Virginia Tech football pays tribute to Yankees with Pinstripe Bowl helmet

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium

The Hokies’ maroon and orange helmets will get a New York Yankees-inspired makeover as they do battle in The Bronx.

The Virginia Tech Hokies have been designated the home team for Wednesday afternoon’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium (2:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). Less than 24 hours before kickoff, they showcased their willingness to look the part.

When the Hokies take the field on Wednesday against Maryland, their maroon and orange helmets, often adorned with an interlocking “VT”, with be joined by the united “NY” that often appears on the Yankees’ pinstriped uniforms and navy caps over the summer.

The Hokies’ descent upon Yankee Stadium for its first appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl has invoked memories of the bond they built with the Bronx Bombers following the tragic shooting on the Blacksburg campus in April 2007. New York would make a sizable donation to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. During the ensuing spring training season in 2008, the Yankees visited Blacksburg for a seven-inning exhibition game at the Hokies’ baseball stadium of English Field.

“That (game) symbolized that 11 months later, we’re still healing but we’re moving forward and there’s people that have our back,” Anthony Sosnoskie, the Hokies catcher that afternoon, told Mark Berman of The Roanoke Times in a retrospective. “We all as a collective unit really appreciated what they did for us that day.”

As the designated home team for Wednesday’s game, Virginia Tech (6-6) will be stationed in the Yankees’ locker room. Each team’s fanbase also shares the love of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”: the song often signaled the insertion of legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera into close games while it has also been used when the Hokies take the field at Lane Stadium since 2000.

The Hokies are looking to end their season on the right note after what’s been a tough season following an upset triumph over preseason No. 10 North Carolina on Sept. 3. It was a year that saw them bid farewell to head coach Justin Fuente after six years at the helm. They’re nonetheless back in a bowl game after last season’s opt-out of postseason proceedings, which ended the fourth-longest streak of bowl game appearances in college football history at 27 seasons. They’ll face off against their former Big Ten brother Maryland (6-6), which is likewise seeking a winning campaign, which would be their first since their inaugural Big Ten outing in 2014.

Wednesday marks the seventh Pinstripe Bowl showcasing an ACC-Big Ten matchup, with last year’s game canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous winners of the David C. Koch MVP Award (named after the late CEO of game sponsor New Era) include Zack Martin (Notre Dame, 2013) and Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin, 2018), each of whom has built prolific NFL careers with Dallas and Indianapolis respectively.

Yankee Stadium is one of four active baseball stadiums to host a college bowl game: while both the Holiday Bowl (at San Diego’s Petco Park) and the inaugural Fenway Bowl (Boston’s Fenway Park) were each canceled in the wake of the ongoing health crisis, Minnesota topped West Virginia 18-6 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field in Arizona on Tuesday night.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Everything you need to know about Opening Day

The long-awaited return of semi-normal New York Yankees baseball is just days away.  Opening Day at Yankee Stadium will be this Thursday, April 1st. The last spring training game is today at 1:05 pm against the Detroit Tigers with Domingo German on the mound. Within 24 hours after the game today, the Yankee’s Delta charter flight will lift off from Tampa International airport for the trip north to Yankee Stadium. Here is everything you need to know about Opening Day.

Fans in the stands?

Approximately 10,000 lucky Yankee fans will be able to attend the Opening Day celebration at Yankee Stadium in person. Strict health protocols will be in place. Tickets are being sold in pods of different sizes, with each pod being six feet from the other.

Each fan will be required to have their temperature checked upon entry to the stadium. All fans two years and older must wear a face mask regardless of vaccinations. Social distancing will be encouraged even at food concessions. Interaction between players and fans probably won’t happen.

Opening Day weather:

Four days out, the weather this Thursday is not looking the best. It will be cloudy, with showers projected for the morning. It will be cooler compared to Florida temperatures; fans will need a light jacket as game time temps will be near 50. It could be worse; the Yankees have had snow on opening day in the past.

