Yankees spring training guest advisor Alex Rodriguez (left) and catcher Gary Sanchez were teammates for a few games last season.
By Randy Miller
TAMPA — Even on rainy spring training days, Alex Rodriguez always finds a way to brighten things up.
The Yankees’ new $21-million, part-time guest advisor did it Wednesday during a radio appearance on the Michael Kay’s ESPN radio show with a fascinating Gary Sanchez comparison to two Boston Red Sox greats.
“I think Gary has the perfect makeup for New York,” Rodriguez told Kay. “I said he was kind of like a hybrid between Manny Ramirez and (David Ortiz) or something because he’s got a flair for the dramatic, but he’s got a very, very slow heartbeat. He’s extremely confident, and that’s rare for a player that age.”
Sanchez, 24, had a home run binge for the ages as a rookie last season, as he went deep 20 times in 53 games, all of the homers and all but one of the games coming after an Aug. 3 call-up from Triple-A.
Here are 7 other Yankees things to know for Thursday:
— Manager Joe Girardi says there “aren’t really any favorites” for the two open rotation spots. The competition is between five righties: Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell and Adam Warren. “There will be plenty of innings (for all five),” Girardi said. “It may be a situation where a couple of them are piggybacking one day and then you flip them the next game.”
— Girardi announced his starting pitchers for his first six Grapefruit Leagues: Mitchell vs. the Phillies in Tampa on Friday (1:05 p.m.); Warren vs. the Phillies in Clearwater on Saturday (1:05 p.m.); Severino vs. the Blue Jays in Tampa on Sunday (1:05 p.m.); Green vs. the Orioles in Sarasota on Monday (1:05 p.m.);Masahiro Tanaka vs. the Tigers in a split-squad game in Tampa on Tuesday (1:05 p.m.), and Cessa vs. the Red Sox in a split-squad game in Fort Myers on Tuesday (1:05 p.m.)
— Veteran left-hander CC Sabathia “may throw some simulated games” instead of Grapefruit League games because he had right knee surgery last October. “He has had no issues with his knee, but you can control it better,” Girardi said. “And sometimes pitchers like that.”
— Four Yankees prospects who are in big-league camp talked Wednesday morning about their Captain’s Club event Tuesday night in which Derek Jeter showed up at a restaurant after dinner to answer a bunch of questions. “I think it’s a huge benefit,” Girardi said, “Derek obviously knows the Yankee way and what he went through to be successful here and his struggles as a minor-league player and how each year he got better and he ended up being Rookie of the Year and doing so many great things here.”
— Jacoby Ellsbury, a disappointment three seasons into his seven-year, $153-million contract, danced around questions during a Wednesday afternoon interview that GM Brian Cashman and Girardi want more this season from the 33-year-old center fielder. “You can’t try to do too much,” said Ellsbury, who hit .263 with nine homers, 56 RBIs and 20 steals in 148 games last season.
— Rain on Wednesday morning wiped out a scheduled simulated game and heavy afternoon showers cut short the team’s practice. Another simulated game is scheduled for Thursday.
— Before the afternoon rain, a power outage at Steinbrenner Field led to Girardi doing his daily media session in a dark pavilion conference room.