Thursday, February 25, 2016

New York Yankees full squad reports

It has been pretty quiet in Yankees camp so far.  Aroldis Chapman did miss one day of practice already but the Yankees said it was a scheduled day off and they were fine with it.  He is also missing today, the first full squad workout day which the Yankees said was also known about a long time ago and it is an excused absence.  The possible suspension is also looming with him.  I guess you can say he has been the big story so far. 

Alex Rodriguez will have a press conference this afternoon for his first official day in camp.  He is always a big story but it is a lot different than at this time last year.  The Yankees announced today that Brett Gardner is suffering from a bone bruise in his wrist, he hurt it during the wild card game in October and complained about a week later.  They said it is no big deal, just being cautious because they can be and he will be fine for Opening Day in six weeks.  Brian Cashman the general manager even said he could be ready for exhibition games which start next week.  Mason Williams will be on the DL to start the season as he is still recovering from shoulder surgery.  He feels much better though. 

Rob Refsnyder who has become a bit of a fan favorite has also become a big story which is kind of funny.  We all assumed he might get traded or just be stuck in AAA when the Yankees traded for Starlin Castro to be their everyday second baseman.  That may not be the case, it still could be but it looks like the Yankees may be trying to fit him in on the bench and make him more versatile.  He started as an OF and has improved at 2B, now they are going to try him out as the backup 3B for Chase Headley, they also said they will try Castro out in that position but if that is the case Refsnyder can also play 2B if Castro is playing 3B.  It will be interesting to see exactly what they do with Refsnyder who can hit but his defense has always been a question and who the fans have fallen in love with. 

Masahiro Tanaka already threw a side session today and once again no bad reports so he is moving along.  Hideki Matsui arrived in camp today as a special guest instructor, always good to see him around.  Jacoby Ellsbury was benched the last time we saw him which was that wild card game loss to the Houston Astros in October.  He said there is nothing to discuss and that he feels 100 percent.  He said that is all behind them, that he spoke with Joe Girardi that day and it was left at that.  Ellsbury said that he felt he was getting better during the season but it wasn't until after the season that he realized maybe he wasn't 100 percent, he said you don't have time for that during the season and now he feels fine and ready to go. 

Mark Teixeira said yesterday that he wants to play another five years until he is 40.  I would doubt it would be with the Yankees but if he has another good year this year and stays healthy would the Yankees bring him back for a year or two??  It is interested to think about especially with Greg Bird the heir apparent being out for the season.  Girardi has talked about resting these guys more during the season to keep them fresh and I think that is a good idea and they have better backups now to make that happen. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

New York Yankees weekend spring training notes

Camp is pretty quiet right now as it is just pitchers and catchers.  This is how it is every year until the position players show up and then it gets more lively.  They will start to show up on Wednesday and then the first full squad workout will happen on Thursday of this week.  The late inning trio though definitely created a lot of buzz on Saturday.  Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances all threw a bullpen session together on Saturday along with CC Sabathia.  Sabathia though wasn't even looked at as all eyes were locked on the three headed bullpen monsters. 

Vinnie Pestano said he signed with the Yankees because they have some open spots in their bullpen but also because he really wanted to pitch for the Yankees.  He said it is an oppurtunity that doesn't come around often and he wanted to take advantage.  He said his worst stretches as a pitcher have come when he has tried to tinker.  He said pitching coach Larry Rothschild has told him not to tinker and just be himself this spring.  He finished last season with 28 straight scoreless outings in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast league in the minors.  Luis Cessa acquired in the Justin Wilson trade is in big league camp for the first time and expects to be in the AAA rotation.  His AAA numbers were pretty bad last year and he said that was a wake-up call and a learning experience. 

Didi Gregorius has arrived in camp, CC Sabathia didn't get much attention in his first bullpen because of the late inning relievers who were beside him.  He was encouraged about his new knee brace that he began wearing at the end of last season.  He said you always know you are wearing it but it doesn't bother him that way that it used to and that is good.  Girardi said he was landing and not having any problems.  He said his ball had sink to it, the changeup was doing what it was supposed to do , the front knee wasn't collapsing and he wasn't spinning off which was a good sign. 

