Healthy or not, here come Yankees
TAMPA, Fla. -- Robinson Cano was back in the lineup Thursday after a stomach virus knocked him out of the previous night's game.
Considering how this camp went for the Yankees, the second baseman considered himself fortunate.
"Thank God,'' Cano said.
He was speaking of getting through training camp uninjured, the rare star player from the Yankees to do so.
The Grapefruit League portion of Yankees spring training closed Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 loss to the Pirates, giving them a 13-18 exhibition mark in Florida.
The Yankees play at Washington on Friday and at West Point Saturday before opening the regular season Monday against the Red Sox at the Stadium.
When pitchers and catchers reported Feb. 12 and position players arrived five days after that, a common theme -- one not unique to Yankees camp -- emerged: stay healthy.
But they did not. It began Feb. 18 when Phil Hughes suffered two bulging discs. Feb. 24 brought Curtis Granderson's broken right forearm. On March 6 came the news that Mark Teixeira had been diagnosed with a damaged sheath in his right wrist that would keep him out at least two months.
Derek Jeter also will start the season on the disabled list as his surgically repaired left ankle has been slower to heal than expected. Lefty Boone Logan looked as if he'd be added to the list Thursday when he was forced to leave the game after taking Jose Tabata's liner off his left hip area, but he and Joe Girardi said it didn't appear to be serious.
"It's not the way you want to leave camp, with the injuries,'' Girardi said. "But it's part of it. It's part of the game and you have to deal with it.''
Teixeira, who has a doctor's visit scheduled for Monday and hopes to have his cast removed, said this camp's carnage makes it easy to forget the injuries that mounted last regular season when CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Teixeira himself spent time on the DL.
"It's not ideal, but every team goes through adversity,'' Teixeira said Thursday . "To think we were going to go an entire season without getting anyone hurt would be crazy. We had some huge injuries last year and persevered and won 95 games, so that's the goal we have this year. We're just going to persevere.''
"He came from Oakland, we had no clue [how good he was],'' Rivera said of the third baseman, who joined the Yankees before the 1998 season, hit .300 with 98 RBIs and was named World Series MVP. "You don't need to have big names to get the job done. Just have the heart and the will to do the job. That's what separates. I believe everyone who is here is capable of doing that.''
In a twist, two of the players the Yankees had concerns about heading into camp were veterans Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner. They have had extensive injury issues in recent years but came through camp relatively unscathed.
"It's good. Any time you come out of camp healthy is always a good camp,'' Youkilis said. "We have a lot of guys who are hurting right now, but sometimes it's better in the beginning to have the injuries rather than later, so hopefully we'll go through our injury problems in February, March and April and after that be as healthy as possible all year.''
Despite some of the dire predictions about the Yankees, Girardi remains optimistic.
"I feel good about the work our guys have put in and about our team,'' he said. "I like our guys. We're going to find out Monday and as time goes on, but I like them.''