New York Yankees: Clint Frazier wants to be an “impact player”

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankee’s Clint Frazier is about to realize a dream eight years in the making. Next Thursday, April 1, Frazier will suit up to be the starting left-fielder for the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and that’s no April fools joke. Clint Frazier has battled poor defense, poor attitude, and the Yankee shuttle, but now with his determination and a little mentoring from Brett Gardner, he’s a new man, a major leaguer.

In the short 60 game season last year, a new, more mature Frazier showed up. He also had amazingly become a Gold Glove Award nominee. He was so good that manager Aaron Boone made him a daily part of the lineup in the second half. Now with all that behind him and an Opening Day job, Frazier has set his sights on new goals, to become an impact player and an All-Star. There is no question that he has the talent, and possibly playing every day, he could become a superstar.

“The goal is to be an impact player, one that shows what I can finally do over the course of 162 games,” Frazier said in a Zoom call with reporters. “I have goals in my head of what I want to accomplish and I do think that they’re pretty fair goals. If I accomplish those, I do think that there’s a good chance that I could find myself on the All-Star ballot if I produce the way that I hope that I can.”

The New York Yankees always knew that his quick swing and ability to hit both for contact and power highlighted his talent. But, for Frazier, his poor play in the field has dogged him throughout his career. His maturity was also a factor. Last season a new 26-year-old, more mature Frazier, showed up at summer camp. But even that didn’t help as he was to start the season at the alternate site. Due to need, the Yankees called him up on August 12th. In his first game, he went 3 for 4 with a monster home run. Frazier continued to play like a star with much-improved field play, making diving catch after diving catch. Late in the month, manager Aaron Boone rewarded him a permanent place in the lineup.

Frazier continued his excellent play into the postseason, going 2 for 7 with a 286 batting average and a 1.000 OPS and a homer to his name. Those two months of play have cemented him as a part of future Yankee teams and a player too talented to use in the trade market. To discover how Clint reached this plateau, let’s start from the beginning.

Clint Frazier was born on September 6, 1994, in Loganville, Georgia. He is of Scot descent and played baseball in the Loganville high school’s baseball team’s outfield. He played well, and in his senior year, he batted .485 with 17 home runs and 45 RBI’s. He was even named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

Clint doesn’t have to borrow a dollar for a coke; he was given a 3.5 million signing bonus with the Cleveland Indians, being selected fifth in the 2013 draft. He decided to sign with the Indians instead of attending college at the University of Georgia. After the signing, he was sent to Arizona to play with the minor league team there. In his first game, he hit a triple and a home run. In 2014 he played for their Class A team, the Captains of the mid-west league. He batted .266 with 13 home runs in 120 games.

Frazier’s big break came in July of 2016 when the Indians traded Clint to the Yankees in a multi-trade that got the Indians, Andrew Miller. Clint was assigned the triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. In 2017 Clint played in 73 games for the Rail Riders amassed 42 RBI’s, a batting average of .257 with 12 home runs. He played only 73 games because he was called up to the stadium on July 1st of 2017. As he is called, Big Red or Red Thunder enamored himself to Yankee fans on July 8th, when he hit his first career walk-off home run, giving the Yankees a win over the Brewers.

During June of 2019, all Clint Frazier did was hit. In fact, he hit .320 with four multi-hit games. Despite his hot hotting, Frazier was controversial as he failed at times in the field, and then there was the episode when he failed to answer questions about his poor fielding. When Edwin Encarnacion was traded to the Yankees from Seattle, the Yankees decided that rankled many but sent Frazier down to Scranton. Frazier then further damaged his reputation by tweeting snarky comments about the Yankees and removing everything Yankee from social media. Many consider those actions quite immature and be a real Yankee; he needed to grow up.

Last year in spring training and the delayed summer camp, a new, more mature Clint Frazier had appeared.  He played well behind the plate and in the field during the training camps.  After baseball restarted after the coronavirus shutdown, Frazier was the only player elected to play in the field and at-bat with a face mask.  When interviewed, he stated that it wasn’t a problem; he was wearing the mask to protect his fellow players.

