Yesterday was the official opener, but today was the real big day thanks to the return of Alex Rodriguez to game action. Joe had him in the starting lineup hitting second and DH'ing, and all in all the day went about as well as you could have hoped if you're pro-A-Rod. He got a hit, looked alright swinging the bat and running the bases, got noticeably more cheers than boos from the crowd, and didn't hurt himself. He was the clear and obvious focal point of the day, and also one of the few highlights in a mostly nothing game from the Yankee side.
- The other major highlight was Nathan Eovaldi's first start as a New York Yankee. Like Adam Warren, he was on a 2-inning/30-pitch limit and he finished the full 2 innings. Unlike Warren, he got hit a little bit and gave up 1 earned run. Eovaldi also showed his trademark plus fastball velocity and a nice split-change that got him his only strikeout of the day on a swing and miss.
- The full line on A-Rod: 1-2, 1 BB. I think it's telling that he got 3 plate appearances when all the other regulars got 2, and I think what that tells us is that he's feeling really good physically. Joe isn't the kind of manager to use ST to make statements. This wasn't some kind of test to see if A-Rod's "still got it." This was Joe talking to his player and trusting that his player felt good enough to go out and take another hack. For A-Rod to feel good enough to do that this early tells us he's in good physical condition. That can't be seen as a bad thing.
- As far as those other regulars, they were McCann, Teix, Headley, Didi, and Stephen Drew, and they all went hitless. Didi did draw a walk after being down early in the count though, and Drew made an error at second to start the game.
- Andrew Miller also made his Yankee pitching debut, working a scoreless 3rd in relief of Eovaldi and striking out 2. If I had to pick right now, I'd say he gets the nod as the closer and Dellin stays in the 3+ out setup man role.
- Other bullpen notables were Dan Burawa and Tyler Webb, who each threw perfect frames with 1 K.
- Best performance among the non-regular position players was probably Mason Williams. He doubled and scored a run in 2 trips to the plate, and has looked pretty good by all accounts in these first 2 games. I think he's gotten to the point of being underrated and undervalued as a prospect. If it clicks even a little with the bat and his attitude this year, he becomes a legitimate candidate to see Major League playing time in 2015.