|Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa striving to make up for last season's wipeout|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 16 February 2008 13:35|
Igawa was projected to be the fourth or fifth starter in 2007 after signing a $20 million, five-year contact. The former Japanese Central League All-Star went 2-3 with a 6.25 ERA in 14 games, and wound up spending most of the season in the minors.
After Saturday's workout, Igawa met for 30 minutes behind closed doors with Girardi, general manager Brian Cashman and pitching coach Dave Eiland.
``It's such a huge adjustment to try to come over to this country and, you know, just change everything that you do,'' Girardi said. ``I mean, you're talking about day is night, night is day, food is different, travel is different.''
ommunication are open early.
``It was just an opportunity to make sure we try to go above and beyond to get an idea about Kei and his experience from last season and what he felt would work and felt wouldn't work,'' Cashman said. ``He's someone definitely that has got the ability. He's better than what he showed last year and we look forward to, hopefully, seeing that this year.''
Igawa left the meeting upbeat.
``Last year I had a hard time adjusting to the major league spring training, but this year after having a good talk with Brian, Joe and Dave, I believe I can better prepare myself for a much better season,'' Igawa said through an interpreter.
Girardi and Eiland closely watched Igawa's 30-pitch bullpen session Saturday, his first during spring training.
``Whether he's a starter or whether he's someone that can help us out of the 'pen, I think we're about to find out,'' Cashman said.
ANOTHER REBOUND?: Kyle Farnsworth will get a chance to win back the Yankee Stadium faithful because of a trade that didn't happen.
Farnsworth drew the ire from the home fans last season with stretches of inconsistency, which prompted the Yankees to promote Joba Chamberlain from the minors to their eighth-inning setup man.
Farnsworth rebounded to pitch a seven-game scoreless stretch in August.
trong for us last year,'' Cashman said. ``We had a chance to move him at the (trade) deadline and I'm glad we didn't because he was one of the reasons why we were able to push into the playoffs.''
Farnsworth went 2-1 with a 4.80 ERA. He allowed 60 hits - including nine homers - and 27 walks over 60 innings.
``I believe he's got good stuff because I've seen it first hand and I believe he still has it,'' Girardi said. ``You just instill the confidence in him. I look forward to him being an outstanding pitcher again.''
Farnsworth plans to take advantage of the new year.
``That's how you start fresh,'' he said. ``I just want to pitch. Whether it's the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth, it doesn't matter to me. My job is to pitch and get three outs.''
Farnsworth and Girardi were teammates on the Chicago Cubs from 2000-02, and they spoke a few times during the offseason.
``We have a good relationship,'' Farnsworth said. ``He was kind of a mentor to me when I was coming up as a young player. He brought me underneath his wing. We talked about how he expects me to pitch the way I did, (as) I've had in the past, and when he caught me. So, you know, I expect the same thing out of myself.''
am Friday. Wang will make $4 million this season instead of his request for $4.6 million.
``Not bad for me,'' Wang said. ``Everything is OK.''
The right-hander thought his ERA and low strikeout-to-walk ratio played a role in the decision.
JOSHING WITH JOBA: Joba Chamberlain yelled across the clubhouse to Mike Mussina, asking if he wanted to meet up later to play video games.
``I don't play video games,'' Mussina said.
``Want to watch me play video games?'' Chamberlain yelled.
Mussina walked out of the clubhouse without responding.
``Is hearing the first thing to go?'' Chamberlain yelled.
Mussina walked back from the corridor into the clubhouse.
``I heard you,'' he said.
FAMILY MATTERS: Girardi on Friday's post-workout workout with his 6-year-old son and two daughters.
``Dante, you know, he had a pretty good day. I was a little shocked that he tried to hurt me yesterday at the plate. He's more nuts than I was,'' Girardi said. ``Stuck his shinguard into my kneecap. He got the idea you're supposed to initiate the contact instead of absorbing it - but not to your father. ... He blocked the plate on his dad - just so he doesn't do it on his mom.''
COUNTING INNINGS: Girardi on the importance of getting innings from Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Wang.
could make this a calculus problem if you wanted to, eventually,'' Girardi said. ``You know, sometimes I feel like I've got to call my sister, who's a math professor.''
WORK OF ART?: The Yankees have 31 pitchers in camp competing to fill several openings on the pitching staff (plus three who will be on the DL following surgery). Cashman took an artistic view on the how the process will play out.
``Our pitching is a work in progress and we hope that with this big piece of clay we can form it into something that resembles a piece of art,'' he said.