Joe Girardi said he will probably hold Nick Johnson out of Friday’s game against the Rays as well.
“He said he could have played but we might give him tomorrow [off] too just to make sure that he’s not irritating something that lingers,” Joe Girardi said after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Phillies.
Neither Johnson or Girardi thinks the lower back stiffness, caused when Johnson caught one of his spikes on an artificial turf mat during BP, will be a long-term problem.
"It won’t be too long," Johnson said. "I’m not really worried about that.”
Still, for a player known for two things in his career – a high OBP and getting hurt, sometimes in flukish ways – a flukish thing like this happening before the second exhibition game of the spring is ominous. Really, how many players tweak their backs because they pick out the wrong pair of shoes?
“I don’t know why, I usually hit in turfs but today I threw the spikes on,” Johnson said.
*** CC Sabathia was amused more than anything with all the attention heaped on his matchup with Roy Halladay but said last spring was crazier. Especially after his bad performance against the Tigers March 11, 2009 when he allowed six hits and five runs in 1 2/3 innings.
“The whole thing last year of me being new to the Yankees and my first spring training [was more intense],” Sabathia said. “I gave up those five runs to the Tigers and I didn’t realize how big of a story it was going to be. So that was the first time I really got a taste of it.”
By year’s end he was tasting champagne and hoisting a World Series trophy. He said he’s as motivated this season as he was last.
“I want that feeling again,” Sabathia said. “That’s what you play for. It was unbelievable to go through that in the city of New York, in the first year in the new stadium and all that, but it makes you hungry for more championships. I can see how Jeter and Posada and Mo and Andy, why they still work the way they do to try and still win because that’s a great feeling.”
*** Mark Melancon and Boone Logan both looked good Thursday. Melancon had two strikeouts in one scoreless inning and Logan, whom Girardi hopes can make the team as a second lefty in the bullpen, looked good, throwing a scoreless 1 1/3 innings without giving up a hit.
*** Before the game Girardi ticked off mostly teams in the AL East – Boston, Tampa, Baltimore – who he thought had the strongest offseasons.
Asked if he thought his team had gotten better Girardi said, “I do. But only time will tell. I like the moves that we made, I do. Sure, you’re going to miss Johnny, you’re going miss Matsui and you’re going to miss Melky and Cokie. We had relationships with those guys but new relationships will take place. I like what we’ve done.”
*** Girardi said Joba Chamberlain, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms Wednesday, will follow Phil Hughes to the mound Friday, the first game incarnation of Joba vs. Phil.
“No one’s going to be our fifth starter by their first time through the rotation,” Girardi said. “But they’re going to be competitive, there’s no doubt about it.”