VIERA, Fla. - There was a Derek Jeter sighting here about 30 minutes ago. I can't vouch for it myself, and his name isn't on the Yankees' travel roster for today's game. In fact, the only recognizable names on the sheet are A.J.Burnett, Russell Martin, Jesus Montero, Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and former Nat Justin Maxwell. The rest are all guys wearing numbers higher than 63 (Maxwell's number).
Already some Yankee fans have stepped to the front of the press box to complain - as if we have any influence on it. It's supposed to be a sellout crowd today, the weather is absolutely perfect and there are a ton of folks in Yankee apparel.
Maxwell is trying to make the Yankees as a spare outfielder. Thus far he has four singles in 20 at-bats, though scouts tell me his value will be weighted more toward defense.
It's remarkable the number of Nationals' fans who make the trek down here. They're at the hotel, at the mall and at every nearby restaurant. You've probably read that the ballclub has considered buying out their lease here, in favor of heading to the other coast of the state, where more clubs would be within an hour's drive. I suspect that wouldn't sit well with a large segment of fans who find it relatively simple to get here from the D.C. area, not terribly expensive to find lodging and have the option of seeing the Orlando attractions on an off day or when the club is on the road.
It's John Lannan against A.J. Burnett today. Lannan had a better year than Burnett in 2010, despite a trip to the minors, and did it for about $16 million less than Burnett made.
We're about 20 minutes from the first pitch. I'll check back later.