But even that new maturity didn’t help Frazier.  When the New York Yankees announced their 40 man roster at the beginning of the season, Frazier found himself back at Scranton. When Giancarlo Stanton injured a hamstring running the bases at Tampa.  In a somewhat puzzling move, the New York Yankees called up Thairo Estrada instead of the obvious left field replacement, Clint Frazier.  Yankee and Clint Frazier fans were wondering if he will see major league action that shortened season.  He would be hitting third or fourth in their lineup with almost any other team, but with the Yankees, he continued to sit and wait for another chance at Yankee stardom.

That chance came on August 12 as part of a two-game series with the Atlanta Braves. All Frazier did from that game on and into the postseason was to show the New York Yankees and its fans a new Clint Frazier and what he could do for the team. It now appears he is a permanent part of the team with a career of stardom to fill.

Although he hasn’t been burning the barn down this spring, he has two home runs in 14 games. He is batting .243 with a .750 OPS. The now 26-year-old Frazier already knows how hard it was to get to this point. Now he is going to find out that staying on the team will take all of his determination. If he achieves his goals, the Yankees might have the next big Yankee star in the making.

Yankees’ Brett Gardner is fine with reserve role: ‘I know what I signed up for’

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner has been with the New York Yankees for 16 years. He was drafted in 2005, honed his skills in the farms, and received his first MLB call-up in 2008. For 13 uninterrupted years, he has been a member of the Bombers’ active roster.

And yet here we are, in 2021, and Brett Gardner is still a part of the New York Yankees. At 37 years old, he is still capable of contributing to a major league team, even if it’s not as a regular. And the most important thing is that the outfielder himself understand his place in the organization at this stage of his career.

The Yankees have tremendous outfield depth, with Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, and Aaron Judge as the starters, plus Giancarlo Stanton ready to take the field if needed. Mike Tauchman or Jay Bruce could make the team as well. Yet, Gardner is still there, ready to help with his defense, baserunning, on-base skills, and even the occasional home run.

“For me, I still mentally and physically have to be prepared to play every day,” Gardner told MLB.com. “I know that if all of our guys are healthy, that’s probably not going to happen, which is fine. I know what I signed up for when I decided to come back here. I’m just excited to be a part of this team, and however often I play, I’ll be ready for it.”

Gardner can still help the Yankees

Despite a horrific start to the season last year and an ugly .223/.354/.392 line, Gardner’s on-base skills allowed him to grade as an above-average offensive performer, with a 110 wRC+ for the Yankees. Also, his bat seemed to wake up down the stretch and during the playoffs.

At this stage of his career, a reserve role is perfect for him, and he gets to stay in the only place he has called home in his big-league tenure: the New York Yankees.

“I think I can speak for the whole clubhouse and this whole organization that we’re happy to have him back in pinstripes where he belongs,” Judge said. “He’s a guy that needs to end his career here. He’s that important to me, the young guys we have on this team and all my other teammates. Even if he’s not on the field, he finds a way to impact the game.”

MLB must read analysis: Minor changes could have a major impact on the game

Like it or not, MLB is evolving in many ways. A hardcore group of baseball fans wants baseball to remain just the way it has for the last 130 years or more. They say that changes and analytics are ruining the game they grew up with. Therein lies the problem that MLB faces. The fan base is getting older and older and dying off, shrinking America’s summer pastime viewership. Over the last twenty-some years, baseball has gone from the most-watched sport to last behind football and basketball.

The simple answer to why this has happened is that the younger population finds baseball boring, slow, with too much dead time. Society has changed to a culture that wants immediate satisfaction, and they want it right now. Baseball is not satisfying those needs. This brings us to why baseball viewership and thus revenues are shrinking. The average TV baseball viewer is now 55 years old. Football and basketball viewers are at least ten years younger on average.

MLB wants to change this. Now that MLB has taken over control of the minor leagues, they have a new playground to experiment with what changes in the game can make it more engaging to younger viewers. In the past few years, they have implemented some rules to shorten game length with is one of the complaints most expressed by viewers. For the most part, those changes have had little effect on shortening games.

New and even more dramatic changes are on the way if MLB and the MLBPA (players union) have anything to say about it, and they do. MLB released some big rule changes for the minors this past Thursday. Some of the most dramatic experiments will be tried at different levels of affiliated clubs. Here is just a few: No more Andy Pettitte; the Pettitte move is now a balk. No more multiple pickoff attempts. No more tiny bases; we are going to make them huge. No more umpire; the strike zone is now computerized, umpires will be reduced to referees. I wonder if robots will throw out a player if he kicks dust in its face? No more infielders in the outfield. These are just a few of the changes that will be implemented in the minors this season.

