The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
Ah, it's back! I'm reporting from my chair about Spring Training.
Spring Training is here and baseball is back. I don't know about any of you, but I'm freaking excited. Maybe the Yankees won't be the best or most exciting team to watch, but they'll still be a good team. I look forward to watching Brett Gardner build his value back up, David Robertson do D-Rob things, prospects like Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, and Mason Williams continue to make great strides in the minors (MiLB.TV!!), and wonder which prospects could make an impact this season. What are you interested in?
- He discussed what the offense will be like, admitting that losing 112 home runs from last year "can't help but change the offense." Like Girardi always does, he thinks the Yankees can get the job done. "We're going to have to find different ways to score runs," which could be anything from more bunting to more stealing.
More on the Yankee offense coming tomorrow.
-He answered questions about Alex Rodriguez not being in camp since he's still rehabbing his hip in New York. Obviously people are talking about how the Yankees don't want him in camp and how they don't want distractions and blah blah blah. Girardi simply stated "he's not ready to do anything with us from a baseball standpoint." The dude is not going to rehab hip surgery in the middle of training camp. He needs to be in an appropriate facility for that. After surgery in mid-January and just getting off crutches, A-Rod is only beginning his rehab assignment so right now Girardi's concern is "to get him healthy."
When discussing A-Rod's absence as the organization's supposed attempts to remove any distractions from Spring Training, Girardi only said "this club is used to having what people might call distractions." I'm not quite sure what he was referring to, be it A-Rod himself, or the media circus that goes with playing in New York.
- While he doesn't believe he has to worry about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera coming back strong after injury, he did say that there would still be some concern until he sees them on the field. When asked specifically about Jeter, Girardi believes "he's going to be an everyday shortstop, but you have to see it." Jeter has been cleared to begin baseball activities and everything seems to be business as usual for the shortstop.
- Girardi stated that the search for a right-handed DH is a priority and is still tinkering with how to construct his 2013 lineup. Unfortunately for all the Gardner fans out there, Girardi has yet to consider switching him and Granderson in the outfield. He did say that anything was possible and "it's something that could be talked about... If it's worth exploring, we'll try it early and see what happens." Maybe that means something, maybe that doesn't. We'll have to see how things shake out in Spring Training because even if Granderson is willing to move to left field, Girardi will still be the decision maker and he doesn't like to change things with his veterans.
-He spoke briefly about his own impending free agency after the season, but in true Girardi fashion brushed the question aside, stating "I don't worry about where I'm going to be next year. I'm worried about the next 162 games in front of us."
This is what's going on in and around New York Yankees Spring Training:
Back Up and Running: David Aardsma seems to be healthy and has already thrown four bullpen sessions as of Monday. Hopefully he'll be back to his old self after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Now that Rafael Soriano is gone, Aardsma provides much
needed appreciated depth for the back end of the bullpen. Along with Joba Chamberlain he'll probably only be pitching in the sixth or seventh inning at the outset, though.
Hitting Regimen: Curtis Granderson has apparently tweaked his offseason routine by starting to hit earlier than he normally does. I'm not sure what this will do for him, other than maybe get him into a groove earlier in the season? Whatever it might do, I guess we have Ichiro to thank for that. Thanks?
Breaking Down the Numbers:Thanks to LoHud we have a breakdown of how the overflow of numbers in spring training will work out. Since they had to issue duplicate numbers, they split them between one hitter and one pitcher each in an attempt to make things less confusing.
No. 87 - C Francisco Arcia and RHP Corey Black
No. 88 - OF Tyler Austin and LHP Juan Cedeno
No. 89 - 1B Greg Bird and RHP Preston Claiborne
No. 90 - SS Cito Culver and RHP Nick Goody
No. 91 - OF Adonis Garcia and RHP Shane Greene
No. 92 - OF Slade Heathcott and RHP Tom Kahnle
No. 93 - SS Walter Ibarra and RHP Bryan Mitchell
No. 94 - 1B Luke Murton and RHP Mark Montgomery
No. 95 - OF Ronnier Mustelier and RHP Zach Nuding
No. 96 - SS Addison Maruszak and LHP Vidal Nuno
No. 97 - 2B Jose Pirela and RHP Mike O'Brien
No. 98 - 1B Kyle Roller and RHP Kelvin Perez
No. 99 - OF Rob Segedin and RHP Branden Pinder
Most of these guys won't be getting much attention, either because they're really just depth or because they're too far away to potentially help the big league club. Check out Andrew's series on the non-roster invitees for more if you are interested in all these other players. I will be interested in following the likes of Mike Montgomery, who has the best chance of making the team or at least being in the majors this season, Ronnier Mustelier, who could potentially make the team as a right handed outfielder off the bench, and outfield prospects Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin.
No Yogi in Camp: Yogi Berra will not be attending spring training this year. His name is not on the list for special guest instructors that includes Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson, David Wells, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill. and Billy Connors, although Yogi might show up at some point during the spring. Hideki Matsui was also offered a job as an instructor, but turned it down because his wife is pregnant.
Pineda Progresses: Michael Pineda has finally started throwing on a full mound after graduating from a half mound last week. He will continue to rehab, but won't be pitching in Spring Training since he won't be nearly ready for another couple months. It seems the target is still June, but there's nothing concrete yet about when he can get into a game.
Romine is Ready: Austin Romine will be in camp, but his destiny seems to be predetermined for him. He knows that the organization wants him to start the year in Triple-A, but he hopes he can impress the higher ups and win a job on the big league team. He says his back is ready to go, so hopefully the competition between him, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, and Bobby Wilson will be a fair one.