Starting rotation:

We now know the starting rotation for the first week of play. On the mound for Opening Day will be New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole facing the Toronto Blue Jay’s ace Hyun Jin Ryu. Game 2 of the series will be started by Corey Kluber. Domingo German thought he was fighting Deivi Garcia for the 5th spot on the rotation; he has pitched so well he will start game 3 on Sunday.

The Baltimore Orioles series at Yankee Stadium will start on Monday with Jordan Montgomery on the mound. Cole and Jameson Taillon will pitch the Tuesday and Wednesday games. The first away game will be against the Tampa Bay Rays and will likely be started by Corey Kluber. But as manager Aaron Boone said about the last-minute details:

“There could be some things that alternate in the final moments and hours, but I think we’ll have a pretty good idea,” Boone said on Sunday. “As I sit here right now, I feel like I have a pretty good idea.”

The New York Yankee bullpen will have Aroldis Chapman as the closer, Chad Green that can be used in almost any situation, new sidearmer Darren O’Day, Luis Cessa, Nick Nelson, Lucas Luetge, and for long relief Jonathan Loaisiga who was the Yankee’s second-best pitcher in the spring, and Michael King.

Starting positions and lineup:

Gary Sanchez will be the Opening Day catcher, catching Gerrit Cole. Sanchez had an abysmal season last year; his batting average was just .147. He has improved somewhat in the spring, hitting .209 with three home runs, but he has 19 strikeouts to his 9 hits.

Jay Bruce will man first base. Bruce got the job when it was learned that Luke Voit would need knee surgery. Bruce hit .198/.252/.469 (90 OPS+) with six homers and 14 RBIs in 32 games for the Phillies last season. This spring, he hit 2 homers and two doubles in 14 games with a batting average of .212. Last year’s home run leader, Voit, is expected to miss at least the first month of play.

Second base will be manned by DJ LeMahieu, 2020’s batting title champ. Considering that LeMahieu has had a lukewarm spring hitting just .224 compared to last season’s .364, he also hasn’t shown much power, hitting just one home run in the spring.

At shortstop will be Gleyber Torres, who has had an outstanding spring. He has played good defense. He has a .279 batting average and leads the team in home runs with 5. Torres is a changed player and could have a great season. He hit 38 homers in 2019.

Gio Urshela will man third base. Urshela has gotten off to a languid start in the spring, hitting only .162 with only one homer on the spring in 13 games. He will surely improve as he has had hot and cold stretches before, and 13 games is a small sample.

Opening Day in the Bronx will feature a healthy Aaron Judge in right field. Judge hasn’t quite found his timing yet. He is hitting .256 with only one home run. No one is worried that he will be a high-impact player throughout the season as long as he is healthy.

Aaron Hicks will man centerfield. Hicks, like many of the New York Yankee hitters, also is off to a slow start. He is hitting .189 but leads the team in doubles and walks. Hicks is one of the Yankee’s most patient hitters. He has a very respectable .753 OPS.

It’s a dream come true for Clint Frazier; he will be the Yankee’s Opening Day starter in left field. Like Judge, Frazier seems to be seeking his timing as well. He is hitting .227 with 2 homers this spring, but he looks good at the plate. Playing every day should resolve that.

Giancarlo Stanton will be the DH. Has gotten off to a great start in the spring. He is healthy and for the most part, has taken off where he left off in the postseason. He is more patient at the plate and is hitting .303 with one homer and has taken 5 walks. His OPS is .865.

Sitting on the bench will be the Yankee player with the highest batting average (.310), Brett Gardner. He will be accompanied by Kyle Higashioka, Mike Tauchman, and Tyler Wade. Aaron Boone will have 13 pitchers and 13 position players filling out the 26 man roster to start the season.

