The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
Position players arrived in camp on Sunday and, due to the new Spring Training schedule, only have a week to be ready before games start up.
Meeting Your Idol: A nervous Tyler Austin met his childhood idol, Derek Jeter, for the first time when position players reported. They might even have a chance to play together sometime soon. It's nice to see players still love the game and have people they look up to and it's definitely weird to see Jeter as the old veteran idol for a new generation of baseball players. Baseball players have finally started becoming younger than I am (25) so the past year has been really odd to think about.
True DH: Travis Hafner will not be this year's Raul Ibanez. Joe Girardi knows he can't call on him to play in the field, so he's only going to be focusing on DHing and won't be partaking in defensive drills. Hafner hasn't played in the field since 2007 and he's said that he frequently gives away the gloves that he receives.
David Adams Lives: David Adams is in camp and says that he's recovering from a sore back. It was originally believed that he'd miss all of Spring Training with a serious back injury. Now it seems like he's perfectly fine, though he's about a week behind schedule at the moment.
The Infield Mix: The Yankees have decided to keep Eduardo Nunez a shortstop, at least for now, and won't see time at any other position this spring. Joe Girardi thinks that it is entirely possible that Derek Jeter will primarily DH against lefties, giving Nunez an opening to fill in on those days. Nunez will have to compete for a backup infielder spot with the likes of Jayson Nix, David Adams, Corban Joseph, and even Dan Johnson, who might be able to fill the role Eric Chavez filled last season as a first base/third base infielder.
Setbacks Happen: People get injured during Spring Training. It's just something that happens when you try to get back into the baseball season. Michael Pineda suffered a near-career threatening injury last spring, but hopefully we can avoid another disaster like that. Unfortunately, players still suffer minor injuries, like David Adams, or even small setbacks caused by stiffness. Relief prospect Mark Montgomery was scratched from his bullpen session on Sunday due to back stiffness. Hopefully it won't keep him away for too long because he's one of the few prospects who could make the team out of camp, as unlikely as it might be. He'll most likely be starting the season in Triple-A, setback or not, ready to be called up at the first hint of the need.
New to the Yankees: Shawn Kelley is ready to play for the Yankees and is looking to impress the club. He had already arrived in Arizona for Spring Training, but went to Florida when he heard he had been traded. While his number, #23, isn't available, he decided to settle on #27. Kelley is just happy to be healthy, having gone through two Tommy John surgeries, and looking to showcase his talent.
Notes From Camp: Girardi talks about Derek Jeter returning from injury as a DH at first and the possibility of DHing him against lefties throughout the season. Mark Teixeira also speaks about his offseason workout, what he's doing differently to prepare for the World Baseball Classic and the regular season, and what he thinks he should focus on doing during the season.
Prospect Positons: Yankees position players have been divided between outfielders and infielder for all their drills. Of note was the fact that Ronnier Mustelier was among the outfielders, though he can play some infield as well, while Rob Segedin has been grouped with the infielders, so he might be getting a long look as a third baseman.
A Nice Teammate: Ichiro Suzuki is apparently a really nice guy. He knew David Robertson really liked the glove that his interpreter used (for what, who knows), and this year on the first day position players reported to camp he presented his teammate with the same mitt. It has D-Rob's name on it and everything, and he plans to use it to play catch with his now 5-month-old son some day. D'Awww
Jeter's Progression: Derek Jeter worked on his fielding while trying to slowly get back into the game. He's started his side to side movements, which is a big concern when coming back from an ankle injury because the team needs to know if Jeter's range will be even more limited than it already is. His potential backup hasn't started off Spring Training on the right foot, so to speak, as Eduardo Nunez has already committed a few errors. Jeter also took his first batting practice and immediately started hitting, seemingly picking up where he left off last season, but he has yet to run the bases. Ichiro said Jeter was not the eater the media portrayed him to be. That was good to see."