Yankee Stadium restrictions eased
At the start of spring training for the New York Yankees, they had expectations that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would allow fans in the stands at 10% capacity as he did for the Buffalo Bills. The Yankees can now look forward to a 20% capacity as Cuomo has eased Yankee Stadium restrictions and the Mets’ Citi Field.
The new Yankee Stadium plan allows 11,000 fans through the gates as ticket holders and buyers for the Yankee concessions. Fans will be placed in pods of different sizes with 6 feet between the pods. Cuomo also said that the capacity would likely increase as the season progresses if COVID continues under control. Yankee own Hal Steinbrenner had this to say:
“This will be a very special year in the Bronx, and we will continue to work together with the State of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City of New York, Major League Baseball, and other health and safety experts to utilize the best and most responsible practices in our facility.”
Cuts made, more on the way
Opening Day for the regular season at Yankee Stadium is less than two weeks away, and the Yankees have to cut players, lot’s of them. They have already started with many yet to come, probably daily. There are about 70 players on the training fields in Tampa, 40 of them on the roster; that number has to be pared down to 26 before opening day. The Yankees are allowed a 6 man travel squad that does not count for the 26 man roster.
The New York Yankees announced the club had optioned the first baseman Mike Ford and infielder Thairo Estrada, along with right-handers Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske, to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Those are probably the easiest cuts to be made, as none of those players have performed well in spring training.
Garcia in and out of a jam
Although Deivi García did not give up any runs, he did get himself into an immediate jam in his most recent start but showed an impressive escape act. In the first inning, he had no command of his pitches; he walked the bases loaded. He walked more batters on Friday than in his other three starts combined — but in a way, it was a significant showing. García has to keep the ball rolling to keep pace with Domingo Germán for the fifth starting spot. What was impressive is that he did work his way out of the jam; at the same time, that may have been more luck than skill. All baseball fans know that walks usually come back to bit you in the butt.
Boone happy with Judge’s spring
Aaron Judge is off to a pretty slow start this spring training, one that has not seen the slugger hit a single home run. He is also batting just .250. But Yankee manager Aaron Boone is not worried; he’s just happy that Judge is healthy. He stated that Judge was able to go through the offseason healthy and get in these reps now, something Judge missed during the first spring training phase from last season. Boone sighted that the Yankee star has been able to build himself up and is “ready for nine full innings right out of the gate.
Judge started last season hot, hitting 9 home runs in his first 18 games. Unfortunately for the New York Yankees, Judge was only healthy enough to play in 28 of the 60 games. Now he is totally healthy and has to improve his timing, and John Sterling will again be saying, ” it was a Judgingly shot, and it’s Judgement day.”
Aaron Hicks solidly in that 3rd spot
Aaron Hicks seems to have found a permanent spot in the Yankee lineup behind DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. That’s the third spot in the lineup. Here’s why it’s important. Number one is that he is a switch hitter with power. In his last healthy year, he hit 27 home runs. In the short season last year, he hit 6. Another reason is that if DJ LeMahieu is a hitting machine, Hicks is a walking machine. He has a sharp eye and is the Yankees’ most patient hitter at the plate. Manager Aaron Boone had this to say:
“When I played, the three-hitter was the best hitter on the team,” Boone said. “It’s kind of evolved over the last several years. Since I’ve been here, over the last three or four years, you really think more closely and intimately about how you put the lineup together and where certain skill sets match up the best. It’s something that’s evolved steadily over the last 10 years.”
Stanton may play in the outfield
Earlier in the offseason, manager Aaron Boone indicated that Giancarlo Stanton would mostly be the New York Yankee DH. Then in spring training, he changed his turn. He said that Stanton would play in the outfield, both in left field and in right field. But that hasn’t happened. But Boone recently said in a Zoom conference that it would happen, but not during spring training.
With the abundance of outfield depth that the Yankee have, knowing what Stanton’s injury history is, that he may play in the outfield at some point, but at the same time, it will seldom be. Clint Frazier has established himself in left field after being nominated for a Gold Glove. At this point, there is also Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman that can fill in. It seems unlikely that Stanton will be used much.
Cole to start for the Yankees on Sunday
New York Yanke ace Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Yankees when they meet the Toronto Blue Jays, Sunday at 1:07 pm, in a game televised by MLBN. Cole will face Tanner Roark at TD Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. Bot Cole and Roark are 2-0 in the spring. Facing Roark, DJ LeMahieu has been the best Yankee hitter with a .500 average off him.
Gerrit Cole for the Yankees has struggled more than most of the pitchers. For instance, Domingo German has pitched nine scoreless innings this spring with 5 hits and only one walk, and more importantly, seems to be doing it with ease. On the other hand, Cole has pitched 7.2 innings so far and has allowed 9 hits, four runs, and 2 homers. For the most part, he doesn’t seem to be doing it easily with a lot of pitches thrown. But one must remember it’s only spring training.