The New York Yankees camp is in full swing now as the position players have reported. Alex Rodriguez being down there two days early helped as Wednesday wasn't too bad and Thursday when they had their first official workout wasn't so bad either. Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are tired of answering questions about him but that will continue at least for a while.
The main topic on the first day was of course Rodriguez. Mark Teixeira may know him best of all the teammates, they were first teammates in Texas and now have been in New York for a few years. Here is some of what he had to say yesterday about Rodriguez. He was asked if Rodriguez has changed and said that is a tough question to answer. He said I don't know he is the same guy I have known a long time. He said in 2009 it was the same circumstances and had a great year. He did a great job of putting it behind him and playing baseball. He said the entire job did a good job of putting it behind them and that is what Teixeira expects this year.
He said the difference between the two is Teixeira wasn't well past his surgery last year like Rodriguez is this year. He is not in rehab mode and I think he feels pretty good Teixeira said. Teixeira said the last thing to come as a power hitter is the carry. Teixeira was asked about the state of the game with PEDS and said he thinks it is better than ever. He said when he came up in 2003 there was weird testing and you could still do it and have no penalty. He said he has been outspoken about the users and he doesn't like it. He said though if you are willing to take the chance then you have to look in the mirror. He said it is what it is, there will always be someone trying to cheat. He said it is like in school you worked hard and got a B and someone else cheated and got an A, nothing you can do about it. He said a lot of people make bad decisions but that doesn't mean they are a bad person. He said Rodriguez is not a bad person, he has just made some bad decisions.
Larry Rothschild brought up the idea of six starters again even though it was overshadowed by Arod. Brian Cashman said we will see how realistic it is, he said in a perfect world it makes sense but first they have to get five starters. Masahiro Tanaka threw another bullpen, this one was forty pitches. Joe Girardi said it was very good that he threw all of his pitches. He said the arm strength looks good and they will continue to move him along and get him ready for a game. Girardi said they don't know when he will get him in a game but they will get him ready for that.
Jacoby Ellsbury said he will hit anywhere in the lineup and Girardi gave no real indication of his plans for the lineup. I would expect Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to be 1 and 2 in the lineup and that is how I feel it should be. Girardi said they have thrown around ideas but it is too early to decide on a lineup. The Yankees had a meeting before their first full squad workout and it doesn't appear Rodriguez spoke but so far so good with his interactions with the fans, media and teammates. Rodriguez go this first baseman's glove but hasn't started breaking it in yet. Rodriguez actually did play a little first on Friday but basically just flipping to pitchers when they were working on covering first base. He did take some more BP and looked better today than he has since he got there according to the reports.
The Yankees had photo day on Friday. Luis Severino the top pitcher faced top prospect Aaron Judge in live batting practice on Friday. That drew a lot of attention and Severino struck him out. Severino was one of some impressive pitching in the back field. Nathan Eovaldi split innings with Severino and Jacob Lindgren and Branden Pinder came out for an inning a piece. The four hard throwers faced Judge, Kyle Roller, Jake Cave and Tyler Austin. Cave was impressed by Severino but said that he is always impressive.
The Yankees have their first injury of the spring. Brendan Ryan will miss about five days because of a mild strain in his back. He hurt himself lifting weights before reporting to camp. CC Sabathia threw a bullpen on Friday and has been wearing a protective brace on his knee. The Yankees are moving slowly due to that knee injury with Sabathia. Girardi said they have plenty of time and they don't have to rush him. Girardi said he will wait until Saturday to announce his starters for the first few games of the grapefruit league next week. It is being speculated that Adam Warren will start the opener on Tuesday. The Yankees are scheduled for an intrasquad game on Sunday and a light day on Monday before the spring opener on Tuesday. Teixeira and Beltran have made a strong impression so far by the way they reported to camp which is a good sign, we will see if they can stay healthy though and then they should be productive. The Yankees were also very impressed with Severino and his sim game on Friday. Girardi said " Young kid with a great arm." He said he has a good slider and changeup and it is something to get excited about. Eovaldi had a two inning simulated game and Girardi was happy with that. He said "Really good stuff, Powerful arm." It is interesting and fun with all the young kids in camp and they are generating buzz which is good for the Yankees. They have been a older veteran team for a while and it is good to see them try to get younger and develop the next wave of homegrown stars.