Thursday, February 27, 2014

New York Yankees notes as exhibition games begin

Kelly Johnson played third base briefly for the Yankees on Tuesday.  He is getting acclimated there
but in reality it was last year when he was thrown into the fire.  He never played there but then he
was becoming Evan Longoria back-up.  This is what Johnson said "They just said, Hey lets go out and
get some early stuff and see how you look over there."  "I played that day, and I played like a week
straight .

Just whenever Longoria needed something, a day off or a DH day."  He went on to say that as an

infielder in the big leagues you kind of know and have an eye on other positions.  He said the one

thing that stood out to him about third base was you don't have as much time to throw over to first.

He said at second your mechanics don't have to be perfect but at third they do because you have

less time. Johnson said that Mick Kelleher, Willie Randolph and minor league coach Jody Reed have

all been helping him at third.  Yankees camp is light on true third baseman so he fits in but he said

he had one of the best teachers last year in Longoria.  I would agree with him on that one, he is one
of the best players in the league. 

Alfonso Soriano was able to hit and workout in the morning.  He said that he was feeling much
better according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News.  Ozzie Smith has teamed up with Budweiser

to try and make Opening Day a national holiday.  They need 100,000 signatures in 30 days and then
it will be brought to Washington D.C. to try and make it a law.  I think it is pretty cool and you

should check it out if you haven't already.   It is on and  The Yankees
played their first exhibition against major leaguers on Wednesday afternoon.  They played in

Bradenton against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Eduardo Nunez was the starting shortstop on Wednesday but was scratched with a stomach bug.  It

sounds like the Yankees have it going around as he is the second one to have it now.  Soriano was
the first and he is just starting to workout and feel better.  The Yankees decided to give Soriano five

days of workouts before putting him in a game.  He is only on day two so by the weekend he should
be ready to go.  Nova started on Wednesday and wasn't great but he wasn't horrible.  He already

has trust in his new catcher Brian McCann.  McCann went out to talk with him in the first inning and

let him know what he was seeing.  Nova said he listened and he told him I am not going to shake

you much as you have a plan and I trust you know what you are doing.  I think McCann will have a

huge impact on the Yankees both offensively and defensively.  Jose Ramirez who is a pitching

prospect is the latest spring training injury.  He felt his back tighten up warming up in the bullpen. 

There are no change of plans with Derek Jeter.  He is expected in the lineup on Thursday and to play
about five innings at shortstop.  Brian Cashman again shot down any thought of someone like

Stephen Drew.  He said we have spent our money and only things that are cost effective.  So either

a trade for infield help or a waiver claim, I tend to agree with this.  I don't think they are lying about

it.  I think if anything, they could make a trade but they could also do that at midseason if things

aren't working. 

Ellsbury reached base three times on Wednesday and didn't try to steal.  He stated that was
intentional. He said he does try and save them for the regular season.  Yangervis Solarte was the
standout of Wednesday.  He is a guy to keep an eye on as he may be able to help at third this
season.  They have Johnson and Nunez for there right now but Johnson is also the backup first
baseman and probably second also.  It isn't an ideal situation so someone else may have a chance to
open up eyes and get their shot in the infield.  Chase Whitley had a rough outing taking the loss and
being charged with all four runs in the seventh inning.  Dellin Betances pitched two scoreless innings
and had two strikeouts and no walks.  He is a guy who I think will make the team in the bullpen and
could have a big impact. 

The first televised game of the spring is on Thursday afternoon.  It is a 1:00PM start on YES and from
Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  You should see most of the regulars for about half of the

game.  David Phelps gets the start in the game and Adam Warren will start on Friday.  The fifth

starter derby really starts to heat up. 

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