Spring is here: Yankees pitchers and catchers report
George M. Steinbrenner Field is open for business, and while we’re still waiting to hear the first official crack of the bat, these words should be enough to warm your afternoon wherever you are — Yankees pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa today.
The players went through the usual gauntlet of physical tests and checked out their locker assignments – with 84 names on the invited list, the Yankees have had to build a few new ones in the clubhouse – before heading out for the day. The real work begins tomorrow, with the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
“Everybody talked about the guys that we didn’t sign, but talk about the guys we have coming back,” Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. “Hiro (Hiroki Kuroda) coming back, Andy (Pettitte) coming back, we’ll get Mo (Mariano Rivera) back for a full year. I think we already had the pieces here in place to compete and try to win a championship. We’ll just go with what we’ve got.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his first press conference of the spring, and the big news was again about Alex Rodriguez, as Girardi revealed that A-Rod will not be reporting to camp with the Yankees’ position players.
Instead, Rodriguez will be continuing his rehab in New York, which should limit some of the potential distractions that were expected to go along with MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis case.
Girardi said that he believes the Yankees “could win 95 games and get to the World Series,” and said that “if other clubs want to think we’re vulnerable, that’s OK, but I love the character in that room and the way they find ways to win games.”
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Here are some of the other quick hits from Girardi’s session with the press:
- Girardi is not concerned about the health of Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. He is, however, curious how the Yankees will find their designated hitter against right-handed pitching. Eduardo Nunez, Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera appear to be the early options.
- Girardi called the spring “a test” for Francisco Cervelli, who must block out the distraction of the Biogenesis investigation while also competing for the Opening Day catcher job.
- Austin Romine should be able to help the Yankees at some point during the season, Girardi said, but he doesn’t know exactly when. Romine said that he intends to make the roster out of Spring Training, but the Yankees have him ticketed for Triple-A right now.
- Girardi said Cervelli, Stewart and Romine should be able to be as good as Russell Martin was defensively.
- Michael Pineda is throwing in camp, but Girardi said he doesn’t expect to see him in a game this spring. The Yankees have been saying that Pineda’s best case scenario is to pitch in the big leagues by May or June.
- Girardi said he’s not worried about his lame duck status as the Yankees’ manager, saying that he’s only concerned with the next 162 games and getting to the World Series. The Yankees will likely hold off until after the season to open contract talks with Girardi.