Television and media coverage

ESPN and the YES Network will cover opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankee game against the Toronto Blue Jays will be Thursday at 1:05 pm. The YES Network will have extended coverage of all the festivities starting at 11:30 am. Count on EmpireSportsMedia.com to cover every aspect of the game and Opening Day festivities.

New York State to allow 20% capacity at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that Yankee Stadium and Citi Field may operate under 20% capacity to open the 2021 season. This is a change from the previous 10% capacity allowed for all professional sporting events. Indoor events must remain under 10% capacity.

To attend Yankees or Mets games, fans will either have to show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of any given game. Masks and social distancing are required while seats will be divided into pods of up to eight people.

“We are heartened by the Governor’s decision to allow us to begin the season at Yankee Stadium with a 20% capacity and offer our deep appreciation for his office’s diligent work and guidance,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “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. We are fully committed to providing a world-class experience at Yankee Stadium in every respect.”

 

Yankees News/Rumors: Yankee fans get a shot in the arm, golden opportunities, and more

For the first time since the 2019 season, New York Yankees fans and other Bronx, New York residents were allowed in The Great Hall of Yankee Stadium. The Great Hall in the new stadium can hold events for up to 1,500 guests for Cocktail parties, dinners, food drives, Christmas toys for kids,  and concerts on a non-game day. This expansive hall is lined with larger-than-life banners of Yankees legends and beautiful vaulted arches that illuminate the hall with natural light. Now the Yankees have a special use, an inoculation site to administer the Covid vaccine.

The Stadium was opened as a mass vaccination site Friday by officials trying to boost inoculation rates in surrounding Bronx neighborhoods hit hard by the pandemic. Of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx has the highest infection rate. The population of the Bronx neighborhoods that surround Yankee stadium is just under 1.4 million residents. The Great Hall will see 13.00 to 15,000 vaccinations each week.

It will initially be open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Officials encouraging people to get vaccinated. The Yankees and officials enlisted former Yankees star relief pitcher Mariano Rivera to help. The Hall of Famer said he wanted to support the people who supported him for so many years. He said, “we saved so many games here, now it’s about saving lives.”

Yankees dump Ottavino, Rockies dump Arenado, what it might mean to the Yankees

Last week, the New York Yankees did what no one thought they could do, they moved Adam Ottavino off the payroll mostly to save near $9 million and open up some dollars to improve the team. In a much bigger move, the Colorado Rockies accomplished something of their own that few thought was possible, they moved Nolan Arenado’s $200 million off their payroll.

The two moves could be for different reasons; the Yankees managed to move Ottavino to a  team the Yankees seldom deal with, the Boston Red Sox. It was seen as a way to free up some money to improve the team. The Colorado Rockies deal with the St. Louis Cardinals might signal a teardown and a rebuild for the team; if that is the case, it could open up some golden opportunities for the Yankees.

If, in fact, a rebuild is the plan for the Rockies, Trevor Story, and Germán Márquez could be the next to go. That would open up some great trade possibilities for the Yankees. The Yankees don’t have the money to buy either player, but they do have some and several prospects they could dangle in front of the Rockies.  Story is a veteran shortstop that hit seven home runs and two triples, and he slugged .864 over the first 10 games of his career. He had an OPS of 1.183. The then-23-year-old hit six home runs over his first four games alone. Story will hit free agency in 2022.

German Marquez could be the big prize for the Yankees if a trade could be completed. There are two huge upsides for the Yankees; he is as good if not better than Jameson Taillon and would fight him for the number three spot in the rotation; if the Yankees can get him, it would give the Bombers a rotation next to none. The other plus is that the Yankees would have control over him through 2024. This would be a costly trade for the Yanks but well worth it if the Rockies are looking to move more payroll.

FanGraphs releases the top Yankee prospects

According to a report by Bleacher Report in January, they rated the New York Yankees as having the 23rd best farm system in baseball, which was a drop from 21st in 2020. MLB.com has the Yankees a 19th up three spots from 2020. But both reports indicate the Yankees have the most upside out of the top ten teams.