McCann caught Chapman for the first time on Saturday.  He said he wasn't at full effort but the ball was still coming out hard.  He said he is rare, that there aren't many people who can do what he can.  Girardi said he is concerned about the workload of the bullpen but thinks that Betances could handle 80 games.  He said it is more about the rest in between outings and not necessarily the amount of games they pitch.  He said he still isn't sure how he is going to use Miller and Betances but would be more likely to use Betances for multiple innings. 

Carlos Corporan has an opt out in late March and even though he was signed to a minor league contract may never play in the minor with the Yankees.  He is 32 with a resume and said there really isn't anything for him to prove, if they want him on the team as the backup great and if they decide to go in another direction then he will most likely opt out and go somewhere else.  Anthony Swarzak the pitcher from Minnesota doesn't have an opt out and said he didn't push for it because he feels committed to the Yankees no matter what happens.  He said he is in camp hoping to earn a spot in the bullpen but will go to AAA if that is what the Yankees decide.  Lane Adams was a position player who showed up on Sunday . 

The Yankees have a new training hill this season and Michael Pineda stood out running on it.  The reason this is news is because of how big he is.  He really didn't look to have any trouble and was one of the better guys doing it.  He looks to be in much better shape this spring and already has stated that he wants to pitch 200 innings.  Who knows if this will carry over but it can't hurt.  Luis Severino was only throwing on flat ground but impressed manager Joe Girardi who said he looked great. 

James Kaprielian was the Yankees top pick in the draft last year and is already in big league camp.  Could he make the big leagues this season.  It won't happen right away obviously but the Yankees are saying don't rule it out although I wouldn't bet on it.  He obviously is impressing people though and it is easy to envision him being in the rotation one day in the near future. 

The Yankees starters aren't going to pitch in the first few spring training games.  That will be an oppurtunity for guys like Kaprielian and Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cess and Chad Green.  It will be important for them and for the Yankees coaches to store for later on during the season if they need anyone.   

New York Mets Pitchers and Catchers Report

The crowd on Friday was the largest in Tradition Field history for the Mets.  I guess it would be expected as they were in the World Series last year and everyone wants to get a glimpse of that great starting pitching staff.  David Wright spoke with reporters and said he doesn't have a specific goal for games played but wants to be out there if he is productive.  He said his mindset hasn't changed due to his spinal stenosis but his preperation has changed.   He said the Mets should follow the Royals lead this year about getting back to the World Series and winning it.  He said the Mets have a great team on paper but that doesn't mean anything, it is how the team comes together and that teams will be gunning for them now since they are the NL Champs. 

He said winning in the NL is more important than beating the Yankees and their focus is on winning the NL East.  He said it is incredible to see how many players are showing up early to camp.  I guess winning will do that for you.  He said as for goals for this season confidence is good but cockiness is dangerous.  He said that he will miss Daniel Murphy this season. 

Terry Collins had this to say on Friday.  He said Jenrry Mejia used extremely bad judgement and his permanent suspension was very disappointing.  He will sit down next week with captain Wright and speak about their plan for the season.  He said they will slow down Wright in Spring Training so fatigue doesn't set in.  He said the players were told to take it easy early in spring training to avoid injuries.  The Mets don't know yet how the starting pitching depth will shake out after the five known starters. 

Travis d'Arnaud will mostly play three days in a row before getting a rest.  That will be the case most times he said.  Kevin Plawecki has to work well with the pitchers, that is the biggest thing for him.  On Saturday Michael Cuddyer was talking about Michael Conforto being an impact hitter.  There are definitely high expectations with the kid.  The big story on Sunday was Yoenis Cespedes showing up to camp.  He got his work in, took some batting practice and spoke with the media. 

Why did he come back to the Mets?  He said it was a little of everything.  He said he feels at home and relaxed.  He said he isn't worried about all the attention he will be getting. He said that he works hard and isn't too concerned with the salary.  He said one of the reasons for reporting early was to reestablish the bond with his teammates.  He said it was natural last season after the trade to the Mets in July.  The fans, team, coaches, everything is why he came back.  He said such a positive atmosphere.  Is this the Mets he was talking about, what a change in a few months.  Before the run to the World Series last year, you couldn't say anything close to that for many  years.  It really does feel different now, everyone is confident including the fans who are notorius for waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

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