VIERA, Fla. - The Yankees didn’t exactly bring their A-team with them today.
Brett Gardner, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones and Bill Hall are the only real recognizable names in New York’s lineup, leaving Nationals manager Davey Johnson to wonder why Derek Jeter wasn’t able to make the trip.
“It would probably be just a half-hour trip in his jet,” Johnson joked.
Johnson offered a few injury updates during his pregame session with reporters, saying that left fielder Michael Morse still isn’t worried despite the fact that a lingering lat injury is still limiting his availability for Grapefruit League games.
Morse was scheduled to get some at-bats in a minor league game yesterday, but he isn’t in the Nats’ lineup against the Yankees and won’t hit at all today. Morse still isn’t concerned about his status, Johnson says.
Catcher Wilson Ramos tweaked his foot the other day when landing awkwardly on the first base bag, and he’s getting some time off to rest the injury. Johnson said Ramos “probably” won’t be in the lineup tomorrow against the Yankees. Jesus Flores will likely start tomorrow in Tampa.
Speaking of Flores, his spring average is now up to .368 (7-for-19) after a 3-for-3 effort last night in a loss to Atlanta. Flores smacked his second home run of spring, a solo shot to right off Braves uber-prospect Julio Teheran, giving him four RBIs so far.
The positives continue to come for Flores, who is finally healthy after battling shoulder issues for much of the last three seasons.
“Last year was important for his psyche to get some time playing up here,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t satisfied with it, and he was not the player he was two years before. With what he went through this winter, ... he didn’t even really want to go to winter ball because he didn’t feel physically like he could handle it. Physically, he had a great winter league and to me, he’s back close to where he was two years ago when he broke in with us.
“I’m really happy with his progress. Everything about his throwing; he’s always been good behind the dish, but his batting approach, his timing, he’s great, like we all were hoping he’d be.”
Flores still isn’t throwing quite like he used to, Johnson said, but his arm is still strong.
Ross Detwiler, Brad Lidge and Craig Stammen are scheduled to get some work in a minor league game today. Johnson will start sending more of his quality relievers over to the minor league side in the coming days to make sure that everyone’s getting the innings they need.