but there are still plenty of jobs that could shift between now and the beginning of the season.
"I think if you were going to draw it up now, I think you would say that [Kelley would set up] because of his experience, his ability to strike people out, and he had a pretty good year for us last year," Girardi said.
"We expect Robbie to be our closer and Matt Thornton to be our situational left-hander. And then after that, it's kind of pretty open."
Girardi said that his preference would be to have dedicated pitchers for the late innings, but he could also have to be flexible.
"You'd like to have a guy that you could say, 'OK, this is your job,'" Girardi said. "It's not always that simple, and sometimes you have to mix and match a little bit more.
"Some years I've had to do that, but I would love to be able to say, 'Here's my seventh-inning guy. Here's my eight-inning guy. Here's my left-handed specialist, and here we go.' But we'll see how it works its way out."
Girardi has suggested that members of the group vying for the fifth-starter job could wind up helping out in relief roles. He noted on Sunday that both David Phelps and Adam Warren have pitched out of the bullpen with some success.
"You have many guys vying for the fifth spot, and they affect the bullpen," Girardi said. "So for me to try to make a decision [by] March 5, March 10, it's probably not fair."
Tanaka not winded while running this time around
TAMPA, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka laced up his Asics running shoes early in the morning and was ready for whatever came next. On his second day of camp, there weren't going to be any surprises.
One day after having difficulty wrapping up his workout, Tanaka said that he had no issues with Sunday's prescribed running for the Yankees' pitchers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"Today was short distance. No problem at all," Tanaka said through an interpreter, adding a wide smile.
The comment came one day after Tanaka threw a 32-pitch bullpen session, then appeared to move slowly while completing four laps around the warning track of a practice field (approximately one mile).
Tanaka said that he had been running in Japan while training, but he was caught off guard by Saturday's assignment, saying that he "just didn't know he was going to run yesterday at that particular time."
Otherwise, Tanaka said that "as far as drills go, it's pretty much the same here as over in Japan." He is still adjusting to the amount of media attention, which Tanaka said is greater than what he was used to experiencing with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
"It's hard to compare with the attention of the Yankees to the Rakuten Eagles," Tanaka said. "The Eagles are still a fairly new team. The Yankees are very rich in tradition and history. It's not comparable."
Jeter could be on field when Yankees honor Mo
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera might be able to share the same field again, if everything works out right.
With the Yankees planning to honor Rivera in Panama next month, Jeter would seem to be a natural fit to play in a pair of exhibition games against the Marlins on March 15 and 16 at Panama City's Rod Carew Stadium.
"Obviously we're going to take a team that represents us very well, but we also have games here [in Florida]; these are split-squad games for us," manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday. "I believe it will be the first game that Mo actually goes on the road with us in Spring Training, so I'm kind of looking forward to that."
Asked specifically about Jeter's availability, Girardi said that it was too early to say for sure if the captain would be on the Panama travel roster. The Yankees also have to field lineups for split-squad Grapefruit League games against the Orioles and Braves those days.
"The interesting thing is, you could try to make a roster now, but a lot of it could change," Girardi said. "For us to do that probably doesn't make a lot of sense, wasting a lot of time doing that."
• It is likely that Manny Banuelos will begin the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after missing all of 2013 following Tommy John surgery, but Girardi plans to keep an eye on the left-handed prospect this spring.
"We're going to look at every arm in camp and try to put the 12 best together, and we'll try to go from there," Girardi said. "That doesn't just limit him to being a starter; who knows? He could be in the bullpen."
• Yoshinori Tateyama, a right-handed reliever who was invited to camp as a non-roster invitee, is arriving late due to visa issues. Girardi said that Tateyama was expected to arrive in Tampa on Sunday, and would work out with the team on Monday or Tuesday.