Rafael Soriano's preference for avoiding certain teams now extends to every AL East opponent. He won't face any division rival this spring in order to "hide his stuff." It's strange that no other pitcher, in my memory, has ever made this request; but Rafa said he did it with the Rays and Braves (to which Joe Maddon replied that he never recalled it). Girardi justified it as such -
If  came to me and told me the same thing, I'd probably say yes. I don't necessarily think that's catering to a guy. I think it's understanding his desires and what he wants to do and how he wants to get ready, and not really changing the rules for him. We send guys to minor-league games to pitch all the time.
I've often wondered why managers don't hold back some of their pitchers in order to maintain an element of surprise, but I wouldn't expect it from a pitcher in his first year in pinstripes who faced every division rival last season.
- When Brett Gardner was thrown out at the plate yesterday, Girardi knew something was wrong. He fouled a ball off his shin on Thursday, and it kept him from getting the proper push off second to score. But no one seems to think it's a big deal.
- Joe Girardi is experimenting with in the leadoff spot. Even if he gets it, Derek Jeter probably won't hit anywhere but second -
Until he decides whether Jeter or Gardner will bat leadoff, Girardi is likely to continue fielding questions on the topic. And Jeter, whose average dropped 64 points to .270 last season, will surely be asked about the subject, too, creating a potential distraction...
- Speaking of Derek, a recent poll of New Yorkers named him the "the single greatest New York athlete of all-time." Guess who's no. 7... Carmelo Anthony. Mark Kriegel says New Yorkers have lost their "sports cred" with this poll.
- Yankee relievers are suffering from their share of injuries. The latest is Pedro Feliciano, who hasn't pitched since March 9th due to a "sore arm." Boone Logan pitched Thursday night but felt back spasms Friday morning. And we all know about Joba's strained oblique. Regardless, Feliciano and Joba are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions today, so hopefully they'll do that without a hitch.
- Rejoice! David Cone is reportedly coming back to the YES Network as an analyst. I liked him as a broadcaster and wondered why he didn't return. He last worked for YES in 2009.
- A Yankee minor league pitcher, Eliseo Batista (from the Dominican Summer League), failed a PED test and will be suspended 50 games.