TAMPA, Fla. - Heavy rain right around game time forced the Yankees to cancel their game with the Tigers Sunday. It also forced manager Joe Girardi to get creative.
With a day off scheduled for tomorrow, Girardi had hoped to get work for seven pitchers Sunday and today. Because baseball games last only nine innings and four of the seven pitchers are training as starters, the Yankees needed to find another game for Monday in addition to the regularly scheduled one at Clearwater against the Phillies.
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Girardi said, "It's a mess, kinda.'' That was before he figured out who could pitch where.
So the Yankees added an intrasquad game to the schedule for this morning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte will pitch for one team and Joba Chamberlain and Chan Ho Park will hurl for the other.
Chamberlain had been scheduled to face the Phillies, but A.J. Burnett will get that start instead. He will be relieved by Phil Hughes, who is believed to be leading Chamberlain and three others for the fifth starter job, with the decision to come later this week.
The rainout also washed away Johnny Damon's first visit to Tampa as a Tiger. Damon renewed acquaintances with former Yankees teammates in the batting cage under the stands before the game was canceled.
Top catching prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine were sent to the minor-league camp, but not before drawing raves from Girardi.
"[Montero] has made strides in his catching," Girardi said. "He can really hit. They just need to go play and mature and learn the finer points of catching."
Montero had three hits in eight exhibition at-bats. Romine went 2-for-11.
Long Island product Reid Gorecki (Kellenberg High School) also was sent down. Gorecki, 29, picked up his first major-league at-bat with the Braves at Citi Field last Aug. 19. The outfielder had two hits in 14 spring at-bats.