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March 30, 2006

Getting Closer
by SG

With Randy Johnson pitching in a minor league game yesterday for his final pre-season tuneup, the regular season is drawing near.

Johnson feels he's had a strong spring training, which bodes well for the season.

In five Grapefruit League starts this spring, Johnson went 1-2 with a 2.96 ERA. He allowed 24 hits and just three walks in 24 1/3 frames, striking out 24 batters.

Including Wednesday's game, Johnson finished the spring with 29 1/3 total innings, reaching his precamp goal of 27-30. That total exceeds his 2005 number by eight innings, and he feels that his arm strength has been the primary beneficiary of the extra work.

"I feel strong and good, but nevertheless, I feel like I've got some work to do," Johnson said. "It's been a very productive Spring Training for me, and I hope to carry it into the beginning of the season."

The rest of the Yankees beat Detroit 4-2, with Andy Phillips continuing his solid spring by going 2 for 3 with a walk and scoring two runs.

Jorge Posada has been DHing, and according to Peter Abraham is expected to catch Mike Mussina today. Let's hope Moose is over that dead arm thing he had last time out, and that Posada is healthy to start the season.

The roster is starting to take shape, and I'm not particularly happy with the bench. The fact that Wil Nieves is potentially going to be on the bench because he's out of options makes no sense to me. This is a 28 year old who hit .289/.313/.395 in AAA last year. I don't see the upside, unless they think he's better than Kelly Stinnett, in which case Stinnett should be dumped. It could be worse. Jim Bowden could be the decision maker.

With good health for Posada, is hopefully shouldn't matter.

Depth is a major problem for the Yankees this year, so let's hope that Gene Monohan and Steve Donahue can keep them healthy. It will be interesting to see the effect of the amphetamine ban in baseball this year. Some think it's going to affect older players more, although I would assume older players are not as likely to be partying all night, so maybe not.