Greetings from Fort Myers. The weather here is just as beautiful as when I left Florida on the morning of February 26. I'd like to thank Florida governor Rick Scott for being so hospitable this year.
Big tilt tonight here at City of Palms Park: Yankees-Red Sox, telecast on ESPN2. And the good news for people in my business is that the Yankees gave us a story by scratching scheduled starter Sergio Mitre (left side)
Because the Yankees scratched scheduled starter Sergio Mitre (left side) phenom Manny Banuelos will start for the Yankees, against what looks like a potential Red Sox Opening Day lineup (at least, against a lefty): Jacoby Ellsbury CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, Carl Crawford LF, Kevin Youkilis 3B, Adrian Gonzalez 1B, David Ortiz DH, Mike Cameron RF, Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, Marco Scutaro SS.
It'll be a fun test for Banuelos, who faced the Red Sox earlier this month at Steinbrenner Field. Joked Boston manager Terry Francona: "They should go slow with him. Very slow."
Banuelos has pitched in three games above Class A, he's targeted for about 140 innings pitched and he just turned 20 yesterday. He'll very likely start the season at Double-A Trenton. Nevertheless, Joe Girardi said, "It’s been talked about that he’s going to the minor leagues, but I don’t ever say anything is 100 percent. Sometimes, the needs change in a hurry around here."
--Joba Chamberlain has been sidelined with discomfort in his ribs. Not a big deal, Girardi says, but we'll see how it plays out.
--Good column by Tara Sullivan about the role Mariano Rivera played in bringing Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees back together after the 2007 season.
--The Phillies shut down Brad Lidge, who is having a terrible spring, with soreness in his right biceps tendon. The obvious question with the Phillies is, how much will their phenomenal starting rotation cover up for their other inadequacies. Between Lidge, Domonic Brown and Chase Utley, it has been a very difficult spring for the Phils.
--Have a good night.