Pitching coach Larry Rothschild (left) and Manager Joe Girardi look on.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Pitching coach Larry Rothschild is pleased with the progress of the Yankees pitchers, in particular Masahiro Tanaka. And it's a good thing, because Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner has lofty expectations, and a salary to show for it, when it comes to the Bronx Bombers.
Tanaka's bullpen session yesterday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, included an array of pitches even his vaunted splitters.
"I thought the ball came out of his hand very well," Rothschild said. "The arm speed was there. You could see he dialed it up today. He's progressed at a routine you'd like him to progress at. Everything was good."
"I feel that I'm on the right track," Tanaka said via his interpreter. "Going through the workouts and going through the bullpen today also, it does give me confidence that I'm moving in the right direction."
Rothschild even entertained a question about the possibility of a six-man pitching rotation.
"We do have the opportunity that if we need a sixth starter at times, we'll probably run him out there," Rothschild said. "If they can handle it and we're comfortable with it, we may go with it. Otherwise, we'll try to figure out how to get them through the first two months. It's not just
Masahiro; there are three or four guys in that group."
The Yankees have once again put their money where their mouth is, as they try to build another winning team.
"Our payroll is at $235 [million]," Steinbrenner to the New York Post. "That is about as high as it has ever been. And on top of that add the roughly $30 million we spent last [July] when we saw a pretty good foreign market, one of the best there has been, and we got six or seven of the top 10 or 11 guys. So there is money spent for not just now, but the future."
"Do I think it is intelligent to end up at a $270 million or $280 million payroll? I never have," Steinbrenner continued. "It doesn't make me right. But I never have. So having the payroll right now about as high as it has ever been, it is not my preference, but I certainly was willing to do it to put together a championship-caliber team. ... People might laugh at me, but I do think we can win a championship if we stay healthy."
Steinbrenner went on and addressed the ridiculous notion that New York Yankees are up for sale.
"The family is not selling the team," Steinbrenner said. "We have no intentions of selling the team. You can quote me on that. I am not sure why everyone continues to ask that. The Steinbrenner family is not selling a majority stake in the New York Yankees. We are not going anywhere."