We have to be reminded that these at just experiments, but if many or any are permanently put in place at the Major League level; it could dramatically change the game. A group of MLB executives, team owners, the players, and even ex-Cubs GM Theo Epstein have put their heads together to come with plans to make the game more viewable. Here is the goal:

• A game with more action, more balls in play, and less dead time.

• A game with better pace and rhythm.

• A game with more base stealing and more chances for world-class athletes to show off their athleticism in the field and on the bases.

• A game with less swinging and missing, fewer pitching changes, and less time between balls in play.

Let’s take a look at each one of these changes and how it could affect the game of baseball as we know it.

The Andy Pettitte move is dead in the water.

Andy Pettitte was one of the most successful pick off pitchers of his or any other time. Many felt that it bordered on a balk. Under the new rules, it will be a balk. It won’t be allowed in the High-A leagues, at least. This rule will require all pitchers to step off the rubber before throwing to first (or any) base. The penalty is (what else?) a balk, and runners get to advance a base.

No, no, no, you have already tried to pick off twice!

Nothing is any more annoying and interrupts the game’s rhythm than a pitcher throwing 8 consecutive pick-off attempts. It usually incites loud boos from fans in the stands.   Well, no more, pitchers will be limited to two pick-off attempts. That is not to say the pitcher can’t try again, but he must get the player out if he does. If he doesn’t, it’s an automatic balk, and the player advances.

We are going to make the bases big, really big!

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but even the small changes in base size could significantly impact how the game is played. Presently the bases are 15″x15″; the new size to be experimented with is 18″x18″. You may say that’s not that big a deal, but yes, it is. How many base stealers have you seen called out just inches from the plate.  The base’s size will shorten the path by 4 1/2 inches, encouraging more base stealing and a more exciting game. For the New York Yankees Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade, this is a dream come true.

Move over, Ump; the robots are here!

Okay, they won’t look like a Roomba or the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, but they are coming in the form of a computerized strike zone. The biggest challenge will be making that strike zone look like what pitchers, players, and fans can agree it should look like. This change will not be in all minor league parks, but Baseball has experimented with the electronic strike zone in the Atlantic League and the Arizona Fall League. But now, it will move to the minors and maybe later to the majors.

The low A Southeast League will employ the ABS (Automated Ball-Strike System) at most of its parks as baseball continues to explore the future feasibility of sending in the big leagues’ robots. When the Atlantic League used the rulebook strike zone in 2019, the robots called strikes on pitches that no single human in the park thought was a strike. That has to change for this system to work in the big leagues.

There are several problems to get ironed out before you will ever see a robot calling strike and balls at Yankee Stadium or any other MLB park. Robots read strikes differently than those nasty human umpires. It is presently questionable if an ump considers the player’s size as to where the strike zone is. There is a huge difference in the size of Jose Altuve and the Yankees Aaron Judge. How will a robot handle this?

Also, in the test, the previous version of the ABS was sweeping breaking balls called strikes but didn’t look like strikes to anyone but the robots; players were furious with truly unhittable balls. Some would say a robot can not replace the human eye, and they might be correct; only time will tell. As much as umpires are mostly held in low esteem, how do you take your aggression out on a computer program?

None of these experiments may make it to the majors, or maybe all of them over time will become part of the game. MLB is in a race to make the game shorter and more exciting to increase the fan base as basketball and football try to do the same. Huge stars like Mike Trout and the Yankee’s Aaron Judge bring out the fans, but a better game is even more important.

Besides these changes, sources say other changes are on the way as well.

• A 15-second pitch clock, down from 20 seconds at the upper levels of the minors. Pitchers have 15 seconds to begin their windup or come to a set position from the stretch. Otherwise, the umpire can call an automatic ball.

• The batter will be required to be “attentive” to the pitcher with 8 seconds left on the clock. Otherwise, it’s an automatic strike.

• There will now be a 30-second clock between batters in mid-inning, and the time between innings will shrink from 2 minutes, 15 seconds to exactly 2 minutes.