Now FanGraphs has released their list of the New York Yankees top 47 prospects in the farm system. It should be no surprise that Jasson Dominguez is number one. The 18-year-old centerfielder, according to the report, will not be ready for the majors until 2025. 2nd is Deivi Garcia, who has already made his Major League debut last season; he is slated to take a bigger part this season. 3rd is Oswald Peraza; the shortstop should be ready next season. 4th is Clark Schmidt, who is Major League ready. 5th is Alexander Vargas, another shortstop. 6th is pitcher Luis Medina who could make his debut this season.

Others that are, according to the report, Major League-ready are pitcher Alexander Vizcaino, pitcher Albert Abreu, Brooks Kriske, and Alfredo Garcia.

 

New York Yankees Opening Day game against Washington in danger of delay/postponement

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium

It’s 2020, after all. Why wouldn’t there be a delay or postponement of Opening Day for the New York Yankees? The Bombers are scheduled to play against the Washington Nationals at 7 PM on Thursday evening, but things are looking a bit murky in the sky.

The Yankees recently completed summer camp, which was created to compensate for the loss of spring training months ago before the MLB shut down operations due to the  COVID-19 pandemic. The team has looked solid across-the-board during intrasquad and exhibition games. Against the New York Mets, the Yankees hit five home runs in one game, was Aaron Judge hitting three over his last three contests.

The team as a whole looks ready and prepared to take on a 60-game condensed schedule instituted to revive the sport. With sports across the world, returning to action, and implementing safety protocols to keep players healthy and available, baseball has a good chance of returning to full operations — aside from having fans in the stadium.

However, nothing is ever easy in sports. As we’ve waited months to return to action, Thursday nights game against the Nationals is in jeopardy.

According to the weather report, there is a 50% chance of precipitation at 7 PM, which could force delays and/or a postponement of Opening Day. What a bummer that would be after patiently waiting for things to start up again. Washington has been dealing with bad storms lately, causing flooding, power outages, and downed trees. Just over the past few days, 50,000 people were left without power.

Mentions of heavy rain, damaging winds, and intense lightning have been reported in the DC area. A 50% chance of precipitation does not bode well for the Yankees. If only they hosted the game in the Bronx.

However, if the game is able to commence, new ace Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer will face off in a highly anticipated pitching duel. While both teams have incredible offensive production, these two pitchers are some of the best in baseball and should create trouble for their respective lineups.

New York Yankees: Yankee Stadium workers get relief and the latest on COVID-19

New York Yankees

Baseball to help unemployed stadium workers

The New York Yankees ownership is donating $1 million to help Yankee Stadium workers that will not be working due to the delay in the baseball season.  The donation is part of a plan by MLB that will involve all 30 baseball teams as MLB tries to lessen the economic blow to stadium workers across the county.

“Motivated by desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community, each club has committed $1 million,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities. The timing of these announcements will vary because of the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective-bargaining obligations in an effort to maximize the benefits realized by each group of employees. I am proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love.”

The COVID-19 coronavirus is causing a complete change in how we conduct our daily lives, and of course, that includes all of the sports and, more specifically, baseball.  Without games taking place at Yankee Stadium, all types of workers from food service workers to the security staff will be without paychecks.  The can apply for state unemployment benefits, but those benefits fall far short from a healthy paycheck.  The MLB donations are meant to augment those payments.

COVID-19 continues to create questions about the baseball season.

Now with a second known case of the virus has affected another Yankee minor league player at the minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, the pushback to March 26th to begin minor league training again is in question.  Early in the week, Yankee Charleston River Dog player Denny Larrondo was announced as testing positive for the disease.  The second player’s identification remains unknown as he has asked that it remain anonymous.

On the major league front, the start of the regular season still remains a mystery due to the progress and spread of the disease.  As of right now, MLB has said that it will follow CDC recommendations to lessen the spread of coronavirus.  The would put the start date somewhere around Memorial Day.  With the situation in flux, a further delay may be necessary.  It also remains a question as to if and when the season starts, if it will be played in front of empty stands.

