Yankees low-key for 2012 spring training, so far

Alex Rodriguez is usually "all eyes on me." Lately, he's been the opposite. (Chuck Solomon/Sports Illustrated)

This has been a pretty quiet spring for the New York Yankees. There have been no controversies. No fallouts. No major injuries (knock wood). That’s not to say nothing has been going on.

Everyone is wondering will he or won’t he when it comes to Mariano Rivera’s retirement. For his part, Mo is staying mum, preferring to keep the decision to himself and maybe even allow for a change of heart. Expect this to be a topic of discussion all season long in the broadcast booth of both teams whenever the future Hall of Famer is on the mound.

New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is already donning his court jester hat by trying to stir up the New York/Boston rivalry before one meaningful pitch is thrown (a rivalry that really does not need any help being stirred up, thank you very much). His silly comments about Derek Jeter’s famous flip play from the 2001 playoffs and Alex Rodriguez’s 2004 on-field scuffle with retired Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek have been mostly met with yawns in the Yankees’ clubhouse.

Rodriguez is refusing to get drawn into any perceived controversy whether it’s whatever stupidity is coming out of Valentine’s mouth or Donald Trump comparing him unfavorably to Jeter on an episode of The Apprentice. A-Rod seems to have learned no matter what he says will be held against him and now responds to all this silliness with a smile and the statement: “Just baseball.”

The fastball watch is on this spring not just for Phil Hughes, but also for newly acquired righty Michael Pineda. Hughes’ has shown improved velocity hitting 92 to 93 MPH, which is where his heater needs to live to be effective. Pineda, who was regularly hitting 96 and 97 MPH last year, has been topping out in the low 90s. It could be cause for concern or maybe he’s just holding back. Stay tuned as this will be another topic of extreme focus should Pineda’s velocity not kick back up.

Fans got a little scare when ace reliever David Robertson hurt his foot falling down a stair (yes, one stair not a flight of stairs like some writers were reporting). Thankfully nothing was broken and he’s already out of the walking boot. Other minor injuries include a contusion (known as a bruise to you and me) that Freddy Garcia suffered the other day when he was hit in his pitching hand by a comebacker on Wednesday. Nick Swisher tweaked his groin during the same game, but neither injury is considered serious.

All in all, it’s been a pretty mellow spring training for the Bombers. This is how I think most fans would like to see the season go: with no drama off the field. Save those dramatics for the games, especially when it comes time to make a run for championship number 28. Who knows? Maybe there will even be another great playoff game play by Jeter that Valentine can accuse the team of not practicing.


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