And these may not be the only changes being experimented with. the independent Atlantic League doesn’t start their season until May 27th, so there is still plenty of time to try out additional changes. You won’t see any of these changes in the majors, but if you visit your local minor league park to take in a game, you may see many of these changes first hand. But make no mistake, the successful ones will be showing up at Yankee Stadium and other MLB parks before you know it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Yankees get creative with Brett Gardner (video)

The New York Yankees committed to keeping outfielder Brett Gardner with the team for a least another year. Gardner is the team’s heart, and soul as his teammates look to him as their captain, although that is not official.  He mentors young players and teaches them how to be Yankees. He has manned center and left field for over 1,600 games. Now for only the second time in his entire career, yesterday at Lakeland, Florida, he played in right field.

The Yankees are trying to turn Gardner into the super outfielder to give him more playing time, especially when playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Fenway is known for its green monster and its expansive right field, where the Yankees hope to take advantage of Gardner’s speed. He may be 37 now but he is quicker than most others on the team.

Just before the start of spring training, the New York Yankees, after they refused his $10 million option for 2021, signed him to a two-year, $5.15 million contract. He will earn $1.85 million in 2021 with a $1 million signing bonus. He has a $2.3 million player option for 2022. Gardner has always made it known that he wanted to retire a Yankee. But after the shortened 2020 season, he felt that he was not ready to retire yet.

The New York Yankees have made that desire come true, at least for now. Now the Yankees are looking for more ways to use Gardner, now that left-field basically belongs to Clint Frazier. In the game yesterday, Gardner was tested in the Yankees 4-1 win over the Detroit Tigers. He made an impressively long-run catch in the right field. Although maybe not as effective behind the plate, he is still one of the fastest and best defenders on the team, and the Yankees want to take advantage of that.

If effective in the right field, which there is no reason not to believe he will not be, the Yankees will have a more than an adequate backup for all outfield positions. Manager Aaron Boone had this to say about Gardner:

“With Clint establishing himself a little last year, we’re looking to transfer [Gardner] to this awesome fourth outfield role,’’ Boone said. “I could see him in all three [outfield] positions, depending on where our most pressing defensive need is.”

Boone also said “whether we’re healthy or not, Gardner is gonna play a lot.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sndh07LtKDk

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees beat the Tigers 4-2, but it wasn’t pretty

New York Yankees, Rob Brantly

The New York Yankees took a short bus ride northeast to Lakeland, Florida, to play the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. The game was played under partly cloudy skies but with a nice 80-degree game-time temperature. The Yankee starter was Jameson Taillon in his second start of the season. He faced Julio Teheran of the Tigers. The Yankees again used their “B” lineup, which uncharacteristically had more lefties than righties. The Yankees won the game 4-2. It was a tedious game to watch as the Yankee pitching was subpar, to say the least.

Teheran faced Brett Gardner leading off for the Yankees. Gardner was in my “Spotlight” article for having the Yankee’s highest OPS (on-base percentage + slugging). In his first at-bat today, he gound out. Gary Sanchez struck out, and Jay Bruce singled to left. Clint Frazier finished off the half by striking out. Taillon first faced Robbie Grossman, and he walked. Candelario flew out, Castro ground into a force-out, and Cabrera flew out for the last out of the inning. No score.

At the second, Darren Dietrich moved to first after being hit by a pitch. Kyle Higashioka singled, moving Dietrich to second. Mike Tauchman singled, loading the bases with Yankees with no outs. Thairo Estrada grounded into a forceout, Dietrich caught at home plate.  Tyler Wade had a sac fly out, allowing Higgy to score, Brett, singled, and Tauchman scored. Gary Sanchez ground out to end the half, but the Yankees got on the board. Taillon, in his second inning of work he got Goodrum to strikeout. Ramos doubled, Paredes flew out, Reyes walked, and Jones struck out. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

Jay Bruce led off for the Yankees at the top of the third by walking. Clint Frazier grounded into a double play, two outs. Dietrich struck out to end the half. Taillon out for the third walked Grossman. Candelario singled, two on no outs. Castro struck out, Cabrera reached on a Jay Bruce throwing error loading the bases. Goodrum struck out. The Yankees took Taillon out of the game, replacing him with Addison Russ, who got Ramos to ground out and allow the Yankees to get out of the inning, giving up no runs.  Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

