I checked in on Felix first thing when I hit the clubhouse today and he said that his back was fine. He did wake up with a good amount of soreness but was feeling much better after treatment.
I'm not just taking his word on that. He never stopped moving in the clubhouse before batting practice. He was in every corner, every room, as loud and bouncy as ever. He clearly was feeling okay. Eric Wedge said that he does not expect that he will need to alter his routine in any way.
After I checked in on Felix I headed over the the Yankees clubhouse to say hi to Shawn Kelley and Ichiro. Both are doing well and enjoying their time with the Yankees. Ichiro was about as relaxed and friendly as I have ever seen him. He said that everything is good for him right now, except the results. He is currently hitting .246 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
Moving on to the lineup:
Yep, that is Dustin Ackley hitting second. From listening to Wedge in his pregame conversation with the media it seems like this is more about the rest of the lineup than Ackley. He likes Kyle Seager hitting third, so with a right-hander on the mound he wanted another lefty and saw Ackley as the best candidate as he does have experience there. So there he is.
Quick Hisashi Iwakuma note and then it is time to get this game started: In Toronto Iwakuma told me that he watches Felix closely to see how he approaches hitters. At first this would seem like it wouldn't work because they have different pitches but then you realize that Felix's changeup looks an awful lot like a splitter, so maybe Iwakuma does get something from that. Jesus Montero believes he does.
"I think it is about the same," he said of Iwakuma's splitter and Felix's changeup. "Felix is throwing a little harder but they both have the same movement. It is unbelievable how the ball goes down and strikes everybody out."