During live spring-training batting practice, it’s rare for hitters to get the bat on the ball. The drill should be renamed pitching practice, because they dominate.
Yet, there was Ichiro Suzuki crushing a pitch from Hiroki Kuroda halfway into the right-field bleachers yesterday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Ichiro exited the batting cage with a broad grin and tipped his helmet at the fans who cheered the homer. On the mound, fellow countryman Kuroda smiled.
On the way out of the clubhouse Kuroda stopped near Ichiro’s locker and said, “I’ll start over again.’’
That drew a smile from Ichiro.
* Jorge Posada is expected to arrive in camp today and serve as a special instructor. ... Having thrown three bullpen sessions, Mariano Rivera will throw batting practice today, but manager Joe Girardi doesn’t have a date for when Rivera will pitch in a game. ... Derek Jeter took batting practice against righty Jim Miller and participated in fielding drills, but isn’t running yet.
* According to Girardi, the bulging disk high in Phil Hughes’ back is improving.
“He feels better and that’s a good sign for me,’’ Girardi said.
Hughes hasn’t been on the field since Monday when he hurt himself covering first base during fielding drill.
* No matter how many times Girardi is asked about Travis Hafner playing the field, the manager insists it would have to be an extreme emergency for Hafner to surface at first base.
“When we do fielding drills, he goes into the cage,’’ Girardi said. “He is a DH.’’
* Pitching prospect Mark Montgomery’s back is improving, according to Girardi.
“He is playing catch and feels much better,’’ Girardi said of the right-hander, who some believe could be a factor in the Yankees’ bullpen at some point this season due to a filthy slider that the 22-year-old righty used to strike out 99 batters in 64 1/3 combined innings at Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
Ichiro takes Hiroki deep in BP
New York Post | Feb 22