At the top of the fourth, Higgy faced Jose Urena and ground out. Tauchman lined out, and Estrada flew for a quick inning for Urena. Nick Goody was out for the Yankees in the bottom of the frame. Paredes ground out, Reyes flew out, and Jones ground out for an easy inning for Goody. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

Tyler Wade led off the fifth, striking out swinging. Brett Gardner ground out, and Gary Sanchez ground out, giving Urena his second 1-2-3 inning. Albert Abreu replaced Goody in the bottom. Grossman flew out, Candelario doubled, Nunez pinch-running. Castro singled driving in a Nunez. Goodrum ended the inning, but the Tigers got on the board. Yankees 2 Tigers 1.

Urena on the mound again. Jay Bruce ground out, Frazier flew out, and Dietrich flew out, giving Urena his third 1-2-3 inning in a row in quite a pitching display. Kyle Barraclough on the mound for the New York Yankees. Ramos flew out, Paredes walked, Greene walked, Baddoo walks, as Barraclough walked the bases full. Haase struck out, and Nunez ground out, allowing Barraclough to get out of an incredible jam. Yankees 2 Tigers 1.

Derek Holland started the seventh. Higashioka struck out swinging, Tauchman struck out swinging, Estrada closed out the half. Nestor Cortes Jr. took on the pitching in the bottom of the frame. Castro flew out, Cameron struck out, and Torkelson was called out on strikes. Yankees 2 Tigers 1.

Hoy Jun Park led off for the Yankees; he struck out, getting 3 balls then 3 strikes in a row. Amburgey walked, Rob Brantly homered in two runs for the Yankees. Gittens walked, Michael Beltre hit into a double play, but the Yankees tacked on 2 more runs. Tyler Lyons handled the bottom of the eighth. Rogers singled, Clemens struck out, Greene ground out, and Baddoo ground out to end the inning. Yankees 4 Tigers 1.

Ezequiel Duran singled in the ninth. Austin Wells grounded out but Duran moved to second. Thomas Milone struck out swinging, and Armando Alvarez followed with a strikeout. With last licks on the line, the Tigers took to the bottom of the ninth with Brooks Kriske on the mound, trying to close it out for the New York Yankees. Haase walked as Kriske was all over the place. Then he hit Nunez with a pitch. Two on no outs. Castro doubled driving in Haase. Cameron struck out, two outs. Torkelson flew out to end the game Yankees 4 Tigers 2.

The Yankee starter Jameson Taillon from the start did not have good control of his pitches; he had as many balls as strikes. However, he got out of the game without giving up a run. He only gave up two hits, but he walked three batters. Albert Abreu had his second poor outing. He has now given up six runs in 2.2 innings on the mound. His ERA is now 27.00. Barraclough walked the bases full. All in all, the Yankee’s pitching was not up to par. The photo accompanying the article is Rob Brantly who homered and drove in two runs for the Yankees.

The standout in the game was the Tiger pitcher Jose Urena who had three 1-2-3 innings in a row.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from Sunday’s shutout of the Phillies

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees could only wish they could have a pitching demonstration in every game they had on Sunday. Jordan Montgomery, in his second start of the season, was, well, superb. After a great start in his first outing, yesterday he showed the rotation how it’s done. He started by grounding out Andrew McCutchen, the former Yankee. He struck out another former Yankee in Didi Gregorius. Next up was Bryce Harper, who also grounded out for a perfect first for Monty.

Segura faced Monty to start the second inning. He had a line drive that DJ LeMahieu snagged in an exceptional play. Knapp got a long fly ball that Judge at the warning track caught. Miller flew out for another one-two-three inning for Montgomery.

Montgomery out for the third. Joyce singled, Quinn singled, ex-Yankee Ronald Torreyes had a line drive to Torres for the first out. Andujar made a great play to cut off the runner at second, two outs. Didi Gregorius struck out for the third out of the half. Monty looked good early in this spring training, and yesterday was everything the New York Yankees could have wanted.

Next up was Jonathan Loaisiga. Jonathan Loaisiga for the New York Yankees got his chance to pitch in the fourth, grounding out Bryce Harper. Segura struck out. Knapp chopped out a single, and Miller flew out to Hicks for a scoreless inning. He followed that for a second inning. Joyce singled off him leading off. Quinn failed to advance him. Torreyes hit into a double play ending the half. Loaisiga’s day was nothing if it was not brilliant.

