TAMPA, Fla. -- Dean Anna is attending his first big league camp, and the Yankees infielder has been taking advantage of his front-row seat for the opening act of Derek Jeter's farewell season.
"I definitely keep an eye on him," Anna said. "I just like to see how he goes about his business and how he separates everything from his game. You just watch those guys, and they give you a few tips about how to approach the game a little bit. You can't ask for a better situation than to be around these guys."
Anna, 27, was acquired by the Yankees from the Padres last November and has flashed signs of a live bat. He led the Pacific Coast League with a .331 average last season at Triple-A Tucson, ranking second in the league with 38 doubles and fourth with a .410 on-base percentage.
Those numbers did not earn Anna a late-season callup from the Padres, and Anna -- a one-time 26th round Draft selection -- said that it was disappointing to not have that solid season recognized.
"It was a little tough," Anna said. "You work for them for a while and you thought you did enough to get a crack, but it was just a numbers game. It just wasn't meant to be, I guess. I'm just happy that I'm over here now. It wasn't the right spot for me over there."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Anna has "played very well" thus far in camp, also rattling off the names of Eduardo Nunez, Yangervis Solarte and Scott Sizemore as players who have been fighting for attention around the infield.
"It's going to be a tough spot at the end for me if they keep all playing the way they're playing," Girardi said.
Anna said that he recently spoke with veteran Kelly Johnson about keeping the proper mindset through camp.
"It's so hard. You want to get a hit so bad. You want to do everything so bad," Anna said. "I just need to keep playing my game. Honestly, if I make the team or I don't make the team, I need to make sure I'm ready for the season no matter what. That's the bottom line.
"[Johnson] was telling me, 'Don't press, make sure you play your game, don't try to become a home run hitter.' That was a good thing. I got to talk with him a little bit about it, and it was nice to pick his brain."
Anna, who was scheduled to replace Jeter at shortstop in the late innings of Friday's game against the Tigers, said that he senses an opportunity because the Yankees have been worked him out at second base, shortstop and third base this spring.
"It's definitely a good thing," Anna said. "I think they're looking at a lot of guys in the infield. It feels good to be here and just have a chance, you know what I mean? It feels good. That's all you really want."
CC to get start when Yanks visit Panama for Mo
TAMPA, Fla. -- CC Sabathia has been tabbed as the Yankees' starter for the second of their two exhibitions in Panama against the Marlins, and the left-hander is looking forward to reuniting with Mariano Rivera.
"I know guys are going to ask him if he's going to pitch," Sabathia said. "It will be good to see him.
When I heard about it, I wanted to go. I knew that he would be there and that it would be a big deal for him. Playing with him for five years, I want a chance to go over there and see how that will be for him."
Rivera has insisted that there is "no chance" that he will take the mound when the "Legend Series" between the Yankees and the Marlins will be played March 15-16 at Panama City's Rod Carew Stadium, marking Major League Baseball's first visit to the country since 1947. The games, a rematch of the 2003 World Series, will honor the legacy of Rivera, who retired last season as baseball's all-time saves leader.
Rivera's remaining on the sidelines won't dampen the enthusiasm for the Yankees, who are sending a star-studded roster for the games: manager Joe Girardi said on Friday that Derek Jeter, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano are all expected to be on the trip.
Adam Warren is scheduled to start the first game against the Marlins, Girardi said. David Robertson, who is succeeding Rivera in the closer's role for the Yankees, also has said that he plans to travel to Panama.
Sabathia said that it will not be his first trip to Panama -- he traveled with Andruw Jones to play first base in a celebrity softball game at Rod Carew Stadium a few years back -- but he is looking forward to the change of scenery.
"It should be fun. I'm excited," Sabathia said. "It's another Spring Training start, but it will be fun. You're going on a road trip with some of the guys you might not get to hang out with, so I think it will be cool."
Soriano may soon see work at first base
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alfonso Soriano brought a first baseman's glove to camp this spring, just in case, and the Yankees are strongly considering giving him an opportunity to wear it.
Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees are looking for ways to increase Soriano's versatility. He started on Friday in right field, and though there has no been date set to begin working on it, Girardi indicated that Soriano could help the Yankees this season as a backup first baseman.
"He's played infield. It'll give us a chance to DH someone besides one of our outfielders at times," Girardi said. "I think he's athletic enough to do it. He's played that side of the infield before; shorter throw."
Girardi said that the team did not give any thought to having Soriano work out as a reserve option at second base, where the veteran has played 766 big league games -- but none since 2009.
"No, that really never crossed our mind," Girardi said.
The Yankees have talked about slotting Kelly Johnson as their backup first baseman, and Girardi said that Johnson should get a start at first base this weekend. But Johnson also is being looked at as the possible Opening Day third baseman, and the Yankees do not plan on carrying a strict backup first baseman this year.
"It's just having more flexibility more than anything else," Girardi said. "Since we don't really have one DH, [playing Soriano at first base] allows us to DH more people. We can do that."
• The names who fill out the Yankees' bullpen behind David Robertson, Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton will probably not be ironed out until the final days of Spring Training, Girardi said.
"Our bullpen is another spot that's going to be interesting to sort out in the end," Girardi said. "I know we made a lot of decisions really late last year, and I have a feeling we'll be making a few decisions really late [this year]."
• Yankees shortstop Brendan Ryan has been sidelined with an oblique or lower back issue, according to Girardi. Ryan had tests performed on Friday and is not expected to return to action until at least the middle of next week.