Thursday, February 20, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. -- Today was the first day of full-squad workouts for the Yankees, so spring training is completely underway. The first exhibition game is next Thursday against Florida State University at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Here's today's notebook.

No Derek Eater: Thursday was the first official practice of Derek Jeter's final season, and the captain said afterwards that he's coming into camp weighing less than he usually does.

Jeter enters the spring five to six pounds lighter than he has been in previous years in an effort to reduce the strain on his surgically-repaired left ankle, the one that only put him into the lineup 17 times last season.

"I did a lot of conditioning, a lot of running," Jeter said after Thursday's workout. “I wanted to be a little lighter, take some pressure off my legs and move around a little bit better.”

Having weighed 199 in previous years, Jeter says he came to camp this time around at 193 pounds after an offseason of healthier eating and more intensive workouts.

Joe Girardi was even able to tell the difference in Jeter's weigh right away.

“I would say last year at times, just going through what you might consider everyday activity and jogs, running the bases, you would notice it," Girardi said. “His running looked normal to me, what I was used to seeing from him in the past. Today it looked like he never got hurt."

Girardi said there are no real restrictions on what Jeter can do this spring.

“I don't know if he'll play the first game or two, but beyond that we don't really have a lot of restrictions on him right now,” Girardi said. “I think we want to make sure he gets enough days of baserunning in to make sure he’s ready to go.”

Pineda throws: Michael Pineda threw an early pull Thursday, and he came out just fine. Girardi has been saying that he doesn't want player trying to battle for spots on the roster just yet, but would rather that they take things slow for the first couple of weeks.

Pineda has already thrown a couple of times this spring, and has been getting some high praise for the way he is throwing.

"How the ball is coming out of his hand is the biggest thing for me." Girardi said Thursday. "Does he look like he's putting too much effort to let the ball go or is it coming out easy? That's what I've seen. It's coming out easy, I don't see him overthrowing and the stuff being sharp, hitting his spots with some sink and some run to it.

"His slider looks good, his changeup looks good. His mechanics to me look much more polished than they were a couple of years ago. He's had a lot of time to work on it and to think about it. He's much more consistent in his delivery."

Pineda has yet to throw live batting practice, but Girardi said that has nothing to do with health concerns.

"It’s just some guys are a little bit ahead of others for various reasons," he said. "Maybe they started a little bit earlier here with Larry is usually the main reason. We might have a little caution, (but) he’s healthy. Pineda looks good to me."

Living batting practice: Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno, two of the four pitchers battling for the fifth spot in the rotation this season, threw live batting practice today. Both were said to have thrown well; nothing overwhelming, but still well. Good things to hear early.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog, and you can follow him on Twitter (below).


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