Each succeeding Yankees pitcher did his job until Brookes Kriske, who had his troubles in the ninth; he walked the first two hitters he faced but still managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run to the Phillies.

Brett Gardner is washed up

Wait just one moment, please. If you watched yesterday’s game, Brett Gardner is the only reason the New York Yankees won the game. His Grand Slam and his four runs scored was the only Yankee scoring of the game. The rest of the Yankee lineup remained nearly silent.

During the offseason, the veteran relinquished, waiting to see if the Yankees would bring him back for yet another season. Fans in a pole were 50/50 on if the team should bring him back. Some wanted to see him back for sentimental reasons, stating that he was the Yankees’ heart and soul and deserved another season so his family could see him play again and retire as a Yankee. The other thought his time had passed, and the Yankees should move on. Yesterday the veteran showed he can still play and be an integral part of a winning team.

When healthy Stanton is Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton was the 2017 National League MVP hitting 59 home runs and batting .281. In a somewhat questionable move that was quite expensive for the New York Yankee, they traded with the Miami Marlins to make Stanton a Yankee and took on his massive contract. In 2018 the Yankees got pretty much what they asked for. Stanton hit 38 home runs and hit .266. That’s when it all went south; 2019 and 2020 revealed Stanton as an injury-laden player that couldn’t stay on the field.

However, in the 2020 postseason, when healthy Stanton hit six home runs in just seven games, hitting .301 with a 1.462 OPS. Stanton entered this season completely healthy. In yesterday’s spring training game, he hit two massive doubles. The Yankees couldn’t get him home, but his doubles were no doubters, both hit with extreme power. If Stanton can remain healthy, there is little doubt that he can be an important tool for the Yankees to get to another championship.

 

MUST WATCH: Yankees’ Brett Gardner smashes Grand Slam in win over Philadelphia

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

After being blown out by the Philadelphia Phillies two days ago 0-15, the New York Yankees returned with a vengeance. Featuring a majority of their starters, the Yankees overcame Philadelphia 4-0, with all of their runs coming from a Brett Gardner grand slam.

In the second inning, he squeaked a line drive to right field over the fence, driving in Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and Miguel Andujar.

Gardner recently signed a two-year deal with the Yankees that include a club option for the 2022 season. With his job protected, for the most part, Gardy can continue with his normal protocols. Considering left-fielder Clint Frazier has successfully taken over the starting job, Gardner will be a supplemental piece, filling in for injured players or inconsistencies.

However, his grand slam on Sunday afternoon was exciting, proving he still has some juice left in the tank.

 

New York Yankee Recap: Brett Gardner Grand Slams the Yankees to a shutout

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees were home again today, and they played the Philadelphia Phillies. Jordan Mongomery was on the mound for the Yankees, and the Yankees had their All-Star lineup starting. It was 70 degrees under sunny skies with a brisk northeast breeze. The Yankees were in their pinstripes for the game as they will do for all Sunday home games.

Montgomery won his first game of the spring. He started by grounding out Andrew McCutchen, the former Yankee. He struck out another former Yankee in Didi Gregorius. Next up was Bryce Harper, who also grounded out for a perfect first for Monty.  Zack Wheeler struck out DJ, Aaron Judge is off to a slow start. He ground out in his first at-bat. Aaron Hicks walked, and Giancarlo Stanton up next; he ripped one to far left for a double and moving Hicks to third. Stanton smoked that one. Luke Voit struck out, ending the scoreless inning.

Segura faced Monty to start the second inning. He had a line drive that LeMahieu snagged in a really cute play. Knapp got a long fly ball that Judge at the warning track caught. Miller flies out for another one-two-three inning for Montgomery. Monty has really looked good early in this spring training. Gleyber Torres led off against Wheeler in the bottom of the frame; he walked. Gary Sanchez, who has had 2 homers and a lot of strikeouts, was up next. He got a base hit, moving Torres to second. Miguel Andujar singled, loading the bases with no outs. Brett Gardner had his first Grand Slam of the season for the Yankee four-run lead. LeMahieu then flew out for the first out of the inning. The inning ended with two outs and a roll-over. Yankees 4 Phillies 0.

