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Yankees spring training: Rotation, starting lineup, and injuries

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The latest updates on pitching, the backup catcher role, the lineup, and the injuries to Ellsbury and Ryan.

Why is this a thing?
Why is this a thing?

With spring training winding down, there are a lot of announcements and other things happening, so here's a general news roundup.

Pitching

Joe Girardi has said that the Yankees will probably announce their decision about the fifth spot in the rotation on Tuesday. They're waiting until after Michael Pineda's outing against the Blue Jays today to start discussing it. Based on our poll, PSA readers think that Pineda will win the role by a landslide, with David Phelps coming in a distant second.

The bullpen decisions are not expected to come before the end of the week, though Girardi said that they'll have to decide before Saturday because that's when the team will leave Florida.

CC Sabathia has officially been named the Opening Day starter. No one is surprised. He's pegged to get an extra day of rest this week, then pitch a short start on Thursday. His last two outings have been great, so hopefully he brings that stuff with him to Texas. Girardi also said that he's decided when Tanaka will be pitching, but he doesn't want to disclose that information just yet.

Backup Catcher

Girardi has all but officially named Francisco Cervelli (or Saravelli, if you're the Twins announcers) the backup catcher. "We’re continuing to evaluate," Girardi said. "[Cervelli's] had a great spring. He has the most experience of any of these guys, so he looks really really good." Whoa, two "really"s? Sorry to those of you holding out hope for John Ryan Murphy or Austin Romine.

Lineup

A couple of weeks ago, Girardi said that Mark Teixeira would be batting lower in the lineup than the number three spot. Did anyone interpret that to mean that he would be batting cleanup? I sure didn't. When asked if Tex was going to hit in the cleanup spot, like he did in Friday's spring training game, Girardi said "It’s a possibility that we could have...I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do, but it’s a possibility that we could have." Uh, okay. It's a possibility that Eduardo Nunez will earn the triple crown, too.

Injuries

Jacoby Ellsbury had an MRI on his calf on Thursday, which came back clean. He went through hitting, fielding and running drills on Saturday and Girardi expects him to be back into games on Tuesday. The plan would be to get him into four more games before the regular season starts (in nine days!).

Brendan Ryan has a pinched nerve in his back and will likely be out of commission when the season opens. According to Chad Jennings, "Girardi indicated that if Ryan’s not ready to open the season, the Yankees will likely take two from the group of Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte and Scott Sizemore." The injury is unfortunate, but it would be really nice for someone who is not Nunez (and who could possibly out-perform Nunez and steal his utility spot) to be given a look.