Many major-league players remain at George M. Steinbrenner Field, continuing to condition for the start of the season.  New York Yankee management has also stated that players who wish to go home may do so.  If workouts on the field do take place, they will likely be broken up into squads so that no more than ten will workout together at the same time.  Field Manager Aaron Boone has left camp and returned home to Greenwich, CT, to assist his four children with their online classes.

New York Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman remains at the Tampa training complex.  He has been in and out of meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.  He is coordinating the organizations’ responses to State and CDC requirements and suggestions to limit both exposure and spread of the virus.   He said that he would remain at the complex:

“I’m not going anywhere,” Cashman said, standing outside of Steinbrenner Field. “The only way I’m leaving is if things are OK. If they’re not OK, I’m not going anywhere.”

Meanwhile, there are more questions than answers involving the virus and when and if a baseball season will actually start.  The uncertainty of the situation has both players and fans without the sport they love and suffering from baseball separation anxiety for the second time in just six months.  This adds to the concern for their health and that of family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Things To Do At Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees

We all love going to New York Yankees games at Yankee Stadium. But, for a Yankee game, it’s a sizable investment for many people just to go to one. So, here are some other ways to get your Yankee Stadium fix, while still saving a little bit of money.

NYCFC Matches

America is transfixed every 2 years with soccer. There’s the World Cup, and the CONCAFCA Gold Cup. But how many of you soccer fans know that you can catch a quality soccer match at Yankee Stadium? Home to NYCFC, you can get some of the best seats in the house for a fraction of the cost.

Through the NY Yankees website, field-level seating ranges between $85-280 for Yankee games. Through resale markets like Vivid Seats, those same prices are starting around $250, going high that triple the value for Yankee games. Through the NYCFC website, and those same resale market sites, the same field level seats start at $45-50. And with the length of games starting at 3 hours or more, taking the family to a 90-minute soccer match is a no brainer.

Concerts

Garth Brooks, Megadeth, Slayer, and other music acts that have performed at Yankee Stadium. Of course, venues are going to set up a stage to maximize total attendance without violating occupancy laws, so seats will be more affordable than for a normal game.

The Pinstripe Bowl

Held during Bowl Season, the Pinstripe Bowl returns football to Yankee Stadium. Dugout seats for the 2019 Pinstripe Bowl start at $42 for section 120A. Do you know where section 120A is? Right behind home plate! Tickets are still available for the 2019 game between Wake Forrest and Michigan State. Act now college football fans!

Charity Events

CC Sabathia’s softball game is a way to get into Yankee Stadium, the Runyon 5K is happening in August, Yankee Stadium offers up a plethora of charity events for you to attend.

This is just a small list of events you can attend at Yankee Stadium if you just need your fix in-between Yankee games.

How Important is Home-field Advantage for the New York Yankees?

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

Every New York Yankees fan remembers the heartbreaking series against the Houston Astros in the 2017 postseason. Falling one game shy to the team who won the whole thing ultimately came down to one thing – home-field advantage.

The Yankees have not lost a series this season in the Bronx in a very long time. In 21 home series, the club holds an 18-0-3 record while playing in pinstripes. The last time they lost a home series was against the Chicago White Sox at the beginning of the season.

Good news for the Yankees, their team batting average sits around the same for both home and away games. Every stat hovers around the same number in regards to batting. However, the Yankees’ pitching suffers from being on the road. Compared to a 3.77 ERA at home, the staff holds a 5.09 ERA away from Yankee Stadium.

“We want to keep winning, that’s big,’’ said Aaron Judge. “We know how rowdy (Yankee Stadium) gets in the postseason and how crazy these fans are. We have to keep winning to make sure we keep that home-field advantage for the postseason.”