Montgomery out for the third. Joyce singled, Quinn singled, ex-Yankee Ronald Torreyes had a line drive to Torres for the first out. Andujar made a great play to cut off the runner at second, two outs. Didi Gregorius struck out for the third out of the half. Aaron Hicks led off the bottom of the frame, striking out. With Stanton coming up, there was a pitching change. JD Hammer faced Stanton, and he struck out. Voit flew out for the end of the inning.

Jonathan Loaisiga for the New York Yankees, got his chance to pitch in the fourth, grounding out Bryce Harper. Segura struck out. Knapp chopped out a single, and Miller flew out to Hicks for a scoreless inning for Loaisiga. Torres was up in the bottom of the fourth; he grounded out to Didi. Gary Sanchez, in his second at-bat, struck out. Andujar reached on an error by Didi. Brett Gardner, who Grand Slammed in the second hammered one into the left-field seats just inside the foul pole and then walked. Andujar stole third. DJ lined to the pitcher to end the inning, leaving two men on.

Loaisiga was out for a second inning. Joyce singled off him leading off. Quinn failed to advance him. Torreyes hit into a double play ending the half. Judge led off the bottom of the fifth grounding out. Hicks ground out to second. Stanton doubled in the first, laced one to the center-field wall for another double. Beltre in for Stanton. Luke Voit walked. Gittens in for Voit. Torres; wild pitch, runners advance. Torres grounds out, leaving two on. Yankees 4 Phillies 0.

Luetge pitched the sixth. McCutchen struck out. Gregorius also struck out. Harper gave Luetge a one-two-three inning. Leading off the bottom was Gary Sanchez against another former Yankee Mitchell. Sanchez walked. Andujar moved Sanchez to second. Jay Bruce flew out, Durran made the second out. Brito made the final out of a quick sixth.

Nick Goody came out for the seventh. Garcia walked. Bettencourt flew out, Williams also flew out. Joyce made the final out. In the bottom, LeMarre flew out to right. Amburgey struck out, Gittens grounded out for the final out of the seventh. Yankees 4 Phillies 0.

Barraclough on the mound for the Yankees, Moniak singled, Chatham hit into a double play. Rojas was hit by a pitch. Stott struck out, on to the bottom of the eighth. Hoy Park up for the Yankees struck out, Robinson Chirinos stuck out for the second out of the half. Andrew Velazquez walked. Jay Bruce flew out to far left.

With last licks coming for the Phillies, the Yankee’s Brooks Kriske took to the mound. He walked Duran. Garcia also walked. Bettencourt struck out. Williams stuck out. With two outs and the game on the line, Matt Vierling flew out. The New York Yankees won the game 4-0 on Brett Gardner’s Grand Slam.

 

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: “Gardy” paved the way for Frazier, Torres on Torres, and more

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees have their first exhibition game today at 1:05 pm; it will be broadcast on the YES Network. Yankee players are excited to get to the season starter and super happy that there will be fans in the stands at George M. Steinbrenner Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The starter for today’s opening game will be Michael King, who was 1-2 last season, as announced by Yankee manager Aaron Boone on Thursday.

For the first time since March 12 of last year, fans will be allowed in the stands socially spaced. The tickets for today’s game were sold in pods of 2 – 3 and 4 seats. Those pods were sold with six feet between pods. So today, when you watch the game, the stadium will be 28% filled. That’s 3,000 fans in a stadium that normally holds 10,000.

It will be a perfect day for baseball in St. Pete, the weather forecast is for an 80-degree temperature throughout the game. It will be played under bright sunny skies with a few passing clouds, and with a nice light warm breeze from the south.

Gardner has paved the way for Clint Frazier

 

One year ago, Clint Frazier voiced a desire to play in the outfield and take over Brett Gardner’s job.  The New York Yankee’s Brett Gardner has been the veteran presence in both left and center fields, according to who was injured at the time. He has done that for the last eleven years. At the time, Frazier’s statement raised some eyebrows during spring training. Until last year Frazier had little hope of doing that as he mostly sat on the Yankee shuttle between Scranton and the Stadium.

