Yanks and pains
Injuries continue to pile up for Bronx BombersPosted: Monday March 11, 2002 12:16 PM
Throughout spring training, CNNSI.com will feature regular dispatches from Sports Illustrated staffers assigned to scout camps in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.
By Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated
Team: New York Yankees
Site: Tampa, Fla.
Weather: Chamber of Commerce-perfect. Sunny, 82° with a few puffy clouds.
Player I Saw Whom I Really Liked: Marcus Thames (pronounced Tims). He's a 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder with good power and speed. The 25-year-old hit .321 last year in Class A with 31 homers and 97 RBIs. In Sunday's game against the Red Sox, he rapped two of the Yankees' four hits: a single when knuckleballer Tim Wakefield tried to sneak a fastball past him, and a triple to the 408-foot sign in dead center. The three-bagger led to New York's only run in a 2-1 loss to Boston, as Thames scored on a sacrifice fly by Erick Almonte. Thames, along with 10 other players, was reassigned to the minor league camp after the game. "I like what I saw from him,'' manager Joe Torre said. "He just needs to play and get at-bats.''
Around the Horn: New York's lengthy injury list, which already features Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Rondell White and Andy Pettitte, grew by one more Sunday when Bernie Williams was a late scratch with tightness in his calf. The injury is considered minor. The Yankees have Gerald Williams and Ruben Rivera in camp as their only other legitimate center fielders. Neither one is a satisfying option for anything more than a day or two. ... Left-handed pitcher Sterling Hitchcock seemed to lose ground in his bid to claim a starting spot when he allowed Boston seven hits and four runs in a split-squad game. But Torre said, "Number don't matter. It's more of what we see and how a guy feels.'' Torre also revealed that Hitchcock "was little out of whack'' with back discomfort that flared up after his previous start. "Nothing related to his shoulder or arm,'' Torre said. ... Pettitte, who missed a start with elbow tightness, is scheduled to throw off a mound Tuesday and pitch in a game Thursday or Friday. Meanwhile, White, bothered by a strained rib cage muscle, is still at least another week away from being able to play in a game.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci will check in periodically with reports from his tour of spring camps.