The clubhouse didn't open until 1:55 this afternoon because of the night game with the Red Sox. Bartolo Colon is your starter and Manny Banuelos will be chucking in the game as well. I can't wait to see Banuelos. I've been hearing about this kid for two years now.
As we enter the clubhouse, Mr. Auriemma and I walk back to “snack room.” There is a TV in there as well as snacks. Playing on said television was “Coming to America.” This is what we hear blaring through the speakers:
"You may remember him as Joe the barber from the What's Going Down episode of That's My Mama. Welcome to the stage, Jackson Heights own, Mr. Randy Watson! Randy Watson!”
It was a great way to start the day at "The Boss." Here's something else cool that happened on the way in to the stadium. I found a heads-up quarter. One of those state quarters. The state on the back, Iowa. "Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa." Pretty cool to find that right outside the "field" where "dreams" start to materialize.
I just thought you might like to hear about how the day started. Anyway, now onto what all of you foaming at the mouths, rabid Yankees fans want to hear, the latest from Tampa's Magical Mystery Tour '11. We were able to get three interviews in the hour that the clubhouse was opened. The first guy we talked to was Brooklyn-born Dellin Betances. How cool is it that this kid can fulfill the dreams of pretty much every kid in the country? Growing up and being able to play for the team he followed and playing with players he idolized. That is just flat-out cool. He is expected to start the season at Double-A Trenton, but he could end up helping out the club at some point during the year.
Then we talked to a youngster who is in the mix for the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation, Ivan Nova. Nova is benefitting from the experience he gained with the big club last season. He is off to a good start. He hasn't allowed a run in two outings. He's thrown five innings, given up three hits and struck out two. He is battling for those spots with Sergio Mitre, Colon and Freddy Garcia. Mitre and Nova were joking around in the clubhouse before we did our interview. It may be a competition, but it's a friendly competition.
We tried to talk to Garcia, but he couldn't do an interview at the time we asked him. He is all business though. He strides through the clubhouse with a purpose. He wears a scowl on his face that seems to say, "I don't want anyone or anything to get in my way." He said on Thursdsay after his first start that if he loses the job, it's his own fault.
We also talked to Jesus Montero, a guy who was on the bubble as far as being on the big club March 31 in the Bronx. That bubble may have burst because Francisco Cervelli has a broken foot. It’s such a shame for Cervelli. The third time in four years he has been injured at Spring Training. First a broken wrist against Tampa. Then getting beaned in the head last year, prompting his Gazoo helmet, now this. It's just heartbreaking to see it happen to such a great kid who worked very hard this offseason. Montero's Minor League numbers speak for themselves. In four seasons he hit .314 with 58 homers and 258 RBIs. Barring an injury, or a jump by Austin Romine, Montero will be Bronx bound.
We are waiting outside the clubhouse to possibly get a chance to talk to Phil Hughes, Nick Swisher, or Curtis Granderson. TTFN (ta ta for now).
Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter: @ChrisShearnYES