All that changed last year when seemingly out of nowhere Frazier’s defense in the outfield took an amazing turn that eventually earned him a Gold Glove nomination and earned him a starting role in the lineup. One would think that Frazier’s comment a year earlier would not sit well with the veteran Gardner, but the opposite was true; he wanted the young man to succeed. Frazier, for his part, is happy to accept the challenge and even improve over last season.

“I think it starts with how Brett handled a young guy coming in that plays the same position as him and was vocal about wanting to win that job,” Frazier said. “Just how he treated me, he went about it in such a positive way that I felt like it was a big brother-little brother relationship. He’s such a good teammate.”

Over the past several springs, Frazier has tailed Gardner, frequently picking the veteran’s brain during drills and swapping good-natured smack talk. Those exchanges reminded Gardner of his own path toward playing time; he similarly chased Johnny Damon around Bombers camp beginning with his first spring in 2007. Gardner, for his play in 2009, won a World Series ring with the New York Yankees. Gardner has this to say about how last season ended:

“I didn’t want my career to end the way the season ended last year against the Rays,” Gardner said. “I wasn’t able to play in front of any fans all year for the most part, and my family wanted to see me play again. I went into the offseason fully expecting to be playing this season and expected it to be back here. This is where I want to be.”

Now Frazier has the golden opportunity of his career being named the starting left-fielder, it’s his time to shine, and no one is more thankful for Brett Gardner than Frazier himself.

“He’s such a jokester; he’s a little kid,” Frazier said. “I swear, he’s more immature than I am. He’s been a light that is shining really bright for me. I’d selfishly like to have this guy around until he’s like 50, just so I could finish my career with him.”

Gleyber Torres on the upcoming season

All will agree that Gleyber Torres had a very sub-par season last year, bot at shortstop and behind the plate. In 2019 the young shortstop, although not perfect at short, he did lead the team with 38 home runs and a nice batting average. Strangely that all changed in 2020. At one point, he had more errors at short than any other shortstop, and he finished the year hitting only three home runs. Manager Boone commented that Torres got screwed up with two spring training camps and didn’t come into the season ready to play.

Any criticisms from his New York Yankee 2020 season have been tucked away far back in Torre’s mind. It’s a new season, and Torres says it’s a new beginning for him, and he intends to embrace it. The now 24-year-old is coming into the exhibition slate intent upon rewriting his narrative from last year.

“I just want to feel my body really work again and get better and better,” Torres said. “I’ll be ready for the year and prepare myself really well. I’m working hard to be ready to win coming into the spring and the regular season.”

 

 

Yankees News: Brett Gardner indicates 2021 could be his last season

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

There was a split second where the New York Yankees parting ways with Brett Gardner was a possibility, but of course, the veteran outfielder and his career club found a way to re-connect. Last week, the Yankees officially signed Gardner back on a one-year deal with a club option for 2022.

At 37 years old, Gardner will likely impact the team as a depth player, as skipper Aaron Boone has already stated that Clint Frazier will likely start in left field this season. While Gardy has a hard time believing he won’t be playing every day anymore, he will fight for reps regardless.

During the off-season, Brett waited patiently for the Yankees to offer him a new deal, but he was open to the idea of exploring free agency, despite the fact that he preferred to return to the Bronx.

“I wouldn’t say [I did] a lot of exploring,’’ Gardner said of his free agency. “Obviously, it took a long time for things to work out, but I was hopeful the whole time. I’ve never been shy about wanting to finish my career here. I was asked from the get-go to be patient and I was patient.”

Clearly, things worked out in his favor, as Gardner will earn $5.15 million for the 2021 season, a bit less than the $10 million he would’ve earned if the Yankees picked up his option for this year.

When Gardy was asked about his new two-year deal, and if it could be his last, he responded with:

“I’d say that’s pretty safe,” Gardner said.

“We’ve been talking about this for the last two to three years,” Gardner said of the end of his career. “I’ll obviously be 38 in August. There are no guarantees. You never know what’s around the corner, never know what to expect.”

If Gardy was to retire today, he will have played 13 straight years for the Yankees, with his inception coming in 2008. He has proven to be an elite defender and a consistent base runner, utilizing his speed. We hope Gardner has never been a slugger, he had a career-high 28 HRs in 2019.

Finishing his career in pinstripes has always been his dream, and it seems like it will come true sooner rather than later.