Friday, February 20, 2015

Yankees pitchers and catchers report and first workout is on tap

The Yankees pitchers and catchers reported on Friday, their first official workout is Saturday.  Joe Girardi held his annual state of the team and opening of camp press conference this morning.  Here are some of what he talked about and then some notes courtesy of the Lohud Yankees Blog. 

The two biggest topics for Joe during the press conference were Alex Rodriguez and Masahiro Tanaka.  He was asked about the batting order and said that is something they need to figure out but he expects that Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner will pretty much be in the same spot all year unlike last year where they were moved around.  He says the last two weeks of camp are important and that will determine a lot about the batting order. 

He spoke about the health of the rotation and admitting that he has concerns.  He says right now CC and Tanaka are healthy but until you get CC out there every fifth day and making three or four starts in a row you don't know how his knee is going to feel and respond.  He says with Tanaka you just don't know, there are some guys who have had what he has and gotten through it for a long period of time and then there are others who haven't been able to make it and end up getting Tommy John.  He says they are the biggest concerns right now but as of right now they feel good and look good. 

The six man rotation is something the Yankees will talk about but they won't do it for a whole year.  He said it is something they may do when they are in a long stretch for instance of 17 or 18 games in a row which they will have in April and May.  Do they have enough time to get Arod ready??  He said he thinks they will and because he is mostly going to be a DH he will get a lot of at bats, he said more then he would normally and there may be some days they send him to the minors to get some extra at bats as well.  He said communication is the most important and that he is on the roster but he will have to earn playing time, they haven't seen him for two years basically and they want to see where he is at, he has to prove that he can get playing time. 

There was a twitter question about run prevention being important and Girardi said yes it is and he does feel that it leads to more wins.  He said sometimes it is just as important as run production.  I would say he is right about this and the Yankees drastically improved their defense from last year to this year.  They in my opinion have one guy who is average and that is Carlos Beltran in right field.  I would say everyone else is a plus defender. 

Tanaka met with the media and said he is confident he can make it through the year healthy.  He said that he actually feels better now than he did last year. He said he is confident the elbow is healed and he can get through the season because he is able to throw the ball absolutely fine.  He said he hasn't made any changes in his off season program and won't make any now, Girardi said the same thing. 

Girardi talked a lot about roster competition this year.  He didn't mean for guys making the roster though as much as guys getting playing time and where they all fit in.  They have to figure out if Didi Gregorious can play SS full-time or does he need a platoon partner.  Will Drew play second base every day, will one of the young guys be the starter and him a backup.  How often will Alex Rodriguez be in the lineup and will he play the field and if he does how much??  Who will be the closer or will it be a closer by committee?  There are definitely more questions than usual in this camp. 

Rodriguez is expected to report with the rest of the position players on Wednesday.  Girardi knows it will be crazy for about a week with him and then hopes he can just get back to playing.  He said it is more of a big deal outside of the clubhouse, that with the Yankees it is part of the territory and he will make sure it doesn't stop them from getting their work in and that the team could come together with something like this.  Girardi said that he is very encouraged by Nova's progress from Tommy John surgery and Nova said that he feels good and sounded optimistic.  The Yankees are optimistic about Sabathia as well but Girardi said he needs to see him in a game to really get a sense of what to expect. 

Jose Ramirez said that last year's lat issue has cleared up, he is healthy and already throwing bullpens.  Chase Whitley wife is about to give birth to their first child.  When that happens he will be excused I am sure.  The early arrivals of position players were Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, Stephen Drew and Garrett Jones.  They were basically just setting up lockers. 

The Yankees will have their team meeting on Saturday morning and then hit the field probably around 11-1130 for the first time as a group this season.  They will of course do that all over when the full squad reports which is next Wednesday but the first full squad workout is on Thursday. 

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