The Yankees’ main concern is the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Fans know what that team can do at home, and they know what we can do at home. Both teams know they’re going to win their division so they are focusing on keeping their players healthy and winning home-field advantage.

The Yankees are currently 93-50 and the Astros are 94-50. The Yankees need to avoid a tie too, as the Astros won the series earlier in the season. They need to be at least one game ahead to take home-field.

 

New York Yankees: Will DJ LeMahieu make a push for the batting title?

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

D.J. LeMahieu, an infielder for the New York Yankees, has the chance to be the first player in the modern era to win the batting title in both leagues.

LeMahieu won the title with the Colorado Rockies in 2016. He would make Yankee history by joining: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio (2x), Snuffy Stirnweiss, Mickey Mantle, Don Mattingly, Paul O’Neil, and Bernie Williams. All of these players are big names in Yankees franchise history (Baseball-Reference). For LeMahieu to be possible on this list, he would be considered on the greatest all-around hitters when it is all said and done.

Lemahieu is currently batting .339, which leads the big leagues. Michael Brantley (.333) and Rafael Devers (.332) are not far behind (MLB At Bat). Today, August 18th, LeMahieu added to his average by going 2 for 5, with a home run and 3 RBIs. He can also be involved in the American League Most Valuable Player conversation. Where would the Yankees be in the standings without him? With nearly 20 players being placed on the IL this season, Lemahieu breaks out, leading his team in multiple categories this season. He is undoubtedly the leader and player the Yankees need and should be signed long term.

The Key to Lemahieu’s Success at the Plate

According to MLB.com, at a minimum of 500 swings, LeMahieu is first in the league in the highest rate of hard-contact per swing percentage at 22%. Hard contact is considered when the baseball’s exit velocity exceeds 95 miles per hour. Mookie Betts is second at 20.8%. He increased his swing rate to 45.8% from 41.7% last season as well.

Similar too many Yankee hitters, Lemahieu can hit with power to the opposite field which is an unfair advantage in Yankee Stadium. All of these factors are leading to the surge of Lemahieu’s stats this season. The Yankees need him to continue this superstar performance in the playoffs, while everyone comes back from injury.

New York Yankees: Highlighting the biggest position battles entering Spring Training

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

With Spring Training beginning and position players reporting just days from now, a lot of questions remain for the New York Yankees on how the 25 man roster may play out, and on who may start where. Today we dive into the four biggest position battles the Yankees face this spring.

Left field and the extra outfielder:

It remains very obvious that Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks will start in right field and center field, assuming Brian Cashman doesn’t sign Bryce Harper. After Brett Gardner had a rather poor season and Clint Frazier is healthy again, we have ourselves a rookie vs. veteran for a starting outfield position.

Clint Frazier reported on twitter a few weeks ago that he is “cleared to participate in spring training”. Red Thunder has overall had success in his time called-up from AAA, and had a walk-off home run in 2017. Frazier often served as the Yankees “26th man” on doubleheader days last year, without using a minor league option. Frazier bat .265 last season in the majors in 34 at-bats.

Brett Gardner bat just .236 last season, well below his .261 career average. By the end of last season, it seemed that he couldn’t really hit a thing, and with the acquisition of Andrew McCutchen, he saw his playing time go way down in September. In Game 1 of the ALDS, Aaron Hicks went down with a pulled hamstring, forcing Gardner to start games two and three. He ended up going 0-for-8.

You also have Jacoby Ellsbury. He would be more of an option to be the “extra outfielder”, but with him playing poorly over the years and him already having injury issues this season, he is already behind and prone to get hurt again and struggle.

First Base:

The Yankees have a two-man race for the first base position, and from what we saw last season, Yankees fans assume that it will be Luke Voit starting at first base over Greg Bird.

In all of 2018 (Cardinals and Yankees), Luke Voit bat .322 with 15 home runs in 143 at-bats. His incredible strength and power helped fill the slack of the injured Aaron Judge when he joined, but the success didn’t stop once Judge returned. Having Voit in the lineup gives the Yankees three players who can hit the ball all the way into downtown Manhattan.

