MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Tanaka throws live batting practice

Masahiro Tanaka threw 25 pitches on Monday during his first live batting practice of Spring Training (AP, Mar. 2).

During the session, Tanaka mixed in five or six split-finger fastballs.

After his session, Tanaka said through an interpreter that he understands “everybody’s worried about the elbow and I understand too that I have to be cautious about it as well, but so far it’s been good.”

Tanaka, 26, missed the majority of the second half of last season after rehabbing a partially torn UCL in his right elbow.

Ryan hoping to return later this week

Infielder Brendan Ryan, who is recovering from a mild back strain, took swings on Sunday and is hoping to return later this week (Kuty, March 2).

On Friday, it was reported that Ryan would miss five days of on-field activity.

Ryan injured his back while lifting weights in the days leading up to Spring Training, the Yankees said.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees-Game Two

Pineda making push to be Yankees’ ace

With CC Sabathia’s and Masahiro Tanaka’s health uncertain as spring training gets underway, the Yankees are looking at Michael Pineda to be the ace (Post, March 1).

“I think you can see the ability there, definitely. I was pretty excited what I saw today,’’ Joe Girardi said Sunday. “You get excited when you think about sending him out there every day and getting 30 to 32 starts and what he can possibly do for your team.’’

While Girardi is looking forward to seeing what Pineda can do this season, the 6-foot-7 right-hander is just hoping to stay healthy.

“I want to be healthy all season and every five days put my team in position to win the game,’’ Pineda said after throwing batting practice Sunday morning.

The Yankees will be looking for the 26-year-old to put up 30-plus starts this season, which will be a challenge since the most starts Pineda has made in the big leagues was 28 in his rookie season back in 2011.

Since then, Pineda missed his first two seasons as a Yankee due to shoulder surgery, and the third was marred by a suspension for applying pine tar to his neck. But, with Sabathia’s right knee issues and Tanaka working though a small tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament, this is Pineda’s time.

“The three pitches he’s got. His command was outstanding and the movement was great,’’ Girardi said. “His slider was good and his changeup was good. He threw a ton of strikes. He is a strike thrower. You look at a lot of his games last year and there isn’t a high pitch count. He is very efficient and that is great.’’

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Gregorius stepping into big shoes

Didi Gregorius  isn’t worried about replacing Derek Jeter.

The Yankees’ heir at shortstop is just going to go about his business this spring and taking the spotlight (Jennings, Feb. 28).

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Gregorius told LoHod blog’s Chad Jennings . “I came here a little bit early so I could get to know everybody. I’m not worried about the attention. Of course I’m going to get interviewed no matter what I do, so it’s fine. When you guys come here, like right now, I’m going to answer you guys. Whenever you guys go talk to Alex, I’ll be waiting.”

The Yankees like Gregorius’ fielding and his lefty fly ball swing that appears tailor-made for Yankees Stadium.

Gregorius, 25-years old. hit .226 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 80 games for the Diamondbacks last season. He is a career .226 hitter in 191 games and 647 at bats, but is still young enough where the Yankees feel his hitting will pick up.  The Yankees acquired Gregorius in a three-team trade with the Diamondbacks that sent pitcher Shane Green to Detroit.

Retired teacher to walk 1,200 miles for veterans

Richard J. Albero, a formal naval officer and retired teacher, will walk from home late at Legends Field in Tampa to home plate in the Bronx, a 1,200-mile trek, to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Albero will depart Legends Field on March 2.

Albero wanted to raise money in honor of his nephew, Gary Albero, who died in the 9/11 attacks and was a big Yankees fan. Each mile of the walk is dedicated to a different Yankee in team history.

Richard Albero’s goal is to raise $25,000 for the project and he already has $9,000 in pledges.

Albero, 65, plans on walking an average of 20 miles a day, the 65-year-old Mr. Albero plans to complete the journey within three months with support drivers by his side.

To make a donation, please go to richardsyankeeswalk.org.

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A-Rod: Did it look weird out there?

Making his first appearance in a Yankees uniform in 17 months, Alex Rodriguez drew cheers from the crowd as he joined his teammates for their workout Thursday (ESPN, Feb. 27).

“It’s been awhile,” he said. “Did it look weird out there?”

It may have been unfamiliar for both A-Rod and the fans, but it was still an exciting moment for the veteran.

“It was pretty awesome,” Rodriguez said after the workout. “I think sometimes you can take for granted being a major league baseball player. Just being able to go out there and stuff that I did when I was 10 years old. At the very least, I hope I get to finish my career up really appreciating the game.”

The fans certainly appreciated A-Rod’s game, cheering as he hit three of the 36 swings over the fence. Rodriguez was less impressed.

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