More germane to the Big League club, word came out that Alfredo Aceves is day-to-day with a sore back, something that has been bothering him since last September. This comes on the heels of a poor outing against the Orioles during which he gave up 6 runs in 2+ IP. It's possible that the issue could keep Aceves off the Opening Day roster and make way for Boone Logan, but as of now it appears Alf will get another tune up this Spring and be ready for Sunday.
Most startlingly, Mark Teixeira was hit in the elbow by Jeremy Guthrie. He was in obvious discomfort and was removed from the game immediately after it happened. While the pitch hit Teix directly on the bone, tests revealed that the result is only a contusion and he should be back in the lineup later this week. He opts not to wear protection on his elbow because he's never felt comfortable with an elbow pad and feels like he stands far enough away from the plate, but this was one of the rare times that decision came back to bite him.
Franciso Cervelli was hit by Guthrie later on in the night but was able to stay in the game. However, that didn't keep Joe Girardi from angrily yelling at Guthrie from the dugout after the incident occurred. He explained later, "If you’re having a hard time commanding the fastball inside, I don’t think this is the time to work on it". Not in his back yard, apparently. BANANA, others might say.
Girardi will have something to take his mind of his ailing squad today, however. Switch pitcher Pat Venditte will make the trip to Big League camp and pitch against the Braves in a split squad game at 1:05 tomorrow. Eat your heart out, Tony LaRussa.
The manager said he's wanted to see the ambidextrous reliever "all spring". It's as if Girardi has looked over his entire kingdom and commanded, "Bring me this Janus-armed freak so I can see him for myself!" The manager also likened this clip of Venditte maneuvering for the platoon advantage with a switch-hitting Mets prospect to a "Laurel and Hardy thing" revealing that he is either A) significantly older than he claims, B) a huge nerd or C) both.
Venditte is considered a fringe prospect at best but has had unquestionable success at every level of the minors he's been asked to pitch in. He's currently slated to begin the season in High A-ball (where he finished 2009) but as Neyer points out, if Girardi likes what he sees, Venditte might find himself climbing through the farm system faster than he would have otherwise.
He throws over-the-top in the low 90's from the right - which is his naturally dominant side - and takes a lower arm angle from the left, topping out in the mid-to-high 80's. There are plenty of guys that have his stuff like that in one arm at a time and being able to pitch both ways doesn't mean anything if you can't get Major League hitters out, but tomorrow could be a turning point in Venditte's career. There's no guarantee that he makes it into the game, but with CC Sabathia being limited to 75 pitches and Joe Girardi's self-proclaimed interest in him, there's a good chance. (The game will be on MLB.tv). Let's hope Venditte faces a few batters, does well and Girardi likes what he sees. If all of those things happen, we might be one step closer to seeing "The Freak" in The Bronx.