Greg Bird has been, well……. playing rather poor in his MLB career. He is batting a career .214 in 576 at-bats, and bat just .199 last season. Voit had double the stats of Bird last season in about half as many at-bats. If Bird has a poor spring, could this finally be the end for Bird with the Yankees? Sending him down may be a bad option, the Yankees actually have two great first basemen at the AAA level in Mike Ford and Ryan McBroom, Ford being invited to the major league camp. It’s always possible that the super-underdog could steal the show.

DJ Lemahieu does remain a viable option, but he will focus more on the middle infield. Aaron Boone did say in his first press conference something along the lines of Andujar learning first base a bit, but it isn’t a focus for him or the team. Any way in which the Yankees choose to go; there will be depth.

The middle-infield cluster

The Yankees have four middle infielders for just two starting spots. Those players are Troy Tulowitzki, DJ Lemahieu, Gleybar Torres, and Tyler Wade.

The Yankees kinda shocked the baseball world and signed Troy Tulowitzki for a one year deal, to help fill-in for the injured Didi Gregorius, who appears to be making great progress in his recovery. But Tulo himself has had injury problems, and his stats have been on a decline over the last four years. His fielding, however, remains one of the best in the league. Could he maybe start at shortstop this season? Anything is possible.

Then there is last years starting second base sensation, Gleybar Torres. Remember, he came up as a shortstop and moved to second base due to Didi Gregorius. So with that, he may be the Yankees opening day shortstop with Lemahieu or possibly Wade at second.

Lemahieu remains the most likely option for the opening day second base spot, as that’s where he played with the Rockies for the most part. The only concern in the play of Lemahieu is his struggles away from Coors Field, where he hit so well it. But many Yankees players who can deal with the New York pressure hit well at Yankees Stadium with the short porches making the stadium extremely hitter-friendly.

Tyler Wade will likely not be a starter for the Yankees but should find his way onto the team and the field. He has a pretty solid glove, is a great base-runner, and his versatility can take him out of the infield and into the outfield when need be. His hitting has struggled big time in the majors, but he should be a solid non-offensive option.

A middle relief spot or two is still available

The Yankees have a lot of power guys that are known to help in the final innings but still lack a few middle relief options. Your power relievers are Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino. Chad Green and Jonathan holder are high leverage, middle relief guys. You have one or two spots available for low leverage situations, let’s see what they have:

In 2017, the Yankees acquired Tommy Kahnle in a trade with the White Sox. He was great in 2017, but an early-season injury in 2018 derailed his season. Once he returned, he never got his high 90s velocity back and spent most of the season in AAA. This season would be a perfect time for a comeback season.

Danny Farquhar missed most of the 2018 season with the White Sox with a brain aneurysm. The Yankees signed him to a minor league deal this Winter with an invite to camp. His career ERA is 3.93, and is pitching with a chip on his shoulder this season. He could be a valuable asset for the Yankees bullpen, too.

Chance Adams pitched just one game last season: an emergency start against the Red Sox, and struggled as presumed. He had ups and downs last season at AAA, but I don’t think he is MLB ready yet. He would be used however as a long reliever if he made the club.

Stephen Tarpley started last season in AA, but made it up all the way come September. Once he got adjusted, he was actually really good, especially against lefties. He would be a great lefty specialist option. If he pitched like he did last season, he should have a good shot at the MLB club.

My 25 man roster prediction:

SP: Severino, Tanaka, Paxton, Happ, CC

RP: Chapman, Betances, Britton, Ottavino, Green, Holder, Tarpley

C: Sanchez, Romine

INF: Voit, Torres, DJ, Wade, Tulo, Andujar

OF/DH: Judge, Stanton, Hicks, Gardner, Frazier

26th man: Ellsbury? Kahnle?